Saturday, May 30, 2009

On a New Day...

Thursday was spent having lunch with my two grandgirls, and then babysitting while my daughter had another sonogram (please keep both my daughter and her baby girl in your prayers).

Precious now begins her sentences with "On a new day....." and then she goes on "I'll have dinner at Nana's house" or "I plant more flowers with Nana".

On a new day....


Your turn to complete the sentence....

"On a new day_________________________________"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Her Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

Pope A F B, N.C. — A Pope Air Force Base Airman died Tuesday near Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.

Senior Airman Ashton L.M. Goodman, 21, of Indianapolis, died after an improvised explosive device blew up. She was assigned to the 43rd Logistics Readiness Squadron at Pope.

Goodman is the fifth Pope Airman killed in action since Sept. 11, 2001, and the first from the 43rd Airlift Wing, officials said.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Somebody's Son

Staff Sgt. Paul Hanson (left) and Spec. Adam Ortiz, both of Erie, Pa, prepare to enter a building at the Nassir factory complex north of Camp Taji on May 24. Both Soldiers are from Company B, 1st Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
(Photo by Capt. Maggie White : 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division)

Please take a moment during your busy day to remember that somebody's son, is in a land far away.

Somebody's son is being missed terribly.

Somebody's son needs our prayers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Hero 05/27/2009

USS George H.W. Bush
USS George H.W. Bush
U.S. Navy

Sailors assigned to the Air Department of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) are silhouetted against the setting sun at the conclusion of flight operations. George H.W. is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting flight deck certifications.

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

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Talking Tuesday

It has been my honor to visit numerous Monuments and Memorials, throughout the world. I have posted photos of three which have touched my heart the deepest.
Which Monument or Memorial means the most to you?

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial , St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Memorial Day is an opportunity to show we are indeed a grateful nation. There will be a special Memorial Day Celebration on Monday in Poolesville...unfortunately I must work all day, but I'll try to get hold of and post some photos.

The Indy 500 took place on Sunday and John was there! Not only did he attend the race, he participated in the Pre-Race Military Appreciation and son was on national television! John told me he would be on detail, wearing his ABU's. I suggested he wear his BCG's, so that I would have a better chance of spotting him...he declined. As Hubster and I watched the opening ceremonies, there was a shot of an American Flag held by many soldiers (all in ABU's). I figured my son had the honor of holding the flag and I thought that was pretty neat. I was wrong! Oh yeah! As the Bagpipers finished playing "Amazing Grace", there was a 3-Volley Salute and then a Bugler began to play TAPS. As it finished, the camera scanned the faces of several soldiers...and yes... THERE. WAS. MY. SON! John had asked we video tape the Pre-Race for him, which we as soon as we get it copied to a DVD, I will upload and post. A proud day for this mom!

I spoke with my oldest son on Sunday, as well! (have I mentioned Sunday was a very good day?) He is doing well. On July 27th, B will take his GRE (Graduate Record Examination); he is looking forward to attending Graduate School in the fall of 2010. I am so very proud of my son! He is a Psychology major, and I know in my heart he will do very well on this Exam! In the next few days, he will send me his flight info...yes; my son is coming home for a visit in August! Hopefully John will come home the same weekend and I have all four of my children together (at least for a couple of hours!)

I've received several amazing Memorial Day items, all worthy of sharing!

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Don't forget to set your clocks, cells, PDA's - whatever - for 3PM on 5/25/09 for the National Moment of Remembrance!

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Please stop by and visit CommonCents he has uploaded some great videos worth watching!

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And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

~Lee Greenwood

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by Mackubin Thomas Owens

May 25, 2009

Mackubin Thomas Owens is professor of strategyand force
planning at the Naval War College in Newport and aMarine
infantry veteran of Vietnam. He is also Editor ofOrbis,
FPRI's quarterly journal of world affairs, and a senior
fellow of FPRI.


by Mackubin Thomas Owens

On Monday, we will mark the 141st anniversary of thefirst
official observation of the holiday we now call Memorial
Day, as established by General John A. Logan's "General
Order No. 11" of the Grand Army of the Republic dated 5 May,
1868. This order reads in part: "The 30th day ofMay 1868
is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowersand
otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in
defense of their country during the late rebellion, and
whose bodies lie in almost every city, village andhamlet
churchyard in the land." Logan's order in factratified a
practice that was already widespread, both in the North and
the South, in the years immediately following the Civil War.

As Americans continue to fight and die in Iraq and
Afghanistan, it is fitting that we recur to the true meaning
of this day. Alas, for too many Americans, Memorial Day has
come to mean nothing more than another three-dayweekend,
albeit the one on which the beaches open, signifying the
beginning of summer. Unfortunately, the tendency to see the
holiday as merely an opportunity to attend a weekendcook-
out obscures even the vestiges of what the day was meant to
observe: a solemn time, serving both as catharsis for those
who fought and survived, and to ensure that those who follow
will not forget the sacrifice of those who diedthat the
American Republic and the principles that sustain it, might
live. Some examples might help us to understand whatthis
really means.

On July 2nd, 1863, Major General Dan Sickles, commanding III
Corps of the Army of the Potomac, held the Union left along
Cemetery Ridge south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Dissatisfied with his position, he made an unauthorized
movement to higher ground along the Emmitsburg Pike tohis
front. In so doing, he created a gap between his corpsand
Major General Winfield Scott Hancock's II Corps on his
right. Before the mistake could be rectified, Sickles'two
under strength divisions were struck by General James
Longstreet's veteran I Corps of Robert E. Lee's Confederate
Army of Northern Virginia in an attack that ultimately
threatened the entire Union position on Cemetery Ridge.

At the height of the fighting, a fresh Alabama brigadeof
1,500 men, pursuing the shattered remnants of Sickles corps,
was on the verge of penetrating the Union defenses on
Cemetery Ridge. Union commanders including Hancockrushed
reinforcements forward to plug the gap, but at acritical
juncture, the only available troops were eightcompanies--
262 men-- of the 1st Minnesota Volunteers. Pointing tothe
Alabamans' battle flags, Hancock shouted to theregiment's
colonel, "Do you see those colors? Take them."

As the 1st Minnesota's colonel later related,"Every man
realized in an instant what that order meant--death or
wounds to us all; the sacrifice of the regiment to gaina
few minutes time and save the position, and probably the
battlefield--and every man saw and accepted thenecessity
for the sacrifice."

The Minnesotans did not capture the colors of theAlabama
brigade, but the shock of their attack broke the
Confederates' momentum and bought critical time--at the cost
of 215 killed and wounded, including the colonel and all but
three of his officers. The position was held, but inshort
order, the 1st Minnesota ceased to exist, suffering a
casualty rate of 82 percent, the highest of the war for any
Union regiment in a single engagement.

Memorial Day is about the sacrifice of the other units, for
example, the 54th Massachusetts, a regiment of black
soldiers whose exploits were portrayed in the movieGlory.
The 54th's assault, in the face of hopeless odds,against
Battery Wagner, which dominated the approaches to Charleston
Harbor, cost the regiment over half its number andproved
beyond the shadow of a doubt that black soldiers werethe
equal, in both bravery and determination, of white soldiers.

In No True Glory, Bing West recounts the epic story ofthe
battle for Fallujah. What Admiral Nimitz said of the Marines
on Iwo Jima applied to the battle of Fallujah as well:
"uncommon valor was a common virtue." Ourtroops continue
to demonstrate uncommon valor on a daily basis.

But Memorial Day is also about individuals we may have
known. It is about a contemporary of my father, who himself
fought and was wounded in the Pacific during World WarII.
Marine Sgt. John Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor for
his actions on Guadalcanal. Though he was not obligatedto
do so, he insisted on returning to combat and was killed on
the first day of the struggle for Iwo Jima.

Memorial Day is also about Corporal Larry Boyer, USMC, a
member of the platoon that I led in Vietnam fromSeptember
1968 until May 1969. The men of that platoon would all have
preferred to be somewhere other than the Republic of
Vietnam's northern Quang Tri Province, but they weredoing
their duty as it was understood at the time. In those days,
men built their lives around their military obligation, and
if a war happened on their watch, fighting was part ofthe

But Corporal Boyer went far beyond the call of duty. Ata
time when college enrollment was a sure way to avoid
military service and a tour in Vietnam, Corporal Boyer,
despite excellent grades, quit, enlisted in the Marines, and
volunteered to go to Vietnam as an infantryman. Becauseof
his high aptitude test scores, the Marine Corps sent him to
communications-electronics school instead. But Corporal
Boyer kept "requesting mast," insisting that he hadjoined
the Marines to fight in Vietnam. He got his wish, and on 29
May, 1969, he gave the "last full measure ofdevotion" to
his country and comrades.

What leads men to behave as the soldiers of the 1st
Minnesota, the 54th Massachusetts, the soldiers and Marines
in Iraq and Afghanistan, John Basilone, Larry Boyer, and the
countless others who have shared their sacrifice? Since the
Vietnam War, too many of our countrymen have concluded that
those who have died in battle are "victims." How else are
we to understand the Vietnam War Memorial--"The Wall"--a
structure that evokes not respect for the honored dead, but
on the one hand, pity for those whose names appear onthe
wall, and on the other, relief on the part of those who, for
whatever reason, did not serve?

Most Americans in general and veterans in particular reject
this characterization. But there is a tendency thesedays
also to reject the polar opposite: that these men diedfor
"a cause." Many cite the observation ofGlen Gray in his
book, The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle:
"Numberless soldiers have died, more or less willingly,not
for country or honor or religious faith or forany other
abstract good, but because they realized that by fleeing
their posts and rescuing themselves, they would expose their
companions to greater danger. Such loyalty to the groupis
the essence of fighting morale."

It is my own experience that Gray is right about whatmen
think about in the heat of combat: the impact of our actions
on our comrades always looms large in our minds.. As Oliver
Wendell Holmes observed in his Memorial Day address of 1884,
"In the great democracy of self-devotion private and general
stand side by side." But the tendency of the individual
soldier to focus on the particulars of combat makes Memorial
Day all the more important, for this day permits us to
enlarge the individual soldier's view, to give meaningto
the sacrifice that was accepted of some but offered by all,
not only to acknowledge and remember the sacrifice, butto
validate it.

In the history of the world, many good soldiers havedied
bravely and honorably for bad or unjust causes. Americans
are fortunate in that we have been given a way ofavoiding
this situation by linking the sacrifice of our soldiersto
the meaning of the nation. At the dedication of the cemetery
at Gettysburg four months after the battle, President
Abraham Lincoln fleshed out the understanding ofwhat he
called in his First Inaugural Address, the "mystic chords of
memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot
grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this
broad land..."

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address gives universal meaning to the
particular deaths that occurred on that hallowed ground,
thus allowing us to understand Memorial Day in the light of
the Fourth of July, to comprehend the honorable end ofthe
soldiers in the light of the glorious beginning and purpose
of the nation. The deaths of the soldiers at Gettysburg, of
those who died during the Civil War as a whole andindeed,
of those who have fallen in all the wars ofAmerica, are
validated by reference to the nation and its founding
principles as articulated in the Declaration of

Though Lincoln was eulogizing the Union dead at Gettysburg,
the Confederate fallen were no less worthy of praise,and
the dialectic of the Civil War means that we include them in
our national day of remembrance. As Holmes observed,"...we
respected [those who stood against us] as every man witha
heart must respect those who give all for their belief."

Some might claim that to emphasize the"mystic chords of
memory" linking Memorial Day and Independence Day is to
glorify war and especially to trivialize individual loss and
the end of youth and joy. For instance, Larry Boyer wasan
only son. How can the loved ones of a fallen soldierever
recover from such a loss? I corresponded with Cpl.Boyer's
mother for some time after his death. Her inconsolable pain
and grief put me in mind of Rudyard Kipling's poem, Epitaphs
of the War, verse IV, "An Only Son:" "I have slainnone but
my mother, She (Blessing her slayer) died of grief forme."
Kipling too, lost his only son in World War I.
But as Holmes said in 1884, "...grief is not the end of all.
I seem to hear the funeral march become apaean. I see
beyond the forest the moving banners of a hiddencolumn.
Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid usthink of
life, not death--of life to which in their youth theylent
the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen, thegreat
chorus of life and joy begins again, and amidthe awful
orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies ofgood
and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope
and will."

Linking Memorial Day and Independence Day as Lincoln
essentially did enables us to recognize that while someof
those who died in America's wars were not as brave as others
and indeed, some were not brave at all, each and everyone
was far more a hero than a victim. And it alsoallows us
forever to apply Lincoln's encomium not only to the dead of
the 1st Minnesota and the rest who died on theground at
Gettysburg that Lincoln came to consecrate, but also to John
Basilone, Larry Boyer, and the countless soldiers, sailors,
airmen, and Marines who have died in all of America's wars,
that a nation dedicated to the liberal principles of liberty
and equality might "not perish from the earth."

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May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.
May those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms, rest in peace.
May the families who have lost loved ones at war, know comfort in their hearts.
May there never be a day, we forget why we are such a blessed nation!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Freedom Is Not Free

Freedom Is Not Free

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.
- Kelly Strong

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend 2009

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service.

As we celebrate Memorial Day, flying our flag is tradition. According to the United State Flag Code, "The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff."

Many Americans consider this weekend to mark the beginning of Summer; pools opening, picnic season, weekend getaways to the beach... Memorial Day weekend means so very much more. Please take a few moments to raise your flag and whisper a soft prayer for all those who have paid the ultimate price for our nation. Let us all remember those who are in a land on the other side of the world, protecting our freedoms so that we may go to the beach, attend a picnic and enjoy another Summer season.

(Please Pause the Playlist on the Right Sidebar)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Wrap-Up

Another Friday already?

I have no idea where 2009 has gone, it simply has evaporated! Here it is, Memorial Day weekend! It seems like a couple days ago, I posted of May being Military Awareness Month...and now the month is all but gone. Please take a few moments this weekend, to reflect on those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Pray for their families and make a promise to yourself that you will never forget!

John came home last weekend! It was a total whirlwind of a couple days. He arrived late Friday night, so we sat on the deck and chatted until his momma could no longer keep her eyes open. On Saturday he met some friends in DC for the day, and brought one friend home for dinner. John headed back to Wright-Patt on Sunday morning after visiting with some neighbors. A quick visit, but I enjoyed every moment I had to hear my son's voice, to see his smiling eyes and listen to his quirky sense of humor. It often hits me, how much I miss both of my sons... their absence from my everyday life is something I have grown to accept, for I am so very proud of both these men. I know in my heart they are where they are meant to be, doing what they are meant to be doing...I would have it no other way. Ahhh...but then the MomHeart chimes in. The ache of missing them deepens-especially after spending several hours with them. How weird is that? I remember the first visit B made home, after enlisting...I believed there would be a "B-High" after seeing him and spending time with him. Instead, the opposite occurred. He left and I missed him worse than before he had come home. It happens every time. I know the routine well. I prepare myself emotionally. And then WHAM, my heart goes squash. It simply hurts. No matter how hard I try to refocus my mind, that it is all heart over-rules and Momma is a mess. Please don't get me wrong, it is not a deep dark hole I climb into...rather a reflective stage. Happy to have had time with them, happy they are doing so well in the world's they have chosen for themselves, proud they are serving our nation...but also acknowledging they are no longer my little boys.
I. Miss. My. Sons.

Today was filled with one of my simple, yet richest of pleasures. I spent a couple hours playing with my two grandgirls. There was the running game, then the hopping game... it was then time for Nana to watch over the pile of twigs, leaves and rocks which the two sweet girls brought over to me (one leaf at a time). We planted flowers in the bed, just outside the playroom window. Then we planted a pot with Basil and Cilantro for Mommy. We then had to go into the playroom, just to look out at the flowers. As I sat on the floor while these two precious babies adorned Nana with hats, scarves and purses...I thanked God for that moment. I am so richly blessed.

I mailed my final letter to my SoldiersAngels soldier. He is on his way home! May Almighty God bless his body, mind and soul as he transitions back. I look forward to adopting a new soldier and encourage everyone to do the same. It's an easy commitment; mail one letter each week and send one package a month. That's it. You will make a difference to a soldier, who is so very far from home!

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

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dusty Duty

U.S. Marines make their way back to their vehicles in the middle of a sand storm after patrolling a nearby mountain ridge in Bakwa, Farah province, Afghanistan, May 3, 2009. The Marines are assigned to India Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, the ground combat element of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brian D. Jones

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Hero 05/20/2009

Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos
Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos
25 years old from Paterson, New Jersey
3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade
May 11, 2009
U.S. Army

On Mother’s Day, Eugenia Gardos made a tabletop shrine to her recently deceased mother — surrounding her photograph with silk roses, a small white rosary cross, two votive candles and a prayer card of Senor de los Milagros, the patron saint of Peru.

The next day, May 11, she added her son's picture to the shrine for the dead.

Sgt. Gardos was killed along with five fellow servicemen; Army Spc. Jacob D. Barton, Army Maj. Matthew P. Houseal, Navy Cmdr. Charles K. Springle and Army Pfc. Michael E. Yates Jr. in the attack on Camp Liberty.

"The first time he left for Iraq, when they would read the lists of the dead on the news, we used to hold our breath, praying he wasn't on it," his mother said. "I don't understand how he could have died this way. I just don't understand it."

Sgt. Galdos had emigrated with his family from Mollendo, Peru, as a child and had been a U.S. citizen since high school. His mother, two older brothers and older sister recalled how he used to hand out candy to children in Iraq the same way he always did in Paterson — never making a trip to the corner bodega without a group of neighborhood children tailing behind, knowing he would buy them candy or a soda.

"We were all here at home," Carlos Bueno, Sgt. Galdos's father, said. "I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard screaming downstairs. I ran downstairs and everyone had thrown themselves to the floor, thrashing around, screaming."

Bueno said he does not feel bitterness toward the man accused in the shootings, whom he described as "mentally ill."

"We want people to know we're proud of our son's Army, but if my son had died in war we would be able to handle that," he said. "But not to die in this manner."

All Information Was Found On And Copied From

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Guys!

I wish to take a few moments to clarify ‘who’s who’ in AirmanMom’s life!

My hubster is my husband, and my best friend! He served in the U.S, Navy many moons ago and is currently employed by the US Navy…still working on submarines as he was when he was on active duty.

My son John, truly is the inspiration for this blog. In February, 2007 he enlisted in the USAF for six years. Upon his enlistment, I decided to journal this chapter of my life. John is the youngest of my four children, forever my baby!

My oldest son, B enlisted in 1999. Our nation was enjoying a time of peace, so there was no need to worry when he (at the age of 17) told me of his choice. I respected his decision then; I respect his choice now that he has reenlisted in the USAF Reserves. B has a beautiful home in the Rockies, a good job and a college degree in Psychology! I am so very proud of my oldest son!

My SoldierSon, MudPuppy is an amazing young man I met in the blogosphere! I was fortunate enough to happen upon his blog, “Embrace the Suck” prior to his deployment to Afghanistan. Since his deployment, I have sent this soldier e-mails and packages. I have kept his status updated on my blog, since I know many of my readers have read his words, prior to him taking his blog private (for security reasons). Although, I did not carry Mudpuppy in my body, I carry him in my heart and soul.

I am so blessed to have these amazing guys in my life. They are worthy of constant prayers; for each of them are warriors, defenders of our nation.

May Almighty God bless these men who I love so dearly. I pray they be watched over and protected all the days of their lives.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England. His B-17 was called 'Ye Old Pub' and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton.

After flying the B-17 over an enemy airfield, a German pilot named Franz Steigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he got near the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he 'had never seen a plane in such a bad state'. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere.

Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at Charlie Brown, the pilot. Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane.

Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to, and slightly over, the North Sea towards England. He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe. When Franz landed he told the CO that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.

More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions.

They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day.

When asked why he didn’t shoot them down, Stigler later said, “I didn’t have the heart to finish those brave men. I flew beside them for a long time. They were trying desperately to get home and I was going to let them do that. I could not have shot at them. It would have been the same as shooting at a man in a parachute.”

Both men died in 2008.

BF-109 pilot Franz Stigler

B-17 pilot Charlie Brown

*A special thank you to my friend, K for sharing this great story with me!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Armed Forces Day-May 16, 2009

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department -- the Department of Defense.

Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. Please give a salute to all those who put on a uniform, let them know we are a grateful nation!

Armed Forces Day
by Del "Abe" Jones

At the urging of Harry Truman
The third Saturday in May
The new Department of Defense
Proclaimed it, "Armed Forces Day".

A day to Thank all the Services
Who defend our air, land, and sea
Who serve our Country Proudly
Defending, this Land of the Free.

All those young Men and Women
And too, all of those "oldsters"
Who march, fly, and set sail
As Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Soldiers.

Some of them serve as "Regulars"
And some just do, the weekend
But all step forward, Strong and Proud
When we need someone to send.

The times have been a'changing
And missions they are asked to
Grow much more complicated
Than what, they used to do.

They must be Warrior and Diplomat
With clenched fist or gentle touch
Pass the ammunition, feed the hungry
Build roads, hospitals, and such.

"A Tradition of Heroes"
Is what some people say
And, we all owe them a, "Thank you!"
On this, "Armed Forces Day"

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good News Friday!

Great News from AirmanMom's world!!!

John is coming home this weekend! It will be a short trip, but I will see him, hear his voice, talk with him, touch youngest son is coming home!

MudPuppy arrived *there* safely. Please keep him in your prayers!

Please take a moment to share your good news on this Friday!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Touch

(Please Pause Playlist on the Right SideBar)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

A Lake in the Hills soldier serving in Afghanistan died Sunday, the U.S. military reported Monday.

Spc. Lukasz D. Saczek, 23, was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry based in Woodstock. He died as a result of a non-combat-related injury that remains under investigation, said Maj. Brad Leighton, public affairs director of the Illinois National Guard.

Saczek had a 6-week-old child and was married to Kathryn Saczek, Leighton said. He also is survived by his mother and father, Ewa and Dariusz Saczek.

Saczek graduated from Steinmetz Academic Centre in Chicago in 2005 and enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in July 2006.

It was his first deployment, and he served in Operation Enduring Freedom.

He was one of 55 soldiers who left Woodstock on Aug. 24 for two months of training before a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. He died in the Nangarhar province, Leighton said.

"As we continue through this difficult deployment, each and every soldier is a vital family member to this National Guard force," said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard. "Spc. Saczek, like all our soldiers, made the decision to volunteer to serve his country in a time of war and will be remembered."

The soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry comprise one of about 30 units with the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The unit provides security for reconstruction teams that help the Afghan government build roads, hospitals, government buildings and other infrastructure.

Three soldiers from Saczek's unit recently were killed in Afghanistan on March 15 in a roadside bomb attack: Sgt. Robert Weinger, 24, of Round Lake Beach, Sgt. Christopher Abeyta, 23, of Midlothian, and Spc. Norman Cain III, 22, of Mount Morris.

Northwest Herald 05/11/2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Military spouses receive recognition for valued service

5/11/2009 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Five military spouses received recognition for their valued service to the nation at an award ceremony here May 7.

The Military Spouse of the Year awards honor individuals that embody the best characteristics of today's military spouse, said Babette Maxwell, a Navy spouse and the co-founder and executive editor of Military Spouse Magazine, a co-sponsor of the program, now in its second year. USAA, a financial services firm that serves military members and their families, also co-sponsors the program.

The five honorees were selected by a special committee that read more than 650 nominations from Military Spouse Magazine readers, Mrs. Maxwell said. Honorees received crystal-glass trophies.

Military spouses have provided important and distinguished service for the nation since the Revolutionary War, Mrs. Maxwell said, noting the MSOY awards are "about recognizing the challenges and sacrifices that are unique to the military community."

Tanya Queiro, a former Marine Corps noncommissioned officer, received the national 2009 Military Spouse of the Year award. She also received the service-branch award as the Marines' top military spouse.

Mrs. Queiro's husband, Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Jose Queiro, is stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. They are raising three children: two sons, Jose, 12, and Marcus, 10; and a daughter, Adrianna, 8. Queiro said she met her future husband while she was in the Marines.

Other 2009 MSOY award service-branch honorees include:

-- Army: Misti Stevens, wife of Army Lt. Col. Wendell Stevens, Fort Campbell, Ky.;

-- Air Force: Susan P. Webb, wife of Air National Guard Master Sgt. Ken Webb, Air National Guard Base, Glasford, Ill.;

-- Coast Guard: Trish Pruett, wife of Coast Guard Cmdr. Jim Pruett, U.S. Coast Guard District 7, Miami; and

-- Navy: Christy Kuriatnyk, wife of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Alex Kuriatnyk, Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, Miss.

Military spouses support their husbands or wives and serve the communities in which they live, Mrs. Queiro said, noting that she and her husband have been married for 13 years. She volunteered to participate in the Marines' Lifestyle Insight, Networking, Knowledge, and Skills mentorship program, which provides new military spouses with knowledge about Marine Corps traditions, customs and courtesies and overall military culture.

"All the volunteers are spouses teaching spouses," she explained. "So, we hand down best practices -- things that have worked for us and, hopefully, things that will work for them in their marriage."

Sergeant Queiro's said he's thankful for his wife's support while he's away performing special operations missions.

"I could walk out of that door at any time, head to Afghanistan or Iraq, and know that everything back at home will be all right when I get back," the gunnery sergeant said. "I don't have to worry about any issues in the rear; I know my wife is handling everything.

"That means a lot," he continued. "I can concentrate on the mission, and come back home alive."

Misti Stevens and her Army-officer husband, Wendell, have been married for 19 years and have two children. They have since relocated to Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Army spouses, she said, have a duty to assist other military families. Mrs. Stevens participates in family readiness groups that help to prepare military families for periods when their husbands or wives are deployed, as well as other programs that address quality-of-life issues for Army families and single soldiers.

"My job is to support the families, especially during deployments," she said. "I'm there to help take care of their problems."

Mrs. Stevens' husband, a lieutenant colonel with the Army Corps of Engineers, praised his wife for her support to him and to his soldiers and their families.

"She has been very helpful to my career, as well as in the units that we've been with," he said. "If you're worried, you're not going to do as well in your job."

Air Force MSOY recipient Susan P. Webb and her husband, Ken, have been married for 28 years. She said she believes military spouses must support their military mates and maintain a positive attitude in dealing with the challenges that come with a military lifestyle.

"Try to look at something positive that's from the situation and make the best of it, and keep smiling and laugh," she said. "You will get through anything."

When husbands and wives are deployed, she added, military spouses need to "be strong while they're away, make wise decisions when they're gone and keep the family and the household together and running."

Ken Webb said he is proud of his wife and is grateful for her support.

"To have a wife that is supportive when you are in the military just makes life easier in the military," the noncommissioned officer said. When life is going well at the home, said Webb, who has raised three children with Susan, then servicemembers can focus on the job.

Trish Pruett and her husband, Jim, a Coast Guard commander, have been married for 18 years. Pruett said she stays in touch with the Coast Guard's military community in Miami through her ombudsman work at District 7. The couple has three daughters.

Mrs. Pruett said much of her life as a military spouse consists of ensuring that "everything stays together for last-minute changes" and holding down the home front when her military-lawyer husband is away on duty.

"She takes care of the home and the daughters, where I don't have to worry about it at all," said Mrs. Pruett, noting that his wife also performs copious volunteer work on behalf of local military families.

Mrs. Pruett said his wife's efforts allow him "to focus on my job and support the Coast Guard."

Navy wife Christy Kuriatnyk and her husband, Alex, also have been married for 18 years. The couple has two girls and a boy. Alex, a lieutenant commander, is a "geographic bachelor" who works with a Seabee unit in Gulfport, Miss., while Mrs. Kuriatnyk takes care of the couple's two high-school-age children who live at the family's home in Georgia.

"The role of a Navy spouse, basically, I think, is to support the service, as well as the active-duty member, in all matters," Mrs. Kuriatnyk said. She has a public-health job that enables her to work with the military community at Fort Benning, Ga., and she also volunteers for the Operation Homefront nonprofit organization that assists military families when their servicemember spouses are deployed.

"The Navy really has blessed us," she said, noting that she and her husband feel compelled in return to help military families in need and homeless veterans.

"My wife is the backbone of our family," Alex Kuriatnyk said of his wife's efforts in paying the family's bills and taking care of their children while he is away on military duty, which has included several tours in Iraq. She "supports the family when I'm not there," he said. "She's the hero."

Chelle Brewer, who was last year's national Military Spouse of the Year, has been married to Army 1st Lt. Steven Brewer for five years. Her volunteer work -- which includes helping children with special needs and visits with soldiers diagnosed with traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder -- reflects her desire to maintain a positive outlook, despite experiencing several family tragedies. Her son, Rory, died three years ago at childbirth, and his twin sister, Lorelei, was born without three of the four chambers of her heart. The couple also has a 7-year-old son, Cavan.

Last year, Mrs. Brewer's husband, a military psychologist, was seriously injured during a parachute jump exercise at Fort Benning, Ga.

"I feel as though I had a choice," she said. "We were given very bad circumstances, and I could either feel bad for myself, or try to make it better for other people. So I chose to try and help other people, instead of wallowing in my own self-pity."

by Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Joy!

"A grandchild fills a space in your heart that you never knew was empty."


My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our father's God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

~Samuel Francis Smith

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Please allow me to take this moment and thank all the Blue Star Moms, for their continued support and unconditional love of our soldiers.

Warm thanks will never be enough, to pay tribute to the Gold Star Moms whose children have paid the ultimate price.

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms!!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

MudPuppy Prayer Request

Prayer Warriors are needed!

MudPuppy will be out of touch for the next week or so, since his Company is moving.

According to my SoldierSon, "Time to go sight seeing through the Afghani countryside."

My heart is heavy.

My prayers are constant.

My package is in the mail, for his arrival "there".

Please join me in prayer for this Soldier.

Please pray for his family and friends at home.

Please take a few moments to listen to the song on my Playlist called "He's My Son".

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place somehow
See, he's not just anyone
He's my son.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


U.S. Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division recite the oath of enlistment during the unit's largest re-enlistment ceremony of the year, located at the crossed saber monument in the International Zone, Baghdad, Iraq, on April 23, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Hero 05/06/2009

1st Lt. Michael A. Cerrone
1st Lt. Michael A. Cerrone
24 years old from Clarksville, Tennessee
2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
November 12, 2006
U.S. Army

Cerrone's men said in written statements of remembrance that he put their safety and welfare first. He lead from the front and all of the paratroopers would "unquestionably" follow him into battle.

His platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Ronald H. Berryhill, said Cerrone was more than a leader, but a friend and "little brother."

He remembers the first day Cerrone got to the unit. At the time, he was shy and quiet. But after a few months, he became more outspoken.

"I am truly blessed to have known him and to serve under his leadership," Berryhill wrote. "He will never be forgotten. I will carry him with me always and I will always watch over his platoon. We will make him proud of his boys."

Sgt. Cerrone was killed when a suicide bomber detonated the bomb he had strapped to himself in Samarra, Iraq. Also killed in the attack was Specialist Harry "Buck" Winkler. You can read more at BLACKFIVE.

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

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Military Working Dogs

Military working dog handlers and military working dogs with the 332nd Security Forces Group wait for instructions to return to the aircraft from a helicopter crew chief during training April 21 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The training teaches the handlers and military working dogs how to safely and properly enter and exit aircraft, and prepares them for future air-assault missions.

(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Elizabeth Rissmiller)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Baseball and the USO

I don't believe I have shared how much I enjoy America's favorite past-time, BASEBALL!


I'm an Oriole Fan.

I am a fan of the American League. (except for the NY Yankees; no offence,NY Readers)

John and I sat in Camden Yards when Cal Ripken, Jr. played his final game at the yard.

Hubster and I sat in Safeco Field in Seattle, when Rafael Palmeiro hit his 3000th hit(yep... a couple weeks later he met trouble named, Steroids!)

I own a BJ Surhoff baseball jersey and wear it to every game I attend (in every city).

My "Bucket List" includes watching the O's play in every AL stadium across the country. (side note, that is THE only item on my Bucket List)

Next month, Hubster and I will watch the O's squash the Phillies in their brand new stadium, sitting in seats a few rows back from home plate. (I may be in trouble on this one, since Hubster is from Philly and his brother is hosting us)

Have I mentioned.... I. Love. Baseball.

OK...back on track. This is not a post solely of my absolute and undying love of baseball, it is also regarding the USO. I learned that Tommy Lasorda visited our Troops on a recent trip with the USO. When I think of Tommy Lasorda, I think Baseball. Now granted, Mr. Lasorda met his fame by way of the National League...I can forgive him, since he did serve our country in the United States Armed Forces in 1946-1947. Please read his story here.
Mr. Lasorda, I thank you for visiting our troops!

As long as I am typing of Baseball and heroes, allow me to share the story of a gentleman by the name of Jack Lohrke. On April 29th, Mr. Lohrke passed away following a stroke. This man appeared to have escaped death at least six times by the age of 22, he became known as Lucky Lohrke.

"As a member of the 35th Infantry Division, he fought in the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. On four occasions, soldiers on both sides of him were killed in combat yet he emerged unscathed.

On his way home from the war in 1945, he was bumped from a military transport plane in Ohio to make room "for some big-shot," Lohrke told The Times in 1990.

The plane crashed 45 minutes later, killing all on board.

In 1946, he was traveling with his minor-league teammates, the Spokane Indians, when he received orders during a restaurant stop to report immediately to the San Diego Padres, then a minor-league club.

Soon afterward, the bus careened off a cliff in the Cascade Mountains, killing nine of the 15 players aboard."

Mr. Lohrke, I thank you for your service. May God Bless you!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

VERY Exciting News!!!!

My oldest daughter, the wife of an amazing man and the mother of my two oldest grandgirls, learned on Thursday......God has given her the gift of another daughter! We will meet my fourth grandgirl in September!

Kel aksed me if I had thought of what Christmas Day will be like 13 years from now, with 4 teenage girls! I asked her if she had thought of how much fun our Black Fridays will be? Imagine the seven of us girls, hitting the Outlets at midnight!

Please lift your prayers for this beautiful family! Pray for my daughter, as she carries her daughter. Please pray for my newest grandgirl, the she is whole in body and mind.

God is Good!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

AirmanMom's MOST Favorite Month of the Year!!!!

May is Military Appreciation Month!

I encourage all who read this blog to visit the site, 11th Annual Military Appreciation Month. It has outstanding ideas how to participate in this important month of showing thanks to our troops.

If you live close enough to an airport which welcomes our troops home, please take the time to attend such an event at least once.

Write a letter to a soldier!

Send a package to a soldier!

Talk about our military in a respectful and grateful manner!

Pray for each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine. Pray for their families who love and miss them so. Pray for our leaders. Pray for our country!

Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning-NOT ANYMORE!!!

Health Officials Discourage Aspirin Use by Troops in Combat Zones

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2009 – The Defense Department is directing servicemembers and government civilians deployed in overseas war zones to refrain from taking aspirin unless under a doctor’s orders, a senior military physician said here today.
“Aspirin use for reasons other than medical indications is discouraged,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Tony Carter, director for operational medicine and medical force readiness under the deputy assistant secretary of defense for force health protection, a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

Military medical authorities also advise that troops slated for deployment to combat zones should cease taking aspirin at least 10 days before departure, Carter told Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters.

Aspirin is “a platelet-inhibitor,” Carter explained. Platelets are small cells floating in the blood that induce hemostasis -- the process that causes bleeding to stop through the forming of blood clots. Low amounts of blood platelets can lead to excessive bleeding.

“Those platelets serve an important role in stopping bleeding once it occurs,” Carter said.

Then-Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. S. Ward Casscells III signed a March 12 memorandum that noted aspirin use by troops deployed in contingency areas could contribute to excessive bleeding in the event of wounding or injury.

Blood loss is the most common cause of preventable death associated with combat injuries, the memorandum said.

Carter recalled Casscells asking his staff if the military was discouraging aspirin use by people deploying to combat zones where they stood risk of injury. The answer at the time was no, Carter said.

The subsequent memorandum, Carter said, also directed the cessation of “over-the-counter access” to aspirin through Army and Air Force Exchange Service outlets or morale, welfare and recreation activities in war zones. AAFES has jurisdiction over Army post exchanges and Air Force base exchanges.

AAFES is complying with the Health Affairs-issued memorandum, noting in a news release that its “operations in contingency locations are removing all products containing aspirin from their shelves.”

The intent of the new policy, Carter said, is to “discourage the inadvertent use of aspirin” in combat zones. People who routinely take small doses of aspirin per doctor’s orders to maintain vascular health should be all right, he said, but they should consult their physician.

Servicemembers and civilians could substitute over-the-counter, non-aspirin-based medications – such as Tylenol or Motrin -- for treatment of colds, fever, muscle aches and other maladies, Carter said.

“I think we should take every measure possible to make sure that we minimize blood loss,” Carter said. “And, not taking aspirin, unless you need to take it, is one of those mechanisms that we want to use.”

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service