Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Not Even a Contest by Russ Vaughn




Not Even a Contest

I’m a soldier; haven’t been in uniform in forty years but the six years of active duty I did serve and the ensuing thirty-plus years I’ve spent working with the U.S. military, instilled in me certain qualities and beliefs that have grown and persisted within me all these decades and provide me with the basis for my stance on the war on terror. I may now be only an armchair warrior, but I’m still a soldier. As such, I understand the value of a rapid counterattack when your enemy has struck and badly hurt you. I say this as a brief, prefatory explanation of why I believe the Bush Administration has done the right thing in carrying the war on terror into the heart of terrorism itself. Yes, I know there are legions of liberals, so blinded by their certainty that the Supreme Court cheated Al Gore out of the presidency that they actually profess to believe that there were no ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq. To them I would say consider this: Syria had ties to Al Qaeda; Jordan had ties to Al Qaeda; Egypt had ties to Al Qaeda; Yemen had ties to Al Qaeda; Somalia had ties to Al Qaeda; Saudi Arabia had ties to Al Qaeda; the various Gulf monarchies had ties to Al Qaeda; Iran had ties to Al Qaeda; Pakistan had ties to Al Qaeda; Indonesia, the Philippines, North Korea and several of the former Soviet satellites under Muslim rule had ties to Al Qaeda.

But not Iraq.

That’s right, according to Democrat politicians and the liberal Left in America and Europe, only one country in the Middle East, Iraq, a country under the iron-fisted control of an absolute dictator who had reason to hate the American government far more bitterly than any of the leaders of the above nations, and yep, sitting smack dab in the middle of all these other terrorist harboring countries, only America-hating Iraq, was lily white clean according to liberal Democrats when it came to affiliation with Al Qaeda.

Excuse me folks, but Old Sarge’s bullshit detector is going off like a Geiger counter at ground zero in Chernobyl.

Now, of all the countries listed above, one of you Democrats, real quick, tell me which of them is absolutely known to have used weapons of mass destruction against a foreign enemy and dissident elements within its own borders. Hmmm, only one? Really? Only Iraq? Imagine that…chemical weapons used in conjunction with modern weapons delivery systems against Iranian forces and rebellious Kurds? Trust me folks, Old Sarge’s specialty in the Army was chemical, biological and radiological warfare and he knows quite well that the use of lethal, disabling and disfiguring gases in bombs, rockets and artillery warheads constitutes the use of weapons of mass destruction under the rules of land warfare. Never mind that Saddam Hussein blew the world a huge raspberry as he was gassing his enemies without and within. Nah…this guy didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction. Ask any Bush-hating Democrat.

So, contrary to all these liberals, whose only chance of seeing the light is when some proctologist’s probing proctoscope finally manages to locate their deeply-embedded eyes, this old grunt sees the value in hitting our enemies smack-dab in the middle of the threat; and that central target, folks, in this war on terror, just happened to be Iraq. And yes, Iraq has become a killing field, but far more so for radical Jihadists than for America and her allies. Potential bombers of Western cities flock like flies to the flypaper of a martyr’s death, not in New York or London, but on the killing field we have created for them. Remember one thing very well, Senators Reid, Durbin and Schumer: every single jihadist who dies in Iraq will never have the opportunity to die in one of our cities taking hundreds if not thousands of your potential voters with him.

And for all you armchair, liberal strategists who continue to throw up that canard that our military efforts should be entirely focused on capturing or killing the Al Qaeda leadership, Osama bin Laden and Zayman Al Zawahiri, in Afghanistan and Pakistan; may I inquire as to where you obtained your advanced degrees in military science? Madam Chair, would perhaps that have been at Berkeley’s famed War College? We know Congressman Murtha obtained his multiple military degrees from a rural Pennsylvania diploma mill, established and funded entirely by earmarks in federal legislation, but that’s a topic for another essay.

So, a simple question: did George Washington seek to capture King George? Did Abraham Lincoln focus all his military strategies on the capture or elimination of Jefferson Davis? In WWI, if we were hell-bent on capturing the Kaiser, why did we spend so many months in the hellish, intransigence of those trenches? Why on earth did MacArthur spend all that time and those American boys’ lives to move systematically up the Pacific archipelago in WWII if all we had to do was focus on capturing Emperor Hirohito? Would modern-day Democrat strategists label Eisenhower a fool and a loser for moving indirectly through Africa, Italy and the soft underbelly of Europe, Southern France, when all he had to do was attack Berlin directly and put Hitler in chains?

The truth is, all you Democrat military geniuses, is that none of those enemy leaders was captured until the fighting was over and the respective war was won; truth is, most of them never suffered any ill effects other than the ignominy of losing. Hell, if we did capture Osama, you liberal turkeys would be clamoring for the Bush administration to give him a fair and speedy trial, afforded all the rights of a U.S. citizen, and the ACLU would be appealing his conviction long beyond his natural death.

So what does this show America about its Democrat leadership? Well, it shows this old combat infantryman that you liberal wienies don’t know jack about fighting wars. It’s a far cry from forging voters’ registration certificates, stuffing ballot boxes and buying minority votes to standing solid under fire and defeating a lethal enemy on the battlefield. But since so very few of you have ever even worn the uniform, much less served in combat, you wouldn’t have any way of knowing that would you, ladies? I’ll make a wager right now: the average, enlisted, American military volunteer has more courage, integrity and patriotism than the U.S. congressman who supposedly represents him.

Hell, forget the bet; that’s not even a contest.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fight for Victory Tour

With General David Petraeus set to report to Congress by September 15th on the progress of "the surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq, supporters of Operation Iraqi Freedom are preparing to launch a massive public effort to show support for the missions of U.S. troops in Iraq.

From September 3, 2007 through September 15, 2007 the nation's largest grassroots, pro-troop organization, Move America Forward (website: http://www.moveamericaforward.org/) will lead more than 10,000 supporters in a cross-country caravan called the "FIGHT FOR VICTORY TOUR." The caravan will stop for more than 25 pro-troop rallies along the way. Thousands of Americans have already signed up to join the tour in just the first few days since it was announced online.


"We need to convey to our troops and the world in general that America doesn't lose. We don't turn our backs on our courageous men and women in uniform and we don't walk away from the Iraqi people who desperately seek democracy and freedom," said Lt. Colonel Buzz Patterson (USAF, Ret.) who serves as Vice Chairman of Move America Forward.

"The Fight for Victory Tour is absolutely essential to demonstrate our support of our troops and to send a clear signal to the anti-military folks in this nation that we will not let them bring about an American defeat in Iraq or the greater war on terror. Victory is the only option and we're not backing down from the fight at hand," Colonel Patterson said.

The caravan will be led by veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom & Operation Enduring Freedom, along with Gold Star Families (who lost a loved one in Iraq) and Blue Star Families (who have a loved one serving in Iraq).

"We're going to send a message of support for our troops that will be heard from the shores of the Pacific Ocean all the way across this country to the Atlantic Coast - we support our troops and their missions and we won't let anyone force them to surrender to the jihadists," said Melanie Morgan, Chairman of Move America Forward.

The current schedule for the caravan includes pro-troop rally stops in more than 2 DOZEN cities across America including:

* Carson City, NV * Sacramento, CA * San Francisco, CA * Modesto, CA
* Fresno, CA * Los Angeles, CA * San Diego, CA * Yuma, AZ * Phoenix, AZ
* Tucson, AZ * Las Cruces, NM * El Paso, TX * San Antonio, TX * Waco, TX
* Crawford, TX * Dallas, TX * Oklahoma City, OK * Wichita, KS
* Kansas City, MO * Des Moines, IA * Cedar Rapids, IA * Chicago, IL
* Indianapolis, IN * Cincinnati, OH * Columbus, OH
* Pittsburgh, PA * Washington D.C.

If you can join one of the rallies - be there!!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Another Contest!

Carlos didn't win the coffee contest,
but he is entered in the K-Mart Best Homecoming Kiss contest.
Click the link, then click "Click Here to Vote" - Carlos is on page two 'Your My Hero"
All of the pictures in the contest are worth seeing!!! and some will make you tear up!
The top three places win some very nice prizes.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lone Survivor ~ Rescue Team

It is our great honor and privelege to celebrate the lives

given so unselfishly that we may all live in freedom.


In the book Lone Survivor, Marcus Luttrell tells the story of the brave Special Operations warriors from the Army 160th SOAR, Navy SEAL Team 10 and Navy SEAL Team 1, who lost their lives attempting a rescue of the four members of Navy SEAL Team 10 embattled in the mountains in Afghanistan.

An MH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying 8 US Navy SEALs and 8 Nightstalkers - members of the Army's elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) attempted to come to their rescue to provide extraction in the mountains of the Kunar province, Afghanistan.

The helicopter they were riding in was shot down just as they were getting ready to fast rope down onto the mountain. As the helicopter tilted back for the insert and the ropes fell away for the climbdown, a rocket propelled grenade was shot through the open ramp of the MH-47 helicopter. It hit the fuel tanks, which turned the helicopter into an inferno and blew many of them out, where they fell to their deaths.

Nothing remained except scattered debris. No survivors.

The lost warriors are: (click on their names to read their stories.)







US Army 160th SOAR



Major Steve Reich


Chief Warrant Officer Chris Scherkenback


Chief Warrant Officer Corey Goodnature


Master Sergeant James Ponder


Sergeant First Class Marcus Muralles


Sergeant First Class Michael Russell


Staff Sergeant Shamus Goare


Sergeant Kip Jacoby






SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1


Senior Chief Daniel Healy


Petty Officer Second Class James Suh


Petty Officer Second Class Shane Patton








SEAL Team 10



Lieutenant Commander Eric Kristensen


Lieutenant Michael McGreevy


Chief Petty Officer Jacques Fontan


Petty Officer Jeff Lucas


Petty Officer First Class Jeff Taylor




To Read the Review of Lone Survivor, Click Here.

Major Steve Reich ~ Night Stalker

Major Steve Reich
Major Stephen C. Reich died June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan when his MH-47D Helicopter was shot down by enemy fire during combat operations. He was a member of the Army 160th SOAR team.

He was born May 22, 1971 in Ohio, and was raised in Washington, Connecticut. He graduated from the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Arabic and Spanish, and received his commission in 1993. In 1994, he attended the Aviation Officer Basic Course and Initial Entry Rotary Wing training.

In 1995, Steve was assigned to the University of Kentucky ROTC program, and played professional baseball in the Baltimore Orioles organization.

After receiving a UH-60 Blackhawk transition in 1996, he was ordered to Germany where he served as Platoon Leader in Company A, 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment. During his subsequent tour with the 12th Aviation Brigade he served in Operation ALLIED FORCE deploying to Hungary, Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo. Returning from Germany in 2000, Major Reich attended the Infantry Captain's Career Course at Ft. Benning, Georgia, followed by the Combined Arms Services Staff School at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon arrival to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, he attended the Special Operations Training Course and then deployed with 2nd Battalion to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM as Battle Captain in support of Task Force Dagger. In December 2001, he served as Operations Officer for 2nd Battalion's detachment of MH-47E aircraft in Afghanistan. He commanded Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion from February 2002 through May 2003. Major Reich recently completed a one year assignment to Taegu, Republic of Korea as the Operations Officer for E Company, 160th SOAR (A). Steve took command of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia on 5 August 2004.

Major Reich's military schools include: Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape Level-C Course, the Special Operations Training Course, the Airborne School, and Air Assault Course.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Senior Army Aviator Badge, and the Airborne and Air Assault Badges. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal with “V” device, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

Major Reich is survived by his wife, Jill, of Panama City, Florida.

Tribute from the Night Stalker site.

To read all of the tributes, please click here.

CW4 Chris Scherkenback ~ Night Stalker


CW4 Chris Scherkenbach

Night Stalker

Chief Warrant Officer Four Chris Scherkenbach died June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan when his MH-47D Helicopter was shot down by enemy fire during combat operations.

He was born on Nov. 3, 1964 in Illinois. Chief Warrant Officer Four Scherkenbach originally enlisted in the Army as a communication specialist in April of 1987. His first duty station was Germany. He was accepted into the Warrant Officer entry program in 1990, and graduated from the Warrant Officer Program at Fort Rucker, Alabama in 1990. Also during 1991, he attended the Warrant Officer Basic Course and Initial Entry Rotary Wing training.

After completing his CH-47D aircraft qualifications at Fort Rucker, Chief Warrant Officer Four Scherkenbach was assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. He was then assigned to Camp Humphreys, Korea as a CH-47D Chinook pilot. After completing his tour in Korea, he returned to the 159th Aviation Regiment. He was assigned to Company B, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.

Chief Warrant Officer Four Scherkenbach's military schools include the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape Level-C course, the Aviation Safety Officer Course, the Electronic Warfare Officer Course, the Special Operations Training Course, and the Warrant Officer Advanced Course.

His awards and decorations include the Air Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Senior Army Aviator Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal with “V” device, Meritorious Service Medal, Master Army Aviator Badge, and Combat Action Badge.
Chief Warrant Officer Four Scherkenbach is survived by his wife Michelle and daughter Sarah Grace Xiaomei, of Jacksonville, Florida.

Tribute from the Night Stalkers site.

CW4 Scherkenback is buried at Arlington National Cemetery:


To read all of the tributes, please click here.

CW3 Corey J Goodnature ~ Night Stalker

CW3 Corey J. Goodnature


Chief Warrant Officer Three Corey J. Goodnature died June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan when his MH-47D Helicopter was shot down by enemy fire during combat operations.

He was born Feb. 13, 1970 in Minnesota. Chief Warrant Officer Three Goodnature graduated from the University of Minnesota with an Associate's Degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1991, and joined the Army in October of 1991. He served as a parachute rigger at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He attended the Warrant Officer Basic Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Upon graduation from Flight School in 1995, Chief Warrant Officer Three Goodnature’s first assignment was flying UH-1s in Korea. In 1996 he was assigned to Camp Wheeler, Hawaii. He assessed for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) in 1998 and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Hunter Army Air Field, Georgia as an MH-47D Chinook pilot.

Chief Warrant Officer Three Goodnature's military schools include: the U.S. Army Rigger’s Course, Warrant Officer Advanced Course, U.S. Army Instrument Examiners Course, the Electronic Warfare Officers Course, the CH-47D Aircraft Qualification Course, the Special Operations Training Course, Airborne School, the Air Assault Course, and Survival Evasion Resistance Escape Course and the CH-47D Instructor Pilot Course.

His awards and decorations include: the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Senior Army Aviator Badge, the Airborne Badge, the Air Assault Badge and the Rigger Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal with “V” device, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

He is survived by his wife Lori of Savannah, Georgia; and two sons, Shea and Brennan, of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


Tribute from the Night Stalker site.

To read all of the tributes, please click here.

MSG James 'Tre' Ponder ~ Night Stalker

MSG James W. Ponder, III


Master Sergeant James “Tre” Ponder died June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan when his MH-47D helicopter was shot down by enemy fire during combat operations. He was a member of the Army 160th SOAR.

He was born June 24, 1969 in Alabama, and was a native of Clarksville, Tenn.

MSG Ponder joined the Army in March 1990 as a Chinook helicopter repairer. After graduating from Basic Training, Fort Eustis, Va., he was assigned to Camp Humphries, Korea. He arrived at the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) in December, 1992, and served in a variety of positions, including 2nd Battalion, 160th Flight Engineer instructor, 2nd Bn Standardization Instructor, and Regiment Standardization Instructor. This was his fourth rotation to Afghanistan.

Ponder’s military schools include: the Primary Leadership Development Course, the Combat Lifesavers Course, Survival Evade Resist Escape Level-C Course, the Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course, the Equal Opportunity Representative Course, the Air Assault, Airborne, and the Army Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course.

His awards and decorations include: the Air Medal with Valorous device, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Valorous Unit Award, the Army Superior Unit Award, the Good Conduct Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Overseas Service Ribbon. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal and an Air Medal with Valor device.

Ponder is survived by his wife Leslie of Clarksville, Tenn., and two daughters, Samantha, and Elizabeth.



Tribute from the Night Stalkers site.

To read all of the tributes, please click here.

SFC Marcus Muralles ~ Night Stalker


Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles

Night Stalker


Sergeant First Class Marcus V. Muralles died June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan when his MH-47D Helicopter was shot down by enemy fire during combat operations.

He was born October 5, 1971 in Louisiana, and was raised in Shelbyville, Indiana. Sergeant First Class Muralles joined the Army in August 1990 as a medic. After completion of Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training he was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia. After completing his initial enlistment obligation, he was assigned to the inactive ready reserve.

In August 1998, he returned to active duty as an infantryman at Fort Benning and later reclassed back to a medic. He returned to Company B, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment as a medical administrator, platoon medic, and company senior medic. In August of 2003, Sergeant First Class Muralles was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) as an aerial flight medic.

His military schools include: the Special Operations Medic Course, Flight Medic Course, the Emergency Medical Technician's Course, the Airborne, Ranger Course, the Primary Leadership Development, the Jumpmaster Course, Special Operations Medic Course, the Basic Non-commissioned Officer Course, and the Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Development Course.

Sergeant Muralles' military awards and decorations include: the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. His badges include the Ranger Tab, the Combat Medical Badge, the Expert Field Medical Badge, the Aviation Badge, the Expert Infantry Badge, and Master Parachutist Badge with two combat jumps. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal with “V” device, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

He is survived by his wife Diana, and two children, Anna and Dominic.

Tribute from the Night Stalkers site.

SFC Marcus Muralles is buried at Arlington National Cemetery: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mvmuralles.htm
To read all of the tributes, please click here.

SFC Michael L Russell ~ Night Stalker

SFC Michael L. Russell

Sgt. First Class Michael L. Russell died June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan when his MH-47D helicopter was shot down by enemy fire during combat operations. He served with the Army 160th SOAR.

A resident of Rincon, Ga., he was born Sept. 28, 1973 in Virginia.

Russell joined the Army in October of 1991 as a Chinook helicopter repairer. After completing Basic Training at Fort Jackson, S.C., he first duty station was Barbers Point, Hawaii, where he remained until April 1995. In May 1995, he departed to the 158th Aviation Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo. In August 1996, he was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) where he served as a flight engineer with the 3rd Battalion, 160th SOAR(A), Hunter Army Air Field, Ga.

Russell’s military schools include: the Primary Leadership Development Course, Survival Evade Resist Escape Level-C Course and the Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course.

His awards and decorations include: the Army Superior Unit Award, the Senior Army Aviator Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Air Medal with Valorous device, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Overseas Service Ribbon. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Master Army Aviator Badge, and an Air Medal with Valor device and the Combat Action Badge.

He is survived by his wife Annette of Savannah, Ga, and two daughters, Lauren and Megan.



Tribute from the Night Stalkers site.

To read all of the tributes, please click here.

Staff Sgt Shamus O Goare ~ Night Stalker

Staff Sgt Shamus O Goare

Staff Sgt. Shamus O. Goare died June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan when his MH-47D helicopter was shot down by enemy fire during combat operations. He was the the Army 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment).

He was born May 28, 1976 in, Ohio.

Goare joined the Army in 1994 as Huey helicopter repairer. He attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, S.C. and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Rucker, Ala.

From December 1994 to October 1996, Goare was assigned to Company I, 158th Aviation Battalion as a utility helicopter repairer. In October 1996 he was reassigned as a UH-1 crew chief to 1st USA SPT, Sinai, Egypt. Upon completion of a one-year tour in Egypt, Goare was then assigned as a crew chief to 12th Aviation Brigade in Fort Belvoir, Va. From January to May 1999, he attended the Heavy Helicopter Repairer Course at Fort Eustis, Va. and upon completion became a Chinook helicopter repairer. In June 1999, he was assigned to Company C, 52nd Aviation Regiment, Camp Humphreys, Korea where he preformed duties as a CH-47 mechanic until May 2000. In June 2000, Goare was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Training Company and upon completion of the Basic Mission Qualification Course (Green Platoon) was assigned as a flight engineer for Company B, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

Goare’s military schools include the Primary Leadership Development Course, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, the Utility Helicopter Repairer Course and the Medium Helicopter Repairer Course.

His military awards and decorations include the Air Medal for valor, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Multinational Forces and Observers Medal, and the Kuwaiti Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Senior Army Aviator Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal for valor and the Combat Action Badge.

He is survived by his parents Charles and Judith Goare, of Danville, Ohio.


Tribute from the Night Stalker site.

To read all
of the tributes, please click here.

SGT Kip Jacoby ~ Night Stalker

Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby

Night Stalker

Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby died June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan when his MH-47D Helicopter was shot down by enemy fire during combat operations.

He was born September 2, 1983 in Florida. A native of Pompano, Fla., Jacoby graduated high school in 2002.

He enlisted in the Army in October 2002 as a heavy helicopter repairman. He attended Basic Combat Training (BCT) at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Eustis, Va.

In May 2003, Jacoby was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Training Company and upon completion of the Basic Mission Qualification Course was assigned as a helicopter repairman for 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). In February 2004 he was reassigned within the battalion to Company B as a CH-47D flight engineer.

Jacoby’s military schools include the Survival Evade Resist Escape Level-C Course, the Basic Mission Qualification Course and the Heavy Helicopter Repairman Course. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Army Aviation Crewmember Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, an Air Medal with Valor device and the Combat Action Badge.

Jacoby is survived by his parents, Stephen and Susan, of Pompano, Fla.

Tribute from the Night Stalkers site.



To read all of the tributes, please click here.

Night Stalker Prayer



Night Stalker Prayer


Father of the heavens and the night; Stretch forth Your almighty arms to strengthen and protect us. Even as You gave Saint Michael, Your angelic warrior, power to do spiritual battle in the heavens, so give us power to command the darkened skies. Guide and direct us in the defense of our country and in the maintenance of justice among the nations. Give us the courage to face all obstacles that might keep us from our time on target. Send Your holy Angels to protect the precious cargo which we carry; the elite Special Operations forces of the United States. Sustain us in the hour of danger with the knowledge of Your mercy and return us safely home.


Watch over our families when we can not. May Your presence give them comfort, and Your love lend them the courage to face each day, confident in the knowledge that You will never leave them nor forsake them. Protect them with Your unfailing mercy and grace. Grant that wherever we serve, we may be loyal to our proud heritage. Make us to choose the harder right over the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. May we ever embody the principles upon which the Night Stalkers are founded and serve proudly with the memory of those who have gone before. Give us the courage to fight to win and the faith to die rather than quit. Because, Night Stalkers Don’t Quit!


Amen

Senior Chief Daniel R Healy ~ SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One



Senior Chief Daniel Richard Healy

SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One


Senior Chief Daniel R. Healy, 36, was born July 17, 1968, in Exeter, New Hampshire. He was killed June 26, 2005 when the helicopter he was in was shot down.

From Marcus Luttrell: "...scrambling aboard, came the massively built Senior Chief Dan Healy, the man who had masterminded Operation Redwing, who apparently looked as if he'd been shot as he left the barracks." "He loved us all with equal passion ... He guarded his flock assiduously, researched every mission with complete thoroughness, gathered the intel, checked the maps, chats, photographs, all reconnaissance. Also, he paid attention to the upcoming missions and made sure his kids were always in the front line. That's the place we were trained for, the place we liked to go."

Healy grew up in Exeter, where he graduated from high school in 1986. He joined the Navy in 1990 and later volunteered to become a SEAL.

His first assignment took him to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One in San Diego. He left the team in 1996 to study Russian and after that was assigned to a SEAL unit in Little Creek, Va., for two years. In March 2000, he was sent to Pearl Harbor, where he joined ECHO Platoon as leading petty officer. He was later promoted to chief petty officer. He deployed to Afghanistan in March 2005.

His awards include the Bronze Star (with Combat V), the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.


He is survived by his wife, Norminda; his children, Chelsea, Jasmine, Sasha, Jacob, Nia, Nathan and Chris; parents, Natalie and Henry; sisters, Jennifer Healy and Shannon Keane.

To read all of the tributes,
please click here.

Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh - SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One



Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh

SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One



Petty Officer 2nd Class James E. Suh was born March 2, 1977, in Chicago. He was raised in South Florida by his father. He was 28. He was killed in Afghanistan when his helicopter was shot down by enemy fire.

Academics was a priority for him at Deerfield Beach High School, but Suh also starred on the tennis and swim teams. He attended many classes for advanced and gifted students. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Statistics at the University of Florida in 1999. Although he wanted to become a veterinarian, he instead joined the Navy in January 2001 and became a SEAL. After basic airborne training in Georgia, and more SEAL training in Coronado and Panama City Beach, Fla., he joined SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 1, 2002.

Known as Sung Gap Suh to his family, Korean immigrants, he was extremely close to his family and had recently moved his father to be with him in Hawaii. "James exuded passion and pride in being part of an elite group of men who defied the limits of human physical and mental endurance," his sister Claudia Suh Bown said. "He was always a protector of his family and friends and became equally committed to defending and protecting our country."

His awards include the Bronze Star (with Combat V), Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

To read all of
the tributes, please click here.

Petty Officer Second Class Eric Shane Patton ~ SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One


Petty Officer Second Class

Eric Shane Patton

SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One

Petty Officer Second Class Eric 'Shane' Patton, 22, died June 28, 2005, when the helicopter he was in was shot down in the mountains of Afghanistan. He was part of a team sent to rescue a SEAL team in a heavy firefight. Shane was a member of SEAL Delivery Vehicle TeamOne.

Patton was born November 15, 1982. He lived in Boulder City, Nevada and joined the Navy SEALs in 2000 -- fresh out of Boulder City High School. His father, James "JJ" Patton, is a municipal court marshal in Las Vegas and former Navy SEAL, according to a news release from the Nevada governor's office. In high school he excelled at baseball - star pitcher and best outfielder. He played the guitar with his band, True Story. He was a surfer and a skateboarder. He gave the ultimate compliment to the President, "He's a real dude, man, a real dude."

His nickname was "Cream, Hatch or Snack Attack."

It's been said that Shane was good with everything he did or tried. ... He cared about his work. He cared about pulling his weight. He cared about his platoon.


To read all of the tributes, please click here.

Lt Cmdr Eric S Kristensen ~ SEAL Team 10


Erik Samsel Kristensen

Lieutenant Commander (SEAL)

LCDR Erik S. Kristensen, was born at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia on 15 March 1972. He graduated from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., in 1990, Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in 1991, and from the United States Navy Academy in 1995. He was killed in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005 when the helicopter he was in was shot down enroute to rescue a SEAL team he commanded.

After graduating with honors from the United States Naval Academy, he reported to the USS CHANDLER (DOG 996) in Everett, Washington as the Fire Control Officer. Next he served at Special Boat Team TWELVE in Coronado, California as the Officer in Charge of a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat Detachment. He began teaching English at the United States Naval Academy in 1999 and also attended graduate school at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, before accepting a transfer to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, California, where he graduated with BUD/S class 233. From there he reported for duty at SEAL Team EIGHT as Officer-in-Charge of a SEAL platoon. LCDR Kristensen deployed as a Task Unit Commander at SEAL Team TEN to Afghanistan to support the Naval Special Warfare community's prosecution of the Global War on Terrorism.

Erik is remembered as an Intelligent leader who earned the respect of his men and his senior officers. He succeeded everywhere he served. He had a great love of the arts and literature. He spoke French, and was selected as an Olmsted Foundation Scholar. He planned to begin study at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris next year. The program allows a select few service members to study abroad for two years.

During his service Erik was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (with "V" for Valor), Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals (2 awards), Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medals (2 awards), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbons (2 awards), Expert Rifle Medal, and Expert Pistol Medal.
Erik is survived by his father Edward K. Kristensen, RADM, USN (Ret) and his mother Suzanne Carrico Samsel Kristensen of Washington, D.C.

Tribute from the SEAL Team 8 site.

From Lone Survivior by Marcus Luttrell:

"Still shouting that his boys needed every gun they could get, came Lieutanant Commander Eric Kristensen, the man who knew perhaps better than anyone that the eight SEAL's in that helo were about to risk a lethal daytime insertion in a high mountain pass, right into the jaws of an enemy that might outnumber them by dozens to one. Kristensen knew he did not have to go.... There was no way Eric was not going to answer that call. Nothing on God's earth could have persuaded him not to go.... Erick understood the stupendous nature of the risk, and he never blinked. Just grabbed his rifle and ammunition and raced to board that aircraft..."

To read all
of the tributes, please click here.

Lt. Michael Martin McGreevy, Jr. ~ SEAL Team 10


Lieutenant
Michael Martin McGreevy, Jr.


Lt. Michael Martin McGreevy, Jr. died June 28, 2005, when his helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. He was a member of Seal Team 10. He was part of the special forces team sent to rescue a small team engaged in heavy fighting.

McGreevy was born April 24, 1975. He grew up in Portville, New York. While in high school, McGreevy ran track, setting a school record for the 800-meter run, wrestled, and played soccer and youth ice hockey. He attended the Naval Academy, where he was class of 1997's secretary and he earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1997.

Upon commissioning, he served aboard USS OAK HILL (LSD 51) as a Surface Warfare Officer. His true passion was to become a SEAL and he later realized his dream when he graduated in Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL class 230 as the "Honor Man" in August 2000.He served at SEAL Team FOUR and completed a Southern Command deployment. He later transferred to SEAL Team EIGHT and completed a Central Command deployment as the Assistant Officer-in-Charge. He later transferred to SEAL Team TEN as Officer-in-Charge of ECHO Platoon.

During his service Mike was awarded the Bronze Star (with "V" for Valor), Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards), Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2 awards), Navy Expert Rifle, and Navy Expert Pistol.

"Hold him up as high as you can - he was a great American and a great person," said Marine Captain Aaron Shelley of San Diego, California, McGreevy's friend and freshman year roommate at the academy. "He did well in everything I saw him do - at the same time, he was very, very humble about it and was always ready to help others."

McGreevy is survived by his wife, Laura, and 14-month-old daughter, Molly, his mother Patricia Mackin and father Michael McGreevy Sr.

Tribute from SEAL Team 8 site.

He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mmmcgreevyjr.htm


To read all of the tribute
s, please click here.

Chief Petty Officer Jacques Fontan - SEAL Team 10


Jacques Jules Fontan

Fire Controlman Chief Petty Officer


Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan was born on 11 November 1968 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He died in the mountains of Afghanistan when his helicopter was shot down while he was enroute to rescue a SEAL team.
He graduated from Brother Martin High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, and attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette prior to enlisting in the United States Navy on 7 March 1989.After graduating from Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes, he completed Fire Controlman "A" School at Fleet Combat Training Center, Dam Neck, Virginia. Upon completion, he transferred to USS NICHOLAS (FFG 47), Charleston, South Carolina and then to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron ONE, Jacksonville, Florida.

After graduating from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Naval Special Warfare Center, Coronado, California, on 23 October 1998, Chief Fontan was assigned to SEAL Team EIGHT, Little Creek, Virginia, Naval Special Warfare Group TWO, Little Creek, Virginia, and SEAL Team TEN, Little Creek, Virginia.During his service, Chief Fontan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (with "V" for Valor), Purple Heart Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Combat "V"), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards), Combat Action Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Navy "E" Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal (5 awards), National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), Southwest Asia Service Medal (3 awards), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3 awards),NATO Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), Expert 9MM Pistol, and Sharpshooter M4 Rifle.

Chief Fontan is survived by his parents, Earl Fontan and Hazel Rue, wife Charissa, daughter Jourdan, brother Jean and sisters Suzanne and Cherie.

Tribute from the SEAL Team 8 site.

To read all
of the tributes, please click here.

Petty Officer First Class Jeffrey Alan Lucas ~ SEAL Team 10

Petty Officer First Class

Jeffrey Alan Lucas



Petty Officer 1st Class, Jeffrey Alan Lucas, 33, died on June 28, 2005, in Afghanistan. He boarded a helicopter bound to assist his teammates during a heavy fire fight in the Afghan mountains, but the helicopter he was riding in was shot down. He was a member of Seal Team 10.
He was born September 17, 1971. After graduating from Corbett High School in Oregon in 1989, Jeff Lucas joined the Navy and ultimately achieved his lifelong dream to become a Navy SEAL. Jeff reached the pinnacle of success in 2004 when he was named Navy SEAL of the year - Jeffrey was truly the best-of-the-best!
His duty stations included SEAL Team TEN, Norfolk, Development Group Dam Neck, VA, SEAL Team eight, Norfolk, SEAL Team ONE, Coronado, CA, Basic Airborne School, Fort Benning, GA, Basic Underwater Demolition School, Coronado, CA, Naval Air Station, Miramar, CA, Naval Submarine Training Center, Pearl Harbor, HI, Electronics Technician Class “A” School, Great Lakes IL, and Recruit Training Command, Orlando, FL. His awards include, Expert Pistol Ribbon, Expert Rifle Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, NATO Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He was also a qualified Dive Supervisor, Sniper Range Supervisor, and Freefall Parachutist Supervisor.

As a Leading Petty Officer, Jeff was known for his leadership. His enthusiasm and quick wit was portrayed in everything he did. He was considered a very funny man who was guaranteed to put a smile on the face of all in his presence. His ten years as a Navy SEAL has allowed him to create a laundry list of qualifications; such as sniper, sniper instructor, and military freefall parachutist to name a few. Jeff was an expert in every qualification and was known for his innovation and constant tinkering with his gear.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Rhonda R. Lucas; their son, Seth Alan Lucas of Virginia Beach, VA; his father, Richard Alan Lucas of Prineville, OR; his mother, Patricia Ann Lucas; a brother, James Richard Lucas and his wife Chris; maternal grandparents, James and Ardis Baker; a nephew, Brandon Cohoon; aunt and uncle, Linda and Larry Traxler; cousins, Peter Traxler, Robby Traxler, Sam and Stephanie Traxler, all of Corbett, OR; and mother and father-in-law, Janet and Patrick Grimm of Thermopolis, WY.
Lucas was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jalucas.htm

You can visit his memorial site at http://www.jefflucasmemorial.com/
To read all of the tributes, please click here.

Petty Officer First Class Jeffrey Scott Taylor ~ SEAL Team 10

Jeffrey Scott Taylor
Petty Officer First Class

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jeffrey S. Taylor
was born 18 May 1975 in Beckley, West Virginia. He attended Independence High School in Coal City, West Virginia, and enlisted in the Navy on 20 June 1994. Taylor was killed when rushing to aid a stranded team, his helicopter was shot down. He was serving with SEAL Team 10.

HM1 Taylor's duty assignments included Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois; NSHS San Diego, California Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia; Field Medical Service School, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, Naval Special Warfare Center, Coronado, California; SEAL Team EIGHT, Little Creek, Virginia; USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Norfolk, Virginia; John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and SEAL Team TEN, Little Creek, Virginia.

As Platoon Leading Petty Officer, HMl Taylor was an extremely strong leader who knew how to get the job done. He was known as a serious, yet lighthearted person. In his off-duty time, he was an avid gun collector.Petty Officer Taylor's awards include the Bronze Star Medal (with "V" for Valor), Purple Heart Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Combat "V") (2 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation (2 awards), Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Battle "E" Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal (4 awards), Navy Fleet Marine Force Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3 awards), Expert Rifle Medal and Expert Pistol Medal.

HM1 Taylor is survived by his father John, mother Carrie, and wife Erin.

Tribute from the SEAL Team 8 site.

To read all of the tributes, please click here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Book Review ~ Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell


Lone Survivor

The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing

and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10

By Marcus Luttrell

I pre-ordered this book when I first heard about it. When I received it, I began reading it. It is a long and intense book, and I didn't do much else while I was reading it. Everyone in America should read this book to better understand the amazing men and women who fight for us each and every day and the challenges they confront along the way.

The book is written in two quite distinct parts. The first part is about Seal Training and the second part is about Operation Redwing. Interwoven in the two parts is Marcus Luttrell's life before and after Afghanistan, and his quest to visit each of the families of his friends who were lost and his healing and understanding of the events that occured that day.

The Prologue opens with "..my name is Marcus. And I'm writing this book because of my three buddies Mikey, Danny and Axe. If I don't write it, no one will ever understand the indomitable courage under fire of those three Americans. And that would be the biggest tragedy of all."

The first half of the book is autobiographical. We learn of Marcus' life in Texas - and he's all Texan! - the lifelong desire to become a Navy SEAL and the grueling school to become a Navy SEAL. If you want to know what becoming a SEAL is all about, Marcus tells you. Their training is beyond intense and you can't help but have complete respect for SEALs and hold them in awe for their courage, strenght and fortitude. They are trained in body and mind.

The second half of the book deals with Operation Redwing. Marcus takes us into the battle, into the death of his team and dear friends - Mike Murphey, Danny Deitz and Matt Axelson. The grueling battle, the fall of over one thousand feet down a mountain side, the struggle to survive despite the vast number of enemies, is beyond imagining. After the enemy has killed his friends, Marcus is severly wounded and presumed dead by American forces. In spite of his injuries, he crawls over seven miles while confronting the assassins sent to kill him. He is taken in by a Pashtun tribe who risk everything to keep him alive and eventually get him back to American forces.

In addition to the loss of the three members of Marcus' SEAL team, the CH-47 rescue helicopter with a rescue and reinforcement team was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade. It was the largest loss of life in SEAL history, and the largest loss of Special Operations Forces since D-Day. Nineteen highly trained, dedicated and patriotic men died that day:

Petty Officer Danny Dietz (SEAL Team 1)

Petty Officer Matthew Axelson (SEAL Team 1)

Navy Lt. Mike Murphy (SEAL Team 1)


Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature (pilot, US Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment)

Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach (pilot, US Army 160th SOAR)

Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby (US Army, 160th SOAR)

Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles (US Army, 160th SOAR)

Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan (SEAL Team 10)

Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen (SEAL Team 10)

Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh (SEAL Team 1)

Petty Officer First Class Jeff Taylor (SEAL Team 10 Medic)

Sgt. First Class Michael Russell (US Army, 160th SOAR)

Maj. Steve Reich (pilot, US Army 160th SOAR)

Master Sgt. James "Tre" Ponder III (US Army, 160th SOAR)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Shane Patton (SEAL Team 1)

U.S. Navy Lt. Michael McGreevy (SEAL Team 10)

Petty Officer Jeffrey Alan Lucas (SEAM Team 10)

Senior Chief Petty Officer Dan Healy (SEAL Team 1)

SSgt. Shamus Goare (US Army, 160th SOAR)


Marcus also gives us a parallel view of what was going on at his home during the time he was missing and presumed dead. He tells of the dedication of his family, friends, the SEAL community and the Texans who came to hold vigil. The spirit and faith of these people, many of whom did not know Marcus, is overwhelming and inspiring. It truly made me proud to live in the same America that they live in.

For their bravery and courage under fire Marcus Luttrell (previously known as "The One"), Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson were awarded the Navy Cross. Michael Murphey was awarded a Silver Star and is being reviewed for a Medal of Honor.

If you ever have any questions about what patriotism, love of country, devotion, courage and bravery are, you only need to read this book to understand what they really mean. I have read this book twice. It has been an emotional journey, a journey of such profound pride in these young men, a journey of anger at trying to impose political correctness into warfare, a journey into the love between people that keeps them going on in spite of great tragedy.

I have heard Marcus' voice telling us what patriotism, love of country, devotion, courage and bravery are and how we undermine it at home. His anger is real. As is his love of his team, his friends, his family, Texas, and America. His shy and introspective nature is pushed to the side to tell this story and to give opinions about America at War. He had to leave the Navy - the thing he loved the most - to tell this story, because his love for his teammates and the truth was even greater. For that, I am truly grateful. Knowing about these twenty Americans has enriched my life.

As I listen to and watch the many interviews with Marcus Luttrell, I see a man who will ever be torn by the grief that was laid upon him by the events of Operation Redwing. I also see a man who gives the greatest respect for people he knows do not respect him, his brothers, the truth.

A great interview with Marcus Luttrell was done by Texas Radio KVET - 98 FM:

To play the media please click on the link below or paste it into your web browser

Part One: http://www.kvet.com/cc-common/mediaplayer/player.html?mps=Default&mid=http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/23782/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/23782/1048/richmedia/Kvet_Rick_PerryNavy_Seal.mp3?CCOMRRMID=4644003&CPROG=RICHMEDIA&MARKET=AUSTIN-TX&NG_FORMAT=country&NG_ID=kvet98fm&OR_NEWSFORMAT=&OWNER=1048&SERVER_NAME=www.kvet.com&SITE_ID=1048&STATION_ID=KVET-FM&TRACK=rick_perry_navy_seal

Part Two: http://www.kvet.com/cc-common/mediaplayer/player.html?mps=Default&mid=http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/23782/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/23782/1048/richmedia/Kvet_Rick_PerryNavy_Seal_2.mp3?CCOMRRMID=4644691&CPROG=RICHMEDIA&MARKET=AUSTIN-TX&NG_FORMAT=country&NG_ID=kvet98fm&OR_NEWSFORMAT=&OWNER=1048&SERVER_NAME=www.kvet.com&SITE_ID=1048&STATION_ID=KVET-FM&TRACK=rick_perry_navy_seal_2


If you want to know what a hero looks like, here are two - Danny Dietz and Marcus Luttrell.



This is a must read for all Americans. Read this book!

Previous Posts:

http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/02/navy-cross-axelson-dietz-one.html

Marcus Luttrell: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/02/hero-to-remember-one.html

Danny Dietz: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/02/hero-to-remember-po2-danny-p-dietz.html

Matthew Axelson: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/02/hero-to-remember-po2-matthew-g-axelson.html

Michael Murphey: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/02/silver-star-lt-michael-p-murphy.html

Rescue Team: http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/07/lone-survivor-rescue-team.html

Thursday, July 26, 2007

K-9's Hoisted into Helicopters and Aviation History

Staff Sgt. Michael Hile with "Ronnie", his military working dog, 554th Military Police company is being hoisted into a UH-60 (Black Hawk) helicopter during a canine-hoist training mission July 15 near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

1st Sgt. Dean Bissey, left, first sergeant for Company C "Dustoff", 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, hooks the hoist harness to Staff Sgt. Michael Hile and his military working dog "Ronnie" from 554th Military Police Company July 15 near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.


Staff Sgt. Michael Hile, left, with "Ronnie", his military working dog, from 554th Military Police Company, lifting off the ground by a hoist lowered from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter July 16 during a canine-hoist training mission. First Sgt., Dean Bissey, Company C (MEDEVAC company), 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade stands underneath the hoisted canine team to confirm the security of the harness.
Staff Sgt. Michael Hile, with "Ronnie", his military working dog, 554th Military Police Company, is hoisted into a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a canine-hoist training mission July 15 near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
1st Sgt. Dean Bissey, Company C (MEDEVAC company), 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, begins his decent from the side of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter harnessed to a hoist during a canine-hoist training mission July 15 near Bagram, Afghanistan.


By Spc. Aubree Rundle
Task Force Pegasus Public Affairs

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — The 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade troopers and their “best friends” executed their first canine-hoist training mission July 15.

The purpose of the training was to familiarize military canines “Liza and Ronnie”, along with their handlers and MEDEVAC crews, with procedures used when responding to injured canine handling teams.

“In the event that the military dogs or their owners are injured while conducting missions outside the wire, this is how the MEDEVAC would recover their teams,” said Army 1st Sgt. Dean Bissey, Company C “Dustoff”, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd CAB, 82nd Airborne Division. “It’s good training for us and shows these canine teams how to respond if a rescue helicopter is called in.”

Bissey tested the MEDEVAC team’s ability to respond to an emergency by setting off smoke bombs to signal the need for an evacuation. The hoist was lowered from the Black Hawk and the two canine teams were hooked up and raised to the safety of the helicopter.

“Liza has been out on missions with special operations teams since we arrived in theater,” said handler Army Staff Sgt. David Hornsby, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “The hoist was a walk in the park for her.”

Hoist training has been performed in the past, however, not with canines involved, according to Bissey. He said this was an opportunity for the MEDEVAC teams and canine teams to familiarize themselves with different missions and evacuations that may occur in the future.

“This was Ronnie’s first time in a helicopter and he handled it pretty well,” said handler Army Staff Sgt. Michael Hile, 554th Military Police Company.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Last King of Afghanistan ~ Mohammad Zahir Shah



Mohammed Zahir Shah
October 15, 1914 ~ July 23, 2007

Mohammed Zahir Shah, the last King of Afghanistan, is dead at the age of 92.

Zahir Shah wass proclaimed monarch in 1933, at age 19, within hours after his father, Muhammad Nadir Shah, had been assissinated in front of him. He ruled for 40 years, until a cousin took over the government while he was out of the country in 1973, plunging the country back into bloody warfare.

Though he was not a dynamic ruler, he did have a neutral foreign policy with gave peace to the country that has been ravaged by war - before and after - his reign. He was a patron of the arts, funded music festivals and theatre companies. He brought development and education to the country. Zahir Shah ended the absolute rule of the Monarchy when he made Afghanistan a Constitutional Monarchy in 1964.

Zahir Shah returned to Afghanistan in 2002 to participate in the loya jirga to establish a new government. Even though he was asked, he said repeatedly he had no ambition to dust off the throne, insisting that he wanted only to help revive and reunify his country.

An honor guard lowered the body of Afghanistan's last king into a bullet-riddled hillside tomb Tuesday, as dignitaries, lawmakers and relatives said goodbye to the man they call the "Father of the Nation."

His coffin — wrapped in Afghanistan's black, red and green flag — traveled from the presidential palace to one of Kabul's main mosques and then to the hillside tomb on a gun carriage pulled by an armored military vehicle. He was buried beside his wife who died in 2002.

Afghan officials and dignitaries, including President Hamid Karzai, walked behind the coffin much of the way amid heavy security.

Zahir Shah's wooden coffin was first placed under the shade of pine trees at the presidential palace grounds, where Afghan politicians, tribal elders, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani and international dignitaries paid their respects.

The coffin was then taken to a Kabul mosque where a short prayer was read. Then it was pulled to the top of Maranjan Hill, where dozens of ornate, red carpets had been laid on the ground and the bullet-pocked shrine was covered in black. Karzai and a small entourage descended into the tomb to see Zahir Shah's final resting place.

Named the "Father of the Nation" in the nation's new constitution, Zahir Shah died Monday after a long illness at age 92.

Wednesday Hero ~ Lt. General Lewis B 'Chesty' Puller

This Weeks Solider Was Suggested By Robert




Lt. General Lewis B.


Lt. General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller
June 26, 1898 - October 11, 1971


Lieutenant General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller was a colorful veteran of the Korean War, four World War II campaigns, and expeditionary service in China, Nicaragua, and Haiti. He is the only Marine to win the Navy Cross five times for heroism and gallantry in combat earing him the distinction of being the most decorated Marine in the history of the USMC.

A Marine officer and enlisted man for 37 years, General Puller served at sea or overseas for all but ten of those years, including a hitch as commander of the "Horse Marines" in China. Excluding medals from foreign governments, he won a total of 14 personal decorations in combat, plus a long list of campaign medals, unit citation ribbons and other awards. In addition to the Navy Crosses, the highest honor the Navy can bestow, he holds its Army equivalent, the Distinguished Service Cross. A list of his awards can be found here.

Born 26 June 1898, at West Point, Virginia, the general attended Virginia Military Institute until enlisting in the Marine Corps in August 1918. He was appointed a Marine Reserve second lieutenant 16 June 1919, but due to force reductions after World War I, was placed on inactive duty ten days later. He rejoined the Marines as an enlisted man to serve with the Gendarmerie d'Haiti, a military force in that country under a treaty with the United States. Most of its officers were U. S. Marines, while its enlisted personnel were Haitians.

After almost five years in Haiti, where he saw frequent action against the Caco rebels, Puller returned in March 1924 to the United States. He was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant that same month, and during the next two years, served at the Marine Barracks, Norfolk, Virginia, completed the Basic School at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and served with the 10th Marine Regiment at Quantico, Virginia.

In July of 1926, Puller embarked for a two-year tour of duty at the Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor. Returning in June 1928, he served in San Diego, California, until he joined the Nicaraguan National Guard Detachment that December. After winning his first Navy Cross in Nicaragua, he returned to the United States in July 1931 to enter the Company Officers Course at the Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. He completed the course in June 1932 and returned to Nicaragua the following month to begin the tour of duty that brought him a second Navy Cross.

In January 1933, Puller left Nicaragua for the United States. A month later he sailed from San Francisco to join the Marine Detachment of the American Legation at Peiping, China. There, in addition to other duties, he commanded the famed "Horse Marines." Without coming back to the United States, he began a tour of sea duty in USS AUGUSTA of the Asiatic Fleet. In June 1936 he returned to the United States to become an instructor in the Basic School at Philadelphia. He left there in May 1939 to serve another year as commander of the AUGUSTA's Marine Detachment, and from that cruiser, joined the 4th Marine Regiment at Shanghai, China, in May 1940.

After serving as a battalion executive and commanding officer with the 4th Marines, Puller sailed for the United States in August 1941. In September, he took command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune. That Regiment was detached from the 1st Division in March 1942 and the following month, as part of the 3rd Marine Brigade, sailed for the Pacific theater. The 7th Regiment rejoined the 1st Marine Division in September 1942, and Puller, still commanding its 1st Battalion, went on to win his third Navy Cross at Guadalcanal.

The action that brought him that medal occurred on the night of October 24-25 1942. For a desperate three hours his battalion, stretched over a mile-long front, was the only defense between vital Henderson Airfield and a regiment of seasoned Japanese troops. In pouring jungle rain the Japanese smashed repeatedly at his thin line, as General Puller moved up and down its length to encourage his men and direct the defense. After reinforcements arrived, he commanded the augmented force until late the next afternoon. The defending Marines suffered less than 70 casualties in the engagement while 1400 of the enemy were killed and 17 truckloads of Japanese equipment were recovered by the Americans.

After Guadalcanal, Puller became executive officer of the 7th Marines. He was fighting in that capacity when he won his fourth Navy Cross at Cape Gloucester in January 1944. There, when the commanders of the two battalions were wounded, he took over their units and moved through heavy machine-gun and mortar fire to reorganize them for attack, then led them in taking a strongly fortified enemy position.

In February 1944, Puller took command of the 1st Marines at Cape Gloucester. After leading that regiment for the remainder of the campaign, he sailed with it for the Russell Islands in April 1944. He went on to command it at Peleliu in September and October 1944. He returned to the United States in November 1944, named executive officer of the Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Lejeune in January 1945, and took command of that regiment the next month.

In August 1946, Puller became Director of the 8th Marine Corps Reserve District, with headquarters at New Orleans, Louisiana. After that assignment, he commanded the Marine Barracks at Pearl Harbor until August 1950, when he arrived at Camp Pendleton, California, to re-establish and take command of the 1st Marines, the same regiment he had led at Cape Gloucester and Peleliu.

Landing with the 1st Marines at Inchon, Korea, in September 1950, he continued to head that regiment until January 1951, when he was promoted to brigadier general and named Assistant Commander of the 1st Marine Division. That May he returned to Camp Pendleton to command the newly reactivated 3rd Marine Division in January 1952. After that, he was assistant at division commander until he took over the Troop Training Unit, Pacific, at Coronado, California, that June. He was promoted to major general in September 1953, and in July 1954, assumed command of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune. Despite his illness, he retained that command until February 1955, when he was appointed Deputy Camp Commander. He served in that capacity until August, when he entered the U. S. Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune prior to retirement.

In 1966, General Puller requested to return to active duty to serve in Vietnam, but was turned down because of his age. He died 11 October 1971 in Hampton, Virginia, after a long illness. He was 73.


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, July 24, 2007

The Involunteers by Russ Vaughn


The Involunteers

One thing to me rings loud and clear
Through mainstream media sources:
Libs don’t understand, Volunteer,
When it comes to our fighting forces.
Their memories hark to former days,
Dubious deferments due to classes,
Craven cowering in cynical ways,
Just to cover their cowardly asses.

Pony-tailed pundits of treason foregoing,
Now scoff and condemn with derision,
Volunteer warriors, warned and knowing,
Who’ve made a fateful decision,
Foregoing the comforts liberals love,
That very succor to preserve,
A concept Libs are ignorant of:
To reap benefits, one should serve.

Ever fearful, Libs cower in classrooms,
Proclaiming the due of the masses;
On graves of the brave, toxic mushrooms,
Still cravenly covering their asses.
Preaching, protesting, showing their ire,
Cat-box covering all their worst fears,
Cowardly curs afraid of war’s fire,
They’re our nation’s Involunteers.

I know a truth from mankind’s past,
A truth that sure prevails;
Those who fight are those will last,
Throughout all man’s travails.
But those making phony excuses,
As false and fearful disguise,
Will feel history’s worst abuses,
Enslaved by their cowardly lies.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66
************************
Russ kindly shared his great poem for me to share with you.
Thank you, Russ.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Oregon Seniors Carve Walking Canes for the Wounded

1st Lt. Sherri Zimmerman, Executive Officer for Alpha Co., 1st Joint Mobilization Brigade at Fort Lewis, Wash., arranges some of the hand-carved walking canes donated to injured Soldiers by the Capitol Carvers.

Spc. David Lamberson of Charlie Co., 579 Engineers, California Army National Guard, finds the perfect walking cane amongst other hand-carved canes donated by the Capitol Carvers.

The Capitol Carvers, a senior group from Salem, Ore., donated a number of hand-carved walking canes to injured Army National Guard soldiers currently stationed at Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Wash., June 8. The Capitol Carvers, who meet once a week at the North Salem Senior Center to share their hobby of carving wood, bone, and stone, decided to donate their time and love of carving to help injured Soldiers. Photo by Oregon National Guard Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy.


A Salem, Oregon senior group has turned their collective hobby of carving into a philanthropic endeavor.

About ten members of the Capitol Carvers made the three-hour drive to Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Washington, to meet with Oregon National Guard Soldiers who are recovering at MAMC from wounds received while deployed to the Middle East.

The group presented Soldiers with hand-carved walking canes. Each cane came with an accompanying letter thanking the individual Soldier for their sacrifice and service. The letter also highlighted the Capitol Carvers' background and history, and explained the type of wood used in each walking cane.

The Capitol Carvers are comprised primarily of Oregon seniors. The group meets once a week at the North Salem Senior Center in Salem, Oregon, to carve items ranging from animals, people and caricatures, in various mediums, including stone, wood and bone. The group's organizers were inspired by a similar group in North Carolina, which carved a number of walking canes for injured members of a Marine unit who recently returned to that state.

Of the 50 walking canes initially requested by Washington Army National Guard Family Resource Coordinator, Sheryl Obermiller, 43 have been completed. The group intends to complete the the last of the 50 canes, but plans to carve more as they are needed, said Capitol Carver Vice President, Louis K. Wakefield, Sr.

"We wanted to show our support and love of our troops in a very physical, personal way," Wakefield said.Many of the Soldiers who received their walking canes today already had simple canes which could be bought at any store. But according to Spc. David Lamberson of Charlie Co., 579 Engineers, California Army National Guard, his new cane came with something no store-bought cane could ever have -- a personal touch.

"You can tell a lot of time and love was put into these canes," Lamberson said. "This shows that somewhere, somebody cares, and they're willing to take the time to show it," he added.

Oregon National Guard Press Release