Ghostly EncounterThe surface of Saturn's moon Dione is rendered in crisp detail against a hazy, ghostly Titan. Visible in this image are hints of atmospheric banding around Titan's north pole.
The image was taken in visible blue light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 10, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Dione and 2.7 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) from Titan. Scale in the original image was 11 kilometers (7 miles) per pixel on Dione and 16 kilometers (10 miles) on Titan. The image has been magnified by a factor of 1.5 and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Classified - "Oh...Canada"
Oh Canada, indeed!
Seven British fallen heroes return home
From the BBC:
Two planes landed in England yesterday, One brought back a group of overpaid, underachieving footballers. The other brought back seven coffins, each with the Union Jack draped over them. Footballers play for our country, soldiers FIGHT for our country. Footballers give ninety minutes, soldiers... ...give their lives. I know who I respect more. (H/T Al)
Bodies of servicemen killed in Afghanistan return to UK
The bodies of seven British servicemen killed in Afghanistan have been returned to the UK.
L/Cpl David Ramsden, Colour Sgt Martyn Horton, Pte Alex Isaac and Pte Douglas Halliday died when their vehicle fell into a canal in the Helmand province.
And Sgt Steven Darbyshire, L/Cpl Michael Taylor and Marine Paul Warren, all of 40 Commando Royal Marines, were killed by enemy action last week.
The bodies were repatriated at RAF in Lyneham in Wiltshire.
A private ceremony was held at the base before the cortege passed through the nearby town of Wootton Bassett.
Thousands of mourners - soldiers, shopkeepers and well-wishers - lined the high street to pay their respects to the fallen men.
Family members placed flowers on top of the hearses as they paused for a minute's silence next to the town's war memorial, which was covered with more floral tributes.
With the death of a bomb disposal expert announced on Monday, a total of 20 servicemen have now died in June.
L/Cpl Ramsden, 26, from Leeds, Col Sgt Horton, 34, from Runcorn, Cheshire, Pte Isaac, 20, from the Wirral, Pte Halliday, 20, from Wallasey, Merseyside, and Sgt Darbyshire, 35, from Wigan, were all killed on 23 June.
L/Cpl Taylor, 30, from Rhyl, died on 22 June, and Marine Warren, who lived in Leyland, Lancashire, was fatally injured on 21 June.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul James, commanding officer of Somerset-based 40 Commando, said: "It has been an immensely hard week for 40 Commando, and though we mark the loss of three irreplaceable men, we will not break stride.
"We owe it to the sacrifice these brave marines have made to remain entirely focused on our mission; to protect the people of Sangin in partnership with the Afghan army - and we shall....
Read more, here.
Then, I found a poem written by Pte Kevin Pollard to honour Private Craig Barber, who died in Iraq in 2007. You can read more about Pte Barber here. Pte Pollard's poem speaks to all of our fallen:
TRIBUTE TO CRAIG BARBERWhenever the sun rises remember I am with you all / The wind will be a sign from there that I'm there with youThe moon is a guide from me that shows you I am in all your thoughts / The rain is my tears falling onto you to let you know how much I loved youI've left you in body but not in soul / I will always be next to youI was taken away from you but I am still there / You are all I lived for but I will never forget youThe star in my heart is always bright when you are in my thoughts / Always remember me and never forget I'm always with you
The poem read by Kevin Pollard
From the Front: 06/30/2010
A Handful of Dust: The Disenchanted Corporal
Chuck Z: irresponsible "sources"
CJ: Street Cred
Battle Rattle: Rules of engagement again questioned on Capitol Hill
Katherine Tiedemann: Daily brief: Taliban attack NATO base
Gerard Russell: Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History
Citizen Soldier: FRIENDSHIPS
Helmand Blog - Afghanistan: Checkpoint named after Military Policeman who died protecting local police
Helmand Blog - Afghanistan: 9 Regiment RLC honoured after Afghan tour of duty
IraqPundit: Allawi-Maliki Meet
Iraq The Model: Allawi-Maliki Deal Imminent
Kit Up!: SOCOM Developing Caliber Conversion for SCAR
Kit Up!: SCAR Mk-16 Death Aftermath
The Kitchen Dispatch: Taking a step back: "Remember The Third Herd"
Sylvie Stein: "Bad attitudes" land Afghan women in jail
Knights of Afghanistan: What We're Fighting For
Thomas Joscelyn: Karzai denies meeting Haqqani, General Petraeus says
Bill Roggio: al Qaeda commander killed in US strike on safehouse in South Waziristan
One Marine's View: Everything happens for a reason
Lt Col P: "How Much Longer?"
Red Bull Rising: Breaking Fast
CAPT Matt Smenos: YA DON'T
Robert Haddick: Marine Corps Operating Concepts attempts to answer Gates
War, the military, COIN and stuff: "We need to think more about strategy..."
The Captain's Journal: Ideologues and Counterinsurgency
Grim: Roundtable: Corruption and Culture
Crush: Emasculated ROE will likely continue under Petraeus
News from the Home Front:
Petraeus Testifies and Hastings Addresses Fallout From Rolling Stone Article
Sailor Missing From Korean War Identified
News from the Front:
Baghdad Traffic Lights: Green, Amber and Go.
Logistics Team Breaks Through Issues
Baghdad diary: Searching for power
The two main blocs' merger sidelines Kurds
Iraq focused on Maliki-Allawi meeting
Clearing Jalula one neighborhood at a time
In Rewriting Its History, Iraq Treads Cautiously
More Assassinations Across Iraq
8 militants killed in gunbattle at Afghan airport
Petraeus rules out any 'swift turnaround' in Afghan war
Holder in Kabul for talks with Afghan officials
Afghan Taliban raid foreign base in Jalalabad
Fighting erupts at airport in eastern Afghan city
Afghanistan Tests Petraeus' Counterinsurgency Mettle
Petraeus pledges to revamp US strategy in Afghanistan to protect troops
Suicide squad attacks airport in eastern Afghanistan
Taliban attack major NATO base in Afghanistan
Insurgent Attack Against Jalalabad Airport Repelled
IJC Operational Update, June 30
Kunar Province Sees Second Full Day of Successful Combined Operations
The Afghan women jailed for 'bad character'
Kabul jockeying for Baradar extradition
Afghan Attorney General Says U.S. Ambassador Pushed for Corruption Prosecutions
Deadliest month yet for NATO in Afghanistan
Reconciliation efforts with Afghan militants face major obstacle
Suspected US Missile Strike Kills 10 in Pakistan
Qaeda Figure Is Reported Killed in Pakistan
Failing U.S.-Pakistan relations hamper Afghan war
The Thunder Run's From the Front is a daily series that highlights news and personal dispatches from the front and the home front.
Remembering Bowe Bergdahl
One year ago today, Bowe Bergdahl became a POW/MIA:
At the time Pfc Bergdahl went missing, there was all sorts of wild speculation as to the 'how' and the 'why.' We cannot know, for sure, what happened, but what we do know is that one year on, Bowe is still MIA. The most recent video was broadcast in April, 2010:
"The very last thing is, just let me go. Get me to go, just -- release -- get me to be released because it's -- this war isn't worth the waste of human life that it has cost both Afghanistan and U.S. It's not worth the amount of lives that have been wasted -- the amount of life that has been wasted in prisons -- Guantanamo Bay, Bagram -- all those places where we are keeping, you know, prisoners. I'm a prisoner. I want to go home. You know, the men -- the Afghanistan men who are in our prisons, they want to go home, too. It's -- just let me go. Get me to come home. Release me. Get -- you know -- every day I want to go home. The pain in my heart to see my family again doesn't get any smaller. Get me -- release me. Please. I'm begging you. Bring me home. Bring us all home, back to our families, back to my family. Please. Bring me home. Please. Bring me home." -- Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl
Whatever the truth of the matter, this soldier needs to be home in the US. Period.
Second Platoon, Company B, 317th Engineer Battalion, 2d Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized)
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to First Lieutenant (Corps of Engineers) Randall Lee Ashby, United States Army, for gallantry while serving as the Platoon Leader of Second Platoon, Company B, 317th Engineer Battalion, 2d Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized). First Lieutenant Ashby consistently demonstrated valor in executing his engineer missions as the lead sapper platoon leader for Task Force 2-69 Armor. Serving with Team ASSASSIN, he voluntarily executed dangerous missions in order to contribute to the engineer's success. First Lieutenant Ashby's personal bravery and selfless actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Third Infantry Division "Rock of the Marne," and the United States Army. NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY AWARD: For gallantry in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the country of Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. First Lieutenant Ashby distinguished himself while serving as Platoon Leader with Second Platoon, Company B, 317th Engineer Battalion, and attached to 2d Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized). First Lieutenant Ashby exhibited extreme gallantry on multiple occasions in over 25 days of continuous combat operations. He spearheaded engineer movement for the Division for roughly 200 kilometers to OBJ CLAY, the Highway 1 Bridge across the Euphrates located to the west of An Nasiriyah. On the night of 21 March 2003, First Lieutenant Ashby led the engineer effort at OBJ CLAY under Team Assassin by providing the first reconnaissance of this key bridge as elements of the Iraqi 11th Infantry Division defended the area. First Lieutenant Ashby, while under fire, conducted a difficult classification mission and ensured the safe passage of an armored company onto OBJ CLAY NORTH. Moreover, after the Task Force had established a tactical assembly area to the west, First Lieutenant Ashby returned to OBJ CLAY to reconnoiter a construction bridge adjacent to the Highway 1 Bridge amid enemy artillery fire from the northern shore. Later, as Team Assassin conducted a dangerous linkup with elements of 3-7 Cavalry south of the city of Al Kifl, First Lieutenant Ashby directed his platoon's emplacement of vital blocking obstacles to prevent enemy penetration of the company's sector for more than seventy hours of continuous enemy contact. In addition, under his leadership 2d Platoon destroyed 300 pounds of TNT intended by the enemy for use on the Al Kifl Bridge. In southern Al Kifl, his platoon gained entry using demolitions to a water-bottling factory with a water supply greatly needed by both the Task Force and the local populous. First Lieutenant Ashby again distinguished himself on 1 April 2003 by emplacing explosive obstacles along RTE VENEZUELA to the east of the key city of Karbala at OBJ LEE. He led the emplacement with Team Assassin under fire from Saddam Fedayeen RPG ambushes and T-62 tanks. On 6 April 2003 again with Team Assassin as the lead element of the Task Force's attack into the Taji region north of Baghdad against Republican Guard and Saddam Fedayeen units, First Lieutenant Ashby personally destroyed with, MK-19 fire, eight enemy RPG teams and dismounted enemy soldiers over a 55 kilometer attack to OBJ MONTY. He displayed calm leadership following a fatal enemy RPG strike on one of his M113 armored personnel carriers, providing stability for his men as they treated two other soldiers wounded in action. While escorting a D9 Dozer, a Division high value asset, to OBJ MONTY, First Lieutenant Ashby protected the dozer from an enemy vehicle intent on ramming them. First Lieutenant Ashby's personal bravery as the lead sapper platoon leader for Task Force 2-69 Armor are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Third Infantry Division "Rock of the Marne," and the United States Army.
All Information Was Found On And Copied From MilitaryCity.com
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.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht, Pte. Andrew Miller: It’s our turn to stand on guard for thee
Any time another falls, we will gather here
Canadian medics' bodies return from Afghanistan
Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht, Pte. Andrew Miller died SaturdayLast Updated: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | 6:06 PM ET
Canadians pay tribute to Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller as the motorcade carrying their bodies travels from CFB Trenton to Toronto on Tuesday. (Fred Thornhill/Reuters)
The bodies of two medics killed in Afghanistan returned to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario on Tuesday afternoon.
Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller, both from CFB Petawawa, died Saturday after their armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.
Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and
Pte. Andrew Miller were killed when their armoured
vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.
(Department of Defence)
They had been responding to a report of a mine found in the doorway of a home when their vehicle detonated the IED, the military said. The blast occurred about 20 kilometres southwest of the city of Kandahar.
Queen Elizabeth, in Halifax on the second day of a nine-day visit to Canada, asked that her condolences be conveyed to the families of Giesebrecht and Miller. (More here)
In any kind of weather, any time of year
Watching for the headlights down the 401
Respect and dedication for our bravest ones
Hearts fill with sorrow and with pride
As the fallen pass below, on the final ride
Along the Highway of Heroes we stand
In a show of gratitude from right across the land
Standing on the bridges faithfully
Because you keep our true north strong and free
Soccer moms, firefighters, legion members too
School kids and teachers, folks like me and you
Standing at attention with the Maple Leaf held high
A grassroots benediction for the ones who died
You’re all our daughters, all our sons
And you make us proud Canadians
Along the Highway of Heroes we stand
Here to show the gratitude from right across the land
Up here on the bridges we will be
Because you keep our true north strong and free
Now it’s our turn to stand
It’s our turn to stand
It’s our turn to stand on guard for thee
To Michael Yon: "Money talks, Bulls*** walks."
Today, one of those 'milkooks' has a message for MY, and it is your must read of today.
MAJOR Chuck Z:
"Per Mike Yon on Facebook: If we are going to make a success out of this war, must start squeezing out and choking off the irresponsible "sources." People who care will start writing letters to editors/producers who link to websites such as Blackfive and Mudville Gazette. Must start telling mainstream sources that when they link to milkooks, we stop paying attention. Please leave comments at mainstream message boards encouraging people to ignore milkooks.Tuesday, June 29, 2010irresponsible "sources"
[He goes on with more quotes from one of MY recent screeds, which I won't bore you with, and then responds]
I will respond to that here, as it is my web page and even though the Code Monkey is driving the bus, I can still moon people from the windows.
My "from the hip" response: Eat shit, mike yon. Eat. My. Shit.
My well reasoned and thought out response: Mikey, Milbloggers made you as popular as you are. If it weren't for sites like Blackfive and Mudville Gazette, you would be the saddest panda in Iraq right now, living hand to mouth on the mercies of people who had not (yet) had enough of your silly shit and tantrums to stop putting up with you. You may have been taking good pictures, but nobody would have noticed, were it not for us "milkooks."
You go back to taking pictures in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Thailand, or wherever suits you. Since photography is your medium of choice, and you refuse to consider anyone who hasn't "been there" as a valid information source, I'll post my street cred right here:
There is more, MUCH more, and Chuck ends with this:
...Your effect on anything is negligible. (Because even when you do violate OPSEC, nothing happens.) If you were actually saying anything worthwhile, the enemy would be reading your site, like they do mine.
Oh by the way, do you know who is 100% involved in soldiers angels and Valour-IT? Not just involved, but actively supports and raises money for it? That's right mikey, Blackfive and Mudville. You beg others to smear them--what do YOU actually DO for soldiers? What do YOU provide for them?
Now who is the irresponsible source, mikey?
I could add my 2 cents' worth here, but as usual, our military says it all so much more intelligently than I ever could. Any ongoing observer of our current war on terror knows who has the street cred, knows who is the responsible source. Our warriors are walking the walk, while some are content to have foot massages in Thailand. Our current military is spending their blood, while *some* are spending their donors' dollars, as they talk talk talk about how our military *should* be conducting this war. ( I wonder if these willing donors know that a lot of their $$ go to paying MY's lawyers, as he fight his own battles? Just sayin'...) Not to worry, though, as General Petraeus is now getting 'expert' advice from Thailand 'sources' and will win the war for us all - milkooks included? - as long as they pay attention to HIS 'expert' opinions.
As Chuck says: 'crickets'.. Go NOW, and read the rest of Chuck's column here.
From the Front: 06/29/2010
Bouhammer: It is about time the Army starts to â€œGet itâ€
Army Live: Celebrating five years of serving Soldiers
Katherine Tiedemann: Daily brief: McChrystal to retire
AfPak Channel: AfPak Behind the Lines: Karzai's connections
Brian Fishman: In command in Afghanistan
Gareth Porter: Why Petraeus won't salvage this war
Family Matters Blog: Programs Help Warriorsâ€™ Families
Home From Iraq: Last Workout Before the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)
IraqPundit: Is a Lousy Deal Better than No Deal?
Kerplunk: What Hastings got wrong in Rolling Stan
Bill Roggio: Afghan, US forces launch offensive in Kunar
One Marines View: We donâ€™t promise you a rose garden on Tuesday eitherâ€¦
Red Bull Rising: Red Bulls Get Exclusive Sneak Peak at 'Restrepo'
Naheed Mustafa: Dispatches from AfPak: Notes from a Rally
LTC Rich Phillips: Everyone Hates BAF
She of the Sea: The Green and Blue Dress
The Unknown Soldiers: 'It feels amazing to be home'
Boston Maggie: Listen Up! I Want Something!
Jules Crittenden: Boomerang
Guard Wife: Sneaky Peeper
Neptunus Lex: Manifold Absurdities
Phyllis Zimbler Miller: Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal Needs to Learn That Women Are Also Deployed
News from the Home Front:
Gen Stanley McChrystal to retire from US Army
Cashiered general tells Army he'll retire
With Shift in Afghanistan, Talk Turns to Exit
DOD Launches Voter Online Registration Assistant During Armed Forces and Overseas Citizensâ€™ Votersâ€™ Week
Defense Secretary Robert Gates Statement on the National Space Policy
News from the Front:
NATO Deputy Commander Visits Iraqi NCO School
â€˜Distroâ€™ Platoon: the Lifeline of Soldiers at Remote Bases in Iraq
Flat Stanley Visits Dragoon Troop
Iraqi democracy transcends politics
UN vehicle shot in Afghan capital, driver hurt
U.S. dog raid rumour sparks violent Afghan clash
Roadside bombs kill five civilians in Afghanistan
Revamped US strategy may see special operations troops step up action in Afghanistan
Panel to Press Petraeus On Afghan Strategy
U.S. medevac crews treat Afghan civilians, win hearts and minds
Prince Harry desperate to return to Afghanistan
U.S. strategy in Afghanistan may involve greater use of special operations forces
Prince Harry wants to return to Afghanistan
Saad Mohseni Is Afghanistan's First Media Mogul
Taliban extend sphere of influence, says expert
Efforts to neutralise Afghan Taliban showing positive results, says NATO commanders
UN needs more information from Karzai on Taliban
U.S., Afghan forces launch assault along Pakistani border
Up to 150 Taliban killed in Afghanistan
Afghan military, police won't be ready for U.S. withdrawal, report says
McChrystal-Karzai Relationship Steers the News in Afghanistan
Afghanistan Christians Detained Amid Execution Threats
June 30 Marks One Year in Captivity for U.S. Soldier
IJC Operational Update, June 29
Small Projects Reap Large Gains in Helmand
Afghan Police Gain Leadership Skills, Public Trust
Karzai denies talks with Haqqani network
NATO "protection" plan means little to Afghan village
Afghanistan Still Crucial to U.S. Interests, Obama Says
Missiles kill 10 militants in Pakistan near Afghan border
US airstrikes kill six militants, say Pakistani officials
Pak 'hedging bets' on Haqqanis following US' 'dithering' over Afghanistan
Peshawar bracing for Taliban fight
U.S. wary of Pakistan as power broker in Kabul
Pakistan Receives F-16s That May Give `Unprecedented' Boost Over Taliban
The Thunder Run's From the Front is a daily series that highlights news and personal dispatches from the front and the home front.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Some Gave All: Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller
Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller (Department of Defence)
2 Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Last Updated: Saturday, June 26, 2010 | 9:04 PM ET
CBC NewsTwo Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan when their armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, the military said Saturday.
Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller, both medics from CFB Petawawa, had been responding to a report of a mine found in the doorway of a home when their vehicle detonated the IED, the military said. The blast occurred about 20 kilometres southwest of the city of Kandahar.
They were attached to the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.
A third soldier was taken to a hospital on Kandahar Airfield and was in stable condition.
"Although we cannot say for certain that these medical personnel were targeted deliberately, it is for certain that the threat to Afghans stemming from the influence of out-of-area fighters at this time of year is very serious," said Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, commander of Task Force Kandahar.
"Medical technicians are indispensable to the work being done by Canadian and Afghan soldiers. They participate in every Canadian Forces patrol and operation," Vance said.
In a statement Saturday evening, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to the families and friends of the two soldiers who "served bravely while helping to build a stable Afghanistan."
"Our Canadian Forces members in Afghanistan daily face life-threatening situations that are created by an enemy who is working to undermine the building of a democratic and self-sustaining society," Harper said.
“The courage and dedication demonstrated by Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller speak volumes about their pride in Canada and in creating a better country for the Afghan people."
Soldiers based at CFB Petawawa
Vance said Giesebrecht was born in Wallaceburg, Ont., and was a member of 1 Canadian Field Hospital, based at CFB Petawawa in the Ottawa Valley.
He said she was married and a fit, dedicated and fun-loving medical technician serving her second tour in Afghanistan.
"She was a mentor and an inspiration for her fellow medical technicians. Kristal loved life to the fullest. She was a wonderful friend, always opening her heart to everyone in need," Vance said.
"Kristal prided herself on her health and fitness, although she always felt the solution to any problem could be found in a box of chocolates."
Miller was born in Sudbury, Ont. A member of 2 Field Ambulance, based at CFB Petawawa, he was serving on his first overseas deployment.
Vance said Miller will be remembered as someone who would give his fellow soldiers the shirt off his back and was always the first to volunteer.
"Andrew was very confident in both his soldier and clinical skills. He wanted nothing more than to be part of the Health Services Unit for ROTO 9, in Afghanistan, so that he could put his skills to the test," he said.
"Called Caillou by his friends, everyone acknowledged the resemblance [to the children's cartoon character] as soon as they met him."(CBC here)
Emotions run high at farewell for slain Canadian medics
Canadian soldiers carry the caskets of Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller
A group of Canadian medics at Kandahar Airfield talk to reporters, Sunday, June 27, 2010. Pte. Vanessa Jacobs (left), Pte. John Forsyth and Master Cpl. Sergio DeFranco attended a memorial service for medics Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller, who were killed when their vehicle detonated an improvised explosive device. (Bill Graveland / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Sun Jun. 27 2010 7:17:05 PM
The Canadian Press
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A group of Canadian medics said goodbye to members of their military family Sunday during a ceremony for Canada's two latest victims in the war against the Taliban.
Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht, 34 and Pte. Andrew Miller, 21 were attached to a unit that was enroute to deal with a mine found in the doorway of a home Saturday when their vehicle detonated an improvised explosive device.
Giesebrecht and Miller were both medical technicians attached to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.
The incident occurred at 11 a.m. local time about 20 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City.
There are only about 130 medical personnel within Task Force Kandahar and losing Giesebrecht and Miller is a blow.
"There's several people on this Roto (rotation) right now that I've been deployed with so we all know each other and it definitely is a big family. We count on each other for just about anything," said Lt. Navy Melissa Mertens after a private memorial for the two soldiers.
"I talked about it with my family before coming here and it's not what anybody wants when they come here but everybody thinks it's not going to be them. It's something that we are all aware of but it can happen," she added.[...]
For medics - the risks that come with the job are quite simply a fact of life.
"I've been in the situation that they were in before. I know that they're out there to help. That's our goal out there," explained medic Pte. Jon Forsyth.
"We just want to help our soldiers so bad. We know the dangers when we go out and we accept the risk when we sign the contract."
Operational requirements by the military resulted in a scaled down nighttime ceremony for Giesebrecht and Miller, with only about 150 people allowed to attend.
While a piper played Amazing Grace their flag draped caskets were slowly carried aboard a military aircraft for their journey back to Canada.
Such services, known as ramp ceremonies, are never easy for soldiers serving in Afghanistan, however losing two individuals who provided medical aid in the field makes it even more difficult. But they realize the importance of the job.
"They were risking their lives for fellow Canadian soldiers, for fellow NATO soldiers, for the Afghan public. As medics we truly will help anybody. We have helped everybody and we'll continue to do that," said Master Cpl Sergio DeFranco.
The medics were focusing on their memories of Giesebrecht and Miller.
"Kristal was an absolute sweetheart. She would open her heart to absolutely everybody. She loved being a medic and she loved helping people," said Mertens. "I was blessed to be able to call her friend and I was really lucky to have met her and have as part of my life."
"Miller was a great soldier. He was always eager. He was the first one to always volunteer for any task that came down," said DeFranco.
"He truly, truly loved being a Canadian soldier. He wanted nothing more than to come to Afghanistan to serve his country." (More here)
From The Telegram:
Giesebrecht was a whirlwind of activity when spotted recently in a clinic, rushing around good-naturedly at double or triple time as she made her rounds.
The medic was, Vance said, "a mentor and an inspiration" to the other combat medics, who form a tight, highly respected and trained community within the military.
"Kristal prided herself on her health and her fitness, although she always felt the solution to any problem could be found in a box of chocolates," the general said.
Miller had made it known that he wanted to come to Afghanistan "so that he could put his skills to the test," Vance said. An accomplished cook, he went by the nickname Caillou because of his resemblance to the infinitely curious cartoon character of that name, the general said. (Read more here)
The official DnD release:
June 26, 2010
OTTAWA - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today on the deaths of two Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan:
"We grieve the loss of Master Corporal Kristal Giesebrecht and Private Andrew Miller who died yesterday in Afghanistan. These soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Southern Kandahar. This is a tragic loss for Canada and for the Canadian Forces.
My heartfelt sympathies are with the families and loved ones of these brave soldiers, who should be proud of the selfless sacrifice made by Master Corporal Kristal Giesebrecht and Private Andrew Miller.
Master Corporal Kristal Giesebrecht and Private Andrew Miller gave their lives helping to create the secure conditions needed for reconstruction efforts and continued progress in Afghanistan.[...]
I join with Canadians, and the Government of Canada, in supporting our troops who are helping create a better future for the Afghan people. We will honour the sacrifice of these brave soldiers by continuing our efforts to build a safe and secure Afghanistan.” (source)
As soon as this news was released, it was all over FaceBook, and our allies also feel the loss greatly:
Lt. Brian Sorenson:...Medics going to help folks.........doesn't seem fair. [Miller's] buddies late last night @ the ramp service said he went by the nickname Caillou, was always the 1st to volunteer, awesome medic & a pretty good cook. Every one in ROTO 9 was his friend.... Your Canadian fallen sure had a lot of friends. Didn't know them personally but from everyone that's spoken about them they sure sounded like special people. God bless Canada & all her citizens this morning.
Let us always remember and honour these fine Canadian heroes who serve the cause of freedom. Holding all who love them close in my heart.Rest in peace, Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Every Day Hero
Friday, June 25, 2010
Portraits of bravery: bomb disposal expertAs Armed Forces Day approaches, bomb disposal expert Corporal Anthony Horner describes a day of fortitude amid bad luck.
By Paul Kendall, Daily Telegraph
"It was one of those days when everything went wrong," says Corporal Anthony Horner.
A corporal in the Counter IED Task Force, a unit dedicated to disarming the Improvised Explosive Devices that claim so many British lives, he and his team had just spent the morning defusing two bombs when they were called to the scene of another explosion.
A Danish soldier had just been killed, his body ripped apart after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. Cpl Horner's team had orders to examine the area and establish exactly how the trap had been laid.
"When we got there the Danish soldiers were sitting down, clearly in shock," says Horner, 25. "As they tried to drink some water, I could see their hands shaking.
"Our job was to find out what went wrong, what kind of device had been used and how they'd been targeted."
But the British team had only just started their investigation when one of the Danish soldiers stepped on a second device. Horner was 50ft away from the explosion.
"My whole team was thrown to the ground by the blast," he says. "My head was spinning, my ears ringing." Then just as he was getting to his feet, a third bomb went off....
Much more here.
Thank you for your service, Corporal.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
LOD EMS: Our unsung heroes
Emergency Medical Services personnel are the unsung heroes of our society. As I sit to write this, sirens are blaring, and the many tones of the different EMS appear to have stopped in my immediate neighbourhood. (No, the men in white coats are not coming for me - not today, at least!) Every time a siren blasts by my house, I know that the brave men and women of EMS are on their way to some kind of emergency. Every day, these unsung heroes answer the call, laying their lives on the line to help a stranger.
On 9/11, we lost dozens of EMS heroes who ran towards danger, when most people were running away, trying to escape from the terror.
Running towards danger is what EMS do, but you and I mostly never hear of their heroic deeds. I first introduced you to one of those heroes here:
Friday, September 11, 2009
Keith G. Fairben: Still riding
Think of Keith, and by all accounts from those who know and love him, laughter is the first thing that comes to mind. Laughter, loyalty to family and friends, service to his community. These attributes are what continue to define Keith: beloved son, cherished friend, respected EMS professional, and of course, 9/11 hero.
Keith Fairben was 24 years old on September 11, 2001. The only child of Ken and Diane, Keith grew up knowing that service to others matters. .....
If you haven't already done so, go and meet Keith, and his family, here.
When I first approached Keith's family to write about, and share, who he is, I was shocked to learn that in the years since 9/11, nobody - and I do mean nobody - had taken the time to find out who this EMS is, or what his actions on 9/11 meant to those who love him the most. Of course, our fallen heroes from that day are remembered by those who love them, and they live with the hole left by their absence every single day, but the rest of society? Not so much. This still holds true today; there is an abysmal lack of public recognition, and honour, paid to those EMS heroes who live in service to others, and who sometimes fall in the line of duty.
This week a Memorial Service is being held to publicly acknowledge the sacrifice of EMS personnel who have given their lives in service to their communities over the last 12 months.
This annual event seeks to redress the dearth of respect and recognition these unsung heroes receive from society at large.
Every year, a non profit group gather for a Memorial Service to honour their own. June 26 is this year's date when families of the 2010 fallen EMS will join, as one 'family,' to remember and honour their sacrifice:
The mission of the National EMS Memorial Service is to honor and remember those men and women of America's Emergency Medical Services who have given their lives in the line of duty, and to recognize the sacrifice they have made in service to their communities and their fellow man.
Each year, hundreds of family members, friends, coworkers, EMS and political leaders, and colleagues from EMS agencies from around the nation gather together to remember our honorees.
The National EMS Memorial is not a single event but rather a weekend of events centered around the ceremony known as the National EMS Memorial Service. Please click on The Weekend in the menu above to learn more about these other activities.
The 18th Annual National EMS Memorial Service will take place on June 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm MDT (GMT -6:00) at the First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Please take a moment at that time to join us in remembering our fallen colleagues.
Visitors are invited to use the The Service and The Memorial links above to learn more about the National EMS Memorial Service and the "Tree of Life". ...(here)
Take a look at these names. Read them, and think about these families whose heroes gave all:
(copyright George W. Murphy. Here)
|Joseph R Barlow of Johnson County Rescue and EMS, Mountain City, TN, who died in the line of duty on September 18, 2009 of injuries received in an ambulance involved motor vehicle accident.|
|Paul Boyer of Womack Army Medical Center Ambulance Services, Fort Bragg, NC, who died in the line of duty on October 22, 2009 of injuries received in an ambulance involved motor vehicle accident.|
|James Bradshaw of Mountain Lifeflight, Susanville, CA, who died in the line of duty on November 14, 2009 of injuries received in an aeromedical aviation accident.|
|Timothy A Byrd of Dover-Stewart County Rescue Squad, Dover, TN, who died in the line of duty on February 9, 2009 of a cardiac arrest while on duty.|
|Debra A Cole of South Portland Fire Department, South Portland, ME, who died in the line of duty on June 11, 2009 of a cerebral vascular accident while on duty.|
|Diana Lynn Conner of Carolina Lifecare, Conway, SC, who died in the line of duty on September 25, 2009 of injuries received in an aeromedical aviation accident.|
|Mark B Davis of Cape Vincent Volunteer Fire Department, Cape Vincent, NY, who died in the line of duty on January 31, 2009 of a gun shot wound received while at the scene of a call.|
|David M Deland of Lake-Sumter EMS, Mount Dora, FL, who died in the line of duty on November 6, 2009 of a cardiac arrest while on duty.|
|Randolph Claxton Dove of Carolina Lifecare, Conway, SC, who died in the line of duty on September 25, 2009 of injuries received in an aeromedical aviation accident.|
|Larry Wayne Feagin of Gemini Ambulance Service, Falfurrias, TX, who died in the line of duty on August 13, 2009 of a cardiac arrest while on duty.|
|Melissa Gerese Greenhagen of Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital STAT Ambulance Services, Glasgow, MT, who died in the line of duty on January 17, 2009 of a gun shot wound received while walking across a hospital parking lot.|
|Paul D Holmes, Jr. of Douglas County Fire Department, Douglasville, GA, who died in the line of duty on December 28, 2009 of injuries received in an ambulance involved motor vehicle accident.|
|Daryl Joseph Lahren of Kindred Ambulance, Kindred, ND, who died in the line of duty on June 25, 2009 of a cardiac arrest while on duty.|
|Dale R Long of Bennington Rescue Squad, Bennington, VT, who died in the line of duty on June 15, 2009 of injuries received in an ambulance involved motor vehicle accident.|
|Bonnie McNeil of Union Rescue Squad, Willard, NC, who died in the line of duty on May 14, 2009 of a cardiac arrest while on duty.|
|Christopher Meadows of San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Search & Rescue, San Luis Obispo, CA, who died in the line of duty on May 24, 2009 of injuries received in an ATV accident while performing a beach/dune rescue.|
|Harry R Moore of Duquesne Emergency Medical Services, Duquesne, PA, who died in the line of duty on November 22, 2009 of a cardiac arrest while on duty.|
|Charles Denny Myshrall of North Coventry Volunteer Fire Department, Coventry, CT, who died in the line of duty on February 26, 2009 of complications from surgery for injuries received from a fall at the scene of a call.|
|Barry John Nagle of Silver Spring Ambulance and Rescue, New Kingstown, PA, who died in the line of duty on February 4, 2009 of a cardiac arrest while on duty.|
|Clinton Reger of Mountain Lifeflight, Susanville, CA, who died in the line of duty on November 14, 2009 of injuries received in an aeromedical aviation accident.|
|Christopher Ritz of Mountain Lifeflight, Susanville, CA, who died in the line of duty on November 24, 2009 of injuries received in an aeromedical aviation accident.|
|Virginia K Shearrer of Larned EMS, Larned, KS, who died in the line of duty on June 5, 2006 of a cerebral vascular accident while on duty.|
|Gary David Street of East Lake Sinclair Volunteer Fire Department, Sparta, GA, who died in the line of duty on October 17, 2009 of a cardiac arrest while on duty.|
|Andrew Francis Tingwall of New Mexico State Police Aircraft Section, Santa Fe, NM, who died in the line of duty on June 11, 2009 of injuries received in an aeromedical aviation accident.|
|Patrick B Walters of Carolina Lifecare, Conway, SC, who died in the line of duty on September 25, 2009 of injuries received in an aeromedical aviation accident.|
|Thomas E Widcamp of Cameron Parish EMS, Cameron, LA, who died in the line of duty on October 9, 2009 of injuries received when a rescue trailer pinned him to the EMS building.|
[Brat editorial note: Seem to be having tech issues *gasp* with the list of names. No disrespect intended for those heroes whose names are not appearing in my final copy. Please follow the link for the full list. Thank you.]
The all-volunteer organisation which co-ordinates and runs this special weekend is totally donation dependent. They receive not one dime from any government agency. The NEMSMS relies on the goodwill of others to ensure the proper respect is paid. This year is the first year that the Memorial Service will be held in Colorado, and yes, Colorado has donated the land and the facilities. Kevin Agard, volunteer Public Information Officer of NEMSMS, points out that the EMS 'doesn't have the lobby of police departments,' so all weekend activities are paid for out of supporters' pockets. Adopt-A-Family is one such aspect of the weekend. Each year, the organisation tries to match an honoree's family with a supporter, who helps defray the costs of a fallen hero's family attending the Memorial Service. As Agard told me, up until this year, families across the US gathered at Roanake. The travel expenses, plus hotel accomodation, for the fallen EMS' families to attend, can be prohibitive, and the NEMSMS does everything they can to ensure the families can be at the annual gathering. According to Agard, this year is the first year that every honoree's family has been successfully paired under the Adopt-A-Family program.
For many families, this is the only time they can travel across country to share in this public recognition. Diane, mom of Keith:
...I don't think too many go after their loved one is honored.Ken and I go, because ...it is one of the very few ways he and the others are remembered. Not just 9/11 EMS, but all EMS who die in the line of duty. We have to be Keith's voice!...We are probably one of the only family members that have returned every year...we were sponsored the year Keith was honored, after that we pay our own way. ... EMS is always the silent service, ... and rather like a small community( unfortunately ) FD and PD always get the glory!
For these unsung heroes there is not nearly enough 'glory,' in my humble opinion. My regular readers know that not many days go by when I do not think about these fallen heroes or their families, but like most of us, travelling to be part of public memorial services is not an option.
For more details on the National EMS Memorial, go here:
The National EMS Memorial is composed of the Tree of Life and the Memorial Book.
The Tree of Life is a representation of an oak tree, symbolizing strength. The name, agency and date of loss of each National EMS Memorial Service honoree is engraved on a bronze oak leaf, which is then added to the Tree of Life.
The Memorial Book contains a page for each National EMS Memorial Service honoree. These pages contain photos, biographies and agency patches for each individual honored. The Memorial Book is kept on display near the Tree of Life.
During the Memorial Service Weekend, the pages for each of that year's honorees is mounted and displayed next to the Tree of Life so visitors to the Memorial may view the honors paid to their loved one as a whole. At the conclusion of the weekend, these pages are then added to the Memorial Book. ...
There are some beautiful pictures of the Tree of Life here.
Any of us, all of us, can support these unsung heroes, even if we cannot attend the Memorial Service. If you have a few spare dollars, you can contribute financially. Go here for the main site and look around. The specific projects are listed, and you can choose to support any one aspect of the weekend: Adopt-A-Family, meet and greet on the Saturday, volunteer dinner, or the Sunday morning family breakfast. You can also choose to donate to the NEMSMS general fund, and let the organisation designate where your money is most needed.
The National Memorial Service is open to the public. For those of us who cannot be there in person, the NEMSMS is live-streaming the service:
2010 marks the first year that the National EMS Memorial Service will be streamed live via the Internet.
The webcast will begin at 6:00 pm Mountain Daylight Time (0000 Zulu), Saturday, June 26, 2010 and may be viewed at http://live.nemsms.org
While you are at the site, be sure and read about the Moment of Silence.
The National EMS Memorial Service Board of Directors had been looking at how to address the issue of allowing all of America's EMS providers who can not be personally in attendance at the Memorial Service each year with a way of participating and honoring those who have fallen in the line of duty. A number of ideas were put forward but the one chosen is the National Moment of Silence.
This choice was made for a number of reasons but the three primary are:
- It is the least intrusive and distracting to those providers who might be rendering patient care at the Moment.
- It is the least intrusive to our civilian neighbors
- While some other, more public methods were suggested, it is not the intention of this project to get the general public involved, that we leave to individual local agencies. Our mission is to provide a method of participation for the members of our profession....
For more details, read here.
I am not an EMS professional, but it seems to me that a Moment of Silence is the least we, as members of the public who rely on the selfless professionalism of these unsung heroes, can do to honour these Line of Duty EMS fallen heroes.
I know what I'll be doing this coming Saturday. What will YOU do to honour and remember these unsung heroes?