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October 2003

More News From the War on Terror That You Will Never Hear About

In the same vein as my earlier post about Saving Specialist Gray, here are just a few stories that I found about Iraq and Afghanistan that the media doesn't show:

First Children's Clinic North of Mosul Opens in Iraq

"More than 100 parents and sick children waited outside the Sinjar General Hospital here Oct. 23, anxiously awaiting the opening of the first children's clinic north of Mosul."

This one's for Donnie: Some good ol' Georgia boys, specifically Georgia Army National Guardsmen, fend off an attack in Afghanistan.

"Army National Guard infantry soldiers held their ground and gave back everything they were getting during a firefight with Afghan militants who ambushed them outside the capital city of Kabul in western Afghanistan shortly after midnight on Oct. 12."

Clinic, Schools Open Doors in Iraq Thanks to 101st Airborne

"...no such health facility existed in the area, 101st officials said, adding that the project should alleviate concerns by local villagers and Jabur tribesmen that their sick cannot receive adequate health care."

The 4th Infantry Division Fixes a Water Treatment Plant in Iraq

"With help from Task Force Ironhorse engineers, residents of Bayji are finally receiving cleaner water following a two-month rehabilitation the city’s only water treatment plant."

Democratic elections begin in Iraq

"Members of the newly elected Tallafar city council took the oath of office Oct. 25 at their city hall after one of only three truly democratic elections in the history of Iraq."

Tuesday Links

John Hawkins has a new list: Right-Of-Center Bloggers Select The Books That Have Had The Biggest Impact On Their Thinking

Frank J. has some more Bite Sized Wisdom for you. Here's a Bite Sized taste:

Do you want to have to explain why the terrorists aren't dead to your children?

"Daddy, why aren't the bad people dead"

"Because of Demi-crats and Europeans."

Harvey has some advice on which service to choose - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines! It's a great way to start! (anyone?)

Speaking of the Navy, there is this commercial they produced with the stolen saying, "If there was a book about your life, would anyone read it?" In Heather's case, yes!

The new Bonfire of the Vanities is up at Wizbang! Go see the worst posts in the 'sphere sacrificed to the gods of suck.

Jennifer's (Jennifer's History and stuff) interview is up over at Daniel's place.

Saving Specialist Gray

"There was little action in Iraq today..." - Media reports, September 8th, 2003

This is a story about 113 soldiers that fought to save the life of one of their own. Words cannot describe my awe at the sheer will of our military men and women. This story makes me proud to be an American. Damn proud!:

By MAJ Kevin J. Cuccinelli
Battalion Surgeon, 1-8 Infantry

While the daily headlines report that we need more soldiers in Iraq, I know one soldier that would disagree. For 22-year old Specialist Roy Alan Gray, there were more than enough soldiers here when the task at hand was to save his life.

Specialist (SPC) Gray is a member of the 1-8 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th ID, otherwise known as the "Fighting Eagles." On September 8, 2003, he was part of a convoy delivering the coveted "hot dinner" to his battalion's headquarters (HQ) area. SPC Gray had just returned to his truck when a mortar round exploded only 30 feet away. Shrapnel from the mortar pierced the truck's metal door and cut up through his left thigh. Smaller shrapnel bits lodged in his shoulder and ear. The leg wound, however, proved to be life threatening.

At his location was the forward deployed aid station for his unit. The medics acted quickly, called for an Air MEDEVAC immediately, and attended to his injuries while the helicopter was en route. The medics initiated this care as more mortars continued to impact around them. They started 2 IVs and began pouring fluid into him. His thigh wound still bled profusely even after their initial treatments so the medics quickly opted for a tourniquet, a common last resort measure. The tourniquet stopped most of the bleeding by blocking all blood flow to his injured leg. While this greatly increased the chances that he would lose his leg, it stopped the more immediate threat of massive blood loss, thereby saving his life. The surgeons would later report that if not for the medic's immediate response, SPC Gray would have been dead on arrival (DOA) by the time he made it to the hospital.

Continue reading "Saving Specialist Gray" »

Veteran's Day - Post 001

"A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards." - Theodore Roosevelt

I hate Veteran's Day. The only people that get the day off are government workers...Mike Royko once said that he thought anybody that served in the military, whether they peeled potatoes or stood guard duty or served in combat, should get the day off in order to play poker with fellow veterans, have a beer, and be thankful that they survived their committments. I agree.

Well, here is one reason that I might have to change my mind about hating Veteran's Day. The wonderful owners of McCormick and Schmick's have an offer:

Veterans Eat Free on Veterans Day! Bill McCormick and Doug Schmick, founders and managers of McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, are offering a free lunch or dinner (with coffee or tea) at their restaurants nationwide on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11. The meals will be available from specially selected menu items for veterans with identification such as a veteran's ID card, discharge paper or DD-214.

The founders offer "to serve veterans for a change (they served us well!) at their McCormick & Schmick's family of fresh seafood restaurants in a recognition of veterans courage and spirit."
The Portland, Ore.-based company operates restaurants in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

Now, you have a good reason to hug your DD-214, Harv.

The M&S restaurant here in Chicago is excellent, and I frequent the bar there as it is one block from my usual pub - Dublin's. Now, I have another reason to like it. They take care of vets.

Hat tip to Chief Steve for the info.

Airborne All The Way, Every Day!

Note to Straight White Guy:  I am a crazy bastard.  Not just Airborne, but I've run with the bulls in Pamplona and I was the leader of a bungee-jumping club in Germany. 

But I will say this:  Airborne personnel tend to be more motivated than "Legs" (non-Airborne personnel are referred to as Legs because they have to walk rather than fly/parachute to a destination).  It is a fact.  You would have to be very motivated to throw yourself out of a perfectly good airplane.  Think about it.

Outside of serving in SOF, there were two times in my decades in the Army that I have experienced the pleasure of serving with highly motivated troops.  That was with Airborne and Cavalry troops.  Cavalry Scouts tend to be a breed apart, too.  Airborne and Cavalry Scouts have one thing in common.  They tend to be always surrounded.  When you have to depend on each other for survival (and it is going to take a long time to receive help), you tend to be more focused on the job at hand.

I noticed this same kind of attitude and determination in the Marines I trained in a Marine Expeidtionary Unit-Special Operations Capable (MEU-SOC) a few years ago.

Monday Menagerie

Go visit the latest Hunting of the Snark at Electric Venom. This week's Hunt is a double dose and all of the snarky posts are really good. Harvey at Bad Money had a particularly snarky attitude towards European Super Power.

It's Bush and Rover versus the-Jong-with-the-poofy-hair over at IMAO.

"You will negotiate with me!" Jong demanded, "You will sign a non-aggression treaty!"

"But I like aggression!" Bush responded, "You're an evil, murderous dictator, and you better watch it or you're going to end up like Saddam and Osama - successfully hiding from us while occasionally sending out videotapes."

Note to my Ranger pal, Donnie, I'll be posting your Official Snack this afternoon. Oh yeah, Happy Freakin' Birthday, too.

John Hawkins has a transcript of a Blogger Symposium on the 2004 Election.

Heather has an interesting story, her story, about surgery to remove a tumor.

Tom The Friendly Ghost describes one of the toughest sea captains of all time. Sounds like a guy that would be good to have around...

Serenity rips up Michael Moore's public appearance in L.A.

Boots and Sabers discuss life-style differences between the hard-core (Army and Marines) and the soft-core (the Air Force).

More Stinky French Stories

As I said in the previous post, I have been receiving a lot of email from people that probably wouldn't have visited prior to last week.

I have even got quite a few emails from former soldiers in the 3rd ID.  One email came from a long lost friend that I haven't been able to reach in 5 years.  A few have read the One Post That Started It All and said, "That was YOU?!!!"

One reader, GeekLethal, who is a contributor at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy, sent me this story about his experience with the change of command ceremony of our unit, the 3rd Infantry Division:

Continue reading "More Stinky French Stories" »

The Ups and Downs of Blogging

So what the hell happened to Blackfive's readership last week? It went through the proverbial roof like Billy Idol on Viagra...

Well, I didn't follow Kevin's advice to get noticed by the blog-giants. I didn't contact anyone this week about linking a post on my site except for Frank J. on Friday.

Somehow, Glenn Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan, the folks at Little Green Footballs, Citizen-Smash, John Hawkins, and Misha all linked to the post on Me and My Muslim Friends Neighbors.

The funny thing was that I wrote it weeks ago and decided not to publish it. It sat, mostly finished, in a notebook. It took the stupid speech by the Malaysian Prime Minister to make me go ahead with the post.

As of Sunday (the 19th), I had been averaging about 400 unique visitors per day. I went from 500 visitors on Monday, to 5,500 on Tuesday, to 12,000 on Wednesday, 3,000 on Thursday, and 2,000 on Friday. Essentially, I received about 20,000 extra visits last week. I have even had a few media contacts this week, too. Amazing. When I started this blog, I figured that if I had 100 per day, that'd be good enough...

This little adventure has also put me in contact with some bloggers that I hadn't known about before. There are so many great blogs out there. That's made this whole blog thing worth it for me.

If you are one of those who visited here via the "blog-giants", thanks for returning.

If you are here because you're a regular reader, thank you even more.

Israel Is Just A Postage Stamp on the Runway

Doc Russia has a very good post over at Pardon My English about the need for moderate muslims, if they exist, to step up and start making changes.

On a related topic, the NYT has an article (sign in required) about why the lawyer for Army Chaplain Captian James Yee is upset at the treatment his client is receiving. This is the Army Muslim Chaplain that was arrested for transporting classified documents off of the Gitmo internment facility that houses the Al Qaeda scum that were captured in the US, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Capt. James Yee, the former Muslim chaplain at the detention facility at the naval base in GuantÀanamo, Cuba, who has been charged with mishandling classified information, is being held in maximum security, kept in leg irons and prohibited from reading anything but the Koran, his new defense lawyer said on Thursday.
Leg Irons? Leg Irons are too good for Yee.
The arrest of the chaplain, along with that of two other prison staff members on suspicion they helped detainees pass along messages, raised concerns there was a concerted effort to infiltrate the facility.
If these men were passing messages amonst the worst human filth bent on killing innocent people, then they should get the death penalty. Period.