Thursday, September 30, 2010

Some Gave All: PFC Jaysine Petree

America lost another of her beloved children this past week. Pfc Jaysine Petree gave her life on September 24, serving America in a land far from her home in Guam.

In 2010, America has borne the loss of over 1,300 heroes and of those, 20 are from Guam. In September alone, America has seen the ultimate sacrifice given by 37 troops. Every single one of those losses represents a huge hole now left in grieving families, and communities, right across the land.

Pfc Petree had big plans. Only 19, she had her future all planned out:

"She wanted to go to college," said Susuico, [Capt. Ignas Susuico, the school Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program senior instructor] , explaining that Petree hoped the military could pay for her tuition. "She wanted to get into the delayed entry program, earn some military time, as well as get a bonus....[...]

"She's a very short, petite young lady, but she had a big heart and a very strong and driven desire to succeed,"...[...]

"Jaysine was a very outgoing and loving female," Cpt Susuico added. "She enjoyed her family and friends."

He added, "She was a very strong individual - she liked to be outdoors, she liked to take care of her family and friends and she enjoyed different kind of things, sports and stuff like that...."

Jaysine was not in the school's military programme, (JROTC) but signed up for the army a year before her high school graduation. Fiercely independent, she wanted to pay her own way in college.

Yesterday, Herbert Petree said his daughter joined the military to get funding for college. Her family could have paid that cost easily, but she was the kind of person who "liked to do things by herself."

"She was a giving person," Herbert Petree said. "She would give to everybody else before she'd take care of herself. I miss my baby."

If a blast hadn't killed the soldier Friday, she would have come home from her deployment in March, her father said....

Family was everything to Pfc Petree and she would call home every day when she could.

Her uncle James Sucgang:

During the deployment, the solider used to call her family almost daily to talk about both big and small -- from dangerous missions to stomachaches, he said. Sucgang would often skip the call and ask her parents to wish her love on his behalf.

He should have been treasuring each moment while he could still hear her voice, he said yesterday, standing outside the Yigo mayor's office, where flags flew at half staff.

"Every time she called up, we also say, 'Oh, just tell her hi.' You know, we didn't really grab the phone and try to talk to her every time," Sucgang said. "Because we thought she was coming back. We don't think that this will happen to us."...

Jaysine's younger brother Jam tells of the plans that he and his precious sister made together:

She joined the U.S. Army straight out of high school last year because she wanted to bring her family to the U.S. mainland. “It was our goal together that we were going to have a big house on the mainland and bring our family there,” said Jam Petree, Jaysine’s younger brother.

After moving to Guam from the Philippines in 2002, Jam said he and his sister promised each other to work together to help their family. “We just wanted to be successful in life. That was our main goal together,” Jam explained....

Her uncle James Sucgang:

[...] said he had encouraged his niece to go to college before she enlisted in the military, but she insisted on earning money for her tuition herself, through her service.

Sucgang said the family felt responsible for the soldier's schooling, but she was inspiringly -- and sometimes frustratingly -- independent.

"It was very noble," he said. "Everybody discouraged her to join. ... We wanted her to join after she got a bachelor's degree, but she was adamant."...

Today, all of Guam is in mourning, and Acting Gov. Mike Cruz declared a state of mourning, ordered flags to be flown at half staff, and asked Guam to pray for the Petree family."We will forever be grateful for the sacrifice she paid on behalf of our freedom and liberty. She will always be remembered and honored in our hearts," Cruz said in the statement.

Pfc Petree's mother says:

"...My final words to her is that I love her so much,..."

Dad Herbert:

"I miss my kid," Herbert Petree said yesterday morning. "We just want them to get her home, so we can do what's right for her."

Pfc Jaysine is America's daughter, she IS one of our own.

Rest in Peace, Pfc Petree. Your service and sacrifice will always be remembered and honoured.

[NB: All content found in the public domain and mostly, where you can find much more]

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Governor General Michaëlle Jean thanks Canadian troops

Today was Governor General Michaëlle Jean's last day on the job as the Queen's representative in Canada. Although some may have found her five year term as Vice-Regal controversial at times, for me there was never any doubt how she felt about our troops.

In Ottawa today, there was also not much doubt how our troops feel about her, as she performed her last military troops review:

An emotional Michaëlle Jean held her last review as Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces on the grounds of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa September 29, 2010.Photograph by: Chris Mikula, The Ottawa Citizen

Tears as Gov. Gen. Jean bids Canadian troops, veterans a fond farewell

OTTAWA — As she walked through the rows of aging Korea and Second World War veterans, wounded Afghan soldiers and rank and file service members, Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean did what she's done best during her term as the Queen's representative in Canada.

She stopped to listen and share a moment, never rushing anybody along. She choked back tears while speaking with one of the most decorated elderly veterans and hugged a wounded soldier whose cane belies his tender age.

Compassionate, empathetic and warm are the words people have used over and over to describe Jean whose five-year term ends Friday.

Those qualities were on full display Wednesday as army, navy, air force, special forces, veterans, cadets and senior military brass gathered on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum below an overcast sky to say thank you and bid her farewell.

"You stood on the tarmac in freezing rain and blistering heat for repatriations, offering a warm embrace and shedding tears with loved ones of fallen soldiers," said Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

"The way you spoke with the troops, passionately, eloquently, demonstrated genuine care and concern and I witnessed that again today . . . your words, actions, sentiments and personal investment speak volumes and you carried the compassion of a country on your shoulders," he added.

Jean has long had a special place in her heart for Canadian troops.

During her term, she travelled twice to Afghanistan to meet with deployed soldiers, visited the Canadian war cemetery in France, dined on seal heart with Rangers in the Far North, met with troops providing relief following the devastating earthquake in her native Haiti and, as traditional commander-in-chief, resurrected the tradition of donning a military uniform.

While it's her job to participate in Remembrance Day events and medal presentations, she also attended many repatriation ceremonies for fallen soldiers and regularly toured hospitals and rehabilitation centres to talk to wounded veterans.

That willingness to go above and beyond was recognized with a full military parade and 21-gun salute.

At one point, chief of defence staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk called for troops to remove their headdress for a less formal "three cheers for the governor general" as a military band broke into Auld Lang Syne, the famous Scottish farewell lament most commonly heard on New Year's Eve.

"You have earned our great admiration, our heartfelt respect and a privileged place in all of our hearts forever," he said.

An emotional Michaëlle Jean held her last review as Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa September 29, 2010.

"Your Excellency has been absolutely wonderful and inspiring in fulfilling all those functions on behalf of our nation," he added.

An emotional Michaëlle Jean held her last review as Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces on the grounds of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa September 29, 2010.

Read more here at Ottawa Citizen.

Governor General Jean has always gone above and beyond in her support of our troops, and it was always obvious how highly she regarded each of our troops. Today she again shared her appreciation for those gathered to salute her:
Outgoing GG sent off with bang as military offers 21-gun farewell

Canada's Governor-General Michaelle Jean applauds during a military farewell ceremony in Ottawa September 29, 2010.
Canada's Governor-General Michaelle Jean applauds during a military farewell ceremony in Ottawa September 29, 2010. Photograph by: Chris Wattie, Reuters


In her own address following her troop inspection, Jean spoke about the military uniform and how it represented something far more sinister growing up "under the yoke of a merciless dictatorship" in Haiti.

"Working beside you over the past five years has given me a true measure of the integrity, courage and generosity of the members of Canada's military," she added.

"Everywhere I have been, I have witnessed your remarkable work and the inconceivable risks you take on a daily basis to build peace, to provide emergency assistance and take part in reconstruction efforts around the world."

Just as she is said to have inspired so many of them, Jean described the men and women before her as a "constant source of inspiration."

Among those to participate in Wednesday's event was Master Cpl. Jeremy Leblanc who was injured during a 2006 attack in Afghanistan that killed his commander, forcing him to assume control of his section. Hours after the ceremony, Jean announced that he would be among 24 soldiers to receive military medals — likely her last award announcement before her successor David Johnston assumes office on Friday.

"In my opinion you did a great deal to generate support for the troops from all corners of Canada," Leblanc said.

"You know what price us soldiers and our families pay and we know that we have your support in good times and in the absolutely worst of times."

Della Morley, a Silver Cross Mother who lost her son Cpl. Keith Morley to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan about a month before Leblanc's attack, said her son's funeral was exactly four years ago....

To read of this mother's phone call from Michaëlle Jean, and for more reactions, go here.

In my humble opinion, Governor General fulfilled her duties in an exemplary manner, often in a trying political climate. Throughout her tenure, her support for our troops never wavered.

Thank you, Ma'am, for YOUR service to Canada. Thank you.

Iran sanctions: BHO administration says the right thing but...

THIS just in over the BBC:

US President Barack Obama has ordered for the first time sanctions against senior Iranian officials for "sustained and severe violations of human rights".

The eight men include the head of the Revolutionary Guards, a former interior minister and the prosecutor general.

The treasury department said they would face a travel ban and asset freeze.

The alleged abuses include the killings and beatings of anti-government protesters after the disputed presidential election in June 2009.

Millions of Iranians defied official warnings and participated in mass rallies that drew the largest crowds since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The authorities launched a brutal crackdown, during which opposition and human rights groups accused the security forces of extra-judicial killings, rapes and torture. Thousands were held without charge.

Over the subsequent six months, at least 40 protesters were killed, although the opposition says more than 70 died. At least two people have been executed for related offences, and dozens imprisoned.


In a statement, the White House said: "As the president noted in his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, human rights are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States."

"The United States will always stand with those in Iran who aspire to have their voices heard. We will be a voice for those aspirations that are universal, and we continue to call upon the Iranian government to respect the rights of its people."

All of those named in the US sanctions list served in Iran's military, law enforcement and justice system around the time of the 2009 protests:...

There follows a list of those named in the sanctions, and a video clip of Secretary of State Clinton.

Check it out on the BBC here.

This declaration follows on the most recent symbol of disapproval of Iran, when the US and other nations walked out of the UN as the Iranian despot did his usual anti-Israel, anti-all- things-not-Iranian screed this past week.

My two questions are this:

1) what took you so long? and 2) what is the US actually going to do?

We have all watched the horrific videos and read the desperate emails/twitters that the Iranian people bravely got out to the watching west following the farce of an election last June. Who can forget grotesque images like this? (Yes, I have chosen to show the obscenity of Neda's death, as a reminder.)

The BBC story above quotes the official number as 40 killed and thousands were arrested. I would suggest that both numbers are grossly under-estimated, since at least one other story sated that 70 Iranian professors were arrested in the horrific days following June 2009. Many of those Iranians arrested were never heard of again, and we know that there were many who were beaten and tortured. There was also executions of those who dared to protest and demand a democratic vote.

Iranian 'leaders' have continued to laugh at the west's demands about their nuclear programme, and the UN has allowed Ahmadinejad to continue his unfettered mockery of the condemnation by the rest of the world. Since 1979, Iran has consistently ignored any rhetoric expressing disappointment, disapproval and even 'outrage,' spouted from the rest of the world. We also know that Iran has aided and abetted enemies of the west in this current Global War on Terror, as we hear of Islamic terrorists being trained and supplied with weaponry by the Iranian regime.

Since 1979, all the west has offered IS rhetoric, and empty words, symbols. Back in June 2009, the Iranian people were dying on their streets, and begging the world to hear them, to help them.

It appears that the wheels of diplomatic solutions turn really, REALLY slowly, but this pronouncement of sanctions today - unless backed up with real action and consequences for the Iranian despots - will accomplish nothing, except more mockery from Ahmadinejad.

Since BHO took office, he has talked a good talk (usually ad nauseum,) about human rights, but he has yet to prove - unequivocally - that he is prepared to walk the walk, and back his words with action.

Today's statement about sanctions is a good thing, a good first step. It also makes for a good soundbite on the evening news. However, if these words, these sanctions, are not backed up with actions that mean more than empty noise, we will have failed the people of Iran - again.

Mr President: the people of Iran, and the rest of us, are watching. The "always" you spoke of is NOW! It is long time past for the talking to stop, and for the people of Iran to know that we DO stand with them, whatever the cost.

To quote JFK of January 1961 (another Democrat president):

Let every nation know, [...] that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Lt. Schneider

Cpl. Brian Downard
Cpl. Brian Downard
U.S. Marines

Brian Downard was 23 years old, a father, a country music fan, and a corporal of Marines. He joined the Marine Corps in July of 2005, and would do two deployments to two different scenic locales. The first was to Iraq, where he served from November of ’06 to April of the following year. While in Iraq, Brian suffered a concussion from an IED strike while patrolling. Undeterred, Brian stayed in the Marines and deployed to Burma in 2008 when Marines and sailors with the Essex Amphibious Readiness Group provided humanitarian assistance operations to aid the cyclone-stricken country. He would eventually leave the service just last July, after four honorable years of service.

One month after separation, he discovered that he had testicular cancer, and a very aggressive strain at that. The cancer spread quickly to his muscles and fatty tissues, and Brian suffered so greatly with the pain that they put him on morphine. He was released from the VA to enjoy his last days with the love from his mom and his 7-year-old son Jesse.

You can read the rest of Cpl. Downard'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, September 28, 2010

Corporal Andrew Wardle: '...acts of exemplary courage..."

Corporal Andrew Wardle extracted wounded child from a fire-fight

27 September 2010

Corporal Andrew Wardle, 22, of the Yorkshire Regiment, who risked his life to give first aid to a wounded Afghan child during a fire-fight is to receive the Military Cross for his courage against the Taliban.

Corporal Andrew Wardle, The Yorkshire RegimentAndrew dashed across 50 yards of open ground to rescue the ten year-old child who had a severe gun-shot wound to the back. He was lying in the open ground in full view of the enemy positions. Acting on impulse, raced across, picked up the child, and returned to safety to give first aid.

Speaking about the incident, Andrew said: “At first I didn’t realise it was happening. Then I just saw the child out of the corner of my eye. The Taliban had started firing towards it.

“Then I didn’t really think twice, because it was a child. So, I ran out and then ran back. It all happens so fast –you get a bit of tunnel vision – you just go for it.

“I’m glad I was there, really, to get him out.” ...

There is a video interview, and the rest of the this great story, here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

They Really Have Conned The World!

From Monkey in the Middle:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

They Really Have Conned The World!

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) also known as the Kill the Jews Commitee has voted that Israel committed War Crimes against the Mavi Marmara on May 31.
A report by three United Nations appointed human rights experts Wednesday said that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, killing nine activists, earlier this year.

The UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission concluded that Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian territory was unlawful because of the humanitarian crisis there, and described the military raid on the flotilla as brutal and disproportionate.

Israel has maintained that its soldiers acted in self-defense when they shot and killed eight Turkish activists and one Turkish-American aboard the Mavi Marmara on May 31. Israel Defense Forces released footage showing its troops coming under attack as they tried to board the boat.

The Human Rights Council blamed Israel prior to the investigation and it is no surprise that they condemn after, said Andy David, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, referring to the 47-member body's resolution in early June condemning the raid...

Yes, there is more, over here at Monkey in the Middle. Go, read and watch the videos.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gold Star Mother's and Families' Day 2010

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Proclamation--Gold Star Mother’s and Families’ Day

In a long line of heroes stretching from the greens of Lexington and Concord to the mountains of Afghanistan, selfless patriots have defended our lives and liberties with valor and honor. They have been ordinary Americans who loved their country so profoundly that they were willing to give their lives to keep it safe and free. As we pay tribute to the valiant men and women in uniform lost in battle, we also recognize the deep loss and great strength of those who share in that ultimate sacrifice: America's Gold Star Mothers and Families.

For those in our Armed Forces who gave their last full measure of devotion, their loved ones know the high cost of our hard won freedoms and security. An empty seat at the table and missed milestones leave a void that can never be filled, yet the legacy of our fallen heroes lives on in the people they loved. Their exceptional spirit of service dwells in the pride of Gold Star parents, who instilled the values that led these brave men and women to service. It grows in the hearts of their children, who know that, despite their absence, they gave their lives so others might be free. And, it echoes in the enduring love of their spouses the backbone of our military families who supported the person they cherished most in the world in serving our Nation. Though our Gold Star families have sacrificed more than most can ever imagine, they still find the courage and strength to comfort other families, support veterans, and give back to their communities.

It is from these examples of unwavering patriotism that we witness the values and ideals for which our country was founded, and for which America's sons and daughters have laid down their lives. As members of a grateful Nation, we owe a debt we can never repay, but hold this sacred obligation forever in our hearts, minds, and actions.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 26, 2010, as Gold Star Mother's and Families' Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this special day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation's sympathy, support, and respect for our Gold Star Mothers and Families.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Keith Fairben Annual Paramedic Scholarship Fundraiser

Sunday, September 26 · 2:00pm - 6:00pm

LocationReliance Fire House, Jericho Tpke and Holland Ave, Floral Park, NY


Annual fundraiser providing tuition to paramedic school

Don't know who Keith Fairben is, or why this is an important - and FUN - event? Check out the previous columns I have written about Keith here and here.

Mourning in America

From Monkey in the Middle:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mourning In America

Hat tip to Wake Up America

In 1984, the Reagan re-election campaign set the standard for modern political advertising with its fabled "Morning in America" series, which included one of the greatest political ads of all time -- "Better, Prouder, Stronger." The ad captured the zeitgeist -- America under President Reagan was coming back, full of optimism and confidence in the future.

Today, the zeitgeist is exactly the opposite. Americans are worried about their future, and about a government determined to implement policies that just don't work. But like its predecessor, "Mourning in America" offers a new hope -- if we can just get our government to return to time-tested policies that can spark a rebirth of liberty...

The videos Monkey in the Middle has up are both MUST WATCH! Go here.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Photo: Cpl Darcy Lefebvre

September 19, 2010 - Ottawa, (Ont)

Master Corporal John Gute (front) and Master Corporal Manual Seguin from 442 Squadron coast in on their parachutes for the jump accuracy competition during SAREX 2010.

SAREX highlights Search and Rescue (SAR) role and capabilities to internal, external and host community audiences. The National Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) is a yearly opportunity for members of the Canadian Forces SAR community to come together to standardize and evaluate their skills through an exercise involving nearly 200 participants and to showcase the SAR expertise to Canadians. For the first time in National SAREX history, the exercise is being held in the Canadian North, in Whitehorse, Yukon, from 20 to 24 September.


19 Wing Comox and will be held in Whitehorse, Yukon from 20 to 24 September 2010.

The National SAREX is held once a year in a different location accross Canada. The goal of the SAREX is to facilitate liaison between SAR units and provide a venue for the standardization and evaluation of operational SAR techniques and procedures used by the CF.

The normal SAREX events are:

  • Parachute accuracy event;
  • Medical event;
  • Search event;
  • Rescue event; and
  • Maintenance event.

The National SAREX also enables for members from key organizations involved in the execution of search and rescue (SAR) to meet, compare techniques and experiences to develop the relationship that will be crucial during a SAR mission.

This year's National SAREX while competitive in nature will ensure maximum participation by military, law enforcement, Provincial and civilian groups associated with the National SAR program.



Children enjoy their new playground following an opening ceremony attended by the US soldiers, Iraqi government and police officials who spearheaded the project in Taba, near Kirkuk, Iraq, August 17, 2010. US Army photo by Spc. J. Luhrs.

Modern playground opens for children

Written by Spc. Jessica Luhrs, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division Thursday, September 23, 2010 10:39

KIRKUK – U.S. Soldiers joined local government and police officials near here recently in the village of Taba to officially open a new playground for local children.

The $49,000 playground, which took less than a month to complete, is made up of three slides, a large play tower, monkey bars, a field for soccer and multiple picnic tables for the more than 100 families who live in the area.

The idea for the playground originated from multiple meetings between local Iraqi Security Forces and Fort Stewart, Ga., Soldiers with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, according to Capt. John Cornthwaite, battalion engineer for 1/30th Inf., who coordinated the project with local contractors.

“We wanted to demonstrate our commitment to the citizens of Kirkuk and show them we do more than advise the police,” said the Savannah, Ga., native. “What better way than to build a playground for the community?”

Cornthwaite added that his unit and their Iraqi counterparts pushed for this project to better instill a sense of family in the area.

“Kirkuk’s culture is very family-oriented, so by providing a venue where families can come together allows them to embrace family-ties and associates us as an extended family,” he said.

The Iraqi contractor for the project feels they have made the community a better place.

“The playground is a place where children and adults can come together in hope for a better future,” he said. “This playground may seem like something small but it will make a very big impact on the community.”

This will be front page news in the msm, NOT! But you can find this and more B*N*S*N stories here.


09/21/2010 - U.S. Army Pfc. Angela McCormick, right, embarked aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), administers a deworming vaccine to a pet during a Continuing Promise 2010 veterinary civic event in Bluefields, Nicaragua, Sept. 21, 2010. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathen Davis, U.S. Navy/Released)


Army's spy museum revealed

A History and Honour news article

23 Sep 10

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the creation of the British Army's Intelligence Corps. Some of the Corps' best kept secrets are exposed to the public at a remarkable museum in Bedfordshire. Report by Ian Carr.

Model of a carrier pigeon

Bird's eye view: carrier pigeons were used for aerial reconnaissance
[Picture: Harland Quarrington, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

Here's a pub quiz question for you. What was the first example of aerial reconnaissance?

Was it in the First World War perhaps? It's true that the Royal Flying Corps took cameras aloft, with pilots flying 800 feet (240m) above the ground while the observer leaned out of the cockpit taking pictures - despite Field Marshal Haig's view that this wasn't a gentlemanly way to fight a war. But that's not the answer.

Hot air balloons maybe? As early as 1858 balloonists would snoop on and snap what was happening on the ground below. But, no.

Give up? Well, according to Sally Ann Reed, curator of the Military Intelligence Museum at Chicksands, Noah was the first to use aerial reconnaissance. "He sent out a dove to find land," she says, tongue firmly in cheek....

Very cool article here.

It's Friday: Are YOU wearing red?

Support our Troops

Check THIS out. THIS too, for American.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Gave All: Royal Guardman, Private Simon Mundt Jørgensen of Denmark

(picture courtesy of Bjorn Sorensen)

Royal Guardman, Private Simon Mundt Jørgensen of Denmark

Defense Chief Gen. Knud Bartels said: "Early this morning I received the announcement about a Danish soldier is killed, and another has been wounded in Afghanistan. For the family of the killed are modest about their loved ones are dead, of course, a terrible message, as it will take a long time to get over. We want from the Defense side do everything we can to support them in the difficult time now. For the force, and in particular soldatens closest colleagues, it is also a fierce battle. But I know that the strength to fight for the important task, the addresses for the people of Afghanistan, "says Chief Gen. Knud Bartels.

As Denmark mourns, so do we all.

Bjorn Sorensen:

...Jorgy was a really nice kid, strong as an ox, 21, coming home tonight or early morning, whole country will probably be there to meet the Angel flight...

Private Simon Mundt Jørgensen was from Charlie-company seconded from The Royal Livgarde, and in a country of about five million citizens, his loss is keenly felt. As we all stand shoulder to shoulder with our coalition allies, Private Jorgensen is also being remembered in New Jersey, USA.

We honor a Royal Guardman, Private Simon Mundt Jørgensen of Denmark

Sunday, September 26 · 7:00am - 2:30pm

LocationThe Lavallette Triathlon, Lavallette NJ

Created By

More Info
Please join us in honoring a hero from Denmark. Soldiers Race Team stands with Denmark morning the loss of Danish Private Simon Mundt Jørgensen, 21 years old.
May you rest easy with your fellows.

Private Jorgensen started his career in the Army, in 2009, receiving his basic training in the Royal Guards, before getting transferred to the armys reaction force, with the purpose of serving in Afghanistan. In August this year, Simon ...was shipped out to Afghanistan, together with the rest of Charlie Company, formed by the Royal Danish Guards.

On September 22, Simon, together with the rest of his unit, were on a patrol south of Bridzar in Helmand, when they were hit by one of Taleban's IEDs. Simon and one of he's fellow soldiers, were both seriously wounded by the blast. Despite the fast and efficent first aid, administrated by Simon's colleagues at the site and by the medics in the helicopter on route to Camp Bastion, Simon life was not to be saved, and he was pronounced dead at the arrival at the field hospital in Camp Bastion.

God bless Simon, and may he rest in piece, together with his brothers in arms. I know that he will be taken very good care of, when he arrives at the pearly gate.

(FaceBook here)

Rest in peace, Private Jorgensen. You will be always remembered and honoured, as we continue your mission.

I stand with all of you, Denmark. Every soldier is one of our own. Every soldier's family is OUR family.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harvest Moon: "...And the moon is climbin' high..."

Watch out for the Super Harvest Moon

Sept. 22, 2010: For the first time in almost 20 years, northern autumn is beginning on the night of a full Moon. The coincidence sets the stage for a "Super Harvest Moon" and a must-see sky show to mark the change of seasons.

The action begins at sunset on Sept 22nd, the last day of northern summer. As the sun sinks in the west, bringing the season to a close, the full Harvest Moon will rise in the east, heralding the start of fall. The two sources of light will mix together to create a kind of 360-degree, summer-autumn twilight glow that is only seen on rare occasions.

Super Harvest Moon (moonrise, 550px)
The Harvest Moon of Oct. 3, 2009,
photographed by Catalin M. Timosca of Turda, Romania.

Keep an eye on the Moon as it creeps above the eastern skyline. The golden orb may appear strangely inflated. This is the Moon illusion at work. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, a low-hanging Moon appears much wider than it really is. A Harvest Moon inflated by the moon illusion is simply gorgeous.

The view improves as the night wears on.

Super Harvest Moon (conjunction, 200px)
A Moon-Jupiter conjunction on Aug. 26, 2010.
Credit: Tom Cocchiaro.

Northern summer changes to fall on Sept. 22nd at 11:09 pm EDT. At that precise moment, called the autumnal equinox, the Harvest Moon can be found soaring high overhead with the planet Jupiter right beside it. The two brightest objects in the night sky will be in spectacular conjunction to mark the change in seasons.

The Harvest Moon gets its name from agriculture. In the days before electric lights, farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset. It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market. The full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox became "the Harvest Moon," and it was always a welcome sight....(More here)

I doubt I'll be able to see it here (too cloudy,) but I can at least listen to this:

...But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.


But now it's gettin' late
And the moon is climbin' high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin' in your eye...

Some Gave All

Afghanistan helicopter crash kills nine US Nato troops

Map of Afghanistan

Nine members of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force have died in a helicopter crash in Zabul province, southern Afghanistan.

All nine were US soldiers, it was announced later. A Nato soldier, an Afghan soldier and a US civilian were also injured, Isaf said.(BBC)

"...I proudly stand up next to you, God bless the USA..."

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Mike Golch

Lt. Ronald Markiewicz

Lt. Ronald Markiewicz
U.S. Army

The year is 1971. A Lieutenant in the United States Army by the name of Ronald Markiewicz is serving near the Laotian border. He is a helicopter pilot. In March of that year he is sent out to fly two missions. The first one was to resupply a group of Vietnamese Marines and pick up wounded service members. The second mission was to allow troops to recover the crew of a downed helicopter. One both occasions he faces anti-aircraft fire and is wounded each time.

Fast forward to 2010 and Lt. Ronald Markiewicz finally received the Silver Star and a Distinguished Flying Cross. The awards he earned 39 years ago.

All Information Was Found On And Copied From

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.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Help needed to send Harry Reid a message today!

Harry Reid is at it again. There is a vote TODAY to pass a US defence bill that has the DREAM Act attached.

From Yankeemom:

Action Needed!!!!!

An Alert from Patriots For America ~

Senate Majority leadership (Senator Reid) plans to offer illegal immigration amnesty legislation as an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill. The amendment has nothing to do with our Nation’s defense.

The planned amnesty amendment is called the DREAM Act. It is controversial social legislation unrelated to the defense bill. It has no business in the defense bill.

And a vote is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, September 21, at 2:15 p.m.

With your calls and emails, Sen. John McCain, ranking member of the armed services committee, can stop leadership’s hijack of the defense bill.

We urge you to let your Senators know you’re on John McCain’s side. Senators should side with John McCain.

The business of the defense bill is the nation’s defense, not to provide a shield to controversial policy and program changes. Our troops are already burdened by the defense of freedom and they should not also have to shoulder the task of carrying legislation that cannot stand on its own.

We must not allow the defense bill to be exploited in this manner. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, agrees and is leading the opposition against this misguided plan. But he needs 41 pro-military Senators to join him for a successful effort and that is where you come in.

Pick up the phone, call your two Senators and let them know that you do not want to see the Defense bill hijacked with this amendment. Tell them to “VOTE NO ON CLOTURE,” and to remove matters unrelated to defense from the bill. ...

Yankeemom has much more here.

Tell Harry Reid, and the rest of YOUR employees, that they have no business putting illegal immigrants on the same bill as matters related to our troops.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Soldiers - Coming Home

We all know how talented our troops are, and today I found this:

thesoldiersUK | October 26, 2009

Debut single from The Soldiers available to download now with all proceeds going to the Army Benevolent Fund.

The album, also titled 'Coming Home' is out on Monday 26th October featuring the this single and 14 other moving tracks. A share of the proceeds are going to the Army Benevolent, Help For Heroes and The Royal British Legion.

Visit or find them on Facebook at to find out more. (here)

There is a US version of this song, which has US and British soldiers collaborating (there's a concept!) and you can find it here.

Okay, I was not going to include that version, but it is so beautiful, so here you go:

thesoldiersUK | April 06, 2010

Double Platinum UK singing sensation THE SOLDIERS.

Three serving soldiers in the British Army join forces in voice with US Soldiers. Singing 'Coming Home', the song dedicated to all service personnel who serve us all with pride around the world. Featuring Richard Scarlett - a Sergeant in the US Army, and Tyrone Basnight, a Staff Sergeant in the US Army. (here)

I think I have found one of my new favourite songs!

UK forces hand Sangin over to US

(courtesy MoD)

UK forces transfer responsibility for security in Sangin to US

September 20, 2010

ISAF has today announced that British forces in southern Afghanistan have handed responsibility for security in Sangin to US forces.

The transfer of authority, first announced by the Defence Secretary in July this year, is the last move in the current rebalancing of ISAF forces across Helmand. It follows an increase in ISAF and Afghan security forces in Helmand over recent months and will ensure an equal distribution of ISAF forces amongst the Afghan population living there.

Handing over Sangin will allow UK forces to focus their effort in central Helmand where they will continue to deliver effective counterinsurgency operations, working alongside the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Major Richard Forsyth, OC, C Company, 1 Scots says goodbye to the man he has advised for the past six months in Sangin, Captain Nadri, of the ANA’s 3/215 Brigade.

British forces have been in Sangin, a key economic and transport hub, since 2006. Alongside the ANSF, they have provided vital security for the local population on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, enabling development and preventing the insurgency from using Sangin as a base from which to mount attacks across Helmand.

40 Commando Royal Marines, currently deployed with 4 Mechanised Brigade, have handed over to the US Marine Corps (USMC).

Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said:

“British forces have served in Sangin over the last four years and should be very proud of the achievements they have made in one of the most challenging areas of Afghanistan.

“The level of sacrifice has been high and we should never forget the many brave troops who have lost their lives in the pursuit of success in an international mission rooted firmly in our own national security in the UK.

“The handover of Sangin by UK forces represents sound military rationale and reflects the increase of both ISAF and Afghan forces across Helmand over the course of the past year. British troops will redeploy to central Helmand, in support of ISAF’s main effort, where they will continue to lead the fight against the insurgency and assist in building a stable and secure Afghanistan that can stand on its own two feet.”...(HelmandBlog here)

The Beeb, of course, has their analysis:

Pain and reflection for Sangin troops

Control was handed over from UK forces to the US Marine Corps at 0630 BST

"There've been really bad days, especially when one of our lads got killed. That was hard to carry on."

Those were the words of Marine James "Ned" Kelly, as he and his comrades prepared for one of their final patrols in the dangerous Sangin area in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province.

British troops have been fighting for five summers across Helmand. So far 337 have died - nearly a third of whom died here in Sangin.

Today Britain handed over control of Sangin to US forces. The occasion marked a time to reflect on what had been achieved, and also for some hard questions about sacrifices made.

Lt Col Paul James, the commander of the 40 Commando Royal Marines Battle-group in Sangin, insisted progress has been made and that the losses have not been in vain.

He said: "I won't say is it worth the loss of life because of course the loss of life is always extremely traumatic. I'll certainly say it's never been in vain. We recognise the job's not done, there's a long way to go. But actually it's certainly on the right course."

I joined British and US Marines as they prepared for one of their last joint patrols. Commanders were keen to show us what they have achieved; how Sangin has prospered and how much safer it has become. But for marines like James Kelly it remains a dangerous place to serve.

He said: "It's crazy, because you can have weeks when quiet and mellow, serene almost. But then it can switch so quickly to getting in contact with the enemy; two, three hour fire-fights. Sangin has lived up to its reputation, massively."...(BBC here)

Back in 2006, The Times gave insights into British efforts into one of the harshest areas of all Afghanistan:

... The Sunday Times has obtained detailed accounts by officers of the 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment of operations in Sangin. The accounts record the leading role played by A Company, which was based in the government district centre in Sangin, and of 1 Platoon in particular.

One of the platoon’s section leaders was Corporal Bryan Budd, the posthumous winner of the VC. It also included Private Peter McKinley who won a Military Cross. The platoon was commanded by Lieutenant Hugo Farmer who won a Distinguished Gallantry Cross, second only to the VC.

British servicemen deployed in southern Afghanistan during the summer have won more than 70 awards, including Budd’s VC, a George Cross, three Distinguished Gallantry Crosses, 11 Military Crosses and four Distinguished Flying Crosses....(Timesonline here)

The tone of this article is what we came to expect from the msm, and the 'reporter' conceded that he wasn't actually there (the MoD was keeping the media out of the area.) However, it does give a glimpse of what our British troops have faced, day in, day out for the last five years, and is worth the read.

For a sobering look at the cost the British have paid as part of their contribution to this GWOT, go here.

On a day when the
MoD announces that a member of the Queen's Royal Lancers and a soldier from the Royal Engineers, let us never forget that the price of freedom is high.

As another chapter closes for the British in Afghanistan, my gratitude to ALL our troops and their families.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Every Day Hero

My regular readers know I have enormous respect for the families of our troops. In December 2009, I designated military families as MY Heroes of the Year. You can find that here. In that column, I included a poem:

The Girl Behind the Man behind the Gun

by MacDonald, Wilson Pugsley, (b. 1880)

You have seen the line of khaki swinging grandly down the street,
You have heard the band blare out Britannic songs;
You have read a ton of papers and you've thrown them at your feet,
And your brain's a battlefield for fighting throngs.
You have cheered for Tommy Atkins, and you've yelled for Jack Canuck;
You have praised the French and Belgians, every one.
But I'm rhyming here a measure to the valor and the pluck
Of the Girl Behind the Man Behind the Gun.

There's a harder game than fighting; there's a deeper wound by far
Than the bayonet or the bullet ever tore.
And a patient, little woman wears upon her heart a scar
Which the lonesome years will keep for evermore.
There are bands and bugles crying and the horses madly ride,
And in passion are the trenches lost or won.
But SHE battles in the silence, with no comrade at her side,
Does the girl behind the man behind the gun.

Fact is, in every war there are women left behind on the homefront. In WW2, most of those women worked in munitions factories (Rosie Riveter anyone?) and in England, many of those "girl[s] behind the man ..." joined the Women's Land Army to make sure that food was still produced to feed a nation at war. The women in my family have shared many stories of their escapades in the WLA!

In this current war, women are - again - playing a vital role contributing to the war effort. Yes, women now are in the frontline combat roles, but there is also a group of women whose war efforts are every bit as critical as their sisters commanding tanks, machine guns, in the sandbox.

They are the wives, the mothers, the bloggers. Seems fitting to me that in this war, being fought on two fronts at home, (the msm and the rest of women are writing about their lives as connected to the military. These women have a unique perspective, that the rest of us do not. Their contributions to the GWOT are every bit as vital as the man with the gun. I suspect the men with the guns would agree with me!... (read more about some of my family heroes - who continue to serve - here on Tanker Bros)

Recently I came across a video produced by a Canadian military wife, and discovered another 'Girl Behind the Man Behind the Gun.' Her words give insights into the incredible commitment our military families have, not only to their loved ones serving in the sandboxes of the world, but to our countries. Without the dedication of these families, our countries' troops could not function as well as they do.

Take a look:

(H/T Tribute to our Soldiers)

heinsight | September 30, 2007

This is a narrative story with a poem I wrote back when my Canadian Soldier was serving during Op Orion in Afghanistan during Jan-Aug 2006. I end the story with my husband's last email to me before boarding a plane to come home after he finished he combat tour. My husband has now gone back to Afghanistan for a second combat tour in 2008 and came home safely (here)

And this Canadian wife also adds this:

If this poem touches you or gives you more insight to what a military family goes through when their loved one is deployed. If it can help you understand what a soldier has to endure during a deployment to a war zone then I have achieved my goal. (here)

I think 'heinsight' most assuredly achieved her goal. The family also serves. They ARE heroes, every single day. My respect and gratitude to ALL the military families of our coalition troops.

Music and Me: For our Canadian Troops and their families

AngelicPS | December 02, 2006

This is for the men and women serving over in Afghanistan and for those that have served. The day in the life of a soldier. To my friends over there now, please come home safe...We Miss You!! And Blake, May you Rest In Peace, I think of you everyday.

The pictures are from and some are from friends from their first tour. The songs are Soldier by Shawn Hlookoff and We Will Hope With You by 4runner (here)

I think everybody knows that Shawn Hlookoff is Canadian (BC boy!), but I knew nothing about 4runner. Found this:

America Supports You Musical Tributes Troops Part 2 (2005)

We Will Hope With You

4Runner is a country music vocal group made up of three seasoned industry veterans. Craig Morris, Lee Hilliard, and Michael Lusk each having a long history of lead and background singing. Signed to Polydor Records in 1995, 4Runner burst into the Country music scene with "Cain's Blood." 4Runner achieved a Top 5 single with "Cain's Blood" and sold over 200,000 albums. They were nominated for the Academy of Country Music's (ACM) Top New Vocal Group/Duet and the fan-based TNN/Music City News' Vocal Group of the Year in 1996.

"We Will Hope For You" is an example of putting yourself in the shoes of those who serve, and their families who support what they are doing for our great country.

(Go here to read more on them, and their music. Free downloads, too.)

"We will stand with you, we will see you through..."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

NASA crescent moon

Another marvel: