Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Petition to Free Our Border Agents

I have received a petition from a group I know and respect very well, the Patriot Post. They have a petition with 58,000 signatures already to free Agents Compean and Ramos, but their aim is to have at least 100,000 signers in order to present this petition to Congress. We can do this. It is for a cause I believe to be just and appropriate.

A little background: Two of our border patrol agents are sitting in prison waiting for their appeal. They are in prison for what I consider to be doing their job. You may decide on your own. One of the agents was trying to arrest a drug smuggler (he had over 700,000 lbs of cocaine in his truck) when the smuggler wrestled himself free. This agent was now on the ground.

What happens next is the bit of contention. As he is running, he turns around. What do you do? If you are so smart, what do you do??? Does he have a gun? He's a drug smuggler. Most drug runners have guns. Is he going to shoot me? Should I wait and find out? Should I shoot one off just to scare him?

Let me give you a clue. By the time you have answered all of these questions, it won't matter. You are dead. If he has a gun. That's all the time it takes, and then plus some! I'm not sure of the order in which the events took place right here, so I will not pacify the urge to indulge you. I will simply admit I do not know.

I do know, however, that this dude ends up with a bullet going through his buttocks. (In and then out.) He runs and makes it across the border to Mexico. His partner, he AND ABOUT 7 OTHER AGENTS are there. Why didn't he report the incident? Why didn't he tell his captain that they picked up the shell casings? BECAUSE HE WAS WITH THEM. I am not going to my friend I what I had for lunch if she is the one who took me out in the first place! Duh!

Anyway, so that's where that stands. Getting back to the petition and the need for it. This drug smuggler, who received immunity to come and go as he pleased across the border and was arrested again for more cocaine, testified against the agents after OUR government went searching for him. BTW, the fact that he was arrested again for the very same crime was NOT allowed to brought to the jury's attention. It was inadmissible due to the fact it might influence the jury. HUH? NO KIDDING!

I'd better let you read the email before I get all upset...again.
"Free the Texas Three and Secure our Borders" -- a citizen petition calling on President Bush to commute the sentences of both former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, and their colleague, former Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermo Hernandez; asking Congress to insist that the DEA prosecute Mexican national Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila on felony drug distribution charges; and demanding that Congress and the Bush administration secure our borders.

I urge you to sign this petition today -- right now! We need 100,000 signatures.

To sign this petition online, link to -- PatriotPetitions.US.

If you don't have Web access, you can sign this petition by sending a blank e-mail to: sign-borders@PatriotPetitions.US.

Please forward this invitation to Patriot family members, friendsand associates.

Thank you!
I hope you decide to sign this petition. We need to stop this dangerous flaw of allowing just anyone from anywhere to come into our country. It is a privilege, not a right, to be here. Our border patrol agents are doing a very unforgiving, thankless job, and I thank them for it. Amen.

Update: BTW, did I mention that the Congress is having hearings on this issue this week? Yes, they'd like to find out the truth about what happened to these men as well. Thank you.

Update 2: This article has been picked up by Ft. Hard Knox...twice! Those are great articles over there. Honest. The title of both of these articles are: "Blog Honor Roll 08/01/07" and I was added as an update at the end of, "A Little Justice on the Way for Compean & Ramos?." Thank you, Jenn.

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Prayers for Chief Justice Roberts

I have received at least two articles, one requesting for prayers for the Chief Justice and another explaining what possibly could have happened because he suffers the same condition. These are two friends that I trust, not just something off of a push poll.

I really would appreciate it if you would give them a read. The first one (for prayers) is Chief Justice Roberts Suffers Seizure, and the second one (condition) is Chief Justice Roberts and Seizures. These are two fine gentlemen, and I believe they speak from the heart and knowledge.

To the Roberts family, I pray for you all. Being an epileptic, I know you must feel so helpless. Do not. God is control. There is nothing you do, and there is nothing you did to cause this, so just be there for him. He will let you know if there is anything necessary.

I also pray for the Chief Justice himself. May he feel better soon. I will do my personal prayer privately.

Gary Sinise performs concert in honor of fallen first responders

Gary Sinise, of CSI-NY, is going to perform a live concert on August 11, 2007, to raise money for the completion of the Brooklyn Wall. What is the history of the Brooklyn Wall?

This is a wall that has been in the process of being built in honor of our fallen first responders whose lives were lost on that horrendous day, September 11, 2001. It has been in the process of being built, but like everything else, it takes money. When Gary found out about this project, he felt compelled to answer the call. That is when he thought of putting on this concert.

Gary has been a true blue patriot all the way. He has been to see troops several times overseas, and he is from Hollywood. I wish this were not the exception. I wish we could see each other as Americans instead of Republicans or Democrats, Conservatives or Liberals. Hopefully with concerts like this one we will reach that goal again. It is always good to hope.

Gary's band, Lt. Dan Band (of which he is co-founder), has played in several places and will be playing at this concert. You may buy your tickets here. I am going to just donate some money directly to the Brooklyn Wall. (Here is little more about the Brooklyn Wall and the reasons why they need our help.)

Hat tip: Lynn of the Gary Sinise Fan Club and Biography.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Trackposted to Perri Nelson's Website, DeMediacratic Nation, Right Truth, Adam's Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Webloggin, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, Republican National Convention Blog, Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, and Pursuing Holiness, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Open trackback links:
1. Planck's Constant: Advice to Stanislav Shmulevich on proper way to fl.
Nanotechnology Today: WFU launches two nanotechnology startup companies.

Open Trackback Tuesday

Hi everyone. I've seen these all over the place and have become interested in them. I've decided to open up a place for a free exchange of ideas. Even if you would just like to voice your opinion, share some pictures or cartoons, maybe you found nice music, basically anything (nice) that you have posted you may trackback. The only thing I ask in return is that you mention my site in the article you trackback from.

It does not have to be much at all. You can say something, "Trackbacked at Rosemary's Thoughts." I am in the process of moving from about eight sites to just one site, and I need all the help I can get! Thank you, and have a great day.

PS. After you trackback, I will add your site and description to this article. Is that the right way to do it? Or should I just add your name and the title of your trackback? Hmm. We'll try it both ways! :)

Powered (so to speak) by LinkFest, one of the best sources for bloggers to reach out and also to be noticed. Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis Perri Nelson's Website, DeMediacratic Nation, Right Truth, Adam's Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Webloggin, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, Republican National Convention Blog, Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, and Pursuing Holiness, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

DeMediacratic Nation:
The Martyrdom Seeking Culture will Protect Us Against ALL Social Problems: Any and all difficulties a zealous belief system faces are unbeatable if you just believe...
Webloggin:
Reporters Go Sightseeing To The Gaza Strip - I’m Not Surprised: The only thoughts I have regarding this story is that the AP reporters along with the rest of the MSM truly are terrorist cheerleaders who would like to see nothing more than the West along with Israel to go down in flames. For me, this goes down as o...
DeMediacratic Nation:
Victory has a Hundred Fathers, but Defeat is an Orphan: Yesterday saw the publication of an OpEd in The NY Times regarding the Iraq Theater in the war on terror written by Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack entitled, “A War We Just Might Win.” Say, have you heard about it?

Monday, July 30, 2007

New Vehicles Support Mission in Anbar

Oh my, a brand new boy-toy! That is what I call anything that has to do with cars, trucks, tanks, etc. But wait until you get a look at these new tanks! Well, I don't if I can call them tanks. They're more like gigantic trucks with all the protection of a tank and the versitility of a Humvee. Does that sound cool or what?

New Vehicles Support Mission in Anbar.

23 July 07
By Sgt. Stephen M. DeBoard
Regimental Combat Team 6.

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq — Marines with Regimental Combat Team 6 recently got their hands on the Marine Corps’ newest counter to attacks by terrorist forces in Anbar Province. The Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicle, or JERRV, is the latest melding of technology and combat firepower to find its way onto the battlefield in Iraq. Like any new weapon fielded to Marines, instructors are needed to certify potential operators in its use

One of the JERRV operator instructors for the regiment is Cpl. Miarco T. McMillian, a motor transportation operator with Headquarters Company. He is one of a handful of instructors responsible for training the Marines who will be driving the trucks on combat and logistics patrols throughout Al Anbar Province.

The JERRV is one type of vehicle in the category of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs. It’s the usual alphabet soup of military acronyms that all boils down to one thing: protecting Marines in combat. Unlike the Humvee, the current workhorse of the American vehicle fleet, the JERRV chassis was designed with heavy bomb-proof armor in mind.

“There’s a higher sense of security with brand new vehicles. They’re designed to carry the weight of the armor,” said McMillian, a Las Vegas native and 1998 graduate of Meadows High School. “(The JERRVs) are 40,000 pounds but they can go up to 52,000 pounds with extra modifications. Being surrounded by all that armor makes you feel safe.”

Gunnery Sgt. Matthew A. Larson, the motor transportation maintenance chief for RCT-6, echoed McMillian’s sentiment. “They're like no other vehicle I have ever driven,” Larson said. “They are like riding in a bank-vault with wheels. You can't help but feel safer in the JERRV than in an armored Humvee. These vehicles will definitely save lives.”

Larson said the process of training Marines on the JERRV will be a “continuous process. The intent is for RCT-6 instructors to train instructors in all of the subordinate units, while simultaneously teaching all potential operators in the RCT headquarters,” said Larson, a Hubert, N.C., native. “When all is said and done, we should have in the ball park of 700 or so Marines trained to operate the MRAPs.”

RCT-6 will need every one of those operators to man the fleet of vehicles it is slated to receive. Around 500 MRAPs, including the JERRV and other variants, will make an immediate impact on the mission in Anbar Province, according to Capt. Russell W. Wilson, the motor transportation officer for RCT-6.

“The MRAP will go a long way in the IED force protection of our Marines, sailors and soldiers; however, this added protection comes with a price. The price is reduced visibility, maneuverability, off road capability … and (experienced operators),” he said. “That is where training becomes critical to the success of the vehicle and the adaptation to accomplish the mission.”

McMillian said his first experience with the JERRV was something any civilian can identify with.“It smells like a brand new car. It’s got that nice, plastic, clean car smell,” said McMillian. “There’s nothing else like it in the world.” More important than the smell, McMillian said, is how the 20-ton, six-wheeled behemoth handles.

“Surprisingly, it handles very well. It’s a lot more nimble than you would expect from a 20-ton vehicle. Its turning radius is amazing, and its versatility and terrain capability is way up there,” he said.

A versatile vehicle requires a versatile operator. This is the value in having Marines like McMillian in the instructor seat, said Wilson.

“The Marine Corps is one of the only places in the world where a corporal, with relatively minimal training, teaching, and public speaking experience, can get out there and teach all ranks and grades with confidence and professionalism,” he said. “With the training of Cpl. McMillian and the cadre of instructors like him, we aim to safely and rapidly field the MRAP for convoy security and give Marines a better fighting chance against the tactics of the enemy.”

Photo - Marine Cpl. Miarco T. McMillian is a certification instructor for the new Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicle, or JERRV, with Regimental Combat Team 6. The JERRV, pictured behind McMillian, is the newest addition to the Corps' arsenal to combat the threat from roadside bombs. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Stephen M. DeBoard.

I know as soon as I mentioned boy-toys, I probably lost half of my audience, but for those of us who can wait a minute, these new vehicles will save many, many lives. My only question is, why did it take so long?

Source: Defend America.mil.

Originally posted @ DoD Daily News-2.

Sailors help bridge comm gap for Soldiers in Baghdad

Whether there is a fire fight or an accident, all of our military men need to communicate with someone to let them know help is needed and on the way. That is where the Navy's TACAMO, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, comes to the rescue.
_____________________________
Sailors help bridge comm gap for Soldiers in Baghdad.

20 July 07
By Staff Sgt. Cassandra Locke
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.

A TACAMO crew from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing flew over Iraq and acted as a communication liaison between ground personnel Monday. In the Middle East, the “Take Charge And Move Out” flies over Iraq to serve as the last means of communication between ground forces.

“On a larger scale, our job provides open range of communication for personnel involved because everything going on the ground affects each other’s mission,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Shepard, TACAMO flight engineer deployed from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.

The TACAMO has the capability of staying in the air for long periods of time, so the team flies over Iraq daily, for 12 to 14 hours providing communication. “We want it to be a boring day,” said the petty officer. “If it’s a boring day for us, then our comrades on the ground are not being attacked.”

Two flight crews and communications crew accompanied the flight. The flight crew alternates shifts so adequate crew rest can be provided for flight. The communications crew sits at the same seat for the 12 to 14 hours with no rest. “I love to fly,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Soppe, ACS-I, enlisted aviation warfare specialist and naval air crewman. “I like knowing that I am able to help from up in the sky.”

The communications team sits at their seats with their laptops and headsets waiting for a call. The calls normally entail a questionnaire called a "joint casualty evacuation request", otherwise known as a "9-line", which requests that a patient be picked up. The questions the communications crew may ask are what the grid coordinates are on the ground as well as the number of patients, special equipment needed, security at pick up site and patient status.

“This is so those responding know how to properly treat the patient on arrival and where to go” Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kasey Bruce, enlisted aviation warfare specialist and naval air crewman. Some of the information relayed over the communications channels are medical evacuation, vehicle recovery and slant reports, which relay information as to where a convoy is and where it is going.

Also when communicating a vehicle request, the communications specialists may ask the grid location of the vehicle, vehicle type, description of incident, detailed description of the damage and checks to see if the area has been swept for mines. “It’s important that if one guy needs to get a hold of us, we are here,” said Navy Chief Petty Officer Jeff Penington. Communications are made possible by the crew and a small antenna outside of the aircraft.

The TACAMO team, all deployed from Tinker, said they feel privileged to implement the training they consistently uphold at home station. “It’s cool to deploy here to do the job we’re trained to do,” said Shepard. The TACAMO has flown about 200 total missions here.

Photo - Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kasey Bruce, Task Force 124, performs routine maintenance on an E-6B Mercury prior to its flight over Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. Cassandra Locke.
_____________________________
These men do their job magnificantly, and we should all be very proud of them. I know I am. :)

Cross-posted from DoD Daily News-2.

CJTF-HOA helps provide education to Pemba Island children

In the Horn of Africe, there is much we know very little about, yet there is so much good news coming from this area. This is in part due to the CJTF-HOA teams and the media. The CJTF-HOA actually does the work, and the media does not.

22 July 07
by Maj. Kristi Beckman
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs.

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti - “Asalaam aleikum,” (may God’s peace be upon you) and “karibu,” (welcome) are common words you will hear on Pemba Island of Zanzibar, Tanzania, in East Africa, which was the site of a primary school dedication by Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa on July 16.

A dedication is an event the coalition of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa holds when they complete a civil-military project. The dedication symbolizes turning over the completed project to the local community. So far this year, CJTF-HOA has dedicated 22 projects throughout the Horn of Africa.

Through building wells, constructing schools and conducting numerous other Civil-Military Operations, CJTF-HOA is building capacity throughout the Horn of Africa to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and protect coalition interests in order to prevail against extremism.

The construction of this dedication project was the result of a combined effort of the U.S. military, U.S. State Department, United States Agency for International Development, the Government of Tanzania and the Zanzibari Department of Education. The delegation consisted of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, Michael L. Retzer; Zanzibari Minister of Education, Honorable Haroun Ali Suleiman; Country Director for USAID, Pamela White; Director of Strategic Communication for CJTF-HOA, Navy Capt. Robert Wright as well as numerous other U.S. and Tanzanian government officials.

The U.S. military delegation traveled to the island to dedicate the Matale Village Primary School to the people of the village. The village is home to about 3,000 people. A winding dirt road, which runs through the village, intertwines through a lush green jungle of thick palms and banana plants where women are dressed in colorful scarves and children stare at the passersby with big brown, curious eyes as the men wave from the doorsteps of their homes.

As the party pulled up to the school, they were greeted by several hundred children singing and dancing at the top of their lungs. “Leo twashangiria shule ku fungui wa.” Translated, it means, “Today we are celebrating because our school is opening.” The school, built by a local contractor, TRADETECH, Limited, and funded by the U.S. Government, will become a learning center for more than 250 children, ages 7-13. Until now, the children walked between three and five kilometers (one-way) to go to school. This walking distance contributed to a high drop out rate and ultimately a higher illiteracy rate in this rural area.

After cutting the inaugural ribbon and unveiling two new dedication plaques in English and Kiswahili, Minister Suleiman praised the children for their excellent academic marks and called the new Matale Village Primary School the “number one” school in all of Zanzibar. He thanked the U.S. government for working in close partnership with the government of Tanzania on this and other important assistance projects.

The plaques state “Matale Village School is a gift from the people of the United States of America to the people of the United Republic of Tanzania. Dedicated July 2007 by Ambassador Michael L. Retzer.” The $210,000 invested by the U.S. government in building and outfitting Matale Village Primary School are part of a total U.S. government assistance program in Tanzania totaling over $540,000,000 in 2007.

“On behalf of the American people, I wish to congratulate the Matale community, and I would like to encourage the children of Matale to study hard in the classroom,” said Retzer. “Your future will be brighter indeed.”

The party toured the new school, which is one of the only schools on the island with electricity. In the spacious classrooms were long wooden bench desks furnished by USAID. They were designed to fit three children each and the tops of the desks held school supplies of notebooks, coloring books, pens, pencils, glue, calculators and athletic equipment. The school supplies were donated by Mrs. Waldrop’s class at Rhodes Elementary School in Milton, Fla. The relationship between the two schools was established by Chief Petty Officer Shane Peterson, Country Coordination Element Senior Noncommissioned Officer in Charge.

“I explained to my wife what we were doing for the children of Matale village and she decided to contact my children's teachers at Rhodes Elementary and propose a sort of school partnership; not only to help the children and teachers of Matale, but to educate the children at Rhodes about the culture of the Island of Pemba.”

The dedication of the Matale Village School was a significant event for CJTF-HOA and its interagency partners, exemplifying U.S. capacity building efforts in Africa, said Wright. He was overwhelmed by the day’s events. As he spoke to the children, he said, “I have never seen so many beautiful children and so much hope. While we celebrate these beautiful new buildings today, we also celebrate the friendship and partnership between the people of the United States and Tanzania.”

Adding to the comments during the dedication, Minister Suleiman recognized the significance of the contribution to the lives of the children of Matale Village and to the future of education in Tanzania. “Mister Ambassador, you did a good job” said Minister Suleiman, who followed with similar praise for CJTF-HOA’s effort saying “Captain Bob, you and your team did a good job”.

Summing up the dedication, Captain Wright said the Matale School was a huge collaborative success. “The project results exceeded everyone's expectations and will undoubtedly contribute to increased quality of life and opportunity for the children of Pemba,” he said.

Pemba Island is the world's leading clove producer boasting more than three million clove trees. More than 350,000 people inhabit Pemba, also known as “Al Jazeera Al Khadra” (the green island, in Arabic). Pemba forms part of the Zanzibar archipelago, lying off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

Photo - U.S. Ambassador Michael Retzer, Director of USAID Pamela White; Zanzibar Minister of Education Honorable Haroun Suleiman, and Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa representative Navy Capt. Bob Wright dedicates a Matale Village Primary School, to the village of Matale, Pemba Island, Tanzania July 16. Photo by MC1(AW/SW) Clinton C. Beaird.

Source: HighBeam Research.

What a wonderful article this is, truly. Could it be possible that this is the reason why some celebraties find it more rewarding to help the Africans with their education than right here in the United States where they have money coming out of their ears without any progress in the education of our children? Hmm...

Originally posted @ DoD Daily News-2.

Deputy Comm General visits Kandar Airfield, Afghanistan

Brig. Gen. James McConville wanted to visit this airfield himself so he could familiarize himself with what is happening on the ground. Very commendable, IMHO.

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23 July 07
By Army Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - The deputy commanding General, 101st Airborne Division led a site survey visit to Kandahar Airfield July 20. The purpose of Brig. Gen. James McConville's visit was to gain information and situational awareness for future deployments on roles and operations of the command and support elements here.

McConville met with senior leaders and increased his familiarity with the missions of the U.S. National Command Element (South), U.S. National Support Element (South), Regional Command (South) Headquarters and the International Security Assistance Force. He also received updates on logistics hub and base operations, aviation asset management and the NATO transition process.

The visit began with an overview of the historical strategic significance of Kandahar and an explanation of the dynamic, multi-national environment that defines KAF and RC (South).

"Kandahar has a long history," said Army Maj. Doug Brown, S3, Task Force Anzio. "It has been and remains a strategically significant geographic location because of the trade routes through the country. Kandahar itself dates back to Alexander the Great, who the Afghans still hold in high esteem."

"The history of this place is amazing," remarked McConville. Kandahar remains strategically important to modern Afghanistan. Because of this and the important multi-national effort that is based from KAF, ISAF's largest operating base, the installation remains an important military asset. KAF is a complex installation headed by four lead stake holder nations.

Currently, these nations are the U.S., which also has overall installation command, the U.K., Canada and the Royal Netherlands. The nations primarily share responsibility for providing life support and maintenance of facilities and structures on the installation. At the end of July, KAF will transition from the U.S., as lead nation, to NATO in a change of command ceremony between Army Col. Richard L. Stevens, current commander of KAF and U.K. Air Commodore Ashley Stevenson the incoming COMKAF (designate).

"The change of command follows a 12 month period that started July 2006 when the official KAF to NATO transfer of authority happened," explained Stevens. "Over the year between the transfer of authority and the change of command the U.S. remained the lead nation as NATO grew their capabilities to support the logistics operations and the installation infrastructure."

Despite the many changes happening at KAF, most noticeably the transition from U.S. control, the installation will remain important to U.S. forces. "U.S. forces will continue to perform a wide range of missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and ISAF using KAF as a power projection platform," said Stevens. "Logistics support of these forces remains a national responsibility."

The U.S. NSE will remain here as the driving force behind that support dedicated to their primary goals to arm, fix, fuel, move and sustain the warfighters they support. "Timely and uninterrupted logistic support to all U.S. forces is our mission," said Air Force 1st Lt. Donell Pittman, NATO transition lead officer, U.S. NSE. Matters of supply and support aren't the only reasons KAF will remain important, there are tactical ones as well.

"Kandahar is a major tactical objective for the enemy forces," said Stevens. "If they can separate Kandahar from Kabul they will consider that victory." While changes are on the horizon the importance of KAF will remain.

McConville expressed his thanks for the overview of the U.S. operation in RC (South) and encouraged the Task Force Anzio team to continue the outstanding support of U.S. forces. "In this business you fight the fight for those that replace you," said McConville. "The reality of the NCE is that it is here to stay to support the U.S. presence in RC (South) as long as we're needed," said Stevens.

Photo - Brig. Gen. James McConville, Deputy Commanding General 101st Airborne Division shakes hands with the new Task Force Corsair Commander Lt. Col. Jayson A. Altieri following the Task Force Corsair change of command ceremony that was held his Kandahar Airfield site survey visit July 20. Photo by Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman.
******************************

Afghanistan certainly is a land of many different people. Did you know that in Afghanistan that only the Postunes are referred to as Afghans? I didn't either, until an Afghanistani friend of mine gave me this information. Is it true? I have no reason to disbelieve him, but I cannot say definitively. Have a nice day.

Correction: The name of the airfield is KANDAHAR, not Kandar. In my defense, I do believe my tiny fingers were getting weary. ;)

Originally posted @ DoD Daily News.

Jack Lewis: I Told You So...

My dear friend, Danny, had written about this five weeks ago. What is 'this'?
A little over a month ago I predicted that we would soon have a case of food borne illness, due to sloppiness in the food industry, specifically related to the use of illegal immigrants in food processing plants. In spite of there being no case of botulism poisoning in three decades, last week it came true, and four people are now in serious condition in a Texas hospital.
I guess I'm just fortunate. I've been boycotting China as best I could ever since Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. If you have no idea what I'm referring to, maybe this shall help. If you still do not understand beyond that, there is no hope for you! Digg This Story

WARNING: Not age appropriate; Video

This is a video where you must be over 18 years old to view. That is why I am linking to the video instead of having it here.

There is some writing on this video, however, which I believe would be alright to share. Sometimes these videos go by so fast that I cannot read it all, so I have decided to write it down for you in case you missed it.

MNF-Iraq

A sniper that fired on Coalition Forces was killed by an attack helicopter Northeast of Baghdad. July 14, 2007.

(No sound.)

After the sniper was killed, Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division were able to proceed beyond the bridge where they later discovered a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device factory in the Qanat Banat al Hasan area.

The car bomb factory contained 2,000 lbs. of ammonium nitrate, 1,000 lbs. of nitric acid, 10 large shape charges and two trucks already rigged for detonation. Artillery fire was used to destroy the factory.

WWW.MNF-IRAQ.COM.

It lasts only 1:46 minutes. Great job, guys.

Chairman of Taliban's Military Shura KILLED!

Bill Roggio is an excellent writer who decided he was not going to write about those things which he did not have first hand experience, so he suited up and became an embed both in Iraq and Afghanistan. (He's had experience from before, but he just felt compelled to do this.) His latest article (I think he is home now) is wonderful news written this morning or very late last night.
Qari Faiz Mohammad killed in a raid in Helmand province

Afghan and ISAF have been conducting major offensives up and down the Helmand River Valley in the northern portion of the province over the past several months. Major ground and air strikes have been ongoing in the Musa Qala, Kajaki, Nari Saraj, and Sangin districts in Helmand province, as well as in the Ghorak district in Kandahar and in southwestern Uruzgan. Coalition forces have been attempted to clear the Taliban stronghold and reopen the vital Kajaki Dam. The Taliban openly control the Musa Qala district. Upwards of 150 Taliban fighters have been killed in strikes in the region during the past week. (Please continue reading at Bill's The Fourth Rail.
Such wonderful news! I hope you have not forgotten that we are still in Afghanistan. I hope you have not forgotten why. If you do remember, then you should know that when we removed them from power they would need a place a to go. THAT is why they are in Iraq. To join in the fight for our very existence.

Why do I say, "...our very existence"? The Taliban and al Qaida are interchangeable names they call one another. This is to give some of the terrorists cover. Do not be fooled. Now that that's cleared up, let us turn our heads towards reason, shall we?

If they need somewhere to go, they will find a place to go. Right? What will they do once they get there? Will they continue the war they have waged upon us? YOU BETCHA.

No matter when, where, who, what and no one gives a flying hoot about why, the fight will continue. They want every Christian, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, Hindu, non-proper Muslim, and everyone else who does not subscribe to their way of interpreting the Koran DEAD. Are we clear on this now? Good. Have a nice day.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Trackposted to Perri Nelson's Website, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, Committees of Correspondence, DeMediacratic Nation, Right Truth, DragonLady's World, Webloggin, The Bullwinkle Blog, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, third world county, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Republican National Convention Blog, High Desert Wanderer, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

N. Bend, OR, native inspires Marines with art

This article is very touching and heartwarming. It is amazing how many different opportunities there really are in our Marine Corp! This is just one such remarkable story. I can only imagine there are so many more...please take a moment and pay some attention to our younger Marines.

North Bend, Ore. native Inspires Marines with Art.
20 Jul 07
By Sgt. Andy Hurt
13th MEU

NEAR KARMAH, Iraq (July 18, 2007) – On a blistering hot day here in the Al Anbar province, Marines not conducting patrols seek solace in shade and machine-cooled air, books, video games and word finds. It’s highly unlikely to find a Marine outdoors unless he has to be. One of those Marines is Lance Cpl. Cory Howland. A gunner for Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, Howland is working on something special. His latest masterpiece is a table-top drawing of a comically voluptuous she-devil, complete with horns, tail and menacing eyes. It’s huge, and perfect. Although Howland has spent the last two days here scratching away at the table with a map pen, wiping dust from his eyes after every pen stroke, he wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. Howland is a company artist.

The drawing is Howland’s submission in an art competition. The Marines of Kilo Company recently moved to Combat Outpost Lincoln and have worked around the clock to make the base livable. Filling hundreds of sandbags and erecting camouflaged netting in uncovered areas have been the main tasks, and now the finishing touches are being added. For the completion of the table, set between two company tents, Howland was pitted against a fellow company artist, Lance Cpl. Michael Morgan. Although there isn’t a prize, the reward, says Howland, is completion.

“I could care less what people think. When I’m done, I love looking back and saying ‘I made this.’”

Roots.

Howland hails from the Great Pacific Northwest. Bedded along Oregon’s rocky pine-peppered coast lies North Bend, pop. 10,000, Howland’s home town. It’s the kind of place, Howland says, where “everybody knows your name.”

“North Bend is the one place I’ve always known where everyone is nice and always in a good mood … you feel comfortable walking down the street.”

From the age of twelve, Howland has been drawing – everywhere on everything. He’s never without a pencil and paper. North Bend High School was the perfect place for a young artist to branch out.

“In high school, I took an art class every term,” he said. “I did everything, from painting to molding jars of clay.”

His true love of drawing, however, was apparent to his instructors, and Howland says they gave him free reign, whatever the period of instruction was.

“After a while, my teachers realized that I loved to draw, so I really didn’t have to do what the rest of the class was doing. They’d just let me chill out and draw.”

The relaxed atmosphere, combined with raw talent produced excellent results. When Howland was a sophomore, his work was added to a permanent installation at a local museum. Howland says the accomplishment has been his proudest moment.

“It’s still there,” he said, “Just a simple drawing of a vase and a flower.”

Another of his favorite pieces is a twelve-inch clay figurine of “Jack the Pumpkin King” from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. Howland said the sculpture, which took him the better part of three months to complete, was a tribute to his instructor who worked as an animator on the film.

“I’m pretty sure it’s still at the school.”

While producing his art, Howland says he was all-along considering service in the military. After careful deliberation, he whittled his future down to two options – art school, or the Marine Corps. The final decision came from, what else – a televised omen.

“I remember sitting on the couch, watching TV, and a commercial came on for an art institute. I asked myself ‘should I pursue an art career, or the Marine Corps? And no kidding, the next commercial that came on was the Marine Corps commercial – the one where the guy is climbing – and I pretty much made up my mind then.”

Honor, Courage, Commitment … and tattoos.

Howland said when he came in the Marine Corps, one of his biggest fears was losing his drawing skills. The hustle-and-flow of Marine Corps life has made personal time a commodity.

“There’s just no time to draw,” he said. “I’m always training or working on my weapon system or something … I worry that I’ll lose my skills. This isn’t like riding a bike you know.”

Luckily, Howland has found plenty of time. Recognized in recruit training for his abilities, Howland was selected as an “Artist Recruit”, tasked with creating motivating range flags and other projects. During his time at the School of Infantry, Howland drew countless tattoos for young Marines, all the while filling sketch pads with personal work and sending them back home for storage. He says he used proceeds from his tattoo commissions to buy more materials.

Company Artist.

In Iraq now, doing his countries dirty work, Howland continues to create and inspire. His time is divided between patrols, guard duty and “COP Beautification (filling sandbags).” Howland’s unit, the “Thundering Third” Battalion, 1st Marines, serves as the ground combat element for the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Setting sail this spring, the unit traveled aboard Navy ships, stopping for liberty calls in Guam and Singapore prior to landing in Kuwait. Since mid-June, Howland’s brothers in Kilo Company have dwelled in the arid Iraqi deserts, conducting 24-hour counter-insurgency operations. Life is dismal and dreary at times, frequent sand storms and scorching heat make for tedious off-hours. Still, Howland practices his passion. He’s even drawn on goat skulls.

When Kilo Company moved from the relatively pleasant Combat Outpost Pacers – seated on the shores of Lake Thar Thar – to the apocalyptic ruins of COP Lincoln, the Marines did whatever they could to add comfort here. Constantly looking for opportune motivation, Howland’s seniors looked at a blank piece of plywood and saw a canvas.

“Howland’s a good kid,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Bate, Howland’s platoon sergeant. “When he came to us from security forces, he didn’t really know anyone, and his drawing has been a great way to get to know everybody.”

Bate, a native of Philadelphia, says although the subject matter of the massive drawings could be considered taboo, the Marines aren’t trying to exploit anyone. Drawings of women were popular on World War II airplanes, and often serve as momentary inspiration for troops marching into battle. At COP Lincoln, pictures of beautiful women were also the most available subject matter.

“They just grabbed a magazine they had, and the squad leaders picked out two pictures. They’re focusing on the art, and it’s a contest. The subject matter makes for added difficulty … shading legs and the detail of the hair and everything.”

Bate added that for anyone to negatively criticize the drawings would be openly insulting Howland’s work ethic.

“Howland stayed up all night working on the drawing, and when the Marines woke up this morning, they had something nice to look at. He sacrificed his sleep for the morale and welfare of his fellow Marines.”

Howland is still out there, adding careful shadows to contours and shapes. Painstakingly filling in “negative space” so the she-devil’s hair looks incredibly real. He’s working under critical eyes, and Led Zepplin tunes blast from tiny speakers nearby.

“Is that the girl from the magazine,” asks one Marine.

“Yes, sergeant,” says Howland. Another Marine walks by and smiles.

“If she was Satan, I wouldn’t mind going to hell.”

What’s ironic is that Howland, as he draws this sensual demon-girl, is in heaven.

Photo - Lance Cpl. Cory Howland, a squad automatic weapon gunner with 1st squad, 2nd platoon, Kilo Company, adds details to his recent “devil girl” drawing on a company table. Kilo Company and 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines have been conducting counter-insurgency operations in the Al Anbar province here. Photo by Sgt. Andy Hurt.

Sources: www.Marines.mil.

This was originally posted @ DoD Daily News-2.

Italian police to train Iraqi National Police

This article covers parts of NATO, but specificly the Italian special training for the Iraqi Police (IP).

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Friday, 20 July 2007
Spc. Emily Greene
Combined Press Information Center

BAGHDAD — Italian Army Maj. Gen. Alessandro Pompegnani, Deputy Commander of NATO Training Mission-Iraq spoke about his country’s efforts to help train the Iraqi National Police at a press conference at the Combined Press Information Center Thursday.

Since 1814 the Arma dei Carabinieri (Force of Carabinieri) has ensured the rights of the Italian people, both at home and abroad. The Carabinieri are Italian military police whose mission is to control the crime and to serve the community through respect for the Law.

Now the Carabinieri will share their training techniques with the Iraqi National Police as part of the efforts of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq.

“The Gendarmeria-type training provided by the Carabinieri will help establish the Iraqi National Police as a professional military police force, filling the gap between the police and the armed forces,” said Pompegnani.

This will not be the first time the Carabinieri have worked with the Iraqi National Police. In 2005 they helped train a specialized police unit at the regional police level in Nasiriyah.

“The training will build on the very effective basic training that the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) already provides for the national police since 2004,” said Pompegnani. “It is not intended to replace that training in any way, it is a specialization that builds upon the basis that CPATT has laid and continues to provide for the national police.”

Pompegnani said the Carabinieri have a two-year plan to train Iraqi National Police leadership. Eight battalions of national police will train at Camp Dublin, close to the Baghdad International Airport. Each course will last three months and will initially be staffed by about 40 Carabinieri in training and support roles, he said.

The training will focus primarily on counterinsurgency methods and forensic investigation to help the Iraqi Police fight the terrorism they are faced with daily said Pompegnani.

“The national police can connect with the public in a way that armed forces cannot and the NATO Training Mission in Iraq considers that the training the Carabinieri provides will help build the Iraqi people’s trust in the national police,” Pompegnani said.

Currently there is an advance planning team in Baghdad which is working with the Iraqi National Police authorities to adapt the European Gendarmerie training model to the needs of the Iraqis, said Pompegnani.

“The NATO Training Mission in Iraq has had success in helping build up leadership training for the Iraqi Armed Forces and is committed to support the Iraqi National Police training to its fulfillment,” Pompegnani said.

Photo - Italian Army Maj. Gen. Alessandro Pompegnani, Deputy Commander of NATO Training Mission-Iraq speaks about the Carabinieri training to be provided to the Iraqi National Police at the Combined Press Information Center. Photo by Sgt. Sky Laron.

Sources: MNF-I.
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Originally posted @ DoD Daily News.

New Iraqi Police Station Opens in Wahida

This is a remarkable article. It is nice to finally see the end results of a reconstruction project. It used to be, under Saddam's rule, that the police stations were also in the Mosques. Not anymore. There is a new day in Wahida, Iraq, and it gives hope to the Iraqi people. Also, the people of Wahida finally can see that the money given for these projects is not being pocketed as before. The government has actually been trying to help the people. This brings birth to hope.

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19 July 07
By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Public Affairs.

COMBAT OUTPOST CLEARY, Iraq — The Wahida City Council opened a new police station in Wahida July 17 in the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment’s area of operation.

When Lt. Col. Jack Marr, 1-15 Infantry commander, Lt. Col. Ryan Kuhn, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team’s deputy commanding officer, and Capt. Ravindra Wagh, commander of Company E, 1st Battalion, 125 Infantry Regiment, arrived at the new police station, they were greeted by a mob of excited Iraqi policemen and local leaders.

The visit began with a tour of the new facility followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony signifying the end of the project and the opening of a brand new Iraqi police station.

On paper, the project began in October 2006 with a request for a new Iraqi police station. According to Wagh, who headed the project from start to finish, the Iraqi Police of Wahida received the title to an empty lot and the appropriate funds to get the project under way. Wagh said the former Wahida police station, which was co-located with a mosque, did not have the resources fit for a unit whose main mission is providing security to Wahida.

“The old police station was right down the road from the new one,” Wagh said. “It had three rooms and the front of the building was a mosque. It wasn’t fit for jurisdiction in Wahida.”

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, members of the Wahida police, along with leaders of the community and Coalition Forces, sat down for a conference to discuss the new station. “It is very nice to have the new police station here (in Wahida,)” Jawad Khadum, chairman of the Wahida city council said through a translator. “I would like for you to all be equal, to work as one, to serve the community and enforce the law.” He then saluted the policemen for a job well done on the project.

Lt. Col. Kareem, the station commander, also spoke at the conference. He thanked the Coalition Forces for their efforts on the project. He also reminded his policemen that they have a brand new station and encouraged them to maintain the station as it stands today.

According to Wagh, the project is a symbol the citizens of Wahida can see that proves the government is capable of listening to the requests of the community and spending the $3.5 million it took to fund the project on the community. “This government has a commitment to security,” he said. “Many people believed the government was getting all this money and they would never see it. "This project proves the government is spending the money on their communities.”

Wagh, who has been in Iraq since August 2006, said he was privileged to be able to see the new Iraqi police station project from start to finish. “The problem with many of these projects is that one unit is there for the beginning and then has to leave so another unit gets to the final outcome,” he said. “I am glad I was able to see the conception on paper all the way up to the building we see today.”

Although the new police station doesn’t necessarily increase the capability or the capacity of the Iraqi police, Marr believes it does a lot for the morale of the policemen. He said it also shows the Wahida citizens that progress is being made and normalcy is being restored.

“This project gives the good people of Wahida confidence in their police,” Marr said. “The project was Iraqi driven, which means we are coming along the way we have always wanted. We want to help the Iraqi people help themselves. The best solutions are the Iraqi solutions.”

Photo - Army Brig. Gen. Allawi, deputy district commander, cuts the ribbon with Army Lt. Col. Jack Marr at a ceremony July 17 to open the new Wahida police station in Wahida, Iraq. Photo by Sgt. Natalie Rostek.

Source: Operation Iraqi Freedom - MNF-I
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Originally posted @ DoD Daily News-2.

Operation Diablo Dragnet

This operation was successful in that the head of the Security Division went along with them, he spoke to the people to calm their fears, he told them he was there to get rid of the Taliban and to provide security, and he also wanted them to know they should build their own city government from which they should have one representative to speak to him so that he could help them with their needs. Wow. I'd say that's a big first step, eh?

Operation Diablo Dragnet Links People to Government.
18 July 07
By Army Sgt. Tony J. Spain
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Paratroopers with 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, conducted air assault missions as part of Operation Diablo-Dragnet the end of June.

The operation involved three different units and the help of an Islamic Republic of Afghanistan official disrupting Taliban operations around the Maiwand District located on the Helmand and Kandahar province borders.

Mohammad Zarif, a member of the National Security Directorate for the Maiwand District, served as the eyes for the governor of Helmand province and reported directly to him about the situation in the area. His presence also helped international security assistance forces bring a familiar face to local Afghans.

“We prefer to have IRoA involvement in all of our operations, especially when we have such close and constant interaction with the local populace as we did during Operation Diablo Dragnet,” said Army Capt. Don L. Cantera, Company B, 1/508th PIR commander. “Fortunately, we had the assistance of the National Security Directorate to facilitate our search.”

Operations ran smoothly for the paratroopers as they moved through the small farming villages of De Kalakhan Kalay and Garm Abak Jonubi. Zarif led the way from building to building, knocking on doors declaring that the ISAF forces were there for their safety and not to be afraid.

“After the town was deemed ‘cleared’, several mini shuras were held with local elders,” said Army 1st Lt. Daniel Capello, fire support operator, Company C, 1/508th PIR. “They came with a look of uncertainty in their eyes, but after meeting with the professional paratroopers and Mohammad Zarif they left with smiles on their faces.”

Zarif helped explain to the elders the purpose of the paratroopers’ mission and explained as long as the Taliban was able to operate in the area they would not be safe.

“The new Afghan government and ISAF forces are here to support the Afghan people,” Zarif told them.

The local elders then began discussing issues that concerned them and what ISAF could do as a link between them and the government to bring resolution. Most of the villagers were concerned about security and the potential for development in their village, which lacks proper roads, schools and medical facilities.

“Zarif was a great help in communicating our intent to the people of Maku and in facilitating a security shura with the village elders,” said Cantera. “He was very knowledgeable about security in the Maiwand area and a direct link between the local populace, ISAF and IRoA.”

After the shura, local leaders promised ISAF they would elect a representative for the village to regularly meet with government officials in the district center.

“It’s pretty clear that the future of Afghanistan rests solely on the shoulders of the Afghans,” said Army 1st Lt. Adam Werhle, Co. C., 1/508th PIR. “We were initially skeptical of having the NSD representative with us on our operation, but he turned out to be a real asset almost immediately.”

Werhle noted the keys to success in Afghanistan will be getting government representatives out to meet the people, more Afghans involved in fighting the Taliban, and a well trained Afghan national army.

Photo - Paratroopers from 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, return from a patrol in the Maywand District on the border of Kandahar and Heldman provinces in Afghanistan June 29. Photo by Spc. Matthew Littel.

Source: The Victory Caucus.

Originally posted @ DoD Daily News-2.

Lifeblood Pumped Into Farming Community

This article is one that should be on the front pages of all newspapers, but (un)fortunately it does not fit the ethic of blood and guts. No, this is an article of success!

Lifeblood Pumped Into Farming Community in Mrezat.
18 July 07
By Spc. L.B. Edgar
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

BAGHDAD, Iraq – There was no network news coverage, no front page spread, but local leaders of Mrezat, a small agricultural village in a northern section of the Adhamiyah District, shed tears of joy as water pumped from the Tigris River and passed attendees of a ceremony to mark the opening of a new pumping station in the community.

In Mrezat, water is the lifeblood of the people. The agrarian community subsists primarily on palm-date groves, which are grown throughout the year. Without proper irrigation the groves wither and date production ceases.

Mrezat’s refurbished irrigation pump brings the needed water from the Tigris’ base to the farmers’ crops.

Though the opening was of critical importance to the residents of Mrezat, the success story will not make any headlines, said Lt. Col. Al Shoffner, the commander of 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

“I would welcome the media to cover things like today and I don’t think if we had media there I would have to say much,” said the native of Lawton, Okla., referring to the grateful residents of Mrezat.

True success stories, like Mrezat’s pump opening, go unnoticed largely due to the overemphasis placed on the loss of human life. While he admits there is a human toll to warfare, Capt. Frank Fisher, a non-kinetic project officer with the regiment’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, said it shouldn’t necessitate the omission of any and all progress.

Fisher, a 37-year-old native of Dryden, Mich., said that media reporting in the United States often overlooks the construction of humanitarian projects in Iraq. He said Mrezat’s irrigation pump is producing between 1,000 and 5,000 gallons of irrigation water per hour. Up to 12,000 residents’ lives are better because of it, he said.

The culmination of two months work by the Basateen Neighborhood Advisory Council was good news for the people it affected and those who assisted in the project.

“It’s important for Soldiers to see they are not merely security guards but are helping the government of Iraq and its people get back on their feet,” said Shoffner.

He said projects like this one help ensure security more than patrols, because people have a vested interest in maintaining order.

“Recently, the area has been peaceful and because it’s been peaceful and secure we’re able to do projects like we did today,” Shoffner said. “I think the sheiks understand that these sorts of projects are only possible if they are willing to police themselves and maintain the peace.”

Mrezat and the Basateen area of Adhamiyah are expected to see even more progress in the near future, with upcoming projects to refurbish two schools and repave roads. In neighboring Suffiya, a cooperative of power generators is in the works. Basateen is slated to receive reusable solar energy, Fisher said.

All of the projects will act as band aids until the government of Iraq fixes its power grid, Shoffner said.

“The projects are designed so they do not depend on coalition forces or Iraqi security forces for fuel, maintenance or to operate the generators. The communities do that themselves,” Shoffner explained.

With upcoming projects on tap and the Basateen Neighborhood Advisory Council working to improve the community, Fisher said maybe one day, that too, will make the news.

Photo - Lt. Col. Al Shoffner, native of Lawton, Okla., and commander of 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division speaks with leaders of Mrezat in the Basateen neighborhood of Baghdad's Adhamiyah district before the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Mrezat Water Pump Station July 10. The irrigation pump benefits 10 to 12 thousand people in Mrezat, whose primary crop is the palm-date grove.

Sources: MNF-I.

Originally posted @ DoD Daily News-2.

Navy ‘Riverines’ are irreplaceable

I love the NAVY! Wow, these guys are really standing tall here, so to speak. They not only have manned their boats, but they are up in the actual fight, albeit not too much of a fight it is, and they are doing a remarkable job. They have gone to school for extra training specifically for this purpose. Check it out. I recommend it. (Hey, they have the Marines back!) :)

Update: I've reposted it here.

17 July 07
By Sgt. Andy Hurt
13th MEU.

NEAR KARMAH, Iraq -- The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit may have disembarked its ships to deploy to Iraq, but the Navy is still playing a vital role in the unit’s success.

Navy Riverine Squadron One, a compact, water-borne unit from Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, has been the “tip of the trident” supporting counterinsurgency operations in Al Anbar province since May 5, and is now assisting the 13th MEU.

Conducting operations based off of MEU intelligence products, the RIVRON is constantly patrolling the murky waters and canals of Lake Thar Thar in search of insurgent activities and opening lines of communications within the community. The RIVRON also takes the responsibilities of a boat raid company, which the MEU realigned to accommodate a forecasted mission in the desert. Seeing the Riverines in action gives the feel of a Hollywood special operations flick – complete with mud, rifles, jet boats and a rough-and-tumble cast.

Understanding the Riverines is simple. Take a sailor from a weapons specialty, put him through Marine Corps School of Infantry, machine gunners course, a few civilian security courses and a boat school. Fly him to a war zone and place him directly into the fight. You now have a Riverine.

“These guys are Sailors who have been converted,” said Lt. Michael Taylor, RIVRON-1, Maritime Interdiction Team commander. “They’re Riverines now, and they’re proud of that.

As the MIT commander, Taylor is responsible for much of the “ground aspect” of the Riverine doctrine. Though he denies suggestions RIVRON-1 is a ground force, Taylor said Riverines are a very important piece in the War on Terrorism.

“Since the beginning of time, waterways have been an excellent way to transport items,” said the Syracuse, N.Y. native, “but we’re here to deny that use to Anti-Iraqi forces and open the waterways for legitimate business.”

The Riverines are doing just that. In the last week alone they have successfully located and detained three individuals suspected of Improvised Explosive Device operations.

“We’re motivated to be here, and every time we find a weapons cache or an IED, it’s exciting,” said Taylor. “The three guys we (detained) were suspects in an incident which killed six Marines, and when we caught them our motivation just skyrocketed.”

The motivation and success do not come without hard work. For each mission, Riverines are responsible for tactical planning, intelligence analysis and transportation – which includes the upkeep of four Small Unit Riverine Craft boats, powered by twin jet inboard motors. Like Marine rifle companies, the responsibility weighs heavily in the hands of small-unit leaders.

Petty Officer 1st Class Rudy Lopez, team leading Petty Officer, said although there are many moving parts to each mission, the Riverines feel the importance of their role each day. “In a way, we’re allowing the Marines to focus on their mission elsewhere,” he said, “and we put the Navy back into the fight … we’re doing a job that hasn’t been done since Vietnam.”

Lopez and RIVRON-1 have the satisfaction of knowing they are the first such unit in the fight here, as squadrons Two and Three are currently being organized. For many of the Riverines, the special duty was a chance to break the “Blue-water Navy” cliché. As a 10-year veteran of the Navy, Lopez was pulled from a shore duty to become a Riverine. He’s seen the war in Iraq from nearly all perspectives, but said being on the ground – facing the same dangers as Soldiers and Marines - is truly special.

“It’s scary sometimes, but it’s also a great feeling going out there,” he said. “We gotta look out for IEDs, mines … sometimes we pull up and shore and the guys have AK-47s. It’s not like we’re on a ship, surrounded by a big gray hull.”

The Squadron, which carries less than 50 Riverines, has a proportionate mission. Counterinsurgency operations involve few clues, vague leads, broad search areas (nearly 200 square kilometers on Lake Thar Thar alone) and seemingly few returns. Although there are infrequent “jackpot” finds, it is clear that the tide of success ebbs and flows.

“There’s not a big war out here,” said Lopez, “we’re just looking for small groups of guys who are being jerks.”

Photo - (From left to right) Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Daniel Macklin, Machinists Mate 3rd Class Nasir Ghaidi and MMFN Adam Johnson prepare to dismount a Small Unit Riverine Craft during a targeted sweep in support of Operation WATERFRONT July 13. Riverines from Navy Riverine Squadron One are currently conducting counter insurgency operations with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province.

Source: Originally posted at DoD Daily News-2.

Eskimos in Kuwait

This is a look inside to our National Guard team for whom the climate change experience can be a shock. Somebody quick! Call Al Gore! lol. All kidding aside, this is a very good insight as to what others are sacrificing so that we may remain free.

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Ice and Fire: Eskimos in Kuwait.

16 July 07
By Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau News.

CAMP BUERHING, Kuwait - Hot like a giant hairdryer; like standing under a giant magnifying glass; or like turning an oven to 127 degrees, jumping in and closing the door. These are ways Eskimo members of the Alaska National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment explain the Kuwait heat to family and friends back home.

The hottest weather that many of them experienced before the Alaska Guard's largest deployment since World War II brought them to the desert was 70 degrees, depending on the part of Alaska they're from, since the state has a wide range of temperatures over an area more than twice the size of Texas. Unit members claim the heat has approached 150 degrees in Kuwait during their deployment.

"Big difference for us; horrible," said Pfc. Darin Olanna, 23, from the Alaskan coast near Nome where the record high is 86 and the record low is minus 54. "As soon as I smell the ocean, it feels like home. I miss the mountain tundra. The wilderness is right out your back door."

A wilderness is right out the back door of Camp Buerhing, too – a sparsely populated flat desert. The coldest temperature on record in Kuwait? In January 1964, 21.2 degrees, according to the country's United Nations representatives. No "minus" in front of that number.

Drinking water, increasing food intake, seeking shade and – perhaps counter-intuitively – increased exercise regimens have helped the Alaskans cope with the heat, they say. Some douse themselves in cold water, as they would during peak heat back home.

"To me, it's the same survival techniques as being in the Alaskan winter," said Master Sgt. John Flynn, 40, a Yup'ik Eskimo. The extreme cold presents similar challenges to extreme heat, including dehydration, he said. Blinding sandstorms remind him of blinding snowstorms. "The only difference is when it's cold you put more layers on, but here even when it's hot you cannot take layers off," he said.

Near Nome, a "polar bear swim" is an annual tradition, swimmers diving into the water in May, when there is still ice. "If I could do that now, I wouldn't hesitate," Olanna said.

More than 80 Alaska communities are represented in the 3rd Battalion. "There's people from all over the state," Olanna said. "From Barrow to Dillingham to Nome to Sitka. You've got Athabascan Indian, Yup'ik Eskimo, Haidan Tlingit Indians from southeast. All walks of life."

Their mission in Kuwait, where they arrived in October 2006 and which they expect to leave this fall, includes providing security, including quick reaction forces that can cross the Iraqi border, and performing infrastructure vulnerability assessments.

In their civilian lives, the Eskimos hunt and fish for a smorgasbord of walrus, whales, Canada geese, moose, reindeer, bear, caribou, salmon, white fish, trout and pike. Some are full-time Guardmembers back home or have other jobs such as working in a halfway house counseling petty criminals, but their roots are in a way of life as radically different from most of their colleagues as is the lifestyle of Kuwait's desert nomads.

"The way I grew up, until I joined the Guard, was surviving off the land," Flynn said. "You need a little bit of money, but money will not make you survive where I'm from. The land will. Mammals, geese, wild flowers, berries, that's the way of life I grew up with – hunting and fishing." In Kuwait, rifles are the tools for personal protection. Back home, rifles are the tools for hunting.

"I miss the food from back home," said Spc. Reuben Olanna, 27. Darin Olanna's cousin fantasizes about a filet of salmon cooked within minutes of being caught. Darin Olanna missed corralling his friend's reindeer herd this year. The Olanna cousins are Inupiaq Eskimos from Brevig Mission and Nome.

For some, military service is the only reason they have ever left Alaska – to attend basic combat training in Georgia or South Carolina, pre-mobilization training in New Jersey, professional development in Arkansas. They have never previously deployed outside the state, which was exempt from overseas deployments during the Cold War because Alaska Guardmembers were considered forward deployed against the Soviet Union. "I have uncles that were in World War II and Vietnam," said Sgt. 1st Class Homer Nunooruk, 38. "Relatives that were in the first Gulf War and Afghanistan. It brings a deep pride in me."

Nunooruk, an Inupiaq from Nome, Alaska's northernmost town, said many Eskimos choose the National Guard for the educational opportunities, training and discipline. "A lot of my relatives that I talk to from other communities, they do it so that they have an alternative income and training and education," he said.

For Flynn, the National Guard was a life-changing opportunity. Orphaned at 13, inspired by the camaraderie he witnessed at a military funeral, reminiscent of an Eskimo extended family, the 19-year-old enlisted to turn his life around. Twelve of Nunooruk's relatives deployed with him. Another died in a vehicle accident during their pre-deployment training at Camp Shelby, Miss.

"Every once in a while, I'll pull them aside and we'll talk," he said. "We'll just talk about what's going on back home. Things that we miss. Hunting and fishing. Being outdoors. The biggest consensus is we miss being in the outdoors in Alaska, especially wintertime."

It has been a deployment of firsts – first exposure to such extreme heat, to a sand desert, to overseas travel, to separation from extended families. "Being away from home," Reuben Olanna said. "I can depend on no one else but all these other guys I've been training with."

Nunooruk said the deployment has helped him follow his parents' advice. "They always said 'See what's outside of Nome, '" he said. "When I went to Anchorage, they said, 'See what's outside of Alaska.' One thing they always wanted me to experience was different cultures and lifestyles. I always loved meeting new people and trying new foods."

Nunooruk moved his family to Palmer, where it reaches the 80s, before the deployment. "It's so hot at night, I can't sleep," his wife told him during one call home. "It's 123 degrees here," he replied. "80 is pretty cold here." He wondered if he would feel cold back home on leave.

The Eskimos say extended families are a blessing for a deployment. "I'm getting a lot of support from them, from all my cousins and friends. They've been telling me to hang in here," Reuben Olanna said. "I tell them I am enjoying it."

Unit members say they will miss something about their deployment in Kuwait – but it's not the heat. "Being around all these guys on a daily basis," Darin Olanna said. "It wouldn't be a bad place," Flynn said, "if it wasn't so hot."

Photo- The Alaska National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment has left its mark at Camp Buerhing, Kuwait. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill.
******************************

Source: National Guard.

Originally posted by me @ DoD Daily News-2.

Daily Quote 7/23-27/2007

Monday, July 23, 2007.
"Another not unimportant consideration is, that the powers of the general government will be, and indeed must be, principally employed upon external objects, such as war, peace, negotiations with foreign powers, and foreign commerce. In its internal operations it can touch but few objects, except to introduce regulations beneficial to the commerce, intercourse, and other relations, between the states, and to lay taxes for the common good. The powers of the states, on the other hand, extend to all objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, and liberties, and property of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state."

--Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833); Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 192.

That is nice summary of the Constitution!

Tue. 7/24/07.
"What is it that affectionate parents require of their Children; for all their care, anxiety, and toil on their accounts? Only that they would be wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind."

--Abigail Adams (letter to John Quincy Adams, 20 November 1783); Reference: The Adams Family Correspondence, Richard Alan Ryerson, ed., vol. 5.

Wed. 7/25/07.
"Remember, that Time is Money."

--Benjamin Franklin (Advice to a Young Tradesman, 1748); Reference: Franklin: Writings, Lemay, Library of America (1198).

Indeed.

Thu. 7/26/07.
"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens....There has never been a moment of my life in which I should have relinquished for it the enjoyments of my family, my farm, my friends & books."

--Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Melish, 13 January 1813).

Commendable. Show a man such as this today...still waiting...

Fri. 7/27/07.
"For the same reason that the members of the State legislatures will be unlikely to attach themselves sufficiently to national objects, the members of the federal legislature will be likely to attach themselves too much to local objects."

--James Madison (Federalist No. 47, 1 February 1788); Reference: Madison, Federalist No. 46.

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All of the Founders' quotes distributed by FQD have been thoroughly researched and authenticated by the Heritage Foundation. For a complete database of Founders' quotes on various topics, link to the Internet's most comprehensive resource page on our Founding documents Historical Documents and select Founders Quote Database
.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Need feedback on CentCom articles

I am going to keep my DoD Daily News-2, and I am wondering if I should post the whole article here as well, or should I paraphrase them as I have been. What do you think? Would you rather not have to go to a different site? After all, that is why I created this site. Or would you like me to summarize these articles for your benefit? This way, you could just read the ones that interest you. Please let me know. Thank you, and have a great weekend!

My heroes have always been cowboys

This video is so awesome. This is my question to Hollywood. Where are our movies? Just because you are the ones taking up the space and time, does not give you the right to mismanage my Heroes! Digg This Story

Friday, July 27, 2007

Soldiers defend body armor's performance in combat

Cross-posted @ DoD Daily News-2. (Oops. Forgot the original link, so I found this @ www.Army.mil.

13 July 07
By Debi Dawson
Army News Service.

FORT BELVOIR, Va - Soldiers are volunteering dramatic personal accounts of lives saved and injuries avoided thanks to the Army's body armor. Their first-hand accounts of what happens demonstrate confidence in what the Army is doing to protect them.

Interceptor Body Armor is a modular system that features an outer tactical vest with hard protective plates. Spc. Gregory T. Miller, 101st Airborne Division, told Congress at a hearing last month that this body armor saved his life while he was on patrol in Kirkuk in preparation for Iraqi elections in December 2005. He was hit in the back by a sniper with what was supposed to be an armor-piercing round. Spc. Miller, who wound up with a bruised back, said he didn't even realize he'd been hit at first.

It all seemed to happen in slow motion, he said. The water bottle he was holding flew out of his hand; he thought his team leader had hit him on the back - hard. When he realized he'd been hit, he checked himself and then turned to return fire.

When the round was pulled from his armor back plate, ballistics tests identified it as a 7.62 armor-piercing round. "I trust my gear," he told the congressional panel. When asked why, he replied matter-of-factly: "It saved my life."

Staff Sgt. Jeremie Oliver of Fort Hood, Texas, has been in Iraq since October 2006, wearing his body armor every single day. "It works very well," he has reported. The husband and father of four children was shot on Father's Day this year.

"We were on patrol securing a site ... a shot rang out and I got hit in the chest. I was in a Bradley, standing up in the hatch, plotting a grid on my GPS. At first I didn't know what had really happened, but then I felt the pain. I sat down, realized what happened, and opened my vest. The bullet had not penetrated the vest, so we continued the mission and went after the enemy."

Sgt. 1st Class Jody Penrod described his combat experience with IBA: "I took a couple of IEDs and some shrapnel, and I had a fire bomb and it didn't light on fire. So I was pretty pleased."

Because the IBA vest protected his entire chest area, Sgt. 1st Class Penrod didn't have so much as a scratch from the shrapnel in the blast. He recounted how insurgents had made Napalm-type bombs with soap so that it would stick to Soldiers while on fire. "I got some on my vest, but it just went right out. So I was kind of happy that the vest didn't go up in flames."

Spc. Jason C. Ashline, an infantryman with Fort Drum, N.Y.'s 10th Mountain Division, survived a round from an AK-47 in Afghanistan in 2002 thanks to his body armor. He stated at the recent dedication of MIT's Institute for Nanotechnologies: "If it weren't for technology I wouldn't be standing here today."

Spc. Ashline was hit twice in the chest during a 12-hour firefight with al-Qaeda insurgents in 2002. The slugs lodged in his body armor. He was stunned but unhurt, and was pulled to safety by his buddies.

Documenting personal accounts of positive body armor experiences is difficult because the Army doesn't keep count of Soldiers not killed or injured. Still, there are more stories like these and Army leaders at all levels recount apocryphal tales by the dozens.

Capt. David Beard, now stationed at Fort Myer, Va., previously served in Iraq. "I remember a guy in Najaf got shot with an AK right in the chest," Beard said, "and his IBA plate saved him!"

Capt. Daniel Leard, also at Fort Myer by way of Iraq, called his body armor "a great protective asset." He said it routinely stop rounds. "In our own unit we had, on several occasions, Soldiers pulling bullets out of their body armor or helmet. It clearly saved their lives."

Brig. Gen. R. Mark Brown, Program Executive Officer, has repeatedly asserted that the Army is providing Soldiers with the best, most protective body armor - bar none. He particularly resents the fact that Soldiers' Families have been misled by conflicting media reports that left them concerned that the Army might not be doing all it can to protect its Soldiers.

"Force protection is the number-one priority of the Army. We value our Soldiers very highly and we do everything we can do to ensure they have the finest in force protection as they go into the battle," Brig. Gen. Brown said. "I want to assure the American public, the Soldiers and their Families that they have the best equipment when and where they need it."

PEO Soldier designs, produces and fields virtually everything the American Soldier wears or carries. The organization's Soldier-as-a-System approach ensures that equipment works in an integrated manner, thus preparing troops for peak performance.

Photo - Staff Sgt. Jeremie Oliver of Fort Hood, Texas, shows where he was shot in the chest with while patrolling in Iraq on Father's Day this year. The bullet did not penetrate the vest. Courtesy photo.