Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Operation Purple" Camps application time NOW


Operation Purple Program

When you hear "Operation Purple camp" you should think: Kids Serve Too! The National Military Family Association's Operation Purple camps are a time for having fun, making friends, and reminding military kids that they are the Nation's youngest heroes.

The Operation Purple program was created in 2004 in response to parent’s call to "help us help our kids." The mission of the Operation Purple program is to empower military children and their families to develop and maintain healthy and connected relationships, in spite of the current military environment. We do this through a variety of means, including the healing and holistic aspect of the natural world. The program is joint or "purple"— and open to children and families of active duty, National Guard or Reserve service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service and NOAA.

In the 2004 Operation Purple pilot season, the National Military Family Association started with 12 camp locations serving close to 1,000 children. Since then the Operation Purple program has grown and expanded and by summer's end close to 45,000 military children and teens will have been served. The Operation Purple program also includes camps for teens, family retreats at the national parks, and camps geared to address the needs of children and families of our nations wounded service members.

Donations for Operation Purple camps are now supporting our 2012 program. Please direct donation questions to

Please direct questions regarding the Operation Purple program to

2011 Operation Purple camp applications are now available.

Find a location near you and apply today.

Because the children ALSO serve.

[*cross-posted from WOTN*]

Bagram 'Mayor': Life and death decisions

A mayor’s headaches, with life-and-death implications

WELCOME HOME 'Fighting G'!

HMS Gloucester gets royal welcome home

A Military Operations news article

30 Mar 11

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester joined Type 42 destroyer HMS Gloucester as she sailed back into Portsmouth last week from her seven-month deployment to the South Atlantic.

HMS Gloucester sails into Portsmouth

HMS Gloucester sails into Portsmouth
[Picture: LA(Phot) Jenny Lodge, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

The sun shone for the Portsmouth-based warship as she returned to cheering crowds of families, friends and well-wishers at 1000hrs on Friday 25 March 2011.

As the ship's sponsor, the Duchess of Gloucester launched the ship on 2 November 1982 and has been closely involved ever since - seeing her through 15 captains, two rededications and 25 years of commissioned service.

The Duchess joined the destroyer by helicopter before meeting the ship's company and her Commanding Officer, Commander David George.

She also presented Commander George with the 2010 Fleet Efficiency Award from the Royal Navy for being its most effective destroyer last year, attaining the highest standards in both training and on operations.

This will be HMS Gloucester's final homecoming as she will be decommissioned from the fleet in June 2011...

Much more here.


Powerlifter Adds to Records

Face of Defense: Powerlifter Adds to Records

By Laura M. Levering
Northwest Guardian

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash., March 29, 2011 – At age 54, Leamon Woodley, a civilian employee here, is in better physical condition than many soldiers half his age.

A trained powerlifter, Woodley holds more records than he can keep track of -- earlier this month, that number increased by two.

Leamon Woodley lifts 635 pounds during
a March 18, 2011, workout on Joint Base Lewis-McChord,
Wash. U.S. Army photo by Ingrid Barrentine

The retired Army master sergeant competed in the 2011 Washington State Powerlifting, Bench Press and Deadlift Championship in Tumwater, Wash., March 5 and 6. The 181-pound Woodley set two national records, including the squat at 640 pounds and total weight at 1,654 pounds. The total record was the combined weight of three separate events: squat, bench press and dead lift.

Woodley also was inducted into the Washington State Powerlifting Hall of Fame for his nearly two decades of participation and recognition in the sport.

Woodley's interest in powerlifting began while stationed in South Korea in 1991, when he became a certified master fitness trainer for the Army. He had just graduated from the course and attended his first powerlifting meet, where he saw a 130-pound woman dead lift 330 pounds.

"I was impressed -- very impressed," Woodley said. "That's what got me started."...

Read more here..

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WELCOME HOME Corporal Yannick Scherrer

Cpl. Yannick Scherrer

From Canadian Heroes:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cpl. Scherrer, Canadian Hero, Repatriated Today

The repatriation of Canada’s latest fatality of the Afghan mission, Cpl. Yannick Scherrer, 24, will take place today, Wednesday, March 30 of 2011.

Cpl. Scherrer is the 155th Canadian Soldier to fall in the Afghan mission overall but the first in 2011. Canada had not suffered a combat loss for more than three months until Sunday.

Cpl. Scherrer was on foot patrol with Afghan forces 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City when he was hit with an improvised explosive device at noon on Sunday. He was posted with the 1st battalion, Royal 22nd regiment, also known as the Van Doos.

The military transport returning the remains of Cpl. Yannick Scherrer is scheduled to arrive at CFB Trenton at approximately 2p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

More than 1,000 troops gathered on the tarmac to pay their respects to Cpl. Scherrer with an overnight ramp ceremony as he began his voyage home on Monday from Kandahar Airfeld.

“Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Cpl. Sherrer’s family and to the soldiers and friends who served alongside him,” said Brig.-Dean Milner in a statement read at Kandahar Airfield.


Our hearts and thoughts remain with the Scherrer family during this difficult time. We appreciate all that Cpl. Yannick Scherrer has done for our country and for our freedom.

He will be remembered.

Rest in Peace, Corporal.

ALWAYS remembered and honoured.

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day - THANK YOU!

Today is officially Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. As usual, our governments have been very slow to recognise the service of our Vietnam Veteran heroes. As is now very well known, our Vietnam Veterans were treated very shabbily, and that treatment is one of the reasons I do what I do in my small corner of Bratville. The way our Vietnam Veterans were/are treated gave me a mantra: NOT ON MY WATCH.

Many years ago, ( long before I was 'trained' as a journalist, lol) I wrote a column which I called Good Morning, Sunset Beach. At the time of writing, I submitted it to media around the world. Quelle surprise, not one outlet used it. I have since shared it with a couple of Vietnam Veterans over the years.

Today seems a good day to share excerpts here:

Goooood Morning, Sunset Beach”

6a.m. clear, calm, not a ripple on the water. A blue heron stands serenely on the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. Is he oblivious to the Wall a few yards away? THIS is a replica of the Wall in Washington remembering, honoring all the husbands, sons, brothers and lovers who fought, and died, in a country I had never heard of until 1973. 1973 – the year I traveled to the U.S. from a small European country and saw, for the first time, men dying right in the living rooms of the good old U.S of A. As a young single girl, I had no point of reference to the dying and the accompanying political screaming. I had never seen such angry people as those I saw now, in small town America, screaming against the Vietnam War.

What war?

I was one of the lucky generation, that had never been a part of any war. Yes, my father was a bona fide hero, highly decorated, from WW2, but that was nothing to do with me, because he rarely talked about that.


Until 1973. For the first time I saw a grown man cry as he strummed a guitar in my living room and tried, in vain, to sing away all the terrible things he had seen in a land far, far away. Time moved on, and so did I. Vietnam was nothing to do with me. I had my own life to live. But then, another man cried in my arms. In flashbacks he took me to the trenches, and showed me the horrors of children screaming as they died in a war they didn’t ask for. This time the war was not on tv ...


1988 he and I go to the Wall replica set just yards from the rolling ocean. I don’t know why he goes but I am drawn, hoping to find answers to the madness of Vietnam. Instead I find cameramen, like vultures, hovering over those remembering, honoring. I see a man with a placard demonstrating against the Wall’s presence in Canada. “It’s nothing to do with Canada”. To which this man I love, always has his standard reply: “People died so he could have the freedom to do that.” Do I find answers? No – just an overwhelming sadness – sadness that men, women and children died, and it seems nothing has changed in the world. Still the insanity prevails in some corners of our world. Different places, different causes, same death. 1988 and still the world is not a safe place to live for many.

So it’s a beautiful morning. Dogs run freely and the water rolls timelessly to the ocean. Children’s laughter fills the air with carefree joy; lucky children who, if the world is kind to them, will never go to war, nor need to kill another human being so other children may know the freedoms they have. Joggers trot leisurely past the Wall, seemingly unaware that in other parts of the world there is no place to run, no freedom to run, even from bullets.

I sit on a log, surveying all that is beautiful, in the shadow of the Wall, and I cry. I still believe that every person has the right to live a life free from the oppression that still stalks our world. But age, knowledge, awareness, has tempered that – age, motherhood, and my intimate exposure to the Vietnam War, and the final knowing of the private agonies that drove my father. Yes, “no more wars” is still a wonderful idea, but I now know that peace doesn’t come free. Peace doesn’t come just because we ignore thugs, tyrants killing their own children in other corners of our world.


It is now 2007. Another blue heron stands at the shoreline, serene and unconcerned. The eagles perch atop their regular tree, and we look at each other. All looks the same as it always did – timeless, unchanging. I, though, am not the same person who sat here in this spot almost 20 years ago. I now understand the WHY of war, the absolute necessity of war, if all children are to have peace. I now know that I must honor those I have loved, those who gave all, those I love today who live on with the memories of all that they have given for peace. I now must live “I STAND WITH YOU”. If that means waging war, so there may be peace, so be it.

My beach has never been the same since the day I stood at the Wall, and neither have I.


(More here)

Vietnam Nurses Memorial (more here and here)

"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own.

And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.

There are many tributes to our Vietnam Veterans out on the internet today. Susan Katz Keating has one up. One of the best, in my opinion, comes from War on Terror News:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

“Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans”

March 30 marks the anniversary of the day in 1973 that Congress ended combat and combat support unit operations in South Vietnam. It is also recognized as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day"

Below you will find a few videos I found for my tribute to our Vietnam Veterans.

Thank you for your service. Welcome Home! God Bless You All....

Yes, there are a few videos, and links, over there. Take the time today to go read and watch, here.

To all my Vietnam Veteran friends, and including my personal Angel Soldiers: Thank you, THANK YOU! I stand with you, today and every day.