Someone You Should Know

Casey Sheehan - A SYSK for Palm Sunday

This is an annual repost honoring Casey Sheehan who gave his life in a fight to save his brothers...

Casey Sheehan grew up in a devout Catholic home.  He served as an altar boy and then as a key member of his church's youth group for years.

When he was old enough, Casey joined the Boy Scouts, becoming the very second Eagle Scout out of his troop.

He enlisted in the Army when he was twenty years old.  He decided to be a mechanic.  He would undergo Combat Lifesaver training - a class on how to give IVs and treat trauma only second in intense learning to combat medic training.  He was also certified to assist with giving communion to soldiers while in the field.

Specialist Sheehan re-enlisted in the Army in 2004 knowing full well that he could be sent into a combat zone.

Casey Sheehan was a Humvee mechanic with the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.

On April 3rd, 2004, forces loyal to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al'Sadr stormed police stations and government offices in Sadr City (a city of over 2 million).  They knew the Americans would come, and they wanted a fight.  Muqtada Sadr was working them up into a religious frenzy.  And he had his thugs murder anyone who he thought might stand in his way - even other Shi'ite clerics.  His forces were known as the Mahdi Army.

American forces quickly surrounded Muqtada al'Sadr's quarters.

On April 4th, 2004, al'Sadr's Mahdi forces blocked roadways and bridges with burning tires, vehicles and trash.  Visibility was less than 300 meters anywhere in the city.  They began to attack American vehicles on patrol throughout Sadr City - some were protecting Shia worshipers (Holy Arbayeen) while others were escorting city government vehicles.

A battle raged across Sadr City.  Insurgents assaulted American troops while looters and mobs formed and stormed through the streets.  Word spread quickly across the American FOBs that there was trouble.

Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment were ambushed with RPGs and pinned down and dying.  While fighting off an attack himself, the Commander of the 2/5th, LTC Volesky, called for help.  A Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was formed of volunteers - their mission was to go out and rescue the American troops.

Casey Sheehan's Sergeant asked for volunteers.  Sheehan had just returned from Mass.  After Sheehan volunteered once, the Sergeant asked Sheehan again if he wanted to go on the mission.  According to many reports (and according to his own mother), Casey responded, "Where my Chief goes, I go."

The QRF was launched.  Not long after entering the Mahdi area, the QRF was channeled onto a dead-end street where the roofs were lined with snipers, RPGs, and even some militia throwing burning tires onto the vehicles.  The Mahdi blocked the exit and let loose with everything they had.

Sheehan's vehicle was hit with multiple RPGs and automatic-weapons fire.

Specialist Casey Sheehan and Corporal Forest J. Jostes were killed.

A second QRF was formed - all volunteers - to go rescue the first.  Specialist Ahmed Cason was hit in the second QRF - but kept fighting until he bled to death.

Seven men died with Casey Sheehan on Sunday, April 4th, 2004. 

They were Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, Spc. Ahmed Cason, Sgt. Yihjyh L. "Eddie" Chen, Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, Spc. Israel Garza, Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, and Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell.

It was Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday commemorates the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem.  Back then, the palm frond was a symbol of victory - laid beneath the feet of those of the highest honor and triumph.  Some believe it was this honor fit for a king that forced Jesus's enemies to act and crucify him.

In recognition of Casey, the Catholic Chapel at Fort Hood, Texas (where Sheehan was stationed) named the Knights of Columbus chapter the "Casey Austin Sheehan Council".

Casey also received the Bronze Star for his Valor that day.

Palm fronds for the most honored.

[Click here for the Someone You Should Know index.]


Ian Malone - Irish Guard in Life, Uniter in Death

Sandstorms settled in the south
of that sour place,
and terror-men opened wide a mouth
etched in a hate-filled face.

The rifle-spit struck down Malone
and he in a moment gave
a life well-lived, alone,
to set men free of the grave.

In later days men drew down
statues from on high;
they struck Iraqi ground
so dust and cheer could fly.

What, one Irish fighting man
to free millions from cold chains?
Not noble words, not gracious plan
could make real such gains.

Or--Is our time so coy,
so wild and free a thing?
Not Harvey nor Kelly, boy
of Killarn, not the Brian King

Freedom bought at such a cost,
where glory's priced so steep:
Where the name of each good man lost
Can memory's Herald keep.
-Poem by Grim, April 10th, 2003, in honor of Ian Malone

LancecplianmaloneThis is an annual Someone You Should Know (St. Patrick's Day Edition) post to celebrate an Irish soldier's sacrifice.  Below is the story of Ian Malone - a young Irishman who bridged the divide between Ireland and England in life and death.

Ian died during the invasion of Iraq in April of 2003 doing what he wanted to do - Soldiering for his country.  Below is his story, told expertly by Philip Watson of the Telegraph:

Ian's death brought people together
By Philip Watson

Lance Corporal Ian Malone died in an ambush on the streets of Basra in April last year. Throughout a long, hot Sunday, he and his armoured brigade had been pushing through the southern suburbs of Iraq's second city, flushing out enemy soldiers. While most of the regular Iraqi Army had fled, the streets and houses contained pockets of determined Fedayeen fighters, paramilitaries who remained loyal to Saddam Hussein.

Having reached the edge of the old city and achieved their objective of securing a university campus, Ian Malone and his colleagues had left their Warrior armoured personnel carrier, and were regrouping. They had scoured the area and, in the dusty shade of dusk, all seemed safe.

In an instant, however, two Fedayeen in civilian clothes broke cover and sprayed the crew with automatic fire. Four soldiers were hit. Ian Malone took two bullets - one through the neck, the other in the head - and died instantly, becoming one of 55 British soldiers killed in Iraq in the past year.

What made the 28-year-old Lance Corporal remarkable, though, apart from the peerless qualities that all who knew him instantly recognised - he was a thinker and philosopher; courteous and religious; a talented chess player and musician; an exceptional soldier; and, as his school chaplain said at his funeral, not macho but manly - was that Ian Malone was an Irishman fighting for the British Army.

Many have found in Ian Malone's life and death something profoundly symbolic: the notion that he represents the continuing spirit of progress and reconciliation between Britain and Ireland...

Continue reading "Ian Malone - Irish Guard in Life, Uniter in Death" »


Go Read "Ryan Pitts, Man of Honor"

"...against that onslaught, one American held the line ... just 22 years old, nearly surrounded, bloodied but unbowed..." - President Barack Obama, about SSG Ryan Pitts

Ryan Pitts

Over at the Burn Pit, TSO has a great piece about SSG Ryan Pitts, someone we've written about for a long time:

...Wounded in both legs and with shrapnel in his arm, Pitts crawled onto the sandbags and fired a machine gun at the approaching insurgents. Alone and bleeding, the perimeter of his position breached, his predicament was grave. He could hear enemy voices as they closed in. He made a prediction about his fate: “I was going to die and made my peace with it.”

Pitts would not go down without a fight, though. He began throwing grenades, but because his attackers were so close and the grenades had a five-second fuse, he would “cook them off” for three seconds before hurling them. After exhausting his supply of hand grenades, he picked up a grenade launcher and began firing almost directly straight up to hit targets surrounding his position...

Go read the whole piece and the full article at the Legion.


Someone You Should Know- MG John Stark

We are visiting Manchester, New Hampshire and spent a bit of time catching up with Someone You Should Know from the Revolutionary War. MG John Stark is an All-American bad ass both as a warrior and a wordsmith. He is best know for the New Hampshire state motto "Live Free or Die", which was the close to a letter he sent when he couldn't attend a reunion of his comrades. The full quote is "Live Free or Die. Death is not the worst of evils". Even Bettah!

He fought with Rogers Rangers in the French & Indian Wars and was a great leader during our War for Independence. He has another quote used to inspire his men at the Battle of Bennington that will have you ready to follow him through Hell carrying buckets of gasoline. Check him out!


Medal of Honor Recipient SSG Ryan Pitts Inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon

Nine comrades were lost the day SSG Pitts actions helped turn the tide at the Battle of Wanat...

– Jonathan P. Brostrom, 24, of Aiea, Hawaii
– Israel Garcia, 24, of Long Beach, California
– Jonathan R. Ayers, 24, of Snellville, Georgia
– Jason M. Bogar, 25, of Seattle, Washington
– Jason D. Hovater, 24, of Clinton, Tennessee
– Matthew B. Phillips, 27, of Jasper, Georgia
– Pruitt A. Rainey, 22, of Haw River, North Carolina
– Gunnar W. Zwilling, 20, of Florissant, Missouri
– Sergio S. Abad, 21, of Morganfield, Kentucky

"My son Lucas exists because of them ... I promise that my son will grow up appreciating the sacrifices of men he never knew."

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(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)


SSG Ryan Pitts M.O.H. Award Ceremony Today

You can watch the ceremony live - click here for information. (not sure if the link will be through the Army.mil or the Whitehouse.gov site(s))

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(Left to right) Sgt. Matthew Gobble, Sgt. Ryan Pitts, then-Sgt. Adam Delaney, Sgt. Dylan Meyer, Sgt. Brian Hissong, Sgt. Mike Santiago and Sgt. Israel Garcia, with 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, pause for a photo before going out on patrol, at Forward Operating Base Blessing, Nangalam, Afghanistan, spring/summer 2007.

Stars and Stripes Report on the battle: Normal Humans Wouldn't Do That

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Photo Credit: Courtesy photo. Sgt. Ryan Pitts (left) and Sgt. Israel Garcia patrol the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. Garcia was among the nine Soldiers killed in the battle in Wanat, July 13, 2008.

During the Battle of Wanat, nine Americans were killed in action:

– Jonathan P. Brostrom, 24, of Aiea, Hawaii
– Israel Garcia, 24, of Long Beach, California
– Jonathan R. Ayers, 24, of Snellville, Georgia
– Jason M. Bogar, 25, of Seattle, Washington
– Jason D. Hovater, 24, of Clinton, Tennessee
– Matthew B. Phillips, 27, of Jasper, Georgia
– Pruitt A. Rainey, 22, of Haw River, North Carolina
– Gunnar W. Zwilling, 20, of Florissant, Missouri
– Sergio S. Abad, 21, of Morganfield, Kentucky

More about Wanat and the Chosen's fight at Army.mil here.

Evan pertile

I believe that Evan Pertile will be in attendance at the ceremony (pictured above from The Burn Pit).  SSG Ryan Pitts visited Evan while he was at St. Jude's recovering.  In case you are not familiar with Evan, here is the link to the many stories about Evan who is just one of the many that Ryan Pitts has helped.

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Photo Credit: Lisa Ferdinando, ARNEWS. In his New Hampshire home, May 3, 2014, Ryan Pitts holds the KIA bracelet he was wearing the time of the attack in Wanat, Afghanistan. The bracelet honors Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Kahler, platoon sergeant of 2nd platoon who was died Jan. 26, 2008, after being shot by an Afghan guard in Waygul, Afghanistan. The bracelet is taped over another bracelet (not visible) the commemorates the fallen of 1st Platoon, Chosen Company, who were killed Nov. 9, 2007, in an ambush.  Commemorated on the second bracelet are: Capt. Matthew Ferrara, Spc. Joseph Lancour, Cpl. Lester Roque, Cpl. Sean Langevin and Sgt. Jeffrey Mersman. This bracelet prevented shrapnel from penetrating Pitts' wrist.

Last, Pitts was on the inaugural Soldiers' Angels Heroes & Horses group where our pal Mothax got to really know him.

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While all of the M.O.H. awardees are amazing men, Ryan Pitts is one of the best men that we know. Today is good day!


"No Survivors" - The Twentieth Anniversary of Eagle Flight

"They came to save us, and to give us dignity. Their sacrifice will remain in the minds of our children for the rest of their lives. We will teach their names to our children, and keep their names in our books of history as heroes who gave their lives for freedom." - Kurd Sheik Ahmet at the April 17th, 1994 memorial service in Zakhu, Iraq.

Today is the 20th anniversary of a dark day in our military history...while the inquiry results were weak, this was one incident in which many lessons were learned that later saved American and allied lives (true IFF came from this), and continued the long trek to freedom for one of the most deserving groups of human beings on this planet.

Let's start at what isn't quite the beginning but as good as any place to start this story...

In April, 1991, as part of U.N. Resolution 688, the National Command Authority commanded the US Armed Forces to conduct Operation Provide Comfort.  On the 8th of April 1991, the 1st Battalion (FWD) of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Bad Tolz, Germany, deployed to conduct humanitarian relief operations for over a half million Kurdish refugees.  Soon the 2nd and 3rd Battalions arrived from the states.

From the 10th Group's history page (emphasis is mine):

...Operation PROVIDE COMFORT was one of the largest relief operations in history. During the critical first three weeks, the 10th Special Forces Group directed and executed the overall ground relief and security efforts. In the words of General Galvin, the CINCEUR "...10th Special Forces Group saved half a million Kurds from extinction."

The conditions in the refugee camps shocked the world. Before 10th Group arrived, an average of 450 refugees perished daily, with 70 percent being children. In two weeks time the rate was approximately 15-­20 per day and of these, only 28 percent were children. 10th Group had made the difference.

The basic operation was divided into three phases. Phase one provided immediate emergency relief with food, water and shelter. The intent was to make an accurate assessment of the situation and to organize Kurdish leadership. Phase two provided basic services. The ODA and ODB detachments performed many tasks and missions: pipe water from the mountains, organize food distribution and camp sanitation, service drop zones and landing zones, and coordinate with the multi­national relief organizations. Additionally, they assisted in rendering medical treatment for the refugees. Phase three prepared and moved the refugees from their mountain camps into resettlement camps in Iraq or straight back to their own homes. Way­stations built by 10th SFG(A), provided food, water and fuel, and limited medical help enroute...

As the video below shows, it was really about saving the families and the children:
 

The mission was a tough one - to provide humanitarian aid to over one million Kurdish Refugees in northern Iraq. The mission began with airdrops (food, clothing, tents, blankets, medicine) and soon launched missions taking supplies directly to the Kurds.

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A UH-60A Black Hawk (Blackhawk) helicopter flies over a small village in the Kurdish occupied security zone in northern Iraq. The helicopters and the crews from C Company 6/159th Aviation Regiment, Geibelstadt, Germany, are deployed to Diyarbakir, Turkey, in support of the operation Provide Comfort. (DoD photo by: SSGT. THEODORE J. KONIARES Date Shot: 1993-11-17).

To further stop Saddam from killing the Kurds, a northern No-Fly Zone was placed north of the 36th parallel. Any Iraqi aircraft would be shot down in the No-Fly Zone.

Iraq_no_fly_zones Photo from CIA Factbook

The No-Fly Zone was patrolled and kept "clean" by the USAF with fighters (F-15s) being supported by command and control aircraft (AWACS).

General John Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had this to say about the hard work of the Provide Comfort Soldiers and Airmen:

For over 1,000 days, the pilots and crews assigned to Operation Provide Comfort flew mission after mission, totalling over 50,000 hours...

The mission continued for 3 years until the first Commander was due to reliquish command...

On April 14th, 1994, two Blackhawk helicopters were ready for take-off from Diyarbakir, Turkey. COL Jerry Thompson - one of the most respected officers and commanders in Special Forces - was changing command (or co-command as "command" of Provide Comfort was shared with Turkey). He decided to show his replacement, COL Mulhern, the lay of the land. At 0730, COL Thompson assembled 26 people that comprised important (command group) roles for the mission. He included French, British, and Turkish commanders and liaisons, and also brought along Kurdish para-military personnel and linguists.

The two Blackhawks were designated Eagle-1 and Eagle-2. Their first destination was Irbil, Iraq, but they would have to make a stop in Zakhu, Iraq (where the military part of Provide Comfort operated). There were plans to visit several other areas as well.

At 8:22AM, Eagle Flight departed Diyarbakir. They were headed East-Southeast for a "gate" into the No-Fly Zone. Per Standard Operating Procedure, the command group was split between Eagle-1 and Eagle-2 to ensure continuity of command if one helicopter went down.

At 9:21AM, Eagle Flight called the AWACS (callsign "Cougar"). They requested and were granted permission to enter the "gate" into the the No-Fly Zone.

At 9:24AM, Eagle Flight lands at Zakhu, Iraq.

At 9:35AM, two USAF F-15 fighters launched from Incirlik, Turkey. They were designated Tiger-1 and Tiger-2. Tiger-1 was the lead fighter with Tiger-2 as the wingman. Tiger Flight was headed to patrol the No-Fly Zone.

At 9:54AM, Eagle Flight calls the AWACS to report departure from Zakhu, Iraq, with a destination of Irbil, Iraq.

At 10:12AM, Eagle Flight enters mountainous terrain. It's Identification Friend or Foe system (IFF) failed.

At 10:20AM Tiger Flight passes through "gate" into No-Fly Zone.

At 10:22AM Tiger Flight picks up radar contact at forty nautical miles. No IFF reading occurs. Tiger-1 reports, "Cougar, picked up helicopter tracking northwest bound." AWACS says the area should be "clean".

At 10:25 AWACS responds that there are "hits there" in the No-Fly Zone - confirming Tiger Flight's radar contact.

Tiger Flight makes visual contact with Eagle Flight at five nautical miles.

At 10:28 Tiger-1 conducts a visual identification (VID) pass of the helicopters. "Cougar, tally 2 HINDS."

HINDS are Soviet Helicopters used by the Iraqi Armed Forces.

AWACS replied, "Copy two HINDS".

Tiger-1 then instructed Tiger-2 to make a VID pass.

Thirty seconds later Tiger-2 confirms, "Tally 2."

Tiger-1 to Tiger-2, "Arm hot."

At 10:30AM on April 14, 1994, Tiger-1 fired an AIM 120 (medium range air-to-air missle) at Eagle-2. Tiger-2 fired an AIM 9 (Sidewinder air-to-air missle) at Eagle-1.

The missles hit Eagle Flight with deadly accuracy. Tiger-1 confirmed the hits to AWACS, "Splash two HINDS."

Of the 26 team members of Eagle Flight, there were no survivors...

In memoriam:

US Military:
SSG Paul Barclay (SF Commo NCO)
SPC Cornelius A. Bass (Eagle-1 Door Gunner)
SPC Jeffrey C. Colbert (Eagle-1 Crew Chief)
SPC Mark A. Ellner (Eagle-2 Door Gunner)
CW2 John W. Garrett, Jr. (Eagle-1 Pilot)
CW2 Michael A. Hall (Eagle-2 Pilot Command)
SFC Benjamin T. Hodge (Linguist)
CPT Patrick M. McKenna (Eagle-1 Pilot Command)
WO1 Erik S. Mounsey (Eagle-2 Pilot)
COL Richard A. Mulhern (Incoming Co-Commander)
1LT Laurie A. Piper (USAF, Intel Officer)
SGT Michael S. Robinson (Eagle-2 Crew Chief)
SSG Ricky L. Robinson (SF Medic)
Ms. Barbara L. Schell (State Dept. Political Advisor)
COL Jerald L. Thompson (Outgoing Co-Commander)

British Military:
MAJ Harry Shapland (Security/Intel Duty Officer)
LTC Jonathan C. Swann (Senior UK Officer)

French Military:
LTC Guy Demetz (Senior French Officer)

Turkish Army:
COL Hikmet Alp (Co-Commander)
LT Ceyhun Civas (Laison Officer)
LT Barlas Gultepe (Liason Officer)

Kurdish Partisans:
Abdulsatur Arab
Ghandi Hussein
Bader Mikho
Ahmad Mohammed
Salid Said (Linguist)

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USAF Photo: U.S. Military personnel inspect the wreckage of a Black Hawk helicopter (Eagle 2) in the Northern Iraq No Fly Zone during Operation Provide Comfort, April 16, 1994.

 

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DoD photo MSGT MICHAEL J. HAGGERTY: The remains of 26 people were flown in for transportation to the U.S. Army Mortuary Center, Frankfurt, Germany. The 26 were killed in an accidental downing of two U.S. Army UH-60A Black Hawk (Blackhawk) helicopters by U.S. AIr Force F-15C fighters in the northern Iraq "no fly zone". Standing in review was the Rhein-Main-Air Base color guard, they displayed the flags of the countries that mourn the loss of their citizens, the United States, Britain, France and Turkey.

 

Thompson

I took this photo while visiting the Colonel (his story is an interesting one).  He's near Mary Todd Lincoln's tomb on a slight rise over looking a beautiful part of Arlington...You can visit him and Barclay, Hodge and Bass at Arlington like I am today.

Please take a minute to pray for their families today and remember that their hard work and sacrifices led to a flourishing Kurdish enclave - a place they would be very, very proud of today.  I don't think in our wildest dreams we ever thought that would have been possible.

Continue reading ""No Survivors" - The Twentieth Anniversary of Eagle Flight" »


Interview: Nick Francona - Battlefield to Major League Baseball

The following interview is a special provided for BlackFive readers by Elise Cooper.  

Nick Francona has returned from the war torn battlefield of Afghanistan to become the Los Angeles Angels’ coordinator of major league player information.  If the last name sounds familiar it should, since his father is the famous baseball manager Terry Francona.  Blackfive.net had the privilege of interviewing Nick.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business he decided to become a Marine.  He cherishes the fact that the military allows people to accept a lot of responsibility just out of college, something he points out does not happen with many other careers.  He told blackfive.net that he decided to volunteer because of the affect 9/11 had on him when he was a sophomore in high school.  “I think that was very much a defining moment with my generation. A couple of kids at my school lost parents. It made it a little more personal. Each generation has a defining event, and that happened at a very formative time in my life. It changes your outlook on things. In the military I was in charge of a sniper platoon. I learned the basics of leadership including infantry officers course, ground intelligence officers course, and a scout’s commander course.  I went on a broad array of missions from establishing a presence to reconnaissance.”

After retiring he sent his resume to the Angel GM Jerry Dipoto, and was offered a job.  The reason he decided to take it, “I was thinking it is probably not a good idea to work for a team where my dad is a manager. I think it might open a can of worms as far as nepotism which would definitely create for awkward moments.”

Will he be able to use the skills learned in the military in baseball?  Absolutely said Nick.  “What I learned as an officer I will carry with me for the rest of my life, which is how to take charge whether its just concerning myself or leading others.” He will most certainly have to do that considering one of his duties is to be the Angel point person for reviewing instant replays.  He will be the person to call the dugout and say “appeal. As on the battlefield, instincts and making decisions with very little time available will come into play in his new position.

The other part of his job will be to find trends with the use of statistics.  He is looking to see how the other team approaches the Angels and how they can approach the other team, basically identifying strengths and weaknesses to find an advantage.  He cited the example, “To identify where one pitcher might be better suited to face a certain hitter.  We have a lot of new resources available and need to utilize all of them.  That is similar to what happens in the military where you get a ton of information from hundreds of sources, whether it's satellites, drones, guys on the ground. I had to go through that and determine what I could turn into actionable intelligence.  The challenge in baseball and in Afghanistan was to combine the human element with technology. There is the need to put everyone in a position to succeed.  I learned from being a Marine how to take all these inputs and synthesize them to make useful information which I will use in this new baseball job.”

The other aspect of Nick’s job is to sit down with the coaching staff before every series and analyze the data available.  “In the military I became very innovative, bringing different approaches to certain problems.  In this baseball job I will need to filter out information to find what is important and what is not.  How can we take the information on a piece of paper and usefully apply it on the field?”

General Manager Jerry Dipoto is described as someone who is into new-aged statistics while Manager Mike Scioscia is of the old-school mentality, literally a “field” manager. How do you think you will be able to merge the two philosophies?  “My task in the military was to lead experienced guys.  I took suggestions and ideas. I can use that experience here with the Angels.  Mike and I are building a good relationship.  He is the one with all the experience and successes so he tends to do things he has in the past, which is justifiable.  But I think he is receptive to discuss how the organization can be better.  There will be a lot of give and take as well as open discussions.”

Nick wants to have a career in baseball, maybe some day becoming a General Manager. Looking back at his life it is obvious his dad influenced him to be a part of baseball and he has influenced his parents to be involved with the military.  His mom works with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Red Sox to help veterans with TBI.  Nick feels he is one of the lucky ones since he was honored to serve his country and can now serve in a job with America’s pastime, baseball.

You can read more about Nick here, here and here.


From Petty Officer to PinUp - Kelli Serio (Someone You Should Know)

For those of you familiar with the great work of Gina Elise and Pinups for Vets, you know she has a bevy of gals who reenact the elegant days of WW2 Pinups.  (Including period costumes, music, etc).

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Among their number is Kelli Serio.  Smart and beautiful and fully in keeping with all things "PinUp". The bonus?  She's also a Veteran.

She's posted a biographic piece on Pinups For Vets, chronicling her transition from the US Navy

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to a Pin Up, Model and fledgling actress.

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What's great about her is that she's down to earth and fully appreciative of the wonderful things that are happening with her new career.  It is clear that she never forgets her military past and Service folks.  She's a wonderful person I've gotten to know a bit over the last few months.

Gentle readers, I present Kelli Serio - From Petty Officer to Pin Up


PFC Mark Deville - Silver Star Awarded for Actions in 1984! - SYSK

Hires_140128-D-KC128-093Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presents retired Army Pfc. Mark A. Deville with a Silver Star, the nation's third highest military award, for his actions in Korea 30 years ago, at the Pentagon, Jan. 28, 2014. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Hinton

In 1984, a Soviet defector escaped across the Korean DMZ, pursued by NORKs determined to kill him rather than let him escape...one American down, another South Korean soldier down...and a squad of Infantry arrived to stop the NORKS...they flanked, then, after a 45 minute fight, captured the NORKS and the defector...the squad was awarded Silver Stars in 2000 but no one could find PFC Devine, until now.

Private First Class Mark A. Deville, United States Army, was awarded the Silver Star for exceptional valor and gallantry in action while serving with the Joint Security Force Company, United Nations Command Security Force at Panmunjom, Korea, on 23 November 1984. In reaction to thirty attacking North Korean soldiers in pursuit of a Soviet defector, Private Deville's aggressive actions were instrumental in defeating the enemy. Throughout the intense firefight, Private Deville displayed a complete disregard for his own personal safety while accomplishing his mission. Private First Class Deville's bravery and aggressive performance of duty under extremely hazardous circumstances are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect great credit upon him, the United Nations Command and the United States Army.

Deville's old squad from the Joint Security Force Company reconvened at the Pentagon to see him pinned with the Silver Star and with a Combat Infantryman Badge.  General Dempsey said, "You are gathered together again as a group as you were nearly 30 years ago in support of your country."

Hires_140128-D-KC128-126Former platoon members and Kwi, right, the wife of retired Army Pfc. Mark A. Deville, listen as Deville speaks during a ceremony where he received a Silver Star, the nation's third highest military award, for his actions in Korea 30 years ago, at the Pentagon, Jan. 28, 2014. DOD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Hinton

More here from NPR.