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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Calling all NY Marines

graphic by Doug Kidd
forwarded by Seamus:

New York State Marine Corps Reunion

We are looking for few good men - from New York!

Be a part of history in the making at the first-ever New York State Marine Corps Reunion to be held June 7-10, 2007, in Niagara Falls, NY. This is a beautiful time of year to visit the spectacular Falls and all the attractions of the area. Families are most welcome as this would also make a nice family weekend or vacation.

All Marines and FMF Corpsmen in or from New York are invited to attend. Active duty, Reserves, Veterans of WWII, North China, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, & Iraq campaigns and the Cold War, as well as Navy Corpsmen, will gather to renew those special bonds forged in service, at home, abroad, at sea, and in combat. All conflicts, all ages, all spouses and family members are invited.

Rooms are available all week so you may arrive early or stay late at the same rate. Hospitality Rooms will be open throughout the weekend for your enjoyment. The first official activity of this historic event will be a Welcome Dinner & Mixer on Thursday.

Friday will include optional tours of Niagara Falls and a ride on the famous Maid of the Mist, a visit to the Marine Memorial, Naval Park & Museum, Old Fort Niagara, and the Niagara Aerospace Museum. A mammoth, new casino is just a few blocks away (walking distance for most). A wonderful Barbeque dinner is planned for Friday night followed by music from a Marine Corps Band and of course more time in the hospitality room.

Saturday will feature more optional tours like a visit to the Canadian side of the Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Outlet Mall shopping, and a ride into the Whirlpools on a Jet Boat. Saturday night features a Gala Banquet dinner with entertainment and a special guest speaker. This will be a great reunion with something for everyone!

Make your reservations NOW! We have only a limited number of hotel rooms available at the special price of $99.95 plus tax. Only the first 125 people who make their hotel reservations will get this super low rate. Additional rooms in the headquarters hotel will be more expensive. We are holding overflow rooms in nearby hotels should the host hotel sell out. It does not cost anything to make the reservation and you may cancel later (up to 30 days before the reunion) with no penalty.

Do not delay; we need to know how many are coming! Please make your hotel room reservations today by calling the Days Inn at the Falls directly at 1-800-777-2280 or 716-284-8801 and request the special convention rate for the New York State Marines Reunion. For tourist information on the area you may visit:

For the most current information and on-going updates about the reunion, please visit us on-line at Please click on the “Notify Me” button on this website to be automatically notified about reunion events and updates. Watch this site for updates to the reunion program as they become available. On-line registration will also be available on this site in the near future.

Don’t miss this opportunity to make history and reunite with old friends

Patti on the Radio

Patti Patton-Bader was recently interviewed for Pundit Review, as part of Matt's (Blackfive) "Someone You Should Know" segment.

You can listed to the interview here:

Way to go, Patti!

Honoring Our Fallen - the Right Way

Quite a while ago, I posted about an anti-war display of makeshift tombstones with the names of fallen heroes on them, above the purported names of Iraqis killed in the conflict. Many family members of those heroes were outraged to have their loved ones' names used - without rank or branch indications - in such a display.

One of those family members was Debey, whose son, US Army PFC Gunnar D. Becker, lost his life on January 13, 2005, while serving his country in Iraq. Gunnar was a Soldiers' Angels adoptee, and very special to all those who were lucky enough to know him, including his fellow Soldiers in Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armored Regiment.

Debey occasionally stops by here, and is a blogger herself. She's the one who let me know about the display. When I originally posted about those display markers, I included a photoshopped image of Gunnar's "stone." I photoshopped it because I didn't want to perpetuate the misuse of Gunnar's name.

But today, I think it's important for you to see the contrast between the stone in that display, and the stone in some photos Debey has sent to me recently - Gunnar's stone.

This is what was used in the display:

There is a right way and a wrong way to honor fallen heroes. In my humble opinion, that is the wrong way.

But this beautiful stone, in this beautiful place, surrounded by mementos left by friends and family, is the right way:

Fitting, isn't it, that Gunnar's stone is so close to the flag?

The front of the stone (click picture for larger version).

Debey says:
this is the ''front''...faces west..also the gravel road can be seen in star peace light (solar) on right....harley ornament on left...wooden cross made by [Gunnar's] grandpa..., was an arrangement @ funeral..we redo it, and take back to cemetary, in swing was balloon weight, on 14 feb whirlygig from lady that works at the school

The cross (click photo for larger version).
Debey says:
...we refaced it with cedar, hoping to preserve it...2 peonies i planted on mothers day, my mom day gift to my parents and inlaws, that gunnar will always have memorial day flowers from grandparents!!! so, this year, NONE have bloomed yet....and we are very lucky, to have a cemetary where we can still plant at the grave site!!!

Far from ignoring Gunnar's military service, this stone celebrates the fact that Gunnar was a Hero...

Two views of the back of the stone (click each photo for a larger version).
Debey says:
This is the back of the monument...this side faces east, and the side w/ photo faces west...notre motorcyle ornament/right star peace light on left(solar)..the cross was made by [Gunnar's] grandpa... & was part of a flower arrangement @ the funeral...the can of Mt. Dew...dunno???? there's been whiskey left there, before, too....

The military footstone.

It would be far better if such stones did not need to exist. But there are people in this world who use toxic gas on innocent villagers because they are ethnically different. And there are people in this world who want to kill you because you don't believe the same thing they believe. There are people in this world who conspire to fly planes into buildings because you don't follow their religion - because you live in a free country that is willing to defend freedom at all costs.

And there are other monsters, too. And they are real.

And because there are real monsters out there, there are Heroes who rise to stand watch, who volunteer to stand in harm's way so you don't have to. Some of them are sent to war. And some of them don't come back to enjoy the life of freedom they so selflessly guarantee to others. Some are lost to direct fire from the enemy. Some, in tragic irony, are victims of accidents, or other causes.

Though it was not hostile fire that killed PFC Gunnar Becker, he was a Hero, pure and simple. He deserved a hero's tribute as his final resting place.

And he got it.

Debey, the stone is beautiful. It does him proud.

NOTE: These photos are shared with the permission of PFC Becker's family. They should not be reproduced or reposted without express consent of same.

UPDATE: Be sure to visit the comments section of this post - we were honored by a visit from Debey, Gunnar's mom, who shares the story behind the "FoReStBuRg_TaNkEr" inscription.

UPDATE 2: Gunnar's grandmother Dianna was also kind enough to visit the blog - you can read what she had to say in the comments section.


IRAQI POLICE — U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Sturges, squad leader of 463rd Military Police Company, 3rd Platoon, 1st Squad, shares a laugh with members of the Iraqi police on May 21, 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Richard Rose

In Today's News - Thursday, June 1, 2006

Quote of the Day
"The price of liberty is, always has been, and always will be blood: The person who is not willing to die for his liberty has already lost it to the first scoundrel who is willing to risk dying to violate that person's liberty! Are you free?"
-- Andrew Ford

News of Note
Breaking News:
Fox News is reporting a military helicopter has crashed near the Georgia / Florida border

Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S. troops kill pregnant woman in Iraq
U.S. Probes Checkpoint Killings
Haditha inquiry finds false reports: WPost - Video
Bush: 'Troubled' by Haditha Reports
Iraqi PM mounts first security crackdown in Basra - Video
Iraq wants to set rules on U.S. raids
Bomb kills 2 construction workers in Iraq

Operation Enduring Freedom
US troops shot 3 Afghans in crowd: police

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Plea Deal for Father of Man Convicted in Terror Case
New York, Washington anti-terrorism funds cut

Other Military News
Ethics Code for GIs

Immigration / Border Control
DHS Studying Possible Immigrant Fee Increases

German spy agency admits blunder in CIA affair

Worldwide Wackos
Iran: We Won't Give Up Our Nuclear Rights
Rice meets with partner nations
Iran has weeks to decide nuclear course: US official
North Korea Seeks Visit From U.S. Nuclear Envoy

Politics / Government
Reid: No More Free Tickets

Hurricane Season
A Sinking Feeling?
Storm risk grows as New Orleans sinks
Study: Hurricane Strength Depends on Pollution
Active 2006 Hurricane Season Predicted

Nobody likes a chatty hangman...
Mona Lisa 'speaks'
Clerk says scanty attire was distraction
Mistaken ID stuns crash victims' families

Other News of Note
US again suspends some aid to Serbia over Mladic

Fox News
Abducted Attorney Found Alive; Suspect in Custody
Monaco's Prince Recognizes Second Illegitimate Child
Stocks to Watch: Heinz
New Leads in Bikini Slaying
Video: Monster on the Loose
Judge Who Said Sex Offender Too Short for Jail Protested
Video: Judge Speaks Out
Space Center
Video Gaming Center

Reuters: Top News
AU says "regrets" no deal with Darfur rebels
Merck to face grandmother in next Vioxx trial
China fights double fury of floods and forest fires
New Orleans had major subsidence before Katrina
California assembly votes bill easing cable rules
"Enemy" Sudanese refugees in Israel face uncertainty
Vatican scientists gaze at stars in Arizona
Japan fertility rate hits record low 1.25 in 2005
EU assembly paves way for bespoke child medicines
CBS' appeal of Jackson fine denied again
Rwandan president scoffs at "Hotel Rwanda"
Retail sales rise amid cloudy outlook
Jobless claims unexpectedly rise by 7,000
Ciena posts smaller quarterly loss as sales jump
Schering-Plough to cut 1,100 manufacturing jobs
Yahoo makes Web video search more like TV channels
Stock futures turn up after economic data - Video
Rambus jumps, M-Systems falls
Bank of China shares rise after mega IPO Video
Corus rises on report Abramovich may buy stake
Lloyds shares up after "upbeat" analyst meeting
German opportunities
On the radar: Fresenius Medical Care
Kinder energizes pipeline shares
The Costco premium, by Paul DeMartino

AP World News
Retailers report solid sales in May
'Idol' Taylor Hicks signs record deal
Pistons win game 5 to stay alive
Judge OKs Delta pilots' concessions deal
1-year-old 'left for dead' in Calif. house adds new search tools for blogs
Weight gain blamed for women's heartburn
U.S. GIs Defend Themselves
Bush Offers to Help Catch Rwanda Criminals
Bush Gives CIA's New Director a Boost
States Set Up Homeland Security Panel
CBS Correspondent Breathing on Ventilator
Stolen Data Worse Than Reported
A Solemn Setting for Cole Documentary Makers
Marine's Family Looks for Answers
VA to Fire Data Analyst Responsible for Records Breach
VA Data in Format not Widely Used
Iraq's Premier Sets State of Emergency for Southern City
U.S., Vietnam Seal Pact, Lift WTO Obstacle
Parliament Demands Prosecution of U.S. Troops Involved in Crash

CENTCOM: News Releases







Department of Defense
Academy Grads Ready to Fight Terrorists - Story - Photos
Ramadi Solution Up to Iraqi Government - Story - Video
8 Terrorist Leaders Nabbed in Iraq Ops - Story

Sailors Save Iraqi's Life in Oil Platform Fire - Story
Platoon Takes on EOD Escort, Guard Duties - Story
Afghan Army, Coalition Celebrate New Bridge - Story

Joint Operation Targets Insurgents in Ramadi
Aerial Spraying of Iraqi Crops Concludes
Iraqis Adapt British Military Academy as Model

Engineers Improve Bagram Pedestrian Route
'Fighting Deuce' MPs Patrol Afghan Mountains

Texans to Swim for Wounded Vets - Story
Parade Honors Military Personnel
Pentagon Picnic Honors Troops

2 Troops Killed; Bodies Recovered
Report Cites Successes, Challenges
More U.S. Troops Move Into Province
U.S. Troops Work Leadership Issues
NATO Personnel Shape Military
Casey: Efforts Aim to Promote Unity
Terrorists Bomb Future City Hall
Haditha Investigation Continues
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

Symposium Topic: IEDs
Convoy Accident Incites Unrest
Unit in Afghanistan Honors Troops
Afghanistan Update

Cooperation Vital to Security
Reagan Concludes Arabian Gulf Ops
U.S., U.K. to Increase Intel
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

Defense Officials Identify Casualties - 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
1638 - The first earthquake recorded in the U.S. occurs at Plymouth, Mass.
1774 - The British government orders the port of Boston closed.
1789 - The first U.S. Congressional Act (administering oaths) becomes law.
1792 - Kentucky becomes the 15th U.S. state.
1796 - Tennessee becomes the 16th U.S. state.
1813 - Capt John Lawrence says, "Don't give up the ship."
1843 - Sojourner Truth leaves NY become an antislavery activist.
1861 - The first Civil War skirmish occurs at Fairfax Court House, Va; The U.S. and The C.S.A. stop mail interchange.
1862 - General Robert E. Lee takes over as Commander of the Confederate forces, after Joe Johnston is wounded at Seven Pines.
1864 - Battle of Cold Harbor, VA.
1868 - In Austin, the Texas constitutional convention meets.
1869 - Thomas Edison patents the voting machine.
1877 - U.S. troops are authorized to pursue bandits into Mexico.
1939 - The British sub "Thetis" sinks in Liverpool Bay with 99 aboard.
1941 - Germany bans Catholic publications.
1947 - The OPA disbands (issued WW II rationing coupons).
1958 - Charles de Gaulle becomes premier of France.
1962 - Oscar 2 (ham radio satellite) is launched into orbit; USAF Major Robert M. White takes his X-15 to an altitude of 40,420 meters.
1970 - Soyuz 9 is launched into orbit for 18 days.
1980 - CNN begins broadcasting.
1991 - In the Phillipines, Mount Pinatubo erupts - the first time in 600 years.

- Union General Philip Kearney
1825 - Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan (cavalry)
1831 - Confederate General John B. Hood
1907 - Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine
1928 - Georgi T. Dobrovolsky, cosmonaut (Soyuz 11)

- Louis Nicholas Davout French field marshall
1864 - Solomon George Washington Dill, white Civil Rights hero, assassinated by white terrorists in his home in SC.
1968 - Helen Keller
1987 - Rashid Karami Lebanon, PM of Lebanon ten times

Reported Missing in Action
Crosby, Frederick P., USAF (FL); RF8A hit by ground fire, crashed and exploded; KIA, body not recovered

Borling, John L., USAF (IL); F4C shot down; Released by DRV February, 1973 - still serving in the USAF as of 1996; alive and well as of 1998

Myers, Armand J., USAF (OR); F4C shot down; Released by DRV February, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

Andrade, Father, Civilian Priest (France); Released

Magers, Paul G., US Army (NE); AH1G shot down; KIA, body not recovered

Wann, Donald L., US Army (OK); AH1G shot down; KIA, body not recovered

McDonald, Herman; AWOL, returned to US, discharged