I got an email from Sandi Hammersly, who some of us were lucky enough to meet at the DC conference. She had a piece she wrote, but she doesn't have a blog....yet.
Welcome to the game Sandi:
37¢ was the cost of the stamp that went on a letter to a soldier in Iraq – a soldier whose post I had read on AnySoldier.com the previous night. A post that so haunted me that I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It was a post that saw me wide awake at dawn and writing a letter to him on May 28, 2005. It was a simple letter; one that spoke of the break of dawn in the woods of northern Michigan. It spoke of the sounds of the birds awakening to the dawn of a new day. It spoke of the simple things in life. It spoke of the events that had brought me to the north woods that day. It spoke of childhood memories of growing up in Hawaii. It spoke of the minutiae that make up my daily life. It was just simple letter, but it was the first link in a chain of events that would change my life forever.
Shortly after writing that letter an email arrived from that soldier. It seemed that letter struck a chord with him; he too had childhood memories of Hawaii – memories he was glad to share with someone who would understand them; someone who knew the flavors and the smells and the feelings. And an email correspondence ensued; one that lasted until an IED exploded. Then came the tense days of waiting for news. How was he? Where was he? How badly was he injured? Updates came from his wife as information was available. He was in Landstuhl. His injuries were serious but did not appear to be life threatening. He was in stable condition. He was enroute to Walter Reed. He had arrived at Walter Reed. She was at Walter Reed with him. The updates continued.
At 9pm est, Matt from Blackfive will be joining us as usual for our weekly Someone You Should Know
segment. This is where we take a few minutes each week to highlight the
heroic actions of the men and women fighting for us around the world.
Matt will be sticking around to talk about last weekends milblogger conference in Washington DC, as well as the current situation with the insurgencies in Iraq and here at home.
I first heard of your blog when someone forwarded me your tips for dating black five's daughter. I have been reader ever since.
A while back "Redeye" and I stopped on the way back from visiting family in western PA at a place not well marked. We were surprised as we came upon the site to see the amount of people there. I thought I'd share the pictures which can only partially express the feelings felt as we walked among those coming to pay respect and those deserving the most respect...
GDP Grew at a 4.8% Annualized Rate in the 1st Quarter The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its "advance estimate" of growth in the inflation-adjusted ("real") gross domestic product (GDP) for the 1st quarter of 2006.
After meeting Mr Rumsfeld, General George Casey, the US commander in Iraq, said the new government was a major step towards creating the conditions that could allow withdrawal. "I'm still on my general timeline," he said.
The US hopes to reduce its 132,500 troops in Iraq to about 100,000 by the end of the year, and, in the best-case scenario, to 75,000. Britain hopes to reduce its force from 7,500 to about 5,000 by the end of the year.
So where is all my doom and gloom, where are my Eeyore's crying "We're doomed Christopher Robin", where are my Quagmirers, my defeat-mongers, how come things don't suck nearly as much as some folks seem to want? I don't know, but I don't care either at this point. Times ain't grand right now and never can really be, with troops in combat, but it sure isn't the hell on earth portrayed in media.
The war reporting has never been anything but excremental, but I don't see how they can ignore the economic news. Greed crosses all party lines, and times are looking good.
...Sar, Cambodian born, with a ready smile and a gentle demeanor that
belies his toughness, reacted immediately. He charged toward the huts
and the scattered muzzle flashes of the Taliban weapons, lifting his
knees high to negotiate the deep snow as he ran uphill. He could hear
bullets whizzing past him.
M/Sgt Sar had his M-4 carbine set on semi-automatic, choosing his
single shots carefully. He knew the area from many patrols. He didn’t
want to hit any of the civilians whose confidence he and his men had
worked so long and so hard to win...
Sergeant Joseph Bozik, an Airborne Soldier with the 118th MP Company
(Airborne) from Ft. Bragg, was recently wounded. He has lost both legs
and an arm from a landmine, is not conscious and has many medical
complications. On Monday, Sergeant Bozik will be flown into Walter Reed
from Landstuhl (Germany)...
Below is a message from Joey's mother, Gail. Read it and then hit the Extended Section.
Joey has finally been discharged from Walter Reed and the Army. He
and Jayme arrived at my house in NC on April 20, 2006. They will visit
with me until May 19th and then drive to Dallas, Texas to visit her family until
mid June and then drive to Danville, California where they will live for four
years. A group called Sentinels of Freedom is sponsoring him with free
apartment rent, a Chrysler adapted van, education and a job at Wells Fargo
during these four years. It has been a long eighteen months but hopefully
he can start living in the real world. Again, thanks for all your love and
support. I have attached a vide of him and Jayme leaving to play
golf. Joey was given an adaptive cart from someone in
California. It is a one seater which swings out and he is strapped so he
can hit the ball. He brought it with him and will also carry it to
California in tow. I am so proud of his determination to do as much as he
can under the circumstances. Most people would give up and let others do
for them; not my Joey. He amazes me how he adapts to situations. He
doesn't want to be a burden. I hope you can open the attached video and
see him walking. Again, keep us in your hearts and prayers.
I received this call for submissions of personal videos from Iraq and Afghanistan. Please help spread the word.
am an Associate Producer who just finished working on a documentary
series for the (Discovery) Military Channel called BATTLEFIELD
DIARIES. Three of the 10 hours have highlighted various aspects of the
Iraq War – a Kiowa crash rescue in September 2004, the USMC drive
towards Baghdad in April 2003 and the 724th Transportation Company Ambush of April 2004.
boss and I are currently developing an exciting new television project
for another major cable network that will utilize images personally
shot by the troops and some text from various MilBlogs. So I am
looking for personal videos and stills of our servicemen & women in
Iraq, shot by those same servicemen & women. I'm
especially looking for soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines talking
INTO the camera...video diaries, having fun, being creative,
interviewing one another, explaining what life is like in Iraq, down
time, training, explaining what happened to them that day, music
videos, etc. Nothing
is out of bounds! The good, the bad, or the ugly. Action,
gore/bodies, down time, fun time, helping Iraqi communities,
interacting with Iraqi civilians/children/police/military...anything that has little a story to it or is visually interesting. If
you know of anyone that kept a video diary while deployed; or did some
"interviews" with his comrades in arms, please ask them to contact me.
Any format is probably workable. (CD, DVD, cassette, etc.) All
originals will be returned at my expense. If you have some ideas about
how I should go about trying to get some footage together, I'm open to
suggestions? Are there a couple of websites I should post my footage
request on? Also, can you help me by passing the word around to other
units? I need to act quickly as I must show the network some sample
footage in 8 weeks. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Please pass this email to ANYONE you think might be able to assist with either footage or their experiences as a MilBlogger!
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you and stay safe.
...Meanwhile, the farmers who are overproducing opium are set to flood the
world with a massive crop that will cause prices to plummet—meaning
they likely will earn far less than they anticipated—but the cheap
heroin this year will likely produce a larger market for the heroin
crop of 2007. It’s doubtful that simple farmers here are thinking of
building a larger global market for their brand of addiction, but
that’s what’s happening, leaving people like Steve fighting poppy not
because they are warriors in the so-called “war on drugs,” but because
it affects their profits...
As always, informative, well written and leaves you wanting the next dispatch.
We should never forget the heroism of September 11th.
I'm going to experience United 93 tomorrow. I've been to Dachau, Auschwitz and Buchenwald. I've been to the cliffs of Point du Hoc where the Rangers climbed to begin the end of the Nazis. I've walked the battlegrounds of the Bulge, Gettysburg, Ardennes, Bunker Hill, the Alamo, and Massada. Not all places were last stands, but they certainly were places of defiance and courage. Someday, I'll make a trip out to a field in Pennsylvania...
I don't imagine that I'll want to fly too soon after seeing United 93. I don't imagine that I'll feel better for awhile after either...
However, I'm glad that Hollywood finally made a movie about Flight 93. Are they making a buck off of my cathartic reaction? Sure. But I've got a need to go see this movie. So do many of you. One of my favorite pubs in Chicago had a plaque for Todd Beamer right by the front door. Customers, mostly firefighters and cops, would touch it gently as they entered and exited. It said "Let's Roll."
How many of you have wondered if you'd have had the courage of the passengers of Flight 93? I know I have thought about it.
Now, Hollywood needs to get off their dead asses and make one about Col. (ret) Rick Rescorla. He saved 2,700 hundred people on September 11th - a friend among them. My little brother was on the phone with his Morgan trading partner when they were evacuated. For two days, we didn't know that he made it out of the building...because of Rescorla. One of the last things that Morgan employees heard as they were evacuated was Rick singing:
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!
So, in order to remember the heroism on September 11th, I'm going to see United 93 tomorrow.
...I encourage my fellow Americans and free people everywhere to see "United 93."
reminded of our very real enemy. Be inspired by a true story of heroic
actions taken by ordinary people with victorious consequences. Be
thankful for each precious day of life with a loved one and make the
most of it. Resolve to take the right action in the situations of life,
whatever they may be. Resolve to give thanks and support to those men,
women, leaders and commanders who to this day (1,687 days since Sept.
11, 2001) continue the counterattacks on our enemy and in so doing keep
us safe and our freedoms intact...
Update 4:John of Op-For is going to see it in order to send Hollywood a signal.
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.