Roger Simon has an important post about a new adventure in the Blogosphere - Pajamas Media.
I can't be your resource for information about this (so please read Roger's post and follow his instructions), but what I can tell you is that I signed on the team in early February. I've met a few of the Board and they are top knotch people. In other words, I've wanted to be a part of this for months.
This is just the beginning.
Update: If you're a MilBlogger and have confidentiality concerns, contact me.
The German Angel And Matthew Braddock - Someone You Should Know
Posted By Blackfive
“I remember smoke and stuff flying at me and
my truck commander yelling, ‘Is everybody all right?’ My
gunner yelled down that he was all right. And I yelled that I was all
right because I thought I was. Then I took two steps and hit the ground." - Matthew Braddock on being wounded in Iraq
Occasionally, I get email from folks who ask me why I am such a supporter of Soldiers' Angels. Read this, and, if you don't know why at the end, you never will understand.
Back in early November, I wrote about Willie Aufmkolk as Someone You Should Know. Willie is a great lady with a heart of gold. She is a German citizen who (with the help of her husband and friends) has been taking care of our wounded troops as they are brought into Germany before making the trip back to the states (Walter Reed, Bethesda, etc.). She's part of the Germany contingent of Soldiers' Angels.
Here's just one story about how Willie connected with a wounded American soldier...
On January 13th, Specialist Matt Braddock, a Cavalry Scout with the 116th Brigade Combat Team, was driving a humvee near Kirkuk, Iraq, when an IED was set off near his vehicle.
The left side of his body bore the brunt of the explosion - severed artery in his left arm, shrapnel lodged in his left knee, mangled his lower leg, both feet were crushed.
Matt's mother, Rhetta, picks up the story from here (via email):
Matt was laying on a stretcher in a bus at Landstahl waiting to be
put on a transport to the US. He was pretty much miserable, cold and in
need of a pillow. All of a sudden a lady with a German accent appears
out of nowhere, knowing his name, gives him a pillow and a quilt and a
backpack with essential personal items. Before he can get her name,
she's gone. He said it was like an angel had just appeared!
Willie is a German citizen and a volunteer Soldier's Angel who
puts together backpacks for soldiers and distributes them in Landstahl.
She drives 150 miles from her home to the hospital to do this.
Kay Fristad of the Oregon Army National Guard public affairs
office called her and asked if she could check on Matt. After going to
ICU and being sent to the ward and then sent to the buses, she found
him on the 2rd bus, 5 minutes before they closed it up to leave.
Once Matt got to Madigan Army Medical Center at Ft Lewis, he told
me the story and I started going through his stuff. I found a card with
Willie's name and email address in the very bottom and we started to
Through all this time she has continued to support Matt with mail
and gifts. She went a step farther and showed up to attend his Purple
As a recognition for all Willie and two other Angels present have
done for him and other soldiers he presented them with stained glass
angels. And to watch over while her husband is in Iraq he gave one to
Laura Albert, as well.
Matt would lose his left leg and have a miracle worker surgeon, Dr. Roman Hayda (Brooke Army Hospital, San Antonio, Texas?), put his right foot back together. Matt is doing well, recovering quickly, and wants to get back to Iraq. And, if he can't be a Cavalry Scout, he wants to be a mechanic (where do we find these guys?).
So here are some pictures of the ceremony where over 200 people, including Willie Aufmkolk, came to see Matthew Braddock receive his Purple Heart in Oregon. There were two other Angels that were recognized by Specialist Braddock - Kathy Gregory of Fisher House and MaryAnn, an American Soldiers' Angel in Germany.
Major General Burns pinning a Purple Heart on Matthew Braddock.
Matthew Braddock thanking Willie Aufmkolk and giving her a stained glass angel.
Got help from my friend Joe to design the current logo. And Stacy of Sekimori calibrated it for t-shirts. And I asked some friends on their opinion about designs. The design for this blog will change soon. However, the current logo really lends itself to a OD color t-shirt.
For every t-shirt sold, I'll net about $5 which will be donated to Soldiers' Angels. It's one way to support this blog and it's mission (by advertising the URL and demonstrating pride in it). And it's also a way to support Soldiers' Angels.
I'm travelling a bit over the next few months (DC, Baltimore, NYC, Michigan, St. Louis, etc.) so I don't want to miss another weekend with my family - especially on Mother's Day (my wife deserves a great one! - My Mom, too!). Otherwise, I would be at BlogNashville.
The Associated Press Wednesday, April 27, 2005; 8:58 PM
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Facing a possible death penalty for his fatal attack on fellow soldiers, Sgt. Hasan Akbar will make an unsworn statement to the jury in his own defense, a lawyer said Wednesday.
The statement by Akbar is to come Thursday, the fourth day of the sentencing phase of his court-martial, said the defense lawyer, Maj. David Coombs. Akbar was convicted last week of premeditated murder and attempted murder in the March 2003 attack on the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait. <...> Prosecutors have said Akbar, 34, launched the attack because he was concerned about U.S. troops killing fellow Muslims in the war.
On Tuesday, prosecution witnesses gave the jury tearful testimony about how the officers' deaths affected them.
"A sacred trust was broken that evening at Camp Pennsylvania," said Seifert's widow, Terri Seifert of Clarksville, Tenn. "I am terribly lonely."
Clutching a tissue and occasionally wiping away tears, she spoke of the irony of her husband's death because he was the type of man who "would have jumped on a grenade to save his buddies."
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., April 27 - Prosecutors in the case of a marine accused of murdering two Iraqis advised one of their own witnesses on Wednesday that he could face charges for talking to reporters, and vigorously cross-examined another who praised the defendant...
The new info that I didn't know before was that one witness confirmed that Pantano did order the two Iraqis to "stop" in Arabic and English before shots were fired.
The Wounded Warrior Project (one of the best outfits out there) needs our help in supporting a legislative effort to care for our wounded defenders. Below is the alert from WWP:
Help Create Traumatic Injury Insurance for All Active Duty Service Members
Thursday April 21st the United States Senate passed legislation
yesterday creating Traumatic Injury Insurance that will issue active
duty service members a payment ranging from $25, 000 to $100,000,
should they incur a life altering injury while serving their nation. This
legislation, known as the Wounded Warrior Bill, was introduced as an
amendment to the Emergency Supplemental Funding Bill by Senator Larry
Craig (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, at
the urgent request of three injured soldiers from the Wounded Warrior
Project. The Traumatic Injury Insurance will make an immediate payment
to the service member and their family within days of sustaining their
injury to support them during their hospitalization. Additionally, the
legislation passed will make Craig’s measure retroactive to the start
of Operation Enduring Freedom, which began in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001.
payment will ensure that newly injured soldiers can concentrate more
fully on their recovery and transition back into civilian life rather
than on the financial hardship that their disability will have on them
and their families.
Emergency Supplemental bill must now go through Conference Committee,
where differences between the House of Representatives and Senate
versions of this bill will be reconciled. As this Traumatic Insurance
Provision is only in the Senate version of the Legislation, we must
make sure that it remains in the final version of the bill to be
approved by both the House and Senate.
Call the Members of the Conference Committee and Demand That They
Include the Craig Amendment That Creates Traumatic Injury Insurance
Coverage for Our Troops
Senior Airman Brian Kolfage - Air Force "Cop" - Someone You Should Know
Posted By Blackfive
Master Sergeant Theresa sent information about Senior Airman Brian Kolfage's retirement ceremony from April 12th.
Brian served in the Security Forces in Iraq. He was on his second tour in early September 2004. Here's a picture of Brian (right) and his buddy, SrA Valentin Cortez. You can read about their first exploits in Iraq (OIF I) here.
It was approximately 0720 on Sept 11 2004 as Kolfage, me and the rest of the Mids Shift crew arrived back at T-Town (Tent City). As always Kolfage, Higgs (An A1C we befriended when we were assigned to the Iraq
customs team) and I walked to our tent G-5. As usual, we joked around
and planned on what we do once our deployment was over. We planned to
meet up with some of our team members and blow off some steam on some
beach during Spring Break. As we got to our tent and prepared to call
it a day I reminded Kolfage to wake me up around 1500 so we could go to
the gym and call home as we usually did together. He was like family.
We did everything together. Sometime between 1400 and 1420 I was woken
up as I heard a HUGE explosion right outside our tent. I had been
knocked out of my bed and I could hear debris raining down on our tent.
Higgs began to yell and ran into my room. I made sure he was alright
and told him to don his PPG. I immediately ran to Kolfage's room,
calling his name with no answer. As I entered his room I did not see
him. I could hear people running and screaming outside. I told Higgs to
follow me outside and see if anyone was hurt. As we ran out we noticed
someone lying on the ground approximately two tents from ours. As we
approached him it did not click that it was Kolfage. I don't know if it
was because of the dust and debris in the air or because I thought it
could never happen to us. It was Higgs who noticed who it was. "Oh my
God man its Brian!" These are the words that will be with me forever. I
kneeled down next to Kolfage and as I checked on him I thought we had
lost him. Shortly after he gasped for air and was conscious from then
on. As I attended to his wounds I also tried to keep him from looking
at them for fear that it would upset him. However, he looked at me and
in a calm and collected voice he said "Man I already know, just get me
home to Nikki." Only moments had passed since it all began and I could
hear more mortars landing close to us. I never got a chance to get my
PPG before I ran out of the tent. I was only wearing my sweatpants so I
told Higgs to run back to the tent and grab it for me as well as
Kolfage's ID. By the time Higgs came out people were standing around
looking. I yelled at them to check the surrounding tents and check for
any other injured people. A Major and two other people were helping me
with Kolfage by now and God knows that without their help it would have
been almost impossible for me alone to attend to all his injuries. The
injuries were severe. His right hand was just torn up as if chewed up.
His left hand had a hole from were shrapnel had sliced through it just
underneath his thumb. His right leg had been peppered by shrapnel. His
left leg, the most severe and life-threatening injury, was almost
severed at the hip and just holding on. As I wrapped his hands and
applied pressure on his left leg I never stopped talking to him for he
almost dozed away a couple of times and I feared he would not wake up
again. I assured him he had nothing to be ashamed off, that I was proud
to serve with him and that he would make it back home to his family and
Once the ambulance arrived and as we put him on the stretcher I
literally had to hold him and his leg together. Once in the back of the
ambulance I prepared to hop in the front to accompany him to the
emergency room I took a quick glance of the area. I saw things lying on
the ground, bloody things. I sighed and realized I needed to keep it
together for Kolfage, Higgs and the remainder of the team. I jumped in
and tried to comprehend what had happened. As we arrived at the
emergency room the medics took over. There I stood outside the hospital
half-dressed wearing my buddy's bloody hat wondering why. A few minutes
later my Lt and two of my sergeants arrived trying to understand what
happened. They apparently thought that I too had gotten hurt.
Everything had happened so fast that there was a lot of confusion.
During Kolfage's surgery the call for blood went out throughout the
base and within minutes dozens of soldiers, sailor, marines and airmen
responded. People were literally being bussed in, some on bikes and
some even running all the way from where they heard the call. Just an
incredible site. That day Kolfage made it through surgery but remained
in critical condition. We were informed that both his legs and his
right hand were amputated but that they were doing everything to save
his thumb on his left hand. As for me, I got more support than I could
stand, from my team, Chaplains and a bunch of people I still don't
know. The next day we lined up next to the C-5 in which Kolfage would
be flown to Germany and PROUDLY saluted him as he was carried on to the
plane. I was allowed to say good-bye but as I approached and saw him on
the stretcher with tubes and wires sticking out of him I did not know
what to say. I thought back to times we had spent together, to last
year when again we both have volunteered to serve in dangerous lands,
and remembered a saying by which we motivated ourselves. Knowing this
would be the last time I would see him for a long time I leaned over
and spoke those words. "We live together. We fight together. We die
together. We Band of Brothers."
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.