Sunday, January 31, 2010

Face of Freedom ~ Dr. Anil Menon, Oregon National Guard

Dr Anil Menon is in the center of this group.

Oregon Air National Guard Flight Surgeon,
Dr Anil Menon,
is in Haiti with a team from Stanford Medical Center

To follow his journey - the dispatches are brief and interesting:

Anil Menon, MD, is a clinical instructor at Stanford School of Medicine focused on surgery and emergency medicine. His research interests are Aerospace Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Wilderness Medicine. He graduated from Stanford Med in 2006, received a degree in mechanical engineering in 2003 and became a full ER doctor in 2009. He has practiced medicine in combat in Afghanistan and will be practicing aerospace medicine next year at NASA. Menon is a flight surgeon assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing (F-15s) of the Oregon Air National Guard, and he's part of a team sent to Haiti by Stanford.

Thank you to my dear friends at the Oregon Military Department for alerting me to this story!
Their coverage is here

Friday, January 29, 2010

Oregon Doctor Heads to Landstuhl ~ Meet Dr David Street

Doctor Heads to Landstuhl to Volunteer His Talents

A Medford, Oregon vascular surgeon, Dr. David L Street, is leaving for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, to volunteer for two weeks treating wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I don't know what I'm walking into," he said. "I look at it as a chance to help guys that help us out. It will be vascular and a lot of general surgery. I don't know the need or opportunity, but will figure it out and be willing to go again if needed."

In a news release from his clinic, Street said, "There's a time in your life when it's just time to give back, and I'm there. We live in a great country that has been very good to me. It will be an honor to give back. I have the ultimate respect for what the military does for our country. It's a selfless goal to guard our freedom."

The entire article is here.
Thank you to Mary Ann for sending me this - you are reading her fabulous blog Soldiers' Angels Germany, right? Mary Ann volunteers untold hours at Landstuhl!

Lately, it's been a bit embarrassing to be an Oregonian. Then, you read stories like this and it makes your heart soar!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ambassador Kenneth D Taylor & the Canadian Caper ~ 30 years ago

January 27, 1980
Thirty years ago, Ambassador Kenneth D Taylor
got the six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy out of Iran
Americans were shocked that some of the Embassy personnel had escaped,
and extremely grateful to Canada.
For a period of time, the Maple Leaf was a common symbol in the US.

The Canadian ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor, briefs reporters on the situation in the mist of the Iran's Revolution in Tehran, a week before leaving the country with six Americans on January 27, 1980. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Bregg

Canadian Ambassador Kenneth D Taylor, gave sanctuary to the six Americans who were not in the US Embassy on the day of the takeover by the Iranian students on November 4, 1979. By November 10, three of the diplomats and two of their wives had made their way to the Canadian Embassy. A few weeks later, they were joined by another who had been sleeping on the floor of the Swedish Embassy.

Faced with the daunting task of hiding the Americans, the boldness continued when they decided to smuggle them out of Iran on Canadian passports. Canada's Parliament convened it's first secret session since World War II to give permission to issue Canadian passports for the six Americans. The CIA prepared a set of forged Iranian Visas to go with the passports. Disguises and cover stories were invented for a series of scenarios. They eventually used the Hollywood advance crew who were scouting locations for a movie.

On January 27, 1980, the American diplomats, now travelling on Canadian passports, boarded a flight for Zurich, Switzerland, leaving from Tehran. The Canadian embassy staff also left and closed the Embassy.

The six rescued Americans were:

  • Robert Anders, 34 - Consular Officer
  • Mark J. Lijek, 29 - Consular Officer
  • Cora A. Lijek, 25 - Consular Assistant
  • Henry L. Schatz, 31 - Agriculture AttachĂ©
  • Joseph D. Stafford, 29 - Consular Officer
  • Kathleen F. Stafford, 28 - Consular Assistant

Ambassador Kenneth D Taylor was awarded
the Congressional Gold Medal
Approved on March 6, 1980

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Hero ~ SPC Brandon K. Steffy

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Pet

Specialist Brandon K. Steffy
Specialist Brandon K. Steffy
23 years old from Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan
178th Military Police Detachment, 89th Military Police Brigade, III Corps
October 29, 2009
U.S. Army

He came into to this world a rather large baby, so big the doctor thought that he’d just walk home with his mother. Brandon was well mannered, polite, and tough with a contagious laugh that lit up those around him. In 2005 he graduated from Brimley High School and in 2006 enlisted in the United States Army, following a tradition of family military service.

He served in Iraq as a gunner from May 2007 until July 2008 and was deployed to Afghanistan in June 2009 where he was a canine tracker handler for Forward operating Base Fenty Kennel in the Laghman Province. He and his K-9 dog Maci were inseparable, working on tracking terrorists; Maci specialized in tracking the scents of IED making materials.

Spc. Brandon Steffy was killed when the vehicle he was riding in was attacked. His decorations and awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal-Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Spc. Steffy is survived by his wife, daughter, parents and his sister.

Brandon made people laugh and he made them cry. There was not one dry eye at his funeral, from every day townsfolk, to big construction workers to police officers; they all recalled Brandon, this "Gentle Giant." They want everyone to know that if you never knew Brandon, then you really missed out.

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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Friday, January 22, 2010

Soldiers Assist with Veterinary Care in Afghanistan

SPC Jose Lopez of the California National Guard, 40th Infantry Division, Agribusiness Development Team, assists with the veterinary mission near Camp Wright, Asadabad, Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant John Carter of the California National Guard, 40th Infantry Division, Agribusiness Development Team, assists with the veterinary mission near Camp Wright, Asadabad, Afghanistan.

Photos by Tech. Sgt. Brian Boisvert, Kunar Provisional Reconstruction Team Public Affairs.

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The California National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division’s Agri-business Development Team conducted a veterinary civic action program in the provincial capital to help area residents with their livestock, Jan. 15.

The ADT partnered with local leaders and veterinarians to administer vaccinations and vitamin treatment to 567 animals belonging to more than 100 villagers from the Gujjer and Pashtun tribes in the villages of Woch Now, Argadel Kalay and Yargul Kalay that surround Camp Wright in Kunar Province.

The local residents brought their livestock to the event to get treatment and information, but most important the event helped foster a positive relationship between Coalition Forces, government leaders and the people.

According to Fazlullah Wahidi, Kunar provincial governor, the VETCAP was necessary because of the importance of livestock in Afghanistan.

“Kunar is a province of agriculture and animals. We are in a mountain area, and the biggest economy for people is their cows, sheep and goats,” Wahidi said. “This is very good for our farmers today for the medicines. Livestock for these people are cash-money because they don’t have businesses, they are farmers. If they were to buy some goods for example, they would have to sell something to buy something.”

The governor said the people he talked to were happy to have the ADT’s help.

“We are thankful to the people and government of America. They all support across the province and work with us as a team,” Wahidi said. “This is the first time for this here and the people are very happy that they (ADT) are here for them to benefit from this knowledge and experience.”

The governor was so pleased by the operation he had his own horse and four cows sent to the event for treatment.

The ADT teamed up with Afghan elders, military-aged males and children from the surrounding villages to help set up the holding pens, assist with the vaccinations and clean up the site when done. The VETCAP ran smoothly with the assistance of village children who helped corral animals that tried to escape. The mobile clinic paired Afghan veterinarians with ADT members and allowed them to work with villagers on how to properly administer future vaccinations.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Max Velte, ADT deputy commander from Sacramento, Calif., said this VETCAP was a collaborative partnership with local leaders and elders, as well as a great opportunity to work with Afghan National Security Forces to secure the event.

Velte said the ADT also handed out humanitarian assistance to the villagers who brought their animals for treatment as both an incentive and as preventive care.

“The items included solar powered radios, water and small food items and livestock vitamin booster supplements,” Velte said. “We needed to get the solar-powered radios out to them because of the three villages that came today, two are without power. Now with solar radios, the Gujjer villages are much more connected to information from the government center of Asadabad and the surrounding areas.”

U.S. Army Spc. Gerardo Robledo, Jr., ADT security forces member from Anaheim, Calif., said the VETCAP was important because it put Afghan veterinarians out in front of their people.

“It’s important because it gives the local people confidence in the workers from their communities. That way if something is wrong with their animals they can go to them and not come to us or wait for these VETCAPS,” Robledo said. “They can go and find a local veterinarian to tell them what is wrong with their animals.”

One of the Afghan veterinarians was Hedayetullah from Jalalabad. He said he was glad to come and help the people take care of their animals.

“We have a lot of profit from the animals. It is important to take care of the animals because when we trade the animals we get a good amount for them,” Hedayetullah said. “This (VETCAP) was done to prevent diseases, and I’m very happy to participate in today’s event. The people were very excited and happy about this.”

But, pride was also in the faces of the ADT members as they closed out their most successful VETCAP.

“We finished crunching our numbers last night and our total number was 567 animals treated at the Argadel VETCAP,” Velte said. “This is a record number of us. It was a great VETCAP and total team effort.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

USS Carl Vinson ~ Providing Aid to Haiti

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson maneuvers off the coast of Haiti. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 17 are conducting humanitarian and disaster relief operations as part of Operation Unified Response after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake caused severe damage
near Port-au-Prince, January 12.
Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Barker

U.S. Air Force service members carry a Haitian child who was medically evacuated to the airport at Port-au-Prince, Haiti by a helicopter from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Heather Roe

U.S. Navy Sailors assist a woman from an SH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to awaiting medical personnel.

Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Barker

Soldiers load water to a Helicopter from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson for distribution to earthquake victims.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen G. Hale II

United Nations volunteers and Haitian citizens unload supplies delivered by a helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
Photo by Aaron Shelley

Wednesday Hero ~ Stephen Cochran

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Toni

Stephen Cochran
Stephen Cochran
2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force
U.S. Marines

Stephen Cochran had it all in front of him. College, a fiancée and an offer for a professional recording contract. But life had other plans for him. The day was September 11, 2001. "It was just so horrific," Cochran said. "It's like I'd been called. I'd never been pulled so hard to do something."

It may have been the audacity of the attacks, but more likely it was his family's long history of military service that drew him to enlist, he said. Both grandfathers served, as did an uncle and several other relatives.

So he dropped out of college, walked away from the record deal and joined the United States Marine Corps. "I've always been raised very, very patriotic. It's just what I had to do."

After serving in Iraq, he and his entire battalion volunteered to go to Afghanistan with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit where Cochran was injured in an ambush. 20 yards inside Kandahar, the vehicle he was riding in hit an anti-tank mine and he was thrown from the vehicle and broke the five vertebrae in his lower back.

Read The Rest Of The Story

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit

The flight deck of the USS Bataan is buzzing with activity as marines prepare to put boots on the ground in Haiti.

It's not war, but perhaps the worst humanitarian crisis young members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit will ever see.

"It'll go far beyond anything I saw in Iraq or anything you have seen in Iraq or Afghanistan," US Marine Capt. Edmund Clayton told a group of platoon and squad leaders.

Clayton urged leaders to prepare their marines for the emotional impact, so they can stay alert during the mission and hopefully return home without having nightmares or other lingering psychological effects.

That task may be especially difficult for LCpl. Junior Eugene, a marine translator originally from Haiti. With limited phone service in the aftermath of the earthquake, Eugene has no information on the status of his mother and nine siblings who still reside on the island.

"If I think about it too much, it's gonna affect the mission," Eugene said. "So what I do is I try to stay focused... It's not 100 percent that I'm gonna get a chance to see my family. But as long as the mission gets complete, I'm helping somebody."
From the blog diary of Jonathan Serrie, Fox News

Air Drop in Haiti

Thank you, Air Force!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti - Port-au-Prince - Earthquake

HAITI - A tiny, impoverished country of about 10 million,
dependent upon foreign aid and charity groups,
was hit on January 12 with an earthquake of 7.0+ on the Richter Scale
has devastated the nation, collapsing the infrastructure of the capitol of Port-au-Prince.
Gone ----
the Presidential Palace
the Parliament Building
the National Cathedral
the US Embassy
the UN Mission
the Prison (inmates are free)
the many missionary compounds
the few hospitals
and the police have seemed to disappear

The National Cathedral towered above the city

The collapse of the cathedral, shown here in a US Southern Command drone photo
The Archbishop was killed in the collapse, which also claimed the churches outbuildings.

The Presidential Palace collapsed upon itself.

The US Military is arriving in force. I will be posting the pictures and stories.
Please check back.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Brig Gen (ret) Fred M Rosenbaum

A life well lived is a treasure that keeps on giving.
Rest in Peace
Brig Gen Fred Rosenbaum

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Brig Gen (ret) Fred M Rosenbaum ~ Farewell and Thank You

Brig. Gen. (ret.) Fred M. Rosenbaum
June 30, 1926 - Jan. 12, 2010

The World Got a Little Dimmer Today....

I learned of some sad news upon my arrival in the office today. Early this morning, retired Brig. Gen. Fred Rosenbaum passed away in his home, following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 83 years old.

Anyone who knows Fred Rosenbaum may also know of the annual youth camp he founded in 1972, which, to this day, bears his name. Camp Rosenbaum is dedicated to empowering young Oregonians to stay in school, avoid gangs and drugs, and to realize their hopes and dreams.

The genesis for Camp Rosenbaum came out of his own personal challenges as a youngster of the Jewish faith, growing up in Austria. During the German occupation of his homeland in the days leading up to WWII, a young Fred was spirited away in the middle of the night to England, where he would await the arrival of his parents sometime later. Fred's extended family didn't fare as well--his grandparents were later killed in one of the Nazi concentration camps.

He enlisted in the United States Army in 1944 at the age of 17. He hoped to be assigned to the European theater, where he could help push back Axis aggressors, but instead, he ended up fighting in the Pacific.

Two years after his discharge from the Army in 1946, he joined the Oregon Army National Guard, and was assigned as the First Sergeant for HQ Company, 162nd Infantry. After a short stint as an officer with the Washington National Guard, he joined the Oregon Air National Guard in 1953.

He served in various positions before being appointed as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, in late 1980. He later retired from the military in 1986.

Rosenbaum dedicated his life to the people and the world around him. Organizations such as Portland State University, Congregation Beth Israel, The Housing Authority of Portland--where he served as Chairman for 13 years--and various other civic groups benefited from his insight, vision and wisdom.

Never wanting the world to forget the challenges which brought him through his life's work, he also played a major role in the fruition of the Portland Holocaust Memorial, and remained active in other civic and political groups, right up to the very end of his life.

Ever the entrepreneur, he founded the insurance brokerage, Rosenbaum Financial, in 1957, a company which is now run by his son, Mark.

Those who worked with him knew he was very "hands-on". Fred preferred to pick up the phone and discuss ways of improving how things were done--be it CEOs of companies, the Mayor of Portland, or senior leadership in the Oregon National Guard--they all eventually got a phone call from Fred. And they were better because of it.

But he did all these things in a way that made you want to help. He was, and continues to be through his legacy, the "Great Motivator". He made an art out of motivating people to do better, be better, or to do more. But he did more than that. He led by example. A quick scan of his six-page biography reveals more accomplishments and accolades than several men combined. His list of awards alone fills an entire page.

In 2010, his namesake youth camp, Camp Rosenbaum, will celebrate its 40th anniversary. With about 100-160 youngsters from Oregon and Southwest Washington attending this camp every year for the last four decades, the reach and influence of Fred Rosenbaum's vision to improve the world around him is overwhelming.

My wife and I were privileged to have spoken to Gen. Rosenbaum and Jane, his wife of 55 years, just before our Hawaii trip this past December. They were both in good spirits, looking forward to the upcoming holidays. Fred even joked with my wife about our upcoming one-year anniversary, saying that by marrying her, I had "married up".

I entitled this post "The world got a little dimmer today." Let me clarify: that statement is only to mark the passing of a great man who did great things while he was with us. There is no doubt in my mind that those of us who were touched and influenced by his kindness, warmth and generosity, will ensure a bright future for his enduring legacy.

Farewell Fred Rosenbaum. You will be missed by all.

Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon National Guard Social Media Manager

Postscript: A public memorial ceremony for Fred Rosenbaum is scheduled for Noon on Tuesday, Jan. 19, in Building 375 (Rosenbaum Hangar), at the Portland Air National Guard Base in Portland, Oregon. Members of the public are welcome. Please bring personal identification to access the Air Base. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the following organizations:

- The Camp Rosenbaum Fund:
c/o GREAT, 449 NE Emerson St., Portland, OR 97221, Attn: Erin Parks

- Portland State University Foundation:
P.O. Box 243, Portland, OR 97043

- American Cancer Society:
Online at, look for the "Gifts in Memory" link

- Congregation Beth Israel:
1972 NW Flanders St., Portland, OR 97209

This tribute was written by my friend, SGT Nick Choy, who gave me permission to post it here. We have lost a remarkable man. If you Google his name, you will find many remarkable stories of a remarkable life.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

USS Missouri ~ Back Home in Pearl Harbor

PEARL HARBOR - Jan. 7, 2009
The battleship EX-USS Missouri (BB 63) returns to Ford Island after finishing scheduled repairs at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Missouri underwent three months and $18 million of preservation and maintenance repairs at
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup/Released

The Japanese surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri in 1945.
It now serves as a museum, docked next to the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.
The Missouri will re-open on January 15 with a grand re-opening ceremony on January 30

USS Missouri site

Marines man the rails on the USS Missouri BB-63
as she returns to her dock in Pearl Harbor.

100 sailors take the oath of reenlistment on the deck of the USS Missouri
as she returns to her dock.

For those who like special historical things, you can have your flag flown over the USS Missouri
Go here to see how.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Marine in Afghanistan

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Michael Fort, with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, crosses a stream during a security patrol through the Nawa district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 20, 2009. U.S. Marines conduct security patrols to decrease insurgent activity and gain the trust of the Afghan people. The Marines are deployed with Regimental Combat Team 3 to conduct counterinsurgency operations in partnership with Afghan National Security Forces in southern Afghanistan.
DoD photo by Cpl. Artur Shvartsberg, U.S. Marine Corps. (Released)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A new blog for all of us to enjoy

David Bellavia and Marcus Luttrell

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Let's Help Brian!!

Meet Brian Schiele!

Earlier this year, I “retired” from the National Guard, after serving for 21 years. During the last eight of those years I was full time, which meant I wore the same thing every day, the uniform of the United States Army. During the last four of those eight years I was mobilized as part of a mission that helped wounded Soldiers, which I can only describe as, the most humbling job I have ever had. After I left the military I struggled with find a good job, but I have finally found it, working at a Veteran’s hospital, helping veterans. My biggest struggle is figuring out what to wear each morning, I have small wardrobe of appropriate work clothes, but I could use more. More importantly I could the consultation so that I could regain the confidence I had while wearing the uniform of the United States Army, as I do my part to take care of veterans. Thanks for reading this. Brian

We can all vote for Brian to help him out in his new job.
He served our country for 21 years - now he is helping the wounded.

Facebook users vote here:

You can vote once every 24 hours through January 15.

Please, help Brian!