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Monday, August 15, 2005

Caribbean Sea (Aug. 11, 2005) - A Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) stands by as an MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron One Five (HM-15), tows a MK-105 Magnetic Influence Minesweeping System near the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), off the coast of Panama as part of PANAMAX 2005. PANAMAX is a training exercise in defense of the Panama Canal involving 15 countries. The Panama Canal is critical to the free flow of trade and goods in the Western Hemisphere and the entire world. The region's economy and stability largely depend on the safe transport of several hundred million tons of cargo that transit through the canal every year. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Jeremy L. Grisham

Serve Those Who Served - Project Valour-IT

Project Valour-IT is a noble enough cause on its own, but if you look at the number of bloggers involved now, it also becomes something else - it's really an unprecedented joint effort to get much needed technology to our wounded heroes - to try to give something back to those who give so much for all of us.

Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss was the inspiration for Valour-IT. In addition to being a Hero, the Captain is also a
milblogger, known to many in the blogosphere. And in June, Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss was wounded by an IED. He is currently in Walter Reed. Like so many of our wounded, the Captain and his family are facing a long road of surgeries, ups and downs, expenses, struggles, and hurdles. They're gamely facing it all.

Captain Z inquired about
voice-activated software to assist him with using a computer, as injuries to his hands make conventional computer use almost impossible. It was an idea that Soldiers' Angels has worked with before for some of our wounded, and they immediately stepped in to help. Captain Z has his software, and is blogging again.

But it didn't stop there. Captain Z provided the inspiration to get the work from the one soldier at a time stage to an ongoing project, and a mission. Project Valour-IT was born, and is in memory of Captain Z's father,
SFC William Ziegenfuss. So many of our wounded heroes could be given new opportunities, new hope, with this technology. But it ain't cheap.

Enter the bloggers. A number of bloggers, after finding out about Project Valour-IT, posted about it. A number of readers responded, helping with donations. But this project requires significant funding, and more is needed.

The three-phase project is going to require approximately $600,000. Each fully equipped laptop costs about $625 (plus shipping), thanks to generously provided software donations and retailer discounts.

For details on the full project, you can visit the Valour-IT page
here. In addition, the project has a blog, located here. You can read Castle Argghhh's posting of the Operation Order here.

If every person who visited this blog donated one dollar, we would buy two fully equipped computers. If everyone donated five dollars, we would buy ten computers. Ten dollars, and we've bought twenty. You get the idea.

So I'm issuing a challenge to my readers - if you visit this blog, and you like what you see, please donate to Project Valour-IT. If you don't like what you see, but you support our heroes, please donate to Project Valour-IT.

If you're a blogger, please help get the word out. Put up a post about Project Valour-IT and join the
roster of bloggers in this effort.

And if you can't donate funds, and don't have a blog, but you can assist with software, media connections, can send a
press release to your local media, or can offer other support, please let us know.

Here are just some of the current
volunteer needs for the Project:

Public Relations Support: We need guidance and advice on writing press releases, contacting local media, and generally increasing project visibility.

Written Materials: We need to create "executive summary"-style handouts, mostly condensing the contents of the project website (for use in presentations, info requests from corporations, etc.).

Graphics Design & General Artwork 1: We need to develop an eye-catching flyer/poster for display at businesses, churches, etc.

Graphics Design & General Artwork 2: We need samples of suggested Fusileer and general Project logos for everything from letterhead to mousepads and T-shirts.

Tech Support: We're gearing up for Bethesda. We have a coordinator onsite, but we need tech-savvy volunteers to help set up the computers and teach people how to use them.

Secretarial: FbL needs some help keeping track of contact information for suppliers, volunteers, etc.

The first three listed above are high-priority needs. If you can't help, see if you know someone else who can.
--FbL, Captain of the Fusileers

If you have donated to the Project, please consider sending me an email so that I can say thanks, and I'll try to keep track of how many computers we are able to buy together. As a Soldiers' Angel, a blogger, and a proud American, thank you for any assistance you are able to put forward. Thank you for supporting our Heroes.

UPDATE: Thanks to American Dinosaur for the post - and the donation. Thanks for helping Project Valour-IT, and our wounded heroes.
Sgt. Christopher Gonzalez, from 3rd Brigade Troop Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, loads radio frequencies into the communications system of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle, prior to a mission in Baqubah, Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. Suzanne Day.

In Today's News - Monday, August 15, 2005

Quote of the Day
"There is no possible negotiation with these killers. Our aim is to win over terrorism. Only by being firm we can stop terrorism. We must be firm fighting the terrorists and opposing the final aims they want to achieve."
-- José María Aznar López, former Prime Minister of Spain

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraqi Constitution Draft Due
Survey: Iraqis support women's rights
Mass grave found near Baghdad, forces say
Al-Sadr aides say Shiite cleric freed
U.S.: Iraq facility could have made bombs
Wanted Al Qaeda Member Killed in Iraq

Operation Enduring Freedom
U.S., Afghan Security Forces Battle Insurgents

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Egypt Blast Wounds Two
D.C. Hoax Bomb Destroyed

News of the Weird
Mailman Bitten by Barking Man

Other News of Note
The Chinese Connection
Japan's Koizumi apologizes for war wounds

Fox News
Cypriot Jet Black Boxes Sent to France for Analysis
Aceh Peace Deal Signed
DeLay Blasts Court Activism at Evangelical Christian Rally
Environmentalists Slam Roberts
Gunshot Causes Chaos at Protest Outside Bush Ranch
Neighbor Suffers Protest Fatigue
Gaza Settlers Confront Soldiers
American Jews Pray for Settlers
Hamas Vows to Continue Fight
Timeline: Israel's Gaza Settlements
Video: Historic Withdrawal
Photo Essay: Gaza on the Brink

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Lawmakers warn against troop decreases
Iran seeks talks with Europe on uranium
Pakistan's leaders vow to defeat terrorism
soldiers killed in Iraq bombings
What's next for Iraq's government
Fight expected at hard-line Gaza outpost
Iran says it won't stop uranium conversion
Some of Iran's new top Cabinet ministers
Ahmadinejad fills Cabinet with hard-liners
U.N. Hariri investigator seeks more time
List of Iranian Cabinet ministers
Israeli soldiers said hurt in Gaza mishap

Reuters: Top News
Israel launches Gaza pullout, settlers defiant
Cyprus plane crash victims "frozen solid"
Larijani takes over as Iranian atomic negotiator
US lawmakers call for more American troops in Iraq
Bush intent on change as Social Security turns 70

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Iraq, Gaza withdrawal on agenda as Jordan's King Abdullah II visits Russia
US steps in to end Iraq deadlock

CENTCOM: News Release

Department of Defense
Iraqis 'Optimistic' They Will Meet Deadline — Story
Bush: Iraqis 'Are Taking Control' of Their Nation
Chemical Site Samples Analyzed Further — Story
Raid Yields Possible Chem Production Facility Photos

797th Ordnance Company Returns From Iraq

Fund Helps Children, Spouses — Story


IEDs Kill 5 U.S. Soldiers, Injure 5
Iraqi Soldiers Detain Suspects
Mishap Hurts 2; Terrorist Stopped
Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Iraq Progress Fact Sheet (pdf)
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Afghanistan Daily Update

Army Speeds Technology to Troops
Program Offers Terror Fight Tools
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Alabama Depot Weighs in on Fight
Up-Armor Work Saved Lives
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
1057 - Macbeth, King of Scotland, is slain by the son of King Duncan.
1519 - Panama City is founded.
1620 - The Mayflower sets sail from Southampton with 102 Pilgrims.
1748 - The United Lutheran Church of the U.S. is organized.
1858 - Regular mail wervice to the Pacific coast begins.
1863 - The Submarine HL Hunley arrives in Charleston on railroad cars.
1864 - The CSS Tallahassee captures six Yankee schooners off the coast of New England.
1870 - The Transcontinental Railway is completed.
1893 - The U.S.'s exclusive rights end in the Bering Sea.
1901 - 30 tons of nitro destroy Arch Rock, seen as a danger to San Francisco Bay shipping.
1914 - The Panama Canal opens.
1918 - "The Sinking of the Lusitania" - the first full length cartoon - debuts; the U.S. and Russia sever diplomatic ties.
1945 - South Korea is liberated from Japanese rule; U.S. wartime gasoline and oil rationing ends.
1947 - India becomes independent, with its Islamic area becoming Pakistan.
1948 - Republic of Korea (South Korea) proclaimed (National Day)
1957 - USAF Capt Joe B Jordan reaches 31,513 m in F-104 jet fighter
1960 - The Congo (Brazzaville) gains independence from France ; a UFO is sighted by three California patrolmen
1970 - Patricia Palinkas becomes the first female professional football player (Orlando).
1971 - Bahrain gains independence from Britain.
1974 - South Korean President Park Chung-Hee escapes assassination.
1978 - The House of Representatives approves a 39-month extension for the ERA.
1979 - Andrew Young resigns as ambassador to the U.N.
1986 - President Reagan decides to support a replacement for the Challenger Space Shuttle.

1688 - King Frederick-William I of Prussia (1713-1740)
1769 - Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor (1804-13, 1814-15), resident of Elba
1888 - T.E. Lawrence Tremadoc (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia), soldier/writer
1892 - Louis-Victor due de Broglie, physicist, Nobel Prize winner (1929)
1947 - Manley Lanier "Sonny" Carter, Jr., USN/astronaut (STS 33)
1950 - Princess Anne of England

1935 - Wiley Post & Will Rogers killed in plane crash in Alaska
1975 - Sheikh Mujibur Rahiman of Bangladesh killed in a military coup
1991 - Marietta Tree (UN Comm of Human Rights), dies at 74

Reported Missing in Action
Hicks, Terrin D., USAF (MD); RF4C shot down (pilot), reported Killed
Shanahan, Joseph F., USAF (IA); RF4C shot down (navigator) released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel - alive as of 1998

Becker, James C., US Army (TX); UH1H shot down during extraction mission (pilot); KIA, body not recovered
Schmidt, Peter A., US Army (WI); UH1H shot down during extraction mission (door gunner); KIA, body not recovered