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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lessons Learned - Project Valour-IT

As you know, I cut my finger pretty severely over the weekend, and am still waiting to find out whether or not I'll need surgery. The pain has been manageable, but what's driven me nuts is the impediment to my typing. I normally type about 100 or so words a minute, and now I'm back to feeling like a geek while I try to adjust to not being able to use my pinky. Doing everything with my hands requires some adjustment. I can't get the stitches wet, so I need to shower with a plastic bag over my left hand. Add that to all the other times that I hit it on something, or have to adjust to the temporary loss of that digit, and it's annoying at best, pretty painful at worst. At the most, I'll need surgical correction. Either way, I'll be splinted for several weeks, and will need physical therapy.

And that's just one pinky, on one hand. A couple of months, and it'll likely be back to normal. I can still type, although I have to adjust, and I can still do most things with relatively minor inconvenience. And my injury was do to a moment's stupidity - my fault.

I hurt my hand a day before the start of this year's Valour-IT blog competition, and in a way, it's given me a new sense of perspective on this project. What if it was all my fingers? What if it was the lost of one - or both - of my hands? And what if my injury incurred while I was far away from home, defending my family and millions like them? What then?

Such is the situation with the Heroes helped by Project Valour-IT. With me, blogging and emailing is a little slow, but what if I couldn't do it at all? What if email was my primary way to stay in touch with friends and family? What if I'd hoped to take some college courses online?

Valour-IT provides voice-activation software and laptops to those Heroes whose injuries have left them unable to use a keyboard. But it's more than equipment - Valour-IT provides hope.

My injury has left me with a renewed sense of perspective on how important this project is. I'm proud to be blogging for the Marine Team this year - but if you can donate, please do so for any team you'd like to help (which of course will no doubt lead you to the Marine Team). You can donate to the Marine Team by clicking the button on the top of this page, or click here to see all teams.

This project can't continue without donor support. Please let those who've given so much for us know that we will never forget.


For more about Project Valour-IT:
Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT
Valour-IT Blog

Team Standings:

Team Leaders:
Army - Blackfive
Navy - Chaotic Synaptic Activity
Air Force - Op-For
Marines - Villainous Company

Join a Team!

Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Oct. 23 2006) - Sailors assigned to Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) train personnel from the Iraqi Riverine Police Force on special boat maneuvers and weapon handling. The Iraqi force is currently training in a six-week patrol craft course at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brien Aho

Husband, Wife Re-enlist at Taji

Staff Sgt. Derek Scott and Sgt. Dawana Lynch-Scott, both of 4th Infantry Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, repeat the oath of re-enlistment, which was administered by Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Ewing in the command conference room at Camp Taji, Iraq, Oct. 26, 2006. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Creighton Holub

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Derek Scott and Sgt. Dawana Lynch-Scott

By Sgt. 1st Class Reginald Rogers
Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division

CAMP TAJI, Iraq, Nov. 1, 2006 — Two 4th Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade soldiers serving together here as both comrades in arms and husband and wife, had a decision to make – re-enlist together and move the family to enjoy the palm trees and beautiful beaches of Hawaii or turn down the opportunity to re-enlist and return to Fort Hood.

Staff Sgt. Derek Scott and Sgt. Dawana Lynch-Scott stood side-by-side just as they did when they got married more than a year ago. But, instead of saying their wedding vows, the couple repeated the oath of enlistment in a ceremony before a crowd of about 30 soldiers in the CAB conference room, Oct. 26.

“It’s an honor being able to re-enlist with my husband,” Dawana said, following the ceremony, “especially considering where we are. Not too many people have the privilege of re-enlisting with their spouse, so really, it’s an honor and a pleasure – especially when it’s with someone you love so much.”

The Scotts met during the 4th Infantry Division’s previous deployment in support of Operation Iraq Freedom I. The fact that they hit it off and struck up a lasting friendship eventually led to marriage. They were married on July 5, 2005.

“I feel the same way,” said Derek, who serves as one of the CAB’s career counselors. “It is an honor to be with my wife out here and re-enlist together. We plan to walk on the beach together as well.”

The Scotts will be reassigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, shortly after redeploying to Fort Hood. Derek said they are looking forward to the assignment in the Pacific.

“I’m excited because it’s a change,” explained Dawana, who works as the supply sergeant in Company C, 404th Aviation Support Battalion. “This will be my second duty station. Fort Hood was my first, and I’ve been here six years. Now it’s time for a change in scenery and our kids will get to see a different place.”

The assignment to Hawaii was somewhat of a deciding factor for the Scotts.

They probably would have re-enlisted regardless, but being stationed in Hawaii makes it a sweeter deal, said Derek.
The Scotts both agree that the assignment to Hawaii is a high priority on their list of things to do. Because of this, they both are making special preparations.

“I’m still practicing my beach walk,” said Derek, a native of Newport News, Va. “I will have it perfected by the time we reach Hawaii.”

“I’ve been working on my abs,” said Dawana, a native of Rocky Mount, N.C. The Scotts are scheduled to report to Hawaii in March.

From DefenseLink

by Staff Sgt. Sean A. Foley
November 2, 2006
Soldiers send a howitzer round downrange during a fire mission outside Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq. US Army photo.

In Today's News - November 2, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour,
and be in readiness for the conflict;
for it is better for us to perish in battle
than to look upon the outrage
of our nation and our altar."

-- Winston Churchill

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Military in Bid to Free Kidnapped GI
US Identifies Kidnapped Soldier
Bush: Generals Satisfied With U.S. Troop Levels in Iraq
U.S. Military: Al Qaeda Operative in Anbar Killed
Bechtel Leaves Iraq After Losing 52 Workers
Treating friend and foe in the Baghdad ER
U.S. troops should stay longer in Iraq: Talabani
119 Iraqi policemen are killed in Oct.

Operation Enduring Freedom
Karzai ventures into Afghan streets

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Somali govt rejects quick peace talks resumption
UK eases airport security rules, liquids allowed

Troops on Trial
USAF Settles With N.J. Elementary School Accidentally Strafed by F-16

Mid-East Ceasefire / Hamas Rising / Israel at War
Syria, Iran dismiss U.S. accusation on Lebanon - Video
Israel kills 4 Palestinians in Gaza - Video

Worldwide Wackos
Iran Missile Tests Rattle Gulf
Russia, China won't back Iran sanctions
Earlier the better for N.Korea talks, says China
U.S. set to discuss North Korea finances

Immigration / Border Control
U.S. fails to protect illegal workers: petition

Politics / Government
GOP Says Kerry, Dems'Stuck' on 'Blame America'
YOU DECIDE 2006: Complete coverage from
Ann Coulter Voting Fraud Case Likely Will Be Turned Over to Prosecutors, Florida Elections Chief Says
Democrats would push talks, better foreign ties (Translation: appeasement)
Democrats have shot at Senate control: Reuters poll
Bush makes final push for Republicans
Down to the wire
On the trail

In the Courts
Death Prompts Suit Against Birth-Control Patch

U.N. News
Guatemala, Venezuela Withdraw From U.N. Race
U.N. Official Accused of Steering Contracts

Wild Elephants Trample Man to Death in Indonesia
Woman Learns of Pregnancy, Gives Birth Next Day
New weapon in battle of the bulge...
Noodle-bar robber pays bill before getaway
Amnesia victim still has no memories

Fox News
Wine Extract Keep Obese Mice Living Longer Lives
3 Bodies Found Dumped in South Carolina Ditch
Worker Productivity Slows to Standstill
Woman Arrested for Killing 4 Babies 40 Years Ago
Woman Arrested for Murdering Her 4 Babies Between 1965 and 1970
Grrr! Ryan Phillippe Broke America's Sweetheart

Reuters: Top News
Turkey PM Erdogan snubs Pope: Italian papers
Space shuttle Discovery prepped for next launch
Australia to push for "New Kyoto" in Asia
Nintendo picks GameStop, Toys "R" Us for Wii launch
Google takes aim at fast e-mail for cell phones
Africa's worst polluter aims to clean up its act
Pump, with drugs, can reverse heart failure
New U.S. HIV cases to cost $12 bln a year
Chili Peppers take on Madonna at MTV show
Madonna doesn't rule out second adoption
Stocks fall on retail sales, productivity data
Abercrombie, Gap fall after sales misses
Target, Costco shares decline
MGM rises after earnings beat
Oil eases near $58 on U.S. crude stocks build
Productivity unexpectedly flat
Bonds benefiting from slowing economy
Smith&Nephew in early stage tie-up talks with Biomet
Productivity growth stalls
Ahold Q3 sales edge up, U.S. asset sales expected
Nintendo picks GameStop, Toys "R" Us for Wii launch
Retailers post disappointing October sales
Wal-Mart sees Nov same-store sales flat

AP World News
Productivity slows, wage pressures mount
October retail sales are mixed
2 sued for downloading over 1,000 songs
Madonna: name has new meaning in Malawi
MLB stars rally to tie Yomiuri Giants
Yahoo to launch Web site devoted to food
Russia to double gas prices for Georgia
Stocks fall on productivity report
Celtics open season without Auerbach
Suns defeat Clippers in home opener
Wal-Mart's attendance policy criticized
Isaiah's reign opens with marathon win
Some charges tossed in 'caged kids' case
Chem lab fire destroys N.C. high school
General Retires, Blames Abu Ghraib
Iran Tests Fires Long Range Missile
Opinion: The 'Defeatocrats'
Blog: Kerry's October Surprise
Get Ready to Vote!
The Veterans' Bill of Rights

CENTCOM: News Releases








U.S., international partners gain knowledge from conference - podcast
Cooperation key for partnerships
International conference discusses current operations
USJFCOM, ACT host 6th CD&E Conference in Greece
USJFCOM takes over Individual Augmentee Program - podcast
Urban Resolve 2015 comes to a close - podcast

Department of Defense
Rumsfeld: Terrorists Plan AttacksTo Manipulate U. S. Press Coverage - Story
For Top News Visit DefenseLink

Suspected Insurgents Captured in Operation - Story
Afghan Interpreters Save Lives, Impart Knowledge - Story
Afghan Leader Visits Kabul Military Training Center - Story

Critical Care Teams Work to Save Marine's Sight
Iraqi, U.S. Soldiers Work to Save Saab al Bour
Realistic Simulations Prepare Marines for Patrols
Iraqi Army Continues to Grow into Modern Force
Water Facility Produces 50,000 Gallons Daily

Command and General Staff College Opens
Specialist Delivers Supplies, Hope to Students
Agha Jon School Reopens After Taliban Torching

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
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 Qandahar


National Hurricane Center

Today in History
1648 - 12,000 Jews are massacred by Chmielnicki hordes in Narol Podlia (Ukraine).
1783 - General George Washington bids farewell to his army.
1824 - The popular presidential vote is first recorded; Jackson beats J.Q. Adams.
1835 - The Second Seminole War begins.
1841 - In Afghanistan, Akbar Khan successfully revolts against Shah Shuja.
1880 - James A. Garfield is elected President.
1889 - North and South Dakota become the 39th and 40th states, respectively.
1904 - The British newspaper "The Daily Mirror" begins publishing.
1915 - The first U.S. election by proportional representation takes place in Ashtabula, Ohio.
1917 - The U.S. sees its first KIA's of WWI; The Balfour Declaration proclaims support for a Jewish state in Palestine; In the Lansing-Ishii Agreement, the U.S. recognizes Japan's privileges in China.
1920 - Warren G. Harding is elected President.
1942 - Britain's Montgomery defeats Rommel (Germany) in the Battle of Alamein.
1947 - Howard Hughes' "Spruce Goose" makes its first - and last - flight.
1948 - Truman beats Dewey in the U.S. Presidential election, confounding pollsters and newspapers.
1954 - Charles C. Diggs, Jr., becomes Michigan's first Black congressman; J.S. Thurmond becomes the first U.S. Senator elected by write-in vote (SC).
1956 - Hungary appeals for U.N. assistance against the Soviet invasion; Israel captures Gaza and Sheham.
1962 - JFK announces the dismantling of Cuban missile bases.
1964 - CBS purchases the NY Yankees.
1972 - In Seattle, construction begins on the Kingdome.
1976 - Jimmy Carter is elected President.
1978 - The crew of the Soyuz-29 returns to Earth aboard the Soyuz-31.
1983 - President Reagan signs a bill establishing Martin Luther King (Jr.) Day.
1988 - A computer virus strikes the Pentagon, SDI research lab, and six universities; Shamir Likud wins Israel's election.

- King Edward V of England (1483)
1734 - Daniel Boone frontiersman/explorer
1755 - Marie-Antoinette Queen of France
1795 - James Knox Polk, 11th U.S. President (1845-1849)
1865 - Warren G. Harding, 29th U.S. President (1921-23)
1885 - Harlow Shapley, American astronomer (studied the galaxies)
1921 - Willaim D. Schaefer, (Gov-MD)
1932 - Henri Namphy, President of Haiti (1986-1988)
1936 - Rose Bird, California Supreme Court Judge
1938 - Patrick Buchanan, conservative political columnist
1944 - Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Ph.D. / astronaut (STS 51-D, 35, sk:46)

1961 - James Thurber, humorist (The Male Animal)
1980 - Edith Bunker dies on "All in the Family"

Reported Missing in Action
Kline, Robert E., USAF (PA); F105D shot down

Knapp, Frederic W., USN (NY); A4E shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Morrow, Richard David, USN (CA); A6A shot down, remains returned August, 1978

Wright, James J., USN (CA); A6A shot down, remains returned August, 1978

Chirichigno, Luis G., US Army ; AH1G shot down (pilot), released by PRG March, 1973 – retired as a Captain - alive as of 1998

Carroll, Patrick H., USAF (MI); F100F shot down (navigator, w/Whitford)

Nowicki, James E., US Army (FL); OH6A shot down, released by PRG March, 1973 – alive as of 1998

Peterson, Michael Terry, US Army (WA); OH6A shot down, released December, 1969 – alive as of 1998

Shepard, Vernon C., US Army (OH); OH6A shot down, released December, 1969

Whitford, Lawrence W., Jr., USAF (IA); F100F shot down (pilot, w/Carroll)