Tuesday, November 30, 2010

War is OVER!

Problem solved!!! NEXXXXXXT!

(H/T Jan Anderson Moury)

Project Little Soldier: PLEASE help!

One of my favourite Christmas songs, although it always ALWAYS rips the heart right out of me. I KNOW we have no say on whether the mums and dads serving can be home for Christmas, but we CAN let these very special 'unsung heroes' know that they are in our hearts, especially at this time of year.

Project Little Soldier-Christmas gifts for the children of deployed Military!!

With the massive number of soldiers being deployed to foreign lands, we would like to make their "Little Soldiers", who are left behind, smile for the holidays. It is hard enough for them to understand that their parents are underway, let alone the thought of spending the holidays without them. Each military personnel has supplied us with a wish list of 2 gifts for each of their children. We would like to make each child's wish come true........!!!!

These are OUR children too!!

We are in need of:

Gift Cards (Walmart, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Target, Sports Stores)

Monetary donations

Please send all donations to:


64 Harding Road

Red Bank, NJ 07701

All donations are tax deductible. Link to the site: http://www.supportarms.org/Project-Little-Soldier.html

And, in case you have no idea what our military children go through, take a look at THIS column, written for Month of the Military Child last April.. Yes, a MUST read here.

The children also serve. PLEASE do what you can to help. THANK YOU!!!

NASA: Dark Dune Fields

Let the 'games' begin

11/28/2010 - U.S. Navy Capt. Reid Tanaka, right, the chief of staff of Commander Carrier Strike Group 5, welcomes South Korean navy Rear Adm. Beom-rim Lee aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while under way in the western Pacific Ocean Nov. 28, 2010. George Washington was participating in an exercise with the South Korean navy to reinforce the U.S. commitment to South Korean and regional partners in the western Pacific. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cheng S. Yang, U.S. Navy/Released)

Music and Me extra!

I know I have shared this before. No apologies for this classic....Sing it with me :)

British soldier auctions off his Iraq medals

Something very wrong with this picture:

Iraq veteran Ryan Copping to sell Military Cross to give daughter a better life

Ryan Copping receives his medal from the Queen

A war hero is selling the Military Cross handed to him by the Queen to help pay for his life in Civvy Street as the parent of a young daughter.

The Folkestone soldier, who laid his life on the line in the heat of a Basra battle to protect his platoon from enemy fire, has been told he could expect it to fetch up to £22,000.

Ryan Copping served with the 1st Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

He said the money will help him bring up five-year-old Faith and allow her to "have a happier life".

The 25-year-old is now working in the security business and said he needs the cash from the medal sale, which is being held at Sotheby’s in London on Tuesday, November 30.

Private Copping was just 21 when he was driving the lead Warrior armoured vehicle in an operation in the heart of Basra at the height of the state of emergency in 2006.

They came under intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire from a notorious area known as the Shia flats.

With the crew struggling to identify both the enemy and the route to take to push onto the objective, Private Copping opened his driver’s hatch, stuck his head out and began steering his vehicle through streets strewn with obstacles while talking his gunner onto target after target.

The official citation reads: "Private Copping has demonstrated a near complete disregard for his own safety in order to do what he believed to be the act needed to ensure the vehicle, platoon and operation did not become bogged down."

On the decision to sell the Military Cross along with his Iraq Theatre of War medal, he said: "I don’t look at them and see pound notes, but if I don’t sell them, they will pass down through my family and some day, somebody else will...

Read the rest here, and more background here.

Nobody needs me to spell out what is so wrong with this story.

(H/T Kathi)

Monday, November 29, 2010

TSA: "Eureka, I found it!" NOT!

By now, the whole world has heard the stories out of America about the mishandling by the TSA of airport security. Videos are all over the internet of little children screaming as TSA 'agents' execute their not so efficient frisks of these would-be terrorists. We have seen passengers insist 'don't touch my junk,' and retired special education teachers being publicly humiliated as TSA thugs ignore said passenger's requests to be mindful of his colostomy bag. The TSA employees continued on and refused to even acknowledge their disrespectful clumsiness as they left the man covered in his own urine because they had broken the seal.

We have all read the stories of sexual assault by these (probably minimum wage) employees determined to keep America safe, even to the point of insisting that a flight attendant (cancer survivor) remove her breast prosthesis. Did anyone miss the story of a TSA employee masturbating as he watched the screen of unsuspecting passengers who believed that the x-ray screening was less invasive than the probing gloved hands of these eager employees? The list goes on and on... and on, of the abuse, and yes, ignorance by these TSA 'screeners' as they intimidate, humiliate, ignore commonsense as potential passengers, from grandmothers to babies in snugglies, have to prove they are not terrorists, nor a threat to American national security.

What we have NOT heard is ANY employee declaring "Eureka, I've found it" as they triumphantly expose any kind of bomb material, or other terrorist equipment hidden on (or in) the bodies of the American traveling public.

Of course, Janet Whositwhatsit, head of Department of Homeland Security, will claim that this is because the 'system' works. But just this week, a male prospective terrorist was arrested in Oregon before he could detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Guess what the name was? Yep, Mohammed, and no surprise that just about every single failed or almost successful bomber aimed at America since 9/11 has either the name Mohommed (or variations thereof) OR is shown to have links to terrorist cells. I am not going to rehash that here, but go over to Michelle Malkin who summarises the real threat to America here. Hint: none of them are white, and yes, call me racist if you will, for stating the obvious.

In an administration that refuses to call terrorism what it is - or profile those that empirical evidence tells us are the most likely terrorists - and instead subjects innocent Americans to degrading and unnecessary invasions of their bodies, many are asking why America is not looking at countries who are successful at thwarting terrorist attacks on their airlines: Israel, for example, who have not had a terrorist airplane attack since Entebbe. Even as the politicians manage to excuse themselves from the same degradation as regular folks, a couple of questions MUST be asked:

1) Who ARE these TSA agents, and what - if any - pre-employment criminal record checks do they go through? As one who has worked with children for many years, I have had to undergo many criminal record background checks to prove I am not a child molester or worse. I have also participated in workshops with groups of very young school kids who are being taught that "it's my body, nobody's body but mine" as we reinforce for them that NOBODY has the right to put their hands on a child's body. Yet, the TSA is undermining every parents' lessons to their children - and the children are screaming, as they should. Mixed messages much? Again, who are these people we are supposed to allow to molest our children if we intend to get on a plane? [This article makes my case for me.]

2) WHY does DHS not hire (retired?) police or military to guard the airports? It seems to me, especially today, that we have more than a few veterans who could do the job far better than these TSA thugs. Today's veterans have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and are well trained in assessing crowds of civilians and making split second decisions as to any 'suspicious' person. Let's face it, where they have been, their lives depended on their ability to read a crowd, without putting their hands on anybody's private parts. Those skills would be really useful in our airports, train stations etc. Commonsense? Naaaaah!

Other countries use their military and/or police forces to guard the airports.

In Denmark (according to one of my sources):

Our airport security is about the same as the US system, xcept it's provided by our Police/Politi, we use a lot of dogs to sniff all the passengers, even inter border & pretty sure they do some profile type but don't admit it. We've been xraying & patting down for a coupla years & haven't heard too many complaints. We've been xperimenting with a Blue Tag system to register frequent business travelers that seems to be working pretty good & eliminates the need for additional screening when you get to the airport. They vary the levels during the day just to keep people on their toes & never make public which times & Int'l airports they're targeting for xtra security. Trains & public transportation follow the same procedures as airplanes...


The police screeners aren't armed but the rest are usually standing pretty close by. We also have a Homeguard which is a quasi branch of the military that also provide security in public buildings & they're armed to the teeth....Armed police are about half a second away in case anyone tries anything & they have armed police/homeguard roaming all over. ...would stress that all airports vary their methods almost daily so anyone casing a specific airport can't figure out the routine...

All makes sense to me, and I hear that since I was last in London, armed guards (military/police?) are also very much in evidence at airports.

From one of my English sources:

[...] it's civvy Police that are armed with MP5K's at Manchester and Heathrow. I don't recall seeing any at Birmingham, but that's not to say they weren't there. I would hazard a guess that all airports over here have armed Police. All baggage is scanned as are people, even on internal flights. Dogs are about too.

Hmm....armed guards, and dogs as a deterrent. How simple is THAT? But that apparently is far too simple for the knee jerk REactive DHS of America. They would rather molest - and yes, humiliate and terrorise - old folks and small children, and demographic in between. In response to the shoe bomber that has us all now removing our shoes, confiscation of expressed mother's breast milk following liquid bombing items, and now molesting children (maybe I missed where a 3 year old carried out a bomb attack? At least in the west. We have all seen the videos of little children being trained in Islamic terrorist camps. That must be why we are seeing so many screaming kids in American airports. ) Breast prostheses being removed - will muslim women be subjected to that kind of indignity? Rhetorical question, of course! And it really might not be too much a stretch of the imagination to forsee women being told to remove IUD's or tampons as a reaction to a burka-clad woman hiding bomb materiel. You think I jest? Just wait.

I actually decided a few weeks back when this all broke that I would strip down, myself, at an airport (just to be really helpful, you know?) No, no! Settle down, I wasn't going to get totally naked - although that would be a way to clear any airport! This was before I heard of the American who did just that and was told to put his clothes back on, so the TSA could give him an official 'patdown.' Would be funny if it wasn't so sad. But in Germany they are way ahead of me:

What really defies logic for me, is how America, and those supposed to keep the traveling public safe, are REacting, rather than being PROactive. The DHS folks seem to have forgotten the ingenuity for which America has always been justifiably famous. Not to worry though, I have come up with a perfect solution. You could call it my own "Eureka!" moment.

Meet who I consider the perfect airport security weapon:

Yes, that is a pig. Bear with me here. Since America refuses to profile, my suggestion is this:

At the perimetre of every airport there should be a ring of piglets and their adult counterparts. Sort of like a pork moat if you will, because after all, by the time a terrorist is in the airport, it is already probably far too late. Really, it would be a win-win situation. Those we are not allowed to profile would stay far, far away from these 'filthy' (but cute) beasts.

The hog industry would be delighted, I am sure, to be the official supplier of pork to the government, since swine flu (and I also found a reference to 'blue ear,' whatever that is) saw a decimation of the pork industry. I did research that industry and found interesting statistics for America. Did you know, according to a Reuters article?:

* Rate of herd decline slowing

By Jerry Bieszk

CHICAGO, March 24 (Reuters) - U.S. hog producers continued to reduce their herds early in 2010, which should put the March 1 hog herd at its lowest level in three years, according to analysts surveyed by Reuters.

Hog producers have reduced herds after losing money for nearly two years. High feed and fuel costs started the losses and later the recession and H1N1 flu hurt as those events slowed pork sales.

"My forecast is the lowest since March 2007," said Ron Plain, livestock economist at the University of Missouri. "This is sixth quarter all hogs were below year ago levels and it's the eight consecutive quarter with the breeding herd down." (here)

Think of the benefits to the US economy! Apparently in the 1950's there were over 3 million pig farms in America. Today? 67,000! (Go read more on the fascinating hog industry at the National Pork Producing Council here) With pig herds working at airports across the country, farmers would be in hog heaven. (I couldn't resist!)

Now I am NOT suggesting profiling (perish the thought!) but I would lay odds that anyone with a name even vaguely resembling Mohammed would avoid airports and other travel centres like the errrrrrr plague.

The children would be squealing in delight, not screaming in terror. No kid I ever knew could resist a cute piglet, or their bigger mums and dads. Imagine the joy abounding in the airports. Happy kids loving the airport adventure.

Crowd control? Noooooo problem! Remember Babe, who was so adept at herding?

We could station the veterinarian soldiers returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and other dangerous places - to ensure the health and well-being of the little porkers - and they could complement the heavily armed military also just returned from the current war zones. The economic boost to the veterans would be a positive side-effect of airport duty. (Have you read the stats on unemployed and homeless vets? Not good.) Deploying them at our airports, train stations and shipyards - along with their pork partners - would do wonders for the American economy, which I hear could do with a boost (not taking into account the pork barrelling still running amok among the politicians with their snouts dug deep in the public trough. The opportunities for punning here are never-ending.)

The economic benefits are endless here, just by employing the pigs. I would NEVER be so cruel as to suggest that any malcontent pig be sent off to become a bacon butty (English expression,)
but think of the subsidiary benefits: feed for the piglets would need to be an ongoing contract, as would the bedding that they need. And no, I don't think we need the human labour unions to get involved here. Butt out, SEIU or whoever. Housing for the troops and pig farmers would be needed around the transportation hubs, and that would mean extra income for the surrounding neighbourhood businesses and stores. Oh, and just THINK of the savings on those gross rubber gloves we see all the TSA workers using on their shifts. I dare to suggest that the pigs would be far more reliable than ANY union worker.

See that cute nose? I am sure a pig's nose could be trained to sniff out any bomb material; you know that the old man in his wheelchair may have stuffed in his artificial leg or something. We have all read stories of our amazing MWD being trained to sniff out just about substance that could cause harm. Why not train the pigs?

Think of the educational possibilities also inherent in my plan. Not only the kids would learn valuable lessons: "You mean, mummy, that pork chops are not just made in those plastic trays in the store? " Urban adults would get a new respect for the oft maligned and under-paid farmers of America.

It occurs to me that Janet Whositwhatsit would have to go, become unemployed. After all, I am pretty sure she doesn't understand, or *gasp* care, about our four footed security guards. She probably doesn't even speak "pig." (Latin or other dialect.) Which brings me to the question of who should lead and oversee such a special unit.

Who else?

(picture of Miss Piggy courtesy of TV Guide here)

If Sesame Street is considered legitimate enough to partner with the DoD for our military families - see one such piece on that here - surely Miss Piggy would prove invaluable as a kind of roving ambassador in America's airports.

Seriously, NOBODY denies that in the world today, every country needs to be super vigilant about defence from potential terrorist attacks. We all 'get' that there must be measures in place to protect our citizens. However, there has to be a more efficient, less offensive/invasive way than the current 'grope and go' that America's administration seems hellbent on enforcing. To me, this whole 'grope and go' meme is yet another example of BHO and his minions insisting that they know what is best for the rest of us. Many other countries have security procedures in place that do not create chaos and mayhem in airports. Yes, we all expect some inconvenience, but surely, when even the Secretary of State Clinton is on the record as saying she would personally avoid such screening, something is very wrong here.

Meanwhile, if Babe is not available, I am ready and willing to offer even more creative solutions. (Pom poms not included.) Be aware, however, my consultation will not come cheap. It will, in the long run, be cheaper than all the lawsuits headed your way.

Come on, America, get with a different programme. Maybe actually consult with, and LISTEN to, those countries who have become experts at protecting their citizens without perniciously browbeating even the most innocent of little children. It really is unacceptable to insist that if any of us want to travel, we must first be subjected to such intimate procedures - from strangers - that only our closest family, or partners, should be permitted.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Every Day Heroes

Today's special hero is retired MWD Lex and ALL our Military Working Dogs.

Really a no-brainer for me to choose our precious K9 partners. Yesterday I told of Lex and his current challenges as he continues to serve America. You did read it, didn't you? No? Go HERE to read about Lex, and how you can now help him as he helped all our troops - especially Cpl Dusty Lee.

A purple heart hero's smile.

Cpl Dusty Lee and Lex in Iraq 2006

Gabe and Chuck - one of my favourite pictures of this pair of heroes.

Kory and Cooper - who both gave their all in service to America. As they worked together, so they fell together. The first K9 team to sacrifice all since Vietnam.

Adding another hero's name to the roll. SSgt James Ide and his partner Ddaphne:

Most of these special heroes nobody, except us privileged few, gets to hear about. Make no mistake, though. The K9's truly ARE heroes walking - and working - on the frontlines, of this Global War on Terror, protecting their partners.

The msm seems mostly unaware that heroes such as Gabe, Ddaphne, Cooper, and Lex give their hearts as they serve America. Oh and yes, many of the coalition countries also have military working dogs in their ranks.

Today, though, the msm has a story about Lex and the latest challenge he is facing. You can find the video here (since I have no idea how to download it.)

Every Day Heroes, every single day.

[*This post suggested, and approved by, Bratdog*]

Music and Me

Oooooh yeah! These boys can sing to me ANY day! Just sayin'...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hero Retired MWD Lex needs YOUR help!

From Tanker Bros :

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tanker Bros gone to the dogs!

Three dog stories today - and not one of them a shaggy dog!!! All very special dogs...

Cpl Dusty Lee and Lex in Iraq December 2006

Cpl. Dusty Lee and Lex.

A letter written by Lex:

written by John Burnam

I'm a U.S. Marine and the primary element of a two-member team trained to hunt and locate explosives. My partner and I trained as a team for many months honing our expertise to save American lives in the War on Terrorism in Iraq.

The date is March 21, 2007 and I was on the job in Fallujah, Iraq when an enemy fired Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) exploded in our midst. I was blasted to the ground. I'm Stunned. My head is ringing and my body feels numb. My eyes can't quite focus on anything.

My partner is lying next to me severely wounded and bleeding. I move to him and touch him but he's not responding. I feel sharp pains in my side and back. I'm bleeding but deal with it and concentrate on comforting my partner and protecting him from further harm.

Everything happened so fast that it caused disorientation and confusion. My senses pick up the lingering smell of burnt powder and smoke from the explosion. I hear lots of American voices and heavy boot-steps hurrying all around us. They reach our location and immediately attend to my partner. And then they carry him
away. I'm separated from my partner for the first time. I'm not clear of thought and then I too am carried way but to a different hospital...(much more about our Lex here.)

Following his recovery, a campaign was begun to allow Lex to retire and become a part of Cpl Dusty Lee's family forever. In December 2007, Lex officially went to live with Cpl Dusty Lee's family. At that time I wrote (in part):

Friday, December 21, 2007

Welcome Home Lex!

Nine months to the day that Cpl. Dusty Lee gave his all in service to his country, his beloved dog Lex was finally home with Dusty's family. I originally posted about the campaign to have the military retire Lex, and have him live out his well-earned retirement with the Lee family. You can read that here.

Retiring military dog Lex

(AP Picture)

  • Today is adoption day for Lex, the first military dog to be adopted by his handler's family.

ALBANY — Meet Lex.


Lex “adjusts very well,” said Reynolds, who has known Lex only since the dog returned from a 12-week evaluation at Camp LeJeune after his injuries in Iraq.

“Lex has a great demeanor. He is great to work with. I’ve enjoyed working with him since being here,” said Reynolds, a former handler with the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit who adopted his own drug unit dog when the dog retired....(more here)


We all know that having Lex as part of the Lee family will never bring their beloved son Dusty back, but my prayer is that having Lex with them - Lex who protected Dusty to the end - as part of the family, will bring some small comfort to the Lees and to Lex. (more here)

Lex's heroic deeds were formally recognised in February 2008:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lex earns a Purple Heart

Remember Dusty Lee and his beloved MWD Lex? I wrote about them both here and here.

Now, another milestone in Lex's life:

There are more pictures here. If anyone ever doubted that our K9's ARE heroes, they only have to look at Lex here. He is one of my heroes, and Bratdog's too.

I KNOW Dusty is smiling on Lex. ...

Since that time, Lex has continued to serve America, as he and Dusty's mum work tirelessly with our veterans.

NOW Lex needs our help.

Military dog gets stem cell treatment
Nov 24, 2010 11:47am

(NECN/CNN) - A scientific breakthrough in medicine is helping one U.S. marine regain his ability to walk. But this wounded warrior is getting help not from a veterans hospital, but a veterinarian's office.

Lex is a survivor of the Iraq war. He and his partner Corporal Dustin Lee were part of an elite team trained to sniff out bombs. In March 2007, Lex and Corporal Lee were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade that took Lee's life.

For his bravery in staying by Lee's side during the attack, Lex was awarded a Purple Heart, but he was left unable to walk on his own.

Corporal Lee's parents adopted Lex, and worked on helping him heal.

Baltimore-area veterinarian Doctor Lee Morgan is using canine stem cell therapy to help Lex walk again.

Stem cells are injected into Lex's hips, knees and bloodstream. After a round of therapy, Lex is already starting to walk again.

Veterinarians say he could make a full recovery within just two months. (source: NECN.com)

How can YOU help our Lex? From K9 Heroes group on FaceBook November 19:



There is also a site set up by Cpl Dusty Lee's uncle, which you can find here.

Can YOU help, please? Every donation, big or small, will ensure that Lex lives out his life as Cpl Dusty Lee would want for his beloved K9 partner.

And yes, I DO believe that Dusty is looking on, and smiling.

Rest in peace, Cpl Lee.

[*This post Bratdog approved*]

Friday, November 26, 2010

'Stop Loss' special pay application deadline approaches

PLEASE pass this on!

'Stop Loss' special pay application deadline approaches

Nov 26, 2010

By Karen Parrish, American Forces Press Service

Stop Loss page

Photo credit DoD

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2010 -- Defense Department officials are working to remind veterans and current servicemembers who were involuntarily retained in the military under the so-called "Stop Loss" program to apply for special pay before the Dec. 3 deadline. [emphasis mine]

Military members whose service was involuntarily extended or whose retirement was suspended between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, are entitled to a retroactive payment of $500 for each month of extension.

By law, servicemembers who received a bonus for voluntarily re-enlisting or extending their service are not eligible for the special pay, officials said, but they added that they strongly urge people who even think they may be eligible to submit an application before the deadline.

Information on the special pay and links to the application are available at http://www.defense.gov/stoploss.

About 65,000 of 145,000 eligible claims have been paid, and $243 million has been disbursed of the $534 million appropriated, officials said.

President Barack Obama released a video message Sept. 15 urging eligible servicemembers and veterans to apply.

"You served with honor. You did your duty. And when your country called on you again, you did your duty again," he said in the message. "Now, it's time to collect the special pay that you deserve."

The services are promoting the retroactive pay through national and regional media, direct mail, veteran and service organizations, websites and phone lines. Information about the special pay also has been included on civilian and retiree pay stubs.


H/T Matt ( of B5)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ambassador Awards Czech Airmen in Afghanistan

Czech Republic Ambassador to Afghanistan visits Afghan Air Force Base; presents awards

CzechAmb Karel Pelz

by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jared Walker 438th AEW

The Czech Republic Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karel Pelz, visited the Afghan Air Force Base in Kabul, Afghanistan, to present awards to Czech, Afghan and coalition Airman for service to country and work with coalition forces, Nov. 24.

Ambassador Pelz said that he is very proud of the work the Czech airmen here in Afghanistan. The Czech Air Operational Mentoring Liaison Team has been training and advising alongside the NATO Air Training Command – Afghanistan / 438th Air Expeditionary Wing for two and a half years. The Czech Air OMLT provides maintenance and operational expertise in the Mi-35 attack helicopter.

“They are serving shoulder to shoulder with the Afghans here. We share bilateral cooperation for decades especially in the 60’s and 70’s. Our cooperation was very fruitful and based on economy and culture exchanges. We had a lot of Afghan students in our country. I hope that this time and in the future that this will repeat and that both sides well profit from it,” said Pelz....

War on Terror News has the rest of this story about an integral coalition partner in this Global War on Terror. Go here to read more on this B*N*S*N story..

You did know that Czech Republic is one of our many coalition partners, didn't you? If not, you might want to go read my original column about their contribution to the GWOT. Written back in April 2007 for Tanker Bros, you can find it here.


Bratdog insisted I share this one!

11/19/2010 - A military working dog jumps on a simulated criminal suspect during the Hardest Hit Contest at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Nov. 19, 2010. The event was part of the 2010 Hawaiian Islands Working Dog Competition, a weeklong meet that included K-9 handlers from the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Transportation Security Administration and Honolulu Police Department. The competition was sponsored by the Army’s 728th Military Police Battalion and the 13th Military Police Detachment. (DoD photo by Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young, U.S. Air Force/Released)


My favourite stories are troops coming home. This one qualifies:

1/11 returns from Afghanistan in time for Thanksgiving

SSgt Raymond Johnson

by Cpl. Paul Basciano


Families, friends and fellow Marines filled the stands in the Las Pulgas gym –some held signs, while others talked nervously of plans for the holiday weekend.

Everyone flocked outside as word of the Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment and supporting staff bus arrived here, Nov. 23, ending their seven-month deployment to Afghanistan.

“I’m ecstatic that my brother is coming home,” said Spring Fisher, sister of Staff Sgt. Raymond Johnson, sensors chief, Target Acquisition Platoon. “He’s my rock. When he was gone, I didn’t have a shoulder to cry on.”...

There is more on this wonderful story over at War on Terror News here. Go read it NOW!


Score for the good guys (ours, of course!) :

Royal Marines destroy pirate vessel

A Military Operations news article

24 Nov 10

Royal Marines based onboard a Royal Navy warship destroyed a boat yesterday that was being used by pirates off the coast of Somalia to attack merchant ships.

Pirate vessel

The pirate vessel destroyed by Royal Marines from HMS Montrose
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

The Marines, from Plymouth-based frigate HMS Montrose, fired their machine guns at the pirate vessel as they hovered above it in the warship's Lynx helicopter.

The incident took place during a routine patrol off the Somali coast yesterday, Tuesday 23 November 2010, when the helicopter identified the suspect boat as the whaler from MV Aly Zoulfecar, which had been acting as a pirate 'mother ship' since it was hijacked on 3 November 2010.

The whaler was anchored off a known pirate camp and, once permission had been given to take it out, the Royal Marines marksmen fired their M3M .50-calibre machine guns and destroyed it.

HMS Montrose's Commanding Officer, Commander Jonathan Lett, said:

"HMS Montrose has been patrolling off the Somali coast for some time and we know how the pirates operate.

"Our destruction of the whaler close to a known pirate camp has sent a message to the Somali pirates that NATO and other coalition forces are willing to take the fight to them in order to prevent them from attacking merchant ships."

HMS Montrose is operating off the Somali coast as part of NATO's counter-piracy operation, OCEAN SHIELD.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Beth

PFC Chance Phelps
PFC Chance Phelps
19 years old from Dubois, Wyoming
3 Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
April 9, 2004
U.S. Marines

"I don't think anything can prepare you for two young men standing in the living room telling you your son’s been killed," said Gretchen Mack, mother of PFC Chance Phelps. "It's just surreal. They were crying." The last time she had talked her to son was a few days before his death. "He said, 'Mom, I'm fine.' He sounded great. It was really good to be able to talk to him. It made us feel better."

PFC Phelps was KIA while battling insurgents just outside of Baghdad, Iraq.

Friends recall Phelps as a fun-loving, hard-nosed kid. "He was big but didn't throw his size around to intimidate people", said Jarod Estey. "He was probably the toughest kid I knew growing up in grade school. He was probably the biggest kid, too — well-built and strong. But he was real easy going. He always had a smile on his face."

"He was very in tune politically," said his mother. "He knew what he wanted for this country. ... He told me after 9/11, 'I absolutely have to go. I've got to do something.'" But joining the military isn't anything new for the family. His father, John Phelps, is a Vietnam veteran. And his sister, Kelley, works at the Pentagon and is engaged to an Army sergeant.

"He had an unusual amount of zest," said his mother. "He just possessed this quality that he had to be in the thick of things all the time. He was very, very positive, very funny. ... His main thing in life was making people laugh."

You can read more 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, November 23, 2010

Free Speech in Europe

Pat Condell, via Monkey in the Middle:

Why Israel Is A Rogue State

From Monkey in the Middle:

Monday, November 22, 2010

A nation unlike any other in the world.

I have been wanting to post this for a couple of weeks, but events at home have prevented me from doing so.

Why Israel Is A Rogue State

On October 21, 2010, the prestigious Cambridge Union Society held a debate on the motion that "Israel is a rogue state."

In the end, the proposition was defeated, but the event didn't proceed without an unusual twist. Nineteen-year-old Gabriel Latner, one of the debaters “in favor” of the proposition, argued that, yes, Israel is a rogue state – but he spun it into a decidedly pro-Israel position.

Opening Statement

This issue is too polarizing for the vast majority of you not to already have a set opinion. I'd be willing to bet that half of you strongly support the motion, and half of you strongly oppose it... I'm tempted to do what my fellow speakers are going to do – simply rehash every bad thing the Israeli government has ever done in an attempt to satisfy those of you who agree with them. And perhaps they'll even guilt one of you rare undecided into voting for the proposition, or more accurately, against Israel. It would be so easy to twist the meaning and significance of international “laws” to make Israel look like a criminal state. But that's been done to death.

It would be easier still to play to your sympathy, with personalized stories of Palestinian suffering. And they can give very eloquent speeches on those issues. But the truth is, that treating people badly, whether they're your citizens or an occupied nation, does not make a state “rogue.” If it did, Canada, the U.S. and Australia would all be rogue states based on how they treat their indigenous populations. ...

Yes, a MUST READ, here.

Write to the troops

As part of the B*N*S*N research service, I came across the following:

A reminder of the Canadian "Morale by Message Board"

Write to the Troops

Write to the Troops

Morale by Message Board !

  • The men and women of the Canadian Forces have demonstrated time and again that they will rise to any challenge. Let your Canadian Forces members know you appreciate their service by sending a message using this monitored message board.

Head over HERE to leave a message of support for the Canadians....

Israel – Write to an IDF Soldier

Write to an IDF Soldier

Connect with the Soldiers and Citizens in the Holy Land
Read a Sampling of
Letters Written to Soldiers

It's time to show them that we care. That all of us across the world are in awe of their heroism and brimming with admiration for their courage -- and praying to G-d for their miraculous success.

Write your thoughts to an IDF soldier, or an Israeli living in an area where rockets are falling. We will hand-deliver your words of encouragement, and if you choose, your picture as well.

For more information, go HERE.

You knew, of course, I would give a British contact:

well done and thank you to all the coalition troops. We're very proud of you!
let's get the nation behind them!


Many options through Support Our Soldiers, so go HERE to check them out.

Last but not least, American contacts:

Any Soldier Inc.

HERE, of course, for many options.

And then there is Soldiers' Angels, where you can help solely with Christmas campaigns, or sign on and work with them year round:

Go HERE for options.

One more American reminder/opportunity, to do something great for our littlest military heroes:

Project Little Soldier

Project Little Soldier-Christmas gifts for the children of deployed Military!!

With the massive number of soldiers being deployed to foreign lands, we would like to make their "Little Soldiers", who are left behind, smile for the holidays. It is hard enough for them to understand that their parents are underway, let alone the thought of spending the holidays without them. Each military personnel has supplied us with a wish list of 2 gifts for each of their children. We would like to make each child's wish come true........!!!!

These are OUR children too!!

We are in need of:

Gift Cards (Walmart, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Target, Sports Stores)

Monetary donations

Please send all donations to:


64 Harding Road

Red Bank, NJ 07701

All donations are tax deductible. Link to the site: http://www.supportarms.org/Project-Little-Soldier.html

There you have it! Just a few opportunities to show support for our troops.

Monday, November 22, 2010

JFK: Forty Seven years already?

World Marks 47th Anniversary of J.F. Kennedy Assassination

| November 22, 2010, Monday
World Marks 47th Anniversary of J.F. Kennedy Assassination: World Marks 47th Anniversary of J.F. Kennedy Assassination
President Kennedy and First lady in the back seat of the car, moments before he was shot and killed in Dallas, TX, on November 22, 1963. Photo by www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk

The US and the world mark Monday, November 22, the 47th anniversary of the assassination of US President, John F. Kennedy, deemed one of the defining moments in history.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, took place on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time in Dealey Plaza. Kennedy was fatally shot while riding with his wife Jacqueline in a Presidential motorcade... (Much more here)

I am sure this will be all over the internet today, and I won't be rehashing it here. You can start at the BBC here. Lots of archival videos and stories.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage - and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge - and more.


In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shank from this responsibility - I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. (The text of the entire speech is here. GO read it!)


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Every Day Hero

Meet Lt. Col Anthony Henderson:

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Henderson

For Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Henderson, it was a lifetime of service and professional development in the U.S. Marine Corps that prepared him to command 1,200 Marines in southern Afghanistan and engage in the most vicious combat fighting he had ever seen.

"Your preparations for those types of moments span your entire career," said Henderson. "At 18 years of education and training, it's what prepared me to listen and learn."

Just two months into his deployment in southern Helmand Province, Henderson, who was the Commander of 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Division, was tasked to devise a combat plan to overrun a historic Taliban stronghold in the Gamshir area known as the Jugroom Fort. Jugroom Fort was a 19th century British fort, built out of mud, which spanned five kilometers and was surrounded by tunnels, machine-gun bunkers, minefield and IEDs. It was typically defended by 200-400 Taliban fighters at any given point in time.

"It was a very complex attack. We had forces moving by land and air - plus we were coordinating with the British forces," said Henderson.

The mission began on April 28, 2008, and for the next month, there were several sustained battles as the ISAF forces slowly closed in on the area. The major combat operation commenced on May 28, 2008. Henderson led his Battalion to the southern end of Fort Jugroom, while still keeping his eye on the overall battle plan.

As Henderson's Battalion approached the Fort, the enemy began firing on the rear echelon trucks, essentially closing them in between the Fort and enemy fire. Henderson decided to push his men into the interior area of the Fort to engage directly with the enemy.

"Marines had to physically get the Taliban out of the Fort and it was the most vicious fighting I had ever seen," reflected Henderson. "The enemy had defensive positions in and outside the Fort, and grenades and rocket fire were exchanged between 10, 20 and 30 meters."

"There were fighters and Marines all over the place. The enemy was around everyone and everyone was around the enemy."...

For all of this story, go here.

Thank you for your service, sir.

Music and Me

From my own 'deep and dark December' of the soul long ago and far away....;)

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fallen Hero Memorial Arrives in Broadway

From CJ:

CJ Fallen Hero Memorial Arrives in Broadway

November 19th, 2010 by CJ

I'm not going to play "I told you so" with this post (at least, I'll try). A lot of people have said and done a lot of very hurtful and dishonorable things to a lot of people, but especially Mr. Clayton Murwin. You can say all you want about me – your opinion about me means nothing to me. Rumor, rhetoric and innuendo have been the order of the day in a small town still dealing with the loss of one of its own, SPC Bucky Anderson, throwing around baseless accusations. The town became polarized along lines of emotion instead of rational thought on both sides. ...

There is a beautiful picture of the memorial, and more from CJ, here. Go read.

Good job, Clayton!!~

Friday, November 19, 2010

CDR Dennis Rocheford : Remember this face, this name

CDR Dennis Rocheford

CDR Rocheford is (was) a military Chaplain. As such, in my mind, he most assuredly is a very special breed.

Courtesy of BlackFive link here, I came across a MUST READ tribute column:

Died of Wounds

November 2010

Saint Michael the Archangel, Defend us in battle; Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, By the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits Who wander though the world for the ruin of souls, Amen.

There is a war casualty that will not make its way into any DoD announcement of US service personnel. The death occurred fourteen months ago, and I will admit that I didn’t hear about it for several months. And when I did, I was deeply saddened but cannot truthfully say I was surprised.

I first met CDR Dennis Rocheford in 1990, not long after he had joined the Navy. He arrived to be the new Recruit Depot Chaplain at Parris Island, where I was stationed as a Series Commander training recruits. Tall and lanky, he looked born to wear the Marine Alphas I first saw him in. And indeed he was. At a time and place where almost nobody wore more than one or two ribbons, Father Rocheford had a chest full. And those he wore had gravitas. Two Purple Hearts, from a VC bullet through his side, and mortar fragments to his chin and face. A Bronze Star. Combat Action Ribbon. The story of this handsome, friendly, fiercely faithful new Chaplain spread quickly. He had been Ray “E-tool” Smith’s radio operator as a Lance Corporal on Hill 881 at Khe Sanh with Alpha Company, 1st Marines, and had survived the fierce fighting in Hue City. When he was asked how he came to join the Navy as a Chaplain, he told us that, after surviving Vietnam, he promised God he would not waste his life.

Father was from Worcester, MA, not far from where I grew up, the city where I attended college. I immediately struck up a friendship with this gentle man of immense strength. I admired the way he ministered to recruits who sought his counsel. He would not hesitate to tell those whom he knew to be “skylarking” to quit bellyaching and get back to their platoons, while providing spiritual guidance to those whom truly were in need. Father Rocheford would show up at any and all PT events, and at 40 (which seemed OLD then, but somehow not so much now that I am 46) displayed his remarkable physical condition by always leading the events from the front.

When we had a chance to chat, he would talk with me about home, and mutual places and acquaintances, of which there were surprisingly many. We also discussed faith, and why I was no longer attending Mass (I am Catholic). To my surprise and relief, instead of reading from the “script”, he listened. (My hometown was the site of very serious abuses by a number of Priests in the 1970s. Some of my friends and people I knew were victims who’d had their lives destroyed.) I was thrilled to have Father Rocheford preside over my wedding in 1992. He made a very good impression on my parents, who talked of him in the years that followed quite often, and always in glowing terms.

Following Parris Island, I saw Father Rocheford on occasion at Camp Lejeune, where he was the Chaplain of 3rd Bn 8th Marines, and then 26th MEU. Even after months or years, he was able to make me feel as if we were picking up a conversation from hours or minutes before, and always had time for a smile, a handshake, and inquiry about myself, my life, my parents, and my Marines.

When I left active duty and joined the 25th Marines headquartered in Worcester, MA., whom do I see on my first Sunday drill but Father Dennis Rocheford. He had transitioned to the Reserves as well, and was our Regimental Chaplain. I found that he was very popular with the unit of tough, largely Catholic Officers and Marines of the Regiment. There were, it seemed, legion Marines who had served with Fr. Rocheford at 3/8, on 26th MEU, and even at Parris Island. His services in the end-hallway classroom were always packed, but I still found standing room in the back. After three years I transferred to 3rd Bn 14th Marines in Philadelphia, but on occasion would attend planning conferences at 25th Marines, where Father Rocheford always greeted me with a smile and a hearty handshake....

If you read NOTHING else about this war our heroes are fighting, you MUST read this column. Find it here.

I believe that there is a special place in heaven for men such as CDR Rocheford.

I will always remember his most beautiful face, and his name. Will YOU?

Rest in peace, Sir. Rest in peace.

USCIS Naturalizes Largest Number of Service Members Since 1955

USCIS Naturalizes Largest Number of Service Members Since 1955

Agency Continues Outreach to Members of the Military and Their Families

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that in fiscal year 2010 it granted citizenship to 11,146 members of the U.S. armed forces at ceremonies in the United States and 22 countries abroad. This figure represents the highest number of service members naturalized in any year since 1955. This number is a 6 percent increase from the 10,505 naturalizations in fiscal year 2009 and a significant increase from the 7,865 naturalizations in fiscal year 2008. Since September 2001, USCIS has naturalized nearly 65,000 service men and women, including those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“As our nation’s immigration agency, USCIS makes every effort to provide members of the military and their families with exceptional access to our services,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “We are proud to partner with the Department of Defense in these efforts.”

USCIS has implemented outreach tailored to reach members of the military and their family. Military liaison officers at USCIS field offices in the United States and abroad conduct educational seminars on nearby military installations. Military lawyers, personnel officers and spouses are invited to learn about the naturalization process and other family-based immigration services. There is often an increase in applications for naturalization from the military community after these sessions.

The Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative has also contributed to an increase in the number of military personnel becoming naturalized citizens. Under this initiative, USCIS conducts all naturalization processing -- including the capture of biometrics, the naturalization interview, and administration of the Oath of Allegiance -- on the military base so that, in most cases, the recruit is able to be a U.S. citizen when he or she graduates from basic training.

“Many of our service members have risked their lives across the globe before becoming citizens here at home. Their brave acts, and those of more than 65,000 service members who have become citizens since 2001, demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to America,” said Director Mayorkas. “We are enriched by their decision to serve our nation and to join us as United States citizens.

USCIS has established several information services exclusively for members of the military and their families to find information about citizenship and other immigration benefits. They may go online to http://www.uscis.gov/military; call the USCIS toll-free help line, 1-877-CIS-4MIL, 1-877-247-4645; or send an e-mail to militaryinfo.nsc@dhs.gov.


H/T Jane