Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sgt William "Scottie" Kinzer ~ Farewell and Walk with God

Today's Wednesday Hero post (post below) is about an amazing man, Sgt Major Brent Jurgerson, who survived not one, but two incredible wounds in the war in Iraq. When his last wound was received, Sgt Scottie Kinzer was with him and died in the attack.

Sgt. William "Scottie" Kinzer Jr., 27, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, died January 26, 2005, in Al Dalluyah, Iraq while serving his country by protecting a voting site. He was serving with the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, from Schweinfurt, Germany.

Kinzer grew up in the small town of Salem, South Carolina. He attended high school at fletcher Academy, a Seventh Day Adventist boarding school near Asheville, North Carolina. He was a gymnast and one of 23 in the graduating class. He enlisted in the Army in March 2001, and had recently re-enlisted.

He trained as a cavalry scout and was assigned to Troop B of the 1-4 Cavalry. After completing 200 logistical supply missions with Toop B, he transferred to the 1-4 Cavalry's headquarters troop to become a Humvee driver and gunner for the unit's noncommissioned officer-in-charge, 1st Sgt Brent Jurgerson.

On January 26, Kinzer sood in the turret of Jurgerson's Humvee behind his M240B machine gun, part of a patrol inspecting polling places for the elections that would be held four days later. As the patrol passed through an alley, two insurgents jumped out and fired RPG's at Jurgersen's trail vehicle. Kinzer died instantly and the other three soldiers were injured.

"Freedom requires men like Sgt William Scott Kinzer. a man who voluntarily served his nation in a time of war and always performed his duty, full well knowing the potential cost," said Lt Cot Jim Chevallier, the 1-4 Cavalry commander.

Kinzer was postumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

He is survived by his parents, William Scott Kinzer Sr. and Debbie Linn Kinzer of Salem, S.C.; sisters, Trish Harwood and her husband, Jeremie and Catie Kinzer, all of Weaverville; fiance, Melissa Milks of Fletcher; maternal grandparents, John H. and Theda Linn of Collegedale, Tenn.; and paternal grandparents, Joe and Sue Kinzer Bendall of Disputanta, Va.

To read about his beautiful funeral -

On March 13, 2006, President Bush gave a speech which included a letter from Sgt Kinzer's mother:

Since the morning of September the 11th, we have known that the war on terror would require great sacrifice -- and in this war we have said farewell to some very good men and women. One of those courageous Americans was Sergeant William Scott Kinzer, Jr., who was killed last year by the terrorists while securing polling sites for the Iraqi elections. His mom, Debbie, wrote me a letter. She said: "These words are straight from a shattered but healing mother's heart. ... My son made the decision to join the Army. He believed that what he was involved in would eventually change Iraq and that those changes would be recorded in history books for years to come. ... On his last visit home... I asked him what I would ever do if something happened to him in Iraq. He smiled at me with -- his blue eyes sparkled, as he said, 'Mom, I love my job...If I should die I would die happy, does life get any better than this?'" His mom went on: "Please do not let the voices we hear the loudest change what you and Scott started in Iraq. Please do not... let his dying be in vain. ... Don't let my son have given his all for an unfinished job. ... Please...complete the mission."

I make this promise to Debbie, and all the families of the fallen heroes: We will not let your loved ones dying be in vain. We will finish what we started in Iraq. We will complete the mission. We will leave behind a democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. And a free Iraq, in the heart of the Middle East, will make the American people more secure for generations to come.

May God bless the families of the fallen. May God bless our troops in the fight. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Wednesday Hero ~ Sgt Major Brent Jurgersen

This Weeks Soldier Was Requested By Echo9er

Sgt. Maj. Brent Jurgersen
Sgt. Maj. Brent "The Rock" Jurgersen
Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th U.S. Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division

Active Duty

Not even two near-death encounters deterred Sgt. Maj. Brent Jurgerson's passion and eagerness to serve his country and lead his troops back home.

Jurgersen celebrated his second "alive day" anniversary January 26, 2007. It was a day of mixed emotions for him because on that same day two years ago he was given a second chance to live. It was a day that changed his life forever. While on patrol in Ad Dyuliah, Iraq, two rocket-propelled grenades struck his Humvee. The explosion killed his gunner and left Jurgersen fighting for his life, flat-lining twice on the operating table in Balad.

Afterwards, during a promotion ceremony in August of 2006, Jurgersen was selected for a command sergeant major appointment. Becoming the first full limb amputee student to attend the academy.

You can read the rest of Sgt. Maj. Jurgersen's story here.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Milbloggie Winners Decided

The Milbloggies are over for another year.
Congratulations to all of the winners!
Some really fine blogs won!
Thanks to those who voted for me -
I came in second, which is outstanding
for only blogging less than a year.
To see the winners:


Anyone may Register,
Sign in and Vote
You may vote for one entry in each category.
Voting ends Tuesday, February 27, 8pm EST/5pm PST
Gazing at the Flag is nominated in US Military Supporter
(This post will stay at the top until voting is over.)

Medical Operations in Iraq Villages

Pfc. Chadwick Williams (right), native of Spokane, Wash., a medic with the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), treats Kaild Hamed for a burn during a medical operation at the Ahmed Suhel School in Al Taraq, Iraq, Feb. 22. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Angela McKinzie, 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs)

By Staff Sgt. Angela McKinzie
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs

AL TARAQ, Iraq — Terrorists commonly use scare tactics to disrupt the everyday lives of others; however, their tactics were unsuccessful during a recent medical operation.

Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment and the 210th Brigade Support Battalion, both units of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), conducted a medical operation at the Ahmed Suhel School in Al Taraq, Iraq, Feb. 22.

Although the school offered a comfortable atmosphere, terrorists tried to disrupt the day’s activities with small arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade attack.

But the medical operation continued and Iraqis still received care.

“If we shut this down, then the terrorist would have won,” said Capt. Shane Finn, the commander of Company C, 4-31st and native of Clinton, N.Y. “All they are trying to do is stop the operation – and they are not going to do that.”

Local resident nationals were seen for everything from coughs to burns, but some cases could not be treated with basic medical care. Seventy-five received treatment and no one was injured during the terrorist attack.

“I am very happy that the Americans have helped me,” said Kaild Hamed, an Iraqi teen, as he watched Williams bandage his wound. “They do a good job and they are my friends.”

Soldiers taking part in the mission understand the importance of medical operations.

“We live in Al Taraq and have a small aid station here,” said Pfc. Chadwick Williams, a native of Spokane, Wash., who serves as a medic with 4-31. "Every day there are people who come to our aid station requesting medical care, but since I am not a doctor, I cannot do too much for them. It is good to have medical operations because there are doctors on site to treat the Iraqis.”

The site selection for medical operations is also important.

“We chose to have the medical operation at the school so that we could get people comfortable with being at the school,” said 1st Sgt. David Simpson, the senior noncommissioned officer with Co. C, 4-31st and a native of Des Moines, Iowa. “The school offers a more friendly atmosphere for these types of operations.”

The unit is planning more medical operations in the area.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ohio Doctor Shares Life as Soldier in Iraq - 3

Ohio Doctor
Shares His Life
as a Soldier in Iraq

Dr. Stephen Ulrich and Major Higgins the chaplain
standing in front of the Mustang Aviation clinic.


By Col. Stephen Ulrich
Ohio National Guard

Last week I left readers with rain in the desert. Well it continued to rain for almost 24 hours. Everything turned to mud, and the water began to collect in low lying areas. One of those areas was my housing area known as the T PODs. Col. Killingsworth, my new roommate, and I watched the waters rise until it was just an inch below our door. We watched the debris float by and hoped for divine intervention.

In the GSAB the next best thing to divine intervention was our chaplain, Major Jim Higgins. While my roommate and I were fortunate enough to remain dry, some of our friends were flooded out. Major Higgins was there with his sense of humor and compassionate caring for some tired, wet and frustrated soldiers.

I thought it was worth writing an article about the chaplain, not only because our chaplain is a nice guy, but also because the military chaplain provides for the social care, morale and spiritual needs of soldiers in the field.

My daughter once put the question to me by asking "Dad what are you doing in the Army? You are a physician and the army is about killing.", or words to that effect.

I think my answer covers the chaplain and myself as well as all soldiers. The army is not about killing people. It is about preserving values that we as a society believe in. Those values are that each individual has a right to the pursuit of happiness and freedom. It is unfortunate that we live in a world where that vision is not universally shared.

Read the entire entry here.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Japanese Ambassador Honors Wounded Warriors

Japan Honors Wounded Warriors
Wounded veterans enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine during an evening at Ambassador Ryozo Kato's residence Feb. 23 in Washington, D.C.
Defense Dept. photo by John J. Kruzel
U.S. Army Pfc. Marissa Strock , left, a double-leg amputee wounded in Iraq, and her mother, Sandi Ogden, follow Japanese Lt. Col. Ichiro Sato's instructions as they fold origami paper into cranes during an evening at Ambassador Ryozo Kato's residence Feb. 23 in Washington, D.C.
Defense Dept. photo by John J. Kruzel

In Japan, people make origami paper cranes for the sick and injured as a prayer for their recovery. A group of 70 wounded US troops and their families found cranes waiting for them on their dinner tables February 23, when they attended a dinner in their honor at the residence of Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato.

Kato said they "carry the burden of service to their country," and he thanked them for their "service to the larger ideals that our two countires represent." Japan is a close ally to the United States, and a close ally in the war on terror.

Kato delivered a message fro Japan's prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, "the grateful people of Japan wish each of you health and success in the years ahead, just as we wish for the nation you serve."

Kato told the troops that although the two cultures differ, US troops represent Japan's 'samurai spirit.' "Samurais serve with valor, with honor, with loyalty, with respectful, ethical behavior, and so have you."

After a feast of Japanese cuisine, Japanese Self Defense Forces officers taught the guests how to fold origami cranes. "We make a crane to show our deepest compassion. This evening's dinner is a metaphor for a large paper crane.

Thank you Japan!!

Isn't it interesting that our wounded warriors are celebrated and honored by one of our allies? Wouldn't you think that our multi-millionaire members of Congress would do something like this? Or, donate to one of the many Wounded Warrior Projects?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mail Call At Sea!

Hoisting Mail to the
US Coast Guard Island Class Cutter Maui
Unloading Mail
from MH-53 Sea Dragon Helicopter
aboard the USS Harry Truman

Sorting 65,000 pounds of mail
aboard the USS Dwight D Eisenhower

Mail being taken below deck for sorting
on the airplane elevator
aboard the USS Harry Truman

Sorting Mail on the Hanger Deck
aboard the USS George Washington

Friday, February 23, 2007

Want Pizza? ~ Make it Little Caesars!!!

Little Caesars Assists Wounded Vet

Army Staff Sgt Robbie Doughty
Army Chief Warrant Officer Lloyd Allard &
Army Staff Sgt Robbie Doughty
out of the Army and in the pizza business!

Little Caesars founder Michael Ilitch (second from right), shakes Robbie Doughty's hand at the grand opening of Doughty's Little Caesars store in Paducah, Ky. Doughty, a former Army staff sergeant, along with his business partner, former Army Chief Warrant Officer Lloyd Allard (second from left), are the first veterans to open a Little Caesars pizza franchise under the chain's new veterans Program.

Next time we want pizza, we are going to go to Little Caesars!

Michael Ilitch, founder of Little Caesars, started the Little Caesars Veterans Program to help provide franchise business opportunities to qualified, honorably discharged veterans. The program started when Ilitch read about former Army Staff Sergeant Robbie Doughty. In 2004, an IED in Iraq cost Doughty both legs. At home in Paducah, Kentucky, Doughty was contemplating what to do next with his life.

Michael Ilitch could relate. He had been a minor league baseball player in the Detroit Tigers system, and he suffered a career-ending knee injury. The 'real world' did not have a need for those with skills in baseball. Ilitch says his experiences in the Marine Corps helped him overcome the obstacles, by making "me more focused and organized, and helped me to set some goals for my future. These characteristics are a good fit for business. The military also teaches teamwork and leadership. These skills are very important for growing a business." Today, the founder of the Little Caesars is also the owner of the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

Michael Ilitch arranged to meet Robbie Doughty. That meeting turned into an offer for a franchise for Doughty and a challenge to his management staff to develop a program that would help other veterans. Thus, the Little Caesars Veterans Program was begun.

The first such store is Doughty and Allars's Little Caesars in Paducah, which opened February 1.

To read more about Doughty and Allard, read Mitch Albom's story

For more information about franchise opportunities for Veterans and all of the companies that are following Michael Ilitch's example:
On the second page is a list of the companys helping Veterans.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Milbloggies ~ Please vote!

Gazing at the Flag is in the Finals for a Milbloggie!
Category: US Military Supporter
I would appreciate your vote!
You must register to vote and sign in- it is simple!
ANYONE may register to vote!

This is a great place to find some remarkable blogs!
Several of my blogging friends are in the finals:

US Army:
From My Position...On the Way!
Maj Chuck Z - wounded in Iraq, still undergoing surgeries for his wounds, comments on most everything! His wounds and spirit inspired Valour-IT.
Badgers Forward
Currently in Iraq - personal, informative commentary from the war zone.
Currently in Afghanistan - pictures, commentary, poetry.
Where I Stand
Currently in the Philippines - remarkable commentary from a forgotten war .
Acute Politics
Currently in Iraq - this young soldier has a marvelous writing ability.
An interesting and informative journey in Afghanistan. This is a soldier that we support with packages and mail while he deployed.

US Air Force
Afghanistan without a Clue
Humorous and informative look at life at an airbase in Afghanistan.

US Marine Corps
Fire & Ice
My friend, Mike Fay, is one of the Marine Corps Artists. He shares his art work and his word craft. Mike is getting ready to return to Iraq
Jarhead's Firing Range
Jarhead John is in Japan and shares his opinions and thoughts.

US Military Veteran
Sarge Charlie
My new friend who is so supportive to all of the milbloggers out there.

US Civilian
Soldiers' Angels Germany
My dear friend, MaryAnn, is the coordinator for the Soldiers' Angles Wounded Projects in Germany for Landstuhl Hospital.

US Military Parents
You Betcha I'm a Proud Army Mom
Yankeemom carries on the battle at home!

All of the nominees have great blogs,
but these are the ones I have been reading for a long time.
Please read them. Please vote!

President George Washington

George Washington
February 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799
First President of the United States of America
First Commander in Chief of the
Forces of the Continental Army

George Washington commanded the Continental Army
from June 15, 1775 through the end of
the war for Independence in 1783.

George Washington receives the surrender of Cornwallis.
Below, Surrender Field, Yorktown, Virginia, today.

George Washington began the honor and tradition
of the Purple Heart to acknowledge wounds received
in battle fighting for our country.
It is said that he cut pieces out of his cloak
to give to the soldiers.

When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in the happy hour when the establishment of American Liberty, upon the most firm and solid foundations shall enable us to return to our Private Stations in the bosom of a free, peaceful and happy Country.
-George Washington,
address to the New York Legislature, 26 June 1775

He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquillity, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.
-George Washington, The First Inagural Address

George Washington was born 275 years ago - almost three centuries ago. How blessed we were as a nation to have his guidance and abilities in the execution of the Revolutionary War. After the long eight years of war was over, and after the six years it took to write and ratify the Constitution of the United States, he once again served his beloved country and became our first President. He returned to his home after eight years, and died soon after. At his death, his beloved Martha retired to the third floor attic bedroom. There she stayed until her death years later. His birthday should always be one of solemn reflection and admiration for a man who gave his personal life, health and wealth in service to our country.

The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument
with the Capitol Building behind it.

The flag circle around the monument.
50 flags fly - representing the 50 states.

Cap of the Monument (Reproduction)
The builders searched for appropriate metal for the cap that would not tarnish and would act as a lightening rod. They chose one of the rarest metals of the time -- aluminum.

Efforts were made to build monuments to Washington during his lifetime, but he was not enthused about the idea. As President, he insisted that public monies should be used for other more important things.

The obelisk that towers 555' 5/8" over Washington DC had the cornerstone laid on July 4, 1848. Construction continued for 10 years. It was interrupted by the War between the States. When construction resumed in 1878, the marble could not be matched and you can see a distinct color shift about a third of the way up the monument. The capstone was placed December 6, 1888.

When you visit, be sure to stand close to the doors of the elevator on the way down. There are carved commemorative plaques inside the monument and they stop to let you see some of them on the way down. These plaques were sold as fundraisers for the completion of the monument.

For the specifications of the monument:

Mount Vernon ~ George Washington's Home

Mount Vernon
George Washington's Home
Front entrance to Mount Vernon

Front of Mount Vernon

Outbuildings - include the laundry, the spinning room, the overseer's room, the storage room for paint and tools, the spinning and weaving room, the ice house, and more...

View of the Potomac from the back of the house.

The back of the house. When I visited last June, it was undergoing restoration. They were removing 30 years worth of paint. Mount Vernon's exterior is wood, carved to look like stone. It is painted with oil and white sand is thrown into the wet paint. This gives it the appearance of stone.

Mount Vernon is still worked as a farm. You can see the vegetable and herb gardens. Livestock of the same breeds Washington raised are still maintained here - cattle, sheep, pigs, horses and mules.

Anyone who has the opportunity to visit Mount Vernon should go. It is a remarkable place! Since I was there, they have opened the new museum and visitors center there. The food at the restaurant is amazing. You do feel transported back to the eighteen century!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Soldier Overcomes Cancer to Serve in Iraq

WO1 Mick Fraser, Regimental Sergeant Major
of the Joint Helicopter Force Iraq.
Photo by Cpl. Ian Forsyth, RLC.

BASRAH — After finding out he had cancer four years ago, WO1 (RSM) Mick Fraser was unable to join his colleagues at 3 Regiment Army Air Corps when they deployed to Iraq. Now fully recovered, he is realising his lifelong ambition to undertake an operational tour.

Mick Fraser is an unassuming and reserved man. Talking to him you get no sense of the trauma and pain he has endured as he battled against non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. He explained how things unfolded during the winter of 2002-03:

"I was the Artificer Quarter Master Sergeant (AQMS) of 663 Sqn AAC where I ran a section of people who maintained the Lynx and Gazelle aircraft which were being readied to deploy to Iraq," he said.

"It was a key post within the regiment, we'd spent a lot of time planning and preparing the aircraft for various exercises. When Iraq came along we were up with the game, we had everything ready. It's like the pinnacle of your career; you spend 17 years training in the Army and this was where everything would come together and you were going to do the job for real."

But for Mick, 40, as preparations for war were developing, things were starting to go badly wrong for him:

"Suddenly I became ill, I started losing my fitness and realised there was something wrong. I'd been going to the doctors beforehand because I think I was probably showing symptoms 6-12 months before I was diagnosed."

Mick was told that he had a massive tumour in his chest which was seriously affecting his breathing:

"I went to the Ipswich NHS Trust and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. At first the sheer disappointment of not going to Iraq with my troops masked the realisation that I was seriously ill."

The tumour was advanced and it meant that Mick would have to undergo invasive chemotherapy throughout 2003.

"The one low point, was my initial prognosis. It saw me get a first course of chemotherapy, which was supposed to have cured the problem. That didn't work so I went on to a stronger course throughout the summer of 2003, which was quite uncomfortable. The final course of treatment was a high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem-cell bone marrow transplant.

"I had a scan at the end of that treatment and the results showed that nothing had changed. That was a particularly low point. But they had given me the wrong test results, results from several months previous. So although I was very low at that point, the next day when the correct results came back it was a real high point."

Being in the Army meant that Mick was a physically fit man when diagnosed with his condition. But so often with illnesses of this nature it is a person's mental strength that can be the difference between life and death. Mick's approach of 'I can deal with this, I can beat this illness' clearly paid a huge part in his recovery:

"Without a doubt that's true," he said. "Even when I was receiving incorrect diagnoses, I was thinking 'I can still run' and 'I can still do some exercise'. It was my fitness and mental strength at the time that really helped push me through."

Mick, who is now fully recovered, is extremely grateful that the Army supported him throughout the difficult times as well as welcoming him back to work. Although he is still in the engineering world, for his current tour to Iraq he has been deployed in a more administrative capacity:

"I was very keen to come back to the whole soldiering aspect, and especially to go on an operational deployment. But the only opportunity to fulfil that meant I had to move over to this regimental role and come out here as an RSM which is away from engineering but it makes a refreshing change."

The nature of his current role at the Contingency Operating Base, near Basra – as Regimental Sergeant Major at the Joint Helicopter Force (Iraq) – means he is never far from his beloved Lynx helicopters:

"I'm very comfortable in this environment, even though it's tri-Service we speak the same helicopter 'language'. I certainly know what the engineers are talking about, but working on the admin and security side is a good place to be."

Mick arrived in Iraq early January 2007.

"The facilities we have here are comfortable, the welfare package is good. We work long hours and the facilities allow us to both relax and to maintain fitness without having to worry about things like the administration of your laundry, cooking etc.

"It's an interesting environment; a bit beige and featureless when you look at it but the temperature is quite comfortable at the moment, although it's going to start getting a bit warmer!"

Mick firmly believes that British troops need to stay in Iraq until the job is done:

"The fact that the Government has said that we won't leave until the Iraqis are able to provide their own security is something we have to live up to. When the Iraqis get to that stage, then we can take a step back, and oversee how they cope and then finally withdraw, and I think it really must be supported for everybody's sake."

Four years ago when his regiment were deploying to Iraq, it was about to be the pinnacle of Mick's career, something he had spent 17 years training for. That he has now overcome cancer to serve in Iraq is a testament to not only first rate medical treatment, but his own mental strength and determination.

Source: Multi-National Force - Iraq

Dedicated to Steve - as you fight this battle, you are in our thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday Hero ~ Staff Sgt Kara Opperman

Staff Sgt. Kara Opperman
Staff Sgt. Kara Opperman
332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron

Staff Sgt. Kara Opperman performs a quality control check Feb. 13 on fuel coming out of a fill stand at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Sergeant Opperman ensures the fuel is safe and meets Air Force specifications before it is used for aircraft and equipment.

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.

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Two Days Left to Nominate for Milbloggies

Gazing at the Flag has been nominated under US Military Supporter.
Between now and February 21, 5 pm EST, the blogs that receive the most nominations will move into the voting phase.
Your nomination for your favorite milblogs would be appreciated
- click the title.

SGT Long N Nguyen ~ Farewell and Walk with God

Sgt Long N Nguyen

June 27, 1979 - February 10, 2007

Sgt. Long N. Nguyen, 27, of Portland, Oregon, died February 10, 2007, in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, of a non-combat related wound. Nguyen was assigned to the 141st Brigade Support Battalion, Portland, Oregon. He was a member of the Oregon National Guard.

Sgt Nguyen was born in VietNam on June 27, 1979 and came to the United States with his parents when he was 3. He has two brothers and a sister with whom he was close. He grew up in Portland, Oregon, graduated from Madison High School in 1996. He enlisted in the Army in 1998. He joined the Oregon Army National Guard in 2001, where he served as a supply specialist and property book handler, taking care of supply and equipment needs of soldiers and units within the 41st BCT.

Prior to his deployment to Afghanistan, Sgt Nguyen was attending Portland State University. He was planning on joining the Guard Officers Leadership Development program to become a commissioned officer.

Fellow soldiers said Nguyen was outgoing, well known and well liked. He was known as a hard worker and good at his job. Prior to deployment, the unit recognized him as the 2005 Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.


That is the official release. To appreciate the life of Sgt Long Nguyen, one needs to go no further than the tributes of his fellow soldiers.

From the blog, McNeilly's Perspective - - February 14 entry:

I had the pleasure and honor to serve with Sergeant Long Nguyen from Oregon, while deployed to Louisiana in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and while in training at Camp Shelby. I found out yesterday that he recently died. The way the information super highway works, I may never know exactly what happened, and in fact that isn't truly pertinent to me now that he is gone.

Sergeant Long Nguyen served in HHC 141 Brigade Support Battalion while I knew him. He was a truly professional Non Commissioned Officer, who was a pleasure to work with. He did not complain about tasks given to him, he performed them to the best of his ability, and he was a pleasure to be around. We spent about 20 days together helping the recovery efforts in Louisiana, and we spent months together later on in the year in Mississippi, challenging each other to get better at our push ups and sit ups. It was something we would do together when we ran into each other, about once a day.

He was a popular person in spite of the fact that he was fairly quiet. People enjoyed his company, and respected his abilities. I know that the people he worked directly with in our Task Force will truly miss him, I wish I was going to be able to be present at the ceremony for him. He was working at a different location than I am, and so I first found out about his death the way most of the people in Oregon found out, on KATU news. I found it very shocking to have to accept it. Life is precious, it is important to live it the way you believe is right; to have as few regrets as you can have. I hope that is the case for Sergeant Nguyen.

Printed in Soldier's Angels Germany - on February 15, is a letter from Brian Russell, an Aaerospace Soldier in Afghanistan:

Why? Why is it that some lose hope and take drastic actions to end their lives? I can never understand how we can get so down in despair to lose hope. It is difficult to comprehend. I know that depression has a chemical component and can be treated with chemicals, however, it is often the emotional scars that can be the hardest and slowest to heal.

The tragic loss of our brother Soldier was self-inflicted. I talked with a Soldier who was planning the memorial to be held for him and he said that the circumstances are just so confusing. He knows the young man and said he exhibited none of the "signs" we are told to look for... he just gave up.

I watched "Flag of Our Fathers" tonight and it caused us to think... how will history look upon our actions here in Afghanistan? Will they call us heroes or wasted souls cast into the fray by a heartless or soulless government? We do feel forgotten... this is our Korea.

I know that many remember us, I get letters and packages from so many caring people.

And, finally from, SGT DUB - on February 15, the story of his memorial service:

SGT Long Nguyen died last weekend while serving with the Oregon National Guard in Mazir-e-Sharif. From the ceremony tonight, I could tell he had touched many lives and although there was sadness at his death, there was laughter at his life. Although I have no plans of having anything happen to me, my wish is that people can laugh at my funeral too. I can think of no better tribute to a person than knowing the joy and laughter they brought into so many lives. Sgt. Nguyen joined the United States Army in 1998 and served with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was born in Vietnam and prior to his death had applied for both U.S. Citizenship and Warrant Officer School. Sgt. Nguyen is survived by his mother, brother and sister. Our prayers go out to his family.

Photo by SGT DUB

Funeral Services:
The Patriot Guard Riders will be meeting the plane, Tuesday, January 20, to escort him to the Ross Hollywood Funeral Chapel in Portland.

The funeral will be held, Saturday, February 24, at Lady of Lavang Catholic Church, 5404 NE Alameda Drive at 9:00 am. ThePatriot Guard Riders will be at the church with a flag line and an escort to Willamette National Cemetery.

Post Script:
It is difficult to understand the loss of Sgt Long Nguyen. We all grieve with his family and friends at this most difficult time. We thank you for your service and sacrifice. We bid you Farewell. Walk with God. Sgt Nguyen.

Sgt Nguyen's Legacy Pages:

Monday, February 19, 2007

Congress Sent the Wrong Message

Paul A. Morin
National Commander
The American Legion
2006 - 2007

American Legion:
Congress Sent Wrong Message

WASHINGTON, February 16, 2007 -

The leader of the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ organization provided the following statement in response to the House vote disapproving the President’s decision to deploy more than 20,000 additional combat troops to the Iraqi theater.

“Congress may consider its vote today on H. Con. Res. 63 to be non-binding, but veterans of previous wars and those in the field of combat right now consider Congress’s action to be a betrayal of trust and the first step toward surrender to the terrorists who caused this war in the first place.

“We must never forget the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when two U.S. commercial aircraft were used to kill nearly 3,000 innocent people in an unprovoked attack against our nation’s sovereignty. We must never forget those brave Americans who downed their plane in Pennsylvania, saving the lives of many in the Capitol. We must never forget the attack on the Pentagon, or on the USS Cole, or our embassies, or our Marine barracks in Beirut. The list goes on and on.

“Even the Clinton administration tried to kill Osama bin Laden by lobbing missiles at him. This war didn’t just start with the invasion of Iraq. It’s been going on for decades. It’s been going on in Republican and Democrat administrations and Congresses.

“It isn’t about partisan politics. It’s about America. It’s about all of us, and especially those who are at this moment risking their lives on the field of battle.

“Americans are not the enemy here. The terrorists and all of those governments that support them are the enemy. We must never forget that. And, equally important, we must never forget the primary lesson learned in Vietnam: you cannot separate the war from the warrior.

“Congress can talk all it wants to about how it supports the troops. But its actions set the table. The message they sent today to the frontline is that America is preparing to cut and run. We essentially told our fighting men and women that ‘we have taken step one in the plan to cut reinforcements, to cut armaments, and to withdraw any support you need to complete your mission.’

“The Speaker characterized it succinctly when she said, “(t)his legislation will signal a change in direction that will end the fighting and bring our troops home.’

“What she failed to add was ‘… in defeat, and without completing the mission they were trained to complete and ready to win if only America had not given up before they did.’

“The American Legion and the American people find this to be totally unacceptable and we will do everything within our power to ensure that our troops are not used as political pawns by a Congress that lacks the will to win.”

Sunday, February 18, 2007

2007 Milbloggie Nominations

Gazing at the Flag has been nominated under US Military Supporter.
Between now and February 21, 5 pm EST, the blogs that receive the most nominations will move into the voting phase.
Your nomination for your favorite milblogs would be appreciated
- click the title.
So vote early, vote often, vote with your head, not your heart. This shouldn't be a popularity contest, it should really be about who is the best milblogger. To do otherwise takes away from the integrity of the award, and makes us no better than the self-agrandizing idjits in the entertainment industry.
- Major Chuck Z. at From My Position on the Way

The Marine ~ Poem & Letter - CPL Aaron M Gilbert

We all came together,
Both young and old
To fight for our freedom,
To stand and be bold.

In the midst of all evil,
We stand our ground,
And we protect our country
From all terror around.

Peace and not war,
Is what some people say.
But I'll give my life,
So you can live the American way.

I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
and protest in our streets.

But still I fight on,
I don't bitch, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people
Who is doing your time.

I'm harder than nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier,
I'm a U.S. MARINE!

So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they've shown.
Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all may have,
The greatest freedom you've won.

Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.
But when your time comes,
Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You'll stand when the fight's done.

By: Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps

March 23, 2003
Hey Dad,
Do me a favor and label this "The Marine"
and send it to everybody on your email list.
Even leave this letter in it.
I want this rolling all over the US ;
I want every home reading it.
Every eye seeing it.
And every heart to feel it.
So can you please send this for me?
I would but my email time isn't that long
and I don't have much time anyway.
You know what Dad?
I wondered what it would be like to truly understand
what JFK said in His inaugural speech.
"When the time comes to lay down my life for my country, I do not cower from this responsibility. I welcome it."
Well, now I know.
And I do. Dad, I welcome the opportunity to do what I do.
Even though I have left behind a beautiful wife,
and I will miss the birth of our first born child,
I would do it 70 times over to fight for
the place that God has made for my home.
I love you all and I miss you very much.
I wish I could be there when Sandi has our baby,
but tell her that I love her, and Lord willing,
I will be coming home soon.
Give Mom a great big hug from me and give one to yourself too.


From time to time we all get these beautiful tributes in our emails. This one has been around the world many times. Written at the beginning of the Iraq War, it expresses the determination and pride we see in our military. If you haven't seen it, I hope it touches you, as it has me. If you have, once more to enjoy!
Freedom Isn't Free
Someone pays for you and me.