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Friday, December 01, 2006

Must-Reads at Kat's Blog


More than 17,000 cards are just the start of what Kat and friends will be sending to our Heroes for the holidays - make sure to check this out.



Kat has the details on 26-year old Jason Michael Roark, a Hero from Georgia, and what you can do to help.

Operation Season's Greetings huge smash

by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Kapinos
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

11/30/2006 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- The surrounding mountains here echoed the sounds of rock, blues, country and laughter when national entertainment artists performed for servicemembers Nov. 28 as part of Operation Season's Greetings.

Headlining the show was country artist Jamie O'Neal. She is best known for her No. 1 hits "There is No Arizona" and "When I Think About Angels." Along with those crowd favorites, she performed songs from her newest CD.

"I'm thrilled to have John Popper, Delilah, six of the New England Patriots cheerleaders and members of the Air Force band along to accompany me on this tour to entertain U.S. military men and women around the world," Ms. O'Neal said.

John Popper, a member of the blues rock band Blues Traveler, brought the crowd alive with his high-intensity vocals and harp playing. He also electrified the audience with his sincere dedication to showing them his appreciation for their service. While he enjoyed playing his songs and putting on a show for the troops, Mr. Popper said his real enjoyment came from meeting the servicemembers and talking with them one on one.

"I'm just so amazed by what kids half my age can do," he said. "We don't feel like we hold a candle to the Airmen."

Mr. Popper played several of his favorites along with new hits from his latest album and was accompanied by members of the Reserve band.

"OSG is unique in that it also showcases the talent of our own Air Force entertainers. It often comes as a surprise to the audience just how great our own band members are when they have a chance to step away from the standard ceremonial, protocol and concert venues," said Dave Ballengee, the deputy director of the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Music wasn't the only thing entertaining the troops. Radio personality and disc jockey Delilah wowed the troops with her comedic talent and personal sentiments regarding her brother who died in an aircraft training accident. She also took the time to share a conversation she had with a spouse of a deployed Bagram Airman.

"I really wanted to do this tour. I receive so many calls every night from people who have loved ones in harm's way, and my heart breaks thinking about the fear they live with every day," said Delilah. "I hope that by visiting the troops and bringing them some holiday cheer, they will feel the love and respect we have for them each and every day."

The Operation Season's Greetings tour is an annual event sponsored by Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Europe and the Air Force Reserve Recruiting Service with performances at several locations in Germany, Turkey and Southwest Asia.

The project started more than nine years ago and was designed as a way to bring entertainment to troops away from home and family during the holidays. This year's effort is a collaboration between the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, the USAFE band along with USAFE Services.

View Photos

Maintainers keep helicopters flying
A HH-60G Pave Hawk prepares to launch Nov. 7 at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Members of the 64th Expeditionary Helicopter Maintenance Squadron are responsible for maintaining the aircraft flown by the 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alice Moore)

Florida Guard Delivers Donations to Kabul Orphanage

Orphans at the Allahoddin orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan, line up to receive soccer balls and blankets from Army Lt. Col. Abe Conn, liaison officer with the 930th Army Liaison Team, out of Homestead, Fla. The items were donated from around the United States. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, USAF

By Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 30, 2006 – Blankets, school supplies and soccer balls made their way to hundreds of orphaned children here today thanks to a deployed Florida U.S. Army Guard unit and donations from Americans.

“This demonstrates America’s compassion,” said Col. Andrew Verrett, commander of the 930th Army Liaison Team, from Homestead, Fla. “We tend to be a nation of doers not talkers, and this project demonstrates that.”

The items -- nearly 2,000 blankets, 1,000 soccer balls and basic school supplies -- made their way from the United States to Kabul, where members of the 930th planned the distribution to the Allahoddin orphanage in Kabul.

“We wrote to newspapers back home and used the power of the Internet,” said Army Lt. Col. Abe Conn, liaison officer with the 930th. “One friend told another and so on. Before we knew it, we had received the blankets, balls and $3,500 for shipping. The whole unit helped with planning, inflating balls and distributing the donations.”

Though the items came in from across the United States, a multinational group helped deliver the goods, with Macedonian and British servicemembers helping the Guard unit unload the trucks and hand the items out to the children.

“It’s a sense of hope to the children who might not have any,” Conn said. “It is a promise of a brighter tomorrow.”

This is the second tour to the Afghan capital for the 930th. During the first, from July 2002 to March 2003, the unit raised $7,000 and built tables and chairs for the orphanage. Conn said the unit’s soldiers remembered the children kicking cans around and decided to give them something better to kick around.

“It’s a great thing to help other people, and that’s what we did here today,” Conn said. “We had a choice. We could have done nothing or we could have done something; … we chose to do something.”

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt is assigned to Combined Forces Command Afghanistan.)

Related Sites:
Combined Forces Command Afghanistan

An orphan at the Allahoddin orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan, waits for a blanket after receiving a soccer ball delivered by servicemembers from the 930th Army Liaison Team, from Homestead, Fla. The items were donated from around the United States. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, USAF

Orphans crowd around servicemembers from the 930th Army Liaison Team, from Homestead, Fla., who delivered soccer balls, school supplies and blankets to the Allahoddin orphanage in the Afghan capital. The items were donated from around the United States. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, USAF

Orphans at the Allahoddin orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan, sit with new gifts of soccer balls and blankets. U.S. servicemembers from the 930th Army Liaison Team, from Homestead, Fla., delivered the supplies, which were donated from around the United States. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, USAF

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 30, 2006) – The U.S. Naval Academy Cheerleader squad performs during a Pep-Rally at the Pentagon prior to the upcoming 107th Army-Navy game, scheduled for Dec. 2, at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shawn P. Eklund

‘Wild Boars’ Charge into Ghazni Province

Army Lt. Col. Ronald Metternich, the commander of 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, and Army Sgt. Maj. Emmit Mauneka, the battalion command sergeant major, unfurl the “Wild Boars” colors as Army Sgt. Chris Wilson, serving as guidon bearer, looks on during a transfer of authority ceremony held Nov. 17 at Forward Operating Base Warrior, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeremy Todd

Infantrymen take over responsibility for supporting operations to rebuild Afghanistan.

By Army Spc. Jeremy Todd
4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, Afghanistan, Nov. 30, 2006 — The soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, have trained the past two years for this moment -- the chance to prove to their country they are willing and able to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

The infantrymen met their moment during a transfer of authority ceremony conducted Nov. 17 at Forward Operating Base Warrior.

The 2-30th soldiers relieved another battalion of infantrymen based at Fort Polk, La. The Warriors of 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, were scheduled to depart for their home base soon after the ceremony.

The 2-30th infantrymen will serve with Task Force Spartan alongside fellow 10th Mountain Division soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The 3rd BCT, from which the Task Force derives its name, forms the task force main body.

The ceremony, punctuated by the casing of the 2-4th Infantry colors and the unfurling of the 2-30th battalion colors, officially transferred authority for Ghazni Province to the incoming Wild Boars. Ghazni Province is roughly the size of Maryland.

Army Lt. Col. Ronald Metternich, the incoming battalion commander, said his soldiers are more than prepared to take over this area of responsibility.

“We are committed to protecting the people of Afghanistan and we will stay here as long as that takes,” Metternich told soldiers and guests attending the event.

He recalled telling families during the deployment ceremony preceding the mission that “the battalion colors would soon run high in the foreign skies, and until they return to know that their soldiers are doing their part on the global war on terror. Now that the colors are flying high…let’s get on with it.”

Metternich expressed confidence in his soldiers’ ability to accomplish the mission. He also praised their loyalty, which he said was demonstrated by their volunteering to do their part in fighting the war on terror when many would not.

The incoming commander said it is his responsibility to listen to the concerns of the district leaders and, ultimately, the people of Ghazni Province. He also pledged to build on predecessors’ reconstruction efforts.

“There are Provincial Reconstruction Teams spread throughout the country,” he said, “and we will continue to support their operations in rebuilding the infrastructure of Afghanistan.”

Metternich said he hopes the people of Afghanistan know he and his soldiers are here to help and support the Afghan government

CAMEL CONVOY — A joint convoy from the 8th Iraqi Army Division, Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, and the Polish army Civil Military Cooperation Group, Multi-National Division - Central South, Camp Echo, Iraq, find themselves surrounded by a herd of camels, Nov 23, 2006, while on a mission in Khadim Village, Iraq. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Dawn M. Price

In Today's News - Friday, December 1, 2006

Quote of the Day
"The condition upon which God hath given
liberty to a man is eternal vigilance."

-- J.P. Curran

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S. choppers back Iraqi raid of Baghdad
Clashes in Baghdad - Video
Highly anticipated Iraq report may fall flat
Video: Bush prepares for changes in Iraq
Bush to take weeks to decide Iraq policy: official

Operation Enduring Freedom
U.S. Units Steadily Secure, Rebuild Afghanistan

Homeland Security / War on Terror
The Feds Are Watching ...
Judges Fear Dangers on Online Database Outing 'Rats'
Feds Issue Warning of Possible Cyber Attack
Sri Lanka President's brother escapes bomb blast
Indicted: Romanian hacked U.S. computers
Phoenix airport to test X-ray screening

Other Military News
Mud cleared from USS Intrepid's way

Mid-East Ceasefire / Hamas Rising / Israel at War
More Than 10,000 Flood Beirut in Hezbollah Protest
Rice sees hope for Mideast truce
Hezbollah challenge tests U.S. power

Religion of Peace??
Pope Urges Interfaith Peace to End Turkey Visit
Pope hailed for praying toward Mecca like Muslims - Video
Pakistani Islamists protest as new rape law signed

Worldwide Wackos
Chavez vows to thwart vote coup plot - Video
Powell says U.S. should talk to Iran, not attack

Immigration / Border Control
Kidnappings raise fears near U.S. border

Politics / Government
U.S.-British "special relationship" questioned
U.S. overstates China nuclear clout, report says
GOP moderates vow to explore new avenues
Ex-mayor pleads guilty to 243 felonies

U.N. News
World AIDS Day: Programs fail to reach high-risk groups: U.N.

Science / Nature
Experts: Fragments an ancient computer
200 Feared Dead From Typhoon in Philippines
Single massive asteroid wiped out dinosaurs: study
Hundreds feared dead in Philippine landslides

News from My Neck of the Woods
Native American Skull Found on Long Island, N.Y.
Mystery witness sought in NYPD shooting

Photog: 'That Was No Oops'
Partying Without Panties: What Do You Think of Britney?
Please fasten your seatbelt and cross your legs..
"I'll be sick, for Christmas, you can plan on me"

Other News of Note
New rules require employers to track e-mails, IMs
Report: Russia to Answer Queries on Spy's Death
Guilty plea in theft of Roosevelt's gun

Fox News
'Apocalypto' Is More 'Mad Max' Than Mayan
Stocks to Watch: The Cheesecake Factory

Reuters: Top News
World AIDS Day: Video: AIDS vaccine future
World AIDS Day: Video: The media spotlight on AIDS
Britain gives go-ahead to GMO potato trials
News Corp in talks to take MySpace to China: WSJ
Microsoft launches Vista version of Windows
Women sacrificed to sex trade in Nigerian city
Want great sex? Wait, says S.African chastity campaign
Indians want AIDS drugs, Indonesians worry about sex
Preteen daters more likely to take up smoking: study
Madonna accepts Malawi adoption ruling: lawyer
Oil falls below $63 on profit-taking
OmniVision slumps after results, outlook lag
Italy to halve Alitalia stake
HandHeld Entertainment shares jump on deal
Gold hits 16-week high on weak dollar, silver firms
December volatility dilemma
Saturated by alternatives
Warner Music posts profit but revenue down
Boeing eyes $15 billion in Indian work: report
Financial firms warned of Qaeda cyber attack
News Corp in talks to take MySpace to China: WSJ
EADS close to deal on Airbus A350 launch: source
Kellwood profit hit by restructuring costs

AP World News
Report sparks changes at pharmacy chains
Study: U.S. workers prefer PPOs, HMOs
Morgan Freeman releases new movie on Web
Baze is 1 win away from making history
Mexican president-elect swears in staff
Bengals use stout D to beat Ravens 13-7
'The View' kind to drunken DeVito
Kerkorian reportedly sells full GM stake
Orca rejoins SeaWorld show after attack
Obituaries in the news
La. forecasts bumper pecan harvest
Army and Navy to Face Off
ALERT: VA Retro Pay Update
Op-ed: More Troops?
Blog: The Taliban Press
DT: Nike + iPod = Surveillance
Kit Up!: Not So Silly String
Holiday Space 'A' Travel Info

CENTCOM: News Releases











Exercise preps 82nd Airborne Division staff for Afghanistan deployment
Milestone reached in development of Cross Domain Collaborative Information Environment - podcast
Liveblogging: Unified Endeavor 07-1
Omni Fusion ties Army into UR 2015 - podcast

Department of Defense
President: U.S. Forces to Stay In Iraq 'Until Job Complete' - Story
For Top News Visit DefenseLink

Army Engineers Aid Iraq Reconstruction Efforts - Story

'Port Dawgs' Limit Ground Convoys, Save Lives
U.S., Coalition Forces Train, Support Iraqi Airmen
Musicians Perform for Troops, Visit Wounded
Training Takes Over As Medics Treat Soldiers
Battle Tanks Bring the Thunder to Camp Fallujah
Marines Rescue Iraqis, Capture Terrorists
Troops in Iraq Face 'Observant, Adaptive Enemy'

Military Missions Change as Afghan Army Evolves
Gainey Visits Deployed Troops for Thanksgiving

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
- Northern Italian towns form the Lombardi League.
1626 - Pasha Muhammad ibn Farukh, tyrannical Governor of Jerusalem, is driven out.
1640 - Portugal regains independence after 60 years of Spanish rule.
1641 - Massachusetts becomes the first colony to give statutory recognition to slavery.
1742 - Empress Elisabeth orders the expulsion of all Jews from Russia.
1783 - Charles and M.N. Roberts ascend 2,000' in a hydrogen balloon.
1804 - Emperor Napoleon marries Joséphine of Martinique.
1821 - Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) proclaims its independence from Spain.
1824 - The House of Representatives begins to end the election deadlock between John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William Harris Crawford and Henry Clay - Adams is eventually declared President.
1831 - The Erie Canal closes for an entire month due to cold weather.
1835 - Hans Christian Andersen publishes his first book of fairy tales.
1843 - The first chartered mutual life insurance company opens
1864 - Raid at Stoneman: Knoxville, TN to Saltville, VA; Skirmish at Millen Brutal, GA.
1868 - John D. Rockefeller begins his anti-oil war.
1878 - The first White House telephone is installed.
1887 - The Sino-Portuguese treaty recognizes Portugal's control of Macao.
1891 - James Naismith creates the game of basketball.
1896 - In New York, the first certified public accountants receive their certificates.
1903 - "The Great Train Robbery", the first Western film, is released.
1906 - In Paris, Cinema Omnia Pathe, the world's first cinema, opens.
1909 - The Carlisle Trust Company in PA is the site of the first Christmas Club payment.
1913 - In Pittsburgh, the first drive-up gasoline station opens; Ford introduces the continuous moving assembly line (it produces a car every 2 hrs 38 minutes)
1918 - The Danish parliament passes an act granting independence to Iceland; in Belgrade, the Serbian-Croatian-Slovic kingdom is proclaimed.
1919 - Lady Nancy Astor is sworn in as the first female member of the British Parliament.
1921 - The first U.S. helium-filled dirigible makes its maiden flight.
1925 - The Treaty of Locarno is signed.
1929 - Edwin S. Lowe invents the game of BINGO.
1933 - Rudolf Hess and Earnest Röhm become ministers in Hitler's government.
1936 - Bell Labs tests a coaxial cable for TV use.
1939 - SS-Führer Himmler begins the deportation of Polish Jews.
1941 - The U.S. Civil Air Patrol (CAP) organizes; the British cruiser Devonshire sinks the German sub Python; Japanese emperor Hirohito signs a declaration of war.
1942 - Gasoline is rationed in the U.S.
1943 - FDR, Churchill and Stalin agree to Operation Overlord (D-Day).
1948 - The Arabic Congress names Abdullah of Trans Jordan, King of Palestine.
1951 - The Golden Gate Bridge closes due to high winds.
1954 - Nationalist China and the U.S. sign a dike agreement.
1955 - Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus she is riding on.
1958 - In Chicago, Our Lady of Angels School burns, killing 92 students and 3 nuns.
1959 - 12 nations sign a treaty for the scientific peaceful use of Antarctica; the first color photograph of Earth is received from outer space.
1964 - Martin Luther King speaks to J. Edgar Hoover about his slander campaign.
1965 - The airlift of refugees from Cuba to the U.S.begins.
1967 - Queen Elizabeth inaugurates the 98-inch (249-cm) Isaac Newton telescope.
1969 - The U.S. government holds its first draft lottery since WWII.
1971 - The People's Republic of South Yemen renames itself the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen.
1974 - A Boeing 727 crashes in Upperville VA, killing 92.
1975 - U.S. President Gerald Ford visits the People's Republic of China.
1976 - Angola is admitted to the U.N.
1978 - President Carter more than doubles the size of the national park system.
1980 - The U.S. Justice Department sues Yonkers, citing racial discrimination.
1983 - Rita Lavelle, former head of the EPA, is convicted of perjury.
1987 - Digging begins to link England and France under the English Channel (the Chunnel).
1988 - 596 are dead after ca yclone hits Bangladesh; half a million are left homeless; Benazir Bhutto is named the female PM of a Muslim country (Pakistan).
1989 - East Germany drops the communist monopoly from its constitution; U.S.S.R. President Mikhail S. Gorbachev meets Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
1990 - British and French workers meet in the English Channel's tunnel; Iraq accepts G.H.W. Bush's offer for talks; Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia hold their first joint session.
1991 - The Ukranian people vote for independence; the U.S.' 75th manned space mission (STS-44 - Atlantis 10) lands.
1992 - Two C-141B Starlifters collide in Montana and crash, killing 13; Amy Fisher is sentenced to 5-15 years for shooting Mary Jo Buttafuoco.
1994 - PTL leader Jim Bakker is released from jail.
1997 - Westinghouse formally changes its name to CBS.

1671 - Francesco Stradivari, Italian violin maker
1726 - Oliver Wolcott, judge / signer of the Declaration of Independence
1826 - William Mahone, Confederate Major General
1832 - Archibald Gracie, Jr., Confederate Brigadier-General
1835 - Micah Jenkins, Confederate Brigadier-General (Led Hoods Division at Chickamauga)
1844 - Alexandra, Danish princess/Queen of Great Britain & Ireland
1873 - Charles JM Ruys de Beerenbrouck premier of Netherlands (1918-25, 29-33)
1878 - Arthur B. Spingarn, NAACP chairman (1940-65)
1899 - Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society
1912 - Minoru Yamasaki, architect (World Trade Center, New York)
1919 - Anne Cox Chambers , U.S. ambassador to Belgium (1977-81)
1923 - Stansfield Turner, CIA director
1932 - Robert T. Herres, USAF / astronaut
1935 - Woody Allen, a.k.a.Allen Stuart Konigsberg, actor (Annie Hall)
1940 - Richard Pryor, comedian/actor (Lady Sings the Blues, Stir Crazy)
1942 - Peter Kalikow Queens NY, real estate developer/publisher (New York Post)
1945 - Bette Midler, singer (Wind Beneath My Wings) / actress (Beaches, First Wives Club)
1951 - Alexander Panayotov Aleksandrov, cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-5)

- Eligius/Eloy, French bishop of Tournay-Noyon/saint
1135 - King Henry I of England (first king that could read)
1374 - Magnus Eriksson, kKing of Norway/Sweden
1417 - Walraven I. van Brederode, viceroy of Holland
1515 - Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba (el Gran Capitán), Spanish general
1521 - Leo X (Giovanni de' Medici), Pope (1513-21)
1530 - Margaretha of Austria, governess of the Netherlands
1633 - Isabella of Austria, infante of Spain/governess in Holland
1797 - Oliver Wolcott, U.S. judge / signer of the Declaration of Independence
1825 - Aleksandr I. P. Romanov, czar of Russia (1801-25)
1842 - Philip Spencer, first U.S. naval officer condemned for mutiny, hanged
1887 - Albertus J. Duymaer van Twist, Governor-General of the Dutch-Indies
1934 - Sergei M. Kirov, Josef Stalin's collaborator, assassinated in Leningrad
1939 - Max Fiedler, composer
1947 - Aleister Edward S. Crowley, British occultist
1971 - Arthur B. Springarn, NAACP chairman (1940-65)
1972 - Antonio Segni, Italian PM/President (1955-57, 59-60, 62-64)
1973 - David Ben-Gurion, founding father of Israel
1974 - Stephen Gill Spottswood, U.S. bishop / NAACP chairman
1987 - Donn Fulton Eisele, Colonel USAF/astronaut
1991 - George Joseph Stigler, U.S. economist (Nobel 1982)
1996 - Barbak Karmal, politician

Reported Missing in Action
McCormick, John V., USN (MI); A4C shot down, remains returned April, 1988

Reitman, Thomas Edward, USAF (MN); F105D crashed

Nicotera, Carl, US Army ; PRG says DIC December, 1966 (discrepancies in record)

Rogers, Billie Lee, USN (IN); CVA-61, drowned