Monday, March 31, 2008

SSG "Matt" Maupin - MIA No Longer

SSG Keith Matthew "Matt" Maupin
Remains Identified
MIA No Longer
Farewell, and Walk with God, Matt

Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured on April 9, 2004, west of Baghdad. A month later, he was promoted to the rank of specialist, and later to sergeant.
Nearly four years after his capture, his remains have been identified.

Carolyn and Keith Maupin

The official release has not yet been made, but Matt's parents have released the news.
Many of us held out hope that Matt would be found alive, yet we knew the chances were slim.
Today, let us hold the family and friends of Matt in our thoughts and prayers.

Previous Article on Matt:

Article on the ID:

Matt's Web Page -
on the left you can click Guestbook and leave a message for his family.

Monday, March 24, 2008


4,000 - a number, a statement. a sorrow, a milestone, a millstone, a told-you-so....

What does 4,000 mean to you? Can you name one of the names? Or can you just spout a number? Do you put it on a t-shirt and think you have made a statement?

You do know that there are 4,000 names, lives, families, friends that correspond to the number?

4,000 - so many, and yet so few. So many since each life is precious. So few in comparison to any other war. In 36 days of fighting, 6,825 Americans were killed at Iwo Jima - an 8 sq mile uninhabited volcanic island.

4,000 - a number waited for anxiously, to be used as a club for opinion, by the completely insensitive - in fact, there were people rooting for the arrival of the number.

4,000 - For me it is so much more than a number. Two friends are part of that 4,000 - two people that I cared about - Sgt James Craig and Sgt Eddie Jeffers. Three members of my community are part of that 4,000 - PFC Thomas Tucker, LCpl Randy Newman, Sgt Zachary McBride. I have friends who are Gold Star Mothers - women who have lost their sons on battlefield, women who stand strong to support the mission that cost them their most precious gift, women who say "don't forget my son" - I won't forget LCpl Aaron Austin, Major Gregory Stone, PO2 Marc Lee - nor will I forget their mothers and fathers.

4,000 - Before you say the number, take the time to learn about one of these fine men or women - learn their name - celebrate their life - be grateful for their sacrifice.

4,000 is so much more than a number and those who use it as a number should be shamed and scorned.

4,000 noble, honorable men and women have sacrificed their lives for our country in the past five years. We owe them a debt of gratitude we can never repay. We owe it to all of them to know at least one of their names, one of their stories.

God Bless them all.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Book Review ~ My Grandfather's Son by Clarence Thomas

My Grandfather's Son
By Clarence Thomas

This memoir by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is the long awaited story of the life of a most remarkable man. The story of Clarence Thomas is the story of the American dream fulfilled - a young man who barely spoke English rises to one of the most important people in the nation.

His trajectory to importance began with his life lived with his Grandfather, who taught his strict work ethic and value system to Clarence and his brother. Life was not easy, but the stories that Justice Thomas shares speak of family and love and value.

This is an emotional and spiritual journey. Justice Thomas allows us a vision of a life well lived and the trials that go along with it. It also presents a very different view of the confirmation hearings than have ever been heard before.

Best of all, it is written like a magnificent novel - each page alive with the stories of people you would be honored to know.

This is a must read book!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vets on the Hill

Vets on the Hill
Join Vets for Freedom on Capitol Hill on April 8!

If you’re a veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan, or another theatre of the War on Terror, sign up below to show up on April 8 and tell Congress to support General Petraeus and our fellow troops as they continue to succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans will be flown in to Washington, DC late on Monday, April 7th, will participate in events and meetings on Capitol Hill on April 8th, and will be flown home on the evening of the 8th. Attendance will only require one day off of work, and Vets for Freedom will cover all travel expenses for the trip—travel, lodging, and food.

This is a great opportunity for vets. Please consider going.

For the rest of us, we can donate to this great cause at (click the donate button)

And, check the site for the location of the National Heroes Tour

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday Hero ~ SPC Monica Lin Brown

Spc. Monica Lin Brown
Spc. Monica Lin Brown
19 years old from Lake Jackson, Texas
4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown has done something only a very few female soldiers in American history have ever done. She's been awarded the Silver Star.

Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province of Afghanistan in April 2007. "I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there."

"We stopped the convoy. I opened up my door and grabbed my aid bag," Brown said.

She started running toward the burning vehicle as insurgents opened fire. All five wounded soldiers had scrambled out.

"I assessed the patients to see how bad they were. We tried to move them to a safer location because we were still receiving incoming fire," Brown said. "So we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit," she said. "I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of."

For Brown, who knew all five wounded soldiers, it became a race to get them all to a safer location. Eventually, they moved the wounded some 500 yards away and treated them on site before putting them on a helicopter for evacuation.

"I did not really have time to be scared," Brown said. "Running back to the vehicle, I was nervous (since) I did not know how badly the guys were injured. That was scary."

The military said Brown's "bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat."

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. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The National Heroes Tour

Many of America’s most decorated war heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan have packed their bags and are hitting the road on a national bus tour to take their non-partisan message of progress and freedom from coast-to-coast.

The Vets for Freedom National Heroes Tour is about supporting our troops, honoring their commitment, and rallying the country to complete the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At this critical juncture in our country, we need Americans, lawmakers and the media, to fully recognize—and appreciate—the sacrifice of our brave military and the dramatic success they have achieved, especially in Iraq with the new counterinsurgency strategy.

To Check the cities they will be in, go here

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wednesday Hero ~ Sgt Steve Morin, Jr

Sgt. Steve Morin Jr.

Sgt. Steve Morin Jr.
34 years old from Arlington, Texas
111th Engineer Battalion, 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard
September 28, 2005

From the time he finished high school, Sgt. Steve Morin Jr. made serving in the military his career.

"He always stood up for what he thought was right," Gwendolyn Michelle Morin, his wife, said. "He was a fighter. He would never give up." "He had called me to let me know what he was going to do that day," she said. He expected to be able to call her more often because of the missions he was being assigned. Sometimes they would go 11 or 12 days between calls.

Morin enlisted in the Navy after graduating high school in his hometown of Brownfield, Texas at 17. By 34, Morin had devoted 14 years to the Navy, served in the National Guard for two and planned to attend Officers Candidate School. Morin was still in the Navy when he met his wife. At the time, the two were working for a photo company; he was Santa Claus and she was an elf, she said. Both were attending Texas Tech University. "It was funny because we always kept running into each other. He would hang outside my classes and wait for me with a Diet Coke," recalled Gwendolyn. "He knew how to make me really happy."

Sgt. Morin died when an IED went off, overturning the vehicle he was riding in near Umm Qasr, Iraq.

"He's very strong willed, very determined. Humorous, a clown, but he was also very disciplined and very passionate about what he believed in," Gwendolyn Morin said. "He always wanted to serve his country."

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. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Quotes ~ Samuel Adams on Virtues

"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader."

-- Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 12 February 1779)
Reference: The Writings of Samuel Adams, Cushing, ed., vol. 4 (124)

WWI Soldier, Frank Buckles, Honored at White House & Pentagon

THE PRESIDENT: Sitting next to me is Mr. Frank Buckles, 107-years-young, and he is the last living Doughboy from World War I. And it has been my high honor to welcome Mr. Buckles, and his daughter, Susannah, here to the Oval Office.

Mr. Buckles' mind is sharp, his memory is crisp, and he's been sharing with me some interesting anecdotes. I asked him where he lived, and he said, that reminds me of what General Pershing asked me. And he told the General that he was raised on a farm in Missouri. And the General said, well, you know, as the crow flies, it's 40 miles from where I was raised.

And so Mr. Buckles has a vivid recollection of historic times. And one way for me to honor the service of those who wear the uniform in the past and those who wear it today is to herald you, sir, and to thank you very much for your patriotism and your love for America.
So we're glad you're here. Thanks for coming.

Pentagon Honors WWI Veteran, Unveils Exhibit

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2008 - Defense Department officials honored one of the world's last living World War I veterans in a ceremony at the Pentagon today.

"I feel honored to be here as a representative of the veterans of WWI and I thank you," said Frank Woodruff Buckles, 107, who wore multiple service medals and remained in a wheelchair. He received a standing ovation from the mostly military audience.

Buckles, who lives near Charles Town, W.Va., and his family were special guests during the ceremony, in which officials unveiled photographer David DeJonge's World War I Veterans Exhibit. Defense officials praised the exhibit for putting faces on a war that is largely forgotten and for which its generation is slipping away. DeJonge donated the exhibit, a collection of portraits of nine WWI veterans, for permanent display in the Pentagon.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates thanked Buckles, an Army ambulance driver in France and Britain, and John F. Babcock, a veteran of the U.S. and Canadian armies, who now lives in Spokane, Wash., and could not attend the ceremony. Buckles and Babcock are the last known living WWI soldiers who fought for the United States.

"Whoever views this display will, I am sure, feel a connection to Mr. Buckles and his comrades-in-arms," Gates said. "We will always be grateful for what they did for their country 90 years ago."

The portraits show each of the eight men and one woman, surrounded by military medals, books and newspapers of the day. Some are framed by flags and bear bright smiles. Others appear deep in thought. All evoke the patriotism of their service. Seven of the nine have died in the past year, said DeJonge, an independent photographer who began the project in 2006 in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"History is fading away before the very eyes of America," DeJonge said in an emotional speech. Asked after the ceremony why he chose veterans for the theme of his photography, DeJonge said, "It is imperative to American history. We want our leaders here at the recognize that the decisions they make here impact people for 90 years or more."

The project is important because "the First World War is not well understood or remembered in the United States," Gates said. "There is no big memorial on the National Mall. Hollywood has not turned its gaze in this direction for decades. Yet few events have so markedly shaped the world we live in as the epic blood struggle known as The Great War."

U.S. involvement in WWI was short in time, long on sacrifice. From the first U.S. Navy ship that was sank in early 1917 until the armistice was signed Nov. 11, 1918, the United States incurred more than 116,000 deaths - more than Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan combined, Gates noted.

Just as some have marked the 21st Century as having began with the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001, the 20th Century "began" with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, on June 28, 1914, Gates said. The war that began with a regional fight for Balkan independence, left the world a redrawn map of Europe and the Middle East, including the demarcation of Iraq. "From Baghdad to Belgrade, the places that mattered then are in the front of our consciousness today."

Army Secretary Pete Geren compared the sacrifices of WWI veterans to those serving now in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Today, young men and women from our generation, the best of this generation, too, are joined in a war in a far-off land that will shape their future and the world's future for decades to come," Geren said. "As with Frank Buckles' war, someday this war will end and [they] will come home with their lives and the world forever changed."

The portraits "put a human face on a faceless war," Geren said. "We are reminded and convicted of the personal debt each of us owes to those who have secured the blessings of our liberties."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

National Guardsman Runs the Iditarod

In the cold mountains of Alaska, the 'World's Last Great Race' is underway. Dogs are pulling sleds as their mushers urge them on in the Iditarod.

One of the first time mushers is Army National Guard Master Sergeant Rodney Whaley. His official biography:

Rodney Whaley, 55, is an Army Master Sergeant, serving on active duty with the Army National Guard. He lived his childhood in Alaska, racing in junior races in the 1960s, and has always remained passionate about sled dog racing. Utilizing the skills he has developed in the Army National Guard the past twenty-four years, he is running the 2008 Iditarod, and is the first Tennessean to have ever entered the race. Whaley began his Iditarod training in 2002 at Nakitsilik Outdoor Adventures in British Columbia, Canada. He has since trained at the Howling Dog Farm in Willow, Alaska and with Al Hardman in Northern Michigan. Whaley resides in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife, Vicki. He is the father of two grown children, Karen, 31, and Rodney Jr., 30. He received his Masters degree from Middle Tennessee State University, is a member of ClearView Baptist Church, Franklin, TN, International Sled Dog Racing Association, Mush with P.R.I.D.E., and Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association as a certified high school football official, having officiated for 25 years.

Rod is the first Tennessean to compete in the 1,159 mile race.

The race started on Sunday, March 3. As of this writing Rod Whaley, bib number 78 has advanced two places to 76! We check his progress several times a day. Go Rod!!!

To read more about Rod Whaley -
You can also leave a message of support and encouragement for Rod there!
To follow the race and see some amazing pictures and videos -

Wednesday Hero ~ Helicopter Crew 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment

Chief Warrant Officer Mark O'SteenChief Warrant Officer Thomas GibbonsStaff Sgt. Daniel L. Kisling Jr.SSgt. Gregory M. Frampton

Pictured Left to Right
Chief Warrant Officer Mark O'Steen, 43 years old from Ozark, Alabama
Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Gibbons, 31 years old from Prince Frederick, Maryland
Staff Sgt. Daniel L. Kisling Jr., 31 years old from Neosho, Missouri
SSgt. Gregory M. Frampton, 37 years old from Fresno, California

1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
January 30, 2003

"They succeeded where lesser men failed," said Chaplain Robert Glazener. "They proved themselves in ways that men out there who never served, never volunteered, never sacrificed, would never understand. They sought neither glory nor special recognition, but they gained both by their actions. They are the true American heroes today and deserve more honor than we can humbly bestow on them."

The helicopter carrying the men went down seven miles east of the Bagram Air Base while on a training mission.

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. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.