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Friday, January 13, 2006

A Sad Anniversary

Today marks a sad event for Soldiers' Angels and the family and friends of a fallen hero.

Pfc. Gunnar Becker was killed in Iraq one year ago today.

Please take a moment today to remember and honor Gunnar, and to spare a thought or a prayer for his mother, Debey, and the rest of his family, and for all of his friends and comrades.

You can read more about this Hero at

Soldiers' Angels Germany also has a post about Gunnar today.

Gunnar's mom is an occasional visitor to this site - please feel free to leave messages in the comments section. If she doesn't stop by, I'll forward them to her.

Thanks to Amber for passing along this poem Gunnar wrote:

We are soldiers.
We are soldiers in the United States Army.
We are trained to be all we can be.

We fight for the freedom of many citizens of the United States.
We are all ready to meet our fates.

We all volunteer to defend the red, white and blue.
Not only the flag, but for the citizens of our great country too.

Since our country's birth for all these years,
we have been trained to be the best on Earth.

Many times we have went to war.
We will be involved in many more.

Generation by generation soldiers continue to enlist.
Some of us will got to war and definitely be missed.

Some soldiers will return and some won't.
Those who do not, we won't forget and we hope you don't.

Many of us are going to Iraq.
Some of us won't be coming back.

We have loved ones we are leaving behind.
They will always be in our prayers, hearts and mind.

If we don't make it home safely at the end of the war,
just remember we died defending the beliefs of those of many more.

-- PFC Gunnar Becker, November, 23, 2003


Brit’s scathing critique causes ‘fuss’

January 12, 2006

By John Milburn
Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — A British officer’s assessment of the U.S. Army’s efforts in Iraq is drawing attention, not so much for the blunt comments but because of where they were published.

The 14-page article by Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster appears in the November-December issue of Military Review published by the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, home of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and School of Advance Military Studies.

Read the rest at the Army Times - I expect you'll be hearing a lot more about this story.

U.S. Chopper Down in Iraq; Both Pilots Hurt

MOSUL, Iraq — A U.S. Army reconnaissance helicopter went down near Mosull in northern Iraq on Friday while aiding Iraqi police who came under hostile fire, and its two pilots were seriously injured, military officials said.

More from Fox News

UPDATE: Fox is now reporting, sadly, that information indicates that both pilots were KIA.

UPDATE 2: Both Pilots KIA
San Diego (Jan. 10, 2006) - Deck Seaman Alberto Jimenez looks through handouts with his son during a pre-deployment brief in the hangar bay of the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5). Ten different speakers from various organizations, including the Red Cross and Armed Forces YMCA, spoke to Sailors and their families about how to get ready for deployment. Peleliu and Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG 3) will deploy to the Persian Gulf this spring on a regularly scheduled deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Zack Baddorf

Joshua Sparling Update

The Political Teen has posted two interviews that Hero Joshua Sparling (of the infamous card) did on the Sean Hannity Show

Definitely worth the read!

Oh and by the way, if you haven't heard, apparently Michael Crook of "Forsake the Troops" fame is claiming responsibility....not really a surprise, is it? Visit Michelle Malkin for more

To add a smile to your day, it's worth a visit to Crook's old site - taken down by some heroes - to see what the URL now takes you to.

Thanks to Tony for the tip.

St. Mary, Kansas Native Earns Bronze Star


Story by Sgt. Tracee L. Jackson
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Dec. 16, 2005) -- Gunnery Sgt. Adam J. Taylor, a native of St. Mary, Kan., was awarded the Bronze Star Medal here Dec. 16 in recognition of his contributions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Taylor served as a team leader with a Special Collections and Survey Team, 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, during combat operations from April 2004 to Feb. 2005. Taylor is credited with re-writing the tactical signals intelligence concepts of employment and enhancing the capability of his Marines to provide cutting-edge intelligence when they needed it most.

“I think they’re specifically talking about events before, during and after Operation Al Fajr,” said Taylor. “During that time, we had teams spread all over our (Area of Operation). It was really a combined effort.”
Taylor said he was able to accomplish his mission despite the chaotic conditions that faced him.

According to his award citation, Taylor’s leadership, expertise and team building abilities also brought together national level intelligence agency support to his team’s tactical training requirements, which directly contributed to the success of his team.

“As cheesy as it sounds, I want to give a piece of this to all the Marines who were with me,” said Taylor. “I couldn’t have done it without them. They all had a direct hand in our success, and I wish I could convey that to them better.”

The Bronze Star Medal is an individual decoration and is the fourth highest award within the Department of Defense for bravery, heroism, and meritorious service.

by Staff Sgt. James H. Christopher III

January 12, 2006

Soldiers from Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Fires Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, fire a Multiple Launch Rocket System rocket at an enemy target from Forward Operating Base Q-West, Iraq.

Media that Gets It

On Wednesday, I posted about a foiled terror attack plot that has gone largely unnoticed in the media.

Over at the Marietta (GA) Journal Online, there's one woman who noticed - Laura Armstrong.

Foiled terror plot fails to make news

We've all heard of Abu Ghraib, but how many of us know of Salman Pak?

As I suspected: Hardly any.

How about the major terrorist plot to attack U.S. stadiums, ships and railway stations uncovered by Italian authorities (using wiretaps) nine weeks ago for which three Algerians await trial on conspiracy and terrorism charges?

We likely haven't heard that either, unless we traveled recently to London or other world cities where it was front-page news.

In England, the Sunday Times' headline was "U.S. terror attacks foiled." In France, Agence France Presse proclaimed, "Three Algerians arrested in Italy over plot targeting U.S."

Read the rest at the Marietta Journal Online

by Lance Cpl. Shane S. Keller
January 12, 2006
Pfc. Phillip Ruiz, from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, provides security for Soldiers and Marines during a presence patrol in Rawah, Iraq.

In Today's News - Friday, January 13, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Al Qaeda is in 80 different countries. We need to harass these terrorist groups, everywhere - in Saudi Arabia, in Yemen, North Korea, the Sudan, Algeria, and Zimbabwe. And then there's the Russian mafia. We need to screw around with their banks, to squeeze them."
-- David Hunt

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Cheney Reiterates Iraq Terror Connection
Attacks in Iraq Not Slowing Progress Video

Operation Enduring Freedom
Mine Roller Offers Protection for Troops
Guard Soldiers Depart for Afghanistan Tour

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Padilla Pleads Not Guilty
Bomb Plotter Gets Life

Welcome Home!!
USS Chosin Returns to Pearl Harbor Photos

Troops on Trial
Ex-Gitmo Chief Pleads Fifth
Four Marines Accused of Philippines Rape

Supreme Court
Fellow Judges Praise Alito
Missteps avoided; looks like Alito's in
O'Connor among topics Alito addresses

Blogging in the News
Blogger buys presidential candidate's call list

Vampire Candidate Backs Impaling, Won't Hide 'Evil Side'
Crash test dummies won't need to be lonely anymore
Work leaves cat on wrong side of dry wall
Man's suspicious courtroom handshake leaves 3 ill
Flying shrimp at Japanese eatery led to N.Y. man's death, lawsuit says
Woman files lawsuit after she was hit by flying hydrant from car crash

Other News of Note
Skakel Conviction Upheld
Coast Guard captain removed after crash
Museum finds mysterious Spitfire signer
Revamped Vests Provide More Protection

Fox News
Saudi Gov't Says 345 Killed in Hajj Stampede
Sharon Critical but Stable- Pat Robertson Apologizes
Blunt in Lead for GOP Post
Mayor Calls L.A. Nation's Homeless Capital
Sharpton Criticizes Bush in New Hampshire Speech
Arrest in Reporter's Slay
Stocks to Watch: IBM, GM
Enron Jury Won't Hear Tapes
Starbucks 'Bomb' Not a Bomb
Gulf Boom Pledged
Iran May Block Future Nuke Inspections
Scientists Doubt Donner Party Practiced Cannibalism
DNA Confirms Guilt
Pope Blasts Abortion Pills

Reuters: Top News
Iran nuclear row heats up Play Video
Oil back above $64 on Iraq worries
Sharon's doctors worried that coma persists: report
Saudis and pilgrims trade blame over deadly crush Video
EU pledges $100 mln as Turkey tackles bird flu Video
Alito seems headed for confirmation Video
Merkel seeks to regain trust at White House Video
China hotel battens down amid Kim visit rumors
Clinton announces AIDS drug initiative
S. Korean prosecutors widen probe of scientist Hwang
Ice thaw could create new toxic slick in China: UN
Apple files 'Mobile Me' as US trademark
World Bank approves first bird flu funding
Drug to prevent early labor raises risk: study
Muslim Pilgrims Killed in Saudi Haj Crush (Photos)
Relative calm in West Bank shattered Play Video
Bird cull continues in Turkey
Asia tech stocks shine
Tyco to split into three companies
AIG to pay over $1 bln to settle probe: report
Boston Scientific raises Guidant offer
Google adds two "Mini" business search appliances
Goldman withdraws from Thomas Weisel IPO-report
IBM says SEC probes earnings
Tenet settles holder class-actions for $215 mln
Volcom shares rise after brokerage raises rating
Motorola unlikely to buy Juniper: analysts
China's dollar demand will soften at some point

AP World News
Violence Likely As Iraq Readies Government
Misplaced Bag, Haste Led to Hajj Stampede
U.N. Calls for Improved Security in Darfur
Sharon's Treatment After Stroke Questioned
Campaign Ends With Mass Rallies in Chile
Rescuers Reach Crew Stranded in Antarctica
Report: 21 Killed in Russia Train Accident
Kenya's Elephants Suffering From Drought
Cleric's Trial Continues in British Court
Release of Pope Gunman Draws Criticism
Protesters in Haiti Denounce Violence
French Official Details Bold Reform Vision
Release of Ex-Communist Irks Lithuanians
Robertson Apologizes for Sharon Remarks
Researcher: Early Man Was Hunted by Birds
Turkey Criticized Over Bird-Flu Response
Annan Says Iran Wants to Discuss Nukes
Worries of Anti-Semitism Spread in Russia

The Seattle Times
Maryland requires Wal-Mart to pay more for health care
FDA rules expand human drug testing
Lawmakers demand Vermont judge resign
No Americans questioned in Army's abuse probe
Tikrit palace complex allegedly picked clean
U.S.-India nuclear pact draws heat
Europe ends Iranian nuke-research talks
Millions of Jews descended from 4 women, study says
Generals pledge to bolster China's paramilitary police
Town would take page from native son's book
Jersey's new slogan leaves it up to you
Fighters, lovers and loners: How well do we know tortoises?
Houston teacher pay tied to student test scores
World's largest wetland threatened

Chicago Sun-Times
Bribery talk caught on tape
State, feds probe county treasurer's office
160 years for man who plotted to blow up courthouse
Iran to stop cooperating if referred to U.N.
Prosecutor: Mom of raped teen took $10,000 hush money
Halloween handouts bring ex-CLTV personality jail time
2 charged with stealing jewelry from Payton's mom
Dillinger relative cleared to sue museum over use of artifacts
University chief who called students 'mush' quits

Boston Globe: World
US, European allies press for UN action on Iran
China struggles to balance economic growth, environment
US won't permit sale of aircraft to Venezuela
Syria says UN cannot question Assad about slaying
Spain arrests suspect in train bombing
3 Likud ministers leave Israeli Cabinet
Two dead in West Bank violence as vote looms
Specter of US imbues Canada's vote
Army Cancels Lockheed Spy Plane Contract
Senator Questions Pentagon Surveillance
JFCOM Explores Ways to Speed Urban Ops

Department of Defense
Capabilities Key to Countering Threats - Story Video
Casey: Insurgent Tactics Fail to Disrupt Progress

Reagan, Copter Squadron Conduct Rescue - Story
Horn of Africa Task Force Sponsors Clinic - Story

Engineer's Efforts Bring Hope to Iraqi Kids
New Equipment Helps Wounded Soldiers in Iraq

Better Equipment Connects Afghan Troops
U.S. Soldiers, Afghans Complete Road Project

Sergeant Keeps Marines, Computers Talking - Story

LAPD Supports Mobilized Employees - Story

Bush: Violence Depicts Desperation
Iraq Democracy Will Defeat Terror
Iraqi, U.S. Troops Detain Suspects
Casey Awaits Info Ops Review
Khalalzid Views Medical Care
Iraqis Honor Armed Forces Day
Soldiers Find Bodies, Weapons
Iraqi Unit Takes Over FOB Bernstein
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
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

Security Force Members Demobilize
Afghan Troops Aid Bomb Victims
Troops Learn Vehicle Maintenance
U.S. Medics Treat Wounded Afghans
Afghanistan Update

Accused Teen Appears in Court
Hearing Opens Amid Issues
Special Operations Makes Mark
Special Forces Must Evolve
Missile Defense Moves Forward
Lawyers Address Hearings Issues
Detained Terrorists Out of Action
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Warfare Changes Impact Reserves
Army Improves Body Armor
Abell Talks Recruiting, Retention
Program Aids Army Recruiting
Budget Increases Pay, Benefits
National Guard, Reserve Update

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


Today in History
0888 - Duke Odo becomes king of West-France
1099 - Crusaders set fire to Mara Syria
1547 - Earl Henry Howard of Surrey sentenced to death
1559 - Elizabeth I crowned queen of England in Westminster Abbey
1610 - Galileo Galilei discovers Callisto, 4th satellite of Jupiter
1621 - Jan Pieterszoon Coen's fleet sets sail to Moluccas (from Jacarta)
1695 - Jonathan Swift ordained an Anglican priest in Ireland
1733 - James Oglethorpe & 130 English colonists arrive at Charleston, SC
1794 - Congress changes US flag to 15 stars & 15 stripes
1830 - Great fire in New Orleans thought to be set by rebel slaves
1849 - Vancouver Island granted to Hudson's Bay Co
1854 - Anthony Foss patents the accordion
1863 - Chenille manufacturing machine patented by William Canter, New York City, NY; Thomas Crapper pioneers one-piece pedestal flushing toilet
1865 - Federals attack Fort Fisher, NC
1869 - National convention of Black leaders meets in Washington, DC
1874 - US troops land in Honolulu to protect the king
1888 - National Geographic Society founded (Washington DC)
1894 - Revolution in Sicily crushed by government troops
1898 - Emile Zola publishes his open letter (J'accuse) in defense of Captain Alfred Dreyfus in Paris
1908 - French pilot Henry Farman is 1st European to fly roundtrip
1915 - Earthquake in Avezzano Italy kills 30,000; W. Churchill presents plan for assault on Dardanelles
1920 - New York Times editorial (falsely) reports rockets can never fly
1922 - Conference of Cannes concerning German retribution payments ended
1924 - Nationalist Wafd-party wins Egyptian parliament elections
1927 - US & Mexico battle over oil interests
1930 - "Mickey Mouse" comic strip 1st appears
1935 - Plebiscite in Saar, indicates a desire (90.3%) to join Nazi Germany
1939 - Belgian premier signs Burgos-treaty for trade relations with Franco
1942 - German U-boats begin harassing shipping on US East Coast; Henry Ford patents a method of constructing plastic auto bodies; Interallied war trial conference publishes St James Declaration
1943 - British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrives in Casablanca; Hitler declares "Total War"; Russian offensive at Don under General Golikov; US infantry captures Galloping Horse-ridge Guadalcanal
1951 - German General F Christian freed early from Dutch prison; 9 Jewish Kremlin physicians "exposed" as British/US agents; known as the Doctors' Plot
1953 - Gas explosion in Belgium coal mine kills 14; Marshal Josip Tito chosen president of Yugoslavia
1954 - Military rule in Egypt; 318 Mohammedan Brotherhood arrested
1957 - Wham-O Company produces the 1st Frisbee
1958 - 9,000 scientists of 43 nations petition UN for nuclear test ban
1959 - De Gaulle grants amnesty to 130 to Algerian death row convicts; King Boudouin promises Belgian Congo independence
1966 - 1st Black selected for Presidential cabinet (LBJ selects Robert C. Weaver-HUD)
1967 - Coup in Togo
1968 - Beginning of Tet-offensive in Vietnam; Minnesota North Stars center Bill Masterton fatally injured (dies on 15th)
1979 - Charlie Daniels hosts the Volunteer Jam
1979 - YMCA files libel suit against Village People's YMCA song
1980 - Head of narcotic brigade arrested for drug smuggling in Belgium; Togo's constitution becomes effective
1982 - Air Florida 737 takes off in a snowstorm, crashes into the 14th St Bridge in Washington, DC, & falls into the Potomac River, killing 78
1982 - Hank Aaron & Frank Robinson elected to Hall of Fame
1983 - AMA urges ban on boxing, citing Muhammad Ali's deteriorating condition
1985 - 99-year-old Otto Bucher scores a hole-in-one at Spanish golf course; Express train derails in Ethiopia, kills at least 428
1986 - Bloody coup overthrows government of South Yemen
1987 - W. German police arrest Mohammed Ali Hamadi, suspect in 1985 hijacking
1988 - Supreme Court rules (5-3) public school officials have broad powers to censor school newspapers, plays & other expressive activities
1989 - "Friday the 13th" virus strikes hundreds of IBM computers in Britain; Jerry Parks, Oklahoma defensive back, charged with shooting a teammate; Ruins of Mashkan-shapir (occupied 2050-1720 BC) found in Iraq; Subway gunman Bernhard Goetz begins 1-year jail sentence; Computers across Britain hit by "Friday the 13th" virus
1990 - 1st elected US black governor inaugurated (Douglas Wilder-Virginia)
1991 - UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar meets with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad; 42 killed in exhibition soccer match in Johannesburg South Africa; President Mario Soares of Portugal re-elected
1992 - US serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer pleads guilty but insane
1993 - STS-54 (Endeavour) launches into orbit
1994 - Italian government of Ciampi resigns; Tonya Harding's bodyguard, Shawn Eric Eckardt & Derrick Brian Smith arrested & charged with conspiracy in attack of skater Nancy Kerrigan
1995 - 26 HNL teams unanimously ratify agreement to end NHL strike; America3 becomes 1st all-female crew to win an America's Cup race

- St Colette, abbess/reformer (Poor Clares)
1505 - Joachim II Hector, ruler (Brandenburg)
1807 - Napoleon Bonaparte Buford, Union Major General
1808 - Salmon P. Chase (Senator) cabinet member, 6th Chief Justice (1864-73)
1812 - Humphrey Marshall, Confederate Brigadier General
1815 - William Henry French, Union Major General
1835 - Gustaaf Rolin-Jaequemyns. Belgian jurist/minister of the Interior
1864 - Wilhelm K.W. Wien, German phyicist (Nobel 1911)
1869 - Emanuele F. Duke of Aosta, Italian General (WWI)/fascist
1898 - Pedro de Teixeira, de Mattos Dutch diplomat
1919 - Robert Stack, actor (Eliot Ness-Untouchables, Airplane, Unsolved Mysteries)
1936 - Edward R. Madigan (Representative-IL)
1937 - Hajé J. Schartman, Dutch MP (CDA)
1949 - Brandon Tartikoff, TV exec (NBC); Rakesh Sharma India, cosmonaut (Soyuz T-11)
1955 - Titus M. Mafolo, South African journalist/ANC-leader
1961 - Julia Louis-Dreyfus, comedienne (SNL, Seinfeld, Day by Day, Soul Man, Troll)
1966 - Tabitha Stevens, fictional character (Bewitched)

0533 - Remigius van Reims, 1st bishop of Reims (459-533)/saint, dies about 96
0858 - Aethelwolf, King of Wessex (Battle at Aclea)
0888 - Charles III the Fat One, King of Franconia/Roman emperor
1049 - Derrick IV, Count of Holland (1039-49), dies in battle
1177 - Hendrik Jasomirgott Babenberg Duke of Austria
1307 - Arnoud van Foreest, Dom deacon of Utrecht
1330 - Frederick (III) the Handsome, duke of Austria/German anti-king, dies
1691 - George Fox, founder of Quakers, dies at 66
1797 - Elisabeth C. von Brunswick-Bever,n wife of Frederick II, dies at 81
1879 - W.F. Hendrik, the Navigator prince of Netherlands/viceroy of Luxembourg, dies at 58
1914 - Bernardus H. Heldt, Dutch MP, dies at 72
1929 - Wyatt Earp, US marshall (OK Corral), dies at 80
1934 - Jean-Baptiste Marchand, soldier/explorer (Sudan), dies at 70
1947 - Veit Valentin, German/US historian (German People), dies at 61
1962 - Ernie Kovacs, comedian, dies in a car crash in West Los Angeles, at 42
1963 - Leonardus G. Kortenhorst, Dutch MP (KVP), dies at 76
1978 - Hubert Humphrey (Senator-MN, Vice President), dies at 66
1986 - Abdel Fattah Ismail, President of South-Yemen (1969-80), murdered
1988 - Chiang Ching-kuo, President of Taiwan (1978-88), dies at 81
1993 - Rene Pleven, PM of France (1950-51, 51-52)
1994 - Johan J. Holst, Norwegian minister of defense/foreign affairs, dies at 56

Reported Missing in Action
Duffy, Charles J.; possibly dead

Cronin, Michael P., USN (PA); A4E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Captain - alive as of 1996, when he was active in getting the "War Crimes Act of 1996" passed

Turley, Morvan Darrell, USAF (MO); F100D shot down - remains recovered October, 1967

Eaton, Norman D., USAF (OK); B57 shot down (pilot)