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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Soldiers' Angels Mourns a Fallen Hero

Sadly, Soldiers' Angels is mourning a member of its extended family.

From Cathy of the Living Legends Team:

Robert Pope, II, 22, was killed November 07, 2005 along with three other soldiers. They died in Baghdad, Iraq when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near their dismounted patrol. They were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, CO.

He is survived by his parents, Regina and Robert Pope
Robert also had two Angels, who are also grieving his loss.

Our hearts are with Robert's family, friends, Angels, and comrades. Neither he nor those who fell with him will ever be forgotten.

(The Living Legends Team sends, among other things, condolence cards and letters to the families of fallen heroes. They've personally earned my gratitude for stepping in at the loss of some local heroes here. It's a very painful, difficult job, but one that is so important. Thanks to Cathy and her team for all they do. For more information on Living Legends, click here)

Soldiers Angels Network

Just a buck changes luck of grunts in Humvees
Thursday, November 10, 2005

On the cusp of Veterans Day, the fires we watch by night ought not be late-news images from Iraq of yet another U.S. military vehicle laid ruin by a roadside bomb.

But we are at war, and such is the nature of armed conflict. Some of us die. Some of us kill. The equipage of the mayhem — ours and the enemy’s — is blown to flinders. We come home. On Veterans Day, people wave flags for us.

Before tomorrow’s confetti has been swept up, try doing something for Veterans Day that will leave you feeling warm when you pull the covers to your chin at night.

For about one-fourth the cost of a luxury venti at Starbucks, you can help start a ripple that, maybe, could make a lifesaving difference sometime, somewhere in Iraq when a terrorist triggers a roadside bomb.

A Pasadena, Calif., group called Soldiers’ Angels has launched a program christened Armor Up to provide Kevlar blankets to fortify the floors and doors of Humvees.

When we went to war in 2003, the Humvees that raced to Baghdad on the heels of "shock and awe" were little more than glorified Jeeps. Their vulnerability became apparent at the same sobering speed with which IED became a household word.

At the beginning of 2005, when the Columbus-based Marine Reserve unit Lima Company arrived in Iraq, Gunnery Sgt. Shawn Delgado said that only two of the nine Humvees in his weapons platoon had been up-armored.

"While we were in Humvees," Delgado recalled, "eight Marines were injured in blasts from IEDs.

To make up for the absence of armoring, Kevlar blankets were issued. But, Delgado said, "only 40 percent of our vehicles had Kevlar blankets. We lost two Humvees."

Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Paul Hackett, who left the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill for Iraq in the summer of 2004, found a similar paucity of up-armored Humvees.

"The vehicle I had to drive around in had no armor and a canvas top," Hackett said. "The first week we were there we had a sergeant lose his leg up to the knee in a Humvee without armor.

"There were a few fully uparmored Humvees, but they were reserved for senior officers."

Hackett wasn’t shy in his criticism of the war when he returned to Ohio and launched a bid to win the 2 nd Congressional District last year. He lost by a slim margin and is now running for the U.S. Senate.

Readers might agree or disagree with Hackett’s contention that Washington was naive to think Iraq would be a cakewalk, or that unarmored Humvees could get the job done.

"It just sort of ties in with the notion that folks were going to be hugging us and kissing us and throwing flowers, and that was just piss-poor planning," he said yesterday.

He supports what average citizens are doing to help protect soldiers.

"We used those Kevlar blankets on the floors of the Humvees so that, if we were hit by an IED, it would at least slow it down. I think it’s wonderful . . . that there are Americans back home who are aware of the issues and are donating money to protect soldiers."

According to an Army report, 10,300 of the 22,000 Humvees in Iraq have factory-installed armor. Of the balance, many have been retrofitted with some plating, but, Hackett said, "I’m sure there are still lots of people running around over there in lightly armored Humvees."

Kevlar blankets are needed. Send a buck before Veterans Day has passed to Soldiers’ Angels, 1792 W. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, Calif., 91104. Visit the Web site — — and click the "Armor up" link.

A half-million people will likely see today’s Dispatch. If each of them sent a dollar, it would buy more than 500 of the $925 armor blankets.

Maybe somewhere down the road, our troops will be equipped with the new Rhino Runners — perhaps the Humvees of the future — which can endure blasts of staggering power while protecting occupants.

When Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last visited Iraq, it was in a Rhino Runner graciously loaned by Halliburton. When Saddam Hussein was taken to court last summer, it was in a Rhino Runner.

A buck to help the grunts and ground-pounders inch a little closer to Rumsfeld and Saddam’s level of protection would be nice.

Then, on Saturday, you’ll have an answer if someone asks, "Did you do anything for Veterans Day?" Mike Harden is a Dispatch Metro columnist. He can be reached at 614-461-5215 or by email.

Who Is Lying About Iraq?

This story's been thrown around in the media over and over and OVER again - Bush lied about Iraq, yada yada.

I've always maintained that we needed to go to Iraq for a number of reasons - and WMD's were only a part of that. I'm not going to debate whether they were or weren't there.

It has always been clear, though, that the libs, moving with anything they believe to be the prevailing winds, have been conveniently ignoring their own vote to take action, their own review of the intelligence information, and, in general, reality.

Want to get a comprehensive look at things?

Look no further than here:

Who is lying about Iraq? (Norman Podhoretz)

Hat tip to the Mudville Gazette

White Phosphorus?

A couple of days ago, I included this story in the newsposts:

US fired phosphorus in Iraq, tv reports

I don't have the requisite military knowledge to make a technical response to the allegations, so I'll defer to someone who does.

Here's a snippet of NOTR's (ROFASix) take on the situation:

Willy Pete is stuff every soldier knows well. It comes in grenades, artillery, bombs, and is used in smoke munitions. Is it a "chemical weapon"? Only if you can try and make the stretch that white phosphorus is a chemical therefore it is a chemical weapon. Of course that logic would also lead you to conclude that since gunpowder is a chemical, every IED or bullet is also a chemical weapon. But the real problem with the charge is that magnesium, not Willy Pete is what is used in illumination rounds.

I also am somewhat skeptical about this claim because last year's actions in Fallujah were widely covered by all sorts of media, and I have a hard time believing they'd wait a year to put out a negative story about the U.S. military.

Go check out Documentary alleges US used chemical warfare in Iraq at ROFASix

Good News from NAUS

SBP-DIC Fix Agreed to in Senate!

Thank You! Your Senators Heard Your Concerns

On Tuesday, the Senate agreed to Sen. Nelson's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to eliminate the SBP-DIC Offset and to give a "paid-up" benefit for SBP to those who are at least 70 years old and have been paying SBP for 30 years or more.

In addition Sen. Reid's amendment to immediately pay all those disabled retirees who are considered Individually Unemployed (IU) was agreed to.

These two very important amendments are very high on the NAUS Legislative goals list. Along with Sen. Graham's amendment to offer fee-based TRICARE to all Guard and Reserves and Sen. Levin's amendment to extend the $100,000 "Death Gratuity" to all service members who die on active duty, which were previously agreed to, we are well on our way to helping many military active duty, Guard and Reserve and retirees and their survivors.

Now the hard work begins. Start contacting all your representatives and ask them to support the Senate's version of the Defense Authorization Act. We have come very far this year and do not want to see all the progress we have made lost in conference.

Again, THANK YOU very much for your response to our Legislative Alerts. Please continue to contact your Senators and Representative when ever there is an issue that affects you. Your voices do count and we do make a difference!!
FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Cpl. Jason J. Huelsman, a combat engineer attached to F Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, searches the backside of a house looking for hidden weapons and ammunition in Nov. 7. Photo by Cpl. Robert R. Attebury

Clearing in Husaybah Ends

November 09, 2005
Release A051109e

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq – Col. Stephen W. Davis, commanding officer of Regimental Combat Team – 2, announced the end of clearing operations in Husaybah Nov. 8.

Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) continues as Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Forces set conditions for a permanent security presence within the city. Patrols and targeted raids are also being conducted to root out any remaining al-Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents.

Husaybah residents evacuated to a vacant housing development, believed to be a former Iraqi Army housing area, are remaining in place until Husaybah is safe for them to return to their homes. Iraqi soldiers, U.S. Marines and Soldiers continue to find roadside bombs, car bombs and weapons caches throughout the city. Iraqi Army Soldiers continue to provide security, food, water and medical care to the approximate 900 Husaybah residents temporarily displaced by the fighting. Dated census information stated the city’s population to be approximately 30,000, though the city was largely deserted due to the tribal fighting that took place over the past several months against the al Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents.

Today is the fifth day of Operation Steel Curtain. The operation’s goal is to restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraqi-Syrian border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout Al Qaim region. The offensive is part of Operation Sayaid (Hunter), designed to deny al Qaeda in Iraq the ability to operate in the Euphrates River Valley and to establish a permanent security presence along the Syrian border.

From Multi-National Force Iraq
by Spc. Jeremy Crisp

November 9, 2005

Spc. Kirk B. Hubbard, radio telephone operator, from Company A, 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, takes cover while on patrol in Mosul, Iraq. This photo appeared on

Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps!

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than the enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, or the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit.

My rifle is human, even as I am human, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other.

Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy.
-- USMC Rifleman's Creed
On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress resolved that:

"two Battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two lieutenant Colonels, two Majors & Officers as usual in other regiments, that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no person be appointed to office or inlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea, when required. That they be inlisted and commissioned for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress. That they be distinguished by the names of the first & second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered a part of the number, which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of."
And thus the Marine Corps was born. From their early days of sharpshooting from ship rigging, they have grown into arguably the most feared and formidable military force the world has ever known. But it wasn't until General Lejeune came along that the Marine Corps' birthday became a big event. In 1921 the General issued Marine Corps Order No. 47 - his Birthday Message

"On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of it's existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the nations foes. From the battle of Trenton to the Argonne. Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term Marine has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps."
And since then, on this day, United States Marines have celebrated the birth of their beloved Corps. Celebrations include a Marine Corps Ball, mock battles, and ceremonies.

These are my recruits. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Marines, thoroughly indoctrinated in love of Corps and country. I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill.
-- USMC Drill Instructor's Creed

They have built an incredible legacy. From Tun Tavern to Fallujah, the USMC has left its mark worldwide, wherever Marine boots met ground, and on the waters in between. From the War of 1812, to Harper's Ferry; from Belleau Wood to Blanc Mont Ridge; from Guadalcanal, Wake Island, and Iwo Jima to Khe Sanh, from Desert Storm to Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom....they have been there.

They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or "we'll blow you away." And then they looked up and saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and they said in Somali, "Igaralli ahow," which means "Excuse me, I didn't mean it, my mistake."
-- Karen Aquilar, in the U.S. Embassy; Mogadishu, Somalia, 1991

And so, today, I wish a very Happy Birthday to the USMC. In honor of the day, I'm making a donation to the Project Valour-IT Marine Team.

Semper Fidelis.

USMC Birthday Links:
USMC Website
Heritage Press International - lots of great information; quotes, slogans, history, and traditions
Marine Corps Birthday Bullets at DC Military - Key birthday events
USMC History and Museums Division
Marine Corps History Sites - from Scuttlebutt & Small Chow
USMC Quotes

The USMC War Memorial
National Iwo Jima Memorial (in CT - been there)
Doc in the Box (Hat Tip Mudville Gazette)

If you've got a Marine Corps Birthday post, please trackback so we can find you!

graphics in this post courtesy of Doug Kidd

An Iraqi National Guardsman hands out flyers during a patrol in Mosul, Iraq, Nov. 3, 2005 in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.) (Released)

In Today's News - Thursday, November 10, 2005

Quote of the Day
"The worst thing you can do in a war is to fight it piecemeal --
because then you encourage the enemy to keep going."
-- -- General Thomas S. Power, 1968

News of Note
Jordan Bombings
Jordan Hotel Horror
At least 57 dead in three explosions; hundreds wounded
U.S. to Pursue Amman Terrorists
Amman Was Prime Terror Target
Fast Facts: Attacks Linked to Zarqawi
Fast Facts: Recent Al Qaeda Attacks
Fast Facts: Past Attacks in Jordan
Bush condemns Jordan attacks, offers aid in manhunt

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Chalabi stirs Iraq war controversy
Bombs in Iraq Getting More Sophisticated

Homeland Security / War on Terror
No death penalty in new Guantanamo cases: US
Two accused of missile smuggling conspiracy
Malaysian Terror Leader Believed Killed
Hezbollah Militant Suspected in '94 Blast

Paris Burning
Rioting Begins to Slack Off in France

Supreme Court
Supreme Court battle enlivens US senator's new novel
Democrats scrutinize Alito in Vanguard case

One-way ticket to Cambodia, please...
Ostrich on loose tramples car in bid for freedom
Two pandas tie the knot, guests dress as pandas
Other News of Note

Fox News
New Trial for Andrea Yates
Senators Vent on Oil Execs
Bush Honors Muhammad Ali
Miller Out at New York Times
France Imposes Curfews
Tony Blair Suffers Big Defeat
Dems Win Virginia, N.J. Governors Seats
Anti-Darwin School Board Nixed
Video: Howard Dean
Principal Praised as Hero in Tenn. School Shooting
Quake's First Seconds Key
Senate OKs Ban on 'Lifers' From National Cemeteries
Bad Booze Kills 33 in Russia

Reuters: Top News
Judith Miller to leave New York Times
Rice heads to Bahrain to spread democracy message
San Francisco OKs bans on guns, army recruiters
Israel's Peres in cliffhanger Labor leader race
Saddam's defense team boycotts trial over killings
Blackberry faces tougher, cheaper competition
PC industry faces tough holiday season in U.S
First seconds of a quake can show size: study
"Gravity Tractors" could outwit killer asteroids
Experts unveil bird flu plan as new death reported
Enterprising locals profit from Darfur conflict

AP World News
Peres in Front for Labor Party Leadership
Johnson-Sirleaf Leads Runoff in Liberia
Turnout Better Than Expected in Egypt
Venezuelan Soldiers Destroy Two Drug Labs
Oregon Teen-Ager Disappears in Brazil
Boeing Jet Attempts Record Nonstop Flight
Peru-Chile Rivalry Backdrop for Fujimori
Congo's Hippos Hunted, Eaten to Extinction
Azerbaijani Leader Fires Two Governors
Nigeria Marks 10 Years Since Worker Deaths
Toll in Russian Alcohol Poisonings at 33
Dedication Is Visible Among new Soldiers
Army Guard's 1108th off to Kuwait Launches Career Resource for Vets
Hearing Set for Soldier Seeking to Leave Military
Tokyo May Pass Law to Ease Move of U.S. Forces to Guam
Soldier Gets Eight Years for Role in Drug Ring
Navy's new Electronic Warfare Plane - the 'Growler'
Marine Dies of Injuries in Iraq

CENTCOM: News Release

Department of Defense
Car Bombs Kill at Least 5, Wound 25 -- Story
Afghan Forces Thwart Attack, Detain Two -- Story
Enlisted Advisor Visits Homeland Defenders -- Story
Coalition, Iraqi Forces Discover Weapons -- Story

Operation Pil Aids Security in Kunar Province -- Story
Brigade Transfers Authority at Camp Victory -- Story
Coalition Forces, Iraqis Open Soccer Field -- Story Photos
Troops Convert Trash Lot to Soccer Field for Kids

Medal of Honor Recipients Visit Troops
Ironman Soldier Races Through Iraq
Special Ops Reservist Helps Rebuild Iraqi Air Force

Afghan, U.S. Soldiers Prepare for Winter

Combat Doc Supports Marines in Ar Ramadi -- Story

Group Trumpets Taps for Veterans -- Story


Hurricane Coverage
Iraq Transition of Power

Marine Dies From Bomb Blast
Steel Curtain Yield 'Substantial'
Pace: Security Measures Success
Safe House Raid Kills Terrorists
Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Eye on Iraq Update (pdf)
Iraq Progress Fact Sheet (pdf)
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Afghan Army Chief Visits U.S.
Afghanistan Daily Update

Directive Sets Interrogation Policy
U.S., Israel Discuss Terror War
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Bush Honors Former Chairman
Army Keeps Recruiting Standards
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


National Hurricane Center

Today in History
- The Dutch formally cede New Netherlands (NY) to the English.
1775 - Congress establishes the U.S. Marine Corps.
- Kentucky outlaws dueling.
1808 - The Osage Treaty is signed.
1836 - Louis Napoleon is banished to America.
1864 - Austrian Archduke Maximilian becomes emperor of Mexico.
1917 - 41 suffragists are arrested in front of the White House.
1918 - Jozef Pilsudski proclaims Poland's independence.
1926 - Vincent Massey becomes the first Canadian minister to the U.S.
1928 - Hirohito is enthroned as Emperor of Japan.
1945 - College football's #1 Army beats #2 Notre Dame 48-0; General Enver Hoxha becomes leader of Albania.
1951 - For the first time, a long distance telephone call is made without operator assistance.
1954 - The Iwo Jima Memorial (servicemen raising the U.S. flag) is dedicated in Arlington, VA; Lt. Colonel John Strapp travels 632 MPH in a rocket sled.
1960 - The Senate passes a landmark Civil Rights Bill.
1968 - Zond-6 is launched - the second unmanned circumlunar and return flight.
1969 - "Sesame Street" premieres on PBS-TV.
1970 - Luna-17, with the unmanned self-propelled Lunokhod-1, is launched.
1975 - The ore ship Edmund Fitzgerald and its crew of 29 are lost in a storm on Lake Superior; in NYC, PLO leader Yaser Arafat addresses the U.N.; the U.N. General Assembly approves a resolution equating Zionism with racism.
1978 - Israel's top negotiators break away from Middle East peace talks.
1980 - Dan Rather refuses to pay his cabbie; CBS pays the $12.55 fare.
1989 - Guerrillas battle with government forces in El Salvador; Germans begin punching holes in the Berlin Wall; Word Perfect 5.1 is shipped.
1990 - Lebanon releases two French hostages (Camille Sontag and Marcel Coudari).
2084 - Transit of Earth as seen from Mars.

1483 - Martin Luther, founded Protestantism
1683 - King George II of England (1727-60)
1759 - Frederich von Schiller, German poet/lyricist (Ode to Joy)
1793 - Jared Kirtland, physician/naturalist - reformed penitentiaries
1844 - Sir John S.D. Thompson, 4th Canadian PM (1892-94)
1882 - Frances Perkins, first female Cabinet member (Secretary of Labor 1933-45)
1930 - Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr., Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1981-88)
1935 - Ronald E. Evans, Captain USN / astronaut (Apollo 17)

1865 - Henry Wirz, Confederate prison Commandant (Andersonville), executed for excessive cruelty
1938 - Kemal Atarok, first President of Turkey
1982 - Leonid I. Brezhnev Soviet First Secretary

Reported Missing in Action
Carter, William T., USN (SC); S2E crashed (crew), Killed, body not recovered

McAteer, Thomas J., USN (PA); S2E crashed (pilot), Killed, body not recovered

O'Brien, John Lawrence, USAF (PA); A1E shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Riordan, John M., USN (WA); S2E crashed (crew), Killed, body not recovered

Schoderer, Eric J., USN (NJ); S2E crashed (crew), Killed, body not recovered

Cook, Kelly F., USAF (IA); F4C shot down (pilot, w/Crew)

Crew, James A., USAF (PA); F4C shot down (bombardier/navigator, w/Cook)

Huneycutt, Charles J., Jr., USAF (NC); F4C shot down (bombardier/navigator, w/Morgan), remains returned September, 1989

Morgan, James S., USAF (AR); F4C shot down (pilot, w/Huneycutt)

Wright, Frederick W., USN (NJ); A7A shot down, remains returned September, 1998 - ID'd December, 1990