31 December 2005

Teenager Answers Political Cartoonist's Question

If you don't read Michelle Malkin, you may have missed this teenager's response to Atlanta Journal-Constitution's cartoonist Mike Luckovich who used the names of the fallen in Iraq to create an image spelling out the word, "Why?":

Be sure to read the story about teenager Danielle Ansley at Michelle's.

Baby Noor Arrives in Atlanta

Baby Noor smiles at her father, Haider. Noor, who has spina bifida, was determined to be healthy enough for the plane trip to Atlanta for life-saving surgery.

Greyhawk has the whole story.

30 December 2005

The Final Chapter

Yahoo News Photo

U.S. Base in Germany Closes After 60 Years

The U.S. Air Force on Friday handed over the keys to Rhein-Main Air Base to the operator of Frankfurt International Airport, the last step in closing the base that hosted American forces for 60 years.

The 120 buildings on the base are to be bulldozed to make way for a third terminal for Frankfurt's sprawling civilian airport — continental Europe's busiest. It officially becomes German property on Saturday.

The ceremony, at which Brig. Gen. Mike Snodgrass gave the keys of the base's buildings and main gate to Manfred Schoelch of airport operator Fraport AG, followed Rhein-Main's formal closing in October.

"It's bittersweet — after 60 years of partnership, to see it come to an end," said Capt. Jonathan Friedman, a U.S. Air Force spokesman.

October posts:
Making History from Greyhawk
A Sad Note from the Air Force Association from LinkedInUSAF

U.S. hospital in Germany Site of Sacrifice, Care

Only days before Christmas, the Intensive Care Unit at the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany is as busy as ever.

Doctors and nurses work around the clock at this hospital to meet the needs of U.S. soldiers who have been severely injured in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat locations.

The influx of patients with blast and gunshot wounds, burns, or other traumatic injuries from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other attacks, has remained steady since the beginning of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq over two years ago.

A total of more than 28,000* soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom have already been treated at Landstuhl hospital, the largest American medical facility outside the continental United States.

While most Americans are resting over the holiday season, the medical personnel at Landstuhl will be working away to help injured troops get well and get home to their loved ones stateside as soon as possible.

"Sure, we would like to be able to go home for the holidays, but so would the soldiers in Iraq," said Major Insel Angus, a reservist nurse from Reno, Nevada, who arrived in Germany last February.

Angus belongs to a reserve group of 300 medical specialists who were brought in to help stabilize the critically wounded and get them back to the United States for further treatment.

Most of her colleagues have left family, regular jobs and even private practices behind.

Yet, recently, Angus and two thirds of her reserve group voluntarily extended their rotation in Germany for another year.

Rest of the story about the Landstuhl staff here.

* Of the total number, approximately 3000 have been wounded in action, others treated for non-combat injuries and illness. Greyhawk has a good analysis here (scroll down).

New Year's Eve Reminder

29 December 2005

Grey Lady Down

Found this interesting tidbit from the Investor's Business Daily at Yahoo News:

Trust: The so-called mainstream media in general and The New York Times in particular are waging a relentless campaign undermining the war on terror. The Fourth Estate is beginning to look like a Fifth Column.

It's hard to imagine a major American newspaper in 1942 announcing before the Battle of Midway that we had broken the Imperial Japanese code or before D-Day that the Allies had a machine that let us read the Nazis' highest-level transmissions.

Yet in the war on terror, that's exactly the kind of information that papers like the Times and The Washington Post, in the name of the "people's right to know," have provided our jihadist enemy -- from stories on secret CIA prisons where our mortal enemies are held to wiretaps on al-Qaida operatives and their U.S. contacts.

28 December 2005

Thanks, We Won't Forget This

From Captain Ed:

Poland Stands By The Coalition

A hearty round of applause, please, for our allies in Poland who understand the necessity of guarding freedom and democracy.

Despite an earlier indication that the Poles would stick to a withdrawal timetable that would have seen their 1500-troop contingent leave Iraq within a few weeks, Poland announced instead that it would maintain its forces in Iraq throughout 2006 in keeping with a request from the new Iraqi government.
( ... )

In a time when European politicians often fall back on reflexive anti-Americanism to score short-term political points, let's remember that some of our friends understand the stakes involved in the Iraqi front of the war on terror. Three cheers for the brave and steadfast Poles.

And Elephants in Academia notes:

Good for new Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. Good for the Poles. I commented some weeks ago that our support for democracy in Poland had turned a country that was at best neutral-to-hostile during the Cold War into a staunch ally.

This is something to consider when someone asks you why we are bothering to support democracy in Iraq.

The Liberty Limited

Via Soldiers' Angel Sara from Janie of PeepsArt.com.

It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops.

"We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett.

So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3.

The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it.

Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them.

He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard.

( ... )

He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played.

The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D.C. and Bethesda, in Maryland.

"We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."

Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea.

But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.

No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op."

And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.

The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands.

"I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.

Read the rest of Ronnie Polaneczky's story Here's a Yule story that ought to be a movie at Philly.com here.

The Past Two Fridays at WR

Photo courtesy of Gunn Nutt

Have been remiss in posting on the supporters out at Walter Reed the last couple of weeks, so here's a quick update:

Gunn Nutt, "Got Freedom? Kiss a Vet" post from 18 December and "The Eve of Christmas Eve at WR" from 26 December.

And Landry Fan, "Outside Walter Reed Army Medical Center Dec 16, 05", who prefaces her remarks and pics with this:

We held a counter-protest of the Code Pinkos's anti-troops antics. As you know, anti-war/anti-military people hold weekly protests outside the main gate of WRAMC. It disturbs a lot of people. Namely, the patients, the patients' families and friends, veterans, military personnel serving, and decent people everywhere.

Thanks to the Friday night crowd at WR, and a belated Merry Christmas!

27 December 2005

The Candy Guy - Part XIV

Holly's got the latest from Richard over at her blog here.

Hey ya'll, I am in Kuwait and on my way home from Iraq - hopefuly for good. I have a few days to spare, doing much of nothing, so I figure I might as well catch up on a few good "Dixie Thunder" stories.

Now this is one that happened about two months ago...

Contributed by:
Sara of Soldiers' Angels and her Soldier Richard from Iraq

25 December 2005

What You Are Supporting - Thank You!

From a Marine in Iraq.

Photo was taken a few weeks back out on the Syrian border.

Thought you might want to see twenty very good reasons of why we’re here and what you are supporting...

Thank you again.

... the amazing thing about the Iraqi children is they are all so happy, even in their poverty – but it isn’t a material poverty or poverty of the body, but more like a poverty of freedom and of the mind.

In time, our efforts will pay off – this I believe to the core of my soul – freedom will come.

17 December 2005

How Much Do We Love Our Soldiers?

This much...

...from Angels and Friends all over America and Germany for our wounded and ill soldiers being transitioned through Germany.




amandaand willie
Amanda and Willie sorting and filling Christmas stockings

Wendy adds the finishing touches to some Christmas stockings

Caitlin and Alexis with the Christmas stockings ready to go

Rudi and MaryAnn with 2000 CDs donated by the band Shooting Star through Kathy at Operation Santa

To be continued tomorrow!

15 December 2005

Can You Sew? Hand and Foot Coverings for Wounded Soldiers Needed for Medevac Flights Back to the US

Medevac flights are long, uncomfortable, and cold.

The Soldiers' Angels have adopted the Combat Support Hospitals in Iraq and all the Military hospitals worldwide. Soldiers’ Angels Germany supports the patients at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. See About Medical Evacuations to Germany.

Soldiers Angels offered to provide custom hand and foot coverings for the critically injured to protect their extremities from the winter cold and chilly planes.

THANK YOU!! This project has been a huge success. We would like to ask you to please consider supporting our wounded and ill soldiers by making Blankets of Hope.

While the warmers are only needed by a small number of critical patients, Soldiers' Angels tries to provide EVERY injured or ill Soldier with a blanket from home.

Please click here for more information. Thank you.

This information is current as of November 2006.

If you or your organization would like to make hand or foot warmers for our wounded heroes, you can Email me for detailed sewing instructions.

Shipping address:

Attn: Soldiers' Angels
CMR 402
APO AE 09180

- Please notify us when items are shipped.
- Include a note with your name, Email address, and short description of items sent in your packages. Without this information, we regret will not be able to confirm their receipt.

Thank you for helping support our wounded heroes who have sacrificed so much for us.

Lt Col Cathy Martin, ICU Manager,
in front of the "warmer shelf" at Landstuhl ICU.

Election Day: Hope for the Children


"When I give things to the Iraqi kids, it helps me see hope in their eyes."


"We would love anything you can send for the Iraqi children, they have my heart."

If you would like to send Ben items for the Iraqi children, please email me.

Contributed by:
Sara of Soldiers' Angels and "her" soldier Ben in Iraq.

12 December 2005

Freezing Friday Evening at Walter Reed

Landry Fan, Gunn Nutt, Andi, and the FReepers were out at Walter Reed again last Friday night in spite of freezing temperatures and high winds.


Photo by FReeper bmwcyle via Landry Fan.

Andi, who's husband recently deployed to Iraq notes:
It's been a while since I've been out to the counter demonstration. Some things never change, including Code Pink's insistence on desecrating the grounds outside of Walter Reed, the hospital housing many of our recovering heroes. They managed ten or so anti-war protesters, but no guitar and no hippie music tonight - whew!

Gunn Nutt's report is a must-read, as always, with lots of pics and good insight.

Read Landry Fan's report, too, which includes this statement to which I can only say, Amen!

Maybe this Christmas season, the pinkos' hearts will grow a size or two and they will stop tormenting the war wounded.

10 December 2005

A Soldier's Ode to the Protesters

I may not know your name
but know that I care
I'm going to share some things with you
so you are aware

You march in protest
with your signs in hand
You say war is not the answer
it's not god's plan

Well I don't agree
or at least choose the words you may
But here I stand
defending to my death your right to say

I guess you don't really get it
you'll never understand
How nervewracking it is
to step out on that sand

So those who say its not worth the cost
it's not worth the while
Has never seen a grin
on the face of an Iraqi child

Just know we are here
to help them make a stand
And I will give my life
to put freedom in their hands

So before you raise your sign
and scream about what's right
Know that I'm standing guard
sleep in peace tonight

Cause you may never be here
and I pray you never do
We will stand and fight
making the American dream come true

We know our road's broken,
not all smooth and flat
It's just disheartening to know
it's come down to that

So before you curse at Bush
know we're glad he exists
Because he cared enough to make a stand
instead of just waving an angry fist.

Written by deployed soldier Jeff B. after being on guard duty. Contributed by his Angel Amy.

09 December 2005

Year-end Message from the Director of Soldiers' Angels

Dear Friends:

It has been an exciting year at Soldiers’ Angels. All of the efforts of our friends, family and supporters have resulted in the word about our mission being spread all over the world. We have met some wonderful people and have had the privilege of working with them to further our vital mission.

Every day we are making sure that the brave men and women who are currently deployed in support of the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever we raise the flag of the United States of America know that we support them and honor them for their service and sacrifice.

I wanted to take this moment to give you an update of what we have been able to accomplish this year, none of which would have been possible without you.

We are proud to report that:

 Over 100,000 care packages were sent to our heroes so far in 2005

 Project Valour-IT will be able to provide laptops with voice recognition software to 1,000 brave heroes who have lost the use of their hand, arm or who have had an amputation

 Almost 800 transitional backpacks with essential personal items were provided to Landstuhl hospital for our wounded and ill heroes transitioned through Germany

 Blankets of Hope have provided thousands of blankets to our wounded, offering comfort to those who have given so much

 Family assistance has been provided to over 50 families including assistance with rent, food and other necessities

 Flights have been provided for over 100 families to be with their wounded hero upon return to the states from Germany

 Letter Writing Teams have sent out over 10,000 letters per month this year

 Operation Katrina helped match our brave soldiers returning from the Gulf with families who had been displaced by the storm. Assistance was also provided in helping families relocate, find housing and replace personal items

 Soldiers for Kids has shipped hundreds of boxes to help our heroes help the children who have been affected in Iraq and Afghanistan

 Angels Coast to Coast has grown and blossomed into a huge network of support

 Living Legends has reached out to the families of those heroes who paid the ultimate price to offer our condolences, words of support and a Living Tree donated to the families to be planted in memory of their lost loved one

 And so much more…

We have been able to provide boots to soldiers who were in great need. We have supplied Kevlar blankets when they were needed to line the floorboards and walls of unarmored Humvees. We have sent supplies to K-9 units who are often overlooked. We have sent supplies to medics and snake bite kits to soldiers responding to the disaster in New Orleans.

And most importantly, our members have reached out and touched the lives of the men and women of our Armed Forces. They have given of their time, money, hearts and souls to make sure that these heroes know we care and support them. We thank them for all that they do. Since 2003, Soldiers’ Angels has grown to over 60,000 members worldwide having adopted over 19,000 individual soldiers and lots of groups.

We could not have done any of this without the generous men, women and children who make up our organization or the incredibly generous people and companies that support Soldiers’ Angels and our mission. It is both a privilege and an honor to be able to provide this service and support to the brave men and women who fight for our freedom and democracy.

On behalf of Patti Bader and Ana-Marie Smith, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a joyful and prosperous New Year.

With eternal gratitude,

Don MacKay

Donald William MacKay
Executive Director
Soldiers’ Angels

01 December 2005

Little Things Can Mean A Lot

A Thanksgiving day email exchange between a Soldier in Iraq and Soldiers' Angels.

Dear Soldiers’ Angels,

I just re-submitted my name and info because I was trying to get help on how to contact my buddy's Angels. He was seriously hurt in an accident and I'm sure he would like them to know what’s going on. His name is SSgt C.

Please e-mail me back with more information on how to get a hold of my friend’s Angels or if you can get a hold of his Angels and give them my e-mail address so I can update them with his situation it would be great.

Thank you again,
SSgt G.

What can you say about a guy worried about his seriously injured friend who is at the same time concerned about his friend's Angels...

Patti, the founder of Soldiers' Angels replies:

Dear SSgt G.,

I am so sorry to hear this news, I will get you the names ASAP.

How are you doing, can I send supplies?


And what can you say about the founder of an organization that is watching submission messages, researching Angels' names, and asking about sending supplies - on Thanksgiving day...

Thank you for your support and wanting to help, Ms. Patti.

SSgt C. is in Germany now so I'm sure he is receiving the best care possible. If there is anything you're wanting to send please feel free but I can't think of anything needed right off the top of my head at the moment.

Thank you again for your help.

SSgt G.

Patti forwards the email to us at SA Germany. I make a phone call, then update the group:

Hi everyone,

I'm in New Jersey right now, but I just called the hospital and spoke with the nurse on Sgt C.'s ward.

She promised to let Sgt C. know that Sgt G. and the "Ninjas" were asking for him, so please pass that along to him.

She also said she was just in his room, he was sleeping but she had been talking with him earlier... (personal information removed)

Let us know if there's anything else we can do, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Angel Robin picks it up here, forwarding the news to SSgt G. and receiving this reply:

Thank you so much, Robin.

Y'all mean so much to us soldiers over here in Iraq. It's amazing how if you just reach out for help there are people like yourself and Soldiers’ Angels there to help out in any way possible.

It brought tears to my eyes just knowing that y'all contacted someone who could get through to him and let him know that his buddies care so much about him.

Thank you, Robin.

SSgt G.

Like I said - little things can mean a lot.