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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Late Homecoming

Thanks to Seamus over at "All Hands" for the tip on this.

On Monday, four of our fallen heroes' remains were returned to the US from Vietnam for burial. The four, killed 38 years ago, were:

Marine 2nd Lt. Heinz Ahlmeyer Jr. of Pearl River,NY

Marine Sgt. James Tycz of Milwaukee, WI

Marine Lance Cpl. Samuel Sharp Jr. of San Jose, CA

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Malcolm Miller of Tampa, FL

Ahlmeyer, Tycz, and Miller will be buried in Arlington in May; Sharp was buried in San Jose, but will be honored at Arlington in May.

Over 1,800 of our heroes are still missing from the Vietnam War.

To read more about these four heroes, go to Reuters.

Our hearts go out to the families of these fallen heroes, and I hope there will come a day - soon - that all the missing who can be are brought home to their families, and all the fallen who are still unaccounted for are brought home to rest.

To find out more about American POW's / MIA's, check out these sites:

Vietnam Veterans, Ventura County
Today's POW MIA Report - Scope Systems
POW/MIA Database - Library of Congress
POW Network
National League of POW/MIA Family Members
US Korean War MIA/POW

Defense Prisoner of War / Missing Personnel Office

Korean War MIA Help Desk
They Will Not Be Forgotten
Advocacy and Intelligence Index - POW/MIA
Adopt a POW/MIA - at Operation Just Cause (I've applied to adopt one, and will post when I find out who he is)
Sgt. Keith Matthew "Matt" Maupin - MIA Iraqi Freedom
Dennis Hammond, USMC - MIA Vietnam
Lt. Cmdr Michael Scott Speicher - MIA Operation Desert Storm

Posted on Minstrel Boy:

Who in their right mind would vote to stop the production of armored humvees, to lay off workers at the only plant that makes them? Who would turn off the production while leaving tens of thousand of soldiers to drive hill billy armored humvees before the enemy's improvised explosive devices, car bombs and rocket propelled grenades?

The odds are 39% that it was your senator. That's right....

Read more here.

An Oldie But a Goodie...

I've seen this in several forms; Navy Seal, Marine. Different branch of service, religious topic or no, it doesn't really matter- it still makes me smile. This newest version was in my email today.

Two things Navy SEALS are always taught:

1) Keep your priorities in order

2) Know when to act without hesitation

A college professor, an avowed atheist and active in the ACLU, was teaching his class. He shocked several of his students when he flatly stated that once and for all he was going to prove there was no God.

Addressing the ceiling he shouted: "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes!!!!"

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by.

"I'm waiting God, if you're real knock me off this platform!!!!"

Again after 4 minutes, the professor taunted God saying,"Here I am God!!!! I'm still waiting!!!!"

His count down got down to the last couple of minutes when a SEAL, just released from the Navy after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and newly registered in the class, walked up to the Professor. The SEAL hit him full force in the face and sent the Professor tumbling from his lofty platform. The Professor was out cold. The students were stunned and shocked. They began to babble in confusion. The SEAL nonchalantly took his seat in the front row and sat silent. The class looked at him and fell silent......waiting. Eventually, the Professor came to and was noticeably shaken. He looked at the SEAL in the front row. When the Professor regained his senses and could speak he asked:"What the hell is the matter with you??? Why did you do that???"

The SEAL responded "God was really busy protecting America's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid s*** and act like a jerk...So.....he sent me!!"

Thanks, Mitzi :)

A Message to Our Heroes From a Friend Up North...

To whoever may get this,

I am a Canadian I have no one over there nor do I have anything to do with Iraq or any other mideast country. But I would like to say to you that are there you are real heroes you are doing it righteous and I thank you for that.

I hope you all keep well and always KEEP THE FAITH.

Thank you
Alberta, Canada


BLACKFIVE: "The Wounded Warrior Project (one of the best outfits out there) needs our help in supporting a legislative effort to care for our wounded defenders. Below is the alert from WWP:

Help Create Traumatic Injury Insurance for All Active Duty Service Members

On Thursday April 21st the United States Senate passed legislation yesterday creating Traumatic Injury Insurance that will issue active duty service members a payment ranging from $25, 000 to $100,000, should they incur a life altering injury while serving their nation. This legislation, known as the Wounded Warrior Bill, was introduced as an amendment to the Emergency Supplemental Funding Bill by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, at the urgent request of three injured soldiers from the Wounded Warrior Project. The Traumatic Injury Insurance will make an immediate payment to the service member and their family within days of sustaining their injury to support them during their hospitalization. Additionally, the legislation passed will make Craig�s measure retroactive to the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, which began in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001.

This payment will ensure that newly injured soldiers can concentrate more fully on their recovery and transition back into civilian life rather than on the financial hardship that their disability will have on them and their families.

The Emergency Supplemental bill must now go through Conference Committee, where differences between the House of Representatives and Senate versions of this bill will be reconciled. As this Traumatic Insurance Provision is only in the Senate version of the Legislation, we must make sure that it remains in the final version of the bill to be approved by both the House and Senate.


America - United We Stand

I have posted about this project a few times; as a reminder, here's some info:

Capturing the Stories

The goal of this phase of the book’s development is to create a channel for the purpose of gathering stories/essays from every corner of America, and our military personnel across the globe. Final editing and production will begin May 1, 2005, with the official release date scheduled for July 4th, 2005.

Invitation to troops:

The United States Military has been invited to participate in a publication entitled, America-- United We Stand. This book will be formatted in a coffee table, photo/narrative style that will share real stories of many Americans, both military and civilian, reflecting the values, heritage and unique spirit that have shaped America throughout its proud history. This book will celebrate those ideals, and why they continue to motivate us to stand up for justice and confront evil.

The producers of this book, along with your military leadership, welcome you to share your personal stories, and, in turn, look forward to sharing and celebrating these magnificent stories with our readers throughout the world. They also wish to state that the goal of this book is to avoid taking any political stand whatsoever. Labels such as “Conservative”, “Left”, “Right”, or “Politically Correct” are inappropriate here. We are, instead, proud Americans one and all who deeply love our country for all that it is, all that it represents, and all that it yet could be.

The editors will carefully review and select those stories that best portray our book’s central theme of appreciation for our country. These need not be “spectacular” stories of intense drama or notoriety, but rather, how the events and experiences of each individual story inspired each featured American to come to love his or her country even more.

Virtuserve, the publisher of America-United We Stand, has pledged to donate a portion of all sales of the book to both The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and The Fallen Hero Fund .We have included two sample stories, and we look forward to reviewing each and every story that is submitted for this project.

As stories are reviewed, one-on-one interviews may be requested, and will be facilitated through the proper command Each individual whose story is published will receive a personalized commemorative plaque compliments of the publisher, Virtuserve.

Civilians are also welcome to submit items for consideration. You can email submissions to

I've posted a few sample stories from this work - today's sample is written by yours truly. I penned this one last Halloween, while pondering my involvement with Soldiers' Angels, and my first adoptee.

I’m sitting in my driveway on what is an absolutely beautiful New England day, one of my favorite holidays, Halloween, packing up six boxes of goodies to send for TLC requests, after which I’ll start on TLC and Letter Writing Team letters and cards, and birthday cards, and I start reflecting, as I usually do in my marathon packing sessions, on this wonderful group that I’ve managed to get involved with. I started with one “official” Soldier, and like many, I’ve now got a few “unofficials” I correspond with, and I’m a gung-ho responder to TLC requests. There really aren’t words to describe the rewards I’ve found within my participation with Soldiers Angels. It’s made me a better American, a better person. For all the thanks I’ve gotten from my adoptee and the other Soldiers who have contacted me, I can’t help but feel that I’ve gotten as much out of this, if not more, than they have. My adoptee is a wonderful guy, a father and husband, a Staff Sergeant, a Soldier. And a friend. He’s become a part of my extended family, and I hope that he’ll stay in contact once he gets home. But even if he doesn’t, my life has been enriched by knowing him. And so, I’ve once again written a few words to explain how much this all means to me.

Things My Soldier Taught Me:

He taught me to speak up
This may come as a complete surprise to those of you who’ve had any contact with me on the Boards, via email, or in PM’s, but I used to be incredibly shy. In recent years, I’ve gotten better. Now I’m pretty much shameless. I regularly approach people to sign the message book I’m putting together for my Soldier. I thank Soldiers I see. Recently, I sent out a slew of letters requesting donations for Operation Santa. And I’ve had more than one discussion with people who felt the need to be anti-war, usually centering around anything anti-troop. I’ve learned to speak my mind without hesitation, to let them know exactly what I think of the brave men and women who serve this country, who protect people like me. I don’t mind folks being against the war, although I personally don’t share that point of view, but I cannot abide being anti-troop. I used to just shake my head and stay angry for a while, but not say much. Now, I make it known right away where I stand. My office boasts an Iraqi bill in an acrylic frame, sent to me by my Soldier. It boasts a picture of my Soldier and two of his comrades. My car has yellow ribbons, as does my motorcycle. My motorcycle also has a POW sticker, and one that says “In memory of all of those who did not return from Viet Nam.” And my yard has yellow ribbons, American flag ribbons, and an American flag. There’s an Army flag in the front window of my house. There’s a POW / MIA flag on my garage door. And I am rarely seen leaving my house without my 1st Cavalry Division baseball cap on.

He taught me gratitude:
I have always been supportive of our troops, no matter what they’re doing. I have always had an immense amount of respect for the people who put themselves in harm’s way so that I will never have to. But in my contact with the wonderful people serving in our Armed Forces, I have learned a further, immeasurable amount of gratitude. When my Soldier writes to me of the things he’s been doing, of the things he’s seen, I am stunned by the magnitude of what they all do. A few packages and letters can never express my thanks. But it’s something, I suppose, and right now it’s all I have. And I will continue to spend every spare moment I have trying to repay the debt I owe.

I appreciate more each day the gifts that life has given me. I have a roof over my head, food on my table, a wonderful husband, and live in a country where I can speak my mind, where I can vote, where I can leave my house without fear of persecution, and worship as I choose. And I have the ability to take all of that for granted if I choose, thanks to the men and women who have fought and died to give me that.

He taught me humility:
It is an amazingly humbling thing to realize what our service members do for us. Whenever I start to take myself too seriously, I think about what these brave people do in one day, and it just stuns me. I am proud of my accomplishments, but I also know what a real hero is.

He taught me perspective:
I’m Irish and Scottish, and well, I can have a bit of a temper. When my husband backed my car into something several months ago, the potential was there for a grade-A dressing down. Granted, I was angry. But I’d just gotten a letter the day before from my Soldier, talking about the things that had gone on with his unit. I was starting in on my tirade, when it hit me. I just looked at my husband and said, “You know what? I’m not happy about this. I’m pretty annoyed. But in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t that big a deal. You’re here with me, instead of in Iraq. And the car’s just a thing.” And that was it. Anger gone.

And three weeks ago, I was involved in what could have been a devastating car accident. I walked away, thanks to good old American engineering, an airbag, and a bit of luck. The car had a great deal of damage, and my husband was a little irritated that they didn’t total the car. Me? I said, “I could have been killed. I’m bruised, sore, but otherwise fine. Worst case scenario, I get my car repaired. The way I see it, I’m ok, the car’s just a car, and the rest of it’s just gravy.”

With every “bad day” I have, my reaction to it is tempered by the knowledge of what a bad day really is. A bad day is when a friend of yours is killed in action, or wounded. A bad day is a car bombing, an IED, a firefight. A bad day is getting shot at. Any day that you have a job, you have a family, you have a roof over your head, food on the table, and no one’s shooting at you, is NOT a bad day.

He taught me who I am:
I am a proud American. I believe in the values of our country, in our rights, in our freedoms. I am a caring person. I am a loving wife. I am honored to be called a friend by one of the finest people it has been my privilege to know; a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. I am funny. I am creative. I make Soldiers and Marines laugh in the middle of a bad day. I am thanked by people for whom I do not have the words to express enough gratitude. At the end of my life, I will be able to say that in some small way, I made a difference somewhere along the line.

I am a Soldiers’ Angel.

All excerpts posted here are the property of the publisher, and should not be reposted or redistributed without their consent.

Soldiers Deliver School Supplies


Schoolchildren in Eskan, Iraq, pose for a photo during a humanitarian relief effort, April 12, 2005. Multinational Corps-Iraq forces delivered school supplies, which included book bags, pens, pencils, beanie babies, and other items donated by organizations and individuals from all across the globe. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Reeves

A Multinational Corps-Iraq soldier guides a vehicle during a humanitarian relief effort in Eskan, Iraq, April 12, 2005, in which the soldiers delivered much-needed school supplies to children. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Reeves

Multinational Corps-Iraq soldiers deliver much-needed school supplies to children in Eskan, Iraq, as a humanitarian relief effort, April 12, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Reeves

Multinational Corps-Iraq soldiers deliver much-needed school supplies to children in Eskan, Iraq, as a humanitarian relief effort, April 12, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Reeves

A Multinational Corps-Iraq soldier delivers school supplies to children in Eskan, Iraq, as a humanitarian relief effort, April 12, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Reeves

Multinational Corps-Iraq soldiers deliver much-needed school supplies to children in Eskan, Iraq, as a humanitarian relief effort, April 12, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Reeves

Children in Eskan, Iraq, wait as soldiers deliver school supplies as a humanitarian relief effort, April 12, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Reeves

Multinational Corps-Iraq soldiers distribute much needed school supplies to children in Eskan, Iraq as a humanitarian relief effort, April 12, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Reeves

Children in Eskan, Iraq, look over the school supplies they received during a humanitarian relief effort, April 12, 2005, from the Multinational Corps-Iraq forces. Supplies included book bags, pens, pencils, beanie babies and other items which were donated by organizations and individuals from all across the globe. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Reeves

DEADLY GROUND — U.S. Army Sgt. William J. Hartman stands watch over a pit full of Iraqi mortar rounds waiting to be destroyed by a civilian explosive ordnance disposal team at the Akudar Ammunition Depot in central Iraq. Hartman is assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 112th Armored Regiment, 56th Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division. U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Tony Montez

In Today's News - Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Quote of the Day
Good soldiers never pass up a chance to eat or sleep. They never know how much they'll be called on to do before the next chance.
-- Lois McMaster Bujold Associated Press
Airbus A380 makes historic maiden flight
Thousands of Israelis pour into Gaza Strip
Putin due in Israel on historic visit
First lady appears on 'Tonight Show'
GOP weighing new concessions on ethics
Bush wants refineries at ex-defense bases

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Annan taps Dervis for development program
Annan searches for jurist in Hariri probe
Mubarak undecided about reelection plans
Annan lawyer defends exoneration claim
Thousands bid farewell to Ezer Weizman

US News: Iraq News
US and Iraqi troops report more than 130 militants detained in ...
Iraq bombing kills nine soldiers:
Iraqi government makeup still in dispute despite draftlist
Blair Rides Out Criticism on Iraq Stance: Polls
Draft Iraqi cabinet is completed
36-member Cabinet for Iraq proposed
Iraq leak threatens U.S.-Italy relations
Soldier asks military trial in death of Iraqi civilian
Event will honor troops' return from Iraq
Annan lawyer defends exoneration claim
Rumsfeld equivocates on Sanchez promotion
Iraqi kidnappers extend hostage deadline
Iraqi insurgents trying to gain chemical weapons: CIA
NBC News: Judge caught on tape encouraging Saudis to fight against Americans in Iraq.
Marines take stand in Iraq murder hearing

Ananova: War In Iraq
Terror suspects take fight to lords
Newspaper quarantined after suspicious white powder found
Bush on energy...Pentagon on Iraq attacks...The Senate on Social Security
Algerian convicted in millennium-eve plot to bomb L-A airport awaits sentencing

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Pressure Piles on Iraq to Name Cabinet
Iraqi PM Draws Up Govt List, Feuds Drag On
Pace of Insurgent Attacks in Iraq Rises
Kin Testify in Iraq Grenade Attack Trial
UN scandal probe chief says Annan not exonerated
Official: Zarqawi Eluded U.S. in Feb. Raid
U.S. Likely to Clear GIs in Iraq Shooting

Fox News
Zarqawi Laptop Dissected
Iraq Stalemate Goes On
Bush to Propose Refineries on Closed Military Bases
Millennium Bomb Plotter Ressam to Be Sentenced
GI Dies in Afghan Attack
Deadline For Bolton Review
China Bans Japan Protests
Anthrax Scare at Mich. Paper
Massive Gaza Protests
Putin Urges Mideast Peace Summit
Russian Fugitives Mar Putin Visit

Department of Defense
Rumsfeld Emphasizes Troops' Legacy — Story
Myers: Coalition 'Winning' Against Insurgents — Story
Nations Need Political Freedom to Grow — Story
Civic Leaders Get Close Look at Military
Rice Urges Continued Momentum in Iraq — Story

Texas Guard Soldiers Patrol Deadly Grounds — Story
Army Medics Bring Care to Remote Village — Story
Hawaii National Guard Secures Camp Victory — Story
U.S. Troops Forge Relationship With Iraqi Unit — Story
Cavalry Trains 'Defenders of the Green Zone' — Story

Anti-Terror Marines Keep Capabilities Sharp, Ready
Signal Soldiers Keep Aviation Unit Connected
Brigade Mechanics Keep Wheels Rolling
Renovations on Fallujah School Complete
Australians Teach Logistics to Iraqi Army
Seabees Build to Help Docs

U.S. Army Europe Commander Visits Troops
Team Effort Manages Bagram’s Busy Air Ops
Unit Assumes Afghan Border Province Duties
Reservists Keep Communications Connected
Soldiers Use Many Tools in Clearing Mines

USS Bonhomme Richard Completes Mission

Marine Leads Way 'Through Fire' — Story

Wounded, Families Get Free Tickets — Story
Videoconferencing Offered — Story
Grand Ole Opry Shows Support

Medal of Honor
Two Years in Iraq
'Gitmo' Detainee Camp

2 Soldiers Die; Raids Net Suspects
Dragnet Snags 18 Suspects
Tip Leads to Capture of Terrorists
Trained Iraqi Forces Top 155,000
Logisticians Tackle Tough Mission
Success in Iraq - DoD Fact Sheet
Year in Review 2004 Fact Sheets (pdf)
Iraq Daily Update
Iraq Reconstruction
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Afghans Seize Heroin Shipment
Boy Leads Troops to Weapons
Insurgents Hurt Innocent Civilians
Defense Leaders' Views on Afghanistan
Enduring Freedom Marks 3 Years
Afghanistan Daily Update
Afghan Reconstruction Group Recruiting

Detainee Transfer Announced
Chertoff: Vigilance Vital to Security
Special Ops to Increase Force
Canadian Defense Chief Visits
Bush Requests Budget Support
Coast Guard Confronts Threats
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

'Buckeye' Helps Detect Explosives
NTC Readies Guard Brigade for Iraq
Avengers 'Gun Up' for Iraq Duty
Bush Nominates Pace, Giambastiani
National Guard, Reserve Update

Sailors, Coast Guardsmen Honored
U.S. Remembers Desert One Heroes
Photos: Desert One Ceremony

Today in History
1296 - Edward I defeats the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar.
1565 - Spain establishes its first settlement in Philippines at Cebu City.
1773 - The British Parliament passes the Tea Act.
1746 - In the last battle fought on mainland England, the Duke of Cumberland (Hanoverian), Clan Campbell Highlanders, and Scots lowlanders defeat Bonnie Prince Charlie and Scots highlanders (Jacobites) in the Battle of Culloden. The clansman lose 1,250 dead, a similar number wounded; 558 taken prisoner. On the Hanoverian side, there are 52 dead and 259 wounded. In the aftermath, Cumberland earns the nickname "The Butcher" for ordering the execution of the wounded Jacobites on the field.
1813 - American forces capture York (present-day Toronto).
1861 - President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus.
1861 - West Virginia secedes from Virginia following Virginia's secession from the Union.
1863 - The Army of the Potomac marches on Chancellorsville.
1865 - The Sultana, a steam-powered riverboat, catches fire and burns after when a boiler explodes. More than 1200 of her 2,000+ passengers, mostly former Union POWs, are killed.
1897 - Grant's Tomb (of song & legend) is dedicated.
1909 - The Sultan of Turkey is overthrown.
1937 - German bombers devastate Guernica, Spain.
1941 - The Greek army surrenders to the invading Germans.
1950 - South Africa passes the Group Areas Act, formalizing segregation.
1961 - The United Kingdom grants independence to Sierra Leone.
1972 - North Vietnamese take Dong Ha, moving to within 2.5 miles of Quang Tri, using Russian-built tanks. South Vietnamese troops suffer their highest casualties for any week in the war.
1975 - North Vietnamese troops surround Saigon.
1978 - The Afghanistan revolution begins; President Sardar Mohammed Daoud is overthrown and murdered by procommunist rebels.
1989 - Protesting students take over Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

1737 - Edward Gibbon, historian ("The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire").
1791 - Samuel Morse, inventor of the code and the telegraph.
1822 - Ulysses S. Grant, Union general and 18th US President.
1927 - Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.