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

Monday, June 19, 2006

Breaking News from Fox

Islamic Web Site Claims Al Qaeda-Linked Group Has 2 GIs
BAGHDAD, Iraq — An umbrella group that includes Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed in a Web statement Monday that it had kidnapped two U.S. soldiers reported missing south of Baghdad.
There was no immediate confirmation that the statement was credible, although it appeared on a Web site often used by Al Qaeda-linked groups. U.S. officials have said they were trying to confirm whether the missing soldiers were kidnapped.

Full Story

UPDATE 6/20/06, 7:01 EST: Fox News is reporting that the bodies of the two missing Soldiers have been found. They are awaiting confirmation from the U.S. military. Our hearts are with the families, friends, and comrades of these Heroes.
GUAM DEPLOYMENT – U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles taxi at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, after a training sortie, June 5, 2006. The Strike Eagles are deployed as part of an air expeditionary deployment. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Michael S. Dorus

Retired Reserve Doc Deploys Third Time

Col. William Bernhard, an Army surgeon, stands in front of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on Forward Operating Base Lima, Iraq, Oct. 15, 2005. Bernhard, 75, is about to deploy to Kabul, Afghanistan, reportedly as the oldest deployed member of America's armed forces. Courtesy photo

By Paul X. Rutz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2006 – Most military members end their careers by the time they are half his age, but one Army doctor says he would rather come out of retirement to help the troops than watch from the sidelines.

Tomorrow, retired Army Reserve Col. William Bernhard, a 75-year-old surgeon, will start a journey to Afghanistan, his third deployment in the war on terror.

"It's a great opportunity for me to serve the young men and women who, as we all know, have medical and surgical problems," said Bernhard. "We need trained, experienced physicians to take care of them, and I feel honored that I've been selected to go over there and provide medical care for these troops."

Bernhard, who lives in Cecil County, Md., has over 40 years' medical experience, directing anesthesia at the University of Maryland's shock trauma center for 10 of those years. He said he has trained countless military medics in the emergency room, and he remains one of the Army's most experienced flight surgeons, keeping his skills up part time at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

"It doesn't take any training for me to go to war," he said. "All I have to do is get new uniforms ... and qualify again with the 9-millimeter (pistol)."

Bernhard said every February he calls the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va., headquarters for the Army and Air Guard, and talks to the people in charge of a program called "BOG," for "Boots on the Ground," which puts doctors in field hospitals for 90-day rotations.

Over the past three years, the National Guard has been operating with fewer doctors than it would like, Bernhard said. "Unfortunately we used to have 850 Guard physicians," he said. "Now there are under 450 -- and less than 400, I'm told, are deployable." So he takes his turn, helping fulfill the Defense Department's commitments overseas.

Bernhard said he knows three other physicians who have also come out of the retired reserve to serve actively again.

Going back to active duty is always a funny process, he said. "I go in to get an ID card, and they punch in my numbers, and they say, 'You're retired. You can't have an ID card.'" The same thing happens as he stands in line to change insurance policies, get new uniforms and all the rest.

Having joined the Marine Corps in 1950, Bernhard was soon discharged due to a knee injury, which he said was a major disappointment. He joined the Navy as an anesthesiologist and served 10 years on active and reserve duty, then switched to the Army Reserve for 22 more years.

When Bernhard leaves his home tomorrow, he will spend about five days at Fort Benning, Ga., before traveling to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. From there he'll fly to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, then convoy into Kabul, where he will connect with the Oregon Army National Guard's 141st Support Battalion.

"I don't sign up when I go overseas for anesthesia because I've done all that," he said. "I'd much rather sign up to be a field surgeon, which means that I can work at a battalion aide station and at a trauma station, and I sign up to work also as a flight surgeon, and that gets me flying a lot of missions and taking care of aviators."

Last year, he deployed to Iraq with the Mississippi Army National Guard's 155th Brigade Combat Team. He took charge of medical facilities at five forward operating bases west and south of Baghdad.

"Any time I went outside the wire -- and I was out a lot flying all over and doing missions outside the wire -- I usually carried a 9mm and a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun because you're close in to them there, and you're in villages," he said.

On Nov. 23, 2005, Bernhard and his unit found themselves guarding a bombed-out building on the Euphrates River 85 miles west of Baghdad. "I was the one with the shotgun, so I had to cover the little alley coming down behind us," he said. "We got in a firefight for about 10 hours that night. A patrol coming down got within a quarter of a mile of us, and (the insurgents) ambushed them, and they killed one of my medics that night."

Experiences like that make him want to continue to do all he can to help his fellow servicemembers, he said. Being semi-retired offers him the time to work on research projects while he's stateside. And thanks to his military background, he can pursue new technologies to help in combat situations.

In Iraq he tested a new stethoscope, which he had been working on for years at the Army's research lab at Fort Rucker, Ala. "This stethoscope worked magnificently," he said. "It could work in a Black Hawk (transport helicopter). It worked in a noisy trauma center. It was just great." This year, a dozen of the new stethoscopes are being sent overseas with Army doctors.

"Here's an idea that I had that we've built, and now it's starting to be used by the active duty military," he said. "It feels good."

Army Col. William Bernhard, left, the military's oldest deployed servicemember, smiles with his bodyguard aboard an armored ambulance at Forward Operating Base Dogwood in Iraq, Nov. 1, 2005. Courtesy photo

Army Col. William Bernard stands in front of his tent at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, where he lived from July to December 2005. He said the temperature inside climbed as high as 144 degrees, and the force protectors around the tent collected shards of shrapnel from insurgent attacks. Courtesy photo
MOSUL DUTY — U.S. Army Spc. Greggory Bukus, assigned to 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, covers escape avenues during a house raid near Mosul, Iraq, June 11, 2006. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jonathan F. Doti
Lead Photo Archive

In Today's News - Monday, June 19, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe -- because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export. And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo... The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country. From the Fourteen Points to the Four Freedoms, to the Speech at Westminster, America has put our power at the service of principle. We believe that liberty is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the direction of history. We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty. And we believe that freedom -- the freedom we prize -- is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind."

-- President George W. Bush

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S. troops search for missing GIs in Iraq
Iraqi Man: Missing U.S. Soldiers Abducted - Video
More than 8,000 searching for missing GIs
Families of missing soldier wait for word
Forces Set Up Outposts in Ramadi
Closing Time (Saddam's Trial)
Iraqi prosecutors ask death sentence for Saddam
US troops press ahead with Ramadi operation - Video

Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Targets Taliban
U.S. aims to sever Taliban transport lines
Taliban attacks kill 30 in Afghanistan

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Book: Al Qaeda Called Off 2003 NYC Subway Gassing Plot
Schumer: NYC is 'prime target' for attack
Father demands Guantanamo suicide probe

Troops on Trial
Coast Guard Academy court-martial to begin

Immigration / Border Control
Immigration sweep brings fear to community

Worldwide Wackos
U.S. Expects N. Korea to Honor Missile Testing Moratorium- Video: Growing Concern
Abbas Opposes New Borders
Warnings fly on fears of North Korea missile test

Politics / Government
NYC mayor can't squelch rumors of White House bid
Senate Democrats want vote on Iraq withdrawal
Sen. Stevens offers deal on Net neutrality

In the Courts
Judge delays Enron's Lay, Skilling sentencing

11 Cousins Fight Cancer Odds By Removing Stomachs

Other News of Note
Laptop With Data From D.C. City Workers Stolen

Fox News
Episcopalians Choose First Female Bishop in History
Stocks to Watch: Circuit City
Video: Tornado in Kansas
'Cars' Tops Box Office, Again
Tourist Dies at Yellowstone
'I'm Such an Idiot' (Phil Mickelson)
Complete U.S. Open coverage at

Reuters: Top News
Klimt painting sold for record $135 mln: report
First woman named to head US Episcopal Church
China to put a man on the moon by 2024 - expert
Kazakhstan puts its first satellite into space
Review of Qualcomm-favored technology on hold: report
Nokia unveils five new handsets
New test for detecting genetic defects in embryos
Lung function abnormal in sickle cell anemia
Kidman, Urban in Australia to marry
H&M dresses up Madonna & Co
Nokia, Siemens to merge phone equipment units
Nestle buys Jenny Craig diet firm for $600 million
Verizon extends offerings at Wal-Mart
Lloyds TSB says H1 strong, agrees pension deal
Altana considers fund investors for drug unit-paper
Thai broadcaster ITV to be fined $1.98 billion
Stock bulls hope rebound has legs - Video
Nikkei slips amid economic worries, REIT falls
Boston Scientific shares up on court ruling
Strong debut for China's first listing in a year
Stocks fall as Fed talk stirs rate jitters - Video
On the radar: Iris International
Investors ignore warnings

AP World News
Charitable giving in U.S. nears new high
Heat move within 1 game of NBA title
Experts: Ethanol's water demands a concern
Sandler says he was eager to become a dad
Terry, Howard give Mavs lead at halftime
'Screech' sells shirts to keep his house
U.S. very proud of tie against Italy
Wall Street's focus shifting to earnings
Oil company execs: Fuel relatively cheap
Presbyterians weigh worship alternatives
Ariz. wildfires force hundreds to evacuate
New train would link NYC, Atlantic City
Search Still on for Missing GI's
Bush to Visit Merchant Marine Academy

CENTCOM: News Releases





Department of Defense
Civil Affairs Soldiers Help Baghdad Citizens - Story
Logistics Team Supports 'First Strike' Troops - Story
U.S. Army MPs Mentor Afghan National Police - Story
Soldiers Complete Combat Lifesavers Course - Story
Iraqi Police Improve Map Skills - Story

Darkhorse Marines Secure Road to Ramadi
Troops Deliver Water to Bedranri Village
'Rocket Man' Rocks Insurgents in Ramadi

Engineer Reflects on Second Afghan Deployment
Task Force Celebrates Army’s 231st Birthday

146 USS George Washington Sailors Now U.S. Citizens

Renewal In Iraq
Iraq: Security, Stability
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

Afghanistan Update

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

Officials Identify Army 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
1778 - Washington's troops finally leave Valley Forge.
1862 - Slavery is outlawed in U.S. territories.
1864 - The sloop USS Kearsarge sinks the CSS Alabama off the coast of France.
1865 - All slaves in Texas are freed (Juneteenth).
1875 - The U.S. Marine Hospital at the Presidio is formally opened.
1910 - Father's Day celebrated for the first time.
1917 - King George V orders members of British royal family to cease the use of German titles and surnames; they take the name Windsor.
1931 - In West Haven, CT, the first photoelectric cell is installed commercially.
1934 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is created.
1947 - Alberty Boyd flies the first plane to exceed 600 mph (An F-80, 1004 kph).
1961 - Kuwait regains complete independence from Britain; The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a Maryland constitutional provision requiring state office holders to believe in God.
1967 - Muhammad Ali is convicted for refusing induction into the U.S. Army.
1976 - The U.S. Viking 1 goes into Martian orbit after a 10-month flight from Earth.
1981 - The Boeing commercial Chinook 2-rotor helicopter is certified.

1556 - James VI of Scotland (James I of England)
1903 - Henry Louis Gehrig, New York Yankee first baseman
1908 - Quentin N Burdick (Sen-NC)
1914 - Alan Cranston (Sen-CA)
1921 - Howell Heflin (Sen-AL)
1922 - Aage Neals Bohr Denmark, physicist, Nobel Prize winner
1933 - Viktor I. Patsayev, cosmonaut (Soyuz 11)
1978 - Garfield the Cat

- Maximilian, Mexican emperor, executed
1953 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed at Sing Sing

Reported Missing in Action:
Ledbetter, Thomas I., US Army SF (FL); MIA after ground fight, likely KIA, body not recovered

Talley, James L., US Army SF (GA); MIA after ground fight, likely KIA, body not recovered

Tellier, Dennis A., USMC (RI); Released by PRG March, 1973