Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Memorial Day Speech

Gettysburg Speech

Memorial Day, 2007

MG (Ret) Robert H Scales

Mr. Kuhn, friends of Gettysburg and most importantly fellow veterans.
What a great thrill it is to return to Gettysburg. I've come to this
place hundreds of times. I've walked this ground when it was covered
with snow, in the heat of summer, in a pouring rain storm while leading
a staff ride with the leadership of the Chinese Army a few years ago.

Coming here never gets old. It never becomes tiresome. It never fails
to excite a passion or raise my spirit. To those who have never seen war
surely emotions like these seem strange indeed. Some of our citizens who
hear old soldiers like me talk about a love for a battlefield conclude
that we love war. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Part of my love for this place is personal. A distant relative, Colonel
Alfred M. Scales, was seriously wounded leading Scales North Carolina
Brigade up Seminary Ridge on the first day of the battle.

Another reason I venerate this place is because it is a soldier's
laboratory and a place to learn the art of war. We soldiers practice our
profession only infrequently so we rely on past battles to teach us
about the future. Even though Gettysburg was fought using weapons that
seem primitive to young soldiers the lessons it teaches about leadership
and courage and intellect are immutable. We are learning again in Iraq
and Afghanistan that war is not a test of technology it is a test of the
collective will and talents of soldiers and the nature and character of
that test will never change.

Another reason why this place attracts me is because all of what you
see around you is so close to home. This was America's war from both
sides, fought on ground that is so familiar and recognizable. It was the
first war fought in which most soldiers were literate and, thanks to the
recent invention of photography, so recognizable. When you go to the
visitors center look into the eyes of the young soldiers staring at you
from across the century and you'll see a reflection of yourselves.

But I'm drawn here mainly to relive and revive in my own soul the
unique influences that brought young soldiers here to fight and die a
century and a half ago. Again and again, it's the same old question from
politicians and media who have the rare privilege of watching soldiers
in action in Iraq and Afghanistan: why is their morale so high? Don't
they know the American people are fed up with this war? Don't they know
it's going badly? Often they come to me incredulous about what they
perceive as a misspent sense of patriotism and loyalty.

I tell them time and again what every one of you sitting here today,
those of you who have seen the face of death in war, understand: it's
not really about loyalty. It's not about a belief in some abstract
notion concerning war aims or national strategy. It's not even about
winning or losing. On that fateful evening on the last day of June 1863
soldiers weren't sitting around campfires in Cashtown or Emmittsburg
roasting coffee and frying bacon to discuss the latest pronouncements
from Lincoln or Jefferson Davis. They might have trusted their leaders
or maybe they didn't. They might have been well informed and passionate
about their cause or maybe not. They might have joined the colors to end
slavery or restore the Union or maybe they just were shanghaied on the
docks in Brooklyn or Manhattan.

Before battle young soldiers then and now think about their buddies.
They talk about families, wives and girlfriends and relate to each other
through very personal confessions. The armies that met at Gettysburg
were not from the social elite. They didn't have Harvard degrees or the
pedigree of political bluebloods. They were in large measure immigrant
Irish or German kids from northern farms and factories or poor scratch
farmers from the piedmont of Virginia, Georgia, Texas and North
Carolina. Just as in Iraq today soldiers then came from every corner of
our country to meet in harsh an forbidding places in far corners of the
world, places that I've seen and visited but can never explain
adequately to those who have never been there.

Soldiers suffer, fight and occasionally die for each other. It's as
simple as that. What brought Longstreet's or Hancock's men to face the
canister on Little Round Top or rifled musket fire on Cemetery Ridge was >no different than the motive force that compels young soldiers today to >kick open a door in Ramadi with the expectation that what lies on the
other side is either an innocent huddling with a child in her arms or a
fanatic insurgent yearning to buy his ticket to eternity by killing the
infidel. No difference.

A civil war soldier was often lured from the slums of New York or
Philadelphia and coerced into the Army by promise of a 300 dollar bonus
and 25 dollars a month. Patriotism and a paycheck may get a soldier into
the Army but fear of letting his buddies down gets a soldier to do
something that might just as well get him killed.

What makes a person successful in America today is a far cry from what
would have made him a success in the minds of those who we honor here
today. Big bucks gained in law or real estate, or big deals closed in
the stock market make some of our countrymen rich. But as they grow
older they realize that they have no buddies. There is no one who they
are willing to die for or who is willing to die for them.

A last point of history before I close today. The Anglo Saxon heritage
of buddy loyalty has been long and frightfully won. Almost six hundred
years ago the English king, Henry V, waited on a cold and muddy
battlefield to face a French army many times his size. Shakespeare
captured the ethos of that moment in his play Henry V.

To be sure Shakespeare wasn't there but he was there in spirit because
he understood the emotions that gripped and the bonds that brought
together both king and soldier. Henry didn't talk about national
strategy. He didn't try to justify faulty intelligence or ill formed
command decisions that put his soldiers at such a terrible disadvantage.
Instead, he talked about what made English soldiers fight and what in
all probably would allow them to prevail the next day against terrible
odds. Remember this is a monarch talking to his men:

This story shall the good man teach his son;

From this day ending to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his
blood with me shall be my brother;

And gentlemen in England (or America) now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhood's cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

You all here assembled inherit the spirit of St Crispin's day. You know
and understand the strength of comfort that those whom you protect,
those in America now abed, will never know. You will live a life of self
awareness and personal satisfaction that those who watched you from afar
in this country who "hold their manhood cheap" can only envy.

I don't care that virtually all of America is at the Mall rather than at
this memorial today. It doesn't bother me that war is an image that
America would rather ignore. It's enough for me to have the privilege to
be among you. It's sufficient to talk to each of you about things we
have seen and kinships we have shared in the tough and heartless
crucible of war.

Some day we will all join those who are resting here. Over a campfire of
boiling coffee and frying bacon you will join with your Civil War band
of brothers to recount the experience of serving something greater than
yourselves. I believe in my very soul that the Almighty reserves a
corner of heaven, probably around an inextinguishable campfire where
some day we can meet and embrace... all of the band of brothers
throughout the ages to tell our stories while envious standers-by watch
and wonder how horrific and incendiary the crucible of violence must
have been to bring such a disparate assemblage so close to the hand of

Until we meet there thank you for your service, thank you for your
sacrifice, God bless you all and God bless this great nation...

Image Source

Meeting Tonight

I'll get to the details of the meeting, but first I have to do a little Mommy bragging. ;) The three kids you see goofing around in this picture are my younger three. They are following in the footsteps of their smart and talented older brothers. All three of them got "commended performance" on ALL of their TAKS tests (a big deal here in Texas)and they all were on the honor roll for the year as well as earning outstanding citizenship awards and several other individual awards. They aren't perfect by any means, but sometimes I'm amazed that God saw fit to bless me with 5 truly outstanding kids. They are each different, but they each have so much character and faith. I LOVE being their Mama!

Don't you see that children are GOD's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you,
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.

Psalm 127: 3-5
The Message

OK, if you are still awake, here are the details of the meeting:
When? Tonight at 8:00 p.m.
Where? Daybreak Coffee on 19th and Quaker
You are all welcome to come. See you there!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Napoleon Dynamite Dance

Yes, I WILL eventually post something besides videos. ;) Things are super busy around here right now because it's the last week of school for my kids. We have awards ceremonies, class parties, and all sorts of things going on.

This video is a soldier doing the Napoleon Dynamite dance. He probably wouldn't like to be described in this way, but I think he is just adorable.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Need a Laugh?

I believe from the look of the uniforms that these are British troops. Looks like they were having a rough day! ;)

Monday, May 28, 2007

The True Meaning of Memorial Day

Get out your tissues! This is a beautiful video and song. There is a picture of our own dear friend De'on toward the end. She said they had this song by this artist at Aaron's memorial. All of our precious Gold Star families are in our thoughts and prayers today. You are loved and your sacrifices will not be forgotten.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tonight on TV

Be sure to watch the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS tonight. It will be on at 8:00 pm Eastern and 7:00 pm Central. Also The Marines will be on tonight at 9:00 Central. Be sure and watch it if you haven't already. I've seen it, but I plan to watch it again.

The Marines

Sunday, May 27, 9:00pm


Director John Grant's documentary examines the culture of being a marine. Included: recruit training during boot at Parris Island, S.C.; a tour of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va. Also: comments from retired general Michael Hagee.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Happy Birthday John Wayne

I found this at, the Houston Chronicle online edition. John Wayne shares a birthday (although not a birth year!) with my sweet grandmother. Happy birthday to her as well.

May 25, 2007, 7:03PM
On his 100th birthday, 100 reasons to love John Wayne

Cox News Service

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — John Wayne was born May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa, 100 years ago. Alone among his generation of movie stars, he remains an apparently permanent image of American masculinity.

You can accept his representation of manhood or you can reject it, but you can't ignore it.

Like Elvis Presley, he was a pure product of America, unthinkable in any other culture. Unlike Elvis, he never went crazy, never lost his faith in his essential rightness — in several senses of the word — never really tried to adapt to changing times. Blessedly, he never hid behind irony.

He was John Wayne, and here are 100 reasons to cherish his memory, some of them from his movies, some of them drawn from Wayne in conversation.

1. Because he loved the movie business.

2. That walk.

3. "You may not like every film, but my fans will always come back because they know I won't be mean, I won't be small, and like an old friend, I won't let them down."

4. Because nobody else started out as such a bad actor and got so good.

5. Because he embodied American masculinity at midcentury and imposed an image on our idea of masculinity's past.

6. "A man ought to do what he thinks is right" (Hondo).

7. For the gentle way he could treat a fragile woman.

8. For the rump-slapping way he could treat a strong woman.

9. Hondo.

10. Because of his work ethic — in an acting career that spanned nearly 50 years, he starred in, by actual count, 156 movies.

11. "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to others, and I require the same from them" (The Shootist).

12. Because at one time or another he worked at nearly all the crafts that go into making movies, from props to costumes to stunting to acting to producing to directing.

13. "I'm going to kill you, Matt" (Red River).

14. For the incredibly cool way he cocks his rifle by twirling it in both Stagecoach and True Grit.

15. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

16. Because all he has to do to dominate a scene is to enter it.

17. Because, in spite of his reputation for invulnerability, he eagerly took on the task of playing deeply lonely men who die.

18. Red River.

19. For his abiding good taste in directors: John Ford, Howard Hawks, William Wellman, Henry Hathaway.

20. For the way a supposedly limited personality actor could match anything gifted younger actors like Montgomery Clift threw at him.

21. "Lest we forget" (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon).

22. Because when he worked with Maureen O'Hara they created believable domestic relationships that were about sex as well as love.

23. Because he possessed a stubbornness that was practically biblical: 100 cigarettes a day for decades, and after he lost a lung to cancer he promptly began smoking small cigars.

24. Because he had a sense of humor about the construct known as "John Wayne."

25. Rio Grande.

26. Because he was the first one on the set in the morning and the last one to leave.

27. For the implacable way he walks through a herd of cattle at the end of Red River.

28. "I wouldn't do that if I was you" (Hondo).

29. The Long Voyage Home.

30. Because he would play anything except weak.

31. Because he created Ethan Edwards, one of the darkest characters in the literature of the movies

32. Because he was a huge man who moved like a dancer.

33. Because it didn't make any difference whether the movie was great, good or terrible, it was still John Wayne.

34. The voice.

35. "That'll be the day" (The Searchers).

36. Island in the Sky.

37. Because he could hold his liquor.

38. Because he wore a bunny costume on Laugh-In.

39. For the look on his face when Kim Darby asks him to be buried next to her in True Grit.

40. Because when he said something, he meant it.

41. They Were Expendable.

42. "Republic . . . I like the sound of the word" (The Alamo).

43. The Quiet Man.

44. Because he was completely different for different directors. For Ford, he was a lonely romantic; for Hawks, he was a low-key professional.

45. Because all his wives were Latinas.

46. For being among the first actors to take responsibility for his own career by starting his own production company after World War II.

47. For producing Seven Men From Now, a great Western, and the second-best movie (after Ride the High Country) Randolph Scott ever made.

48. "I have faith in a supreme being. I don't believe in organized religion because there are too many of them and I just don't think God could be so disorganized as to have all that many churches claiming his authority."

49. Fort Apache.

50. For providing the matrix for generations of Marines in The Sands of Iwo Jima.

51. Because he appeared in the Motion Picture Herald's Top Ten Box Office Stars every year from 1949 to 1973.

52. Because he was never afraid to play against another dominating leading man: Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Lee Marvin, etc.

53. Because he survived playing Genghis Khan in The Conqueror.

54. Because he didn't mind playing a one-eyed old fat man.

55. Because of the reason he became an actor: "For $75 a week, you could be a star. I jumped."

56. "Westerns are closer to art than anything else in the motion-picture business."

57. Because he never gave a damn about critics.

58. Because on-screen he always wanted a woman who was his full equal.

59. Because his characters were always willing to endure the consequences of their actions.

60. For having the integrity to put his money where his political mouth was and produce, direct and star in The Alamo and The Green Berets.

61. For the look on his face when Dean Martin fishes for a coin in a spittoon in Rio Bravo.

62. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

63. For the maturity and grace of his love affair with Patricia Neal in In Harm's Way.

64. Because he played a very good game of chess.

65. Because he was loyal.

66. "You're awful pretty when you're angry" (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance).

67. For the way he stops wearing his toupee in the second half of The Wings of Eagles and the performance is so intense that nobody ever notices.

68. Three Godfathers.

69. "Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!" (True Grit).

70. Because he never had a sense of entitlement toward his career.

71. Because until middle age, he would do most of his stunts himself.

72. Because he had a superb collection of Navajo kachina dolls, as well as of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell sculptures.

73. "I know how to get my way. I don't argue; I become adamant."

74. Because he loved dogs, and not the ones you'd think. He had springer spaniels and dachshunds.

75. Because he could suggest a terrible sorrow beneath a heroic exterior.

76. Because the dog in Hondo was actually played by Lassie, and when he won the dog in a card game from trainer Rudd Weatherwax, he gave him back.

77. Because for 30 years, the BBC ran a John Wayne movie on Christmas Day.

78. "I've been in more bad pictures than just about anybody in the business."

79. "Give the cameraman a chance to photograph something besides walls and doors and tea tables. Don't let your story expire for lack of air."

80. "I stopped getting the girl about 10 years ago. Which is just as well, because I'd forgotten what I wanted her for."

81. Because his favorite hobby was deep-sea fishing.

82. "I never had a (expletive) artistic problem in my life, never, and I've worked with the best of them."

83. "Come up and see a fat old man sometime!" (True Grit).

84. Because his favorite drink was tequila.

85. "All I do is sell sincerity, and I've been selling the hell out of that since I started."

86. For the graceful way he confronted the disease that was already taking his life in The Shootist.

87. Because when he was dying of cancer, in excruciating pain, he never complained.

88. Because the more a director challenged him, the better he got.

89. Because the words "John Wayne" imply a point of view encapsulating not just movies but the world.

90. Because he owned all 20 volumes of Edward Curtis' The North American Indian.

91. "Maureen O'Hara is the female equivalent of me. She could rough me up, and I could rough her up."

92. Rio Bravo.

93. "I made Rio Bravo because I didn't like High Noon. I didn't think a good town marshal was going to run around town like a chicken with his head cut off asking everyone to help."

94. "All I ever cared about was that the public liked my pictures."

95. "For years I've played the kind of man I'd like to have been."

96. "As sure as the turnin' of the earth" (The Searchers).

97. "The hardest thing to do in a scene is nothing. The trick is making every nuance minimal. One look that works is better than 20 lines of dialogue."

98. Because his greatest achievement was creating John Wayne.

99. For the way he lifts Natalie Wood above his head in The Searchers, then quickly brings her down to cradle her like a child.

100. For his kindness and generosity to a young writer 35 years ago.

Memorial Day Services

Local news.

Lubbock City Offices Closed Memorial Day, Services to Be Held at City Cemetery

City of Lubbock offices will be closed Monday, May 28, in observance of Memorial Day. Regular business hours will resume on Tuesday, May 29. Emergency services will continue without interruption.

Meanwhile, the City of Lubbock will honor more than 2,000 local soldiers who have died protecting our freedom with a service at the City Cemetery.

The Fifth Annual Memorial Day Service will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at the City of Lubbock Cemetery, 2011 East 31st Street. The ceremony will be held on the southwest corner of the property. The public is welcome, however seating is limited, so guests are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs.

The Nancy Anderson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, American Legion Post 575, and the City of Lubbock Cemetery are co-sponsoring the event. City Council member Floyd Price will be the featured speaker. City Council member Phyllis Jones will provide welcoming remarks, and Ysidro Gutierrez, County Commissioner, will give the Invocation for this year's patriotic event.

American Legion Post 575 is providing small American flags that those attending can place on gravesites with Veterans Administration Memorials.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Wounded Warrior Leads Run

From left: Gunnery Sgt. Angel Barcenas and Sgt. Justin G. Brown lead a formation of Marines, firemen and policemen across Manhattan May 24. Barcenas' legs were amputated after he sustained injuries in Iraq last year. Brown is a liaison with the Marine Casualty Services Branch at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Wounded warrior leads formation run to Ground Zero
May 25, 2007; Submitted on: 05/25/2007 10:06:52 AM ; Story ID#: 200752510652

By Sgt. Zimmerman, New York City Public Affairs

NEW YORK (May 25, 2007) -- New York police and firefighters joined forces with the Marine Corps on Thursday for a two-mile motivational run through the lower east side of Manhattan led by a “wounded warrior.”

The formation included approximately 150 leathernecks from the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, who were followed by members of the New York City Fire Department and Port Authority and New York police departments. The run ended at the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks and was followed by a brief memorial service for the victims of the attacks.

Many of the firefighters, police officers and Marines in the formation were inspired into service following the attacks. For Gunnery Sgt. Angel Barcenas, a double-amputee “wounded warrior” who was invited to New York from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to lead the run, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center was the first in the series of events that led to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Gunny Barcenas epitomizes the spirit and courage of [other severely injured service members,” said Al Giordano, deputy executive director and co-founder of Wounded Warrior Project. “It’s typical of their drive and determination to overcome their injuries and move on,” Giordano said.

“That's probably my last run in formation with the Marine Corps,” said Barcenas, whose legs were amputated below the knees due to a roadside bomb in Iraq last July. “It's definitely a good way to end it, where it all started.”

Show of Force

Looks like our 13th MEU Marines are in the news. Two of our LMP moms have sons in this unit.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Ships packed with 17,000 sailors and Marines moved into the Persian Gulf on Wednesday as the U.S. Navy staged another show of force off Iran's coast just days before U.S.-Iran talks in Baghdad.

The carrier strike groups led by the USS John C. Stennis and USS Nimitz were joined by the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard and its own strike group, which includes two landing ships carrying 2,100 members of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Read the rest here

Thursday, May 24, 2007

There are worse things that could happen...

A mother passing by her daughter's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was nicely made and everything was picked up.

Then she saw an envelope propped up prominently on the center of the bed.
It was addressed, "Mom."

With the worst premonition, she opened the envelope and read the letter with trembling hands:

Dear Mom,

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new boyfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with you and Dad.

I've been finding real passion with John and he is so nice even with all his piercing's, tattoos, beard and his motorcycle clothes. But it's not only the passion mom, I'm pregnant and John said that we will be very happy. He already owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood that will last the whole winter. He wants to have many more children with me and that's now one of my dreams too.

John taught me that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone and he'll be growing it for us to trade with his friends for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so John can get better; he sure deserves it!

Don't worry Mom, I'm 15 years old now and I know how to take care of myself.

Someday I'm sure we'll be back to visit so you can get to know your grandchildren.

Your daughter,


PS: Mom, none of the above is true. I'm over at the neighbor's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than my report card, which is in my desk drawer.

I love you!

Call when it is safe for me to come home.

Navy Flier Brings Father Home from War

MINNEAPOLIS (May 17, 2007) – Lt. Cmdr. Brian Danielson and the Veterans Color Guard from Kenyon, Minn., render honors as the remains of Danielson’s father, Air Force Maj. Benjamin Danielson, are prepared for transportation from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Danielson’s remains were returned to Minnesota 37 years after his death in combat in Laos. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Sheehan (RELEASED)

Navy Flier Brings His Father Home from War, 37 Years Later
Story Number: NNS070518-10
Release Date: 5/18/2007 11:55:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Sheehan, Navy Operational Support Center Minneapolis Public Affairs

MINNEAPOLIS (NNS) -- Following a plot straight out of a Hollywood movie, Lt. Cmdr. Brian Danielson escorted his father’s remains home to Minnesota on May 17, nearly 37 years after his death in combat during the Vietnam War.

Danielson and his mother flew with the remains of Air Force Maj. Benjamin Franklin Danielson from Hawaii to Minnesota in preparation for a final burial in Kenyon, Minn., on June 15.

Danielson was an 18-month-old in Kenyon when his father was shot down over Laos on Dec. 5, 1965. The elder Danielson had been flying a F-4 Phantom when he and weapons officer Lt. Woody Bergeron ejected from their damaged aircraft, under enemy fire, and parachuted into the jungle below. Heavy ground fire prevented the downed fliers from being immediately rescued; and, ultimately, more than 500 search and rescue (SAR) sorties were flown in an effort to retrieve the aviators in what amounted to the largest SAR mission of the war.

Bergeron was rescued after 51 hours in the jungle, but the elder Danielson never made it home. The Air Force officially listed him as missing in action (MIA) until 1976, when his status was changed to killed in action with no body recovered.

In 1991, a U.S. service pistol exhibited in a Vietnamese museum was discovered to have been issued to the elder Danielson, and in 2003 a piece of bone and Danielson’s dog tags were brought to U.S. authorities in Vietnam.

In the summer of 2006, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) led an expedition to Laos in an effort to find more of the elder Danielson’s remains, and the younger Danielson joined the effort while on leave from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 209. By journeying to Laos, Danielson became the first active-duty service member to participate in an expedition for an MIA father.

“Everything lined up perfectly,” Danielson said. “My squadron had a brief break in our training, and my Skipper approved my request. I was very excited to join the effort and the work JPAC does.”

Although the expedition did not find any additional remains, DNA testing conducted by JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory concluded that the bone fragment came from his father, allowing the younger Danielson and his mother to plan a final burial and memorial service at a family plot in Kenyon.

“As soon as I got back from Laos,” he said “I jumped back into training with VAQ-209, and even got to fly an exchange flight with a German squadron that flew the same type of F-4’s that my father flew. A very short time after walking the jungle trails in Laos where my father was killed, I was with my squadron in Iraq. It’s been a wild year.”

Danielson, his mother, and his father's remains welcomed at the airport by honor guards from the Kenyon VFW and American Legion, the Northland Vietnam Veteran’s Association, and the Everett McClay VFW Post 1296.

“It’s been great to have a proper welcome home for my dad,” Danielson said. “This experience, looking for my father’s remains, at one point seemed hopeless but it ended up being a very positive thing. We should all be reminded of what it means to sacrifice for our country, and what our country will sacrifice for you. No matter how long it takes, no matter the circumstances, if you sacrifice for our country, we will bring you home.”

For more news from around the fleet, visit


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Camp Pendleton Assists in Battle to Save Catalina

A couple of our moms have sons currently at Camp Pendleton.

Flames ravage Catalina Island May 10, surrounding Avalon, the island's main city.

Camp Pendleton assists in battle to save Catalina
May 10, 2007; Submitted on: 05/23/2007 03:07:35 PM ; Story ID#: 200752315735

By Lance Cpl. Ryan L. Tomlinson, MCB Camp Pendleton

Catalina Island, Calif. (May 10, 2007) -- A wildfire of unknown origins broke out here May 10, leading firefighters, service members and volunteers to respond within five hours of the initial blaze.

Firefighters from Avalon, Calif. and around Southern California joined forces to save a city from the wrath of a wildfire.

The fire engines and equipment were delivered via Landing Craft, Air Cushion driven by Assault Craft Unit 5 stationed at Camp Pendleton.

An LCAC is a high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious landing craft capable of carrying a 60-75 ton load.

“The island hasn't endured a fire of this magnitude since 1915,” said Dave Long, a firefighter with the Avalon Fire Department.

“That year most of the city burned down, but this year that is not going to happen with us,” Long said.

The fire started around 12:30 p.m. from the top of the mountain, working its way down to the city and destroying everything in its path.

The polluted air was so thick it forced most residents to wear surgical masks to keep them from inhaling the hazardous materials.

The fire department immediately evacuated the highest area of the town, leading to more than 2,000 residents and visitors running to Long Beach ferries for safety.

Firefighters from Avalon combated the inferno solo before reinforcement fire units arrived.

Once reinforcements arrived, the firefighters saved most of the island’s structures including the school and city hall, and only lost six business establishments and one residence. One injury was reported.

“I thought the Avalon Fire Department, the Navy, Coast Guard and all of the volunteers did a very good job to save lives and save the city,” said Angela Agpawa, a frequent visitor to the island.

“The first thing I thought when I saw them come is that we are saved,” Agpawa said.

She added she would like to thank all who participated in the relief of the wildfire.

The fire caused more than $2 million in property damage and destroyed 4,500 acres by the end of the weekend.

As of Monday morning, the fire was close to 80 percent contained.

“We are very fortunate to have had great firefighters and service members working to save the city from the fire,” said Capt. Richard Hernandez, a firefighter with the Avalon Fire Department and a native of the island.

“It was an honor protecting the area I grew up in and saving places such as the school. That place is for our future neighbors, doctors and even service members,” Hernandez said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A Gathering Of Eagles

Great video about Gathering of Eagles. Their website is here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center

Blondiebee's son is at MWTC in Bridgeport, so this is for her.

Marines of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, guide mules heavily packed with gear as part of a field exercise in September during their summer training package. Marines train to pack, care for and use these animals in a tactical environment at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Center Bridgeport, Calif.

MWTC Marines take a load off with pack mules
May 18, 2007; Submitted on: 05/21/2007 03:24:24 PM ; Story ID#: 2007521152424

By Cpl. Brian A. Tuthill, MCMWTC

HAWTHORNE ARMY AMMUNITION DEPOT, Nev. (May 18, 2007) -- When the long and winding road becomes the steep and impassable mountain ridge, vehicles topple, gear is grounded and operations come to a grinding halt. But if Marines have pack mules on their side, all but the steepest terrain can be overtaken. With the help of instructors from the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif., Marines learn to pack their mules and traverse some of the most rugged terrain the Sierra Nevada Mountains have to offer.

“The saying goes, ‘you can pack anything indigenous to an infantry battalion,’” said Anthony Parkhurst, a retired Marine master sergeant who has worked with the mules at Bridgeport and currently offers his skills and services with training evolutions. “A full compliment of mules can easily move an entire infantry battalion through the mountains.”

Bridgeport’s 27 mules are the only mules owned and operated by the Department of Defense, said Sgt. Arlen Gentert, stable noncommissioned-officer-in-charge and pack master. “A mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey, and they pick up the good traits from both. They have the problem-solving skills of a donkey with the strength and size from the horse. Other countries around the world use mules in their militaries, but we are the only ones in the DoD. Most people don’t even know we exist.”

Gentert and three other instructors from Bridgeport rode 22 mules more than 45 miles over rough mountains to the Army’s Hawthorne Ammunition Depot, to assist with the “Mountain Viper” Afghanistan predeployment training program.

During normal training packages at Bridgeport, the team of instructors will train a few dozen Marines from a visiting battalion to pack, care for and use the mules. Here at Hawthorne, however, the training mission is different and the group is smaller, but they still receive exposure to being around and using mules in this terrain.

“Marines moving throughout Afghanistan will almost certainly encounter donkeys or some sort of domesticated pack animals,” said Gentert. “We not only give them [Marines] the exposure, but the packing training as well in case their guide is wounded or something, they know what to do themselves and know what to look for if they have to buy something.”

Parkhurst said the mule program began in 1983 as an experiment in response to the Afghan-Russian War, and was designed to only last five years. Since then, they have become a regular part of instruction and are even used in local parades.

“Another advantage to using mules is they last a lot longer,” said Gentert, who grew up on a farm around animals in Wendell, Idaho. “You can work a mule for 20 plus years, so we get more return from our investment when buying these animals. You can load a mule to 33 percent of its body weight, so if you have a 900-pound mule, that’s more than a 300-pound load. That’s a lot of water, food, weapon systems.”

Another reason the mules are used for packing training is to educate Marines on the principles of packing, which some packers say is more art than science.

“The principles of packing remain pretty much the same for any animal once you learn, so if you can pack a mule, you can pack a donkey, a horse or an elephant,” said Gentert. “It’s a great baseline.

“I think the simple fact that we still train and use these animals is very unique,” added Gentert. “It seems outdated, but sometimes it’s the only means of ground transportation.”

Rules For Civilians

This came across our MySpace yesterday and I thought y'all might like it. Yes, I did have to make a few word substitutions. This is a family blog! :)

"Dear Civilians, We know that the current state of affairs in our great nation has many civilians up in arms and excited to join the military. For those of you who can't join, you can still lend a hand. Here are a few of the areas where we would like your assistance:

(1) The next time you see an adult talking (or wearing a hat) during the playing of the National Anthem---kick their butt.

(2) When you witness, firsthand, someone burning the American Flag in protest---kick their butt.

(3) Regardless of the rank they held while they served, pay the highest amount of respect to all veterans. If you see anyone doing otherwise, quietly pull them aside and explain how these veterans fought for the very freedom they bask in every second. Enlighten them on the many sacrifices these veterans made to make this nation great. Then hold them down while a disabled veteran kicks their butt.

(4) (GUYS) If you were never in the military, DO NOT pretend that you were. Wearing battle dress uniforms (BDUs), telling others that you used to be "Special Forces," and collecting GI Joe memorabilia, might have been okay when you were seven years old. Now, it will only make you look stupid and get your butt kicked.

(5) Next time you come across an Air Force member, do not ask them, "Do you fly a jet?" Not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot. Such ignorance deserves a butt-kicking (children are exempt).

(6) If you witness someone calling the US Coast Guard 'non-military', inform them of their mistake---and kick their butt.

(7) Next time Old Glory (the US flag) prances by during a parade, get on your damn feet and pay homage to her by placing your hand over your heart. Quietly thank the military member or veteran lucky enough to be carrying her---of course, failure to do either of those could earn you a severe butt-kicking.

(8) Don't try to discuss politics with a military member or a veteran. We are Americans, and we all bleed the same, regardless of our party affiliation. Our Chain of Command is to include our Commander-In-Chief (C in C). The President (for those who didn't know) is our C in C regardless of political party. We have no inside track on what happens inside those big important buildings where all those representatives meet. All we know is that when those civilian representatives screw up the situation, they call upon the military to go straighten it out. If you keep asking us the same stupid questions repeatedly, you will get your butt kicked!

(9) 'Your mama wears combat boots' never made sense to me---stop saying it! If she did, she would most likely be a vet and therefore, could kick your butt!

(10) Stop asking us where Bin Laden is! Crystal balls are not standard issue in the military.

(11) 'Flyboy' (Air Force), 'Jarhead' (Marines), 'Grunt' (Army), 'Squid' (Navy), 'Puddle Jumpers' (Coast Guard), etc., are terms of endearment we use describing each other. Unless you are a service member or vet, you have not earned the right to use them. That could get your butt kicked.

(12) Last, but not least, whether or not you become a member of the military, support our troops and their families. Every Thanksgiving and religious holiday that you enjoy with family and friends, please remember that there are literally thousands of troops far from home wishing they could be with their families. Thank God for our military and the sacrifices they make every day. Without them, our country would get its butt kicked."

"It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."

"If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you are reading it in English, thank a veteran."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Spotlight on Talon

As you know, we occasionally feature the sons and daughters of Lubbock Marine Parents members here. Today we are featuring Talon Burns. He is the son of Chad and Lizabeth Burns. He graduated from Monterey High School in 2005 (a year early) and from bootcamp in November 2006. He is 19 years old and single. His mom says that is NOT an advertisement! ;) She says he is a great kid and she really misses him, but he loves the Corps.

Don't they have an adorable family? I love the Texas shirts! Lizabeth, we are so glad to have you as part of our group and Talon, we are very proud of you!

Soldier Wall and other links is a great site. You can add your Soldier or Marine if you want to and you can leave comments. It is a great way to show our thanks and appreciation. I have tried to comment on as many of them as I can.

In case any of you are interested and are in the area, here is information on the Navy's Fleet Week in New York City May 23rd through 30th.

My oldest son spent this past weekend in Virginia and Washington D.C. He visited the monuments in D.C., the National Museum of the Marine Corps which he said was awesome, and attended Evening Parade at Marine Barracks Washington D.C. He said he wished I could have been there to see the Evening Parade, but that I would have probably cried the whole time. He knows me so well. He also went to Arlington National Cemetery and said it was very sobering and inspiring. I would have cried there too. I'm so glad he had such a good weekend and was able to visit all these places. I hope to be able to see them all someday too.

Here's a short video of the Silent Drill Team.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tim McGraw at the ACM Awards

Do NOT watch this unless you have a tissue handy. I'm warning you! It will make you cry. It is a beautiful, touching song. Thank you Cindy for pointing it out to me.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Operation Recruiter Appreciation

Lubbock Marine Parents, in conjunction with Gathering of Eagles participated in Operation Recruiter Appreciation today. We took Subway sandwiches, cookies, drinks, and homemade fudge and cards to the recruiters here in Lubbock. Some other local Eagles also had pizza for the Army recruiters. They seemed to love the food and the Marine recruiters gave all of us moms some "Proud Parent of a U.S. Marine" stickers and magnets. We love them! We even got to meet some of the recruiters' wives and kids which was great. Recruiting is a tough job and we want to make sure that these hardworking men and women know that they are appreciated. Thank you recruiters for your service to our country!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

This comes from Cindy, proud Army mom and President of St. Paul Blue Star Moms.

Below is an article that was in the St Paul MN newspaper. It
was written by Chaplain Morris of the MN National Guard. While this
article deals with the MN warriors coming home, this is a message that
applies to every single community, state in this country! The message is
powerful and perhaps, it is something that you can share with the
newspapers in your communities. If everyone does their part, the coming
home of our warriors will be without problems...but it takes everyone
doing their part in helping.

It takes communities to bring soldiers all the way home

I am watching the growing furor over the shortcomings in the Veterans
Administration system and the fallout from Walter Reed Army Hospital
with growing alarm. I am concerned that we are going to fix the crisis
and forget the problem.

The problem is how to help warriors, and their families, successfully
reintegrate back into our communities, and their homes, after combat. A
portion of that problem is health care related. For a majority of combat
vets, however, only a small part of their reintegration challenge has to
do with health care for physical injuries. Behavioral and mental health
are bigger issues. And for most, the biggest challenge is relational:
rebuilding marriages, reconnecting with children, rejoining friends,
rejoining the global economy, getting back to the communities of faith
we left, etc.

The problem with focusing on the VA is we may well fix the VA only to
convince ourselves that the reintegration of our combat veterans is a
government program, not a community process. If we expect the government
to take care of everything, we will have failed our combat veterans and
their families as well as ourselves.

We have sent our precious men and women to war. The VA can't bring them
home. Only we can. We have a moral obligation to insure that all of our
combat veterans come all the way home to their families, their jobs,
their schools and their communities.

A government program can't do that. A community can.

That means each of us needs to roll up our sleeves and do more than
castigate the VA. It means the following:

If you are a health care provider in Minnesota, do the right thing:
Become a Tricare provider. Tricare is the insurance the government
issues to mobilized reservists and guardsmen.

Two-thirds of Minnesota health care providers are not Tricare providers.
The result: We do not have an in-patient chemical dependency treatment
center in Minnesota that is a Tricare provider. We have a dire shortage
of behavioral mental health providers who are Tricare providers. The VA
can't fix this … we can.

If you are an educator, sign up for an Operation Military Kids workshop
and learn about the daunting challenges our 7,000 Minnesota military
kids face when their parent marches off to war, and when they return.
Help our children while we are at war. Parent educators, we need you to
offer classes in every school district in Minnesota, for military
families. We need your help in learning how to parent our children

If you are a member of the clergy, learn all you can about the toll
combat takes on marriages, families, mothers and fathers of military
personnel. You don't have to support the foreign policy to pray for us
while we are in harm's way and to visit our parents, our spouses and our
children while we are gone. When we come home, we need your help in
putting our marriages, families and lives back together.

If you are an employer, please give my spouse some grace. She or he is
juggling a job, a family, a home and a huge heartache. There are no laws
to protect them while we are at war, as there are to protect my job when
I come back. They struggle mightily and may need some special attention
and some extra time off. Do the right thing — help them.

If you are a social service provider, learn all you can about combat
operational stress, the challenges of reintegration for combat veterans
and the impact of war on the family system. You are our "first call for
help;" don't fail us because you choose not to invest in your
professional development.

If you are a politician, don't politicize the shortfalls in the VA or
the military medical system. We aren't pawns in an election cycle; we
are your constituents, and we are counting on you to fix the problems.
Energize the community on our behalf to do right by us. We're not asking
for showy programs. We are asking for tangible signs of support in terms
of services offered.

If you are our neighbors, and you are, don't "victimize" us. Most combat
veterans come home without PTSD, mental disorders, physical wounds or
destroyed lives. We generally readjust well and go on to live productive
lives. Expect great contributions to society from us. We won't
disappoint you. Challenge us to greatness; we know how to serve.

Watch over our families while we are gone. Extend a warm welcome home
when we return. Walk with us through the months of readjustment, and
make a place for us in the community.

If we are among the tragic few who come home physically or mentally
wounded, help us by connecting us to local, county, state and federal

Certainly, address the problems with the VA, the military medical system
and other systemic issues that face us.

But, above all … bring us all the way home.

A program can't do that. You can.

Major John Morris is a chaplain in the Minnesota Army National Guard.
For more information about his and others' ground-breaking work on
reintegrating returning soldiers, go to and look for the "Beyond the
Yellow Ribbon" link.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

AFSOC Chief Sings Osprey's Praise

The head of Air Force Special Operations Command gave a strong endorsement Wednesday for the special operations variant of the V-22 Osprey, saying it's as safe to fly as a commercial airliner.
Calling the CV-22 "a wonderful airplane," Lt. Gen. Mike Wooley said his command is confident the hybrid aircraft has emerged from its troubled history of crashes and fatalities and will deliver a "transformational leap" to commandos for their covert missions.
"The thing that we're excited about that the airplane brings to the fight is speed and range," Wooley said at a May 9 breakfast meeting with reporters in Washington. "When you really get down to it, that's what the Air Force does: bring speed and range to the fight."
Controversy swirled around the Osprey program for years after two crashes in 2000 killed 23 Marines. The deadly incidents grounded the transport and sent the program back to the drawing board, forcing the Air Force and Navy - which is buying the Osprey to replace a portion of its search and rescue helicopter fleet - to mute their enthusiasm for the new transport. But citing the Air Force's checkered history converting from a prop-driven aircraft fleet to jets, Wooley brushed aside the Osprey's past problems, saying the Navy and Marine Corps had worked out the kinks over the past several years of re-engineering.
"Any time you take a transformational leap in the aviation business, there is going to be stuff that you are going to learn literally on the fly … it's a shame that there were lives lost," Wooley admitted.
"It's no different from jumping on a [Boeing] 777, an AC-130 [gunship] or a CV-22 - something could slip, break or come loose at any time," he added. "But that's the aviation business."
The Marine Corps - which is purchasing the MV-22 to replace its fleet of Vietnam-era CH-46 Sea Knight transports - announced April 16 it planned to deploy the first operational Osprey squadron to Iraq in September. The announcement surprised critics of the program who speculated the Corps would send the Osprey on a lower-profile assignment, such as supporting operations in Djibouti.
Air Force spec ops pilots should get their first operational CV-22s by 2009, filling out the 50 aircraft buy in 2018. But that's not soon enough for Wooley who said the delay is "my biggest concern with that airplane."
The AFSOC CV-22 will employ four crewmembers, adding a flight engineer to the mix. The Corps uses a three-man crew during its operations.
"Our machines are pretty dang complicated," Wooley admitted. "But they're pretty dang complicated because we designed them."
Wooley said the complexity of the flight systems needed for spec ops missions demanded the extra manpower "because there's a lot going on in the cockpit" and was not an indication that the Osprey was any more difficult to fly than other conventional transports.
The AFSOC version of the Osprey may also differ from the Corps' MV-22 by incorporating a chin-mounted gun - a modification the Air Force requested. The Corps will use a .50 cal machine gun mounted on the Osprey's loading ramp for fire suppression in a hot landing zone.
Wooley said he's sending an Air Force team with the Marine squadron heading to Iraq this fall to learn what he can from the first deployment in hopes of making AFSOC's eventual stint in the combat zone error-free.
"We want to be there to learn those lessons the same time the Marines learn theirs," Wooley said.

House Bill Calls for Higher Troop Pay

Members of the House want to give troops a bigger-than-expected raise not just next year but the four years after that, too.
Tucked into the House Armed Services Committee’s 2008 defense authorization bill is language guaranteeing a 3.5 percent pay raise for all servicemembers starting next January and a promise of raises through 2012 of 0.5 percent above the anticipated average salary increase among civilian workers.
Lawmakers said the goal of the pay raises is to help close the gap between private sector pay and military pay. Defense officials had asked for a 3.0 percent pay raise in 2008, and have offered no long-term plans for pay beyond then.

Video: House Agrees to Fund Iraq War Through July

Currently, analysts estimate that servicemembers make 3.9 percent less than comparable civilian personnel. Approving not only the higher 2008 pay raise but also the above-civilian-pay increases for the four years after that would drop the gap to 1.4 percent.
Alert: Tell your public officials how you feel about this issue.
The $645.6 billion authorization legislation, passed unanimously by the committee Wednesday night, also includes a provision to double maximum hardship duty pay from $750 to $1,500 a month.
The budget proposal is expected to be voted on by the full House before the end of the month.
Along with nearly $504 billion in base funding for the defense department, the bill includes almost $142 billion in funds for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan next year. Lawmakers added more than $22 billion to the Defense Department’s base budget request to pay for what they saw as unmet needs within the services.
Their plans include a $4.1 billion boost in funding to buy Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, $3.7 billion to get additional armored vehicles, and $1.2 billion in research for better body armor systems.
To offset some of those increases, the House proposal cut $867 million from the Army’s Future Combat Systems program $3.7 billion request for next year. Republicans on the committee tried to restore about $200 million of that restored during debate Wednesday, but the Democratic majority rejected that plan.
Senate officials are expected to begin deliberations on their version of the 2008 defense budget later this month. Last year, the Senate rejected House plans for a pay raise above the department’s request, and troops saw only a 2.2 percent increase in their checks, their lowest raise in a decade.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Slingin' Slang

Once again, TXMarineMom1987 is having a hard time getting logged into Blogger to post something, so I am posting this for her. It is great and I know all you Marines and Marine moms and dads will love it!


Slang, lingo, verbiage, jargon, terms, words, expressions….no matter how it’s said it’s just language. Every country and culture has its own unique language. And the Military is no exception. With their acronyms, abbreviations, all the different numbered forms, it is a totally different culture. And, of course, each service of the Military has its own subcultural language.

Below is a small list of some widely used terms that your Marine will learn, mostly in boot camp. They no doubt will learn more during their time in the Marines. When a recruit is at boot camp, he/she will not be given a nice typed up list to memorize. They will learn these terms from using them and having them used on them. Soon they will be slingin’ the slang like they were taught it from the time they began to speak. However, family members are not given a list of lingo either, so when you get calls from boot camp (or anywhere else for that matter) or letters you will not have to feel so completely and utterly confused by your Marine’s new language.

Note: Remember all those “NO-NO” words that we spent 17-18 years trying for our child not to say, well………somehow, boot camp seems to break down that no-no wall. So when your Marine comes home and begins to use those no-no words, please be patient. Just quietly and politely remind him/her that those words don’t need to be used in your presence. When our Marines sacrifice to do what they have been asked, a few no-no words around their buddies won’t harm anyone. Strange as it may sound, sometimes for them it’s just a way of bonding.

0 Dark 30 - Very, very early in the morning
All Hands - Everyone
BC Glasses - Marine Corps issued eyeglasses. Named “Birth Control” glasses due to repulsive effect, especially on opposite sex.
BDU - Battle Dress Uniform. Official name of cammies.
Black Friday - Day recruit meets “real” D.I. and are placed into platoon they will continue through boot camp with. Upon arrival to boot camp, recruits are with intake D.I.
Blues - Dress Blue uniform.
Boots & Utes - Cammie bottoms, green T-shirt and combat boots
Brain Fart - Loss of concentration
Bulkhead - Wall
Cadillac - Marine Corps issued boots
Cammies - Field uniform
Cap - Fire at someone/something
Chevron - Basic element of enlisted rank structure
Chit - Piece of paper authorizing things such as light duty chit, leave chit, etc.
Chow Hall - Place where meals are served.
Civvies - Civilian clothing
Cover - Caps, hats and other things worn on the head. Marines wear covers regardless of what the headgear actually is. A Marine’s cover is always removed when indoors unless that Marine is armed.
Crucible - A 54-hour training event in which Marine recruits are physically and mentally challenged by lack of sleep, minimal food, forced marches, teamwork exercises and leadership opportunities. It is the final major training event of boot camp and is designed to pull together everything they have been taught previously and survive a real challenge. It culminates in the Warrior Breakfast and signals a change in their drill instructors from task masters to mentors.
Crumb Catcher - Mouth
D.I. - Drill Instructor
DD Form 4 - Enlistment contract
Deck - Floor
Devil Dog - A Marine. Given to the Marines by German enemies in WW1
Field Day - Day set aside for thorough cleaning of the barracks
Gear - Personal items and equipment
Go-fasters - Tennis shoes/sneakers
Go-juice - Fuel
Good to go - Marine is ready or piece of equipment is ready
Grape - Head
Green Monster - Basic issue knowledge book. Must be kept with recruit at ALL times
Grunt - Infantryman
Guidon - Pennant of platoon
Head - Latrine/toilet
High & Tight - Traditional Marine haircut
Ink stick - Pen
IT - Incentive Training – used as punishment to instill motivation
ITB - Infantry Training Battalion
Jody - Civilian who moves in on a Marine’s girlfriend
K-Bar - Fighting knife
Kevlar - Bullet resistant material used in flack jackets and helmets. Also called brain bucket.
Lead Stick - Pencil
Liberty - Authorized absence from duty
Lid - Another acceptable term for “cover”.
MCMAP - Marine Corps Martial Arts Program
MCRD - Marine Corps Recruit Depot – one in San Diego, CA and one in Parris Island, SC.
MCT - Marine Combat Training
Moonbeam - Flashlight
MOS - Military Occupational Specialty
Non-qual - Marine who did not qualify as expert, sharpshooter or marksman on the rifle range. Non-quals do not graduate boot camp.
OohRah - Sound made by Marine to indicate agreement or provide encouragement.
Port - Left side
Portholes - Windows or recruit with glasses
Pugil Sticks - Padded sticks used to simulate bayonet fighting.
Rack - Bed
Rain Trees/Rain Room - Showers
Reaper - Very, very steep uphill 10 mile hike. Last and most difficult leg of the Crucible.
Recruiter Assist - Temporary duty assignment of up to 30 days to assist local recruiters. Offered to recent boot camp graduates
Recycle - Recruit is being removed from his/her platoon placed with another platoon in order to repeat some portion of training. This usually happens with the recruit did not successfully complete a required training item.
Scribe - Recruit who takes notes and makes lists for platoon and DI; informal position selected by DI.
Scuz Brush - Cleaning brush used for boots, floors and porcelain objects. At times, used on cammies.
Semper Fi - Semper Fidelis – Latin for “Always Faithful”.
Motto for Marines.
Skivvies - Underwear
Snot Locker - Nose
SOI - School of Infantry
Squad Bay - Living quarters for recruit platoon
Starboard - Right side
Suzy - Marine’s girlfriend who is shacked up with Jody while Marine is off defending his country.

Deployment Coins

Cindy, with the St. Paul Blue Star Mothers, recently found our blog and sent me an email. She's the one who posted the Blue Star Mothers video that I used in a previous post to YouTube. She told me about a deployment coin that they are selling as a fundraiser. The coin and the order form are above. You can click on the pictures to enlarge. I think the coins are beautiful and I plan to order one to send with my oldest when he goes to Iraq this Summer. Look at their website if you get a chance and click on "Hero On A Stick". It's really cute!

Also, Cindy's son is with 10th Mountain out of Ft. Drum. Please be in prayer for those soldiers and families.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Must Click!

Watch Fred Thompson's response to Michael Moore here. It's great!

Read what Jarhead John has to say about war funding consequences (if you haven't already)here. He has quite a firestorm going in the comment section of this post.

Read here about the death threat to Eagles by a "peace" marcher.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate Cheesecake
1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 – 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Oven Temp ~ 350° Bake Time ~ 55 minutes
Pan Type ~ 9" springform pan

Preheat Oven.

Place chocolate graham cracker crumbs in a medium mixing bowl. Add the sugar and mix well. Melt the butter, pour over crumb mixture. Stir until well blended and press firmly into bottom of pan. In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs one at time beating well after each addition. Add the flour and salt blend until smooth. In a small saucepan melt the chocolate with the cream stirring constantly. Slowly pour melted chocolate into cream cheese mixture while beating on low speed with electric mixer. Stir in orange liqueur. Pour into pan and bake for the allotted time. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Melt second amount of chocolate and drizzle over top. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Serves: 12 - 14

This is just to whet your appetite for our upcoming cookbook. The editing is nearly done and then it will be sent off to the printers. We have almost 200 yummy recipes!!! In just a few weeks it will be time to start taking pre-orders.

Defense Department blocks Internet Sites

Defense Department Blocks Internet Sites to Protect Grid
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2007 – The Defense Department is blocking access to many popular Internet sites from department-owned computers due to bandwidth issues, U.S. Strategic Command officials said today.
Joint Task Force Global Network Operations, which directs the operation and defense of the Defense Department’s global information grid to assure timely and secure capabilities in support of the department’s warfighting, intelligence, and business missions, blocked 12 popular sites on government computers today.

The sites are:,,,,,,,,,, and

The popularity of the sites has not affected operations yet, but blocking them prevents them from causing such a problem, officials said . “It is a proactive measure: we do not want a problem with demand for these sites clogging the networks,” a U.S. Strategic Command official said.

The blocks affect only Defense Department computers and local area networks that are part of the department’s global information grid. The department has more than 15,000 local and regional networks and more than 5 million computers in the grid.

Department officials stress they are not making a judgment about the sites. Blocking the sites “is in no way a comment on the content, purpose or uses of the Web sites themselves,” the official said. “It is solely a bandwidth/network management issue.”

Offices with a need to access these sites from government computers can request exceptions to the policy. Global network operations officials will continue to assess the stresses and strains on the global information grid, and may add or subtract sites as needed, officials said.


This doesn't really surprise me. Lots of companies block certain sites on company computers. I know my husband says that there are lots of sites blocked from his work computer. Luckily this site is not one of them! :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Points System for Men

I couldn't resist posting this! :)

For thousands of years, men have tried to understand the rules when dealing with women. Finally, this merit/demerit guide will help you to understand just how it works. Remember, in the world of romance, one single rule applies: Make the Woman happy. Do something she likes, and you get points. Do something she dislikes and points are subtracted. You don't get any points for doing something she expects. Sorry, that's the way the game is played. Here is a guide to the points system:


You make the bed .........................................+1

You make the bed, but forget to add the decorative pillows....-1

You throw the bedspread over rumpled sheets...................-2

You leave the toilet seat up..................................-5

You replace the toilet paper roll when it is empty............+5

When the toilet paper roll is barren, you resort to Kleenex...-1

When the Kleenex runs out you use the next bathroom...........-2

You go out to buy her extra-light panty liners with wings.....+5

in the rain.............................................. .....+8

But return with beer..........................................-1

And no panty liners...........................................-25

You check out a suspicious noise at night.....................+1

You check out a suspicious noise and it is nothing............0

You check out a suspicious noise and it is something..........+5

You pummel it with a six iron................................+10

It's her cat............................................... ..-40


You stay by her side the entire party.........................0

You stay by her side for a while, then leave
to chat with a school drinking buddy...................-2

Named Tiffany........................................... .....-5

Tiffany is a dancer..........................................-10

With breast implants.........................................-20


You remember her birthday...................................+1

You buy a card and flowers..................................+2

You take her out to dinner..................................+5

You take her out to dinner and it's not a sports bar........+10

Okay, it is a sports bar....................................-10

And it's all-you-can-eat night...........................-20

It's a sports bar, its all-you-can-eat night, and your face is painted the colors of your favorite team.......................-30


Go with a pal....................................... 0

The pal is happily married.......................... +1

The pal is single...................................-10

He drives a Ferrari.................................-20

With a personalized license plate (GR8NBED)........-30


You take her to a movie...................................+2

You take her to a movie she likes.........................+5

You take her to a movie you hate..........................+8

You take her to a movie you like..........................-5

It's called Death Cop III.................................-10

Which features Cyborgs that eat humans....................-20

You lied and said it was a foreign film about orphans.....-30


You develop a noticeable pot belly............................-5

You develop a noticeable pot belly &exercise to get rid of it .........+10

You develop a noticeable pot belly and resort to loose jeans and baggy Hawaiian shirts..................................-30

You say, "It doesn't matter, you have one too."...............-100


She asks, "Does this dress make me look fat?"

You hesitate in responding......................-10

You reply, "Where?".............................-35

You reply, "No, I think it's your rear end"..........-100


When she wants to talk about a problem:

You listen, displaying a concerned expression....................+1

You listen, for over 30 minutes..................................+5

You relate to her problem and share a similar experience......................................................+50

You have fallen asleep.........................................-200


You talk.........................................-100

You don't talk...................................-100

You spend time with her..........................-100

You don't spend time with her....................-100

You are seen enjoying yourself...................-100

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Blue Star Mothers

I posted some time back about Blue Star banners if you want to read about the meaning and history of the banner. This video is about Blue Star Mothers. Happy Mother's Day to all Blue and Gold Star Mothers. You and your children are in my thoughts and prayers every day. I also want to send special Mother's Day wishes to De'on Miller, Gold Star Mom of LCpl Aaron C. Austin, USMC KIA Fallujah, Iraq April 26, 2004. We love you!

A Mother's Dictionary

Bottle feeding: An opportunity for Daddy to get up at 2 am too.

Defense: What you'd better have around de yard if you're going to let the children play outside.

Drooling: How teething babies wash their chins.

Dumbwaiter: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

Family planning: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster

Feedback: The inevitable result when the baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots.

Full name: What you call your child when you're mad at him.

Grandparents: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure you're not raising them right.

Hearsay: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.

: A woman whose memory of labor is still vivid.

Independent: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.

Look out: What it's too late for your child to do by the time you scream it.

Prenatal: When your life was still somewhat your own.

Preprared childbirth: A contradiction in terms.

Puddle: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it.

Show off: A child who is more talented than yours.

Sterilize: What you do to your first baby's pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby's pacifier by blowing on it.

Storeroom: The distance required between the supermarket aisles so that children in shopping carts can't quite reach anything.

Temper tantrums: What you should keep to a minimum so as to not upset the children.

Top bunk: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman jammies.

Two-minute warning: When the baby's face turns red and she begins to make those familiar grunting noises.

Verbal: Able to whine in words

Whodunit: None of the kids that live in your house.

Whoops: An exclamation that translates roughly into "get a sponge."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Buddy Holly

Big White Hat posted some Texas Swing music videos which inspired me to post a Buddy Holly video and some biographical info. Not much to do with being a Marine parent, but lots to do with living in Lubbock.
Charles Hardin (Buddy) Holly was born September 7, 1936 in Lubbock, Texas the fourth of four children born to Lawrence and Ella Holly. In Texas most everyone had a nickname, and the family always called him "Buddy." The Holly's had a rich musical tradition. Older brothers, Larry and Travis, taught themselves how to play the guitar. Their sister Pat sang duets with her mother in the evening at the living room piano. Every Sunday found the Hollys attending services at the Baptist Church, singing hymns of praise and joy to God.

Buddy Holly tourism and memorabilia information.

You Know You've Been in Iraq Too Long When...

Some of you may know that we have a MySpace page. When you post a "bulletin" on your MySpace, it goes out to ALL of your "friends." We have lots of Marines and Soldiers who are MySpace friends as well as lots of local friends and military moms. Sometimes the guys forget that they have moms among their friends who are going to be able to read the bulletins. You wouldn't believe some of the bulletins they send. Well, maybe you would! Here's one that was really funny (well, the parts I could understand...some of it made no sense to me being that I'm not a soldier myself). I did have to clean it up a bit.

You know you've been in Iraq too long when...

# When mortars land near your compound and you roll over in bed and think "still way off, I got another 5 minutes"

# When you start humming with the Arabic song playing on the radio on the shuttle bus

# Every woman that reports to your unit starts looking attractive

# Every guy that reports to your unit starts looking attractive

# You walk an extra 6 blocks to eat at the KBR (contractor run) dining facility to have the exact same food they are serving in your dining facility because you think it tastes better

# You actually volunteer for convoy security duty because you still haven't seen the country yet

# You start picturing your wife in traditional Arab dress

# The contractors have more fire power than the military combat units. (This is true)

# You take the time to add your lines to this list

# You drink the water from the tap because you want to drop 20 pounds in two weeks

# Driving around in SUVs with weapons pointed out the windows and forcing cars off the road seems very normal to you

# You can put your body armor and helmet on in the dark in under 5 seconds

# When the organization you work for has changed its name more than 3 times

# When you can actually talk to people in the United States on a cell phone, yet you can't get people on their cell phone a block away

# When you actually spend more time writing e-mail about the dog in the compound versus how to conduct the fight in Najaf

# Your idea of a fun Thursday night is to go to the Palace pool to watch the State Department folks get drunk and try to pick each other up

# When you actually get excited to get a package that contains 3 pair of socks, 12 bars of soap and a Victoria's Secret Catalog

# When you start to enjoy the rocking of the trailer every time the MEDEVAC choppers fly over

# You memorized every episode from the 4th Season of Sex in the City

# You enjoy the audience commentary while watching a movie bought at Haji mart

# You see celebratory fire going over the compound at night and think, "wow the colors are so pretty" and want to fire back

# Your thinking of buying real estate in the green zone

# You wake up and think Baghdad, I am still in friggin Baghdad

# You make the new guy show you his count down timer just to make you feel better about your time you have left in country

# You're in the Army and you start saying Ooorah

# You're in the Marines and you start saying Hooah

# You're in the Navy and you realize you are in the middle of the desert, the exact opposite of being in the middle of the ocean, where one might normally find the Navy.

# You're in the Air Force, and you're on the plane home because an Air Force tour is too short to have been a long Iraq tour. Ignore this list, zoomie, you won't get it.

# You only notice the stench of Haji funk when its not there

# You plan on removing all trees and grass in your yard when you get home so it will look more natural

# You forget there are other colors than brown that can be found in places other than power point slides

# The temp drops down to 102 degrees and you shiver while reaching for your Gortex jacket

# You have noticed a change of season, from long, hot and dry to short, cold and wet.

# When you call home and your kids ask "Who is this?"

# You call home and your wife says hello Bill (your name is Sam)

# When you go on R&R, you duct tape your child to the roof of your car, hand him a pellet rifle, and assign him a sector of fire for the ride to "The Olive Garden."

# When you can comfortably shave and brush your teeth using bottled water, but don't mind showering in the "non-potable" local water.

# While on R&R, you look out the window and find Nature, which leads you to wonder who stole your sandbags.

# When some of the contractors wear their DCUs (Desert pattern camouflage uniform) more properly than some of your soldiers.

# When 12 hours is a short work day

# You go Battle Captains!

# When, During the BUA, "DIV asked MNSTC-I for the FRAGO that MNC-I was supposed to publish, but couldn't because MNF-I hadn't weighed in, since they were too inundated with MOD and MOI war-gaming the JCCs
within the ISF to square us away!" is a valid comment and generates no questions.

# When you start using words like G'day mate, Cheers, and Bloody hell as part of your normal vocabulary

# When you have your opinions printed in the STARS and STRIPES more than 3 times

# When the palace catches fire and instead of helping to put it out you grab a bag of marshmallows and start roasting

# When you step into any office and there are 6 colonels, 12 lieutenant colonels, 15 majors, and 8 captains supervising the work of 1 sergeant

# When you end every phone conversation with "Out"

# When you're ordered to get an air mission together on short notice because it's a "Hot priority" only to have the Major call back once he is in the air to ask "Does anyone know where I am going?"

# When the weapon buyback program has become so successful that you have issued the same AK-47 to the Iraqi army 3 times

# When you can actually tell the difference between the sound of an exploding car and an exploding mortar

# When on R&R you go to Church and wonder why no one is wearing body armor or carrying an automatic weapon to the service

# You see an indirect fire attack take out a generator and get angry at the enemy for not hitting the one that powers your computer

# You see an indirect fire attack take out an air conditioner and your vigor to fight is renewed

# You yell at the FNG for shouting incoming when the rounds don't impact close enough to hit your tent with dirt

# You know that you need to run inside immediately after any win of an Iraqi sports team to keep from being hit by celebratory fire

# You decide for that for grins - lets take a run around Lost Lake at Camp Victory to see if we can get shot at by the sniper

# You never worry about oversleeping because if the morning call to prayers doesn't wake you, the daily 0430 mortar attack will (most mornings)

# The highlight of your shopping experience at the PX is to see that they got in a new shipment of Schick Tracer razor blades

# When you send out your laundry and your whites become grayer, your blacks become grayer and your DCU's become grayer - makes it easier to sort loads...

# You get offended by people wearing clean, pressed DCU's

# You decide that it is a better course of action to pull your blankets over your head than put on your body armor during a mortar attack - the woobee will save you and at least you are comfortable

# You make a contest out of seeing who can wear their uniform for more days before becoming entirely disgusted with themselves

# You wonder if the fish served at dinner really was carp caught out of the Tigris or Camp Victory's lake

# You find it completely acceptable to pick your nose while talking to a complete stranger or member of the opposite sex

# A rocket or a mortar really isn't a big deal until the crater it leaves is big enough to trip over in the dark on the way to the latrine

# You go to a social gathering and intermittent gun fire or explosions don't even cause a pause in the conversation