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.

29 November 2005

Giving Thanks at Walter Reed

'Twas the night after Thanksgiving and the temperatures were in the 20s, but that didn't stop our great friends Gunn Nutt, LandryFan, and others from showing up for the weekly counterprotest in front of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Photo courtesy of GunnNutt

For many months now, this group of patriots has gathered in front of Walter Reed to show support for our recovering heroes and to counteract the demonstration of radical CodePink protesters.

In a shameful show of disrespect, the Pinkos have chosen a military hospital instead of the White House or the Capitol as the location of their ongoing anti-war protest. According to LandryFan, on Friday a wounded soldier in a wheelchair braved the elements to come out and exercise his right of free speech to give the Pinkos his opinion on that.

Gunn Nutt has a full report with lots of photos, some interesting comments about 3 Massachusetts Congressmen, and an interesting tidbit about CodePink's planned trip to Cuba in December.

In another post as part of "The 14 Day Pushback" launched by Andi of Andi's World, Gunn Nutt discusses why it is important to continue protesting the anti-war protesters, using soldiers' letters and comments to illustrate the point.

22 November 2005

Christmas at Arlington

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi

From Freedom Folks via Ace of Spades and Michelle Malkin.


In the comments section and on his blog, LinkedInUSAF points us to the origin of this story at Air Force Link here.

Here's an excerpt, but be sure to read the whole thing and watch the video.

Airmen, civilians lay wreaths at Arlington

by Senior Airman J.G. Buzanowski
Air Force Print News

12/19/2005 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Despite the cold, wind and snow, about 75 people gathered at Arlington National Cemetery on Dec. 15 to lay more than 5,000 wreaths on gravesites, including four at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Since 1992, members of the armed forces, civil air patrol, veterans of foreign wars and several civilians have gathered to take part in the project, a brainchild of Maine resident Morrill Worcester.

Mr. Worcester owns and operates a holiday decoration company. Thirteen years ago he had a holiday wreath surplus and thought back to his youth. At age 12, he’d won a trip to Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery was one of the most memorable places he visited. His first thought was to bring the extra 4,000 wreaths there.

“We couldn’t do anything in this country if it wasn’t for the people who gave their lives to protect us,” Mr. Worcester said. “It’s a great honor to be able to come here and pay our respects.”

19 November 2005

"Thank you for the chance to serve... "

The "Submit a Soldier" (for adoption) form on the Soldiers' Angels website contains a field for the soldier to make any specific requests of his/her new Angel.

Here is a recent entry.

I'm really not the type of person to ask for things for myself. But I am overwhelmed by the fact that a site like this exists.

I'd like to say that as a soldier, I am touched by the fact that you - whoever you may be - thought enough of us that you to want to send a soldier anything.

Thank you for your generosity and thank you for the chance to serve to protect the rights and values of a country that I hold dear to my heart.

17 November 2005

The Candy Guy - Part XIII

The Deadly Mortars

Hey ya’ll, Sorry about not writing for a while, but been on leave, and having computer trouble, here.

I am titling this story, "The Deadly Mortars", as this is the bunch of guys I am running missions with now, and they really scare me sometimes - the mortar platoon, that is. Before I went home on leave I went out with them a good bit.

I normally ride in the back of the tub truck with G and V, and W. The tub truck is the truck with an open back, and we either stand or sit in the back of it; and is has armored plates around the sides. G is always standing there, at the gun.

It was a bright and early morning here on the FOB. I had this great big box of candy and things that was sent me by Soldiers' Angels, and I decided, as we were going out on a humanitarian mission anyway, that I could get it all together and give it out on that particular mission.

So I loaded this great big box up in the back of the tub truck with G and V. It was us three in the back, riding there down the road: the big five ton was right behind us.

We got to the corner, up a ways from our FOB, and all the little kids come running out to the road expecting goodies, like they usually get from us. But this day I decided I would wait till we got to the humanitarian site as we were always giving out loads of candy and things to the kids on the corner, anyway.

So I was kicked back on the top of the cooler, leaning back on the cab, and watching the road go by me backwards, with the five ton right behind us. All well and good.

But then, all of a sudden, we got to this sharp turn and our driver practically slammed on brakes to make the sharp turn. There was no way the five ton was going to stop as fast as we did: and they didn’t; the problem here was they was right onto our tails before we ever did start to slow down to begin with. And when we hit the brakes I watched, as in slow motion, first the eyes of the two up front in the five ton get as big around as two set hen eggs that was ready to hatch.

Then I could hear them lock up the brakes, and even noticed the black smoke coming all off the bottom of the totally locked up tires dragging the hot road. And steady as a ticking watch the driver was turning the wheel to the side: by-n-by, my eyes got a lot bigger round than either of the two soldiers in the front seat of that five ton.

The truck got closer and closer to us, and disaster was imminent!

That is when the entire truck went up on two side wheels and kind of grazed the entire side of our vehicle that was stopped by now. After they rode down the side of our lucky tub truck a ways, they stopped too. It finally dawned on G and V what had happened, and they nearly laid one.

This was our near death times one!

Alright, so I thought: what else could possibly happen on this beautiful day in Iraq? We unloaded the stuff for our chaplain, as it was his mission: like wheelchairs, and blankets and things. After doing all this I got back up on the truck and intended to throw out the box of candy.

But all the kids had got a little bit unruly. So I thought to myself: alright now, ya’ll want to play this; well now, you just wont get any of this candy, but it will all go to the kids on the corner after all. So we headed back to the FOB without incident.

We got to the corner, and sure enough: it had to be about twenty little Iraqi kids come running out to the side of the road, the little girls in their very colorful dresses: they looked every bit like the trees in the Fall, back at home.

We went past the corner and down the road a ways before I chucked the box of candy out. I took the thing and threw it as hard as I could to the right, so as to not get any of the kids killed: it was way off the road, now.

But no sooner had I throwed it when this little boy - not more than seven years old - come shooting out across the street from the other side, just like a dog, without even looking once. I stood up from the cooler and nearly freaked as I saw the tiny silhouette of this kid only right in front of the Five Ton, that was steady plowing up the road, full speed ahead. How that kid survived, I can’t never tell: both timing and God, I suppose.

The five ton missed running over that kid, literally, by a fraction of a nose hair. This really shook me up.

Near death times TWO!!!!

Come next day we were out again. I was about nervous by this point, and only wanted to survive the week so I could go home on leave! We went on up town without incident.

But then, we went to make this real sharp turn, and that is when it happened: the fifty cal ammo box just fell plumb out of the side of the truck, and the hum-v didn’t stop but just ran right slam over the box. Somehow, the back tire caught that box just right: big fifty cal rounds started going off all in that box, shooting all out the side of the box, and going everywhere, BOOM! BOOM! BANG! You name it... It left great big burnt holes all in the road where it shot the road all up.

Near death times three!

But I made it home and had my leave, so need I ask for more?

And this, ya’ll, is what it's like with "The Deadly Mortars".

Later, Richard...

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

16 November 2005

Final Results of the Valour-IT Fundraising Competition - THANK YOU!

Apologies for being so late on this... the final tally is in at the Valour-IT Blog, and it is impressive:


The blogger team breakdown is as follows:

Navy - $23,831.76
Army - $23,652.57
Marines - $19,607.00
Air Force - $11,114.11
Unaffiliated - $10,128.00

Although Navy ended up slightly higher than Army, the Army team led by Blackfive was the first to reach the team goal of $21,000.00. Congratulations, Army!

Valour-IT's mission is to provide laptops with voice-controlled software to soldiers with hand and arm injuries or amputations at military medical centers in the United States and Germany.

My heart is filled to think of the many hundreds of individuals who donated to this cause. Thank you.

And thank you to all of the bloggers - most importantly FbL of Fuzzilicious Thinking, the competition organizer - who participated in the fundraising competition. Without you this would not have been possible.

12 November 2005

Soldiers' Angels Mourns SPC Robert C. Pope, II

"One can not fathom the enormity of emotions running through the family and friends of these brave soldiers. We can only hope when these horrifying times become history pages that it was all for something. That the world is a more peaceful place and these deaths praised for the heroism it was. To die in a strange land with hatred and viciousness makes this all the more daunting and hard to stay the course. If we break now though it will have been for naught. We reach out to the loved ones of the slain and with hope and faith holds them in our hearts forvever."

- Patti Bader and The Soldiers Angels

From Cathy of the Soldiers' Angels Living Legends Team:

Robert Pope, II, 22, was killed November 07, 2005 along with three other soldiers. They died in Baghdad, Iraq when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near their dismounted patrol. They were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, CO.

He is survived by his parents, Regina and Robert Pope.
Robert also had two Angels, who are also grieving his loss.

Our hearts are with Robert's family, friends, Angels, and comrades. Neither he nor those who fell with him will ever be forgotten.

Robert Pope graduated from East Islip, New York High School in 2001 and attended Suffolk County Community College. He enlisted in the Army in March 2003, motivated by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, according to his family.

"It meant a lot to him, what he was doing," said Pope's father, Robert, 47. (...)

Mixed in with the sorrow, Robert Pope yesterday recalled watching New York Giants and Jets football games with his son over beers and laughs.

He was a great son," he said with a smile. "He was just terrific in every way."

Please take a moment to read about Robert Pope and his family.

Army Specialist Robert C. Pope II tribute at the Soldiers' Angels Fallen Heroes blog.

11 November 2005

In Honor of Our Veterans, Past and Present (Part 3)

If here today the cloud of thunder lours
Tomorrow it will hie on far behests;
The flesh will grieve on other bones than ours
Soon, and the soul will mourn in other breasts.

The troubles of our proud and angry dust
Are from eternity, and shall not fail.
Bear them we can, and if we can we must.
Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.

- A.E. Housman

* * *

This is the last day of the Valour-IT blogger fundraising competition. As a member of the Marine Valour-IT blogging team, I would like to thank all of you for your generous support.

If you haven't donated yet, there's still time: Just click on the PayPal button here. Thank you!

Thanks also to Michele Malkin for her support of Soldiers' Angels and Valour-IT.

10 November 2005

Semper Fidelis

For a group of Cathey's friends, there was one more task.

The Marines, many of whom had flown in from Okinawa the night before, walked up to the casket. One by one, they removed their white gloves and placed them on the smooth wood. Then they reached into a bag of sand the same dark gray shade as gunpowder.

A few years ago, while stationed in the infantry in Hawaii, Jim Cathey and his friends had taken a trip to Iwo Jima, where nearly 6,000 Marines had lost their lives almost 60 years before. They slept on the beach, thinking about all that had happened there. The day before they left, they each collected a bag of sand.

Those bags of sand sat in their rooms for years. Girlfriends questioned them. Wives wondered what they would ever do with them.

One by one, the young Marines poured a handful of sand onto the gloves atop the casket, then stepped back.

Sgt. Gavin Conley, who had escorted his friend's body to Reno, reached into the bag, made a fist and drizzled the grains onto the casket.

Once again, he slowly brought his bare hand to his brow.

A final salute.

See this extraordinary report titled "Final Salute" at the Denver RockyMountainNews.com which profiles Maj. Steve Beck as he carries out a tradition that started in 1775: Never leave a Marine behind.

Maj. Beck is a casualty assistance calls officer.

Rocky Mountain News reporter Jim Sheeler and photographer Todd Heisler spent the past year with the Marines stationed at Aurora's Buckley Air Force Base who have found themselves called upon to notify families of the deaths of their sons in Iraq. In each case in this story, the families agreed to let Sheeler and Heisler chronicle their loss and grief.

They wanted people to know their sons, the men and women who brought them home, and the bond of traditions more than 200 years old that unite them.

Though readers are led through the story by the white-gloved hand of Maj. Steve Beck, he remains a reluctant hero. He is, he insists, only a small part of the massive mosaic that is the Marine Corps.

Read the whole thing, and make sure to view the video presentation.

Marine 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey tribute at the Soldiers' Angels Fallen Heroes blog.

In Honor of Our Veterans, Past and Present (Part 2)

Armed Liberal has a great Veteran's Day post up over at Winds of Change:

Veteran's Day is a simple day in which we - as a nation - express our gratitude to the veterans who have sacrificed, suffered, and risked for us.

Acknowledging that requires three simple things:

- To acknowledge that there is an 'us' on whose behalf the veterans have served.

- To acknowledge that their service itself was an honor.

- To acknowledge that our nation - like all others - owes no small part of its existence, wealth, and freedom to the simple fact that we were (and I hope are) willing to defend it with the force of arms. We are born in blood, and live with bloody hands.

Finally, to acknowledge that last moral debt with a personal commitment to make that blood others have spent for us matter. To use our freedom, build our community, do something to create a future better than our present.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

It is a well-known fact that Marines are "different". To illustrate this, and in honor of the Corps' 230th birthday, the enlistment oaths of the service branches are compared below.

Happy Birthday, guys!

* * *


"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES AIR FORCE because I know I couldn't hack it in the Army, because the Marines frighten me, and because I am afraid of water over waist-deep. I swear to sit behind a desk. I also swear not to do any form of real exercise, but promise to defend our bike riding test as a valid form of exercise. I promise to walk around calling everyone by their first name because I find it amusing to annoy the other services.

I will have a better quality of life than those around me and will, at all times, be sure to make them aware of that fact. After completion of "Basic Training", I will be a lean, mean, donut-eating, Lazy-Boy sitting, civilian-wearing-blue-clothes, Chair-borne Ranger. I will believe I am superior to all others and will make an effort to clean the knife before stabbing the next person in the back. I will annoy those around me, and will go home early every day. So Help Me God!"

____________________ Signature ____________________ Date

* * *


"I, Rambo, swear to sign away 4 years of my mediocre life to the UNITED STATES ARMY because I couldn't score high enough on the ASVAB to get into the Air Force, I'm not tough enough for the Marines, and the Navy won't take me because I can't swim. I will wear camouflage every day and tuck my trousers into my boots because I can't figure out how to use blousing straps. I promise to wear my uniform 24 hours a day even when I have a date.

I will continue to tell myself that I am a fierce killing machine because my Drill Sergeant told me I am, despite the fact that the only action I will see is a court-martial for sexual harassment. I acknowledge the fact that I will make E-8 in my first year of service, and vow to maintain that it is because I scored perfect on my PT test. After completion of my "Basic Training" I will attend a different Army school every other month and return knowing less than I did when I left. On my first trip home after Boot Camp, I will walk around like I am cool and propose to my 9th grade sweetheart. I will make my wife stay home because if I let her out she might leave me for a better-looking Air Force guy.

While at work I will maintain a look of knowledge while getting absolutely nothing accomplished. I will arrive to work every day at 1000 hrs because of morning PT and leave everyday at 1300 to report back to "COMPANY." So Help Me God!"

_____________________ Signature _____________________ Date

* * *


"I, Top Gun, in lieu of going to prison, swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES NAVY, because I want to hang out with Marines without actually having to BE one of them, because I thought the Air Force was too "corporate," because I didn't want to actually live in dirt like the Army, and because I thought, "Hey, I like to swim... why not?" I promise to wear clothes that went out of style in 1976 and to have my name stenciled on the butt of every pair of pants I own. I understand that I will be mistaken for the Good Humor Man during summer, and for Nazi Waffen SS during the winter. I will strive to use a different language than the rest of the English-speaking world, using words like "deck, bulkhead, cover, geedunk, scuttlebutt, scuttle and head," when I really mean "floor, wall, hat, candy, water fountain, hole in wall and toilet."

"I will take great pride in the fact that all Navy acronyms, rank, and insignia, and everything else for that matter, are completely different from the other services and make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I will muster, whatever that is, at 0700 every morning unless I am buddy-buddy with the Chief, in which case I will show up around 0930. I vow to hone my coffee cup-handling skills to the point that I can stand up in a kayak being tossed around in a typhoon, and still not spill a drop. I consent to being promoted and subsequently busted at least twice per fiscal year. I realize that, once selected for Chief, I am required to submit myself to the sick, and quite possibly illegal, whims of my newfound "colleagues." So Help Me Neptune!"

______________________ Signature ______________________ Date

* * *


"I, (pick a name the police won't recognize), swear.. uhhhh.... high- and-tight.... grunt... cammies.... kill.... fix bayonets.... charge.... slash.... dig.... burn.... blowup.... ugh... Air Force women.... beer..... sailors wives..... air strikes.... yes, SIR!.... whiskey.... liberty call.... salute.... Ooorah Gunny.... grenades... women.... OORAH! So Help Me Chesty PULLER!"

X____________________ Thumb Print

XX _________________________________ Teeth Marks _____________________ Date

More USMC birthday posts here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. And in honor of the Corps' birthday, GunnNutt is doubling Valour-IT donations!

Special thanks to Sara for the Oaths of Enlistment.

09 November 2005

In Honor of Our Veterans, Past and Present

Vietnam, Ia Drang valley, 14 - 16 November 1965:

"Playing dead was a way to die. It made no sense to me. Our job was to hold that position and kill the enemy," Eade said. "I had this thing in my mind, part of the U.S. Army's General Orders and the soldier's code you learn in boot camp: 'I will never forget I am an American fighting man. I will never surrender of my own free will. I will continue to resist to the utmost of my ability. I will not leave my post until properly relieved." Eade said he kept repeating it himself.

"I don't think it was unique to me," Eade said, citing the actions of men like Barker and Johnson. Eade said his seemingly hopeless position was made easier by his belief, established weeks earlier after several men in the unit were killed in other actions, that he would not be leaving Vietnam alive. What Eade says about that may sound familiar to other veterans of combat.

"It wasn't a matter of living or dying. It was taking care of each other and doing your duty. The anticipation of a future is what you give up. The question was not, 'Am I going to die?' We all know the answer to that. The question was, 'How am I going to die? I am going to die well.'"

Read the rest of this important and timely article by Jules Crittenden over at the Mudville Gazette.

Valour-IT: Carren Ziegenfuss on MSNBC Today

Exciting news from CPT Chuck Ziegenfuss, founder of Project Valour-IT: His wife Carren will be on MSNBC's "Connected Coast to Coast" today between 12 - 1pm. Tune in and pass the word! And good luck, Carren!

Mkay... I dragged my drugged and temporarily one-handed body out of the hospital bed to tell ya'll about something most important.

Carren is gonna be on national TV (and live national TV at that) to let everyone know about Project Valour-IT. She will represent me (the nerd who thought of this project), and the many people who have made this project a success.

She is going to be on "Connected coast to coast" a show run by MSNBC. Don't know how long she'll be on, but for the love of god, please tune in, put your hands on the top of your TV, and talk to Jebus when the show is over. The show runs from 1200-1300 (noon to one fer ya civlians out there)(and that's eastern time) My beloved is supposed to be on around 1240, but I will rest assured that her looks, personality, and general charm will either get her on early, or the show will go into extra rounds like Rocky and the Big Ruskie in Rocky IV.

Here's how you can help. Send this to every one you know, post it on your blog, get them to post it on theirs. One side will say it's a failure of the gummint to not prvide this for the soldiers, others just see it as a way to help our brothers and sisters who have fallen but will be getting up. However they spin it, just get the word out.

There's less than 18 hours to game time, so let's get our blog on!


Charles W. Ziegenfuss
Former Commander, C/2-34 AR, 3BCT
(Currently on the mend in KS)

UPDATE: You can watch Carren's interview on the MSNBC website here. BZ, Carren!!!

07 November 2005

"My Soldiers See That People Back Home Truly Care About Them"

To All of the Angels:

I wish to thank you, all of you, for the impact that you have on my soldiers.

They just received their first letters today, and all of them were talking about writing back to their senders. Morale was up at mail call today, needless to say.

The organization is a great motivator and escape from everyday life for these soldiers. They read the letters seeing that people back at home truly care about them.

Your angels are the very best and I wish I could thank every single one of them individually.

I know the angels do not get to directly reap the benefits that come from the correspondence to the soldiers, but I see their faces and hear them in conversation and it makes me so thankful this organization is present.

You are truly angels. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the American soldier.

God Bless Each and Every One of You,

2LT Xxxxx

Weekly Walter Reed Support Activities

Another big crowd of supporters out at Walter Reed again Friday night. These are a great group of folks who make sure our recovering soldiers see more supporters than protesters each week.

Check out the posts covering the activities, which included a large contingent from Rolling Thunder, and lots of photos from GunnNutt and Landry's Life.

Thanks for taking a stand, guys!

06 November 2005

05 November 2005

Valour-IT Fundaising Competition: When the going gets tough...

USMC Rules for Gunfighting
1. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
2. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
3. Have a plan.
4. Have a back-up plan, because the first one probably won't work.
5. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
6. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun whose caliber does not start with a "4."
7. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
8. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)
9. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
10. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
12. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
13. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating or reloading.
14. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
15. And above all ... don't drop your guard.

Navy Rules For Gunfighting
1. Go to Sea
2. Drink Coffee
3. Send the Marines

Army Rules For Gunfighting
1. Select a new beret to wear
2. Sew combat patch on right shoulder
3. Reconsider the color of beret you decide to wear
4. Send the Marines

US Air Force Rules For Gunfighting
1. Have a cocktail
2. Adjust temperature on air-conditioner
3. Determine "what is a gunfight"
4. Send the Marines

The Valour-IT Marine blogging team is not about to let those other "support" services win this competition!

We're raising money to provide laptops with voice-controlled software to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering with hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers in the United States and Germany.

You can donate via the PayPal button here, or by sending a check to:

Soldiers Angels
Valour-IT Marine Fund
1792 East Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104

Thank you and Semper Fi!

03 November 2005

October Visit to Kleber Outpatient Barracks


It’s always happens at the end when we’re packing up and getting ready to leave.

“Hey listen, I just wanted to thank you guys… “

Oh, $h#t! Here it comes...

“I mean, what you guys did here today…“

We can’t help it, our eyes fill with tears. Pull yourself together! You know what happens when one person starts!

I don’t trust my voice, so I just turn around and give him a hug. Other guys come over. We stand around awkwardly and talk for a few minutes, all of us pretending we’re not choking up. They slowly go inside.

I turn back to the car and busy myself unnecessarily rearranging stuff in the trunk.


But it's been a good day.


Willie and Valerie restock the coffee bar with microwave meals and TONS of Little Debbies, NutterButters, popcorn, and other snacks. We also have a few CD players, handheld games, and boxes of comic books.

We hang up some more pictures for the Wall of Thanks project.

The picnic.

A French Angel and a U.S. Marine.

Photo taken at this Seabee's request to torment his buddies back down range. Prost, guys!

We were fortunate this weekend to have unseasonably warm weather, but this will be the last outdoor picnic this season... we'll think of something else for the winter months.

HOOAH and THANK YOU to our fellow Angels for your ongoing support.

Project Valour-IT Fundraising Competition, Day 2


Meet the Project Valour-IT Marine "Dream" Team of bloggers:

Marine Team Leader: Holly Aho
Stop the ACLU
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Welcome to my world
Politics of a Patriot
The Gun Line
Portia Rediscovered
Common Sense Runs Wild
Big Dog’s Weblog
My Newz ‘n Ideas
Maxed Out Mama
Gunn Nutt
Righty in a lefty state
Flight Pundit
You Big Mouth, You!
A Blog for All
Drunken Wisdom
Straight White Guy
Christian Fiction
Tammi's World
The Word Unheard
Balance Sheet
Hardcore Conservative
The Donegal Express
Art by Shano
Soldiers' Angels Germany

The goal of Project Valour-IT is to provide voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers in the United States and Germany.

The Valour-IT Blogging Fundraiser Competition, which will continue until Veteran's Day, is between blogging teams representing 4 service branches, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

All donations go into one fund and will of course be used for members of all service branches.

You can donate via the PayPal button here, or by sending a check to:

Soldiers Angels
Valour-IT Marine Fund
1792 East Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104

Thank you and Semper Fi!

More information:
Project Valour-IT Site
Valour-IT Blog

02 November 2005

Oorah Marine Valour-IT Team!!

We visited a patient at Landstuhl Hospital on Monday, the fiance of an Angel back in the US. He's recovering well from back surgery and is mobile.

One of the first things he wanted to do after just a few minutes of small talk was show me some of his videos from Iraq. His laptop sat on the desk in his room up and running.

He enthusiastically fired up some short videos of his unit as he narrated and explained what was going on.

We watched a moving tribute video he had created for a fallen soldier from his unit.

He takes the laptop to the Internet Cafe in the hospital where he can get online and exchange emails with friends and loved ones.

I don't like to think what his time here would be like if he was unable to use his laptop due to an arm injury.

I've posted about Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT before. The goal is to provide voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers in the United States and Germany.

Today marks the start of the Valour-IT Blogging Fundraiser Competition, which will continue until Veteran's Day. The "competition" is between blogging teams representing 4 service branches, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Holly, fellow Angel and host of my blog, is the blogging leader of the Marines Team so that's naturally the team I've joined ;-) Blackfive is leading the Army Team, and Mrs. Greyhawk is leading the Air Force Team. Navy is still unassigned. Mrs. Smash is leading the Navy Team.

All donations go into one fund and will of course be used for members of all service branches.

You can donate via the PayPal button here, or by sending a check to:

Soldiers Angels
Valour-IT Marine Fund
1792 East Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104

Please note "Marine Valour-IT Team" on your check so we get credit for your donation, because we want to WIN this thing!

Thank you and Semper Fi!

More information:
Project Valour-IT Site
Valour-IT Blog

01 November 2005

Friday Military Support Activities Roundup

Walter Reed reports and lots of photos from GunnNutt here and here, Andi's World here, and Landry's Life has more.

Thanks to all who make sure the troops see more supporters than protesters each Friday night at Walter Reed.

And SMASH has coverage of Operation Thank You in San Diego, including a great feedback email.

28 October 2005

Happy Birthday, Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

View the Statue of Liberty live via EarthCam here.

Update: Appropriate ways to celebrate here and here, or read this here.

Liberty Enlightening the World, commonly known as the Statue of Liberty, stands at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor as a welcome to all: returning Americans, visitors, and immigrants alike.

The goddess of liberty holds a torch in her right hand and a tablet in her left. The tablet shows the caption "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI", the date of the Declaration of Independence. One of her feet stands on chains. The seven spikes in her crown represent the seven seas or seven continents.

French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture with the year 1876 in mind for completion to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence.

The idea for the commemorative gift grew out of the political turmoil which was shaking France at the time. The French Third Republic was still considered as a "temporary" arrangement by many, who wished a return to monarchism, or to some form of constitutional dictatorship which they had known under Bonaparte.

The idea of giving a colossal representation of republican virtues to a "sister" republic across the sea served as a focus for the republican cause against other political opponents.

The Statue was completed in France in July, 1884 and arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885. On October 28, 1886, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty by U.S. President Grover Cleveland took place in front of thousands of spectators.

From Wikipedia.

24 October 2005

Friday Night at Walter Reed

Here's the latest from GunnNutt on the Friday night show of support for our recovering Heroes at Walter Reed.

More photos and full report at FreeRepublic.

Thanks to all who make sure the troops see more supporters than protesters each Friday night at Walter Reed. It means more than you know to the patients here in Germany who are headed back home.

21 October 2005

Beirut, October 23, 1983


"Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I’ve watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers-in-arms"

From Brothers-in-arms: 'They came in peace' by Lance Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola. Read the rest here.

More on the anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the Marine Corps building in Beirut at Iraq War Today, Blackfive, Hundreds of Fathoms, Small Town Veteran, and via Blackfive, Personal Protection.

20 October 2005

Support Soldiers' Angels While Shopping Online

Soldiers' Angels has recently become a partner of Buy for Charity, which allows you to donate money to the charity of your choice without costing you a penny.

It works like this. When you access an online merchant through the Buy for Charity portal, they receive an affiliate fee which is then split with your charity or cause. This can result in anywhere between 1% and 35% of the transaction amount being credited to your charity.

You register at Buy for Charity once and define your charity. Look for Soldiers' Angels under the category "miscellaneous" or enter "angels" in the search box.

Over 350 merchants are currently Buy for Charity affiliates, including Apple Store, iTunes, Dell Home and Business Systems, Hickory farms, The Gap, WalMart, Old Navy, and many more, including some of our Angels' Favorite Shopping Sites for Soldiers.

This is a timely development as we are all suffering from "donor fatigue" in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita. Donations to Soldiers' Angels are sadly at an all-time low.

So next time you order something online - please register at Buy for Charity first!

19 October 2005

Coming Home

Dear Soldiers’ Angels,

I'd like to say thank you to everyone that has mailed items, cards, pictures, and anything else over the past few months.

Most of our unit has moved on, and I leave in a month. I think it's best if we drop my posting on Soldiers’ Angels. I wouldn't want the packages and letters to get delivered here, then be lost or go unused.

It's a great thing, what people back in the states are doing. It makes us feel good to get something in the mail, and troops here really get a feeling that there's a groundswell of support for military people involved with the anti-terror operations.

I think organizations like Soldiers’ Angels are accomplishing everything they set out to do... they're connecting concerned people in the states with troops that want to have some feedback. Support for me was great, thank you once again.

If I'm ever in Iraq again, I'll be sure to sign in, at Soldiers’ Angels!!!


On a related note, see Mudville Gazette's post on Holidays for Heroes here.

And thanks to SMASH at The Indepundit for the Open Post.

18 October 2005

Progress Update: Marine Jeff Dugan

Some very good news today on Jeff Dugan, the injured Marine we've been following since he was medevac'd to Landstuhl hospital here in Germany.


Marine taking steps to recover
2004 RMHS graduate won’t lose his leg after injury in Afghanistan

For the first time in 17 days, Marine Lance Cpl. Jeff Dugan got out of bed Monday.

It was painful as the blood rushed to his left leg, which was broken in multiple places Sept. 30 by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The blast, which detonated under the Humvee he and three other Marines were riding in on a narrow mountain road, blew the 19-year-old out of the vehicle. He landed by the right rear tire, his broken left leg hanging over a cliff.

His first victory was surviving the blast. His second was the news that five surgeries to clean the wound saved his leg from amputation. Another victory came Monday.

“It was painful at first, of course,” Dugan said from his bed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. “I didn’t really get too far. I had all the blood rushing around my body. It was pretty painful, but I stood up, so that was a pretty good accomplishment."

Read the whole thing.

Jeff received one of our Blankets of Hope made by Soldiers' Angel JoAnne in an SA backpack while in the hospital. Because personal belongings take a while to catch up with injured soldiers, it was one of the few things he had with him upon arrival in the US.

Thanks to Mudville Gazette and The Indepundit for the Open Posts.

17 October 2005

Blackfive Visits Walter Reed

Blackfive, milblogger and great friend of Soldiers' Angels, visited patients at Walter Reed on Saturday. Go over and read about his visit and meet some true American Heroes.

16 October 2005

Thank You for Defending the Defenders

THANK YOU to bloggers GunnNutt and Andi, who regularly spend their Friday evenings in front of Walter Reed Medical Center supporting our wounded Heroes.

For months, the radical anti-war group Code Pink have been demonstrating in front of Walter Reed.

Other citizens like Andi and GunnNutt, many of them FreeRepublic readers, have made sure that supporters outnumber deomonstrators.

Andi's photo essay from this past Friday is here, and GunnNutt's can be found here.

GunnNutt also points to this post from fellow counter-protester and Iraqi-born Jesse, who witnessed his parents' murder by Saddam's Fedayheen as a child.

I soon found myself with a large crowd in front of me all quiet except for the rants in the background. So I asked them, "Why do you exercise your right to freedom of speech and expression while you want to deprive the Iraqis of theirs? How can you say Iraqis cannot have democracy and call George W. Bush the racist? How can you look an Iraqi in the face and claim to speak for him when he is on the other side of the fence?"

Several turned away in shame, as they should.

That weekend has reminded me and helped heal me of many of the scars of my past. I have seen the steadfast of the American people and above all the American soldiers who vow that they will never allow the mission to not be completed.

I know their message is true from first hand experience and soon the rest of the despot dictators of the world will know this as well.

Read the whole thing.

It's an honor to stand with you all.

Medical Command Claims Two of the Army's "10 Greatest Inventions"

New bandage can stop bleeding in less than a minute.

Two of the Army's top 10 greatest inventions for 2004 come from units that belong to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, according to this AMEDD press release of August 2005.

Unstoppable bleeding is one of the leading causes of death on battlefields. But now, soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have a way to reduce bleeding when they're wounded. In "War Bandages", ScienCentral News writes that these new bandages contain chitosan molecules, extracted from shrimp shells.

Created by researchers at the Oregon Medical Laser Center using a research grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, the 4-inch by 4-inch chitosan dressing is well suited for the battlefield and a vast improvement over gauze and pressure bandages currently used to stop extreme bleeding.

Over nine of 10 combat deaths occur before evacuation, and a little more than half of those are caused by uncontrolled hemorrhage. For centuries, battlefield wounds have been dressed with gauze, which can soak up blood but is incapable of stopping bleeding - bleeding which can result in death within minutes.

First field-tested by Special Operation Forces in Afghanistan in early 2003, medics now have a bandage that is actually able to clot a bullet wound in less than a minute. Researchers also believe the chitosan bandages could potentially save limbs because they limit the amount of time a tourniquet is needed.

More from the ScienCentral article:

Since Operation Restore Hope in Somalia ended in 1993, Army researchers have been making strides toward making uncontrolled battlefield hemorrhage a distant, horrible memory.

"I got involved out of my experiences in Somalia in 1993 with soldiers who were bleeding," says Army surgeon LTC John Holcomb. "As an army surgeon I found that frustrating, and I've really devoted the last 11 to 12 years now to helping decrease blood loss on the battlefield. That was, in many respects, a life-changing experience that altered the track of my career, to go into the research environment, and to work on hemorrhage control and hemostasis and resuscitation issues."

The chitosan bandages are being manufactured by HemCon, Inc. of Oregon, where many of the original researchers are now employed.

The Chitosan Hemostatic Bandage

This is an exciting medical breakthrough that doctors estimate could have saved up to 5000 soldiers' lives in Vietnam. Once approved for cilivian use, it could save thousands of civilian lives as well. Uncontrollable hemorrhage accounts for up to 80% of civilian trauma fatalities within the U.S.

Honored for their work with the Chitosan Hemostatic Dressing were: Anthony Pusateri, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research; Angel Delgado, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research; Col. John Holcomb, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research; Kenton Gregory, Oregon Medical Laser Center; Lisa Lucchesi, Oregon Medical Laser Center; Jeff Teach, Oregon Medical Laser Center; Maria Anderson, Oregon Medical Laser Center; Simon McCarthy, HemCon Hemorrhage Control Technologies; Todd Campbell, HemCon Hemorrhage Control Technologies; Jim Hensel, HemCon Hemorrhage Control Technologies; Col. (Retired) William Weismann, HemCon Hemorrhage Control Technologies; Col. Robert Vandre, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command; Ronald W. Palmer, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity.

More on the medical advancements of the last decade at Andi's World here.

15 October 2005

Veteran's Day Support Activities at Walter Reed


The "MOAB", mother of all banners.

Each Friday evening a group of FreeRepublic readers and other patriots gathers in front of Walter Reed to show support for our recovering heroes. They have been doing this for months to counteract the demonstration of radical Code Pink protesters.

Since 2003, the Washington, DC restaurant Fran's has been hosting WR patients for dinner each Friday night. (Read a great article about Fran's here, via Sarah at trying to grok. Did you know, for example, that former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz attended these dinners almost every week during his term?) As the bus returns to WR from Fran's, the troops are greeted by this wonderful group of supporters.

Read the full WR Veterans's Day report with lots of photos at The Gunn Nutt, who got to meet Carren and Chuck Ziegenfuss!

Progress Update: Rodney the Medic

Morning MaryAnn,

Rodney was moved yesterday to another base. He will be evaluated to determine if he needs more surgery.

The plastic surgeon who stitched his chin did a wonderful job. My thought is: We all have scars - some just show worse than others!

Rodney is in good sprits and doing well.

He can eat soft food, but no fried chicken yet :-) He has a problem drinking, so he uses a straw.

I will keep you posted. May God bless you.


Rodney was sustained injuries on September 16 when his vehicle struck an IED. His wife Vicky subsequently contacted Soldiers' Angels to thank us for the Blanket of Hope Rodney received.

Soldier Speaks out about "Staged" Bush Media Event

SGT Ron Long, blogger and Medic in Iraq, participated in the event and shares this perspective:

Yesterday, I (bottom right corner in the picture) was chosen to be among a small group of soldiers assigned to the 42ID's Task Force Liberty that would speak to President Bush, our Commander-in-Chief.

The interview went well, but I would like to respond to what most of the mass-media has dubbed as, "A Staged Event."

First of all, we were told that we would be speaking with the President of the United States, our Commander-in-Chief, President Bush, so I believe that it would have been totally irresponsible for us NOT to prepare some ideas, facts or comments that we wanted to share with the President.

Read the whole thing.

Via Instapundit and Michelle Malkin.

Update: SGT Long thanks readers for their support.

14 October 2005

Keep Sewing, Keep Sending, and Keep Loving these Soldiers!

From Soldiers' Angel JoAnne:

I recently showed my friend and client Kim a thank you email I received from a soldier in Iraq. He had received one of the Blankets of Hope I made.

Kim began to cry and explained that one of her employees had called in earlier that day to say she would not be coming to work. The employee’s son had been injured and was on his way to Germany.

I got his name so I could contact our beloved Angels in Germany to see if they would make sure Jeff got a backpack.

Today I received this email from Kim.

Wanted to pass this on to you about Jeff, the injured Marine.

He was sent to Germany, then to a hospital in Maryland for further repair and rehab. His folks were flown to Maryland last Wednesday and returned Sunday.

At work the next day, his Mom told me Jeff had his BLANKET with him! She said that it was practically the only thing he had with him when he arrived in Maryland.


God Bless you for making sure he got one of your blankets.

You're a blessing to those soldiers and for that I love you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Keep Sewing, Keep Sending and Keep Loving these Soldiers!!!!

Well done, JoAnne! Thank you and everyone else who contributes to the Blankets of Hope project.

Canine Correspondence


Dear K-9 Heroes!

Hello, my name is Bandido and I am a Collie mix dog from Aruba, in the Dutch Caribbean. I am now living in Palm Beach, Florida and happy to be here. I am 12 years old this month!

I started off as a stray. My mother was a street dog and I did not know my father, she could not care for me, so I was left to fend for myself... I was only a couple of weeks old when my owners found me abandoned near the ocean in some cactus bushes.

They were so kind to take me home, and I behaved like an angel so that they would keep me. Stella my owner, fed me, bathed me and gave me tons of love.

We came back to the States from living in Aruba, five months ago, and I love it here. The airco is my favorite. I miss chasing iguanas and lizards, but chasing squirrels is kind of neat too, there are none in Aruba.

I wanted to write to thank all of you K-9s for all the great things you are doing over there with your soldiers, because of you, dogs like me can live a free and happy life here back home. You are true heroes to all of us in the animal world and the human world too! My owner Stella talks about the brave soldiers all the time... and of you guys sacrificing so much for all of us back home. Its an honor to salute you paws up!

Thanks for all you do and we hope you return home safely to some good treats soon.

Your four-legged friend,



Dear Bandido,

Hi my name is Polo, I am a Military Working dog. It has always been my dream to become a K-9 war hero just like many of my other relatives.

It took me a little while to get adjusted to military life which my first handlers can attest to. Now at 7 years old, myself and SSgt A. have been working together for 2 years. We have grown to be a very solid team together and think as one now, which I have learned is key to being a great team.

SSgt A. takes very good care of me by making sure I'm fed everyday, bathing me when I need it, playing with me, making work fun and giving me lots of fun. Although I just turned 7 this month I still act like a puppy, I am full of energy and a love for life which my handler shares with me.

I am on a strict diet for K-9s but I enjoy an occasional doggy biscuit when I’m good. I love to chase and chew on just about anything. I work very hard for a ball or a kong when I’m working, but when it's my free time I love jumping and catching my Frisbee. It’s a fun game me and my handler like to play. People say I'm too big to be a Frisbee dog but I think I am better than most.

My handler loves playing this with me because he says it makes me run faster and able to jump and take down the bad guys better. I also love to bite bad guys but only when my handler tells me to. I will protect my handler at all cost just like he would do for me.

Once again we are deployed to a far away place that is nothing like home and it is very hot. I try my best to get used to the heat and do my job under the stressful conditions. I just keep in mind how important our job is to protect the public and the base. My job is to sniff out any explosives or weapons that could hurt people and I get my favorite toy when I find it.

I also thank you for your support out here where it is very much appreciated that people care about what we’re doing. Receiving great touching letters like yours gives us motivation to keep doing our job every day to the best of our abilities. The thought of laying our lives down on the line for our country is made easier when we know people like you can enjoy your way of life.

Thanks again,
Military Working Dog

More K-9 stories at Andi's World here and here.

Linked to the Mudville Gazette, where you should go now and wish the Greyhawks a happy anniversary!

Soldier's Angel - Holly Aho has her first Open Post up. Way to go, Holly!