Friday, June 30, 2006

Honor those who gave all...*Updated

Please join me in remembering those who gave their lives in service to our country in June:

Pfc. Brett L. Tribble, Texas
Maj. Michael D. Stover, Ohio
Staff Sgt. Darren Harmon, Delaware
Cpl. Ryan J. Cummings, Illinois
Petty Officer 1st Class Gary T. Rovinski, Illinois
Sgt. 1st Class Isaac S. Lawson, California
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaime S. Jaenke, Wisconsin
Sgt. Mark T. Smykowski, Ohio
1st Lt. Ryan T. Sanders, Texas
Sgt. Carlos E. Pernell, Alabama
Sgt. Daniel R. Gionet, New Hampshire
Staff Sgt. Richard A. Blakley, Indiana
Cpl. Andy D. Anderson, Virginia
2nd Lt. John S. Vaughan, Colorado
1st Lt. Scott M. Love, Alabama
Pfc. David N. Crombie, Nevada
Spc. Luis D. Santos, California
Sgt. 1st Class Clarence D. McSwain, Mississippi
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel B. Crabtree , Ohio
Lance Cpl. Brent B. Zoucha, Nebraska
Sgt. Jose M. Velez, New York
Pvt. Benjamin J. Slaven, Nebraska
Lance Cpl. Salvador Guerrero, California
Seaman Apprentice Zachary M. Alday, Georgia
Cpl. Michael A. Estrella, California
Spc. Jeremiah S. Santos, North Dakota
Spc. Brent W. Koch, Minnesota
Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, Oregon
Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, Texas
Spc. David J. Babineau, Massachusetts
Sgt. Reyes Ramirez, Texas
Spc. Robert L. Jones, Oregon
Cpl. Ryan J. Buckley, Illinois
Staff Sgt. Virrueta A. Sanchez, Texas
Pfc. Paul A. Beyer, North Dakota
Pfc. Devon J. Gibbons, Washington
Spc. Channing G. Singletary, Georgia
Sgt. Jason J. Buzzard, California
Sgt. Sirlou C. Cuaresma, Illinois
Staff Sgt. Mario J. Bievre, Illinois
Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury, Missouri
Staff Sgt. Heathe N. Craig, Maryland
Cpl. Riley E. Baker, Missouri
Master Sgt. Thomas D. Maholic, Pennsylvania
Sgt. Benjamin J. Laymon, Ohio
Sgt. Justin D. Norton, Washington
Cpl. Paul N. King, Massachusetts
Staff Sgt. Raymond J. Plouhar, Michigan
Pfc. Michael J. Potocki, Maryland
Cpl. Ryan J. Clark, California
Cpl. Aaron M. Griner, Florida
Cpl. Jeremy S. Jones, Nebraska
Sgt. 1st Class Terry O.P. Wallace, Louisiana
Pfc. Rex A. Page, Missouri
Cpl. Jason W. Morrow, California
Sgt. Terry M. Lisk, Illinois
Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Whyte, New York
Cpl. Christopher D. Leon, California
Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Webb, Michigan
Pfc. Christopher N. White, North Carolina
Staff Sgt. Benjamin D. Williams, Texas

Spc. Christopher D. Rose, California
Pfc. Justin R. Davis, Maryland
Sgt. Bryan C. Luckey, Florida
Spc. Kyle Miller, Minnesota
Sgt. James P. Muldoon, Texas

May their sacrifices never be forgotten...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Elks Lodge Collapse: Clinton, MO

Many of you probably heard or saw on the news, (CNN or Good Morning America, etc.) about a building collapse in the town square of Clinton, Missouri last night. The building, was an Elks Lodge, and had been built in the 1800's. There were around 50 people in the building at the time of the collapse. 40 were able to get out, while 10 more were trapped in the rubble. Today, what is left of the mortar and brick is in a heap where the building once stood, and a community grieves at the loss of the life of one man, Tony Komer. Tony was the 32 year old "exalted ruler" of the Clinton Elks Lodge, and the only one who was killed in the incident-he leaves his wife Sara Jane and 2 sons ages 2 & 5.
You may think it odd that I am including this story in my military support blog, but I assure you that it is with good reason. For those of you who are not familiar with the Elks Organization, they are "The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the USA". They have more than a million members in more than 2,100 local lodges nationwide, and they are very active in Veterans' Services. They show their unwavering commitment to veterans through several projects, including things like their "Adopt-a-Veteran" program, their "Veterans Leather Program", and their program to provide Comfort Care Kits to veterans. They are also dedicated in service as a collecting partner to the Library of Congress for the Veterans' History Project.

The Elks pledge: "So long as there areVeterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks willnever forget them." To learn more about the Elks and how you can volunteer for projects to benefit our nations' veterans, click on any of the above links. Click here to learn more about the Elks Veteran Memorial.

Click here to leave a message of support/encouragement for the family and friends of Tony Komer and the members of the Clinton, Missouri Elks, Lodge #1034.

A memorial fund has been set up asTony Komer Memorial Fund for Tony's children. Donations can be mailed to the bank c/o Citizens Union State Bank P O Box 646 Clinton MO 64735.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Amendment Rejected by 1 Vote

The constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration failed in the Senate when it was one vote short of the support it needed in order to be sent to the states for ratification today. Opponents of the amendment argued that such a ban would violate the First Amendment right to free speech.
The Senate also rejected a proposal put forth by Dick Durbin, an assistant Democratic leader from Illinois. That proposal would have made it illegal for people to damage the U.S. flag on federal land or with the intent of breaching the peace or intimidation. It also would have prohibited unapproved demonstrations at military funerals.

My question is this --
Where is the line to be drawn?
Is there a compromise -- between defending the constitutional right of protesters to use the flag in nonviolent speech -- and keeping those same protestors from desecrating the flag that so many of our men and women have fought and died under?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Old Glory

She may be torn and tattered,
But, still our flag flies free;
Bought with a price, she proudly waves,
For all the world to see.
She will not be defeated,
Forever she will stand;
As Liberty, Freedom, and Justice,
Ring throughout this land.
The stars and stripes a symbol,
Of a country who still prays;
In God we trust... Our flag still stands,
America... Home of the Brave.
~Allison Chambers Coxsey, 2001

Check out

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Mental Health Task Force for Armed Forces

The Department of Defense announced a few days ago the formation of a Mental Health Task Force, congressionally directed, to examine aspects of mental health and our members in the armed forces.

The Mental Health Task Force is to be made up of of seven members of the Department of Defense, and seven others who are not members of the Department of Defense. According to the Department of Defense Press Release, the task force will assess the efficacy of mental health services provided to members of the military by the Department of Defense, and submit a report to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in May 2007 with recommendations for improving upon these services.

The first business meeting is set for next month (mid-July).
Congress directed the establishment of this task force as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2006. It is being co-chaired by Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, MD, Army Surgeon General, and a non-DoD person to be elected by the task force membership.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Site of the Week

Code Red* Women for the Troops: Countering the Stench of Code Pink


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

In Memory: Brent W. Koch

Taken from: Associated Press, June 18, 2006

"Spc. Brent W. Koch, 22, of Morton, Minn. died Friday in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated about 9:30 p.m. Iraq time. Koch was a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard’s Company E, 2nd Battalion, 136th Infantry Combined Arms Battalion based out of Redwood Falls, Minn."
To read the rest of this article, click here.

Two other Guard members, Spc. Gregory Brown and Staff Sgt. Willy Puckett, were injured in the explosion that killed Spc. Koch. To read about these two soldiers and their current situations, click here.

"America's fighting men and women sacrifice much to ensure that our great nation stays free. We owe a debt of gratitude to the soldiers that have paid the ultimate price for this cause, as well as for those who are blessed enough to return from the battlefield unscathed."
~ Allen Boyd

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Smoke Break

Photo of some of the guys from the HHC 1-133rd IN with their cigars sent in a care package from me -- courtesy of an awesome company in New York!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The only flag that doesn't fly...

Hey all - I received this via an email from my Uncle - very cool...

Between the fields where the flag is planted, there are 9+ miles of flower fields that go all the way to the ocean. The flowers are grown by seed companies. It's a beautiful place, close to Vandenberg AFB.
Check out the dimensions of the flag: The Floral Flag is 740 feet long and 390 feet wide and maintains the proper Flag dimensions, as described in Executive Order #10834. This Flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be planted with 5 pointed Stars, comprised of White Larkspur. Each Star is 24 feet in diameter; each Stripe is 30 feet wide. This Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants, with 4-5 flower stems each, for a total of more than 2 million flowers. You can drive by this flag on V Street south of Ocean Ave. in Lompoc, CA! ..

Aerial photo courtesy of Bill Morson Soldiers' Prayer

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Poem for the Sailor Dad

My daddy loves me
I already know
He hugs me and kisses me
Please daddy, don't go.
As he leaves our home
On this cold wintery morn
I know that I'll miss him
My heart will be torn.
See my daddy's a sailor
I'm so glad to say
He sails on a ship
Sometimes so far away.
He travels the ocean
And goes to many places
He visits foreign countries
And sees different faces.
My daddy he misses me
He always writes me a letter
To say he'll be home soon
And that all will be better.
I'm counting the days
Until my daddy comes back
When he walks in the door
I will help him unpack.
Oh daddy please hurry
I'm waiting for you
I know you're still out there
On the ocean so blue.
Just sailing and sailing
And sailing the seas
I hope you are coming
Hurry up daddy, please.
It's been a long time
But the day's finally here
When my daddy comes home
I know that he's near.
I watch as his ship
Returns from the sea
We're proud of my daddy
My mommy and me.
He walks off the ship
As proud as can be
He did his part
So we can be free.
I run to my daddy
For a hug and a kiss
He squeezes me so tightly
A squeeze that I miss.
I'm happy my dad's home
Happy as can be
I know he did his job
For my mommy and me.

~Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Thought for the day

"It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism."
~ J. Horace McFarland

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Preparation is Everything!

How to Prepare for a Deployment to Iraq

1. Sleep on a cot in the garage.
2. Replace the garage door with a curtain.
3. Three hours after you go to sleep, have your wife or girlfriend whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes and mumble, "Sorry, wrong cot."
4. Renovate your bathroom. Hang a green plastic sheet down from the middle of your bathtub and move the shower-head down to chest level. Keep four inches of soapy cold water on the floor. Stop cleaning the toilet and pee everywhere but in the toilet itself. Leave two to three sheets of toilet paper. Or for best effect, remove it altogether. For a more realistic deployed bathroom experience, stop using your bathroom and use a neighbor's. Choose a neighbor who lives at least a quarter mile away.
5. When you take showers, wear flip-flops and keep the lights off.
6. Every time there is a thunderstorm, go sit in a wobbly rocking chair and dump dirt on your head.
7. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it on "HIGH" for that tactical generator smell.
8. Don't watch TV except for movies in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch and then show a different one.
9. Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level.
10. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.
11. Once a week, blow compressed air up through your chimney making sure the wind carries the soot across and on to your neighbor's house. Laugh at him when he curses you.
12. Buy a trash compactor and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
13. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a saltine cracker.
14. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator. Then serve some kind of meat in an unidentifiable sauce poured over noodles. Do this for every meal.
15. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get to the shower as fast as you can. Simulate there is no hot water by running out into your yard and breaking out the garden hose.
16. Once a month, take every major appliance completely apart and put it back together again.
17. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for five or six hours before drinking.
18. Invite at least 185 people you don't really like because of their strange hygiene habits to come and visit for a couple of months. Exchange clothes with them.
19. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.
20. Raise the thresholds and lower the top sills of your front and back doors so that you either trip over the threshold or hit your head on the sill every time you pass through one of them.
21. Keep a roll of toilet paper on your night stand and bring it to the bathroom with you. And bring your gun and a flashlight.
22. Go to the bathroom when you just have to pass gas, "just in case." Every time.
23. Announce to your family that they have mail, have them report to you as you stand outside your open garage door after supper and then say, "Sorry, it's for the other Smith."
24. Wash only 15 items of laundry per week. Roll up the semi-wet clean clothes in a ball. Place them in a cloth sack in the corner of the garage where the cat pees. After a week, unroll them and without ironing or removing the mildew, proudly wear them to professional meetings and family gatherings. Pretend you don't know what you look or smell like. Enthusiastically repeat the process for another week.
25. Go to the worst crime-infested place you can find, go heavily armed, wearing a flak jacket and a Kevlar helmet. Set up shop in a tent in a vacant lot. Announce to the residents that you are there to help them.
26. Eat a single M&M every Sunday and convince yourself it's for Malaria.
27. Demand each family member be limited to 10 minutes per week for a morale phone call. Enforce this with your teenage daughter.
28. Shoot a few bullet holes in the walls of your home for proper ambiance.
29. Sandbag the floor of your car to protect from mine blasts and fragmentation.
30. While traveling down roads in your car, stop at each overpass and culvert and inspect them for remotely detonated explosives before proceeding
31. Fire off 50 cherry bombs simultaneously in your driveway at 3:00 a.m. When startled neighbors appear, tell them all is well, you are just registering mortars. Tell them plastic will make an acceptable substitute for their shattered windows.
32. Drink your milk and sodas warm.
33. Spread gravel throughout your house and yard.
34. Make your children clear their Super Soakers in a clearing barrel you placed outside the front door before they come in.
35. Make your family dig a survivability position with overhead cover in the back yard. Complain that the 4x4s are not 8 inches on center and make them rebuild it.
36. Continuously ask your spouse to allow you to go buy an M-Gator.
37. When your 5-year-old asks for a stick of gum, have him find the exact stick and flavor he wants on the Internet and print out the web page. Type up an 1149 and staple the web page to the back. Submit the paperwork to your spouse for processing. After two weeks, give your son the gum.
38. Announce to your family that the dog is a vector for disease and shoot it. Throw the dog in a burn pit you dug in your neighbor's back yard.
39. Wait for the hottest day of the year and announce to your family that there will be no air conditioning that day so you can perform much needed maintenance on the air conditioner. Tell them you are doing this so they won't get hot.
40. Just when you think you're ready to resume a normal life, order yourself to repeat this process for another six months to simulate the next deployment you've been ordered to support.

Author Unknown

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Version 2 of Tribute

Tribute to the Troops

"Tribute To The Troops"...

Thanks Josh!

US Military Tribute Montage

Found this great video "Tribute To The Troops" thanks to Lil Josh Wright -- enjoy!

p.s. Sorry about the lapse in posts - Blogger has been down due to maintenance.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Site of the Week

Hey all, just wanted to share with you the site of the week! Check out "Justice Soldier" . I love the way he writes, he seems to have a great sense of humor despite his surroundings -- and here is an excerpt from one of his recent blogs:

"We are experiencing a new insurgent tactic in this area of Iraq and I wanted to tell you all first- Al Qaeda has implanted a terrorist pigeon that apparently has a bounty on my head- at least some nights when I am walking to use the bathroom at about 3am and I walk too close to her nest that is about 8 feet high- she gives me a close fly-by to scare me…she is a perfect 4 and 0, as she has gotten me every time, a few of them almost making me p#$#$p my pants! I hope the CIA or someone is getting onto this stuff before something bad happens…"

P.S. "Justice Soldier" aka SFC Smith, is a REDBULL soldier! HOOAH!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Redbull Video Clips

Check out these clips, sent to me by a Redbull friend. They're pretty interesting!

Special Report: Iowans in Iraq
by Doug Grindle, KCRG-TV9 News Correspondent

Special Report: Iowans in Iraq - Life at Camp
by Doug Grindle, KCRG-TV9 News Correspondent

Special Report: Iowans in Iraq-The Heat
by Douglas Grindle, KCRG-TV9 News Correspondent