Friday, April 28, 2006

UNITED 93 Film


The much anticipated and highly controversial film, UNITED 93, hits theatres today across the country. The film, directed by British filmmaker, Paul Greengrass, tells the story of United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark, NJ to San Francisco California on September 11, 2001.

The families of the 40 passengers who were killed on the real United Flight 93 cooperated in the production of the film, offering Greengrass detailed background information about their loved ones to help with the film -- down to the clothes they wore and what kind of candy they might've snacked upon on the plane. Victims' families were among the first to see "United 93" at screenings set up for them by Universal Pictures, who is distributing the film. Universal reportedly plans to donate 10 percent of the first weekend's box-office grosses to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pa., where the plane crashed.

Here's what a few critics had to say about this film:

NewsMax (4/14/06) – “Rush Limbaugh Praises 'United 93' Movie” – “America's number one talk-radio host, Rush Limbaugh, is giving an enthusiastic thumbs up to the controversial new 9/11 movie, ‘United 93.’ Limbaugh said on Friday's broadcast that critics are wrong when they say it's too soon to revisit the events of Sept. 11, 2001.”

Los Angeles Times (4/18/06) – “It’s Time We Looked” by Patrick Goldstein – Article encourages viewers to see United 93 with an open mind.

Hollywood Elsewhere (4/12/06) – “Blown Away” by Jeffrey Wells – “Is Paul Greengrass's ‘United 93’ (Universal, 4.28) a knockout, a time-stopper, a mind-blower? It sure as hell is . . . Is feeling power-drilled all over again by one of the worst real-life nightmares of all time a good thing? To me, it is. It happened, it's real, and this film knocks your socks off because it takes you right back to that surreal morning and that feeling, that almost-afraid-to-breathe feeling, and to me, that's partly what good films do -- they lift you out of your realm and make you forget about everything but what's on-screen.”

Writer/director/producer Paul Greengrass with the cast and crew of Universal Pictures’ unflinching drama United 93.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Freedom Tower

According to an article published today by, work is beginning at the WTC site in New York City on the new Freedom Tower. The Freedom Tower will be the tallest building in New York City.
The Freedom Tower is the skyscraper that has been designed to replace the World Trade Center. It is to be symbolic of America's freedom and independence, and will cast a beam of light from its peak.
You can read more about it at

This is an artist's rendering of a night view of the proposed Freedom Tower, center, by architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, as seen from the south at night, released by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., in New York. At left are the Empire State Building, and Statue of Liberty. (Photo courtesy of Associated Press.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Site of the Week

The site of the week is a blog by a Redbull soldier they call T-Dawg. He's been deployed to Iraq and is a medic, and he posts pretty regularly to share the happenings around him. It isn't a political blog - it's more of a collection of posts for family and friends. In it you will catch a glimpse of this man's humor and insightfulness. It's a fun read. Catch up with T-Dawg and have a great day!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to a great guy and my favorite soldier -- SPC Fink.
We're thinking of you today and celebrating your special day like I promised we would.
Hope you are safe out there in the sandbox and know that you are loved and remembered today and every day.

p.s. Can't wait to have you back so we can celebrate together.

Friday, April 21, 2006

You know your husband is deployed to Iraq when...

I borrowed this with permission from Kelly at The Patriette because I enjoyed reading it so much that I thought you should read it too.

You know your husband is deployed to Iraq when...

  1. The toilet seat is always down.
  2. The leftovers are still sitting in the fridge.
  3. You only have one load of laundry to do - and it doesn't contain any PT clothes.
  4. You sit up all night just in case he happens to log onto IM.
  5. You find yourself carrying home a stack of those customs forms from the post office because you know you'll need them later.
  6. You sleep with your cell phone because there's always a chance if you put it on the table on the other side of the room, you'll miss his phone call.
  7. Keeping your legs shaved on a regular basis is no longer a top priority. (Sorry if that's TMI for some of you out there...)
  8. You're already trying to decide what to wear on the day he comes home - and that's within five minutes of when he left.
  9. Homecoming has nothing to do with football, parades, alumni, or dances.
  10. You notice bumper stickers more often and wonder about the story of the person driving the car - do they have a friend or family member deployed with your husband? Hmmm. (I find that especially true when I see another blue star displayed somewhere.)
  11. Every time you go to check the time, you do math in your head to figure out what time it is over there.
  12. Each time you get to turn a new page on your calendar, a little voice says, "YES - another one down..."
  13. Every unknown number that shows up on your phone inspires excitement (it could be him)!
  14. Someone says "Iraq" (no matter what the context), it immediately becomes personal.
  15. You can watch all your favorite tv shows - without having to follow the storylines between quarters, halves, innings, or periods.
  16. Checking your email every hour becomes normal.
  17. The folks at the post office recognize you and know your name.
  18. A sandstorm in Iraq can ruin your whole day (or at least when they cause your phone call to be dropped).
  19. You experience random moments of crying for no particular reason (of course in my case, that might be due to pregnancy as well).
  20. And last but not least: The best birthday gift you can get is a phone call. And that's what I got today. Josh hasn't been able to call in 2 weeks thanks to his workload and a sandstorm, but he did manage to get through today - my birthday. We talked for a few minutes and we didn't have much to say, but it was a good way to start my day.

Thank you Kelly!

Current Missions

As posted by the Patriot Guard Riders website - these are the following missions in Missouri for today and tomorrow.

Friday, April 21 - Sgt. 1st Class Randall L. Lamberson, Springfield, MO

Friday, April 21 (Tentative) - Pfc. James F. Costello III, St. Louis, MO

Saturday, April 22 - Lance Cpl. Darin T. Settle, Henley, MO

Redbulls Update

I felt another Redbulls update was due -- it seems that so far everyone seems to be doing well throughout this time of transition. Everyone is adjusting to new surroundings at their new posts. I have received word from Fink and Croson that they are both fine, and so are the rest of their group. I have also received news on Bari, Fields, and Bope, who also appear to be acclimating well to their surroundings. All of them have commented that they are eating well and trying to get used to having sand "everywhere". Here's to you guys -- hope that today finds you all safe and well.

You can learn more about the Redbulls at GX online. Chris West, a reporter with GX, has been embedded with the Redbulls and is keeping an online journal of his experiences. You can read his journal and check out the photos at:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Recruiter Humor


Airman Jones was assigned to the induction center, where he advised new recruits about their government benefits, especially their GI insurance. It wasn't long before Captain Smith noticed that Airman Jones was having a staggeringly high success-rate, selling insurance to nearly 100% of the recruits he advised. Rather than ask about this, the Captain stood in the back of the room and listened to Jones' sales pitch. Jones explained the basics of GI Insurance to the new recruits, and then said, "If you have GI Insurance and go into battle and are killed, the government has to pay $200,000 to your beneficiaries. If you don't have GI insurance, and you go into battle and get killed, the government only has to pay a maximum of $10,000." "Now," he concluded, "which group do you think they are going to send into battle first?"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hardy Har

"Keeping The Log"

The first mate on a ship decided to celebrate an occasion with a "little" stowed away rum. Unfortunately he got drunk and was still drunk the next morning. The captain saw him drunk and when the first mate was sober, showed him the following entry in the ship's log:
"The first mate was drunk today."
"Captain please don't let that stay in the log", the mate said. "This could add months or years to my becoming a captain myself."
"Is it true?" asked the captain, already knowing the answer.
"Yes, its true" the mate said. "
"Then if it is true it has to go in the log. That's the rule. If its true it goes into the log, end of discussion" said the Captain sternly.
Weeks later, it was the first mate's turn to make the log entries.
The first mate wrote:
"The ship seems in good shape. The captain was sober today."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In Remembrance

I wanted to take this opportunity to share the following sad news with my fellow PGR members. The following info was posted as is on the PGR (Patriot Guard Riders) website:

Robert Lee Clark, Age 32
Died April 8th, 2006

"We lost Bobby at 10:55pm on Saturday, April 8th, 2006.
Bobby was killed when he struck a truck that failed to yield at a stop sign.
The driver was legally intoxicated. Bobby was on the way back from Canon City to Colorado Springs so he could meet up with his VFW Warriors brothers and ride up to the vigil for Sgt Matt Maupin in Morrision, CO. "
Rest In Peace Bobby...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Not a "Sea Story"

I recently received the following in an email from my uncle who is retired Navy. I found the article to be interesting, as I am sure he knew that I would, so I thought I would share it.

From Navy Times (1995)
Amusing Naval History, the USS Willie D, 1993, by Kit Bonner, NavalHistorian and published with his consent.

"Can you imagine what kind of "Field Day" today's press would have with these kinds of events? From November 1943, until her demise in June 1945, the American destroyer 'William Porter' was often hailed - whenever she entered port or joined other Naval ships - with the greetings: 'Don't shoot, we're Republicans!'
For a half a century, the US Navy kept a lid on the details of the incident that prompted this salutation. A Miami news reporter made the first public disclosure in 1958 after he stumbled upon the truth while covering a reunion of the destroyer's crew. The Pentagon reluctantly and tersely confirmed his story, but only a smattering of newspapers took notice. Fifty years ago, the 'Willie D' as the Porter was nicknamed, accidentally fired a live torpedo at the battleship Iowa during a practice exercise. As if this weren't bad enough, the Iowa was carrying President Franklin D.Roosevelt at the time, along with Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, and all of the country's W.W.II military brass. They were headed for the Big Three Conference in Tehran, where Roosevelt was to meet Stalin and Churchill. Had the Porter's torpedo struck the Iowa at the aiming point, the last 50 years of world history might have been quite different.
The USS William D Porter (DD-579) was one of hundreds of assembly line destroyers built during the war. They mounted several heavy and light guns, but their main armament consisted of 10 fast-running and accurate torpedoes that carried 500-pound warheads. This destroyer was placed in commission on July 1943 under the command of Wilfred Walker, a man on the Navy's fast career track. In the months before she was detailed to accompany the Iowa across the Atlantic in November 1943, the Porter and her crew learned their trade, experiencing the normal problems that always beset a new ship and a novice crew. The mishaps grew more serious when she became an escort for the pride of the fleet, the big new battleship Iowa. The night before they left Norfolk, bound for North Africa, the Porter accidentally damaged a nearby sister ship when she backed down along the other ship's side and her anchor tore down her railings, life rafts, ship's boat and various other formerly valuable pieces of equipment. The Willie D merely had a scraped anchor, but her career of mayhem and mishaps had begun.
Just twenty four hours later, the four-ship convoy consisting of Iowa and her secret passengers and two other destroyers was under strict instructions to maintain complete radio silence. As they were going through a known U-boat feeding ground, speed and silence were the best defense. Suddenly, a tremendous explosion rocked the convoy. All of the ships commenced anti-submarine maneuvers. This continued until the Porter sheepishly admitted that one of her depth charges had fallen off her stern and exploded. The 'safety' had not been set as instructed. Captain Walker was watching his fast track career become side-tracked.
Shortly thereafter, a freak wave inundated the ship, stripping away everything that wasn't lashed down.
A man was washed overboard and never found.
Next, the fire room lost power in one of its boilers. The Captain, by this point, was making reportsalmost hourly to the Iowa on the Willie D's difficulties. It would have been merciful if the force commander had detached the hard luck ship and sent her back to Norfolk. But, no, she sailed on. The morning of 14 November 1943 dawned with a moderate sea and pleasant weather. The Iowa and her escorts were just east of Bermuda, and the president and his guests wanted to see how the big ship could defend herself against an air attack.
So, Iowa launched a number of weather balloons to useas anti-aircraft targets. It was exciting to see more than 100 guns shooting at the balloons, and the President was proud of his Navy. Just as proud was Admiral Ernest J King, the Chief of Naval Operations; large in size and by demeanor, a true monarch of the sea. Disagreeing with him meant the end of a naval career. Up to this time, no one knew what firing a torpedo at him would mean. Over on the Willie D, Captain Walker watched the fireworks display with admiration and envy. Thinking about career redemption and breaking the hard luck spell, the Captain sent his impatient crew to battlestations. They began to shoot down the balloons the Iowa had missed as they drifted into the Porter's vicinity. Down on the torpedo mounts, the crew watched, waiting to take some practice shots of their own on the big battleship, which, even though 6,000 yards away, seemed to blot out the horizon. Lawton Dawson and Tony Fazio were among those responsible for the torpedoes. Part of their job involved ensuring that the primers were installed during actual combat and removed during practice. Once a primer was installed, on a command to fire, it would explode, shooting the torpedo out of its tube. Dawson, on this particular morning, unfortunately had forgotten to remove the primer from torpedo tube #3. Up on the bridge, a new torpedo officer, unaware of the danger, ordered a simulated firing. "Fire 1, Fire 2," and finally, "Fire 3." There was no fire 4 as the sequence was interrupted by an unmistakable whooooooshhhhing sound made by a successfully launched and armed torpedo. Lt H. Steward Lewis, who witnessed the entire event, later described the next few minutes as what hell would look like if it ever broke loose.
Just after he saw the torpedo hit water on its way to the Iowa and some of the most prominent figures in world history, Lewis innocently asked the Captain, 'Did you give permission to fire a torpedo?' Captain Walker's reply will not ring down through naval history... although words to the effect of Farragut's immortal 'Damn the torpedoes' figured centrally within. Initially there was some reluctance to admit what had happened, or even to warn the Iowa. As the awful reality sunk in, people began racing around, shouting conflicting instructions and attempting to warn the flagship of imminent danger. First, there was a flashing light warning about the torpedo which unfortunately indicated it was headed in another direction. Next, the Porter signaled that it was going reverse at full speed! Finally, they decided to break the strictly enforced radio silence. The radio operator on the destroyer transmitted "'Lion (code for the Iowa), Lion, come right." The Iowa operator, more concerned about radio procedure, requested that the offending station identify itself first. Finally, the message was received and the Iowa began turning to avoid the speeding torpedo.
Meanwhile, on the Iowa's bridge, word of the torpedo firing had reached FDR, who asked that his wheelchair be moved to the railing so he could see better what was coming his way. His loyal Secret Service guard immediately drew his pistol as if he was going to shoot the torpedo. As the Iowa began evasive maneuvers, all of her guns were trained on the William D Porter. There was now some thought that the Porter was part of an assassination plot. Within moments of the warning, there was a tremendous explosion just behind the battleship. The torpedo had been detonated by the wash kicked up by the battleship's increased speed. The crisis was over and so was Captain Walker's career. His final utterance to the Iowa, in response to a question about the origin of the torpedo, was a weak, "We did it."
Shortly thereafter, the brand new destroyer, her Captain and the entire crew were placed under arrest and sent to Bermuda for trial. It was the first time that a complete ship's company had been arrested in the history of the US Navy. The ship was surrounded by Marines when it docked in Bermuda, and held there several days as the closed session inquiry attempted to determine what had happened. Torpedoman Dawson eventually confessed to having inadvertently left the primer in the torpedo tube, which caused the launching. Dawson had thrown the used primer over the side to conceal his mistake. The whole incident was chalked up to an unfortunate set of circumstances and placed under a cloak of secrecy. Someone had to be punished. Captain Walker and several other Porter officers and sailors eventually found themselves in obscure shore assignments. Dawson was sentenced to 14 years hard labor. President Roosevelt intervened; however, asking that no punishment be meted out for what was clearly an accident. The destroyer was banished to the upper Aleutians. It was probably thought this was as safe a place as any for the ship and anyone who came near her. She remained in the frozen north for almost a year, until late 1944, when she was re-assigned to the Western Pacific. Before leaving the Aleutians, she accidentally left her calling card in the form of a five-inch shell fired into the front yard of the American base commandant, thus rearranging his flower garden. In December, 1944, shejoined the Philippine invasion forces and acquitted herself quite well. She distinguished herself by shooting down a number of attacking Japanese aircraft. Regrettably, after the war, it was reported that she also shot down three American planes. This was a common event on ships, as many gunners, fearful of kamikazes, had nervous trigger fingers.In April, 1945, the destroyer was assigned to support the invasion of Okinawa. By this time, the greeting "Don't Shoot, We're Republicans" was common place and the crew of the Willie D had become used to the ribbing. But the crew of her sister ship, the USS Luce, was not so polite in its salutations after the Porter accidentally riddled her side and superstructure with gunfire.
On 10 June, 1945, the Porter's hard luck finally ran out. She was sunk by a plane which had (unintentionally) attacked underwater. A Japanese bomber made almost entirely of wood and canvas slipped through the Navy's defense. Having little in the way of metal surfaces, the plane didn't register on radar. A fully loaded kamikaze, it was headed for a ship near the Porter, but just at the last moment veered away and crashed along side the unlucky destroyer. There was a sigh of relief as the plane sunk out of sight, but then it blew up underneath the Porter, opening her hull in the worst possible location.Three hours later, after the last man was off board, the Captain jumped to the safety of a rescue vessel and the ship that almost changed world history slipped astern into 2,400 feet of water. Not a single soul was lost in the sinking. After everything else that happened, it was almost as if the ship decided to let her crew off at the end."
Submitted by: Major John H. Pierson, Jr., USMC (Ret)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

(Art used with permission from

Friday, April 14, 2006

Why we are at war...

I received this in an email forward from a friend. I'm not sure who wrote it, but I thought it was worth sharing... It brought tears to my eyes...

Explaining to a child, why we are at War

The other day, my nine-year-old son wanted to know why we were at war...
My husband looked at our son and then looked at me. My husband and I were in theArmy during the Gulf War and we would be honored to serve and defend our Country again today.
I knew that my husband would give him a good explanation.

My husband thought for a few minutes and then told my son to go stand in our front living room window. He said "Son, stand there and tell me what you see?"
"I see trees and cars and our neighbor's houses." he replied.
"OK, now I want you to pretend that our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush."
Our son giggled and said "OK."
"Now son, I want you to look out the window and pretend that every house and yard on this block is a different country" my husband said.
"OK Dad, I'm pretending."
"Now I want you to stand there and look out the window and pretend you see Saddam come out of his house with his wife, he has her by the hair and is hitting her. You see her bleeding and crying. He hits her in the face, he throws her on the ground, then he starts to kick her to death. Their children run out and are afraid to stop him, they are screaming and crying, they are watching this but do nothing because they are kids and they are afraid of their father. You see all of this, son....what do you do?"
"What do you do son?"
"I'd call the police, Dad."
"OK. Pretend that the police are the United Nations. They take your call. They listen to what you know and saw but they refuse to help. What do you do then son?"
"Dad.......... but the police are supposed to help", my son starts to whine.
"They don't want to son, because they say that it is not their place or your place to get involved and that you should stay out of it," my husband says.
"But Dad...he killed her!" my son exclaims.
"I know he did...but the police tell you to stay out of it. Now I want you to look out that window and pretend you see our neighbor who you're pretending is Saddam turn around and do the same thing to his children."
"Daddy...he kills them?"
"Yes son, he does. What do you do?"
"Well, if the police don't want to help, I will go and ask my next door neighbor to help me stop him," our son says.
"Son, our next door neighbor sees what is happening and refuses to get involved as well. He refuses to open the door and help you stop him," my husband says.
"But Dad, I NEED help! I can't stop him by myself!"
Our son starts to cry...
"OK, no one wants to help you, the man across the street saw you ask for help and saw that no one would help you stop him. He stands taller and puffs out his chest. Guess what he does next son?"
"What Daddy?"
"He walks across the street to the old ladies house and breaks down her door and drags her out, steals all her stuff and sets her house on fire and then...he kills her. He turns around and sees you standing in the window and laughs at you. WHAT DO YOU DO?"
Our son is crying and he looks down and he whispers, "I'd close the blinds, Daddy."
My husband looks at our son with tears in his eyes and asks him, "Why?"
"Because Daddy.....the police are supposed to help people who needs them...and they won't help.... You always say that neighbors are supposed to HELP neighbors, but they won't help either...they won't help me stop him...I'm afraid....I can't do it by myself Daddy.....I can't look out my window and just watch him do all these terrible things and...'m just going to close the blinds....
so I can't see what he's doing........
and I'm going to pretend that it is not happening."
I start to cry.
My husband looks at our nine-year-old son standing in the window, looking pitiful and ashamed at his answers to my husband's questions and he says... "Son"
"Yes, Daddy."
"Open the blinds because that man.... he's at your front door...
My son looks at his father, anger and defiance in his eyes.
He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes, without hesitation he says:"I DEFEND MY FAMILY DAD! I'M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER, DAD! I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM, DAD, I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM!"

I see a tear roll down my husband's cheek and he grabs our son to his chest and hugs him tight, and says... "It's too late to fight him, he's too strong and he's already at YOUR front door should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife, and his children and the old lady across the way. You have to do what's right, even if you have to do it alone, before its too late," my husband whispers...

"That scenario I just gave you is WHY we are at war with Iraq . When good men stand by and let evil happen son, THAT is the greatest atrocity in the world. You must never be afraid to do what is right, even if you have to do it alone."


(Art used with permission from

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Way to go Bubba!

Remember our friend Bubba Sorensen at Bubbazartwork? Bubba is the guy up in Greenfield, Iowa who paints the tribute murals on the Patriot Freedom Rock. Bubba is in one of the articles in the May 2006 issue of Guideposts magazine, thanks to a story by a veteran, whose life was touched by Bubba's work. It is a nice write-up and brought tears to my eyes. Read it if you have time, it is wonderful!
Bubba is also featured in the "Family Room section of the May 2006 issue of Guideposts, which can be viewed here:

Thanks again Bubba! YOU ROCK!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Site of the Week

Click on over to Sgt Hook's blogsite "This We'll Defend" and check out the must-read, "No Tears in Heaven". It is well worth your time and then come on back by and let me know what you thought.

*Art used with permission from

Monday, April 10, 2006

Word Received

Just a quick post for the moment to let everyone know I have received word from my Redbull friends that they are all doing okay right now where they are overseas and that they appreciate all of the support they have been given throughout the beginning of their deployment. I was much relieved to get word from them and couldn't be happier that they are doing well. If any of you also have Redbull friends/family you'd like to give a shoutout to, please feel more than free to leave them a hello in my comments/soundoffs section as they do check my blog.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Patriot Guard Riders

Do you care about what happens to our fallen military persons' families?

Do you ever wish there was something you could do for these families to show your support and respect?

If you answered "Yes" to these questions, read on. If you answered "No", you probably need to pick another site to read!

Have you heard about the Patriot Guard Riders? If not, you may be missing out on something absolutely incredible. A lot of people have heard on the news about the groups of protestors that have shown up at fallen soldiers' funerals, especially Fred Phelps and his "church" holding up hate signs and anti-war signs and chanting such hideous statements as "Soldiers are Fags/God hates fags" and disgracing the American flag, etc. Now I am not going to get into the political run-around of arguing against their right to protest, but I am one of many people who are appalled at their behavior, and who feels deeply empathetic for the families and loved ones of soldiers who are trying to get through a very difficult time. In my opinion, the last thing on Earth that they need is for a bunch of protestors showing up and upsetting them and causing interruptions at funerals and harrassing the surviving loved ones of our nation's heroes.

The Patriot Guard Riders are not a protest or counter-protest group. They are a diverse group of people whose mission statement is this:

"The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us.

We don’t care what you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a "hawk" or a "dove". It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you’re from or what your income is. You don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives.

1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.

2. Shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means."

(Taken from their website at

Take a moment and check out their website!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Everyday Hometown Heroes

An example of how our men and women of the National Guard help out communities everyday, whether at home or abroad...

By MAJ David S. Kolarik
Courtesy of Missouri National Guard

4/3/06, Springfield, MO —The Missouri National Guard recently responded in the effort to aid tornado and severe weather victims after deadly weather canvassed a significant area of the Show-Me state. March proved to be a deadly month for many Missourians as tornado’s and severe thunderstorms plagued much of the state claiming 11 lives while destroying or damaging approximately 3200 homes. These storms proved to be some of the most devastating we’ve seen in Missouri in recent history,” said John Campbell, an Emergency Management Officer with Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency. Missouri Governor Matt Blunt ordered the Missouri National Guard to activate in the event that they were needed to assist with storm recovery operations.
SFC Les Clancy, a recruiter with the Missouri National Guard and resident of one of the severely effected areas had a five-ton Army National Guard truck placed at his Recruiting storefront in Ozark with a sign that said “Neighbors helping Neighbors, Please help fill my truck for tornado relief.” “I’m not only a member of the Missouri National Guard, I’m also a resident of this community,” said SFC Clancy. Throughout the day local citizens stopped by the storefront and dropped off their donations. Later that afternoon Jim and Trish Schmig of Ozark stopped in and asked SFC Clancy to drive the truck to the adjacent Wal-Mart Super Center where he offered to purchase enough non-perishable items to finish filling the five-ton truck. The Schmig’s and SFC Clancy began shopping and filled approximately 15 shopping carts full with gloves, detergent, bleach, water, coolers, aspirin, lights, and other goods for distribution at approved drop off sites. “You guy’s are doing a great thing, my wife and I truly felt the need to give back to this community and your providing a perfect means to do so,” Schmig said. Several other donations were dropped off prior to SFC Clancy driving the truck to an approved collection site for distribution to the storm victims. “We may not have been activated, yet you can bet as Citizen-Soldiers, we’re always going to be there in support of our communities in a time of crisis,” SFC Clancy said."

Top to bottom:

SFC Les Clancy presents a citizen donating water a National Guard t-shirt for his contribution to the tornado relief effort.

SGT Snuffy Smith posts himself outside the relief drop-off point welcoming donations at the new Ozark, MO recruiting storefront.

Photos by MAJ David S. Kolarik

This article and many others, including news about the 1/34th Redbulls, can be found at:

Monday, April 03, 2006

Poignant post by a U.S. Marine

I read an incredible post at another milblog this morning. For anyone with any interest in what it might be like for some of the young men and women being deployed these days, it is worth the read.

The Boy Grunt
"I see him, or one like him, almost daily, standing in line at the mess hall, waiting his turn at the phone center, or sometimes even at the base chapel on Sunday. He lives out in the city, sleeping on floors, on rooftops, or in the walled courtyards of Fallujah with his buddies, surviving on adrenaline and MRE’s. He comes back to the camp periodically to get a shower, a hot meal, a haircut, and some clean cammies. Maybe even a day off to send home an e-mail or make a telephone call. But it never lasts. Soon enough, he’s back outside the wire, doing what grunts do. "

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Here's a musical tribute to the courageous men and women of the American Military:

This link was sent to me by Dick Eastman. Thank you Dick for letting me know about this song,
and for sharing this link with me and making it available to be shared with everyone!

(Art used with permission by