Friday, July 30, 2010

Sixty-Three

Sixty-Three Soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this month.

July, 2010 is the deadliest month in Afghanistan.

Sadness.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Body of 2nd Missing Sailor Recovered...

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A second U.S. Navy sailor who went missing in a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan was found dead and his body recovered, a senior U.S. military official and Afghan officials said Thursday.

The family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, a 25-year-old from the Seattle area, had been notified of his death, the U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to disclose the information.

Newlove and Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley went missing last Friday in Logar province. NATO recovered the body of McNeley — a 30-year-old father of two from Wheatridge, Colorado — in the area Sunday.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Kabul on Thursday that two days ago the Taliban left the "body of a dead American soldier for the U.S. forces" to recover. The Taliban said McNeley was killed in a firefight and insurgents had captured Newlove. Mujahid offered no explanation for Newlove's death.

NATO officials have not offered an explanation as to why the two service members were in such a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan.

The sailors were instructors at a counterinsurgency school for Afghan security forces, according to senior military officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. The school was headquartered in Kabul and had classrooms outside the capital, but they were never assigned anywhere near where McNeley's body was recovered, officials said.

The chief of police of Logar province, Gen. Mustafa Mosseini, said coalition troops removed Newlove's body about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. An anti-terrorism official in Logar province, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case, also said coalition forces had recovered a body.

Mosseini said he believed the body washed downstream after rains Tuesday night.

He noted in the past several days, the Taliban were being pressured by coalition forces in the area.

"The security was being tightened," Mosseini said. "Searches continued from both air and the ground. Militants were moving into Pakistan."

Mohammad Rahim Amin, the local government chief in Baraki Barak district, also said coalition forces recovered a body about 5:30 p.m. and flew it by helicopter to a coalition base in Logar province, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) away.

"The coalition told our criminal police director of the district that the body belonged to the foreign soldier they were looking for," Amin said.

FOXNews.com

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May Almighty God comfort the families of these Sailors.
May Almighty God protect each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday Hero 07/28/2010

Warrant Officer John W. Hermann
Warrant Officer John W. Hermann (Pictured Right)
7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st MLG
U.S. Marine Corps

A Marine warrant officer received the Silver Star on July 15 during a short ceremony in Afghanistan. On Feb. 26, 2008, then-Staff Sgt. John W. Hermann, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, accompanied a team with Company B, 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, on a combat reconnaissance patrol through Dahaneh, a village in southern Afghanistan held by Taliban forces.

While on the patrol, the team came under a barrage of fire from rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, machine guns and small-arms fire. Hermann, according to the award citation, jumped out of his vehicle with another Marine and ran toward a group of entrenched fighters.

You can read the rest of Warrant Officer John W. Hermann's story here.


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.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Talking Tuesday

This morning the Washington Post dedicated four paragraphs on page A6 to a story of the two Sailors who were captured in Afghanistan on Saturday.

After several minutes of searching the Internet, I found an AP item which reports NATO has announced that one of the bodies has been recovered. Dead.

Now...let's 'google' Tiger or Lindsay Lohan. Ahhh...countless blurbs to read.

Wrong.

Just wrong.

On Saturday July 24th, five U.S. Soldiers were killed and two were captured. I know, I know...death results from war. I get it. What I don't get and what is irritating me more and more with each passing day...America doesn't seem to grasp that these are fellow Americans, who have families who adore them. On Saturday, seven families were changed forever. Many will say it's a job with risk. Just as Police and Firefighters...jobs with risk.

Wrong.

Come on, Folks... these are our Soldiers. OUR Soldiers. When one or more of them die or are captured...we must care. Please pray for their families.

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

Monday, July 26, 2010

Raptor


An F-22 Raptor flies over the Pacific Ocean July 2, 2010, on its way to its new home at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Gustavo Gonzalez)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prayers for Two Captured American Soldiers...

The Afghanistan Taliban claimed Saturday to have captured two U.S. soldiers near the country's capital, Kabul, Reuters reported.

NATO subsequently confirmed two missing soldiers were Americans but there were conflicting reports Saturday afternoon about their fate.

The alleged capture came to light after U.S. officials had apparently issued an appeal via a local radio station, offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the soldiers' safe release.

The broadcast said the two U.S. personnel were last seen wearing standard U.S. military camouflage, Reuters said.

It reportedly said: "Early this morning two coalition personnel went missing. They are believed to have been captured by insurgents somewhere in Logar province.

"They may have been separated from one another or may be in the process of being moved to another location."

One of the missing soldiers was described as about six feet tall weighing 220 lb (100 kg) with blond hair and brown eyes.

The other was described as 190 lb (86 kg), bald with a thin mustache. Both men have tattoos, the broadcast said.

In the wake of the radio appeal there were conflicting reports about what had happened to the two servicemen and even who might have seized them.

Reuters said that a Taliban spokesman had told the news agency that three ISAF servicemen had been captured but one had died.

However, the mystery deepened when the AFP news agency reported that the Taliban had subsequently denied being responsible for their disappearance.

Speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location, the Taliban's spokesman for eastern Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, said: "So far, we are not aware of it and cannot confirm this."

An unnamed military NATO military officical also told AFP that a vehicle had been recovered, adding that ISAF was receiving conflicting reports.

"Nobody has been found but there are reports that there may be a casualty and that the body has been removed from the scene," the official said.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force had earlier confirmed in a statement that two servicemen were missing

"Two International Security Assistance Force service members departed their compound in Kabul City in a vehicle and did not return.

"The unit dispatched vehicles and rotary-winged assets to search for them and their vehicle, and the search is ongoing. Details will be released as they become available," the statement said.

Also Saturday, four U.S. soldiers were killed in a Taliban-style bomb attack, NATO said, as the death toll of foreign soldiers in the Afghan war climbed closer to the 2,000 mark.

ISAF said the four died following an attack with an improvised explosive device, or IED, the main weapon deployed by the Taliban in their insurgency.

An ISAF spokeswomen confirmed the four were Americans.

The incident took place in southern Afghanistan, where the war is at its fiercest, an ISAF statement said.

FOXNews.com

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May Almighty God watch over and protect these two soldiers.
May God comfort the anxious hearts of their families who love them so.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday Thought....

Tonight Hubster and I are heading over to Camden Yards to watch the Oriole's game. Yay!
Hubster is from Philly, so he is a Phillies fan...and a Nats fan. All of DC is buzzing about the young talent by the name of Stephen Strasburg. This young man truly has a gift, when it comes to pitching a baseball. I, root for the underdog, therefore I remain a TrueBlue Orioles fan. Yep...O's are 30-64...30 wins and 64 losses. Rumor has it, this may be an all time record breaker for all of MLB history!
I digress....

My Thursday thought stems from a saying I read today...
'My Heroes wear dogtags.'

As we move about enjoying all our summer fun...let's keep it real. These sports players who are self proclaimed Kings...are not heroes. They are paid to do a job, paid to play a game. Yes, many of them have unbelievable talent...but it is their job.

May Almighty God protect our true heroes!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Hero 07/21/2010

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Greta

Ernie Pyle
Ernie Pyle
August 3, 1900 – April 18, 1945

Ernie Pyle is oft considered the best, and most loved, war correspondent in American history. Pyle's involvement with the military began early in his life. He wasn't even 18 years old when he joined the Navy Reserve, but because WWI ended soon after he only served for three month.

After he dropped out of Indiana University he began his career in journalism when he worked for a local Indiana paper for three months after which he got a job at The Washington Daily News. In 1928 he became the countries first aviation columnist. Pyle stayed on at The Daily News until 1942 when America entered WWII.

His style of writing during this time was different than anyone else was doing. Pyle wrote from the perspective of the Soldier. A style that won him popularity as well as the Pulitzer.

On April 18, 1945 Ernie Pyle was killed on Ie Shima, an island off Okinawa Honto when he was hit by enemy fire. He was riding in a Jeep with Lt. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge when a machine gun began firing at them. They stopped and ran for a ditch. Pyle's last words were to Lt. Col. Coolidge when he asked him "Are you all right?"

Upon his death, Ernie Pyle was buried with his helmet on, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps were all represented at his service and he was one of the few American civilians to be awarded the Purple Heart.




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


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Christopher Lee's continued dedication to our Military Heroes is greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Talking Tuesday

At times, I must stop and ask, "What are we doing?" Is it not the job of our military to protect our land and its people? Are we outsourcing too many jobs, which perhaps should be done by those who take an oath to act as the Nation's guardian of freedom and justice?

I read this snippet in an article this morning:

"What started as a temporary fix in response to the terrorist attacks has turned into a dependency that calls into question whether the federal workforce includes too many people obligated to shareholders rather than the public interest -- and whether the government is still in control of its most sensitive activities. In interviews last week, both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and CIA Director Leon Panetta said they agreed with such concerns."

Please note...this discussion is open to talk about our military. PLEASE do not debate political issues.

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summertime...

AirmanMom's world is spinning rather slowly, which is a good thing.

I've been working 5 days/week, which is truly kicking my booty. In case you have not heard, the D.C. area is experiencing record heat this summer! Garden Center work in the summer is very boring and yep...very hot! Oh yeah, and an earthquake hit our area last week. Hubster wakes at 4:30am, so he was up and moving about. He actually came in and gave me a kiss minutes before...but alas I slept right through the actual event. I'm guessing... finally I am catching up on all those years of sleep deprivation, which 4 babies will cause!

B's visit home was simply awesome. It was so good to sit across a table and look at him, listen to his words and see that he is alright! We had my oldest daughter, her husband and three grandgirls over one afternoon...we spent a little bit of time tossing 'parachute men' over the deck. The little ones adore Unc B! I soaked up every moment...pure joy!

The end of June was the celebration of my baby girl's 30th birthday! It's so crazy to think it was thirty years ago, I held this sweet child in my arms. She was by far my most 'challenging' of children as a baby. Time passes and as she outgrew being a difficult little one, she more than compensated in the Joy Department! I love her so very much, I am so very proud of the woman, the wife, the mommy, the nurse...the overall person she has become!

John is coming home the end of this month! I haven't seen him since the beginning of May! I do miss my sons! God knows how proud I am of both my guys..but I do miss having them in my everyday life.

"Bucket List Vacay Twenty-Ten' is planned and booked! It's a two-part getaway. Part One will be a trip to Charleston for Hubster's Boat Reunion. He served in the Navy on the USS Ray, once upon a time. Although Hubster has met up with a couple of the guys he served with from time to time and he e-mails another handful of them...this will be the first Reunion he has attended. We figured as long as we are driving all the way to Charleston, SC we might as well add a few more miles and catch a Braves game at Turner Field in Atlanta. Then it dawned on me, that a blogging buddy, CoffeyPot lives in Atlanta...so yep! We are going to meet the one and only Mr. CoffeyPot! I'm truly looking forward to meeting this guy! We'll return from Charleston, work for a couple days... then catch a flight to Chicago! We'll catch a Cubs game at Wrigley, drive to Milwaukee to watch the Brewers and yes.... the absolute highlight of the trip will be attending an Orioles vs. White Sox game with MudPuppy! I don't even have words to describe how I feel about meeting my SoldierSon! Over two years ago, I began reading his blog. While he served in Afghanistan for a year, my prayers were constant for his safety. I sent him boxes of stuff to try to show him my appreciation for his service. My blog featured updates on how he was doing and I learned that so many of you were lifting prayers for him as well. I was invited to attend his Welcome Home party last September, but my littlest grandgirl was born and it was important for me to stay home! It has been my hope to one day meet MudPuppy and it appears my wish will come true! So, if any of you read of a flood at U.S. Cellular Field...you'll know AirmanMom is hugging MudPuppy and the MomTears are rolling. God is great!

Summertime is here. As much as we moan and gripe about the heat and yada, yada, yada...we must never forget our Service Men and Women who are serving our Nation in a faraway land...wearing full body armor in a desert. We must never forget that we are able to enjoy the fruits of our Country, only because of our Heroes! We must never forget that we are the home of brave Soldiers who are willing to sacrifice the 'good life', in order to keep us safe and free! Yes...as we move along in our lives, we must never forget!

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


B and my baby girl with her baby girl.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday Hero 07/14/2010

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Cindy

Wednesday Hero does not support this, or any other, candidate running for political office. It is only honoring his service.

Cpt. Steven Edward Pearce
Cpt. Steven Edward Pearce(Ret.)
U.S. Air Force

What is a hero? U.S. Army Captain John Williams was quoted recently in the June 2010 Special Edition of The Stars and Stripes article called "In Search Of Heroes" described it this way: "If it goes down and if you're in (a bad situation), these guys are not going to stop trying to help you out, even if it means getting killed." Steven Edward Pearce is a hero.

While serving in Vietnam with the U.S. Air Force Steve Pearce received three personal military decorations for heroism. The Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medal's. In addition to those he also received 2 Air Force Expeditionary Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Philippines Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm Device, Air Force Combat Readiness Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Longevity Service Award and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.

You can read more about Steve Pearce here.


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

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Special thanks to Christopher Lee for all he does to remember our heroes!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Talking Tuesday

Summertime!

Our little Village of Poolesville has been experiencing intolerable 'DC August' weather since the beginning of June. As I have mentioned before, I work in a Garden Center..so I have been getting the full sweltering experience of our extreme weather. That being said...before I gripe too much, I have to stop and think of our soldiers suffering through their deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq wearing full body armor. This image, stops me in my tracks and puts a lid on my complaining real fast!

I've learned from being on my feet for 8 hours in 103 degree heat and crazy humidity there comes a time when water is simply no longer refreshing. Gatorade, specifically 'G2 Grape' stuck in a freezer until it becomes crystalized...brings relief!

So, Talking Tuesday asks....for those of you who have served, what brings relief when serving in the desert or jungle? For those who have not served, please feel free to chime in as well.

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

Monday, July 12, 2010

VA to Loosen Rules to Get PTSD Benefits

New rules could take effect as early as Monday to streamline the process for veterans of all eras with post-traumatic stress disorder to become eligible for disability benefits and treatment.

Veterans Affairs Department rules, due to take effect after they are published in the Federal Register, relax the type of evidence that veterans need to try to prove they have service-connected PTSD.

Under the proposed rules, veterans diagnosed with PTSD by a VA health care professional or by someone under contract with VA no longer would have to provide proof that they had been part of a traumatic event in order to be approved for benefits.

Their statements that they had experienced fear, helplessness or horror from an event in the military will be enough to make them eligible for benefits, senior VA officials said Friday.

However, officials would have to determine if a person’s claim seemed appropriate based on their military service. For example, if a veteran claims an event in Iraq caused his PTSD, military records would have to show he had been in Iraq, VA officials said.

Under current rules, VA presumes that combat troops diagnosed with PTSD have the disability because of a combat-related event. But support and administrative troops — who are often still exposed to combat conditions, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan — have faced an additional burden of proving that a specific event that caused their trauma. This involved providing documents or eyewitness statements to substantiate their claims.

The rule change, in the works for more than a year, is in response to complaints from Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who had been in combat support and administrative units. Senior VA officials said the change also will help veterans of other eras who have been unable to show a service connection for PTSD.

Will more vets get benefits?
A senior VA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the new procedure “replaces a long, tedious and frustrating process.”

But he said he did not think the overall number of people receiving PTSD-related benefits would increase; he believed most people who were eligible for help ended up making it through the long process.

“They were getting benefits,” he said.

Veterans service organizations do not necessarily agree. Ryan Gallucci, a spokesman for AmVets, said some veterans with PTSD have been unwilling to go through the evidence process.

“There are veterans who don’t want to deal with the hassle, they don’t want to deal with the process,” said Gallucci, who predicted the rule change would result in more veterans receiving PTSD-related disability compensation.

About 400,000 veterans receive PTSD-related benefits today, VA officials said. About 150,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are receiving treatment for PTSD, but only about 80,000 are receiving disability benefits — a disparity that might vanish as a result of what VA officials are calling a “liberalizing” of the claims process.

Gallucci said AmVets generally supports the rules changes, believing they will make it easier for veterans to receive benefits and treatment. But he is disappointed that the VA rule does not accept a PTSD diagnosis from a military or civilian doctor as sufficient proof.

“We still would like to see VA accept outside medical opinions, the same way they accept additional evidence from private doctors for other service-connected conditions,” Gallucci said.

VA officials said outside medical opinions, including a PTSD diagnosis from a military health care professional, would not be enough to receive benefits, but a non-VA diagnosis could be made part of a veteran’s file and considered as part of the disability review.

A key lawmaker who has spent several years pushing for changes in PTSD benefit claims said he was glad to see the change.

“Less than half of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans diagnosed with PTSD are receiving benefits from the VA,” said Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s disability assistance panel. “This rule will have a dramatic impact on Vietnam veterans as well. It can be especially difficult to find evidence of a traumatic incident 40 years after the fact. Many Vietnam veterans who were denied PTSD benefits in the past may now be eligible.”

Hall said PTSD cases are “routinely the most complicated cases for VA to confirm, requiring drawn-out investigations. This new rule cuts down on lengthy investigations and allows VA employees to focus their efforts on new cases and serve more of our veterans."
By Rick Maze - Air Foce Times Staff writer

Friday, July 9, 2010

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold




Insurgents' bomb kills Virginia Beach native serving in Afghanistan

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher F. Cabacoy, a Virginia Beach native, was killed Monday while serving in Afghanistan. He was 30.

Cabacoy and Pfc. Edwin C. Wood, 18, of Omaha died when insurgents attacked their vehicle with a homemade bomb in Kandahar, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Friends and relatives said Wednesday that Cabacoy was a humorous, caring man who had a way of brightening their days.

"He took his job seriously. He joined the Army and put himself in harm's way to serve the country," said Felipe Cabacoy, an uncle, who recalled playing football and fishing with his nephew. "He was lovable, never gave us any problems growing up, charming and full of smiles."

Cabacoy graduated from Virginia Beach's Tallwood High School in 1997, according to his Facebook profile. There, he met his future wife, Tamara, with whom he had a son, Aidan.

"They've always been in love," said Eddie Las Marias, 29, who grew up alongside Cabacoy. "He's known her since high school. At one point, they'd broken up for a little while. He was distraught, did his hardest to get her back, got her back and they've been a great family ever since."

After high school, Cabacoy briefly studied engineering at Old Dominion University, friends and family said, before joining the Army in 2000.

For his service in Afghanistan, as well as in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, Cabacoy was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Cabacoy was deployed to Afghanistan in the spring from Fort Drum, N.Y., where he and Wood served as cavalry scouts with the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (light infantry).

Serving in the military made him "more focused on his responsibilities -- how to serve his family, how to serve the country," Las Marias said.

But Cabacoy always held on to his reputation as a jokester. Andrew Las Marias, 19, a brother of Eddie, remembered being spooked when Eddie, Cabacoy and Cabacoy's brother played monster sounds from a hidden voice recorder.

"Chris is probably one of the funniest people that I have ever known in my life," he said.

That mix of humor and seriousness made Cabacoy a big brother in the eyes of his cousin, Stephanie Cabacoy, 19.

"I remember my debutante [ball] -- he was the one who gave the approval, basically, for who's my escort," she said.

Andrew Las Marias said that in his mind, he and Christopher Cabacoy were cousins, too.

"We basically called each other 'cousins' and Chris and his brother used to take care of me when I was little," Andrew Las Marias said. "Although when I was little, I used to avoid his big wet kisses on the cheek, I'd probably give anything to have one right now."


By Stephanie Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 8, 2010


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May Almighty God bless this brave soldier and may God bring comfort to his family.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And The Survey Says...

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Surveys Hit Servicemembers’ Inboxes
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2010 – At noon today, Defense Department officials e-mailed surveys to 400,000 servicemembers as part of a special review to prepare the military for a potential repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that bans gays and lesbians from openly serving, Pentagon officials announced today. Video

Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, head the review panel that’s assessing the current law.

“The voice of the servicemembers is still vitally important,” the general said, noting that although amendments to the current law were approved by legislators in May, lawmakers still require the Pentagon review.

“This is draft regulation, it is not yet enacted into law, and there are several hurdles yet to come,” Ham said.

The group has been meeting with troops and family members since February. Surveys also were distributed because time and financial constraints precluded meeting with every single member, Ham explained in a recent Pentagon Channel interview.

The surveys will give the panel a baseline of information that best represents the military’s 2.2 million servicemembers and their families, Ham said, stressing the importance of servicemember feedback.

Engaging the force may be more important now than before the amendments were passed, Ham said.

Half of the surveys went to active-duty servicemembers, and half were sent to the reserve components. Troops who received the surveys were selected based on age, rank, service, component, military specialties, education, marital status and other factors to ensure broad and thorough feedback on a potential repeal, Ham said.

The working group also plans to continue meeting with servicemembers and families, Ham said. He and Johnson have met with troops at “a large variety of bases, posts, camps and stations around the country,” the general said, adding that they’re planning to meet with troops stationed overseas as well.

Such sessions have proven invaluable to the working group, Ham added.

“What these sessions do afford is an opportunity for Mr. Johnson and myself to speak directly to servicemembers, to hear in their own words what their assessment of the impact of repeal of the current law would be should Congress decide to take that action,” he said. “Those sessions provide us context. They provide us substance to what we know we will get statistically from the survey and put it in real terms of how real servicemembers feel about this.”

An online inbox also is available for military and civilian members of the Defense Department. Troops can log into http://www.defense.gov/dadt with their common access card to provide their input. This site is not confidential; however, directions from the site, as well as in the survey, are provided for members who wish to continue a “confidential dialogue” with non-Defense Department members of the working group, the general said.

Once servicemembers enter the confidential site, they will be given an untraceable PIN number they then can use to log on from any computer.

This tool will allow gay and lesbian servicemembers to remain anonymous and establish confidential communication, Ham explained. It’s available to all servicemembers, he added, because some may not feel comfortable providing candid remarks.

“It is vitally important that servicemembers continue to be open and frank and totally honest with us in their feedback,” Ham said. “That certainly has been the case to date, whether it’s been a large-group session or a small group or the online inbox. The servicemembers and their families have been invaluable to Mr. Johnson and myself.

“We need that to continue in order to do our jobs and be representative of the force as we address the significant policy matters that would follow repeal of this law, if that is what Congress decides to do,” the general said.

Also, 150,000 surveys will be mailed to military spouses by the end of the month, Ham said. Ham stressed the importance of promptly completing and returning the surveys. The hope, he said, is that that all of the surveys will be submitted within 45 days of receipt, he said.

The working group’s final report is due to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates by Dec. 1.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, MudPuppy!!!


Every once in a while...somebody appears in your world.

We don't seek this person out, among the millions who walk the earth.

The more you grow to know this person, the more they touch your heart.

Even if you have never actually met face to face.

Even if you don't know their voice, but you know their words.

And this person simply finds their own little space in your heart.

To my VirtuaSon, I wish you a Happy Birthday.

I have prayed so hard for you, while you served in Afghanistan.

I continue to pray constantly, now that you are home again.

May this new year of your life bring you many smiles, may this new year bring you peace in your heart and good health. May you always know that no matter the road you travel...there is a VirtuaMom who holds a special place just for you in her heart.

Happy Birthday, MudPuppy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Talking Tuesday





A United States soldier from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion of the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne, stands guard at Combat Outpost Ware in the volatile Arghandab Valley, outside Kandahar City, Sunday, July 4, 2010. (AP)

How did you celebrate our Nation's 234th Birthday?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Walk to Remember...

Hubster and I woke early on the 4th of July and drove to D.C. We met up with a friend I had not seen since High School (long time ago!) Patty and I reconnected thanks to FB...just months before her 27 year old son died. She was in D.C. to attend the Compassionate Friends-Walk to Remember conference. There was Walk this morning, and I told her it would truly be an honor to walk with her in memory of her son. Honestly, I do not know Patty's pain...so all I could do was listen to her as she shared stories of her only child...who is now gone. We walked along the "Memory Wall" and read the names of all the faces. Beloved faces of children who have left this earth, leaving their parents to hold an empty space in their hearts.

Please keep Patty in your prayers... she is hurting. Please join me in prayer for all the moms and dads who know a pain, many of us cannot even begin to imagine. As much as I do focus on our military, I now know there are so many parents who face each new day...without their child. It matters not; if it is the war, a drunk driver, a bullet, an accident, an illness or a drug overdose...many parents live with an inconsolable pain. They must face each day without their child.

May Almighty God protect each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.
May God comfort the hearts of those who have lost a child...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 234th Birthday, America



America the Beautiful


O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man's avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward



Saturday, July 3, 2010

Forty-Thousand!

Oh My Gosh!

I glanced at the 'whatever-you-call-it-tracker-of-guests-device' and saw that 40,000 people have visited AirmanMom!

Please allow me to thank every one of you, for taking the time to visit my little piece of the Blogosphere! This blogging stuff is so strange. I began my blog, when John enlisted in the United States Air Force...back in February, 2008. In all honesty...it was a private journal of my journey as a mom of an Airman. My oldest son, had served 4 years and then chose to become a Reservists. How I wish I had kept a diary of what it was like to have a son serving in the Military on September 11, 2001... I remember that day all too well...but it is all in my mind.

So here we are...July, 2010. Both of my sons are now Airman...my youngest has been enlisted for two and a half years, my oldest serving for over eleven years now! The prayers and support each of you lifted for my son, while he deployed to Afghanistan are so deeply appreciated! Over the years you have shared the ramblings of a Mom's mind and the fears of a Mom's heart. We have shared tears of the fallen, along with the joys of Soldier's homecomings and achievements.

Each of you are walking along side me, during this chapter of my life and I am so grateful for every single one of you!

May Almighty God Bless and Protect every single Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.
May God's Love Shine brightly upon those who have touched my heart!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Living soldier could get Medal of Honor

AP Source: Living soldier could get Medal of Honor
By PAULINE JELINEK (AP) – July 1, 2010

WASHINGTON — The military has sent the White House a recommendation to award the Medal of Honor to a soldier for bravery in Afghanistan, which could make him the first living recipient since the Vietnam War.

The Army soldier ran through a hail of enemy fire to repel Taliban fighters in a 2007 battle, saving the lives of a half dozen other men, two U.S. officials said Wednesday. They declined to name the soldier and spoke on condition of anonymity because he is still under consideration for the honor.

There is concern, officials say that early disclosure could place political pressure on President Barack Obama to approve the medal or could cause embarrassment for the soldier if it's not approved.

The recommendation to award the Medal of Honor was first reported in The Washington Post.

The nation's highest award for valor has been awarded only six times in the nine years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq — and all were awarded posthumously.

That small number has prompted member of Congress to ask the Pentagon to examine its policy for awarding the medal, a process that can take years and involves several reviews up the chain of command.

Officials have said it's hard to compare the number awarded since the 2001 start of the Afghanistan invasion with the hundreds awarded in World War II and Vietnam because warfare has evolved so much in recent decades.

Those earlier wars frequently involved close conflict with an organized enemy formation, for instance, while today's fighting is against non-uniformed insurgents who use remotely detonated roadside bombs, suicide bombers, sniper attacks and other tactics that avoid the risk of engaging personally with U.S. forces.