Keep Your Helmet On!

Be A Part of a Tribute to Fallen Heroes - Help Build the Fallen Soldiers' Bike
Help support the families of our deployed Heroes - Visit Soldiers' Angels' Operation Outreach
Help Our Heroes Help Others - Click Here to visit SOS: KIDS
Nominate your Hero for IWT's "Hero of the Month" - click here for details!
Search Iraq War Today only

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cpl. Joshua Johns and Iraqi Policeman Ali Nagy Gabur keep vigilant watch as Marines from C Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, and Iraqi police conducted a vehicle check point. This marked the first time the Iraqi police have patroled the area since the battalion took it over.Photo by: Cpl. William Skelton

Read Story Associated with this photo

A Baseball Hero

Posted this a while ago, but worth a repost:

Rick Monday Saves the Flag (video)

Military - It's Your Turn To Share Your Thoughts

It need not matter if you were a baseball fan or not. For what transpired on the afternoon of April 25, 1976 at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium was a moment that united Americans throughout the country.

At a time when the United States of America was celebrating its bicentennial, two protestors jumped onto the field and attempted to use the Dodger Stadium outfield as a political stage in which to burn the American flag.

With a lighter fluid and matches in hand, the protestors unfurled the flag and lit a match. The wind blew out the first match. As they tried to strike a second match, United States Marine veteran Rick Monday, then the centerfielder for the visiting Chicago Cubs (and current Dodger broadcaster), raced from his position, grabbed the flag and continued sprinting to the infield where he handed it over to Dodger pitcher Doug Rau.

This moment and the symbol it represented – freedom, history and those who have lost their lives in battle to save Old Glory – had countless Americans talking; from baseball fans to everyday American citizens.

It is ranked as one of the top 100 classic moments in baseball history by the National Baseball Hall of Fame committee and third on Sporting News’ list as the most ‘unusual’ moment to occur on a major league baseball field.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of this event, it’s your turn to express what that moment meant to you.

Were you a baseball fan attending this game in Los Angeles? Or, were you, your children or friends in the military - or a veteran of the armed forces - when this occurred?

A special book is being written about this moment and the impact it had on American society in a more innocent time. What went through your mind when you heard or saw this flag-burning incident? Did it have a special effect, or trigger a special event, for someone you know? Regardless of the scenario, your comments are welcomed.

Feel free to share your thoughts in 500 words or less, and photos (if you were at the game or you are a veteran), and send them to mvpsportscorp@aol-DOT-com or MVPSPORTS, 505 Beachland Blvd., Ste. 1-220, Vero Beach, FL 32963. Please include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.

By sharing your thoughts and photos (sorry, items can not be returned), you give the writer permission to print your name and material. All entries are subject to edit.
PJs help rescue skier off glacier
Tech. Sgt. Kevin Baum (center) and Staff Sgt Josiah Blanton (right) help move a patient to an ambulance for transport to a hospital on Saturday, May 6, 2006. The pararescuemen from the Air Force Reserve Command's 304th Rescue Squadron were part of a 15-member rescue team. They helped rescue a skier who had fallen more than 300 feet on Mount Hood, Ore. The 304th RQS is in Portland, Ore. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Ruby Zarzyczny)

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bradley Kasal

Wounded First Sergeant Awarded Navy Cross

By Lance Cpl. Patrick J. Floto
Camp Pendleton
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., May 9, 2006 — Sgt. Maj. Bradley A. Kasal feels he did what any good Marine would’ve done.

That includes taking enemy rifle fire on Nov. 14, 2004, absorbing a grenade blast and refusing medical attention inside Fallujah’s “House of Hell” during Operation Al Fajr (New Dawn).

For his extraordinary heroism and leadership in Fallujah, Iraq, as the Weapons Company first sergeant for 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Kasal was awarded the Navy Cross during a ceremony here May 1.

“The word hero is tossed around pretty loosely these days,” said Maj. Gen. Michael R. Lehnert, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West, after awarding Kasal with the Naval service’s second-highest decoration, in front of an audience that included the 1st Marine Division’s past and present commanding generals, Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis and Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, respectively.

”Some may call a basketball player a hero for scoring the winning goal or a celebrity for donating a small portion of their earnings to a good cause, but Kasal is a true American hero.”

When Kasal, then a first sergeant, assisted one of his platoons with an over watch inside Fallujah that day, intense gunfire broke out in an Iraqi home to his immediate front.

Seconds later, Marines were rapidly exiting the building, known as the “House of Hell.” “That house was a death trap,” said Lehnert.

“It was set up for one purpose: to kill United States Marines. Kasal could have easily stayed out of the house.”

“Going in for them was the right thing to do,” said Kasal, 39, who hails from Afton, Iowa. “They’re Marines, and I’m a Marine. We look out for each other.”

“While I was in that house, I made three life or death decisions,” Kasal explained. “I never thought I would live through any of them, but I did what I did to help the other Marines.”

The first decision Kasal made was to expose himself to enemy fire in order to pull another wounded Marine out of the line of fire. Kasal took more enemy fire doing this.

While both Marines were under cover, they assessed their wounds. Both had multiple injuries, but there were only enough bandages for one of them to live.

Kasal made his second decision to forfeit his medical supplies to the other Marine.

“It made more sense to use all of the bandages on one of us than to split the supplies and have us both bleed to death,” Kasal said.

The insurgents deployed a hand grenade to get the Marines out of cover, and it landed within a few feet of the two bleeding Marines.

Kasal then decided to use his own severely wounded body to protect the Marine from shrapnel.

By the time he was carried out of the house by Lance Cpl. Chris Marquez and Lance Cpl. Dan Shaffer, Kasal had lost approximately 60 percent of his blood from more than 40 shrapnel wounds and seven 7.62 mm AK-47 gunshot wounds.
Persian Gulf (May 8, 2006) - An MH-53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Support Squadron One Five (HM-15) takes off from the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) after unloading cargo and mail. Reagan and embarked Carrier Air Wing One Four (CVW-14) are currently deployed as part of a routine rotation of U.S. maritime forces in support of the global war on terrorism, as well as conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the region. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Christine Singh

Brother in Arms

The other day, I posted about two fallen Marine Heroes, Lance Corporal Steven Bixler and Captain Brian S. Letendre. I received this from Seamus - more on Captain Letendre:

Brother in Arms

May 3, 2006

I lost a brother today. Marine Corps Captain Brian S. Letendre died in a well coordinated insurgent attack conducted against one of our strongpoints here in Ramadi, Iraq. A U.S. soldier was also killed and another fellow Marine was wounded in the same assault. As a police officer and Marine, I've experienced death before, but this one hit especially hard. Brian and I are part of an eleven-man team assigned as advisors to an Iraqi infantry battalion here in Ramadi. I was on the three vehicle gun truck convoy that took him to the strongpoint where he was to begin operations with one of the Iraqi battalion's infantry companies. Prior to leaving Brian at the strongpoint, I shook his hand and told him to keep his head down. Brian laughed and said he had to, "because I owed him." Brian was a college wrestler and managed to pin me the last time we practiced ground fighting. It was our running joke that I would one day return the favor. Brian will never grapple again. Nor will he be there to see his three-year-old son, Dillon, wrestle or play his favorite sport, soccer.

In the hours following Brian's death, my emotions have run the spectrum. This evening, we went to the morgue on the local American base to retrieve Brian's body for the "angel flight" home. Servicemen in combat don't have the luxury of attending funerals of fallen comrades. The next best thing is to honor them as pallbearers from the morgue or ambulance to the helicopter in which their journey back to the states will begin.

In the morgue, I was able to spend a few minutes alone with Brian. I fought the tears but they too won their battle this night. As I held his head in my hands, I felt rage toward God and hatred toward Iraqis that I was unable to dispel. Standing up, I walked into the next room where Marines and soldiers were waiting quietly to carry Brian's body to the helicopter. I walked to the back of the room, the anger still seething. I stopped. There on the wall hung two flags, one American, one Iraqi. I paused. In addition to the American casualties, an Iraqi soldier was killed and several others were wounded during the day's battle. I glanced to my right. There, standing next to me was one of our Iraqi translators, mourning for Brian with tears streaming down his face. My hatred and rage melted away.

I reflected. This wasn't about Americans and Iraqis. This was about a noble man dying for a cause he believed in. I don't care about the reasons this war began, I cannot change the mistakes that have been made in its prosecution, and I have little stomach for the negative banter about the war that goes on back home in the U.S. In my simple way of thinking, we are allowing the Iraqi people the opportunity to experience freedoms they would otherwise never know. On an individual human level, life does not get much more meaningful than that. I put my arm around my interpreter's shoulder and pointed at the two flags. I looked into his eyes as tears welled yet again in mine. "We are brothers," I stated softly. His gaze met mine. He nodded and replied, "yes, brothers."

Hours later as we walked solemnly and silently to the helicopter landing zone in the early morning darkness, the Muslim call to prayer soulfully sounded throughout Ramadi. To my ears, it was a song of tranquility. This day, as all days, the sun will rise with the hope of peace. No matter the bitterness in how the day may end, it is that hope of peace in the dawn that gives life its precious meaning.

La Habra Police Department
United States Marine Corps Reserve
(rank and last name omitted by me - P)

p.s. My advisor team is putting together a scholarship fund for Brian's son Dillon. If anyone finds it in their heart to contribute, I request that the La Habra Police Association Board open an account on my behalf to collect the donations. Our team will be opening the scholarship fund and transferring all monetary donations to it when we return from Iraq at the end of this year. If you think it is appropriate, feel free to disseminate this e-mail to other agencies and service organizations. I offer heartfelt appreciation to all of you in advance.

Semper Fidelis

If the Army and the Navy ever look on heaven's scenes,
they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.

graphic by Doug Kidd

AL ISH PATROL — U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jonathan W. Cheney, assigned to Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, patrols the town of Al Ish, Iraq, May 1, 2006. Cheney's unit is deployed with Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brian M. Henner

In Today's News - Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal,
or no weapon in the arsenals of the world,
is so formidable as the will and moral courage
of free men and women.
It is a weapon our adversaries
in today's world do not have."
-- Ronald Reagan

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Bomber Kills 17 at Iraq Market
Iraq PM says unity government close - Video

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Rumsfeld Defends Choice of Hayden for CIA

Welcome Home!!
Fast-Attack Sub USS Norfolk Returns Home

Troops on Trial
Murder Trial of Airman Begins In Iceland

Hamas Rising
Hamas, Fatah Agree to Truce
Hamas wary as West opens aid tap
U.S., Allies Agree to Palestinian Aid

Worldwide Wackos
Security Council Members Agree on Iran Strategy
Iran faces benefits or sanctions choice - Video
Iranians Fault Rice's Dismissal of Letter

House, Senate GOP Strike Tax Cuts Deal
Bush defends prescription drug program
Court nominee says didn't know of torture, spying
Sen. Clinton Says Bush Has Charm, Charisma
Democrats Oppose GOP Health Coverage Bill

U.N. News
Spoilers win seats on new UN rights body

A great incentive to succeed the next time...
Teen boys arrested for bank robberies
Behavior guide aims at demise of "the ugly American"
Women Get Paternal Clues in Men's Faces

Other News of Note
'We Are a Tinder Box Right Now' - Photos (Florida wildfires)
Global arms shipments out of control: Amnesty - Video

Fox News
Former FEMA Chief Disputed Katrina Levee Breeches
Stocks to Watch: Symantec
Nintendo Console by Xmas- Xbox 360 to Get HD-DVD
Study Links Heart Disease Deaths, Secondhand Smoke
FDA: Green Tea Not Heart Smart
Minor Leaguer Suspended for Throwing Bat at Umpire
All Eyes on the Fed
Dow Nearing All-Time High
Identity Theft Page
Cybersecurity Center

Reuters: Top News
Bird flu pandemic will hit young people: biologist
Amid extinctions, parrots, panthers get costly aid
What price nature? Bogs $6,000, reefs $10,000
Xbox 360 HD DVD player due for holidays
Nintendo's Wii game console due in Q4
West siphons nurses from Third World to meet shortage
Nationals inspire Washington's children
Millions in US have poor vision, go without help
Visual test could help diagnose dementias - study
Britney Spears announces she is pregnant again
Stones deny Keith Richards suffered brain damage
GM CEO calls Delphi talks priority, sees progress
Cisco earnings beat Wall Street view
Disney profit up, but revenue disappoints
Cisco quarterly revenue beats Wall Street view
Verizon seeks change to US House Internet language
Networks boost Disney Q2 profit
Dow nears all-time high, but Nasdaq drops on Dell
Cisco forecasts higher fourth-quarter revenue
Symantec profit tops forecasts, shares rise
Baidu net shares jump
RTI International shrs jump on Airbus supply deal
Philadelphia Exchange eyes IPO, M&A
Audio: Philly Exchange chief on IPO vs. merger
CBOE pushes toward becoming for-profit
Audio: NYSE looks at ringing bell earlier

AP World News
Man Ends Cross-Country Health Trek in NYC
Microsoft Announces Online Gaming Service
Adelman Out After 8 Years With Kings
BALCO Reporters Could Face Prison Time
Boston Police Chief Quits for Ireland Job
Britney Spears Says Perfumes Grow With Her
Court Declines to Hear 'Diddy' Appeal
Dow Closes Up 55, Nasdaq Down 7
Most With Eye Fungus Used Bausch & Lomb
Hayden Faces a Fight
Guard May Be OK With Heavy Brigade Plan
US Pacific Commander in Beijing for Talks
NATO Expects Tough Afghan Expansion
Moussaoui Withdrawal of Guilty Plea Denied

CENTCOM: News Releases




Department of Defense
Diplomacy Best Current Course for Iran - Story
Rumsfeld Urges Speedy Approval of Budget - Story - Video - Transcript
Rumsfeld, Giambastiani Support CIA Nominee
Command Transforms to Support Terror War - Story
Spouses Focus on Programs to Aid Wounded - Story
Ride to Honor 9/11 Crews Ends at Pentagon - Story

Farmers Use Democracy to Voice Concerns - Story

Army Ready to Roll With Loaner Humvees - Story
New Medical Center Part of Iraqi City’s Growth

Central Air Forces Commander Visits Troops - Story
Djiboutian Town Dedicates Renovated Clinic - Story
Carrier Strike Group Arrives in Mediterranean - Story
Enterprise Sailors Pursue College Degrees

Wounded Iraqi Police Receive Wheelchairs
Technology Connects Deployed Parents, Kids

'Lion’s Pride' Brings Medical Care to Afghans
Kunar Bridge Construction Moves Forward

Operation Helmet Protect Troops - Story
'Family' Helps Those on Homefront
Free Camp Sign-Up Deadline Nears
Actor Sinise Visits Deployed Troops
Sinise Visits USS Reagan Crew

Casey Outlines Signs of Progress
IED Kills Coalition Soldier
Terrorist Chemical Expert Killed
Marine Harriers Conduct Ops
299 Detainees Released
Forces Launch New Operation
Renewal In Iraq
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq (PDF)
Multinational Force Iraq
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (PDF)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Iraq Reconstruction

Air Strike Kills 4 Enemy Fighters
'Mountain Lion' Roars Into Valley
Afghan Police Discover IED
Helicopter Recovery Ops Continue
10 Soldiers Killed in Crash
Afghanistan Update

French Forces Rejoin OEF
Bush Nominates Hayden to CIA Post
5 Detainees Released from Gitmo
Rumsfeld: Relationships Key
Rumsfeld, Nukaga Talk Realignment
Joint Command Focuses on Ops
Fact Sheet: Budget Request
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

NATO Strives to Build NCO Corps
Brigade's Iraq Deployment On Hold
President Honors Graduate
High-Speed Vessel Delivers Boats
U.S. Sailors Aid Iranian Fisherman
National Guard, Reserve Update

Defense Officials Identify Casualties - Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah
An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


Today in History
1267 - Vienna's church orders all Jews to wear distinctive garb.
1278 - Jews in England are imprisoned on charges of coining.
1291 - Scottish nobles recognize English King Edward I as sovereign.
1427 - Jews are expelled from Berne Switzerland.
1497 - Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci sets sail on his first voyage to the New World.
1503 - Columbus discovers the Cayman Islands.
1655 - Jamaica captured by English.
1676 - Frontiersmen begin Bacon's Rebellion, against the government of Virginia.
1752 - Benjamin Franklins tests the lightning rod for the first time.
1774 - Louis XVI ascends to throne of France.
1775 - 2nd Continental Congress convenes in Pennsylvania, issuing paper currency for the first time, and naming George Washington as supreme commander.
- Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys capture Fort Ticonderoga, NY.
1796 - Napoleon defeats Austria in the Battle of Lodi Bridge.
1797 - The first Navy ship, the "United States" is launched.
1823 - The first steamboat to navigate the Mississippi River arrives at Fort Snelling.
1861 - Union troops march on the state militia in St. Louis, MO.
1864 - Battle at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia
1865 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis is captured by Union Cavalry in Irwinsville, GA; Major General 'Sam' Jones (CSA) surrenders to Union Brigadier General Edward M. McCook.
1869 - A golden spike is driven to mark the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
1872 - Victoria Woodhull becomes the first American woman to be nominated for president.
1915 - A German Zeppelin drops hundred of bombs on Southend-on-Sea.
1917 - Atlantic ships are given destroyer escorts to stop German attacks.
1918 - The HMS Vindictive is scuttled to block the entrance of Ostend Harbor.
1924 - J. Edgar Hoover appointed head of the FBI.
1933 - Nazis stage public book burnings in Germany
1940 - Nazi armies invade the Netherlands, Belgium & Luxembourg.
- Winston Churchill succeeds Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister.
1941 - Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland.
- German bombs destroy England's House of Commons and the Holborn Theater.
1944 - Chinese launch an offensive in West-Yunnan.
1945 - The Allies capture Rangoon from the Japanese .
- Russian troops occupy Prague
1956 - French Government sends 50,000 reservists to Algeria
1959 - Soviet forces arrive in Afghanistan.
1960 - USS Triton (atomic sub) completes the first underswater circumnavigation of the globe.
1968 - Peace talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam begin in Paris.
1969 - Apollo 10 transmits the first color pictures of Earth from space.
- U.S. troops begin their attack on Hill 937 (Hamburger Hill).
1984 - The International Court of Justice rules on the U.S. blockade of Nicaragua.
1989 - General Manuel Noriega's government nullifies the country's elections, in which the opposition had won by a margin of 3-1.
1994 - Nelson Mandela sworn in as South Africa's first black president.
- Silvio Berlusconi forms the Italian Government with 5 neo-fascists.
1995 - Britain lifts a 23-year ban on talks with Sinn Fein.
1996 - 2 US Marine helicopters collided during joint U.S. and British war games.

1730 - George Ross, U.S. judge / signer of Declaration of Independence
1810 - James Shields, Union Brigadier General
1824 - Charles Henry Van Wyck, Union Brigadier General
1837 - Pinckney B.S. Pinchback, Lt. Governor (Louisiana)
1838 - John Wilkes Booth, assassin of Abraham Lincoln
1878 - Gustav Stresemann, German chancellor
1908 - Carl Albert (D), speaker of the House
1919 - Ella Grasso, Governor (CT)
1943 - James Earl Chaney, U.S. civil rights activist
1951 - Steve Gunderson (Representative-WI)
1958 - Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D / Astronaut (STS 56, 66)
1958 - Rick Santorum (Representative-PA)
1963 - Lisa M. Nowak, Lt. Commander, USN / astronaut

0238 - Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus the Thracian, Roman Emperor, murdered
1774 - Louis XV, King of France (1715-74), dies at 64
1794 - Elisabeth, Princess of France, beheaded at 30
1798 - George Vancouver, British explorer, (Voyage of Discovery), dies at 40
1818 - Paul Revere, American patriot
1863 - Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, Confederate General (Civil War), dies from wounds received at Chancellorsville
1864 - James Clay Rice, lawyer/Union Brigadier-General, dies in battle at 34; Thomas Greeley Stevenson, Union Brigadier-General, dies at about 27
1904 - Henry M. Stanley [John Rowlands], British explorer
1910 - William Huggins, discoverer of stellar nature of Andromeda, dies
1915 - Albert Weisgerber, German painter/graphic artist, dies in battle
1920 - John Wesley Hyatt, inventor/plastics pioneer, dies
1923 - Vaslav Vorovsky, Russian delegate, assassinated
1943 - André Bertulot, Arnaud/Armand Fraiteur, Maurice-Albert Raskin Belgian resistance fighters, hanged
1965 - Hubertus J. van Mook, Dutch minister of Colonization (1942-45), dies at 70

Reported Missing in Action

Bailey, John Edward, USAF (MN); F105D crashed - remains ID'd March, 1999

Eckes, Walter W., USMC (NY); escaped June, 1966 - alive and well as of 1998

Ahlmeyer, Heinz, Jr., USMC (NY); KIA/BNR

Miller, Malcom T., USN (FL); KIA/BNR

Netherland, Roger M., USN (PA); A4C shot down - remains ID'd June, 2000

Sharp, Samuel A., Jr., USMC (CA); KIA/BNR

Tycz, James N., USMC (WI); KIA/BNR

The following USMC personnel reported MIA following heavy action at FOB Ngok Tavak. (despite heavy casualties, the defenders stopped the main assault and killed their attackers):
Blackman, Thomas J. (WI); KIA/BNR

Czerwonka, Paul S. (MA); KIA/BNR

Cook, Joseph F. (MA); KIA/BNR

Fleming, Horace H. III (FL); fell from a CH46A

Fritsch, Thomas W. (CT); KIA/BNR

Hempel, Barry L. (CA); KIA/BNR

Heyne, Raymond T. (WI); KIA/BNR

King, Gerald E. (TN); KIA/BNR

Lopez, Robert C. (NM); KIA/BNR

McGonigle, William D. (KS); KIA/BNR

Mitchell, Donald W. (KY); KIA/BNR

Sargent, James R. (WV); KIA/BNR

The following US Army SF personnel also reported MIA at Ngok Tavak:
Miller, Glenn E. (CA); KIA/BNR

Perry, Thomas H. (CT); medic

Walters, William, US Army (PA); Killed when construction crane he was working on fell into the water, BNR

Bingham, Klaus Y., US Army SF (HI)

Luttrell, James M., US Army SF (NC)

Walton, Lewis C., US Army SF (RI)

Blackburn, Harry L., Jr., USN (VA); F4J shot down (pilot, w/Rudloff) - remains returned April, 1986

Harris, Jeffrey L., USAF (MD); F4E shot down (w/Wilkinson) - remains returned May, 1997

Lodge, Robert A., USAF (NY); F4D shot down - remains returned by SRV Sepetember, 1977

Rudloff, Stephen A., USN (NY); F4J shot down (w/Blackburn) - released by DRV March, 1973 - alive as of 1998

Wilkinson, Dennis E., USAF (FL); F4E shot down (w/Harris) - remains returned August, 1978