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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Natalia's Corner - Thank you from Natalia and Maxwell

Hi Pam,
I want to thank you and Soldiers Angels, for the beautiful bouquets and cards I have received (Note from Pam - Way to go, Operation Outreach Team!). I really have no words to describe how Maxwell and I feel about each one of them...

I am attaching an email I received from Maxwell addressing

You have his permission to post it if you'd like to...



To all the great people who care and support their troops,

Hi my name is Maxwell,

I am currently serving over seas in Iraq. I would like to thank all the people who have sent me care packages, it really helped boost the moral of myself and my fellow soldiers. Being in Iraq is an experience that I thought would never happen. Believe me I would rather be home with my family, but there are people who need our help here, and I am proud to be a part of the best military in the world.

Each day gets a little harder to deal with, but my family makes it easier for me to handle the situation. Since my deployment begun, my wife has been by my side, never faltering, and understanding the situation we were put in. She has been the emotional and mental support that I have needed throughout my deployment. If she reads this thank you baby!!! for everything. My son is seven months old and I can't wait for he and I to spend time together, and I also got great news, that my wife and I will have a new addition to our family.

My days are getting numbered now and the excitement I am feeling is unmeasurable. There is one thing I can say for sure, that as proud as I am to serve my country, I will not miss this place. But my wife and I will continue to support our replacement and the ones after them.

I can't express the appreciation that I have for all those who care for their soldiers and help support us while we are in this fight, thank you!



Maxwell and Natalia - anything we do is just our way of thanking YOU for all that you sacrifice, endure, and do for all of us.

Take care, and stay safe, Maxwell!


Additional NOTES from Pam:
* Certain details will be edited to protect security concerns or family privacy. My edits appear in brackets [ ]. Any personal details that appear in these posts have been approved by Natalia and/or Maxwell.

* Maxwell's status as the blog's "adopted" Hero, and Natalia's posts about her experiences, should NOT be construed as their endorsement of any opinion I post on this blog, or representative of any policy or position of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or any other government entity. This is merely a way to allow readers to learn more about what military families experience, and to offer an opportunity to support a deployed Hero and his family.

* To learn what you can do to help, click on Maxwell's picture over on the left, or go here.
To adopt "your own" Hero, visit Soldiers' Angels.

For more information on how to help Soldiers' Angels support the families of deployed Heroes, visit Soldiers' Angels Operation Outreach.

Remains of 9 WWII Airmen Identified

U.S. Army Air Forces
1st Lt. Arthur Armacost III (OH)
2nd Lt. Charles Feucht (OH)
1st Lt. William Hafner (VA)
2nd Lt. David Eppright (MO)
2nd Lt. Charles Cisneros (TX)
Technical Sgt. Alfred Hill (OK)
Technical Sgt. James Lascelles (NY)
Staff Sgt. William Cameron (CA)
Staff Sgt. Wilburn Rozzell (OK)

Associated Press - July 19, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Investigators have identified the remains of nine World War II airmen whose bomber disappeared over Papua New Guinea in 1943, officials said.
The Department of Defense made the announcement Tuesday.

The crash site was found in 2002 after a local government official contacted a team of military investigators exploring an unrelated crash site. The official turned over aircraft data plates, human remains and identification tags...

Read the Rest at

Graphic by Doug Kidd

FREE FALL — U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Edward McDermott, the platoon sergeant for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Special Purpose Force, free falls from a CH-46E Sea Knight during jump training in the Central Command theater of operation, July 14, 2006. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola

My Hero...

I'm proud to introduce you to my adopted Hero, Marcos, who is serving in the Navy.

It's a real treat when you get to hear back from your adoptee (there are never any guarantees), and even more so when you get a great picture like this!

Marcos, thanks for letting me post this and do a little showing off! It's an honor to be your Angel.

Thank you for all you do - Take care, and stay safe. (Have some mail on the way to you today)

Books, Shelves and Opportunity

Utilitiesman 2nd Class Joseph Stahl has to use a little muscle when he drills into a concret wall July 5 at a school receiving a library. Seabees with the Combine Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa teamed-up with the U.S. Embassy to build 10 schools in Djibouti as part of Books for Africa a program designed by the Embassy as a way to help communities who otherwise wouldn’t have had the funding required for building a library on their own. US Navy Photo

By: Air Force 1st Lt. Omar Villarreal
July 13, 2006

Camp Lemonier, Djibouti - CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti – Ten schools in Djibouti now have new libraries thanks to Books for Africa, a program involving the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, local students and Navy Seabees from the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa.

The program, which distributed over 20,000 books in five days, was designed by the Embassy as a way to help communities who otherwise wouldn’t have had the funding required for building a library on their own.

“We’ve had the books in boxes, in a warehouse near the Embassy since May,” said Christy Stoner, public diplomacy officer for the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti. “Books in boxes can’t be used and certainly won’t help any of the students, so we took action.”
Mrs. Stoner went on to say that the children in each of the schools selected for receiving a library want to speak English and by giving their schools dictionaries, encyclopedias and other English books, will help them learn how.

Houssein Abdillahi, a teacher from Nour Al Iman, said he had been working at the school for five years and this is the first time any of his students will have books to read and reference. “The books will be very useful for the students, but for the teachers as well,” Abdillahi said. “The teachers will be able to read the textbooks, learn from them and then teach the students.”

CJTF – HOA Seabees provided the necessary support for making a library possible in each of the schools by building shelves and securing them to walls.

The first two schools received their libraries July 5 and the last two got them today.

Builder 3rd Class Sean Liverpool said putting the shelves together didn’t take a lot of work, but offered a lot of opportunity. “The schools needed shelves for their libraries, so we helped them out,” Liverpool said. “We are here to help people and if building shelves for the schools will help out the students, we will build as many as it takes.”

CJTF – HOA’s mission is focused on conducting operations and training in order to assist host nations establish secure environments and regional stability.

The shelves are just one small project CJTF – HOA Seabees have worked on. The Seabees have built clinics, dormitories and schools through the CJTF – HOA area of responsibility.

U.S. Navy Seabees from the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa teamed-up with the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti July 5 through 13 to build libraries in 10 local schools. Over 20,000 books were delivered to the schools as part of Books for Africa, a program designed by the Embassy as a way to help communities who otherwise wouldn’t have had the funding required for building a library on their own. US Navy Photo

Builder 3rd Class Sean Liverpool straightens books July 5 at a school that just received a new library. Seabees with the Combine Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa teamed-up with the U.S. Embassy to build 10 schools in Djibouti as part of Books for Africa a program designed by the Embassy as a way to help communities who otherwise wouldn’t have had the funding required for building a library on their own. US Navy Photo
Beirut, Lebanon (July 18, 2006) – U.S. citizens don air crew cranials and ear protection while preparing to depart Beirut, Lebanon in a U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, assigned to the "Blue Knights" of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron Three Six Five (HMM-365). At the request of the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon and at the direction of the Secretary of Defense, the United States Central Command and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24 MEU) are assisting with the departure of U.S. citizens from Lebanon. U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Gunnery Sgt. James H. Frank

Know the Enemy - What the Taliban and their Friends Have Been Up To

An Afghan village elder points to a footprint of an extremist who burned the Neizi Kran Shaku Village School on July 17 in the Parwan Province, Bagram District. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Robert R. Ramon

By Army Staff Sgt. Robert R. Ramon
345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, July 18, 2006 — Extremists destroyed a school in the Bagram District, Parwan Province on July 17.

Residents of the Neizi Kran Shaku village were awakened around midnight when they realized the school, comprised of 10 tents, was engulfed in flames.

"About two months ago we received these tents from the government of Afghanistan," said Abdul Dager, a village elder. "At around midnight, our peaceful night was interrupted when five criminals set fire to them."

After noticing the flames, Dager immediately ran to the village mosque and made an announcement over the loudspeaker.

After the announcement, "the entire village came out and saved two of the tents," said Dager. "We quickly captured one individual nearby; he had a gas can. He led us to four other men who were responsible. We turned them over to the Afghan National Police.

They (extremists) claimed to be associated with the Taliban.

Although the villagers recognized none of the insurgents, four were believed to be from nearby villages.

Speaking to Coalition Joint Task Force-76 military policemen who were at the village investigating the incident, Dager made the feelings of the village clear. With an average attendance of 310 including grades one through nine, the loss of the school was a major blow to the usually peaceful village.

"We were very angry," he said. "Since they burned the school I haven't been able to sleep at all. We're not sure exactly how, but in some way we're going to continue our teaching."

Other incidents of school attacks by extremists have occurred recently. On July 15 in Saret, Nuristan, villagers took to the streets and drove off a band of extremists who set fire to a girl's school. Residents also put out the blaze. Taliban insurgents fired five rocket propelled grenades at a school in Mehtar Lam, Laghman Province, catching it on fire July 17. Afghan National Police responded and drove off the insurgents.

With the rash of school burnings by extremists in recent weeks, provincial reconstruction teams (PRT) have created "schools-in-a-box" to provide a temporary remedy to the situation until something permanent can be established.

Comprised of tents, school supplies, backpacks and other items, "schools-in-a-box" will ensure children continue to receive an education despite the insurgents' best efforts to thwart progress. As the MPs interviewed the village elders here, a PRT at Bagram was preparing to deliver aid.

According to Dager, the extremists have done nothing to block his village's road to progress.

"The enemies of Afghanistan are the enemies of the Afghan people," said Dager. "They do not want to see Afghanistan make any progress. They don't want the people to have a good life. They only want to destroy everything and they want nothing positive for the people of Afghanistan. However, we have our government here to help us and there is no way they're going to stop us from continuing to improve our lives."

Charred tent frames are all that remain after extremists burned the Neizi Kran Shaku Village School in the Parwan Province, Bagram District on July 17. Residents were awakened around midnight when they realized the school, comprised of 10 tents, was engulfed in flames. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Robert R. Ramon




Release # 060718-07

Extremists linked to drug trade

KABUL , Afghanistan – Coalition Soldiers have seized an estimated $3 million in opium from an extremist compound July 13 after a Coalition patrol held off more than two dozen fighters until additional firepower arrived.

Following the engagement, the Soldiers found five dead extremists, but believe many more were killed.

A search of the compound found 70 kilograms of opium paste, a rocket propelled grenade launcher, four rockets, an AK-47 and ammunition, a passport and other documents.

“Recovering these weapons and drugs increases the safety and security of Afghans, and reduces the danger posed by criminals and extremists who might use those munitions indiscriminately to cause harm on the Afghan people, Afghan security forces or Coalition forces,” said Col. Thomas Collins, Coalition spokesman. “This engagement also confirms with physical evidence that the extremists are linked to the drug trade in southern Afghanistan.”
by Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika

July 18, 2006

Sgt. Michael Wade, from 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, calls fellow Soldiers forward during a gun battle with insurgents in Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq.

In Today's News - Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Quote of the Day
"I think that the military capacity we have in this country is incredible -- probably the best military capacity any country has ever had in history -- the best air forces, the best naval forces, the best land forces,the best special operations forces."

-- Gen. Tommy Franks

News of Note
Israel at War
Report: Fourth Israeli Soldier Kidnapped North of Tel Aviv
Israel Decimates Hezbollah Stronghold
Americans Confront Anxiety of War
Humanitarian Effort Focuses On Victims of Conflict in Middle East
Some Americans Brave Trip to Israel
Video: Not Ready for Cease-Fire
Photo Essay: Israel, Hezbollah Battle Heats Up
Army Officer Says Israel Does Not Want to Attack Syria
Israeli air raids kill 50 - Video
US begins Lebanon evacuation (and, believe it or not, people are complaining about the fact that the evacuation ships weren't cushy enough)
Israeli warplanes kill 19 in Lebanon
US Ramps Up Evacuation Plans
Israeli Ground Troops Enter Lebanon
Israel Takes to Air to Cripple Hezbollah

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Gunmen kill 3 in new market raid near Baghdad - Video
Iraq civilian toll spikes to nearly 6,000
Video: Blasts hit Baghdad university
Iraqis Dismiss Split, Approve of Al-Maliki

Operation Enduring Freedom
Soldiers Retake Afghan Town From Taliban

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Homeland Security Accused of Credit Card Misuse

Troops on Trial
Midshipman Testifies About 'Sex Gone Bad'

Other Military News
Navy Looks Into Death of Sailor

Immigration / Border Control
Immigrant Sweep Snags 58 at Fort Bragg

Bush blocked eavesdropping program probe

Politics / Government
Senate OKs Funding Stem Cell Research, Faces Veto
Bush to cast his first veto on stem-cell bill - Video
McKinney heads to runoff in Georgia
House Rejects Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage
Lieberman Rival Seeks Support Beyond Iraq Issue (this campaign is UGLY)

Hurricane Season / Wild Weather / Mother Nature
Tropical Storm Beryl Forms Off North Carolina Coast
Tropical Storm Beryl prompts storm watch
Tropical storm not expected to hit N.C.
U.S. Heat Wave Turns Deadly- Photo Essay: Hot, Hot, Hot
Heat wave ebbs in parts of U.S.
3 arrested in New Orleans hospital deaths
Katrina audit shows fraud, abuse
Over 100 feared dead in N. Korea floods
Fear sparks scramble as Java tsunami toll at 550 - Video
Indonesian Tsunami Kills 463- Photo Essay: Deadly Tsunami
Red Cross: N. Korean Floods and Landslides Kill Over 100

News from My Neck of the Woods
Massachusetts teenager dies on hike
Investigations into Big Dig failure spread

Hey! Who turned me in?
And the top prize in Hungary uprising quiz is...

Other News of Note
Cruise Ship Mishap Injures 84
Outage Grounds Calif. Flights

Fox News
Disney to Slash 650 Jobs
Stocks to Watch: Yahoo
S.D. Sioux Leader Ousted Again in Abortion Clinic Flap

Reuters: Top News
Oil price spike "very uncomfortable": OPEC - Video
Bernanke seen yielding few clues on rates
China eyes exploration of Mars: Xinhua
Matsushita steps up plasma HDTV drive
ATT launches Homezone TV and Internet service
Catholic priests become sought-after Polish export
Engineers put earthquake-proof houses to the test
Marriott to make all US, Canada hotels non-smoking
Southwest Air profit rises
ASML beats forecast in Q2 with record net profit
Rhoen-Klinikum Q2 operating profit misses forecast
No BETonSPORTS deal with U.S. prosecutor - source
Google falls on Inet after Yahoo disappointment
Wall Street set to open mixed
Yahoo shares fall on Inet after earnings
IBM shares rise after earnings report
Inside the PBW mandate
Investing in affluence

AP World News
Hayek an exec on ABC show 'Ugly Betty'
Yahoo 2Q profit meets analysts' estimates
Jones helps Braves match 1930 record
Meth still No. 1 drug problem, study finds
ABC vows stronger 'Housewives' season
Konerko goes deep twice as White Sox win
Smith fired, Snow hired as Islanders GM
Unpaid taxes could be Bonds' downfall
Pamela Anderson, Kid Rock to tie the knot
IBM 2Q earnings beat analysts' forecasts
Dow closes up 52, Nasdaq finishes up 6
Customers pan 'healthy' potato chips
Beaufort woman charged with killing baby
Elite Training Sharpens Unit's Lethal Skills

CENTCOM: News Releases











Department of Defense
Cheney Praises National Guard Contributions - Story
For More Top News Visit DefenseLink

Soldiers Expand Forward Operating Base - Story
New School and Textile Mill Boost Economy - Story
Ammo Specialists Keep Brigade Safe - Story

Soldiers Destroy Terrorist Safe-route
Iraqi Communities Benefit From Projects
Iraqi Forces Assume Security Responsibility

'Ammo' Airmen Arm Bagram's Warfighters
Troops Coordinate Delivery of Supplies
Afghans, Coalition Conduct Medical Clinics

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
Weekly Reconstruction Report (PDF)
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 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


Today in History
1510 - Jews are burned at the stake in Berlin, Prussia.
1553 - Lady Jane Grey (who is 15 at the time) is deposed as England's Queen after 9 days
1816 - After more than two weeks, survivors of the French frigate Medusa are rescued off Senegal.
1848 - The first women's rights convention opens in NY.
1860 - The first railroad reaches Kansas
1862 - Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest conducts his first raid.
1870 - The Franco-Prussian war begins.
1918 - German armies retreat across the Marne River in France.
1927 - Ty Cobb gets his 4,000th hit.
1941 - The first US Army flying school for black cadets is dedicted in Tuskegee, AL ; British PM Winston Churchill launches his "V for Victory" campaign; President Roosevelt appoints the FEP Committee.
1943 - Allied air forces raid Rome.
1949 - Laos becomes and associated state within the French Union.
1957 - The first rocket with a nuclear warhead is fired (Yucca Flat, NV).
1963 - NASA civilian test pilot Joe Walker takes the X-15 to an altitude of 105 km.
1967 - The U.S. launches Explorer 35 for a lunar orbit.
1969 - Apollo 11 goes into a Moon orbit.
1980 - The 22nd modern Olympic games open in Moscow; the U.S. and 59 others do not attend, boycotting in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
1989 - United flight 232 crashes in Iowa.

- Samuel Colt, inventor (Colt revolver)
1817 - Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke, Union Army nurse
1860 - Lizzie Borden, alleged murderer
1922 - George McGovern (Sen-SD), presidential candidate (1972)
1943 - Roy D. Bridges, Jr. , Colonel USAF/astronaut (STS 51F, STS 61F)
1952 - Howard Donald Saunders, murderer (FBI Most Wanted List)

1940 - Samuel H. Chang American newspaper magnate, murdered in Shanghai.
1969 - Mary Jo Kopechne, at 28, in Ted Kennedy's car after it plunges off Dike Bridge in Chappaquiddick, MA.

Reported Missing in Action
Diamond, Stephen Whitman USAF (NY); F105 shot down; SRV returned remains March, 1977

Dennison, Terry A., USN (WA); F8E shot down, remains returned March, 1974

Winters, Darryl G., USAF (CA); photograhper aboard F100F shot down

Frye, Donald P., USN (CA); SH3A shot down during rescue mission, KIA, remains returned October, 1982

Jackson, William B., USN (TX); SH3A shot down during rescue mission, KIA, remains returned October, 1982

McGrane, Donald P., USN (IA); SH3A shot down during rescue mission, KIA, remains returned October, 1982

Peterson, Dennis W., USN (CA); SH3A shot down during rescue mission, KIA, body not recovered

Martin, Aubrey Grady, USN (TX); OV10A shot down, remains recovered July, 1974

Sikkink, Roy Dean, USN (OK); OV10A shot down, remains recovered July, 1969