Friday, July 31, 2009

Positive Day - 31 July 2009

I know, I know...I'm a bit late with today's post...Normally, if I know I am going to have a busy day, I will post the night before...but I must admit I got caught up watching "Gone With The Wind" (for the 83rd time in my life) last night. is my Positive Day Post.

I was on the road super early to meet my son-in-law and pick up my youngest grandgirl this morning. My daughter and I have not been able to sync our schedules much, so this was a very special treat! By the time we arrived at the house, my daughter was home from work. I've mentioned before she is an OB nurse and she works the 7pm to 7am shift. It was so nice to hang out with these two girls, can you believe the baby is 6 months old already? How blessed I am to have such a beautiful daughter who has grown to be a wonderful mom!

Tomorrow will be a fun day with my oldest two grandgirls. J & K will be attending a wedding and then have a Church activity later in the afternoon. Last time I tucked the girls into bed; the oldest, Precious told me she really missed her mommy. I told her I understood, because when I was a little girl...I missed my mommy. And then I grew up and I had a little girl who really missed me when I had to go out for a while. I asked her if she knew who my girl was and of course she knew it was her mommy. I went on to tell Precious, that my little girl grew up and had her own little girl, who now misses her mommy.... and then I went on to let her know that one day she will grow up and have a little girl who will miss her when she must go out for a while. A smile came across her face, I could see it all processing...then she said to me, "Nana, I got boogs." I love my grandgirls so.

Next month (mid-August) my oldest son is coming home for a long weekend and attend his 10 year high school reunion. It is quite possible that all four of my children will be under one roof for a couple of hours! How cool is this? VERY COOL, if you are the mom of these four awesome adults!!!!

Hubster and I are working out our final details for our "Bucket List Vacation". In case you have missed my many posts talking about baseball...let me say this: I. Love. Baseball. My bucket list consists of visiting every AL stadium in the United States. So here is our plan...first stop is to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Washington Nationals! Then it is off to Cincinnati to watch the Reds take on the Cubs (yep, NL teams). We will then spend some time at Wright-Patt to visit a certain Airman! Detroit is our next stop to watch the O's stomp all over the Tigers!!!! We'll follow the O's to Toronto and watch the O's win yet another game! On our way home, we'll make a stop at Niagra Falls! How blessed I am to be married to my best friend, a guy who will drive 1500 miles in a week so that his bride can visit baseball stadiums!

I am extremely blessed with a loving family, a nice home, a job I totally enjoy, friends who make me laugh and a blogosphere of wonderful writers and readers.

God is good!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

To Let You Know.....

US flags are flown at half-staff in Washington Monument in the US capital 27 July 2009, following the US government's decision to designate 27 July as "National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day" in memory of Americans killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Hero 07/29/2009

This Week's Hero Was Suggested By Deb

SSgt. Darrell
SSgt. Darrell "Shifty" Power
86 years old from Dickerson County, Virginia
E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
June 17, 2009
U.S. Army

The world lost one of it's true heroes a couple of weeks ago. Darrell "Shifty" Powers passed away on June 17 of cancer. "Shifty" was part of the famed E Co/2/506 of the 101st Airborne Division. Easy Company. The Band Of Brothers.

"I loved everything about my daddy," said Margo Johnson, daughter of SSgt. Powers. "He never bragged about what he did in the war. And for a lot of years, he never even talked much about what he did – unless someone asked him about it. But he truly was a hero to me. Just like he'd been to the people who know him as a soldier in a [mini-series]."

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, July 28, 2009

Talking Tuesday

Would you rather lead or follow?

Your turn...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Machines Don't Fight Wars. People Do, and They Use Their Minds.~Col John R. Boyd, USAF

Sergeant Padron of the U.S. Army's Dagger Company, 2-12 Infantry, 4th Brigade hangs upside down while blindfolded as he practices reassembling a gun at Michigan Base in the Pesh Valley in Afghanistan's Kunar Province July 24, 2009. Afghanistan will hold a presidential election on August 20, 2009.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Knock, Knock

Is this a joke?

U.S. Could Hire Private Guards for Bases in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON -- U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan may hire a private contractor to provide around-the-clock security at dozens of bases and protect vehicle convoys moving throughout the country.

The possibility of awarding a security contract comes as the Obama administration is sending thousands of more troops into Afghanistan to quell rising violence fueled by a resurgent Taliban. As the number of American forces grow over the next several months, so too does the demand to guard their outposts.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he wants to cut back on the use of contractors that now provide a wide range services to American troops in war zones, including transportation, communications, food service, construction, and maintenance. As recently as February, however, Gates called the use of private security contractors in certain parts of Afghanistan "vital" to supporting U.S. bases. A contract for the work also creates job opportunities for Afghans, he said.

But the use of private contractors in Iraq has been highly contentious. Since a September 2007 shooting of Iraqi civilians in Baghdad by guards employed by Blackwater (now Xe Services), critics have urged U.S. officials to maintain much tighter controls over hired guards.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that the Army published a notice July 10 informing interested contractors it was contemplating a contract for "theater-wide" armed security.

"The contract would provide for a variety of security services, to include the static security of compounds on which U.S. and coalition forces reside, and for the protection of mission essential convoys in and around forward operating bases located throughout Afghanistan," the notice states.

No formal request for proposals has been issued. If the military decides to move ahead, a contract could be awarded by Dec. 1.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Explain this to me, please! Our soldiers are to be protected by civilians? Does something appear a$$-backwards, or is it just me? Why aren't we building up our military, instead of bringing in civilian contractors? I have no doubt bottom line is the dollar. Short term answer to a big problem? It's one thing to have civilians cooking for our soldiers, so our GI's can take care of their missions. All of our military branches, put our soldiers through rigorous training; bottom line...they become warriors. Now, I have no doubt...there will be some ex-servicemen stepping into these positions, but c'mon folks. Will they hold the same dedication as our military, or will there come a moment when they feel the money is not worth it and they bail? Can they be trusted, can this result in more breeches of security?

I was going to save this for Talking Tuesday, but decided to post a Stumped Sunday instead.

Your turn......

My Son, My Airman

On July 26, 1999, my oldest son enlisted in the United States Air Force. He was 17 years old and freshly out of high school.

My youngest daughter and I drove B to a Holiday Inn, just minutes away from BWI (Baltimore Airport). He was departing for Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX to begin his Air Force adventure. My heart was full of pride. Mom tears were rolling. It truly was a Vegetable Soup of Emotions kind of day. We'll negate the fact I had to pull over on the beltway (495, for those of you who know the DC area) until I stopped crying. My poor daughter thought for sure, her moments were other words, you don't cry and drive on the beltway!

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 ultimately 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. He played soccer and ran Cross-Country. B was an avid reader and still has a quirky smile! He is my son...the little boy I wanted long before I even grew up.

B is brilliant. He is smart; always excelling in school, except for a Child Development class in his Senior Year. I guess even the best of guys, have their limit. B and I would often sit and watch Jeopardy, he would somehow answer question after question…when I asked him how he knew all this stuff, and he’d reply that he just knew it. He’s a sponge for information.

I remember well the day in February; he came to me and asked what I was doing the next day at 3p.m. I asked him what he planned for me and that is when I learned how intent he was to enlist. Since he had just turned 17, he needed parental consent to enlist. We had talked of college, but his interest was to go into the military. I looked into his eyes and knew this is what he wanted for his life.
On that fateful 11th day of September in 2001, my son was the one person in this world I needed to talk to most. I can still remember clearly his words, “Momma, I’m packed and ready to go.” Mom tears rolled. Vegetable Soup of Emotions took over. It never ceases to amaze me how as a mom, my heart can be filled with so many emotions…some of which contradict the other. Pride, fear, love…to name a few.

B served his four year duty, most of which he was stationed at Tinker, AFB in Oklahoma City. He deployed several times, to various Middle East locations. On one visit home, he presented me with a flag which had been flown over Afghanistan in October, 2002. We were fortunate enough to meet him at BWI when he came home, from his deployments. (ahhh, the memories I hold in that airport!) I believed when B first enlisted, that he would make the Air Force his career. When he fulfilled his contract, he chose to depart and went into the Reserves. He has been serving at Hill AFB for five years.
B is an awesome guy. Yeah, yeah… I know, but he is my son. B graduated from Weber State in December and will take the GRE on Monday…next stop Graduate School! He is pursuing a degree in Psychology. Oh, the places he will go!

Ten years ago, my teenage son began his path of manhood. Following six weeks at BMT, I had a glimpse of the man he would become. Ten years later, I could not be any more proud.

It is my honor to call him, Son. It is my honor to call him my Airman.
B, I do love you so!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Their Stars Have Turned From Blue To Gold

Sgt. Ryan Lane
Sgt. Josh Rimer

Record monthly Afghanistan toll claims 2 area men

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan LaneTwo U.S. military personnel with roots in Western Pennsylvania were killed in Afghanistan this week, contributing to the deadliest month for American forces in the region.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Lane, 25, the son of former Castle Shannon police Chief Harold Lane, died in combat yesterday, according to family friends.

Army Sgt. Josh Rimer, of Fort Carson, Colo., was killed Wednesday morning when his armored vehicle struck a roadside bomb, said his father, Jim Rimer, of New Sewickley, Beaver County.

Sgt. Rimer was 24 and a 2003 graduate of Freedom High School.

With the latest fatalities, at least 35 Americans have died this month in Afghanistan, surpassing the highest previous monthly toll, 28, reached in June 2008. The deaths come at a time when thousands of new troops are arriving in the country for operations in areas controlled by the Taliban.

Sgt. Lane arrived in Afghanistan this summer after serving at least one other tour in the country. His unit had lost several Marines in recent weeks, said Shirley McMonagle, police secretary for Castle Shannon and a close friend of the Lane family.

"He's my hero," Mrs. McMonagle said of Sgt. Lane. "He always wanted to be a Marine. He just wanted to serve his country."

Sgt. Lane, the youngest of four brothers and a graduate of Keystone Oaks High School, was an avid baseball fan and played the sport throughout his childhood. He was outgoing and friendly, Mrs. McMonagle said.

"He was a sweetheart," said Sarah Coffey, Mrs. McMonagle's granddaughter.

Sgt. Lane joined the Marines in 2002. Three years later, he saw heavy combat in Afghanistan's Khost province, according to a military report posted on the Castle Shannon Web site at the time.

He was reluctant to talk about his experiences there, Mrs. McMonagle said.

Sgt. Lane married his wife, Valerie, about two years ago. They lived at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

This year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates observed Sgt. Lane's Marine unit, Delta Company, 2nd Light Armored Recon Battalion, as it prepared to go overseas.

"I am honored he took time out of his day to watch us do this," Sgt. Lane told an Associated Press reporter. "We train like we fight -- 24/7."

Sgt. Lane's father served as Castle Shannon's police chief for 17 years, retiring in June to become an investigator for the Allegheny County district attorney's office.

"It's a terrible blow," Castle Shannon Mayor Donald Baumgarten said yesterday. "Our hearts go out to the family."

Friends and family of Sgt. Rimer yesterday arrived at his Beaver County childhood home to pay their respects.

"He was a great kid. Everyone will miss him," said his father, Mr. Rimer, 52. "I've got a house full of people to prove it."

Sgt. Rimer was escorting a convoy at the time of his death, his father said. The Army did not provide him with anymore details.

Mr. Rimer said his son wasn't much for school growing up, so he joined the Army after graduation to give his life some "structure" and an education.

At 18, Sgt. Rimer was wounded by shrapnel in Iraq in 2004 and earned a Purple Heart. He had served a second tour in Iraq before being shipped to Afghanistan several months ago as the military ramps up its attack on the resurgent Taliban.

"He just talked to his mother (Donna) on Saturday," said Mr. Rimer. "He was looking forward to coming home on leave for two weeks in September. We were going to visit him and his wife in Colorado Springs."

Sgt. Rimer married his wife, AnnaLisa, two years ago in Colorado and bought a house near the Army base. He planned to leave the Army, raise a family and become an electrician, his father said.

Friday, July 24, 2009
By Jerome L. Sherman and Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


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

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our Deeds Determine Us, As Much As We Determine Our Deeds. ~George Eliot

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (July 15, 2009) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Brian Saudau, from Mitchell, South Dakota assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, treats a local Afghan boy for a laceration to his head at Patrol Base Jaker in the Nawa District of Helmand Province in Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Lance Cpl. James B. Purschwitz/Released)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If I ever go to war...

If I ever go to war Mom,
Please don't be afraid.
There are some things I must do,
To keep the promise that I made.
I'm sure there will be some heartache,
And I know that you'll cry tears,
But your son is a Soldier now, Mom,
There is nothing you should fear.
If I ever go to war Dad,
I know that you'll be strong.
But you won't have to worry,
Cause you taught me right from wrong.
You kept me firmly on the ground,
yet still taught me how to fly.
Your son is a Soldier now Dad,
I love you Hooah, Even if I die.
If I ever go to war Bro,
There are some things I want to say.
You've always had my back,
and I know it's my time to repay.
You'll always be my daybreak,
through all of life's dark clouds,
Your brother is a Soldier now, Bro,
I promise I'll make you proud.
If I ever go to war Sis,
don't you worry bout me,
I always looked out for you,
but I can't do that anymore,
Cause I'm a big bro to all in America.
I love you so much and you know that,
Your brothers a soldier now Sis,
So wipe your eyes, I'll be fine even if I die.
If I ever go to war my Friends,
We'll never be apart,
Though we may not meet again,
I'll hold you in my heart.
Remember all the times we had,
Don't let your memories cease,
Your friend is a Soldier now, Dear Friend,
And I'll die to bring you peace.
And when I go to heaven,
And see that pearly gate,
I'll gladly decline entrance,
Then stand my post and wait.
I'm sorry Sir I can't come in,
I'm sort of in a bind,
You see I'm still a Soldier Sir,
So I can't leave them behind.

By PFC Jonathan W. Guffey Alpha Company
101st Airborne 2/506th Infantry Air Assault Iraq 2006
10 July 2006

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Talking Tuesday

OK, folks...I hope you are ready to jump on board with me on this experiment!

Over the years, I have participated in several book discussion groups. Some have consisted of lively and intelligent conversation, others have known more slurred speech from too much wine consumption. I joined one group at the library, which had plenty of interesting conversation...but too many people and too much difficulty on book selection. (anybody reading this blog from that group, please don't hate!)By far, my favorite of all book groups consisted of a bunch of friendly neighbors with diverse tastes. We had light-hearted chatter at the beginning of our 'meeting', then we were able to buckle down and enjoy sharing our thoughts on the book. It amazed me how we could all read the same words and walk away with such different perceptions, such different visions of how the characters looked and behaved. How eye-opening the experience of talking about a book and hearing other viewpoints of how the book was written or should the ending had been different?

I would like to attempt a Blogging Book Group, here at AirmanMom. I need your feedback. Have you belonged to a book group in the past? If so, what did you like or dislike? If you have not belonged to a book group, is it due to lack of interest or it simply never came to be? Do you feel an online group has potential for the kind of discussion needed for a book group? I'd appreciate your ideas on how to make this happen.

Our first book is a recommendation by one of my readers, I've picked it up and can tell already it is a good read! "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young" by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway. It's a well written story of the first significant engagement between American troops and the Viet Cong. Written by those who were there, this book is a New York Times Bestseller.

I believe this could be a fun and informative adventure.
Your turn.........

Monday, July 20, 2009

Such Sad News...

Yet another sad story of an Airman this morning....

Airman Loses Legs in Botched Gallbladder Surgery, Future of Career Uncertain

A Texas Airman stationed at an Air Force Base near Sacramento, Calif. has lost both legs after surgeons reportedly botched a routine surgery to remove his gallbladder.

Colton Read, 20, underwent laproscopic surgery last week at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento. Laproscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves making a tiny incision to minimize pain and speed recovery time.

About an hour into the surgery, something went wrong. Read's wife Jessica told

"A nurse runs out, 'we need blood now' and she rounds the corner and my gut feelings is 'oh my God, is that my husband?'" Jessica Read said. Read's wife said an Air Force general surgeon mistakenly cut her husband's aortic valve, which supplies blood to the heart, but waited hours to transport Colton Read to a state hospital with a vascular surgeon.

Read, who is still in intensive care, lost both legs as a result of the blood loss. Meanwhile, his gallbladder still has not been removed. Jessica Read said the doctor admitted his mistake, but under federal law the Reads cannot sue.

The future of Colton Read's career is now uncertain, FOX 40 in Sacramento reported.

Jessica Read told FOX 40 she is appalled that the Air Force is even considering medical retirement or medical discharge while Airman Read is incapable of making any type of decision. She said he is not 100 percent lucid and is still heavily medicated.

The Air Force is conducting a review of the case using outside experts.

Monday, July 20, 2009
FOX News

Two Airmen Killed in Afghanistan

Jet crash in Afghanistan kills two crewmembers

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle crashed in eastern Afghanistan early Saturday, a U.S. Forces Afghanistan press release said.

The two crewmembers on board the fighter jet were killed, according to media reports and confirmed by a public affairs officer. The twin-engine jet fighter crashed at 3:15 a.m. Kabul time.

The Air Force is notifying next of kin. A board of officers will be convened to investigate the accident, the release said.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and loved ones … and to the Airmen and the joint and coalition team members who called them friends and will miss their fellow warriors," Lt. Gen. Gary North, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central, said in the release.

Air Force officials would not say where the plane went down, what squadron and base the plane was from and what the aircraft was doing, other than flying in support of coalition operations.

The crash comes in what is shaping up as one of the deadliest months since the war in Afghanistan started, The Associated Press reported.

As of Wednesday, at least 46 coalition troops, including 24 Americans, had been killed. That matches the tolls for the two previous deadliest months — last month and August of 2008, according to The AP.

Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, July 19, 2009

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Captured Soldier

He's alive!

According to the Air Force Times:

The Defense Department on Sunday identified the soldier who has been listed as missing/captured in Afghanistan.

Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho, was declared Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown on July 1. His status was changed to missing/captured July 3.

Bergdahl is a member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, of Fort Richardson, Alaska.

The DoD announcement came one day after The Associated Press reported that the Taliban had posted a video of the soldier. In the video, the man, who two defense officials confirmed to AP was the missing soldier, said he’s “scared I won’t be able to go home.”

In the 28-minute video, the soldier is shown with his head shaved and the start of a beard. He is sitting and dressed in a nondescript, gray outfit, according to AP.

Early in the video, one of his captors holds the soldier’s dog tag up to the camera. He is shown eating at one point and sitting cross-legged.

The soldier is interviewed in English by his captors, and he is asked his views on the war, his desire to learn more about Islam and the morale of American soldiers, AP reported.

Asked how he was doing, the soldier said: “Well, I’m scared, scared I won’t be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.”

He later chokes up when discussing his family and his hope to marry his girlfriend.

“I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America. And I miss them every day when I’m gone,” he said, according to AP.

On July 2, the U.S. military said an American soldier had disappeared after walking off his base in eastern Afghanistan with three Afghan counterparts and was believed to have been taken prisoner, according to AP.

Staff report
Posted : Sunday Jul 19, 2009 10:13:20 EDT

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May Almighty God watch over this warrior and bring comfort to his family.
May Almighty God protect all our soldiers from harm.
May Almighty God bless our nation.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

As It Should Be...

Killed in action the week before, the body of Sergeant First Class John C. Beale was returned to Falcon Field in Peachtree City , Georgia , just south of Atlanta , on June 11, 2009 . The Henry County Police Department escorted the procession to the funeral home in McDonough , Georgia . A simple notice in local papers indicated the road route to be taken and the approximate time.

***Tissue Warning***

(please pause PlayList on right sidebar)

Click Here

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Military Trivia

Happy Thursday!

Have fun!!!

(Answers are at the end of this post.)

1. How many individuals have won the Medal of Honor more than once?

A. 0
B. 9
C. 18
D. 1 (But he was forced to return one)

2. The U.S. Air Force Academy is located in which state?

A. Kansas
B. Texas
C. Colorado
D. Arizona

3. "BAH" stands for:

A. Basic Allowance for Housing
B. Base Armory Headquarters
C. Biological Arms Handling
D. Bar opens At Two

4. The official name for the Kosovo Operation was:

A. Operation Provide Comfort
B. Operation Sustained Will
C. Operation Allied Force
D. Razzle-Dazzle

5. Approximately how many active duty personnel are there currently?

A. Over 3 million
B. About 1.3 million
C. About 2.1 million
D. Under 1 million

6. The "Soldier and Sailor's Civil Relief Act of 1940:"

A. Provides basic protection against lawsuits while on active duty.
B. Provides for limits on how long a person can be deployed.
C. Allows only unmarried people to be drafted.
D. Provides job training after military service.

7. A "KC-135" is a/an:

A. Shoulder-mounted heat-seeker missile.
B. Air Force tanker aircraft.
C. Marine amphibious vehicle.
D. Chemical Warfare decontamination facility.

8. A Marine Corps "Lance Corporal" is an:

A. E-2
B. E-3
C. E-4
D. E-5

9. Semper Paratus is the official song of the:

A. Marines
B. Air Force
C. Coast Guard
D. Army

10. What service did Humphrey Bogart serve in?

A. Marines
B. Air Force
C. Coast Guard
D. Army

1)B 2)C 3)A 4)C 5)B 6)A 7)B 8)B 9)C 10)C

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


US military deaths in Afghanistan region at 663

-- As of Tuesday, July 14, 2009, at least 663 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department. The department last updated its figures Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT.

Of those, the military reports 495 were killed by hostile action.

Outside the Afghan region, the Defense Department reports 68 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, three were the result of hostile action. The military lists these other locations as Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Jordan; Kenya; Kyrgyzstan; Philippines; Seychelles; Sudan; Tajikistan; Turkey; and Yemen.

There were also four CIA officer deaths and one military civilian death.

The latest deaths reported by the military:

Two soldiers died Monday in a hostile incident in Helmand province.

The latest identifications reported by the military:

- Army Staff Sgt. Eric J. Lindstrom, 27, Flagstaff, Ariz.; died Sunday near Barge Matal, Afghanistan, after insurgents attacked his patrol; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

- Two Marines died Saturday while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Both were assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Killed were Lance Cpl. Pedro A. Barbozaflores, 27, Glendale, Calif., and Master Sgt. Jerome D. Hatfield, 36, Axton, Va.

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 14, 2009; 8:30 PM

Fair Winds and Following Seas...

Hubster and I had the honor of attending the retirement luncheon of a true patriot. Pat served in the U.S. Navy for twenty years, then spent the following twenty years working for The U.S. Department of Navy. Hubster and Pat have sat within eyesight of each other, for twenty years.

Listening to the words of co-workers; revealed the passion Pat has had for his country, his entire adult life. Although he retired from the Navy twenty years ago, the love and respect for his fellow sailor never diminished. He worked diligently to make certain each and every sailor would be safe while at sea. Always a sailor!

A couple weeks ago, Pat and his wife joined us for an Operation Welcome Home event. Both Pat and his wife were obviously touched, by welcoming our troops home. I captured a great photo of Pat and Hubster.

Pat, you will be deeply missed by my Hubster. I will miss hearing the fun stories, which Hubster has shared of your day. No doubt, there will be a lot less laughing on the Navy Yard and one less bright, smiling face. We wish you and Jackie many blessings as you open this new chapter of your lives.

Fair Winds and Following Seas...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

As I Watch the All-Star Game...

You may already know, I love baseball! I am an O's fan. I am a die-hard American League kinda girl (unless the Yankees are playing in the World Series, then the game is not watched!)

What you may not know, is that I have my own bookkeeping business. I opened the business when my kids were young, so that I could stay home and hopefully keep my mind somewhat sharp. (silence in the peanut gallery, please!)

Put the two together and here is what you get.....

In English, Please: All Star Game and the Stock Market

Mark Lieberman, Senior Economist
FOXBusiness Looking for an inside track for your stock portfolio? How about the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Tuesday in St. Louis?

In the 76 years of the all star game – 40 National League wins and 37 for the American League – the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gone up an average of 133.8 points. [For four years, from 1959 through 1962, there were two all star games played each year.]

Although the National League has the edge on the field, a narrow edge to be sure, the American League has the clear edge on the trading floor.

In the years in which the National League wins, the average gain in the Dow has been 90.3 points, but when the American League wins the average gain has been 180.9 points – even though the American League won the 2008 contest when the Dow plunged 4,488.3 points.

Over the history of the All Star game, when the NL wins the Dow rose 25 times and fell 13 times (that counts 1959 and 1960 once each since the National Leaguers won both games each year).

When the American Leaguers won, the Dow increased 25 times and fell 12 times, counting 1962 for each league since they split the games that year.

In 1961 the NL won the first game but the second game that year wound up in a tie – as did the 2002 game.

The years in which the American League wins have seen more extremes. In addition to the record 2008 drop in the Dow, the American won in 1999 when the Dow had its largest gain – 2,315.7 – and in 2003, the only other year in which the Dow improved by more than 2,000 points (2,112.3).

The Dow has increased by more than 1,000 points on seven times and the American League won in five of those years. The best year for the Dow when the NL won was in 1996 when the index increased 1,331.1.

The American League “dominance” doesn’t extend to politics, by the way. There have been 19 All-Star Games played in presidential election years with the National League winning 13 (counting the two played in 1960 – won by the Nationals – only once) and the American League six. In the 13 years with National League victories, Democrats were elected seven times; in the six election years in which the American League won, the parties split the elections – including the 2008 contest won by Chicago White Sox (American League) first fan Barack Obama. The American League won the previous two presidential election year contests when former Texas Rangers [AL] owner George W. Bush was selected.

Talking Tuesday

There is an interesting article in 'Stars and Stripes', which discusses tattoos.

Here is a snippet of the article:
MUQDADIYAH, Iraq — Flag-draped hearts, flame-licked skulls, the names of fallen friends — in the U.S. military, tattoos sometimes seem almost required.
For Iraqi troops, though, tattoos — often a sign of a stint in prison — are taboo. The Iraqi army has passed a rule forbidding them, requiring soldiers with pre-existing tattoos to remove them.
You can read the entire article here.

I have no tattoos and no intention of getting some ink. You see, three out of four of my babies were delivered naturally (NO meds). That much self-inflicted pain is more than enough for one lifetime. Do you have a tattoo? Where is it located on your body? What is the artwork? Why did you choose this tattoo? How old were you when you got your first tattoo? Will you get another tattoo?

Your turn........

Monday, July 13, 2009

Let's Take It a Step Further!

Over the past few days, I have received numerous E-Mails requesting I sign the online petition, "Request a Moment of Silence for all Service Members Killed in Action."

I support this action 100%. I have signed the online petition and have encouraged others to do so.

However, is this enough? A click of the mouse will not undo the injustice which has occurred over the past few weeks. While our TVs and Internet news pages were filled with articles of an entertainer who much attention did our soldiers who were killed receive? Congress held a moment of silence for Michael Jackson??? WTF? What the hell are we doing, America? We are at war. American sons are dying. And we are focused on a singer for ten days?

My dear friend, K sent this video to me. Please take a moment (after pausing my playlist on the right sidebar) and watch this heart wrenching interview of Lt. Brian Bradshaw's Aunt. Lt. Bradshaw was killed by an IED in Afghanistan.

Here is my challenge to each and every one of you... online petitions and blogs are awesome! I fully support this means of communication!!! However, there is something to be said for good old fashioned paper and ink. Let's do it! I have a link containing the names and addresses of all United States Congressman HERE. I've attached the words of the online petition:
To: US Congress
we the undersigned petition ...

Request a Moment of Silence for all Service Members Killed in Action

Recently a pop culture icon died and was given a "Moment of Silence" in Congress. In support of our national heroes never being forgotten, we request that from here on out, that Congress give every American Service member Killed in Action, the proper respect by honoring them individually with a Moment of Silence.


I am asking from the bottom of my heart...please do this. We have the freedom to write these few words and mail them to our Representatives, because of the men and women who proudly serve our nation. May there never be another military family who suffers like this again! We can do this! Post this request on your own blog, or send an e-mail to everyone you know.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

"What's Done To Children, They Will Do To Society."~O. A. Battista

A large crater is all that remains in the road after an improvised explosive device attack in the Mohammad Agha District of Logar province in eastern Afghanistan, July 9. The blast resulted in the deaths of 24 Afghans, including four Afghan national policemen and 12 children. The attack also injured an unknown number of people, demolished a nearby building and damaged nearby vehicles.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Are You Kidding Me?????

As a reformed smoker, I fully understand the 'psyche' of a smoker.

As the wife of a no-longer-enlisted-Sailor, I understand a little bit regarding the military lifestyle.

As the mom of two Airman, I respect the responsibility of serving our nation.

As the virtuamom of a soldier currently residing in Afghanistan, I acknowledge the stresses of waiting patiently for the next rocket to arrive at camp.

I fully get the whole idea of a 'smoke-free' world. However, the Military World is different. Perhaps, I am mistaken...but I do not foresee the Military World becoming a Smoke-Free Zone any time soon. Perhaps the day a soldier is no longer waiting for a bullet, that may be the day they will 'kick the habit'. For crying out loud, they are not permitted a cold let's take away a well deserved guilty pleasure.

C'mon, Defense Department...let these guys have a smoke!

Report Urges Timeline for Tobacco-free Military
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2009 – The military has come a long way from the time when it packaged cigarettes in with rations, but more must be done, according to an Institute of Medicine report.

The report, titled “Combating Tobacco in Military and Veteran Populations,” calls for the Defense Department to set a timeline to eliminate smoking on military installations.

Officials from the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs asked the institute to prepare the report in 2007. It was released June 28.

More than 30 percent of active-duty military members use tobacco products of some kind. “Of greater concern, the rate of tobacco use in the military has increased since 1998, threatening to reverse the steady decline of the last several decades,” the report says. “Furthermore, smoking rates among military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan may be 50 percent higher than rates among nondeployed military personnel.”

The Defense Department and the services have worked hard to become tobacco-free. The services have banned use of tobacco products during basic training, the report said, and they have launched extensive public-education campaigns and commander training. “The committee recommends that [the Defense Department] establish a timeline to eliminate all tobacco use on military installations to protect the health of all military personnel, civilian employees, family members and visitors,” the report says.

The committee --– chaired by Stuart Bondurant, a professor of medicine and dean emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill --– found that “achieving a tobacco-free military begins by closing the pipeline of new tobacco users entering the military and by promoting cessation programs to ensure abstinence.”

The committee recommends using a phased approach. The military academies and officer training programs should become tobacco-free first, followed by new enlisted recruits and finally all other active-duty personnel, the report says.

The Defense Department fully supports the goal of a tobacco-free military, said Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith, and officials believe it’s achievable through development and execution of a comprehensive plan as recommended by the report. “However,” she added, “achieving that goal will in part depend on coincident reductions of tobacco use in the civilian population.”

The department has been at the forefront of tobacco-cessation efforts. Officials recently launched the “Quit Tobacco - Make Everyone Proud” campaign at It targets young enlisted men and women who use tobacco. The Web site provides information, resources, interactive tools and practical help. Service members who want to quit tobacco can get immediate help from a trained tobacco-cessation coach from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST every day.

The report also recommends that the Defense Department to stop selling tobacco products in military commissaries and exchanges, to prohibit tobacco use anywhere on military installations, and to treat tobacco use in the same way as other health-related behaviors, such as alcohol abuse and poor physical fitness.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finally Friday!!!

The week is quickly closing, and none too soon.
It hasn't been a 'bad' week. It's simply been one of those weeks, I've been anxious to say, "See Ya!"

It began with John leaving...I honestly don't get it. I'm the mom of four adults, they have grown into responsible, productive members of society (every mom's dream). My oldest daughter has been living on her own for 13 years! She's an extraordinary wife and mom! My youngest daughter is an outstanding wife and mom, along with being a hard-working RN. My oldest son enlisted in the U.S. Air Force ten years ago (stay tuned later this month, folks - tissue warning!) He has grown to be everything I could have ever dreamed and more! And then there is my baby. Unfortunately for John, he was the last child I carried under my heart, so forever he is stuck with this title. As I mentioned earlier in the week, John was home for the long 4th weekend. And then he left for Wright-Patterson, again. And the "Vegetable Soup of Emotions" began. I miss him. I miss B. I miss my daughters being little girls. I miss being the young mom, with all the young mom worries. Being the older mom, brings on bigger worries. Being the mom of two Airmen, brings on enormous worries! Being the mom of two moms, brings on gigantic worries! Please understand, I accept that I have no control over my children's lives...and this is a good thing. Except when they hurt. My oldest daughter has carried hurt in her heart for the past two months...not knowing what is going on with the baby girl she is carrying. Today another test was done, and it appears that this brand new life will be OK. Answered prayer!

So the week went on....As the world mourned the passing of Michael Jackson, there was no mention of the 88 active duty soldiers who committed suicide so far this year. While the nation remained glued to their televisions to watch the memorial service of Jackson, was anyone praying for the 13 fallen soldiers since the first of July? While the newscasters and talking heads are busy focusing on an entertainer, our nation has gained 13 new Gold Star Moms. These moms loved and cared for these heroes, long before our country knew who they were! Please visit Department of Defense every once in a while and read the names of our fallen heroes! Then please join me and lift a prayer.

In closing...I just happened upon this video (although it was created back in 2007!)
It's a light-hearted, silly video. Since I needed a bit of goofiness, I figured I share it with you!
SSGT England in IRAQ singing to his wife and kids in the good ole US of A. (please pause playlist on right sidebar).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

As We Move Through Our Day...

Marines from 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines and soldiers from Afghan national army rush back to their vehicles to pick up supplies from an air drop, July 5, outside Fire Base Fiddler Green. A KC-130 dropped 12 pallets of fuel, food and water to support the personnel at the fire base. Photo by 1st Lt. Kurt Stahl

As you move through your day; whether it be that you are off to work or school; perhaps you have the day off and will run errands or take care of yard work; perhaps today is the day to go to the grocery store.... As you move through your day, taking the simple pleasures like a glass of water from the tap or a run to the grocery store to pick up eggs or bread for granted... As you live your life; enjoying luxuries...

PLEASE remember there is a soldier... a soldier in a faraway land, a soldier defending our freedoms...a soldier waiting for an air drop to receive his food and water.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Funeral Set For F-16 Pilot

The body of an F-16 pilot killed during a training mission in Utah will return home to Western North Carolina this week.

The family of Candler, N.C., native Capt. George-Bryan Houghton will hold visitation Friday night and funeral services Saturday.

The captain’s father, George Houghton, said phone calls have been pouring in from his son's unit at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and from people across the country who knew him.

“Anybody he had ever come in contact with, and even people who just heard about him, loved him,” Houghton said. “With his gentle heart and his sense of humor and love of life, everybody appreciated him.”

Houghton died June 22 when his F-16 crashed during a training flight over the Utah Test and Training Range. He would have turned 29 on July 4.

“He believed what he was doing was right for his country and himself and his family,” the father said.

The captain was one of three brothers in his family who felt the call to fly. His younger brother, Mark-Daniel, was injured two years ago after a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, where he was an Air Force rescuer for downed pilots. The family's third son, Patrick, is a cadet at the Air Force Academy.

Houghton's body will arrive in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday night with an Air Force escort before traveling to Groce Funeral Home in Asheville.

Visitation will be 6-9 p.m. Friday at Trinity Baptist Church, 216 Shelburne Road, Asheville.

Funeral services will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, with a contingent from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina providing a rifle salute, Bugle taps, a flag presentation and a fly-over above the church parking lot.

A private burial will follow.

By Josh Boatwright - Asheville Citizen-Times
Posted : Tuesday Jul 7, 2009 11:39:12 EDT

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


My heart is filled with gratitude, for a year ago I happened upon a blog titled, "Embrace the Suck". The owner of this blog; MudPuppy, is a soldier in the United States Army stationed at Ft. Bragg. He was writing of his days leading to deployment in Afghanistan. MudPuppy captured my attention with his creative writing style and wit. His honesty was refreshing and heart-breaking all in the same sentence. He questioned the support that Americans have for their soldiers. MudPuppy has inspired me to make certain that as many soldiers as I can touch, will know a piece of home through letters and packages.

During the past year, I have been a faithful reader of MudPuppy's blog. Once he deployed, I have been a prayer warrior for his safety and homecoming. Truly, I could not pray any harder if he were one of my own two sons. Thus, I call him my Soldier Son, my VirtuaSon. MudPuppy is a man and warrior of Velvet and Steel.

So, today is MudPuppy's birthday. He is about 7,000 miles from his mom. I have no doubt, he is only a heartbeat away.

What do we say? How do we say 'Happy Birthday' to a soldier who is serving our nation, so far from home? How do we say "Thanks for being there, even on this day of celebration"? How do we even begin to show our heart-felt appreciation for all that he sacrifices?

My hope is that MudPuppy has felt the prayers I have lifted for his strength, endurance and safe homecoming.

I did not carry MudPuppy under my heart, but I have carried him in my heart.

Happy Birthday, My Soldier Son!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Musings

It was a great weekend! John came home! Both my daughters, their husbands and all three of my beautiful grandgirls came over on Saturday for an Independence Day/ Birthday Bash! So much fun! I am truly blessed!
John came home on Thursday night. He got in late, since he drove after work. It is always so good to see him! The weekend always feels like a whirlwind, a great whirlwind! And then *poof* we are sharing a hug and saying, "I love you!" Off to Wright-Patt he goes, off to his world. And the Mom-Tears flow. I'm proud of him, I know he is doing what he is meant to do...but he is my son, my baby.

While John was in town, he gave me the addresses of two of his deployed fellow Airmen. If you wish to send along a letter or package, please e-mail me for these addresses.

So today is Monday. A new week. Good news... sad news! One of the two American Soldiers killed by the Taliban is the son of a blogger friend. Please lift your prayers for this family. I can't begin to understand the hurt in their hearts.

Tomorrow is Tuesday! While most of the world will be focusing on the memorial service of Michael Jackson...I will be focused on MudPuppy's birthday. the seventh of July marks the birth of a brave soldier, a talented writer and a loved VirtuaSon! Tomorrow's post will be dedicated to MudPuppy... just because!

In the Sunday edition of the Washington Post, there was a letter to the editor from the aunt of a soldier. This brave young soldier, Brian Bradshaw was killed by an IED on June 25th...the same day Michael Jackson died. Did her nephew receive any media time? NO! Congress had a moment of silence for Michael Jackson. Was there a moment of silence for this soldier killed as he protected our nation? NO! Does President Obama send letters of condolence to the families of all fallen soldiers? I'm not sure if he does, but he did send one to the Jackson family. Am I the only one outraged by this injustice? Michael Jackson is an entertainer. PERIOD! Brian Bradshaw was an altar boy, a camp counselor, and very old-fashioned for he believed that military service was patriotic. Paul Bradshaw said his son Brian joined the Army and went to Afghanistan “to try and help people” and to make the lives of the people there better. He died defending us. He died defending his country. He died defending his brothers. Does he not deserve as much media attention, if not more...than any entertainer.

Your turn......

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Watch Your 6!

U.S. Marines prepare to depart for the Helmand River Valley as part of a large-scale mission. An additional 21,000 U.S. troops will be sent to Afghanistan before the country's upcoming election, pushing totals near 68,000, twice as many as were there in 2008.

The Helmand River is the longest river in Afghanistan. The Helmand Valley is located in the southwestern portion of Afghanistan and occupies about one-fourth of the total area of the country. Average yearly rainfall in the valley area is about four inches. The valley is in the temperate zone with an elevation varying between 1,500 and 3000 feet. Temperatures range from 18 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is low, and strong dry winds frequently blow in the westerly portion of the valley during July and August.

May Almighty God watch over these brave warriors.

May Almighty God give each of them strength.

May Almighty God be with the families, who love them so.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day, 2009

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...

Let us not forget the true meaning of this day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thursday is Nana Day!

Perhaps it is time for me to start another blog... One devoted to my four grandgirls! (please give some feedback, folks!)

Thursdays and Sundays are my days off from work. Precious and Bright-Eyed-Beauty now call Thursday, "Nana Day". On most Thursdays, I am able to spend a couple hours with these two sweet girls. Yesterday was one of those special days.

I arrived during snack and since I brought a cuke from Nana and Pa's garden...cuke became part of snack! It was then time to go outside and plant the flowers Nana brought for their yard. How richly blessed I am; to eat the dirt tossed around as these girls began digging holes for our flowers.

Once the flowers were planted and we made a few laps around their yard, it was time to color on the front porch. All of a sudden, Precious got up and started dancing across the porch, clapping her hands and singing "Nana Time, Nana Time"! Bright-Eyed-Beauty quickly joined her big sister. My daughter ran (well, the way 6 month pregnant women run) to get her camera. I must say, she captured those moments beautifully!

God is good!

Prayers for our Missing Soldier...

Fact: An American Soldier is not with his troops.

Fact: The family of an American Soldier has been notified that their son is missing.

Too many stories, to know for certain what is truth. None worth repeating, until the truth is disclosed.

Fact: We need to pray for this soldier, we need to pray for his family and we need to pray for each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

Sgt. Terry Lynch, 22, died Monday when a roadside bomb blew up near the vehicle he was in, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday. The explosion occurred in Wardak Province of Afghanistan.

Lynch was serving with the 3rd Squadron of the 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. He was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., with the light infantry 10th Mountain Division.

Lynch was quoted in a July 2005 Gazette story when he and other Army recruits were sworn in by Army Gen. Peter Schoomaker.

Then 18, Lynch said it made him feel proud to take part in the Fourth of July ceremony in Cody, Wyo. He was about to leave for basic training.

"I wanted to give back to my country," he said.

Sgt. Terry Lynch joined the Army in July 2005, after graduating from Shepherd High School.

His service awards include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal and Combat Action Badge.

Details of Lynch's return to Montana are not yet available, according to Lt. Dan Bushnell of the Montana Army National Guard.

A funeral Mass will be held for Lynch at St. Bernard's Parish at a date to be determined later, said Shawneal French, director of Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary.

Lynch is survived by his father, Charlie, and sister, Kristin.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Robyn, and brother, David.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Zachary is Home!

Back on April 12th, I lifted a young Marine by the name of Zachary in prayer.
The Humvee he was in, was hit by an IED. Zachary was injured, and thankfully has made a full recovery.

Here is a photo of the Humvee after the hit

Zachary has returned home! This weekend, an Airman and a Marine will be back in Poolesville. Not that long ago; they were two little guys at a Pinewood Derby Race, today they are members of the finest military in the world.
May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine!