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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Soldiers' Angel - Holly Aho

Project Valour-IT...You can now adopt a wounded soldier!
Last week I mentioned that Project Valour-IT was going to start an exciting new change to help those wounded soldiers currently requesting laptops that had to be put on a waiting list. The Valour-IT website is now done and ready to accept requests for laptops from wounded soldiers as well as an adoption form for those who would like to adopt a wounded soldier through Project Valour-IT.

For our wounded soldiers, to request a laptop use this page at the Project Valour-IT website. For those of you who would like to adopt a soldier currently on the waiting list and purchase a laptop specifically for that soldier through Project Valour-IT (as well as provide emotional support and make a new friend) visit the Adopt a Soldier page at the Project Valour-IT website. Special laptops through Project Valour-IT currently cost $685 plus shipping. Patti Bader, the founder of Soldiers Angels, has also stated that if potential adoptees cannot afford the full cost of a laptop but would still like to participate, even 50% of the cost of a laptop would be welcome.

The Emblems

From Seamus' "All Hands" mailing list comes this information on the history of the Marine Corps emblem...

All Hands:

I have been doing this All Hands thing for a number of years now, and sometimes I get the opportunity to post an All Hands that is actually "fun to do." This is one of those All Hands.

The Marine Corps is steeped in traditions, young and old, and Marines thrive on our traditions. In 1990, one of these traditions was started, and I hope it remains, forever, in the lore of the Marine Corps.

The Eagle Globe and Anchor of our Corps has changed throughout the years, and the present emblem was established on 22 June, 1954, by executive Order, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower. The design was by Commandant General Lemuel C Shepard Jr.

From this date on, all enlisted Marines wore an emblem with the anchor fouled. A "fouled anchor" is defined as an anchor with chain or line (rope) wrapped around it one or more times. Marine officers did not adopt this fouled anchor until 1962, which is the year that I went into the Marine Corps. This means that after 1962, any Marine without the fouled anchor emblem is out of uniform, a very unsatisfactory thing for any Marine to do.

However, a continuing tradition does allow one Marine, who is authorized to wear unfouled emblems in the Marine Corps, and he is the Platoon Commander of the Marine Silent Drill Platoon. The "world's finest drill team" is stationed at Marine Barracks Washington (MBW), or also known as 8th & I. The Barracks is presently under the command of Col Terry Lockard.

The following, by LtCol Giles Kyser, is the history behind this living tradition in our Corps.

The Emblems
LtCol Giles Kyser, Silent Drill Platoon Commander, 1989-1990

In April of 1990, while I was Platoon Commander for the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, the Battle Color Detachment (made up of the Silent Drill Platoon, The Marine Corps Color Guard, and the Commandant's Own, United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps), conducted a Battle Color ceremony in Mobile, Alabama. At the conclusion of the ceremony, one of the patrons for our visit joined me at the hotel where the Detachment was staying for the weekend. The gentleman's name was Mr. Tom Krebs, and, as it turned out, he was a former Marine. He had served as a Captain in our Corps during Vietnam. In gratitude for the performance of the Marines, he provided some beer for our enjoyment and he and I proceeded to get to know each other over the next few hours as we watched the Marines get "ten feet tall and bulletproof."

During the course of our conversation, I was able to find out that Mr. Krebs was the son-in-law of General Holland M., "Howlin Mad," Smith of World War II fame. I was very intrigued about Mr. Krebs' knowledge of the General, and we had a magnificent conversation about one of the heroes of our Corps. Later during the conversation Mr. Krebs related that he "had some of the General's uniform items" to include his "dress blue" collar emblems that the General had worn at his commissioning at the Barracks during the early part of the century. He then related that he thought they should “stay in the Corps' as opposed to "collecting dust" and offered them to me personally.

I was of course speechless with respect to this generosity, but then thought of a different course of action. I recommended to Mr. Krebs, that rather than having the emblems stay with me personally that we make the emblems the possession of Marine Barracks Washington, DC and that the emblems be worn only by the serving Platoon Commander of the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. I related that I thought that having them remain at the Barracks and with the Platoon Commander in perpetuity would honor General Smith's memory through a highly visible manner and create yet another means to honor the memory of a legendary Marine and his leadership.

Mr. Krebs heartily agreed to the proposal and as a result, yearly, signs an agreement with each new Platoon Commander regarding the safeguarding and wear of General Smith's emblems. I also added a caveat for the wear of the emblems. I stipulated that the Platoon Commander would not be authorized to wear the emblems until he had completed reading the biography of General Smith, "A Fighting General" by Dr. Norman V. Cooper. To this day, the emblems remain in the custody of the Platoon Commander of the Silent Drill Platoon.

Very respectfully,

James Giles Kyser IV
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC

Graphic courtesy of Doug Kidd

Our Hero...

These pictures come from Jonuel N., currently deployed. He's a Soldiers' Angels adoptee, and sends along a message of thanks for the Angels.

I would like to personally thank you for all the support we have recieved by groups as yours. Here our Battallion has decided to decorate our Christmas tree with supporting letters we get from your organization. I have added a picture of the 25th SIG Battallion Christmas tree with this reply. Note that the tree is not complete because everyday we add new postcads recieved from the states. We appreciate every letter that is written to us and keep them in special places for all soldiers to see.

He sent these pictures as well - check out Santa's new suit!

Jonuel, thank you for all you are doing for all of us. Our best to you, your comrades, and your family for Christmas and the coming New Year. Take care, and stay safe.

Iraqi Army Soldiers Vote

Throngs of Iraqi army soldiers head to the polls in Taji, Iraq on the morning of Dec. 12, 2005. Elements of the 9th Iraqi Army Division patrol the Taji area north of Baghdad with U.S. soldiers from 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Bromley

Iraqi soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division line up outside a Rusafa polling station in east Baghdad, Dec. 12, 2005. More than 5,000 Iraqi army soldiers, Iraqi security forces and polling station workers in east Baghdad districts voted in advance of the Dec. 15 elections. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Teddy Wade

Iraqi soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division line up outside a Rusafa polling station in east Baghdad, Dec. 12, 2005. More than 5,000 Iraqi army soldiers, Iraqi security forces and polling station workers in east Baghdad districts voted in advance of the Dec. 15 elections. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Teddy Wade

Soldiers from 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division exit an Iraqi parliamentary election polling station Dec. 12, 2005 in west Baghdad while others line up outside waiting their turn to vote. Iraqi security forces voted early since they will be providing security at the polls Dec. 15 when the rest of the nation votes. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. John R. Rozean

An Iraqi soldier from 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division is all smiles after casting a ballot during early voting at a Rusafa polling station in east Baghdad, Dec. 12, 2005. More than 5,000 Iraqi army soldiers, Iraqi security forces and polling station workers in east Baghdad districts voted in advance of the Dec. 15 elections. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Teddy Wade

An Iraqi soldier displays an ink-stained finger to prove he voted in the national elections Dec. 12, 2005 at a polling site near Taji, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew Wester

Iraqi army soldiers greet their brothers-in-arms by flashing their ink-stained fingers, proving that they voted. More than 6,000 soldiers based in Taji, Iraq were expected to cast ballots in the early election held for Iraqi security forces Dec. 12, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Bromley

An Iraqi army soldier flashes his ink-stained finger as proof that he voted. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Bromley

An Iraqi soldier displays an ink-stained finger to show he voted in the national elections Dec. 12, 2005 at a polling site near Taji, Iraq. More than 6,000 soldiers were expected to participate in early voting at the site. Members of Iraqi security forces voted early so they can provide security at other polling sites on Dec. 15. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew Wester

Iraqi army soldiers hold up political posters as they chant and sing after they participated in early voting Dec. 12, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Bromley

Soldiers from 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division celebrate outside an Iraqi parliamentary election polling station Dec. 12, 2005 after voting early in the national elections. The rest of the nation will cast their ballots Dec. 15 amid heightened security provided by Iraqi security forces. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. John R. Rozean

from DefendAmerica
GETTING READY — Sgt. Chris Schroeder, Alpha Troop, 3rd Platoon, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, connects a winch to move a barrier at a polling location for the upcoming elections in Al-Mazra'a, Iraq, Dec. 9, 2005. The Iraqi citizens will be voting on Dec. 15, 2005, to elect the first permanent parliamentary government that will lead this new democracy for the next four years. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway

In Today's News - Thursday, December 15, 2005

Quote of the Day
"The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men."
-- Lyndon B. Johnson

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraqi Sects Show at Polls
Citizens cast votes in historic parliamentary election
Scattered attacks fail to disrupt big Iraq vote
Crafty Chalabi still player in Iraq politics
Scenes from Iraq on eve of the vote
Iraqis Voting in Iran Back Shiite Parties
High Voter Turnout Expected in Fallujah
Bush winds up campaign to counter Iraq criticism
Iraqi blogs cover the elections
Explosion in Baghdad as Iraq polls open
Large expatriate vote swells the turnout in Iraq's elections
Challenge of governing falls to Iraqis

Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghan Students Receive Donated Supplies

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Puerto Rican Sept. 11 Victim Is Buried
French Counterterror Agents Arrest Three
House approves USA Patriot Act; Senate up next
Young activists split from Fatah
Reputed leader of group arrested

Military News
Navy ends search for sailors lost off Colombia
World War II Navy Seaman MIA Identified

That's way too much for an exorcism..
Nude teacher prank turns into whodunnit
Grade-schoolers caught with homemade cash released to parents
Man hanging himself lives after cop cuts rope
Prosecutor: Sex scam rips off Amish man
Cops: Thief stymied by Spanish speaker

Fox News
Fox Blasts Border Wall
Utah Train Collides with Truck, One Dead
Mo. Flood Destroys Homes
Gay Clergy Challenge Vatican
House Renews Patriot Act
Chechnya Seeks to Rename Capital After Slain Prez
Iranian Prez: Holocaust a Myth
McCain, Hadley Meet on Proposed Torture Ban Bill
Germany Wants CIA Answers
U.S. Trade Deficit Widens
Four Shot Dead in N.J. Club
NYC Transit Strike Looms
Air Marshals to Guard Trains
Mitt Romney for President?
Stocks to Watch, Dec. 15

Reuters: Top News
FactBox: Main contenders in parliamentary election
Video: Iraqi Shiites protest Al Jazeera
Amgen to acquire Abgenix
Australia's Macquarie bids for LSE
Sandwich chain Quiznos up for sale: reports
AT&T launches news channel for Internet security
Michigan governor to sign business tax cut bills
Philips to explore M&A options for chip unit
Cookson sells laminates business, boosts shares
Food group Fyffes to spin off property, shares jump
Equity Office cuts dividend, boosts stock buyback
Apple shares tumble on Bear Stearns downgrade
EU lawmakers agree set up CIA prisons inquiry
House backs anti-torture amendment
State officials defend Katrina response
Red Cross Federation seeks $335 mln for two-year aid
Bush takes blame for Iraq war on bad intelligence
House passes health, education spending cuts
'Fish with chips' reveal ocean migration routes
Humans came to N.Europe earlier than thought -study
Siemens says US mobile could shift to GSM
Media, tech companies team up on high-definition TV
Flu death rate high among U.S. children in 2003-04
Cow's milk intolerance rare in young adults

AP World News
Kazakhstan Launches Oil Pipeline to China
Nepalese Soldier Kills 11 Civilians
Mexico, U.S. Break Up Counterfeit Ring
Brazil Accuses Nine of Smuggling Rare Birds
Martin Offers More Angry Rhetoric for U.S.
Bethlehem Mayor Asks Pilgrims to Visit
Israel Air Strikes Kill Four Militants
Angry Lebanese Bury Assassinated Editor
Colombian Rebels Optimistic About Peace
U.N. Agrees to Withdraw Some Peacekeepers
Official Says Guatemala Killed Leftists

The Seattle Times
Marine featured in speech didn't vote for Bush
Reporter: Who's the leak? Ask Bush
Health, education bill barely clears House
2005 holiday giving could set record
Bush says DeLay innocent of charges
New York to monitor people with diabetes
Wall of water sweeps homes
DuPont, EPA settle on Teflon chemical
Academy graduates root out rats
Doctors carve away growth on teen's face
Stop-shopping evangelist spreads word few buying
Wikipedia's accuracy judged to be as good as that of Britannica
Needing money, library to sell Audubon book
Flossing over: An immigrant bites into the American dream
U.S., Iran players helping to break down barriers
Japan delays space probe's return
Ye olde Brits: Tools indicate early residents
Coca-leaf beverage packs extra lift in each mouthful
Diverse groups try to tame further racial tension on Australia's beaches
Mississippi executes convicted killer, 77

Chicago Sun-Times
Police seek mother of baby left in yard .
Grab a seat: Sox selling old chairs
Man accused of skimming $600,000 from church
'09 pennies to celebrate Lincoln history
Feud is mightier than manners at Asian summit
Prosecutor: Sex scam rips off Amish man
Pilot leads endangered cranes from Wisconsin to Florida
Transvestite bathrooms may become law in Brazilian city

Boston Globe: World
A Turkish law that chills speech now spurs debate
Rice's office given key task
UN mulls expanding Hariri investigation
US and Europe air trade differences
Investigators seek cause of oil depot fire in Britain
Bush Takes Responsibility for Iraq Invasion
Panel Subpoenas Rumsfeld on Katrina
FCS Contractors Step Up Advocacy Campaign

CENTCOM: News Releases

Department of Defense
Bush Calls Iraqi Elections Historic Time - Story
Quantico Students Get Current Events, History Lesson
Officials Put Iraqi Election Plan in Place
Leaving Too Soon Sends Wrong Message - Story Remarks
Deterrence Still Viable Against Terrorists - Story

Georgia Guard Troops Adjust to New Mission - Story
Firing Range Open for Iraqi Soldiers - Story

Airmen Keep Rescue 'Choppers' Flying
Renovated Schools Benefit Iraqi Students
U.S. Paratroopers Teach Iraqis IED Recognition

Humvee Strikes Mine at Bagram Front Gate
Marksmanship Team Trains Afghan Soldiers

Chaplain Sees Freedom's Price - Story

Californians Provide Holiday Spirit - Story
New Yorkers Send Trees to Troops
Company Donates Gift Certificates

Troops Capture Terrorists
Gunners Pull Counterinsurgency
Soldiers Killed by Roadside Bomb
Coalition Captures Terrorists
Reconstruction Showing Progress
Iraqi General Cites Progress
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq (pdf)
Multinational Force Iraq
Eye on Iraq Update (pdf)
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (pdf)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Iraq Reconstruction

Afghanistan Daily Update

Soldiers Nab 43 Suspects
Stability Operations Are Priority
Rice: Democracy Support 'Realistic'
Fighting Terrorists Stops Attacks
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Human Rights Expert to Visit Gitmo
Troops Receive Honors at Dinner
First Lady Recognizes Families
Acquisition Personnel Honored
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


National Hurricane Center

"Today in History" post coming later