Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 01, 2014, 11:34:50 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
82129 Posts in 2247 Topics by 1047 Members
Latest Member: MikeT
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  Help our troops/our cause:
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 Print
Author Topic: Help our troops/our cause:  (Read 35664 times)
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« on: April 16, 2004, 03:53:23 PM »

A Call to Action:

Our troops are out there for us.  From today's WSJ, here's something we can do.

Woof,
Crafty Dog

Want a piece of the action? Spirit of America's project with the First Marine Division, and how to donate, is at www.spiritofamerica.net, or directly at www.spiritofamerica.net/req_12/request.html or 800-691-2209.
===================

Spirit of America
Here's a way you can help the cause in Iraq.

BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Friday, April 16, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

Thus spake George W. Bush this week: "The people of our country are united behind our men and women in uniform, and this government will do all that is necessary to assure the success of their historic mission." Still, many Americans who support the war don't much like sitting on their hands doing little more than watch it on TV. Some have written here, asking what they can do to help. This column will describe a real project that lets the folks at home lend a hand to the soldiers in Iraq.

Over the past year, a successful technology entrepreneur named Jim Hake has been working with the Marine Corps to help their reconstruction projects in Iraq. The Marines identify local equipment needs, and Mr. Hake's organization, Spirit of America, after raising the money, acquires the stuff, typically for schools and medical clinics. It flies directly out of Camp Pendleton in California. Jim Hake and the Marines are a coalition of the can-do, bypassing the slow U.S. procurement bureaucracy. More on that effort in a moment. Here's where you come in:

The First Marine Expeditionary Force and U.S. Army in Iraq want to equip and upgrade seven defunct Iraqi-owned TV stations in Al Anbar province--west of Baghdad--so that average Iraqis have better televised information than the propaganda they get from the notorious Al-Jazeera. If Jim Hake can raise $100,000, his Spirit of America will buy the equipment in the U.S., ship it to the Marines in Iraq and get Iraqi-run TV on the air before the June 30 handover.

Now we are getting somewhere. Since day one, the Coalition Provisional Authority's weakest suit has been the war of ideas, images and public relations. Into this use-it-or-lose-it void stepped Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV operation that somehow has wires running to every camcorder in the Arab terrorist world. Punch in english.aljazeera.net for a look at "news" from Iraq spun tirelessly against the coalition. Its photos of "Falluja after the siege" are preposterous, depicting nothing but "destroyed homes" and ominous GIs. The text: "As we drive through the back roads on the way to Falluja, U.S. jets are pounding the area around the tiny village of Garma."

If this hooey is what they feed to the English-language audience, imagine the daily TV diet Al-Jazeera trowels on for Iraqis. Al-Jazeera's Web site Wednesday said it wouldn't air the video of an Italian hostage's murder "in order not to upset viewers' sensitivities." Hours later, I heard an all-news radio in New York recite verbatim Al-Jazeera's tender account.

If the Marines can get these moribund stations back on the air, the coverage area would include Fallujah and Ramadi. The VHF/UHF stations are owned as cooperatives by TV-competent Iraqis already vetted by the Army. Some broadcast Al-Jazeera for lack of other content. In return for the upgrades, the Iraqi operators would be asked two things: Criticism is fine, but don't run anti-coalition propaganda; and let the Marines buy air time to broadcast public-service announcements, such as the reopening of schools or clinics--or indeed, pending military operations.

I can hear the chorus of lamentations about "independence" and "objectivity." Get real. We're in Iraq, not Kansas, Toto. These Iraqis, aided by American soldiers, are manifestly engaged in a death-struggle for their nation. Anyone who has the courage to produce daily television at odds with the goals of the homicidal "insurgents" doesn't need tutorials on journalistic piety from us.

Jim Hake's organizational insight is to deploy the best practices of the modern U.S. economy--efficiency and speed--around the margins of the Iraqi war effort. The Amazons, Best Buys, FedExes and DHLs can get anything anywhere--fast. Why not use the same all-American skill at procurement efficiency and quick distribution to get the soldiers in Iraq (and Afghanistan) the stuff that government red tape will never provide in time?

His operation, in Los Angeles, is wholly New Economy. For past projects he's gotten the word out via Web loggers such as Glenn Reynolds's InstaPundit.com, windsofchange.net and hughhewitt.com. Mr. Hake finds low-cost suppliers on the Internet and negotiates prices. His donor network also suggests suppliers.

Earlier projects for the Marines flew over cargo planes of school supplies, basic medical equipment and toys (turns out Iraqi children love Frisbees). One anecdote: The day before the school equipment was to ship, they found that all the pencils broke easily. On a hunch, Mr. Hake made a morning call to a Staples manager in southern California. By midafternoon the Staples man lined up sources for 120,000 pencils--cheaper than the original buy. Mr. Hake bought and shipped them. Spirit of America is all-volunteer. The accounting for its projects, down to the penny, is listed on the Web site.

Spirit of America's buy-list for the Marines' TV-stations project includes digital video camcorders, desktop PCs for video editing, video editing software, televisions, 21-inch satellite dishes, KU-band universal transponders, satellite decoder/receivers, Philips audio/video selectors (4-in/2-out), VCRs (PAL and NTSC compatible), DVD players (multiregion compatible), step-down voltage converters (220 to 110) and lighting sets. The cost of this equipment is about $100,000.

Mr. Hake, incidentally, insists on paying for all the goods in his projects. He says donor relationships with big companies waste time getting sign-offs by senior management. I asked if he thought they could get the TV stations under way by the June 30 handover: "Absolutely. My goal is to have the gear at Pendleton by May 7. The Marines will fly it over and they are ready to get going on this. Needless to say, plans can always change in a combat zone but this is an undertaking to help turn the tide there." If this works, the Marines and Spirit of America hope to rebuild TV stations elsewhere around Iraq.

Want a piece of the action? Spirit of America's project with the First Marine Division, and how to donate, is at www.spiritofamerica.net, or directly at www.spiritofamerica.net/req_12/request.html or 800-691-2209. It's brand extension of the Marines' now-famous saying: "No better friend, no worse enemy."

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Fridays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2007, 03:30:51 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2004, 11:45:19 AM »

BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Friday, April 30, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

The photograph below was taken at Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps base 38 miles north of San Diego. It shows Col. Robert Knapp and Spirit of America's Jim Hake in front of the television equipment that was bought with contributions from readers of this newspaper and others. It will be in the air tomorrow, bound for Al Anbar province in Iraq. There, Marines from the First Expeditionary Force will help Iraqis restore seven local TV stations.

This is a remarkable story of can-do. I think it is also the story of a nation willing to do more than it has been asked by the Bush administration. It is about the need for an Iraqi homefront.

The column describing Spirit of America's effort to raise $100,000 for the TV stations appeared in this space 14 days ago. Since then, the following has happened:

Jim Hake, Spirit of America's entrepreneur founder, says they have received $1.52 million. Some 7,000 donations have come from every state, and one from . . . France.

Mr. Hake purchased all the needed equipment and had suppliers ship directly to Camp Pendleton. Federal Express donated domestic shipping costs.

Stanley Hubbard at Hubbard Broadcasting Inc. in Minnesota has offered several hundred thousand dollars in state of the art digital television equipment. That equipment would provide satellite uplink and downlink capability, allowing the Iraqis' TV stations to get program content from elsewhere in the world.

Mr. Hake has received five new requests from military in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, the live war that faded from view until Pat Tillman, the former NFL player, was killed there. A Special Forces soldier in Afghanistan requested soccer equipment for a village team: "They compete regionally but have no equipment save a couple of soccer balls." The team's equipment will soon be shipped.

Sounds like small potatoes. But in the relatively alien worlds the U.S. now finds itself, represented by its soldiers, this is what must be done if we hope to extinguish terrorism and restore self-government in lands taken over by terrorist networks.

Tellingly, Mr. Hake has also received a request from a Coalition Provisional Authority office in Iraq. The CPA of course is the U.S. government agency officially tasked with restoring Iraq, and funded by Congress (i.e., the American people). That the CPA itself would ask Jim Hake for help suggests that peacetime rules and red tape are smothering a wartime effort--whether by the CPA, private contractors or the military. This is a good subject for another time (horror stories of bureaucracy run wild welcome at the address below).





Let us downshift a moment from this tale of real people giving their own money to do real good in Iraq to survey how the war appears more familiarly in the life of America. Just in the past week, amid televised scenes of U.S. soldiers fighting to defeat their killers and the killers of Iraqi innocents in Fallujah and Najaf, the homefront consisted of:
John Kerry sitting down Monday with ABC's Charles Gibson to parse "medals" and "ribbons" in panicked syntax that recalled Ralph Cramden's famous "hummina-hummina-hummina" routine; a debate over televising covered coffins; an appearance before the all-partisan September 11 commission by the President and Vice President; and tonight's scheduled naming by Ted Koppel of every U.S. soldier killed in Iraq the past year. Mr. Koppel said, "We felt that the impact would actually be greater on a day when the entire nation is not focused on its war dead." Not focused on its war dead?

 The war as it is presented in the U.S. and the war as it exists in Iraq seems to occupy separate spheres of reality. The political class and media treat the war as something whose "policy" details can somehow be revisited, even rethought. At home, the war is a political event, a normal partisan phenomenon. Its metaphors are borne out of Vietnam--quagmire, bogged down, body counts, Ted Kennedy.

Guess what? Vietnam isn't coming back. The people of this country tore the nation's fabric terribly over Vietnam. They are not going to do it again.

The grand response to the Spirit of America request says to me that the public understands that we are there in Iraq and the job now isn't to debate its value but to get the job done. Most Americans don't want to be one of the partisan bobbleheads on television. They want to be part of a genuine homefront, helping. One who responded to the Spirit of America appeal, Dick Kampa of Tucson, Ariz., put it this way:

"My sense is that there are many who would support civilian, home-front activity that would bolster troop morale and communicate to the Iraqi people that we really are their friends. Putting a political label on such activity would be counterproductive. I think Democrats and Republicans should, and many would, unite in these activities. Perhaps we need rallies or community meetings linked to constructive actions like funds for impactful projects in Iraq, adopt-a-communities, collection of goods, bandage rolling, etc., things that involve people across America."

You know for a fact that if Laura Bush undertook any such homefront effort, it would be dissected and mocked as hokey and irrelevant. Too bad. I don't think most Americans want to debate woulda, coulda, shoulda just now. They want to win. Spirit of America is a start, but someone high in the Bush administration ought to start thinking of ways to let more people pitch in.

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Fridays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2004, 04:07:46 PM »

All:

This man seems like a fine "point of light" worthy of our support.  See the website at the end of the article.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
=============================

Dentist Sinks His Teeth Into Relief
Jim Rolfe has spent weeks and about $50,000 trying to fill a big void in Afghanistan. Now he is planning to set up his own clinic in Kabul.

By Steve Chawkins, Times Staff Writer


At 65, Jim Rolfe has been a dentist for a long time, but his practice in downtown Santa Barbara hardly prepared him for what he found in Afghanistan.

"There was a continuous flow of problems you couldn't imagine even existing in the U.S.," he said. "It's like coming onto an auto accident with bodies lying all over the street. That's how it is when a person opens his mouth to be treated."

     
 
 
   
     
 
Like numerous other medical professionals who pitch in at Third World clinics for brief periods, Rolfe wanted to spend a few weeks simply doing what he could. What he didn't count on was his spark of altruism turning into a full-fledged mission.

So far, Rolfe has spent more than $50,000 of his own money to provide dental care in Afghanistan. What he has in mind, though, is far grander in scope than simply writing a check.

Rolfe could be the only Santa Barbara dentist currently looking to buy land in Kabul. When he finds it, he will plunk down a used shipping container he purchased as the hub of his future clinic. He will rig it up with a generator and running water, outfit it with dental equipment, recruit U.S. professionals, train Afghan dental assistants, and, practically overnight, give Afghans in sore need of dental work an opportunity to get it.

Rolfe has a gray beard, rock-star-length hair, and a down-to-earth style. It's not hard to picture him as what he once was: the official dentist ? as well as goat tender and truck driver ? for a Santa Barbara commune called Brotherhood of the Sun.

Decades later, his office is as distinctive as his background. Conga drums and bongos sit in the waiting room for patients anxious to take the edge off their visit to the dentist. Patients recline to view TV sets mounted in the ceiling as a fountain cascades in the background. Designed and built by Rolfe, the treatment areas are cozy beige nooks with curved walls, a style Rolfe calls "Southwestern Eskimo."

Such comforts are a world away from the grim certainties of a country torn by war over the last 30 years. Sitting in his waiting room, Rolfe wearily reels off the statistics: The average male dies at 44. One in four children die by age 5. Ten percent of the population are orphans. Only one in seven people can read.

And the number of people in a land of 27 million who have ever seen a dentist is too small to measure.

"I'd look into mouths and just see a disaster," he said. "Instead of teeth, I'd see abscessed roots. These people had never had their teeth cleaned; I'd pull out tartar in huge rocks."

In 2002, Rolfe read about an orphanage in a remote mountain province and volunteered there for three weeks. He worked from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., using the children he treated as his "assistants."

"When I saw how grateful they were, I cried," he said. "They couldn't wait to get treatment."

Two years later, he returned for another couple of weeks, this time setting up shop at a women's clinic in Kabul.

For this trip, Rolfe had made a portable wooden dental chair, pocked with a Swiss-cheese pattern of holes to reduce its weight.

He also had some help. A recent graduate of Kabul's medical university acted as translator for $20 a day. He was jobless, as were all of the other 314 graduates in his class. And one of Rolfe's Santa Barbara patients, yoga instructor Hayley Parlen, came along as well. She had hoped to teach yoga techniques to children in Kabul but wound up assisting Rolfe.

Parlen, 29, had learned about Rolfe's plans when she was getting her teeth cleaned. She had no idea that within months, she would be able to soothe frightened women by intoning, in the local dialect, standard dental bromides such as "Just breathe" and "It'll only hurt for a second."

"With one hand, I'd suction blood from their mouth and with the other, I'd squeeze their hands or massage their forehead," she said. "My calmness translated to them that they'd be OK."

Rolfe is looking for donations and volunteers to help him on his planned trip in April. Setting up a booth at a recent state dental conference in San Francisco, he already has recruited Ike Rahimi, an Afghanistan-born dentist who treats farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley.

"The need is enormous," said Rahimi, whose mother might accompany him on the trip to see sisters still in Afghanistan. "Life is not so forgiving there."

In January, the secondhand shipping container that Rolfe bought for $2,500 will be stuffed with equipment and placed on a freighter to Rotterdam. From there, it will travel by rail to southern Russia, and then by truck through Uzbekistan, and, finally, to Kabul.

When it's set up, it will house a lab and three dental chairs. Westerners now fly four hours to Qatar for dental treatment. With his new facility, Rolfe hopes to treat them for fees that will subsidize treatment of the poor.

He hopes to eventually add simple accommodations for visiting professionals and classrooms where Afghan hygienists and technicians can be trained.

His is not the first such plan in Afghanistan. Other dentists have volunteered as well, and the American military has worked on restoring the nation's only dental hospital. Still, Rolfe said he has to focus on not being overwhelmed.

"I feel like a drop of water in the desert," he said.

For more information, see Rolfe's Afghanistan Dental Relief Project website at http://www.adrpinc.org .

====================

An organization for Paralyzed veterans:

http://www.pva.org/index.htm
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2004, 02:46:02 PM »

LOOKING for a cause with a difference? Adopt a sniper. A Texas police SWAT officer is running a charity for frontline snipers in Iraq and Afghanistan, supplying everything from baby wipes to body armour.
The brainchild of Port Arthur detective and police sniper Brian Sain, Adopt
a Sniper (www.adoptasniper.org) has raised thousands of dollars in cash and gear to supplement the kit of sharp shooters in up to 75 US combat platoons. "Being aware that police snipers often face the same logistical problems as their military counterparts, I assumed correctly that they were doing without things they needed to get their jobs done," Mr Sain said. He contacted US military sniper schools and began sending supplies, tailored to the needs of each sniper, in January.

"People from every walk of life are helping. Once the word got out that a
group of policemen was helping the military and inviting civilian
assistance, it really took off," he said.

Some US soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan spend their own money to supplement equipment issued by the military.

"Snipers need gear that is different than the average airman, marine,
sailor, or soldier," Mr Sain told Reuters via e-mail. "When the snipers
desperately need mission specific gear ... we just try and fill that void."
From the frontlines, snipers are writing to say thanks.
"Your package arrived ... and was met with great fanfare," said a Marine
platoon commander from Afghanistan. "The mini binos (binoculars) will help lighten our load as we continue to spend most of the time chasing the Taliban between 7000-10,000 feet (2100-3050m)."

He went on to ask for supplies of protein bars, Gatorade and dry cleaning
lubricants for guns. Sergeant John, who has been in the army for four-and-a-half years, wrote from Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, where rebels took over some districts this week. "I am always trying to improve my knowledge as a sniper and improve my lethality," he said. "I am proud to be a sniper when I see fellow snipers in the community are back home looking out for us snipers overseas fighting this horrible war on terrorism."

Some write of having to spend their own money buying gear, and of the lack of quality ammunition. "I hate asking for stuff," said one anonymous soldier seeking small binoculars and spotting scopes, "but if you have the means, we can damn sure put them to good use.

"Miscellaneous gear and morale type stuff is of course always welcome. My platoon has 16 guys from all over. Some eat kimchi (Korean national dish), some chew Redman (tobacco). "I can't tell you how much this means to all of us." Adopt a Sniper fills a need for civilians who want to help soldiers in combat but don't know how to, Mr Sain said.

"Unfortunately, due to the enormity of the commitment in Iraq and
Afghanistan, many American snipers are having to spend their own money and have their families try and procure gear and get it to them," Mr Sain said. Supplies are sent directly to individual soldiers and Adopt a Sniper spends as much on shipping as it does on supplies.

"We have been sending everything from baby wipes to body armour and
everything in between. Most of the items are sniper specific such as laser
rangefinders ... wind metres, rifle scopes, weapons maintenance gear, youname it," Mr Sain said.

"www.adoptasniper.org has become a full time secondary job for us," he said.

Reuters
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2004, 11:31:54 AM »

THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW!!!

http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site

http://www.uso.org/pubs/93_325_1391.cfm

http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2004, 12:36:05 PM »

AAFES Gift Certificates
http://www.aafes.com/docs/homefront.htm
The Army and Air Force Exchange Services is where most servicemen and women do their shopping. You can purchase gift certificates for those in Iraq and those hospitalized.

Adopt a Platoon
http://www.adoptaplatoon.org/
Adopt a Platoon has several ongoing projects to ensure that every soldier overseas does not walk away from mail call empty-handed.

AnySoldier
http://www.anysoldier.us/index.cfm
Any Soldier is a non-profit organization that helps people send care packages to members of the armed services in Iraq.

Appreciate Our Troops
http://www.appreciateourtroops.org
Purchase a Support Our Troops mug and a free personalized mug will be given to a current or former service member.

Blue Star Mothers
http://www.bluestarmothers.org
The Blue Star Mothers was founded by service members' moms during World War II. Any mother with a son or daughter in the military can join.

Books For Soldiers
http://www.booksforsoldiers.com/
Help the troops escape boredom by donating some books. You can also donate DVDs and CDs requested by soldiers.

Camp Doha
http://www.campdoha.org/
Camp Doha provides valuable information for those about to deploy, their friends and families and anyone who wants to support the troops.

Cell Phones for Soldiers
http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/pages/1/index.htm
Donated cell phones are recycled and turned into cash. The cash is used to purchase calling cards for soldiers in Iraq.

Defend America
http://www.defendamerica.mil/nmam.html
Thank any service member stationed throughout the U.S. and the world with an e-mail.

Fisher House
http://www.fisherhouse.org/
The Fisher House Foundation donates comfort homes, built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

Freedom Calls
http://www.freedomcalls.org/
The Freedom Calls Foundation is helping families videoconference with their loved ones in Iraq. You can donate money to help keep this project going.

Groceries for Families
http://www.commissaries.com/certificheck/
The men and women who lay down their lives for us are terribly underpaid. Help a family by purchasing gift certificates to the commissary.

Homes for Our Troops
http://www.homesforourtroops.org/
Homes for Our Troops assists injured veterans and their immediate families by building new or adapting existing homes with handicapped accessibility.

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/foundation_heroesfund.html
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund provides grants to the families of servicemen and women who died in Iraq. You can donate online, through mail or by calling a toll-free number.

Military Moms
http://www.militarymoms.net/index.html
This site provides support to all of the moms out there who has a son or daughter in the military.

Operation Air Conditioner
http://www.operationac.com/
Operation Air Conditioner provides not only air conditioners but space heaters (the desert is cold in the winter) for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Operation Call Home
http://www.platoonphone.com/
Operation Call Home's mission is to provide each platoon with their own satellite phone.

Operation Dear Abby
http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/
The U.S. Navy and Dear Abby have teamed up. Their site allows you to send e-mail messages of support to service members.

Operation Give
http://www.operationgive.org/
Operation Give provides toys, clothing and school supplies primarily to the children of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Operation Hero Miles
http://www.heromiles.org/
You can donate your unused frequent flier miles to help soldiers travel on emergency leave. They are also used to help families fly to hospitalized soldiers.

Operation Iraqi Children
http://www.operationiraqichildren.org/
Many soldiers are rebuilding schools in Iraq and scrounging around for school supplies. Help by donating a school supplies kit.

Operation Military Pride
http://operationmilitarypride.org
Operation Military Pride is a volunteer organization that sends cards letters and care packages to troops.

Operation Uplink
http://www.operationuplink.org/
Donate money to Operation Uplink. The money is used to purchase phone cards so servicemen and women can call home.

Soldiers' Angels
http://www.soldiersangels.org/heroes/index.php
Become some soldier's angel by adopting a service member.

Treats for Troops
http://www.treatsfortroops.com/
Treats for Troops helps get you provide packages to your loved ones overseas. If you don't know anyone, the Foster-A-Soldier Program matches you with a registered soldier by branch of service, home state, gender, or birthday - or you can choose to sponsor a group of soldiers.

USO Cares
http://www.usocares.org/
You can sponsor care packages provided by the USO with a $25 donation.

Voice from Home
http://voicesfromhome.org/home.html
Voices From Home allows military members and their families and friends to send and receive immediate voice e-mail messages in remote locations around the world.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2004, 12:36:21 PM »

AAFES Gift Certificates
http://www.aafes.com/docs/homefront.htm
The Army and Air Force Exchange Services is where most servicemen and women do their shopping. You can purchase gift certificates for those in Iraq and those hospitalized.

Adopt a Platoon
http://www.adoptaplatoon.org/
Adopt a Platoon has several ongoing projects to ensure that every soldier overseas does not walk away from mail call empty-handed.

AnySoldier
http://www.anysoldier.us/index.cfm
Any Soldier is a non-profit organization that helps people send care packages to members of the armed services in Iraq.

Appreciate Our Troops
http://www.appreciateourtroops.org
Purchase a Support Our Troops mug and a free personalized mug will be given to a current or former service member.

Blue Star Mothers
http://www.bluestarmothers.org
The Blue Star Mothers was founded by service members' moms during World War II. Any mother with a son or daughter in the military can join.

Books For Soldiers
http://www.booksforsoldiers.com/
Help the troops escape boredom by donating some books. You can also donate DVDs and CDs requested by soldiers.

Camp Doha
http://www.campdoha.org/
Camp Doha provides valuable information for those about to deploy, their friends and families and anyone who wants to support the troops.

Cell Phones for Soldiers
http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/pages/1/index.htm
Donated cell phones are recycled and turned into cash. The cash is used to purchase calling cards for soldiers in Iraq.

Defend America
http://www.defendamerica.mil/nmam.html
Thank any service member stationed throughout the U.S. and the world with an e-mail.

Fisher House
http://www.fisherhouse.org/
The Fisher House Foundation donates comfort homes, built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

Freedom Calls
http://www.freedomcalls.org/
The Freedom Calls Foundation is helping families videoconference with their loved ones in Iraq. You can donate money to help keep this project going.

Groceries for Families
http://www.commissaries.com/certificheck/
The men and women who lay down their lives for us are terribly underpaid. Help a family by purchasing gift certificates to the commissary.

Homes for Our Troops
http://www.homesforourtroops.org/
Homes for Our Troops assists injured veterans and their immediate families by building new or adapting existing homes with handicapped accessibility.

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/foundation_heroesfund.html
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund provides grants to the families of servicemen and women who died in Iraq. You can donate online, through mail or by calling a toll-free number.

Military Moms
http://www.militarymoms.net/index.html
This site provides support to all of the moms out there who has a son or daughter in the military.

Operation Air Conditioner
http://www.operationac.com/
Operation Air Conditioner provides not only air conditioners but space heaters (the desert is cold in the winter) for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Operation Call Home
http://www.platoonphone.com/
Operation Call Home's mission is to provide each platoon with their own satellite phone.

Operation Dear Abby
http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/
The U.S. Navy and Dear Abby have teamed up. Their site allows you to send e-mail messages of support to service members.

Operation Give
http://www.operationgive.org/
Operation Give provides toys, clothing and school supplies primarily to the children of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Operation Hero Miles
http://www.heromiles.org/
You can donate your unused frequent flier miles to help soldiers travel on emergency leave. They are also used to help families fly to hospitalized soldiers.

Operation Iraqi Children
http://www.operationiraqichildren.org/
Many soldiers are rebuilding schools in Iraq and scrounging around for school supplies. Help by donating a school supplies kit.

Operation Military Pride
http://operationmilitarypride.org
Operation Military Pride is a volunteer organization that sends cards letters and care packages to troops.

Operation Uplink
http://www.operationuplink.org/
Donate money to Operation Uplink. The money is used to purchase phone cards so servicemen and women can call home.

Soldiers' Angels
http://www.soldiersangels.org/heroes/index.php
Become some soldier's angel by adopting a service member.

Treats for Troops
http://www.treatsfortroops.com/
Treats for Troops helps get you provide packages to your loved ones overseas. If you don't know anyone, the Foster-A-Soldier Program matches you with a registered soldier by branch of service, home state, gender, or birthday - or you can choose to sponsor a group of soldiers.

USO Cares
http://www.usocares.org/
You can sponsor care packages provided by the USO with a $25 donation.

Voice from Home
http://voicesfromhome.org/home.html
Voices From Home allows military members and their families and friends to send and receive immediate voice e-mail messages in remote locations around the world.
Logged
pappydog
Frequent Poster
**
Posts: 64


« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2004, 11:45:42 AM »

My bro will be in Iraq in Jan. Thanks for the posts. Military families will know about this resource; Military.com. It has the news straight from the horse's mouth. Also I read post on there and of course I could not find it when I went back. However, it is top 10 needs of Marines. Think about this when sending stuff over there.

1. Baby wipes- multi purpose. clean yourself and equipment
2. AA batteries.
3. knee and elbow pads
4. really nice sweat head bands. Keeps sweat out of goggles
5. power bars and more power bars
*The rest are news and things I have heard
6. If you can swing it- the lighter cavlar plates
7. books are cheap to send - media mail. Also Apo are as cheap as mailing to US destinations
8. Any scrap metal or bullet proof glass Smiley
Please add to this list.......
Logged
Russ
Power User
***
Posts: 89


« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2005, 11:15:28 AM »

My brother in law's sister, Kristin Duarte, just arrived in Tikrit, Iraq.  She and her National Guard unit were brought there to escort truck conveys (a very dangerous job).

Her Father forwarded this to me from their unit commander's wife:

"If anyone knows anyone who is in a position to donate such items, or has contacts with the major computer companies Dell, Gateway, HP, etc.. and can make a request for donation, please contact me and we will make sure they get them."

Does anyone have any resources or connections in this area?

Thanks,
Russ
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I just wanted to let you know that our unit has arrived safely in Tikrit.  Two of our soldiers are in route with equipment, but the bulk of the band have arrived.

The band is staying in their own palace.  They have electricity and running water.  At this time there is no computer access, but they will be requesting to have the building wired for access.

Unfortunately, two of our soldiers have had their personal laptops stolen and one soldier left a mini DVD player on the plane.  If anyone knows anyone who is in a position to donate such items, or has contacts with the major computer companies Dell, Gateway, HP, etc.. and can make a request for donation, please contact me and we will make sure they get them.  Most companies have been very generous to soldiers serving in Iraq, and it can't hurt to make a request.

I will let you know when the band has arrived in total."

Contact Info:
r_iger@hotmail.com
Logged

C-Bad Dog, Lakan Guro DBMA
http://dbma-connecticut.webs.com/
Russ
Power User
***
Posts: 89


« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2005, 12:43:05 PM »

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/tikrit-cc.htm

This link has photos, maps, and the different camps including FOB Danger where Kristin and her unit are stationed.
Logged

C-Bad Dog, Lakan Guro DBMA
http://dbma-connecticut.webs.com/
Russ
Power User
***
Posts: 89


« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2005, 09:11:01 AM »

This from the February 4th Boston Herald.  The headline reads; "Band of brothers, sisters can fight as well as play." There's also an interview of Kristin and picture of her in front of one of Saddam's palaces.

http://news.bostonherald.com/international/view.bg?articleid=66844
Logged

C-Bad Dog, Lakan Guro DBMA
http://dbma-connecticut.webs.com/
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2005, 02:27:08 PM »

In the last two years, nearly one million U.S. service-members have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Regardless of how you may feel about the war, most of us agree that those service-members deserve the best possible care and treatment our country can provide.

Unfortunately, in some cases, things haven't worked out so well.  Some of our service-members have fallen through the cracks, with reports of homelessness, trauma and suicide. According to the NEJM, as many as 15% of returning service-members from Iraq will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.  Thousands have been wounded, and those who were killed left families behind who must bear the trauma of losing a loved one. Further, despite the dramatically increased demands on the VA healthcare system, the VA is slated for cuts of up to 15% over the next ten years.

Veterans for Common Sense has made available on the internet, and soon in print, a guide for returning veterans to help them navigate the available benefits and assistance available.  Our goal is to make it as comprehensive as possible, to let returning veterans know of where they can get assistance if there are any issues with readjustment on their return home.

The guide also contains a section for people who are looking for ways to support the troops, with links to organizations who are directly supporting the troops in the field.

We're trying to let as many people as possible know about the guide, and so we're sending you this note in the hope that, if you are a veteran, you will find it useful, and if not, that you will pass it on.

The guide is available here:

http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/files/vcs/guide.cfm

Or on our home page at http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org

We hope you'll visit, and pass this on to friends, family, and others in your community. In particular, please pass it on to anyone you know who is a veteran or works with veterans in the community.

Thank you,

Veterans for Common Sense

P.S. Unless you actually subscribe to one of our mailing lists, you have been permanently unsubscribed and will never receive another email from us again.  You can contact us directly at contact@veteransforcommonsense.org or at 202-558-4553.

P.P.S. If you know of resources which should be in the guide, and aren't, please feel free to suggest them by clicking on the "add resource" link.

Veterans for Common Sense
1101 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

ABOUT VETERANS FOR COMMON SENSE

Veterans for Common Sense seeks to inject the element of Common Sense into debates over war and national security. In an age when the majority of public servants have never served in uniform, the perspective of war veterans must play a key role in the public debate over national security issues in order to preserve the liberty veterans have fought and died preserving.

Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) was formed in 2002 by war veterans who believe that we, the people of the United States of America, are most secure when our country is strong and responsibly engaged with the world. Two years later, our organization has over 12,000 members throughout the United States.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE

Your email has automatically been placed on our DO NOT SEND list, and you will never receive another message from us again. If you wish to receive updates or information from VCS, you can subscribe at:
http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/?page=join
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2005, 01:57:43 PM »

Military.com launched a new online employment and education resource last week in support of the Department of Defense Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center (24/7 Family Support). The new Career Center, located online at www.Military.com/support and accessible via 1-888-774-1361, builds on efforts by the Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center to ensure that Servicemembers with severe injuries have easy access to all available resources to assist with their recovery and rehabilitation. The Career Center offers an extensive job board powered by Monster, the leading global online careers property, as well as employment assistance, education options and benefits information for severely injured Servicemembers and their families. The Career Center also enables employers to express their interest in hiring people from this exceptional talent pool. Resources are drawn from the Office of Military Community and Family Policy as well as from every branch of military service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Labor and private organizations. Go to the new Career Center at www.Military.com/support
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2005, 01:02:02 PM »

Military Amputees Find Camaraderie
Associated Press
March 29, 2005

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Cpl. Isaiah Ramirez endured the rigors of Marine Corps basic training and two tours of high-risk duty in Iraq.

But since his lower right leg was shot off in January, Ramirez says he'll be happy just to walk again.

Ramirez, 21, took his first steps toward that goal this month at Brooke Army Medical Center, where two dozen amputees wounded in the Iraq war have become a tightly knit group as they adjust together to life-altering injuries.

The medical center's amputee center, which opened this year, is the second such facility created by the Defense Department to treat service members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I love being around here - it makes you feel more normal," said Ramirez, who grew up in Long Beach, Calif.

Ramirez was on foot patrol in Ramadi on Jan. 11 when he was hit above his right ankle by an anti-tank round. He said he was alert while a combat medic quickly performed a crude amputation on the city street.




 
"I've learned that I've got to stop thinking about the things I could have done," said Ramirez, who had planned to be a career Marine. "I'm just glad to be here."

Army Spc. Albert Ross sat with Ramirez recently to answer his questions while the Marine was fitted for a prosthesis. Ross is a good role model for Ramirez: He lost the same part of his right leg to a rocket-propelled grenade in Baghdad last summer and has recovered well enough to run a quarter-mile on a treadmill.

In turn, Ross, from Baker, La., takes inspiration from Sgt. Chris Leverkuhn, an Army reservist from Logansport, Ind.

Leverkuhn, 21, had his right leg amputated just above the knee after an improvised bomb exploded under the floorboard of the fuel tanker he was riding in. The truck's driver was killed in the Jan. 2, 2004, attack outside Ramadi.

Leverkuhn has endured three dozen surgeries with more to come. He has progressed from bed to wheelchair to walker to crutches to cane. Now he can jump foot-high hurdles and dribble a basketball around small cones on the floor.

"Half the time when I'm wearing pants, people don't know that I'm an amputee," Leverkuhn said.

The workout room is the amputee center's social hub, where patients pump out a steady stream of wisecracks and PG-rated insults between sets on the weightlifting machines.

"We all give each other a hard time, but we don't do any of that until we know a person and know how they'll take it," said Leverkuhn, who has laminated a picture of a chopper-style motorcycle to his prosthesis.

Col. Robert Granville, an orthopedic surgeon who performs amputations and subsequent operations, is constantly awed by the casual, can-do atmosphere.

"I can't imagine being a 19, 20-year-old guy and facing the life challenges they have to face," said Granville. "We attempt to empathize, but we can't."

Army 1st Sgt. Daniel Seefeldt, a 22-year veteran, said the camaraderie at the amputee center got him past the nightmares he had after losing his lower left leg to a homemade bomb in Baghdad in September.

"A lot of the reason I'm not thinking about it is being with the other amputees," said Seefeldt, 41, of Manitowoc, Wis. "We're all close, like a family. If you're depressed, you have people here to lift your spirits."

During weekend visits to see his wife and two children, Seefeldt does laundry and straightens up around the house. In late November, barely six weeks after his amputation, he cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

"I do it every year," Seefeldt said matter-of-factly, "and this year was no different."

Ramirez, whose wife gave birth to the couple's first child in late February, is months away from rattling any pots and pans. He first needs to learn how to balance himself and re-establish the rhythm of his gait.

The support he's getting at the amputee center will shore him up on his upcoming return to Southern California to see family and his old surfing buddies.

"I worried when I saw them that they would have pity for me," Ramirez said. "I want them to see me and think, 'He's doing pretty good.'"
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2005, 08:58:50 PM »

Woof:

The number of reads for this thread has been dead for a while, probably due to it alwyays being in the same Announcement spot on the Forum and additional posts to it being infrequent.  

Thus, to break the pattern, I am removing the "announcement" feature for now.  Any one with some to post to this thread should please do so and I will be glad to restore it to Announcement status.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2005, 06:25:38 AM »

Woof All:

Today is a fine day to bring this thread back to the top.   While the stirring speeches of this weekend are a good thing, ultimately they are just words.  Please read through this thread and see what you can do to help.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2005, 11:52:14 PM »

There are dozens of organizations listed here that enable anyone who is interested to help soldiers and their families in very practical ways, everything from needed equipment for the soldiers themselves to commissary gift certificates to help their families with grocery shopping.

http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/
Logged
Anonymous
Guest
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2005, 11:21:35 AM »

TTT
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2005, 12:56:32 PM »

Awesome fotos of this firefight at http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/

Mosul, Iraq


Combat comes unexpectedly, even in war.

On Monday, while conducting operations in west Mosul, a voice came over the radio saying troops from our brother unit, the 3-21, were fighting with the enemy in east Mosul on the opposite side of the Tigris River. Moments later, SSG Will Shockley relayed word to us that an American soldier was dead. We began searching for the shooters near one of the bridges on our side of the Tigris, but they got away. Jose L. Ruiz was killed in action.

Although the situation in Mosul is better, our troops still fight here every day. This may not be the war some folks had in mind a few years ago. But once the shooting starts, a plan is just a guess in a party dress.

The only mission I've seen unfold close to what was planned was a B Company raid a few months back. It actually went so close to perfect that we could hardly believe it. The sole glitch occurred when a Stryker hit an IED, but since nobody was hurt, we just continued the mission. In retrospect, it's hard to imagine why I didn't write about it. But times are busy, and, apart from it going nearly perfectly according to plan, it just seemed like any other old raid.

I had been talking with Captain Matt McGrew about the "The Battle for Mosul IV" dispatch, intending to spend the night with him and some Iraqi troops at one of their combat outposts, to glean additional insight, but the on-going battles in Mosul kept getting in the way. On the night before the planned ride-along, the obstacle was a big and sudden push of operations and tasks bundled in a "surge operation." Operation Lancer Fury was launched without notice even to the unit commanders here.

When I'd sat in on the "warning order" (notice of impending operations) for Lancer Fury last week, the plan was so cleverly contrived that the leadership at Deuce Four had to grudgingly acknowledge its excellence, even though the idea had originated from higher-up. In every military unit I have seen, there is a prevailing perception that good ideas trickle down from the top about as often as water flows uphill, so Lancer Fury apparently was a wunder-plan.

As a "surge" operation, Lancer Fury is sort of a crocodile hunt, where our people do things to make the crocodiles come out, trying to flush them into predictable directions, or make them take certain actions. And when they do, we nail them. The combat portion of the Surge amounted to a sophisticated "area ambush" that would unfold over the period of about one week.

This Surge is a complicated piece of work, with multidimensional variables and multifarious moving parts. Those parts range literally from boots on our feet to satellites zipping overhead. So, of course, glitches and snags started occurring the first day. Among other things, key gear failed; but overall, the Surge was going well. A few terrorists had already been caught in the first 24 hours.

Thursday night, a revised plan had me following some Deuce Four soldiers on a midnight raid. They had night vision gear, so they moved quickly. I had only moonlight, so I nearly broke my leg keeping up. Sleeking around Mosul under moonlight, we prowled through the pale glow until we came upon a pond near a farmhouse. Recon platoon had already raided one house and snagged some suspects, then crept away in the darkness to another target close by.

Five soldiers from Recon?Holt, Ferguson, Yates, Welch and Ross?were moving through moon-cast shadows when an Iraqi man came out from a farmhouse, his AK-47 rifle hanging by his side. Suddenly encircled by the rifles, lights and lasers of four soldiers, the man was quickly disarmed. A fifth soldier radioed for the interpreter and together they sorted out that he was a farmer who thought the soldiers were thieves skulking around his property. Recon returned the man his rifle, and started making their way back, umbral and silent across the ploughed fields.

During a halt in some trees at the edge of the field, I overheard the voice of LTC Kurilla, the commander of the Deuce Four battalion, quietly praising one of the soldiers for showing discipline in not shooting the farmer. After loading the other suspects onto Strykers, we returned to base, where I fell, exhausted, at about 3AM Friday morning.

The Surge continued while I slept.

Alpha Company had deployed during the early hours and was conducting operations around Yarmook Traffic Circle. SGT Daniel Lama, who is as much respected as he is liked, was pulling security in an air guard position of his Stryker, when a bullet flew straight at his neck, striking him. As he collapsed into the Stryker, his body clenched in seizure, fingers frozen, arms and legs rigid.

I seldom get letters in Iraq, but waiting for me in the mailroom while I slept was a card. The return address sticker, an American flag on it, was from Jefferson, Pennsylvania. The postage stamp had an American flag waving. The card inside had a picture of an American flag for its cover. The sweet and heartfelt message inside ended with--

Please tell our soldiers we care so much for them. --Dan and Connie Lama.

I was still asleep when medics brought their son Daniel to the Combat Support Hospital, or "Cash." It's a familiar place for Deuce Four soldiers, who've seen some of the most sustained and intense urban combat of this war, receiving over 150 Purple Hearts in the process.

Bap bap bap! on my door. I jumped up and there was CSM Robert Prosser, the top enlisted soldier at Deuce Four. Prosser is always professional, always direct: "Sergeant Lama's been shot. We're rolling in ten minutes," he said.

"I'll be there in ten," I answered, instantly awake.

Within minutes, I was running out my room, still pulling zips and fastening buttons, when I came sweating into the TOC. LTC Kurilla was there asking a soldier for the latest report on Sergeant Lama, now in surgery.

When a soldier is killed or wounded, the Department of Army calls the loved ones, and despite their attempts to be sympathetic, the nature of the calls has a way of shocking the families. There is just no easy way to say, "Your son got shot today." And so, according to men here, the calls sound something like this: "We are sorry to inform you that your son has been shot in Mosul. He's stable, but that's all we know at this time."

LTC Kurilla likes to call before the Army gets a chance, to tell parents and loved ones the true circumstances. Kurilla is direct, but at least people know they are getting an accurate account.

We loaded the Strykers and drove down to the Cash, and there was Chaplain Wilson, who might be the most popular man on base. Everybody loves him. Often when Chaplain Wilson sees me, he will say, "Good morning Michael. How are you today?" But sometimes he asks me, "Are you okay?" and I think, Do I look stressed?

"Of course I feel okay Chaplain Wilson! Don't I look okay?"

He just laughs, "Yes, Michael, you look fine. Just checking." But secretly, every time he asks, I feel a notch better.

Chaplain Wilson came out from the hospital smiling and explained that Daniel (Sergeant Lama) was fine. The seizure was just a natural reaction to getting shot in the neck. It was just a flesh wound. As if offering proof, Chaplain Wilson said: "When they rolled Daniel over, the doctor stuck his finger in Daniel's butt to check his prostate, and Daniel said, 'Hey! What are you doing?!'" Everybody laughed.

I changed the subject by snapping a photo of CSM Prosser while LTC Kurilla got Mrs. Lama on the Iridium satellite phone. I heard the commander telling this soldier's mother that her son was fine. Daniel just had some soft tissue damage, nothing major. Kurilla told her that he and some other soldiers were at the hospital now with Daniel, who was still too groggy to talk. "Really, Daniel's okay, and don't worry about it when the Army calls you."

We loaded the Strykers and headed downtown.

Some Strykers were scouting for the shooters, while others were working details at Yarmook Traffic Circle. Major Craig Triscari from the 1-17th Infantry from Alaska was with Major Mike Lawrence, "Q," and other soldiers, when he noticed a car with its hood up. The 1-17th will relieve the 1-24th soon, so Triscari has been conducting operations with Deuce Four. The vehicle struck Triscari as odd: it hadn't been there a few minutes earlier.

Automatic weapons fire started coming from at least two places. Bullets were kicking up the dust, and we got a radio call that troops were in contact at Yarmook Traffic Circle. Sitting inside the Stryker with LTC Kurilla and me were two new faces. A young 2nd lieutenant who had only been in Iraq three weeks, and hadn't seen any real combat; and a young specialist, who, per chance, is one of the few Deuce Four soldiers who is not a seasoned veteran, though he has seen some combat. Also in the Stryker was "AH," the interpreter, whose courage under fire I had seen before. But the more battle weathered fighters were not there.

Chris Espindola, the Commander's radio operator, a respected and very experienced fighter, was down in Baghdad at the Iraqi Criminal Court testifying against two terrorists caught by Deuce Four months earlier. Like the card in the mailroom, the circumstances behind their capture were more germane to the events about to unfold than anyone might have guessed at the time.

Kurilla's reluctance to allow anyone outside Deuce Four ride with his soldiers--including writers--is well known. Partly because of writers, people hearing about Deuce Four in the news might think of Mosul as some kind of thrill ride where everything will end okay after a few hairpin turns. This is not true.

Newcomers, even soldiers, unaccustomed to this level of hostility, can only burden the men with added danger. So Kurilla makes sure they can be trusted by mentoring new officers and having them spend three weeks with him before they are allowed to lead men in this unit.

Some months back, a new lieutenant named Brian Flynn was riding with the Kurilla for his first three weeks, when Kurilla spotted three men walking adjacent to where Major Mark Bieger and his Stryker had been hit with a car bomb a week prior. The three men looked suspicious to Kurilla. who's legendary sense about people is so keen that his soldiers call it the "Deuce Sixth-Sense." His read on people and situations is so uncanny it borders the bizarre.

That day, Kurilla sensed "wrong" and told his soldiers to check the three men. As the Stryker dropped its ramp, one of the terrorists pulled a pistol from under his shirt. Mark Bieger was overwatching from another Stryker and shot the man with the first two bullets, dropping him to his knees.

LT Flynn was first out of the Stryker, and both he and the airguard CPT Westphal, saw the pistol at the same time and also shot the man. The other suspects started running. But all Kurilla saw was LT Flynn stepping off the ramp, and then there was a lot of shooting. Kurilla yelled F L Y NNNNNNNNNNN!!!! and was nearly diving to stop Flynn from shooting, thinking the new lieutenant had lost his mind and was shooting a man just for running from Coalition forces. Soldiers can't just shoot anyone who runs.

Chris Espindola also shot the man. Amazingly, despite being hit by four M4's from multiple directions, the man still lived a few minutes. Soldiers out ran and tackled his two associates when they made a run.

During their interrogation on base, both admitted to being Jihadists. One was training to be a sniper, while the other was training for different combat missions. They also admitted that the terrorist who was shot down was their cell leader, who had been training them for three months. They were on a recon of American forces when Kurilla sensed their intent.

The cell leader had a blood stained ?death note? in his pocket stating he was a true Mujahadeen and wanted to die fighting the Americans. He got his wish; and now, Chris Espindola, Kurilla's radio man, was down in Baghdad testifying against the two surviving co-conspirators. Despite their sworn confessions, Kurilla was left with a young radio operator with little trigger-time.

Flynn had now been a platoon leader for six months, but today Kurilla had another 2nd lieutenant who being mentored before he became a platoon leader. Our Stryker did not contain the normal fighters that I saw with LTC Kurilla, but we also had a section (two squads) of infantrymen in Strykers from Alpha Company. This section was led by SSG Konkol.

We were searching the area for the source of that automatic weapons fire when Kurilla spotted three men in a black Opel and his sixth sense kicked. When Kurilla keyed in on them, he pointed his rifle at the car and signaled them to get out. The driver tucked his head and gunned the gas. The chase was on.

Strykers are fast, but Opels are faster. We were roaring through little streets and along roads, horn blaring, cars zipping off the sides, the steady chatter of multiple radio channels colliding inside the Stryker. A Kiowa helicopter pilot radioed that he spotted the car. As the chase continued, the Kiowa pilot said, "It's going about 105 mph."

How can the pilot know it's going 105 mph? I thought.



This Kiowa shot the Opel


As if in reply, the pilot radioed that the Opel was outrunning his helicopter. Captain Jeff VanAntwerp came on the radio net saying he was moving his section into position to intercept the Opel.

"Watch out for that kid!" yelled Kurilla over the intercom to our driver as we made a hard turn, managing to avoid hitting the child.

Opels may be faster than Kiowas on straight-a-ways, but when the car made turns, the helicopter quickly caught up. Kurilla ordered the Kiowa to fire a warning shot, then quickly authorized the Kiowa to disable the vehicle.

Kiowas are small, carrying just two people; they fly so low the two flying soldiers are practically infantrymen. The pilot swooped low and the "co-pilot" aimed his rifle at the Opel, firing three shots and blowing out the back window. The Kiowa swooped and banked hard in front of the car, firing three more shots through the front hood, the universal sign for "stop."

The car chase ended, but the men fled on foot up an alley. We approached in the Strykers and I heard Kurilla say on the radio, "Shots fired!" as he ducked for a moment then popped back up in the hatch. Kurilla continued, "Trail section clear the car and clear south to north! I'm going to block the back door on the north side!"

About fifteen seconds later our ramp dropped. We ran into combat.

Folks who haven't done much urban fighting might take issue with the wild chases, and they might say that people should always "stack up" and do things this or that way, but men in Delta Force, SEALs and the like, all know that when chasing wild men into the labyrinth, soldiers enter the land of confusion. If soldiers don't go fast, the bad guys simply get away. Just a few minutes ago, these three guys were going "105 miles per hour," and outrunning a helicopter.

There were shops, alleys, doorways, windows . . .

The soldiers with LTC Kurilla were searching fast, weapons at the ready, and they quickly flex-cuffed two men. But these were not the right guys. Meanwhile, SSG Konkol's men were clearing towards us, leaving the three bad-guys boxed, but free.

Shots were fired behind us but around a corner to the left.

Both the young 2nd lieutenant and the young specialist were inside a shop when a close-quarters firefight broke out, and they ran outside. Not knowing how many men they were fighting, they wanted backup. LTC Kurilla began running in the direction of the shooting. He passed by me and I chased, Kurilla leading the way.

There was a quick and heavy volume of fire. And then LTC Kurilla was shot.


Last steps


LTC Erik Kurilla (front right), the moment the bullets strike.(2nd LT front-left; radioman near-left; "AH" the interpreter is near-right.)


Three bullets reach flesh: One snaps his thigh bone in half.


Both legs and an arm are shot.


The Commander rolls into a firing position, just as a bullet strikes the wall beside 2nd lieutenant's head (left).


Kurilla was running when he was shot, but he didn't seem to miss a stride; he did a crazy judo roll and came up shooting.

BamBamBamBam! Bullets were hitting all around Kurilla. The young 2nd lieutenant and specialist were the only two soldiers near. Neither had real combat experience. AH had no weapon. I had a camera.

Seconds count.

Kurilla, though dowm and unable to move, was fighting and firing, yelling at the two young soldiers to get in there; but they hesitated. BamBamBamBam!

Kurilla was in the open, but his judo roll had left him slightly to the side of the shop. I screamed to the young soldiers, "Throw a grenade in there!" but they were not attacking.

"Throw a grenade in there!" They did not attack.

"Give me a grenade!" They didn't have grenades.

"Erik! Do you need me to come get you!" I shouted. But he said "No." (Thank God; running in front of the shop might have proved fatal.)

"What's wrong with you!?" I yelled above the shooting.

"I'm hit three times! I'm shot three times!"

Amazingly, he was right. One bullet smashed through his femur, snapping his leg. His other leg was hit and so was an arm.

With his leg mangled, Kurilla pointed and fired his rifle into the doorway, yelling instructions to the soldiers about how to get in there. But they were not attacking. This was not the Deuce Four I know. The other Deuce Four soldiers would have killed every man in that room in about five seconds. But these two soldiers didn't have the combat experience to grasp the power of momentum.

This was happening in seconds. Several times I nearly ran over to Kurilla, but hesitated every time. Kurilla was, after all, still fighting. And I was afraid to run in front of the shop, especially so unarmed.



The Commander fights...


...and fights, as more bullets kick up dust.

And then help arrived in the form of one man: CSM Prosser.

Prosser ran around the corner, passed the two young soldiers who were crouched low, then by me and right to the shop, where he started firing at men inside.

A man came forward, trying to shoot Kurilla with a pistol, apparently realizing his only escape was by fighting his way out, or dying in the process. Kurilla was aiming at the doorway waiting for him to come out. Had Prosser not come at that precise moment, who knows what the outcome might have been.

Prosser shot the man at least four times with his M4 rifle. But the American M4 rifles are weak--after Prosser landed three nearly point blank shots in the man's abdomen, splattering a testicle with a fourth, the man just staggered back, regrouped and tried to shoot Prosser.


CSM Robert Prosser goes "black."

Then Prosser's M4 went "black" (no more bullets). A shooter inside was also having problems with his pistol, but there was no time to reload. Prosser threw down his empty M4, ran into the shop and tackled the man.

Though I have the photo, I do not remember the moment that Prosser went "black" and ran into the shop. Apparently I turned my head, but kept my finger on the shutter button. When I looked back again, I saw the very bloody leg of CSM Prosser inside the shop. It was not moving. He appeared to be shot down and dead.

I looked back at the two soldiers who were with me outside, and screamed what amounted to "Attack Attack Attack!" I stood up and was yelling at them. Actually, what I shouted was an unprintable string of curses, while Kurilla was also yelling at them to get in there, his M4 trained on the entrance. But the guys were not attacking.

I saw Prosser's M4 on the ground, Where did that come from?

I picked up Prosser's M4. It was empty. I saw only Prosser's bloody leg lying still, just inside the darkened doorway, because most of his body was hidden behind a stack of sheet metal.

"Give me some ammo! Give me a magazine!" I yelled, and the young 2nd lieutenant handed over a full 30-round magazine. I jacked it in, released the bolt and hit the forward assist. I had only one magazine, so checked that the selector was on semi-automatic.

I ran back to the corner of the shop and looked at LTC Kurilla who was bleeding, and saw CSM Prosser's extremely bloody leg inside the shop, the rest of him was still obscured from view. I was going to run into the shop and shoot every man with a gun. And I was scared to death.

What I didn't realize was at that same moment four soldiers from Alpha Company 2nd Platoon were arriving on scene, just in time to see me about to go into the store. SSG Gregory Konkol, SGT Jim Lewis, and specialists Nicholas Devereaux and Christopher Muse where right there, behind me, but I didn't see them.

Reaching around the corner, I fired three shots into the shop. The third bullet pierced a propane canister, which jumped up in the air and began spinning violently. It came straight at my head but somehow missed, flying out of the shop as a high-pressure jet of propane hit me in the face. The goggles saved my eyes. I gulped in deeply.

In the tiniest fraction of a second, somehow my mind actually registered Propane . . . FIREBALL! as it bounced on the ground where it spun furiously, creating an explosive cloud of gas and dust, just waiting for someone to fire a weapon.

I scrambled back, got up and ran a few yards, afraid that Kurilla was going to burn up if there was a fire. The soldiers from Alpha Company were heading toward him when LTC Kurilla yelled out that he was okay, but that CSM Prosser was still in the shop. The Alpha Company soldiers ran through the propane and dust cloud and swarmed the shop.

When the bullet hit that canister, Prosser?who I thought might be dead because of all the blood on his leg?was actually fighting hand-to-hand on the ground. Wrapped in a ground fight, Prosser could not pull out his service pistol strapped on his right leg, or get to his knife on his left, because the terrorist?who turned out to be a serious terrorist?had grabbed Prosser's helmet and pulled it over his eyes and twisted it.

Prosser had beaten the terrorist in the head three times with his fist and was gripping his throat, choking him. But Prosser's gloves were slippery with blood so he couldn't hold on well. At the same time, the terrorist was trying to bite Prosser's wrist, but instead he bit onto the face of Prosser's watch. (Prosser wears his watch with the face turned inward.) The terrorist had a mouthful of watch but he somehow also managed to punch Prosser in the face. When I shot the propane canister, Prosser had nearly strangled the guy, but my shots made Prosser think bad guys were coming, so he released the terrorist's throat and snatched out the pistol from his holster, just as SSG Konkol, Lewis, Devereaux and Muse swarmed the shop. But the shots and the propane fiasco also had brought the terrorist back to life, so Prosser quickly reholstered his pistol and subdued him by smashing his face into the concrete.

The combat drama was ended, so I started snapping photos again.


CSM Prosser, his leg drenched in the terrorist's blood, as 2nd Platoon Alpha Company arrives



CSM Prosser drags the terrorist into the alley ...



...into the light.

The propane canister at rest (left), the terrorist in view of the Commander


CSM Prosser flex cuffs Khalid Jasim Nohe


Prosser stands above the crocodile who bit his watch.



SFC Bowman shields the eyes of his Commander.


When Recon platoon showed up about a minute later, SFC Bowman asked LTC Kurilla to lie down. But Kurilla was ordering people to put out security, and directing action this way and that. When the very experienced medic, Specialist Munoz, put morphine into Kurilla, the commander still kept giving orders, even telling Munoz how to do his job. So SFC Bowman told Munoz to give Kurilla another morphine, and finally Kurilla settled down, and stopped giving orders long enough for them to haul him and the terrorist away to the Combat Support Hospital. The same facility where Daniel Lama was recovering from the earlier gunshot wound to the neck.



Combat Support Hospital

The Surge operation continued as we returned to base. The Commander and the terrorist were both being prepped for surgery, when LTC Kurilla said, "Tell Major Bieger to call my wife so she doesn't get a call from the Army first." But someone gave the Commander a cell phone, and I heard Kurilla talking to his wife, Mary Paige, saying something like, "Honey, there has been a little shooting here. I got hit and there was some minor soft tissue damage." The X-ray on the board nearby showed his femur snapped in half. "I'll be fine. Just some minor stuff." That poor woman.

The doctors rolled LTC Kurilla and the terrorist into OR and our surgeons operated on both at the same time. The terrorist turned out to be one Khalid Jasim Nohe, who had first been captured by US forces (2-8 FA) on 21 December, the same day a large bomb exploded in the dining facility on this base and killed 22 people.

That December day, Khalid Jasim Nohe and two compatriots tried to evade US soldiers from 2-8 FA, but the soldiers managed to stop the fleeing car. Then one of the suspects tried to wrestle a weapon from a soldier before all three were detained. They were armed with a sniper rifle, an AK, pistols, a silencer, explosives and other weapons, and had in their possession photographs of US bases, including a map of this base.

That was in December.

About two weeks ago, word came that Nohe's case had been dismissed by a judge on 7 August. The Coalition was livid. According to American officers, solid cases are continually dismissed without apparent cause. Whatever the reason, the result was that less than two weeks after his release from Abu Ghraib, Nohe was back in Mosul shooting at American soldiers.

LTC Kurilla repeatedly told me of--and I repeatedly wrote about--terrorists who get released only to cause more trouble. Kurilla talked about it almost daily. Apparently, the vigor of his protests had made him an opponent of some in the Army's Detention Facilities chain of command, but had otherwise not changed the policy. And now Kurilla lay shot and in surgery in the same operating room with one of the catch-and-release-terrorists he and other soldiers had been warning everyone about.

When Kurilla woke in recovery a few hours after surgery, he called CSM Prosser and asked for a Bible and the book: Gates of Fire. Kurilla gives a copy of Gates of Fire to every new officer and orders them to read it. He had given me a copy and told me to read it. In my book, there is a marked passage, which I thought rather flowery. But I have it beside me on the table by the map of Iraq.


"I would be the one. The one to go back and speak. A pain beyond all previous now seized me. Sweet life itself, even the desperately sought chance to tell the tale, suddenly seemed unendurable alongside the pain of having to take leave of these whom I had come so to love."

A short time after he gave me the book, following the death of one of his soldiers,when Kurilla said to me, "I want you to write about my men. You are the only one who might understand," the passage finally registered in my mind.

I asked CSM Prosser if I could go with him to see the Commander. Carrying both books, we drove to the Cash. Major Mark Bieger arrived alongside Kurilla's hospital bed, paying respect. After spending some time with the Commander, CSM Prosser and I drove back to the unit.


The Deuce Four

The truest test of leadership happens when the Commander is no longer there. Kurilla's men were taking down and boxing up his photos of his wife and children, and his Minnesota Vikings flag, when they decided to keep the flag so everyone could autograph it. It wasn't long before there was no room left to sign, but I found a place to scratch. I wanted my name on that flag.

The place suddenly felt hollowed-out.

When I came back into the TOC, Major Michael Lawrence--who I often challenge to pull-up contests, and who so far has beat me (barely) every time--looked me square and professionally, in the direct way of a military leader and asked, "Mike, did you pick up a weapon today?"
"I did."
"Did you fire that weapon?"
"I did."
"If you pick up another weapon, you are out of here the next day. Understood?"
"Understand."
"We still have to discuss what happened today."

Writers are not permitted to fight. I asked SFC Bowman to look at the photos and hear what happened. Erik Kurilla and CSM Prosser were witness, but I did not want the men of Deuce Four who were not there to think I had picked up a weapon without just cause. I approached SFC Bowman specifically, because he is fair, and is respected by the officers and men. Bowman would listen with an open mind. While looking at the photos, Bowman said, "Mike, it's simple. Were you in fear for your life or the lives of others?"

"Thank you Sergeant Bowman," I said.

I walked back to the TOC and on the way, Chaplain Wilson said, "Hello Michael. Are you feeling all right?"

"Yes Chaplain Wilson!" Why does he always ask that? Do I look stressed? But suddenly, I felt much better. Chaplain Wilson might be the only man in the universe with a chance of getting me into the chapel of my own free will, but I have resisted so far.

Only a few hours had passed since Daniel Lama and the Commander were shot. It was around 9PM when I heard Captain Matt McGrew was going to see Kurilla. I asked to come along. We entered the hospital, and saw that Erik Kurilla's bed was beside Daniel Lama's. Kurilla went from asleep to wide awake in about a quarter-second, said "hello" and asked us to sit down. After some conversation, the Commander looked over at the next bed and asked, "How are you doing SGT Lama?"

"Great, sir."

"Good," the Commander said, "You are my new PSD." [Personal Security Detachment: Body guard.]

Daniel Lama smiled, got out of bed and I shot a photo of him reporting for his "new duty."


Sgt Daniel Lama: less than one hour from flying out of Mosul

It was near 10 PM when the airplane that would start their journey back to America landed outside, its engines rumbling the hospital floor. The terrorist who shot Kurilla, and who was now a enuch in a nearby bed, might well have been the same terrorist who, after being released, shot Lama and Thompson and others. Kurilla could see Khalid Jasim Nohe, but made no comment.

As Captain McGrew and I drove through the dusty darkness back to the Deuce Four, the Commander and SGT Lama, along with other wounded and dead soldiers from around Iraq, began their journey home.

The next day, Iraqi Army and Police commanders were in a fury that LTC Kurilla had been shot. Some blamed his men, while others blamed the terrorists, although blame alone could not compete with disbelief. Kurilla had gone on missions every single day for almost a year. Talking with people downtown. Interfacing with shop owners. Conferencing with doctors. Drinking tea with Iraqi citizens in their homes. Meeting proud mothers with new babies. It's important to interact and take the pulse of a city in a war where there is no "behind the lines," no safe areas. It's even dangerous on the bases here.

In order for leaders of Kurilla's rank to know the pulse of the Iraqi people, they must make direct contact. There's a risk in that. But its men like Kurilla who can make this work. Even and especially in places like Mosul, where it takes a special penchant for fighting. A passion for the cause of freedom. A true and abiding understanding of both its value and its costs. An unwavering conviction that, in the end, we will win.

Make no mistake about Kurilla--he's a warrior, always at the front of the charge. But it's that battle-hardened bravery that makes him the kind of leader that Americans admire and Iraqis respect. Like the soldiers of Deuce Four, Iraqis have seen too much war to believe in fairy tales. They know true warriors bleed.

Iraqi Army and Police officers see many Americans as too soft, especially when it comes to dealing with terrorists. The Iraqis who seethe over the shooting of Kurilla know that the cunning fury of Jihadists is congenite. Three months of air-conditioned reflection will not transform terrorists into citizens.

Over lunch with Chaplain Wilson and our two battalion surgeons, Major Brown and Captain Warr, there was much discussion about the "ethics" of war, and contention about why we afford top-notch medical treatment to terrorists. The treatment terrorists get here is better and more expensive than what many Americans or Europeans can get.

"That's the difference between the terrorists and us," Chaplain Wilson kept saying. "Don't you understand? That's the difference."
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2005, 05:51:54 AM »

http://atlas.usafa.af.mil/jscope/JSCOPE05/Kilner05.html

Comments?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2005, 07:37:21 AM »

To All Who Serve:

On this day I want to take a moment to express my deep and profound gratitude for what you do for us in the most difficult and trying of circumstances.

You are the edge of the sword that seeks to cut the Gordian's knot so as to open a part of the world to the same opportunities that most of us take for granted and by so doing drain the swamp that breeds a pestilence of religious fascism, thus making our homeland safe once again.

From where I sit here in safety, it looks like we can win and we can lose.  If the latter, it will not be because of you but rather because of those of us here at home who sabotage and undercut your work and give up, seeking Chamberlin's "peace in our time" with fanatics with whom such is not possible.  From where I sit in my armchair, I wish our President would step up to the political consequences of increasing your numbers (and pay and budgets!) so that the burden could be spread out, but please know that we are with you and that we count upon you.

Strength and Honor,
Marc Denny

PS:  http://www.mikeyonopenforum.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-78899
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2005, 06:29:08 AM »

http://www.bandsforfreedom.com/en/

We created Bands for Freedom? in order for Americans to make a unified statement in honor of the sacrifice and patriotism of the men and women of our Armed Forces. While many of us, on occasion, will pay lip service to these brave souls, in the rush of our daily lives we often take for granted the dedicated individuals who protect our freedom. And so we decided to develop a tangible emblem which each of us could wear and show that the people who risk their lives for us are always in our hearts, the Band for Freedom.

After extensive research and discussion with military officials and the loved ones and respected friends of our military service personnel, we concluded that the Armed Forces Relief Trust (AFRT) is the right organization to receive our support. The AFRT raises money to support men and women of our Armed Forces and their families and, unlike many other charitable organizations, distributes 100% of the money it raises among the five divisions of our military.

After covering the cost of manufacturing and the administrative costs (such as maintenance of our web site) of running this program, Bands for Freedom, Inc. will donate 100% of its revenue to AFRT.

While many of us may not have the words to express our gratitude, the Band for Freedom lets all of us show our troops how much their dedication means to us, and how proud we all are that there are wonderful men and women among us to make this sacrifice for America.

Bands for Freedom Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Logged
buzwardo
Power User
***
Posts: 784


« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2005, 12:12:41 PM »

Perhaps misfiled, but it does have some MA parallels, and hey, who knows, maybe someone out there is looking for a gig. . . .

Collecting and Distributing Combat Experience

November 3, 2005: The U.S. Army believes it has figured out the best way to run a war in Iraq, and is scrambling to find enough instructors so that commanders headed there can be shown all this accumulated wisdom and experience.  The U.S. Army likes to count things. In Iraq, it counts what the troops do. For commanders of combat units, those totals turn into several scores. It?s not, officially, supposed to amount to a grade, or an evaluation of how well the officer did. But it does. And it?s been noted that some officers have done better than others. What these officers did is examined as well, and those techniques are noted. The third "rotation" of units are in Iraq now. That means over fifty combat battalions, and as many combat support battalions, have served in Iraq. Lots of successful commanders, and lots of tips on what to do, and what not to do.

Previously, email and video conferences had done a good job of getting the new guys up to speed. But, as fast and efficient as this was, it did not get everyone?s useful experiences transmitted to all the new commanders that needed it. The new training program, a one week course, will be held in Iraq for all new battalion and company commanders. While many of these leaders will also get emailed (often from the people they are replacing) information specific to the area they will be operating in, it?s the larger number of generally useful tips, from commanders in other parts of Iraq, that the new course will bring together. Now all this stuff could just be emailed, and much of it has been in the past. But it?s been found that having a good instructor present the material, and create some dialog, the lessons are absorbed more effectively. This is particularly true when it comes to things like civil affairs (dealing with civilians and negotiating with local leaders.)

The major problem is finding qualified instructors. The best source has been retired officers, especially those with Special Forces experience (which includes lots of teaching other soldiers). This talent pool has already been worked over by the commercial firms that provide instructors for the new Iraqi (and Afghan) armed forces, as well as special training courses for American troops headed for Iraq. It?s getting hard for many officers and NCOs, retiring after 20, or 30 years service, to stay retired. The money for these instructor jobs is good, the risk is low, and it?s a chance to get involved in one more war.

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htlead/articles/20051103.aspx
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2005, 05:36:54 PM »

OUR PROFOUND THANKS AND GRATITUDE ON THIS DAY
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2005, 06:42:26 AM »

I don't know how much impulse there is behind this , , ,

====================================

RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing
Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to
be called the "silent majority". We are no longer silent, and are
voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.
We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing.  

Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to
recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our
idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and
respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until
the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every
red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear
something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every
Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the
bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this
with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long
before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the
once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly  more
than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things
better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get
the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear some
thing red every Friday.

IF YOU AGREE -- THEN SEND THIS ON.  THEIR BLOOD RUNS RED---- SO WEAR RED!
--- MAY GOD HELP AMERICA TO BECOME ONE NATION, UNDER GOD.
Logged
buzwardo
Power User
***
Posts: 784


« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2005, 01:33:40 PM »

Wow, an amazing piece.

November 11, 2005, 8:22 a.m.
I Never Knew His Name
The true face of Muslim martyrdom.

By Chaplain Carlos C. Huerta

Mosul, Iraq ? It is October 11 as I write this, the day before Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement is supposed to be a day of fast, reflection, and prayer for the Jews: a time when I reflect on my own actions and intentions from the previous year. But the images I carry into my fast are sad ones, of someone else?s child, a Muslim child. There is blood spattered on my uniform despite the fact that I haven?t been hit or wounded. And yet it is B-positive blood, my own blood, mixed with the blood of a nine-year old Iraqi boy who was observing his fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Today there was a terrorist attack at a place most people have never heard of. Unless you?re a soldier stationed here, the name Tal Afar would probably be insignificant to you. But Tal Afar means a lot to me.

Today some terrorists decided to kill some Iraqi citizens ? good Muslims ? in order to discourage them from voting on Saturday on the new constitution. These terrorists called themselves Muslims and claimed that what they did was for Allah. But their connection to Islam is about as true and strong as Timothy McVeigh?s connection to Christianity. What they did is so contrary to the holy teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) that to say their name in the same breath as Islam is considered sacrilege.

I was at the Combat Support Hospital ? known as CASH ? when the call came: Terrorists had hit, no American casualties, but 22 Iraqis wounded, five of whom were children under the age of twelve. I stood on the tarmac watching as the MEDEVAC choppers came in one at a time to deliver the wounded. Many of the wounded had no legs, or deep chest, head, and abdominal wounds. I noticed the children, two in particular who had severe head trauma. I followed them into the ER and then watched our physicians struggle in the OR to stabilize them. After the physicians did what they could, the children were taken to the ICU. I helped carry their stretchers into the ICU and stood by to see if I could help. I had a serious conversation with G-d and pleaded with him to take care of these kids ? kids who should be playing soccer, or doing their homework for school the next day, or helping their parents get ready for supper. Both of these children had skulls so badly shattered that their heads needed to be bandaged to keep their brains in. I watched as the nurses and medics gave them pint after pint of blood and as their head bandages turned from white to red. I held the youngest one?s hands, reassuring him to the extent I could.

As they were giving the youngest his third pint of blood, I heard the nurse say that they were running low on O Positive, the universal donor, and that due to the tremendous internal bleeding, this child would need more. I asked what blood type he was, and it turned out both children were B Positive, my own blood type. I went to the head nurse and asked if I could donate blood for the youngest child and they quickly hooked me up and took a pint. After giving it, I went back to see him; he already my blood hooked up to him and surging in his veins.

I held his tiny hand and watched as the monitors told the story: His heart was in trouble owing to the brain trauma. I watched as he fought for his life, fighting to breathe. But I knew he was dying and there was nothing I could do. This innocent Muslim child, who had been observing Ramadan the way a child does, was now dying despite the fact that my blood was moving though his veins, despite the fact that I pleaded with G-d to do what I thought was right, to keep him alive. But G-d had other plans.

I didn?t want this boy to die hearing the strange sounds of a hospital and a foreign language. I wanted him to be comforted by the last sounds he heard, by words that were close to his heart, words that spoke of home and faith. I started to recite the Holy Koran to him.

My close friend, a fellow clergyman, Imam Burgos, the imam for the United States Military Academy, had helped me learn Surahs of the Holy Koran, and I chanted these out to the boy in Arabic. As I chanted, I heard the monitor go flat-line. I held his little hand, as my blood moved through his tiny pure heart that could no longer bear the evil of this world.

I held his hand and cried ? cried for a boy whose name I didn?t know, for an innocent Muslim child who gave his life for his G-d, Allah, for his country. He was the true face of Muslim martyrdom. With tears streaming down my face, I looked down and noticed blood on my uniform. His blood, my blood, our blood had dripped from his open head wound onto my uniform.

An hour or so later I walked away into the waiting area as they prepared his body for transport. There I met Chaplain Mark Greschel, a Catholic priest. He looked at me and knew that I was in trouble. He sat with me, somehow knowing that the pain we felt was best not mixed with words. He quietly put his arms around me, and we both sat there in silence. I thought to myself, isn?t this the kind of world we are fighting for ? a world where an Imam teaches a Rabbi words from the Holy Koran to comfort a young Muslim boy, and that rabbi himself is comforted by a Christian, a Catholic priest.

On this day before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Fast Day, the Day of Atonement, I ask myself: What is Ramadan all about? Is it about killing, or is it about seeking out G-d through fasting and prayer? For those of us who choose not to carry hatred and prejudice in our hearts, the answer is simple. For the holy Islamic community, Ramadan is a time of introspection, of hope, of belief that if we all work together, we can truly build a better world for all our children, even those whose names we don?t know. There is so much that we can learn about faith and G-d through other religions; there is so much that our Muslim brothers and sisters can teach us about our Creator, about personal sacrifice and selfless service. But if we consider their faith only with mistrust, hatred, and indifference, then this nine-year-old angel with his faith in G-d means nothing. Then we have diminished our own faith in G-d. If we objectify the Muslim people as well as those who don?t share our exact views on the nature of G-d, if we see them as less than our brothers and sisters, then we as a human race are lost.

There are many Americans who ask why we?re here. Why are we sacrificing so many American lives and placing so many in harm?s way? What is the purpose of it all? Well, I don?t really know the big picture. But from my small sector of the battlefield, the reason I am here is to give ?the least of these,? my children over here, a shot at ?life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? ? just like my other children living in America.

I didn?t give birth to him, but on this fast day in Ramadan, on this day before Yom Kippur, I lost a son, someone who had my blood coursing through his body. And for him, I choose not to hate, I choose to follow the path that the great Sheik Ibn Arabi followed when he said, ?Love is my Faith and my religion and wherever its caravans take me, that is where I shall follow, for love is my religion and faith.? Let us join hands with our Muslim brothers and sisters and let this be the message of Ramadan that we carry in our hearts and take with us. G-d has a new Muslim angel in Paradise. I hope to tell you his name one day when I meet him again.

? Chaplain Carlos C. Huerta is Jewish Community chaplain in Mosul, Iraq.

    
http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/huerta200511110822.asp
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2005, 08:06:35 AM »

http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-90123
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2005, 10:57:04 AM »

Local Knowledge
In Iraq, One Officer
Uses Cultural Skills
To Fight Insurgents

While Talking Like a Bedouin
He Sees Smuggling Routes;
Spotting a Phony Kurd
Army Has Recalled His Unit
By GREG JAFFE
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 15, 2005; Page A1

MOSUL, Iraq -- Last summer, two dozen U.S. Army Rangers headed for the Iraq-Syria border to figure out how foreign fighters were slipping through western Iraq's barren deserts.

As they had done in the past, the Rangers took positions around each village and Bedouin encampment. At one village, an officer named David, accompanied by a small security team, strode into the center looking for someone who would talk. Unlike the clean-shaven, camouflage-clad Rangers, David wore a thick goatee and civilian clothes. The Rangers carried long, black M-4 carbine rifles. David walked with a small 9mm pistol strapped to his leg. The Rangers spoke English. He spoke Arabic tinged with a Yemeni accent.

As he recounts the day, David met a woman with facial tattoos that marked her as her husband's property. As they chatted, the pale-skinned, sandy-haired North Carolina native imitated her dry, throaty way of speaking. "You are Bedu, too," she exclaimed with delight, he recalls.

From her and the other Bedouins, the 37-year-old officer learned that most of the cross-border smuggling was carried out by Shamar tribesmen who peddle cigarettes, sheep and gasoline. Radical Islamists were using the same routes to move people, guns and money. Many of the paths were marked with small piles of bleached rocks that were identical to those David had seen a year earlier while serving in Yemen.

 
Col. H.R. McMaster, who oversees troops in northwestern Iraq, says David's reports allowed his regiment to "focus our reconnaissance assets upon arrival" in Iraq's vast western desert last summer and immediately begin to intercept smugglers.

David is part of a small cadre of cultural experts in the Army known as foreign-area officers. The military would only allow him to be interviewed on the grounds that his last name and rank be withheld. U.S. officials say he'll be spending the rest of his career in the Middle East, often operating alone in potentially hostile territory. Naming him, they say, would make him more vulnerable to attack.

His colleagues in Iraq say his presence has been invaluable. "We ought to have one of these guys assigned to every [regional] commander in Iraq," says Col. John Bayer, chief of staff for Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. forces in the northern third of the country. "I'd love to say 'assign me 100 of these guys.' "

That's not happening. Instead, the military is pulling David out of Iraq later this month along with seven other officers who make up his unit. Before the end of the year, David will resume his previous post in Yemen.

The decision to disband the Iraq unit is part of a continuing debate within the Pentagon about how best to fight unconventional wars that don't lend themselves to the Army's traditional reliance on firepower and technology. The issue: How should the Army use officers who specialize in accumulating historical, political and cultural knowledge.

Earlier this fall, the U.S. embassy and the military's main headquarters in Baghdad concluded that the work of David and his colleagues was duplicating the efforts of other personnel. David's team is part of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency. It was sent to Iraq to advise U.S. military and State Department officials.

"While it's regrettable to lose experienced people, overall there are many more Arabic speakers working for us [in Iraq] than you might think," says one U.S. embassy official in Mosul.

To some in the Defense Department, the foreign-area teams offer a model for how all types of future officers should be trained. A report approved by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in January, specifically ordered the military to beef up its linguistic and cultural capabilities.

"Language skill and regional expertise have not been regarded as warfighting skills and are not sufficiently incorporated" into war plans, the report concluded.

In Iraq, cultural misunderstandings have contributed to mistakes. The decision to disband the Iraqi Army, which the U.S. saw as a tool of Saddam Hussein and a symbol of oppressions, created ill-will among Iraqi soldiers, who saw it as a source of national pride and pensions. As they battled an insurgency, U.S. commanders also struggled to understand Iraq's deep tribal and sectarian divisions. American officers working with Iraq's fledgling security forces frequently complain that police officers and soldiers sometimes put tribal allegiances ahead of their duty as officers.

'A Cold War Mindset'

Col. John D'Agostino, who oversees David and his colleagues and has also been recalled, says he disagrees with the decision to close the Iraq foreign-area officer unit. He says these officers are often overlooked, for which he blames "a Cold War mindset in which we are still fighting the hordes in Eastern Europe." When David leaves, the U.S. embassy's regional office in Mosul won't have a single Arabic speaker or Middle East expert on its staff.

In total, there are currently about 1,000 foreign-area officers in the Army. Currently, 145 of them specialize in the Middle East, the fourth-largest number devoted to a single region. The biggest concentration is in Europe. Typically, they spend big chunks of their careers working as the military's eyes and ears in remote and dangerous outposts. They coordinate military exercises and gather intelligence about the forces in their region. "They operate at the ends of the earth," says retired Col. Jack Dees, a longtime foreign area officer. "Often they are the one military guy out there representing their nation."

David decided he wanted to be a foreign-area officer even before he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point because he wanted to live overseas. He grew up in rural North Carolina, shuttling between an orphanage and several foster homes after he was taken away from his parents by the state. He chose West Point because it was free. "I was also looking for a sense of family and belonging...you know, all that psycho-babble stuff," David says today.

After commissioning as an officer, he flew Apache attack helicopters for a decade, in Iraq and along the border between North and South Korea. He then spent six months in Bosnia as the American liaison officer on a French division staff. In 1999, as soon as he was eligible, David applied to become a foreign-area officer.

The military dispatched him to Morocco where he spent part of his time coordinating U.S.-Moroccan military exercises. His main job was to travel the region and learn about its culture and people.

On returning to the U.S. in 2001, David spent 18 months learning Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. He then earned a master's degree in Arabic studies from Georgetown University, focusing on the co-existence of Yemen's tribal culture with its fledgling democratic institutions.

In preparation for a position at the U.S. embassy in Yemen, he learned all he could about qat, a narcotic leaf that's chewed in the region. He says he's never actually chewed it -- an act that would get him bounced from the Army -- but he quickly developed an ability to talk about it.

"The three books you have to read are: 'The Flowers of Paradise: The Institutional Uses of Qat in North Yemen'; 'Qat in Yemen: Consumption and Social Change'; and 'Eating the Flower of Paradise: One Man's Journey Through Ethiopia and Yemen,' " he says.

This knowledge allowed him to initiate conversations when nothing else worked. By the end of his two-year tour in the country, he could talk fervently about qat's cultivation, its aphrodisiac qualities and its price fluctuations.

David's mission was to keep senior U.S. military officials abreast of what was going on in Yemen, Osama bin Laden's ancestral home, specifically within its military. He traveled extensively, building a network of contacts with tribal leaders who would ensure safe passage through their areas. He became legendary for hosting elite receptions at his home in the capital Sana where he gathered gossip and information. Yemenis worth talking to won't set foot in the U.S. embassy for fear of being labeled imperialist lackeys. David's house had a lower profile.

When Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, visited Yemen in January 2004, David set up a dinner with its political elites as well as military attach?s from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. They discussed elections in Iraq and smoked cigars on David's back porch. Gen. Abizaid's staff confirms the event took place.

David's biggest coup was convincing Sana's most-important sheik to attend one of his receptions. "He brought his wife and daughter, which was huge because they never take their women anywhere," David says. The sheik, Abdullah Mohammed Abdullah Al-Thor, says in an interview he attended several events at David's house and that the officer is a "very, very good friend."

Posted to Iraq

In May, after two years in Yemen, David was dispatched to Mosul. His role was to help senior commanders build relationships with Iraqis the U.S. would be able to trust in advance of any reduction in the U.S. military presence. "If things are going bad, it is my responsibility to know who we should call," he says.

In Iraq, he prepped Gen. Rodriguez, the chief of staff for northern Iraq, for meetings with senior Iraqi leaders. He also gave State Department employees extensive tutorials. The current State Department staffers in the Mosul office, who cover most of northern Iraq, are South America and Asia experts. A key lesson involved the proper etiquette of arguing with Arabs. David goaded the diplomats to be less diplomatic. When Arabs yelled, David told them to yell back.

One recent day, David sat down with a Foreign Service civilian who had arrived from Santiago, Chile. He started by explaining how one became a sheik and that not all sheiks are equal. He briefed him on the major ethnic groups and political parties in the region.

After two hours the State Department official seemed lost. "How do you keep all this stuff straight in your head?" he asked.

David discovered that many of the U.S. interpreters, including that of Gen. Rodriguez, spoke poor Arabic because the people doing the hiring didn't speak the language. "When Gen. Rodriguez spoke he was articulate. His interpreter made him sound like an eighth grader," David says.

The general's interpreter was re-assigned and David began screening new hires. A few weeks later, he figured out that one interpreter -- who had access to intelligence about U.S. operations -- had lied about his background. The tip-off: The interpreter said he was from Suleimaniya in northern Iraq. Based on the Kurdish dialect he spoke, David could tell he was from a village outside Mosul. "We don't know his agenda; we just know he was deceitful," says an intelligence officer who works with David. The interpreter was fired.

David made his biggest impact supporting the 8,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops who assaulted Tal Afar, a city in northwestern Iraq that had become a major insurgent haven. In 2004, the U.S. tried to drive insurgents from the city. The operation was a disaster. Two days into the assault, Turkey, which has historic ties to the Sunnis in the city, complained publicly to U.S. authorities in Ankara and Washington that the attack was too heavy-handed. Turkey threatened to close a border crossing with Iraq through which more than 30% of Iraq's gasoline moves. The U.S. abruptly halted the attack after two days.

Before a renewed attack this September, David, working with officials at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, hatched a plan to placate the Turks. Each night, after traveling through the area, he emailed photos with a time, date and GPS stamp to the U.S. embassy in Ankara. He also sent along the U.S. military's major-incident reports. That allowed the embassy to give Turkish military officials meticulous daily briefings.

Turkey's foreign minister complained about the attack in a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but didn't ask the U.S. to call it off, says a U.S. official in Ankara.

David's biggest contribution in Tal Afar drew on virtually all of the skills he had amassed in five years as a foreign-area officer and a close friendship he'd forged with the city's mayor.

Three months before the attack on Tal Afar, U.S. and Iraq officials had installed Najem Abdullah, a senior official from nearby Mosul, to run the city. During his brief tenure, the Sunni mayor earned the grudging support of Tal Afar's warring Sunnis and Shiites. Without him, U.S. commanders feared Tal Afar would slip into all-out war.

Helping the Mayor

David and Mayor Najem had become close in the weeks leading up to the invasion. David teased him about his purple-tinted, rhinestone-encrusted sunglasses. He stood with him in tougher times as well. When Shiite sheiks, through their allies in the police, physically blocked key Sunni sheiks from attending a meeting, David stormed out, earning the mayor's respect.

"I consider David like an Iraqi in the city," Mayor Najem says today. "When he discusses things with the tribal leaders he does it like an Iraqi. He raises his voice. He is passionate just like the Iraqis."

In early September, as U.S. and Iraqi forces readied their second assault on Tal Afar, the mayor began to doubt whether he could continue in the job. The pressure of running the divided city had become unbearable. Death threats from Sunni extremists forced the mayor's family to flee their home. The Sunni mayor worried that Tal Afar's Shiite-led police would use the invasion to settle scores with Sunnis.

Midway through rancorous meetings in the mayor's office, the two men stepped out into a dimly lit side room. "Why should I stay here? What is the point?" Mayor Najem recalls asking David.

In this moment of doubt, David and the 49-year-old Iraqi held hands -- a common sign of affection among Arab men. David promised to move the mayor's wife and children to a new city. (They're currently in hiding.) He also pledged to make sure that U.S. commanders acted on the mayor's concerns about the city's Shiite security forces.

"David talked to me as a friend and a brother and convinced me to stay," the mayor says. "He is like Lawrence of Arabia."

Write to Greg Jaffe at greg.jaffe@wsj.com
Logged
MonyetNakal
Newbie
*
Posts: 22


« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2005, 01:27:09 PM »

Wow, quite an interesting story. As a former cultural anthropology student I have frequently wondered why the military didn't make use of this kind of thing. I'm glad to know that they, in fact, are.

I wish the article went more into why the unit is being reassigned since they seem to be so effective. Seems like some sort of typical bureaucratic SNAFU. The embassy official who equates them with being just another group of arabic speaking personnel obviously just doesn't get it.


Thanks a bunch for posting this Guro Crafty.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2005, 08:03:51 AM »

http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-90938
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2005, 08:34:10 PM »

The Mayor of Ar Rutbah
By James A. Gavrilis

Shortly after the fall of Saddam, the American military had an opportunity to set Iraq on the right course. One team of U.S. Special Forces seized it, bringing electricity, safe streets, and bustling markets to the Iraqi town of Ar Rutbah in a matter of weeks. Today, this Sunni city is overrun with foreign insurgents. Now, in an exclusive photo essay, the team's commander reveals images of nation-building's early promise- and what slipped away.

 

Amid the chaos in Iraq, one company of U.S. Special Forces achieved what others have not: a functioning democracy. How? By relying on common sense, the trust of Iraqis, and recollections from Political Science 101. Now, their commander reveals the gritty reality about nation-building in Iraq, from the ground up.

As our long column of tan trucks rode down Iraq?s Business Highway 10 at 6 o?clock in the morning on April 9, 2003, I focused on my instincts and battle training, keeping an open mind and preparing for whatever lay ahead. After three weeks of intense firefights, the Fedayeen Saddam fighters had finally slithered away. The last thing I expected to do once we entered Ar Rutbah, a Sunni city of about 25,000 in the Anbar province near Jordan and Syria, was to begin postwar reconstruction. I had not planned or prepared for governing, nor had I received any guidance or assistance in how to do so. But then, nothing in war is expected.

With just six 12-man teams and an area of desert about the size of New Jersey, we viewed the city as a major complication in our mission to stop the ballistic missile launches from western Iraq. A town the size of Ar Rutbah could easily swallow the entire company. And in this conflict where special ops forces were in high demand, we had to move to Baghdad as soon as possible. Civil administration would have to be the responsibility of conventional troops following in our tracks. Of course, the Fedayeen were not interested in our itinerary. For weeks, they had entrenched themselves in the city, using civilians as shields. Every time we approached, Ar Rutbah became a hornet?s nest, and small-arms fire turned into machine gun and rocket fire. Although we overwhelmed the enemy each time, it became clear that the Fedayeen had to be forced out. So on that day in early April, as the rest of the world watched a statue of Saddam fall in Baghdad, we began our own small revolution.

Long before we entered, we had developed channels of communication with people inside the city. Every time we encountered civilians on our patrols or used loudspeakers, we would announce, ?We are at war with Saddam, not you.? We were friendly and respectful whenever we met a Bedouin or farmer, often sharing tea with them in the middle of the open desert. Our behavior sent the clearest message: We cared more about the people of Ar Rutbah than did the Fedayeen. After all, we had done everything possible to limit damage to civilian infrastructure and private property. We didn?t bomb schools or mosques, even though they were used as military bases. We treated enemy wounded and distributed contraband food. I stopped our final assault to institute a day-long cease-fire as a gesture to the people of the city. Our early signals of respect would prove to be vital in earning the trust of the people of Ar Rutbah.

Yet we still didn?t know what to expect as we rolled into town. All our intelligence predicted no resistance, but we were still bracing for a fight. Ar Rutbah was tan and dusty, with connected concrete buildings that displayed battle scars from our bombs and firefights. As we entered, street traffic came to a standstill. Iraqis gathered along the main and side streets. Most people just watched, a little apprehensive. Some were glad we were there and shook our hands. We asked them to stay out of the way so no one would get hurt. We cleared known enemy positions, scouring each sandbagged bunker, room, and compound to ensure that all hostile fighters were gone. Finally, we located the police station, a fort built by the British in 1927. The police chief had locked it when the enemy fled. It would be the perfect location for my company?s headquarters.

Our next move was to summon the civil administrators, chief of police, and tribal leaders. Two hours after we arrived in Ar Rutbah, a dozen Iraqis, the company warrant officer, and I gathered in the dark, dusty office lined with Saddam photos and plaques, and began to plot out the civil administration of the city.

Securing Their Homeland

I considered security the top priority; for me, the functions of security and governance were inseparable. So, at that first meeting, I made it very clear that U.S. troops retained the monopoly on the use of force. I prohibited all weapons. Any civilian carrying a firearm would be considered a threat. We established checkpoints on the main roads on the outskirts of Ar Rutbah to protect the city from regime elements, as well as any lingering criminals. As soon as possible, we would integrate the local police into our checkpoints; it would garner trust and cooperation?plus, they knew who was from the city and who had legitimate business there.

The sooner I involved and empowered the Iraqis, the better. I asked the group to select one of them to be interim mayor and by noontime prayers on the first day, we had an acting Iraqi mayor of Ar Rutbah, a lawyer from a dominant tribe who?d had a falling out with the regime. He, the city officials, and tribal sheiks left the station as the city?s new leaders.

The police were essential for restoring local security, for protecting the city from outsiders, and for our disengagement. Although I had only a few dollars, we spent $700 to pay the police first, and a month in advance. The highest-ranking policeman to return to duty was a lieutenant. He was very sharp, receptive to our guidance, and people followed his orders, so I appointed him interim chief of police. It wasn?t long before the previous chief returned. He was suspect because he had fled with the enemy and most people identified him as a regime thug. But I gave him the opportunity to start with a clean slate. Unfortunately, he tried to subvert our authority by ordering a police strike, and within two days, we had to detain him. By the end of the first week, we armed the police, first with pistols, and then with AK-47s. Soon, we had more than 30 officers back in uniform.

Of course, it takes more than just a uniform to wash away years of subjugation and oppression. Each individual that was going to participate in the interim government of the new, free Ar Rutbah would have to sign a pledge renouncing Baath Party loyalty, affiliation, and favoritism. It would include a pledge of allegiance to a free Iraq, to protect the rights of its citizens, and to serve the people of Ar Rutbah. Our company warrant officer wrote the pledge, I reviewed it, he translated it, and the interim mayor approved it. We even held a small ceremony in the police station?s courtyard, where the interim mayor, city officials, the police, a few tribal sheiks, and an Iraqi army colonel pledged their allegiance to this new Iraq. We were not very formal. It was more of a commencement where we congratulated each person for their courage in turning over a new leaf. There would be no more abuse of power, no more corruption, and no more coercion. If others were truthful and willing to be part of the new Iraq, they could sign the form and move on. As word spread, someone came in to sign almost every day.

I viewed anyone who subverted security as a threat, Baathist or not. When intelligence reported individuals committing crimes or working with enemy combatants, we acted. We didn?t pursue anyone for what they had done during the fighting; we did not continue the war ourselves. High-level Baathists did have to come in for questioning, but only those identified as war criminals were detained. We asked people to tell us where guns and munitions were, but we did not ask who shot at us last week. I was not going to pursue the teenagers who had been directed to shoot at us by the senior Fedayeen. As long as they did not take up arms again, they could go on playing soccer in the streets. By quickly establishing an effective Iraqi alternative to the regime, we made resistance irrelevant. We skipped over the gap where insurgency would grow. Had we remained idle, we would have missed the opportunities in front of us.

Restoring the Basics

After noontime prayers that first day, the informal city council gathered together again to work on the next priority, public works. I asked the interim mayor and the council what the city?s priorities were. They agreed electricity was the most important, then water, fuel, and the market. We worked day and night, and in only a couple of days, we turned 60 percent of the power back on in Ar Rutbah. Once, I remember being awakened at 4 a.m. by the sound of morning prayers blaring from the city?s minarets. It was a hopeful sign; it meant the power was back on, the city was getting back to normal, and, more practically, we could now use the minarets for public announcements. We strove to show respect for local culture by using their customary means of communication: minarets, murals, and word of mouth. The interim mayor made the first announcement about electricity that very morning.

Our days were incredibly busy. The city?s only hospital was mostly destroyed in the fighting, so I offered to turn the local Baath Party headquarters, the nicest building in the city, into the new hospital. The complex was large, clean, and freshly painted, with a walled courtyard and smaller buildings for hospital administration. I thought it fitting that this symbol of oppression would now be dedicated to the health of the people. The mayor and the doctors loved the idea, and I liked that it would represent the new kind of polity that was being established in Ar Rutbah.

Around the city, the Fedayeen had knocked out windows, stockpiled weapons, and sandbagged rooms for fighting positions in the schools. We cleared these buildings the first day, but earlier looting had rendered them a mess. Cleaning and preparing the schools for students again was a high priority, but we couldn?t start right away. Because I had only a few troops and fewer dollars, the mayor and I decided to hold a city volunteer day. Teachers and everyday citizens got together and cleaned up the schools themselves. It was a good day at the end of a long week when the minarets announced that school would start again.

The economy was in even worse shape than the schools. Once we got the power on, a couple of merchants requested to use our cell phones to contact business partners in nearby Jordan to import food and goods. We jumped on that. In one day, the market had fresh fruit and vegetables and fish and meat for the first time in months. The market street was bustling again, quickly becoming a traffic jam of people, goats, and goods.

Both security and electricity sustained the market. But there was also a need for a stability that was more than just policing the streets and turning on the lights. After the market and shops opened, questions arose: Would they adopt the U.S. dollar? What is the exchange rate? What is the price of gas? I had to make some quick decisions. The Iraqi dinar would remain the city?s currency, at the prewar exchange rate. I purchased a grocery bag of dinars and paid the police in their own currency to show I had confidence in it. I allowed the mayor to open gas stations to get fuel to the people and to generate revenue for Ar Rutbah. Gas stations were owned by the government prior to the war and I kept it that way. I set the price of gas at prewar rates, and punished any price gougers. I convinced the bank manager to open the bank and operate normally. Then I reopened the city?s account so the interim mayor had control over the books and could pay city employees. Otherwise, I had a hands-off approach to economics.

Although I focused more on security and governance than on economics, the three were interdependent. A thriving market was the product of effective governance, and it increased support for the administration. Good governance provided the services such as electricity, law and order, and the stability needed for the market to function. And security forces fostered the economic and political development of the city. Because the three were interconnected, we acted on them simultaneously. As a result, the Iraqis became interested in democracy because that balance met their needs.

All Politics Is Local

My initial approach to governing was very authoritative; it eliminated anarchy and allowed Iraqis to debate the details of democracy rather than survival. What the Iraqis needed was an interim authority to get them back on their feet. While the interim mayor and I provided this stability, the city council?s role was to oversee the mayor and to provide input, not necessarily to make policy. The laws and values of their society and culture were just fine. All we needed to do was enforce them. The city council was an important body for dialogue, debate, and legitimacy. But by initially limiting its decision-making power, we made sure the council couldn?t paralyze our progress.

Representatives in the city council included teachers and doctors, lawyers and merchants. At one town-hall meeting, a few of these professionals asked me about elections. They said the tribal sheiks and imams did not represent their interests, and they wanted to have a say in their government. I explained that they couldn?t vote right away because we had no election monitors or ballot boxes. Still, they insisted. Two rudimentary elections were held in the grand mosque to reconfirm the interim mayor?and Americans were not involved in either vote.

As an alternative to Saddam?s regime, the particular form of democracy was not as important as the concept of a polity that provided for the individual. That was really what Iraqis missed under Saddam. Good governance had to precede the form or type of democracy. Because we were effective in providing services, were responsive to individual concerns, and improved their lives, the Iraqis gravitated toward us and the changes we introduced. However, we didn?t have to change much. Ar Rutbah already had a secular structure that worked. We just put good people in office and changed the character of governance, not the entire infrastructure.

A Role for Religion

Under the old regime, the imams and tribal sheiks in Ar Rutbah had defined their roles in relation to the dictates of Saddam and the Baath Party. As we quickly set up the new government, the sheiks and imams found themselves defining their roles in response to the new order we established. That was good news for us; it kept the structure of relationships in balance and prevented a power shift to them. To earn their trust, I included these leaders in the political process. I met with them regularly, and they were members of the city council. Clerics and tribal leaders functioned in ways that were both constructive and traditional for their culture. Early on, we decided to give humanitarian rations to the imams and sheiks for distribution because they knew who the neediest people were.

In addition, we instituted an open-door policy. One day, a few tribal sheiks came to complain of looting at night in some parts of the city. So, knowing that some of the sheiks were behind some of the looting, I established a neighborhood watch. I put them in charge and had their men act as the watchmen. And the sheiks were held accountable if the looting continued. I also had a team patrol those areas at night at random. The stealing ended abruptly.

The tribal sheiks were important because they transmitted information by word of mouth. But by far, the most effective way we communicated with the people was through the mosques. Public service announcements were made over the loudspeakers in the minarets, and when the Iraqis gathered in the mosque for prayer, the interim mayor explained what we were doing. A public announcement emanating from the mosques signaled their approval and gave legitimacy to our efforts.

Working Ourselves Out of a Job

I spent long days in the police station courtyard or in the police chief?s office, meeting with an endless procession of tribal sheiks, city officials, the army colonel, policemen, merchants, and anyone else that wanted to speak with me. I listened to their issues, problems, and needs, and satisfied their curiosity about us. I would make decisions, pass judgments, resolve disputes, issue guidance, and direct resources. We were very cordial and followed their customs with tea, cigarettes, and small talk. But in the end, I made a decision and we acted on it.

Eventually, I passed the decision making to the interim mayor, the city council, and then to issue-area councils, until security was the only thing I still controlled. By day nine, I was no longer the focal point for governance. I moved my command post to our logistics compound on the edge of the city. Up until the last day, I kept an open-door policy to keep in touch with the Iraqi people.

In the end, I spent only about $3,000. This sum included the salaries of the police, the mayor, the army colonel, and a few soldiers and public officials. We paid for the crane and the flatbed trailers to move the generators to the city for electricity, and for fuel to run the generators. And we picked up the tab for other necessities, such as painting, tea, and copies of the renunciation form. But the change did not depend on the influx of funds; the Iraqis did a lot themselves. The real progress was the efficient and decent government and the environment we established. Without a lot of money to invest, we made assessments and established priorities, and talked with the Iraqis, exchanging ideas and visions of the future.

We intended to work ourselves out of our jobs, and when conditions were right we took steps back. We were preparing to move eastward; Iraqi tank divisions had not capitulated yet, and there was Saddam and others to capture and weapons of mass destruction to find. Civil administration was a secondary mission for us, and we had only limited time to spend on local politics.

And so, in the middle of the night on April 23, I rode to the eastern edge of the city in a white SUV on loan from the interim mayor. Leaving a few teams behind for another couple of weeks, I flew out of Ar Rutbah on a black Chinook helicopter. The darkness and the noise of the helicopter insulated me and I was able to look back on the past two weeks. These accomplishments were all possible because the Iraqis wanted them, but also because of the amazing teamwork and competence of the men in our Special Forces company. We made remarkable progress in only 14 days. But civil development takes much more time.

Reflecting on it now, and on so much of what has happened in Iraq since we left, I can point to the reasons we succeeded so early on where many others have not. First, we lived modestly, and we did not occupy any private houses or regime buildings. We did not limit ourselves to certain functions or tasks, or fail to adjust to the realities on the ground such as stopping looting, providing electrical power, and other nation-building tasks. When nation-building became our mission, we performed without any hesitation. In addition, our immersion in the city fostered mutual understanding. Because we worked with and through Iraqis in all endeavors, they had a sense of ownership toward the new Ar Rutbah, and our success became their success. We behaved as if we were guests in their house. We treated them not as a defeated people, but as allies. Also, our forces ensured that political decisions were binding. Anyone that interfered with any part of government, public works, or a supply delivery was considered an enemy, just as if they had threatened security. In that environment, security and governance were intertwined at every level.

In the end, though, we left. Although the Iraqis continued the work we started, the follow-up coalition forces did not. The distance between the locals and the troops widened. The Iraqis were eventually exposed and vulnerable to regime loyalists? retribution and intimidation by foreign fighters. The local Iraqi security forces never developed to the point where they were stronger than the gangs of insurgents; they were never brought into a larger political or security framework of an Iraqi government so that they could be part of a collective security system. Left alone, the Iraqis simply couldn?t hold off the foreign fighters who passed through the city, using Ar Rutbah as a way station en route to Baghdad and Ramadi.

For the brief time I was mayor of Ar Rutbah, I knew we were the real revolutionaries there. Change had to come from the top down. Because we didn?t receive any guidance for governance or reconstruction, and certainly not for spreading democracy, I had to make up everything as I went, based on the situation on the ground and what I remembered from my Special Forces training and a handful of political science classes. I entered the city with only our strategic objective for Iraq in mind: to establish a free, democratic, and peaceful Iraq without weapons of mass destruction. And that is what I tried to achieve in my own microcosm of the war.

Maj. James A. Gavrilis is a career Army Special Forces officer who has served two tours in Iraq. He is currently a political-military planner in the Iraq Division of the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. This article reflects the views of the author and does not reflect the position or policy of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.

=================

and the work continues:

http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-91434
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #31 on: December 06, 2005, 05:04:33 PM »

http://www.specialops.org/

Help the families of the fallen and this

http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2005, 03:27:17 PM »

The Washington Times
www.washingtontimes.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Army recruiting tops new goals
By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published December 13, 2005


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Army has exceeded recruiting goals in the first two months of this fiscal year, reversing a trend that had some Iraq critics saying the armed services branch was "broken."
    The Pentagon yesterday said the Army signed up 5,856 recruits in November, 5 percent above its goal. It previously announced the Army also exceeded its target in October, the first month of the 2006 fiscal year.
    The Army has that hit its recruiting mark for six straight months, a promising development for the Bush administration. President Bush's critics had cited the Army's failure to achieve its recruiting goals in fiscal 2005 as proof that the war in Iraq is breaking the force.
    Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat and one of the party's chief Iraq war critics, has called the Army "broken" and urged the White House to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country.
    But Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said the service is more confident of filling the ranks as the recruiting year unfolds.
    "Part of the reason is it's like steering a boat," he said. "The changes we made in the last year take a while to take effect."
    Those changes included putting more recruiters on the street and offering specific assignment incentives. If a high school graduate was willing to commit to the 3rd Infantry Division bound for Iraq, for example, he could receive a bonus of several thousand dollars. Enlistees can receive up to a $20,000 bonus depending on the length of commitment and their job skills. The Army also changed its ad campaign to focus more on patriotism.
    "I think the Army as a whole is working harder at recruiting," Col. Hilferty said.
    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials explained the 2005 recruiting shortfall this way: the active-duty Army is growing by 30,000, making the sign-up goal larger, and parents in some cases are counseling against joining the combat arms at a time when more than 2,000 American service members have been killed in Iraq since March 2003.
    Soldiers typically spend a year in Iraq or Afghanistan, and then a year at home before deploying again. In contrast, Marines spend six months overseas and six months at home.
    The Army fell far behind its goal of 80,000 recruits in fiscal 2005, but made up much of the lost ground during the summer, when high school graduates typically decided their next step. By Sept. 30, recruiters had brought in 73,000 future soldiers, a number the Army said was sufficient to sustain the force the next year. The Army last missed its mark in 1999.
    Col. Hilferty said he "can't guarantee" the Army will meet its end goal of 80,000 by next Sept. 30, noting the winter and spring are traditionally difficult recruiting seasons. The Army has 492,728 active-duty soldiers in the 1.4 million-member armed forces.
    The Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force all met their November enlistment quotas.
Logged
buzwardo
Power User
***
Posts: 784


« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2006, 12:34:41 PM »

I've not been able to find a second source for this story and indeed as it makes clear the military powers that be have yet to verify it. Moreover, the web site reporting this, DefenseWatch, was founded by David Hackworth, by all accounts an amazing soldier, but someone prone to military muckraking IMO. Be that as it may, if this proves true--and it has that twisted command logic embedded within--then it's time to start howling at our congresscritters.

01.14.2006

Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits

By Nathaniel R. Helms
 
Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be  singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.
 
The soldiers asked for anonymity because they are concerned they will face retaliation for going public with the Army's apparently new directive. At the sources' requests DefenseWatch has also agreed not to reveal the unit at which the incident occured for operational security reasons.  
 
On Saturday morning a soldier affected by the order reported to DefenseWatch that the directive specified that "all" commercially available body armor was prohibited. The soldier said the order came down Friday morning from Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (HQ, USSOCOM), located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. It arrived unexpectedly while his unit was preparing to deploy on combat operations. The soldier said the order was deeply disturbiing to many of the men who had used their own money to purchase Dragon Skin because it will affect both their mobility and ballistic protection.
 
 "We have to be able to move. It (Dragon Skin) is heavy, but it is made so we have mobility and the best ballistic protection out there. This is crazy. And they are threatening us with our benefits if we don't comply." he said.
 
The soldier reiterated Friday's reports that any soldier who refused to comply with the order and was subsequently killed in action "could" be denied the $400,000 death benefit provided by their SGLI life insurance policy as well as face disciplinary action.
 
As of this report Saturday morning the Army has not yet responded to a DefenseWatch inquiry.
 
Recently Dragon Skin became an item of contention between proponents of the Interceptor OTV body armor generally issued to all service members deploying in combat theaters and its growing legion of critics.  Critics of the Interceptor OTV system say it is ineffective and inferior to Dragon Skin, as well as several other commercially available body armor systems on the market. Last week DefenseWatch released a secret Marine Corps report that determined that 80% of the 401 Marines killed in Iraq between April 2004 and June 2005 might have been saved if the Interceptor OTV body armor they were wearing was more effective. The Army has declined to comment on the report because doing so could aid the enemy, an Army spokesman has repeatedly said.
 
A U.S. Army spokesman was not available for comment at the time DW's original report (Friday - 1700 CST) was published. DefenseWatch continues to seek a response from the Army and will post one as soon as it becomes available. Yesterday the DoD released a news story through the Armed Forces News Service that quoted Maj. Gen. Steven Speaks, the Army's director of force development, who countered critical media reports by denying that the U.S. military is behind the curve in providing appropriate force protection gear for troops deployed to Iraq and elsewhere in the global war against terrorism. The New York Tiimes and Washington Post led the bandwagon of mainstream media that capitalized on DefenseWatch's release of the Marine Corps study. Both newspapers released the forensic information the Army and Marines are unwilling to discuss.
 
"Those headlines entirely miss the point," Speaks said.
 
The effort to improve body armor "has been a programmatic effort in the case of the Army that has gone on with great intensity for the last five months," he noted.
 
Speaks' assessment contradicts earlier Army, Marine and DoD statements that indicated as late as last week that the Army was certain there was nothing wrong with Interceptor OTV body armor and that it was and remains  the "best body armor in the world."
 
One of the soldiers who lost his coveted Dragon Skin is a veteran operator. He reported that his commander expressed deep regret upon issuing his orders directing him to leave his Dragon Skin body armor behind. The commander reportedly told his subordinates that he "had no choice because the orders came from very high up" and had to be enforced, the soldier said. Another soldier's story was corroborated by his mother, who helped defray the $6,000 cost of buying the Dragon Skin, she said.  
 
The mother of the soldier, who hails from the Providence, Rhode Island area, said she helped pay for the Dragon Skin as a Christmas present because her son told her it was "so much better" than the Interceptor OTV they expected to be issued when arriving  in country for a combat tour.
 
"He didn't want to use that other stuff," she said. "He told me that if anything happened to him I am supposed to raise hell."
 
At the time the orders were issued the two soldiers had already loaded their Dragon Skin body armor onto the pallets being used to air freight their gear into the operational theater, the soldiers said. They subsequently removed it pursuant to their orders.
 
Currently nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are reportedly wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin body armor, according to company spokesman Paul Chopra. Chopra, a retired Army chief warrant officer and 20+-year pilot in the famed 160th "Nightstalkers" Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), said his company was merely told the generals wanted to "evaluate" the body armor in a combat environment. Chopra said he did not know the names of the general officers wearing the Dragon Skin.
 
Pinnacle claims more than 3,000 soldiers and civilians stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are wearing Dragon Skin body armor, Chopra said. Several months ago DefenseWatch began receiving anecdotal reports from individual soldiers that they were being forced to remove all non-issue gear while in theater, including Dragon Skin body armor, boots, and various kinds of non-issue ancillary equipment.
 
Last year the DoD, under severe pressure from Congress, authorized a one-time $1,000 reimbursement to soldiers who had purchased civilian equipment to supplement either inadequate or unavailable equipment they needed for combat operations. At the time there was no restriction on what the soldiers could buy as long as it was specifically intended to offer personal protection or further their mission capabilities while in theater.
 
Nathaniel R. Helms is the editor of DefenseWatch Magazine. He can be reached at natshouse1@chater.net. Please send all inquiries and comments to dwfeedback@yahoo.com .

http://www.sftt.org/main.cfm?actionId=globalShowStaticContent&screenKey=cmpDefense&htmlCategoryID=30&htmlId=4514
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2006, 06:06:14 PM »

TTT!!!
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2006, 10:43:53 AM »

Soldiers' Angels needs you to adopt a soldier.....(or airman, Marine, etc)!
 
Every year after the holidays we have a shortage of angels and an abundance of soldiers. Here is proof of what your help does for our service members:
 
 
To All That Have Supported Us,
     My name is SGT A. and I am currently deployed to Kuwait and have been receiving packages and letters from many of your volunteers.  I want to take this time to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart.  Your support is unparalleled and means so much to us soldiers in our toughest times.  You have been there through it all with us.  You are in our thoughts and prayers as well as our loved ones.  Your group is what keeps us going through rain, cold nights, hot days and everything in between.  You have been a shining light to help guide many a soldier.  Once again I would like to say Thank you for your unwavering support.  Sincerely, SGT A
 
 
What angels do:
 
1) Send two packages a month. These do not have to be expensive. The key to sending support is that they will know someone cares and they get their name called at mail call, or come home to mail on their bunk. If you can send some toiletries and some snacks each month, that's great. Once you sign up, you will get a mentor who can walk you through customs forms and flat rate packages. It's addictive, actually! You'll find you won't be able to go into a store without remembering Dave, who likes Old Spice aftershave, etcetera!
 
2) Send two letters a week. This seems like a lot but if you sit down to write a quick note to say hi, how are you, and talk a little about things at home, you would be amazed how quickly a letter gets written. Another thing you can do is buy postcards wherever you visit and send one of those each week. Again, it's about getting the names called and letting them know that while they are "over there," those of us "back home" are thinking of them.
 
If you can do this, please go to soldiersangels.org and click on "Adopt a Soldier." You will receive a soldier's name and address within a couple of days, as well as an orientation letter.
 
IT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE!
 
We hope everyone who reads this can adopt one soldier!!
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2006, 05:27:38 PM »

By Rush Limbaugh:

I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the
entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.


If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable.

Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.

Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.

We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well.

You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?

However, our own U.S. Congress voted themselves a raise. Many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system.
If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.

I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting.
"When do we finally do something about this?" If this doesn't seem fair to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can.
==========================================
How many people CAN YOU send this to?  

How many WILL YOU send this to?

How many WILL write your congressman?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2006, 03:28:52 PM »

TTT
Logged
Bowser
Newbie
*
Posts: 21


« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2006, 06:54:32 PM »

Hello Crafty Dog,

 I am inspired by the Dog Brothers philosophy as presented in your video clips, however I am disappointed to find that political aims are being presented here. . . . I realise that you are a tribe, and that as a tribe you have  a patriotic and political bent, but I must say that it is one that I disagree with strongly.

 I find that by extending your excellent fighting philosophy into the global political realm you weaken it

  smiley
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2006, 07:07:18 AM »

Woof Bowser:

I speak only for myself.  I see my positions as completely consistent with DB philosophy, but I know that you are not alone in your reaction to expressing my views here.  My view on this is that our country is under attack by a world-wide fascist movement and it seems to pretty logical to me we should discuss what to do about this.  I think that overall, whether you agree with them or not, that the threads related to the war of are well-above average content and with well-below average level of personal rancor.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
Logged
Bowser
Newbie
*
Posts: 21


« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2006, 09:09:46 PM »

Growl woof Crafty Dog,

 I agree that we are under attack by a world wide fascist movement, however I have two points  which I must humbly present:

 1) That we must 'activate our watchers' very well indeed in order to determine where the fascism really is . . . . and by that I mean our internal watchers. . .  . not our television and newspaper watchers.

2) That war is often the result of  personal  aggression problems suffered by those in power . . . . they have no personal outlet for aggression, and they have not anchored theor warrior instincts in morality by actually fighting . . . . .  those in power have not activated their watchers sufficiently. . . . they don't even know what it means to do so.


. . . so be very wary of following the media and entering wars started by people who won't and can't actually fight in them. . . . they are not worthy of your support. . .    

Regards,

Bowser.

PS I still want to slap your ears... . that's what it's all about !
 Cheesy
 

3)
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2006, 01:21:30 AM »

B:

I'll get to your worthy points later, but for now, this "slap my ears" bit, smiley face or not, ain't part of the culture of this forum and it ain't working for me.  Please drop it.

Also, this thread is not the place for this discussion.  This thread is about the troops.  I will either start a new thread or answer you in the WW3 thread.  This may take a couple of days.

CD
Logged
Bowser
Newbie
*
Posts: 21


« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2006, 07:05:14 PM »

I hear you crafty dog, this thead is, as you say, about the troops.

 Perhaps I should have said:

" I would like to learn from you by fighting with you in the spirit of the Dog Brothers, using wet towels as a weapon"

  wink

 Regards,

 Bowser
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2006, 12:14:00 PM »

http://objflicks.com/GladiatorAmericanStyle.htm
Logged
Bowser
Newbie
*
Posts: 21


« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2006, 10:15:28 PM »

Yeah right, war can certainly be glorious, but I prefer the Dog Brothers method of fighting, The US Army is too techno for my taste and takes up too much of other people's space.

 Individuals on both sides need support, and just like in the Vietnam war are likely to need more support after it is over.

Just a personal dislike here but images of C Rice and G Bush posing as warriors doesn't ring true. . .  i wonder why ?

 smiley
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #45 on: July 27, 2006, 09:27:54 PM »

Cry Bias, and Let Slip the Blogs of War

By MIKE SPECTOR
July 26, 2006; Page B1

J.P. Borda started a Web log during his 2004 National Guard deployment in Afghanistan to keep in touch with his family. But when he got home, he decided it was the mainstream media that was out of touch with the war.

"You hear so much about what's going wrong," he says. "It gets hard to hear after a while when there's so much good going on."

Mr. Borda, a specialist, read other soldiers' blogs and found he wasn't alone. Hundreds of other troops and veterans were blogging world-wide, and many focused on a common enemy: journalists.

 
Military blogger J.P. Borda, center, during his 2004 National Guard deployment to Afghanistan.
The 31-year-old software analyst, who now lives in Dallas, wanted to make it easier for people to read soldiers' accounts. So he started a Web site, Milblogging.com, to organize as many blogs as possible by country, military branch and subject matter. Today, the site links to more than 1,400 military blogs world-wide and was recently purchased for an undisclosed amount by Military.com, a Web site catering to soldiers that is owned by Monster Worldwide Inc.

Now, Mr. Borda finds himself at the center of a growing blogging movement. Military bloggers, or "milbloggers" as they call themselves, contend that they are uniquely qualified to comment on events in armed conflicts. Many milbloggers also argue that the mainstream media tends to overplay negative stories and play down positive military developments. For many of these blogs, says Mr. Borda, "the sole purpose is to counteract the media."

There have always been at least some soldiers who have wanted to go to battle against Big Media. Some in the military blamed coverage of the Vietnam War for turning American public opinion against it. What's changed? The Internet now allows frustrated soldiers and veterans to voice their opinions and be heard instantly and globally.

POPULAR LINKS

 
 
These are a few of the top sites on Milblogging.com. (Links open in a new window. Some content could be offensive to readers.)
? 365 and a Wakeup
? A Soldier's Perspective
? Blackfive
? Michael Yon: Online MagazineThe backlash takes many forms. Some bloggers point out what they see as inaccuracies and post lengthy critiques of current reporting. Others post their own stories. Some simply sling arrows.

Matthew Burden, an Army veteran, started his blog, "Blackfive," in December 2003 after he learned that an Army buddy, Maj. Mathew Schram, had been killed in an ambush near the Iraq-Syria border. Mr. Burden, 39, felt his friend received short shrift in media coverage and decided to blog about military stories he felt weren't getting the attention they deserved.

"Does Abu Ghraib need to be told 40 times above the fold in the New York Times when half your readers couldn't name the guy who won the Medal of Honor?" Mr. Burden says.

Michael Yon, a 42-year-old Army Special Forces veteran, is perhaps the most attention-grabbing blogger, with appearances on MSNBC and CNN. In December 2004, he embedded himself with troops in Iraq and posted dispatches online for the next several months.

Most of Mr. Yon's writings related heroic acts by American troops and Iraqis. Mr. Yon also praises some media coverage of Iraq. But in an interview, he says many reporters "haven't stayed long enough to see what's going on. Most of the reporting is not deep enough." According to Mr. Yon, Iraqis are determined to fight insurgents and embrace a new government, a storyline he says he doesn't see in mainstream news coverage.

Not all milblogs wave the flag. Some have drawn attention for posts that irk the chain of command. Jason Hartley, a National Guardsman from New Paltz, N.Y., caught flak for posting comments on his blog, "justanothersoldier.com" that he said were satirical. Mr. Hartley, who served in Iraq, wrote that he loved dead civilians and wished he could shoot children. He claimed the comments were meant to highlight what he sees as the military's nonchalant attitude toward civilian casualties, but his superiors weren't amused. Mr. Hartley was eventually demoted to specialist from sergeant, and his commander, Capt. Vincent Heintz, wrote in a sworn statement that the blog "disparaged the Army in a manner unbecoming of an NCO (non-commissioned officer)."

Mr. Hartley says the military displayed "a neo-conservative, knee-jerk reaction" to his blog. "I'm a bleeding heart liberal in the guise of a soldier, and sometimes it comes out in my writing," he says.

Other milblogs are critical of the Bush Administration. An Army blogger in Iraq who calls himself "Godlesskinser," has a clock on his Web site noting how many days, hours, minutes and seconds have passed since President Bush vowed to capture Osama bin Laden.

The Pentagon, taking notice of the impact of such writings, has a committee studying military blogs over the next several months. In the field, the Army has issued formal guidance about blogging, reminding soldiers not to post information that might tip off the enemy. And U.S. Central Command officials in Florida have started contacting bloggers -- military and civilian -- when they come across posts that contain what they view as inaccurate or incomplete information. But overall, military blogs remain independent, with little organized oversight.

Military blogs receive a fraction of the hits generated by mainstream news Web sites. Mr. Burden's site, for example, receives about 210,000 unique visitors per month, he says. In comparison, Nielsen/Netratings data shows MSNBC.com got 24 million unique visitors last month.

But milbloggers, who only began online postings in earnest within the past three years, have become increasingly energized and organized in their efforts to counteract existing media coverage. In April, bloggers convened in Washington, D.C. for the first ever milblogging convention.

The frustration of milbloggers is understandable, says Alex S. Jones, a former New York Times reporter who heads the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. But he adds, "If the overall picture is one of continued violence and a significant lack of stability in many parts of Iraq, the individual shards of good news could be more of a distortion than a reflection of the truth."

When Milblogging.com launched in October, Mr. Borda stayed up until 5 a.m. on some nights maintaining the site. He says he sleeps more now, but his wife still has to tear him away sometimes for family events with their two sons, ages 5 and three months. "It's different," Angelica Borda, 26, says of her husband's passion, but "I'm used to it now."

 
Mr. Borda receives an undisclosed monthly stipend to maintain the blog (he signed a nondisclosure agreement with Military.com). He's currently working with Military.com to attract advertisers. The site's most notable paid advertisement so far is from a group called the Iraqi Truth Project, which has made a documentary that it says "exposes the atrocities committed by the former Iraq dictator."

In the mornings and evenings, Mr. Borda scours the Net for new blogs to add to his site and responds to emails from bloggers, fans and critics. He also interviews milbloggers and posts the transcripts in a feature called "Milblogger of the Week." Mr. Borda had collected just 50 blogs when he started Milblogging.com. Today, that number has increased nearly 30-fold, and Mr. Borda believes there are thousands more blogs out there.

Mr. Borda says he isn't able to fact-check the bloggers he publishes, or to verify their identities beyond using common sense. "I do a sanity-check of the milblog, making sure it deals primarily with a military subject matter, and I also rely on readers to let me know," he says. "That said, no matter how much research you do it's unlikely you could ever verify without a shadow of a doubt that any blogger is 100% legit."

What's the future of military blogs? Mr. Borda would like to see milbloggers get their own TV shows or have their entries printed in major newspapers. The goal, he says, is to "continually be blurring that line between the media and blogging."

Write to Mike Spector at mike.spector@wsj.com
Logged
Bowser
Newbie
*
Posts: 21


« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2006, 10:51:22 PM »

Those troops are not out there for you, they are out there for Bush and his cronies. . . . and Bush and co, they don't care a jot for you, as you will one day realise when you have to confront them yourselves.

 smiley
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2006, 03:25:04 PM »

TTT
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #48 on: October 02, 2006, 05:15:17 PM »

Woof All:

I have been very concerned, indeed angry, about things I have been reading recently about our government taking advantage of our troops and not fully stocking them or resting them so it seems like a good time to bring this thread back to the top.  Please take a look through it and see what you can do.

CD
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #49 on: October 05, 2006, 08:10:13 AM »

> >
> >By Rush Limbaugh:
> >
> >I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the
> >September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform
> >are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just
> >don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can't
> >let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing
> >about the
> >entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in
> >the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000.
> >The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7
> >million.
> >
> >If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in
> >action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half
> >of which is taxable.
> >
> >Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse,
> >you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211
> >per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those
> >payments come to a screeching halt.
> >
> >Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of
> >$1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough.
> >Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong
> >place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF
> >US, and they and their families know the dangers.
> >
> >We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the
> >Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same
> >deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that,
> >some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for
> >compensation as well.
> >
> >You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel
> >of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just
> >really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they
> >usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in
> >combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food
> >stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?
> >
> >However, our own U.S. Congress voted themselves a raise. Many of you
> >don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a
> >pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to
> >being millionaires plus.
> >
> >If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an
> >E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people
> >who placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.
> >
> >I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join
> >ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our
> >sons and daughters who are now fighting.
> >"When do we finally do something about this?" If this doesn't seem fair
> >to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can.
> >
> >How many people
> >
> >CAN YOU
> >
> >send this to?
> >
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!