Friday, October 31, 2008

The Army Field Band ~ The Jazz Ambassadors

We had the great joy of spending an evening listening to the Jazz Ambassadors - the big band sound of the Army Field Band. They were outstanding!!! Nothing quite like the big band sound!

The Army Field Band has several units: The Concert Band, The Jazz Ambassadors, The Soldiers' Chorus, The Volunteers, as well as several small units. (Clicking on the names will take you to their pages.)

These units tour around the United States. At their home page, you can sign up for their newsletter, check their tour schedules and learn about their history.

The Jazz Ambassadors - America's Big Band - is the United States Army's premier touring jazz orchestra. It is a 19 member big band, including a vocal soloist, which was formed in 1969.

Check the tour schedule. Sign up for their mailing list. Seeing the Army Field Band is a concert you will never forget!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Book Review ~ In a Time of War by Bill Murphy Jr.

In A Time of War:
The Proud and Perilous Journey of
West Point's Class of 2002

By Bill Murphy Jr

When September 11, 2001 happened, the senior class at West Point was to become the first class to graduate during the War on Terror. At their graduation, they heard President Bush deliver the speech that became known as the 'Bush Doctrine' - America would take the fight to the enemy. They were destined to become the junior officers on the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Bill Murphy's book follows a small group of the graduates of 2002 - friends who stay close through West Point, advanced training, deployments, marriages, children, wounds and death. From around the globe, their friendship bonded them together.

The book follows these young officers in many settings and experiences. As life unfolds, Mr. Murphy shares the all too human successes and disappointments, the wounds external and internal, the death of friends and the mourning of friends and family. They serve. They sacrifice. And, most of all, they stay friends.

Since this is a true story, nothing fits tidily in a box for the plot. But, the people are so memorable that you will never forget some of them....

Drew Sloan -
Drew was wounded in Afghanistan, after many surgeries to rebuild his face, requested deployment to Iraq. He is currently at Harvard in graduate school.

Todd Bryant
Todd lost his life in Iraq - October 31 2003 - leaving behind his new wife Jen.

Tim Moshier
Tim was an Apache helicopter pilot who lost his life in Iraq on April 1, 2006

Their stories should be on the front pages of newspapers in this nation. Unfortunately, they are not. But, Bill Murphy tells their stories in this remarkable book that everyone should read.

The author's web page is

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Operation Urgent Fury ~ 25 Years Ago

Operation Urgent Fury

October 25, 1983

Twenty five years ago, the United States invaded the island of Grenada to remove the illegal government that had deposed and executed the elected Governor. The United States and a coalition of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States battled the forces from Grenada and Cuba. On December 15, the island was returned to her people.

The invasion came just two days after the Beirut Bombings.

U.S. forces suffered 19 fatalities and 116 injuries. Grenada suffered 45 military and at least 24 civilian deaths, along with 358 soldiers wounded. Cuba had 24 killed in action, with 59 wounded and 638 taken prisoner.

Once again, when called, the United States Military performed admirably and heroically. The video pays tribute to each of them.

Wednesday Hero ~ SAS Soldier

Wednesday Hero was started to put a spotlight on the men and women of the United States military and the bravery their show day in and day out. But on a few occasions a service members of an allied nation has been profiled. Such is the case this week.

Despite being shot twice during an ambush in Afghanistan, an SAS (Special Air Service) soldier from Australia lashed himself to the front of his patrol vehicle so he wouldn't be left behind if he passed out from loss of blood and kept on fighting.

The Digger is expected to be recommended for a high level bravery award.

Suffering from serious upper body wounds, the soldier struggled on to the front of his SAS long range patrol vehicle (LRPV) and, under heavy fire, used a rope to attach himself firmly between the vehicle's bull bar and radiator.

Once he was secured, and there was no chance that he would fall off if he fainted, he picked up his rifle and resumed firing at the enemy during a two-hour fighting withdrawal.

SAS troops and their special forces comrades from the Commando Regiment are well aware of the slow and painful death that awaits them if they are captured by the Taliban.

The Digger, who cannot be identified, faded in and out of consciousness, emptying several magazines as volleys of enemy rounds and rocket propelled grenades, rained down around him.

He was finally evacuated from the battle field at high speed still lashed to the front of the LRPV.

A source told The Courier-Mail the Digger was now "up and about" and would recover fully from his serious gunshot wounds. His heroic deeds will be recognized when he is recommended for a high level bravery award.

Several others engaged in the do-or-die battle on September 2 are also in line for top honours.

While their names are not being made public, you can read the entire 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. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PFC Cody "CJ" Eggleston ~ Farewell and Walk with God

Pfc. Cody J. Eggleston

Pfc. Cody J. "CJ" Eggleston, 21, of Eugene and Redmond, Oregon, died October 24 at the National in Bethesda, Maryland, of wounds suffered on October 16 in Baqubah, Iraq, when he received indirect mortar fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where he served as the 2nd gunner in the Stryker Brigade.

PFC Eggleston was born in Eugene, and moved with his family to Redmond when he was 5. He attended school in Redmond, Oregon and then spent his Senior year at North Eugene Alternative High School. He joined the Army right out of school and wanted to be on the front lines 'making a difference.'

Last November, PFC Eggleston struck up an online romance with a woman from North Carolina with a six-year-old daughter. They met in the spring and wed at the Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks in June. His plan was to move to North Carolina and become a state trooper after completing his military service. His family was touched at the loving and caring man he was and the fatherhood he was embracing. His wife was with him when he died.

The Patriot Guard Riders will be escorting CJ Eggleston from the Redmond airport to the funeral home. The plane will arrive at Redmond Airport at 2:30 pm. The Memorial Service will be held Saturday, Novermber 1, 1 pm, at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds Arena. For further information:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Training for the Worst..... Fighting Aircraft Fires

10/21/2008 - Daniel Scherer (right) and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Parker, both fire fighters from the 835th Civil Engineer Squadron, battle a ground fire during mobile aircraft firefighting training at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Oct. 21, 2008.
DoD photo by Senior Airman Nathan Lipscomb, U.S. Navy. (Released)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Beirut ~ Terrorism 25 Years Ago

Beirut, Lebanon
October 23, 1983
THEY CAME IN PEACE ~ but the bombings of the Marine barracks in Lebanon on October 23, 1983 cost the lives of 220 Marines, 18 Sailors and 3 Soldiers. Many more were critically injured. The US Marines were posted in Lebanon in the summer of 1982. On March 34, 1983, the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, received orders to Beirut, Lebanon. Their mission from President Reagan: Help keep the peace in the war torn country.

The Marine Barracks before and after the bombings.

At 6:22 am, a Sunday morning, on October 23, 1983, a suicide bomber crashed a truck laded with explosives through barbed wire and concertina fence and penetrated into the central lobby of the United States Marines Headquarters building and detonated. The force ripped the building from its foundation and the building imploded upon itself. The occupants inside were crushed. A near simultaneous attack was made on a building housing French paratroopers and killing 58.

We were in Beirut because the Lebanese Government had asked for our help. They saw their country slipping into total anarchy; they saw the United States and her Marines and Sailors as their saviors. We truly did come in peace. We came to do what Marines have done since the beginning of this country: to protect the rights of the innocent and advance the interest of freedom.

Remarks by the Commandant of the Marine Corps to the Senate Armed Services Committee, October 31, 1983:

"In closing, Mr Chairman, let me say that the subject of increased terrorism against all Americans around the world may be one of the most serious problems which could be addressed by this Committee on a priority basis. This unprecedented, massive "kamikaze" attack was not against young Marines, Sailors and Soldiers - it was a vicious, surprise attack against the United States of America and all we stand for in the free world.

Let me say, with all of the emphasis I can, that there are skilled and professional terrorists out there right now who are examining our vulnerabilities and making devices which are designed to kill Americans, lots of Americans around the world, in further acts of mass murder by terrorism. Let there be no doubt about it.

I would hope that the Congress would use this incident of cruel and premeditated mass murder to help us determine ways which tell nations that they cannot export and support terrorists who kill innocent Americans with impunity.

The perpetrators and supports of this challenge to the rights of free men everywhere must be identified and punished. I will have little sleep until this happens."

Thank you.
- General Paul X Kelley, USMC,
29th Commandant of the Marine Corps

Obviously, no one heeded the wise words of General Kelley. Looking back on the 25th anniversary of the event, I hope Americans will see it as the profoundly important event that it was. I remember the Beirut Bombing. I remember being horrified. I remember us packing up and coming home.

I hope you will find a moment of silence to remember all who were lost that day, their families and friends, and those injured and those who survived who still carry this momentous event with them each day.

For a wonderful slide show and documentary of the Beirut Story, go here.
For the Beirut Documentary, go here.

For the death of the Beirut Bomber, go here.

Please scroll down for an entry on the Beirut Memorial.

The Beirut Memorial

The Beirut Memorial occupies a wooded site between Camp Lejeune and Jacksonville, North Carolina. It carries the names of those killed in the attack, those who died from their wounds and those who were killed in other attacks in Beirut - 270 names.

Survivors words are haunting:

"It was the First Battle of World War Three," -Bob Jordan
"We began to take terrorism seriously," - Chaplain Danny Wheeler

To learn more about the Beirut Memorial in North Carolina, go here.
To learn more about the Beirut Memorial in Arlington, go here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday Hero ~ SGT Carlton Clark

Sgt. Carlton A. Clark
Sgt. Carlton A. Clark
22 years old from South Royalton, Vermont
2nd Brigade Troop Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team,
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
August 06, 2006
U.S. Army

Sgt. Carlton Clark graduated from South Royalton High School in 2002. While in high school, he was co-captain of his soccer team and a member of the track and field and basketball teams. He graduated from basic combat training and advanced individual training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. in 2002 and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. as a combat engineer. He was air assault qualified and deployed during the initial wave of Operation Iraqi Freedom for one year. He was subsequently assigned to West Point to train cadets. He re-enlisted and was deployed for a second tour of duty in Iraq. He earned a Purple Heart, an Army Commendation Medal with Valor, a Bronze Star Medal and was posthumously awarded a second Purple Heart.

Sgt. Clark was killed in action when an IED detonated near his Humvee while conducting combat operations in Baghdad. Also killed in the attack were Staff Sgt. Stephen A. Seale and Cpl. Jose Zamora.

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.
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Irrigation Projects Improve Iraq Agriculture

Sheik Haj Hatim Sadkhan, a local national leader in the Maysan Province,
stands aside an irrigation canal built by locals in Amarah.

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER — Local Iraqi construction workers recently completed an irrigation canal and water pump project on the outskirts of Amarah, in the Maysan province.

“We are very appreciative of these improvements,” said Sheik Haj Hatim Sadkhan, a local city leader. “We will continue to support the government of Iraq and Coalition forces.”

The new structure will give 20 local farmers the ability to farm an additional 400 hectare of land annually.

The month-long project, which was completed Sept. 29, provides the farmers with an improved irrigation system to grow more crops during the upcoming season.

This project and similar ones can now be completed due to the increased security in the Maysan province. The 38th Iraqi Army Brigade, partnered with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment is conducting counter- insurgency operations along the southeastern border of Iraq.

(By 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division)
Hectare = A metric unit of area equal to 100 ares (10,000 square meters) = (2.471 acres)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Warriors Young and Old Unite at the WWII Memorial

Soldier of the Year Spc. David Obray greets a veteran Wednesday at the World War II Memorial in Wahington, D.C. Photo by Gary Sheftick

Water Salute October 10, 2008 U.S. Airways flight 9290 with 132 World War II veterans from Minnesota was greeted by a water salute from two fire trucks of the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority after landing at Reagan National Airport Oct. 8. Photo by Don Wagner.

World War II artilleryman James Wangen arrives at Reagan National Airport Oct. 8 to applause and greetings from Soldiers of Department of the Army G3 and the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) at Fort Belvoir, Va. The veterans were flown in as part of the Honor Flight Network, which transports veterans from across the United States to the National World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo by Don Wagner

Spc. James Phillips, 249th Eng Battalion (Prime Power), assists World War II veteran Vernon Bolstad as he arrives at Reagan National Airpor from Minnesota as part of the Honor Flight Network to see the National World War II Memorial.

Former Senator Bob Dole and the Army's current Soldier of the Year Spc. David Obray talk with World War II veterans at the memorial built to honor those who fought more than 60 years ago. Photo by Gary Sheftick

Oct 10, 2008
By Gary Sheftick

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 10, 2008) --

More than 600 veterans from what has been called "the greatest generation" visited the World War II Memorial Wednesday and were greeted by a current generation of Soldiers.

Applauding troops lined the halls of Reagan National Airport as the veterans arrived in town. Then the Soldiers escorted the World War II vets to the memorial on the National Mall.

Soldiers from the G-3 directorate at the Pentagon, the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) at Fort Belvoir, Va., and the 3/312 Training Support Battalion from Fort Meade, Md., spent the day with veterans - pushing some in wheelchairs around the memorial -- and comparing notes with others about their service.

"All the veterans really want to do is interact with the Soldiers of today," said William Clarkson, a retired sergeant major who now serves as the G-3 Engineer organizational integrator. He engineered the participation of many of the active-duty troops in Wednesday's "Honor Flight" visit of World War II veterans.

The Honor Flight organization charters planes and buses to bring World War II veterans to see their memorial, free of charge. The group has been doing this almost since the World War II Memorial opened four years ago. This second Wednesday in October, nine different groups of veterans were brought to the nation's capital from Georgia, New York, New Mexico, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, Tennessee and Minnesota.

Greeting fellow Minnesota veterans and others at the memorial was the Army's Soldier of the Year, Spc. David Obray.Obray, the Army's first top warrior from the Army Reserve, said many of the veterans live within 50 miles of where he attends school at Winona State University. He said it was an honor to meet all the veterans from "the great generation" who gave so much.

Former Sen. Bob Dole, 85, was also at the memorial and talked with dozens of veterans. He said that he's been to the memorial at least 100 times to greet veterans, but the experience is always an emotional one.

"It's a great emotional experience for all of these guys," Dole said. "I always ask them if they shed a tear while they're here," he said. "They all do."As Dole walked away from the memorial, he turned and shouted "This isn't goodbye, you know. Just thank you," to the World War II veterans for their service and sacrifices.

2nd Lt. Yahaira Estevez from the 3/312th was at the World War II memiral from Fort Meade, Md. She had spent 15 months deployed to Baghdad with the 1st Armored Division.

A number of the 3/312 Training Support Battalion Soldiers were on active duty helping mobilize troops at Fort Dix, N.J. They came back to Washington for the day, accompanying World War II veterans from the New York area.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Romans from Fort Dix, N.J., pushed veteran Paul Grubb around the memorial in a wheelchair. Grubb served in Italy with the 485th Bomb Group as a tail gunner. He told about flying missions over Germany as a tail gunner. World War II veterans visit Washington on Honor Flight trips most Wednesdays and Saturdays from April through October.

A flight from from Clearwater, Fla., is scheduled to visit Oct. 15 and Soldiers from the Military District of Washington Engineer Company at Fort Belvoir plan to meet the World War II veterans. Clarkson helped arrange the Soldier participation and said he hopes active-duty participation can be scheduled for every Honor Flight.

For more information on Honor Flights see related article by J.D. Leipold 'Honor Flight' makes WWII vet dreams come true

(Yves-Marie Daley contributed to this ARNEWS report.)

The World War II Memorial is a remarkable place. It does not photograph well and photographs never show the spirit of the Memorial. I have had the opportunity to go there twice. The first time, I was with a Veteran from the Iraq War. He brought a unique perspective to war memorials and it was remarkable to see them with him. The second time, I was able to meet a WWII Vet. His daughters had brought him on this last trip to see the Memorial. He was frail and withdrawn. I leaned over his wheelchair and touched his hand, and thanked him for all he and his buddies did for us. He let fall a tear. I did not know that he was in the mid stages of Alzheimer's and they did not know if he would be aware of what he was seeing. Yet, somehow, the long delayed gratitude was able to be heard.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday Hero ~ Sgt Anton J Hiett

Sgt. Anton J. Hiett
Sgt. Anton J. Hiett
25 years old from Mount Airy, North Carolina
391st Engineer Battalion, Army Reserve
March 12, 2006
U.S. Army

Misty Hiett, the widow of Sgt. Anton Hiett, said in an interview that he, Sgt. Hiett, asked to transfer to the 391st Engineering Battalion when it looked like his reserve unit would not be deployed.

Sgt. Hiett was a truck driver who joined the military right out of high school because he "wanted to go help out" during the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. After his transfer to the 391st, he was deployed to Afghanistan on April 22, 2005.

On March 12, 2006, Sgt. Hiett, and three fellow soldiers from the 391st, Staff Sgt. Joe Ray; Spc. Joshua Hill and Sgt. Kevin Akins, were killed when an IED detonated near their Humvee during combat operations west of Asadabad, Afghanistan. He left behind his wife and their then 2(now 4)-year-old daughter Kyra.

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.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Night Fire

10/06/2008 - A U.S. Army soldier competing in the "Best Warrior" competition participates in a night fire exercise at Fort Lee, Va., on Oct. 2, 2008. Twenty-four of the Army's finest warriors representing 12 commands from across the Army gathered at Fort Lee, Virginia, from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 to compete in the competition which names the Army's soldier and noncommissioned officer of the year.
DoD photo by Sgt. 1st Class Tom Steber, U.S. Army. (Released)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus Day

The Nina, The Pinta and The Santa Maria

In fourteen hundred and ninety two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Though Columbus found the Bahamas, not the continent, the beginnings of the exploration began. Europeans came. Asians came. Africans came. Soon 'the Americas' would be filled with people from around the world. And, from it grew many nations.

Trivia: What state was the first to adopt Columbus Day as a holiday and has the oldest Columbus Day parade?
Answer: Colorado. The parade is in Denver.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Aerial Refueling

10/06/2008 - An F/A-18C Hornet aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron 113 refuels from U.S. Air Force KC-10 Stratotanker aircraft over southeastern Afghanistan during a mission supporting international security forces in the Helmand province on Oct. 6, 2008. The squadron is embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) to provide support to coalition ground forces in Afghanistan.
DoD photo by Cmdr. Erik Etz, U.S. Navy. (Released)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Recruiting Numbers for the Year

Active Duty Recruiting Fiscal 2008

All services met or exceeded their recruiting goals for fiscal 2008

Annual - End of Fiscal 2008

To all of the enlistees - thank you so much for choosing to serve our country!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Sometime in the next few days, my sitemeter account will hit 100,000.
I would like to thank all of my readers for coming here.
And, special thanks to our troops and their inspiration to all of us.
If you happen to be 100,000 - let me know!

US Army Strikes Olympic Gold

From left, U.S. Army Spc. Glenn Eller, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and Spc. Vincent Hancock pose for a photo in England's office in the Pentagon Oct. 9, 2008. Both Soldiers are members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and won gold medals during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
(DoD photo by R.D. Ward/Released)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Quotes ~ John Quincy Adams

"Posterity -
you will never know how much
it has cost my generation
to preserve your freedom.
I hope you will make good use of it."

-John Quincy Adams

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wednesday Hero ~ Cpl Lance M Thompson

Cpl. Lance M. Thompson
Cpl. Lance M. Thompson
21 years old from Upland, Indiana
2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
November 15, 2004
U.S. Marine Corps.

The father of Cpl. Lance Thompson said his son would be proud knowing he fought and died to help Iraqis vote in an election.

Cpl. Lance Thompson died in during fighting in Ramadi by a truck bomb. His father, Greg Thompson, said his son sent him a letter in September of '04 which said, "Freedom is not free. It requires sacrifice."

Greg Thompson said the millions turning out to vote in Iraq was "fantastic" and said it was a "momentous day in the Middle East."

"Are you asking me was it worth Lance losing his life?" he asked a reporter. "Being the gung-ho Marine that he was, he would say yes. So I'll say yes. That is a tough, bitter pill to swallow. It hurts. God, I didn't want to give up my son."

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.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Farewell and Walk with God ~ Maj Rodolfo Rodriguez

When the Marriott Hotel was bombed a few weeks ago, people quickly forgot the horror of the terrorism. However, two troops were killed in the blast. The DOD has announced the death of an airman supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Maj. Rodolfo "Rod" I. Rodriguez, 34, of El Paso, Texas, died Sept. 20 in Islamabad, Pakistan, of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 86th Construction & Training Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He was in the area assisting with the training of Pakistani forces. He was on the phone with a sergeant, talking about a construction project, when the line went silent.

"He passed away where he wanted to be, making his difference," said Cousin Armando Juarez. "(He was) very smart, very generous, loving, caring. You name it; he was everything." Juarez said his cousin graduated from Ysleta High School, in El Paso, Texas in 1993 where he played football, baseball, and played in the band.

Major Rodriguez is a 1998 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. Rodriguez, a first-generation American, elevated himself out of a poverty-stricken situation in El Paso, Texas, earning a 4.0 grade point average in high school and an appointment to the Air Force Academy.

Rodriguez is survived by his wife, Karen Rodriguez, his mother Minerva Rivas, his brothers Edgar and Fernando Rivas, as well as nieces and nephews.

Pictures of his memorial service at Ramstein Air Base are here:

Monday, October 06, 2008

Farewell and Walk with God ~ PO3 Matthew J O'Bryant

When the Marriott Hotel was bombed a few weeks ago, people quickly forgot the horror of the terrorism. However, two troops were killed in the blast. The DOD has announced the death of a sailor supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Cryptologic Technician Third Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O'Bryant, 22, of Duluth, Ga., died September 20 in the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan. O'Bryant was assigned to the Navy Information Operations Command Maryland, Fort Meade, Maryland. He had been there for about two months.

O'Bryant is a graduate of Theodore High School, where he excelled in the JROTC program.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Lawrence O'Bryant, his brother — who closely resembles Matthew, although they were three years apart — called his brother "a hero" and "a patriot" in his emotional address.

Just prior to the service, Lawrence O'Bryant told everyone who came up to him how proud he was of his brother. He noted to a reporter that four members of the family — the two brothers and two of their cousins — were all serving in the Navy at the same time. "There were four of us in the Navy," he said. "Well, there's three now." He paused, then added, "I guess there will always be four of us because he will always be in the Navy."

O'Bryant is survived by his parents, Tommy and Barbara O'Bryant of Theodore; his wife, Bridgette O'Bryant of Buckatunna, Miss.; His brother, Lawrence O'Bryant and two sisters, Janet O'Bryant and Nancy O'Bryant, both of Theodore.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and members of his unit at this difficult time.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Quotes ~ Samuel Adams on Virtues II

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued,
when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd.
On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant,
and debauchd in their Manners,
they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."

-- Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Farewell and Walk with God ~ Capt Bruno de Solenni

Captain Bruno Giancarlo de Solenni,
Farewell and Walk with God

Captain Bruno Giancarlo de Solenni, age 32, of the Oregon Army National Guard, based in Medford, Oregon, died of wounds sustained when an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) detonated near his vehicle near Kandahar, Afghanistan on September 20, 2008. Two Afghan interpreters were also killed and two Soldiers were wounded in the explosion. Capt. de Solenni and the Counter Narcotics Infantry Kandak Embedded Training Team were enroute from a Forward Operating Base to the Kandahar Air Field when an IED detonated destroying their vehicle. He was serving in Operation Enduring Freedom as a member of the Embedded Training Team, Task Force Phoenix. He was assigned to the Joint Forces Headquarters, Element Training Team, Oregon Army National Guard.

CPT de Solenni was born in Crescent City, California to Mario de Solenni and California Martin. He graduated from Del Norte HighSchool in Crescent City in 1994. CPT de Solenni enlisted in theOregon National Guard on Dec 30, 1996. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on May 2, 2001 as a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry. He went on to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in History and graduated Southern Oregon State University on June 12, 2004.

Later that year his battalion received an alert order for mobilization to Sinai, Egypt as part of the Multi-National Force and Observers mission. Eight months after his return, CPT de Solenni volunteered to go to Iraq with the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In November 2007, he was reassignedto Joint Force Headquarters and mobilized with the Embedded Training Team to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Phoenix. He had been in Afghanistan seven months when the incident occurred. The Team was scheduled to complete their mission in December and return to home station. At the time of his death he had been in Afghanistan for seven months. His previous assignments within the Oregon Army Guard were at HHC (-) 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry in Ashland and Company D 1st BAttalion, 186th Infantry in Grants Pass.

In civilian life, Bruno was part owner of two local businesses in the fishing and logging industries. He was an avid and very successful local deer hunter, having killed his first buck at the age of 12 on Fox Ridge in Del Norte County. As a son, brother, uncle, and friend, Bruno touched many lives. His absence will be experiencedby many. He is survived by his mother California Martin; his father Mario de Solenni and his wife Linda; his twin brother Ricardo and his wife Autumn; his brother Gino and his wife Athena, all of Crescent City, Calif, and his sister Pia and her husband Rory Conway, of Philadelphia. In addition he leaves behind seven nieces and nephews: Caitlyn, Jaelyn, Julia, Mario, Giancarlo, Sophia and Olivia; two aunts, Jan Martin and Mary Freeman, and a special friend, Farrah Bates, together with numerous extended family members in Italy, Alaska, Arizona and Virginia.

In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Bruno de Solenni Memorial Fund for the assistance of other military families. Donations can be made through PayPal or by mail to: Bruno de Solenni Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 876, Crescent City, CA 95531. Cards and letters can be sent to the family via Lisa Wheeler, c/o Maximus Group, 600 Churchill Ct., Woodstock,GA 30188.

A Rosary for Bruno will be said at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 319E. St., on Friday, Oct 3, at 7:00 p.m. in Crescent City. His remains will be under military guard beginning at 5:00 p.m. for those wishing to pay respects. His funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, October 4th, at 10:00 a.m. Internment will be at St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Crescent City with full military honors.

The Patriot Guard Riders will be standing the flag line for Captain de Solenni.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and soldiers at this difficult time.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Willamette National Cemetery Vandalized

Willamette National Cemetery is in the Portland, Oregon area. It currently has 133,174 Veterans interred. Among these are four Medal of Honor winners - Lieutenant Colonel Stanley T. Adams (Korea) U.S. Army, 1st Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. Sesim-ni, Korea, Feb. 4, 1951, First Lieutenant Arnold L. Bjorklund (World War II) U.S. Army, 142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, Altavilla, Italy, Sept. 13, 1943, Specialist 4th Class Larry G. Dahl (Vietnam) U.S. Army, 359th Transportation Company, 27th Transportation Battalion, U.S. Support Command, An Khe, Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam, Feb. 23, 1971, Sergeant 1st Class Loren R. Kaufman (Korea) U.S. Army, Company G, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, Yongsan, Korea, Sept. 4 & 5, 1950. Also interred is a young man from our town, LCpl Randy Newman, a Marine who lost his life in Iraq in 2006, along with many other Oregonians who have fallen in the Great War on Terror.

This beautiful place has suddenly become yet another Military Cemetery defiled by the the greedy and the disrespectful. Recently and on three different occassions, vandals, called ‘metal thieves’ by law enforcement, went into the cemetery and stripped the copper gutters, downspouts and roofing from the shelters used during burials. Additionally, brass name plates and metal urns have been stolen.

When I heard about this I was outraged. When I began to research this I was shocked to find most cemeteries are being vandalized in this way, including our National Cemeteries.

Most metal recyclers are ‘unaware’ that these items are being purchased by them, though they do identify them and contact the police on occassion.

In addition to our cemeteries, our history is being stolen and sold. Recently the Bronze statue of Sacagawea was stolen from the end of the Lewis and Clark trail, destroyed by being cut up and sold as scrap. Historical markers are being stolen. The marker to honor Rex T Barber, the man who shot down Admiral Yamamoto, was stolen.

What has happened to our country that these sacred things are treated like trash?

Wednesday Hero ~ SSgt Renee A Deville

This Week's Post Was Suggested And Written By Kathi

SSgt. Renee A. Deville
SSgt. Renee A. Deville
44 years old from Webster New York
401st Civil Affairs Battalion
September 1, 2008
U.S. Army

SSGT Renee A. Deville was an Army Reservist who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion from Webster, N.Y. She arrived at Walter Reed August 10, 2006, after being injured in a mortar attack.

While at Walter Reed, Deville was assigned to Chosen Battery, Warrior Transition Brigade, and was among three graduates of the Army's first Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course Stand Alone Common Core offered to Warriors in Transition.

Deville, who successfully completed every aspect of the course from a wheelchair, was lauded by SGT Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston as exemplifying the Army's 'Warrior Ethos', at the graduation ceremony for the course on March 28, 2008.

Deville was also the impetus for a new playground being built behind the Mologne House at Walter Reed in 2007.

An October 2007 Washington Post article about the opening of the playground says that SSGT Deville's mention of her children's limited recreational options to Col. Bruce Haselden, the garrison commander, helped set in motion the playground project.

Staff Sgt. Renee Antoinette Deville died September 1, 2008 in her room at the Mologne House at Walter Reed. She was 44.

She is survived by her husband and 4 children, her mother, a brother, and two sisters.

SSGT Deville was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on September 19, 2008.

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.

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