In honor of our troops and all who serve or have served, I would like to thank Vice President Biden for the excellent speech he gave at Arlington today. It was the most profound words I ever heard come from him, and much better than one could have asked for. In his speech VP Biden mentioned a fallen warrior, Major Douglas Zembiec, who was also called “The Lion of Fallujah”. I am posting this in his honor, but also in honor of all who serve. This young man held the highest standards of the Corps and our Military and to all who have given their all on our behalf, I give my undying gratitude.
You can find the profile / bio about this great American Hero here. I think for all intents and purposes, I will stick to citing the words from his journal that were read by his best friend at his funeral service. They speak for him and his character and the character of America’s warriors best. The following was taken from a memorial publication in pdf format that you can download from this link.
The Marine had compiled such axioms and exhortations in notebooks, excerpts of which were read aloud by a close friend, Eric L. Kapitulik, who also recounted this story:
While Zembiec was stationed at Camp Pendleton after the Fallujah campaign, his parents visited. Zembiec and his father, Don, drove onto the base to shoot skeet and were stopped at the gate by a young Marine. Are you Captain Zembiec’s father? the Marine asked. Yes, his father said. “I was with your son in Fallujah,” the Marine said. “He was my company commander. If we had to go back in there, I would follow him with a spoon.”
Kapitulik read heavily from Zembiec’s notebooks. One of the quotes was particularly long, amounting to what Kapitulik said was a summary of Zembiec himself.
“Be a man of principle. Fight for what you believe in. Keep your word. Live with integrity. Be brave. Believe in something bigger than yourself. Serve your country.
“Teach. Mentor. Give something back to society. Lead from the front. Conquer your fears. Be a good friend. Be humble and be self-confident.
“Appreciate your friends and family. Be a leader and not a follower. Be valorous on the field of battle. And take responsibility for your actions.”
Kapitulik said the creed came from the man who knew Zembiec the longest, as indicated by the major’s written description: “Principles my father taught me.”
We were truly blest to have such men in our armed forces. Thank you and God Bless you Major Zembiec.
It is always and honor to give thanks to all who serve and have served our Country. Happy Veteran’s Day!!!!
And especially for Veterans and active duty military:
Applebee’s Free Food on Veterans Day
In recognition of your service to our country, all veterans and active duty military personnel are invited to eat free at Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar Restaurants this Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov.11, 2009. As you may recall, Applebee’s launched a pilot program last year on Veterans Day offering free entrees to military service personnel and veterans. Because the response was so overwhelmingly positive, Applebee’s is extending the invitation throughout the country this year. We would appreciate your help in spreading the word. Please help us share details across your various communication channels. All U.S. veterans and active duty military with proof of current or former military service will eat free at all Applebee’s nationwide on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009.
Valid Veteran and Active Duty Identification to Obtain Free Entree:
· U.S. Uniform Services Identification Card
· U.S. Uniform Services Retired Identification Card
· Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
· Veterans Organization Card (i.e., American Legion and VFW)
· Photograph in uniform
· Wearing uniform
I personally think that this should be “required reading” along with the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, for our House of Representatives and Senate. In my opinion, they have continually demonstrated that most of them do not possess a modicum of spinal fortitude or leadership skills.
Leadership at the Point of the Bayonet
Ten Principals for Success
1. Strive to be a leader of character, competence, and courage.
2. Lead from the front. Say, “Follow me!” and then lead the way.
3. Stay in top physical shape—physical stamina is the root of mental toughness.
4. Develop your team. If you know your people, are fair in setting realistic goals and expectations, and lead by example, you will develop teamwork.
5. Delegate responsibility to your subordinates and let them do their jobs. You can’t do a good job if you don’t have a chance to use your imagination and your creativity.
6. Anticipate problems and prepare to overcome obstacles. Don’t wait until you get to the top of the ridge and then make up your mind.
7. Remain humble. Don’t worry about who recieves the credit. Never let power or authority go to your head.
8. Take a moment of self-reflection. Look at yourself in the mirror every night and ask yourself if you did your best.
9. True satisfaction comes from getting the job done. The key to a successful leader is to earn respect—not because of rank or position, but because you are a leader of character.
10. Hang Tough!—Never, ever, give up.
Major Dick Winters
Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
“Band of Brothers”
From: “Beyond Band of Brothers, The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters”
This post is in support of our troops going in harm’s way in Afghanistan right now. They are my heroes, and are on the top of my prayer list as they go forward to try to make a difference.
From the article:
Officials described the offensive — dubbed Khanjar or “Strike of the Sword” — as the largest and fastest-moving of the war’s new phase and the biggest Marine offensive since the one in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. It involves nearly 4,000 newly arrived Marines plus 650 Afghan forces. British forces last week led similar, but smaller, missions to clear out insurgents in Helmand and neighboring Kandahar province.
“Where we go we will stay, and where we stay, we will hold, build and work toward transition of all security responsibilities to Afghan forces,” Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson said in a statement.
You can read the entire news article by clicking on the title link above.
U.S. Marines launch key operation in Afghanistan
By Peter Graff — Reuter’s UK reporter
SORKHDOZ, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Thousands of U.S. Marines stormed deep into Taliban territory in an Afghan valley on Thursday, marking the start of a major new effort by the Obama administration to regain the initiative in the war.
The Marines met little resistance on day one of Operation Khanjar, or Strike of the Sword, to seize almost all the lower Helmand River valley, heartland of the Taliban insurgency and the world’s biggest opium poppy producing region.
One U.S. Marine was killed and several others were wounded during the day, the Marines said in a statement, adding that they had not received any confirmed reports of civilian casualties or damage to property.
Other news from Afghanistan:
However the offensive was overshadowed by news of what the military said is the first capture of an American soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan in two to three years.
“A US soldier who has been missing since June 30 from his assigned unit is believed to have been captured by militant forces,” said US military spokeswoman Captain Elizabeth Mathias. “We are using all of our available resources to find him and provide for his safe return.”
A commander of the Taliban’s Haqqani faction, named Bahram, said his militia had captured the soldier in Paktika province, along with three Afghan guards.
He said the soldier had been taken to “a safe place” and demands would likely be made for his release.
“Our leaders have not decided on the fate of this soldier. They will decide on his fate and soon we will present video tapes of the coalition soldier and our demand to media,” he said.
The US military has described the al-Qa’ida-linked Haqqani network as one of the “most lethal Taliban organisations”.
The missing soldier was captured outside his base and was not part of the new US-led operation, in which about 4000 US marines and 650 Afghan troops mobilised yesterday with orders to clear the southern region of militants and restore government services.
The entire news article can be accessed by clicking on the title link above.
All who love America and our troops, please remember these brave men and women who are fighting, pray for the families of the fallen and wounded, and pray that the soldier being held captive, is safely released. We cannot love and support our military enough right now.
Having received the latest newsletter from Cat Moy, Executive Director of Move America Forward, that has become first and foremost, on my mind for this Sunday. It goes like this:
We can’t Forget American Father’s in Iraq and Afghanistan
While we are enjoying our families during this Father’s Day, sharing time with our children, we have close to 100,000 father’s who are in Iraq and Afghanistan without the joy and pleasure of being home. They are lonely as they heroically do their duty of protecting America by defeating the terrorist threat in the Middle East.
Oreo cookies, jelly beans, Gatorade, premium beef jerky and coffee. In addition, small comfort items that are sometimes hard to come by, like lip balm, baby wipes, deodorant and bug repellent. is trying to send of goodies that our military men and women want. We are sending their favorite
Won’t you honor a father away in Iraq or Afghanistan by sponsoring a care package today? Click on the Move America Forward icon to go arrange to send a package to a troop. It is so easy to do.
I was going to post some scripture here, but I think this reflects so much of what “serving is about”. After all, the American serviceman and woman risks life and limb to insure our freedom and Christ died to insure our salvation. We owe them both much.
For those of us who grew up with parents who were living during WWII, America’s role in joining the fight to free the oppressed people of Europe was never “played down”. We heard stories from our parents, relatives and even the numerous people who immigrated here from Europe after the war. There was never any question about what our participation was about. It was about insuring the freedom of our allies from a tyrant who waged war against neighboring nations and murdered those who did not “fit into the mold of the master race”. We were part of securing the greater good of humanity against one of the most heinous tyrants of our time, Adolf Hitler.
No one summed up D-Day and it’s significance better than President Ronald Reagan in his 40th anniversary speech at Normandy.
Yesterday, the man elected President of my country stood before the people of Cairo Egypt and told a story of America that quite frankly was an outright lie! What this clearly demonstrates is because the American public is so easily brainwashed by campaign tactics via their television sets and don’t research or demand facts during the primary elections, our nation elected a man who is inexperienced and clearly ignorant of what America is. He is a failed community planner (just ask the people of Chicago who were living in the “project housing” that he and his cronies built!) who does not care about the American people, the Constitution or our history. No Mr. Obama, there were NO Islamic people on the Mayflower!
During WWII there were of course people that felt we had no stake in what was going on in Europe. But as time progressed it became impossible for the isolationist to prevent reality from setting in “that there are and always will be those people in power that will try to impose their will over others and do great harm to innocents in the process.” Enter the “Greatest Generation”, the recognition that what happens to other good people in the world does and always will affect us and this country. You can’t drink the Koolaid, sing Kumbayah and hope for the best. Fortunately for the world in 1941 we were not overwhelmed by the wishful thinking apologists who would try to make peace at any cost to freedom, like we have now. Of course England had such a man in Chamberlain. He tried the Obama approach to peacemaking with tyrants and ended up vilified because it almost destroyed England. By the time D-Day came, as Mustang showed on his memorial post quote, then General Eisenhower summed it up very nicely.
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world….
Read the rest of the quote on Social Sense. It is the truest celebration of what our parents and grandparents did for the people of Europe, our legacy and freedom worldwide. No one can ever say the words of gratitude to those who gave their lives on a battlefield, many of which had young and promising futures at stake, but they CAN refuse to forget the precious gift given by these souls to preserve our freedom and defend the Constitution and all it means to the numerous people who live here. I say Thank You to all who served and give my undying gratitude to all the heroes who gave their all for my freedom.
And on another note, please view this You Tube presentation from the Mark Levin radio show. A young military wife called in to give her thoughts and feelings on President Obama’s speech in Cairo, Egypt. It will make you think twice about the man in the White House.
Always remember those who have served and sacrificed and support those who are on the home front supporting them in their mission.
This picture communicates much more than any number of words; for the dead lie peacefully, and the living continues to remember the horror of war, and the pain of brothers lost.
(Photo: der Spiegel via Mr. Z)
This is my Memorial Day post. It has to do with the “original pain” that is behind Arlington National Cemetery. It starts with the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, Mary Anne Randolph Custis Lee, her father being Washington Custis, the adopted son of George Washington. The estate of Arlington was left to Mary Custis Lee’s father and passed on to her and her husband, Robert E. Lee. It was her beloved ancestral home. The outbreak of the American Civil War created the necessity for her to leave Arlington House, as her husband had chose, as men on both sides had to choose, to fight for Virginia. Prior to the civil war, people were prone to swear alligence and loyalty to their home states, so this was not an isolated event. This is how Arlington House probably looked (without grave stones and tour buses of course) when Mrs. Lee was forced to leave and locate herself and her children in Richmond, VA.
Enter Quartermaster/Brigadier General Montgomery Meigs. You can read about this honorable soldier’s stellar career here. Now the Army Quartermaster history page states in it’s bio how the cemetery came into being as:
General Meigs recommended that property in Arlington, Virginia owned by Mary Custis Lee, the wife of Robert E. Lee, be used as a military burial ground. Based on this recommendation, Arlington National Cemetery was created in 1864. In October of that same year, his son, First Lieutenant John Rodgers Meigs was killed at Swift Run Gap in Virginia. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery.
Now the story, behind the story is the fact the General Meigs so deeplly resented Robert E. Lee’s decision to resign his commission as an officer in the U.S. Army to join the Confederate cause, upon Mrs. Lee’s departure, the embers in the fireplace of Arlington House were still hot when he moved to make the house a headquarters for Union officers. General Meigs blamed Lee’s refusal to stick with service to the Union for prolonging the war, so when his beloved son was killed at Swift Run Gap, he ordered that his body be laid to rest in “Mrs. Lee’s Rose Garden”. It is the very human part of interaction during challenging times. Meig’s personal pain is forever enshrined at Arlington.
At the close of the American Civil War, Mrs. Lee not only lost her beloved ancestral home and left to bear the injustice of it (it was one of many unconstitutional actions taken by Lincoln and the Union). Also, her health had deteriorated and her beloved husband returned a broken man in spirit and in health as well. The war had taken a toll and the sacrifice had shortened lives and destroyed fortunes. Robert E. Lee eventually was offered the presidency of the struggling Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, VA. During his few years before his death, he brought it back to a viable institution of higher learning, and his son took up the mantle after his death in 1871. Mrs. Lee passed away two years later, still holding bitterness over the loss of her home and birthright. Her losses and grief being felt for the last few years of her life.
Knowing this story behind the honored resting place of so many of our fallen warriors, is to understand the grief and pain that those who lose their loved ones in any war, must endure. From it’s beginning, Arlington has been about pride in our nation and those who serve, but also about personal loss, suffering and grief. One of the most moving photos I’ve seen from Arlington is the photo of Mary McHugh who lost her fiance, Sgt. James J. Regan in Iraq. Mary has joined league with the honored loved ones who, as Lincoln so eloquently described, “laid down such a precious sacrifice on the alter of freedom”. In my mind Arlington Cemetery has become the symbol of the honored sacrifices made by Americans for hundreds of years, and so we must honor them and never forget what it means. God bless America and all our warriors who swear the oath to defend it at all costs.
What does a soldier do when he is in sleeping quarters and his base comes under attack? Well it turns into a “come as you are” fight featureing “pink boxers, body armour and flip flops”. A huge Memorial Day Salute to Army Specialist Zachary Boyd, 19, of
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – boxer shorts and flip-flops.on Thursday praised an Army soldier in eastern Afghanistan who drew media attention this month after rushing to defend his post from attack while wearing pink
In fact, Gates said he wants to meet the soldier and shake his hand the next time he visits Afghanistan.
“Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage,” Gates said in remarks prepared for a speech in New York.
“I can only wonder about the impact on the Taliban. Just imagine seeing that: a guy in pink boxers and flip-flops has you in his cross-hairs. What an incredible innovation in psychological warfare,” he said.
Read the rest of the story here.
Honoring the memory of every single man and woman who made the supreme sacrifice for our freedom and defending the Constitution of the United States of America. God bless them all in glory and may we never forget them or take for granted what they have all done for us... HoosierArmyMom
I have been wondering what I would like to post in honor of the Easter Sunday holiday. Breaking news has given me my inspiration.
To my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ I wish to give my deepest thanks for all he gave to give my life the richness of hope, salvation and his perfect love. And I would like to give Him thanks for delivering Captain Richard Phillips from the pirates who were holding him hostage. Much love and joy to his family and loved ones on this glorious day! What a wonderful Easter we have been witness to. Thanks to this brave man for all he’s done to save his ship, crew and stand for what is right. He has honored our country and the spirit of America. Special thanks to the US Navy for their perserverance and action in saving this brave man.
Much to be grateful for on this Easter Sunday! Captain Phillips is Free and Safe!!!
Current Serving Special Forces Soldier Warns: “Gun confiscation being set up inside the military”
To Free The Oppressed
It’s about time that something like this has formed. I’m an E7 in the Army National Guard (Colorado, B co. 5/19th SFG) I’m an 18C and I’m getting the hell out of the Army. I’ve had enough. I ETS in October and I’m picking up my family and we’re moving to New Hampshire to join other defenders of the Republic in a place that is still one of the freest places in the nation. (I’m a member of the Free State Project.)I’m currently serving on OWT status at Ft. Bliss, TX. I wanted to share what is going on here…
Read on… http://caosblog.com/9892
A patriot knows when his duty is to disobey the Commander-and-Chief; in order to UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION and DEFEND LIBERTY.
Learn more about these men of honor on Stogie’s blog… Sabrepoint
The Oath-Keepers: the Beginnings of Internal Rebellion Against Obama?
A society of members of the military and police have formed to oppose potentially unconstitutional orders and laws passed by Barack Obama and his Democrat supporters. They have listed laws and orders that they will not obey, remaining true to their oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States”.
Their blog is http://oath-keepers.blogspot.com/.
ARLINGTON, Va. — Sixty-four years ago on Feb. 23, 1 945, U.S. Marines stormed the sands of Iwo Jima and raised the American flag atop Mount Suribachi.
In honor of the 64th anniversary of that historic event, dozens of spectators and Marines, including nine individuals who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima, gathered at the Marine Corps War Memorial today for a flag-raising ceremony.
One of the Iwo Jima veterans present at the event acted as a forward observer during the battle, calling for and guiding indirect artillery fire from the island.
“The [flag-raising] brings back so many memories,” said former Pfc. James Wheeler, a Falls Church, Va., native. “It gave me goose bumps all over to see that flag go up again.”
Wheeler also said Feb. 23 should be an important date everyone should remember because a lot of Marines sacrificed their lives for that victory.
Before the ceremony’s conclusion, the Iwo Jima veterans placed a wreath at the base of the memorial to pay homage to those who were killed during the battle.
The Marine Corps War Memorial was sculpted by Felix de Weldon, using the iconic flag-raising photograph shot by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. The memorial was officially dedicated Nov. 10, 1954, on the Corps’ birthday by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“This war memorial is a reflection of all Marine sacrifices. Not just the Marines who fought at Iwo Jima, but Marines who fought years before that, years after that and today,” said Michael Kessler, national executive director for the Young Marines National Headquarters and a retired Marine colonel.
Shocked Obama Considering Bringing 9/11 Mastermind to the U.S.
I’m Lorraine Arias-Beliveau, and my wonderful brother, Adam Arias, was taken from us in the horrendous attack on the World Trade Center by murderous Islamic terrorists.
On the morning of September 11th, I was driving to the dentist’s office in New York City when I saw the shadow of a plane pass over very quickly. It was flying dangerously low and was extremely loud. It wasn’t but a few minutes later that I heard through the radio that the first World Trade Center tower had been hit.
Later, sitting in the dentist’s chair, I heard over the radio about the second tower being hit. I had that terrible feeling because my brother worked in that building! The phone lines were down, I could not call anyone, so I drove to my parent’s house a few blocks away to tell them not to go out.
I heard later that Adam had been seen running all over his office urging and pleading his co-workers to get out of the building and get as far away as possible. Our other brother, Lt. Col Don Arias who worked for the Air Force, had called Adam, VP of Operations for Euro Brokers on the 84th floor, and told him “get out, it is a hijacking!”
There were reports that he even forced some people out to safety, and many people today credit Adam with saving their lives. Reports say he was last seen outside the towers helping the firefighters leading people to safety. Adam stayed to the very last minute, trying to get as many people out as he could, but he did not make it away from the towers before they collapsed. We were notified on the 8th day that Adam’s remains had been found.
Our family has been waiting for seven years to get justice for our little brother Adam. When our family was invited down to Gitmo late last year to attend the trial of the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, we thought justice would come soon. What we saw was heartbreaking; it was like a circus! There he was, this monster who engineered the murder of my brother, and he was so smug, laughing at us, boasting about his terrible actions.
We were then startled earlier this year to learn that President Obama had called all the trials to halt, and issued an order to close Guantanamo Bay. Honestly I cannot think of a worse way to honor Adam and bring justice to his killers. They do not deserve to leave Gitmo; they do not deserve a trial in our federal court system. And, they sure don’t deserve the constitutional rights that will enable them to escape prosecution.
Too many Americans are unaware of the important role Guantanamo Bay plays in not only holding these murderous terrorists, but also providing a source of new intelligence to help our military men and women win the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That is why Move America Forward has prepared a TV advertisement to awaken people to the issues involved with bringing these terrorists into the United States. But, we need your financial support if we are going to get the TV spot on the air.
Please Make a Contribution here, so Move America Forward can run this AD on TV.
Not to long ago, my son asked me a question. It got me thinking about every conversation I ever had with a Viet Nam Veteran over the years, in as much detail as I could remember. He wanted to know why so many of the Viet Nam era vets were so angry and frustrated, so son, I am dedicating this post to you.
My first experience with a Nam vet was my former brother-in-law, and the father of my nieces. He never spoke of any of his experiences, but I instinctively knew they were difficult, as his emotional lockdown in life truly bore the evidence. He mostly talked about his bitter hatred for Jane Fonda and the way the government had ignored the needs of the vets, after they returned home again.
Then at nineteen, when I married my first husband and my first neighbor turned out to be a drafted, Army vet, who spoke some, but only about the better aspects, such as his friendships with others who shared the experience. Dave was a wonderful friend, but over the years I saw him descend into drug and alcohol abuse, the symptoms of what has happened to so many who were never given the help dealing with the mindset and memories of an ugly war.
Dave was a good man, he did his “duty”, did not shirk from it, and he returned to a society that was not only ungrateful, but totally unprecedented in its expression of hatred and loathing for those who served. I have heard many a veteran talk about returning home to strangers and even people they knew well, and being spit on at airports and being called “baby killers”.
Our government many times left the “wounded vets”, who were physically and mentally scarred, to their own devices to recover on their own. The numbers of vets returning that were allowed to “self destruct” is a statistic we will never know exactly and mostly because of all the ways and means that the destruction of their lives occurred. But I know of two cases where one vet died running his motorcycle into an embankment and it was called an accident, and another who broke his wife’s neck while sleeping (he had a nightmare / flashback) and ended up dying in a prison/ mental hospital, probably from a broken heart and spirit. Those are the casualties of war that are never reported as such.
One thing I do know is that many of these vets were left alone to deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder, the severe depression, and the ordeal of constantly living with the physical pain from their wounds, without any rehabilitative aide available for their minds and bodies. We were the “mental health and therapy for awareness” generation, and yet, we could not see that these vets were struggling, just to get back into being able to live and work normally? I think their struggles were infinitely more important than someone coming to grips with their “inner child, dysfunctional upbringing or sexuality”.
And thus, the “Me and I Generation” marched on over the bleeding souls of our vets, in my humble opinion.
While spending time with many of these vets, during my time with the PGR, I came to understand that many have found their own healing in making sure our military today knows that they are supported and honored here at home. The largest amount of support organizations for troops today have come from and been inspired by, our very same socially shamed, Viet Nam Veterans, as well as the family members of those currently serving and families of fallen troops in the War on Terror. The mantra I hear and see acted upon by my honored Nam Vet friends is “Never Again”.
Overall, there has been a great healing brought on by these hero’s of old by seeing to it that no returning vet today will feel what they felt or be treated the way they were treated, just because they answered their country’s call to duty and served selflessly and with honor. To these troops of the past, I salute you and vow to honor you and your service to my dying breath. Thank you all and Welcome Home to every soldier, sailor, marine and airman who ever served this country!
In the coming months, you will probably see a swing in my blog posts. It is all well and fine to debate politics, but for the most part, there are plenty of good reads on the web, done by people who know their facts and present them intelligently, and in some cases, on the extreme level. This is not where my heart is leading me.
One of my dear blog friends, GM Roper has served, is from a military family, and has also been involved with psychiatry and counselling for most of his adult life. He has brought to my attention a service organization that is trying to fill in the gaps in mental health care for returning vets, by lining up professional volunteers to help, by donating one hour a month to veterans returning today, and I want to get involved.
The Wounded Warriors Project, as well as, other troop support organizations, have long been near and dear to my heart. The only “Real Change” comes from work and dedication, not from arguing, insulting, and whining about things you are not empowered to alter. I will continue to honor my Savior here as well, since all I do and all that I’m capable of accomplishing in this life, I owe to Him, who gives me the resolve to get it done.
Coming from an environment where service to your country is honored and if one disagrees with a war, the blame is firmly placed where it belongs, with our leaders, not our troops, I’m sure my son had a hard time understanding this part of our history. I hope this post answers that question for him and many who were born after all this happened.
I recently met a military mom, Denise Young from Kokomo, who handed me her business card. On the back it read, “We military moms share a special bond that can’t be explained. When it happens to one of us, it happens to us all.” After one meeting with Denise and two other chapter presidents of Indiana Blue Star Mothers, I began to understand this bond and the reasons why they need Hoosiers’ help to support our troops.
Blue Star Mothers is a non-profit national organization of mostly mothers whose sons and daughters are serving, or have served, in the military. They provide support to families and mothers, so that their sons and daughters serving in the military can focus on the task at hand. With five chapters in Indiana, they work hard to ensure that our troops and their families receive the support that they deserve by connecting them to other families and mothers going through similar circumstances. We all understand the toll it takes on families when loved ones are absent from their daily lives. It’s a toll that I’m familiar with. I’ve got an Army wife, a Navy officer, an Air Guard Reservist and the girlfriend of a National Guardsman on staff in my office, and they all tell me that the support of their fellow Hoosiers is needed and appreciated.
We have more reasons than ever before to support our Hoosier military mothers and families. I recently attended the largest deployment our state has seen since WWII. 3,400 Indiana National Guardsmen and women were deployed. This brings the total of Hoosiers serving on active duty to 4,515, and no state, including large states like California, is represented more than Indiana.
Blue Star Mothers encourages everyone to care for the troops on active duty by sending letters of encouragement and care packages. They need our help with these letters and packages. Postage to send these items, especially overseas, can be costly, and donations are appreciated. Indiana Blue Star Mothers are also asking for toys for the troops to pass out to Iraqi children, who in return point out improvised explosive devices or IEDs.
Blue Star Mothers also actively support the needs of military families and veterans. Monthly meetings and one-on-one meetings provide a support network for military families. They also visit injured soldiers in hospitals and educate soldiers and their families about the signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Blue Star Mothers assist in veterans programs and connect veterans to needed services or items.
If you are interested in donating or volunteering, or if you have a loved one serving in the military and would like the support of this organization, please visit the Blue Star Mothers Web site at http://bluestarmothers.org/in.php for chapters in Indiana.
Naturally, being a Blue Star Mom, I feel compelled to get this message out to my fellow Hoosiers… HoosierArmyMom.
I got a call from my soldier this morning… he didn’t want me to be surprised, but he has been reassigned from being with the XVIII Airborne Corps (his original unit) to being assigned as an auxillary to the 82nd Airborne. What this means is the chances are pretty high he will be deployed as part of the 20,000 troops. I asked him long ago about what “parachute riggers” do when on deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan? Convoy Security… they man the guns on trucks and armored vehicles. I am as proud of him as I can be, but that is not to say I won’t be sending up some serious prayers along with sending out care packages when and if he deploys. Time to prepare myself mentally for this one. And my youngest son is talking Air Force… there really is never any comfort zone for a Mom.
Commander sees ‘tough fight’ in Afghan war
By Tom Vanden Brook USATODAY
KABUL — The top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan said Sunday that 2009 will be a “tough fight” in Afghanistan and the United States will need nearly twice as many troops for up to four years to stabilize the country.
In an interview with USA TODAY at the International Security Assistance Force headquarters, Gen. David McKiernan said increasing U.S. troop levels from about 32,000 to 55,000 or 60,000 is “needed until we get to this tipping point where the Afghan army and the Afghan police have both the capacity and capability to provide security for their people.” “That is at least three or four more years away,” he added. The Afghan army has 78,000 troops and is building to 134,000.
McKiernan said he has asked the Pentagon for more than 20,000 soldiers, Marines and airmen. He also called on NATO nations to increase their commitment of troops to Afghanistan and to remove restrictions on how and when they can fight. There are about 31,000 troops from other nations in Afghanistan.
U.S. troop levels probably will need to remain at elevated levels for “several years at a minimum,” depending on the stability of the Afghan government, the training of its troops, and cooperation from tribal leaders and neighboring Pakistan, according to Andrew Krepinevich, president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
McKiernan said his request for more troops differs from the escalation in Iraq last year. The addition of more than 30,000 troops there, combined with a new strategy, helped improve security.
“I don’t like to use the word ‘surge’ here because if we put these additional forces in here, it’s going to be for the next few years,” he said. “It’s not a temporary increase of combat strength.”
McKiernan declined to say whether he expected next year to be more deadly for U.S. troops. Through October, 129 U.S. servicemembers were killed in Afghanistan this year, compared with 83 combat deaths in all of 2007.
He acknowledged the Pentagon’s ability to field more troops depends on reducing its forces in Iraq. There are 148,000 U.S. troops there. “There’s certainly a linkage,” he said. “The availability of the forces that we’ve asked for here — that’s directly connected to force flow in Iraq.”
Despite the challenges, McKiernan said he remained optimistic.
“I believe that over time, with the support of the international community, Afghan institutions will grow and develop and this insurgency will be contained and defeated,” he said. “I am firmly of the belief that the vast majority of the people in Afghanistan … don’t support the Taliban. They don’t support the other radical insurgent groups.”
Please See Commenter Mike’s comment. Blog Post will follow… http://www.honorandremember.org
On this Memorial Day we should all try to find ways to honor those who have sacrificed so much for our country since it’s conception. Fallen troops and wounded warriors come to mind for me, but this morning while I was looking at Michelle Malkin’s blog this item on Pat Dollard’s blog stood out. This is a photo of 1st Lt. Dustin Shumney and his family prior to January 2005. Dustin, after having served with the Marines in the battle of Fallujah, died in a helicopter crash during a sandstorm along with 30 other troops. He was a highly decorated Marine and left his wife Julie a widow, and his three children fatherless.
Julie Shumney has dealt with her loss for three years. She has relied on God and has taken on the mission of wanting to help other families in her position in such a way as to honor her fallen husband. Unfortunately, she encountered a man, posing as a minister who along with another man, bilked her out of $57,000 on a fund raising scam. Her honorable intentions got her in trouble because of the actions of dishonorable men. What is left for us to do on this day of remembrance? We can honor Lt. Shumney, by helping his widow and family. You can read the full story here and if you are so moved, donate to helping her through this trying time. Rest in Peace 1st Lt Shumney, your family is cared for and your duty done. Semper Fi.
The Patriot Post
Founders’ Quote Daily”These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier
and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the
service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the
love and thanks of man and woman.”– Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)