Thursday, August 31, 2006

Secretary Rumsfeld Visits Operation Give

There are many things that the American people can do to help our military during their deployments. We can write letters and send care packages and let them know we believe in them. We can also assist the organizations who are set up to assist the military while they are doing their jobs. One such organization is Operation Give.

Operation Give was started by Chief Warrant Officer, Paul Horton, known to blog readers as "Chief Wiggles", during the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It began as his readers sent boxes of stuffed animals for him to hand out to the Iraqi children. It has grown. It is now a humanitarian organization that ships toys, medicine, and educational supplies to children in war-torn and devastated nations throughout the world. Operation Give provides these items to the military so that they may do more outreach to the local populations. The "Operations" include: Operation Give Second Sight, Operation Clean Teeth, Operation Play Sports, Operation Joys with Toys, Operation Back to School, and more... It is run by volunteers and depends upon donations from Americans.

Paul Horton writes:

"Thousands of sincere, charitable people stepped forward with pure acts of kindness, donating wonderful items and money in order to bring happiness into the lives of thousands of Iraqi and Afghanistan children.

"Our US military men and women, with the help of numerous Iraqi and Afghanistan people, were able to deliver with love your generous gifts. Through these acts of kindness, made possible by all of you, they were able to build bridges of love and understanding. Consequently, our men and women in the military were able to make great strides towards our goal of winning the hearts and minds of the people they are fighting for. Through love and kindness we can all help build these bridges spanning misunderstandings, distrust, and hatred, that permeates the society of that part of the world. Through love we will find a way and the answers to our problems.

"Unfortunately, there are those who chose hatred as their answer and desire all free men and women to be in bondage or killed. There are evil forces that fight against democratic free rule, wanting only for their own power and position. For this reason we must continue to fight back to insure our own freedom. We must not back down or retreat to the safety of our own distant homes, for they are coming and they are relentless. We can only hope that the opportunity to let our true selves shine through will arise, enabling the people of these countries to see who we really are. We ask that all of you do what you can to help us now win the peace through your own acts of love and kindness."

Earlier this week, Secretary Rumsfeld paid a visit to the volunteers at Operation Give.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, center, meets with Operation Give volunteers and thanks them for their contributions during a stop in Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 29, 2006.
Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF

America Supports You: Rumsfeld Thanks Utah Volunteer Group

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA American Forces Press Service

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 29, 2006 – Wrapping up a trip here that also included stops in Alaska and Reno, Nev., Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld met today with volunteers from “Operation Give,” a nonprofit organization that supports children in war-torn and natural-disaster-affected areas of the world.

“Those of you who volunteer your time are appreciated,” Rumsfeld told thevolunteers assembled in a warehouse. “(Your efforts) are appreciated not only in the countries where they end up helping, … but they’re also appreciated by your fellow citizens. It says a lot about our country. It’s a generous country; it’s probably the most generous country on the face of the earth.”

Operation Give is a member of the Defense Department’s “America Supports You” program, which highlights ways in which the American people and corporations are supporting the nation’s men and women in uniform. Operation Give facilitates the distribution of toys, clothing, medical supplies and other items to children in countries such as Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Before meeting the volunteers, Rumsfeld met privately with the parents of Marine Lance Cpl. Adam Galvez, who was killed in Iraq on Aug. 27. Galvez’s parents are Operation Give volunteers.

Volunteers busily packed boxes with supplies before Rumsfeld’s arrival. Rumsfeld shook hands with each volunteer and was given a tour and an explanation about how Operation Give works.

All the supplies sent by Operation Give are donated by people from across the country, explained Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Paul Holton, Operation Give founder and president. The warehouse here is used as a sorting facility, and from there the boxes are shipped to the military in countries where they’re needed, he said. The military distributes most of the supplies donated by Operation Give, he said.

“Wherever there are people in crises, our idea is to get this stuff in the hands of the military, so they can build that bridge,”

Holton said. Holton, also known as “Chief Wiggles,” founded Operation Give in 2003. He served in the 1990-91 Gulf War and saw duty in Iraq from February 2003 to March 2004. Since 2003, Operation Give has shipped more than 35 40-foot container loads to Iraq and Afghanistan, five to Sri Lanka, and one to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, Holton said.

Rumsfeld said the people in the areas receiving these supplies are always grateful, and the work Operation Give does goes a long way toward improving the U.S. image overseas. He also praised the America Supports You program, calling it a great way for people to learn how they can support the troops.

“So many people get on that Web site and see things other people are doing, and get excited to do things themselves,” he said.

Article from Defense Link

Book Review ~ Saving Babylon

I first met "Chief Wiggles" through his blog - written from the beginning of the war in Iraq. It was an interesting and insightful account of his experiences during the war. "Chief Wiggles" is Paul Horton. Paul, a chief warrant officer in the Utah National Guard, is also the founder of Operation Give, a humanitarian organization that ships toys, medicine, and educational supplies to children in war-torn and devastated nations throughout the world. His book, Saving Babylon, The Heart of an Army Interrogator in Iraq, is a journal of his experiences in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Saving Babylon will make you laugh and make you cry. It is a wonderful journey, and I was quite glad to take it. This is the firsthand account of an Army interrogator who worked hand-in-hand with Iraqis at all levels in building a new nation. Saving Babylon is a must-read for every American. You will learn what the media refuse to report.

I strongly recommend this book.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Final Farewell from the Marines

These are the pictures from the Memorial Service in Rawah, Iraq for Cpl Adam A Galvez, LCpl Randy Newman and Hospitalman Chadwick T. Kenyon.

Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Martinez, a 20-year-old Marine from Bay City, Mich., pays his final respects to three fallen comrades – two Marines and a Navy corpsman – during a memorial service Aug. 26, 2006, at the Marines’ outpost in Rawah, Iraq. Cpl. Adam A. Galvez, a 21-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah; Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman, a 21-year-old from Bend, Ore., and Hospitalman Chadwick T. Kenyon, a 20-year-old from Tucson, Ariz., were all killed in action Aug. 20. All three men were part of the battalion’s Company D, which spent three months living out of their eight-wheeled, armored troop carriers – Light Armored Vehicles – combating insurgents and roadside bombs in Fallujah earlier this year. The deaths of the three men came on the heels of the deaths of four other Marines from the very same platoon within Company D. During all of their exploits in eastern Al Anbar Province, no one from Company D was killed. All six of the battalion’s deaths occurred during combat operations in this region of western Al Anbar Province. “They were Dragoon’s warriors. They were real warriors,” said 1st Sgt. Willie T. Ward III, of Galvez, Kenyon and Newman during the ceremony. “They were Wolf Pack. They were my brothers. I loved them.”
Photo by: Staff Sgt. Jim Goodwin
Photo ID: 200682795938
Submitting Unit: 1st Marine DivisionPhoto

Sgt. Levi S. Presmyk, a 23-year-old Marine rifleman from Camp Verde, Ariz., pays his final respects to three fallen comrades – two Marines and a Navy corpsman – during a memorial service Aug. 26, 2006, at the Marines’ outpost in Rawah, Iraq. Cpl. Adam A. Galvez, a 21-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah; Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman, a 21-year-old from Bend, Ore., and Hospitalman Chadwick T. Kenyon, a 20-year-old from Tucson, Ariz., were all killed in action Aug. 20. All three men were part of the battalion’s Company D, which spent three months living out of their eight-wheeled, armored troop carriers – Light Armored Vehicles – combating insurgents and roadside bombs in Fallujah earlier this year. The deaths of the three men came on the heels of the deaths of four other Marines from the very same platoon within Company D. During all of their exploits in eastern Al Anbar Province, no one from Company D was killed. All six of the battalion’s deaths occurred during combat operations in this region of western Al Anbar Province. “They were Dragoon’s warriors. They were real warriors,” said 1st Sgt. Willie T. Ward III, of Galvez, Kenyon and Newman during the ceremony. “They were Wolf Pack. They were my brothers. I loved them.”
Photo by: Staff Sgt Jim Goodwin
For the entire story of the service and more pictures, go here.

LCpl Randy Newman, Valiant Warrior

LCpl Randy Lee Newman, USMC
May 25, 1985 - August 20, 2006
A strong and valiant warrior
When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said,
"The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
Judges 6:12 (New International Version)

I had the honor of attending the memorial service for Randy Newman. It was a moving celebration of his life and his love.

The orders were read for his two Purple Hearts, and they were presented to his parents.

We were welcomed into the love and warmth of his family. I did not know Randy, but I have learned so much about him in the past week, that I miss him. He was of the finest among us. His parents shared their photos of him, their stories, their love and some of his letters. Friends shared their fondest memories. His wrestling coaches and JROTC instructors spoke of Randy - his determination, strength, kindness, leadership, citizenship. One of the most touching speeches was from a high school classmate, now a Marine Cpl, who spoke of the friendship he and Randy had in school, and the bond that they had as Marines. This young man has served two tours in Iraq. He thanked the Patriot Guard for being there, then promised them and us that the Marines would always stand between us and our enemies - "we are not leaving" he promised. Randy's best friend is deployed in Afghanistan. He sent a most moving letter to be read.

A Marine color guard presented and retired the colors. The bagpipe and drum corp played. His pastor, Dan LeLaCheur, shared about Randy's faith and his love for family, life, friends, country, Corps and God. We laughed and we cried.

Whatever else we felt, we felt the terrible burden of freedom - it is not free - and, Randy paid the ultimate price for all of us.

My prayers are with the Newman family and friends. May God's Peace be with you.

My eternal gratitude that we have such fine young people in this country who are willing to protect us and defend us, and through living the best life, teach us how to be better people and better Americans.

To leave a message for Randy's family, you can visit his Legacy pages.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Galvez Family Speaks Out

Family Urges War Support
by Matthew D. LaPlante, Salt Lake City Tribune

Many in her country had turned against the war. The mayor of her city was organizing a protest against the president. And the insurgents in Iraq, Amy Galvez feared, were growing bolder by the day.

Galvez decided she had heard enough.

Hoping her words might persuade those who support the president, the war and the troops in Iraq to assemble in a great demonstration of patriotism and support, Galvez sat at her computer and began to type.

"My son, who is a resident of Salt Lake City, is now in Iraq," she wrote in an e-mail to The Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday. "American lives have been lost in this war because the enemy has been emboldened by our own words, actions and lack of support for our own mission."

Galvez was still sitting at her computer when she heard a car door close outside her northwest Salt Lake City home. Peering through the window, she saw two Marines coming up the walk.

Adam Galvez, 21, was killed Sunday in Iraq's volatile Al Anbar province in a roadside bomb attack that claimed the life of two other members of his battalion.

His death, the 2,607th U.S. fatality confirmed by the Department of Defense, comes as his hometown is bracing for the arrival of President Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who are scheduled to address the national convention of the American Legion next week at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The city's mayor, Rocky Anderson, has pledged to protest the visit and has invited Cindy Sheehan, a prominent war protester who lost her son in Iraq, to speak at an anti-war demonstration.

Inside her home, now adorned by a flag at half-staff, on Tuesday, Amy Galvez said she was more determined than ever to ensure the mission for which her son fought and died is supported back home.

"I don't want Cindy Sheehan and Rocky Anderson to be the only voices the world hears," Galvez said Tuesday evening from the living room of her home in northwest Salt Lake City, not far from the airport where Air Force One is scheduled to touch down next week. "I want our voices to be heard. I want the world to know that our troops are wonderful."

And, she said, she wants people to know that her son made a choice to serve his country and was proud of his mission in Iraq.

The day after Adam Galvez was killed, family members were given a copy of a letter, written to a close friend, in which the Marine confirmed his support for the war in Iraq, Galvez's parents said.

That support remained, they said, even after Adam Galvez - trained as a mechanic but often assigned to patrols of Anbar's dangerous streets - stood above the rubble of a U.S. military post struck by a suicide bomber and listened as, one by one, the voices of several fellow Marines fell silent.

Galvez told his parents he was suffering from nightmares about the July 29 attack, in which he was injured and four others were killed.

Still, the parents said, their son remained confident that his mission was just.

And Tony Galvez said he had remained confident his son, the second of three children in the Galvez family, would return home safely.

"I had no doubt he was coming home," the grieving father said. "It never crossed my mind that he wouldn't come home."

Adam Galvez, who attended West High School and the Horizonte Instruction and Training Center, where he graduated in 2003, was due back from Iraq next month.

But Tony Galvez also believed, as his wife did, that the insurgents his son was fighting were growing more dangerous. And he, too, believes that those who question the justness of the war have gone too far.

"You can't support the troops but be against the war," he said. "It just doesn't work."

The following is the text of an e-mail to The Salt Lake Tribune from Amy Galvez. The letter was written just hours before she learned her son, Adam, had been killed in Iraq. Adam was killed in the same attack that claimed the lives of LCpl Randy Newman of Bend, Oregon, and Hospitalman Chadwick T. Kenyon, 20, of Tucson, Arizona

From: Amy Galvez
Subject: Mayor Anderson and Cindy Sheehan
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2006 14:00:02 -0700 (PDT)

Once again, it is time for the voices of military families to be heard. As the time approaches for Mayor Rocky Anderson, joined by Cindy Sheehan, to raise their voices and denounce the job my son and other servicemen are doing, I cannot remain silent. I understand that many people do not support the war in Iraq, the global war on terror. Many would rather wait until something happens here at home and deal with it then. That is fine to have that opinion. What is not fine, is an elected official speaking to the world and condemning the job our service men and women are doing. But, it hits closer to home than that. My son, who is a resident of Salt Lake City, is now in Iraq. He was sent there by the United States to do a job. The Mayor of Salt Lake City will grab headlines by speaking out against the job my son, a resident of his city, is doing. I know that Mayor Anderson says he supports the troops but not the war. You cannot say you support the troops and tell the world that what they are doing is wrong. Mayor Anderson's words will play worldwide. This will be seen on Aljazeera TV and throughout the communities where America is hated. I believe that the words of Mayor Anderson, as well as other elected officials who speak out against our military and their mission, in essence, give support and momentum to the enemy. This, in turn, puts the lives or our sons, fighting on our behalf, in greater jeopardy. I heard it appropriately put by Tammy Bruce, who said "when you make the world mad at the Marines, it is easier to kill them." My belief is that American lives have been lost in this war because the enemy has been emboldened by our own words, actions and lack of support for our own mission. America will always be hated by many throughout the world. That won't change. Regardless of your politics, supporting our military, who is mostly made up of very young American volunteers, should be our foremost concern. Mayor Anderson should go before the cameras and say thank you to every American troop, especially those from Salt Lake, for their heroic duty instead of undermining their efforts.

Amy Galvez, Proud American and Very Proud Marine Mom

Both articles are from the Salt Lake City Tribune

Video Tribute from Mark Lee's Service and the Protest

Oregon Community Says Goodbye to a Hero video

The filmed the memorial service for Mark Lee, Navy Seal in Hood River. This is a moving tribute to him.

The news article can be found here.

Kansas Hate Group Drowned Out in Oregon video

The filmed the Phelps Hate-Group prior to the service for Mark Lee. If you have been curious about them, you can see them at the above link.

While they are disgusting, it is quite moving to see the Patriot Guard Riders, the lone Bagpipe player, and to listen to the love coming from MJ Kesterson. She 'is the mom of Blackhawk helicopter pilot Erik Kesterson who was killed in Mosul, Iraq in 2003. She said it was outrageous that anyone would fail to see the sacrifice her son and Marc Lee had made, “They wore those uniforms with pride. I’m extremely proud of my son for serving his country.”'

The news article can be found here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Soldiers Become Firefighters in the Northwest

In another unique way, the Army and the National Guard have come to protect and defend us. They have traded in their ACU's for the Yellow Shirts of the firefighters, their helmets for yellow hardhats. They are helping all of us in a special way.

I took the above picture of the Black Crater Fire an hour after it started. It went on to burn almost 10,000 acres, barely sparing the small town of Sisters, Oregon. It is now part of the Black Crater Complex of fires that have burned almost 20,000 acres. After several weeks, these fires are still burning.

The West has had a terrible year for fire. Much of it has been in wilderness areas, so the MSM doesn't report it. They only report fires when they threaten homes, and once that is resolved, they leave the impression that the fires are out. But, they aren't. The 10 year average for fires is 56,902 fires over 4,508,285 acres. As of today, there have been 78,505 fires over 7,576,076 acres. This has stressed the wildland firefighting resources. When resources are stressed, the Army and the National Guard are called in to help!

A 550-Soldier unit from Fort Lewis, Washington, was deployed August 14 to fight the Tripod Complex fire near Winthrop, Washington. The Tripod Complex fire has burned nearly 200 square miles of forest since it was sparked by lightning in July. It is only 40% contained.

Steve O'Brien, operations officer, points out the similarities of fighting a fire to military operations. "The fire has flanks, and firefighters use trenches, pincer movements and try to outmaneuver and envelop the fire. The ground force is just one side of it - we have engines, helicopter attack and smoke jumpers (air drop firefighters), so it's very similar to a military operation."

John Bruce, from U.S. Army North headquarters, observes, "It is not just throwing water on a fire. The logistics that go into fighting the fire and the planning that is conducted every night for the next day is very intensive. It's as thorough as any war-gaming I've seen in the Army."

This is the first year since 2003 that the fire center has requested a military battalion. Every year, National Guard aircraft are used for air tankers. Since June 2006, National Guard tankers have completed more than 200 retardant drops on wildfires. Currently, Defense assets supporting wildland firefighting are 550 soldiers from Fort Lewis, Washington and 4 Air National Guard C-130's with MAFFS.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns paid a great compliment to the military. "When you call in the military, you get dedication to the mission. It's just outstanding to work with them."

Much gratitude to the Army and the National Guard for protecting us in yet another way! You are all heroes to us! Thank you!!!!!

Soldiers in Task Force Blaze stand at attention during a pre-deployment ceremony at Fort Lewis, Wash., Aug. 13, 2006. About 500 Fort Lewis Soldiers are supporting the National Interagency Fire Center in putting out wildfires in the northern Washington region.
Photo by Spc. Laura M. Bigenho, 28th Public Affairs Detachment

A bus carrying Soldiers from Fort Lewis, Wash., arrives at Fort Tripod, north of Winthrop, Wash. About 500 Fort Lewis Soldiers are supporting the National Interagency Fire Center in putting out wildfires in the northern Washington region in August 2006.
Photo courtesy 28th Public Affairs Detachment

Staff Sgt. Justin Burns (left) and other Soldiers from fire team 9 use Pulaski tools to break up a burning root system during their first day of firefighting. Embers flaring up and causing small hot spot fires are one of many dangers the Soldiers in Northern Washington face on the fireline as they battle the Tripod Complex Fire that has burned through 100,000 acres. About 500 Soldiers from Fort Lewis, Wash., are supporting the National Interagency Fire Center in putting out wildfires in the northern Washington region in August 2006.
Photo by Spc. Abel Trevino, 28th Public Affairs Detachment

MAFFS (Military Airborne Firefighting System) - Drop of retardant by an Air National Guard C-130

For more information: NorthCom Wildfire Page
For more pictures: NorthCom Pictures

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Memorial for Navy Seal, Mark Lee

On Saturday, August 26, Petty Officer 2nd, Mark Lee, Navy Seal, was remembered in his hometown of Hood River, Oregon. He is the first from the Navy's elite commando force to die in Iraq. Mark lost his life on August 2, 2006.

Oregonians showed up en masse to celebrate his life and pay their respects. Unfortunately, the dispicable from Westborough showed up to spew their filth. However, the Patriot Guard Riders and other shielded the family and friends from their display.

Mark Lee and the Patriot Guard Riders
-Mike Francis, The Oregonian

I've always admired the Patriot Guard Riders -- the platoons of motorcycle-riding veterans who appear at the funerals of young men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it was wonderful to see them today. They did the Lee family a great service, and they were recognized in a way that I haven't seen before.

Marc Lee was a Navy SEAL, killed while saving friends in his platoon while under fire in Ramadi, Iraq. His funeral service in San Diego was well-attended, including by members of his platoon who since have returned to Iraq. But the family wanted to have a memorial service to Marc in Hood River, too.

It was a perfect Gorge day today, with no clouds and just a light wind. The Port of Hood River Expo Center drew hundreds of friends and well-wishers, from Rep. Greg Walden to a pack of Scouts. They were there to honor and remember Marc Lee. And sadly, so were four shrews from Topeka, Kan., where a congregation has decided that the deaths of soldiers are God's punishment on America for tolerating homosexuality.

I don't want to make more of their small protest than it was -- four loud women with offensive signs. It is indecent of them to do what they do -- travel to the funerals of fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines -- but surely, at some level, they understand that.

The Patriot Guard Riders turned out in force. They held flags and stood guard along the sidewalk leading to the Expo Center. They were strong and gentle, showing no anger (at least that I saw) and even saying, as one protester chanted nearby, "Make sure she doesn't get hurt.

"When the service began inside, the protesters packed and left. But the Patriot Guard remained, hearing the tributes and prayers focused on Marc Lee and the Lee family. One speaker, Marc Lee's brother in law, singled them out for praise, saying the family valued their own service in an earlier war, and thanking them for attending today.

The gathered friends erupted in applause, and the ovation was sustained for a long minute, while the Riders hung at the back of the hall and outside the doors.

At the end of the service, I saw nothing I've never seen before: Marc's widow, brother and other members of the family walking the lines of flag-holding Riders, shaking each of their hands and saying thanks.

For the Vietnam vets who came home to indifference and hostility, it was a meaningful show of gratitude. It was a small act of healing that both generations need.

One Marc Lee story from the service: He grew up in Hood River loving soccer. Some of the pictures shown today were from a match between his SEAL platoon and some Iraqi Army soldiers, on a dusty pitch surrounded by Hesco barriers. Marc clearly was an active player. The family pastor, Doug Iverson, told a story from the SEALS, who said they had never beaten the Iraqis in soccer ... until Marc Lee arrived. In a match won by the SEALS, Marc scored three of the five goals. They scheduled a rematch, but Marc didn't live to see it. At the service in San Diego, his soccer shoes and a soccer ball he had ordered were on display.

Read more here -

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Talking with Heroes - August 27

Sunday Night Talk Show Time
August 27, 2006
5pm (PST) 6pm (MST) 7pm (CST) 8pm (EST)

or available to listen to streaming or download for podcast at anytime after the show

Karen Fisher

Karen Fisher's husband, Sgt. Paul Fisher, died in November 2003 when his Chinook helicopter was shot down by a missile over Fallujah, Iraq. Paul was with the Iowa Army National Guard in Davenport.
Mrs. Fisher says, "We do not get to choose how we leave this world, but we do get to choose how we live our life while we are here. And for the people like my husband Paul, the military was a life he chose. He volunteered to put his life on the line to help secure and protect the freedoms that we enjoy everyday." She thinks a quote from John F. Kennedy should be remembered when we think of the current sacrifices being made for Americans' liberty: "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, to assure the survival and success of liberty."


Lt Col Jon R. Kerstetter
Medical Corps, ARNGUS

Board certified in emergency medicine (AAPS). Board examiner in emergency medicine (BCEM). Experience as a medical director of a level II Trauma Center ED in Iowa. Over Fourteen years of Emergency Medicine experience including military and international experience. Extensive international clinical and management experience including in-country directorship of the emergency medicine residency in Pristina, Kosovo. ATLS certified. ACLS instructor.

Research experience with four academic papers published. Henry J. Kaiser Merit Scholar (1 of 25 national awards) at Mayo Medical School, 1988. Over eight years experience in business management and marketing. Two years teaching at collegiate level. MS in Human Resource Management from University of Utah, plus two additional years graduate work in organizational behavior and education.

Flight Surgeon for Army National Guard with training in mass casualty and combat medicine. Extensive experience in combat medicine in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where I served on the CJTF7 headquarters staff as the chief medical integration officer.

Three-Tour combat veteran in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Volunteer physician to Rwandan refugee camps, Bosnian Emergency Medicine Program, Albanian Refugee work, Kosovo Emergency Medicine Program of Johns Hopkins University, and Honduran medical relief for hurricane Mitch. Director of Emergency Medicine Residency Program of Johns Hopkins at the University of Phristina, Kosovo.

U.S. Decorations and Badges
Bronze Star Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device (2nd Award)
Army Service Ribbon
Combat Medic Badge
Flight Surgeon Badge

Warrant Officer Al Kakac

He taught Afghanistan farmers how to greatly improve their corn yields.


Staff Sgt. Mark Matteson

He was an organizer of "Shoes for Kids", a program to provide shoes for children in Afghanistan (more than 1,000 pairs of shoes.


Capt. Dan Maeder

He spearheaded the Backpack for Kids in Iraq project (more than 1,300 backpacks loaded with school supplies)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Thank You, Joe Rosenthal

Joe Rosenthal, 1911-2006
The photographer who captured one of the most well known images of all time passed away this week. Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press was on the little Pacific island of Iwo Jima in February 1945 when the U.S. Marines captured the island from the Japanese. As a group of five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman raised a second and larger flag on Mount Suribachi for all to see on 23 February 1945, Rosenthal took the immortal photo that, 61 years later, still brings a tear to any Patriot’s eye. We thank God for those men who fought for our liberty, just as our Patriot Armed Forces do today.
From the Patriot Post
Another article on Joe Rosenthal at
Our photographers and artists are the ones who capture the moments that become our history and give us the visual moment to remember. Thank you, Joe Rosenthal, and thank you to all of those who have and still do, put themselves in harm's way to capture these moments for history.

My Name...Randy Newman

Randy and his Mom

As we come to terms with our loss and our grief here in the High Desert, we remember the good and wonderful things that were Randy Newman. His "My Space" profile reads simply:

"I'm into muscle cars, big trucks, horses, wrestling, hunting, fishing, UFC, and everything violent, but the truth is, I am a sucker for the soft things, as well, like my mamma and how she used to tuck me in and kiss me on the cheek. That is what I am interested in ... and, I love George Bush..."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Walk with God, LCpl Randy Newman

"Some people wonder their whole lives if they made a difference.
The Marines don't have that problem."
-President Ronald Reagan

LCpl Randy Lee Newman

March 25, 1985 - August 20, 2006

Marines, LCpl Randy Lee Newman, of Bend, Oregon, and Cpl Adam A. Galvez, of Salt Lake City, Utah died August 20 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. They were assigned to Company D, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California. Their unit worked in Fallujah and Habbaniyah conducting reconnaissance, providing security, launching limited offensive and defensive operations, as well as providing humanitarian aid.

LCpl Randy Lee Newman is from our hometown. His family lives 'down the lane' from us. He is from our community. We mourn with the family and pray for their strength for the difficult days ahead.

Randy was born in Bend. He attended Mountain View High School where he was active in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, a member of the varsity wrestling team, and graduate in 2003. After high school, he volunteered for the Marine Corps. Randy is survived by his parents, Ramona and Jerry, and two younger brothers, Dan, 18, and Ken, 8.

A family friend, Mike McKee, said of Randy, "He was an all-American kid. He believed firmly in what he was doing. He volunteered for the Marines; he volunteered for reconnaissance duty. I think that speaks volumes about him by itself. The whole family is very God-fearing and believes in America."

Les Combs, his wrestling coach, remembers Randy: "he was a loving, caring person and one of the hardest working kids I've ever coached." A team mate, Casey McCright, says "He was just always dedicated to doing something positive and succeeding." The team had an annual fundraiser, selling Christmas trees, which the team dreaded - except for Randy. "It would be cold and most people would try to get out of it early, but Randy would be there the whole day. He would be the last one to leave, helped clean up and didn't complain," said McCright. Alex Baz remembers Randy, who was three years older, coming to middle school and coaching aspiring wrestlers. Alex remembers Randy as the guy who treated them as equals, rather than underlings.

Randy's mother gave an interview today to our local television station -- By Shaliz Koleini, (Interview follows)

'The mother of Bend native and Marine Lance Cpl. Randy Lee Newman spoke through her tears of sorrow and pride in front of the family's home Wednesday afternoon, saying the family is proud of their "strong and valiant warrior" and will join him again one day in Heaven. Husband Jerry at her side, Ramona Newman read the following statement.

"When I found out that the news was coming, I felt like I wanted to say something which - I woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning, and God told me what to say.

"Randy was called to be a Marine, just as Gideon was called by God to be a strong and valiant warrior - it says that in Judges 6:12.

"Randy loved his family - he would want you to know wherever he was, God was keeping him safe. He told me that often.

"We're not supposed to understand. God says in Proverbs 3:15, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.'

"Randy always let me know how much he loved God, his family, and he loved his country. One of my last conversations with Randy was, ‘Randy, are you saying your prayers?' And he said to me, ‘Mom, God and I are so tight right now.'"

"We have comfort in Jesus Christ, and Randy would want that for every one of you.

"So remember my son as a great and valiant warrior, not only for his country, but for something much bigger - a valiant warrior of our God, Lord Jesus Christ.

"Our family is proud to stand before you as a family who believes and has faith, and we are proud to be Marines.

"John 3:16 says - we've all heard this Scripture - ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.'

"We thank each and every one of you for your prayers - I know there are many. Please keep us in your prayers. It's not supposed to be easy. But surely, I will see my family together in Heaven.

"We can all be with Randy again, and Jesus will help us, if we only ask. It's that simple. Thank you so much, for everything." '


Services for LCpl Randy Newman will be held at the Expo Center at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, August 29, at 11 am. The public is invited.


If you would like to send a message to the Newman family, please post it in comments or email me and I will print them off and deliver them to the family. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

They Have Names....

I get angry each time I see numbers listed for our fallen heroes ...THEY HAVE NAMES! They have families, friends and communities who grieve and honor them. They had lives that were full of honor and respect for our country. Our debt to them is immeasurable. We must always call out their names to God, pray for His blessings of healing for their families and friends, whisper "Thank You" for what they have given for us.

Our community has had a difficult summer.

First, we lost PVT Thomas Tucker.

Now, we have lost LCpl Randy Newman.

Through the Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, our community has also lost two civilians in service to our country: Deborah Klecker and Loren Hammer.

We are a small community.
We value and honor the lives that have been sacrificed for our safety and security.
I will always honor them here.

Update - Please read CJ's comment. When his site is ready, I will post about it here. If you would like to donate to this wonderful effort to make sure that everyone knows the names, please go to A Soldiers Perspective and there is a donate button.

Pvt. Joseph Blake - God Speed

The flags are at half-staff in Oregon. We have lost one of our young men, Pvt Joseph Blake. He was a short-time resident of Oregon before he joined the Army. His was the ultimate sacrifice for our country. He gave his life to keep us all safe and free.

God Speed, Pvt Joseph Blake.


Joseph Robert Blake had lived in Portland only a few weeks when, in January 2005, he made a commitment he'd toyed with much of his life. He joined the U.S. Army.

At 34, according to his adoptive father, Douglas Blake of Livonia, Mich., Pvt. Joseph Blake was the oldest guy in his basic training class. Many of his classmates, still teenagers, used to kid around and call him the "old man."

The Department of Defense announced Joseph Blake's death Monday. He died August 17 in Turkalay, Afghanistan, of injuries when his platoon encountered small arms fire, the military said.

"They were ambushed," his father said during a telephone interview.

Born and raised in the Detroit area, Blake spent most of his life there. In 2003, his father said, he moved to Florida to live with his birth family and to find a job. He had trouble finding work in Michigan, and found the same economic problems in Florida.

"He and a buddy went to Portland looking for work," Douglas Blake said.

Looking over some of their son's grade school papers, Douglas and Joann Blake discovered the military was on the top of his list of potential careers for several years.

"He said he had thought about it for many years, and if he didn't do it now, he wouldn't be able to because of his age," his father said.

Although he was older than his comrades, Joseph Blake was proud he could keep up with them. He worked hard to stay in shape, his father said.

Blake was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. In March, the unit was shipped to Afghanistan -- his first deployment, his father said.

"He was very proud of what he had achieved in the military," Douglas Blake said. "He was proud of his uniform. He felt very good about what he was doing."

On a mid-July home leave, Blake told his parents some things about his duties overseas but was guarded about the dangerous details.

"He didn't want us to worry about what might happen," his father said.

"We're very proud of him," he said. "We're very proud of what he achieved, and we're very proud of his willingness to fight."

MARK LARABEE, Researcher Lynne Palombo contributed to the story. The Oregonian Newspaper.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Troops Helping the Farmers

De-worming sheep in Iraq Deworming Cattle in Afghanistan

As a livestock producer, I know how important the health of the animal is to the success of the livelyhood of the farmer. It is impressive to know that our troops are working with the farmers to ensure the health of their animals in the midst of the wars. More great work from our troops!

PS - These pictures make this look easy, but this is hard, dirty, physical work - just ask any farmer!

Sgt David Bill
48th Brigade Combat Team PAO

Cows and sheep are being used to help develop trust and friendship between local Iraqi farmers and Task Force Baghdad Soldiers.

The Soldiers from C Company, 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, 48th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division conducted a Veterinarian Community Health Outreach Programs mission Aug. 22 southwest of Baghdad.

Under this program, Army veterinarians go into local communities and provide a quick health check on the livestock in the area. If required, they also provide medication to help keep them healthy.

"We try to go out to various areas a couple times per week to check on which animals have been treated recently and which have not," said Maj. Daniel Cardosa, a veterinarian from C Co.

More than 60 sheep and two dozen cows were medicated during the day's mission. 'We were de-worming the sheep with an oral medication.

Cows were being treated with a topical medication. Both medications are used to kill most internal parasites and a good number of external parasites as well," added Cardosa.

The process of medicating the animals is a team effort as the farmer or his children assist in getting the sheep, one by one, in a steady position so the veterinarian can insert a medical injector.

"I think it allows us to put a friendly face on the United States and get a foot in the door to show that we're here to help them not hurt them," explained Cardosa, a West Greenwich, R.I. resident. "Then at another time we can come back and do assessments for electrical and water problems we may be able to solve for them."

Getting Iraqi veterinarians out to work with the farmers has also been a focus of the CA team, so more can be done for the animals.

When asked about what Coalition Forces were doing on a larger scale, Cardosa replied, "In the bigger scheme of things we are working with the Ministry of Agriculture to develop animal health and agricultural programs, so they are not solely dependent on oil for their income. We're trying to develop other economic sectors for the country."

C Co.'s overall mission is to provide more than just the basic services for Iraqis. The unit conducts a wide range of operations to include humanitarian support, coordination with government entities, and community outreach.

Services such as sewage, water, electricity, and trash are important to the local population and are some of the main priorities of the CA Team.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


As a reader of the columnists at Townhall, there is one I especially look forward to twice a week - mostly because he has such a great sense of humor - and, that is Bert Prelutsky. It is a joy to read and be able to smile!! But, he tackles the issues of the day. You can read his columns here.

In a recent column he set the record straight on a misquote that drives me to distraction. But liberals never seem to use it against a conservative who is smart enough to know the true quote. Allow me to share part of his column with you...

'One more thing that annoys me to no end is when people engage in misquoting others in order to promote their own agenda. It seems to me that somewhere along the way, Benjamin Franklin became the left-wingers’ favorite forefather. I lost count of the number of times, in the wake of the Patriot Act, I heard the line, “They who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security.” What Franklin actually wrote in 1759 was, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” It’s funny how those qualifying words, “essential” and “a little temporary,” disappeared in the translation from English to liberalese. Most normal people, I wager, wouldn’t regard keeping your library books secret to be an essential liberty or that preventing another 9/11 from taking place to be a matter of a little temporary safety.

One fellow who bears quoting, but don’t count on people like Murtha or Kerry or Dean to do it anytime soon, is John Stuart Mill, the English philosopher and economist, who observed:
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse.”
For good measure, he added:
“A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” '

Thank you, Bert Prelutsky!!! And, thank you to those better men!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Talking with Heroes Pictures

SGT Steven McCue

CPT Douglas Rapp

SFC Michael Mullins

Talking with Heroes - August 20

This talk show from Fort Wayne will air on the Talking with Heroes regular Sunday night talk show on at 8pm EST. on August 20, 2006. Can't listen live? Remember you can listen to this program ANY time via streaming or download from the site.

It will be Co-Hosted by Fort Wayne’s Emery McClendon with
Emery McClendon who lives in Ft Wayne, Indiana, is the founder of ARMAD / Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day. McClendon, a former Air Force sergeant, served four years on active duty, and two years with the Indiana Air Guard. ARMAD was started in 2004 to show support to our communities and troops during the Memorial Day holiday. ARMAD has been very successful, and grown to worldwide status.

Emery has conducted Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Days, events held in communities Worldwide, that allow the public to communicate with members of the military, veterans, and support groups in a live forum, so that messages of appreciation and thanks can be exchanged. Ham Radio Operators facilitate this by using various radio equipment, computers, and the internet.

ARMAD involves Amateur Radio Operators in communities throughout the USA, and Worldwide. ARMAD invites the people of our communities to come out and show support for our Military members, Veterans, and Retired military with “LIVE” messages of thanks, and appreciation over two way radio

Host Bob Calvert and Co-Host Emery McClendon will interview:

*Tracy Fitzgerald with Operation Tribute to Freedom at the Army Outreach Division in Washington, DC. For more information -
Operation Tribute to Freedom is a Department of the Army program created to recognize and honor Soldiers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle. Just as Soldiers vow to never leave a fallen comrade, OTF’s goal is to never leave a Soldier’s story untold. Working with event organizers, OTF seeks out opportunities to share the stories of these courageous Soldiers through homecoming, speaking and recognition activities.

*Larry Thiele with The American Legion in Ft. Wayne will talk about The American Legion Heroes To Hometown
Larry Thiele was an SGT E-5 in the Army and he served in Vietnam two tours of duty. Larry was also in the 173rd Airborne Brigade from 1966-1968. Larry was a previous Commander of American Legion Post 296 for four years in Ft Wayne, Indiana. He has been a member of the American Legion for 18 years. He is also the 4th District of the American Legion Flag Etiquette Chairman.

Larry will be talking about the American Legion "Heroes to Hometown" program which is a project to help our wounded soldiers. The American Legion is very supportive of our men and women serving our country today. They also support the families of those now serving.

*Three Indiana National Guard Military Personnel courtesy of Operation Tribute to Freedom. They will talk about their experiences while deployed overseas and helping people where they have served.

**SGT Steven A. McCue - Infantry Fire Team Leader, C Company 1-293d Infantry Afghanistan veteran

A five-year Army veteran, Sgt. McCue served in Afghanistan for 11 months with the 1/151st Infantry Regiment, responsible for helping train Afghani Soldiers. After only three months at home, Sgt. McCue deployed with the 1/293rd Infantry to Columbus and Gulfport, Mississippi in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

He is currently a fire team leader for Charlie Company, 1/293rd Infantry with the Indiana National Guard, and resides in Fort Wayne, Ind.

**SFC Michael S. Mullins - Anti-Armor Platoon Sergeant, D Company 1-293d Infantry Afghanistan veteran

A 14-year Army veteran, Sgt. 1st Class Mullins served twice in Afghanistan with Task Force Phoenix III as the Assistant Operations Non-Commissioned Officer and with Company C, 1/87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division. His awards include the Combat Infantry Badge, Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.

He is currently a Platoon Sergeant for Company D, 1/293rd Infantry Regiment, 76th Infantry Brigade of the Indiana National Guard. He is also pursing a degree in public administration management at Indiana University and completing coursework to become a certified firefighter.

**CPT Douglas C. Rapp - Company Commander, D Company 1-293d Infantry SFOR 11, OIF I, Hurricane Katrina (Vigilant) Relief.

A 22-year Army veteran, Capt. Rapp served in Iraq for 11 months with the 1-293rd Infantry Battalion of the Indiana National Guard. He earned the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Infantryman’s Badge for outstanding performance in combat operations. He then deployed in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, spending six-weeks conducting security and humanitarian missions throughout coastal Mississippi.

He is currently the Battalion Adjutant and Commander of Delta Company, 1-293rd Infantry Battalion, responsible for the management of five armories and the Battalion’s full-time staff. He resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana with his wife and two children.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tim Boggs on Cavuto

Tim Boggs with Cavuto

Update - I'm moving this up to the top - it is such a joy to watch this fine young man!

Definately worth your time to watch - 3 1/2 minutes!
Then, read the letter that started it all!

Letter to the New York Times

Copied directly (with permission) from SGT Tim Boggs site:
I recently wrote a letter to the NY Times in response to their decision to print information concerning a U.S. secret program designed to track financial transactions of suspected terrorists. I'll post the letter in full below. I urge everyone to write to the NY Times and their congressmen and let them know how you feel about the NY Times yet again sharing secret information with America's enemies.The Times article can be found here.

Mr. Keller,

What ceases to amaze me about your paper is the lengths you are willing to go to make headlines and sell papers. Who cares if those headlines help the enemies of America, you guys are making money and that is what it is all about in the end right?

Your recent decision to publish information about a classified program intended to track the banking transactions of possible terrorists is not only detrimental to America but also to its fighting men and women overseas. I know because I am a sergeant in the army on my second tour to Iraq. As I am sure you don’t know because you aren’t in Iraq, and I am sure never will be, terrorism happens here everyday because there are rich men out there willing to support the everyday terrorist who plants bombs and shoots soldiers just to make a living. Without money terrorism in Iraq would die because there would no longer be supplies for IED’s, no mortars or RPG’s, and no motivation for people to abandon regular work in hopes of striking it rich after killing a soldier.

Throughout your article you mention that “ the banking program is a closely held secret” but the cat is out of the bag now isn’t it. Terrorists the world over can now change their practices because of your article. For some reason I think that last sentence will bring you guys pleasure. You have done something great in your own eyes-you think you have hurt the current administration while at the same time encouraging “freedom fighters” resisting the imperialism of the United States. However, I foresee a backlash coming your way. I wish I had a subscription to your paper so I could cancel it as soon as possible. But alas, that would prove a little tough right now since I am in Iraq dealing with terrorists financed by the very men you are helping.

Thank you for continually contributing to the deaths of my fellow soldiers. You guys definitely provide a valuable service with your paper. Why without you how would terrorists stay one step ahead of us? I would love to hear a response as to why you deemed revealing this program a necessity, but that will probably come as soon as the government decides to finally put you guys behind bars where you belong.

Tim Boggs

Keep pressuring the NY Times and your congressmen, it the only way anything might be done about this situation. Tell your congressmen that what the Times is sharing with the world is hurting American soldiers. Feel free to copy my letter in full and send it to your congressmen as well.
Thank you, SGT Boggs!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Old Ink Cartridges Support Our Troops

Most all of us go through ink cartridges. I hated throwing mine out and polluting the landfill. I've found a great way to recycle HP and Lexmark ink cartridges while generating $$$$ for Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude receives $2.00 for every cartridge you send to Recycle For America. Operation Gratitude turns that into care packages for the troops.

It is easy! Save your cartridges, collect them at work, from friends and neighbors, then box them up and send with the postage paid label you can print out. It doesn't cost anything. All supplies to set up collection sites are also free. All instructions are at the Recycle For America site.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Support Our Troops - Where Ever You Go!!!

Not all of our troops (or even many) get this kind of reception in the airports of this country!

In fact, most of them don't even get a smile or a nod of the head. We all cried at the Budweiser Superbowl Commercial when the troops received a standing ovation, but the truth is, we are not those people - we choose not to be those people. For the most part, we are selfish and self-absorbed. We don't take the time out of our day to make anyone's day any better, let alone the troops. Well...STOP IT!

I have had the privilege of doing quite a bit of traveling the past few years. It is easy to get lost in the confusion of the airport terminals and people rushing to do what they need to do, get where they need to get. But, more often than not, we end up sitting and waiting somewhere. It is easy to go into an insulated shell and pretend all of those other people aren't there. It is easy not to smile at the person next to you. It is easy to ignore the many young men and women in uniform that are walking by. In fact, I've watched people go out of their way not to make eye contact with the troops. GEEZ!

I go out of my way to go up to ANYONE in a uniform. I smile and I say, "I would like to thank you for your service to our country!" Some smile back, and say "thank you", some shake my hand, some have provided a good conversation, and some have given me some real bear hugs...a very few wish I would go away. "Have safe travels," I say and leave them alone. But, the vast majority are pleased that I did it. And, I feel pretty good, too!

Earlier this summer, I was sitting in the 'hurry up and wait' area at a gate, when the lady next to me leaned over and said, "They are so young." When I looked up, I saw two sergeants had come into the area. I got up and walked over to them and thanked them. They each gave me a big hug. When I went back to my seat, the same lady said, "Do you know those boys?" I said, "I do now! And, so do you, they are the men who allow you to sleep safely at night." She got up and moved - obviously not part of the standing ovation crowd. (Unfortunately, she had to deal with me again later.)

I have heard too many stories of military personnel in uniform who are treated like they are invisible in our airports...shame on you, America. The next time you travel, give them a smile, say something nice, let them know that you appreciate what they are doing for you. Be part of the standing ovation crowd!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Silver Anniversary of the Personal Computer

Twenty Five Years Ago!!! IBM and Microsoft teamed up to present the personal computer. It looked much like this. It used 5.25" floppy disks to start it, for your programs, for storage. These were very sensitive and would deteriorate when least convienent! I was one of the "lucky" few to get one! My screen was black with gold figures. It was big, heavy and didn't fit on any desk then made. It cost as much as a car. It generated more heat than a space heater. And, you had to know DOS commands to do anything! At that time, it took me more time to use it than to do things the "old way", but it was a start on the technology that we have all come to know and depend upon.

Happy Anniversary and thanks for all of the advances that have made this a tool for all of us!



Monday, August 14, 2006

Mount Soledad

The Mount Soledad Veteran's Memorial sits on a mountain above San Diego County. The Cross was erected and dedicated April 18, 1954 as a Korean War Veteran's Memorial. It has matured into a beautiful Veteran's Memorial where any Veteran can be honored.

Unfortunately, it has been under attack for over seventeen years - don't want that cross where people can see it, calling it unconstitutional! Finally, the House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to approve "a plan to transfer the land beneath the Mount Soledad war memorial to federal control in an effort to avoid a court-ordered removal of the cross that stands there. The legislation would preserve the 29-foot-tall cross on Mount Soledad by vesting title to the memorial in the federal government and having the Secretary of Defense administer it. The Department of Defense would manage the monument. The Mount Soledad Memorial Association, a private group that built the current cross in 1954 to honor Korean War veterans, would continue to maintain the site." Today, President Bush will sign the transfer order.

I am delighted to see the Cross and the Memorial win this part of the legal war. I believe the legal law suits will continue, as there are those who want to eradicate religion and the military from our society - thus, eradicating our country as we know it. As a student of history, I know how much we can learn much about a society by how it honors its heroes and respects faith.

For more information about this chapter in the history, see the article I quoted above.

For more information about the Memorial, go to the Mount Soledad Veteran's Memorial Association.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Talking with Heroes - August 13

Talking with Heroes is a very unique and delightful internet radio show. The host, Bob Calvert, interviews soldiers, their families, support groups and entertainers who are involved with the support of our troops. He provides an area to focus on the positives, as "we get enough of the negatives every where else." It is not about politics. It is a forum for the untold stories that make your heart cheer! The show airs live on Sunday evenings, but is available for listening at any time and for download. This show is so endearing because it is not overly produced and polished, but real people talking about real things. It's hard to listen without getting a tear in your eye and joy in your heart! To listen live, it airs on Sundays at 5PM PST/8 PM EST

Here is the schedule for the Show on August 13:

Aaron Tippin
Country music star and American patriot entered the music scene fifteen years ago with "You've Got To Stand For Something," a solid working man's anthem that quickly established Aaron as a true spokesman for the American people. With his success and ability to relate to the people, Aaron became the first singer to go to Saudi Arabia to entertain the troops during the first Gulf War. Aaron Tippin's popularity spiked again in the new millennium thanks to the chart-topping "Kiss This" (2000) and "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" (2002), as well as his sixth Gold Record and first Academy of Country Music awards nomination. In 2002 he went to Afghanistan to entertain the troops when there was controversy both at home and abroad. Since 2003, he has been making annual visits to our forces in Iraq and become the spokesman for the Paralyzed Veterans of America with another trip planned for Iraq in November 2006. In 2005 he became the first country artist to donate funds to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Velma R. Hart
She is the National Finance Director and Chief Financial Officer of AMVETS National Headquarters. She is responsible for all aspects of the financial operations for the National Headquarters and for the review of the six (6) subsidiary operations. She is an Army Reserve Veteran and she has also served in various professional volunteer capacities, including as a board member for ASAE and The Center For Association Leadership as well as for the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA) Foundation. Velma Hart is the lead staff member for the planning and execution of the National Symposium for the Needs of Young Veterans which will be hosted by AMVETS on Oct. 18-21, 2006 in Chicago.

CPT Stephen Jaksec
Recently Returned From Al Anbar Province Camp Habbaniyah. CPT Jaksec received his BS degree from the Univ. of Pittsburgh in 1983. He took a job in Tampa with IBM, went back for a Masters in '90, worked in Pittsburgh for a couple years, then went back to Tampa Bay and did great things until the first Iraqi war broke out. He had two little brothers in at the time and one day picked up his briefcase and walked into the recruiter's office. At 31 he ENLISTED and reported to basic training. CPT Jaksec will be talking about The Al Anbar Province Camp Habbaniyah Combat Bocce League and his recent experiences in Iraq.

Andrew Lubin
He is an internationally recognized writer, journalist, and speaker. Lubin is the author of the critically acclaimed "Charlie Battery; A Marine Artillery Battery in Iraq," the story of his son, CPL Philip Lubin, and his battery as they fought in Iraq in March 2003. He has appeared on ABC, CNN, and CN 8, as well as various radio stations throughout the Northeast and mid-west United States. He just returned from Beirut where he reported on the recent mass evacuation of Americans from Lebanon, where his reporting was featured on WPVI-6,(Philadelphia ABC) and WTVD-11 ( Raleigh ABC ). Lubin's articles have appeared in such professional magazines as "Leatherneck" and "The Gazette", and he writes a Marine-specific column that has been picked up by newspapers ranging from Maine to Georgia to Michigan to Okinawa. Additionally, he was the WPVI-military analyst in 2004-2005. His book "Keep Moving or Die; Task Force Tarawa at An-Nasiriyah" will be published in 2007.

Glenn Knight
He is a former Marine. He says Marine Boot Camp is one of the most difficult mental and physical things a young man or woman will ever do. That same 13-week period is among the most difficult times that a parent, relative or friend of a Marine recruit will ever experience. Not knowing what to expect and having no one to ask is extremely difficult. The moderators and members of my Marine, a Yahoo group supporting the recruit's support team, have all been there and done that. They answer the questions, calm fears and tell others what their recruit is going through. Membership is free and open to anyone with an interest in the three-month roller-coaster ride that is Marine Boot Camp.

All Talking with Heroes talk shows can be listened to in past show archives 24 hours a day/7 days a week, from anywhere in the world where there is access to the internet and can be downloaded onto iPODs. You can contact Bob Calvert at if you have any questions or suggestions for guests. (He actually answers his email!)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Disgraceful State of Voting in America

I do believe that as citizens of a country, we have obligations to that country. In the United States of America, these obligations are few. One of the most fundamental to our exsistance is to vote. For the honor and priveledge of being an American, we have an obligation to care about our country, to be informed and to vote. If people were, they would find less politicians pulling the stunts they pull. We have trained them well to worry ONLY about a small handful of us.

Tuesday was one of many voting days across America. Many races were decided. Many lives will be changed by the results. Two races made national news - Lamont-Lieberman in Connecticut and McKinney-Johnson in Georgia. And, yet, despite the national attention, it seems that, for the most part, people could not be bothered to vote.

Connecticut is a state with a population of about 3.2 million. Let's assume that half of those are old enough to vote or 1.6 million, then assume that half are democrats or .8 million. Out of 800,000 eligible voters, a total of 282,103 cast votes in the democrat primary...

Georgia has a population of 8.186 million, which is about 630,000 per congressional district. Again. using the "half rule" - half are of voting age and half are democrats, which leaves 157,500 voters for the primary. Votes cast were 70,010.

Of course, my numbers are low - quite low. Both of these areas are strongly democrat and have a larger voter pool...more people who did not give a damn about their country or their government. What is wrong with America?

In an effort to "fix" it, the great state of Oregon established mandatory vote by mail. We get our ballots mailed to us weeks in advance. We fill them out in the leisure of our homes and mail them back or drop them off. Still, people can't be bothered to vote. We rarely get enough people voting to pass anything.

But, Arizona has come up with a new twist. They have an initiative to "encourage voting". If you go to vote, you are entered into a million dollar lucky voter will walk away with a million dollars of the taxpayers money. So, no matter how uninformed or disinterested you are, you still might win something, so you might come vote. Read more about this from Paul Jacob.

I was raised to believe that the best thing about turning 21 (ok - I'm old, it is 18 now) would be my ability to vote - to go to the polls, stand in line and cast a vote for the candidate or issue of my choice. It was the democracy part of this democratic republic we live in. I looked forward to that. I always enjoyed going to the polls - fighting the traffic, the parking, the lines. I even loved it as a child when we would go to the polls as a family. I loved that it was peaceful and orderly. I loved seeing the birthing pains of the next changes that would come. I then would wait for the results to come in - celebrate or whine - but, knew that it had been decided. I no longer get to do that. And, it seems that the vast majority of Americans who would like to whine about everything, don't bother to vote.

Many have died for us to be able to go to the polls. As Americans, we have an obligation to be informed about the issues and go to the polls and vote. Likewise, politicians have the obligation to put their country FIRST and accept the results. When we don't, we dishonor those who made sure that we had this right.

And, in a post script, it has been reported that most of the counties in Connecticut failed to get the military ballots out in time.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Meet My Friend, Russ

This is my friend, SGT Russ Meade. We "met" while he was at Camp Fallujah, Iraq, through the Books for Soldiers program. To learn more about Russ and see more pictures, click on the title of this post.

Russ is now in the "sock business"!!! His company, Covert Threads, makes socks. These socks are made with the military in mind. "Our mission was to develop a line of socks along with other improved garments for the Marine, or anyone looking for comfortable, yet rugged socks, that stand up to the rigors of harsh climates and conditions."

I have to tell you that they are the best socks made for anyone who wears boots or is on their feet. Both, K and I wear these socks! Besides military use, they are great for hunters, farmers, construction workers, hikers and anyone who needs their feet to be taken care of. They are also the best thing to tuck into a care package for the troops! One of the young men we write to says he washes them out each night, because they make such a difference! We are personally fond of the Sand Sock and the Groundpounder, and will try the Ice this winter!

Next time you need to purchase socks, instead of getting foreign made socks, think about purchasing socks from Russ and support a Marine, who fought for us!

They will ship to APO/FPO addresses!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Farewell, Mark Lee

As Oregon says farewell and thank you to another of our young men, we keep our prayers with their families.


A sailor from Oregon died this week while on patrol in Ramadi, Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of Defense and his family members.HOOD RIVER, Ore. (AP) -

A sailor from Oregon died this week while on patrol in Ramadi, Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of Defense and his family members. Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc A. Lee, 28, of Hood River was killed Aug. 2, as he entered a building with his team during a fierce battle against insurgents. Lee was an aviation ordnanceman and a member of a West Coast-based Navy SEAL team, the military said.

Lee's family told The Oregonian newspaper that he became a SEAL in 2004 and headed to Iraq last March.

U.S. Navy officers told his mother, Debbie Lee, that her son died minutes after he single-handedly held off enemy fighters as his team rescued a soldier wounded on a rooftop by a sniper.

Lee told the newspaper that she has for a long time described her son by simply quoting from the Bible's Gospel of John. "Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends," Debbie Lee recited during a phone interview Friday night from her home in Surprise, Ariz.

The Navy said Marc Lee has been awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for heroism, the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon for his actions in the battle.

Marc Lee leaves behind a wife, Maya.

Born in Portland, Marc Lee lived in Hood River for most of his childhood, graduating from Baptist Christian School 10 years ago.

In letters home, Lee never expressed regrets about taking the path or doubts about U.S. operations in Iraq.

"He felt strongly that people wanted him there," Debbie Lee said. "He told me how people cried for our military to save them from some horrific stuff."

According to the count compiled by Gov. Ted Kulongoski's office, Lee is the 65th person either from Oregon or with strong ties to the state to have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tribute to 2996

This project is for all bloggers. Click on the title to go to the web site.

You can sign up and receive a name of one of the 2,996 people who died on September Eleventh. On September Eleventh, you will do a tribute to that person. The goal is to get 2,996 bloggers to all do tributes to these people on the same day.

I just received my "name" - Major Dwayne Williams. I have started to learn about Maj. Williams and I am humbled by this fine man. I hope the tribute that I will be working on will be worthy of him.

If you are a blogger, sign up - this will be an amazing thing.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Planning a Vacation ? Here's a Thought !

United annouces its new destination:

We are pleased to announce nonstop services to Kuwait City!

Beginning in October 2006, three flights weekly, Washington-Dulles to Kuwait City on our Boeing 777 service


A vacation dream come true?!!!