Bright Star is the multinational joint forces operation that occurs every two years in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula. Below are five pictures of Paratroops. Click on the thumbnails for larger versions. Airborne!
Paratroopers fall from the sky during a coalition airborne jump, Sept
18. The jump is one of six major events during the Bright Star 2005
exercise. Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Clifton, Combined Joint Task
Force-Bright Star Public Affairs.
Thanks to many of you. Received several updates from Susie, Brett, Harding, and John H. that the International Freedom Center - the group that is twisting of the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial into an America hating museum - has been removed from the Memorial.
Every since June 8, 2005 when Debra Bulingame's op-ed, The Great Ground Zero Heist, appeared in the Wall Street Journal, we have fought together for the preservation of the dignity of Ground Zero. With your help, we have achieved a major victory toward that goal.
We will continue to monitor
the plans for Ground Zero to ensure that a fitting and proper memorial is built; one that is respectful of the victims murdered that day, their families, the first responders, and the American people.
A press release on the removal of the IFC from the 15 family member groups is expected in the next 24 hours and we will post it @ www.takebackthememorial.org as soon as it becomes available.
Thank you again for your support, prayers, and dedication. We simply could not have done this without you.
Robert D. Shurbet Founder/Web Master TakeBackTheMemorial.org
Thank you to all who have helped Take Back the Memorial!
From left to right, Staff Sgt. Josie E. Harshe, flight engineer; Capt.
Anita T. Mack, navigator; 1st Lt. Siobhan Couturier, pilot; Capt. Carol
J. Mitchell, aircraft commander; and loadmasters Tech. Sgt. Sigrid M.
Carrero-Perez and Senior Airman Ci Ci Alonzo, pause in the cargo bay of
their C-130 for a group photo following their historic flight. [U.S. Air
By U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael G. Johnson 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Sept. 27, 2005
— A crew of six Airmen at a forward deployed location climbed aboard a
C-130 Hercules together recently for the first time in their careers.
But something distinguished this mission from others they had flown
--it was the first time an all-female C-130 crew flew a combat mission.
Capt. Carol Mitchell, aircraft commander; 1st Lt. Siobhan
Couturier, pilot; Capt. Anita T. Mack, navigator; Staff Sgt. Josie E.
Harshe, flight engineer; and loadmasters Tech. Sgt. Sigrid M.
Carrero-Perez and Senior Airman Ci Ci Alonzo are all permanently
assigned to the 43rd Airlift Wing at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., and
currently are deployed to the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron
flying cargo and troops in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of
While some would call their mission “historic,” they feel this
mission should be recognized like every other flight -- a successful
“I enjoyed flying with this crew, but I don’t think we should go out
of our way to have all-female crews,” said Captain Mitchell. “It took a
long time for women to become accepted as aircrew members, and now that
we are, we would be taking a step back by singling ourselves out rather
than blending in with the rest of the Air Force.”
Airman Alonzo agrees. “It was a great experience not many females
can say they’ve had,” she said. "However I don’t believe the Air Force
should seek out all-female crews -- instead, we should focus on
“(The Air Force) should have the
best crews they can put together. Nothing other than qualification and
ability should be considered,” said Captain Mack.
only did this all female crew fly together for the first time, 6,800
miles from home-station, but they flew the mission on a Vietnam-era
airplane -- a significance the crew did not miss.
“Our (aircraft) was a 1962 model. (It) came off the line when women
weren’t accepted as C-130 aircrew, let alone in combat,” said Sergeant
After the excitement of this all-female
C-130 crew flying the first combat mission together wore off, they
focused on what really mattered.
is) knowing we’re making a difference and seeing it with every mission
we fly,“ said Airman Alonzo. "(It's also) moving troops into the
theater where they’re needed, seeing the excitement and relief on the
faces of the guys and gals we take out of theater who have been there
for six months to a year and are on their way home to their loved ones."
During the mission, the crew transported 151 Marines and their equipment.
Another thing they all agreed upon, the mission was a true experience.
was a fun thing to be able to say you did, if only once. Not that it is
better, this was just different, and probably won’t happen for us again
anytime soon just because of the sheer numbers,” said Sergeant Harshe.
Captain Mitchell said one additional benefit of this all female flight was gaining a different perspective.
way to avoid (complacency) is to mix the crews up a little, fly with
some different people to get a different perspective,” she said. “And
what better way to mix the crews up than by putting all the girls on
the same crew?”
While the all-female crew did
accomplish a unique milestone together, they point out that the
significance of their mission success is that every crewmember achieved
personal goals to get there.
“I encourage any
girl or woman to do what she wants. Too often I hear people say they
can’t do something (but it is) because they don’t realize they have the
opportunity,” Captain Mack said. “I would tell any person flying is an
attainable goal for anyone who wants to work for it. As they say, you
are only limited in what you can do by what you can dream.”
Captain Scott Southworth - Someone You Should Know
Posted By Blackfive
SoupNazi sends this article about an amazing Army Officer and an Iraqi orphan. It's from February and I'm surprised that I hadn't heard about Scott Southworth before. Thanks to the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal (again) for a great story about our military.
The first time Capt. Scott Southworth visited the orphanage in Baghdad, the little boy was drawn to him immediately.
The boy, who has cerebral palsy and cannot walk, half-crawled,
half-dragged himself across the floor until he was seated at
Southworth's side, then gazed up at him with a crooked smirk.
"People ask me how I chose him, but I didn't. He chose me," Southworth said.
It was September 2003, and Southworth was in command of the
Wisconsin National Guard 32nd Military Police Company during its
14-month tour in Iraq. Their mission was to teach local police officers
how to operate in a democracy. Their visits to the orphanage for
disabled children were a way for the soldiers to forget the hard times:
the shellings, the car bombs, the attacks on the police stations where
they worked. And Southworth loved spending time with the little boy,
Southworth grew up in a military family, raised with love of God and
country. He graduated from law school at the University of Wisconsin
with honors and planned to run for Juneau County district attorney at
the end of his deployment.
As for Ala'a (pronounced "Allah"), when he was 3 or 4, an Iraqi
police officer found him alone on the streets of Baghdad. The officer
brought him to the orphanage, run by the Catholic Missionaries of
Charity of Mother Teresa. By the time Southworth started visiting him
there, Ala'a was about 10. The nuns who cared for him had taught him to
pray and to speak English.
Face to face, Ala'a called Southworth by his first name, Scott. But
the nuns told Southworth they saw a stronger bond beginning to form.
Ala'a was always concerned about what he would wear when Southworth
came to visit. He was suddenly interested in learning to walk. At night
when Ala'a lay down in his crib, he would pray not for himself but for
Southworth, whom he felt was in danger. And when he talked about his
new friend from America, he called him "Baba," which means "Daddy" in
his native Arabic.
"At first, it was just kind of cute, kind of nice," said Southworth, 32, who felt more like Ala'a's big brother than his father.
Then he started to realize what a difference he was making in the
boy's life. Sure, Ala'a had always been loved by the nuns, but they
loved everyone. This little boy had likely been abandoned by his
parents. He'd never had anyone to make him feel valuable as an
individual. Now, he did.
"Everybody on the planet needs to feel special to somebody, and I could see that happening for him," Southworth said.
In December, about three months after the two first met, the
soldiers had a Christmas party for the orphans. Ala'a, who had been
raised Christian, giggled and prattled on about "Baba Noel" - Father
Christmas - as he showed Southworth the set of colorful blocks he'd
Shortly after the party, one of the doctors who cared for the
orphans told Southworth that she was worried about Ala'a's future. He
was getting too big for the orphanage. In a year, he would have to move
to a government-run home for the disabled, which housed adults and
older children. Southworth had heard about the home. By all reports, it
was horrible. The doctor confirmed his fears.
"If he goes there, his life is over," the doctor said, speaking more than figuratively...
I'll post the rest of the story in the Extended Section:
are over 300000 words in the English language, but I can’t find one to best describe
SGT Mike Sonoda. There is nothing I can
say that would make his death more tolerable, or less painful. When Mike died serving his God and country,
but most of all he fought for us… to keep us safe. Every time he went on patrol he went out with
the intent to find IEDs. With the intent
to catch terrorists. So that when the
rest of us went out we would be safe...
Thunder Six is probably one of the best writers in the MilBlog arena, but he doesn't hold a candle to the troops' tributes of three fallen heroes - the tributes are both heartbreaking and amazing at the same time.
"He believed there was a job to do and he was there to do it." - Christie Flynn about her late husband, Chief Warrant Officer John Flynn
Chief Warrant Officer John Flynn was killed on September 25th when his Chinook crashed in Afghanistan. John was a friend of Chris C. who visits Walter Reed Army Medical Center for Soldiers' Angels. This note is from Chris:
Well damn, it was John. I graduated high school with him. I worked my way through college and graduate school paving roads each summer. He was an equipment operator/foreman who I worked with quite a bit. He loved flying, loved his helicopters, and loved the Army National Guard. I could almost bring a job to a stand-still by asking him the right questions about flying. He'd shut off the equipment and get this sort of teacherly bearing about him and explain in detail all about rotary winged aircraft, the particular training he was doing or his latest missions.The only thing he loved more was his family.
There's much more. The Reno Gazette-Journal had this on the 27th of September:
The flag flew at half-staff Monday in the front yard of the Flynn
residence in Spanish Springs -- a tribute to a fallen husband, father
Chief Warrant Officer John M. Flynn, 36, and Sgt.
Patrick D. Stewart, 35, of Fernley were among the five crew members
killed in the Sunday crash of a Chinook helicopter supporting military
operations in Afghanistan.
"He believed there was a job to do and he was there to do it," said Flynn's widow, 35-year-old Christine Flynn.
"We're really proud of him for what he did," she said, her eyes pooling. "He believed in his job and his fight for the cause."
Stewart, two Oregon residents also in Company D of the Army National
Guard's 113th Aviation Regiment and a sergeant from an Army aviation
unit based in Germany died when the CH-47 crashed southwest of Deh
Chopan in southern Zabul province, Afghanistan. There were no
survivors, officials said. <...>
Deployed to Afghanistan in March, Flynn last visited home for about
two weeks ending in early August. The 1988 Reno High School graduate
and his wife last communicated by instant messaging the night before
During that communication, Flynn mostly inquired about
his wife and children, 7-year-old Hannah and 5-year-old Benjamin, Flynn
Her husband rarely spoke of the dangers he faced in Afghanistan, she said.
"John protected me from that," she said. "He let me know as little as possible, but I'm a smart woman."
father, 68-year-old John J. Flynn of Reno, said his son felt strongly
about his duties as a soldier and his mission in Afghanistan.
"He said, 'Dad, someone has to do it,' " Flynn said. "There was no doubt and no hesitation about what he was doing.
"In his mind, and in mine too, he was fighting evil and believed in good."
elder Flynn said his son would be proud of the "overwhelming" support
now being given to his family by friends and neighbors.
"We'll go on because John would have us go on," the father said. "This is what strong families do."
Christine Flynn said she will make sure her children know of the importance of her husband's sacrifice.
"I loved my husband and I'm very proud of him," she said. "His children will know the kind of man he was."
was an experienced instructor pilot in the CH-47 and also flew the
CH-54. He enlisted in the Nevada National Guard in February 1988 and
after completing Warrant Officer School in 1992. <...> "These soldiers epitomize the sacrifice and dedication our guardsmen
bring to our communities," Brig. Gen. Cindy Kirkland, Nevada adjutant
general, said. "While we all grieve over their loss, the Nevada Guard
will do our best to take care of their families and the families of the
rest of the soldiers still deployed to Southwest Asia."
There's a fund set up to help take care of John's family. If you'd like to help you
can donate to the John Flynn Memorial Fund at the Bank of America. The account number is 004970795551.
If you're in Nevada, then you are probably seeing a lot of opportunistic types taking advantage of the crash to harp their anti-war, bring them home mantras. Think about supporting Christie Flynn and her family (along with the Stewarts) during their time of need. And think about showing support for the mission in Afghanistan. We need to ensure that the sacrifices made to free Afghanistan - John Flynn's sacrifices - were not made in vain.
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.