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Monday, November 08, 2004


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Tara and all the wonderful folks at Wolf Radio Texas, You are the greatest, thank you for your excellent support of our troops,

MSNBC - Holiday gifts for troops overseas

Soldiers’ Angels helps fund a variety of programs. The organization not only has mounted an effort to send 140,000 stockings to men and women deployed in Iraq but individual angels also deliver handmade blankets and backpacks filled with goodies to the wounded in combat support hospitals (formerly called MASH units), Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany or any of the stateside hospitals, such as National Naval Center in Bethesda, Md. or Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Calif. “Our mission is to connect American people with the soldiers,” says Viktoria Carter from Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., whose husband was supposed to retire in May 2002 after 22 years in the military and re-enlisted after the attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001.

To date, Soldiers’ Angels has enlisted 16,000 angels. After talking with Carter, who was on her way to comfort a wounded solider and his family at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, my guess is many of the volunteers are truly angels.

MSNBC - Holiday gifts for troops overseas

Fayetteville Online - Being angel for soldiers is its own reward

Being angel for soldiers is its own reward

By Rodger Mullen

Staff writer

Being an angel is a full-time job.

Viktoria Carter knows this. She’s been bringing a little hope and happiness to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan for over a year now, and she’s learned that there’s always more to do.

“My phone rings 24/7,’’ Carter said, “and my computer stays on all the time.’’

Carter, who lives in Fayetteville, is director of public relations and donations for Soldiers’ Angels.

The nonprofit organization began as a Web site founded by Patti Patton-Bader, the mother of Brandon Varn, a soldier stationed in Iraq.

According to the Soldiers’ Angels’ Web site, Varn wrote his mother in the summer of 2003 complaining that some soldiers never received letters or supplies from home. Patton-Bader contacted a few friends asking for help keeping soldiers’ spirits up through contact with their countrymen.

As the U.S. military’s role in the Middle East grew, so did Soldiers’ Angels’ work on the home front.

Within months, thousands of people had visited the Web site and were helping the soldiers with words of encouragement or needed supplies. The group was incorporated as a nonprofit foundation in February.

An expanding mission
Over the months, the group’s mission grew to include helping to reunite wounded soldiers with their families and providing support to those families.
Some Soldiers’ Angels volunteers sew blankets for wounded soldiers. Others sew scarves to protect soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan against the harsh desert elements, or they knit baby blankets and bonnets for soldiers’ newborns.

The group sends backpacks filled with items such as boxer shorts, T-shirts, calling cards and personal hygiene items to hospitalized soldiers.

The calling cards are especially popular, Carter said.

“A big thing is communication, letting the family know what’s going on,’’ Carter said. “They can call their next of kin to tell them they’re OK.’’

Carter has always been sensitive to the needs of the military. Her husband is in the Army, she said, and her father is a Vietnam veteran.

Carter said her father’s unpleasant experience returning home from Vietnam convinced her that soldiers need to be supported, no matter how popular or unpopular the war.

When the war in Iraq began, Carter’s children told her they wanted to help the soldiers in some way.

“My kids were like, ‘Mom, let’s adopt a soldier,’’’ Carter said. She said the family did something similar during the first Gulf war in the early 1990s.

Carter said she searched and found the Soldiers’ Angels Web site.
Carter started by “adopting’’ a soldier, and gradually got more involved. When I spoke to her by phone this week, she was coordinating a family’s visit to their badly wounded son at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Carter said Soldiers’ Angels has grown phenomenally since she joined, but there is always a need for more volunteers and donations. People who want to help can e-mail Carter at, call her at 424-8187 or visit the national Web site at

Even a little bit of help is appreciated. Carter said the time and effort is well worth it.

“Everybody says, ‘What do you want out of this?’’’ she said. “I say, ‘As long as they come home happy and healthy, that’s all I need.’’’
Fayetteville Online - Search - U.S. & World - U.S. Forces Storm Fallujah Marines from India CO take first quadrant in Falluja

U.S. Forces Storm Fallujah
Monday, November 08, 2004

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq — U.S. and Iraqi troops stormed Fallujah (search) on Monday as part of Operation Phantom Fury (search) — an effort to rout out Sunni Muslim guerrillas controlling the city and other towns north and west of Baghdad ahead of Iraq's January elections.

Thousands of U.S. Marines and Army troops stormed two Fallujah neighborhoods where insurgents were considered at their strongest. The troops, backed by the 1st Cavalry Division's tanks and armor, swarmed into the city's northwestern Jolan district, the warren-like historic heart of Fallujah.

At the same time, some 4,000 troops, also supported by the 1st Cavalry Division, went into the northeastern Askari district.

Reuters reported that witnesses said several U.S. Marine tanks also entered the city.

The prelude to the assault began just north of the city, where Marine Regimental Combat Team 1 — more than 4,000 Marines and Army troops, along with Iraqi allies — had been massed Sunday night.

A military spokesman estimated that 42 insurgents were killed across Fallujah in the opening round of attacks.

FOX News' Greg Palkot, embedded with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said Monday that the unit was overlooking the northwest corner of Fallujah, where a series of tanks had been pounding positions inside the city for two hours. - U.S. & World - U.S. Forces Storm Fallujah

Marines Rock!!
Semper Fi

2-5 FA BN Pictures

"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center."

-Kurt Vonnegut

2-5 FA BN Pictures

- "Serving God and Supporting Our Troops"

I'll Wave the Stars and Stripes
By: Norma E. Wright, Copyright 2004,

For many years we've fought the fight to stand for liberty,
To usher in the plight of those who want our nation free.

They journeyed from the distant shores to live as they would choose,
The pilgrims who could worship God and start a life anew.

The colonies of men were formed and then we saw the states,
United through a common cause to seal our future fate.

For more than all the gold and wealth are freedoms in this life,
The freedoms sewn upon a flag that waves the stars and stripes.

The wars that won the victory, the soldiers in the coffins,
Have made me realize today what I must think of often.

Each night when I have gone to sleep and mornings when I wake,
Give peace and comfort for I live in the United States.

For there is not a soul on earth who knows or understands,
What freedom is until they walk upon our shores or land.

However, what we have was bought and paid for with a price,
A sacred gift of sacrifice, a U. S. Soldier's life.

No matter where you live today, the mountains or the coast,
The desert or the heartland, we have shared the truths we know.

The land that we have claimed as ours was claimed by faithful men,
Who understand that life requires a fight that all must win.

For if we lose to threats of fear then we are frail and weak,
And we're deceived by lies and words that evil men will speak.

But if we wave the stars and stripes, then we must take a vow,
To honor it when others don't in future times and now.

For when I see Old Glory fly, I know I'm safe and sound,
In fifty grand United States, the cities and the towns.

So when I pledge allegiance, know my hand is on my heart,
That's where true freedom lives today and where true freedom starts.

For we're one nation under God; therefore I wave my flag,
Declaring I'm American, in good times and in bad.

And whatever may happen during war time or at peace,
Whenever I can see my flag, I know that I am free.

The voice of freedom must depend on me and then on you,
To honor what will surely stand - the red, the white and blue.

So let's salute the symbol of our freedoms and our rights,
Proclaiming through America, "I'll wave the stars and stripes".

- "Serving God and Supporting Our Troops"

U.S. Army Ssg. Samuel Viera cleans blood from the breast plate

U.S. Army Ssg. Samuel Viera cleans blood from the breast plate of a flack jacket after a U.S. Marine with schrapnel wounds to the head was brought from Fallujah to a military hospital in Baghdad, Iraq Monday, Nov. 8, 2004. The 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad's Green zone is preparing for the possibility of high casualties from this week's Fallujah offensive.(AP Photo/John MooreYahoo! News - World Photos - AP

U.S. Marines conduct a patrol near Falluja

U.S. Marines conduct a patrol near Falluja in western Iraq , November 8, 2004. U.S. planes and artillery battered Falluja on Monday and Marines moved toward forward positions on the outskirts of the rebel-held city ready for the start of a full-scale offensive. Photo by Eliana Aponte/Reuters Yahoo! News - World Photos - Reuters - Savannah .......Eight Dead in Baghdad Explosions

Eight Dead in Baghdad Explosions
Associated Press
Thursday, October 14, 2004

The U.S. military says at least eight people were killed by a pair of blasts in the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq.

Four others are reported wounded.

A military spokesman says officials don't know yet what caused the two explosions. The compound houses top U-S and Iraqi government offices.

Another military official says the deaths and injuries came in two separate locations.

Officials say all the victims are civilians but won't specify nationalities. Thick smoke was seen rising from one blast site which appears to be close to the main palace. - Savannah / Hilton Head - News, Weather and Sports | Eight Dead in Baghdad Explosions

U.S. Army soldiers

U.S. Army soldiers examine the scene after at least two people were killed by an insurgent attack on a civilian convoy on the road leading to Baghdad's international airport, Monday, Nov. 8, 2004. One vehicle was overturned by the blast while the other burst into flames. Witnesses reported additional casualties. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) Yahoo! News - World Photos - AP

U.S. Marine Sean Stukes of California

U.S. Marine Sean Stukes of California, from Lima Company, 3rd battalion, First Division, looks through the sight of his assault rifle near the city of Falluja in western Iraq (news - web sites), November 8, 2004. U.S. warplanes pounded Falluja on Monday as ground forces battled guerrillas on the outskirts of the rebel-held city that American and Iraqi forces were poised to storm. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte Yahoo! News - World Photos - Reuters

These are Iraqi Soldiers Taking Falluja

A still from night scope video shows Iraqi soldiers storming the main hospital in Falluja, late November 7, 2004. U.S. warplanes pounded Falluja on November 8 as ground forces battled guerrillas on the outskirts of the rebel-held city that American and Iraqi forces were poised to storm. (Reuters)
Yahoo! News - World - Reuters

Chicago Tribune | Marines Rest, Play, Write 'Just in Case' Letters

Marines Rest, Play, Write 'Just in Case' Letters
For some in Charlie Company near Fallouja, thoughts turn to mortality as an expected assault nears. Others focus on the fight.

By Patrick J. McDonnell
Times Staff Writer
Published November 7, 2004

NEAR FALLOUJA, Iraq — The Marines call it "rest and refit" — a time to kick back, catch up on some letters home, listen to music.

Saturday was one of those days. After weeks of sometimes intense training for an invasion of rebel-held Fallouja, Marines tossed footballs, batted around a baseball fashioned from tape, played cards, made trips to the PX.

"You got to have that break," said 1st Sgt. Jose Andrade of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, one of the units poised for attack on the edge of town. "Marines can put their game face on when they need to. But it's unforgiving out there. We're targets."

It may have been their last day off for a while.

Final preparations and fine-tuning continued. The daily artillery and aerial bombardments of Fallouja continued. Marines disassembled their weapons, brushing out the grit and lubricating moving parts. Commanders reviewed assault routes. The troops readied packs, contemplating how much personal gear to bring to a battle that could last for many sleepless days and nights.

For some in Charlie Company, thoughts turned to mortality, not usually a prime topic among young men in their late teens and 20s, some barely out of high school. But casualties are inevitable in any battle for Fallouja.

More than a few Marines spent time fashioning "just in case" letters — missives of thanks, appreciation and farewell to loved ones back home, sometimes left with buddies or stuffed in a flak jacket, the better not to alarm relatives unnecessarily.

"That's the first time I thought about death," said Lance Cpl. Stephen Ross O'Rourke, 19, of Cincinnati, who had just addressed one to his father, though he didn't send it. "I don't think anyone should have to write a letter like that."

Asked about what he wrote, O'Rourke said, "Just memories."

Such correspondence is practically as ancient as warfare. Behind the bravado of everyday barracks banter is a recognition that a single bullet or shard of shrapnel could hit its mark, leaving loved ones to grieve.

"It's a weight off your shoulders," Lance Cpl. Chris Stepp, 19, of Tennessee said of his letter. "You know things are taken care of, just in case."

Mostly, however, the Marines here appeared upbeat. Many were practically bursting with anticipation, sensing they were about to embark on a historic chapter in service history.

"This is why you join the Marine Corps," said Stepp, taking a break on the concrete patio outside the barracks.

His friend Lance Cpl. Dan Dawe interjected: "At least that's why grunts join the Marine Corps."

They chafe for action — and a shot at Fallouja, the worldwide symbol of defiance against U.S. power, the place where four American contractors were killed last spring and their bodies mauled in a scene televised worldwide.

"We've been wanting to go into Fallouja for a long time," said Lance Cpl. Michael Fleharty, a 29-year-old from Detroit who majored in English and anthropology at Western Michigan University and is among the older Marines in his barracks. "This is the place where they hung Americans from a bridge."

Cpl. Yuriy Shirinyan, 21, who moved to Hollywood from Russia when he was 14, has special reason to want a run at Fallouja. His platoon was patrolling near the city last July when a roadside bomb almost killed him. He escaped with a concussion when his helmet stopped a shard of shrapnel.

His best friend, Cpl. Miguel Perez, was shot in the ensuing firefight that night and is recovering from his wounds.

"This is payback," Shirinyan said. "Anyone who says he's not nervous, who thinks he's too hard-core to be nervous, is probably going to get hurt. We're all nervous, but you have to fall back on your training as a Marine."

Although the conflict in Iraq has been bloody, set-piece battles such as the one looming in Fallouja — the kind of combat that Marines say they are especially good at — have not been the norm.

The enemy has been mostly a phantom, the hidden force behind a planted roadside bomb, a lethal rocket-propelled grenade, a sniper's bullet.

"Mostly, the enemy here has had a chance to tuck and run," Fleharty said, taking a break from reading a book. "Well, there's no place for them to run anymore…. Hopefully, they're not going to be able to filter back into the population like they've done before." Chicago Tribune | Marines Rest, Play, Write 'Just in Case' Letters
Iraq War News
U.S. Barrage Hits Iraq's Falluja Before Offensive: "U.S. planes and artilleryfiercely bombarded Falluja and troops probed rebel defenses onMonday in a prelude to a full-scale ground offensive on Iraq'stoughest insurgent bastion. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Fallujah fighting rages as 12 die in air strikes: "Black smoke plumed above western Fallujah as US and Iraqi troops battled to secure a hospital and two bridges, while marines entered the northwest of the rebel enclave. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Four dead, dozen wounded in car bomb attacks in Iraqi cities (AFP): "AFP - At least four Iraqis were killed and over a dozen wounded, including a US soldier, in car bomb attacks in the restive Sunni Muslim city of Ramadi and the northern town of Mosul."

In Yahoo! News: Iraq

Al-Qaeda Internet video shows suicide attack on British soldiers (AFP): "AFP - An Al-Qaeda linked group released a video showing what it claimed to be the suicide attack south of Baghdad last week that killed three soldiers from Britain's Black Watch regiment."

In Yahoo! News: Iraq


Fallujah Airstrikes Continue: "

From The Australian :

US warplanes pounded the flashpoint Iraqi city of Fallujah today as gunfire could be heard from within and US troops outside responded with artillery shells, Major Todd Desgrosseilliers, an executive officer with the marines, told an AFP reporter embedded with the US forces.

”There are aircraft carrying out precision engagements inside the city on identified enemy positions,” he said.

Insurgents had been firing from the targeted sites as recently as Sunday night, he added.

Warplanes rumbled over the Sunni Muslim bastion, west of Baghdad, pounding rebel positions for at least an hour from about 8:00 am (1500 AEDT).

And from the AFP, via The Australian :

Twelve people were killed in US air strikes and ground fire in the centre of the rebel-held Iraqi city of Fallujah today, an official from a local medical clinic said.

The official said 10 people were killed when a US aircraft bombed their house near the Faruq mosque in the centre of the Sunni Muslim bastion.

Two hours later, shells landing near a local cemetery killed two other people taking part in a funeral procession, he said.


In Command Post: Irak

Bomb attack soldiers fight for life: "Black Watch troops are on the alert in the wake of a suicide bomb attack near their camp in the "triangle of death" which left two soldiers fighting for life."

In Ananova: War In Iraq

Foreign "Fighters" Shown on Iraqi TV: "

From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

A number of prisoners, said to be foreign fighters, have been paraded on television in Iraq.

According to officials the 19 men were among more than 160 people taken into custody during recent raids.

They are alleged to have entered Iraq illegally and were planning suicide bomb attacks.

Most of the prisoners said they came from Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt, but only one said he had gone to Iraq to fight the Americans.


In Command Post: Irak

Palestinian group to visit Arafat: "The caretaker Palestinian leadership has decided to travel to Yasser Arafat's bedside, reversing a decision to call off the trip after being lambasted by the ailing 75-year-old leader's wife."

In Ananova: War In Iraq

Car Bomb in Mosul: "

From The Australian :

A car bomb exploded in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul tonight, injuring one US soldier and 12 Iraqi bystanders, US military and hospital officials said.

The car bomb exploded at 10.30 a.m. (6.30pm AEDT) near a US army convoy, wounding the soldier, who was evacuated to a nearby military hospital, said Captain Angela Bowman.

Officials at the al-Salaam hospital said that 12 Iraqis were brought in for injuries.

The entire convoy was able to move out of the explosion area, she said, though three civilian vehicles were damaged.


In Command Post: Irak

Airport Road Car Bomb Kills Two: "

From Reuters via The Australian :

A car bomb blew up near a US convoy on Baghdad’s airport road today, killing at least two Iraqi civilians, police said.

US troops sealed off the area and there was no word on any American casualties.

One of the dead Iraqis was a woman.


In Command Post: Irak

Winds Monday Iraq Report: Nov 8/04: "

Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. This briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.


  • Terrorists killed at least 33 people in a series of car bombings, undermining the claims of the Iraqi government to have pacified the city.

Other Topics Today Include: British casualties continue to mount; prepping the objective in Fallujah; more lights come on in Iraq; Saudi clerics issue new fatwa; Iraq gains a little EU support; is Arab support for the terrorists fading; SAMs go missing in Iraq.

Continue Reading “Winds Monday Iraq Report: Nov 8/04”

(Winds Of Change)

In Command Post: Irak

IRAQ: MSF withdraws from the country: "ANKARA, 8 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - The Belgian-based medical NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) pulled out of Iraq on Thursday saying that international organisations had become targets in the light of recent threats and kidnappings of humanitarian workers."

In IRIN: Iraq Crisis

Iraq Fallujah URGENT in Iraq & Terror

Two Marines killed in Fallujah in Iraq & Terror

Bomb attack soldiers fight for life: "Black Watch troops are on the alert in the wake of a suicide bomb attack near their camp in the "triangle of death" which left two soldiers fighting for life."

In Ananova: War In Iraq

Iraqi minister berates Annan: "
Iraq’s interim defense minister Hazem Sha’alan has lashed out at U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and leaders of other Arab countries during a pep talk for Iraqi troops before an expected assault on the insurgent-held city of Falluja.

Annan warned in a letter dated October 31 to the United States, Britain and Iraq that such an assault would have a “negative impact” on the prospects for elections, now scheduled for January.

But Sha’alan said on Sunday that Annan did nothing to help Iraqis under the rule of ousted leader Saddam Hussein.

“Where was Kofi Annan when Saddam was slaughtering the Iraqis like sheep?” Sha’alan said.

“Where were the calls we hear from Arab and Islamic countries when Saddam was messing up the country?”

Read more…


In Command Post: Irak