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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A Hero Heals - Update 1/4/05

Today Joey was in therapy all day. The morning is physical therapy and afternoon is occupational therapy. In occupational therapy, he worked painting his model corvette (red). I will be sending this pic tomorrow. His left stump is getting better after the outbreak last week. Your prayers were answered. His right arm stump with the bed sore is also healing. Tomorrow morning at 9:30 his leg for the right stump will be refitted again. Remember last week it was too big because his stump had shrunk. I understand that this is normal and that the shrinkage will continue and the adjustments will continue. Time magazine talked with him last evening for one hour and the lady will be coming on Jan. 14th for photos and more interview. So look for him in Time magazine. Jayme is busy getting paper work done and learning the route to Bethesda because she starts her internship on Monday. I am resting this week and will be available to help Joey next week because Jayme will leave 5:30 a.m. to drive to Bethesda dailly. God Bless all of you for praying for us and for supporting us. It means a lot to us.
Gail, Joey and Jayme
PS Pic of Joey and Jayme feeding one another the wedding cake.

Yellow Ribbon Money

This time of year, many of us would like to give a little something, to support our troops in Iraq and other countries.

But is one popular way of helping ....really helping?


Thanks to Meleta for the heads up on this.

Troops stationed in Iraq turn to gaming

'Half-Life 2', 'Madden NFL 2005', 'Halo', 'Sims' among favorites

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - Soon after the battle for Fallujah ended in November, U.S. Marines brought their Xbox consoles, Gameboys and laptops forward and started fighting the Covenant hordes in "Halo," Mario and Luigi's worst enemies and those irksome roommates from "The Sims."


Thanks, Meleta!

2nd Platoon takes pride in protecting Iraqi power plant

By Jason Chudy, Stars and Stripes European edition, Monday, January 3, 2005

BAGHDAD — It’s not quite a forward operating base and it’s an awfully big target, but soldiers of Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment are holding down the fort at the al Daura power plant in southern Baghdad.

“This power plant is one of four in Baghdad that supplies power to the city,” said 2nd Lt. Ellery Wallace, 2nd Platoon leader. “It’s one of the crown jewels of the division because of its importance to the Iraqi people.”

And, in a country where insurgents have attacked public utilities in order to undermine American troops, full-time security is a necessity.

Platoons from the company do four-month stints at al Daura, mainly providing security for the site. The unit’s 2nd Platoon took over last month and will remain until the company leaves Iraq.
“We also make sure all (guard) towers are manned by (Electrical Power Security Service) guards,” Wallace said. “We also patrol the surrounding sector and ensure roadways are open (around) the power plant.”

The platoon also mans an observation post and serves as a quick-reaction force for the facility or other company units operating in the area.

One of the platoon’s soldiers also serves as the unofficial “mayor” of the plant.

“I’m a middle man … between the EPSS and the power plant manager and the (contractor) Bechtel security team,” said current “mayor” Staff Sgt. Alberto Gordillo.

“If EPSS needs shield for their machine guns I go through the power plant to get them for them,” he said.

Gordillo receives daily updates on nearly everything that happens at the plant, whether with Iraqi workers or contractors, equipment problems and EPSS security issues.

“We need to know who comes in, goes out and when they came in and went out,” said Gordillo.
He walked through the nearly deserted plant on a recent Friday, the Muslim holy day. About 700 Iraqis normally commute to work at the plant and American and foreign contractors live full-time on the compound.

He met with a handful of engineers manning the control room for the two working generators and then caught up with one of the plant’s senior officials.

Having the soldiers on site keeps the plant safe, said the man, who asked not to be identified.
In the past the plant had been hit with mortars, which in turn caused many of the workers to stay home. Through aggressive patrolling by the company, attacks now are infrequent at best.
But, the official said, it’s not just plant security that affects their operations.

A recent attack on a natural gas pipeline elsewhere in the country caused problems at the plant, he said.

After shaking hands with Gordillo, the official departed with his German protective escort in tow. The “mayor” returned to his rounds, leaving the plant to make a quick trip along a row of EPSS guard towers.

Back at the platoon’s compound, Pfc. Luke Mahosky manned the unit’s radios. He enjoys the duty at the power plant, he said.

“The patrols are easier, life is easier and uniforms are less strict,” he said. Soldiers back at Camp Falcon need to be in full uniform and body armor before they leave the company building, but at the power plant everything takes place in their one building. It does have its downside, though, Mahosky said.

“There’s a lot we don’t have (like) around the FOB — the PX, a big selection (of equipment) at the gym and different selections for chow here,” he said. “You sacrifice those luxuries.”

Soldiers make a daily logistics run back to the camp to bring everything they need, including hot food from the FOB dining facility, although they only receive one large food delivery a day.

“Every now and then we plan missions to go to the Green (International) Zone or BIAP (Camp Liberty) to get them a chance to buy and see things,” Wallace said.

“There’s also more privacy and free time for yourself,” said the 22-year-old Mahosky. A handful of Internet-capable computers also allow the platoon virtually unlimited access to e-mail and instant messaging.

Their location also allows them more interaction with Iraqis.

“I have learned a lot more of the language out here,” Mahosky said. “We can also ask the ’terps (interpreters) to go to the market and get Iraqi food — some of those things I’ve never had before.”

All agreed, however, that they’ve learned some new things through their time at the facility.

“Oh yeah,” Gordillo said. “I never thought I’d need to learn anything about a power plant.”

Jason Chudy / S&S Staff Sgt. Alberto Gordillo watches as an Iraqi engineer points to a switch in a control room at the al Daura power plant in southern Baghdad. Gordillo serves as the power plant's "mayor."

Jason Chudy / S&S Sgt. Richard Letarte, left, and Spc. Rollin Senger, on duty at an observation post at the al Daura power plant. Their platoon provides security for the facility.

Jason Chudy / S&S Pvt. Christopher Williams carries supplies from a humvee at the al Daura power plant.

Father, son headed to Iraq in same unit

Marines will help Iraqis rebuild

SILVER LAKE, Kansas (AP) -- During his 2003 tour in Iraq, Maj. Christopher Phelps sent home a picture from Baghdad, showing him standing in front of a bombed-out building and holding a handmade sign that said, "Dad, wish you were here."


In Today's News...

Juneau Empire - Associated Press

Effort to bring aid to Indonesia impeded
The main airport at Indonesia's tsunami-battered Sumatra island was closed for much of the day Tuesday after a relief plane hit a herd of cows, hampering the world's still-fragile efforts to get aid to victims of the disaster.

Gunmen slay governor of Baghdad region
Gunmen assassinated the governor of Baghdad province and six of his bodyguards on Tuesday, and a suicide truck bomber killed 10 people at an Interior Ministry commando headquarters in western Baghdad, the latest in a steady drumbeat of insurgent violence ahead of Jan. 30 elections.

Powell pledges more help in tsunami tour
Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday the United States may be able to do more to help identify remains of tsunami victims and pledged U.S. support for a regional warning system in hopes of preventing such massive loss of life from future tsunamis.

Israeli tank fire kills 7 Palestinians
An Israeli tank fired two shells into a field in response to Palestinian mortar attacks Tuesday, killing seven Palestinians and wounding six in the deadliest single incident in the Gaza Strip in three months.

House GOP giving ground on ethics rules
The new Congress convenes with House Republicans, leery of a bruising floor fight, stepping back from plans to significantly relax ethics rules that ensnared Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Calls to postpone Iraqi elections grow
More Iraqi interim government officials are calling for postponing Jan. 30 elections to ensure a higher Sunni voter turnout, a sign that a campaign of violence might be taking its toll on Iraqi resolve. The country's electoral commission, however, insists that voting take place as scheduled. Ananova: News on the move from the leading site for breaking UK and world news, sport, entertainment, business and weather stories and information.

Ananova: War In Iraq

Straw almost lost early adviser job
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw narrowly avoided having to resign his first job at the heart of government in a row over the role of special advisers, newly-released documents have revealed.

Death toll rises to ten in Iraqi truck bombing

Suicide Car Bomb Kills Six in Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A suicide car bomb detonated near an Iraqi National Guards barracks Tuesday in western Baghdad, killing six people and wounding 40, police said. The blast in Baghdad's Qadessiyah... [in The Guardian]

US News: Iraq News

U.S. Marine Killed in Action in Iraq
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A U.S. Marine was killed in action in al-Anbar province west of Baghdad on Tuesday, the U.S. military said. The military statement gave no further details. Anbar province includ... [in Reuters]

U.S. Looks at More Help for Iraq Military -- NY Times
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The top U.S. military commander in Iraq is considering adding hundreds of American advisers to work directly with Iraqi troops in an attempt to deal with increasing rates of deser...

Pentagon Raises Iraq Toll in Dec. to 72
It also released the identities of the first U.S. Iraq casualties of 2005, a soldier and a Marine. Spc. Craig L. Nelson, 21, of Bossier City, La., died Dec. 29 at the National Naval Medical Center i... [in Yahoo]

CENTCOM: News Release

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Gunmen Slay Governor of Baghdad Region
Gunmen assassinated the governor of Baghdad province and six of his bodyguards on Tuesday, and a suicide truck bomber killed 10 people at an Interior Ministry commando headquarters in western Baghdad, the latest in a steady drumbeat of insurgent violence ahead of Jan. 30 elections.

CENTCOM: News Release