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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

In Memory of a Hero

Purple Heart Recipient Killed In I-10 Crash
Marines Involved In San Bernardino County Collision

POSTED: 5:59 pm PST January 4, 2005
CALIMESA, Calif. -- A Marine who received a Purple Heart for wounds suffered during combat in Iraq was killed in a San Bernadino County car crash.

Lance Cpl. Eric Freeman died early Monday when a car driven by another Marine overturned on Interstate 10 in Calimesa and hit a tree.

Lance Cpl. Nathan Olig was treated for a concussion and a broken collarbone.Both men were with the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

The Marines had been visiting relatives over the holidays and were heading back to base at the time of the crash.

Freeman's mother, Brenda, fought the city of Thousand Oaks last year to place yellow ribbons on trees in honor of U.S. troops in Iraq.

All of us at Soldiers' Angels wish to extend our deepest condolences to Eric's family and friends. We are humbled and grateful that the family has asked those who loved Eric to send donations to Soldiers' Angels in his memory in lieu of flowers.

A Real American Hero

Maybe you'd like to hear about something other than idiot Reservists and naked Iraqis. Maybe you'd like to hear about a real American, somebody who honored the uniform he wears. Meet Brian Chontosh. Churchville-Chili Central School class of 1991. Proud graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Husband and about-to-be father. First lieutenant (now Captain) in the United States Marine Corps. And a genuine hero. The secretary of the Navy said so yesterday. At 29 Palms in California Brian Chontosh was presented with the Navy Cross, the second highest award for combat bravery the United States can bestow. That's a big deal. But you won't see it on the network news tonight, and all you read in Brian's hometown newspaper was two paragraphs of nothing. Instead, it was more blather about some mental defective MPs who acted like animals. The odd fact about the American media in this war is that it's not covering the American military. The most plugged-in nation in the world is receiving virtually no true information about what its warriors are doing.Oh, sure, there's a body count. We know how many Americans have fallen. And we see those same casket pictures day in and day out. And we're almost on a first-name basis with the pukes who abused the Iraqi prisoners. And we know all about improvised explosive devices and how we lost Fallujah and what Arab public-opinion polls say about us and how the world hates us. We get a non-stop feed of gloom and doom. But we don't hear about the heroes. The incredibly brave GIs who honorably do their duty. The ones our grandparents would have carried on their shoulders down Fifth Avenue. The ones we completely ignore. Like Brian Chontosh. It was a year ago on the march into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a humvee. When all hell broke loose. Ambush city. The young Marines were being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades. And the kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do or die and it was up to him. So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came under direct enemy machine gun fire. It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish. And Brian Chontosh gave the order to attack. He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the .50 cal unload on them. Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines. Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride. And he ran down the trench. With its mortars and riflemen, machine guns and grenadiers. And he killed them all. He fought with the M16 until it was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion. When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon's flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more. But that's probably not how he would tell it. He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got them out of trouble. Hoo-Rah, and drive on. "By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service." That's what the citation says. And that's what nobody will hear. That's what doesn't seem to be making the evening news. Accounts of American valor are dismissed by the press as propaganda, yet accounts of American difficulties are heralded as objectivity. It makes you wonder if the role of the media is to inform, or to depress - to report or to deride. To tell the truth, or to feed us lies. But I guess it doesn't matter. We're going to turn out all right. As long as men like Brian Chontosh wear our uniform.
Thanks to Dan Foster for passing this along

Another Wonderful Tribute from Roger

Don't miss this page:

God Bless our Military Mothers

Thanks, Roger!

Task Force Baghdad Secures Salman Pak as a Part of “Operation Triple Play”

By Spc. Jan Critchfield122nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

SALMAN PAK, Iraq – To improve security for the upcoming elections in Iraq, Task Force Baghdad troops executed “Operation Triple Play” Dec. 31 in order to hinder the ability of insurgent groups to plan and resource large operations. Large scale cordon and search operations in two other cities, in addition to Salman Pak, were conducted with great success by Iraqi National Guardsmen, and U.S. Soldiers and Marines.

FULL STORY - from the 1st Cavalry Division Website

In Today's News... Associated Press
Powell views devastation in IndonesiaSecretary of State Colin Powell flew over a muddy brown moonscape of hundreds flattened palm trees and shattered houses Wednesday after saying the U.S. effort to help tsunami victims shows American generosity and values in action.

Haggard tsunami survivors jam hospitalsHaggard and dehydrated survivors of Asia's tsunami catastrophe flooded hospitals in the disaster zone Tuesday, posing a new challenge for the global relief operation.

Baghdad governor slain, 5 U.S. troops dieThe governor of the Baghdad region, known for cooperating closely with American troops, was assassinated along with six bodyguards as he drove to work Tuesday in yet another bloody day of insurgent attacks that exposed grave security flaws in Iraq with elections less than a month away.

Man charged under Patriot Act for laserFederal authorities Tuesday used the Patriot Act to charge a man with pointing a laser beam at an airplane overhead and temporarily blinding the pilot and co-pilot.

Weather by HamWeather
Iraq, Baghdad

ABC Online:
Iraqis protest against polling decisionAbout 200 Iraqis living in Western Australia have rallied outside the United Nations office in East Perth over being denied the chance to vote in this month's [in ABC Online]

The US News: Iraq News
Oil Jumps on Iraq Violence, Saudi PromiseBy Timothy Gardner NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rebounded on Tuesday as fresh violence rocked Iraq ahead of elections later this month and Saudi Arabia, OPEC's top producer, said it is making go... [in Reuters] The US News: Iraq News

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Baghdad Governor Assassinated; Bomber Kills 11Gunmen killed Baghdad's governor inIraq's highest-profile assassination in eight months and asuicide bomber killed 11 people at a police checkpoint onTuesday in an escalating campaign to wreck the Jan. 30election. Yahoo! News:War with Iraq

Iraqi Immigrants Have Voter WoesSummary: Iraqi Immigrants Have Voter Woes IN A MUDDLE: Tens of thousands of Iraqi immigrants across the United States who may be entitled to vote in their homeland's elections this month are u... [in Record Net] The US News: Iraq News

Wounded soldier's family 'glad to have him home'Pfc. Anthony Thompson praises the medical advances that saved his leg. But it will be a year or more before he can walk normally again. Iraq

American Soldier Killed in North Iraq AttackAn American soldier was killed and twoothers were wounded when their patrol came under fire innorthern Iraq, the U.S. military said on Wednesday. Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

US soldier goes on trial for killing IraqiFORT HOOD, Texas - Defense lawyers for a US Army sergeant accused of killing an Iraqi civilian by having subordinates push him off a bridge into the Tigris River argued on Tuesday there was no body, n... [in Business Times] The US News: Iraq News

Iraq exports drop to 1.16m bpdIraqi crude oil exports fell to 1.16m bpd during December due to sabotage attacks on facilities. This was the lowest monthly total since September 2003 when exports amounted to 930,000 bpd. Average ex... [in AME Info] Change is expected in Iraq's banking sectorDUBAI - Iraq's financial and banking sector is expected to witness a significant change during next two years following the restructuring of banks which includes updating of technology, providing tech... [in Business Times] The US News: Iraq News

Ananova: War In Iraq
Three-minute silence for victimsTens of millions of people across the UK and Europe will observe a three minute silence in remembrance of the tsunami victims, starting at noon. Ananova: War In Iraq

Powell tours devastated Aceh regionResidents of Indonesia's quake-and-tsunami-devastated Aceh province welcomed US Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to the region, expressing gratitude for American aid. Ananova: War In Iraq