Keep Your Helmet On!

Be A Part of a Tribute to Fallen Heroes - Help Build the Fallen Soldiers' Bike
Help support the families of our deployed Heroes - Visit Soldiers' Angels' Operation Outreach
Help Our Heroes Help Others - Click Here to visit SOS: KIDS
Nominate your Hero for IWT's "Hero of the Month" - click here for details!
Search Iraq War Today only

Monday, August 01, 2005


Soldiers' Angel - Holly Aho
Holly's got her second podcast interview posted - with Patti Patton-Bader, founder of Soldiers' Angels. They discuss the origins of Soldiers' Angels, high and low moments, and a lot more.

Lots to see at ROFASix over the last couple of days:
NOTR's got the skinny on the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) - a lovely 1980's law, which automatically awards 50% of military retirement pay to a divorced spouse. Not the best idea from the start, in my opinion, it's rapidly showing itself to be in serious need of addressing. Pay close attention to the lack of awareness of the issue in the DoD; pretty disturbing. There's also a link to find out more about legal efforts to deal with the problem.

NOTR's also got some great pics here and here, and a little love note from our Heroes to Hanoi Jane.

Visit BlackFive for the details on how you can help wounded milblogger Captain Chuck Z from TC Override. Captain Z's been blogging a little lately, but he - and his family - have got a long road ahead.

Michael Yon - Battle for Mosul IV: Prelude

Michael Yon's latest is up...

Success or failure for the emerging Iraqi Government will depend on Iraqi Security Forces. The ISF must establish and maintain order along and within the borders of this country. By extension, the outcome of this war will rest on the ISF. Other crucial regional governments are subject to the hurricane force political winds blowing from Iraq. The global implications are potentially enormous. Even with these heavy words, there is danger of understatement: Success in Iraq is critical...

I have been watching the ISF coalesce in different areas of Iraq since the beginning of 2005, and am finally prepared to write about the progress and challenges we face on this front in Mosul. My time on the ground, gradually getting to know this place and the key players in this drama--an epic if ever there was one--has provided context for exploring these questions.The dispatch, which will be titled Battle of Mosul IV, will contain not so much conclusions as findings offered for consideration. To create the same context for reading these observations, I encourage people to read--or re-visit--the previous installments in the Battle of Mosul series of dispatches. During this week, I will post these dispatches in order; I, II, and III, along with brief updates and concise summaries about the present week’s activities.

Go and refresh your memory on the story of Mosul; the Battle of Mosul IV comes next week.

At Work In...

The U.S. Army...
BACK BLAST—U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Gary R. Nichols fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon at an old tank during training near Camp Bucca, Iraq, July 18, 2005. Nichols and his fellow Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) are operating from Camp Bucca, conducting various force protection missions. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Eric R. Martin

The U.S. Navy...
Norfolk, VA. (July 31, 2005) - Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) depart the ship to meet friends and family during homecoming celebrations at Pier 14 on board Naval Station Norfolk. USS Carl Vinson is completing a deployment to the Persian Gulf and a homeport shift from Naval Station Bremerton, at Naval Base Kitsap, Wash., to Norfolk, Va., where she is scheduled to undergo a 36-month Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at the Northrop Grumman Newport News Ship Yard. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Christopher Okula

The U.S. Air Force...
Rounds - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- Airmen 1st Class Sarah Oliver, left, Phillip Coswell, back left and Joseph Oliver, process 20 mm rounds for an F-16 Fighting Falcon. They are all munitions system journeyman assigned to the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron. All three are deployed from Aviano Air Base, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tim Beckham)

The U.S. Marine Corps...
FALLUJAH, Iraq – Cpl. Alex Rangel, 3rd squad leader, 1st Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, provides security while patrolling the city streets July 24. The 22-year-old Middleton, Id. native has been deployed to Iraq’s Al Anbar province for several months, where he and fellow Marines assist the Iraqi Security Forces provide security and stability to the country’s people. Photo submitted 07/30/2005 Taken by Cpl. Mike Escobar

The U.S. Coast Guard
KODIAK, Alaska (July 27, 2005)--Boat salvage crews standby as a local diver seals the submerged Sylvia Star's fuel vents. The fishing vessel Sylvia Star sank at 4:29 p.m. Tuesday near Akhiok, and the four passengers onboard safely boarded a zodiac and traveled to a nearby beach. The owner of the Sylvia Star plans to attempt refloating the fishing boat. USCG photo by Petty Officer Daniel Jarrett.

Lessons from Tet

Well, here it is, as promised – my hubby’s first stab at blogging. For a little background on the hubster, he’s the son of a Vietnam War U.S. Army Special Forces vet (3 ½ tours – HOOOAAAHHH, Dad!), and a gung-ho partner in the "Soldier-Shopping" forays for my Soldiers’ Angels adoptees.

The Tet Offensive, which began on January 30th, 1968, was a turning point in the war in Vietnam. The offensive itself was a disaster for the Viet Cong and NVA. From the start, the coordination of the attack was thrown off by a calendar change five months earlier. That, coupled with a lack of expected civilian uprisings against the American and South Vietnamese forces, crippled the effectiveness of the attack. The nineteen-person force that attacked the embassy in Saigon, so widely publicized, actually never posed a real threat, and never breached anything but the outer wall, where they died. However, thanks to gross misrepresentation by the U.S. media, the American people, as well as President Johnson, believed Tet to be a major blow to the American ability to win the war. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m a numbers man, and the numbers point out the absolute defeat of the attacking Tet Offensive forces better than anything:

The U.S., Korea, and Australia, combined, lost about 1,500 KIA, with about 7,800 wounded. The NVA and VC lost 45,000 KIA, with 60,000 wounded. 6,000 were captured.

In addition, many of their “secret cells” were ordered to rise up, and were eliminated.

That’s not how it played out in the U.S. media:

“…the mainstream U.S. media depicted Tet as a severe defeat for the United States and as the beginning of an endless quagmire for American forces. That became the conventional wisdom of both the media and political elites. And as a result, the North Vietnamese eventually triumphed on the only battlefield where the United States could be defeated — the American home front.” (John O’Sullivan, N.R. Online)

The resulting fallout from the press coverage provides important insight into the power of the media: it can effect the outcome of war.

And the U.S. media is doing the same thing today that it did back then. More and more they are selecting only the negative aspects of the present war to bombard us with.

Every time an American or Iraqi is wounded or killed, it is plastered all over the media, while counter-attacks and successes are underreported or completely ignored.

The media would have us believe that we are there solely with the support of Great Britain. In fact, at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, there were forty-nine coalition members. As of March, 2005, there were seventy-two. Twenty-five nations had troops in Iraq as of that date.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

* Average crude oil production is now 2.4 million barrels per day, up from 1.8 mb/d before the war.

* Iraq is now producing 50 percent of its crude oil requirements, up from zero before the war.

* Iraq’s national power grid is now producing 40 percent more electricity than before the war, and the power is better distributed. Most Iraqi citizens now have 16-18 hours of electricity per day, and the system is more stable, with very few blackouts. Corps and CPA goal is to have the power system producing at least 6,000 megawatts per day.

* Corps has built 600 kilometers of electrical transmission lines.

And according to the DoD

“Under the Gulf Region Division’s supervision, more than 1,500 reconstruction projects are under way throughout Iraq, with another 650 already completed, Kosich said. Ultimately, the Army Corps of Engineers expects to oversee a projected 2,900 projects -- a “phenomenal increase” over late June, when contractors were “turning dirt” on just 200 projects, he said.
Projects range from large infrastructure projects -- power plants and wastewater and water treatment facilities, and oil projects, for example -- and small-scale projects such as street repairs, new or improved health clinics, schools, and police and fire stations….”

“… In Baghdad’s Al Ameen district, a new $2.7 million sewage and wastewater project replaces open trenches and malfunctioning lagoons and moves sanitary waste from the neighborhood...”

“… More than 170,000 Iraqis are employed in reconstruction jobs…”

These are just a few examples of the types of stories that the media could be covering, but isn’t. Once again, we’re at a point where the media is threatening to undermine the entirety of U.S. military efforts, and turn the American people against both the government and U.S. troops.

Vietnam veterans returning from the war were spit on and pelted with garbage and feces because people bought into the machinations of the liberal media. Today, that pervasive anti-Americanism is alive and well. The enemy is using the reports from our own media to bolster their efforts and morale. Put simply, all of the efforts of the coalition forces can be undermined by the regurgitated bullsh*t put out by the U.S. media if we let it happen. We need to keep the positive information in the public eye, and diligently support the efforts of the troops.

We need to prevent history from repeating itself.

-- Brian

Gotta Love this Picture

by Spc. David J. Nunn
July 29, 2005
Soldiers from the 42nd Infantry Division slow down for the ducks while patrolling Mosul, Iraq.

If All the Iraqis Hate Us....

...then how do we get stories like this:

"Sheik Horn floats around the room in white robe and headdress, exchanging pleasantries with dozens of village leaders. But he's the only sheik with blonde streaks in his mustache - and the only one who attended country music star Toby Keith's recent concert in Baghdad with fellow U.S. soldiers..."

"...he pressed for development projects in the area: he now boasts that he helped funnel $136,000 worth of aid into the area. Part of that paid for delivery of clean water to 30 villages during the broiling summer months.
'They saw that we were interested in them, instead of just taking care of the bases,' Horn said."

"Mohammed, Horn's mentor and known for his dry sense of humor, eventually suggested during a meeting of village leaders that Horn be named a sheik. The sheiks approved by voice vote..."

Kind of odd to have a story like this come out of a "quagmire," isn't it? Nice to see that there's at least one reporter who can put out a positive story...sadly, a distinct minority.

Be sure to read the rest here:
Iraq citizens deem U.S. soldier as sheik - Associated Press
A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot and crew fly on a patrol over Mosul, Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. Suzanne Day.

In Today's News - Monday, August 1, 2005

Quote of the Day
"You have a right to be proud of more than just American fighting men, you can be proud of America. In spite of some of our ills which are too quickly and too frequently pointed out, we are the greatest nation on earth. Be proud and help to build an even greater country."

-- former POW and Brigadier General Kenneth W. North (USAF, Ret.)

News of Note
Saudi Arabia's King Fahd Dies
Profile: King Fahd
Timeline: King Fahd
London Bombings
U.K. Cops Probe Saudi Terror Link
Britain Grills Terror Suspects
U.K.'s top cop blasts ABC over leaked bomb photos
UK seeks return of London bomb suspect from Italy

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraqi Constitution Committee Head: We Can Meet Deadline
Soldier in Iraq Records Country Music Hit
U.S. relies on local leaders in rural Iraq
Official: Saddam trial to start in Oct.

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Finger points to British intelligence as al-Qaeda websites are wiped out

Fox News
Spacewalk Under Way
Video: NASA TV
Atkins Files Chapter 11
Iran May Restart Nuke Plant
Dems: Bolton 'Not Believable'
Sudanese VP Dies in Crash
Cops Covered Up Priest Sex Abuse, Ohio Paper Says
Bush Prays for Scout Leaders
Pataki: No 'Morning-After' Bill
Israel Warns Against Terror Attacks During Pullout

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Israel to use sand bullets during riots
A look at Fahd's 1981 Mideast peace plan
Some facts about Saudi Arabia's King Fahd
Iran arrests human-rights lawyer
Lebanese premier holds talks in Syria
Analyst: Egypt takes hard line before vote
Report: Plane with Sudan VP lands safely
Official: Saddam trial to start in Oct.
Iraq citizens deem U.S. soldier as sheik
Settlers ask Israel to buy their houses
Five GIs killed by roadside bombs in Iraq
Israel threatens massive ground operation
Iraq constitution draft expected by 8/15
Reuters: Top News
Iran to resume nuclear work in defiance of EU
U.S. would oppose 'people power' against Arroyo
Bush gives pep talk to disaster-hit Scout jamboree
Riot in Khartoum after Garang death
UN nominee derided by Democrats as 'damaged goods'
Bush victories delay lame-duck status

CENTCOM: News Releases

Department of Defense
Iraqi Security Adviser Describes Progress — Story

Engineer Summit Focuses on Reconstruction — Story
Assessment Looks at Kharkh Water Treatment Plant

U.S. Army Strykers Return to Combat Zones
Georgia Military Cadets, Alumni Serve in Iraq
Soldiers Provide Food to Kindi Residents
Flightline Marines Keep Helicopters Ready
Training, Hydration Help Troops Cope With Heat

Team Helps Overcome Platelet Shortage

Teen Continues Beanie Baby Drive — Story

Five Soldiers Killed, Search Goes On
Iraqi Army Shows More Progress
Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Iraq Progress Fact Sheet (pdf)
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Afghanistan Daily Update
Afghan Reconstruction Group Recruiting

Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

U.S. to Return 11 Bases to Germany
National Guard, Reserve Update

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


Today in History
1291 - The Everlasting League forms; it is the basis of Swiss Confederation (National Day).
1619 - The first Black Americans (twenty of them) arrive in Jamestown, VA.
1789 - U.S. Customs begins enforcing the Tariff Act.
1790 - The first U.S. census lists the population at 3,939,214.
1794 - The Whiskey Rebellion begins.
1798 - Battle of the Nile.
1831 - London Bridge opens.
1834 - Slavery is abolished in the British empire.
1838 - British slaves in the Bahamas are emancipated.
1861 - Brazil recognizes the Confederacy.
1863 - Cavalry units engage near Brandy Station at the end of the Gettysburg campaign.
1867 - Blacks vote for the first time in a state election in the South (Tennessee).
1873 - The first San Francisco cable car begins service.
1876 - Colorado becomes the 38th U.S. state.
1881 - A U.S. Quarantine Station authorized for Angel Island, San Francisco Bay.
1901 - Burial within the San Francisco city limits is prohibited.
1914 - Germany declares war on Russia.
1936 - Adolph Hitler opens the Olympic Games in Berlin.
1950 - Curt Simmons is the first Major League baseball player to fight in Korea; The Territory of Guam is created.
1953 - Northern Rhodesia becomes part of the Federation of Rhodesia/Nyasaland
1955 - Microgravity research begins.
1957 - In Albuquerque, NM, the first commercial solar-heated building opens; Glen Gorbous throws a baseball a record 445 feet, 10 inches.
1958 - First Class postage is raised to $0.04 (it had been $0.03 for the last 26 years).
1960 - Benin (Dahomey) gains independence from France.
1961 - The new San Francisco Hall of Justice opens.
1972 - The first article exposing Watergate hits the press (Bernstein-Woodward).
1975 - The Helsinki Pact is signed by 35 nations.
1990 - Iraq pulls out of talks with Kuwait

10 BC
- Claudius 4th Roman emperor (41-54 AD)
126 - Publius Helvius Pertinax Roman emperor (193 AD)
1744 - Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, believed in inheritance of acquired traits
1770 - William Clark, 2nd Lt. of Lewis and Clark Expedition
1779 - Francis Scott Key, composer (Star-Spangled Banner)
1819 - Herman Melville, author (Moby Dick, Billy Budd)
1889 - Dr. John F. Mahoney, developed pencillin treatment of syphillis
1933 - Dom DeLuise, comedian, actor (Cannonball Run)
1936 - Yves Saint-Laurent, fashion designer (Opium, Obsession)
1937 - Alfonse D'Amato, (Sen-NY)
1944 - Yuri V. Romanenko, cosmonaut (Soyuz 26, Soyuz 38, Soyuz TM-2)
1946 - Richard O. Covey, USAF/astronaut (STS 51I, 26, 38)

1882 - Henry Kendall Australian poet, dies of tuberculosis at 43
1988 - John Cardinal Dearden US cardinal, dies at 80

Reported Missing in Action
Finney, Arthur Thomas, USAF (FL); F104 shot down, remains returned August, 1985
Kwortnik, John Charles, USAF (PA); F104 shot down (pilot), remains returned August, 1985
North, Kenneth W., USAF (NY); F105D shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Brigadier General as of 1996, alive as of 1998

Prewitt, William Roland, USMC (LA); KIA, body not recovered
Winston, Charles C. III, USAF (NY); RF101 shot down, remains returned by SRV September, 1977

Kernan, William (WA); not on official DIA list - remains returned?
Broms, Edward J., USN (PA); A4C shot down, likely KIA
Fowler, Donald R., US Army (GA); UH1C shot down (gunner)
Fernan, William, US Army (WA); UH1C shot down (WO, aircraft commander); casualty file states body recovered, remains returned August, 1971
Hastings, Steven M., US Army (CA); UH1C shot down (crewchief)
Ross, Joseph S., USAF (KY); F4D shot down
Russel, Peter J., US Army (NY); UH1C shot down (pilot); Vietnamese doctor states died on or before Thanksgiving, 1968
Thompson, William J., USAF (TX); F4D shot down

Burd, Douglas G., USAF (VA); F4E shot down (backseater); KIA, body not recovered
Callies, Tommy L, USAF (SD); F4E shot down (pilot); KIA, body not recovered