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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A Hero Heals - Update December 14th

Joey went to casting at 10 a.m. The cast was removed from his left stump to be evaluated. Dr. Hampton said it looked good to him and he would evaluate again in a week. The hand dr. removed 5 pins from Joey's left hand. The plate and other pins remains for several weeks. The stitches were removed from his right stump. Joey is still on the antibiotic for bacteria; they check his blood every morning for the level. His fevers seem to be less and less, along with the sweats.
WWAY tv is interviewing him tomorrow, Wed. So watch you local tv for Joey. Also MTV is talking to Joey about doing a documentary. I'll let you know more when it is secured. Joey has to go to therapy everyday now and that means he has to be placed in his electric wheel chair and he drives with his left hand. He can really drive that thing; I guess playing video games in the past helps. He is still positive about his future and Jayme arrives tomorrow, Wed. to be with him for 3 days. She will return again on the 28th for good as the wedding is on Dec. 31st. I'll be sending pictures of that to you too. Keep praying. We love you for your support.
Love,Gail and Joey

Reminder: Don't forget to watch Joey's interview on Hardball, Thursday December 16th on MSNBC (7pm EST / repeat at 11pm EST)

Road Rage Inspires Singer's Troop Tribute

Standing up for soldiers with 'Bumper of My S.U.V.'

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Billboard) -- Leave it to sunny Chely Wright to turn an ugly situation into a popular -- and meaningful -- song. Now, that song has helped her land a new label deal.


If after checking out the story, you're interested in purchasing the song, you can find it here

Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/14/2004 | Family tearfully fulfills Army soldier's last wishes

Family tearfully fulfills Army soldier's last wishes

By Jennifer Moroz

Inquirer Staff Writer

Army Spec. David Mahlenbrock had a special request should he die in the line of duty. In a letter to his fellow soldiers in July, the young combat engineer asked that Toby Keith's song "American Soldier" be played at his funeral.

It was a wish no one ever wanted to contemplate.

Yesterday his family tearfully granted it.

Keith's song echoed through Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mahlenbrock's native Maple Shade, a sound track to the life that hundreds gathered to remember.

And I will always do my duty no matter what the price

I've counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice

Oh, and I don't want to die for you

But if dyin's asked of me

I'll bear that cross with honor

'Cause freedom don't come free.

The words couldn't drown out the heaving sobs that filled the Burlington County church as family, friends and strangers mourned the death of a young soldier, husband and father.

Mahlenbrock, 20, whose job was clearing routes to ensure the safe passage of fellow soldiers, died Dec. 3 when a bomb detonated near his humvee just outside Kirkuk, Iraq.

Yesterday, as Mahlenbrock's song played, his older brother, Christopher, 21, an Army reservist who helped carry the flag-draped coffin, wrapped his arm around younger brother Andrew, 16.

Mahlenbrock's 19-year-old widow, Melissa, cuddled his 11-week-old daughter, Kadence, bundled in tiny black clothes in honor of a father she'll never know.

In a music-filled ceremony punctuated by biblical readings, friends and relatives remembered a man who gave everything his all, from his days as a scrappy football player and wrestler at Maple Shade High School to a soldier fighting for his country. Mahlenbrock, who had joined the Army after graduating in 2002 and left for Iraq in January, planned a career in the military.

"Devotion... was written all over David's life," said the Rev. Carl E. Joecks, church pastor.

But Mahlenbrock, Joecks said, was most devoted to his wife, whom he met at age 14 and married last year. When she took a job at one point at the Bed Bath & Beyond in Cherry Hill, Mahlenbrock would walk or jog the seven-mile round trip just to be with her on her 30-minute lunch break.

When Mahlenbrock became a father in late September, he threw himself into that role with equal passion. When he returned home on leave to see Kadence, then about a week old, he couldn't put her down, Joecks said.

"He threw a lifetime of fatherly love into that two-week leave," the pastor said.

Mahlenbrock would never get to meet his half-brother, Darek, born three weeks ago.

Mahlenbrock always had an affect on those who met him, family and friends said. He would do crazy things just to get someone to crack a smile, Joecks said.

"I see the world in a different way," said Mahlenbrock's father, Russell, choking up at the microphone. "David has changed me from the inside out."

Christopher Mahlenbrock urged the teary crowd to spend time with their families at Christmas, let them know they are loved. "Because you don't know when they will leave, when they will be taken away from you," he said.

David Mahlenbrock knew the possibility of death was real. He wrote the July letter to his squad mates after a scare involving an explosive.

"If you are reading this, then I've died for our country," he wrote in the letter, supplied by Soldiers' Angels, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing aid and comfort to soldiers and their families. "I just hope it wasn't for nothing."

In it, he asked that his wife get a few special items, including a dog tag with the couple's picture and an American flag he kept in his left breast pocket. And he asked that "American Soldier" be played at his funeral.

It was a request taken seriously by Soldiers' Angels, which tried but failed to get country crooner Keith to sing at the service. Instead, it put out the word to radio stations across the country to play the song at 1 p.m. EST tomorrow, the day Mahlenbrock will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

"If you can't get to a radio station, then play it or sing it," said Patti Bader, founder of the group. "If all of America plays that song, that's what he wanted."

He also wanted bagpipes, which accompanied his casket as it was carried out of the church.

After the ceremony, Christopher Mahlenbrock, who works funeral honors detail as a reservist with the 656th Area Support Group in Willow Grove, led a salute to his brother. A white-gloved hand raised to his temple, he solemnly stood as the silver hearse carrying the casket drove away.

Burying a brother would be enough to scare many away from a wartime tour. But Mahlenbrock's brothers are even more resolute about pursuing careers in the military.

"I don't want to go over there. No one wants to go over there," Christopher Mahlenbrock said. "But I feel it's my duty to go, to understand what my brother went through."

Andrew said he still planned to serve four years in the Army, Navy or Air Force, then go to college and join the reserve.

"I feel even more now that I should go into it, do my duty... and get some payback," he said.

Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/14/2004 | Family tearfully fulfills Army soldier's last wishes

Army Spec. David Mahlenbrock’s brother Christopher, a 21-year-old reservist in Willow Grove, comforts Pennsauken friend Renee Skotnicki, 21, at Mahlenbrock’s funeral in Maple Shade.

Atlanta,Georgia,11Alive,ATLANTA, Technology, Tech, Software, Gadgets, Money, Business, Consumer

Via the group, individuals and families adopt soldiers serving abroad. The group’s mission is sending care packages and in return they often get letters from their adopted troops.

“Our military is over there working very hard for us. They put their lives on the line every day to defend our freedom,” said Dianne Moore, a local member of the group. “This is our way of showing them our appreciation for them doing that.”

Atlanta,Georgia,11Alive,ATLANTA, Technology, Tech, Software, Gadgets, Money, Business, Consumer

An armed man waves his weapon after burning a van

An armed man waves his weapon after burning a van in the northern Iraq city of Mosul. The bodies of 14 men killed with a single bullet to the head were found in a cemetery in Mosul.(AFP/File/Mujahed Mohammed) Yahoo! News - Mideast Photos - AFP

memorial service held for Sgt. Byron W. Norwood and Lance Cpl. Abraham Simpson

A U.S. Marine with the 3rd battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, pays his final respects during a memorial service held for Sgt. Byron W. Norwood and Lance Cpl. Abraham Simpson, at a base near the western Iraqi war-torn city of Falluja, in this handout photograph released on December 13, 2004. The two Marines were assigned to Weapons Company, and were both killed during a military operation in Falluja last month. The U.S. military declared that two U.S. Marines were killed in the Sunni city on Monday, taking the death toll to 10 in three days among the force dealing with an upsurge in fighting there. REUTERS/USMC/Lance Cpl. Will Lathrop-Handout

Yahoo! News - World Photos - Reuters

Iraq War News
Assailants set fire to Iraq oil pipeline: "Unknown assailants set off a fire near a vital oil pipeline in northern Iraq, raising concerns that the heat could damage the line, an official said Tuesday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq


Suicide attack kills 13 in Baghdad: "BAGHDAD, Iraq – A suicide car bomber linked to al-Qaida killed 13 people in Baghdad on Monday, the first anniversary of Saddam Hussein's capture, and clashes resumed in Fallujah, a one-time insurgent stronghold that American forces believed they had conquered. Seven Marines died in combat in western Iraq."

In Iraq News

Peace elusive in Iraq as US hunt for final success still on: "The insurgency, the protection of US troops, and troubled preparations for elections still scheduled for January 30 now dominate US headlines rather than Saddam and moves to bring him to trial.

[in Khaleej Times]

In The US News: Iraq News

Two Marines, one soldier killed in Iraq: "Al-Zarqawi organization claims attack BAGHDAD, Iraq — Two Marines were killed in Iraq's volatile Anbar province, the military said today. A military statement said two Marines assigned to ...

[in The Seattle Times]

In The US News: Iraq News

Explosion Rocks Baghdad Close to Green Zone: "BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A loud explosion rattled central Baghdad on Tuesday and a cloud of smoke rose close to the Green Zone government and diplomatic compound. A Reuters journalist near the scene sai...

[in Reuters]

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Iraqi's Family Wins Battle over Death Probe: "The family of an Iraqi civilian allegedly unlawfully killed by British troops today won a High Court challenge against the Government's refusal to order an

[in The Scotsman]

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We can't sell democracy in Iraq: "survival high, but more are maimed; Refined care keeps severely wounded alive." It goes on to say, "For every American soldier killed in Iraq, nine others have


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Iraq's security will determine US troop levels after elections: "BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) The United States will reverse troop increases in Iraq only when events allow after the country's Jan. 30 elections, Gen.

[in Boston Globe]

In The US News: Iraq News

Iraqi families begin new life: "December 14, 2004 FOUR families were among a group of 23 Iraqi asylum seekers who arrived in Australia tonight to begin a new life after being detained on the Pacific island of Nauru. The 23 people w...

[in The Australian]

In The US News: Iraq News

A Look at U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq: "As of Monday, Dec. 13, 2004, at least 1,296 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,016 died as a r...

[in Gadsden Times]

In The US News: Iraq News

Baghdad and Kabul approved for WTO entry talks: "Washington told the WTO's ruling general council that it was still reviewing its relationship with Iran, the answer it has given 21 times since 2001, when the Islamic republic's 1996 membership reques...

[in Financial Times]

In The US News: Iraq News