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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

ROUGH WATERS - A MH-53 helicopter assigned to a Marine squadron flies low over the Gulf of Aden to drop a Zodiac boat and pararescuemen assigned to the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron during a training mission with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Gulf of Aden, May 31, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock

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Lithuanians Choose to Stay the Course

From Multi-National Force - Iraq:

Lithuanian Sgt. 1st Class Donatas Krivickas, of LITCON 10, maintains security in a market in the town of Dujayli U.S. civil affairs Soldiers conduct an assessment May 20. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel T. West.

Tuesday, 03 June 2008
By Sgt. Daniel T. West
214th Fires Brigade, Public Affairs Office

FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA — With only a week remaining in their six-month tour in Iraq, soldiers from Lithuanian Contingent 10, Iron Wolf Brigade, faced a difficult choice.

Two options remained following the news that the Lithuanian government had voted to extend the unit’s tour for two more months: the soldiers could volunteer for the extension or continue their redeployment.

“Since they were already packed and I knew how difficult it would be, I chose to ask for volunteers to stay,” said Lt. Gen. Valdas Tutkus, Lithuanian Chief of Defense.

Twenty-nine of the 40 soldiers in the platoon chose to continue the mission.

“Without them, we would be stuck,” said Capt. Caroline Pogge, of Company B, 411th Civil Affairs Battalion. “They are the primary personnel security detachment for civil affairs and Provincial Reconstruction Team Wasit. Without them, we are immobile.”

Selecting to continue their deployment showed a lot about their character, according to Pogge.

“To a lot of people, six weeks (the extension was later changed to eight weeks) isn’t much,” said Pogge, a native of Danbury, Conn. “But over here, it’s a long time.”

Word that the Lithuanians had selected to stay was a welcome surprise, according to Col. Peter Baker, commander of the 214th Fires Brigade.

“We are so dependent on them for movement; we didn’t know how we would move the teams that are so vital to the reconstruction effort,” Baker said.

The Soldiers appreciated the fact that the choice was left to them.

“It is important to serve our country, but in some moments it is more important to take care of home and family,” said 1st Lt Gediminas Alisauskas, a platoon commander. “I’m glad to have the chance to choose. All of us had plans for when we got back – most changed them, some couldn’t.”

Being so close to returning home made the choice difficult.

“I had one week left and it felt like I was already home,” Cpl. Rimvydas Stasaitis said. “I had plans, but changed them when I decided to stay. It’s my duty and responsibility. The mission is not finished when our time is finished. If we wanted to finish it, we had to stay.”

For some, the decision to stay was because of the team, a reluctance to leave while comrades stayed. The platoon bonded over the time here, and for some, the decision was whether to leave one family for another.

“We came as one platoon and have friends here,” said Capt. Karolis Morkunas, the platoon’s senior national representative. “We want to stay with our friends.”

Tutkus emphasized Lithuania’s continued commitment to supporting the U.S.

We came in with the U.S. during the war and will stay in support until the end,” he said. “It’s important to be a credible member of NATO and the Coalition. In order to demonstrate our credibility as a country, we have to share the risk.”

As the soldiers of the platoon performed their duties over the past six months, they impacted on all who interacted with them, from their Chief of Defense to the U.S. Soldiers who worked with them from day to day.

“I’m proud of the soldiers here,” Tutkus said. “From the first part, every time I visit soldiers and their commanders, I hear only the best things. There is a light in their eyes. They are motivated, professional, well-trained and competent.”

The civil affairs team members they escorted echoed the sentiments.

“They are phenomenal, professional soldiers,” Pogge said. “They know their job and do it extremely well. Their competence and confidence is obvious as we travel with them.”

The Soldiers who stayed held no grudges against those who chose to leave.

“Some soldiers had losses, maybe their wife was sick and they had small children, so they had to go,” Morkunas said. “They didn’t want to go… Even those who stayed had compelling reasons to go. The section leader (Master Sgt. Andrius Samusevas) has a two-month-old daughter that he has never seen, I have a two-and-a-half month-old daughter that I’ve never seen, but we chose to stay, to see it through.”

The soldiers were optimistic about their final two months, but did not plan to make things permanent.

“It’s ok to stay for two months, but not one day more,” Stasaitis said. “I am getting married in two months and one day, and I can’t reschedule that.”

Už tai ir pakelkime taures...HOOAH, Lits!

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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Chester Johnson performs a post flight inspection on an F-15 Strike Eagle during a Maple Flag exercise at Cold Lake, Canada, May 26, 2008. The exercise provides Canadian and allied aircrew with realistic training in a simulated air-combat environment and emphasizes air operations involving large package coalition forces. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo

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In Today's News - Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Disillusionment, poverty and hopelessness
are the breeding grounds for violence.
While there may be a small core of zealots
who will never give up their violent ways,
basic services and economic opportunity
will isolate these extremist few
from the majority of the population
who merely seek a better life
for themselves and their families."

-- Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Mass Graves Discovered in and South of Baghdad
U.S. General Expresses Optimism About Baghdad Operations

Operation Enduring Freedom
Hunger, water scarcity displaces thousands of Afghans

Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
Video Shop Bombing in Pakistan Kills 3

Fallen Heroes
DoD Identifies Army Casualty (Ramadi)
3 US soldiers killed by small-arms fire in Iraq
Army Hero Joins Medal of Honor Roster at Pentagon Ceremony - Photos
McGinnis' Medal of Honor Page
Bush Presents Highest Military Honor

Supporting Our Heroes
College Basketball Champ Kansas Jayhawks Visit Wounded Warriors

Other Military News
U.S. Navy Ships to Leave Burma Coast After Access Denied

Worldwide Wackos
Syria to Block IAEA Probe of Possible Nuke Sites
U.S., Israel Accuse Iran of Covert Quest for Nukes

Politics / Government
McCain, Obama Trade Early Barbs to Frame General Election Race
EXIT POLLS - PHOTOS - Obama Speech - Clinton Speech
Clinton, Obama Exchange Phone Calls
McCain Welcomes Obama With Strong Medicine
Obama looks to unify Democrats after historic win - Video
Hillary Clinton defiant in face of loss - Video
McCain blasts Obama, breaks with Bush on energy - Video
Obama vs. McCain: sharp differences on key issues
Clinton open to being Obama's running mate - Video
Video: Obama makes history
Obama looks to unify Democrats
What's Next: Shoud Clinton be VP?
Slideshow: Key campaign moments
Blog: What role now for Clinton?
AEHQ: Chicago Priest Who Mocked Clinton Suspended
Actress Fuming Over Clinton Affair Rumor
Polls show voter doubts on Obama, McCain on economy
Democrats Pass Torch to a New Generation: Feminism Vanquished!
McCain, Obama, Hillary and Bush Face Major Problems
Candidate Who Wouldn't Campaign Wins
Oregon's Wu Wins Renomination for Congressional Race
Olmert to Discuss Iran, Palestinians in Talks With Bush
Kennedy "recuperating well" from brain surgery - Video
Musharraf seen reconciled to exit

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment / Law and Order
Plan for Group Tied to Nation of Islam to Patrol Miami Streets Meets With Protest
Alaska Man Arrested for Alleged Sexual Assaults at Sleepovers
Man Wanted in Kansas Porn Star Student's Death to Be Extradited From Mexico
Boy Once Confined to Bubble Emerges Seemingly Healed
British Nuke Sub Watchmen Caught Drinking, Napping Before Red Sea Crash
Russians: Toilet Problem Could Force Space-Station Evacuation
Judge Denies Request by Hulk Hogan's Son to Be Taken Out of Solitary Confinement
Ind. Teen Hoped to Set School Massacre 'Record'
Parents Charged With Murder in 3-Day-Old Daughter's Death
Pop Tarts: Ashley Dupre Called to Testify in 'Girls Gone Wild' Suit
More retailers victims of organized crime: survey
'Survivor' winner Hatch appeals to Supreme Court
Woman pleads guilty in ex-NY gov call girl scandal
Waxman seeks access to more FBI leak probe papers

Adventures in Political Correctness
Brigitte Bardot Convicted of Provoking Discrimination

U.N. News
U.N. climate change chief confident of deal

Media in the Media / Bloggers in the News / Watching the Web
Yahoo sets August 1 date for annual meeting showdown
Rare Marley, Hendrix performances sold online
Video:SNIFF your Facebook
New report identifies dangerous Web domains

Science / Medicine and Health / Technology
Bird-Flu Exposure Detected in 15,000 Hens in Arkansas
Toilet Problem Could Force Space-Station Evacuation
Space station residents to fix toilet
Spacewalk ends amid mission to attach Japanese lab - Video
Fighting classroom germs helps keep kids healthy
Space station: Someone call a plumber?
Researchers find new way to attack malaria
AMD launches much-awaited Puma notebook chip line
"Guitar Hero" looks to book Metallica next
Fujitsu sees 2011/12 WiMax chip sales of $1 bln - Video
South Korea seeks U.S. beef export restraint pledge
U.S. probing Salmonella outbreak in 9 states

Mother Nature
Autopsy Finds Marijuana, Alcohol in Teenager Killed by San Francisco Zoo Tiger
Storms and High Winds Batter Kansas, Indiana, Ohio
Tough 2020 climate goals unachievable: U.S.
Britain launches new drive for offshore wind power
Tough climate goals cost $45 trillion by 2050: IEA
Japan PM policy to mention carbon trade: Nikkei
Mexico to tag sharks after deadly attacks
Marked-up birds become sexier, exude testosterone

Man orders father murdered to get his job
Britons too busy to peel oranges
Couple "divorced without knowledge"
Speed up bathing and save energy
Video:Muscling in to the record books
Dutch man injures posterior in mooning accident

Other News of Note
As quake draws focus, China keeps Tibet under thumb

Fox News
Reports: United to Ground Dozens of Jets to Save Fuel
FOXBusiness: Oil Falls to $123 On Demand Concerns
Sarah Larson 'Devastated' After Getting Dumped by George Clooney

China's '08 generation finds a voice in tumultuous times - Video
In wake of home crisis: buyer education
Credit funk
Video: Asia shares rise on lower oil
Dollar drifts, but holds gains
China's '08 generation finds a voice - Slideshow
Reflecting on a tumultous year
Timeline: Changes since 1978
Europe faces bulging energy bills
Oil will not fall below $100: M. Stanley
Blog: Putting the brakes on gas?
Reuters Summit: Global Energy
Airline workers see more bad times
Olympic sponsors steeled for ambush
No medals for athletes' families
Bernard Lagat in student mode
Food summit seeks "green revolution" for Africa - Video
Lehman seeking overseas capital, eyes Korea: report
U.S. auto sales plunge, drag market down in May - Video
Futures point to lower Wall St. on rate worries
SunPower view solid despite tax credit
Suntech sees costs halving in 5 years
NRC head says Yucca OK may be delayed - Video
Canada oil firms again eyeing at Asia market: CAPP
Global Finance:When bubbles pop
UAL to announce more fleet, job cuts: report
Williams-Sonoma posts lower quarterly profit
Emerging world may offer best inflation shelter
Mortgage applications index hits 6-year low: MBA
Wall Street puts its money behind Obama - Video
Justice Dept seeks info from Delta, Northwest
Novartis buys drug firm Protez for up to $400 mln
Corp. Express to open books to bidder Staples: report
Universal Studios fire sparked by blow torch - Video
Sharon Stone not on China film festival guest list
Adam Sandler raises hair in "Zohan"
Mel Ferrer, once wed to Audrey Hepburn, dead at 90
Just A Minute With: Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas
Nepal allows ousted king to live in summer palace
Family Life: I promise to love, cherish ... and buy a minivan
Drugs tests at World Mind Sports Games are a riddle
Women entrepreneurs thrive with husbands' support
Video:First to wed on Sydney's bridge
Johnson's strikeout landmark unable to prevent loss
Gonzalez stands between Federer and Paris semis
Dreams still alive for Red Wings and Penguins
Toms targets return to form in Memphis
Rex Sox place slugger David Ortiz on disabled list

Associated Press
Ed McMahon fighting foreclosure on his Beverly Hills home
Joba's 1st start a bust as Blue Jays top Yanks 9-3
Martinez returns to mound as Mets beat Giants 9-6
Red Sox roll past Rays, win 11th straight at home
Lightning fire Tortorella 4 years after Cup win
Pistons fire Saunders; Dumars open to more changes

News Blaze
Support Our Troops, Read Their Stories
Criminals Kidnap 7-Year-Old Iraqi Boy
Regulars Battalion and MiTT observe IA from afar
Soldiers' Angels and Patriot Guard
Iraq News
Operations in Iraq
FOB Warhorse Memorial Photos

Hawr Rajab business leaders meet with soldiers
Progress stems from key Afghan meeting
Troops provide medical care to Iraqis
Marines turn over outpost to Iraqi Army

USJFCOM teams with ACT to help develop NATO Training Federation
More about U.S. Joint Forces and Allied Command Transformation - podcast
Exercise ensures readiness, displays coordination of the USJFCOM joint enabling capabilities
USJFCOM, Microsoft Corp. extend agreement for one year - podcast
Task Force Ramadi helps free enterprise take hold in Iraq
Command unveils new command and control vision - podcast

Multi-National Force - Iraq
Iraqi, U.S. Forces Destroy Ton of Weapons
Iraqi, U.S. Soldiers Bring Aid to Village
Wanted men captured, terrorist safe-houses destroyed (Baghdad)
ISOF capture suspected AQI cell leader (Mosul)
Coalition forces sustain pressure on al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq (Baghdad)
MND-N Soldiers attacked by small-arms fire (Kirkuk)
Released detainees encouraged to rebuild community, Iraq (Jisr Diyala)

Unwavering U.S. Commitment Provides Backdrop to Korean Command Change - Photos
New Commander in Korea Cites Priorities - Photos

Pentagon Seeks to Limit Procurement Cost Growth, Official Tells Senate
Mullen Pays Tribute to Fallen in Manila - Photos
Florida Guard Prepares for Hurricane Season

McKiernan Assumes Command of NATO Forces
Meeting Yields Progress in Fixing Construction


Iraqi National Police Gain Villagers’ Respect
Troops in Iraq Kill Four Militants, Detain 13
Abu Ghraib Lessons Drive Detainee Policies


Group Helps Kids, Grandparents Bond

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Ansbach Aschaffenburg Berlin Berlin-Tempelhof Berlin/Schonefeld Bremerhaven
Darmstadt Frankfurt Frankfurt/Main Freiburg/Breisgau Garmisch
Garmisch-Partenkirchen Geilenkirchen Gelnhausen Giessen Kitzingen
Hanau Am Main Heidelberg Mainz Mannheim Nurnberg Stuttgart Trier
Wiesbaden Wurzburg


Agana Agana Heights Agat Andersen AFB Asan Barrigada

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut
An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Kadena Air Base Okinawa Tokyo Yokohama

Today in History
1654 - Louis XIV is crowned King of France.
1769 - Daniel Boone begins exploring Kentucky.
1775 - The United Colonies change their name to the United States.
1776 - Richard Lee (VA) moves that the Declaration of Independence be adopted by the Continental Congress
1863 - French troops capture Mexico City.
1864 - Abe Lincoln is renominated for President by the Republican party.
1912 - The U.S. Army tests the first plane-mounted machine gun.
1938 - The Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat is first flown by Eddie Allen.
1939 - George VI and Elizabeth become the first British King and Queen to visit the U.S.
1942 - The USS Yorktown sinks near Midway Island.
1955 - Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the first U.S. President to appear on color TV.
1962 - NASA civilian test pilot Joseph A. Walker takes the X-15 to 31,580 meters.
1965 - Gemini 4 completes 62 orbits of Earth.
1967 - Israel captures East Jerusalem's Wailing Wall.
1968 - Sirhan Sirhan indicted for the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.
1971 - The Soviet Soyuz 11 crew completes the first transfer to the orbiting Salyut.
1981 - Israel destroys an alleged Iraqi plutonium production facility.
1982 - President Ronald Reagan meets Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth.

1770 - Earl of Liverpool, British PM
1896 - Robert Mulliken, chemist / physicist, Nobel Prize winner
1909 - Peter Rodino (Rep-NJ), chaired Watergate congressional council

1329 - Robert the Bruce, leader of the Scots
1631 - Mumtax Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan of India - the Taj Mahal was built for her
1862 - William Mumford, first American citizen hanged for treason

Reported Missing in Action
Greer, Robert L., USMC (CA); disappeared in Da Nang while off duty - remains identified in 1991

Schreckengost, Fred T. USMC (OH); disappeared in Da Nang while off duty - remains identified March, 1991

Franco, Charles Stephen, USAF (NY); A1E crashed, remains recovered January, 1967

Jacobs, John Charles, USAF (IN); A1E crashed, remains recovered January, 1967

Sandner, Robert Louis, USAF (FL); A1E crashed, remains recovered April, 1995 - ID'd March, 1996

Owens, Joy L., USAF (WA); RF4C shot down

Sale, Harold R., USAF (SC); R4FC shot down

Spencer, Dean C. III, US Army (WV); KIA, body not recovered

Alloway, Clyde Douglas, USAF (NH); AC119K crashed, KIA, body not recovered

Wilbrecht, Kurt Michael; USMC (MN); F4B crashed, KIA, body not recovered

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