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April 2006

37 cents

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. 

Continue reading "37 cents" »

Blackfive on Pundit Review - Someone You Should Know Radio

I will be on Pundit Review tonight at 9pm EST.  Pundit Review is on WRKO AM680 in Boston and is the number one talk radio station in New England.

At 8pm est, we will be asking the question, What are your favorite guilty pleasure websites?  The Smoking GunDefamerThe Superficial

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.

A Field In Western Pennsylvania

In response to my post about going to see United 93, a reader "Redeye" sent these photos from a trip (in 2005) to the crash site of Flight 93 in Western Pennsylvania.


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...



More photos in the Extended Section.

Continue reading "A Field In Western Pennsylvania" »

Karma, our new Dogma

Karma_4_12I have done this sparingly, but this is just too freakin' cute. My son's 11th b-day was yesterday and he had friends sleep over, but he also got a puppy. Karma_lookin_up

Well my wife actually got a puppy. Her mom's dog had puppies and we got the first born, a big fluffy Shepherd/Husky mix. Here are  a couple of videos of her a few weeks back and then this morning. Girl_and_her_ball

  Baby Karma

  Karma Leaf

  Karma Football

Rational Exuberance

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.

(Available at http://www.bea.gov/bea/newsrelarchive/2006/gdp106a.pdf).

Annualized GDP growth in the 1st quarter was estimated at a rapid 4.8% rate; growth was 1.7% in the 4th quarter of last year.

You don't say, and what about Iraq?

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.

The rest at Uncle Jimbo land

Someone You Should Know Update - MSG. Sarun Sar

Master Sgt. Sarun Sar takes a break while conducting combat operations in Eastern Afghanistan.  Photo from story by Sergeant Tim Meyer.  Credit Master Sergeant Sarun Sar.

Ralph Bennet has written a great report about the actions of Master Sergeant Sarun Sar.  (He is listed in the Someone You Should Know Index.)

Here's a taste of his article:

...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...

You can read the whole piece here.

The Miracle of Courage - Sergeant Joey Bozik Update 19

Words will never be able to express how I felt when I saw the picture in the Extended Section - for those of you who've followed this story from the day that Joey was hit in Iraq, it'll mean a lot to you, too.  On October 30, 2004, I wrote the following:

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.

Continue reading "The Miracle of Courage - Sergeant Joey Bozik Update 19" »

MilBlog TV

I received this call for submissions of personal videos from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Please help spread the word.

I 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.
My 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. 


Jake Klim
Normandy Films                            
Please Visit - www.NormandyFilms.tv

Michael Yon - Desert of Death

Be sure to check out Mike Yon's latest dispatch - Dasht-e-Margo "Desert of Death" - about a drug war of a different nature:

...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.

Never Yield


We should never forget the heroism of September 11th.

Never yield.

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.

Here's the link to a featurette for United 93.

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.

Never forget, stand and never yield.

Update:  Michelle Malkin and Hot Air and Libertas have more on the interesting marketing and altering of the movie.

Update 2:  Freedomwatch is against the movie entirely.

Update 3:  Todd Beamer's father, David, writes a review in the WSJ.

...I encourage my fellow Americans and free people everywhere to see "United 93."

Be 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.