Monday, September 28, 2009

Here's to the Heroes - A Military Tribute

Forget all the politics, forget all the nonsense. THIS video is what we are all about. An Australian tribute to the US forces (by the Ten Tenors). A GREAT way to start the week..

Here's to the HEROES!

H/T The #2 Janet.;)

Deliver us from Obama, a Prayer

Judi, over at Canada Free Press, writes this:

China Oba Mao, Gamaliel Foundation

Deliver Us From Obama, a Prayer Whose Time Has Come

By Judi McLeod Saturday, September 26, 2009

Deliver Us From ObamaOne little four-word prayer to see you through the darkest of days: “Deliver us from Obama”.

Invoke the prayer every time you see Obama flashing at you from the boob tube; every time you see his picture on the cover of a magazine and you’ll be praying most of the time. You can invoke “Deliver us from Obama” every time you hear grade school children chanting, “Mmm mmm mmm, O-bam-a!”

“Deliver us from Obama” is a perfect prayer because it puts believers in touch with the real Messiah and for those who prefer a more secular world, it cuts through an ever burgeoning cult back to reality. ...

Go read the rest here. Then, let us all pray.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gold Star Mothers' Day

GSM statue with roses at unveling, Putnam_sm.jpg (17926 bytes)

Mothers of fallen servicemembers began calling themselves “Gold Star Mothers” during the First World War, but the sorrowful bond they share reaches back to every woman who has lost a son or daughter in uniform since our nation’s revolution. The Army cherishes the mothers of its Soldiers as bedrocks of support and comfort, and honors the mothers of its fallen as resilient legacies of their children’s service. The United States began observing Gold Star Mothers Day on the last Sunday of September in 1936. This year, the Army joins the nation on September 27th in recognizing the sacrifice and strength of its Gold Star Mothers. (Go here to learn more.)

Then go over to Soldiers' Angels Germany here, where Mary Ann says what all of us feel about our Gold Star Mothers.

Every Day Hero

Squadron Leader Amanda Martin-Smith on parade
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2009] (source)

RAF female officer takes command of parade

A People In Defence news article

25 Sep 09

Having recently returned from operations in Afghanistan, Squadron Leader Amanda Martin-Smith has now become the first female from RAF Marham to take on the role of a Parade Commander.

Squadron Leader Amanda Martin-Smith on parade

Squadron Leader Amanda Martin-Smith on parade
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

Sqn Ldr Martin-Smith, aged 36, took command of the traditional parade in Norwich that marks the start of Battle of Britain Week.

She has recently returned from an operational deployment in Afghanistan where she was the Operations Wing Executive Officer within the NATO Headquarters at Kandahar Airfield.

Now the Officer Commanding Force Development Squadron at RAF Marham she has the responsibility for training and educating Service personnel in preparation for operations and ensuring that they are continually developed professionally and personally whilst in the service.

Sqn Ldr Martin-Smith said of her historic role:

"I am incredibly honoured to command the Battle of Britain Parade in Norwich. We are proud to celebrate our heritage and recognise the bravery and sacrifices made by the aircrew and all the support personnel who contributed to air operations in WWII."

Originally from Devon, Sqn Ldr Martin-Smith, completed her RAF Officer training at RAF Cranwell in 1996 after graduating from Exeter University with a degree in Physics.
"We are proud to celebrate our heritage and recognise the bravery and sacrifices made by the aircrew and all the support personnel who contributed to air operations in WWII."

Squadron Leader Martin-Smith

Coming from a proud Service family (her father completed 22 years as a Royal Marine Commando before joining the Army), she is exceptionally proud of her Service role in today’s Royal Air Force.

She was joined on the Parade in Norwich by the Band of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, two flights of RAF Marham's Station Ceremonial Squadron and the Standards of II(AC) Squadron, IX(B) Squadron, XIII Squadron and 31 Squadron.

The City's residents and shoppers turned out in force to support the Parade. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire provided the flypast with a lone Spitfire approaching over Norwich Castle....(MoD here)

Thank you for your service, Squadron Leader!

Every Day Hero

Meet Capt. Simon Mailloux:

Amputee soldier returns to Afghanistan

Believed to be a precedent-setting case

Capt. Simon Mailloux, 25, says he has unfinished business in Afghanistan.
Capt. Simon Mailloux, 25, says he has unfinished business in Afghanistan.

A Canadian soldier who lost his leg in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan two years ago is returning to duty to "do good."

Capt. Simon Mailloux, 25, says he has unfinished business in Afghanistan. He left the country in 2007 following an attack that severed his lower left leg and killed two other soldiers and an Afghan interpreter.

'It was already in my mind. I was meant to go, finish this mission with the boys.'—Capt. Simon Mailloux

Mailloux, a commander with the Royal 22nd Regiment at La Citadelle in Quebec City, spent two years at home healing, adjusting to his prosthesis and undergoing excruciating rehabilitation.

He said he's always known he wanted to go back to Afghanistan, from the moment he was injured. "It's never an easy decision, and it's never something that comes logically," he told CBC News.

"It's always been in my mind, from minute one. I asked my major when I was on the treatment table: 'I'll be back in a week. Just wait for me, I'll be there.'

"Of course, [I had] no idea of my wounds and how long the rehabilitation process would be, but it was already in my mind. I was meant to go, finish this mission with the boys."

Mailloux said his fiancée was surprised by his decision but expected he would opt to go back if given the choice.

"You want to do good, you want to make sure that this gonna happen well so the people [in Afghanistan] have the same chance as you," he said.

Mailloux underwent all the physical training required of soldiers heading out to mission.

He is being deployed to Afghanistan in November to serve as a staff officer at the Kandahar Airfield headquarters.

The Department of National Defence believes he is the first Canadian soldier to return to a combat zone after an amputation....(CBC here)

Thank YOU for your service, Captain!

Music and Me


Saturday, September 26, 2009

A First Amendment Hero!

Are YOU paying attention?

From Monkey in the Middle:

Professor Indrek Wichman

He looks mild-mannered, not a man who would stand up to bullies and force them to back down. But Professor Indrek Wichman of Michagan State University, has become a Hero.

Now what would force this Professor of Mechanical Engineering to stand up for the First Amendment? Nothing less than a planned protest by the MSU chapter of the Muslim Students Union (MSU)
Members of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at Michigan State University (MSU) didn’t know what they were getting into when they tried to suppress the free speech rights of Professor Indrek Wichman. On February 28, 2006 he read in the MSU student newspaper a call to protest the publication of the Muhammad cartoons. The article struck a raw nerve. He responded with the following:
Dear Moslem Association:

As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intend to protest your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey!), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called "whores" in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris France.

This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many, many of my colleagues. I counsel you dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile "protests."...

Go read the rest here, and PAY ATTENTION to what is happening in YOUR country.

Free My Land - A song for the people of Iran

As I have watched the disgusting display at the UN by the Thug in Charge of Iran, this video kept playing through my mind. Whilst the UN is allowing Ahmadinejad to rant and bluster on the international stage, let us NEVER forget the people of Iran. The bureaucraps at the UN may give the spotlight of civility to this murderer, but the pictures in this video tell the story of the REAL character of the bully.

I found this a while back, and have held off sharing it. Now, I must show it. Fair warning: This video is VERY graphic, but must be watched, and must be remembered.

"First they came for.....?:

The only question I have: WHY is the world community tolerating this?

Friday, September 25, 2009

When a Soldier Dies: Pfc Benjamin Franklin Betts

When A Soldier Dies is an important piece written by a Gold Star Mother. Mary Johnson is the mother of PFC Franklin Betts. I found her story over at TygrrrrExpress:

When a Soldier Dies

At Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concert, I sat next to a very kind woman named Mary Johnson. Her son was PFC Franklin Betts. He died in 1997 while serving in the military. While every death, including every death of a soldier, is tragic, this death is particularly sad since it was totally avoidable. He died not from a stray bullet, but from the flu.

Mary Johnson has lived every parent’s nightmare. Her child predeceased her.

Her story is lengthy, but if one human being benefits from her words, then it will be more than worth the read. Her remarks have not been edited. Interspersed with her story are some poems written by her late son. With that, I present the story of Mary Johnson’s late son PFC Franklin Betts.


When a soldier dies, no one is prepared. The news comes as a shocking blow and life as we once knew it dies also. This is the story of how one parent was able to survive the news that her young soldier had died.
When my young soldier, PFC Benjamin Franklin Betts died, I honestly didn’t think I could survive. How does anyone get through the death of a child. I desperately needed to know that I could and would. I frantically searched for information or role models who could show me the way out of the horrific pain I felt over the death of my young son. What I found was, that there was a way, a path you might say, that could bring me to another day and a future where joy and hope prevailed once again.
My path, through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, is my path. All paths are unique. This is a book about my journey along that path. I share it with you in the hope that it will give you hope, a sort of map, as you travel your path. It is a journey that is both difficult and lonely but fulfilling and life changing once on the other side. You CAN get THROUGH this and you CAN make it to the other side of your valley.
May God bless you and keep you in his loving arms through your journey. I know that He will if you will just ask. Ask him now and know that He hears you and will answer your prayer.

Capable Hands
PFC Benjamin Franklin Betts

Oh no something happened again
Deep inside you wish the world would end
You turn your back on all you know
To let your tears flow
There’s a secret that’s centuries old
It’s a secret that’s been told and told
God has a plan, one you may not understand
You may not see it now
Like standing on a mountain looking across valleys unseen
A path to point unknown

Creating the world is easy to understand
But the trials of your life, you believe are beyond his command
Somehow too great for his mighty hand
Hands that were able to shape the skies and the seas, the mountains & trees
But not able to help you or me

It may be a secret now
But it will all work out somehow
It may not be the way you’d hopped or planned
And you might not understand
But God has a plan

When everything goes array
When it takes everything in you not to break down and cry
Remember God has a plan
It’s the same as a day when everything goes your way
When things couldn’t fall more perfectly into place
Remember God has a plan

Through the good and the bad
Through the happy and the sad
Remember God has a plan
Rest easy, your heart’s in capable hands

Notification that my son had died.
The October morning could not have been more beautiful. The sky was a radiant blue with wispy clouds brushed ever so delicately, as on a brilliant canvas. As I was preparing to leave for work, I remember thinking to myself “this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
I ran back into the house to get the rest of my things when the doorbell rang. It was 7:00 a.m. “Who could that be?” I asked my husband. When we opened the door there was a young soldier standing at the door. He couldn’t have been much older than 21, the age of my own son. He was shaking and appeared pale and scared.
“Mrs. Johnson?” he asked. “Yes”, I responded. “On behalf of the President of the United States, I regret to inform you that your son died in his sleep last night.” “WHAT! YOU MUST BE MISTAKEN!” I replied, “My son is in Germany, there must be some kind of mix-up!” He replied “Yes maam I know. Your son Benjamin Franklin Betts, died in his sleep last night, they found him dead in his room in Germany at 4:00 a.m. this morning.”

With those few words my whole world changed! My soul plunged into a hell I never knew existed. I was to learn that hell had no boundaries and no escape. It was a place that was both dark and full of terror. “No, this can not be!” I kept telling myself....

Stop whatever you are doing right now, and go here to read the rest of this heart wrenching piece written by an amazing mother, with the help of her son: Pfc Benjamin Franklin Betts...

Keep this family, all our Gold Star Families, in your hearts and prayers - with gratitude and respect.

The Royal Welsh

A woman and child meet a camouflaged soldier as three hundred soldiers of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh walk through Chester, in north west England, on September 25, 2009 to say farewell to the city before deploying on operations to Afghanistan. They were carrying fully-loaded rucksacks and much of the equipment they will use in Afghanistan.(source)

Caption Contest!

"They don't make those ghillie suits like they used to." *granny voice (source)

Had to share these picture really does say a thousand words.....

Listen up on Veteran's Radio

Saturday 26 September 2009

9:00-10:00 AM Eastern

This newly-edited compilation of eighteen years of Yablonka's reportage on American involvement in Indochina is a great read whether you’re a veteran or not. After all those years and numerous articles about an indelible mark on American history published in the likes of the U.S. Military's Stars and Stripes, Army Times, American Veteran, the Weider History Group publication Vietnam Magazine and others, these stories have needed a wider audience for the world to know what they suffered, how most survived, and how they overcame adversity. And now they are, this week on Veterans Radio

Distant War: Recollections of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, will be the vehicle to the reader's understanding of a war and its aftermath that may seem distant now, but what is important is that it will make readers realize”if they haven't already”that in war, whether in the jungles of Vietnam or the sands of Iraq, in a very real sense, while who wins and who loses is obviously important, what is equally necessary is that good somehow must and shall prevail. Merriam Press (Check the photos on this site from the book)

Join host Dale Throneberry and Marc Yablonka this week on Veterans Radio. Some of the articles we'll be talking about include: Doctors in a War Zone: The Ultimate Training Ground, Indomitable Spirit at the Hanoi Hilton: Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale, Everything is Okay Now: Nick Ut (the picture of the little girl running naked from an air attack), Standing by Their Men: Donut Dollies, Dog Tags Take the Long Way Home: David and Kurt Arnold, Serving With Distinction…On Four Legs!: Dogs in Vietnam, From AFVN to Wheel of Fortune: Pat Sajak and many many more powerful and inspiring stories. See the complete list at Merriam Press .

Marc Yablonka served as a Public Affairs Officer (CWO-2) with the 40th Infantry Division Support Brigade and the Installation Support Group, California State Military Reserve, at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California, between 2001 and 2008. He also served with the Sar-El unit of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Be There! That's An Order!

WDEO (990-AM Ann Arbor/Detroit), WMAX (1440-AM, Saginaw), WDEO-FM (99.5 FM, Naples FL), KAGY (1510-AM Port Sulfur/New Orleans LA), KIXW (960-AM, Apple Valley CA) and KMRC (1430-AM Morgan City, LA). Or, listen live on the internet at:
Veterans Radio is dedicated to all the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces of the United States of America. Our mission is to provide veterans with a voice, to give them a forum where they are able to discuss their issues and tell their stories

The Voice of America's Veterans

Dale Throneberry
195th Assault Helicopter Company
RVN 1969
Executive Producer
Veterans Radio
P.O. Box 3085
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to
serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly
proportional to how they perceive how veterans of earlier
wars were treated by their nation." George Washington

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Birthday Like No Other

I know I say this often, but this really IS a must read. I came across this via a Soldiers' Angel (thanks, and knew I had to share this as far and wide as I could.

Another of our special boots on the ground - a warrior/writer - has given me full permission to share this with you. READ IT ALL! And then give thanks that we have such heroes standing for us. Thank YOU, LTC Osterholzer.

A Birthday Like No Other –September 21st, 2009

Wardak and Logar Province, Central Afghanistan

By Lt. Col. Steve Osterholzer

So yesterday was my 42nd birthday, a birthday like no other. Far from family and the woods and streams and mountains that I so dearly love, being here in a desert of sand dunes and camels and the roar of helicopters overhead. It definitely was “different” from any other birthday I have ever had or any that I hope to experience in the future. Some people have asked me if I had a “good” birthday; my reply was “well, it was different.” So this difference is what I want to talk about a bit.

First off, what was my day like? My morning here was rather “normal” in the sense that I did a bunch of coordination via email and phone, worked on getting some Afghan media down here to embed with my guys, and I participated in the weekly PAWG (Public Affairs Working Group) over the Breeze computer system on the SIPR system (that’s the classified secret computer system). I deliberately did not eat anything but a strawberry pop tart because I wanted to be “properly starved” for my birthday treat to myself: A Whopper from Burger King up at Bagram!!!

I climbed aboard a Blackhawk helicopter at about 1400 hours, sweating profusely like I always do when I wear my body armor and helmet. Man I can’t wait for snow! We were a flight of 2, the Blackhawk and a Chinook, with me having the seat right on the door of the Blackhawk. On the way up I said the Rosary to pass the time as we sped over the countryside, me taking it all in. So much to think about.

First off, I thought how “natural” it felt for me, on my birthday, to be screaming over the dunes with the doors open on a Blackhawk, hot and sweaty in my tore-up boots and dusty ACUs. To have my 9mm pistol on my chest, sunglasses protecting my eyes from the glaring sun, as I casually dangled my foot over the edge. Being a soldier. Man, I can’t really picture myself being anything else at this point in my life! I pictured what it would be like on my birthday if I was “working in an office, with a suit and tie, in a cubicle working on a computer for a company that exists to make money.” NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Life is very, very hard here, for all of us, but I can’t picture myself being anything else but a soldier. I thought about how important it is to me to feel like I am making a difference in the world, how important it is for me to not just work at a “job” but to be serving others in a profession. So many professions in this world, people making this world a better place…mine just happens to involve heavy machine guns and roaring around in helicopters. I thought a bit about what it felt like working in the glass palace of US Northern Command…how, while that was very important work, it didn’t feel like soldier work. Well, I most definitely felt like a soldier yesterday. Doing my duty on the far side of the globe. I actually pulled out the small flag that I keep tucked inside my patrol cap and rubbed my fingers over it a bit.

As we flew over the small villages that dot this arid landscape, I was struck again how biblical this country is. And I don’t mean in a religious sense. It really does seem like this country is stuck in the 3rd century. The houses and huts are all made out of mud bricks, many without roofs. The smoke from hundreds of cooking fires spiral up like rope into the harsh desert sky, camels and sheep and goats just EVERYWHERE! Being tended to by old men and young boys wrapped in shepherd robes, prodding the animals with long poles to get from one place to another (though I have no idea why they do that, as “that place over the next hill” looks as barren and desolate as that place they currently are at). I must have flown over hundreds of square miles and I saw virtually no water. Just endless wadi after wadi, stretching out to the horizon, mountains stacked upon mountains in the shimmering heat.

I pulled out my Rosary and said it as we flew. It slipped from my hand and the soldier across from me got these HUGE eyes when he saw me, an aviator, flying in a helicopter and praying the Rosary! That was kinda funny.

I thought a bit about, “what if I had been born an Afghan?” The average life expectancy of a man is 48 years old! I would be approaching my deathbed! How strange a feeling to look down and trying to imagine myself as part of that culture. My language, my clothes, my food, my job, and most importantly, my God. Being Muslim. All so radically different. So radically different that my brain could not stretch itself enough to wrap around it…so I left it as initially “thanking God” for me being me and not “them.” And then I started thinking, “what makes me think that it would not be better to be them?” Hmmm….so very interesting a world we live in. The 42 year old illiterate Afghan shepherd tending his camels below with a stick, the 42 year old United States Army Lieutenant Colonel flying over him in an engineering marvel of a helicopter. Yet whose life is better? Certainly not for me to judge. And especially at this point in my life.

Several times I marveled at, “how the HECK did I ever get here?” NEVER, while I was singing, “Proud Mary” in Mr. Koval’s 5th grade class as he played his guitar at Holy Rosary, did I EVER think that I would one day be a 42 year old United States Army Lieutenant Colonel “celebrating” his birthday by roaring around in a Blackhawk country in one of the most rugged and desolate and poor places on the planet! I actually shook my head and smiled a couple of times.

We flew pretty low over Kabul to thwart any attempts at a surface to air missile shot and that was interesting. Flying over a Middle Eastern city, everybody so crowded together, hundreds of thousands of mud houses clinging to the sides of the hills. It was an undulating carpet of drab, mud-colored blocks of houses, like brown waves on an angry ocean. I could feel the heat and hear the voices of millions of people all jammed together, like the houses they lived in. I would go nuts living down there. Of course, if I was born in Kabul as an Afghan, I wouldn’t know any different, now would I? Eh…I’ll still take the Rocky Mountains in the Fall.

And then…we hit a kite. Yep. I remember looking out the window and seeing these red kites dancing and I thought, “oh look! Pretty kites!” And then we hit one. When you are roaring along at 150 mph it’s kinda hard to see a kite. Ran right through the string and as it was slapping on the side of the helicopter I thought, “ummm…that’s not supposed to be there.” Wasn’t worried about it cuz kite string is not going to bring down a Blackhawk (that just would NOT make for a good war story. “Hey Steve, what brought down your blackhawk? Surface to air missile? RPG?” It would be hard to casually say, “no man, we were brought down out of the sky by a kite. Scary as hell.” That just does not have a high cool factor at all. I just like to picture what the reaction was of the kid who was flying the kite! I picture this kid about Adam’s age, happily flying his kite with his friends, and suddenly this very loud machine roars out of the sky and eats his kite! Poor kid. I just picture the kiteless string fluttering to the ground, the kid picking up the end where his kite used to be, looking skyward and saying, “What the heck was THAT all about? My brother Mohammad who owns the kite is NEVER going to believe me!” (In Pastun, of course).

After a few stops to pick up soldiers at FOB Airborne, FOB Hunter, and a couple of French soldiers at Derulamand, we landed at Bagram. As the Blackhawk was taxiing in a Predator UAV was there…pretty cool. Those things are HUGE! Dad sure would have fun with his R/C gear at the flying field with one of those things. And as everybody got off the Chinook next to me I saw Governor Lodin coming off…along with an insurgent that we had captured. He was blindfolded and flex-cuffed. Part of me initially felt pity for him but then I remembered that he had been captured yesterday while trying to plant an IED in the road to kill my brothers and sisters. No more pity.

I then walked over to the Central Issuing Facility where I exchanged out my desert boots (ripped down the side) and my ACU top (shredded down the sleeve from some sharp rocks). AND THEN I WENT TO BURGER KING!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ah…the Whopper. There’s a “Burger King” at Bagram but it’s not like the nice, sit-down air-conditioned Burger Kings in the states. It’s basically a metal box that they’ve turned into a Burger King. You sit outside on benches and dust is everywhere. You have to eat fast so you don’t get a lot of dirt in your burger but I didn’t care. I have seen soldiers sitting there in a full-blown sandstorm, happily eating their Whoppers, hunkered down with their burgers inside their Gortex to keep the worst of the sand out of it.

OH MY GOSH THAT BURGER TASTED INCREDIBLE!!! I had not eaten at Burger King in 9 months and I was practically drooling as I took my Double Whopper with cheese, lettuce, tomato, lettuce, and king size fries over to the table. I closed my eyes as I took the first bite: never has a burger tasted so good!

The flight back was pretty uneventful, as it was dark as we flew over the countryside. I marveled at the nearly complete lack of electricity in this country, something that us Americans take so much for granted. We flew over thousands of houses with not a single electric light. It was like a black hole below us, sucking in the light. I actually dozed off, as I usually do when fly at night.

When I came back into my plywood office my soldiers had made me a paper crown that says, “LIEUTENANT COLONEL O!” on it, made with bright yellow construction paper and stickers all over it. It’s perched on my helmet right now as I type this. So that was neat. SGT R**** wrote me a very nice note, saying that, “I can’t really express how great it’s been having you as a boss, Sir. I just wanted to tell you how great you are on your special day.” SO that made me feel good too.

Called Mom and Dad and had a nice talk with them. I called the kids this morning and they sang me Happy Birthday. Damn but I miss them so very much that my heart physically aches.

I went to my hooch about midnight or so…feeling pretty tired from the long day. Even though it was probably the least stressful day I have had here in months I still felt tired. Not old – I feel the same energy and drive and motivation and passion and excitement that I did when I was 32 years old. And I can still outrun a lot of the soldiers half my age (just pass me the Motrin afterwards!). Age really is an attitude. I then opened my cards from Megan and Adam (Brian’s is still coming so that’s cool), my card from Susan and Jack and Joe (made me LAUGH! It was a musical card about eating cake and I had to quickly shut the card and take it outside by flashlight so I wouldn’t wake up the other officers in my hut!), and one from good old Aunt Pat and Uncle Gasper. Darn but if they aren’t the best people: every year, on my birthday, no matter where in the world I’m at, I always get a card from them as my godparents. Really made me smile. I then opened up Mom and Dad’s card and the neat little plaque they got me about placing my Hope in God. I definitely have been doing that the last few months. I hung it up on a nail above my bed and it made me smile. Read a little bit of the bible (working on the Gospels: have read John, Matthew, Mark and am working on Luke) and then wrote in my spiritual journal a bit before I turned off the light.

Gosh I miss my kids so dearly. I miss all my loved ones back home so dearly. I miss the lakes and streams and mountains so dearly. Truth be told I miss the taste of a cold beer so dearly. I miss having people sing me Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles pretty dearly too. But you know what? Being here as a soldier fighting in Afghanistan, that make it a very “good” birthday in its own way. Not “good” as in “relaxing and enjoyable,” perhaps…yet “good” in a very meaningful way.

I’ll sure as heck NEVER forget this birthday!

A Message To Congress!

From Monkey in the Middle:

To the Congress:

The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775 - you have had 234 years to get it right; it is broke.

Social Security was established in 1935 - you have had 74 years to get it right; it is broke.

Fannie Mae was established in 1938 - you have had 71 years to get it right; it is broke.

The "War on Poverty" started in 1964 - you have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor"; it hasn't worked and our entire country is broke...

There IS more, of course! Go read it here.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Peanut is HOME

Update from Don:

...Peanut is home where she belongs......with Rob and Kat. She arrived last Friday afternoon and I was there to meet her as were Rob's parents.

She is doing quite well and seems to know that she is finally where she is loved. She is a big hit with the three dogs of the house, even Gus the Beagle who had not met her before. In fact he either sits or lies at her feet watching over her. Animals just seem to know don't they.

Rob and Kat are working out the kinks and getting her settled into her new home. She will be going to work with Rob until they get a home nurse in place. They came home from Sacramento with a truck full of equipment and medical and feeding supplies to tide her over......

Anyway a dream has been realized and prayers have been answered and our little girl is with the people that love her so very much....


Wednesday Hero

Lt. John Madea
Lt. John Madea
U.S. Navy

Lt. John Madea holds his daughter as she is baptized with holy water from the ship's bell of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46). This is the fourth person baptized aboard Tortuga since the ship's christening in 1988, and her name will be inscribed inside the bell as a tradition of the U.S. Navy.

Photo Courtesy U.S. Navy
Taken By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Geronimo Aquino

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Israel: "no grand expectations"

There is a big meeting going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue today. It seems that Israeli and Palestinian leaders are meeting with BO, in what will probably amount to little more than a photo-op. Despite BO and his crew originally trumpeting their determination to broker a lasting peace in the middle east, it looks as if reality has bitten the Mouth in Chief in the rear end. (again)

So now, in an attempt to massage the media message as always, BO's team are downplaying any expectations of real agreement on what peace in the area actually looks like..
Low US hopes for Mid-East summit
Israeli boy waves a flag at the Maale Adumim settlement in the West Bank (07 September 2009)
Israel has rejected demands for a total freeze on settlement building

The US has no "grand expectations" from the summit of Israeli and Palestinian leaders which President Obama is to host on Tuesday, the White House says.

The talks in New York are to discuss the possibility of re-starting the Middle East peace process.

But both Israeli and Palestinian leaders have accused each other of blocking the initiative.

Israel has rejected US and Palestinian demands for a total freeze before a new round of talks can take place.

Mr Obama is bringing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas together for the first time since Mr Netanyahu came to office nearly six months ago.

"We're looking to continue to build on progress," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

"We have no grand expectations out of just one meeting."

Israeli and Palestinian participants have also said they do not expect many concrete developments to emerge from the meeting.

Israeli government secretary Zvi Herzog said the meeting was "a step in the right direction", but that "conditions are not ripe for a formal re-launch of negotiations"....(source)

What BO and his sycophants have to come to terms with is that the US has no business insisting that Israel quit building on their own land. Neither America nor any other country has the right to meddle in Israel's own national affairs. But some Americans don't seem to have got that memo. Israel National News has the latest salvo, this time from Brzezinski:

Zbig Brzezinski: Shoot Down Israeli Planes if They Attack Iran

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who enthusiastically campaigned for U.S. President Barack Obama, has called on the president to shoot down Israeli planes if they attack Iran. “They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?” said the former national security advisor to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in an interview with the Daily Beast. Brzezinski, who served in the Carter administration from 1977 to 1981, is currently a professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Maryland...

You KNOW there is more. Go here to read the rest.

Monkey in the Middle has a great piece up on this: Shoot Down Israeli Planes if They Attack Iran. A must read here.

And then there is Israeli Soldier's Mother:
Monday, September 21, 2009

Why I Never Liked Zbiggy

There are people who don't realize that the world doesn't really care about their opinion; that their day in the sun has come and gone. One such person is Zbignew Brzezinski. Brzezinski, who served in the Carter administration from 1977 to 1981, has been a "hasbeen" ever since. He campaigned most strongly for Barack Hussein Obama...but wasn't given a post because it was clearly recognized that his longstanding hate-affair with Israel would be too obvious an indication of Obama's future course.

The one thing Brzezinski never learned to do was curb his tongue. This is probably to our good fortune as it quickly disqualifies him from any assumption of even-handedness. Sadly, Brzezinski has chosen to open his mouth yet again, and, as expected, nothing worthwhile has come out....

Another must read here.

As always, interesting times we live in. Pay attention today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baby Mikey Ferschke and his mother need YOUR help

A Marine's Japanese widow is fighting to raise her son in the nation her husband died protecting. Hotaru Ferschke and Sgt. Michael Ferschke had a proxy wedding, filing marriage papers after he deployed. He was killed in Iraq. Now U.S. immigration refuses to acknowledge the marriage. Here, Hotaru Ferschke stands with her mother-in-law, Robin Ferschke, and son Mikey. (source)

Robert Stokely, Gold Star Father, and my friend, sent out the following email to a few of us the other day:

I can not add to what this story says except to say where I come from you don't mess with our women and you don't mess with our children. How can our government possibly, even remotely, do this. We must fight, and I mean literally fight if need be, for this wife and child, for a Hero died to give us not only the right, but the duty to do so.

My boy was a CAV Scout; my great great grandaddy was a cavalryman himself. I am not. But, I can yell charge and will fight. CHARGE!!!!

Join me.

Robert Stokely
proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq

And I am joining this fight. Others have already. Over at BlackFive, they have the story up, with information on who to contact, and how we need to resolve this issue.
Time to Mobilize - Widow and Child of Fallen Marine may be deported
Posted By Blackfive

A Marine's Japanese widow is fighting to raise her son in the nation her husband died protecting. Hotaru Ferschke and Sgt. Michael Ferschke had a proxy wedding, filing marriage papers after he deployed. He was killed in Iraq. Now U.S. immigration refuses to acknowledge the marriage....

Read the rest, and check out the contacts here. I understand that Hotaru is stuck in legal limbo because of some anachronistic laws on the US books to do with proxy wives. That law was designed to weed out marriages of convenience for those who married just to gain US citizenship. That is NOT the case for Hotaru. From all I have read, Hotaru and her husband, Sgt. Michael Ferschke, were living together, were a partnership in every sense of the word, for a year or more in Japan, where they met. And oh yes, they obviously consumated the marriage. Mikey is proof of that.

Take a look at this:

This family deserves to be here in the country their loved one died serving. Hotaru has already more than earned the right to raise Mikey - the son of a fallen hero who gave his all for America - in the land of his father. Mikey's grandparents need to be part of this child's life.

In the comments at B5, one caller was told that right now the focus for the politicians is all about the healthcare/reform legislation. THIS bill - details of which I found somewhere else, and which you can find details of here - is long overdue:

Title: For the relief of Hotaru Nakama Ferschke.
Sponsor: Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] (introduced 7/10/2009) Cosponsors
(None) Private bill
Latest Major Action: 7/20/2009 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred
to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and
International Law.

The House sure could fast track Joe Wilson's case. No reason for this bill to
languish for months in committee.

"Cosponsors are prohibited under the rules on private bills, but have appeared
from time to time." 'tis time.

Let your Reps and Senators know the bill number.

Seems to me that if BO's aunt can maintain a residency status in America; if who knows how many untold illegals can set up home in America without fear of being shown the door - the very LEAST America can do for this family, is to welcome her and their baby boy as full American citizens.

You know what to do. Call everybody you can think of on this one. This family matters.

As Robert Stokely says: "... Join me. CHARGE!"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What a soldier left behind by MCpl Elton Adams

Found this via Lovey this morning and have to share it:

About Elton

Hi, my name is Elton Adams, I was born and raised in Roddickton, Newfoundland, Canada. Growing up, I was surrounded by a family of very talented singers and musicians. Everyone from my oldest grandparent to my youngest cousin can play an instrument and sing. The church and local hockey rink were two of my major influences in Roddickton. Despite the fact that I’m not a stranger to the hockey stick and have played on various teams, music was most certainly my first love....

The Canadian Forces

Further, I would need to complete 8-months of work-up training in Edmonton before the tour began. While in Edmonton, I really began to focus on my song writing. I would perform for my fellow soldiers often and this paid off immensely.

Every sale of this great album contributes to our troops.

For every album that is purchased on this site, $4 will be donated to to the Soldier-On Charity (a charity for ill and injured Canadian soldiers)

Go check it out here.

Thanks, Lovey. Thank YOU, MCpl Adams.

Every Day Heroes

A great story about some amazing heroes:

MOD police officer helps empower Afghan women in ANP

A Military Operations news article

14 Sep 09

Thirteen women are quietly making history in the most conservative corner of Afghanistan thanks to the support and mentoring of an MOD police officer.

Female Afghan National Police member

A female Afghan National Police member carries out small arms training on a firing range in Helmand, southern Afghanistan
[Picture: Corporal Steve Wood, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

It was when Isabella McManus, an MOD police officer who recently deployed to Afghanistan, visited the police headquarters in Helmand province that she noticed a small group of women who sat in the corner; untrained, unnoticed, without uniform and without motivation.

However, Ms McManus saw promise in the women and decided to see what she could do to increase their confidence and potential as members of the Afghan National Police (ANP).

Ms McManus explained:

"It wasn't my job to start mentoring the women specifically but they struck a chord with me. They were ignored entirely at the police headquarters and it wasn't right.

"They needed a uniform giving them some status and they needed training and equipment. I've fought those battles with them every step of the way and we are getting somewhere. The women are empowered and it's great to see."

Firearms training was one area Ms McManus was keen for the women to experience and recently the women went onto the firing range for the first time to hone their shooting skills, something they had never previously been allowed to do.

MOD police officer Isabella McManus trains female Afghan National Police members

MOD police officer Isabella McManus trains female Afghan National Police members to use the Sig Sauer 9mm pistol
[Picture: Corporal Steve Wood, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

On their first occasion out on the firing range the women were greeted by sneering men, who doubted their ability with weapons. But their scorn quickly dissipated when the first woman got all five shots bang on target.

One recruit, known as Miriam, said:

"I think of myself as equal to the men. The men don't agree but I feel right doing this job. I have no fear and I am happy.

"I encourage myself to be the best and although there are only a small number of us I know that we can boost the level and morale of women in Afghanistan. What we are doing is good for the future of women here."

With the guidance and support of Ms McManus the women are achieving truly extraordinary things. One of the women, Wooranga, has a fierce reputation within the police force.

After spending 20 years in the Army during the time of the Russian invasion, she is a force to be reckoned with and a figurehead for the other women in the ANP.

Female Afghan National Police members fire pistols on the range

MOD police officer Isabella McManus observes female Afghan National Police members on the firing range
[Picture: Corporal Steve Wood, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

The 39-year-old is married to a 100-year-old man and is the breadwinner in her household. She openly tells people about her work in the ANP and claims to be afraid of nothing. This was evident when during a night raid on a compound near Nawa she came face-to-face with a Taliban fighter.

Wooranga said:

"I went into the compound first, while the male police officers waited outside. As I stood on a wall I saw one of the enemy pointing an AK47 towards me....

Go read the rest of this inspiring story here.,