Monday, November 30, 2009

Fishing to Remember Kevin Davis

SSG Kevin Davis was killed in Iraq on April 6, 2005.

In his memory, his fishing buddy, Mitch Webb of 'Kevin's Driftboat'
has made it a mission to take our veterans fishing.
This video is of one fishing adventure with Mitch and SGT Trent Stuart.

To read all about it, please click here

"After fishing in Oregon for almost 20 years I made it over to Mack's Canyon to fish for summer steelhead. Mitch Webb founder of Kevin's Driftboat Project and his good friend Oregon National Guardsmen Sargent Trent Stuart invited me over for the day to talk about the project and fish spinners through the drifts in hopes of hooking up with Deschutes steel.

Trent also an active member of the project and Mitch have something in common, their friend and fisherman Oregon National Guardsmen Staff Sgt Kevin D. Davis. Kevin lost his life to a roadside bomb in the fight against terrorists in Iraq on Aprill 8th 2005. I wanted to shoot a film to help Mitch tell Kevin's story and get the word out about the great thing he is doing but this day turned out to be so much more for me then I could have ever expected. It was also a goal to get Trent into his first steelhead this day as well. Trent told me that he had fished in Oregon for over 20 years for bass and other fish but had not yet tackled the mighty steelhead.

Their goal is to help returning soldiers in their transformation back into life at home and help them to remember how great it is to be here in the Northwest. Not always easy task for them to do on their own. Mitch has been very active in his venture by not only taking these heroes out himself but also in hooking them up with other anglers and guides through threads and the Kevins Driftboat Yahoo group..." Read the rest here and some amazing pictures, too!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts by Neil Cavuto

I cannot imagine eating Thanksgiving dinner in a mess hall.
In a foreign country.
In a hostile foreign country.
Away from family.
Away from friends.
Away from all I hold dear.

I cannot imagine wondering whether this meal might be my last.
Or the buddy sitting next to me won't always be with me.
I cannot imagine going through what our soldiers go through every day.
But, especially "this" day.
When we should all give thanks.

But, they barely have the time to eat.
Before they're back on the line.
Back protecting us.
We who debate their role.
Some of us who even mock their cause.
This isn't about war.
This is about those who fight it.
And live through it.
In a place we forget.
On a day we should not.

I am very lucky to have this day with my family.
My creature comforts are secure precisely because theirs are not.
It's not fair.
It's not right.
It just is.

They are due our thanks every day.
Our prayers all days.
But they are due both, especially this day.
It's amazing to me that those paid so little, give so much.
Never complaining.
Always giving.
So that we can sit down in peace.
While they stand guard, in war.

Thank you, my friends.
And, Happy Thanksgiving.

-Neil Cavuto, Cavuto on Business, FoxNews, 2006

Painting by Norman Rockwell, 1945

This is the fourth year I have posted this. Neil spoke to the heart of the matter then and now. With gratitude to all. ~Flag Gazer

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Say Thank You ~ Help Fisher House

Thanks for Being There!

State Farm is running a program where you can say Thank You~
You can post your thank you note on their site
and you can email it to the person you thank.

For every Thank You they receive,
State Farm is donating $1 to Fisher House
and will donate up to $50,000.

Long time readers will know that Fisher House is one of my favorite charities.

Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House™ Foundation donates "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

I have known veterans who have lived at Fisher House for periods in their recovery,
and it provides them a place to be with their families.
This is an easy way to help Fisher House and our troops
while thanking the people you care about.

So CLICK THIS LINK and Say Thank You to anyone you want.

Right now, the site is up to 9,006 - surely we can get it to $50,000!

While you are there, click on some of the pictures -
the thank yous are very moving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Hero - SSG Dennisur Thompson

Staff Sgt. Dennisur Thompson
Staff Sgt. Dennisur Thompson
U.S. Army

Staff Sgt. Dennisur Thompson, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, overcompensates a left turn while on a driving simulator as a part of the Save a Life Tour in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army

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.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Military Appreciation Day at the Golden Corral

Golden Corral

Military Appreciation Day

Monday, November 16, 2009

Active Duty Military and Veterans Eat for FREE

For hours and more information, go here:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pitchfork Brigade; Pitch in to help a Veteran who’s rights have been trampled

I'm reposting a post that was written on another Blog. This is a story which I'm very passionate about, as the Soldier who's rights are being trampled on at all levels is a very close friend of mine. Unfortunately due to these events, his blog, which has been one of the top Military Blogs for quite some time, has been shut down. Please read the below article and do whatever you can to help. H/T Troy at Bouhammer

**11/13/09 UPDATE, if you want to hear a lot more of the story and from Emily directly listen to her interview with Dale Jackson from this morning,**
My good friend CJ has not asked me to post this or do anything specific. I asked his permission to blog about his case and he said that was ok. He has no idea how this post looks. If you don’t know, CJ is a fellow Sr. NCO, co-host on You Served Radio, milblogger and very close friend of mine. The guy is more patriotic and dedicated to not only this country, but also the Army than I think most people will ever know. His wife Emily is a sweetheart and would not hurt a fly unless you try to hurt her family.

If you don’t know the story of what has happened to CJ’s family as he tried to stand up and exercise the rights that he has fought so hard for, then you need to educate yourself first. I encourage you to listen to Emily on Greta Perry’s radio show here, Also watch this broadcast from a local TV station in the Huntsville area, Read a very good breakdown of everything here and watch the video of the meeting here, Then go here and read this,

After watching and reading all of that I am sure you will agree with me that there has been a terrible injustice done to CJ, Emily and their kids. Even though I could say what I wanted in my blog as a National Guardsmen as long as I was not on duty, I can really say whatever I want now that I am retired. So here goes; the Garrison CSM is a complete tool. He is what is despicable in the Army today. He is the example of what gives Sergeant Majors a bad name and reputation. Leaders that have forgotten what it is like to take care of soldiers. When the Principal and PTA president called the military base to complain about CJ and make up slanderous allegations that CJ threatened them and made them scared (keep in mind that I am pretty sure both of these people are ex-army) the military should have responded with “This is a private matter between a parent in your school and you, this is not a military matter”. That should have been it. There was nothing else for the Army to do. As long as CJ did not show up in uniform or use his military status in some way during his conversations or interactions with the school principal or PTA, then it is NOT AN ARMY PROBLEM!!! PLAIN and SIMPLE. But becuase the leadership of the base caved in and acted with cowardice becuase some “civilians” complained, the Principal and PTA President know they have CJ by the marbles. All they have to do is call up the military, make fake allegations and they see the outcome…CJ being called on the carpet, having his career put in jepordy and facing a lot of stress in his family.

How is it that a Army Major can make treasonous remarks and still hold his job and then go and murder 13 people, but CJ tries to exercise his rights of free speech and then gets his life turned upside down? What the hell is this about? How can this happen? There are lots of unfair things in life, and I usually mark those as “that is life”. Not everyone can get a trophy, not everyone can get all the breaks. But what is happening to CJ, Emily and their kids is criminal. An Army that CJ has fought for, supported and evangalized for, has turned their back on him. It was stuff like this that the American people never see. Not everyone in the Army is a “hero” or worthy of praise. Some are complete tools that don’t deserve to wear the uniform, like the Post Command Sergeant Major, Ricky Cooper. If you can’t support your soldiers that report to you, then it is time to leave and quit taking up space. The Garrison Commander, COL Pastorelli started out supporting CJ, but he has caved under the pressure of CSM Cooper and the civilians.

Don’t get me wrong this is not all on the Army, as they had nothing to do with the start of this and have no control over civilians making unfounded allegations. There are others who can be asked, written to, called and pestered to look into this situation and possibly have the authority to step in.

Who are they you ask? Well let me tell you. Rather than have people searching all over the web, here is some contact info for anyone that wants to step up and ask the hard questions that others are failing to. In all my years in the Army, I can tell you that if there is one thing that Army leaders are afraid of, it is a congressional inquiry. I have seen the impossible happen when a elected representative starts asking questions of the military.

The State of Alabama Board of Education
President- Governor Bob Riley
State Capitol
Room N-104
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130
Phone: (334) 242-7100
Fax: (334) 242-0937
Contact Form-

Secretary and Executive Officer- Joseph B. Morton
State Dept. of Education
5114 Gordon Persons Bldg.
Montgomery, AL 36130
Phone: (334) 242-9700
Fax: (334) 242-9708

District 8 Representative and President Pro Tem- Dr Mary Jane Caylor
PO Box 18903
Huntsville, AL 35804
Phone: (256) 489-0541
Fax: (256) 489-0552
State of Alabama PTA
President- Pam Berry
Phone: 334-546-6667

Alabama Parent Teacher Association
470 South Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36104-4330
Phone: (334) 834-2501 or toll free (800) 328-1897
Fax: (334) 834-2504
Executive Director Cell: (334) 549-0140

Alabama State Senators
Jeff Sessions
Contact Form-

Richard Shelby
Contact Form-

Congressional Representative
Parker Griffith
Contact Form-§iontree=4,7

Redstone Arsenal Leadership
COL Robert Pastorelli

Last but not least, I encourage you to check out and read the letter from Jennifer Dombrowski-Scott who is the VP of membership for the PTA at Williams Elementary School. As you read it and then read the responses by CJ, Emily and several other parents I think you can get a good appreciation of the obviously confused and mentally challenged people that sit on the PTA of that school. This lady talks about everything from quoting scripture to how American soldiers rape and abuse enemy prisoners. Somehow that is all related to wearing uniforms in schools and a parent trying to get the chance to speak on the issue. I think once you read the letter it is obvious what caliber of people CJ has been dealing with on this PTA.
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this and I thank you ahead of time for any correspondence you have with those listed above or for spreading the word to anyone you can.

Friday, November 13, 2009

13 Counts Of Premeditated Murder Filed Against Hasan

On Thursday, it was announced that the Army has formally filed 13 counts of premeditated murder against Major Nidal Hasan. The charges were read to Hasan in his hospital room at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. His civilian attorney, John Galligan apparently wasn't present and was upset that he wasn't there when the charges were read to Hasan. At this time, an Army CID spokesman said that they were still determining whether he would be charged with an additional count of murder in the death of the unborn child who died as a result. Additional charges are still possible. In my opinion, he should also be charged with, at the minimum Aggravated Assault for the injuries of each person who survived the attack on November 5th. I would hope however that the Army will charge him with attempted Murder for each of the victims, because that was his goal, to murder as many of his fellow Soldiers as he possibly could. (

The distinction of premeditation in the charges is a very important one. That means that Hasan willfully and methodically planned what he was going to do, how he was going to do it and carried those plans out. The definition of premeditation, completely fits these horrific crimes. Premeditation is defined as:
1. The act of speculating, arranging, or plotting in advance.
2. Law The contemplation of a crime well enough in advance to show deliberate intent to commit the crime; forethought. ( All the information that has been released to the public definitely shows that Hasan’s rampage completely fits this definition. If found guilty of the charges, Hasan could face the death penalty. He deserves no less than the death penalty.

President Obama has apparently ordered a complete review of any intelligence that agencies have gathered in relation to Hasan. As we know, there have been reports that the FBI and other intelligence agencies have been watching Hasan for quite some time, due to some postings made by him or someone using his name, at various radical muslim websites. There have been conflicting reports about this. Some stating that the FBI and Homeland Security were indeed watching Hasan, while others have claimed that Intelligence Agencies have denied this. Hopefully any review and investigation will uncover the truth. If it shows that these agencies were indeed watching Hasas, then they have a whole lot of questions to answer, in light of his actions of November 5th. There is also information that has been released, showing that he worshiped at the same Mosque that 2 of the 9/11 terrorists worshipped at and questions on whether he had any dealing with them. Information as well as surfaced that he may have been attempting to get in contact with a radical Muslim cleric, who encouraged Muslims to kill US Troops. Had they alerted Army officials, perhaps the tragedy at Fort Hood would not have occurred.

Officials in the Army, also have a lot of questions to answer. This monster spent several years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. His performance there was far from stellar. Doctors and staff there report him at times as being belligerent, defensive and argumentative, especially when it came to discussing his Muslim faith. He was reprimanded on at least one occasion for the way that he interacted with patients and placed under closer supervision. He was considered a mediocre student and a lazy worker at Walter Reed as well as the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Despite those documented problems, he was transferred to Fort Hood, where his superiors felt that because of the size of Fort Hood, if he continued to perform poorly, other doctors could handle the workload and his superiors could document any continued behavior problems. (

That angers me on so many levels. First and foremost, while Fort Hood is the largest military installation, and thus has many more doctors in place than on smaller installations, it also means that there are also a larger number of patients for these doctors to see. Having personally dealt with the medical system at Fort Hood, I know firsthand that the doctors there are stretched to the limit as it is, with their own patients, without having to cover the workload of another doctor who doesn’t do their job. Besides the fact that these patients deserve the very best care that can be provided, instead of care from a doctor who has already been classified as someone who is lazy and mediocre. That’s not fair to the other doctors and certainly not fair to the patients that he would be seeing. In my opinion, the officials at Walter Reed and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences dropped the ball big time and in typical fashion, passed the buck and sent him to Fort Hood, so that they didn’t have to deal with Hasan themselves. The officials who made that decision should be reprimanded for that decision, as they too are partly culpable for what has transpired. Had they chose to remove him from practice and from the Army, perhaps this tragedy could have been averted.

Now I’ll address the medias’ handling of this, from the start. It infuriates me, that immediately upon learning who the shooter was at Fort Hood, the media began to question whether he was suffering from PTSD. Upon learning that he never deployed, they immediately began suggesting that he was suffering from secondary PTSD. That’s probably the biggest load of crap that I’ve heard so far! How then, do they explain the countless doctors, nurses, paramedics, police officers, counselors, soldiers and others, who deal with human suffering every day in their jobs, that never commit these types of crimes. Heck, if that were the case, then I should be a prime candidate for secondary PTSD due to the nature of work that I’ve done my entire adult life. I’ve never even considered doing something like this, let alone carried it out, nor have the others who do this same kind of work, day in and day out. When I first heard that mentioned in the media, my immediate thought and something that I still believe, was that the media was rushing to provide Hasan’s attorney’s with something that they could use as a defense in this case. It’s almost as if the media is instead attempting to blame everyone BUT the evil, depraved individual who committed these atrocities. Enough is enough. Eyewitness accounts and evidence show that Hasan committed these crimes and he should PAY for his actions. Were it you or I, you can bet we’d be held accountable for our actions, as we should be.

This is a story that I will continue to follow very closely. This whole thing hit close to home. I lived and worked at Fort Hood for 3 years. I still consider Fort Hood home and the people there, I consider my family. I feel violated, helpless and I feel that the government, from the Intelligence agencies to the Army itself, let the entire Fort Hood community and the Army community as a whole down. They dropped the ball, big time and they too should answer for their part in this horrific tragedy, that perhaps they had the power to prevent.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month....

It was the end of WWI - 1918 - we had fought the War to End All Wars.

Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Poppy Day.

The Red Poppies grew every where the land had been disturbed
at the graves of the fallen, at the trenches, in the tire and tread tracks.
France was ablaze with the red poppies each spring.
Now they are a symbol of remembrance.

Remember them we should,
Remember them we must,
Thank them, always.



It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

-Charles M Province, US Army

Honoring The Men And Women Who Make Our Freedoms Possible: Veterans Day 2009

Today, November 11, 2009 is Veterans Day. For myself and many other Americans, Veterans Day this year is a rather poignant, coming on the wake of the horrific tragedy that occurred at Fort Hood last week. For myself though, that tragedy makes this day even more important. It makes me realize how quickly our lives can change and thus how important it is for me to ensure that every single Soldier and Veteran that I come into contact with, knows just how grateful I am for the sacrifices they have made for myself, my family, my community and my country. Were it not for these brave men and women, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the things in life that I do. I wouldn’t be able to choose my profession, I wouldn’t be able to write and speak what I feel, I wouldn’t be able to live where I choose and how I choose, and I wouldn’t be able to have the religious freedoms that I have. These brave men and women, many who’ve given their very lives, have made it possible for me and my fellow Americans to lives the lives that we choose. We owe them so much, and we owe it to them to show our appreciation for them, not only today, but each and every day.

Other people might not feel as strongly about Veterans Day as I do. It’s unfortunate and extremely sad, but our Soldiers and Veterans have made that possible for them. For many, it’s just another day that they have off work, a federal holiday. Many don’t often even stop to think why it is that they have that holiday or any holiday for that matter. They don’t think about the blood, sweat and tears of the thousands of Soldiers and Veterans that have paid the price for them to have that freedom. Most people probably couldn’t even tell you the history of Veterans Day. But, that’s okay, because I will.

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."

On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans' Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.

In 1958, the White House advised VA's General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee's chairman.

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. (

I urge everyone who reads this, to share the history of Veterans Day with everyone they come into contact with. I further urge everyone to take some time out of their day today, to thank a Veteran or a currently serving Soldier. Go up to them, shake their hand and say “Thank you for my freedom, thank you for your service.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Outback Steakhouse on Veteran's Day

Outback Steakhouse

Veteran's Day

Free Bloomin' Onion & Beverage
With Proof of Military Service

Details Here

Applebee's Offers Veteran's Day Meals to all Veterans & Active Duty


On Veteran's Day, November 11,
all active duty military and veterans can eat for free
as a Thank You for your service to our country.

Details can be found here:

Take you ID or proof of service with you.
There is also a restaurant finder on the site.

Bon Apetit!

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Fall of the Berlin Wall ~ 20 Years Later

The Brandenberg Gate - then and now
A site where President John F Kennedy and President Ronald Reagan
both delivered speeches supporting a free and united Germany

Dancing on the wall as the Soviets lift travel restrictions

The Iron Curtain
Adding coiled razor wire to the top of the wall,
which was already embedded with large glass shards

The Yellow Line represents the location of the Berlin Wall

20 years ago, November 9, 1989, the communist East German government announced the lifting of travel restrictions between the east and the west. People from both sides ran to the wall in celebration. They climbed the wall - and weren't killed with bullets in the back for it. They danced on the wall. They tore the wall down. Families and friends were reunited for the first time since the division of the country after the end of World War II.

While the Soviets tried to starve West Berlin into reuniting under the rule of the east, they were kept alive by the heroic efforts of the Berlin Airlifts. I have written about the airlift here and the Candy Bomber here and the 60th Reunion of those who kept Berlin alive here and the memories of a child in Berlin during the airlift here.

The Berlin Wall stood for oppression and denial of freedom - the fall of the wall stood for freedom and prosperity.

For a magnificent photo history of the wall, click here.

And we must never forget what a truly great speaker sounds like ~ June 12, 1987

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Thoughts on Fort Hood....

On Thursday, November 5, we were all stunned by the reports of violence at Fort Hood. The early reports were fluid and frightening. Multiple shooters were confirmed and then retracted. The shooter was confirmed dead, then that was retracted. What wasn't retracted was the horrid event - a soldier murdering soldiers in an act of terrorism that was despicable beyond belief. The soldier shooter was Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.

Today, the bodies of the fallen have been moved to Dover. Military investigators and the FBI are putting together the pieces of the puzzle. News organizations are digging up everything they can find - exaggerating some things and downplaying others. Rumors abound from those 'in the know' and those who aren't. We may never know the official findings, as these things fade into the distance as the justice system plays out and people forget.

People have forgotten about the terrorist murders at Camp Virginia in Kuwait on March 23, 2003, when Hasan Akbar threw a grenade into a tent, then shot those who ran out - and in the back - killing Maj Gregory Stone and Capt Christopher Seifert. Akbar, an American soldier, convicted of 2 counts of pre-meditated murder and 3 counts of attempted pre-meditated murder, received the death penalty and is still working his way through the military appeals process. More here.

Should Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan manage to survive his wounds and stand trial, he will have a larger burden of death than Hasan Akbar did. And, he will have the taint of killing people he worked with, as well as those he never knew. I know the military justice system is up to the task of incarcerating and trying him.

At this time, 13 people and one unborn baby have died and 30 were wounded. The fallen and wounded and survivors have roots in all corners of the country, and make this an identifiable event for most of us. One of the wounded is from our community. The fingers of terror reach even further - into the hearts and minds of those who care, who now know that in a place that should be safe, the most horrendous and terrifying acts have taken place.

The stories of fear, the stories of helplessness, the stories of loss are starting to stream out. Along with them, the stories of heroism, of action, of compassion are also being told. Soldier helping soldier - rushing into action and caring for one another - some stories we will hear, others will be private, yet cherished in memory.

Today, George and Laura Bush made a private visit to Fort Hood, to meet with the wounded and the families of the fallen, taking their compassion and love where it was most needed. Once again, they were comforting those who needed them far away from the cameras and reporters. We can all learn a lesson from them about reaching out to those who need us.

Unfortunately, the current President seems incapable of that compassion and has been unable to make a believable or coherent statement about it. He can fly all over the country for day trips to fund raisers and campaign speeches, but he could not go and comfort the people at Fort Hood. He will, however, put himself in the spotlight at a memorial service on Tuesday.

Like most of us, I am still angry and sad and helpless and dumbfounded by this. The terror I felt on Thursday won't soon so away. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone at Fort Hood and with their families and friends.

The soldiers speak out about the attacks:
To read an excellent analysis by my blogger friend, Charles M Grist, read "Lone Wolf" (click here)
Another amazing piece by JR Salzman, who was a patient at Walter Reed - "What is bothering me is the general reaction of our media and those stupid enough to think this was not an act of terrorism..." read the rest here

In days to come, I will pay tribute to each of the fallen, for now, I leave you with their names...

  • Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, 55, Havre de Grace, MD
  • Maj. Libardo Caraveo, 52, Woodbridge, VA
  • Cpt John P Gaffaney, 54, San Diego, CA
  • Cpt. Russell Seager, 41, Racine, WI
  • Staff Sgt Justin Decrow, 32, Plymouth, IN
  • Sgt Amy Krueger, 29, Kiel, WI
  • Spc Jason Hunt, 22, Tillman, OK
  • Spc. Frederick Greene, 29, Mountain City, TN
  • PFC Aaron Nemilka, 19, West Jordan, UT
  • PFC Michael Pearson, 22, Bolingbrook, IL
  • PFC Kham Xiong, 23, St. Paul, MN
  • Pvt Francheska Velez, 21, Chicago, IL
  • Michael G Cahill, Cameron, TX [civilian]

Wrapping My Mind Around The Murders At Fort Hood

Fort Hood, Texas, the largest military installation in the world, a place that will always hold fond memories for me. It’s a place that I called home for almost 4 years and a place that’s in mourning. Part of my family is at Fort Hood, not a family related through blood, but my family none the less, because the friends that I made there, are and always will be family to me. Fort Hood will always be my home. Thanks Flag Gazer for posting the pictures you did of Fort Hood. They bring back so many fond memories.

Right now, I feel so helpless, I feel like I let my family at Fort Hood down, because I wasn’t there with them when this tragedy occurred. I wasn’t there to offer my comfort and support to them, though I was able to do so, via phone calls, emails and text messages. Yet I still feel guilty, because I wasn’t there. I feel that I could have assisted with the wounded, due to my training as a Paramedic. But I wasn’t there. So, I’ll do what I can from here in Kansas. I’m already working on getting people together here to do what we can to help. I still feel though that somehow that’s not enough.

Why did this horrible tragedy happen there at Fort Hood on Thursday November 5, 2009? That’s a question we may never have all the answers to. But I do know that if anyone will find out the answer to that question, it will be Army CID at Fort Hood and the FBI professionals who are currently working this case. I know that the Army and the US Government have the best of the best there, trying to piece this all together. The very best that the Army has to offer is right there at Fort Hood working as CID agents. I know this, because in my job as Victim Advocate at Fort Hood, I was privileged to be able to work very closely with CID on many of my cases. They do their job and they do it well. They do not rush through a crime scene haphazardly and do their jobs half assed. Instead, they take their time, putting all the pieces together and building their case, so that it’s a solid one that will stand up in court. They will work themselves to the point of sheer exhaustion when they’re working a case. I’ve seen them do it many times. I expect no less of them in this case. They’re true professionals in every sense of the word. They hate when a fellow Soldier does something that soils the name of their beloved Army and they do everything in their power to ensure that criminals in the Army find out that crime does not pay on Fort Hood.

There were so many Heroic actions that day. Most have not even came to light yet and some might never be known to us. Police Officer Kimberly Munley for instance. The police officer who risked her life to put an end to Hasan’s rampage. In putting an end to his murderous rampage, she herself was shot. She is a true Hero, and like most Hero’s she’ll be the first to say that she was only doing what she was trained to do. It’s been reported that as the events unfolded, Soldiers were seeing ripping off parts of their clothing to use as bandages for the wounded. Footage has shown many of them assisting emergency workers in carrying wounded to waiting ambulances and vehicles. We’ve heard of the young female Soldier who ripped off parts of her top to form tourniquet for a fellow wounded Soldier, despite the fact that she was wounded herself. Or the young Soldier who was in his pickup in the parking lot nearby when he the commotion. He responded, saying people who were wounded and shouted for them to jump in his pickup. He then sped 5 of the wounded to the hospital there on post. He says he’s not a Hero, he was doing his jobIt’s likely we’ll hear more and more stories like this as the days go by. There is no doubt in my mind that there were many equally heroic actions that happened that day. Each of our Soldiers are Heroes in my eyes. None ever thought that they’d have to perform such actions at home, a place where they are supposed to be safe and free from harm. But somehow, the unthinkable happened at Fort Hood on Thursday. Something that will likely live in the minds of Americans for many years to come.

That brings us to the cowardly, crazed lunatic who committed these murders. We may never know his true intentions or motives behind his horrific actions. He may never speak or tell authorities his motive behind this senseless atrocity. Often people like him don't. Some people claim this was a terrorist act. I’ll reserve judgment on that at the moment, as all of the facts are not in and many of the things being said in the media have not been verified by Law Enforcement officials at the moment. A few facts about him have surfaced and I’m sure many more will as the investigation continues. What we do know is that Nidal Malik Hasasn was a Major in the US Army and was at Fort Hood serving as a Psychiatrist, someone who was there to help Soldiers who were dealing with issues from the wars and other problems. We know that he was facing an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan and he was not happy about this. He reportedly didn’t agree with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know that he was of Palestinian descent, both of his parents having immigrated to the United States. We know that prior to coming to Fort Hood, Hasan served at Walter Reed Army Medical center and that he apparently had some discipline problems while he was there. We’re hearing conflicting stories about this man. Some are already trying to say he was suffering from secondary PTSD. To that supposition I say, Bull Shit. I’ve worked in Law Enforcement, EMS, as a counselor and as a Victim Advocate over the course of my adult life. I’ve heard and seen many horrific things, yet I’ve not snapped. Nor have countless other professionals in these fields. Claiming secondary PTSD is just providing this cowardly, evil, crazy man with an alibi and that pisses me off. That’s an excuse that I won’t buy, ever! Let’s call it was it is: a coward who didn’t want to deploy and so he figured that” suicide by cop” would be the best way out. His actions leading up to this event point to that. It’s common for those who commit suicide, to act fairly calm and rational in the days and moments leading up to taking their lives. He followed the typical pattern that is often seen. They begin to say their good byes to family and friends, which Hasan reportedly did. They begin giving away their belongings, as Hasas reportedly did. I don’t think he felt he would survive what he planned on doing. I’m sure he felt that he would be shot and killed at the hands of one of Fort Hood’s fine police officers. He was shot alright, but he remains alive to answer to his crimes. It’s my hope that he’s given the death penalty, he deserves no less.

Did the Army drop the ball when it came to Hasan? Probably so, but we probably will never know all the details about their decision to send him to Fort Hood and allow him to continue serving in the Army, to give him a second chance. I’m sure, knowing the shortage of Mental Health Professionals in the military at this time, that this had a lot to do with their decision to give him a second change. I also know that this happens a lot with problem Soldiers. I’ve seen it in my job, where a problem Soldier will be transferred to another unit, for a second chance. I can think of a case where this happened and like Hasan the Soldier continued to commit horrible acts, before he was eventually discharged. Perhaps the Army needs to take another look at that, in light of what has happened.

I don’t like what I’m seeing in the media and in my fellow Americans at the moment. I’ve heard many people state that all people of Middle Eastern descent are Muslims and that they should be removed from the military. That angers me, because I know several Soldiers who are of Middle Eastern descent, where at least one of their parents are from a Middle Eastern country. I’ve seen them honorably serve in the Army and know personally that they are not Muslim and abhor what has happened. I’ve heard comments made that all people of Middle Eastern descent should be rounded up and imprisoned. That frightens me for this country. Mass hysteria is at a peak. Are we going to begin acting like the radical Muslims act, hating those who are not like us? I certainly hope not. Are we going to begin ostracizing people based on their heritage? I hope not, because Hasan does not define every person of Middle Eastern descent, nor does he define every Muslim. We have to be careful about how we react to this, so that more senseless tragedies don’t occur. We’ve had enough senseless tragedy and I pray we won’t have more.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tragedy At Fort Hood Leaves 12 Dead, 31 Wounded

Right now I'm numb. Until recently, Fort Hood had been my home for the past 4 years. I have friends and former co-workers there, who are my family and it angers and saddens me that this has happened. I worked there as a Victim Advocate for 3 years and am very familiar with where this senseless tragedy took place. Right now, details are very sketchy about what took place, the motive behind shootings and even how many gunmen were involved. Instead of speculating and perhaps stating something false, I won't go into details until I am able to get better information. There has been more than enough speculation and twisting of facts online and in the media. I won't add to that. What I do know, is that one shooter has been identified as 39 year old Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who is a psychiatrist and a soldier and had recently moved to Fort Hood, after serving several years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He was shot and wounded and is currently in stable condition and under heavy guard by Army CID agents.

John McHugh, Secretary of the Army

Army Secretary John McHugh reviews the troops during a welcoming ceremony for him hosted by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and presided over by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Fort Myer, Arlington, Va., Nov. 2, 2009. McHugh was sworn in as the 21st Army Secretary on Sept. 21, 2009.
DoD photo by Cherie Cullen

To see the entire ceremony in pictures:

We wish you well Secretary McHugh - Lead the Army well!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Using Art As An Esacpe From Harsh Realities Of War

There’s no doubt about it, war is hell. Our Troops have been fighting long and hard for 8 years in two different war zones. Most of them have deployed multiple times. During those deployments, they’ve lost friends and fellow Soldiers, but they had to continue with their mission, even when they felt like they couldn’t go on any longer. They go for hours, often days in high stress situations, with little relief. They’re far away from their families, friends and loved ones for a year or longer, with only one short break of 2 weeks during that time. Many are very young, perhaps this is their first time away from home and they’re thrown into a situation unlike anything they’d ever imagined. They’re constantly in a heightened state of alert, as they never know what the next moment is going to bring. It’s no wonder that so many are returning home suffering from PTSD and other stressors of their experience. Some Soldiers have discovered ways to help relieve the stressors of the war zone and, if only for an instant or two, escape the harsh realities of what they’re dealing with. Having worked in a therapeutic setting where people were often dealing with so much stress, that they found it difficult to verbally express what was going on with them, I've used creative processes to help these clients. It's amazing to see how easy it is for those who are struggling to express their thoughts and feelings by utilizing some type of creative process, be that drawing, painting, poetry, writing stories, journaling or creating music.

The creative process has always been something that has a creative effect on people. That’s why it’s been used for years as a therapeutic tool for those recovering from illness. But even people who aren’t battling an illness or injury can benefit from the therapeutic values of the creative process. Those working with wounded warriors have utilized art as a way for the wounded warriors to express themselves, their fears, their anger and in the process help them to heal.

Soldiers in a deployed environment have been utilizing different forms of art as a way to escape the realities of war, if only for a few minutes. Doing so allows them to unwind, express themselves and escape the horrors that often go along with being in a war zone. That creative process takes many forms. Some may express themselves in music, others perhaps in drawing or painting, while others utilize their creative abilities to write on milblogs or to journal, or even perhaps in a wood shop, creating useful pieces of art. Whatever outlet they choose, there’s no doubt that the creative process provides them with an avenue to express their thoughts and feelings in a healthy way, while creating something beautiful in the process.

"It helps me cope with missing home," said Spc. Wilbur Deshields, an entry control point guard, with A Company, Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. "You can only go to the gym so many times. Drawing is my mental escape. It gives me a chance to be creative. There's no limit to what I can do with my imagination."

For Spc Deshields his art is a therapeutic outlet for him. It allows me to better deal with stress, frustration, grief and the many emotions our Troops have to deal with while they’re deployed. Deployments change a person, they see things that they would never see at home, experience things that they’ll never experience at home and do things that they’ll never have to do at home. That changes a person, often times profoundly. The creative process allows them to express the changes that are occurring within them in a way that is healthy for them. Deshields says he does his best work when he is stressed or angry. His work has helped not only himself deal with the traumas of war, but his fellow Soldiers as well.

"Sometimes, people ask me to draw a picture or an image for a tattoo. (ther times, I draw something to cheer people up, to make them laugh," he said.

Whatever method a person uses to express their creative self, in a deployed environment, it helps them to rewind, refocus and refresh themselves, which helps to prevent these stressors from affecting their mission readiness. It’s great that these Troops are allowed the time to express themselves in such a healthy and productive manner. It sure beats having them set and brood about what they’ve experienced until it becomes so unsettling to them that they explode due to the stressors they encounter there. Sometimes all it takes to get those stressors out is a catalyst, such as creating something.

This type of process, Art Therapy or whatever you wish to call it, is often used with our Wounded Warriors as part of the recovery process from their injuries. Besides physical injuries, many are also suffering from psychological injuries or PTSD. Often they don't think that people will understand them or what they've experienced, so they find it difficult to share their thoughts and feelings, instead keeping it bottled up inside. When they do that, they're a ticking time bomb, and by engaging them in the creative process, some of that stress can be alleviated, sometimes that's the catalyst they need to begin their journey on the road to recovery.

Allowing our deployed Soldiers the opportunity to work through some of the issues they're dealing with while deployed is a great idea and one that can only be beneficial to the Soldier, their fellow Soldiers and to the entire military. It might mean the difference between them returning home from deployment in a healthy state of mind or not. If you're involved with one of the many Troop Support organizations and are wondering about something you could send to a deployed Soldier, you might want to think about sending things that will allow them to utilize their creativeness and thus decrease the stressors they're dealing with. That's just a suggestion, but one I think that will be appreciated by the Soldiers you may be supporting.

Introducing Terri!

As my regular readers know, I don't blog as frequently as I used to.

My long-time blogging friend, Terri, is temporarily 'without blog' and I have invited her to blog here until her blog (A Soldier's Mind) is up again.

I think you will enjoy Terri's writing a lot - I certainly do.

I expect her first post in the next few days - hope you will all welcome her here!

30 Years Since Iran Takeover of US Embassy

...and, once again, it was celebrated by burning the American flag.

Repeating the post I did several years ago....

November 4, 1979 - The Iran Hostage Crisis

" the aftermath of 9/11, we said, "My God, it began with us."

Bruce Laingan

Charge d'affaires of the US Embassy and Hostage

Iranian students take over the United States Embassy in Tehran, Iran

United States Embassy Hostages

On November 4, 1979, thousands of Iranian students, overran the US Embassy and took about 90 people captive. The non-Americans were freed. Later, some were freed, including the women (except for two) and blacks (except for one), on the grounds that they were unlikely to be spies and had suffered enough with the oppression of the Americans. Another hostage was released in July 1980 due to illness. 52 hostages were held for 444 days. Six others had escaped and taken refuge at other embassies. On January 28, 1980, Canadian diplomats helped these six to flee Iran. The Canadian Embassy was then closed.

Thousands of other protesters pressed around the embassy compound, responding to the call by the country's new leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, to attack US and Israeli interests. They demanded the return of the shah, Muhammad Reza Pahlevi, for trail and execution.

President Carter eventually halted oil imports from Iran, imposed a complete economic embargo, froze Iranian assets in the US and began diplomatic efforts to free the remaining hostages.

The hostages were finally released on January 20, 1981, moments after President Reagan was inagurated.

Today, the US Embassy in Iran serves as a museum to the revolution. It was opened in 2001. Outside the door are two bronze statues: the Statue of Liberty and a portrayal of one of the hostages. It is still the stage for angry demonstrations to chant anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans and to burn flags and effigies.


Twenty seven years ago, the country gasped in horror as the symbol of America and our freedom was taken over in Iran. We stayed up to watch the news, to hope and pray for their release. Nightline with Ted Koppel was born for the purpose of covering the event. It was the first strike in our continuing war with radical Islam.


The Hostages:

6 Evading Diplomats

Robert Anders, 34 - Consular Officer

Mark J. Lijek, 29 - Consular Officer

Cora A. Lijek, 25 - Consular Assistant

Henry L. Schatz, 31 - Agriculture Attaché

Joseph D. Stafford, 29 - Consular Officer

Kathleen F. Stafford, 28 - Consular Assistant

13 Women and African-American Personnel were captured, held hosage and released on 19-20 November, 1979

Kathy Gross, 22 - Secretary

Sgt. James Hughes, 30 - USAF Administrative Manager

Lillian Johnson, 32 - Secretary

Sgt. Ladell Maples, 23 - USMC Embassy Guard

Elizabeth Montagne, 42 - Secretary

Sgt. William Quarles, 23 - USMC Embassy Guard

Lloyd Rollins, 40 - Administrative Officer

Capt. Neal (Terry) Robinson, 30 - Administrative Officer

Terri Tedford, 24 - Secretary Sgt.

Joseph Vincent, 42 - USAF Administrative Manager

Sgt. David Walker, 25 - USMC Embassy Guard

Joan Walsh, 33 - Secretary

Cpl. Wesley Williams, 24 - USMC Embassy Guard

1 hostage captured, held and released on 11 July 1980 because of Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis

Richard I. Queen, 28 - Vice Consul 52

Remaining Hostages, held captive until 20 January, 1980

Thomas L. Ahern, Jr., -Narcotics Control Officer

Clair Cortland Barnes, 35 - Communications Specialist

William E. Belk, 44 - Communications and Records Officer

Robert O. Blucker, 54 - Economics Officer Specializing in Oil

Donald J. Cooke, 26 - Vice Consul

William J. Daugherty, 33 - 3rd Secretary of U.S. Mission

Lt. Cmdr. Robert Englemann, 34 - USN Attaché

Sgt. William Gallegos, 22 - USMC Guard

Bruce W. German, 44 - Budget Officer

Duane L. Gillette, 24 - USN Communications and Intelligence Specialist

Alan B. Golancinksi, 30 - Security Officer

John E. Graves, 53 - Public Affairs Officer

Joseph M. Hall, 32 - CWO Military Attaché

Sgt. Kevin J. Hermening, 21 - USMC Guard

Sgt. 1st Class Donald R. Hohman, 38 - USA Medic

Col. Leland J. Holland, 53 - Military Attaché

Michael Howland, 34 - Security Aide, held at Iranian Foreign Ministry Office

Charles A. Jones, Jr., 40 - Communications Specialist and Teletype Operator. Only African-American hostage not released in November 1979.

Malcolm Kalp, 42 - Affiliation Unknown

Moorhead C. Kennedy Jr., 50 - Economic and Commercial Officer

William F. Keough, Jr., 50 - Superintendent of American School in Islamabad, Pakistan, visiting Tehran at time of embassy seizure

Cpl. Steven W. Kirtley - USMC Guard

Kathryn L. Koob, 42 - Embassy Cultural Officer; one of two female hostages

Frederick Lee Kupke, 34 - Communications Officer and Electronics Specialist

L. Bruce Laingen, 58 - Chargé d'Affaires, held at Iranian Foreign Ministry Office

Steven Lauterbach, 29 - Administrative Officer

Gary E. Lee, 37 - Administrative Officer

Sgt. Paul Edward Lewis, 23 - USMC Guard

John W. Limbert, Jr., 37 - Political Officer

Sgt. James M. Lopez, 22 - USMC Guard

Sgt. John D. McKeel, Jr., 27 - USMC Guard

Michael J. Metrinko, 34 - Political Officer

Jerry J. Miele, 42 - Communications Officer

Staff Sgt. Michael E. Moeller, 31 - Head of USMC Guard Unit at Embassy

Bert C. Moore, 45 - Counselor for Administration

Richard H. Morefield, 51 - U.S. Consul General in Tehran

Capt. Paul M. Needham, Jr., 30 - USAF Logistcs Staff Officer

Robert C. Ode, 65 - Retired Foreign Service Officer on Temporary Duty in Tehran

Sgt. Gregory A. Persinger, 23 - USMC Guard

Jerry Plotkin, 45 - Civilian Businessman visiting Tehran

MSgt. Regis Ragan, 38 - USA NCO assigned to Defense Attaché's Office

Lt. Col. David M. Roeder, 41 - Deputy USAF Attaché

Barry M. Rosen, 36 - Press Attaché

William B. Royer, Jr., 49 - Assistant Director of Iran-American Society

Col. Thomas E. Schaefer, 50 - USAF Attaché

Col. Charles W. Scott, 48 - USA Officer, Military Attaché

Cmdr. Donald A. Sharer, 40 - USN Air Attaché

Sgt. Rodney V. (Rocky) Sickmann, 22 - USMC Guard

Staff Sgt. Joseph Subic, Jr., 23 - Military Police, USA, Defense Attaché's Staff

Elizabeth Ann Swift, 40 - Chief of Embassy's Political Section; 1 of 2 female hostages

Victor L. Tomseth, 39 - Senior Political Officer, held at Iranian Foreign Ministry Office

Phillip R. Ward, 40 - Administrative Officer

Constructed from Free At Last
by Doyle McManus

Wednesday Hero ~ Col Henry J Cook

Col. Henry J. Cook
Col. Henry J. Cook
U.S. Army

Past National Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart, after serving over fifteen years with MOPH, gaining invaluable experience while in the positions of National Aide-de-Camp, Chapter Commander, Region Commander, National Junior Vice Commander and National Senior Vice Commander.

He was a career Special Forces (Green Beret) officer for thirty-three of the total forty-two years that he was on combined active and reserve duty. His combat tours began in 1967-68 when he operated behind enemy lines in for extended periods of time conducting operations with native guerrilla troops as the Executive Officer of the 4th Mobile Guerrilla. He saw additional combat in 1969-70 when he led a U.S. Special Forces Mobile Strike Force Battalion (MIKE FORCE), consisting of Green Beret officers and sergeants leading Cambodian mercenaries, again working behind enemy lines as well as reacting to attacks on friendly bases, often requiring that his unit be parachuted into hostile drop zones.

Later, he participated in Desert Shield (Saudi Arabia), Desert Storm (Kuwait) and Iraq, and Operation Provide Comfort (Support to Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq.

For his valor and military skills, Colonel Cook was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for Valor and two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device and one Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with One Oak Leaf Cluster, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold and Silver Stars, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Special Forces Combat Diver Badge, Special Forces Tab, and numerous other U.S. and foreign decorations.

Henry Cook is now twice retired, as a soldier and as a lawyer and resides in Diamondhead, Mississippi. He is a member of the Pro Bono Consortium representing veterans who appeal denial of claims and is a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. He’s been a member of the Mississippi Bar Association since 1978 and also serves as a Municipal Judge Pro Tem in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Other significant contributions to veterans by Henry Cook include: a major role in the creation of the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Ocean Springs and helping raise over $500,000 to help MOPH members in Louisiana and Mississippi who lost everything during Hurricane Katrina. In addition to MOPH, he also belongs to Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Special Forces Association (SFA), Special Operations Association (SOA), Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW).

You can read more about Col. Henry in this PDF file on pages 31 & 32.

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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