Sunday, January 31, 2010

Did You Know???

Q: Who controls the National Guard in times of peace?
A: State Governors

Q: This branch of the military operates as part of the Navy during war time.
A: Coast Guard

Q: This branch of the U.S. military was officially created November 10, 1775, but was disbanded in 1783 (only to be recreated a few years later).
A: The Continental Marines (The Marine Corps)

Q: The United States Naval Academy is located in what state?
A: Maryland

Q: This branch of the U.S. armed services has no official motto, but is often associated with the phrase "Non sibi sed patriae" ("Not self, but country").
A: Navy

Q: The U.S. Military is made up of how many fighting branches?
A: Five

Q: Their official motto of "This We'll Defend" is incorporated into their seal.
A: Army

Q: This military institution has trained more officers than any other.
A: United States Military Academy - West Point

Friday, January 29, 2010

Good Night, Lt. Colonel Lee Archer

Pilot considered the only ace Tuskegee Airman dies

NEW YORK (AP) -- Retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Lee A. Archer, a Tuskegee Airman considered to be the only black ace pilot who also broke racial barriers as an executive at a major U.S. company and founder of a venture capital firm, died Wednesday in New York City. He was 90.

His son, Roy Archer, said his father died at Cornell University Medical Center in Manhattan. A cause of death was not immediately determined.

The Tuskegee Airmen were America's first black fighter pilot group in World War II.

"It is generally conceded that Lee Archer was the first and only black ace pilot," credited with shooting down five enemy planes, Dr. Roscoe Brown Jr., a fellow Tuskegee Airman and friend, said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Archer was acknowledged to have shot down four planes, and he and another pilot both claimed victory for shooting down a fifth plane. An investigation revealed Archer had inflicted the damage that destroyed the plane, said Brown, and the Air Force eventually proclaimed him an ace pilot.

Archer, a resident of New Rochelle, N.Y., "lived a full life," said his son. "His last two or three years were amazing for him."

Archer was among the group of Tuskegee Airmen invited to attend President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009. The airmen, who escorted bomber planes during the war fought with distinction, only to face bigotry and segregation when they returned home, were also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in 2007 by President George W. Bush.

Archer was "extremely competent, aggressive about asserting his position and sometimes stubborn," Brown said.

"He had a heart of gold and treated people with respect. He demanded respect by the way he carried himself."

Brown estimated that about 50 or 60 of the 994 Tuskegee Airmen pilots are still alive.

Born on Sept. 6, 1919, in Yonkers and raised in Harlem, Archer left New York University to enlist in the Army Air Corps in 1941 but was rejected for pilot training because the military didn't allow blacks to serve as pilots.

"A War Department study in 1925 expressly stated that Negroes didn't have the intelligence, or the character, or the leadership to be in combat units, and particularly, they didn't have the ability to be Air Force pilots," said Brown.

Archer instead joined a segregated Army Air Corps unit at the Tuskegee, Ala., air base, graduating from pilot training in July 1943.

After he retired from the military in 1970, Archer joined General Foods Corp., becoming one of the era's few black corporate vice presidents of a major American company.

He ran one of the company's small-business investment arms, North Street Capital Corp., which funded companies that included Essence Communications and Black Enterprise Magazine, according to his son and Brown.

Archer was an adviser to the late Reginald Lewis in the deal that created the conglomerate TLC Beatrice in 1987, then the largest black-owned and -managed business in the U.S.

After retiring from General Foods in 1987, Archer founded the venture capital firm Archer Asset Management.

Archer is survived by three sons and a daughter. His wife, Ina Archer, died in 1996. Services have yet to be announced.

Associated Press Writer

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reload Drill

01/08/2010 - U.S. Airmen from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, 35th Civil Engineer Squadron check for threats during a tactical reload drill Jan. 8, 2010, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The drill is part of the flight's bimonthly, four-mile march.
(DoD photo by Senior Airman Jamal D. Sutter, U.S. Air Force/Released)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Hero 01/27/2010

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Pet

Specialist Brandon K. Steffy
Specialist Brandon K. Steffy
23 years old from Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan
178th Military Police Detachment, 89th Military Police Brigade, III Corps
October 29, 2009
U.S. Army

He came into to this world a rather large baby, so big the doctor thought that he’d just walk home with his mother. Brandon was well mannered, polite, and tough with a contagious laugh that lit up those around him. In 2005 he graduated from Brimley High School and in 2006 enlisted in the United States Army, following a tradition of family military service.

He served in Iraq as a gunner from May 2007 until July 2008 and was deployed to Afghanistan in June 2009 where he was a canine tracker handler for Forward operating Base Fenty Kennel in the Laghman Province. He and his K-9 dog Maci were inseparable, working on tracking terrorists; Maci specialized in tracking the scents of IED making materials.

Spc. Brandon Steffy was killed when the vehicle he was riding in was attacked. His decorations and awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal-Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Spc. Steffy is survived by his wife, daughter, parents and his sister.

Brandon made people laugh and he made them cry. There was not one dry eye at his funeral, from every day townsfolk, to big construction workers to police officers; they all recalled Brandon, this "Gentle Giant." They want everyone to know that if you never knew Brandon, then you really missed out.

All Information Was Found On And Copied From & Freedom Remembered

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Talking Tuesday

How much is too much?

Can the United States go overboard when helping another county in dire need?

Are we doing enough for the people of Haiti, are we doing too much? Should there be a 'cap' to our donations?

What do the history books say of our efforts, not only aiding foreign countries....but our own soil?

The United States is notorious for its humanitarian efforts and we deserve to be proud.

How much is too much?

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

Monday, January 25, 2010

Give Your Weakness, To One Who Helps

Despite military efforts, troops still shy from seeking mental care

WASHINGTON — The Army staff sergeant knew something was seriously wrong when he still couldn’t sleep weeks after returning from Afghanistan. But he never considered going to Army psychiatrists.

"There’s still too much of a stigma in the military with seeing a therapist," said the solider, who asked to remain anonymous. "People are going to call you psycho. Even if people just see you going into the mental health offices, they’re going to think you’re crazy."

The sergeant did get help, but through the non-profit counseling organization Give an Hour. He’s been seeing a psychiatrist for nearly two years now, after duty hours and without his colleagues’ knowledge.

Military officials have redoubled efforts over the last year to encourage troops like that solider to seek therapy for a range of post-combat mental health issues, before they grow into destructive habits or criminal behavior. But most of those efforts have focused on ways to pull troops into military counseling programs, and outside groups say those official programs still lack the compassionate, trustworthy approach needed to appeal to those suffering from psychological trauma.

"Whether it’s real or perceived, there’s still the idea that seeking help is going to hurt your career," said Barbara Van Dahlen, founder of Give an Hour. "Families, too. If the military knows that you’re having problems, or if someone in the family is struggling, that’s not something troops want their superiors or peers to know."

Pentagon leaders, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, are making efforts to eliminate the stigma of receiving treatment for the "invisible wounds of war," outside groups acknowledge.

Resiliency training, public service announcements and battle-buddy briefings on signs of suicidal thoughts have become standard throughout the ranks. Defense officials have changed security clearance applications to minimize questions about mental health services. Top officials, including Army Gen. Carter Ham, have publicly shared their own experiences with combat stress.

But last week, at a joint Defense Department and Veterans Affairs conference on military suicides, Mullen told service experts that "we’re not breaking through quickly enough" and that the services need "a much broader network of anonymous help that is effective."

That anonymity can’t be found within the military system, according to Carter Andrews, chairman of the mental health counseling nonprofit Not Alone. Troops he hears from would rather vent online anonymously than schedule sessions with their military counselors, even if they promise confidentiality.

"Their commanders are the people who put them in this position, in the troops’ eyes," he said. "Military leaders talk about getting rid of the stigma of those who need to get help, but when bad things happen, those troops lose that ability to trust. They don’t want to talk to the Defense Department or Veterans Affairs."

Andrews said the typical path for servicemembers and their families seeking his group’s services starts with anonymous posts on their message boards, followed by counselors reaching out with general advice and encouragement.

Eventually, as trust is built up, the mental health experts persuade posters to come into online chat sessions, then face-to-face group therapy. Sometimes they even find their way into formal counseling within the military or Veterans Affairs.

"Forget confidentiality, these guys need anonymity when they start off," he said. "Eventually we want them to feel comfortable enough to end up in a more structured DOD or VA program, but most can’t start off there."

Still, the military’s latest effort to draw in servicemembers suffering quietly from lingering mental health issues involves face-to-face counseling for all troops returning from overseas combat zones. Congress mandated the change late last year, and Pentagon officials are working to implement the sessions.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America was one of the veterans groups lobbying for that counseling, but group legislative associate Tom Tarantino acknowledges its success will depend on the details of the program.

"It’s all well and good for the senior leadership to speak about eliminating stigmas, but if that idea isn’t getting down to the E-5 then it’s not working," he said. "They’ve made great strides in the last four, five years, but they’re still playing catch-up."

For example, soldiers seeking psychological counseling with Army specialists are still required to sign confidentiality waivers during their appointments, acknowledging that some information may be discussed outside of sessions.

Army officials say that only pertains to things like reports of child abuse or threats of suicide, ordinary legal requirements which non-military counselors must also abide by.

But the standard Army waiver notes that "health records are the property of the U.S. government" and "your chain of command may have limited access to information in your medical file."

Van Dahlen said the waivers, while practical, don’t take into account the fear in the minds of individuals seeking counseling within the organization that employs them.

"In a civilian setting it’s something we’d take care of sometimes formally, sometimes informally, but in a way that helps build a relationship," she said. "A soldier could read that and say ‘This may protect me, but it’s also going to screw me.’"

Moreover, "if there’s a perceived sense of betrayal it’s hard to form a therapeutic relationship with the VA or DOD," according to Charles Marmer, head of the Department of Psychiatry at New York University’s medical center and former director of the PTSD research program for the VA.

Army officials have not decided whether the forms will be used for the new post-deployment counseling sessions. But regardless of whether higher-ups have access to the counseling records, many troops will still be scared away from any on-post help.

"I was always less concerned that my chain of command would find out than I was about my fellow soldiers finding out," said Brian McGough, a former soldier who was injured in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq in 2003.

"I was sitting in Walter Reed — everyone there was getting treatment for PTSD — but I still resisted going and speaking to someone about it."

McGough, now the legislative director for, said military efforts to reduce the stigma of seeking help have made only small steps in recent years. The sergeant getting counseling through Give an Hour said even if his commanders didn’t pass judgment on his psychiatric visits, he thinks his peers would.

"This way, it’s on my terms," he said. "I didn’t really want anyone else discussing my business. But I knew I needed to talk to someone."

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, January 25, 2010

Reporter Megan McCloskey contributed to this report.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Precious!!!

On this day four years ago, God blessed our family with this Precious girl.
I fell in love with Precious the moment I met her; and yes that moment was right when she was born. She is the oldest of my four grandgirls. Precious taught me of a love I had never known - the love of your child's child. She is her mother's daughter in so many ways. Seldom do I play with Precious, that I am not taken back all those years ago...when my daughter was her age. It's craziness in the finest of nature. Pure joy fills my heart each time I set my eyes on this beautiful child.

Yesterday we celebrated the 4th birthday of Precious. My younger daughter, known as Ahn to her nieces; sewed a tutu for Precious. Precious has been taking ballet and is quite natural at it. The photo above shows Precious in her brand new tutu, there was plenty of dancing around! We all enjoyed Strawberry Ice Cream Pie with Whipped Cream and Skittles...yummy! A special day for a special little girl!

Precious, I do love you so!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Before You Gripe About Going To The Gym... Look At This!

Nicholas Birkner with the US Army Able Company, 3-509 Infantry Battalion and of Fairview Heights, Illinois works out in the gym at Combat Outpost (COP) Zerak on January 21, 2010 in Zerak, Afghanistan.

Our soldiers stay strong and fit using PVC piping on a dirt floor. They do this for us! As we walk through our daily life and happen upon a Service Member in uniform...truly we have no idea where they have been or what they have seen or what they have done. Each and every American Soldier deserves our thanks and constant prayers. They are U.S. Soldiers. They are our warriors!

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

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dinner With Warriors

One of the most amazing blessings of my blog, is the people I have happened upon.

Unless you recently crawled out from under a rock, you know of my beloved,MudPuppy. He is my SoldierSon, my Virtuason, a true American Hero! I have shared with you the journey of Dave and Liz, such an inspiring story... Last February, I introduced Jeffrey Krohn. His twin brother, Buzz is also a volunteer for Operation Welcome Home. Buzz told me of his brother and I asked Jeff to write his story. He was kind enough to do so.

Buzz has recently introduced me to Brig Gomer Arnold, who is doing great things for our wounded warriors. As soon as I read about "Dinners With Warriors", I immediately contacted him, and asked him to write words for my blog. He was kind enough to oblige.

Please take a few moments to read his words:

My name is Brig Arnold and I am creating a cookbook to honor wounded and fallen soldiers called "Dinner With Warriors." In the book each page will feature a wounded or fallen soldier, with a picture and a little about them followed by their favorite meal and recipe.

The book will be sold to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. I believe that I have the resources to sell many of these cookbooks and raise a significant amount of money and just as importantly raise more awareness and appreciation for these soldiers, what I need is help with the content. I need soldiers or the family of soldiers to provide the information to make the book a success.

If you have been wounded in OIF or OEF, or if your loved ones have fallen please email the following information to,

1-Soldiers Picture(just the solder, or with family, or with other soldiers)
2-Soldiers First Name
4-As much or as little about the INJURY as you would like to share, or the story of how they fell
5-Favorite recipe(or 2 or 3) if you don't have a recipe, just tell me a favorite dish and I will provide a great recipe

I know I ask for a lot, but I really believe this cookbook will not raise a lot of money for our wounded soldiers, but also be such a positive thing in every home that has a copy.

If you have questions or comments feel free to email me at the same address, or check out our Facebook group called "Dinner With Warriors."

Thank you for taking a minute to look over this project, and thanks to AirmanMom for letting me post on this great blog. I will also let you all know when the book is finished and how you can obtain a copy. Thanks Again.

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

If you are able to help, please consider doing so. If you are unable to contribute, but know of a soldier who may be able to help...please pass this along. Once the cookbook is published, I will post how to obtain a copy. Thank you!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Must-See Video of 3rd Graders Singing

Michael Souder is a 3rd Grade teacher at Tussing Elementary in Virginia. Mr. Souders co-wrote this song, 'Thank You, Soldiers'. It was his desire to write a song for the students to sing TO the soldiers. You can read an article written in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Here.

(please pause my playlist on the right sidebar)

Thanks, CoffeyPot for posting!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scramble, Scramble, Scramble

Total-Force Airmen to the rescue in Afghanistan

1/19/2010 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- "Scramble, Scramble, Scramble!"

Airmen from the 66th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron are in full sprint mode, a controlled chaos that feels like a mad dash at a Black Friday sale where video-game consoles are flying off the shelves for $1.

It's a Category-A evacuation, which means a person is in need of urgent medical evacuation, or experiencing undo suffering; loss of a life or limb could hang in the balance.

Two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters are mandated to be in the air within 15 minutes, but these Total Force Airmen are in the air in less than 10. Their motto, these things we do, that others may live, is not an empty slogan, but a way of life in Afghanistan.

"Our Airmen take their jobs seriously," said Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel Duffy, the 66th ERQS commander. "When we go on any mission we know that someone's life hangs in the balance and we are the lifeline that could mean the difference between life and death."

Flight crews, maintenance and operations from the 66th Rescue Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, 41st RSQ at Moody AFB, Ga., and 55th RSQ at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., as well as Reserve Pararescuemen from the 304th RQS, Portland, Ore., make up the more than 160 Airmen rescue squadron deployed here.

While half the unit is stationed at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, the other half is at Kandahar Airfield with a unique mission. More than 66 percent of the evacuation calls they receive are to assist the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police or local nationals.

"We don't care who we have to pick up," said Maj. Vic Pereira, the 66th ERQS director of operations. "We show the same dedication and duty when we pick up our Afghan allies as we would if we were picking up any of our coalition partners. We are proud to be able to show the Afghans that we care, and that builds positive relationships with them, so they know if they need us, rescue Airmen will be there."

While participating in the highest sustained operations since the Vietnam War, the 66th ERQS Airmen have flown 1,103 hours, generated 1,252 sorties, aided in saving 195 lives and have logged 462 assists since October 2009.

Assists are causalities in Category B, where injuries are stable but the patient needs to be moved or Category C, where injuries are routine, such as twisted ankles and abscesses on teeth.

"It feels good to be a part of a successful mission that you fully believe in," said Senior Airmen Christopher Sobel, a 66th ERQs pararescueman. "I always believed helping people and caring for people in a wartime environment is what makes this job unique and I couldn't imagine helping to save lives anywhere else."

With the immediacy of their mission, an aircraft malfunction would mean aircrews and pararesucemen would not get to a causality. That's why maintenance Airmen spend more than 50 hours a week maintaining the helicopters to keep them ready to fly.

"We have to keep these aircraft mission capable at all times, no exceptions," said Senior Airman Brandon Paris, a 66th ERQS helicopter crew chief. "Our aircrews have to be able to meet their objectives at all times because it really could mean the difference between life and death."

His fellow maintenance Airmen agreed.

"We are helping our coalition partners and the Afghan nation," said Staff Sgt. Mark Seiter, a 66th ERQS flying crew chief. "When we get a call and it's a local, we know that our crews getting there and saving their people builds trust, it lets them know we are the good guys and we are here to help."

With lives on the line, these Airmen know while they could be speeding to save a life, they could also be speeding into danger, this is a war zone after all, and these Airmen are well aware of the dangers of the job.

"There are unique obstacles in Afghanistan; mountains, brown-out approaches, low-light pickups and enemy combatants," said French air force Maj. Guillaume Vernet, a helicopter pilot. "Even though we are in a rush, a lot of thought goes into what we do. We know a life hangs in the balance, but we also know if we don't get in and out safely, nobody wins."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Talking Tuesday

Alright...I may be stepping on toes here, but I am curious of your thoughts.

The United States military now maintains­ a force of around 1.4 million active duty personnel. In times of relative peace, this is sufficient to protect U.S. interests at home and abroad. If needed, the United states may institute the draft. (keep in mind it is mandatory for all males to register with SSS(Selective Service System) at the age of 18).

As the Mom of two Airman, I prefer an all-volunteer military. If there is such a thing as 'peace of mind' when your child serves our country...I find a calm in the notion my sons are surrounded by others who have chosen to serve.

This being said, some countries such as Denmark have a mandatory Army service of 4 months at the age of 18 and Singapore has a mandatory service period of twenty-four months at the age of 18. Should the United States consider Conscription for the sole purpose of national service. More and more high schools are requiring community service credit hours in order to graduate. Isn't serving our nation a form of community service? Upon completion of high school, if a young man (and woman????)were to spend 2 years in the Reserves or National Guard, would we grow to be a stronger nation? Would our young people take more pride in defending our nation?

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

Monday, January 18, 2010


USNS Comfort sits at its pier in Baltimore on Jan. 15, being readied to move out to provide medical support for earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Photo by Donna Miles

Story by Donna Miles
Date: 01.15.2010

BALTIMORE, Md. - Early last spring, Navy Capt. James Ware was preparing his crew aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort for a humanitarian assistance mission in Haiti, the first stop during a four-month swing through the region.

On Jan. 15, Ware is overseeing final preparations to return to Haiti for a more pressing mission: providing life-saving medical care to victims of a devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands and left untold thousands more injured.

Comfort will leave its home port here early tomorrow and is expected to arrive in Haiti by Jan. 21, delivering a full spectrum of medical and surgical services aboard one of the country's largest trauma facilities.

"This is a moment when we feel we can have a huge impact," along with other military medical providers already on the ground, as well as those from nongovernmental organizations and the international community, Ware said. "Our hope is to work with those individuals, side by side, to truly help the people of Haiti."

USNS Comfort will deliver immense capability to the mission. The hulking hospital ship -- three football fields long and one wide ? has 250 hospital beds and a 550-person medical team that includes trauma surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, head and neck surgeons, eye surgeons and obstetricians and gynecologists.

The team also will include medical professionals from the Navy, Army, Air Force and U.S. Public Health Service, as well as nongovernmental organizations.

Ware said he expects his staff to initially see about 500 patients a day when it arrives in Haiti, working up to 750 or more, and to conduct 20 to 25 surgical procedures a day.

But his big focus today was on getting the ship manned, equipped and provisioned for the mission ahead. A massive logistical effort was under way to load the food, water and medical supplies the crew -- most from the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., but also from its sister hospitals in Portsmouth, Va., and San Diego, Calif. -- will need.

Two cranes worked simultaneously, hoisting palletized loads of bottled water, packaged meals and other supplies to Comfort's upper decks. Meanwhile, a long line of tractor trailers that began arriving last night idled nearby, waiting to offload their supplies. Engine roars mingled with the ever-present "beep-beep-beep" of forklifts scurrying in almost every direction alongside the vessel.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Lamar McDavis, based at the National Naval Medical Center, kept his checklist handy to keep track of the loading process. "It's going to be a long day here," he said, noting that he expects to load as many as 800 pallets by the day's end, compressing into just one day what typically would take about three.

"We're doing this fast, but it can't be fast enough," McDavis said. "People are suffering, and the quicker we get help to them, the better off they will be."

USNS Comfort initially will carry enough food and water to sustain its crew ? 550 medical specialists and 250 mariners and staff to provide security, communications and other shipboard support ? and the patients who will fill its 250 hospital beds for up to 60 days, Ware said.

In addition, the ship has enough medical supplies aboard to support a 60-day combat casualty care mission, he said.

Ware said he's confident he'll have everything he needs on board to proceed directly to Haiti without having to stop anywhere else en route to pick up additional crew or supplies.

"We have pushed forward on this end to make sure we have the right personnel," he said. "We have looked all the way down to the very lowest seaman on board to determine whether they have the exact skills sets we need ? from an operating technician to a surgeon to a blood-bank specialist.

"And we have identified 99 percent of those individuals," he continued. "So [the] plan is to leave tomorrow, and we will be moving as quickly as possible to get to Port-au-Prince Harbor."

As much as 70 percent of the crew already has experience aboard Comfort, or its sister ship USNS Mercy in San Diego, Ware said. In addition to onboard training sessions conducted every 12 weeks, many participated in Continuing Promise 2009, Comfort's most recent humanitarian assistance mission through Latin America and the Caribbean.

During that mission, USNS Comfort treated almost 100,000 patients, including tens of thousands in Haiti alone.

The visit provided important lessons to the Comfort crew it will apply during its disaster response mission, he said, but also fostered relationships that will help in its upcoming mission.

"They are waiting for us to come," Ware said, citing numerous phone calls and e-mails he has received from people he's already worked with in Haiti. "And I think those [relationships] will really pay off ? not for us, but for the people of Haiti."

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Olivero, department head for Comfort's operating room, is preparing for a mission he expects to be heavy in head injuries, crushing injuries, amputations and other trauma cases. His crew will exercise various trauma scenarios once it's all onboard and under way, to be sure it's ready to hit the ground running when it arrives.

Olivero remembers the gratification of Continuing Promise 2009, when "a busy day for us was a good day, because we were helping many people."

He expects to be even busier during this mission, too, but acknowledged the circumstances will be a lot tougher to deal with. "It is going to be good to help people, but the reason you are busy is not what you want it to be," he said.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Lesley Prasad, one of just 50 permanently assigned crewmembers aboard Comfort, said it feels great seeing the hospital ship provide such a desperately needed service to relieve suffering in Haiti. It's kept him and his fellow crewmembers buzzing nonstop for the past four days "on full steam" to prepare so they're ready to hit the ground running.

"I feel really good about this," he said, pausing as he ordered last-minute medical supplies for the mission. "We are the best qualified crew medically, [and we're] ready to help these people in Haiti," he said. "To be able to have such a vital role in the effort, it's awesome."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

MudPuppy to Haiti???

MudPuppy may be on his way to Haiti, to help with the necessary efforts to help the unfortunate. Please read his words HERE.

The fact MudPuppy is volunteering; says so much of who he is as a person, as a soldier. He is not one to sit on the sidelines and watch the game. If he can make a difference, he will do so.

As I read MudPuppy's blog, I was reminded of the song by Garth Brooks titled, "Standing Outside The Fire'. I truly doubt that MudPuppy is a Garth Brooks fan, but I am almost certain he will appreciate these words:

There's this love that is burning
Deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly higher and higher
I can't abide
Standing outside the fire

Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried, it is merely survived
If you're standing outside the fire

MudPuppy, you are not one to stand outside the go down there and do what you can do to help a country in need. Make a difference, because it is who you are!

Making a check payable to American Red Cross is the safest way to make certain your donation will help the people of Haiti, who have had their lives destroyed by this earthquake.

May God help those who help Haitians.
May God protect the Sailors on the USNS Comfort, as they aid the people of Haiti.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Random Saturday Thoughts-Part II

Since writing Part 1 this morning, I had several more random thoughts from this past week to share.

This afternoon I spent shopping with my youngest daughter, Marie and her daughter, Sweet One. We went to Costco to order a Birthday Cake for Sweet One. Can't believe she is a year old already! Our next stop was lunch (gotta teach the little girls with every shopping trip, there is a lunch date) and then off to the party store for party supplies. Marie is an OB Nurse on night-shift...our time together is so very special these days! Here is a photo of Sweet One at Christmas!

Belle update! K took Belle into see the GI Specialist and received a glowing report.She is a bundle of joy and sweetness. Here is a photo of Belle with her daddy!

Precious will celebrate her 4th birthday next weekend! She is growing up way too fast! Precious is taking ballet, so Ballerina is the theme of her Birthday party. (I'll get photos of her in her tutu and post them soon) The other day I stayed with Bright-Eyed Beauty and Belle during ballet class. Both little ones were napping, so after a little while I checked in on the sleeping babes. Bright-Eyed-Beauty was laying there with curls surrounding her angelic face, wearing a flannel shirt and ballet slippers! It was the most perfect image of this girl, one etched in my heart for always. She truly is that much of a contradiction, in such a beautiful way! Here is my Bright-Eyed-Beauty on Christmas!

How richly blessed I am to have such sweet grandgirls in my life!

More randomness:

Chief is safe and sound at Wright-Patterson. We've shared a few e-mails since his return. Much to my surprise I received a U.S. Flag which was flown over Baghdad, Iraq and a certificate as a gift from Chief. He sent it as a token of thanks to the people of Good Earth, who donated items for our soldiers. I'm telling you, it never ceases to amaze me, when soldiers thank us!!!! So glad Chief is home with his family and friends!

It is sinking into my head and heart that B is leaving next month for Afghanistan. Enough said.....for now.

B sent Kindles to me and Hubster for Christmas. Oh.My.Goodness. If you read many books, I can't sing enough praises for this device. is an amazing company-they truly hit it big with this e-book deal! I have yet to pay for a book, there are so many great books to download for F-R-E-E. Kindle holds the charge for over 2 weeks, has a dictionary included... along with so many awesome features. Since I am not making any money promoting this cool item..I'll stop. If you have a Kindle, let me know if you like it.

Behaving as an adult and making logical decisions...truly sucks at times. Allow me to explain...Hubster and I began the most dreaded project of our house a couple months ago; the master bath. Ugh. We knew the shower had leaking issues and chose to ignore (not a good idea). When we noticed the kitchen ceiling taking on a new texture, we went into 'Oh Sh*%' mode. Yep, we gutted the shower, tore out the garden tub and called a contractor. Decisions HAD to be made...and so it all began. Months ago. Then I began working 6 days a week, the holidays were upon the project got shoved to the back burner. No excuses we bought a cast iron claw foot tub, a new shower pan thingy, chose tile and bought all the faucets. Right after Christmas, Hubster received authorization to go to Honolulu for a week. Do I go? Can we island hop and take a ten-day vacay? The inner-child in me was jumping for joy! Then the adult-me stepped in; with the harsh reminder of the huge, expensive project which is now moving full speed ahead. So Monday morning, Hubster is boarding a plane to the land of Mai-Tai's and I will be in beautiful, downtown Poolesville looking at a tub in a wooden crate. It's time to get focused on Baseball Season and plan the Bucket List vacay! This year will include both Chicago stadiums and Minneapolis... no fresh pineapple, but plenty of warm beer :)

I've spoken often of how much I enjoy music and I must share a great find....The CoffeHouse on XM-Sirius radio. It's all acoustic music...songs we all know, with a cool acoustic twist. I'll admit I do hit mute when a Beatles song comes on.

Animated people fascinate me. I'm not talking cartoon animation..I'm talking real-live people who have fascinating facial and body expressions. My top two animated people are B.J. Surhoff (retired Orioles player) and Jim Cantore (The Weather Channel). Have you noticed this about either of these two men or do you have a list of your own?

Well...I do believe I have released all my randomness for this weekend. Let's see what next week brings!

Random Saturday Thoughts...

It's hard to believe we are already half way through the first month of this new year. The days pass ever so quickly, which cause weeks to simply evaporate.

So many events fill a week. As these events occur, they are merely life...
That is, until the time is taken to review......

My heart is so full of pride! John has been promoted to Senior Airman! He made BTZ (Below The Zone), which is a HUGE accomplishment! John was selected as one of few from among many on the entire base... 6 months early!!!! I am so very proud of my son! This promotion is true affirmation that my son is where he is meant to be, doing what he is meant to be doing. John, I do love you so!

Prayers are needed for my oldest daughter, K. She may have a herniated disc. With three little girls under the age of four, she is in needed of many prayers (and some good meds). How very grateful I am, to know my daughter and grandgirls are being cared for by J. My son-in-law is a loving husband and a remarkable daddy. Of course, Nana will be there to help out as needed. K, love you so.

Such horrible devastation has occurred in Haiti this past week. Our military is stepping in to care for and protect people of Haiti. We are America!

Shay is still en route to her final destination in Iraq. Unfortunately, her plane departed earlier than expected and I was not able to give her a hug. Her mom has been able to speak with her, so all is good. I have Shay's address, please e-mail me if you would like to mail a card or package! Please keep Shay in your prayers, as well as her family.

How was your week?

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

May God calm the anxious hearts of the families of those serving our nation.

May God's healing hands touch my daughter's back.

May God continue to guide my sons, as they proudly serve our country!

Friday, January 15, 2010

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

ROMEOVILLE — A Romeoville soldier who followed in the military footsteps of his father and grandfather, has been killed in Afghanistan.

Army Spc. Kyle J. Wright, 22, was killed Wednesday in the line of duty when the Stryker vehicle he was riding in hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Kyle Wright, a 2006 graduate from Romeoville High School, was the only person who died in the incident, said his father, Rich Wright, of Romeoville.

Flags fly at half-staff outside Army Spc. Kyle J. Wright's home in Romeoville on Thursday. Wright, a 2006 graduate of Romeoville High School, was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday in Afghanistan. “They were interdicting drugs and weapons on the main highway in Afghanistan,” he said.

“He was a hell of a stand-up kid. ... He was a professional soldier. He took it very seriously. He had three Army achievement medals. Everything he did, he did to the full extent,” said Rich Wright who is an employee in Valley View School District with his wife and Kyle’s stepmom, Tiffany Wright.

A day before Kyle Wright was killed, he sent an e-mail to his father with a link from a CNN story about interdicting approximately $40 million in drugs.

“It was the third big bust that they had. They were doing a hell of a job as far as interdicting,” Rich Wright said. “They were interdicting the drug trafficking along that road and clearing the road of IEDs. Obviously, they didn’t clear them all.

Full military honors
Rich Wright’s son-in-law, Sgt. Zachary Greene, who is also deployed in Afghanistan and was Kyle Wright’s supply sergeant, identified the body at the air base at Kandahar. He will escort the body home.

“It’s like a nightmare that’s not going to end,” Rich Wright said. Rich Wright had planned to leave Thursday afternoon for Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Kyle Wright requested a funeral with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery and Rich Wright said they were trying to make that happen.

“There was nothing extraordinary about him. But then he was extraordinary in every way. He had a sense of honor. There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who stand up and those who don’t. He was a stander-upper,” Rich Wright recalled.

Third generation
For the Wright men, joining the military was an honor.

“I’m a vet. His grandfather was a vet. He was third generation,” Rich Wright said.

Kyle’s grandfather, 1st Sgt. Ruben John Wright, is buried at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II, Korea and Vietnam for 27 years. Rich Wright was a medic in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, serving six years. Kyle Wright was in the Alpha Company, Second Battalion, First Infantry Regiment, Fifth Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division deployed in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2006. He learned Arabic at Defense Language Institute at Fort Lewis where he was stationed in Washington.

“(Kyle) was in the Army’s newest Stryker brigade. He was fluent in Arabic,” Rich Wright said.

Kyle Wright was deployed to Afghanistan in July and planned to return a year later.

Mustang love
Flags throughout Valley View School District flew at half staff Thursday following word of Kyle Wright’s death.

Kyle Wright attended Timber Ridge Middle School and Plainfield South High School for his freshman year before transferring to Romeoville High School where he graduated in 2006.

Lindy Steeves, assistant principal at Romeoville High School, has a picture of Wright in his military uniform on her wall in her office.

Steeves recalled Kyle Wright’s love for his Mustang.

“He had a Mustang. He was taking autos. He brought his Mustang to school all the time. The auto teacher helped him repair the Mustang,” Steeves said. “One of the things that he was very passionate about was — he wanted to go into the service. He wanted to serve his country.”

Kyle Wright is survived by his father and stepmother Rich and Tiffany Wright, his stepbrother Justin Rhodes and stepsister, Kayla LeVine, all from Romeoville, and his mother, Lynn Perry and sisters Krystal Greene and Kelly Wright of Webster, N.Y., and his grandmother, Joyce Wright of Missouri. He has two nephews.

Stepsister Kayla LeVine, 20, grew up with Kyle Wright, attending Romeoville High School together.

“Kyle and I grew up to be very good friends. ... He was just a regular old kid. ... He did well in school. He always wanted to go into the Army,” she said. “He always wanted to be a military guy. His father was his role model. He really looked forward to going into the Army and following his father’s footsteps, and he always just wanted to make his dad proud. ... That is what he wanted in life was to make his dad proud of him.”

Stepbrother Justin Rhodes, 16, a sophomore at RHS, said he wanted to follow Kyle’s footsteps and join the military. He is currently in the U.S. Marine Corps Junior ROTC — just like his big brother did at RHS.

“He was my role model. He was who I wanted to be like. He was the one who got me into skateboarding, riding bikes, fast cars,” Rhodes said. “He taught me everything a teenager needs to know. ... His first car was a Mustang. He always had a thing about fast cars.”

Fighting for freedom
Levine and Rhodes said they learned a lot from their older brother.

“Freedom isn’t free. Freedom is not free and that saying will get tossed around your whole life. Until it really hits home you never really realized what that saying is,” LeVine said. “He died serving for our country — for our freedom.

“In our home, we respected the people who fought for our freedom. Our family is a very military-oriented group. We are very proud to be Americans,” Levine said. “Things are not handed to you in life. Everybody fights for something for everybody else. That’s what Kyle was doing. Kyle was fighting to keep our country safe.”

Kyle Wright got to come home briefly in November, visiting his family in New York, Washington and Romeoville.

“We were fortunate enough that he got that early release because if not — the last time we saw him was in the summer,” LeVine said.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Operation Deep Freeze

1/8/2010 - MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The 2009-2010 Operation Deep Freeze season is still underway, but the 10th year for C-17 Globemaster III's on "the ice" supporting National Science Foundation research in Antarctica has already been a success.

"This season is proving to be the busiest on record," said Lt. Col. Robert Wellington, 62nd Operations Group deputy commander and 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander, working for Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica.

"We're nearly two-thirds of the way through 68 scheduled missions and we've transported more than three thousand passengers and almost three million pounds of cargo," Colonel Wellington said.

Operation Deep Freeze is the U.S. military's support of the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Antarctic Program, and involves coordination of airlift, aeromedical evacuation support, emergency response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling and transportation requirements.

Team McChord Airmen of the 62nd Airlift Wing and 446th Airlift Wing jointly conduct the Operation Deep Freeze C-17 mission.

Col. Kevin Kilb, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, recently visited the 304th EAS in Christchurch, New Zealand, observing firsthand the hard work, planning and preparation Team McChord Airmen put into each mission.

"This is a very important total-force mission that we're extremely proud of at McChord," said Colonel Kilb.

"We're at ten years now supporting Deep Freeze with the C-17, which has really revolutionized how the Air Force has supported the National Science Foundation," he said.

The first McChord C-17 touched down on the ice runway outside McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Oct. 15, 1999. Prior to this, McChord Airmen completed Antarctic flights with the C-141 Starlifter, which had supported Deep Freeze operations since 1966.

The C-17's reliability and versatility has really cut down our environmental footprint, reduced operating costs and increased our support of the National Science Foundation, said Colonel Kilb.

"In addition to the amount of cargo we can carry, the most significant difference between the C-17 and the C-141 is the capability to complete missions without refueling," said Lt. Col. J.W. Smith, 313th Airlift Squadron assistant operations officer and 304th EAS directing officer.

This capability is possible due to the increased range of the aircraft.

Since the current season kicked off Sept. 25, Team McChord Airmen have completed an average of three to four missions each week, transporting passengers and cargo.

The average mission takes approximately 10 hours of total flight time between Christchurch and Antarctica, with one to two hours spent on "the ice".

Airmen conducting the mission include seasoned veterans and first-time participants. After extensive pre-mission training at McChord, Airmen receive a full day of planning and preparation upon arrival in Christchurch.

"We always bring experienced instructors and they teach the new guys, to keep that experience alive for future seasons," said Colonel Wellington.

"We only bring the best to Operation Deep Freeze," he said. "There are a lot of unique challenges here, with the weather and the extreme cold temperatures; it's a graduate-level program [of Airmanship]."

The 304th EAS receives weather briefs from a specialized unit in Charleston, S.C. Using advanced computer models that break down the weather patterns hourly, an analysis of the local weather in Antarctica is provided to the squadron. This information is invaluable, as it's used to determine whether a mission can be launched on schedule, or if there is a need to delay or cancel a specific flight.

"We have the most specialized models and briefings," said Colonel Wellington. "We want to operate as efficiently as we can."

To save fuel and reduce risks, he said, missions are generally delayed or cancelled if there are significant weather concerns. Such delays impact about 25 percent of scheduled missions, but reduce the chances that a C-17 en route to Antarctica will have to turn around in-flight.

"So far this season we've only had one flight out of 46 that has had to turn back due to weather," said Colonel Wellington.

Airmen face other unique challenges in the harsh environment, including working in sub-zero temperatures and taxiing through snow on an ice runway - critical for increased safety and traction on landing.

"On this rotation, we haven't had many significant maintenance challenges - we have a great airplane and everything has been working extremely well," said Senior Master Sgt. Joe Gahan, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

"This mission is one of the most difficult peacetime missions because of the harsh climate and the Antarctic environment as a whole, but it's also one of the most rewarding because we understand the importance of the scientific research being done," Colonel Kilb said.

"It's a great example of the cooperation, not only across the inter-agency spectrum and with our industry partners, but within our Air Force. It's an incredible example of total force teamwork to support very important science," he said.

Operation Deep Freeze missions are expected to continue until late February when Airmen transition from the main season to redeployment.

by Staff Sgt. Eric Burks
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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

Check out these interesting links for more information:



Monday, January 11, 2010

You Never Let Go

(Powerful words-please pause my playlist on the right sidebar)

You Never Let Go

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

~Matt Redman

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Godspeed, Shay!

Please take a moment today to give hugs and lift your prayers for Shay's Mom. Shay is leaving Fairchild AFB today, to begin her deployment in Iraq.

Shay attended Tech School at Wright-Patterson. She and her mom met my son, John and they enjoyed a lunch together. Shay's Mom is retired from the Army; she understands first hand what it is like to walk in her daughter's boots.

My hope is to meet Shay at BWI, before her departure. She makes her Mom proud. Shay is a brave young woman, dedicated to our Nation. I have no doubt she will serve our Country well.

Shay, my heartfelt thanks for your sacrifice. May God watch over you and protect you. May God comfort the heart of your Mom, who loves you so.

Godspeed, Shay!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Col. Bob Howard - American hero!

Robert L. Howard
July 11, 1939 – December 23, 2009

Thanks to my dear friend, K for sharing this video with me!
(please pause my playlist on the right sidebar)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Love. This. Photo.

ARABIAN SEA (Dec. 24, 2009) Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) sort through 34,400 pounds of mail delivered Christmas Eve. The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is on a routine deployment to the region. Operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Mercil

Please keep in mind...every single box mailed to a soldier makes a huge difference!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Son is Going to Afghanistan

The world knows him as this guy....

My heart knows him as this little guy...
B...I love you so!

Please join me daily in prayer for my son.
Please join me daily in prayer for every son and daughter serving our nation:

Prayer for Protection

The light of God surrounds you,
The love of God enfolds you,
The power of God protects you,
And the presence of God watches over you;
Wherever you are, God is.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What To Wear, What To Wear?

Soldiers in our U.S. Army are now wearing ACU's (Army Combat Uniforms), which have replaced BDU's (Battle Dress Uniforms) and DCU's (Desert Camouflage Uniform). I've read recently, that some soldiers feel as though this 'versatile' option, is not for the best. Airmen are wearing ABU's (Airman Battle Uniform), with the expectation to completely replace BDU's by 2011. Oh my, oh my...we will not even begin to discuss the fiasco which erupted after the NWU's were first introduced. Is Blue Camo on a boat necessary? What was wrong with wearing coveralls on ships? If a sailor goes overboard wearing Blue Camo, won't they be impossible to find?

And then there is the MCCUU (Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform) which is their current battledress uniform. Its distinctive camouflage pattern MARPAT is exclusive to the Marine Corps, which holds the patents to their design. MCCUU is available in two color schemes, woodland and desert.

Should there be one Battle Uniform for all U.S. Military Branches? Would it be more cost efficient to choose one uniform? Or is there a risk of melding into one huge military, with no individuality?

***Please note, I am not talking about Full Dress Uniform!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

Troy airman killed in Afghanistan

A Troy airman was killed on Sunday after a roadside bombing in Afghanistan, resulting in the first American combat deaths of the year. Bradley Smith, 24, of Troy, was among three airmen who were killed, according to Smith's pastor, the Rev. Jim Wiens, a worship pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Troy.

"Brad was definitely a leader in a lot of respects," Wiens said. "He had influence with our kids. He was faithful and he showed the way for kids to be there consistently. He would follow through: When he said he would do something, he would do it."

Smith apparently was among four U.S. service members who were killed Sunday by improvised explosive devices. And a British soldier died during foot patrol in Helmand province, according to the British Ministry of Defense.

A statement from NATO's International Security Assistance Force said the explosion that killed the U.S. service members took place Sunday in the south, but did not give further details on the location or the victims' branch of service.

Smith's family traveled to Dover Air Force Base to receive his remains Monday night.

He is survived by his parents, Gary and Paula Smith; his wife, Tiffany, and their daughter, Chloe Lynn, who was born in October; and an older brother, Ryan Smith, an airman based in Texas who was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq this month.

"He believed it was a good cause and worthwhile to do," Wiens said. "Both of those guys are solid supporters of the need to fight these wars. In spite of the risk, he was willing to be involved in that."

Smith followed in his brother's footsteps, and joined the Air Force in November 2006, Wiens said.

He was deployed to Afghanistan last month. He served as a tactical air command and control journeyman.

"Brad was just this real likable, friendly, respectable kid," Wiens said. "He liked to have fun, but he took his responsibilities very seriously. He grew up really hard, strong: When he grew into a man, he was a man."

Triad High School Principal Robert Sudhoff said Smith, who graduated in 2004, played football all four years and was active with the school newspaper, The Knightwriter.

"He was a very outgoing, good kid," Sudhoff said. "He was an easy kid to talk to. Some were pretty quiet, he was not. I talked to a number of faculty members today who remember him."

Smith's former football coach, Paul Bassler, said Smith thrived in the team atmosphere.

"He wasn't the star on our football team, but he loved to be on our football team and he brought that joy to practice every day," Bassler said. "He was just the ultimate team player. I expect he was an outstanding comrade, if he treated them the same way he treated his teammates here in Troy."

"It's a good thing to be part of something like that, but you've got to understand that in the military, the ultimate sacrifice is your life," Bassler said. "The community's going to miss him. We've lost not only a fine soldier, but a fine citizen to this community."

Funeral arrangements are pending at Herr Funeral Home in Collinsville.
~ Jacqueline Lee

May Almighty God Bless this brave Airman. May God bring comfort to the hearts of his family. May God watch over and protect this Airman's sweet baby.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I have met so many patriotic, kind-hearted people while attending Operation Welcome Home events. Many of us are moms or spouses of Soldiers. Many are Veterans, who served during WWII, Korea and/or Vietnam. The volunteers who run the organization are extremely dedicated to making certain our Soldiers know our gratitude for their service. Honestly, I can't speak highly or often enough of OWH!

That being I was waiting to welcome Chief home the other day, I chatted with another Blue Star Mom, Debbie. She is a member of Any Soldier, I'm a Soldiers Angel, we both are dedicated to mailing letters and packages to our warriors while they are deployed. She is one cool lady, with two of which is a member of the U.S. Army!

Debbie introduced me to Operation Baghdad Pups. She donated a large crate, so that a Soldier's puppy could be flown to the States. Of course these pups are only flown home during the winter months. There is time to make a donation, if you too are an animal lover. Debbie also told me of two books she read recently, of military dogs. The first book is actually a children's story, but I was given a tissue warning..."Nubs the Dog". The other book is titled, "Saving Cinnamon". I'll go ahead and post these books up for discussion on my "Book Group Blog" (see right sidebar). Debbie is one cool lady, who I am so very grateful to have met and continue to chat with at OWH!

I had to take this opportunity to repost my favorite photo of MudPuppy...yes, his blog is public once again so do stop by and say hello! For those of you wondering who is MudPuppy...he is my SoldierSon who I happened upon almost two years ago by reading his blog. He deployed to Afghanistan for a year, returning home last August. If you have not yet had the honor of reading his words, I do encourage you to do so.

May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.
May God Bless those who touch the life of a Soldier, while they serve our Nation.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Warrior Song

Thanks to AAM for posting this video on her blog, 'Proud Mom to a 1-89 Cavalry Scout'. Stop by and visit her here.
Her son, Scout needs our prayers while he serves in Iraq.

(please pause my playlist on the right sidebar)

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

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Twenty-Ten's Perfection...

Mr. Webster defines the word, 'perfection' as the quality or state of being perfect: as a : freedom from fault or defect : flawlessness b : maturity c : the quality or state of being saintly

Hubster and I had a New Year's Day which was nothing less than perfection.

We attended an Operation Welcome Home event of an unscheduled flight. Chief was on this 'unscheduled' flight, because his scheduled flight was due to arrive on December 30th! He began his journey home on December 27th! Four delays later, Chief landed on U.S. soil. God is Good!

Awesomely Amazing is how I describe meeting this hero. I have e-mailed Chief for months now, while he was deployed to Iraq. Good Earth (where I work) held a Soldier Drive...we gathered and mailed nine boxes of goodies, which Chief was kind enough to distribute to Airman and Soldiers while on his convoys. The box of toys sent, were distributed to the Iraqi children at a Rec Center. Awesomely Amazing!

I asked Chief to let me know if he was coming home via BWI (Baltimore)...he replied that he would be returning home and his first stop would be in Baltimore. Little did we know all those days much frustration would fill the days to follow.
It matters not, at this point.

Chief is home!

Here are our photos:
(Our first glimpse of Chief coming through the security doors, a bit fuzzy but priceless!)

(We are so grateful for the Information Desk/Photo Takers of the world! Hubster, AirmanMom & Chief with a goofy AM homemade sign! Ask my kids, I am huge on making silly signs!)
(Hooray! One last security line! Next stop..Wright-Patterson! Home!)

May Almighty God Bless Chief and his family (did I mention he has two ultra-cute sons?)
I thank God my sons know the 'Chiefs' of our world.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year's Prayer....

May God make your year a happy one!

Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;

Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;

Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;

Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;

Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you anxious to be there to help.

God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.

As I look out my window and watch the sunrise over the cornfield; I thank God for richly blessing me with so many gifts...
God has given me my Hubster; my best friend who I share my extraordinary life. I could not ask for more.
God has given me four children; four pieces of my heart always.
God has given me four grandgirls; these sweet girls define heartfelt joy.
God has given me two son-in-laws; these men love and protect my daughters.
God has given me friends; I share laughter and tears with freely.
God has given me a job; a place to go, be productive and fill happiness in the life of strangers.
God has given me our Nation; the land of the free and the brave.
God has given me our Soldiers; strong warriors who protect me with their very lives.
I pray that each day in Twenty-Ten I not take one of His gifts for granted.
For I am so richly blessed.