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Friday, May 19, 2006

Oh, Boy, Do We Owe Them...

OK, not my usual blog fodder, but it's got to be done.

Yep, our Heroes are fighting for a nation that at one time thought all of these were cool.

The Evolution of Dance

We owe them HUGE. :) (Thanks, Eileen)

And on a more serious note, check out this video from the Pentagon Channel - our Heroes take out one serious baddie, and a look inside the daily life of our Heroes in Ramadi. (Thanks MaryAnn / Sara)

Yes, we owe them HUGE.
Split, Croatia (May 18, 2006) – Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe Admiral Harry Ulrich, presents the Medal of Honor to retired Croation Army Lt. Col. Srecko Herceg on behalf of U.S. Navy Chief Watertender Peter Tomich on the flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Peter Tomich, a U.S. citizen of Croation heritage, gave his life to save his shipmates aboard the USS Utah during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. This is the last Medal of Honor from the 20th century to be presented to a next-of-kin. Enterprise and embarked Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) are currently on a scheduled six-month deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Milosz Reterski

Injured Marine Returns to Fight

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Emilio Diaz Jr., a 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment machine gunner with Weapons Company, Combined Anti-Armor Team 1, stands in front of a Humvee before embarking on a mission near Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Diaz, from Brownsville, Texas, received the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained while manning a .50-caliber machine gun in Iraq on 1/3's last combat deployment when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Joe Lindsay

U.S. Marine Corps
Cpl. Emilio Diaz Jr.

Marine Wounded in Iraq Returns to Combat in Afghanistan

By Marine Sgt. Joe Lindsay
Task Force Lava Public Affairs

JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, May 18, 2006 — There was a persistent ringing in his ears that just wouldn’t go away - piercing, consuming, unyielding.

It’s been more than a year since Marine Cpl. Emilio Diaz Jr., a 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment machine gunner with Weapons Company, Combined Anti-Armor Team One, was riding in a Humvee that hit an improvised explosive device outside Fallujah, Iraq. Although violently rocked, Diaz somehow remained in his turret position atop the vehicle, where he was manning a .50-caliber machine gun.

When he woke up after the explosion, he was still atop the Humvee, still in the seated position, being held up only by his gunner’s strap. He wasn’t sure how much time had gone by. Marines were running around on the road below him yelling, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying over the ringing - the constant ringing.

The Humvee he was riding in just a few minutes before had been transformed into a heap of twisted metal. The .50-caliber gun he had been manning was in pieces. He thought, perhaps, he was dead - that his buddies were dead.

But he wasn’t dead. And his friends weren’t dead. In fact, just he and one other Marine in the Humvee were wounded in the explosion. The IED blast had come sideways from a tree, destroying everything in its midst, save the Marines. Some said their flak jackets and helmets saved them, or that the vehicle’s armor saved them. Others just called it luck and left it at that.

When the Purple Heart was pinned on his chest some months later, back at his unit’s home base of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, he called it the proudest moment of his life, with the possible exception of the day he graduated boot camp and became a Marine.

But the ringing in his ears - the ringing was still there.

“Right after the IED hit, I went deaf. After a month, I was still deaf,” said Diaz, recounting his story as he prepared for yet another combat patrol, this time in Afghanistan. “They kept me in a military hospital in Iraq for about a month, observing me, monitoring me and hoping my hearing would come back.

Eventually Diaz was sent to Germany and finally back to Hawaii for surgery.

“I was scared I’d never hear again - and also scared I’d get medically discharged from the Marine Corps,” said Diaz, from Brownsville, Texas. “I didn’t want that. I wanted to be back with the guys. I wanted to hear again. Most of all I wanted the ringing to stop. I hadn’t learned to block it out at that time.”

After successful surgery back in Hawaii, Diaz regained full hearing in his right ear, and most of the hearing in his left ear. Still, though, the ringing persisted.

“It’s basically something I’ve learned to block out, or maybe it’s more accurate to say it’s something I’ve learned to live with,” explained Diaz. “It doesn’t dominate me anymore. I can function again as a Marine and as a leader of Marines.”

That is good news for the Lava Dogs of 1/3 who are serving with Diaz as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“Corporal Diaz is one of the best corporals, if not the best corporal, I’ve ever had,” said Staff Sgt. Douglas Derring, a 1/3 infantry platoon leader with Weapons Company, CAAT 1, from Virginia Beach, Va. “He’s just an outstanding NCO, the type of Marine that the younger troops can really look up to. He’s a self-starter and he’s got combat experience, which gives the Marines under his charge an added dose of confidence.”

Lance Cpl. Tyler Baecker, a 1/3 tow-gunner with Weapons Company, CAAT 1, has served with Diaz since they both went through the School of Infantry, then served in Iraq and now Afghanistan.

“He’s a good man and a good Marine,” said Baecker, from Montrose, Colo. “He’s always been that way, since day one. The more responsibility they put on his shoulders, the more he can carry. He believes in his Marines and we believe in him. There’s nothing we can’t do. We’ve all got a bond that can only be formed under fire.”

That bond sometimes affords the Marines in Diaz’s unit an opportunity for some good-natured fun.

“Sometimes the guys will start yelling or talking around me, except that they are only just moving their lips and mouthing the words, not actually speaking,” said Diaz, suppressing a chuckle, but unable to hide a growing smile. “A couple of times I’ve had to do a double-take, thinking my ears were messing with me again. That’s just Marines being Marines. I love ‘em for it.”

And that’s exactly the reason his Marines say they “sometimes mess with Corporal Diaz,” noted Lance Cpl. Michael Ericson, a 1/3 assaultman in Diaz’s unit.

“We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t respect him,” said Ericson, from Larkspur, Colo. “I served in Iraq with Corporal Diaz and I’d follow him anywhere. It’s just our way of showing him that we care about him, that we’re glad he’s still here with us, and that he’s once again leading us in a combat zone.”

For his part, Diaz said he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but in Afghanistan right now.

“These people need our support,” said Diaz. “When we’re out on patrol, the locals wave at us and throw us the Hawaiian shaka hand sign as a gesture of goodwill. I guess it’s something they picked up from 3/3 or 2/3, but they seem to know that we are from Hawaii. It’s pretty cool. What isn’t cool is that there are enemies here that will kill and terrorize people for being friendly with us.”

But Diaz said he and his fellow Marines are convinced the enemy will be defeated.

“The Afghan people are our friends,” said Diaz. “It’s just that there are pockets of insurgents here, who want to keep the people enslaved both mentally and physically through terror. That is the problem here. We’re gonna fix that problem.”
PERIMETER SECURITY — U.S. Army Pfc. Kerry Owens and fellow soldiers, assigned to the 506th Regimental Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division's "War Hawks," provide perimeter security at the site of an improvised explosive device detonation, for U.S. sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Mobile Unit 6, Detachment 10, while they conduct a post-blast analysis of the site, in Baghdad, Iraq, May 10, 2006. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bart A. Bauer

In Today's News - Friday, May 19, 2006

Quote of the Day
"I think of a hero as someone who understands
the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom."
-- Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman)

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraq Roadside Blast Kills 4 GIs
U.S. Troops Use 'Dazzler'
Video: Roadside Bombing
Watching history go by on a Baghdad street

Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghan Fighting Kills 105- Video: Fierce Fighting

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Judge dismisses Masri torture case

Troops on Trial
Marines Probed for Allegedly Firing on Unarmed Iraqis

Balancing Act
BellSouth: NSA Story Claims 'False'
Video: Gen. Hayden's Opening Statement
Hayden defends eavesdropping - Video

Bush Pushes 'Fair and Effective' Immigration Law- Video: Bush Tours Border

Hamas Rising
Gunfight Between Hamas, Fatah Forces in Gaza

Worldwide Wackos
US looks to arm Iran's neighbors: general
Ahmadinejad mocks critics of Iran's nuclear drive - Video
N.Korea may be preparing missile launch: reports

Court OKs Cops' Use of Laxative in Drug Search
Friend left as deposit at gas station
Karaoke trains to the roof of world

Other News of Note
The Hunt for Hoffa
FBI: Current search called 'best lead' yet
Video: Hunt for Hoffa - New Clues?

Fox News
Duke Rape Suspect in Court
Cervical Cancer Vaccine Recommended for FDA OK
Catholic University Probes Women's Initiation Party
Fed Chief: 'Pretty Clear' Housing Market Cooling
S.C. Student Stabbed in School Parking Lot
Alaska Testing for Bird Flu
'American Idol' Center

Reuters: Top News
Enron jury leaves for weekend without verdict
Second House panel says FEMA should be independent
Governments failed to stop overfishing: study
Rare woodpecker elusive as search season ends
Sony Ericsson launches five new mobile phones
Softbank, Vodafone in mobile handset, content deal
Southwest Louisiana struggles after forgotten storm
More Americans should get flu shot: experts
Vioxx stroke risk could last years: health expert
"Da Vinci Code" reviews frustrating, director says
Hicks, McPhee compete for "Idol" crown
Dell to use AMD chips, says profit slumps 18 pct
US advisers back Merck's cervical cancer vaccine
Fed sees inflation risks tilted up
SocGen's Q1 net profit rises 20 pct to record level
Sanyo Electric posts deep loss, sees recovery
Arbitron, CBS reach deal on "people meter"
Stocks drop on inflation fears; Dell up late - Video
Red Robin shares fall on soft forecast
Advanced Micro jumps, Intel falls
Dell rises 2.8 pct on Inet
Brocade, Supertex rise on Inet
Manufacturers wary of boosting prices
Eyes on Serono S.A.

AP World News
Bush Says Border Fencing Makes Sense
Envoy's Kidnappers Want Iraq Embassy Shut
Spokane Diocese Sex Abuse Deal Rejected
U.S. Proposes New Nuclear Weapons Treaty
Apes Shown to Be Able to Plan Ahead
William Hung Crowned 'Artichoke King'
Bonds Ready for a Weekend As DH Vs. A's
Tigers Win 7th Straight, 5-3 Over Twins
CBS Special Set to Honor Mike Wallace
Yamin Says There's Music After 'Idol'
Wilkerson Leads Rangers Past Yanks 6-2
Dow Ends Down 77, Nasdaq Closes Down 15
Typhoon Chanchu Kills 50 People in Asia
Mike Wallace Discusses Suicide Attempt
Jenkins Sparks Brewers' Sweep of Phillies
Reorganizing Health Care
Pentagon Tries to Straighten Out Logistics
Four Soldiers, One Sailor Killed in Iraq
Army Looks to Reduce Deployment Tempo

CENTCOM: News Releases






Department of Defense
Leaders Discuss Guard Border Security - Story
General Touts Growth in Iraqi-Run Ops - Story
Taliban Fighters Killed in Combined Operation - Story
Forces Stop Terrorists, Disarm Car Bomb - Story
Forces Respond to Hostile Activity in Ramadi

Iraqi Army Humanitarian Mission Aids Villagers - Story

Marines Help Rebuild Djiboutian Soccer Field - Story
84th Engineers Build Bridges for Anaconda - Story
Afghan Soldiers Get In-Depth Airdrop Training - Story

U.S. Marines, Iraqi Troops Hold Medical Clinic
Airmen Keep Fleet Rolling Through Dust, Mud
U.S. Coast Guard Trains Iraqi Marines in Maritime Ops
Georgians Arrive at Forward Operating Base Caldwell

Soldier Runs 5K Race to Honor Grandmother
Army Chief of Staff Visits U.S., Afghan Troops

Pakistani Admiral Visits Camp Lemonier
Task Force Troops Visit African Orphanages

Navy Pilot Runs for Veterans - Story
Troops Receive Gourmet Coffee
Paralympians Visit Wounded

Sailor, Four Soldiers Killed
Command Procedures Change
Tank Unit Assumes Responsibility
Casey: Iraqis Hopeful About Future
Province Fire Station Renovated
Forces Kill, Detain Terrorists
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

New Radio Station Opens
Enemy Rockets Injure Afghans
IED Injures Two Afghan Civilians
Afghanistan Update

Pentagon Tests Bio-Attack Response
U.S., Australia to Share More Info
Bush, Howard Focus: War on Terror
U.S., Libya Diplomacy Restored
More Detainee Names Released
Decatur Joins French-Led Force
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

Rumsfeld Urges Support of Budget
Pace: Encourage Military Service
Guard Border Role Has Limits
Film Examines Combat Hospital
Rumsfeld Addresses VMI Grads
Bulgarian Official Visits Enterprise
Guard Border Support Not New
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
- Queen Elizabeth I of England arrests Scottish queen Mary.
1585 - Spain confiscates English ships.
1588 - The Spanish Armada sets sail for Lisbon, bound for England.
1635 - France declares war on Spain
1643 - The French destroy the Spanish army at the Battle of Rocroi / Allersheim; Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut and New Harbor form the United Colonies of New England.
1848 - Mexico gives Texas to the U.S., ending the war.
1862 - The Homestead Act goes into effect, providing cheap land for settlement of the West.
1864 - Battle of Port Walthall Junction, VA; last engagement in the Spotsylvania series of battles.
1884 - The Ringling Brothers circus premieres.
1898 - The Post Office authorizes the use of postcards.
1913 - In California, the Webb Alien Land-Holding Bill passes, prohibiting the Japanese from owning land.
1923 - Communists revolt in German Ruhr cities occupied by the Allies.
1926 - The French air force bombs Damascus, Syria.
1929 - China’s General Feng Yu-Xiang of China declares war on Chiang Kai-Shek’s government.
1930 - White women win voting rights in South Africa.
1931 - The Ironclad cruiser Germany is launched in Kiel.
1939 - Churchill signs the British-Russian anti-Nazi pact.
1941 - German occupiers in Holland forbid bicycle taxis; the Nazi battleship Bismarck leaves Gdynia, Poland.
1943 - Berlin is declared free of Jews - "Judenrien"; Churchill pledges England's full support to the U.S. against Japan.
1944 - More than 200 gypsies are transported to Auschwitz from the Netherlands; the German defense line in Italy collapses.
1951 - The U.N. begins a counter-offensive in Korea.
1954 - Postmaster General Summerfield approves the CIA’s mail-opening project.
1958 - The U.S. and Canada form the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD)
1960 - USAF Major Robert M. White takes the X-15 to 33,222 mph.
1964 - U.S. diplomats find at least 40 secret microphones in the Moscow embassy.
1965 - Patricia R. Harris is named the first American black female ambassador – to Luxembourg.
1967 - The U.S. bombs Hanoi; the U.S.S.R. ratifies a treaty with England and the U.S. banning nuclear weapons in space.
1971 - The U.S.S.R. launches Mars 2, the first spacecraft to crash land on Mars.
1976 - The Senate establishes a permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
1983 - NASA launches Intelsat V.
1992 - The 27th Amendment is ratified, prohibiting Congress from raising its salary.

1808 - Confederate Brigadier General Samuel Jameson Gholson
1812 - Confederate Brigadier General Felix Kirk
1815 - Union Brevet Major General John Gross Barnard
1828 - Union Brevet Major General Adin Ballou
1890 - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese leader
1915 - Pol Pot, dictator / mass murderer
1925 - Malcolm X (Little), black muslim leader
1935 - David Hartman, TV personality (Good Morning America)
1938 - James H. Bilbray (Representative-NV)
1939 - Francis R. Scobee, USAF / astronaut (STS 41C, 51L-Chal disaster)
1941 - Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., son of Jimmy Hoffa / Teamster union leader
1948 - Jean-Pierre Haignere, cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-17)

1536 - Anne Boleyn Queen of England / wife of Henry VIII, beheaded; Lord Rochford English, brother of Anna Boleyn, beheaded
1795 - Josiah Bartlett, physician / judge, signer of Declaration of Independence
1864 - Nathaniel Hawthorne, writer (Scarlet Letter)
1935 - Thomas E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), motorcycle crash
1966 - Tortoise reportedly given to Tonga's king by Captain Cook in 1773
1994 - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, former First Lady
1997 - Millie, dog of President Bush

Reported Missing in Action:
Donovan, Leroy M., US Army (CO); O1F overdue (observer, w/Harper) - presumed Killed / BNR

Harper, Richard K. , US Army (MA); OIF overdue (pilot, w/Donovan) - presumed Killed / BNR

Anderson, Gareth L., US Navy (MA); F4B shot down (RIO, w/Plumb), released by DRV March, 1973, died in a military training flight in 1974

Griffin, James Lloyd, US Navy (TN); RA5C shot down (w/Walters), DIC - remains returned March 1974

Hellbach, Harold J., USMC (LA); F8E shot down - remains returned 1997, ID'd May, 1998

Knight, Roy A., Jr., USAF (TX); A1E shot down

McDaniel, Eugene B., USN (NC); A6A shot down (backseater, w/Patterson), released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Captain - alive and well 1998 - founder of the American Defense Institute

Metzger, William J., USN (WI); F8C shot down (Russell shot down a short distance away), released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Captain - alive and well as of 1998

Patterson, James K., USN (CA); A6A shot down (pilot, w/McDaniel), probably captured with broken leg

Plumb, Joseph C., USN (KS); F4B shot down (pilot, w/Anderson), released by DRV February, 1973 - alive and well 1998

Rich, Richard, USN (CT); F4B shot down (pilot, w/Stark)

Russell, Kay, USN (TX); F8E shot down (Metzger shot down a short distance away), released by DRV March, 1973 - deceased, 1995

Stark, William R., USN (CA); F4B shot down (w/Rich), released by DRV March, 1973 - received 2 Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit with Combat V, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with Combat V, DMSM, 2 Air Medals, Navy Commendation with Combat V (2nd Award) and 2 Purple Hearts - retired as a Captain - alive and well as of 1998

Walters, Jack, Jr., USN (NC); RA5C shot down (w/Griffin), DIC - remains returned March, 1974

Davies, Joseph E., USAF (VA); F4D shot down (w/McCubbin)

McCubbin, Glenn D., USAF (KS); F4D shot down (w/Davies)

Mott, David P. , USAF (ND); OV10A shot down (w/Thomas), released by PRG March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel - alive and well as of 1998

Nichols, Aubrey A., USN (TX); A7B shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Commnander - alive and well as of 1998

Thomas, William E., USMC (PA); OVReleased by PRG March, 1973 - retired as a CWO-4 - alive and well as of 1998