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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sadly, Soldiers' Angels is mourning three more members of our extended family.

Sgt. Thomas J. Strickland, 27, of Douglasville, GA, Spc. Joshua P. Dingler, 19, of Hiram, GA, and Sgt. Paul A. Saylor, 21, of Norcross, GA, were all killed yesterday in a
vehicle accident in Al Mahmudiyah, Iraq.

All served in the 1st Battalion, 108th Armor Regiment of the Army National Guard, based out of Calhoun, Georgia.

Please keep their families, friends, brothers-in-arms, and Angels in your thoughts and prayers.

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end they remain.
-- Laurence Binyon

Helmets to Hardhats

Helmets to Hardhats is an organization that helps Heroes transitioning out of the military into civilian careers by helping to connect them with employment in the building and construction fields. Career opportunities range from manual positions like
carpenters, electricians, and plumbers to non-manual positions such as project managers, civil engineers and administrators.

At their website, prospective members fill out profile information, which will assist in locating opportunities for them. All fifteen Building and Construction Trades organizations are participating - Helmets to Hardhats represents a connection to more than 80,000 employers!

The U.S. Army administers the funding for the organization, and it's a not-for-profit trust. It's a building trades initiative administered by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment, and Veterans Employment.

Below is a recent press release:

June 1, 2005

Helmets to Hardhats Begins Third Year with Great Success

It seems like everywhere we look, tributes are being made to the men and women who have served our country. We saw it at the super bowl, we see it in the daily news and we see it on the wrists of people that pass us by on the street. Thousands of our troops are still fighting in Iraq and others have returned home to take the next step in their civilian lives and careers.

Helmets to Hardhats is a national program that was started in 2002 that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with quality career training and employment opportunities within the construction industry. The program is administered by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment, and Veterans Employment and headquartered in Carlsbad, Calif. Direction for management of the center comes from a board of trustees comprised of equal numbers of employer and labor trustees.

The program has experienced tremendous success in a short amount of time as evidenced in our metrics, success stories and positive public relations. Through the proactive support and registrations of the building and construction trade unions, quality employers and JATCs, we now have over 45,000 careers listed on our website and have referred 21,161 candidates into careers.

Everyday calls, letters and emails pour into the Helmets to Hardhats headquarters from candidates that have been placed in a career through the program with their thanks and appreciation for what has been done for them. There is unbelievable emotion in the things that they tell us.

Here is what one candidate had to say.

“My name is Kurt Stumpf and I wanted to thank you for this wonderful program for veterans. I am a bricklayer from Indianapolis, local 4 and I have been deployed recently to fight in the war. I have been able to utilize the training that I received in the union. My primary job here is masonry and I have been able to help train and work next to the local people here. The members in my unit respect the knowledge I have learned in the union and have shown a desire to join a union when they return home. I am so proud of you guys for giving my brothers in uniform a chance to better their lives. I've shed a tear for that and thank you for this grand opportunity you have given to all veterans. I've never felt more proud about being a union worker than I do now.”

You can also read about them at Soldiers Online, and we're happy to list them in the links at right.

Go and check out their site at:

My Hero...

These pictures were taken on May 2005. This was during the last moments spent with our soldiers before they departed to Iraq.

My Husband SPC Clyde L. H------- is with the 4th Alabama - 167th Infantry unit out of Pelham Alabama, but are currently attached to the Georgia Army National Guard 48th Brigade.

These are pictures of my family.... My Hero, our son, and me... a very proud wife.

Feel free to use which ever pictures you like. Thanks. -Viridiana

Thanks for sending the great photos Viridiana (that last one is my favorite)! Our best to you and your son, both heroes as well. Clyde, keep your helmet on, and stay safe. Thank you for everything you do.


A gift of 100 ukuleles brings a touch of aloha spirit to 29th Brigade Combat Team members in Iraq
By Gregg K. Kakesako

One hundred ukuleles are strumming up smiles from Southern California to Iraq, where soldiers of Hawaii's 29th Brigade Combat Team are sharing their love of the instrument.

It started out as a simple idea of Anita Coyoli-Cullen, blossomed under Shirley Orlando, and then the aloha spirit just exploded.

"I wanted to send ukuleles to the troops in Iraq," Coyoli-Cullen of Huntington Beach, Calif., said in a phone interview, "and a bit of aloha because I know having a daughter stationed (there) what it means to get a touch of aloha from home."

Then Coyoli-Cullen contacted Orlando, the owner of a shop specializing in Hawaiian paraphernalia. In May, Orlando donated six ukuleles and song books to the 29th Support Battalion stationed at Anaconda, 50 miles north of Balad.

"I just sent them six on a lark," Orlando said, "and the lark kind of exploded."

The shop is also the home of two ukulele groups -- the Kolohe Ukulele Players and Ukulele Jam. When the Kolohe Ukulele Players learned of Orlando's donation, they in turn donated $600, which was enough to send an additional 30 ukuleles and songbooks to Hawaii's citizen soldiers. So far, 100 ukuleles have made the trip to other units in the brigade.

Lt. Col. Norman Saito, commander of the 29th Support Battalion, wrote earlier this month to Orlando and Coyoli-Cullen: "You have brought joy to all of us, and all of us are determined to learn and play the ukulele of memorable songs of Hawaii that brings our heart and souls close to home from a far away place in Iraq. Well, if anything, I think we made history here in Iraq. Your love and support to us has brought about the goodwill and brotherhood we share with the Iraqi people here at LSA (Logistical Support Area) Anaconda, Iraq through our love of music played by the simple strings and wooden ukulele instrument."

"I read about the Hawaii Army National Guard's deployment in a magazine edited by Mel Ozeki," said Coyoli-Cullen, whose husband, Stephen, is a 1972 McKinley High School graduate who had been an active supporter of her daughter, Diane Gilliam, when she was stationed in Afghanistan in 2003.

Ozeki, a retired Hawaii Army National officer who lives in Las Vegas, edits a magazine called "Ohana," which specializes in stories about Hawaii residents living in California and Nevada. Ozeki put Coyoli-Cullen in touch with Carrie Takenaka, who heads the 29th Brigade Combat Team's family support group.

Saito wrote to Orlando: "Believe me, upon receiving this, our troops gathered around the postal room and opened it to much surprise and a lot of smiles!. As you know the ukulele is so much a part of our lives and culture in Hawaii, as it bonds people together no matter where they are from to join in the fun of singing and dancing. We've been mobilized since August of last year and have been in this theater since the end of January of this year and the months and days have been very long and tiring.

"You have given us the gift of love that gives us the perseverance we need for the months ahead as we continue our mission in Iraq. Our soldiers are not strangers to this instrument, but rather talented music entertainers who've learned how to play the ukulele from their 'Ohana' (families), and our 'Tutus' (elders)."

Saito noted that Sgt. Brandon Kumalae wanted to get back to his roots but never got a chance to play until now: "He was always been a spectator among his friends who sat beside them and just sang along. He is serious about playing the ukulele now, and told us that his grandfather's uncle whose name is Kumalae made ukuleles too, many years ago. He too decided to buy his own ukulele, and went on the Internet to find the Kumalae ukuleles that are no longer available on the market today."

On Wednesday Coyoli-Cullen also got an e-mail from Kumalae, who thanked her for giving him the chance to learn to play the ukulele: "It wouldn't have been possible without your folks' donation."

Coyoli-Cullen also found that Saito attended McKinley and graduated a year before her husband. "It's such a small world," she added.

Orlando, who has run Island Bazaar for the past three years, has never been to Hawaii.
"I've always loved Hawaiian music along with Beach Boys when I was growing up," said Orlando, who has never visited the islands. "I play the guitar and ukulele."

Orlando said she remembered that when her brother was in Vietnam "what kept him going was playing a guitar. It took him away from the ugliness of the war."

So far Orlando has sent nearly 100 ukuleles to soldiers of the brigade's 29th Support Battalion; 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry; and the 227th Engineer Company stationed at Balad and in Kuwait.

"We have another box of 20 which are waiting to be delivered," Orlando said.

If you would like to help with this effort, you can email Anita. And while you're at it, why not order a bracelet or two to help support the VFW?

For more information, contact:
Anita Coyoli-Cullen
Blue Star Mom of Orange County
Silver Star Families Of America
Proud Army Mom of Diane Gilliam
Survivor of Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan

Senior Vice President of the Santa Ana Post 10694
Ladies' Auxiliary of the VFW
CORDON AND SEARCH PROCEDURES — Iraqi soldiers from the 2nd Iraqi Army Brigade train on cordon and search procedures at the Diyala Regional Training Facility on Forward Operating Base Normandy, Iraq, Aug. 4, 2005. The soldiers are being trained by Iraqi noncommissioned officers in operations such as cordon and search, where they learn how to storm and secure an area, detain prisoners and seize contraband. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Suzanne M. Day

In Today's News - Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Quote of the Day
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
-- Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghan Chopper Crash Kills 17 Spanish Troops

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Italy Nabs 141 in Terror Raids
Egypt court hears resort blasts testimony
Egypt explosion injures two Canadians

U.N. Follies
U.N. Orders Internal Probe

Fox News
Iraqi Pols Split on Key Issues
U.S. Officials Downplay Delay
Video: U.S. Ambassador
Cockpit Voice Recorder Lost in Cypriot Jet Crash
Bush Ranch Protester's Husband Wants a Divorce
More Roberts Docs Released
Scuffles at Gaza Flashpoint
At least 50 resisters arrested
Arabs, Israelis Hold Peace Reunion
Envoy: End 'Israel Bashing' at U.N.
Raw Data: Sharon on the Pullout

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Officials: Iraq constitution undecided
Background to Gaza withdrawal plan
Israeli soldiers mark first day of pullout
Emotions run high in Gaza's evacuation
Abbas sets date for legislative elections

Reuters: Top News
Israeli forces, protesters clash in Gaza settlement
Failure to meet constitution date worries Iraqis
USDA finds 1,000 violations of mad cow rules
U.S. seeks massive stock of smallpox vaccine
Wash. Post drops sponsorship of Pentagon event
U.S. pressure on Iraq could backfire, say experts

CENTCOM: News Release

Department of Defense
Iraqi Parliament Extends Deadline — Story
Chairman on 10-Day Tour to Visit Troops — Story Photos
Kosovo Mission an Important Success Story — Story
Task Force Baghdad Soldiers Foil Attacks — Story
Task Force Baghdad Troops Survive IED Blast
Iraqi Policeman Engages Suicide Bomber

Afghan Army Center Improves Troop Services — Story
U.S., British Geodetic Surveyors Map Iraq — Story Photos
Scouting Program Grows in Iraqi Community — Story
Task Force Baghdad Visits Children’s Hospital — Story
Fort Sam, Community Focus on Preparedness — Story

Alaska’s Sherpa Crews Tackle Desert Duties Photos
Joint Missions Search for Insurgent Materials

Medical Outreach Visit Treats Afghan Villagers
Bagram Runway Reopens After C-17 Incident

Iowans Help Iraq Reconstruction — Story

Marine Given Key to City Award — Story

Fund Helps Children, Spouses
Bush: Iraqis 'Taking Control'
Wanted Al Qaeda Member Killed
Chem Site Samples Analyzed Further
Raid Yields Possible Chem Facility
Photos: Chem Production Facility
Najaf Maternity Hospital Rebuilds
Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Iraq Progress Fact Sheet (pdf)
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

U.S., Afghans Battle Insurgents
Army Opens Medical Center
Afghanistan Daily Update
Afghan Reconstruction Group Recruiting

Army Speeds Technology to Troops
Innovations Aid Language Classes
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

VJ Day Remembered
Stryker Variant Arrives for Duty
Alabama Depot Weighs in on Fight
National Guard, Reserve Update

Officials Identify Army Casualties — Story

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
1777 - Americans defeat the British in the Battle of Bennington, VT.
1780 - The British decisively defeat the Americans in Battle of Camden, SC.
1812 - General Hull surrenders Detroit and the Michigan territory to England.
1861 - President Lincoln prohibits Union states from trading with the Confederacy.
1863 - The Emancipation Proclamation is signed.
1896 - Gold is discovered in the Klondike.
1898 - The roller coaster is patented.
1920 - Ray Chapman of the Indians becomes the only fatality in major league baseball a day after being hit in the head by a pitch from the Yankees' Carl Mays.
1934 - The U.S. ends occupation of Haiti (from 1915).
1948 - The Israeli pound becomes legal tender.
1954 - Sports Illustrated publishes its first issue.
1955 - Fiat Motors orders the first private atomic reactor.
1960 - Britain grants independence to Cyprus.
1960 - The Republic of the Congo (Zaire) forms.
1963 - Independence is restored to the Dominican Republic.
1984 - NASA launches Ampte.
1990 - In Kuwait, Iraq orders 4000 Britons and 2500 Americans to Iraq.

1862 - Amos Alonzo Stagg, football pioneer, inventor of the tackling dummy
1892 - Harold Foster, cartoonist (created "Prince Valiant")
1897 - Robert Ringling, circus master
1904 - Wendell Stanley, biochemist, first to crystallize a virus (Nobel Prize, 1946)
1913 - Menachem Begin, Israeli PM (1977-83, Nobel Prize, 1978)
1925 - Fess Parker, actor (Davy Crockett, Old Yeller)
1930 - Frank Gifford, NFL halfback (NY Giants)/ABC sportscaster
1933 - Stuart A. "Smokey" Roosa, Colonel USAF/astronaut (Apollo 14)
1935 - Julie Newmar, actress (Catwoman-Batman)
1939 - Valeri V. Ryumin, cosmonaut (Soyuz 25, 32)

1920 - Norman Lockyer, editor of NATURE, discoverer of helium in Sun
1948 - Babe Ruth
1977 - Elvis Presley
1991 - Shamu the Whale (age 16), respiratory failure

Reported Missing in Action
Blevins, Lural Lee III, US Army (PA); KIA, remains recovered June, 1969 - ID'd November, 1975

Elbert, Fred, USMC (NY); released by PRG March, 1973 - a.k.a. John Peter Johnson - peace committee

Graniela, Jose A., Jr., US Army (NY); KIA, body not recovered

McElhanon, Michael O., USAF (TX); F100F disappeared en route to refuel

Overlock, John F., USAF (MA); F100F disappeared en route to refuel

Kennedy, John W., USAF (VA); 02A disappeared during reconaissance mission - remains returned 1992/1993, ID'd June, 1996

Simmons, Willie E., released October, 1975