Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
I remember the sparkle in my father's eye and the devilish smile on his lips as he recounts the wild nights and even wilder poker games he played in while serving in the Navy.
I remember reading the comical short stories written by my Father in law of his time in Vietnam.
I remember Cpt Sims and his spouse Heidi, cheering her on with every accomplishment as she is Learning to Live all over again after the loss of her spouse in Iraq.
I remember Spc Maupin and the heartache of his family who still endure a fate unknown.
Friday, May 26, 2006
"But I ask of you: Do not hasten through Memorial Day. Take the time to remember the good souls whose memories are a blessing to you and your family."
Enjoy your weekend and take a moment to remember.
Every Memorial Day, my sister, Marilyn, and I would put on our Sunday best and accompany our parents to Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx to visit the graves of family members. Like all kids, my sister and I were happy to have the day off from school, and I can't say we were in a solemn frame of mind. But taking part in that annual rite of remembrance gave me my first sense of the importance of honoring those who have gone before.
I grew up and chose a soldier's life. I lost close friends in war. Later, I commanded young men and women who went willingly into harm's way for our country, some never to return. A day doesn't pass that I don't think of them. Paying homage to the fallen holds a deeply personal meaning for me and for anyone who ever wore a uniform.
In 1990, when I was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I took my Soviet counterpart, Gen. Mikhail Moiseyev, around the United States. I wanted to give him a better understanding of what America is all about. We started in Washington, D.C. I especially wanted to take him to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
But I didn't take him there directly. First, I took him to the Jefferson Memorial. I pointed out a passage from the Declaration of Independence carved into its curved wall. All who have served in our armed forces share its sentiment. "And for the support of this Declaration," Jefferson wrote, "... we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." Then I asked the general to look up. Above the statue of Jefferson, in 2-foot-high letters on the base of the monument's dome, is this inscription: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
Here, I said, you see the foundation of America, a nation where "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." I told the general that like Washington, Jefferson and all our Founding Fathers, Americans of every generation are ready to fight and die for those unalienable rights.
Then, to show Gen. Moiseyev the kind of sacrifices Americans are willing to make, I took him to the Lincoln Memorial, where Lincoln's words at Gettysburg are engraved. There, Lincoln said we had fought the bloodiest war in our history so our nation "shall have a new birth of freedom" and so "government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." I wanted Gen. Moiseyev to see how sacred those words are to Americans. I showed the general the final lines of Lincoln's second inaugural address: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan..." I then walked the general part of the way down the Lincoln Memorial's steps to the place from which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. I explained that the unfinished work of which Lincoln spoke was still unfinished a century later, so from the very spot on which we stood, King challenged his fellow Americans to make the promise of our Founding Fathers come true for all Americans.
Only now was I ready to take Gen. Moiseyev to the Vietnam memorial. We walked the short distance from the Lincoln Memorial to the Wall. I showed the general how to find someone's name on it. I looked up Maj. Tony Mavroudis. Tony and I had grown up together on the streets of New York. We went to college together. We became infantrymen together. And in 1967, on his second tour of duty in Vietnam, Tony was killed. The memorial book directed us to Panel 28 East, and there we found ANTONIO M MAVROUDIS carved into the black granite. It was an emotional moment for me, and not just for me. Gen. Moiseyev reached out gently and touched the Wall. The infantryman in him understood.
Thankfully, our forces no longer face the prospect of war with the Soviet Union. Today, we are cooperating with Russia's evolving democracy and with other former foes against 21st-century dangers common to us all. Today's deadly threats come from rogue powers and stateless networks of extremists who have nothing but contempt for the sanctity of human life and for the principles civilized nations hold dear.
I do not know or care what terrorists and tyrants make of our monuments to democracy and the memorials we dedicate to our dead. What's important is what the monuments and memorials say to us. They can teach us much about the ideas that unite us in our diversity, the values that sustain us in times of trial, and the dream that inspires generation after generation of ordinary Americans to perform extraordinary acts of service. In short, our monuments and memorials tell us a great deal about America's commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
The haunting symbolism of the 168 empty chairs at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the heartbreaking piles of shoes in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the carefully tended headstones bearing crosses, crescents and Stars of David standing row-on-row in Arlington and our other national cemeteries - all speak to the value we place on human life.
The Vietnam Women's Memorial of the three servicewomen and the wounded GI; the Korean War Veterans Memorial's haggard, windblown patrol trudging up the rugged terrain; and the memorial of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima do not glorify war - they testify to the glory of the human spirit.
The Civil War battlefields and the monument in Boston to Robert Gould Shaw and his 54th Massachusetts Regiment of Negro soldiers who rode together into the jaws of death for the cause of justice tell us of the price past generations have paid so we might live in a more perfect union. They remind us also of the work our generation must do.
This Memorial Day weekend, we will join in celebrating the opening of the National World War II Memorial honoring the great generation of Americans who saved the world from fascist aggression and secured the blessings of liberty for hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Today, their descendants are fighting the global war against terrorism, serving and sacrificing in Afghanistan and Iraq and at other outposts on the front lines of freedom. The life of each and every one of them is precious to their loved ones and to our nation. And each life given in the name of liberty is a life that has not been lost in vain.
In time, lasting memorials will stand where the Twin Towers once etched New York City's skyline, near the west side of the Pentagon, and in the Pennsylvania field where doomed heroes died on Sept. 11, 2001, using their last moments to save the lives of others and most probably the Capitol or the White House - symbols of our living democracy. All of us lead busy lives. We have little time to pause and reflect.
But I ask of you: Do not hasten through Memorial Day. Take the time to remember the good souls whose memories are a blessing to you and your family. Take your children to our memorial parks and monuments. Teach them the values that lend meaning to our lives and to the life of our nation. Above all, take the time to honor our fellow Americans who have given their last full measure of devotion to our country and for the freedoms we cherish.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Please take five minutes of your time to cut and paste this letter into Word to support the families who lost their soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan. Go to http://www.house.gov/ to locate your local rep. Put in your zip code. It will find your rep and you can click on the name to his/her webpage where you can get their address.
Please take the time to help those who have lost their spouse make ends meet.
Here's the letter, tailor it if you want:
Over the past three years, members of Congress have made statements of support for our troops and their families. Now is the time for action!
Since the start of hostilities in 2003, over 2400 of our servicemen and women have been killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, this represents over 2400 families that have been left grieving and wondering what the future holds for them.
Many of these families are now living below the poverty level on limited income they are receiving from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veteran’s Administration (VA).
The monthly payment from the Department of Defense is called the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), while the monthly payment from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).
For every dollar of DIC the families receives, a dollar of SBP opportunity is stolen from their futures and their children’s futures. The families of our servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice deserve better. These families deserve both DIC and SBP for their sacrifices and losses in support of our government and the American way of life.
I strongly encourage you to support these fallen hero’s families and vote in favor of House Bill 808 (H.R. 808), sign on as a sponsor, and demand that the offset of SBP by DIC be eliminated, when House Bill 808 is reconciled with Senate Bill S.185.
Your Name and Address
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
This is upsetting. My husband got accepted to Stanford for his undergrad. This is a difficult task for a middle class kid who was a cross country runner for after school activities. He didn't even tell his parents he got accepted & went to a school with a ROTC program in order to go to college. Without ROTC he would not have had the funds to be able to even go to college & we wouldn't be here as we are today.
Two of my friends kids are both in JROTC and will continue in the program so that they can enlist in the Navy & use their version of Green to Gold in the field of their choice. I wonder if the SF school board thought how removing this program might affect the 1600+ kids that were planning the same thing as K & L are? What if JROTC and ROTC are the only way they can afford to go to college but the board wants to pull the rug right out from under them.
So its okay for the Boy Scouts to not allow gays but not the JROTC program? Give me a break.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
You remember PFC Joshua Sparling? He's the young man that was recovering at WRAMC, opened a what appeared to be a get well card from a child only to have it wish him dead. Saldly he was treated quite poorly by SPIRIT airlines not to long ago while trying to get home for some respit. A few VFW men along with a person from the MSIC and the Northwest folks helped to get him home. Gunn Nutt has the letter Mr. Sparling wrote explaining the events in detail.
I agree with ArmyWifeToddlerMom this is a MUST read! It brings a tear to my eye and a feeling of happiness for the kindness of strangers. A big THANK YOU to the folks at Northwest, the VFW veterans and thanks to the Stranger who tore up SPIRIT air and kept on pushing until Josh could get on his flight.
The Milblog Sphere is not small. Businesses who treat veterans poorly will not go un-noticed. I think SPIRIT air should be added to the List. Along with the broad who told Joshua that he deserved what he got by going to war. I know you can't boycott a person but maybe there's a list for flogging instead.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Came to work this morning wearing long sleeves and a CBGB's jumper! It was only 10 celcius. This does not help my mood one tiny friggin' bit. I am just frustrated here. According to an OPK kit, I was in the zone Tuesday or Wednessday. Then just as the chart suggested I had a temp spike (98.5), but it crashed the very next day and has been slowly climbing back up ( 97.7, 97.9, 98.1). This is my first month charting, with a digital thermometer from AAFES. I know my tubes are clear we took care of that back in March. According to the baby doc, he sees nothing wrong so far but this was before I started charting. Am I normal or is there a problem? Or am I just a real idiot and psyching myself into this mess?
I hate to say it but I am leaning towards number two on the stupid questions list here. I just want to set this up when I want to be pregnant. Damn, I spent my whole sex life avoiding trying to get pregant and now that I want to, it is becoming ever so elusive. Yes I know a watched pot never boils, but I thought if maybe I had the science to focus on (anal retentive here), it would allow me to obsess in a somewhat healthy manner.
So who wants to go three rounds with me? I really need to beat the crap out of something so I suggest you send me Chuck Norris to spar with.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Dave's Pics are pretty good. Most are from Alaska and I like B&W so they are up my alley. Since I've started sharing and uploading my hobby, I thought I'd share Dave's work too.
Enjoy & Happy Friday!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
By Gidget FuentesTimes staff writer
It wasn't the city of "brotherly love" for a trio of Marine noncommissioned officers escorting the body of a fallen Marine through the Philadelphia airport.
Each decked in their blue dress uniforms, the three enlisted Marines made their way through a security checkpoint at the Philadelphia International Airport about noon on May 3 when they were pulled aside by security workers with the federal Transportation Safety Administration.
The Marines - a sergeant and two corporals - were escorting the body of Sgt. Lea R. Mills from Dover Air Force Base, Del., to his family in Gulfport, Miss. Mills, who was married and lived in Oceanside with his wife, was killed in Iraq on April 28 by a roadside bomb. He was one of three leathernecks killed that day in Iraq's Anbar province.
They were brothers-in-arms. Like Mills, the Marine escorts are members of the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion.
The trio had to go through the terminal's security in order to reach their flight that would take them to Houston and make sure that Mills' body was properly placed on the airplane. While their uniforms likely would trigger the metal detector, they had figured they would be able to zip through the screening process and get on with their business.
"Wearing the blues, the metal detector is going to go off," said Sgt. John Stock, a mechanic, who was accompanied by Cpls. Aaron Bigalk and Jason Schadeburg.
Click HERE for the rest of the article.
This is just sad. The hubby was accosted by the customs agent when he brought the dog home in April and now this. Why is it that I can spend two minutes talking to a German customs agent explaining why I haven't left Germany in six years without the hassle - yet when we try to go home or travel in our own country they act like tyrants? This just pisses me off.
The only thing that bothers me was the idiot that told SC Eagle to back off on allowing the FRG to help them out with food and a baby sitter a while back. I mean after reading that the docs originally listed her cancer as 'terminal' but these fools were irritated that the family relied to much on the kindness of the FRG? Ugh, whatever! Forget the stupid people...
She's got some of the best news of the year.Go here and wish her well okay?
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Looks like there is a little raffle going on to help support PGR & you could win your own bike. Nice! See AWTM about it here. Here are the basic details, but the raffle ends May 17th:
"The wonderful folks at the Greeley, CO VFW are raffling off a brand new 2006 Harley-Davidson Softail with the proceeds going to the Patriot Guard Riders. They are doing this in conjunction with their annual poker run that will benefit us, Rocky Mountain Military Moms, and sending real care packages to the troops. The contact for the VFW if you are interested in raffle tickets is Jeff Policicchio and he can be reached at 303-829-7922 or email@example.com. There will only be 600 tickets sold for this bike and the VFW has 200 spoken for. Below you will find a picture of the bike and the flyer for the poker run. Get ahold of Jeff quickly as the remaining 400 tickets will go fast at $40."
There are only about 175 tickets left. You must call Jeff Policicchio, at the above #, he will set the tickets aside for you. Then please mail your check or money order to...
*check made out to VFW benifit 2121*
c/o Jeff Policicchio261 East Holly Street
You must also send a SASE, with your check.
Raffle ends on May 17th!!
Monday, May 15, 2006
IMMEDIATE RELEASEMay 10, 2006 Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000Public/Industry(703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army CasualtiesThe Department of Defense announced today the death of 10soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died east ofAbad, Afghanistan, in the Kunar province, on May 5, when their CH-47 Chinookhelicopter crashed during combat operations.
Killed were:Lt. Col. Joseph J. Fenty, 41, of Fla.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric W. Totten, 34, of Texas.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher B. Donaldson, 28, of Ill.
Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Howick, 34, of Hamburg, N.Y.
Sgt. Bryan A. Brewster, 24, of Fontana, Calif.
Sgt. John C. Griffith, 33, of Las Vegas, Nev.
Sgt. Jeffery S. Wiekamp, 23, of Utopia, Texas.
Spc. Justin L. O'Donohoe, 27, of San Diego, Calif.
Spc. David N. Timmons Jr., 23, of Lewisville, N.C.
Pfc. Brian M. Moquin Jr., 19, of Worcester, Mass.
All those killed were assigned to the 10th Mountain Division(Light Infantry), Fort Drum N.Y. Fenty, O'Donohoe, Timmons and Moquin were part of the 71st Cavalry Regiment. Totten, Donaldson, Howick, Brewster,Griffith, and Wiekamp were part of the 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment.
This incident is under investigation.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairsat (703) 692-2000.
This saddens me greatly. These were the folks that replaced my husband's unit. Sadly, this is the time a of year for crummy weather, for sandstorms. My spouse reflected last night that this time last year was another large accident. I niavely asked why they fly in bad weather, he told me because mission must go on, because somebody out there may have needed what was on that chinook. I grumble at that thought, I know mission is important but at what cost does mission outweigh lives? Isn't that the point, that mission is supposed to save them instead?
Sorry soapbox and distressing philosophy are being put away now.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I just wanted to say Thank You to all the girlfriends and spouses of a service member. Life as a military spouse is different. Like a few other folks have said, its not that this life is better or that we are all that much stronger, but that it takes a different kind of person to learn how to live in a military world.
Growing up I was shy, introverted, quick to flare my temper and not all the fond of change. Being married for almost 8 years now, most of these traits have changed. I am still shy and introverted - at least for the first few months while I figure you out. But my temper has calmed to the point that folks that knew me from college stand slack jawed when I shrug because my luggage hadn't arrived. I also look forward to change - to move to another place. Yeah okay so I wish I was going to the new place WITH a job, but along with being able to cope with change I have learned how to be resourceful.
Throughout my reading over the last year and a half, I have always seen one thing that stands out in the mil spouse blogs - pride. We all married into this world knowing that things change like the direction of the wind but even with the uncertainty, we are always proud of our spouse, their acoomplishments and their service to this nation.
It takes a different kind of woman to stand with a Service Member and to those that do I tip my hat to you!
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Moving is still stressing me out, at least I've stopped dreaming about being sold to a Russian prostitution ring by my co-worker and her husband! Our car is not here yet but our Simon is promising me that it will be here by the end of this week. I will believe it once I see the car for my very own. We are still trying to find a wine dealer who will ship our wine stock. Any old Germany based folks know of one? Lastly our broken chair, that was replaced by the wrong chair is actually going to be fixed. They have the broken chair and will replace the arm on it, then bring it to us and replace the cushion so it matches. At least one thing is resolved.
On a really happy note, I belong to a military spouse board. This month I participated in a Secret Santa type of exchange and got some really cool stuff! My SS gave me stickers for scrapbooking that included doggie ones, karate ones and military ones. I also got a mini-scrapbook that she HAND MADE in my favourite colour - blue. Lastly I got a book that I just read about called Taking Charge of Your Fertility. We apparently aren't getting the timing right on the whole conception thing and keep missing the "window." I was hoping reading on how to track the whole thing might make me think I can actually do something to lend a hand to having junior during our expected time frame.
So I get to finish my finals this week and then read about how to track my ovulation - oh boy biology. Sounds like oodles of fun!
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Monday: Call the husband on the drive home – “Honey I think we have a problem.” “Oh?” he says. “Yes dear, well ummm the lemon’s engine sounds like I’ve taken a pair of your combat boots and thrown them into the washer.” “Crap, are you sure?” he asks. “Well not to be a smart arse but yes I’m pretty frickin’ sure. You drive this damn thing to work tomorrow okay?” “Yeah okay, no wait I’ll get a rental and then I will junk the lemon tomorrow. A new engine will cost us more than the car is actually worth.” Now we are in a rental car with 58 days left in the country.
Tuesday: Up until midnight finishing a paper. The rental car mess the day before kept me away from the PC Monday night
Wednesday: Spent the day going from place to place setting up our PCS. Can’t set up a date to ship our car until we physically have our car and register it, then we can call them to take care of the appointment. Will have to pay extra for bubble wrap on our schrank if we don’t want it tore up, they only get reimbursed up to a certain amount and we would have to shell out the rest. Flying home will be in cattle car, with a layover in DFW. First class or business tickets were $4K EACH. Non-stop flights to SFO in economy were $3.5K each. Needless to say our thought of our last “hurray” and flying home on first class went out the window. Oh and can’t find a wine shipper so we may have to have a wine party soon and send everyone home with a bottle! Then there’s Simon who says he can’t find out car. Yes, that’s right they don’t know where it is at the moment. We have to come back today (Friday) and see if they have found it. We are telling him if we don’t own it by the 22nd, he can keep it. I asked if we could also tell him to shove it but I am not allowed.
Thursday: I sprained something in my back carrying employee personnel files that were too heavy.
Friday: Alas, we are not pregnant this month either. Will try again this time around.
And I haven’t been around because why? Have a good weekend, I am drinking some of our wine to thin the herd!