Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sunrise in a Faraway Land

12/23/2009 - The sun rises over the U.S. Air Force 379th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) camp Dec. 23, 2009, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Personnel with the 379th AEW support Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol/Released)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

Bragg soldier killed in Afghanistan

A Fort Bragg paratrooper was killed the day after Christmas after his unit was attacked in southern Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.

Spc. Jason M. Johnston, 24, of Albion, N.Y., died in Arghandab, Afghanistan, after insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, according to a news release.

Johnston was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

A memorial in his honor will be held in Afghanistan, according to a release from the 82nd Airborne Division.

"Johnston was the type of guy that did the job with little complaint, comment or fanfare, but always did the job well," said Capt. Adam Armstrong, Johnston's company commander. "He was liked by the men and always ready to go for any mission that came down. You could tell he was the type of trooper that you could count on."

Johnston also was honored in his hometown Monday evening.

Both his parents - Bradley and Jeanine Johnston - are active members of the volunteer Albion Fire Department, according to department president Stanley Farone.

Farone said the department called a special meeting to make Johnston an honorary member. They also lowered flags to half-staff at the town's firefighter memorial.

Albion is a close-knit town of roughly 5,000 people, according to Farone. Johnston's death is believed to be the first for a local serving in either Afghanistan or Iraq.

"We're a small community," Farone said of the town about 30 miles northwest of Rochester. "We're doing this for the family and for ourselves, so we can heal."

Farone said firefighters would help escort Johnston's body back into town later this week. He said nearly all of the department's 40 members had attended the ceremonies for Johnston, who participated in the department's Explorer program before he enlisted.

Johnston joined the Army as an infantryman in August 2006 and attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Ga., according to a release from the 82nd Airborne Division. He completed Basic Airborne School and was then assigned to his current unit in February 2007.

It was Johnston's second deployment to Afghanistan. He also spent a tour in the country from January 2007 to April 2008.

Johnston's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Basic Parachutist Badge.

By Drew Brooks
Staff writer

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Talking Tuesday

The year Twenty-Ten is just days away.

A new decade, a new year, a new day.

Are you a maker and keeper of New Year's Resolutions?

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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas from Afghanistan

This is a MUST-SEE video!
(Please pause my playlist on the right sidebar!)

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I am NOT a 'Beatles' fan.

Never have been, Never will be.


That being said...I will admit to the ugly fact; I could sing along to almost every single flipping Beatles song ever written and recorded. I am not's an IS!

All this being said....there are words to a 'Beatles' song which circulate through my brain, so I figure it is about time to blog them (perhaps they will then evaporate!)

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

This past week has been filled with incredible joy! I had all four of my grandgirls playing together in our home. Precious told us how much fun it is to be at Nana's house...what more could anyone ask for in one lifetime? I am so richly blessed.

This past week was filled with fear for Americans, once again. A plane with a Terrorist aboard. Wrong, simply wrong.

In Maryland, a lunatic abducted and killed an 11 year old girl, her body was found on Christmas Day. Oh Dear God in can this happen?

If all works out, I will meet Chief when he returns home from Iraq. He is scheduled to come through BWI, on his way back to WPAFB. Oh Navy Hubster and two Airman sons, my life is one big acronym! (but I would not change a thing)

Twenty-Ten is just days away.... A new year. A new beginning. May this new year be filled with good health, lots of smiles and oodles of good stuff for each of you!

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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

'The angel said unto them .... For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.'
Luke 2:11

I wish each of you a Blessed Christmas. May comfort and joy fill your hearts.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Sadness

I's a depressing title.

This post is sad.

Last year around this time, I wrote of Soldiers who live with PTSD. Christmas is a difficult time for those with's a time for reflection of what we have...I suppose those who feel they don't have much, struggle through the holiday season.

So much of my blog is about our Soldiers. Today is a personal post. Today is one of those 'self-therapy' posts. (Feel free to exit, but close the door gently, please)

My cousin took her own life last Thursday. I have to admit, I did not know her well. Her dad is my Uncle Fred, my dad's idential twin. My dad and his twin were separated when they were around 6 years old by divorce. My dad's mother only wanted Fred, as a result my dad was raised by my Grandpa and my Grandmother (literally Step-Grandmother...but, she was my Grandmother!) Growing up; we saw my uncle, his wife and their four children from time to time. I remember one time, Dad picked Uncle Fred up from the airport...we went running to greet Uncle Fred at the passenger side of the car, it took a few moments to realize it was Dad! I'm telling you, they were identical! Uncle Fred passed away in 1974, I don't recall details...just that he became addicted to Rx drugs. His daughter Melinda had surgery a year ago, she too became addicted to her pain relievers. This addiction cost her, her 17 year marriage. Melinda felt shut out by her daughter (who was expecting a son), her friends... Her brother told me she finally knows peace. I read a poem which was written by a friend she had reached out to...he put her off, didn't return her phone calls... oh, the pain depression can cause.

I do apologize for this being such a scrambled post... I didn't know Melinda well; probably had not seen her in 10 to 15 years. But we shared identical twin brothers, as our fathers. As I write this, I miss my Dad terribly. He and I would talk about this, and he would make my heart hurt less. How grateful I am, that God gave me my dad. A man who was rejected by his own mother... yet four and a half years after his death, I know how deeply he loves me.

Melinda's suffering is over. I pray she is being rocked in the loving arms of God. I pray that all those who are silently screaming for help, are heard by someone.

I miss my Dad.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Talking Tuesday

Christmas is only days away!!!

Christmas is the time of year filled with warm childhood memories and traditions which have been passed along for generations.

I'm at the point in my life, where it's not so much about my childhood memories...but the memories made with my children. Their laughter and joy, are the memories I cherish most. We now have an all new generation making memories. My daughters will share Christmas morning with their children; filling their homes with old traditions and new traditions. My sons will spend Christmas morning at their homes, creating their traditions.

We all have favorite Christmas memories; whether it's a song, an event or a special aroma. Christmas is a time of reflection and a time to make fresh new memories.

Your turn......

Sunday, December 20, 2009


A heartfelt thanks to all who donated items for the Good Earth Soldier Drive.
Chief received the boxes and is handing the items out to Airmen and Soldiers. Because of the generosity of many, several of our Service Members have received comfort items.

An entire box of games was sent to Iraq! The base hosted 156 Iraqi children at the recreation center, needless to say the games were much appreciated!

In Chief's kind e-mail, he wrote, "This is part of winning the "Hearts and Mind" phase of the war...trying to get them while they are young...showing them that Americans are the Good Guys..." Without a doubt, our soldiers are good guys!

Chief is due to come home in about two weeks. It will be my honor to welcome him home at BWI, if all goes as planned. My prayers are constant for Chief, along with all our heroes. Our heroes are serving our nation in far away lands, and right here in our own backyard are generous people who want to thank these remarkable men and women.

Our nation is truly blessed!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Operation Cobra's Anger

Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, conduct combat operations in Now Zad, Afghanistan, during Operation Cobra's Anger, Dec. 4. Operation Cobra's Anger disrupted enemy supply lines and communication in Now Zad, once a safe haven for Taliban forces.
Photo by Lance Cpl. Walter Marino

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heroes at Home

Sears is making it easy to help over 20,000 military families. With a click of a mouse, a gift card can be sent to a family in need. Please check out the program HERE. So far, over $5 million in gift cards have been raised for registered families.

What a great opportunity to help a family who has sacrificed so much for us.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Talking Tuesday

The USO has sent over 2,000 care packages overseas, which are filled with hair products, skin care products and makeup for women in the combat zone. You can read the entire article HERE. On various Internet sites, I have read opinions regarding this issue. Many feel it is a great morale booster, women are women...women wear makeup. Others feel it is wrong for women in the combat zone to 'enhance their appeal' care products are fine, but makeup is unnecessary.

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'll Be Brave This Christmas

I've heard this song on the radio several times and it truly touches my heart. We must not forget the little ones; who have a mommy or daddy far away, protecting our freedoms. Our Soldiers sacrifice so much for us... so do their families!
I finally found Big Daddy Weave's video, "I'll Be Brave This Christmas" to share!
(Please pause my Playlist on the right sidebar.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Words for a Saturday

God Bless America,

Land that I love.

Stand beside her, and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans, white with foam

God bless America, My home sweet home.

Friday, December 11, 2009

As We Search For the Perfect Gifts......

U.S. soldiers dig to search for a weapons cache near the village of Al Najatia in Kirkuk province, Iraq, Dec. 5, 2009. The soldiers joined forces with the Iraqi soldiers to conduct the search.
(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew D. Leistikow)

As we spend these days and weeks preparing for Christmas and Hanukkah, let us not allow a single day pass without remembering those protecting us.
May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Little Bit of Good Earth in Iraq

The owner of Good Earth (where I work) was kind enough to allow me to set up donation boxes at both of our shops. Our customers donated lots of wonderful items for our soldiers. I packed up nine boxes! Chief will distribute the items, among our brave Airmen in Iraq. Our soldiers may not be home for the holidays, but they will enjoy small pieces of home!

A warm thanks to all who were generous enough to leave gifts for our warriors!

Wednesday Hero 12/09/2009

Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Elsey
Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Elsey
U.S. Navy

Abdul Rashid, a 5-year-old resident of the Nawa district of Afghanistan, receives a dressing for a wound on his face from Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Elsey, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, while a linguist translates at a medical aid station at Patrol Base Jaker Dec. 3. Rashid was injured by a motorcycle earlier that day. Navy hospital corpsmen like Elsey routinely see local residents and children here to treat their wounds.

Photo Courtesy United States Marine Corps

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, December 8, 2009

Talking Tuesday

On the 25th of November, the Air Force released a new policy stating potential recruits could not have a tattoo on their right (saluting) arm. On Monday, this decision was reversed. Read the entire article HERE.

Tattoos and the military are known to go 'hand in hand'. Not all soldiers have tattoos, however many do. Should any branch of the military deny entry to one who desires to serve, because of a tattoo? Should tattoos be able to be covered by the uniform? What about face and neck tattoos? What is considered to be obscene or advocate sexual, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination?

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

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Morning Quarter-Backing

Several weeks ago, Terry Bradshaw and the Fox NFL Sports Team flew on an air-drop mission over Afghanistan. The crew later visited with our troops.
(Please pause my playlist on the right and enjoy this video!)

May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.
May God Bless those who brighten the day of a Soldier!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

A Fort Carson infantryman was killed in an ambush Tuesday on his first mission as a sergeant, family members said.

Sgt. Kenneth Ray Nichols Jr. — “Bub” to his friends — had been pinned with his new rank just hours before setting out with his unit on a night patrol in Kunar province. A rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle, killing the 28-year-old , and wounding another soldier, his widow said.

“He always smiled. He loved life, he was happy, and he made everyone around him want to be a better person,” Lexi Nichols said.

She said the other victim of the attack is expected to recover.

The four-year Army veteran grew up in Chrisman, Ill., and served an earlier tour in Iraq, from October 2006 to December 2007. He leaves behind four children, including a 9-month-old daughter, Pailynn.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

Friends recalled Nichols as outgoing and prone to mischief. He loved playing pranks, riding his Harley Davidson and hanging out in a shed he built behind his Colorado Springs home, where he and friends would gather on weekends to drink beer and build furniture that cluttered his family’s home.

Tinisha Shade-Cravens, a high school friend who later became a sister-in-law, said Nichols rarely spent time on the couch, at least not for long. You’d find him fishing, getting friends together for spirited card games or doing whatever he could to stay busy.

“He was an outdoorsy guy, from the time we were kids all the way until he joined the Army,” she said. “He always was Army-bound, I guess you could say.”

While deployed, Nichols chatted on the computer with his wife for 5 or 10 minutes a day, about the kids or the goings-on in Afghanistan and making plans for his two-week break from the battlefield, set for Dec. 16. He was excited to see his children on Christmas, she said. His gift would have been a two-night, three-day trip to Las Vegas booked early for him to enjoy at the end of his second deployment.

“He always wanted to go to Vegas,” she said.

Although services are still being arranged, the family plans to hold Nichols’ funeral next week at Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School in Illinois, where he graduated in 2000. He is to be buried in the Danville (Ill.) National Cemetery, his family said.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Agent Orange...40 Years Later

Hubster and I drove to Delaware yesterday to visit his brother, Phil. Phil suffered his sixth heart attack on the Monday before Thanksgiving. It was touch and go for several days, but he came through...once again.

I wrote of Phil quite a while back... A Vietnam Vet with three Purple Hearts. He has been notified by VA, that it is now believed his heart condition is due to his exposure to Agent Orange. Phil has been diagnosed with COPD...believed to be a one-two punch of too much smoking and too much herbicide. Phil is only 63 years young, but his funeral plans are completely detailed; his wife only needs to pick up the phone.

As we left the hospital yesterday, Phil told us he did not want us to leave. We did not want to leave. We both simply wanted to sit with Phil...for a very long while. Unfortunately, life dictates we do what we must, not what we want. Hubster and I both have to work we hugged Phil, we told him we love him. We made plans to help him power wash his deck at the beach in April. Is it April yet?

I am going to do some research on Agent Orange; so if any of you have articles to pass along to me, I look forward to being enlightened.

Sadly, there are too many of our heroes out there....just like my brother-in-law. They are our nation's warriors and now they have their own battles to fight.
May Almighty God Bless each and every Vietnam Veteran. May God give strength to the families who care for these soldiers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Citizen Soldier

Citizen Soldier is leaving his family and friends on December 6th for Camp Shelby in Mississippi. Following two months preparing for deployment, he will be off to Iraq for an entire year.

I've been following CS's blog for quite a while, and he is an excellent read. Above all, he is one of our Soldiers!

Please take a few moments and visit his blog. Please leave him words of thanks and support.

It is my hope to post updates regularly. It is my hope to pull together a group of prayer warriors for CS and for his family. Oh, they will miss him so.

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

Godspeed, CS!

Strike Eagle

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle conducts operations over eastern Afghanistan, Nov. 26, 2009. The Strike Eagle is assigned to the 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael B. Keller

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Hero 12/02/2009

Spc. Michael P. Garton & Spc. Rolando R. Flores
Spc. Michael P. Garton & Spc. Rolando R. Flores
U.S. Army

Spc. Michael P. Garton, a gunner with the Personal Security Detachment, with the 36th Sustainment Brigade out of Temple, Texas, and a Texarkana, Texas, native, relaxes on a Humvee and shares a laugh with Spc. Rolando R. Flores, a gunner with the PSD and a San Antonio native, during a break in preparations for a mission Nov. 23 in the maintenance yard at Contingency Operating Location Adder, Iraq.

Photo Courtesy U.S. Army

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, December 1, 2009

MudPuppy's Blog

MudPuppy has once again opened his blog,EmbraceTheSuck to the public!

A soldier who spent a year in Afghanistan, is now able to share his words. He's done a bit of housekeeping at ETS, but he is it's all good!

For those who are not familiar with MudPuppy...I affectionately call him my SoldierSon and he refers to me as his VirtuaMom. I first happened upon ETS in July, 2008. His words captured my heart, as he prepared to deploy. He continued to blog while overseas, but was *encouraged* to take his blog private. If you have not read his early posts, please take the time to do so. I have read every post he has written, however MudPuppy's words written on August 14, 2008 are the ones I have read over and over. Check it out, and tell me if you agree.

I spent every single day of MudPuppy's deployment praying for his safety. My continued prayers for his transition are daily... May Almighty God watch over my SoldierSon, keep him healthy in body and mind.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Holidays Have Arrived!

Happy Monday Morning!
Hopefully everyone enjoyed a long weekend; filled with family and lots of food.
Perhaps like me, you were out early Friday morning to take advantage of the Black Friday sales.

Yes, the Holiday Season has arrived.

The malls and stores are decorated, and even Santa Claus made his yearly appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Yes, the Holiday Season has arrived.

While we scurry around to find the perfect gift for our loved ones... let's remember the men and women who serve our nation and will not be home for Christmas.

I ask you to join me and mail a package filled with 'pieces of home' to our soldiers. Wrap a few extra gifts and brighten the day of a warrior. Make a donation to the USO. Sign up with SoldiersAngels or AnySoldier.Com to adopt a soldier. I've even attached a list of items to send along:

Baby Wipes (great for dusting)
Dental Floss
Body Wash
Hand and Body Lotion
Puzzle Books (Crossword, Sudoku, Word Find)
Decks of Cards (don't forget Uno)
Small Hand-Held Games
Snacks (Individually wrapped)
Drink Mix (Individual packets for water bottle)
Pop Tarts
Granola Bars
Beef Jerky
Power Bars
Candy (No chocolate-it melts) Jolly Rancher, Twizzlers and Mints are great!
Beanie Babies (Soldiers give to children in region)
Pens and Notepads with envelopes (postage not needed)

May Almighty God protect each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.
May God Bless those who take care of our soldiers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Soldiers

An American Soldier

Wherever there is a cry for freedom you will find me
fighting for liberty;

I am an American soldier
My home is the home of the brave the land of the free.

I hail from the land where Lady Liberty stands proudly
beside the deep blue sea; the light from her torch
embracing all who seek shelter and a taste of liberty…

I hail from the land where the Eagle flies the skies
guarding all equally from freedom's enemy
Knowing that the liberty he guards for America helps
keep alive the American dream.

Wherever there is a cry for freedom you will find me
fighting for liberty; I am an American soldier
My home is the home of the brave the land of the free.

I hail from a land where Old Glory, my much loved American flag,
Ripples in the sky, a reminder of times gone by
Of the brave men and women who fought hard and long
And never let a strip or star touch the ground
that liberty might live on.

I hail from a land where a soldier's not ashamed to bend on
hand and knee to give thanks to the God of our forefathers
Who’s blood, sweat, tears and prayers went in to making
and keeping America free.

Wherever there is a cry for freedom you will find me
fighting for liberty, I am an American soldier
My home is the home of the brave the land of the free.

Wherever there is a cry for freedom you will find me.
Wearing my love for freedom and my caring for humanity
An American soldier ready to die that another might live free.

By Heartsong

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts

My warmest Thanksgiving wishes to each of you.

How blessed we are to live in a country, where we can freely gather with family and friends.

On this day of giving thanks, we must remember the many service members who are overseas during the holiday season.

May we pray each day of the year, as if it were Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Hero 11/25/2009

Rear Adm. Ned Deets
Rear Adm. Ned Deets
U.S. Navy

Rear Adm. Ned Deets speaks with Frank Chebatar, president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, at the conclusion of the base consolidation ceremony. The two bases consolidated to form Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Fort Story.

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, November 24, 2009

Talking Tuesday

PTSD (Post Tramatic Stress Disorder)

This weekend an Iraq War Veteran led police on a 30-mile high speed chase, injuring two police officers and one motorist. Miller (the driver) has stated he has had a difficult time readjusting, after being deployed twice. You can read the entire article here.

The holidays are rapidly approaching. This time of year is especially challenging for those suffering with PTSD.

What can be done to help our veterans? Not just our returning soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq; let us not forget our Vietnam Vets.

Your turn.........

Monday, November 23, 2009

A New Day

U.S. Army Pfc. Coty Lang, from San Diego, carries his M-240 machine gun during an early morning patrol near Combat Outpost Munoz, Paktika province, Afghanistan, Nov. 14, 2009. Lang is deployed with Baker company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne).
(Combined Joint Task Force - 82 PAO Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Simple, "How Are You?"

I read a most disturbing article this weekend; which states 140 active-duty soldiers had committed suicide this year, the same recorded as the total for all of 2008. Many of these soldiers had never deployed, some have deployed once or twice. The words struck me as sad and scary.

Then I happened upon this article, which helped a little...

Airman driven to action after friends’ deaths

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — A Misawa-based staff sergeant — shocked to learn that two former co-workers had killed themselves after leaving Japan — has taken to the airwaves to remind military members that suicide isn’t the answer to life’s problems.

Staff Sgt. Stephen Terrell, with the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said the two were more acquaintances than good friends, but it was still "hard to take the news."

"I remember the last conversations I had with both of them," Terrell said, adding that co-workers almost become like family in the military.

The bad news had such an effect on Terrell that he decided he wanted to film a public service spot to be played on the American Forces Network, putting local faces on an important message. AFN agreed, and Terrell wrote the script and enlisted a few friends to help.

When drafting the script, Terrell decided to focus on what he thinks are three big problems that could cause someone to consider suicide: work stress, a failed relationship and financial woes.

Terrell got Senior Airman Robert Leggett to play an airman with the problems. Leggett’s wife, Destiny, played the "girlfriend" breaking up with him. Staff Sgt. Chad Bradfield plays the angry boss, and Tech. Sgt. David Bruce is the angry creditor calling for his money.

Most importantly, Senior Airman William Seaver is the friend who calls with an important question — "I just wanted to see how you’re doing" — as Leggett stares at a bottle of pills.

Taking the time to check on people, Terrell says, is the key "to prevent things from happening like this in the future."

He said he’s heard a lot of feedback from people in the community who have noticed the commercial among the other suicide prevention spots that air on AFN.

And he hopes it will help persuade anyone thinking of suicide to reach out for help.

Mental health personnel at Misawa laud Terrell’s effort, saying that the message comes loud and clear when it’s delivered by fellow members of the community.

"We think it’s a great thing," said Senior Airman Samantha Conway, a mental health technician. "It shows that actual airmen are worried about the issue too, not just the professionals."

The first line of defense, she said, are "the people that know you and the people who work with you."

By T.D. Flack, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009


A UH-60 Black Hawk drops over 250,000 Psyop leaflets in Logar province, Afghanistan, November 14, 2009. The mission's objective was to communicate insurgent activities in local villages. Photo by Pfc. Richard Jones Jr.

Friday, November 20, 2009

He Has My Heart

Being a mother means that your heart is no longer yours;
it wanders wherever your children do.
~ Unknown

Twenty-Eight years ago today, I met my first born son. At 8:05 that morning, my world changed forever in the finest of ways.

B is my oldest son. He was the little boy; I always dreamed of and hoped for. B quickly became a ‘big brother’ to his two older sisters. His quiet demeanor, heartwarming smile and intelligent wit have always been his finest characteristics. We often are befuddled how he survived living in a house with two older sisters and a mom, which in most cases meant he had three ‘moms’. He had a knack for getting out of Dodge, when the drama of two teenage sisters thickened. And then, he would reappear when all was quiet.

At the age of 17 (several weeks after high school graduation), he departed for BMT at Lackland, AFB. Six weeks later, I met the man my son was becoming. Proud, strong and ready to take on the world.

Ten years of saying "later" to my son as we depart at airports, and the mom tears still roll. He has my heart. It matters not how far apart we may be, it matters not for how long. He is my son, and he has my heart.

I wish my son a Happy Birthday. Words will never express what my son means to me.

May Almighty God in Heaven keep B safe in this new year of his life.

May he know laughter, good health and prosperity.

B, I do love you so.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So You Think You Have Leg Room Issues?

Airmen, Sailors and contractors talk and manage dolphins while aboard a C-17 Globemaster III Nov. 8, 2009, en route to New Caledonia.
The crew is taking the Sailors and dolphins to Noumea, New Caledonia, where they will participate in Lagoon Minex 2009, which is a humanitarian project where U. S. Navy, French, Australian and New Zealand demolition crews will remove mines left over from World War II from the surrounding water of the area. The Airmen are from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, the Sailors are from Navy Mobile Unit 1 from San Diego, and contractors are from the Navy Marine Mammals Program. (Defense Department photo/Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young)

Here is an outside view of the C-17 Globemaster III

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

Baltimorean dies in Afghanistan
Roadside bomb kills Christopher Coffland, 43, a man of many talents

A 43-year-old Baltimore man who joined the Army Reserve just shy of the cutoff date for enlisting and was deployed to Afghanistan two weeks ago was killed there Friday in a roadside bombing, his family said.

Spc. Christopher James Coffland had spent his life counseling, coaching, traveling, and studying people and cultures, at one point pursuing anthropology graduate work that took him to Gabon, Africa. A month before he turned 42, the enlistment age limit, he signed up to become an Army intelligence specialist, relatives said.

"Desk jobs were not for him," said Sharon Kroupa, a cousin from Baltimore, speaking on behalf of the family. "Everything he did had to have meaning."

Coffland trained for more than a year for his mission in Afghanistan. He and two Marines were killed when the vehicle they were in exploded in the Sayed Abud region, where they were investigating another blast, relatives said. Coffland's body arrived Saturday night at Dover Air Force Base, according to base officials.

Coffland was a 1984 Gilman School graduate and earned an undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University in 1988.

His biography reads like that of several people combined: played professional football in Finland, coached football in Australia and lacrosse at Boys' Latin School of Maryland, worked as a university counselor at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, tended bar in Baltimore, studied anthropology at Washington State University, lived with Pygmies in Africa.

When he was in Baltimore, he stayed with his sister, Lynn Coffland, and her husband in Homeland. His parents, Dave and Toni Coffland, live on the Eastern Shore.

"He never married and had a family, so he was part of everyone's family," Kroupa said.

Many of his Gilman friends drove in a caravan to Delaware to support the family after they received Coffland's body.

Willie Franklin, who was among them, said Coffland was a "selfless person who wanted to serve his country."

"He knew the dangers involved," he said. "But he was a very courageous person. He was absolutely the kind of guy, who, when the going gets tough, you want him on your side."

Friends and relatives said Coffland had considered military service many times and had won an appointment to West Point but declined because of the six-year commitment.

"He liked the idea of service," Kroupa said. "The idea of regiments and authority - not so much."

About two years ago, Coffland talked with an Army Reserve recruiter who found his skills and interest in others cultures a good fit for military intelligence work.

Family members said he graduated at the top of his group in boot camp and at Army intelligence school.

Franklin, his high school classmate, met Coffland for lunch in Washington last month, just before he was deployed.

"He was confident and ready to go," Franklin said. "He seemed fearless."

For all his career changes, Kroupasaid, Coffland had "found a place where he could do something meaningful."

"If this defines how he'll be remembered," she added, referring to his military service, "I think he would be proud of that."

In addition to his parents and sister, Lynn, a Baltimore designer, Coffland is survived by sisters Karen Bresnahan and Laurie Bartlett and a brother, David Coffland.

By Julie Bykowicz-Baltimore Sun
November 15, 2009

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May Almighty God Bless this brave, Maryland soldier and bring comfort to those who love him so.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Talking Tuesday

The news this morning featured a story of a mom who refused to deploy, since she was unable to provide care for her 10-month old son. Read the entie article HERE.

Should the rules of deployment be different for single parents?

Your turn........

Monday, November 16, 2009

Love Your Freedoms? Thank Your Soldiers!

Happy Monday!
I just happened upon this video; it struck me as a 'must-share'!
Please pause my playlist on the right sidebar and enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Sunset Landing

An SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopter from the Chargers of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 14 lifts off the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). George Washington, the Navy's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier, is participating in Annual Exercise, a yearly bilateral exercise with the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Photo by Seaman Apprentice Rachel Hatch

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Army survey: Troop morale is down in Afghanistan

The Army needs to more than double the number of mental health providers in Afghanistan where troops are widely dispersed and reporting falling morale and increasing difficulty getting the care they need, the Army said Friday.

The ratio of one mental health professional for about every 1,120 soldiers isn’t enough to help, particularly with fighting intensifying and forces spread out among the local population to carry out the counterinsurgency strategy, according to a mental health assessment conducted there between April and June.

By December, the Army will reduce that ratio to one provider for every 700 soldiers — the ratio prescribed by Army doctrine — by sending an additional 60 to 65 psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses and others to the country, said Lt. Col. Paul Bliese, a leader on the Mental Health Assessment Team. Two reserve units were recently activated to help boost the number of mental health providers available for deployment.

Previous mental health assessments in 2005 and 2007 found that Iraq lacked enough mental health providers. It was unclear why those lessons weren’t applied already to Afghanistan.

To give better access to care, the report recommends a two mental health professionals for each brigade combat team, rather than just one. That way one of the providers could be traveling among the far-flung troops while the other can be at the base providing treatment.

However, even with the optimal number of providers, “the tyranny of terrain and weather” makes it difficult for soldiers to get to the providers at the larger bases or for providers to get to them, Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, Army surgeon general, said at a press conference releasing the findings. That might contribute to stigma regarding mental heath services, since seeking care is rather conspicuous under those circumstances, the report found.

The Army’s massive campaign to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health services doesn’t seem to be having an effect on soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, who have reported the same level of stigma since the 2005 survey, according to the report.

President Barack Obama is debating whether to increase troop levels in the country at the same time soldiers are reporting a dramatically decreased unit morale compared with previous years. Those difficulties are also manifesting themselves at home, with an ever-increasing number of soldiers reporting they are getting or considering divorce.

The report found that about 14 percent of all soldiers in Afghanistan have some sort of psychological problem — acute stress or depression, for example. That number jumps significantly when looking at males in the ranks of private through specialist. Of that group more than 21 percent have a mental health issue. That’s down 2 percent from 2007, but still more than double the rate in 2005.

Those numbers have been steadily dropping in Iraq, where the mental health picture is improving overall. Morale is up and suicides didn’t increase there for the first since 2004, the report said. Stigma, as in Afghanistan, isn’t showing improvement, however. Units who spend most of their time outside the wire are reporting the presence of stigma at a higher level than the last assessment, though that may be attributed somewhat to an increase in the number of such soldiers participating in the survey.

Soldiers in support units, who have better access to care because they are typically on larger bases, experience much lower levels of stigma, the report found.

The assessment also reinforced the importance of dwell time. Soldiers deployed to both countries had better mental health if they had more time at home between deployments. In fact, the cumulative time deployed is less a factor in mental health than amount of dwell time between those deployments.

By Megan McCloskey, Stars and Stripes
European edition,Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

If You Can't Feed a Hundred People, Then Feed Just One. ~Mother Teresa

It's hard to believe how quickly this year has passed by.

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and Christmas only four weeks later!

Like many of you, our family's holiday plans are coming together.

And then, there are our Soldiers.....

The brave men and women defending our freedoms, who will be thousands of miles from family and friends during the holiday season.

As I have mentioned in past posts, I am so very proud to be a Soldiers Angel. It is truly in giving, that we receive. To know that at mail call; a letter or package I have mailed may bring a smile upon a such an awesome feeling. To be able to make a soldier's day a bit brighter, is the very least I can do when I think of their sacrifice for me!

Yes, it is a commitment. But stop and think of their commitment to our country. Certainly mailing one letter a week, along with one or two packages each month is easy enough.

I'm inviting all who read this post, to take a few moments and visit Soldiers Angel website HERE. Their motto is perfect, "May No Soldier Go Unloved". Become an Angel!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some Days Are Just Plain Good.

November 11th, was a good day.

Veterans Day is the one day a year set aside to pay tribute to all who have served our nation. For so many of us, the military is a part of us...we don't need a day off work to remind us what our service members mean to our nation. We live it.

Now, don't get me wrong...I am truly grateful that Veterans Day is a holiday. My blog is alive, because I have the need to share with all who are willing to read...the importance of recognizing the men and women who protect our freedoms. I am ever so grateful for the freedom to show respect to the generations of soldiers, who have made our country so great and strong!

Fortunately, many had Veterans Day off. I did not. I had to work. But....I loved being at work. You see, I had the pleasure and honor of writing my story on our company's E-Mail, which is distributed to each and every customer who frequents our store. When I arrived at the shop in the morning, I had no idea this would be one of my tasks! The owner of the company was so kind to feature my words, in honor of Veterans Day. It means so very much to me, to know the people I work with have respect for our military. On the afternoons I leave early for BWI to welcome home troops, they've covered my back at the shop. When my sons are coming home for a few days to visit, they've covered my back at the shop. It's the 'mom and pop shop' mentality which our nation was built on. Taking care of each other, and taking care of our soldiers.

So to Dave, the owner of the finest Garden Market in the state of Maryland...thank you for supporting our troops. I've attached a few photos of our shop...and we call this work?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day, 2009

A Veteran’s Day Prayer

Dear Lord,
Today we honor our veterans,
worthy men and women
who gave their best
when they were called upon
to serve and protect their country.
We pray that you will bless them, Lord,
for their unselfish service
in the continual struggle
to preserve our freedoms, our safety,
and our country’s heritage, for all of us.
Bless them abundantly
for the hardships they faced,
for the sacrifices they made
for their many different contributions
to America’s victories
over tyranny and oppression.
We respect them, we thank them,
we honor them, we are proud of them,
and we pray that you will watch over
these special people
and bless them with peace and happiness.
In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.

By Joanna Fuchs

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To all who have served our Nation,
I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

United States Marines - 234th Birhtday

The United States Marine Corps was formed in 1775 by the Continental Congress when it authorized the formation of two battalions. The Marine motto “Semper Fidelis” means always faithful and is what all Marines strive for. The phrase defines the honesty and dedication for their work of protecting the United States of America.

There currently are roughly 180,000 active duty and 40,000 reserve Marines enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

The military organization is considered to be the aggressive tip of the American military spear and is frequently referred to as “First to Fight.” Marines are the only U.S. military force designed to be expeditionary in nature and able to operate in a state of “forward deployment.” Forward deployment refers to Marines being stationed around the world and ready to act whenever and wherever the need arises.

Frank Denzler
Rushville Republican

Monday, November 9, 2009

"The Way We Get By"

Over the weekend, I caught an interesting interview of a small elderly group. Since May 2003, these senior citizens have been going to an airport in Bangor, Maine to send off soldiers as they deploy and to welcome them as they return to U.S. soil. Over 900,000 soldiers have been greeted by this dedicated group.

On Veterans Day, November 11th...their story will be aired on PBS. Please visit PBS to check the time it is airing in your local area or better yet, order the video!

As most of you know, I am a volunteer with Operation Welcome Home-Maryland. The true honor of shaking hands with our heroes as they step off the plane, takes my breath away every single time. Soldier after soldier walk by our 'parade route' and it never ceases to amaze me how thankful they are to see us! They thank us! I mean THEY. THANK. US! At one point in the interview, the word 'addiction' was used...and it's true! If it were not for the fact I live an hour and a half from the airport...I would be there to greet every plane which lands with our soldiers returning home! Greeting our troops is something I need to do. I need to let them know they are coming home to a grateful nation. I need our soldiers to feel loved and appreciated. I need to see their smiling faces, and know that they are safely home! How grateful I am, to know there is our core group at OWH greeting the flights of soldiers returning through BWI.

Please look into watching "The Way We Get By" on PBS. The website is filled with excellent ideas on how to make posters, if you have the opportunity to greet our troops. Along the left sidebar are many useful links of ideas how to help our service members through the USO and other wonderful organizations.

If you have a few more moments, please watch the trailer (don't forget to pause my music on the right sidebar!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

13 Faces

On Thursday, November 5, 2009 our nation was stunned and saddend by the horrific mass killing at Fort Hood. Each of these Americans proudly served our country. Please join me in remembering the faces and names of our heroes. Pray for the familes, who now have empty places in their hearts.

Lt. Col. Juanita L. Warman (Maryland National Guard)

Pfc. Michael Pearson

Maj. L. Eduardo Caraveo

Staff Sgt. Justin M. DeCrow

Spc. Jason Dean Hunt

Spc. Kham S. Xiong

Major John Gaffaney (Reservist)

Chief Warrant Officer Michael Grant Cahill (Ret.)

Spc. Francheska Velez

Russell Seager (Reservist)

Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelk

Sgt. Amy Krueger

Spc. Frederick Greene

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kids Are Kids... and They Love Candy

HELMAND PROVENCE, Afghanistan (Oct. 29, 2009) Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Eric Nobriga, assigned to Combined Anti-Armor Team 2 (CAAT 2), hands candy to Afghan children during a patrol in Nawa District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment is one of the ground combat elements deployed with Regimental Combat Team 7. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz/Released)
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This photo made me smile today. I packaged up all the leftover Halloween candy (it rained on Halloween night) and shipped it to 'Chief' with a note stating the next box will be filled with toothpaste! I'm rather certain he will share the contents of the box with his flight. I am absolutely certain the children in the area will receive plenty of candy as well! It makes me smile to think of our Soldiers sharing candy with the children in such a faraway land.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fort Hood

We must continue to pray for the families of the killed at Fort Hood.

We must pray for healing of those injured in this tragedy.

We must never let this happen on U.S. soil again!

Police Raid Fort Hood Suspect's Home as 13th Victim Dies From Injuries - Local News News Articles National News US News -

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not At Home!

I've spent this afternoon watching the coverage of the shooting at Fort Hood.

My heart hurts.

My Prayers are lifted for the fallen soldiers, who by the Grace of God returned home...only to be shot down in their own backyard.

My Prayers for healing of those who have been injured.

My Prayers go to the families who were enjoying a 'normal' day, only to have their worlds fall apart hearing of a loved one killed or injured on an Army Base.

As a Mom, my level of fear has certainly gone up a notch. This incident happened at Fort Hood... this time. We think as long as our sons are stateside, they are not in harms' way. I've always thought of Military Bases to be a bubble of sorts. Obviously, our world holds no bubbles.

Will this prove to be an act of terror? One man has certainly altered the lives of so many. The fallen, the injured, the families, along with each and every Service Member walking on a "Secure Base". What is secure anymore?

I'm thinking of the soldiers returning home tomorrow at BWI. How many of them will be flying on to Fort Hood, to learn of comrades killed or injured? They believed they were coming home to safety.

My heart hurts.

Military Support From the Big Guys!

Last December I wrote a post titled, "My Hands are Small" The words are borrowed from the song, "Hands" written by Jewel:

My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours,
they are my own
But they're not yours,
they are my own
And I am never broken.

Friday night, I will once again have the great honor of welcoming home our Soldiers at BWI. Being an active volunteer with Operation Welcome Home fills my heart with more and more gratitude of our troops. To shake the hands of the men and women who have spent months overseas, leaves a lump in my throat each time I attend such an event. I make it a point to fill a bag with snacks, to help fill the goodie bags we distribute to each soldier. But as I hands are small. My Garden Center wages, limits me to what I can donate.

And then there are the Big Guys.....

Old Navy helped OWH, by collecting enough food and water to supply nearly 16 planes or 4800 troops! 20 of their local stores participated in this drive and it truly is a tremendous help! It is my hope more Retailers will participate in donating or holding collection drives for our Soldiers.

Applebee's is once again offering FREE FOOD to our Service Members on Veterans Day! What an awesome Thank You!

The Walmart Foundation has donated over $1 million to the National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) to support their Community Circles of Support for Veterans’ Families initiative. The objective of this program is to fill the gap in services by improving high-quality emotional health and family support services for veterans and their families through integrated community support programming.

Please pass along national or local companies you know are doing good deeds for our soldiers.

Let's join together and recognize these companies by patronizing their establishments. If they are helping to take care of our Soldiers, they deserve a huge Thank you!

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

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Prayers for Belle...again

My sweet little grandgirl is going in for more tests on Monday.

She needs our prayers.

Her Mommy and Daddy need our prayers.

The doctors who lay their healing hands on this sweet baby, need our prayers.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Friday, October 30, 2009

Search and Rescue

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy were searching early Friday for as many as nine people off the Southern California coast following a collision between a Coast Guard plane and a Marine Corps helicopter, officials said.

The crash was reported at 7:10 p.m. Thursday, about 50 miles off the San Diego County coast and 15 miles east of San Clemente Island, Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Allyson Conroy said.

A pilot reported seeing a fireball near where the aircraft collided, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said, and the Coast Guard informed the FAA that debris from a C-130 had been spotted. Seven people were on board the plane, a C-130, and two people were aboard the helicopter, he said.

Cpl Michael Stevens, a spokesman for the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, said the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter was on a training mission when it went down. The Cobra and its crew are part of Marine Aircraft Group 39, based at Camp Pendleton, and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is headquartered at Miramar, Stevens said.

The missing Coast Guard plane and its crew are from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jetta Disco. Crews from the Sacramento Coast Guard station fly search-and-rescue, law enforcement and logistics missions, Disco said.

The Coast Guard planned to search through the night, having sent three cutters and diverting an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the area to search for survivors. The Navy, meanwhile, sent four vessels and multiple helicopters.

"The search condition are ideal for tonight," Lt. Josh Nelson of the Coast Guard told XETV in San Diego. "We've got a clear sky, the winds are calm, the seas are calm, and we have a lot of assets out there."

San Clemente Island is the southernmost of the eight Channel Islands located 68 nautical miles west of San Diego. The Navy has owned and trained at San Clemente Island since 1934, according to the island's Web site. Naval Air Station, North Island is responsible for the island's administration.

Earlier this week, it was an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter that collided with a UH-1 helicopter over southern Afghanistan, killing four American troops and wounding two more, a Marine spokesman said.

Friday, October 30, 2009
Associated Press

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My prayers are lifted for these nine brave Service Members and the families who love them so.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

If Only......

Op-Ed Columnist

The Peace (Keepers) Prize


Published: October 10, 2009

The Nobel committee did President Obama no favors by prematurely awarding him its peace prize. As he himself acknowledged, he has not done anything yet on the scale that would normally merit such an award — and it dismays me that the most important prize in the world has been devalued in this way.

It is not the president’s fault, though, that the Europeans are so relieved at his style of leadership, in contrast to that of his predecessor, that they want to do all they can to validate and encourage it. I thought the president showed great grace in accepting the prize not for himself but “as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.”

All that said, I hope Mr. Obama will take this instinct a step further when he travels to Oslo on Dec. 10 for the peace prize ceremony. Here is the speech I hope he will give:

“Let me begin by thanking the Nobel committee for awarding me this prize, the highest award to which any statesman can aspire. As I said on the day it was announced, ‘I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize.’ Therefore, upon reflection, I cannot accept this award on my behalf at all.

“But I will accept it on behalf of the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century — the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the American soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, to liberate Europe from the grip of Nazi fascism. I will accept this award on behalf of the American soldiers and sailors who fought on the high seas and forlorn islands in the Pacific to free East Asia from Japanese tyranny in the Second World War.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the American airmen who in June 1948 broke the Soviet blockade of Berlin with an airlift of food and fuel so that West Berliners could continue to live free. I will accept this award on behalf of the tens of thousands of American soldiers who protected Europe from Communist dictatorship throughout the 50 years of the cold war.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the American soldiers who stand guard today at outposts in the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan to give that country, and particularly its women and girls, a chance to live a decent life free from the Taliban’s religious totalitarianism.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the American men and women who are still on patrol today in Iraq, helping to protect Baghdad’s fledgling government as it tries to organize the rarest of things in that country and that region — another free and fair election.

“I will accept this award on behalf of the thousands of American soldiers who today help protect a free and Democratic South Korea from an unfree and Communist North Korea.

“I will accept this award on behalf of all the American men and women soldiers who have gone on repeated humanitarian rescue missions after earthquakes and floods from the mountains of Pakistan to the coasts of Indonesia. I will accept this award on behalf of American soldiers who serve in the peacekeeping force in the Sinai desert that has kept relations between Egypt and Israel stable ever since the Camp David treaty was signed.

“I will accept this award on behalf of all the American airmen and sailors today who keep the sea lanes open and free in the Pacific and Atlantic so world trade can flow unhindered between nations.

“Finally, I will accept this award on behalf of my grandfather, Stanley Dunham, who arrived at Normandy six weeks after D-Day, and on behalf of my great-uncle, Charlie Payne, who was among those soldiers who liberated part of the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald.

“Members of the Nobel committee, I accept this award on behalf of all these American men and women soldiers, past and present, because I know — and I want you to know — that there is no peace without peacekeepers.

“Until the words of Isaiah are made true and lasting — and nations never again lift up swords against nations and never learn war anymore — we will need peacekeepers. Lord knows, ours are not perfect, and I have already moved to remedy inexcusable excesses we’ve perpetrated in the war on terrorism.

“But have no doubt, those are the exception. If you want to see the true essence of America, visit any U.S. military outpost in Iraq or Afghanistan. You will meet young men and women of every race and religion who work together as one, far from their families, motivated chiefly by their mission to keep the peace and expand the borders of freedom.

“So for all these reasons — and so you understand that I will never hesitate to call on American soldiers where necessary to take the field against the enemies of peace, tolerance and liberty — I accept this peace prize on behalf of the men and women of the U.S. military: the world’s most important peacekeepers.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

53 Stars Have Turned From Blue to Gold

As of this morning, 53 American soldiers have been killed this month.

53 Stars Have Turned From Blue to Gold.

53 families have broken hearts.

53 brave men have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.

Think about it.

Imagine 53 people you know all in a room.

Imagine the room now empty.

53 of our Soldiers are gone.

The place they held in their family, in their community is now empty.

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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Deadliest of Days

14 Americans Killed in Afghan Chopper Crashes
KABUL — A series of helicopter crashes killed 14 Americans in insurgent-wracked Afghanistan on Monday, the U.S. military said. It was one of the deadliest days of the war for U.S. troops.

In the first crash, a chopper went down in the west of the country after leaving the scene of a firefight with insurgents, killing 10 Americans — seven troops and three civilians working for the government. Eleven American troops, one U.S. civilian and 14 Afghans were also injured.

In a separate incident in the south, two other U.S. choppers collided while in flight, killing four American troops and wounding two more, the military said.

U.S. authorities have ruled out hostile fire in the collision but have not given a cause for the other fatal crash in the west. Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmedi claimed Taliban fighters shot down a helicopter in northwest Badghis province's Darabam district. It was impossible to verify the claim and unclear if he was referring to the same incident.

U.S. forces also reported the death of two other American troops a day earlier: one in a bomb attack in the east, and another who died of wounds sustained in an insurgent attack in the same region. The deaths bring to at least 46 the number of U.S. troops who have been killed in October.

Earlier this month, insurgents killed eight American troops in an attack on a pair of isolated U.S. outposts in the eastern village of Kamdesh near the Pakistan border. That was the heaviest U.S. loss of life in a single battle since July 2008, when nine American soldiers were killed in a raid on an outpost in Wanat in the same province.

"These separate tragedies today underscore the risks our forces and our partners face every day," Col. Wayne Shanks, a spokesman for the NATO-led coalition, said Monday. "Each and every death is a tremendous loss for the family and friends of each service member and civilian. Our grief is compounded when we have such a significant loss on one day."

This has been the deadliest year for international and U.S. forces since the 2001 invasion to oust the Taliban. Fighting spiked around the presidential vote in August, and 51 U.S. soldiers died that month — the deadliest for American forces in the eight-year war.

The deaths come as U.S. officials debate whether to send tens of thousands more troops to the country and the Afghan government scrambles to organize a Nov. 7 runoff election between President Hamid Karzai and his top challenger from an August vote that was sullied by massive ballot-rigging. President Barack Obama's administration is hoping the runoff will produce a legitimate government. Another flawed election would cast doubt on the wisdom of sending more troops to support a weak government tainted by fraud.

U.S. military spokeswoman Elizabeth Mathias said coalition forces had launched an operation to recover the wreckage of the helicopter that was downed in the west.

She said the aircraft was leaving the site of a joint operation with Afghan forces when it went down.

The joint force had "searched a suspected compound believed to harbor insurgents conducting activities related to narcotics trafficking in western Afghanistan," NATO said in a statement. "During the operation, insurgent forces engaged the joint force and more than a dozen enemy fighters were killed in the ensuing firefight.

Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium — the raw ingredient in heroin — and the illicit drug trade is a major source of funding for Taliban and other insurgent groups.

On Sunday, Karzai and his rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, both ruled out a power-sharing deal before the runoff, saying the second round of balloting must be held as planned to bolster democracy in this war-ravaged country.

Meanwhile, security forces in Kabul fired automatic rifles into the air for a second day Monday to contain hundreds of stone-throwing university students angered over the alleged desecration of a Muslim holy book, the Quran, by U.S. troops during an operation two weeks ago in Wardak province. Firetrucks were also brought in to push back protesters with water cannons. Police said several officers were injured in the mayhem.

U.S. and Afghan authorities have denied any such desecration and insist that the Taliban are spreading the rumor to stir up public anger. The rumor has sparked similar protests in Wardak and Khost provinces.

On Sunday, the students in the capital burned Obama in effigy and chanted slogans such as "down with Americans, down with Israel" as they marched from Kabul University to the parliament building, where riot police turned them back.

Monday, October 26, 2009
Associated Press

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America welcomes you to participate in our annual laying of the wreaths effort at Arlington National Cemetery on December 12, 2009 and over 380 Remembrance Ceremonies world wide. Ceremonial wreaths for each branch of the military will be sent to all of the participating State and National cemeteries along with many local town cemeteries. Wreaths will also be provided for 24 offshore cemeteries, including Normandy Beach and a large Veteran’s commemorative wreath will be sent to each state’s State House.

Please take a few moments and visit their website: and join me in sponsoring a wreath!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Update...

I've been out of the Blogosphere for a little over a month now. It all began with the birth of my youngest grandgirl, Belle. She is a beauty. But she is deeply in need of prayer.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that she had been hospitalized for tests. The doctors felt as though they had her on a path of healing with medication and a different formula. She is not responding as well as they had hoped and more testing will be done on the 2nd. At her one month visit yesterday, a couple other issues were discovered...none all too serious, but they do exist and must be addressed.

I'm asking for continued prayer for not only Belle, but for her parents as well. Not to mention her two big sisters. This young family is in a tough place right now. It's difficult enough to have a 3 year old and 2 year old in the house with a newborn, but add medical issues on top makes it all the more challenging. It is a blessing to see the strength J & K pull from prayer. I know they are beyond exhaustion, both physical and emotional.

It's funny to listen to people gripe, in the course of a day... oh the woes of so many, who truly are not suffering at all. Oh my, a Weeping Cherry tree died in their yard or they have some scale on a Rhodo or we did not install their Leylands within 2 weeks and they are furious...screaming like a Banshee. Get a grip. Deal. Your life is damn good. Give thanks. I look at these people and chuckle under my breath. I'd like for them to hold my grandgirl, this tiny little person who is unable to keep food in her body.

Let's all try a little harder to keep life in perspective. What do we have to complain about? What are our hardships? To those of you I know live with genuine troubles, I will remain your prayer warrior. For the rest who have difficulty with the slightest bit of adversity...D-E-A-L!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wounds of War

Some wounds of war
Are never seen
They're buried deep within
No open wound
No Purple Heart
No blemish on the skin
But these are wounds
That leave a scar
Upon our very soul
They tear our hearts
Cause misery
And take a heavy toll
Our bloodless wounds
Cause us to ask
Oh GOD,what was it for
We go through life
Not knowing why
We have these
Wounds of War