Sunday, September 30, 2007

Strangers step in to save vet’s ashes

The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Sep 30, 2007 15:27:21 EDT

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Strangers, including a veteran’s group, have stepped in to save the ashes of an Augusta Army veteran that former neighbors say were headed for a trash can.

With the widow of William Dillard in jail on drug charges, the couple’s former apartment was undergoing an eviction earlier this month when neighbor Patricia Haley noticed a “greasy” cardboard box of ashes and a folded American flag being carried out.

She took the ashes, eventually turning them over to the local American Legion chapter.

Dillard was an Army veteran who died Feb. 13.

“Even if he wasn’t a veteran, how can you just throw someone away?” said South Carolina National Guard Staff Sgt. Holli Stevenson, whose mother recovered the ashes. “We bring people home from the Middle East dead and in pieces in better condition.”

Augusta-Richmond County Marshal Steve Smith said his office gives plenty of warning before evictions, but noted that the veteran’s widow, Diane Lawrence, was in jail at the time the eviction was scheduled.

He said the ashes never were in jeopardy.

“At no point in time were the ashes ever put somewhere where something could happen to them,” Smith said.

The American Legion, members of the Marine Corps and Richmond County deputies were part of a motorcade that transported the ashes to an Augusta funeral home, where they will be stored until a family member claims them.

Dillard’s mother was located in Miami, said American Legion Chaplain Paul Knox. She plans to claim the ashes, but injured a knee while packing to come get them, he said.

“I feel that’s a weight lifted off of me now,” he said of finding her.

Knox said more information will be known about Dillard once he sees his military discharge papers. He said he wants Dillard to receive a funeral with full military honors.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Wake for an Indian Warrior

I am warning you, you WILL need your tissues for this one! It is beautiful. The photos are by Todd Heisler wih the Rocky Mountain News.


Release # 0928-07-1316Sept. 28, 2007

WASHINGTON--As my time as Chairman comes to an end, I am filled with pride in the accomplishments of the incredible men and women of our Armed Forces, and humility in having had the opportunity to serve with each of you. It has been a privilege to represent you for the past six years as the Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Please accept my sincere thanks for all you have done for our country. From full combat operations to critical relief missions, your efforts around the world have brought stability to troubled regions, hope to those in need, and honor to America’s citizens. During this challenging time in our Nation’s history, you have contributed immeasurably by defending the homeland and fighting terrorists who threaten the values we hold so dear. You stepped forward, when safer, easier options were readily available. Your actions have demonstrated a thorough understanding of risk, and the honor in being part of something bigger than yourself. Your courage and selfless service will ensure your children – and their children – will enjoy the same freedoms that all Americans have enjoyed for generations.

It takes great courage to fight a war, but it also takes great courage and patriotism to stand proudly by and allow a loved one to go into harm’s way. Our families face the enormous challenges of long deployments and frequent moves with great strength and resolve. When we are away, you hold our families together. You define us and sustain us with your quiet devotion, and untold strength. You represent all that is good and worthy of our sacrifices. No words can adequately express my gratitude for your unwavering support, but I offer my sincere and heartfelt thanks to those who love us, and who sacrifice so much to secure our peace.

As I look back over 40 years of service, I am grateful for the countless brave men and women in uniform who have enriched my life personally and professionally. Lynne joins me in thanking each of you for your support and inspiration!

With greatest respect and admiration,
PETER PACE General, United States Marine Corps
Chairmanof the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Friday, September 28, 2007


The Marine Corps has endorsed a quick and easy way to write to Marines called MotoMail. It is an electronically printed mail service. You will need go to the website and sign up for a free account (currently MotoMail is paid for by HQMC). Then you can write a letter and it will be printed and ready for delivery usually within 24 hours. Senders are only required to know the unit address, not the location. It is private and secure. The MotoMail printer, folder and sealer ensures complete privacy and that contents remain confidential. The letter is delivered through unit mail call and unlike an email it can be read and re-read. At this time MotoMail is only available for service members' units located at Marine camps deployed to Iraq.

MotoMail has recently added PhotoMail. PhotoMail is a feature within MotoMail that allows you to insert a color or black & white photo at the top of an Letter. Your account must be "Enabled" to activate this feature. Once your account is "Enabled"(by clicking on the "Enable Tab) you will be able to insert a photo. When you select a recipient and Click on Compose you will see the "Add Photo" option. Note: During the first phase all photos (color included ) will be printed in black & white only. The long term goal is to deploy color printers to selected locations to allow color printing of your PhotoMail.

Electronically printed letters don't substitute for handwritten cards, letters and care packs, but they sure are an easy way to communicate with your Marine.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Washington, D.C., Judge Issues Bench Warrant for Cindy Sheehan

Thursday, September 27, 2007

WASHINGTON — A bench warrant was issued Thursday for antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who did not appear for arraignment Thursday in a Washington, D.C., courtroom to face charges related to her Sept. 10 disorderly conduct arrest at the Capitol.
District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Michael McCarthy issued the order to Sheehan around noon, a court spokeswoman said. The warrant means she is to be taken into custody and brought before the court. She also faces one count of unlawful assembly.
Sheehan's arrest came as a tense hearing on the Iraq war underway. Gen. David Petraeus was giving his highly anticipated report to the House Armed Services Committee, and Sheehan was taken into custody just outside the hearing room.
Sheehan was among several protesters at the hearing and was arrested alongside her sister, Dee Dee Miller. Both were charged with disorderly conduct.

Shopping Links

I like to shop online and some of the things I have ordered for my sons and for my Soldier's Angel soldier are not available in local stores. The other moms have been asking for some shopping links, so here they are.

Marine Gear
The Marine Shop
Welcome to The Marine Shop! For more than 40 years, The Marine Shop has proudly offered to its valued customers:

· Marine Corps uniforms and accessories of unparalleled quality workmanship.
· A wide selection of unique gifts, plaques and memorabilia.
· Distinctive tailoring of uniforms and civilian attire.
· Expert advice and personalized service.

This site also has new and second hand cammies.

U.S. Cavalry
This site has field equipment, eyewear, tools, all sorts of military, law enforcement and outdoors items.

USMC Online Uniform Store
Notice: The Combat Utility Uniform in both Desert and Woodland are now available for order in limited quantities. Due to sale restrictions orders will only be accepted by phone. Only active and reserve Marines will be allowed to place orders for the new utilities and sales will be limited to one set of each, desert and woodland.

Sure fire Flashlights
The world's finest compact high-intensity flashlights for outdoors, self-defense, military, law enforcement, and general applications.

Covert Threads t-shirts
Fire Retardant-No Drip-No Melt moisture wicking Battle Zone tee shirt. Shirt helps provide protection from flash fires. Knit with X-Static Silver to kill odor causing bacteria.

Thorlo Socks
Thorlos are designed to help protect you from the damaging forces of impact, shear and blistering that are a threat to your feet in almost any setting in the military. In the field we have you covered with our Combat Boot Thorlos. For training, our Fitness Thorlos help protect and preserve your feet while you maintain top physical form. For cold weather operations, our Level 3 Climbing product protects and keeps your feet warm. For wear with dress or standard uniforms our Dress Thorlos and Uniform Thorlos provide you comfort whenever you’re on your feet. Our aim is to provide the most value to servicemen and women

Shave Mate Razors
ShaveMate is the convenient and disposable all-in-one shaving system with shaving cream in the handle. (I love the music on their site).

Covert Socks
Covert Threads developed a line of military boot socks, physical training socks, and dress socks along with other improved garments for the Marine, soldier or anyone looking for comfortable yet rugged socks that stand up to the rigors of harsh climates and conditions.

Brigade Quartermasters
All sorts of tactical gear. We ordered my oldest son a GPS from them for Christmas one year and they had no trouble shipping to an FPO. They also include some extra little goodies when they ship to an FPO or APO.

Shopping Links for Family Members and Gift Items
Jarhead Clothing
Welcome to Jarhead Clothing, a unique clothing line inspired by the lifestyle and day-to-day training of the United States Marine Corps. These hard core designs are not for the weak. If you think you're tough enough to wear Jarhead Clothing, carry on and browse the rest of the site. If not, don't bother!
Jarhead Clothing is veteran owned and operated.

Deployment Bracelets
Has the military deployed a loved one? With their name on this beautiful patriotic Deployment Bracelet®, you can keep them in your thoughts while showing your support!

Marine Corps Museum Store
We offer you the most complete selection of United States Marine Corps books, artwork, clothing, jewelry, stationery, music, videos, collectibles, games, golf accessories and much more. Please browse through our online shop to find the perfect gift.

USMC Devil Dogs
Marine Family shirts

Custom USMC wood engraving
Done by a Marine veteran.

Gung Ho Steak Sauce
Marines, the same Gung Ho Sauce that you had in Gettysburg during your Battlefield PME and Marine Corps Steaks & Beers (MCS&B) in Corporal Seamus' back yard is now available. Thousands of Marines cannot be wrong! Gung Ho is the best steak sauce on the planet. "Slather Sparingly!".

Military Fabric

eMarine PX

Your One Stop Shop for US Marine Corps Tee Shirts, USMC Clothing, Novelties, Accessories, Collectibles, Commemorative Military Patches, Flags, Toys, Jewelry, Home Decor, Books, Videos, 26th Marines Merchandise and so much more!

Sgt Grit
I think most of us should buy stock in Sgt Grit as much money as we spend there...

USMC Stuff
They have some great Marine mom t-shirts.

Shields of Strength
From the creator of Shields of Strength: As a result of what Jesus did for me, I came to know His grace and strength in a whole new way. A few months after the Nationals, I created a dog tag with Scripture on it to honor Christ in a visible way and to remind me of the truth of His Word. When people ask about the tag I always tell them about Jesus and how they can come to know Him, too. I put the prayer of salvation on the back and often take it off my neck and give it freely to anyone who asks.

All of my friends now carry the tags, too. My little brother named the "Shields of Strength" because the Bible says Jesus and His Word are our shield and our strength.

"As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." Psalm 18:30

Leatherneck's Marine Corps Mall
Flags, clothing, collectibles, watches, and more.

Deployment Bracelets
Let the world know that your loved one is serving abroad in the United States Armed Forces. These soldier's deployment bracelets are made of highly durable .05 gauge stainless steel and are scratch-resistant. The engraving on the bracelet includes the soldier's name, the unit served in, and the date of their deployment. These bracelets are guaranteed not to fade. Wear it with pride while your loved one defends our liberties and freedom!
FREE shipping for military families!

Camosock Christmas Stockings
The CAMOSOCK® was designed to become a true keepsake for the Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airmen that receives one. Displaying the stocking will become a wonderful addition to any family's Christmas Holiday traditions.

All sourcing, labor and manufacturing are 100% Made in the USA. The stockings design is simple yet impressive. The workmanship and attention to detail are outstanding.

USMC Semper Fi Cologne
The U.S. Marines – Semper Fi cologne is our symbol of the ultimate sacrifice. The long-lasting spirited fragrance leaves an everlasting impression of bravery, strength and loyalty all citizens should share. Our company American Prestige and Luxury Brands created the U.S. Marines – Semper Fi cologne with a common goal in mind, body and spirit: To honor and support the service of the U.S. Marines and their families.

With every U.S. Marines-Semper Fi cologne purchased from this website a generous donation of $20.00 is made to the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund . Your donation will benefit injured U.S. Marines and their families in need.

Service Flags
We carry custom and stock products including flags, coffee mugs, t-shirts, yellow magnets, lapel pins, vinyl banners, envelope stickers and more!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Advertising Slogan of 2007

A few posts ago we ask for everyones help in voting for 2007 slogan of the year.

America, you’ve voted, and the results are in!

This year’s oh-so proud winners are:

Orville Redenbacher
Chick-Fil-A Cows

The Few. The Proud. The Marines—US Marine Corps

DING! You are now free to move about the country!—Southwest Airlines

Did we ever have any doubt!!!


Hope Rides Eternal USA David Jeffers

Right now, the burden is all on the American soldiers. Right now, hope rides alone. But it can change, it must change. Because there is only failure and darkness ahead for us as a country, as a people, if it doesn't.”
– Sgt. Eddie Jeffers, USA, 1984-2007

Those now famous words scream out of these pages as a constant reminder of what I’ve lost. Those words were first sent to me as a quick note from my son serving so far away, becoming a man way too quick. I remember reading the email for the first time thinking to myself, “Oh my, Eddie has written something very big.” Of course in Eddie’s normal style, it came across as almost an afterthought.

Let me allow you to eavesdrop on his actual words from the original email: Dad, I've recently read all the emails you've sent, and I've decided to respond in the form of an actual article, it's been a long time coming. So here it is, do with it as you like.

Nothing more, just Eddie’s normal way of writing a “rant” as he liked to call them, in the fashion of Dennis Miller who Eddie enjoyed so much. He told me he wrote the article in about 10-15 minutes because he didn’t have much time and had to go. Eddie had no idea of what he had written nor the profound effect it would have on all of us. I knew almost immediately that this needed major circulation; that this was on a caliber of the poignant letters to home in the past times of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Here is what I wrote him in response:


Son, I'm sorry I didn't answer this earlier. It was in my junk mail inbox for some reason. I've fixed that.

As for your article, words fail me. You have written what is possibly one of the greatest wartime articles ever. I've read many, from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, both World Wars, the Korean and Viet Nam wars, all very moving, all very poignant.

Your story, however, made me look within myself, and I'm your father! I forgot I was reading something from you. To say that I am proud of you and that you are my hero is not worthy of how I feel.

Son, we are praying for you without ceasing and I long for the day you return home safely. Keep doing the great job you are, and stay close to the Lord, He will never leave you nor forsake you.

I love you and miss you greatly and am so very proud of you. May God continue to keep you safe.

Love in Christ,


I also knew that there were many unscrupulous media outlets and everyone that came to mind that could do a mass circulation were completely untrustworthy. I wrote Rod Martin of for his ideas and began to pray about it. I had recently published some articles with the New Media Journal and through my good friend Greg Allen of The Right Balance, I had come to know Frank Salvato as a man of great passion, integrity, and patriotism. It became clear to me that Frank should be the one to publish this if he deemed it worthy.

We now know that Frank deemed it worthy, but it was much more than that to him, again please eavesdrop on our conversation:

God bless you Frank; we are truly humbled. (My thank you note)

It's just me doing my part. I was speaking with my wife last night, and as I choked back tears I told her this was possibly the most important thing I had ever published. (Frank)

That is typical Frank Salvato humility; genuine and so endearing. My family has come to love this man for his great kindness and compassion.

As “Hope Rides Alone” spread across this country and out beyond our boundaries beyond our shores, The Ride was no longer alone; it was a stampede of many a sleeping patriot, the true but hidden citizen who had been long lulled to sleep as though some magic spell had been cast over our country. The response was beyond all imagination. I told my wife Karen that I was na├»ve enough to believe Eddie’s article could spark a revolution.

A revolution where people finally say “ENOUGH!” and “NEVER AGAIN!” will we stand by and watch our brave men and women castigated by the unpatriotic, unworthy, uncaring, unloving, un-Americans who love power and hate all that is good about America. We said, and are saying, and will forever say to these pitiful politicians, psychopaths, pacifists, pinkos, and pathetic performers of Hollywood and the Left, “You will not exact defeat on our country as you did with Vietnam!” The outrage we felt when Senator Harry Reid said the war is lost was wonderfully portrayed in Frank’s castigation of this leading Dhimmicrat in “The Blood on Your Hands.”

Since Eddie’s death Wednesday our family has been lavished in amazing grace and love and we are literally being sustained by it. I’ve been saying a couple of days now that I am half-a-breath from crumbling, being held up by my Heavenly Father and comforted by my savior Jesus Christ. When people tell me that you are holding up incredibly well, I assure them that it is all God and none of me. God is already seeing the glory He so richly deserves through Eddie’s passing and Eddie would be so happy to know that. Eddie did not want us dishonoring his life and service like so many have done. He wanted what he stood for to carry on even if he was killed in action.

Many of you are angry that Eddie has died all the while the enemy within continues to relentlessly disgrace our military and our Commander-in-Chief. More than one person has asked me how we answer this. How do we counter this obvious attack on the survival of our country?

Simple, we use the Ronald Reagan strategy; the strategy he used against the Soviet Union and communism. Reagan said: “Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.”

Did you catch that? It’s so simple it’s easy to miss…we of the “Hope Rides Alone” family and all our like-minded Americans win. “The Cindy Sheehans, and the Al Frankens, and the rest of the ignorant sheep of America (who) spout off their mouths about a subject they know nothing about”; they lose.

Eddie wrote in his article “Freedom Feels Good”: I have lost very close friends over here. I don't want their lives to have been given in vain. Simply put, we are fighters. We are all in the same place for various reasons, for me, it's personal. I am in a modern day crusade to exterminate evil.

Many of you have said since Eddie’s death that now it’s personal, now when these leftist hate America first loonies shoot off their mouths, they are attacking Eddie. I agree.

For me it is personal; it always has been. I will not let my son die in vain. People have been so sweet and say Eddie will never have died in vain, but he can. He can if we do not fight back; if we do not win. Eddie was on “modern day crusade to exterminate evil” and I will change one word in our fight against the enemy within. We will not exterminate any political opponent, but we can and we must eliminate them from having any control over our country. Their history of failure and destruction fills libraries.

My son is living eternally with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a fact and a knowledge that brings great comfort and solace to my family and friends. Those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior will one day join Eddie. It was his passion to share Christ with all he came to know.

I miss my boy and I long to hold him again and my grief is comforted knowing that he died a hero doing what he believed to be his life mission from God. One co-worker wrote me and said a parent should never have to bury a child and how true that statement is. Nevertheless only God knows how much time we have left.

I know with every moment I have left it is my hope to bring honor and glory to God and to continue the fight my son passed on to us. Most of you who wrote Eddie said that hope does not ride alone. You are right. Hope rides eternal. So let’s ride!

Dave Jeffers is a Sunday school teacher, Bible student, lay preacher and the author of "Understanding Evangelicals". Dave has taught and preached the word of God at churches in Germany and Belgium, as well as his home church in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Dave is a retired Army Master Sergeant and his 22 years of active duty not only allowed him to travel the world, but to also adopt a worldview based on biblical principles and life experiences

Cross posted at Soldier's Angels Texas

Marines Denied Permission To Film Commercial

By Dan Noyes
SAN FRANCISCO, Sep. 24, 2007 (KGO) - New York said "yes," but we said "no." Why were the U.S. Marines denied permission to film a recruiting commercial on the streets of San Francisco?
San Francisco is, once again, the center of a controversy over how city leaders treat the U.S. military. This time, it involves an elite group of Marines who wanted to film a recruitment commercial in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.
The tension has been building in the two weeks since the city turned away members of the Silent Drill Platoon, and it boiled over Monday afternoon at a meeting of the San Francisco Film Commission.
The U.S. Marine Silent Drill Platoon performed Monday morning in New York's Times Square. They filmed part of a recruitment commercial through the start of the morning rush hour -- something they could not do in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.
"It's insulting, it's demeaning. This woman is going to insult these young heroes by just arbitrarily saying, 'no, you're not going to film any Marines on California Street," said Captain Greg Corrales of the SFPD Traffic Bureau.
Captain Greg Corrales commands the police traffic bureau that works with crews shooting commercials, TV shows and movies in the city. He's also a Marine veteran and his son is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq.
He says Film Commission Executive Director Stefanie Coyote would only allow the Marine's production crew to film on California Street if there were no Marines in the picture. They wound up filming the empty street and will have to superimpose the Marines later.
"Ms. Coyote's politics blinded her to her duty as the director of the Film Commission and as a responsible citizen," said Captain Corrales.
We asked Stefanie Coyote why they're not allowing the Marines to shoot on California Street. She wouldn't answer our questions.
At today's Film Commission meeting, she said she wouldn't let the Marines film because of rush hour.
"Traffic control was the issue," explained Stefanie Coyote.
However, the Marines would have just shut down one lane of California Street for a few minutes at a time, and Captain Corrales points out the Film Commission often approves shoots for rush hour.
"If they want to get the job done, they find a way to get it done," said Captain Corrales.
The city's treatment of the Marines is making many people angry, from local conservatives like Christine Hughes with the San Francisco Republican Party who told us, "it's an embarrassment. I'm a fourth generation San Franciscan and I don't even recognize my city right now."
To current and former Marines like Vince Rios, a Vietnam veteran.
"I'd like to say, 'does your mother know you're doing this? And if so, is she proud of you for that?'" said Vince Rios.
"The city of San Francisco made a statement saying, 'we don't like the war' by shutting down the troops. I don't think that was the right thing to do," explained Eric Snyder, a U.S. Marine.
"I wish to hell she would leave her politics at home and take care of the city business and the bridge business on an even keel basis," said Mike Paige, a Korea veteran.
The Marines also applied for permits to shoot on the Golden Gate Bridge that same morning, but were turned down because of similar traffic concerns.
The end result -- the crew didn't film the Marines in San Francisco at all. They had to go to the National Park Service for permission to shoot in Marin overlooking the bridge and at Kirby Cove.
"Golden Gate National Recreation Area is steeped in military tradition and we're honored to be a part of their continued military traditions so we're glad that we could accommodate the shoot," said Amy Brees with the National Park Service.
Captain Corrales and several other Marine veterans came to the Film Commission Monday afternoon. They see this as just the latest insult along with the city blocking the USS Iowa from docking here, banning the junior ROTC from high schools, and trying to ban the yearly Blue Angels air show.
"This -- a slap in the face of every veteran and every parent of men and women who are doing their duty -- is shameful," said Captain Corrales.
The Marines we spoke with also make the point that the city allows street demonstrations, anti-war protests and other events which snarl traffic, such as Critical Mass. They still don't understand why the Marines got turned away.

from blondiebee:

Now that you have read the following article I would like you to watch the final product...this just proves...against all odds...The Marines can still get the job done! It's a great video!

I recieved the news article through an online support group that I am a memeber of. Some were wondering, "What's going to happen when San Francisco needs the Military?"...I'll tell you what....they will step up to the call and do what they have been trained to do...Serve and Protect...Now that's Class!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Moms, you will love this!

Meeting Tonight

Please join us for our meeting tonight. Family Counseling Services has kindly offered to let us use their meeting room, so we will be meeting at 22 Briercroft Office Park Suite #10 at 8:00p.m. Here are some directions:

Go to 50th and Ave Q and turn South onto Avenue Q like you are headed towards the strip. After you travel a few blocks, turn right onto Briercroft Office Park Road. It is the small street after the Avenue P light. Look for building #22 and we are in Suite #10.

We will be discussing the kick off to our annual Christmas Care pack drive, so we hope to see you all there.

Gold Star Mother's Day, 2007

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

The gift of liberty is secured by heroes who have answered the call to serve when America needed them most. On Gold Star Mother's Day, we honor the mothers of the service men and women who have given their lives in the defense of our great Nation.

America's Gold Star Mothers are remarkable patriots who serve their communities by demonstrating good citizenship, providing support and services to our troops and veterans, and helping comfort the families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice. Their sense of duty and deep devotion to our country inspire our Nation, and we thank them for their compassion, determination, and strength. Though they carry a great burden of grief, these courageous mothers help ensure that the legacy of our fallen heroes will be forever remembered. On this day, we offer our deep gratitude and respect to our Nation's Gold Star Mothers; we honor the sons and daughters who died while wearing the uniform of the United States; and we pray for God's blessings on them, their mothers, and their families.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in its observance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 30, 2007, as Gold Star Mother's Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this solemn day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation's sympathy and respect for our Gold Star Mothers.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.


Gold Star Mother's Day

We'll be thinking of and praying for our friend De'on and all the other Gold Star Moms on September 30th, as always.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Our Marines

Recently found this in my inbox. I wish they were going to be somewhere nearby!
This is going to be the BEST commercial!


I am contacting you and your blog readers on behalf of, a new web site from the United States Marine Corps. In the past you’ve used your site to discuss Marine Corps-related issues. So I’d like to let you know about content we’re posting on specifically for sites like yours.

The site launches in conjunction with an epic new television commercial now in production for the Marine Corps. Marines will travel across the country, carrying their message of fidelity, service and pride to all Americans. Along the way, we will be stopping in several cities to produce the commercial and interact with Americans.

While the site started just a couple days ago, it is only the beginning of what it will be. In the coming weeks we’ll share the stories of Marines, past and present, along with compelling messages from parents, relatives, friends and just average Americans who recognize the importance of the Marine Corps. In a few weeks we’ll open the doors for people to submit their own stories of Why I Serve and Why It Matters. Most importantly, all of this content is there for you to use. At present, that means RSS feeds and dozens of images. Soon we will provide embeddable video and user generated content as well.

One last note, in addition to visiting the site and sharing content, we would like to have you visit us if you are close to any of the cities where we will be filming. You will find a list of the locations on the site. If you need more details, such as specific location and time, please email me. If you decide to come out and join us, please be sure to find me. I’d like to meet with you and learn more about what we can do to help you share the Marine Corps story on your site.

Thank you for your time.

Todd Copilevitz
Director of Digital Strategy
RMG Connect (interactive agency for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command)

The next stops:
New York, Sept. 24
3-7 a.m, Times Square
W 46th St & Broadway Ave.

Rhode Island, Sept. 25
6-11 a.m., Point Judith
Ocean Road @ Follett Road, Narragansett, RI

Sligo, KY, Oct. 6
Location to be determined

Scottsburg, IN, Oct. 7
Support The Troops Rally
2 p.m., Meyer Gymnasium
149 South Third Street

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Live RPG removed from soldier

This is a truly amazing story. Be sure and watch the video too. You will definitely need tissues. I am awed by how heroic these soldiers are. We are a blessed nation to have them in our service.
A fellow soldier was impaled by a live RPG. For medics and a helicopter crew, there was only one choice
By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Sep 22, 2007 7:42:09 EDT

Spc. Channing Moss should be dead by all accounts. And those who saved his life did so knowing they might have died with him.

Watch the video
March 16, 2006. Southeastern Afghanistan. A fierce ambush and bloody firefight. It was over in a flash and Moss was left on the verge of death.

He was impaled through the abdomen with a rocket-propelled grenade, and an aluminum rod with one tail fin protruded from the left side of his torso.

His fellow soldiers worried: Could he blow up and take them with him? For all anyone knew, the answer was yes.

Still, over the course of the next couple of hours, his buddies, a helicopter crew and a medical team would risk their own lives to save his.

“Moss is an African-American and he’s gone to white. He’s in total shock from the loss of blood. But at the time, I really didn’t think about it. I knew [the RPG] was there but I thought, if we didn’t do it, if we didn’t get him out of there, he was going to die,” said flight medic Sgt. John Collier, 29, then a specialist.

“It was an extremely unusual set of events. He should have died three times that day,” said Maj. John Oh, 759th Forward Surgical Team general surgeon.

The 36-year-old’s surgical skill and command of his own nerves would be put to the ultimate test as, wearing helmet and body armor, he would operate to extract the ordnance from Moss’s booby-trapped body. One wrong move risked the lives of the patient, his own and those of the other members of the medical team.

He said the payoff was worth the gamble.

“For a soldier to be struck by an RPG and be flown and have surgery and survive it’s unheard of,” said Oh. “It was a pretty remarkable experience.”

Infantryman to ‘Rocket Man’
Three months after the attack, Moss attended the birth of his second daughter, Ariana.

He expects to be discharged from the Army on medical disability by October. In the meantime, the soft-spoken Georgia native attends formation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., on weekday mornings and meets with his case worker to schedule whatever medical appointments remain, including at least one more abdominal surgery.

He and his wife, Lorena, live near the hospital with their daughters, baby Ariana and her 3-year-old sister, Yulianna.

Moss is missing about two-thirds of his intestines, part of his pelvic bone and needs more repair to his left hip. A member of the staff at Walter Reed calls him “Rocket Man.”

But the infantryman, who joined the Army to help give his family a better life, said he knows he’s alive because of his fellow soldiers.

“I don’t think there has been a day in the last year and a half that I haven’t thought about them, that I haven’t prayed for them. They saved my life,” said Moss, 24, whose slender 135-pound frame belies the hearty young man who went to war 55 pounds heavier.

“I knew it was love of country and brothers in arms. I hope God watches over them if they get deployed.”

Ambush from the ridgeline
The day Moss was struck down, his unit, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, had been in country barely a month.

The Alpha Company platoon set out from Forward Operating Base Tillman around 8 a.m. for a meeting with tribal leaders in the village of Srah Kandah in Paktika province near the Pakistan border.

It was the platoon’s first patrol in country.

Moss, then a private first class, was manning a Mark 19 machine gun in the turret of his up-armored Humvee, the last in a patrol of five U.S. vehicles and one pickup carrying about nine Afghans.

One Afghan would die in the ambush that wounded Moss, his squad leader and another Afghan soldier who lost a hand.

The ambush came after a quiet hour of patrol in remote terrain.

“All of a sudden, I hear this explosion. Then I hear this ‘ping, ping, ping’ hitting the humvee,” Moss recalled.

Attackers unleashed “a large volume of RPG fire and small-arms fire,” said the platoon leader, Capt. Billy Mariani, who was a first lieutenant then.

“the attack came from a ridgeline to our right,” Mariani, 27, said. The shooters, he estimated, were only about 700 meters from the Pakistan border.

Mariani’s machine gunner laid suppressing fire on the ridgeline while his mortar section shelled the fighters’ positions. A hail of bullets and RPGs ripped toward them from behind hills and crags to the right. All the vehicles took rounds; the Afghan pickup was destroyed.

Moss was turning his machine gun turret to return fire when the first of three RPG rounds to strike his vehicle exploded on the truck commander’s door.

The second and third rounds struck the front of the vehicle; one smashed through the windshield, slicing the truck commander across the face before burrowing into Moss as he sat in the gunner’s sling.

“I turned to the driver and yelled at him to get out of the kill zone,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Wynn, 31, the truck commander. “That’s when we got hit again.”

The RPG might have exploded and killed them all, he said, had it not lodged in Moss’s body.

‘Hold on, hold on’The projectile bored into Moss’s left hip at a downward angle, tearing through his lower abdomen and pulling with it some of the fabric from his uniform and his black web belt. The tip of the device stopped just short of breaking through the skin on Moss’s upper right thigh.

Wynn, with the tip of his nose sheared off and his torn upper lip hanging loosely, radioed his lieutenant and told him through a bloody gurgle of words that Moss had a tail fin sticking out of his body.

Platoon medic Sgt. Jared Angell, Moss’s best friend, pulled his buddy behind the passenger seat and used every piece of gauze and bandage he had.

“Luckily, his belt was there because it kept the RPG from going all the way through,” said Angell, 24, who was a specialist at the time.

While Spc. Andrew Vernon took Moss’s place on the gunner’s sling and driver Spc. Matthew Savoie maneuvered the vehicle into a safe position, Angell wrapped the gauze around the RPG’s tail to stabilize the protruding device and control Moss’ bleeding.

With gunfire still within earshot and barely five months out of basic training, Moss lay bleeding on the dusty ground far from home, waiting for the crew of the 159th Medical Company that would save his life for the second time that day.

“I didn’t really know what was in me. I could just hear my sergeant saying, ‘Hold on, hold on,’” Moss recalled. “I didn’t think that bird was ever going to come.”

What Angell remembers from that wait on the landing zone was Moss’s pleas for help.

“The screaming, his screams,” Angell said, his voice trailing off.

“I tried to keep him calm and needed to stabilize him so [the RPG round] wouldn’t move any further. He was very combative — you can imagine how uncomfortable he was. I told him, ‘If you fight with me, I’ll fight with you,’” Angell said. “I knew that with the things I did, I was going to buy him enough time to get to surgery.”

Help from above
As the medical team lifted off in its Black Hawk helicopter from Forward Operating Base Salerno for the 10-minute flight to the battle scene, all they knew was that there were urgent casualties and that the area was hot.

“I told my crew to lock and load because we didn’t know what was going on,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jorge Correa, 33, then a chief warrant officer 2.

As the bird neared the evacuation site, the crew saw heavy smoke and a burning truck, and soldiers were “running back and forth.”

One pair of soldiers was getting ready to fire a mortar and stopped when they saw the helicopter, Correa said.

Correa and his co-pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jeremy Smith, 30, a warrant officer 1 at the time, landed the Black Hawk on a roadway a few meters away from a chugging plume of purple smoke that marked the landing zone. On touchdown, Collier jumped out and sped toward the wounded.

“When Collier came back to the aircraft, he told me immediately” about the RPG, said Correa, who delivered the news of Moss’s condition to his crew and asked if they were comfortable with the mission.

“They said, ‘yeah, we gotta get this guy to the hospital.’ At the moment, everyone was focused on the mission,” Correa said. “I know we risked our lives to save Pfc. Moss, but there was no hesitation.”

Wounded and dangerous
Moss was on a litter on the helicopter’s floor; other wounded soldiers were positioned on the floor and in seats. Correa and Smith pushed the helicopter’s speed to its limits.

Correa had previously flown medical evacuation missions in Iraq with the 30th Medical Brigade. For Smith, a former Bradley vehicle mechanic who went warrant, it was his first combat zone mission as a helicopter pilot.

“I didn’t really think about it until a couple of days later,” he said. “It was like, ‘wow, we had live ordnance on the helicopter.’”

Staff Sgt. Christian Roberts, the crew chief and veteran of medical evacuation flights in Iraq, said concerns for personal safety took a back seat to saving Moss.

“At the time, we weren’t thinking, ‘This helicopter could blow up,’” said Roberts, 33. “We were thinking, ‘This young soldier’s going to die and we need to get him some help.’”

“I never saw anybody with live ordnance in them,” he said. “I’ve seen decapitations, amputations, gunshot wounds to the head. I never thought I’d be flying along with a patient who had something in him that could blow up in your face.”

‘Everybody get out!’
Moss was nearly dead as the Black Hawk landed at the battalion aid station at Orgun-E, about 20 miles from the site of the ambush.

Collier signaled wildly over the roar of the helicopter’s engines to alert the aid-station staff that this was no ordinary patient.

Oh recalled that it wasn’t apparent just how delicate the situation was until they began cutting away Moss’s combat uniform and unraveling all the gauze bandages.

When he saw the tail fin of the RPG round, he yelled, “everybody get out!”

“I had never even seen an RPG before, but I figured anything with a rod and fins on it had to be a rocket of some kind.”

Oh asked for volunteers to stay in the operating room and help him save Moss’s life. Several soldiers raised their hands.

Oh and his volunteers strapped on body armor and helmets. They called in a two-man team from the 759th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).

Protocol, as far as Oh knew, dictated that someone in Moss’s condition be placed in a sandbagged bunker and listed as “expectant,” which means he would be expected to die because nothing could be done for him.

But Oh believed something could be done for the wounded soldier before him.

He “was still talking to me,” Oh recalled. He choked back tears as he explained: “When he comes in like that, there’s no way you can give up at that point.”

After the EOD team arrived, Oh warned the volunteers one last time that the surgery could cost everyone their lives.

The operating room crew prepped Moss for surgery.

Nerves-of-steel surgery
Still conscious, Moss assumed the worst.

“I didn’t know they had put anesthesia in my IV. I was blacking out and I thought I was dying. I thought they were just going to leave me,” Moss said.

X-rays revealed that while the detonator was still attached to the device, the warhead and fuse, the parts that would have created the largest explosion, were not there.

Still, EOD technician Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Brown and his partner, Spc. Emmanual Christian, warned the medical team that the detonator was sensitive to electric current and could explode, causing its own brand of damage.

“Once I found out we didn’t have the warhead, I wasn’t worried about blowing up the aid station or about people getting fragged. But it would have taken the surgeons’ fingers off and ruined their careers,” said Brown.

As an EOD technician, he had worked in places like Bosnia salvaging cadavers in mass graves, some with live ordnance still in their bodies. But Moss presented “a very rare situation,” he said.

“I was like, ‘Holy s---’ — these are the kinds of stories you hear about from old wars,” he said. “Most human beings we deal with are dead already.”

The team decided the device would have to be removed by pulling it through in the direction it had traveled. Moss would be opened up so the extent of damage to his abdomen — and the path of the projectile — could be assessed.

The damage was extensive. Moss’s intestines had been shredded, his pelvic bone crushed and he had lost a lot of blood. However, no major organs had been disturbed.

The medical team members contemplated the options and decided that first they would have to eliminate the tail fin.

Brown began sawing off the tail fin, which protruded just above Moss’s left hip. Brown said he needed to remain calm and steady, but there were moments when the situation was frightening, when everyone in the room was “wide-eyed, staring at each other.”

Using his scalpel for the most delicate incision of his life, Oh took the next step and cut the skin on Moss’s right thigh where the tip of the device came to rest. Then, as if delivering a ticking baby time bomb, Brown gently and steadily eased the blood-covered metal tube from Moss’s body.

“OK, there’s the belt buckle. It’s coming. Keep feeding it — you feed it and I’ll hold it,” Brown told the surgeons who coaxed the cylinder from Moss’s open abdominal cavity as Brown, crouched down to the level of the gurney, slowly pulled it out toward his own chest.

Moss’s belt clung to the tube as the rocket fully and finally came free.

Brown cradled the ordnance and rushed outside and then into a sandbag bunker.

Inside, breathing sighs of relief, the medical team patched up what remained of Moss’s lower abdomen so he could be airlifted.

Moss had been saved by his fellow soldiers for the third time that day.

After disposing of the RPG round, the intensity of what he had just done left Brown weak.

“I sat down. I lost control of my legs for a minute and I just lost it. Just talking about it right now ...,” Brown said during an interview after returning to the U.S.

Oh, who is currently in Baghdad working with the 28th Combat Support Hospital, said the event changed his life. He credits the bravery, training and skill of his team members for getting them all through the ordeal. But he knows how quickly things could have gone south that day.

“In the end,” Oh said, “it’s better to be lucky than good.”


Son's Iraq duty spurs mom's return to singing

DELTONA -- Critical care nurse Micheleann Salvo-Kravchak missed her son's recent phone call from Iraq -- because she isn't allowed to use her cell phone while on the job at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Her Army artillery soldier son, Spc. Kevin F. Kravchak, has been over there for 15 months.

She says the emotional drain has been rough -- much rougher than giving up a singing career 25 years ago to raise Kevin and his twin brother, Justin.

"I grew up in Seaside Heights, N.J., and I sang professionally all over the Jersey shore in nightclubs since I was 18 -- the drinking age in New Jersey -- until I was pregnant with my sons," Salvo-Kravchak says. "My upbringing led me to believe it would be better not doing that while they were growing up. I don't regret it."

Now, with one son in Iraq, at 52, she says she found some comfort in sharing her emotions online with other military moms. But a real catharsis for the Deltona woman has come from a resurgence in her singing career -- because of a song she recorded for her son that she put on her page and on the video Web site

"We have a network of moms from all over the country. We support one another, but the sad thing is, it seems every week one more mom will get online and say, 'My son isn't coming home,' and all of us sob like that child is ours," Salvo-Kravchak said. "Then I saw a picture of one mother with her soldier son, and she had recorded this song."

The song, "So Brave," was previously co-written and recorded by another soldier's mom, Angela Lashley, a Nashville songwriter and recording artist.

Lashley, 49, says she had toured with a band since age 16 and had given up her career at 22 after having her first child, but was trying to get back to songwriting and singing when she got the inspiration for her song.

"My son, Jonathan, who was in college called us one day to say that he was feeling compelled to serve in the military," Lashley says. "After he hung up the phone, there was an eerie silence, but then I said, 'When did he become so brave?' "

She sat at the piano and started the lyrics for the song that has evolved into a sort of anthem for military moms.

"Michele (Salvo-Kravchak) e-mailed me. She had a son and saw the songs posted on my Web sites," says Lashley, whose son now is an Army specialist serving in Iraq.

Salvo-Kravchak asked Lashley for permission to record "So Brave" for her own son.

"The song gave me chills," Salvo-Kravchak says. "She (Lashley) was very gracious about it. Then I started thinking it would be nice if we had a video to go along with this. Justin (Kevin's twin) just graduated from High Tech Institute (in Orlando) and pieced the video together."

Her son Kevin's reaction was "Wow," she says, but then came other reactions she didn't expect when she put it on YouTube.

"I had developed a military online support system and made so many contacts, that every week another mother would get online and ask, 'When are you going to release this?' " she says.

Then came a call from a national record producer. She began having discussions about a recording label and an album. She is not yet at liberty to share details, but she has been working on a CD at the recording studio at Deltona Arts & Historical Center, with the help of 25-year veteran recording producer Frank Starchak.

"She's a natural, and maybe she didn't expect this at this time in her life," Starchak says. "But the song seems to have a purpose. Michele doesn't make this about herself but about getting the (CD) done and helping people heal."

Salvo-Kravchak expects to complete an eight-song CD this month.

"I don't know where this all came from, but the important thing is the meaning behind the song for all the moms and dads whose sons and daughters are over there," she says.

Link to Micheleann Salvo-Kravchak at and at Find Angela Lashley's version of "So Brave" at


Michele is one of our Myspace friends.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Funny Friday

A soldier, a sailor, an airman, and a Marine get into an argument about which armed service is the best. The argument gets so heated that they fail to see an on-coming truck. They are hit and killed instantly. When they arrive in heaven, they see Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. So they decide he can settle their argument. They walk up and ask him, "Saint Peter, what Military Service is the best?" He thinks for a moment, then says, "Well, I'm afraid I can't tell you. But I'll tell you what, I'll talk to God next time I see Him, and I'll find out for you. In the mean time, welcome to heaven." So they enter. Later, they see Saint Peter walking around, and they ask him about their question. But before Saint Peter can say anything, trumpets blare, a bright light shines, and a white dove flies out of the light with an envelope in it's beak. Saint Peter says, "Ah, here's the answer from the Boss." He takes the letter, and the dove flies off. He opens it, trumpets play, gold dust flies up, and Saint Peter reads aloud:




Dear Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines;
All branches of the United States Armed forces are truly honorable.
One should take pride in serving with the Military. You are all
well-trained men, all capable of pulling off your job exceedingly well.
Therefore, there is no superior service.

USMC (Ret.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

A Pentagon ceremony for National POW/MIA Recognition Day will be held on Friday, Sept. 21, 2007. This ceremony will feature troops from each of the military services. The president will issue a proclamation commemorating the observances and reminding the nation of those Americans who have sacrificed so much for their country.

Observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans' facilities. This observance is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families' POW/MIA flag. The others are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. The flag is to be flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs, the director of the selective service system and the White House.
Let us ALL make sure that those cannot and will not be forgotten.

Operation: Love ReUnited

Operation: Love ReUnited is a group of professional photographers who help deploying military families, capture one of the most important times of their lives on film, saying goodbye, and welcome home. We support a blog and a forum free for public viewing and participation along with our portfolio and information site.

Introduction To The Program:

If you have ever been through a military deployment, there are no words to explain how hard it is to send the father or mother of your children off to some foreign, dangerous land, leaving you all behind…. Alone. It’s indescribable to watch their faces light up as their mother comes up the stairs of the airport after months, possibly a year or more, of not hugging each other. Emotions fly through the main lobby, it’s so very good to have them home. Your base’s Family Support Squadron will help you with your deployment. But the last thing on your mind when your wife or husband arrives home after a 4 to 18 month tour, is capturing all this love– on film. Most people are so overwhelmed with emotions they forget to simply point and shoot the camera they are grasping of their child’s first hug, or that single tear of relief from a mother being able to hold her twenty year old son again. With the help of Operation: Love ReUnited and local photographers near your base, you can.

The Operation helps those long months go by a little faster. It’s designed to capture moments that you will never remember. It’s art. It’s love. And it’s all made possible by artists wanting to give something back to those who make the United States what it is, and ask for nothing in return- but to come home.

If you are a member of the United States Military, and are interested in having very special and touching images with a patriotic edge taken of you and/or your family before a deployment or during, and at your reunion, please contact us now. You will receive a substantial package as a gift in appreciation for all you have been through as a military member. The package will always include a 4x6 album of pre-deployment images, such as a child’s hand clasped in his parent’s with the faint glimpse of a BDU sleeve, a marine in dress with his family, a salior with his parents right before departure, or a child playing dress up in combat boots and a helmet. The album will be sent to the deployed soldier by the photographer, at no cost to you. Also with your package, all session fees will be waived. Your photographer may have a designated package or other options for Operation: Love ReUnited participants at their discretion with a signed model release.
Operation: Love ReUnited

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Army of moms greets wounded Fort Lewis soldier

A Fort Lewis soldier got a hero's welcome at Sea-Tac Airport Tuesday, courtesy of the Blue Star Mothers of Washington.

W.H. candidate: Troops fuel sectarian violence

By Nedra Pickler - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Sep 19, 2007 17:46:19 EDT

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson said Wednesday that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq has contributed to the sectarian violence rather than bringing stability to the war-torn nation.

“There’s no question there’s tribal and ethnic hatreds,” Richardson told The Associated Press. “But when those tribal and ethnic hatreds are fueled by American policy of hostility, then you make the situation worse.”

In an interview with AP editors and reporters, the governor of the state of New Mexico argued that all combat and non-combat troops should be removed from Iraq because their presence is only contributing to violence.

“It’s not a guarantee of success, my plan, but at least it’s stability,” Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador, said.

He is not in the top tier of candidates for his party’s nomination in 2008 but is doing better than some others in the race.

“American foreign policy is being bled dry by the invasion of Iraq,” he said.

Iraq was the primary topic of Richardson’s hourlong interview, but he discussed several other issues as well. Among them, he:

* Said he would lift the trade embargo with Cuba in exchange for the release of political prisoners.

* Said he would consider banning assault weapons if there were an effective way to do so, although he said past efforts have been “a joke.”

“I believe you don’t need Uzis to go hunting,” said Richardson, referring to Israeli-made assault rifles. He has been a proponent of gun rights and had the backing of the National Rifle Association. “If there is an effective way to ban them, I’d take a look at it. But past bans don’t work.”

* Said Republicans appeared to be giving up on outreach to minorities by refusing to attend their presidential forums and debates. “Whatever happened to their outreach to Hispanics?” he said.

* Proposed an effort to deal with $83 billion in corporate welfare much like the military’s base closure commission. It “would look at all the goodies that involve corporate welfare and have an up-or-down vote like we do with base closures, because otherwise they nitpick you to death.”

* Said he was making a “mad dash” as the third fundraising quarter ends and would raise about as much as he did in the first two quarters — $6 million $7 million.

* Compared his campaign to the underdog candidacies of Bill Clinton in 1992 and John Kerry in 2004. “I’m going to win this nomination,” he said. “You watch.” He said he knows he needs a strong finish in Iowa and New Hampshire, two early voting states with presidential preference polling, to stay in the race.

“I’ve got to beat one of the top three,” he said.

Richardson criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards * His leading rivals for the presidential nomination — for plans to pull out combat troops from Iraq but leave residual forces behind. He said he would keep the Marines that guard the U.S. embassy in Baghdad but would withdraw all other military personnel.

“Who is going to take care of non-combat troops? The Iraqis?” Richardson asked. He said he would move a small contingent mostly of Special Forces to Kuwait and more troops into Afghanistan, although he would leave the specific number up to military leaders.

What planet is this guy from? Our troops are fueling the violence??? We already know that he does NOT honor our fallen heroes. I don't think he has a snowball's chance... We can either win in Iraq or we can lose. Let's let our troops do their jobs without the so-called support of defeatists like Richardson.

Ospreys head to Iraq for combat deployment

By Trista Talton - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Sep 18, 2007 7:49:23 EDT

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — The first MV-22 Ospreys to make a combat deployment are on an amphibious assault ship heading for Iraq, according to a Marine Corps headquarters spokesman.

Ten Ospreys and roughly 200 leathernecks and sailors with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 flew out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., and landed aboard the Wasp on Monday, Maj. Eric Dent said.

He did not know where the Norfolk, Va.-based ship was when the Ospreys boarded. The ship was diverted from an international exercise in Panama on Sept. 5 to the Nicaraguan coast to assist with disaster-relief efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Felix.

VMM-263 is heading for Al Asad Air Base for a seven-month deployment; the Ospreys will provide tactical assault support for Marines and soldiers.

The Corps decided to deploy the tilt-rotors via ship, in part to allow the aircraft to do shipboard integration operations. Corps officials would not say where the Ospreys will leave the ship and move into Iraq.

“Due to operational security, we can’t discuss the specifics,” Dent said.

The squadron has been preparing for its combat deployment debut for the past several months, doing everything from taking grunts on their first Osprey flights to performing integration training with other aircraft.

Ospreys will become the Corps’ new troop transport aircraft, flying faster and farther between refuelings than the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters they’re replacing. There are three operational MV-22 squadrons — VMM-263, VMM-162 and VMM-266 —all based at New River.

The Corps has more than 50 MV-22s, with 14 more scheduled for delivery next year.

Of course, I have to include yet another Osprey video (from the Discovery Channel's "Future Weapons"). Since actually getting to see one in person, I am just fascinated.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy Birthday U.S. Air Force - Sept. 18, 1947

USAF Mission:

"To Deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests - to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace"

Happy birthday USAF and thank you!

WHO?? WHY???

Police Say Vietnam Memorial Vandalized
Associated Press September 18, 2007

An oily substance found splashed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial this month.

WASHINGTON (AP) - An oily substance found splashed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial this month was the result of vandalism, U.S. Park Police determined.
Sgt. Robert Lachance, a Park Police spokesman, said Monday that a detective made the conclusion, but he declined to provide further details because of the investigation is ongoing.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the structure, has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
The oily substance on the black granite wall — which bears the names of more than 58,000 men and women killed or missing in the Vietnam War. It was first reported Sept. 7. National Park Service officials said they did not know what the substance was, and at first said it was unclear whether it was the result of vandalism or some kind of accident.

On Monday, dark blotches remained along a stone curb at the base of the wall for much of its length. At least 14 of its 140 inscribed panels appeared to be stained.
Park Service spokesman Bill Line said maintenance and preservation crews were working to remove the stains and marks but were proceeding cautiously to avoid further damage. He said officials are confident they can remove all the stains, but it could take a week or more.

"It's deplorable that someone would vandalize what's really a national shrine," said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Memorial Fund. "It's an outrage. It's sad."

It's such a shame that anyone would even think to stoop that low. I almost feel sorry for them...sorry that they don't understand the patriotism and valor behind this memorial.

Make sure your mail gets to your Marine or Soldier

Military Addressing Tips
Our troops look forward to receiving your letters and packages. That’s why it’s important to make sure your mail gets there, to the right person, in the right place.

The Department of Defense has issued the following guidelines for addressing your mail to military and civilian personnel deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Use the service member’s full name. The Department of Defense cancelled the Any Service Member program so mail must be addressed to someone specific.

Include the unit and APO/FPO (Air/Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office) address with the nine-digit ZIP Code™ (if one is assigned). Click-N-Ship® customers should be advised that the Postal Service and the Military will continue to add and update valid APO/FPO addresses for your online labels.

Include a return address.

For packages, print on one side only with the recipient’s address in the lower right portion. Or print a postage-paid label online with Click-N-Ship® which will automatically standardize your APO/FPO address if it has been added to our database. (Please note that ZIP Codes 093XX and 964XX are currently unavailable for electronic labels. We apologize for the inconvenience.)


SSGT Kevin Taylor
Unit 2050 Box 4190
APO AP 96278-2050

SGT Robert Smith
PSC 802 Box 74
APO AE 09499-0074

Seaman Joseph Doe
USCGC Hamilton
FPO AP 96667-3931

SGT Jane Doe
CMR 1250
APO AA 09045-1000

Military Packing Tips
There are certain factors to consider when sending packages to our troops overseas. To make sure package contents arrive in good shape, take these into consideration.

Extreme Temperatures: Desert temperatures typically exceed 100 degrees.

The Box: Select a strong box with room for cushioning. On recycled boxes, cover all previous labels and markings with a heavy black marker or adhesive labels.

Cushioning: Cushion contents with Styrofoam or bubble wrap to keep items from shifting. We recommend fragile items be double boxed, with cushioning inside and between the boxes to absorb shock.

Batteries: Battery powered items will sometimes get turned on during shipment. Remove and wrap the batteries separately.

Sealing: Tape the opening of the box and reinforce all seams with 2 inch wide tape. Use clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape or paper tape. Do not use cord, string or twine.

Include a card describing the contents: Improperly wrapped packages can fall apart during shipment. Including a card inside, listing the sender’s and recipient’s addresses plus a description of the contents, helps in collecting the items.

Click here to find the 2007 Holiday Mailing Cutoff Dates for International and Military Mail

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chuck Norris Fact: He’s in Iraq

By Allison Batdorff, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, September 16, 2007

Allison Batdorff / S&S
Cpl. Donald Taylor, 24, of Greenville, S.C., got some martial-arts information and a writing sample from the master himself when Chuck Norris came to Camp Blue Diamond on Friday.

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Iraq — There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of animals Chuck Norris allows to live.

This is Chuck Norris’ third-place favorite “fact” about … well, himself. He also likes the one about him shaving with a rock, he said Friday during a visit with troops in Iraq.

A chance to shake hands with the soft-spoken 67-year-old inspired hundreds of troops from Camp Blue Diamond and surrounding areas to line up for a hot, sunny wait on Friday. He even drew more soldiers than a team of visiting professional cheerleaders at his last base visit, Norris said.

“It was pretty incredible,” Norris said. “It was quite a feat.”

The star of the “Walker, Texas Ranger” TV series and numerous martial-arts films is visiting bases in Anbar province this month — organizers wouldn’t give specifics for security reasons — on his second trip downrange. He toured 11 bases last year.

“I came over to let the troops know that the folks back home appreciate and love them and pray for them every day to come home safe,” Norris said.

During the afternoon, he smiled for pictures and autographed countless items, including photographs, books, a government voucher and even boxing gloves.

Cpl. Charles Decatoire had Norris sign his uniform after making the trip with other 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines at Hurricane Point.

“I’m never washing this thing,” said the 26-year-old from Springfield, Ill.

While many were martial-arts fans from way back, some waiting in line were new Norris devotees, brought into the fold by “Chuck Norris Facts” — a list of the superhuman qualities possessed by the toughest man alive. The Internet phenomenon has people worldwide contributing gems like:

*Chuck Norris’ tears cure cancer. Too bad Chuck Norris has never cried. Ever.

*When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

*Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.

*When Chuck Norris falls in water, Chuck Norris doesn’t get wet — water gets Chuck Norris.

The “facts” cropped up a few years ago and have found a happy haven in military culture. They are frequently inscribed in base toilets here to boost morale, servicemembers said.

Norris takes all the joking in stride.

“I consider it a compliment and a chance to reconnect with younger people,” Norris said. “Some of the jokes are hilarious.”

Others, he added, are a little over the top.

But there are also some real facts about Norris that fans should know.

Norris fought and won the World Professional Middleweight Karate Championship in 1968 and held that title for six years before retiring undefeated, according to his Web site. He also became the first man in the Western Hemisphere to be an eighth-degree black belt grand master in tae kwon do.

Norris also is an offshore powerboat racer, a motivational speaker for Christian Ministries and a writer. But first and foremost, Norris is a humanitarian, his Web site said.

Norris shook 18,000 hands in 2006 — a record he wants to break this year, he said.

But please, troops, quit with the death grips, he asked.

Forget about trying to out-man Chuck Norris through a hand shake. It’s impossible, so just don’t try.

Marines order dress blues for all in service

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Sunday, September 16, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. — For the first time since the 1990s, all enlisted Marines will be required to have dress blue uniforms by Oct. 1, 2011.

Enlisted Marines have not been required to own the dress blues since 1993, when the Corps stopped issuing an allowance for the uniforms as a way to cut costs, said Mary Boyt of the uniform board.

For years, the only enlisted Marines required to have the Corps’ signature uniform were those on special duty, such as drill instructors, recruiters and members of color guards and funeral details, Boyt said. The Corps had continued issuing enlisted personnel the dress blue pants/skirts and covers, but that stopped about two years ago.

“It was found once the coat was removed Marines just didn’t wear the [dress blue] uniform anymore and it was no longer worth keeping in the seabag,” Boyt said.

Now all Marine recruits will be issued the dress blues during boot camp as of October, a recent Corps-wide message says. All other active-duty enlisted Marines will receive an increase in their clothing replacement allowance that spreads out the cost of buying the uniforms over the next four years, Boyt said.

Drilling reservists, including Individual Marine Augments, will also be issued the uniform, she said.

After Gen. James Conway became Corps commandant, he decided all Marines have earned the right to wear the dress blues and “shouldn’t have to cough up extra coin” to buy the uniform, said Lt. Col. T.V. Johnson, spokesman for the commandant.

“From a recruiting standpoint, feedback from [Marine Corps Recruiting Command] indicates that making it part of the initial uniform issue will appeal to the young man or woman who we typically attract: The ones who are acting more on intangible reasons to serve, not necessarily for college money or a high-tech skill,” Johnson said.

Conway felt it is a “tragic irony” that some Marines’ funerals mark the first time they are dressed in the uniforms, so he decided to make sure the uniform was issued to recruits again, Johnson said.

Go to Marine Corps Administrative Message 504/07 at: for more information.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Oaths of Enlistment

'Defending America', Branches of Service
'Defending America', Branches of Service

You know we love ALL our military. We also love how they make fun of each other (all in the spirit of brotherhood of course). These came from a Marine dad, so don't blame me! ;) I'm sharing them with you, but I didn't write them.

"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES AIR FORCE because I know I couldn't hack it in the Army, because the Marines frighten me, and because I am afraid of water over waist-deep. I swear to sit behind a desk. I also swear not to do any form of real exercise, but promise to defend our bike-riding test as a valid form of exercise. I promise to walk around calling everyone by their first name because I find it amusing to annoy the other services. I will have a better quality of life than those around me and will, at all times, be sure to make them aware of that fact. After completion of "Basic Training", I will be a lean, mean, donut-eating, Lazy-Boy sitting, civilian-wearing-blue-clothes, Chair-borne Ranger. I will believe I am superior to all others and will make an effort to clean the knife before stabbing the next person in the back. I will annoy those around me, and will go home early every day. So Help Me God!"

"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my otherwise mediocre life to the UNITED STATES ARMY because I couldn't score high enough on the ASVAB to get into the Air Force, I'm not tough enough for the Marines, and the Navy won't take me because I can't swim. I will wear camouflage every day and tuck my trousers into my boots because I can't figure out how to use blousing straps. I promise to wear my uniform 24 hours a day even when I have a date. I will continue to tell myself that I am a fierce killing machine because my Drill Sergeant told me I am, despite the fact that the only action I will see is a court-martial for sexual harassment. I acknowledge the fact that I will make E-8 in my first year of service, and vow to maintain that it is because I scored perfect on my PT test. After completion of my mean "Basic Training," I will attend a different Army school every other month and return knowing less than I did when I left. On my first trip home after Boot Camp, I will walk around like I am cool and propose to my 9th grade sweetheart. I will make my wife stay home because if I let her out she might leave me for a better-looking Air Force guy. Should she leave me twelve times, I will continue to take her back. While at work I will maintain a look of knowledge while getting absolutely nothing accomplished. I will arrive to work every day at 1000 hrs because of morning PT and leave everyday at 1300 to report back to "COMPANY." I understand that I will undergo no training whatsoever that will help me get a job upon separation, and will end up working construction with my friends from high school. I will brag to everyone about the Army giving me $30,000 for college, but will be unable to use it because I can't pass a placement exam. So Help Me God!"

"I, Top Gun, in lieu of going to prison, swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES NAVY, because I want to hang out with Marines without actually having to BE one of them, because I thought the Air Force was too "corporate," because I didn't want to actually live in dirt like the Army, and because I thought, "Hey, I like to swim...why not?" I promise to wear clothes that went out of style in 1976 and to have my name stenciled on the butt of every pair of pants I own. I understand that I will be mistaken for the Good Humor Man during summer, and for Nazi Waffen SS during the winter. I will strive to use a different language than the rest of the English-speaking world, using words like "deck, bulkhead, cover, geedunk, scuttlebutt, scuttle and head," when I really mean "floor, wall, hat, candy, water fountain, hole in wall and toilet." I will take great pride in the fact that all Navy acronyms, rank, and insignia, and everything else for that matter, are completely different from the other services and make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I will muster, whatever that is, at 0700 every morning unless I am buddy-buddy with the Chief, in which case I will show up around 0930. I vow to hone my coffee cup-handling skills to the point that I can stand up in a kayak being tossed around in a typhoon, and still not spill a drop. I consent to being promoted and subsequently busted at least twice per fiscal year. I realize that, once selected for Chief, I am required to submit myself to the sick, and quite possibly illegal, whims of my new found "colleagues." So Help Me Neptune!"

"I, (pick a name the police won't recognize), swear..uhhhh....high-and-tight.... grunt... cammies....kill....fix bayonets....charge....slash....dig....burn....blowup....ugh...Air Force wives.....air strikes....yes SIR!....whiskey....liberty call....salute....Ooorah Gunny....grenades...women....OORAH! So Help Me Chesty PULLER!"

"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES COAST GUARD because I know being in the real military scares me. However, I swear to defend our position as the fifth branch of the Armed Services, although at one point we were under the Department of Homeland Security. I understand that at least twice a day, someone will refer to me a member of the Air Force or Navy, and when I correct them, they will question my military status. I will work on boats the size of kayaks and small yachts during the worst of natures storms, and receive no thanks or notice from the public. I will fly in helos into the eye of the storm to rescue people dumber then rocks, and then be heckled by the same people when I bust them for transporting drugs two months later.! I will prevent thousands of gallons of pollution, but be accused of impeding the economy when I won't allow vessels to pour oil into the ocean. I will be the red-headed step child to all of the other services, although I know I got the better deal. All of my equipment will be discarded Navy property. I will use most of my time in the Coast Guard to take college classes, and perfect my web surfing abilities, then complain that I work too much. I will perfect avoiding PT at all costs, and do my best to attend training that will give me a great competitive edge in the career field of my choice, making retention efforts of the Coast Guard pointless. I will come in contact with so many pollutants during my tenure, I will glow in the dark for the rest of my natural life and refer to myself as "salty" because of it. I will do my best to work 8 to 3, with a two hour lunch, on normal days, and have my pager and cell phone surgically attached, SO HELP ME GOD.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I've had the best afternoon!

Guess who I got to spend the afternoon with? De'on from Gunz Up. She came to town today and we got to spend the afternoon together. She is just as sweet and wonderful as you would guess from her blog. She came by the house and we were going to get lunch, then had so much fun talking we forgot! Of course, I had to drag out nearly every scrapbook and picture of my kids to show her and she politely looked at them all. Poor thing.

We HAD to have a picture for the blog, so here it is. I'm not much of a photographer when I'm blindly aiming the camera, but at least you can tell it's us.

Thank you De'on for coming to see me. I enjoyed it so much and I am thrilled to have you as a friend.

Reporter sings blues after flying with Angels

By David Sharp - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Sep 13, 2007 5:34:28 EDT

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Darting across the sky at more than 700 mph while cradled in an ejection seat-equipped Navy Blue Angel fighter was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.

Too bad I missed parts of it.

It wasn’t being shot nearly straight up into the air, performing topsy-turvy maneuvers or flying upside down that did me in. It was when the Marine Corps pilot tested my mettle by subjecting me to G-forces experienced regularly by the Blue Angels.

Possessing “the right stuff,” Maj. Nathan Miller spoke in a normal voice to me in the backseat as the G-forces in the F/A-18 Hornet reached more than seven times the normal pull of gravity. Lacking the righteous stuff, I strained, grunted and flexed my legs and abdominal muscles to keep my blood from draining from my head.

It was futile.

I blacked out.

This weekend, upward of 200,000 people will pour into Brunswick Naval Air Station to see the Blue Angels perform maneuvers like the ones I was lucky enough to experience on Wednesday.

The difference is there will be six of the jets, not one.

And they’ll be flying in formation only 18 inches apart from wingtip to canopy as they roll and loop through the sky.

The ease with which Miller tosses his fighter around underscores the fact that flying is not nearly as dangerous as it used to be.

In “The Right Stuff,” author Tom Wolfe noted that flying could be a lethal occupation in the early years of fighter jets, and nearly half of jet fighter pilots were subjected to the spine-rattling ejection from their cockpits.

But flying at the edge of an airplane’s limits is not without risks, as underscored by an April crash that claimed a member of the Blue Angels.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis was killed when his No. 6 jet went down during the final minutes of a performance in Beaufort, S.C. It was the first Blue Angel fatality since 1999 and one of three since the Blues began flying F/A-18 Hornets.

The Blue Angels regrouped and resumed flying. They’ve dedicated their season to the memory of Davis, who grew up in Pittsfield, Mass.

Miller, 34, of Lapeer, Mich., joined the team last year after accumulating more than 1,800 flight hours and making nearly 300 carrier landings. He flew combat missions in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As the No. 7 pilot, his job is to take members of the media and VIPs on the ride of their lives to promote the Navy as well as serving as narrator during the shows. Next year, he’ll become one of the six pilots who perform during air shows.

Wednesday’s flight, he told me, would be a blast.

That it was. And more.

Anxiety and butterflies be damned, I climbed into the cockpit and was strapped in. Soon enough, the 24,500-pound jet was hurtling down the runway. After reaching 280 mph, Davis pulled the stick back and the jet shot upward.

Fifteen seconds later, the jet was leveling off at 6,000 feet and I had a panoramic view from the ocean to the western mountains.

So far, so good.

Next, Miller flew 55 miles to a military training area in western Maine.

After a few mild maneuvers, rolling the plane over, looping it and flying upside down, Davis took it up a notch. At that point I found myself smashed into my seat so firmly that I could barely lift my arm as Davis demonstrated the Immelman turn, a vertical roll and a minimum-radius turn that produced crushing G-forces.

People watching the air show from below won’t realize the physical effort required to fly these jets at their limits.

Though the Blue Angels are as cool as cucumbers, the work in the cockpit as they screech overhead is hard work. Sweaty, hard work.

The Blues don’t wear G-suits used by other fighter pilots. G-suits, designed to keep pilots from blacking out, would hamper their ability to fly in close formation. So they rely on physical training and flexing their muscles to keep from blacking out.

I tried my best to flex the muscles in my legs, buttocks and abdomen as I’d been instructed to.

I don’t remember blacking out. I just remember waking up and thinking, Why am I sleeping when I should be paying attention?

As Davis’ energetic and reassuring voice filled my ears, vision slowedly returned and I woozily pondered my surroundings. No, it was no dream. I was still hurtling through the air at several hundred miles per hour.

Eventually, the jet jockey decided that the desk jockey had been punished enough.

My once-in-a-lifetime experience was coming to an end. About 45 minutes and 1,000 gallons of JP-5 jet fuel later, the F/A-18 touched down on the runway. After grabbing a bite to eat, Miller repeated the process with two other reporters.

Here's an excellent video featuring the Blue Angels. They are amazing! God bless them.