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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

NEW WATCHTOWER – U.S. Marine engineers with Combat Logistics Battalion 8 construct a new watchtower for Iraqi soldiers of the 1st Iraqi Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade, 1st Battalion in Fallujah, Iraq, Dec. 29, 2005. The battalion is deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to facilitate the creation of a secure environment that enables Iraqi self-reliance and self-governance. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Bryson K. Jones

Happy New Year, Indeed!!!

You may remember my post a few days ago about Major Jamil...

Well, hold on to your hats, and read the latest word from George K --

Hello Everyone, and hold on to your seats!!!

I hope all of you are having a wonderful New Year thus far.

As for my team and I, we are doing well. There is a Greek Belief, as some of you may know, that whatever happens to you on New Years day, happens to you all year long. With that in mind, it seems that I am going to have an interesting year.

It started off quiet, got very exciting, and then I received a blessing that I am still in shock over and overjoyed.

First, we went out on a mission of the New Years Eve...Midnight rolled in and it was nothing spectacular here, it came and went like any ordinary day. However, a few hours later, we were involved in a firefight that lasted a while. No one was hurt, at least from our side, but we did loose a transformer and thus lost power in the compound for a day and a half. The powers surge also killed the computers, and now we are using our own personal laptops, as the other ones in the Internet room have to be replaced.

Thus, I will leave it up to you fine folks to tell me what all of this means for me for the rest of the year. Getting shot at has been my everyday affair for the last seven months, hopefully when we come back to Chicago, the shooting will stop. Unless I am foolish enough to buy tickets to a White Sox game.

Second, and most importantly, I Had the shocker of my life. I visited an Iraqi Army compound up here and realized that it was mixed soldiers, some Iraqi Arabs and some Kurds. One of the Kurdish soldiers I knew, from my time I spent with them at Ft. Defiance with Jamil. It was bitter sweet to see him and share some time with him.

I expressed my condolences to him, for my friend, and his friend and leader, Jamil, in my limited Kurdish, and he acknowledged and thanked me, in his limited English. We continued our talk and as we were talking about Jamil's tragedy, I realized we were talking about two different things. He was talking about Jamil's tragedy with loosing his brother, sister, their spouses and his nephew and nieces. I quickly realized in our discussion that either he did not know that Jamil was dead, or I did not know that he was alive.

It turns out, that there is another bittersweet moment here, and to my personal feelings, it is more sweet then bitter. There was a Maj. Jamil killed along with his lieutenant, but it was not my friend or his lieutenant, also a close friend of mine. The Jamil killed in the Car bomb incident was a major, named Jamil, Kurdish and from Dahouk, Kurdistan. If it sounds to good to be true, keep in mind that the name "Jamil" here is like Smith, or Jones back home. I brought over a translator to be sure; I did not want to be ecstatic over misinterpreted information. The translator confirmed my joyous assumption. This is one time I was glad for faulty information in the military chain.

It is like having a friend come back from the dead again. Like Martha and Mary receiving their brother Lazarus back from the tomb. To add to this excellent news, I am scheduled to go to another city in a week with my team, named Kissik, (you can see it on the sign I am standing in front of, in the last photo I sent) for 3 or 4 weeks, and Maj. Jamil and his men are supposed to be there as well. Not only is my friend, for all practical purposes back from the dead, but we will be reunited in a few days and working and eating together once again. God is Awesome. This has turned out to be a great New Year thus far.

Afterwards I went off by myself and thanked God for the great news and shed a joyous tear. However, I had to also pray for the other Jamil and his lieutenant, my good news is some one else's tragic event. I am truly sorry for that man, as I found out he left behind six children, between the ages of two to thirteen.

For those of you who were praying for Jamil's family, who wished me your condolences and reached out in such a caring and loving way, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means a lot when people back home, some of whom I have never met can sympathize and empathize with you at such a time of loss. If it is one thing all of us as humans share in, it is the common fate of all of us; death, and the sadness, pain, hurt and emptiness it leaves behind to those grieving. I also want to thank those of you who took Jamil and I into your prayers and posted such beautiful and caring tributes to this great man. One day when I see him I will share with him those sites, so he and his men, as well as his fellow Kurds could see in a real and tangible way, what support there is not only for us Americans, but for those Iraqis who have stood up to make a difference. I thank you all for your support.

Since I have not had time to e-mail all of you, or even had the opportunity with the blackout, I am sharing with you at the bottom of this e-mail. Some sites that had a tribute posted for my friend Jamil. When I first saw them, they were sad and broke my heart, now I can look at them with joy and a sense of humor, as I will be sharing them with Jamil.

I will right again soon to all of you, and hopefully in a personal way.

From Iraq, with joy and Gladness


And while all of us Soldiers' Angels are just thrilled to hear the news, we also keep "the other Major Jamil" in our hearts, for his family and friends are grieving his loss.

Honoring the Fallen

Mike Taylor recently emailed me about his website -


I came across your site while browsing about people that have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict. The deaths of the soldiers in our military is a terribly tragic thing. We would like to do something for the families who suffered the loss of a soldier. We are offering to do a free, custom charcoal portrait for the families of any soldier that has died in this conflict. As you're probably aware, once these families suffer a loss, they get bombarded by media and we've had a really hard time trying to get a hold of them to let them know we'd like to send them a gift. So instead, we're trying to get the word out that they can come to our site and we will do a professional portrait of their soldier for free.

Would you be kind enough to put a link to our page to let families know we'd like to give this gift to them in their time of loss...

The artist, Kevin Taylor, says this about the free portraits (via the website):
"I feel strongly that our soldiers and their families have given more than any one of us can fully appreciate. This is my small way to say thank you and I hope this portrait gives some comfort at a time of loss."

You can check out the website here:

Here is a sample of their work; you can find other samples at the site.

HOOOAH to those who use their talents to support the families of heroes in such a special way.
by Spc. Timothy Kingston

December 30, 2005

U.S. Army Soldiers of the 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1-327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky., find a massive weapons cache in a pipe near Alsalana, Iraq. This photo appeared on

Today in History

0236 - St Anterus ends his reign as Catholic Pope
0269 - St Felix I begins his reign as Catholic Pope
0936 - Duke Alberik II of Spoleto appoints his son Pope Leo VII
1407 - Bloody battles between Hoeksen & Kabeljauwen in Dordrecht
1431 - Joan of Arc handed over to the bishop
1521 - Martin Luther excommunicated by Roman Catholic Church
1667 - Russia & Poland sign Truce of Androsovo
1746 - Bonnie Prince Charlies army leaves Glasgow
1752 - East Indies invasion "Geldermalsen" leaves at Malakka 92 killed
1777 - Washington defeats British at Battle of Princeton, New Jersey
1780 - Danish national anthem "Kong Kristian", 1st sung
1825 - Scottish factory owner Robert Owen buys 30,000 acres in Indiana as site for New Harmony utopian community
1831 - 1st US building & loan association organized, Frankford PA
1833 - Britain seizes control of Falkland Islands in South Atlantic
1840 - 1st deep sea sounding
1847 - California town of Yerba Buena renamed San Francisco
1852 - 1st Chinese arrive in Hawaii
1861 - Delaware legislature rejects proposal to join Confederacy; US Fort Pulaski & Fort Jackson, Savannah, seized by Georgia
1862 - Romney Campaign - Stonewall Jackson moves north from Winchester
1868 - Meiji Restoration returns authority to Japan's emperors
1870 - Brooklyn Bridge construction begins; completed May 24, 1883
1871 - Oleomargarine patented by Henry Bradley, Binghamton NY
1872 - 1st patent list issued by US Patent Office
1876 - 1st free kindergarten in US opens in Florence MA
1888 - 1st wax drinking straw patented, by Marvin C Stone in Washington DC
1889 - Admissions convention meets in Ellensburg WA, asks for statehood
1890 - 1st US college-level dairy school opens at University of Wisconsin
1896 - Emperor Wilhelm congratulates President Kruger on the Jameson Raid
1900 - Perihelion Passage
1911 - US postal savings bank inaugurated
1918 - US employment service opens as a unit of Department of Labor
1921 - Turkey makes peace with Armenia
1922 - 1st living person identified on a US coin (Thomas E. Kirby) on the Alabama Centennial half-dollar
1924 - British Egyptologist Howard Carter finds sarcophagus of Tutankhamun
1925 - Mussolini dissolves Italian parliament/becomes dictator
1926 - Greek General Theodorus Pángulos names himself dictator
1929 - 27 year old William S Paley becomes CBS president
1938 - March of Dimes established to fight polio
1939 - Gene Cox becomes 1st female page in US House of Representatives
1941 - Canada & US acquire air bases in Newfoundland (99 year lease); Italian counter offensive in Albania
1942 - American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) Command forms
1943 - 1st missing persons telecast (New York City NY); Canadian Army troops arrive in North Africa
1945 - Allies land on west coast of Burma, conquer Akyab; British Prime Minister Winston Churchill visits France; Greek General Plastiras forms government; US aircraft carriers attack Okinawa
1947 - William Dawson becomes 1st black to head congressional committee; 1st opening session of Congress to be televised
1952 - "Dragnet" with Jack Webb premieres on NBC TV
1955 - José Ramon Guizado becomes President of Panamá
1959 - Alaska admitted as 49th US state
1961 - Adam Clayton Powell elected Chairman of House Education & Labor; US breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba
1962 - Ground is broken for the Houston Astrodome; Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro
1967 - Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys is indicted for draft evasion
1969 - Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., seated by Congress
1970 - Marxist government takes over in Congo
1974 - Arias Navarro succeeds Carrero Blanco as premier of Spain; Burma accepts its constitution
1977 - Apple Computer incorporated
1984 - Syria frees captured US pilot after appeal from Jesse Jackson
1985 - Israel government confirms resettlement of 10,000 Ethiopian Jews
1988 - Israel orders 9 Palestinian "instigators" deported from West Beirut; Margaret Thatcher becomes longest-serving British PM this century
1990 - Panamá's leader, General Manuel Noriega, surrenders to US authorities
1991 - Israel reopens consulate in USSR after 23 years
1992 - 32 Cubans defect to the US via helicopter
1994 - 100s killed in Venezuela in prison revolt; 35-foot-tall Chief Wahoo, trademark of Indians on top of Stadium since 1962, is taken down, to be moved to Jacob's Field
1994 - Tupolev-154M crashes at Irkutsk, Siberia 122 killed
1997 - Bryant Gumbel co-hosted his final "Today" show on NBC-TV

106 BC - Marcus Tullius Cicero Rome, statesman/author (Academica)
1624 - William Tucker, 1st Black child born in America
1763 - Joseph Fesch, French cardinal/war commission/earl/senator
1793 - Lucretia Coffin Mott, US teacher/minister/abolitionist/feminist
1810 - Eliza Von Bretton di Zerega, baroness
1819 - Thomas Hill Watts, Confederate Attorney General
1876 - Wilhelm Pieck, co-founder of German Communist Party/President (1949-60)
1879 - Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, US First Lady (1923-29)
1883 - Clement Richard Attlee, British PM (1945-51)
1901 - Ngo Dinh Diem President/Dictator of South Vietnam (1955-63)
1902 - Henry Lennox d'Aubigny Hopkinson, diplomat/politician
1903 - Charles Foulkes, Canadian General
1916 - Betty Furness, actress/consumer activist (Studio 1)
1922 - Morten Nielsen, poet/resistance fighter
1924 - Henry M. Fazzie, South African Union/UDF-leader
1929 - Marilyn Lloyd (Representative-TN, 1975-1995)
1932 - Anatoli Petrovich Kuklin, cosmonaut
1934 - Carla Hills, politician (US Presidential Commission on Housing-1982)
1945 - Stephen Stills, singer/songwriter/guitarist (Crosby Stills & Nash)
1946 - John Paul Jones, rocker (Led Zeppelin)
1947 - Sergey Filipovich Protchenko, Russian cosmonaut
1956 - Mel Gibson, actor (Mad Max, Lethal Weapon)
1967 - Joseph Amor, video game record holder (Space Invaders)

1322 - Philip V "the Tall," King of France (1316-22)
1543 - Juan Cabrillo, conqueror of Central America, discoverer of California
1552 - Henry II of Bavaria, bishop of Utrecht (1524-29), dies at 64
1560 - Peder Palladus, Danish church reformer (Visitasbog), dies at about 56
1570 - Bartholomeus Latomus [Steinmetz], Flemish archbishop of Trier, dies
1661 - Maria Henriëtte Stuart (of Orange), English Princess Royal/eldest daughter of the English king Charles I/mother of English king William III, dies of smallpox at 29
1670 - George Monck, English General (-to the-sea), dies at 61
1759 - Marquis & Marquess of Tavora, Portuguese nobles, executed
1835 - Willem F. Röell, Dutch baron/minister of Internal Affairs, dies at 67
1898 - James Wimshurst, British designer/inventor (vacuum pump), dies at 70
1915 - James E. Flecker, British diplomat/novelist (Hassan), dies at 30
1931 - Joseph J.C. Joffre, French marshal, dies at 78
1933 - Wilhelm Cuno, German Reich's chancellor (1922-23), dies at 56
1946 - William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw), hanged in Britain for treason
1967 - Jack Ruby, assassin who killed assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, dies at 55
1972 - Frans Masereel, Flemish WWII resistance fighter (Le Soleil), dies at 82
1976 - Michael V. Love, US test pilot (X-24), dies in F-4 crash at 37
1977 - Avraham Ofer Israeli minister of housing, suicide
1979 - Conrad Hilton. US founder (Hilton Hotels), dies at 91
1988 - Gaston Eyskens, PM of Belgium (1949, 1958-61, 1968-72), dies at 82
1992 - Radomiro Tomic, Chilean President (1970), dies
1993 - Peter Brocco, blacklisted in the 1950's, dies of heart attack at 89
1995 - Byron MacGregor, newscaster, dies at 56

Reported Missing in Action
Anderson, Roger D., US Army (TX); escaped January, 1968

Bean, James E., USAF (KY); F105D shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - alive as of 1998
** also flew 41 combat missions in the P-47 in France and Germany during WWII with the Army Air Corps **

Ellis, Billy J., US Army (TN); disappeared during an attack on LZ Leslie - likely KIA

Estes, Edward D., USN (MO); A4C shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Captain - alive and well as of 1998

Lancaster, Kenneth R., US Army (MD); fell from skid of UH1H during extraction, likely Killed

Ayres, James H., USAF (TX); F4E crashed (w/Stratton)

Stratton, Charles W., USAF (TX); F4E crashed (w/Ayres)

The following US Army personnel reported MIA when their U6 disappeared:
Holgun, Luis G. (CA)

Magee, Patrick J. (MT)

Omelia, Dennis W. (NC)

Okerlund, Thomas R. (WA)

Palen, Carl A. (IA)

Parsons, Michael D. (NV)

Rhodes, Ferris A., Jr. (SC)

Scaife, Kenneth Doyle, USN (PA); drowned

Rawlings, James; remains ID'd February, 1974
MOSUL VISIT — U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, right, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shakes hands with a soldier upon his arrival to Mosul, Iraq, Dec. 31, 2005. A USO-sponsored troupe accompanied Pace as he visited troops deployed during the holiday season. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen

In Today's News - Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Most of us serve our ideals by fits and starts. The person who makes a success of living is one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That's dedication."
-- Cecil B. DeMille

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraq Vote Results May Not Come for 2 Weeks
Iraq Attacks Kill 16
Deal raises hope for compromise in Iraq
Teen to talk about Iraq trip -- later

Operation Enduring Freedom
Taliban make farmers grow opium, official says
Car bomb targets U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Case gives peek into how al-Qaida survives
Commander Says Terror at Bay in E. Africa
Yemen PM Rejects Talks With Kidnappers
Southern India on High Terror Alert
NSA Leak Questions Swirl
Homeland Security changes way funds doled out

Troops on Trial
Philippine rape case judge wants US troops held

Women Make Political Gains in 2005
Public, like Congress, split on immigration

Supreme Court
Supreme Court to tackle issue of reopening death-row cases that draw doubts

Other News of Note
US Rep. Murtha says he wouldn't join military now
New Orleans residents going home

Fox News
Crews Drill for Miners
Robots test underground air
Exploded W. Va. Mine Cited 208 Times in 2005
Fast Facts: Recent U.S. Coal Mining Disasters
Video: Rescue Tactics
Video: Miners Trapped
Six Kids Among 11 Dead in German Roof Collapse
Southwest Wildfires Continue
Palestinian Election Campaigns Begin
West Virginia Wins Sugar Bowl
OSU Tastes Sweet Victory
Alabama Wins Cotton Bowl
Florida Wins Outback Bowl
Va. Tech Wins Gator Bowl
Wisc. Wins Capital One Bowl
OSU's Clarett Turns Self In
Mexico Will Investigate Shooting Death of Migrant
Indonesian Flood Deaths at 57
S. California Readies for Rain
Rose Parade-Goers Brave Rain
Video: California Floods
Powerful Quake Hits Near Fiji
Fla. Mom Charged with Christmas Murder of Son, 3
Video: Bush Defends Program
Russia, Ukraine Trade Accusations Over Gas
Va. Governor Considers DNA Test of Executed Man
Stocks to Watch: Walgreen

Reuters: Top News
Aid flights grounded for third day in Pakistan quake zone
Stanley Ho, Packer drop Singapore casino bid
CNOOC shareholders veto proposal on acquisitions
Disney applies ESPN model to broadband strategy
Web services thrive, but outages outrage users
Patent firm sues Google for voice services
VW shares hit 3-week high on Daimler co-op report
Indian share index rises above 9,500 points
Yield curve to cool housing market
Russia restores Europe's gas, still at odds with Kiev
US air raid kills Iraqi family: officials Video
Aid flights grounded for third day in Pakistan quake zone Video
Uncertainty clouds Palestinian election campaign Video
End US sanctions so nuclear talks can start: N.Korea
Motorola unveils iRadio, new home products
Crohn's disease ups risk of intestinal cancer
Walking slows decline with leg artery disease

AP World News
Rescue Effort Continues at German Ice Rink
Russia, Ukraine to Resume Gas Talks
Iran Decides to Resume Nuke Fuel Research
Palestinian Election Campaign Begins
N. Korea Says Sanctions Tabling Nuke Talks
Mexico Opens Probe Into U.S. Border Death
Death Toll From Indonesia Floods Hits 57
Sri Lanka May Be Slipping Back Into War
Mexican Rebel Leader Meets With Indians
Haitian Presidential Candidate Jailed
Blair Describes Being PM As Worthwhile
France to End State of Emergency This Week
Earthquake Hits Deep Under South Pacific
U.N. Investigators Boost Pressure on Syria

The Seattle Times
Burned-out towns combed for victims of grass blazes
Children no safer in SUVs than cars, study says
In colder climes, rituals aimed at encouraging big storms abound
Low-cost lamps brighten the future of rural India
Cheerleading injuries increase, study finds

Chicago Sun-Times
Left on a doorstep 16 years ago
Potter's spell keeps kids out of ER
'KKK,' 'Go away' painted on monastery's statues
Downstate town rattled by 3.6 earthquake
The Twain you don't often meet: His musical side
Cops: Snowmobilers competed before avalanche
Swede supposedly drowned turns up at traffic stop
Cops: Wheelchair 'theft' was just sympathy ploy
4 charged in teen's brick beating
Record 21 pandas born in captivity

Boston Globe: World
European visitors drawing US scrutiny
Pakistan discusses reactors with China
Abbas raises possibility of delaying vote
Iraqi Sunni Arab group agrees on coalition government
Ugandan opposition leader freed
Air Force's Role Changing in Iraq
New Book Reveals Secret War Operations
Homeland Security to Re-Prioritize Grants
U.S. Forces Succeed in E. Africa
Doctor Says Iraqi Baby Doing Well
Military Support for Bush Drops

CENTCOM: News Releases

Department of Defense
2006 Will Be 'Bad Year' for U.S. Enemies - Story
Marines Unearth Tons of Weapons Caches - Story
Afghan Border Police Open New Facility - Story

Air Force Engineer Helps Iraqis Rebuild - Story

Soldier Proposes at Halftime - Story
Web Special: Holidays at the Frontlines

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

Military Ready for Challenges
Aircrews Fly 50 Missions
The Foundation of Peace
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Officials Identify Army Casualty - 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