Update: Gunnery Sergeant Mark Francis is coming home for five months before his second tour will start. For those wishing to send more toys to the Marines in Iraq, here is the new contact information and an email address (for questions):
Soldiers' Angel Robin - who leads the Armor Up program for Soldiers' Angels, needs four more kevlar blankets to give to a unit making it's second tour in Iraq. Each blanket costs $925 and meets DOD specs.
The last request came from an Army Infantry Captain (the former Commander of the unit) who was wounded and couldn't return with them.
Here's the Soldiers' Angels Armor Up page where you can donate via PayPal. And, as usual,when I post something like this, I have already donated to the Armor Up program today. The sooner the blankets get to the soldiers, the better.
I won't be able to check in on this post very much this weekend, and I expect that there may be some who want to know why the Army isn't providing complete Armor for the Humvees. While I don't know the specific reasons for this case, I know that it will still take some time to completely armor every Humvee in theater. And every soldier is a target...Infantry or MP, Cav Trooper or Mechanic.
So, donate if you can and pass on the link to the Armor Up page.
By Steve Fainaru Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, February 22, 2005; Page A01
During the harrowing day-long mission to recover the bodies of the Humvee's three occupants on Feb. 13, an Air Force firefighter also drowned. Five U.S. soldiers were treated for hypothermia. For five hours, three Navy SEAL divers searched the canal before their tanks ran out of oxygen.
What happened then, however, has transformed the relationship between the Iraqi soldiers and the skeptical Americans who train them. Using a tool they welded themselves that day at a cost of about $40, the Iraqis dredged the canal through the cold afternoon until the tan boot of Spec. Dakotah Gooding, 21, of Des Moines, appeared at the surface. The Iraqis then jumped into the water to pull him out, and went back again and again until they had recovered the last American. Then they stood atop the canal, shivering in the dark.
"When I saw those Iraqis in the water, fighting to save their American brothers, I saw a glimpse of the future of this country," said Col. Mark McKnight, commander of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, which had overall responsibility for the unit in the accident, his eyes tearing...
And if you're not reading Tim Chavez's columns in the Tennessean, you're seriously missing out:
Though John Johnston's grandson has spent much time serving his nation in Kosovo, Afghanistan and the past 12 months in Iraq, he has only one big complaint:
''I wish the press would pick up on good things that are happening (in Iraq).''
It did for a moment last Sunday, but that took millions of Iraqis going to the polls. Capt. Neal Mayo was referring to the good his men and women from the Arkansas National Guard have been doing for some time. They've been rebuilding hospitals and organizing youth soccer teams. His grandfather, from his Brentwood home, has been sending books to his grandson as his unit sets up libraries...
Still More Truth From Iraq - Commander of the 7th Marines
Posted By Blackfive
Via Amy K., below is the latest letter home from Marine Colonel Tucker. I have posted a few of Col. Tucker's speeches and letters before. It's been almost five months since Colonel Tucker last wrote an update. Read on and you'll why he's been too busy to write...
17 February, 2005.
It has been 4 months since I have written. Much has passed in those months: a time of great victories, an election, the emergence of a competent, professional Iraqi Army and Police units who stand to their tasks, and a tipping point in this battle against terror and evil.
I believe that my last letter was dated 18 October 2004. On 21 October under cover of one of those dirt-fog nights unique to Iraq; with drivers barely able to see the edges of their hoods---the RCT Command Element moved from Al Asad to Camp Baharia, a protected FOB about 5 kilometers east of Fallujah.
TF 1/8 joined us two days later; BLT 1/3 a few days after that. We added 2d Recon Bn to the mix, assumed an area of operations south of Fallujah, and between 25 October and 6 November conducted a series of operations in the vicinity of Fallujah designed to force the enemy to show his hand.
Tonight, PBS will air the Frontline episode about Soldiers in Iraq. I'll probably watch but may have to interrupt to watch the 1980 Winter Olympics US vs Russian Hockey match on the ESPN Classic channel.
As much as I want to see the Cav Soldiers, I have a serious need for hockey. This season is killing me.
I watched Michael Tucker (the director, producer, and cameraman of Gunner Palace) on Hardball last night. It was the first time that I watched Hardball since the Republican Convention when Chris Matthews was trying to intimidate former Marine Sergeant Senator Zell Miller.
Michael Tucker was joined by film critic Leonard Maltin. Unfortunately, there isn't a transcript of the conversation so I'm paraphrasing what happened based on my memory.
Basically, Tucker was great at deflecting some of the most inane comments ever uttered by Chris Matthews and redirecting them to the film's actual purpose - to document the daily lives of these young soldiers. Matthews kept trying to compare Vietnam veterans reactions to films like the Deer Hunter, Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and the Green Berets. He kept bringing up the Green Berets as the one film that Vietnam veterans do not associate their memories of Vietnam with...it was like he wanted to talk about how surreal Iraq is rather than deal with topic of what kind of transformation the soldiers go through in the film.
No one pointed out to Matthews that Deer Hunter, Platoon, Apocalypse Now and The Green Berets were fictional movies.
Note to Chris Matthews and his Hardball handlers: Gunner Palace is a documentary film.
Obviously, Chris Mathews didn't see Gunner Palace.
But Leonard Maltin did, and he loved it. He raved about the film and it's historical importance.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.