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November 2004

Tie Stick a Yellow Ribbon (Magnet)

First, let me say that I have been (pleasantly) surprised by the amount of cars with the yellow ribbon magnets on them.  Usually, they have the words "Support Our Troops" on them.  It's a welcome sight as I recently moved from downtown Chicago  (which means there's no support your troops magnets) to the suburbs (where about every other car has at least one ribbon magnet) - they've got them for POW/MIA and God Bless the USA, too.

I want to thank all of those people that spent $5 at Walgreens to buy a magnet that displays their patriotism and support for our troops.  Just one thing though (and it's going to make some of you angry at me)...

How about spending $5 (or $50 or $500) really supporting the troops?

I don't mean to pick on Walgreens.  I was filling up my truck with gas the other day and the guy next to me noticed my veteran license plates.  And he told me about the magnets. 

I have a few friends who work for Walgreens.  It's a great company - one of the very best.  But I haven't heard that the profits from those magnets are going to help the troops.  And Walgreens is certainly not the only place where you can buy them...my point is that displaying your support and actually supporting the troops are two very important but very different actions.

So think about it and ask those nice people (with the best intentions) who display their support to spend their hard earned money on organizations that truly support the troops.  You might say, "Hey, that's great that you support the troops!  Have you heard of Soldier's Angels or Spirit of America?"

Soldiers' Angels and Spirit of America, while two of my favorites, are not the only organizations out there that help our military (and most are non-profits so your donations are tax deductible).

Look into donating money to these two foundations:

    A. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation

    The SOWF provides scholarships for the children of Special Operations soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have lost their lives (in training or combat). A few dollars would go a long way in providing for the children of those who have died defending America. 

    B. United Warrior Survivor Foundation

    UWSF offers scholarship grants to surviving spouses, along with educational counseling, financial guidance, investment planning, and other programs.

Or think about donating your unused frequent flyer miles for a soldier to visit his or her family. Check out Operation Hero Miles.

Operation Gratitude - another site where you can help send care packages to troops in Iraq.

Books For Soldiers - it's one more way to show troops that you care.

Operation AC - Commenter Retread reminds me to include this charity which sends 110v single phase air conditioners to our troops in Iraq. They also send medical supplies to the Combat Support Hospitals for both injured American Soldiers and for the staff, as well as care packages to our troops overseas.

AnySoldier - a great organization that provides soldier contacts where you can read through the names and select the ones you wish to support. They list what they need and want, we even have a search capability so you can easily identify what units need.

Keystone Soldiers also takes care of soldiers by adoption, matching pen pals, or sending care packages.

Adopt-A-Platoon - another source for adopting soldiers who don't have someone on the homefront.

And, for the more martial people out there, you can even Adopt-A-Sniper.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is a nonprofit, charitable organization that provides financial, educational, and other assistance to members of the Naval Services of the United States, and their eligible family members and survivors, when in need. To do this, counseling, loans, grants, various services, and referral to other community resources are available. There are no fees for such help. The Society, operating in partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps, administers nearly 250 offices ashore and afloat at Navy and Marine Corps bases around the world.

Whatever steps that you take to take care of our troops - no matter how large or small - will resonate beyond just one American soldier.

Someone that was referred by this site to Soldiers Angels also was responsible for donating their extra frequent flyer miles to bring a family to see their wounded soldier at Walter Reed. Just some simple actions made all the difference in the world.

Displaying your support is wonderful, but, please, think about how you can actually support our troops. The men and women fighting around the world can't see the magnet stuck to your car.  Pick one of the organizations above to support the troops - show that you care about their lives while they defend yours.

Thank you.

Apache Rescues Kiowa Crew

Stuart sends this one from Ft. Hood:

On the wing of an Apache
1st Cav. pilots make daring rescue
By Cpl. Benjamin Cossel - 122nd MPAD

CAMP TAJI, Iraq –For two Apache Longbow pilots, the night of Oct. 16 was just a regular night flying a reconnaissance mission around southern Baghdad. A distorted cry for help came across the emergency radio shattering the chatter of all other communications. They recognized the call sign, they recognized the area and a few minutes later, they were in route to perform what would become a heroic rescue.

“I really couldn’t make out at first what was going on. The transmission over the radio was broken up and weak, but I could make out that it was a distress call,” said Lodi, Ca native Chief Warrant Officer Justin Taylor, an Apache pilot, with Company C, 1st Battalion 227th Aviation Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.

At first, the transmission seemed as though it might be coming from U.S. Marine Corps aircraft. The call sign speaking to the downed aircraft was of Marine Corps designation Taylor said. He radioed to Marine Corps headquarters asking if any aircraft of theirs was down in the area, to which the response came back negative. Then a call sign familiar to Taylor and Capt Ryan Welch, the air mission commander, came across the guard, or emergency channel.

“We’re in zone 43….” came the weak transmission

“I recognized the area and immediately made the decision that we were going to break from our sector and go over to the area,” said Lebanon, N.H. native Welch. “Those were our guys on the ground and we had to help. My first thought was we would provide aerial security.”

As the team changed flight paths they notified the USMC aircraft of their intention as well as calling back to 4th BCT headquarters to alert them to their movement. When they arrived on station they began trying to contact the pilots on the ground.

“As soon as we told the Marines what we were doing, a call came up on the guard channel, it was the same call sign but a different numerical designation,” Welch explained.

The wounded pilot explained that the previous pilot was unable to respond, that two pilots were killed in action and that he and the other survivor were trying to make their way to a defendable position but having difficulty as one of the wounded was unable to walk.

“When we flew over the sector, we immediately picked up the heat signature of a burning fire,” said Welch.

Continue reading "Apache Rescues Kiowa Crew" »

I've Re-Enlisted...

...for a new blogwar for Spirit of America (Okay, so SOA likes to call it a "Blog Challenge", not a war).  Once again, the Donovan is gathering the Fighting Fusileers to raise $$$ for the very worthy Spirit of America.  We helped to raise over $50,000 in the last challenge.


Here is the information on the challenge:

Leading bloggers are competing to raise funds to benefit the people of Iraq. 100% of all donations go to needs selected by these bloggers. Many of our projects support requests made by Americans serving in Iraq (Marines, Army, SeaBees) for goods that help the Iraqi people. Other projects directly support Iraqis who are on the front lines of building a better future for Iraq.

We are joining the Blog Challenge late and are far, far behind in donations.  So, go here and donate to the Spirit of America.  Your donations are tax deductible.

When Rivalries Return...

While I have been accused of even-handedness when posting about the different branches of the military, there comes a time when the rivalry returns, when I have to take a shot at the Navy...and that time will be at the kickoff of the Army-Navy Game this Saturday.

Goarmy_1I'm a mustang and didn't go to West Point, but I remember a few years that I was overseas where everyone - Enlisted or Officer gathered round to watch the game.  I've been to a few of the games in Philly, too. 

Now, there is no doubt that the Army team is on the way back from the worst record in College Football history.  But if they defeat Navy? 

Well, then, Sailors will be crying the world over, crushed and defeated by one of the worst teams in football.  And that, my friends, is a worthy endevour.

[Hey, Smash, notice how it's not called the Navy-Army Game?]

Sergeant Bozik - Update 4

Just got an email from Sergeant Bozik's mother, Gail.

Joey was in a lot of pain after this surgery yesterday because the dr. had to cut his bone.  His fever is still running high, 101.9.  They gave him two more pts. of blood during last night.  This means they take vitals every 15 minutes during the 4-5 hour procedure.  We didn't get any sleep but today we are resting better.  Tomorrow, Monday, they take him down to unwrap his leg to check on infections.  The skin graft didn't take and they still have a wound vac on it.  However, Dr. Hampston did close the leg and said he hoped it healed and didn't have to be re-opened.  So pray for this problem.

And here is the latest news story about Sergeant Bozik:

Continue reading "Sergeant Bozik - Update 4" »

SI Sportsman of the Year - Vote For Ranger Pat Tillman

Patrick M. sends the link to Sports Illustrated's fan poll for Sportsman of the Year.

Background:  Sports Illustrated is conducting it's annual fan poll for Sportsman of the Year.  This year there is one athlete who stands out.  Tim Layden of CNN/Sports Illustrated lays it out for you.

I'd appreciate it if you took some time to go here to vote, select Pat Tillman on the sliding window on the left of the site (he's second from the bottom and wearing a red football jersey), click on his picture, then hit the vote button.  Just in case you have trouble finding his picture, here is a screenshot of what Pat Tillman's ballot looks like.

Currently, he is in third place behind Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps.

Update:  Sondra K. says that she can't think of a more worthy person.  I agree. 

[Note:  You can vote more than once - just refresh the web page]

MilBlogs Just Added To The 2004 Weblog Awards

In case you didn't know, Wizbang is hosting another year's Weblog Awards.  First, you nominate a blog by posting a comment with the blog title and URL in the appropriate category.  You can find the categories and post nominations here.

For the first time, there is a MilBlog category.  Go and nominate your favorite MilBlog.  Nominations close tomorrow so be sure to nominate your favorite blogs in each category.

After nominations close, voting will commence on December 1st.

Last year, Blackfive came in third for Best New Blog (behind Healing Iraq and Allah Is in the House).  Didn't mind losing at all as this blog was in pretty good company, right?

Letter From Fallujah

2Slick posted a must-read letter from an Army Officer who was part of the assualt on Fallujah.

...The enemy tried to fight us in "the city of mosques" as dirty as they could. They fired from the steeples of the mosques and the mosques themselves. They faked being hurt and then threw grenades at soldiers when they approached to give medical treatment. They waived surrender flags, only to shoot at our forces 20 seconds later when they approached to accept their surrender...

And there's plenty more - what they found, the intelligence gathered, etc.  Go check it out.  It's worth your time to read.