Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Morning Blues????

For those of us, who have never spent a day like this...... GET OVER IT!!!!

A U.S. soldier stands guard near the site of a car bomb attack in Shirqat, 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad August 29, 2009. A suicide car bomb exploded near a police station, killing at least nine people and wounding 17 others in Shirqat, police said.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Evaporation, and Raspberry Leaf Tea

Last weekend, I was super thrilled to have my oldest son, B come home! At the age of 17, he became an Airman. B is currently in the USAF Reserves, working at Hill AFB in Salt Lake City. Last December, he graduated with a degree in Psychology and is currently in the process of applying to Graduate School. He has decided to take a course in Japanese this semester and hopefully travel to Tokyo soon. How cool is that? It is my hope, he chooses a school a bit closer to home! B has made excellent choices thus far, so I have no doubt he will choose the right school for him! On Monday afternoon, as B and I were walking through BWI towards the security gate, the Mom-Tears began to roll. He chuckled at me, I know he doesn't fully get it. I told him it has been ten years of walking through airports with him, with glassy eyes and it will be the same for the next ten years and ten years following that! He's my son. Life moves along, and I always miss him...but it is such an intense feeling after spending time with him. I suppose it's a Mom-Thing!

Friday was spent with B, both my daughters, all of my grand-girls and one son-in-law. As a mom, there is nothing quite like having almost all of your children under one roof (hopefully one day, I will have all of my children together in one room!) There was lots of food, laughter and just a good feeling. My oldest two grand-girls like to visit Nana & Pa's that Precious is three and a half...the questions are non-stop! 'Nana, why do you put peppers in your garden?' 'Nana, can we pick all of the peppers?' Too cute!

John came home late Friday night. It's such a great feeling to see my guys together. B and John went to lunch Saturday afternoon, then ventured up to visit their youngest sister, her husband and little 6 month old niece. B attended his 10 year High School reunion Saturday night. John visited some friends, then he and Hubster enjoyed a cigar smoking guy-time.

All too soon, it was Sunday morning and John was on the road back to Wright-Patt. B, Hubster and I enjoyed a fun afternoon and evening with J,K, Precious and the Bright-Eyed Beauty. It takes my breath away, to see my children as adults. Sitting at my daughter's kitchen table, just blows me away at times!

And then it was Monday. B and I went to visit my mom for a few hours, he certainly did a good job of brightening her face! Off to the airport, and so it goes.......

It was a fantastic weekend! Full of good times, good conversation and lots of good memories. So now it is time to wait....for the newest member of our family is due soon. K is sipping on Raspberry Leaf Tea to hopefully help the onset of labor. She looks beautiful! Running after two toddlers, enduring the DC humidity... she is exhausted. She is ready to meet her youngest daughter. So, once again...when AirmanMom evaporates...she will be helping out with the two big sisters!

I've attached some photos, just a glimpse of our time together......

One son, Two Daughters, Three GrandGirls and One Son-In-Law... makes a very good day!

My Guys!

B with my mom!

My Oldest Daughter, with her Youngest Daughter!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Their Stars Have Turned From Blue to Gold

Pfc. Matthew E. Wildes, 18, of Hammond, La., joined the Army in 2008. He deployed to Afghanistan on May 24, 2009, and died August 27 of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Staff Sgt. Kurt R. Curtiss, 27, of Murray, Utah, was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but lived most of his life in Utah. He enlisted in the Army just after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, wanting to make the world a better place. Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska, Kurt died August 26, 2009, in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was shot while his unit was supporting Afghan security forces during an enemy attack. This was his third tour of duty, he had 2 previous ones in Iraq.

A Soldier

A Soldier

There is discipline in A Soldier
you can see it when he walks,
There is honor in A Soldier
you hear it when he talks.
There is courage in A Soldier
you can see it in his eyes,
There is loyalty in A Soldier
that he will not compromise.
There is something in A Soldier
that makes him stand apart,
There is strength in A Soldier
that beats from his heart.
A Soldier isn't a title any man
can be hired to do,
A Soldier is the soul of that man
buried deep inside of you.
A Soldier's job isn't finished
after an 8 hour day or a 40 hour week,
A Soldier is always A Soldier
even while he sleeps.
A Soldier serves his country first
and his life is left behind,
A Soldier has to sacrifice what
comes first in a civilian's mind.
If you are civilian -
I am saying this to you.....
next time you see A Soldier
remember what they do.
A Soldier is the reason our land
is 'Home of the free',
A Soldier is the one that is brave
protecting you and me.
If you are A Soldier -
I am saying this to you.....
Thank God for what YOU do!

~Angela Goodwin

Friday, August 28, 2009

Their Stars Have Turned From Blue to Gold

Capt. John L. Hallett III, Capt. Cory J. Jenkins and Sgt. 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer

Dennis Williams in 2002, as a junior at Federal Way High School

A 24-year-old Federal Way native was among four Fort Lewis soldiers killed when a bomb detonated near their vehicle in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday

Dennis Williams in 2002, as a junior at Federal Way High School
The soldiers were serving with 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which is fighting the Taliban throughout southeastern Afghanistan. The Department of Defense, which announced the deaths Thursday, has not released any additional information about the attack.

The slain were identified as:

– Pfc. Dennis M. Williams of Federal Way
– Capt. John L. Hallett III, of California
– Capt. Cory J. Jenkins of Arizona
– Sgt. 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer of Trenton, Mo.

The four were assigned to 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, from which all six of the brigade’s fatalities have come.

The 3,900-member brigade assumed responsibilities for large sections of Kandahar and Zabul provinces – long strongholds of the Taliban – earlier this month. Two soldiers from 1st Battalion were killed last week when a bomb exploded near their unit.

Forty-four American service members have died this month, making August tied for July as the deadliest months of the eight-year war. Part of the reason for the spike in violence is because the United States has deployed more than 60,000 troops to fight the insurgency, the largest number so far in the war.

Williams, a 2003 graduate of Federal Way High School, joined the Army in October 2007 and was reported to Fort Lewis on March 10, 2008. He was on his first deployment.

Hallett, 30, earned his commission after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 2001. He previously deployed to Iraq in 2005-06 with a Stryker brigade from Hawaii. Hallett reported to Fort Lewis in 2007 and served as a battalion personnel officer, assistant operations officer and company commander.

Jenkins, 30, has served in the Army since 2007 and arrived at Fort Lewis on March 7, 2008. He was serving with the battalion as a physician assistant.

Sawyer, 38, enlisted in 1992 and reported to Fort Lewis after postings in Colorado, Texas, Germany, California and South Korea. He has deployed to Kosovo and Cuba.

Family members of the soldiers couldn’t be reached Thursday afternoon.

The deaths push the number of Washington service members killed in military operations since 2001 to 323. The attack was the deadliest incident for a Fort Lewis unit since four soldiers assigned to 4th Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment died during a helicopter crash on Aug. 22, 2007 near Kirkuk, Iraq.

~The News Tribune-Tacoma, WA~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brave Warrior, your battles are over, it's time to rest your head.
Brave Warrior, lay down in the clover, the earth is now your bed,
Brave Warrior, a flag is now wrapped around you, your grateful nation mourns.
Now rest in peace, and sleep for the ages in the place where you were born.

Brave Warrior, your time was short, now it's time to say goodbye.
Sweet Warrior, mount your faithful steed as you ride off in the sky,
A folded flag is all that's left to remind us, of how you lived and died,
Brave Warrior, they've all come to see you, they've come to say good bye.

When the poppies fate, and the cold winds blow,
and the graves are covered in the fallen snow,
you will warm our hearts with the memory of your love.

Brave Warrior, evening is falling, the fields are empty and gold,
Brave Warrior, your star shinning bright, your spirit of peace we now hold,
Brave Warrior, your ship finds its harbor, where the water meets the sky.
And I will think of you as I breath my freedom, with a tear drop in my eye.
Sweet Warrior, I'll never forget you, good soldiers never die.

Your memory will never die.

By Joe Cantafio
Copyright 2004

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

May Almighty God Bless these brave soldiers and comfort the families who love them so.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August News

Once again, the media has chosen to saturate the airwaves, and the internet with the death of a 'well-known' person. As I turned on the local news to listen for the weather report (I work outside, so it's nice to know exactly how much humidity I get to endure) the report was delayed in order to give full coverage to the death of Sen. Kennedy. Don't get me wrong, I respect the service of this man...however, are you aware that in the month of July; a record number of soldiers were killed and now August is well on its way to beating this record. Why is this news item not a headline? Where is America's concern and compassion for our troops? Why do we place more value on one person and what appears to be little to no value on a couple of GI's?

This post is not meant to be a political tug of war, it is not about Sen. Kennedy...I write about our soldiers. It is my desire to keep politics at bay and remain focused on those men and women who have chosen to sacrifice their everyday lives....for me.

My freedoms depend on those who are currently serving our nation. My freedoms are a gift from all those who have served for generations. My freedoms will continue, as long as young men and women leave their homes, their comforts, their moms...

I did find this article and ask you take a few moments to read:

2 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan

(AP) — The NATO-led force in Afghanistan says attacks have killed two U.S. troops, keeping August on track to be the deadliest month of the war for the U.S. military.

NATO says one American died Wednesday after an improvised explosive device detonated in southern Afghanistan. A second service member was killed in an attack in the east. No other information was released.

The two deaths bring to 43 the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan this month. July was the deadliest month of the nearly eight-year war — 44 U.S. troops died. But with five days left in August, this month could again set a new record.

The Taliban insurgency is more violent than ever. A record number of U.S. troops are now in the country — more than 60,000 — one of the reasons death tolls have climbed.

The Associated Press

May Almighty God Bless these brave soldiers and comfort the families who love them so.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Countless times, I have mentioned how amazing it is to participate in an Operation Welcome Home Maryland event. The absolute honor of shaking hands, while looking into the eyes and saying, "Thank You" to the brave men and women who protect our freedoms is simply THE BEST feeling.

OWH-Maryland has a brand new website which is extremely well done! Please keep in mind; this is all-volunteer! Due to receiving a high number of unexpected flights recently, there is a shortage of snacks and water for the 'goodie bags'. If you can, please visit the website and help out.

I've attached a video of an OWH-Maryland event below.

Scroll down a bit and you will also find the names of International Airports which welcome home troops. If you live near one of these cities, I encourage you to just once stand in the receiving line of our soldiers! (this may not be a complete list, so please pass along info, so that I can update my blog).

If you do not live near an airport, please help through the USO. It only takes a minute, but will make a huge difference to a soldier or family member!

Palm Beach International Airport

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Spokane International Airport

Atlanta-Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

**On a side note-MudPuppy will be reunited with his mom, family and friends tonight! With permission, I will post photos I receive of this very special homecoming!

May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Talking Tuesday

I've read several articles debating whether or not our military should ultimately become one large unit. Each of the services have their own distinct mission and capabilities. Is it a good idea to consolidate the branches? Should the Marines return to the Navy and should the Air Force return to the Army? How well would we weather a conflict with an Army and a Navy? had this interesting poll:

If we absolutely had to eliminate one branch of the military, which branch should be eliminated?

Army (2250) 19%
Air Force (3047) 26%
Navy (1499) 12%
Marines (2341) 20%
Coast Guard (2481) 21%
Total Votes: 11618

Your turn................

Sunday, August 23, 2009

MudPuppy Is In the United States!

Following his year-long deployment to Afghanistan, MudPuppy is once again on U.S. soil!

How blessed we are, to have such brave men and women serve our nation.

Thank you my VirtuaSon, from the bottom of my heart for your sacrifice!

I am so grateful my SoldierSon is safe!

God is good!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Every once in a while, AirmanMom will evaporate from the Blogosphere! Now is one of those times...

Tonight, I will meet my oldest son at the airport!!!! He will spend a long weekend with the fam! I am so excited to look into my son's eyes, once again! Yep, I know he is a 27 year old man...he'll attend his 10-year high school reunion this weekend. B's been on his own since he enlisted when he was 17 years old. But, he is my son! I remember melting when I met him for the very first time and trust me....tonight at BWI I'll melt once again. Those MomTears will roll, because that's what I do. Let's not even think about taking him back to the airport on Monday afternoon!!!

My daughters, sons-in-law and their daughters will all be here tomorrow! We'll all be sitting at the kitchen table...together!!! My youngest son will arrive from Wright-Patterson later in the day. I'm not quite certain if it will work out to have all four of my children in the same room at the same time...but it certainly is good enough! and Pa too! Our Bright-Eyed-Beauty (grandgirl #2) loves her Pa (Hubster) from a distance! Let's see how she does with Unc! She is having a bit of an issue with the idea of Angel (grandgirl #3) sleeping in 'her' crib at Nana's... The Nursery at Nana's has become personal stomping ground, it appears! Yep, K made an excellent point when she asked if I had thought about having 4 grandgirls all teenagers! Hmmm... I'll enjoy this weekend for now!

There may be a photo or two to post next week...

In the meantime, I ask that you continue to pray for MudPuppy as he makes his way home to the States! Wanna talk about MomTears? I can only imagine the river, when MudPuppy's mom hugs her son!

I ask that you pray for David, as he continues his healing process.

I ask that you consider adopting a soldier before the holidays, they deserve our support today!

I ask that you pray for our Fallen Soldiers.

May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Afghan Elections

Elections are taking place today, August 20th.

As I read countless articles regarding the possible outcome of this election, as I read of the support slipping for the war, as I read all about numerous polling places shut down in Ghanzi, as I thought of our soldiers working to help the people of Afghanistan, as I prayed for the families of Fallen Soldiers over the years of this conflict....the song, "If I Had A Hammer" entered my mind.

Well I've got a hammer
And I've got a bell
And I've got a song to sing
All over this land
It's the hammer of justice
It's the bell of freedom
It's the song about love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land


(Photo by 1st Lt. Kurt Stahl : Regimental Combat Team 3)

America's Troops

Men of honor are America's troops,
our Armed Forces from enlisted to elite groups.

Every Marine, Soldier, Airman and Sailor,
are all known as America's men of Valor.

They defend the land of the free,
on land, in the air, and at sea.

Their duty is to protect the USA,
keeping her safe from harms way.

Combat isn't something they choose,
when called they pay America's dues.

Through all the blood, sweat and tears,
America's troops always perseveres.

Freedom is more important than fear,
defending America they bravely volunteer.

They sacrifice their lives for others to save,
they are in debt to those who already gave.

America's troops are valiant heroes of war,
they are America's heart and core.

America's troops define the land of the free,
they are an example of being all you can be.

Dedicated to my nephew Wesley D. Swain, PFC USMC

By Jamie Badour
Copyright 2006
Listed 12/28/2006

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Talking Tuesday

In an effort to maintain "Talking Tuesday" as a lively, interesting post...I must read lots and lots of articles. At times I am amazed by the words I read, other times I am appalled.

I don't know how, I don't know where... But I happened upon a website (which I have chosen not to link) titled, 'Only Patriots Burn Flags'. If you wish to read all the words, it is only a google search away.

The author writes, "Flag Burning is a patriotic act done by people who care deeply enough about our freedoms to challenge the government when it becomes a threat to the people. Patriots who love America burn flags." He also writes, "There comes a point when the citizens, Acting as the Fourth Branch of Government, have a duty to their country to rise up and slap the government down when it gets out of line. We must never forget that the government exists for only one purpose, and that is to serve the people. That the government and the courts derive their powers by the consent of the people, and that the government has a duty to put the Will of the People above it's own self interests. When the government fails, it is the duty and the responsibility of the people to put the government in it's place and let the government know that it is, in fact subservient to the people."

Is Flag Burning a freedom of speech or an insult to our Founding Fathers?

Do you believe the day will come, this will be an acceptable form of expressing discord towards our government?

Are you capable of taking a match to Old Glory?

It's your turn......

Monday, August 17, 2009


Afghan women to miss out on vote in landmark election

KABUL, Afghanistan: Forozan Fana, right, one of only two Afghan female presidential candidates, gives her election brochure to an Afghan woman during her election campaign. Photo / APAFGHANISTAN - Millions of Afghan women will be denied their chance to vote in presidential elections this week because there are not enough female officials to staff the women-only polling stations.

A desperate shortage of female staff is threatening to undermine the legitimacy of the elections, which are the pinnacle of western-led efforts to build a peaceful democracy.

Strict cultural norms mean women cannot vote in male-run stations.

Women's activists say the Independent Election Commission (IEC) needs to recruit 13,000 more women before Thursday's elections.

The IEC refused to comment on recruitment figures, but papers leaked to The Independent suggest the shortfall is much worse, at more than 42,000.

Without female staff to operate the strictly segregated stations, and more importantly, without female searchers to frisk women voters as they arrive at those stations, conservative men across the country will ban their wives and daughters from taking part.

"If half of the population can't participate, the election is illegitimate," said Orzala Ashref, a director of the Afghan Women's Network. "Without women's votes, without women's participation, of course the election is not going to be valid."

"You need female staff," said leading women's rights activist Wazhma Frogh. "Otherwise women won't dare go out. Their families won't let them."

The problem is most acute in the south east, where there are just 2,564 women on the IEC books, less than 20 percent of the 13,400 target. In the south, they have less than half the 10,428 women required.

The IEC launched an emergency appeal through women's rights organisations last week to try to fill the staffing gap.

But in a sign of growing desperation, officials have suggested hiring old men and boys in their place.

"We are totally against this," Ms Ashref said. "The men will tell women, 'If you go and vote it will be men who search you'. Would women from the UK feel comfortable being searched by a man? It's even more sensitive here. They won't let them go."

At Nad-e-Ali in Helmand, an area recently under Taliban control, a lack of policewomen had meant that required searches of female voters cannot be carried out. Local elders have rejected suggestions that female British troops should carry out the task.

Many men in this deeply conservative area are adamant that they will not let women from their families vote in mixed stations. Niamtullah Khan, a 57 year old farmer, said, "we are very concerned about this. Most of my neighbours are against letting women go to these places where anything can happen. I, and a few others, think we should look ahead and have change, but I would not approve of my wife, sister, or daughter going into buildings with a lot of unknown men."

The lack of female staff has fuelled fears of proxy voting, where men vote for their entire families. Concerns were first raised in December when The Independent revealed "phantom" women voters were outnumbering men in the registration process.

New figures seen by The Independent show women registrants outnumbered men in five provinces, including Logar, Paktia and Khowst. "What's most alarming is that those places where the female recruitment has been most difficult are the same places where there was over-registration of women," said a senior Western diplomat.

Women's registration cards are especially prone to fraud because unlike the men's, they don't include a passport picture of the owner. Photographs of bare faced women are deemed culturally unacceptable.

8:41AM Monday Aug 17, 2009
By Kim Sengupta and Jerome Starkey in Kabul


All rights owned or licensed to Independent News & Media Ltd

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Let's Get This Party Started!

Please click HERE to join our Online Book Group!

I've attached a link to the sidebar on the right side of this page.

Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion!

AirManMom REALLY Loves Baseball......

KMC Little League stars intend to focus on one game at a time

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — None of them has been there before, but the 12 members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community who’ll board the plane Monday for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., are aware of the magnitude of what’s ahead.

"It’s a big experience and a privilege to be going to the World Series," said Matt Zembraski, one of six pitchers who started a game during the KMC All-Stars’ 8-0 romp through last week’s European Regional. "I’ll probably be nervous when we get there, but it shouldn’t change the way the game goes."

Perhaps not, but it’s going to be a new experience. Playing on international television, fielding questions from the international media and rubbing shoulders with former major leaguers and celebrities are part of the Williamsport experience.

How are a bunch of 11-12-13-year-olds going to cope with that?

"We’ll just try to focus on the game," Cannon Byrd said. "We think we’re an all-around good team."

The statistics bear Byrd out. In becoming the first American military community team to reach Williamsport since 1999, KMC outscored the eight teams it vanquished in the European Regional by a combined score of 86-5. The All-Stars posted three shutouts and played solid defense throughout, a performance that bred confidence such as that shown by European title-game starter Chris Holba. Holba sat through a nearly two-hour rain delay before calmly one-hitting Ukraine in KMC’s 10-0 victory.

"When I find out they’re giving me the ball," Holba said, "I’m ready to go."

Holba’s one of a near-dozen aces in KMC’s pack, according to head coach Don Prince.

"We have 12 players, and 11 of them pitch," Prince said. "When we started, we thought we knew who our Nos. 1-4 were, but our Nos. 1 and 2 got hurt and our Nos. 3 and 4 stepped up. Then we had a new No. 1 and No. 2."

And an insane comfort level in a game that often turns on which team’s ace has a low-enough pitch count to take the ball at crunch time. Little League limits 11-12-year-olds to 85 pitches per game. There also are rules on the number of days of rest each pitcher must have between appearances based on the number of pitches thrown in a previous game.

"Pitching and defense really help us," Zembraski said.

They’ll need both to make a dent in the 13-68 record military community teams from Europe have compiled at Williamsport since Berlin made the first trip in 1960.

The All-Stars’ hardest task so far has been grasping what they’ve done in just two months — winning the championships of Germany and Europe without suffering a loss.

"It’s kind of surreal," Byrd said. "Right now, I never thought this could happen."
Neither did big-hitter Jacob Van Parys, who arrived in the community a month ago from San Antonio, Texas. "When we moved here, I thought I wouldn’t get a chance to play in the World Series," he said.

The magnitude of the series isn’t lost on the KMC parents, all of whom are going to Williamsport and one of whom quit her job Friday when her leave request was disapproved.

Parent Kelly Van Parys understood that other mother’s motivation perfectly.
"It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she said.

European Regional champions headed for World Series armed with depth, defense, momentum
By Rusty Bryan, Stars and StripesEuropean edition, Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MudPuppy Is On His Way Home!

May Almighty God watch over this brave soldier, as he travels home to the safe and loving arms of his family and friends!

Godspeed, MudPuppy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Let's Celebrate a Special Birthday!!!

I've mentioned that I have recently happened upon a Blog titled, Ward57.
David is an Airman who was serving in Afghanistan.
On May 11, 2009 David stepped on a landmine.
His wife is writing the story of his recovery.

PLEASE stop by today and wish David a Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, David!

I Am A Soldier, I Fight Where I Am Told, and I Win Where I Fight. ~General George Patton Jr.

After an eight-hour firefight against Taliban forces, US. Marines rest in the room of a home that they turned into a command center, in the village of Dahaneh Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Operation Eastern Resolve launched early Wednesday morning with 500 combined Marine and Afghan National Army forces fighting to take control of the city from the Taliban.(AP / Julie Jacobson)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

Born: November 2, 1987
Died: August 10, 2009 in Afghanistan

Lance Cpl Bruce E. Ferrell, Jr. of Perdido, Alabama graduated from Baldwin County High School where he was a member of the JROTC program and an honor student. He also played on the soccer team. Known as “Little Bruce” or “Bubba”, joined the Marine Corps in November 2007 and was promoted to the rank of lance corporal on Jan. 1. His Marine unit deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in May 2009. His awards include the Nation Defense and Global War on Terrorism Service Medals, according to II MEF. Bruce died at age 21 when a roadside bomb tore through the Humvee that he and other Marines were riding in. Bruce was recently engaged to be married.

Fox Company
2nd Battalion
8th Marine Regiment
2nd Marine Division
II Marine Expeditionary Force
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
~Elmer Davis

May Almighty God Bless this brave Marine and bring comfort to the family who loves him so.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

67 U.S. Soldiers Have Swine Flu in Iraq

Swine flu cases climb among US soldiers in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- The number of American troops in Iraq diagnosed with swine flu has climbed to 67, making U.S. soldiers the largest group in the country to come down with the potentially deadly virus, Iraqi health officials said Wednesday.

The figures were released by the Iraqi health ministry as it detailed steps being taken to control the spread of the virus, which last week claimed its first fatality in the southern holy city of Najaf. A 21-year-old Iraqi woman, who had visited the city's Shiite shrines, later died of swine flu.

The health ministry has also confirmed that 23 Iraqis and six other foreigners have been diagnosed with the virus. Their nationalities were not disclosed.

All the U.S. troops had either been treated or were undergoing treatment, said Dr. Amer al-Khuzai, the deputy health minister. There have been no fatalities among American forces, he said.

The U.S. military did not immediately confirm the figures released by the Iraqis. But earlier this week, it said 51 soldiers had been diagnosed, while another 71 suspected cases were in isolation.

"We think they have this many cases because they come through different countries to come here. They come from the United States. They come from Europe," al-Khuzai said.

He said the U.S. military has been giving the ministry weekly updates about the number of swine flu cases diagnosed on American bases in Iraq.

Col. Michael D. Eisenhauer, chief of clinical operations in Iraq, told The Associated Press in an e-mail earlier this week that the U.S. military had been completely open with the Iraqis on the cases of diagnosed Americans.

The cases in American troops have been diagnosed over the last three months since the military actively began screening for the virus, he said. "There has not been a sudden outbreak," Eisenhauer added.

Swine flu cases have been diagnosed at six U.S. bases in Iraq, the military said. In May, 18 soldiers on their way to Iraq were diagnosed in Kuwait with the virus. Troops are now screened for the virus before they leave the United States and again when the arrive in Iraq.

Cases among Iraqis have been diagnosed in Baghdad and elsewhere.

Ten were caught at Baghdad's International Airport, where health officials screen arriving passengers, said Dr. Sabah Karkukly, who oversees the ministry's swine flu program.

The figures raise concern about Iraq's ability to control the virus' spread among millions of Shiites who visit the revered shrines in Najaf and another holy Shiite city, Karbala.

Two cases of swine flu were diagnosed in Najaf, while three others were diagnosed in Karbala, said al-Khuzai, the deputy health minister. He cautioned Iraqis to take extra steps to protect themselves, such as avoiding crowded places where the virus can easily be transmitted.

Iraq's Cabinet on Wednesday banned trips to Saudia Arabia's holy city of Mecca during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins later this month.

Iraq also joined other Arab health ministers in banning children, the elderly and the chronically ill from the annual hajj pilgrimage in late November.

The World Health Organization, as of July 31, had tallied more than 162,000 swine flu cases worldwide. It counted at least 1,154 deaths, with more than 1,000 reported in the Americas, according to its Web site.

Iraq's Cabinet also approved the purchase of $100 million worth of the anti-viral medicine Tamiflu, which is enough for a quarter of Iraq's population, Karkukly said.

The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 12, 2009; 8:36 AM

Associated Press Writer Hamid Ahmed contributed to this report.

Extreme at Wright-Patterson AFB

James and Shannon Terpenning and their children Josselyn, 6, twins Justin and Jacob (in yellow held by Shannon), 2, and Joshua, 1, along with James' adopted brother Joseph, left, talk on Friday, Aug. 7, the day after their new home was revealed to them during a taping of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

AF Family's 'Extreme' Home RevealedAugust 11, 2009
Air Force Print News|by Ron Fry

BEAVERCREEK, Ohio - Amid a hearty "welcome home" shout-out from Airmen and volunteers, an employee from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, fought back tears as he and his family saw their new, custom-built home for the first time Aug. 6 here.

James Terpenning, a civilian computer specialist, received the house after being selected by producers of the popular ABC-TV series "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," which is an Emmy award winning reality television series that provides home renovations for deserving families.

Mr. Terpenning, who is confined to a wheelchair, said the experience was a dream come true.

"We have a new life now with a nice new home," he said.

Fellow workers at the base nominated Mr. Terpenning for the show and he was chosen July 30. Two days later, Air Force volunteers pitched in to begin demolition of the family's former home. In just five days, a new house was built complete with a backyard playground and a freshly-sod lawn.

Air Force volunteers worked throughout the week, doing everything from helping lay drainage pipes to wading through ankle-deep mud during a driving rain to assist with landscaping.

Many of those volunteers were on hand Aug. 6 to greet the Terpenning family. Among them were Lt. Gen. John L. "Jack" Hudson, the Aeronautical Systems Center commander, and retired Col. Sue Busler, who kicked off the effort to nominate the family for the show.

"They definitely define the term 'wingman,'" said Mr. Terpenning who wore a shirt emblazoned with an eagle and stars and stripes. "This experience showed that the Air Force takes care of its own. I am so proud to be part of the Air Force."

After the Terpenning family toured their new home with the show's host, Ty Pennington, they watched from their backyard as a C-5 Galaxy from Wright-Patterson AFB rumbled overhead. It reminded Mr. Terpenning of his first experience with the Air Force some 34 years ago.

As a young orphan, he was airlifted from Vietnam as part of the Operation Babylift. He was among an estimated 2,500 children flown to safety in the final days of the Vietnam War. He suffered from polio as a youth and was adopted by an Ohio family.

"The Air Force saved my life once and it stepped up to help my family again," he said.

As work on their new home began, the Terpennings were whisked off to Florida for a vacation that was paid for by the show's producers. They returned in a black stretch limousine to find the familiar "Extreme Makeover" bus parked in front of their house. As a crowd of thousands of neighbors, building contractors and volunteers chanted "Move that bus!," Mr. Terpenning, his wife, Shannon, their four children and his wheelchair-bound brother watched as the show's big bus pulled away to reveal the new, country-style house.

After the initial shock passed, Mr. Terpenning wheeled along the edge of the crowd high-fiving co-workers and other volunteers as the show's many cameramen followed his every move.

The episode featuring the Terpennings is scheduled to air this fall.

"The Air Force and Department of Defense approved participation in 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' because it offered the unique opportunity to showcase Airmen supporting a worthy humanitarian effort," said Capt. Bryon McGarry, the deputy director of the Air Force Entertainment Office in Los Angeles. "Entertainment media provides the Air Force very real opportunities to build awareness, educate and inform the American public about its Airmen, and this hugely popular show served as a vehicle to do just that on a significant stage."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Talking Tuesday

I happened upon this 'Letter to the Editor' while reading Stars and Stripes...

Draft is long overdue
I am writing in regard to "Respect all-volunteer force" (letter, Aug. 6).

I am in Iraq for the third time now, and I have lost numerous friends and people whom I respected during my service. I find it absolutely deplorable that anyone who is serving in a public position has the right to dismiss the Iraq war as a mistake.

I was here during the initial push in March 2003, and I have witnessed the atrocities of what a dictator can do to the people of Iraq.

For those of us who have done multiple deployments and suffered many losses of our comrades, it is like reopening a wound to hear people bad-mouth this war. It will mentally break you down when you repeatedly do the same thing over and over and lack the support of the American people and those who serve in office. I can only imagine the horrific pain that Vietnam veterans have endured from a lifetime of people like "Hanoi Jane" Fonda.

I will fight for the love of my country and for the freedom of speech, but how many comrades must I lose for the American people to find their own personal justification? I am quite confident that if every family were directly affected by the wars in the Middle East, perhaps their tongues would not yield the slashes of a sword.

I believe that a draft for our spoiled America is long overdue. I thank the letter writer for addressing what we already feel.

Staff Sgt. Samantha Mahan
Camp Victory, Iraq

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Would it be a good idea to reinstate the Draft in the United States?
What do you feel the odds are, of seeing another Draft?
Those of you who served many years ago, was the Draft the right answer then?
Those of you serving today, would you like to see a Draft?
Is it possible to build our military to where it can be most effective, without a draft?
Does an All-Volunteer Military equal a stronger presence?
Is it a good idea to keep Selective Service System active as a contingency plan or should we simply dismantle the entire system?
Will the commitment to the mission be as strong, by one 'forced' to be there?
Is a Draft simply a piece of American History which will never repeat itself?

Your turn..........

Monday, August 10, 2009

We Interrupt This Blog...

Our 'BucketListVacay' was a blast! We are two extremely blessed Baseball Fans, to have enjoyed such an adventure! For an impromptu trip, we somehow pulled it off and made some fantastic memories!

On Monday morning, the road trip to Pittsburgh began. It was a good trip down the PA Turnpike, please note the word 'fun' was omitted. If you have ever traveled the PA Turnpike you know what I mean. We checked into the hotel and had plenty of time to walk to PNC. The Nationals W-O-N!!!! Final score 8-4, needless to say a pleasant surprise! Pre-game included the U.S. Air Force Swearing-In Ceremony of several young men and women. Such an honor to watch! I, of course was cheering and clapping...when a young man asked if I was the parent of one of these new recruits. I told him I was not one of their parents, but I am the proud parent of two Airman. He too served in the USAF and as he left the stadium at the end of the game, he saluted me! a href="">PNC is a nice stadium with a great view of Pittsburgh's skyline!(we walked across the gold arched foot-bridge to get back to the hotel)

Tuesday morning had us heading west to Cincinnati to watch the Reds take on the Chicago Cubs. Sadly (yes, MudPuppy VERY sadly) the Cubs won. The seats were filled with a sea of blue shirts...everywhere! Cubbie fans everywhere!!!! The attendance for the game was 19,000 and I am convinced that 18,500 were Cub fans. Oh my gosh, they make some noise!!! Oh my gosh, they give Yankee fans a run for their money on the obnoxious meter (I'm an O's fan, so Yankee fans please don't hate!)
On the fun-side...Hubster and I were on the Kiss-Cam! Yep, Nana and Pa making out on the big screen at Great American Ball Park! The stadium sits along the bank of the Ohio River, which was rising due to the crazy there was a special announcement for those parked along the river to move their vehicles!
As we walked back to the hotel after the game, we stood with some Cub Fans at a stop lights as they chanted, "Let's Go Cubbies, We Hate White Sox". C'mon folks, not a White Sox fan in sight! I get it, MudPuppy...I really get it!

Our next stop was Dayton to visit one of my favorite Airman at Wright-Patterson. Hubster and I toured the Air Force Museum, while John finished his workday. There is so much to see at the Museum; if you ever have the chance to visit, it is well worth the trip! Dinner was yummy and then it was off to see John's truck...the one which he has taken up the sport of Muddin'. The truck which has been the primary reason John has been in court, not once but twice. The truck is currently not running, due to the fact it sat in a creek for two weeks. Even Mom knows that water and engines don't mix well. So, the truck is out for the count for a while. After going to dinner, we went to the garage to hang out for a couple hours while John's Muddin' buddy worked on his truck. These two guys took turns pulling each other out of the creek, both trucks needed to be towed out...when all was said and done. Both John and Josh had fun.......for a little while!

Comerica Park was the next game, to watch the O's take on the Detroit Tigers. It was YMCA day at the ballpark, so there were over 1,000 kids there who were able to walk the field before the game began. 33,000 attended this afternoon game, the final score was 3-7. This was the first time Hubster and I visited Detroit, such a sad city. The stadium is really nice, along with the area immediately surrounding it...but a few blocks away was rundown. When we arrived to the stadium, we asked a Tiger fan where we could find Will-Call to pick up our tickets. We were told that since we were O's fans, all we had to do was walk around the stadium twice. Ha Ha! I kinda thought we were the only two O's fans and it was confirmed later that evening as we took a walk to a Thai Restaurant for dinner...a couple men approached us and said, "Hey, aren't you the O's fans?" Yep. I've said it many times, it is not easy to love the O's!

Friday morning is was a quick trip to the Canadian border and then off to Toronto! We blew this trip! First of all, we did not expect it to take over an hour to get through customs, we did not plan well arriving in Toronto during rush-hour and for the first time all trip our MapQuest directions were wrong! Even the best of Navi-Guessers would have had a tough time deciphering those directions. So Hubster sucked it up and asked for directions! Toronto loves one-way streets. For a few moments there was concern if there was a right-way to the hotel. We were lucky to find our way and had just enough time to change clothes and walk to the stadium. But oh my gosh...we had the yummiest, most unhealthy dinner of the entire trip at Rogers Centre! We ate Poutine for the first time ever. As we stood in the food line, we were encouraged by some locals to eat lots and lots of Poutine, since we are O's fans. Poutine is a heart-attack in a basket! French Fries, topped with cheese curd and drowned with oodles of brown gravy. Washed down with a cold beer...Alton Brown, this is Good Eats!
We chose to dine on Poutine only, although the plan was to have a Mediterranean Sausage along with these fries. So, one would think fine dining would have been the highlight of this stop....nay, nay! The O's won. Go ahead and read it again..... the O's W-O-N the game 7-5. Rogers Centre is a dome stadium, it was a gorgeous night the roof was open! Did I mention the O's won? Good times, even though once again we were the only two people rooting on the Orioles!

Saturday morning we were on the road early to make our way to view one of the Seven Wonders of the World...Niagara Falls.
Awesome! Amazing! This was my first visit to the Canadian side of the Falls. Breathtaking! And then it was time to cross the border and step back on U.S. soil. We had great weather all the way home. There was no need to rush, so the trip was thoroughly enjoyable. We were going home.

How fortunate I am to be married to my best friend.
A guy who has no problem driving 1,623 miles in six days, so that his wife can experience Ball Parks. Happy Birthday!!!

How blessed we are to live in a nation, where people can set aside their worries and differences to enjoy a ballgame. How much I love to stand and place my hand over my heart as our National Anthem is sung at the beginning of each game! How I can't wait to plan our next adventure! We've got stadiums to see, people to meet and baseball to watch. Go O's!!!!!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog..............

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Not Just Another Eclipse

A flight of F-15C Eagles from the 44th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, flies during a solar eclipse July 22 over the island of Okinawa. The eclipse was a rare opportunity for servicemembers here to witness this rare event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chad Warren)

I Love Being An American

We're home!

Is there anything better than going home?

To think 24 hours ago; Hubster and I were on the 29th floor of the Toronto Hilton, after watching the O's beat the Blue Jays in a spectacular 7-5 win! We stopped by to see Niagra Falls in Canada on Saturday morning, then had the absolute pleasure of crossing the border into the United States. Home.

As we approached the Rainbow Bridge, I kept my eye on our flag. Our symbol of home.

I must have taken 58 photos of our flag as we inched our way to the border. Home.

If I said it once, I said it a dozen times as my finger tapped the button on the camera taking photo after photo of our flag... I love being an American.

It's that simple. Home.

The words, "O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave" were sung at the beginning of every game we attended. We sang of one thing in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit and Toronto. Home.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

NaviGuessing, Warm Beer and Physics...

As of 1700hrs EDT the house is scrubbed down, the clothes are washed and the snacks are prepped for the BucketListVacay! Hubster and I are heading out in the morning, for this somewhat spontaneous road trip. I say spontaneous due to the fact we were supposed to be on our way to Seattle for the week. It would have been a little bit of biz for Hubster and all-playtime for me. I have told him numerous times, Seattle is the only city he could convince me to leave my lifelong home for. However, the boat is delayed, so the trip was postponed until later in the month. So, as I watched the All-Star Game, it struck me...I've got the time off work, let's go on a wacky road the BucketListVacay began!

I am the world's worst navigator, thus I have received the title of "NaviGuesser". Yep, we are fully aware of those little gadgets called GPS, but c'mon...have you any idea the places we've seen, due to being lost? I read the MapQuest directions backwards on one trip, which only took us two hours off track. And then there was the time we were on the opposite side of town, when attempting to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ahhhh...I could go on, but I won't!

The next week is all about experiencing new baseball stadiums. BallParks, we have never stepped foot in and may never visit again. Ahhh...boiled hot dogs with warm beer and a CrackerJack shooter. Yummy! Organ Music, The Wave and grown men making obnoxious amounts of money for running around a diamond. Have I mentioned, I. Love. Baseball.

Physics. Baseball is a game of physics. Did you know.....
*The collision of a ball on the bat lasts only about 1/1000th of a second
*That a batted ball should be able to travel no farther than 475 Feet
*That a 90 mph fastball can reach homeplate in 400 milliseconds
*That a baseball weighs 5.12 ounces
*That peak forces a bat can put on a ball can exceed 8300 pounds, enough to stop a mini Cooper rolling at 10mph!

So I leave with a tune:

Take me out to the ball game
Take me out to the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and crackerjack
I don't care if I never get back
For it's root, root, root for the home team
If they don't win it's a shame
For it's one, two, three strikes
You're out at the old ballgame!

For the next several days, I won't be online much...however, I am asking you guys to do me a few favors...

#1 Pray for MudPuppy. He is quickly coming to the end of his year long deployment in Afghanistan. MudPuppy is coming home! I ask that you join me as I lift him in prayer daily; pray that he brings MomTears to the eyes of his mom, that he knows a gentle transition into 'our world' and that he remains a strong, faithful servant for the greatest nation in the world.

#2 Please pray for David. I have recently happened upon and followed the blog Ward57. This blog is the journey of a young soldier and his wife. David stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan on 5.11.2009. Please take a few moments to read their story and lift this brave soldier and his strong wife in prayer.

#3 Praise God for the family who have the remains of Captain Michael "Scott" Speicher. For twenty years, this family has been waiting.

As General Douglas MacArthur stated,
"I shall return"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Not Surprising....

Military considers ban on Twitter, Facebook

WASHINGTON — Defense officials are looking into a military-wide ban on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook because of security concerns related to the Internet portals.

Tim Madden, spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command’s task force on network operations, said the ban is “under consideration” but no further decisions have been made. Last week, his office distributed a memo to commands worldwide asking for feedback on such a ban on the military’s NIPRNet, the Defense Department’s unsecured computer network.

On Thursday, Wired Magazine’s Danger Room blog broke news of the memo, which states the sites could make the military’s networks easy targets for hackers. They also reported frustration among many defense officials who have been pushing the social networking tools as critical for the services’ public relations and recruiting.

Earlier this year, Army officials ordered network managers at 81 U.S. locations to unblock Web sites such as Facebook, Flickr and Twitter as part of an effort to standardize access to the popular social networking tools.

Last month, the staff of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen unveiled his new Facebook page, and he told reporters that Pentagon leaders should know and understand more about popular Internet sites their subordinates are using.

But Madden said the inquiry into blocking the sites isn’t a rejection of those ideas, but instead simply part of ongoing reviews of security and safety protocols.

“We’re always looking at ways to protect the network,” he said.

In May 2007, STRATCOM officials blocked access from official government computers to 13 sites, including MySpace and YouTube. At the time, officials said those moves were designed to stop the heavy drain the media-intensive sites put on the military network.

Any changes implemented by the command likely would not affect Internet cafes or home Internet connections at base housing, both of which are usually linked to an outside, private service provider.

But computers in all military offices, and troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at bases whose only Internet access is through the NIPRNet, would be affected.

Madden could not give a timeline for when a decision might be made, or provide details of what reaction officials have received to the news so far.

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, July 31, 2009