Gold Star Mother's Day will be observed Sept. 29, 2013, around the nation. Here, during Gold Star Mother's Day in 2012, electric candles light each of the 295 luminaries representing Soldiers from South Carolina who died while on active duty since 2001. The event was hosted by the Survivor Outreach Services, Fort Jackson, S.C.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 25, 2013) -- This Sunday, the Army and the nation will, for the 77th time, turn their attention to mothers who have lost sons or daughters while fighting America's wars.
The Congress first created "Gold Star Mother's Day" in 1936 to honor those women whose children were taken from them as a result of war.
"The Gold Star Mothers, as well as all family members who bear the enormous burden of loss, will always be cherished members of our great Army family. We maintain our commitment to support these families while honoring the legacy of our fallen Soldiers," stated Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III in a tri-signed letter to the Army.
Donna Engeman, program manager of the U.S. Army Survivor Outreach Services, is also a "Gold Star Wife." She lost her military husband. She said just the letter from Army senior leadership -- proof that the Army recognizes the heartache of those who lost their loved ones -- is meaningful.
"The feedback we get is that this is very important to our Gold Star Mothers," said Engeman. "They tell us it's very heartwarming to them, it's comforting to them to be remembered and recognized by the Army."
The Army's Survivor Outreach Services provides access to support, information and services for those who have lost a Soldier. The services are provided at the closest location to where the survivor resides, Engeman said, and for as long as they desire.
In the nation's capital, the Army will join all Americans in support of the 2013 Gold Star Mother's Day. Memorial events will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknowns. Army leaders are also encouraging Soldiers, their families, and Army civilians to take time to remember both those who have given their lives in service to their country and the loved ones they have left behind.
Around the Army, Engeman said, many installations are having events to honor and recognize Gold Star Mothers. Included are various picnics, luncheons, and breakfasts.
"Gold Star Mother's Day is important because it's a day set aside to recognize mothers who have lost a son or daughter on active-duty service," Engeman said. "If you think about it, we have Mother's Day, every May. But when you have lost a son or daughter in service to our nation, Mother's Day is not the same. This day, Gold Star Mother's Day, is set aside to honor mothers who have lost a son or daughter who made the ultimate sacrifice. And it recognized the loss of our mothers."
Survivor Outreach Services works with more than 56,000 "survivors." That includes not just Gold Star Mothers, but also spouses -- like Engeman -- and other family members, including children.
"The Survivor's Outreach Services is kind of a big process, but a simple concept," said Hal Snyder, chief, Wounded and Fallen Branch, U.S. Army Survivor Outreach Services. "It's to continually link our surviving families to the Army for as long as they desire; that they remain part of the Army family. That is a promise that has been made to our surviving families and it is part of the job of SOS to honor that promise and to provide the services and support that link these families to the Army."
Engeman said services to Gold Star mothers and other surviving family members are provided by local resources such as support groups. The SOS works to put surviving family members in touch with those services, and can also coordinate counseling.
"Many of our survivors have asked for and sometimes need some financial counseling and education on how best to care for their families after the loss of their Soldiers," Engeman said. "We have extensive financial counseling and education available. Our job is really to get to know our survivors and develop a personal and professional relationship with them, and help them walk through their grief journey. As you get to know your survivors, you find out or you come to understand what they are looking for and what their needs are and we help them navigate that."
The SOS is available to surviving family members of Soldiers across the total Army -- including the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.
During World War I, families would hang flags in their windows that were white with red borders. Inside, a blue star would represent each family member who was serving in the military. When a service member was killed, the blue star was changed to a gold star. In 1947, the Gold Star Lapel pin was designed and created to be presented to eligible surviving family members of service members who died while deployed in support of overseas contingency operations, or who died from wounds sustained in theater.
(For more ARNEWS stories, visit our homepage at www.army.mil/ARNEWS, or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ArmyNewsService)
A Newly Minted American Finds Inspiration - Robert L. Howard, MOH
Posted By LongTabSigO
Dave Feherty, is a golf analyst for CBS Sports and - until recently - an Irish citizen. In 2010, he became a naturalized US citizen and penned the following article regarding at least one of his inspirations.
He is outspoken - he and CBS Sports have had some disagreements about some of his political views - but it is clear he is focused on supporting veterans in his now adopted country.
In June of 2010, he penned an article in "D Magazine" regarding Special Forces Medal of Honor recipient COL (R) Bob Howard. He was shocked he'd never heard of this true hero, and learned that Bob was on short final.
I'd not want to spoil it - please just read the essay. It is very interesting.
Not that I haven't had a sickening feeling from politicians in both parties whose spine has an elemental consistency that ranges somewhere between gelatin and mannecoti since about 2008 (ish), but the blood pressure machine was about to spontaneously combust after I saw this about the testimony of the parents of Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods and then read this list of the people who walked out that hearing.
And one name stuck out to me because her hackitude is epic; Rep. Tammy Duckworth.
I have searched for a way to say this, but I can think of no other way: You madam, are an epic POS.
You, Representative Duckworth, of all the people who sat on that esteemed panel, should be acutely aware of what must have been running through the minds of Tyrone and Sean as they waited on the ground for a rescue force while enduring hostile fire. A rescue force, that it turns out, the President in Name only was of no mind to send, because he had something pressing in the morning and he wanted to get his rest.
You, having endured being grievously wounded and fighting to land an aircraft that was falling out of the sky in hostile territory probably can tell the story of how the minutes felt like hours until you saw a QRF that had IR "U.S." tabs on the chest plates of their IBAs coming to secure your aircraft, help treat you and your crew for your wounds, and evacuate all of you to safety at the risk of their lives so that you could be treated and returned to your families.
I bet you are glad that the QRF did their duty November 12, 2004 huh? Couldn't be bothered to do yours though right? Didn't you want to hear how those men and those families deserved the same response you received? For you to walk out on those families and not even give them the common courtesy to listen to their story speaks to the epic hackery that is your career in politics and speaks volumes of your (in)ability as a leader.
You have insulted those families by refusing to hear their concerns, as elected representatives are duty bound to do. "Leave No Man Behind" evidently means nothing to you, along with your oath to protect and defend the Constitution.
My bet is that you don't know this, but when you are a leader, you can't just take the easy ones, you have to take the hard ones too. And sometimes, you have to do the hardest thing and take the lead when you are in the wrong and make something right, that in this case, has your political party's fingerprints all over it.
But evidently, that is just a bridge too far for you because your allegiance to your party trumps your humanity, integrity and common sense. You dishonor your service to this country as a member of the US Army and as a Congresswoman and your dereliction of duty is noted.
On 9/11, two pilots in unarmed F-16s were ready to ram their jets into United Flight 93
Posted By Blackfive
Pretty amazing story about a commander and one of his pilots being the only two hot jets available for take off to defend DC against any other threats on 9/11...and United Flight 93 was still in the air and headed their way.
Awesome story and wouldn't expect anything less of our pilots (said with respect and with zero inter-service rivalry that might usually be seen here):
Late in the morning of the Tuesday that changed everything, Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was on a runway at Andrews Air Force Base and ready to fly. She had her hand on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines Flight 93. The day’s fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward Washington. Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that morning, was told to stop it.
The one thing she didn’t have as she roared into the crystalline sky was live ammunition. Or missiles. Or anything at all to throw at a hostile aircraft...
September 11 will be a somber day, not only for the events
in 2001, but in remembrance of the tragic end of four good men last year in
Benghazi (an incident that remains very unsatisfactorily resolved). Today we are Nation possibly at the brink of
another unasked for conflict. We remain at war with an enemy we both refuse to
name while equally refusing to fight with all elements of national power.
We are a Nation in chaos; we are losing our moral authority
abroad and abrogating our responsibilities at home. Our core, our center, that which makes us the
special “shining city on the hill” is eroding, aided and abetted through the
avarice, laziness, and greed of those who make no commitment to this Nation,
but take and take and take.
In the aftermath of the attack in 2001, we came together as
a Nation. We suppressed less important
issues to try and rebuild. Success,
however, breeds overconfidence. Whether
it was our zeal to respond or because we feel protected (again) in the blanket
of freedom provided by those who serve, I
think that we, as a Nation, have managed to lose our way - again.
I pray we get back on the correct path – and soon – lest we
lose this great Nation to those that would tear it limb from limb given a
We can lament failure.
I’ve found that unproductive. Let’s instead take a moment and remind
ourselves of first principles:
Those enshrined in our Nation’s founding documents.
The core canon or tenets of the religions we practice, or
the spiritual nature one choses to view the world.
Those in the business of defense or first response, I ask
you recheck your personal rucksacks and other kit, and make sure each of us
remembers why we do what we do, and to acquit ourselves each day with honor,
integrity and selflessness.
We are a Nation whose strength comes, ironically, from the shared, collective
action of people steeped in a rugged individualism. The whole really is greater than the sum of
its parts, yet each individual part is critical for this experiment in
Constitutional Republicanism to work. We’ve had that tested many times, none
more blatantly than 11 September 2001. It
is being test again now – and maybe more insidiously.
Please take a moment – a serious moment – and,
Remember the fallen:
Those we lost on September 11th.
Those we’ve lost in far flung places defending freedom.
Those who perished on our own shores upon return either by
happenstance, bad choices, or other circumstances.
Requiescat in Pace
But also, remember the living:
Those whom we serve and protect (yes, even they who we
disagree with and outwardly do not appreciate that which we do).
America, the idea, is in peril. The United States needs to remember who we
are and regain our place in the world. This
is our moment. We can let circumstances
dictate our future or we can shape it. Choose
to shape it. Let today be a clarion call
to begin our renewal.
"Return to Mogadishu” chronicles the journey of Army Best Ranger Jeff Struecker’s return to Mogadishu, Somalia, as he reflects on the experience that transformed his life twenty years ago. As the film revisits the traumatic events of October 1993, we learn about the routine military mission that went awry and quickly unraveled into brutal warfare. It was in the middle of the violent combat when Struecker realized that He was free to LIVE because he wasn’t afraid to die.
The video should be available on Friday. Will post details when available. Check the site also.
Here is the trailer:
A few years ago at the David L. Grange Best Ranger Competition, Uncle Jimbo and I were able to talk with (then Chaplain) Jeff Struecker, about being a chaplain of Rangers. Check this out:
His Actions Saved Thousands <...> After the second plane hit the south tower on Sept. 11, some people panicked when one staircase filled with smoke. Using his bullhorn, Rescorla directed them to a clear one. As on the battlefield, he sang to keep workers calm.
Even after it appeared that Rescorla evacuated most of the Morgan Stanley employees, he returned to check for stragglers. As Olson was working his way down on about the 10th floor he saw Rescorla going back up.
"I said, 'Rick, you have got to get out of there,' and he said, 'I will, as soon as I get everyone out,' " Olson said.
It was the last known sighting of Rescorla...
"Today is a day to be proud to be American"
Those words were shouted by Rick Rescorla as he herded 2700 people out of tower two, September 11, 2001.
"Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming Can't you see their spear points gleaming? See their warriors' pennants streaming To this battlefield. Men of Cornwall stand ye steady It cannot be ever said ye for the battle were not ready. STAND AND NEVER YIELD!" - "Men of Harlech" Sung by Rick Rescorla in the Ia Drang Valley 1965 and in the stairway of WTC Tower 2 on September 11, 2001
First, you must read the definitive post about Rick Rescorla by Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette. Rescorla was one of my heroes when I was a Sergeant-turned-Cadet and began reading extensively about Viet Nam and the Ia Drang Valley.
Rick was a British (Cypress and Rhodesia) and American (Viet Nam) war hero. He retired as a Colonel in 1990.
Decades later, after 9/11, I had no idea that Rescorla had everything to do with denying Al Qaeda a huge victory. I wasn't surprised that Rick had saved 2,700 people that day, and then paid the price with his life when he went back into the tower for stragglers. He knew, KNEW, it was coming down. And he went anyway...
Tenacious, strong, and leading all the way to the end.
Rick's widow, Susan, left this comment for all of us (you, too!) here at Blackfive in 2008:
Thank you for keeping Rick alive. I know why Rick died, and I am so proud of him. The book, and of course the fabulous bronze statue, which will be on Heroes'Walk in 2008 will endure forever, as his legacy, as a new Hero in our new millinium. Today is a day to be proud to be an American.
All the best, Susan Rescorla
September 11th is a day to be proud to be an American. .
Stand and never yield!
[In case you're wondering why the Men of Harlech may be familiar]
He found his crew, and to them all I can but say Godspeed.
UPDATE: For those getting malware warnings in Chrome, they apparently are being caused by a link to Greyhawk/Mudville. Please note that they unless someone is getting a different warning, it is not indicating the site linked.
Apparently, the Westboro asshats are at it again and going to protest at US Army Special Forcers Staff Sergeant Stephen M. New. He was killed in action (small arms fire) on the 28th of July and was with the2nd Battalion of the 20th SFGA out of Jackson, MS.
Please pass this information to anyone you know that may be able to help counter the Westboro haters. I appreciate your help and I'm sure his family would as well. I'm sure the Patriot Guard Riders are on this <- rider info at link, but every person at the funeral could help counter those jackwagons and show a greiving family some support.
Here is the information for the funeral home and the service time.
Funeral Service Saturday, August 10, 2013 2:00p.m. Faith Baptist Church 3755 North Germantown Road Bartlett, TN 38133 901-386-4785
Visitation Saturday, August 10, 2013 11:00a.m. - 2:00p.m. Faith Baptist Church 3755 North Germantown Rd. Bartlett, TN 38133 901-386-4785
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.