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Monday, January 31, 2005

Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat Team, patrol eastern Mosul, Iraq, making the area safer for elections. Photo by Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson. (from

SILVER EAGLES — A U.S. Marine walks along the top of an F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the "Silver Eagles" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Persian Gulf, Jan. 27, 2005. The Truman Carrier Strike Group and Carrier Air Wing 3 are currently on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of the war on terror. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Ryan O'Connor (from
Operation Crayon

The children pictured above were happy to receive school supplies donated from Americans across the United States, delivered by soldiers and airmen in uniform. They are very much like the children that you see in the classrooms of America but they live in war-torn Iraq.
The chapel staff and volunteers at Kirkuk Air Base are extending an invitation for those who would like to help bring smiles to the faces of other needy children in Iraq. You can support this effort by sending items from the list of school supplies below. Thank you for your consideration.

Items Needed
Short Sleeved Shirts
Long Sleeved Shirts
Denim Pants
Lightweight Jackets
Heavy Coats
Hats and Gloves
Rain Boots
Rain Coats
Socks and Underwear

Slippers and Sandals
Blankets and sheets

“A thousand years from now, it won’t matter what my bank account was, what type of car I drove, or what kind of house I lived in…but the world may be different because I was important to a life of a child.” ANONYMOUS
Operation Crayon
Amn Jenna Place
APO AE 09359

Framingham Firefighter's Son Improves

from the Daily News Tribune

By Norman Miller / News Staff Writer
Saturday, January 29, 2005

FRAMINGHAM -- The son of a Framingham firefighter injured in an attack in Iraq last month remains in guarded condition in a U.S. military hospital in Germany but is conscious and can walk, fire officials said yesterday.

Timothy Aponte, 26, a U.S. Army soldier and son of veteran Framingham Firefighter Pablo Aponte, was injured sometime in December by a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq, Framingham fire Lt. John Magri said.

Aponte's outlook was not bright at first, but things have improved, Magri said.

"The original report was he wasn't going to make it through the holidays," said Magri. "His father's prayers have been answered."

Pablo Aponte is a 16-year veteran of the Framingham Fire Department. He and his wife, Margarita, flew out right before Christmas to see their son, who was flown from Iraq to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Timothy Aponte suffered serious injuries and will need reconstructive surgery to his intestines and bladder, Magri said.

The surgery will be done in the United States, but he will have to remain in Germany for about six months before he is able to fly.

The Apontes visited their son for eight days. Timothy's wife, Diane, and son, Hector, have rented a small apartment near the hospital.

The details of the attack are still not known.

What Magri does know is that Aponte was injured in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq. His Bradley fighting vehicle was hit.

Timothy Aponte and his wife, Diane, are Taunton High School graduates. The soldier was serving in his third Middle Eastern tour of duty -- the first two in Afghanistan prior to deploying to Iraq, Magri said.

The Apontes could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Magri said they appreciated the outpouring of generosity from town residents and other organizations who donated more than $12,000 to help them fly to Germany.

"On behalf of the Aponte family, we thank them (the gift-givers) for their kindness and prayers during this dramatic incident," Magri said.

The Apontes paid for their own flight to Germany, and only a portion of the money has been used to help pay for the apartment for Diane and Hector Aponte to live near the hospital.

The rest of the money will be donated to Soldier's Angels and the International Association of Firefighter's burn fund, Magri said.

Soldier's Angels greet injured soldiers at the hospital and give them blankets, clothing and a bag of welcome gifts, Magri said.

"The Apontes were taken aback by the number of lonely soldiers," said Magri. "That's when they fell in love with Soldier's Angels."

We at Soldiers' Angels extend our deepest gratitude to the Aponte family, and our best wishes for our Hero Timothy's continued recovery.

Sadly, Soldiers’ Angels is mourning these Heroes, members of our extended family:

PFC Gunnar Becker, 19, from South Dakota, was killed on January 13th in a non-combat related accident. He said he joined the Army because “I came in to make a difference.” PFC Becker served as a tank driver with Bravo Company, 2nd Platoon, in the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment.

Sgt. Christopher Ramsey, from Louisiana, was killed on Friday, January 28th, when an IED detonated near his patrol. The nephew of our Angel Frances, one of our dear “Grannies,” Sgt. Becker served with 1088th Engineering Battalion, 256th Brigade Combat Team, U.S. Army National Guard

Our hearts are with their families, friends, and fellow Soldiers, and with our Angels.

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At Work In...

The Army...

Sgt. Fernando Perez, a team leader from Company B, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, takes a short timeout while on patrol with Iraqi police in Kirkuk. Photo by Spc. Sean Kimmons. (from

The Navy...

Fallujah, Iraq (Jan. 29, 2005) – U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven (NMCB 7) patrol the streets of Fallujah, on the day prior to Iraq’s historic democratic elections. Seabees have been assigned to Provisional Support Battalions (PSB) under the direction of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), commanded by U.S. Marine Crops Lieutenant General John F. Sattler. Seabees are providing additional security for coalition camps and voting precincts. Female Seabees will be assigned directly to polling stations, screening female citizens as they enter the voting precinct. NMCB-7 is homeported in Gulfport, Miss. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Todd Frantom. (from

The Air Force...

Standing Guard - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Base honor guard Airmen stand in front of a B-52 Stratofortress during a ceremony here Jan. 25. At Air Force installations worldwide, honor guard Airmen perform at changes of command, military funerals, and retreat and retirement ceremonies. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III. (from

The Marines

Lance Cpl. Marcos R. Soltero, left, rifleman, and Sgt. Byron G. Pimentel, radio operator, both with Trailer Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), maintain security while Force Reconnaissance Platoon clears tents in the middle of the desert in Karbala Province, Iraq, Jan. 27. The raid was one of many that went in an attempt to capture suspected insurgents during the early hours of the morning. (from

In Today's News - Monday, January 31, 2005 Associated Press
Iraqis awaiting results of historic vote
Jubilant Iraqis sifted through ballots Monday, tallying the results of a vote that millions hoped would restore democracy for the first time in a half-century and lead to the departure of 150,000 American troops.

Bush calls the Iraqi election a success
President Bush called the Iraqi election a resounding success and promised that the United States will help Iraqis fight continuing insurgency as they build a democratic government.

Iraqi-Americans turn out for election
Wahab Murad, 43, flew in from Denver with his 20-year-old son, Dana, to cast absentee ballots in Iraq's first independent election in nearly 50 years. As in many polling places across America, the mood was upbeat as expatriates danced, sang and celebrated.

Iraq militant group says they downed plane
Britain's foreign minister said Monday that the downing of a C-130 military transport plane north of Baghdad, which reportedly killed about 10 servicemen, was the biggest single loss of British lives since the start of the Iraq war.

Jewish settlers protest Gaza pullout plan
Tens of thousands of Jewish settlers and their supporters protested outside parliament against Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, saying Prime Minister Ariel Sharon does not have a mandate to dismantle settlements and must hold a national referendum.

Buildup of Iraqi security forces slowed
Iraq's security forces are still far from reaching U.S. goals in numbers and capabilities, but American military commanders insist they are gaining ground in training and equipping these units.

Kuwaiti police, Islamic militants clash
Kuwaiti police stormed a house of suspected terrorists on Monday, setting off a shootout that killed several people, police said. It was the second straight day of clashes with Islamic militants.

Ananova: War In Iraq
Up to 15 dead in Iraq plane crash
Investigators are searching for clues to determine why an RAF Hercules crashed in central Iraq, killing up to 15 British troops. Ananova: War In Iraq

Blair: Election a blow to terrorism
Votes cast in Iraq's first democratic elections for half a century are being counted as officials estimated at least 60% of Iraqis defied militant violence to go to the polls. Ananova: War In Iraq

Results in Iraq election may take 10 days
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Preliminary results from Iraq's historic election could come as early as Monday, Iraqi officials said. But final results and an accurate estimate of turnout could take up to 10 days. Fresno Bee: Iraq

The US News: Iraq News
U.N. hails Iraq election
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has hailed Iraq's election as a success, urging national reconciliation and pledging help during political transition. [in The US News] The US News: Iraq News

Iraq, NKorea top talks agenda
Iraq and North Korea will be high on the agenda in talks between Japanese government leaders and a senior official of the US National Security Council, Michael Green. [in The World News] The US News: Iraq News

U.S. Marine Killed in Combat West Iraq
Print this story. A U.S. Marine was killed in combat in Iraq's western Anbar province, the U.S. military said Monday.The Marine, assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, was killed while t... [in Tuscaloosa News] The US News: Iraq News

Baghdad bombing doesn't stop voters
Her companion on the walk to the polls, Taiyma Jamal, 26, said the turnout represented a vote against the insurgency. "People want to be free," she said.Nawar Khadim Ahmed had gone home after seeing t... [in MSNBC] The US News: Iraq News

Local Group Travels to Cast Iraq Ballots
By Lauren Lee Some local Iraqis drove the hundred miles from Freeport to Rosemont to do something they've never done before -- check a box next to a name that wasn't Saddam Hussein. They came ... [in WTVO] The US News: Iraq News

Recent Elections in the Mideast Before the Sunday Vote in Iraq
Recent elections held in the Middle East before Sunday's vote in Iraq. - ALGERIA, April 8, 2004: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is re-elected in a landslide vote to a second term. It was the third ... [in Tampa Bay Online] The US News: Iraq News

Iraqis Defy Threats to Vote for Assembly
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqis embraced democracy in large numbers Sunday, standing in long lines to vote in defiance of mortar attacks, suicide bombers and boycott [in Wyoming News] The US News: Iraq News

Violence-weary Iraqis await poll results
I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me.". Bush said the election showed Iraqis refused to be intimidated. [in Swissinfo] The US News: Iraq News

Marine in Hawaii Honors Iraq Crash Victims
Marine Lance Cpl. Buck Gates, of State College, Pa., a member of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, the same company of the 27 Hawaii-based servicemen who were killed last week in a helicopter cr... [in Tuscaloosa News] The US News: Iraq News

Annan offers UN help to new Iraq assembly
UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Kofi Annan congratulated Iraqis on their election on Sunday and offered UN help in future votes and the writing of a constitution. [in Business Times] The US News: Iraq News

Key Steps in Iraq's Political Process
Iraq's elections Sunday merely began a process intended to transform the country into a democracy. The tally of the votes is only the first of several steps to come: [in Herald Sun] The US News: Iraq News

British Military Plane Crashes North of Baghdad, at Least 10 Dead
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A British C-130 military transport plane crashed Sunday north of Baghdad, scattering wreckage over a large area, officials said. At least 10 troops were killed, Britain's Press As... [in Tampa Bay Online] The US News: Iraq News

Iraq Minister: Allies May Leave in 18 Mos.
web sites )'s interior minister told British television Sunday he expected U.S. and other foreign forces to leave his country within 18 months. [in Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

Voter Turnout in Iraq Reflects an Electorate Eager to Grasp Democracy, U.S. Pollsters Say
WASHINGTON (AP) - Even with widespread violence in Iraq, voters there showed a passion for democracy by apparently turning out in numbers comparable to a typical election in the United States. Iraq... [in Tampa Bay Online] The US News: Iraq News

Quotes on the Iraqi Elections
"The irony is the Arab regimes, who criticize the gaps in the (Iraqi) elections and demand they be honest and transparent leading to full democracy for all Iraqis, are themselves banning such ele... [in Herald Sun] The US News: Iraq News

Iraqi Christian Voters Hope for Security
"We want a strong government and I hope that Iraq will soon be a secure place. We came here to defy the terrorists." Shamoun, his wife and dozens of other Chri... [in Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

Australia relocates its staff in Baghdad due to security concerns
Last Updated 31/01/2005, 13:27:58 Australian diplomatic staff in Baghdad have been moved to a coalition military camp after a series of attacks by insurgents, and won't have a permanent base in Iraq ... [in Radio Australia] The US News: Iraq News

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Visit SiteWorld Leaders Welcome High Turnout in Iraq
Many world leaders praised Iraqis on Monday for their courage in defying insurgent intimidation to vote, hailing the weekend election as a step on the road to stable government and victory over terror. Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

World leaders hail Iraq vote as key to restoring sovereignty
Messages of support poured in from around the world after Iraqis voted in a landmark election hailed by both supporters and opponents of the US-led war as a key step towards restoring Iraqi sovereignty. Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

From Fox News
Iraqis Counting Up the Ballots
Millions Cast Ballots Despite Violence
Minister: Troops Out in 18 Months
Iraqi-Americans Cast Votes With Joy
Transcript: Rice on 'FNS'
Iraqis Express Pride & Hope
10 Dead in British Plane Crash
Bush: World Hears Freedom's Voice
Iraqis Vote; Attacks Kill at Least 31
Zarqawi Group Takes Violence Credit
U.S. Nabs 7 in Embassy Attack
Bush: Iraq Vote Won't End Terrorism
Iraqi Expats Celebrate Vote in U.S.
Election Workers on Front Lines
Analysis: A Complex Democracy
Three Zarqawi Men Nabbed
Minister: Troops Out in 18 Months

Will Iraqi Insurgents Continue?
Iraqi-Americans Cast Votes
Iraqis Cast Historic Votes
U.S. Offers Poll Security

Photo Essays
Iraqis Line Up to Vote

Department of Defense
Bush Praises Iraqis for Successful Election
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2005 — President Bush today praised Iraqis for their courage and commitment in the face of threats and violence, which made elections possible throughout their country. "In great numbers, and under great risk, Iraqis have shown their commitment to democracy. Story

Iraqis Turn Overwhelmingly to Democracy
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 30, 2005—Today, the Iraqi people let it be known they understand and value democracy. With voting complete, members of the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq said the response exceeded their dreams. "We exercised for the first time a real democratic act in this great land of ours," said Commission Member Safoit al-Rasheed. Story

Votes Prove Stronger Than Bullets in Elections
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 30, 2005—"Iraqis have proved today that the strength of their votes are more powerful than the strength or the effects of bullets or terrorism," said interim Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim Jafari. Story

141st Engineer Combat Battalion Skills in High Demand

Deployed Unit Keeps Airmen, Flightline Safe
Multiple Units Form Combined Task Force

Elections Go 'Better Than Expected'
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2005 — As Iraqis headed to the polls, most for the first time in a democratic election, the process progressed better than expected, the newly confirmed top U.S. diplomat said today. "What we're seeing here, I think, is the emergence of an Iraqi voice for freedom," Condoleezza Rice told George Stephanopoulos on the ABC News' "This Week." Story

Democracy a Blow to Terrorism

Special Report: Iraqi Elections
Elections Represent Turning Point
Expatriot Vote has Effect in Iraq
Big Voter Turnout Predicted
Coalition Plays Support Role
Fact Sheet: Timeline
Fact Sheet: Transitional Admin Law
Fact Sheet: Candidate List Regulations

British C-130 Transport Crashes
Embassy Attackers Caught
Engineers Gain Iraqi Confidence
Iraq Daily Update
Year in Review 2004 Fact Sheets (pdf)
Iraq Reconstruction
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

13 Weapons Caches Found
Afghanistan Daily Update

Australian Detainee Transferred
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Helo Crash Hits Unit 'Like Beirut'
Top Doc Discusses Help for Stress
National Guard, Reserve Update

Weather information from The Weather Channel

Al Azamiyah
Al Basrah
Al Hillah
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Al Kazimiyah
Al Kut
An Nasiriyah
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