Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday


To infinity - and beyond. Yes, this much and more.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The eagles are landing - AGAIN!

In Sidney on Vancouver Island (that's Canada, folks!) the eagle nest that I introduced you to last year, (here) is again connected to us all via webcam.

Be sure to check it out HERE, and stay tuned.

Oh, and 'this just in'! From Virginia, another link with babies. Check their webcam out HERE. (Thanks to Flag Gazer for this one.)

I LOVE the baby eagles...

Marjah belongs to the people

02/25/2010 - Afghan residents attend an official flag-raising ceremony in Marjah, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2010. The flag-raising symbolizes the victory of a reestablished community for the area’s populace. (DoD photo by Cpl. Mary E. Carlin, U.S. Marine Corps/Released)

A beautiful sight!

Chaplains gather to "renew spiritually"

Chaplains from across Kosovo gather at holy site

by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hagburg

Posted on 2/24/2010

Heaven's Angels
Camp Bondsteel gospel dance team, Heaven's Angels, perform at an ecumenical worship service

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - An international group of chaplains visited one of Kosovo's holiest sites Feb. 19 as part of the monthly KFOR chaplains' conference.

Multi-National Battle Group-East's chaplains hosted the conference, which featured a worship service, luncheon and a bus trip to the Church of the Black Madonna in Letnica.

"Many of the chaplains had never seen the church before," said Staff Sgt. Laton Lohmann, Dickinson, N.D., an MNBG-E chaplain's assistant. "Making a pilgrimage to such a sacred site was a great way to start Lent and to set the tone for the season."

The Church of the Black Madonna is said to be the place where famed humanitarian Mother Teresa received her calling.

Twenty-eight chaplains and chaplain's assistants from 10 countries attended the conference, said Chap. (Maj.) Maury Millican, Bismarck, N.D., command chaplain for MNBG-E. Countries represented included the United States, Ireland, France, Italy, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovenia, and Sweden.

Millican said the conferences help build camaraderie among the international chaplaincy.

"It helps the chaplains from each country feel that the doors of communication are open if we need to reach out and ask for ministry assistance," he said.

The conference started with an ecumenical worship service at Camp Bondsteel featuring the camp's gospel dance team, "Heaven's Angels."...

Read more here. For great pictures of this conference, go here.

H/T Dina

Look up look WAY up

The Possibility of a Brand New World

Several of the dwarf galaxies in the Hickson Compact Group 31 are slowly merging. Will the result of these galactic collisions be one big elliptical galaxy? Most assuredly.

The pictured galaxies of Hickson Compact Group 31 will pass through and destroy each other, millions of stars will form and explode, and thousands of nebula will form and dissipate before the dust settles and the final galaxy emerges about one billion years from now. The above image is a composite of images taken in infrared light by the Spitzer Space Telescope, ultraviolet light by the GALEX space telescope, and visible light by the Hubble Space Telescope. Hickson Compact Group 31 spans about 150,000 light years and lies about 150 million light years away toward the constellation of Eridanus.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, J. English (U. Manitoba), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgement: S. Gallagher (U. Western Ontario) [here]

Friday, February 26, 2010


LUIS ACOSTA/Getty Images

Read more about Lou at CTV here.

For my American family: God bless the USA

God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood -

"No, I won't forget the men who died...I proudly stand up next to you..."

Keeping the faith with YOU, America!


Bobsledding Soldiers' attention turns to Olympic four-man event

Feb 24, 2010

By Tim Hipps (Family and MWR Command)

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program bobsled pilot Sgt. John Napier feels more at home with WCAP brakeman 1st Lt. Chris Fogt in his Olympic four-man sled at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

The dynamic duo of WCAP Soldiers began training together aboard USA II on Tuesday with civilian teammates Chuck Berkeley of Clayton, Calif., and Steve Langton of Melrose, Mass., aboard for the Olympic four-man event scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

"I love four-man," said Napier, 23, of Lake Placid, N.Y. "I don't know why, I can't explain it, but it's just so much easier. In a four-man sled I just feel like I'm at home. My only (World Cup) win was in a two-man, so I know it doesn't add up, but the feeling of driving four-man is indescribable. "My sled and I get along really well on this track."

Napier gained a lot of confidence by finishing 10th in the Olympic two-man event Feb. 20-21, on the world's fastest bobsled track. His four-man crew feels fortunate to have Napier at the helm.

"I wasn't nervous about training because our pilot, John, drives four-man really well," said Fogt, 26, of Alpine, Utah. "I never doubt him. We're ready to roll and we feel confident as a team."

Steve Langton was Napier's brakeman for the Olympic two-man event.

"We had two really great runs today," Langton said. "You can tell John loves driving four-man. I think we can be in medal contention. We're a great team together. We can reel them in this week."

Berkeley also feels comfortable behind Napier, who began bobsledding at age 8.

"I was a little curious to see what would happen today because there's been a lot of hype about the track and the speed," Berkeley said. "I was curious, but I wasn't worried. I've got John Napier driving me and that's always a good thing and a safe bet."

Army National Guard Outstanding Athlete Program bobsled pilot Mike Kohn, 37, of Chantilly, Va., will drive the USA III sled in the four-man event. He teamed with Nick Cunningham of Monterey, Calif., to finish 12th in the two-man competition aboard USA III. Jamie Moriarty of Winnetka, Ill., and Bill Schuffenhauer of Ogden, Utah, will join them in the four-man sled.

"I feel good," Kohn said. "The first run felt better than the second, but I tried some different stuff. Training lets you figure out what works for you. The first run was quick. (Read more here)

[I can't figure out how to download the picture of these guys, so you'll have to go here to check it out.]


Royal Engineers build new bridge in area seized during Op MOSHTARAK

A Military Operations news article

25 Feb 10

Royal Engineers have built a new bridge across a strategic stretch of the Nahr-e Bughra canal near the town of Shaheed.

Royal Engineers with their equipment

Construction work begins on the 36-metre bridge across the Nahr-e Bughra canal
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

The canal and bridge were both seized by British and Afghan forces as part of Operation MOSHTARAK.

Commanders ordered the 36-metre bridge to be put in place because more routes across the Nahr-e Bughra canal, known by soldiers as 'The Neb', were needed to ensure supplies got to infantry troops on the ground.

Corporal John Powney was Bridge Commander for the construction. He said:

"I was delighted with how things went. Before the operation, we talked through the 'what ifs' with the team: mechanical failure, battle casualties. We addressed all the issues. Everyone worked hard and it all went well....

Read more here.


File under: US troops torturing Iraqi children - again!

The title of course is not true, its misleading, just like 90% of what you see about the US Military in Iraq. What it really is is this, Soldiers handing out soccer balls to Iraqi children and administering medicine to livestock. Scenes include Soldiers loading and playing with soccer balls, setting up an area for working with the livestock, giving animals injections, handing out the balls and playing soccer with the children and a Soldier speaking through a translator explaining the significance of the soccer balls.(here)


02/23/2010 - A super rapid blooming chaff canister launches from the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) during an antimissile defense drill off the coast of Southern California Feb. 23, 2010. Peleliu is under way conducting an integration training exercise in preparation for a scheduled 2010 deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Foster Bamford, U.S. Navy/Released)

02/24/2010 - U.S. Marines clear snow on the flight deck of the Dutch navy ship Hr. Ms. Johan De Witt (L 801) Feb. 24, 2010, while participating in the exercise Cold Response 2010 in Norway. Cold Response is a Norwegian armed forces multinational, invitational exercise with participants from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Austria and other NATO partners and is focused on cold weather maritime/amphibious operations, interoperability of expeditionary forces and special and ground operations. The Marines are with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. (DoD photo by Master Sgt. Michael Q. Retana, U.S. Marine Corps/Released)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pravda: Canadians so…retentive, or cowardly

Always interesting to see how other countries view us:

A column in Pravda:
Vancouver: Mutton Dressed as Lamb

We all knew it weeks before the game started, with accusations about doping being levelled at Russian athletes, and we all saw it on day one of the games, with the death of a Georgian athlete on a corner which miraculously was elevated the following day. Vancouver is not fit to hold the Winter Olympics.
Far from being a question of sour grapes, Russian commentators were already expressing their reservations as to the integrity of the Vancouver Lobby being able to host the Olympic Games weeks before the start. After all the IOC was starting to fire off in all directions before the first aircraft arrived...[...]

We all know Canada has problems with the future lines drawn on Arctic maps and we all know Canada lives in the shadow of its larger neighbour to the south. The abject cruelty shown by Canadian soldiers in international conflicts is scantily referred to, as indeed is the utter incapacity of this county to host a major international event, due to its inferiority complex, born of a trauma being the skinny and weakling bro to a beefy United States and a colonial outpost to the United Kingdom, whose Queen smiles happily from Canadian postage stamps. ...

There is more, of course, here. Go read it. Written by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey (not very Russian sounding, is he?) this is a funny piece. I guess it was not meant to be funny, but hard to take such declarations as : 'The abject cruelty shown by Canadian soldiers in international conflicts...' seriously. I gather that the Russian president is so upset with Canada, he is not showing up for the closing ceremonies as had been previously arranged, and rumour has it that the Russian team may be leaving early, too!

Do svidaniya, Russia!

Cruising the internet, found this gem about the 'writer' Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey :

Well, well... I went looking for Dr. Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey and this is what I found:

Director and Chief Editor Portuguese version PRAVDA.Ru2000 to presentPresident Chamber of Commerce and Industry Portugal Romania 2000 to presentPresident PRAVDA Foundation non profit making NGO development projects 2006 to presentVice President Telecommunications Projects 1988 to 1999Senior Consultant PR C2000 Public Relations 1987 to present.

He's British, and if you go looking for him, you'll find that he writes the most violent hate literature; a thoroughly nasty piece of work all round. As far as his views on Canada... ignore the man. (In the comments here)

'Nuff said.

File under: The family also serves

Two stories, from two different countries, and two reminders that the family also serves.

From the UK's Fenland Citizen:

Mother's pride for brave soldier son

Published Date: 24 February 2010
THE mother of a serving soldier has spoken of her pride in her son after he was involved in a terrifying road side bombing last week.

Lynda Betts said she was absolutely hysterical after being told in an email that her 23-year-old son Liam Dansi had been involved in the incident, which had been reported on Sky News.

"I got an email from a family liaison officer saying that Sky News had reported an
incident in which two vehicles had been blown up and that Liam had been in one of the vehicles and that as far as they knew there were no casualties - I was absolutely hysterical," said Lynda....

Read more here.

And from America's This is my Life:

my love

Oh how I miss this handsome guy!
I love talking to him on the computer. I could talk to him forever and it still wouldn't be enough. Our love and respect for each other has grown so much. Whenever we talk to each other we start talking about how our day/night was. And how the kids are doing....(read more here)

H/T for this one Thunder Run.

Never forget: The family ALSO serves.

"Hope and Change"????

'Nuff said!

H/T Mike

From Michael Yon a "Whisper" heard around the world

U.S. Air Force Nurse, Lucy Lehker, comforts an 'unknown' Canadian soldier after he was badly wounded in Afghanistan.

Michael Yon has been in the sandbox with our guys for 6 years now. He lives with our troops and his reporting has continued to put the msm to shame. Where the mainstream goes with the tired old 'if it bleeds, it leads,' Yon shares every day stories that cannot be found anywhere else. Our troops trust Yon as they do no other reporter, and the picture above is one of the reasons why.

It is often said that 'one picture says a thousand words,' and so it is with 'The Whisper' above. Originally part of a Valentines Day column, this one frame tells so much of the current Global War on Terror, I believe it will become iconic:
From Canada: A Thank You to U.S. Service Members

Dear Michael Yon,

Today we were sent your story of February 14, 2010. The “unknown” Canadian is our son Danny. He is a 23-year-old solider from Vancouver, Canada.

Your photographs were extraordinary and have impacted so many people here in Canada. There has been an outpouring of affection for the Americans who helped Danny in his moment of need. For that, we thank you for recording these acts of kindness into history.

Danny's injuries were the result of an explosion on February 12, 2010. Four Canadian soldiers were injured and tragically one Canadian solider was killed. Within 20 minutes of the explosion, Danny was airlifted by helicopter to Kandahar. Upon arrival he received emergency surgery that saved his life and prepared him for the flight to Bagram that you were on. After landing in Bagram, Danny was again airlifted by a US transport aircraft to the US Army run Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. There he underwent additional surgery that closed up his wounds. Once stabilized, the Canadian government dispatched a Challenger jet to bring him home....

You really MUST read the rest of this here. The Valentines Day story that Yon wrote, and first showed this picture? Find that here.

Michael Yon has no corporate funding behind him. He relies solely on donations from grateful readers. Readers who recognise that this war is not just America's war. Anyone who wants the real story of what our guys are doing, makes Yon a daily read. Yon has written extensively about the American soldiers, the British and yes, the Canadian, as well as other coalition troops.

Years from now, when future generations are being taught the history that is happening today, Michael Yon's contributions should be front and centre. As Danny's mother says above, Michael Yon IS recording history.

Please make Michael Yon part of your daily dose of truth and, if you can, contribute financially to his work. In these days when the msm continues to lazily spoonfeed gullible citizens the tired old rhetoric, Yon delivers the goods. Go here, read through his archives; bookmark his site, and then donate what you can.

Thank you, and thank YOU, Michael Yon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RFA Largs Bay in Haiti

RFA Largs Bay, a 16,000-tonne Bay Class Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary), has arrived in Haiti and the process of offloading tonnes of supplies and vehicles has begun, as the United Kingdom's contribution to the humanitarian aid relief effort following January's devastating earthquakes. As well as bringing supplies, Largs Bay also brought Royal Navy personnel, including media specialists, communications and Royal Marines protection teams, as well as Army experts in diving, port handling and logistics. [Picture: LA(Phot) Pete Smith, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

RFA Largs Bay unloads its aid for Haiti

A Military Operations news article

22 Feb 10

Having arrived off Haiti on Thursday, the crew from RFA Largs Bay has been busy unloading the large aid shipment it brought from the UK to help with the relief effort following the recent earthquake on the island.

Land Rover vehicles unloaded from RFA Largs Bay in Haiti

A cargo of humanitarian aid, including a fleet of Land Rover four-wheel-drive vehicles, is unloaded from RFA Largs Bay at Port-au-Prince under the watchful eyes of the Royal Logistic Corps' 17 Port and Maritime Regiment
[Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Pete Smith, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

The relief package provided by the Department for International Development and British and international NGOs (non-governmental organisations) includes goods purchased with donations from the British public in response to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.

Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Steven Fisher, was at Port-au-Prince in Haiti on Friday to see the cargo arrive on shore:

"One month on there are still very, very important humanitarian needs in this city, particularly the need for shelter and sanitation," he said. "But I am pleased to say that the aid is getting through, and British aid, which you can see behind me, is actually helping to meet those needs."...

Read more here.

CFB Trenton Moving Forward

From War on Terror News, an important piece by a Canadian military wife:


Together We Will Move Forward


Canadians were being asked to rally round their military after CFB Trenton Commander Russ Williams was arrested on February 7th. The full scoop on that can be found here at Assoluta Tranquillita CFB Trenton Military Appreciation Day.

A Canadian military wife, Angela MacIsaac felt the need to speak out and sent the following to me......

Together We Will Move Forward

By Angela MacIsaac

Two weeks ago a chill came over my body as I heard the announcement that our Base Commander was accused of some of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Up until that announcement, like everyone else in the Country, I was praying that Jessica Lloyd would safely return to her family’s arms.

In complete “shock” would be a word to describe how I felt. As a mother myself, the wind felt knocked out me, I couldn’t even imagine what the families were going through, my heart went out to them. All the hope and prayers that she was coming home ended in an aerial picture of where she was found.

These brutal acts, this taking of such beautiful lives was horrific in itself. Learning the identity of the accused, myself being a military spouse, deepened the devastation. First and foremost the families and friends of each woman involved, the two women that were left to continue on, and the spouse of the accused were in my prayers.

Another thought after the shock had subsided was where the media would take this. We all know the media can influence a public, good or bad. And as soon as I heard that first reporter ask, “How do you think this will affect the support of our Canadian troops?” it all began.

It is very easy to take anger, hurt, disappoint and fear out if given a direction and/or outlet. The media gave a target for a story to begin and in times where we all vulnerable as we all feel, they took advantage of all of our emotions.


There should not be any finger pointing concerning military, or the police. Stereotyping, excuses, and shame included. The only finger to point is to the accused sitting in the Quinte Detention Centre. No one else should be responsible for his actions. This is about the taking of beautiful lives and the sexual assaults of two women who will forever be traumatized, and never forget. It is about their families and friends and supporting them....

Go read the rest of this important column here.

Angela, one of our military wives, proves that no matter how the msm responds, our military and their families continue to "Stand on Guard for thee..."

Thank YOU, Angela.

Wednesday Hero

Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig
Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig
U.S. Marines

It is hard to know whether Monday was a very bad day or a very good day for Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig.

On the one hand, he was shot in the head. On the other, the bullet bounced off him.

In one of those rare battlefield miracles, an insurgent sniper hit Lance Cpl. Koenig dead on in the front of his helmet, and he walked away from it with a smile on his face.

"I don't think I could be any luckier than this," Lance Cpl. Koenig said two hours after the shooting.

You can read the rest of Lance Cpl. Koenig's story here.

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, February 23, 2010

Endeavour is home

Who is Barack Hussein Obama? : The Obama/Soetoro Dossier

***[UPDATE: Removed by request....- that didn't take long, did it? BUT you CAN still watch it on YouTube here. Won't allow you better HURRY!!!]***

This video was originally on YouTube as recently as last Sunday (20th February. ) When I went back today to replay it? Removed. Take a look:

I don't doubt for one minute that this will also be removed soon, so watch it here, and then pass it along.

Even if you do not believe this is based on an actual CIA dossier, it does connect the dots of unanswered questions about BHO's origins. BHO and his minions have expended far too much energy avoiding questions that could be answered in mere minutes. He refuses to provide documentation which could very quickly refute any question of his suitability/eligibility to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This video has - I believe - some of those answers and some of that documentation. Watch it, and draw your own conclusions.

H/T Mark

Monday, February 22, 2010

Keep GITMO OPEN! Important Petition

Our fight for justice goes on. From Keep America Safe comes this:

Dear Members,

Earlier today, Liz Cheney -- the chairman of Keep America Safe -- addressed the 37th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC. We thought you'd like to see her address and call to action. Gitmo

In her remarks, she also announced the launch of a new petition on The petition sends the message: terrorists belong at Guantanamo Bay, not in the American heartland. Tell President Obama and the U.S. Congress: No taxpayer dollars to bring terrorists to America. Keep Guantanamo Bay open.

We urge all of our members to sign this petition, raising our collective voice, telling our leaders in Washington to Keep America Safe.

The text of the petition to save Gitmo is as follows:

We, the undersigned, believe that the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba should remain open. It is a safe, secure, and humane facility where the United States can and should detain terrorists. We do not support bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow terrorists onto U.S. soil, which would expose American citizens to an unnecessary security risk, give terrorists the benefit of Constitutional protections, and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

We believe that as long as the United States continues to send young men and women into harm's way against Al Qaeda and its allies, the U.S. Military should continue to operate Guantanamo Bay as a detention and interrogation center. When we try terrorists, it should be in military commissions in the state-of-the-art courtroom, which was built and is currently being used for that purpose, at Guantanamo Bay. Keeping Gitmo open is crucial for our national security, consistent with America's values and is supported by the vast majority of the American people. We urge Congress and the administration to listen to us.


The Keep America Safe Team

P.S. After you watch Liz's remarks and sign the petition, please forward this email to your friends and family to invite them to do the same!


The camera never lies?

A History of Obama Feigning Interest in Mundane Things

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

From time to time, everyone is forced to experience the ritual of the apartment tour. As your friend or relative leads you through their home for the first time, politeness dictates that you pretend to be impressed by the things you’re being shown, however unexciting they are, whether it’s a bathroom sink or an allegedly fantastic view of the building across the street. Well, President Obama does that all the time, except instead of apartments, he’s being led through factories, laboratories, and workshops. It’s one of Obama’s official duties as president according to Article II, Section II of the Constitution (just take our word for it), and it also happens to provide him with great photo-op possibilities — but only if he’s focused enough to make himself look interested in the mundane things he is being shown. Sometimes, he's more successful than others.

I tried to post a couple of the pictures, but my tech skills weren't up for the job. Be sure and go look at the slideshow here. My favourite is number 13, and the captions are priceless.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Every Day Hero

Sergeant Major Caffie

Meet Command Sergeant Major Leon Caffie:

When Leon Caffie was drafted into the Army in 1970 during the Vietnam war, he had no idea that it was the beginning of a military career that would span four decades. Nor did he imagine that he would end his career serving as Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Reserves.

Command Sergeant Major Caffie retired January 9, 2010, as one of the last remaining draftees from the Vietnam war still serving in the military today.

Caffie described being drafted in 1970 as "a focus moment,” in his life.

"It was inevitable that is was going to happen,” he said. "In some aspects I was looking forward to it…I wanted to do my duty.”

He had already discussed the possibility with his father, who told him "you gotta do what you gotta do,” Caffie said. "Not being drafted wasn’t an option.”

"He’s my hero,” Caffie said of his father. "He’s the person I go to first for advice.”

Caffie described the experience of landing in Vietnam as a Private First Class in September of 1970 as "surreal.”

"It was 10 p.m. at night,” he said. "You would see the tracers coming in, you could see the tracers going out. It makes you think ‘this is the real deal,” he said.

"First night in the jungle was an eye opening experience. There wasn’t much sleep. But you learn to adapt,” Caffie said.

Having buddies, Caffie said, is key in adjusting to and dealing with a deployment.

"Buddies help you overcome fears,” he said. "You depend on your buddies.”

Origin and ethnicity weren’t a big part of the bond between buddies, Caffie said. Rather it was that they were soldiers together and depended on each other.

In part it was the relationships he built in the Army that inspired Caffie to stay in the U.S. Army Reserves after returning from Vietnam.

Caffie returned from his deployment to Vietnam in July of 1971. Even though he’d been encouraged by a former First Sergeant he’d served with to stay in active duty, Caffie entered the inactive reserve in 1972. He used the G.I. Bill to go to college.

But he chose to join an Army Reserve unit in Gainesville, Fla., in 1974.

"I missed it,” he said. "I missed the esprit de corps. I missed the brotherhood. I missed being a member of a proud organization. I missed the uniform. Those were the driving factors.”

For as much as Caffie was present for changes to the U.S. Army Reserves over the past three decades, he did his part to affect change himself.

Working until he reached a level of authority gave him the power to make changes that would benefit the lives of the soldiers below him, he said.

"I saw a need to be inclusive,” he said, "regardless of ethnicity or gender.”

"It’s never been about me. It’s always been about the soldiers,” he said. "The young men and women who make enormous sacrifices…These young kids step forward, raise their hands and say ‘I do.’”

Caffie deployed to Iraq in November of 2002. Unlike his arrival in Vietnam as a Private First Class, this time Caffie arrived on the ground as a Sergeant Major. The difference between the two experiences, Caffie said, was "drastic.” He served in this deployment as the Command Sergeant Major of the 377th Theater Support Command, overseeing 43,500 soldiers, as well as servicemembers from the other branches, he said.

Caffie was faced with a series of challenges in this deployment.

"We were saddled with departures in key positions,” he said, which mean he had to "reach down to find people and elevate them to a higher level.”

Working in combat support, Caffie used battle focus training on his soldiers, he said. Ultimately, he said, he felt good about the progress they made.

Caffie leaves his career in the military having earned many medals for his service. Too many to enumerate individually, they include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Distinguished Service Medal, which honors his service all the way through last decade of his career and his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

But the thing Caffie says he will take away more than anything are the faces, the joy, and the laughter of the men and women, --the soldiers he has served with. (here)


Music and Me

"Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide...yes"

One of my all-time favourites. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

CFB Trenton Military Appreciation Day

Military Appreciation Day set for Saturday in Trenton

Rally designed to show community support for troops

Feb 19, 2010 - 12:24 PM

By Moya Dillon

TRENTON -- After the shocking arrest of CFB Trenton Commander Russ Williams on Feb. 7, Quinte West Mayor John Williams has been flooded with calls asking how people can show their support for the military.

"After everything that's happened, people are calling wanting to know how they can express their support for our military," Mayor Williams said. "The analogy we're using is 'neighbours supporting neighbours', because if you're a neighbour and something tragic happened in their life, you'd go and knock on their door and make sure they were OK."

In Trenton's case, the neighbour is CFB Trenton, and the tragedy is the recent arrest of Col. Williams on charges of murder in the deaths of Belleville's Jessica Lloyd and Brighton's Marie-France Comeau, a corporal in 437 Squadron at 8 Wing.

Mayor Williams and members of Quinte West council are encouraging everyone to attend Military Appreciation Day, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 20. Attendants are asked to bring flags or homemade signs and meet at 10 a.m. at Bain Park, which is located at the corner of County Rd. 2 and RCAF Road....(here)

New commander takes over CFB Trenton

Last Updated: Friday, February 19, 2010 | 4:22 PM ET

Col. David Cochrane said he is 'extremely excited' to become the  commander of 8 Wing.

Col. David Cochrane said he is 'extremely excited' to become the commander of 8 Wing. (CBC)Col. David Cochrane officially became the new commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton Friday, replacing Col. Russell Williams, who is in jail charged with the murder of two eastern Ontario women.

"I am proud and privileged to take command of 8 Wing Trenton today," Cochrane said during Friday's change-of-command ceremony.

"I'm extremely excited ... fully realizing the enormous responsibilities and work that [lie] ahead."

He said he recognizes it is a difficult time for the forces and for the local community. He thanked the community for its support and said he looks forward to continuing to build a close relationship with it.

He urged military members to continue to be proud of their contributions to Canada and the world.

"We must turn the page and move forward.".

Cochrane entered an airplane hangar filled with rows of troops in blue uniforms around 10 a.m. ET, preceded by his wife, Sherri, 12-year-old daughter Lindsay and 13-year-old son Jamie.

Fields of Gold

Some days I need to listen to this one.

See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley

Stolen truck alert

"It is a rolling monument to our veterans, past, present and  future. That's just not something you can replace," A. J. Brooks  said.
"It is a rolling monument to our veterans, past, present and future.
That's just not something you can replace," A. J. Brooks said.

This truck has been stolen. It is not just an ordinary truck, and the call has gone out to help find this very special tribute to our fallen heroes:

Truck used as tribute to fallen soldiers stolen in Crossville
Posted: Feb 16, 2010 5:49 PM PST

6 News Reporter

CROSSVILLE (WATE) -- Crooks stole a truck used as a tribute to local soldiers who lost their lives in the war in Iraq.

The truck started out as a project by A.J. Brooks to honor his father, a Vietnam veteran.

The 1987 Chevy has often been the lead truck in the Patriot Guard Riders escort, taking fallen soldiers to their final resting places.

It's bright blue with flags flying and has appeared in several Crossville parades. Thousands of crosses are also on the truck, one for every soldier who died in Iraq.

Someone stole the truck Saturday night.

"I gathered there and placed a cross on the truck to remind them their son will never be forgotten," Brooks said.

He told many stories of how the truck helped grieving families.

"That did put smiles on peoples' faces, put a tear in their eye, but for a good reason, and now it is gone," Brooks said.

Brooks says he was shocked to find the truck was stolen. He says he parked it in a local parking lot on Saturday night.

Sunday morning, it was missing. There was no broken glass or signs of a break-in.

"Whoever took it knew how to get in and start it without any keys whatsoever," Brooks said.

He says it's not just his ride the thieves have taken. It's a local way to honor so many lives lost for the country.

"It is a rolling monument to our veterans, past, present and future. That's just not something you can replace," Brooks said.

If you see the truck or know what happened to it, call the Crossville Police Department at (931)-484-7231. (source)

Via a Soldiers' Angel, who is also a PGR, comes this from Linda Brooks, another PGR and AJ's mum:

Hello everyone,

My name is Linda Brooks and I am a Middle Tennessee [PGR] Ride Captain.
I am asking your assistance in helping us to find my son's pick up truck that was stolen in Crossivlle, Tennessee in the very early hours of Valentine's Day (Sunday).
This was not an ordinary truck and I am giving you the link to the story WATE TV in Knoxville aired last night. This news story tells what happened better than I can.
Due to the nature of the truck it could be anywhere in the country. Its highly visible and the only one of its kind.

[Linda did include her email addy, so if you have any questions, contact me.]

If you or someone you know lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan then part of this truck belongs to you. Your loved one is represented by one of the thousands of small white crosses that cover the truck in their honor.

Somebody has to know where this truck is. Please pass this on, and let's get this truck - this tribute to our fallen - back where it belongs. Thank you.

H/T Janet #2

Friday, February 19, 2010

Canada, eh?

Tom Brokaw recorded a piece about Canada that was broadcast on NBC prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics. He does a great job of explaining Canada. I missed it because I was watching via a Canadian broadcaster. I found it:


It also reminded me of a Molson commercial that went viral across Canada a few years back:

Any questions???!

Falkland Islands revisited?

Statement from the MoD:

Defence of the Falklands

There is widespread media coverage of tensions over British companies' intended oil explorations in the Falkland Islands which the Argentinean Government is protesting against. The coverage focuses on perceived actions by the MOD to bolster up its defence of the islands.

In a particular comment piece in The Daily Telegraph, Damien McElroy argues that Britain could not once again assemble a task force of the kind sent to the Falklands following the Argentine invasion in 1982.

The UK has transformed its military presence in the Falklands compared with the small force in place before the 1982 invasion.

The question of whether or not a task force identical in nature to that sent in 1982 could be dispatched once again is therefore totally academic. The South Atlantic Overseas Territories are now defended to such an extent that such an emergency course of action should never again need to be taken. In 1982, the situation was very different.

The UK Government is fully committed to the South Atlantic Overseas Territories. A deterrence force is maintained on the islands and in the South Atlantic, which comprises a range of land, air and maritime capabilities.

We have stationed on the Falkland Islands a sizeable garrison of Service personnel, four of the most up-to-date air defence aircraft in the Royal Air Force's fleet, and other air assets.

In the South Atlantic we have an enduring Royal Navy presence currently provided by HMS York (Type 42 destroyer), HMS Clyde (Falkland Islands Patrol Vessel), RFA Wave Ruler (Fleet Oiler) and HMS Scott (Survey Vessel). None of this was the case in 1982, prior to the Argentine invasion, when the Falkland Islands were far less well defended.

Posted at 12:16 PM in Defence in the media |

BHO on Islam

I have seen this before, but we might as well have it all on the record!

Freedom is NOT free: We will remember them

Members of the public and representatives of veterans associations lined the streets of Wootton Bassett yesterday as the bodies of Sapper Guy Mellors, 36 Engineer Regiment, Lance Sergeant Dave Greenhalgh, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, Lance Corporal Darren Hicks, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, Kingsman Sean Dawson, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, and Rifleman Mark Marshall, 6th Battalion The Rifles, were repatriated to the UK. [Picture: Sergeant Dan Harmer RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

We WILL remember them...with respect and gratitude.


Written on February 17, 2010 at 5:21 pm by glenn.selby

65th Anniversary Ceremony of the Battle of Iwo Jima Honors Surviving Veterans

Flag Raising on Iwo Jima, 02/23/1945 - Joe Rosenthal,  Photographer

Flag Raising on Iwo Jima, 02/23/1945 - Joe Rosenthal, Photographer

A special ceremony commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima will be held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at 11 a.m. on Feb. 19.

More than 500 Iwo Jima veterans and their family members from across the nation will attend the ceremony, honoring those who fought in one of the most famous World War II battles.

Co-hosted by the Iwo Jima Association of America and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, the event will include remarks from Gen. James T. Conway, Marine Corps Commandant, and Medal of Honor recipient Barney Barnum as well as performances by the U.S. Marine Band.

(Source: DoD)


Wounded veterans return, gain closure

Written by Sgt. Lindsey Bradford, United States Forces – Iraq
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:17

BAGHDAD - When eight combat veterans recently volunteered to return here, they knew they’d be interacting with troops, answering questions about their injuries, their experiences and their new lives as wounded warriors.

They were ready.

From Baghdad to Taji to Balad, Soldiers on the ground seemed to have the same question — what was the most frustrating part after they sustained their injuries. The answer was unanimous among the vets. Stay in contact with those who have been injured.

"As Soldiers, we have such a bond. Whether we've been together for six months or five years, it's a brotherhood; whether we've spilled blood together or not," said retired Capt. Ferris Butler, one of the wounded veterans who participated in Operation Proper Exit IV here from Jan. 31 through Feb. 6. "You have to follow up with those who have been injured. Follow up as friends, and keep that camaraderie."

Butler said that he and Sgt. 1st Class Michael Schlitz, who returned here for a second trip as a military mentor, were lucky because their unit had someone there for them throughout every step. Butler and Schlitz were serving with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division when they were injured.

"When I got evacuated to Germany, there was a 10th Mountain liaison waiting for me. When I landed in the States, I had another liaison there," Butler said. "When Mike got hit, I knew about it right away. [Tenth] Mountain did a great job."...

Read more here.


Iraqi Navy christens new patrol ships

UMM QASR – As part of the Government of Iraq’s effort to increase stability and the international standing of its country, the Iraqi Navy welcomed two new ships to its fleet during a ceremony along Iraq’s southern coast, Feb. 14.

In 2008, Iraq was the world’s 13th-largest oil producer, with 75 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and 86 percent of the government’s revenue coming from oil exports.

Eighty-five percent of the Iraqi oil exports go through the ports of Umm Qasr and Basrah, making their security a vital piece of the puzzle when discussing economic and overall stability of the nation.

The primary mission of the two new ships will be improving the security of these two key ports.

In a ceremony complete with a demonstration by Iraqi divers and the ritual slaughter of goats for good luck, the Majed 703 and Shomokh 704, both patrol boats purchased from Italy, were christened in the Umm Qasr port before assuming their role in protecting Iraq’s ports and coastline.

Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, United States Forces - Iraq deputy commanding general for advising and training, said the ships are another step in the right direction for Iraqi stability and for the ports to meet international standards for security.

“This is a great day for the Iraqi Navy; this will help them operate and secure their own oil platforms,” Barbero said. “This is another step toward allowing them to be self-sufficient; another step for them to assume their rightful role here.”

Even though Iraq only has 35 miles of coastline, Barbero said the direction the nation goes hinges on what happens in its port cities.

“This is the lifeblood of Iraq,” he said. “It is absolutely essential to the future of this country.”

Up next for the ships and their crews is a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to Louisiana for additional training and familiarization in preparation for their heavy responsibility.

The Iraqi Navy was almost completely destroyed during the 1991 Gulf War. Nineteen ships were sunk and six were damaged, according to The Navy was not rebuilt during the 1990s and played no role during the 2003 invasion. (MNF-1)