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December 2008

Christmas Spirit Needed - Please Help Iraqi Interpreters!

Received this from Major G about some friends that have succeeded in getting their interpreter and his family to America.  They could use some help:

The Bourens are expecting!

Dear Family and Friends,

We need your help!!!  Your assignment is at the bottom but PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO READ THIS VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE IN ITS ENTIRETY!!!

I hope the subject got your attention.  Many of you followed my journey while I was in Iraq in 2003-2004.  My Iraqi interpreter, Mr. Ali, came to know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior during my final week in Iraq.  You may also remember that Mr. Ali has a wife and seven children.  His oldest son is Hussein.  Hussein has followed in his father’s footsteps and began working as an interpreter for the past couple of years for the Coalition Forces to do his part in helping to liberate his country from tyranny.

My mom has been in e-mail contact with Mr. Ali ever since my return from Iraq.  She and Mr. Ali e-mail each other regularly, and my mom has been doing a sort of “distance discipleship” with Mr. Ali and helping him to better understand this new relationship with Jesus.  While all of this has been going on, Mr. Ali’s son, Hussein, has been trying to get a visa to come to America.

Now let me cut to the chase.  Eight days ago, on December 3rd, my mom received an e-mail from Mr. Ali stating that Hussein’s immigration paperwork was miraculously finalized.  He then told us that Hussein would be flying to New York this month with his wife and two sons.  Mr. Ali told us that Hussein will be landing here shortly, but he will not have a job, no home, and he has never been outside of Iraq’s borders.  Mr. Ali asked us if we knew what would happen next.  Of course we were shocked and clueless…and happy all the same!

Well, we’ve spent the past 8 days praying like crazy and asking God for guidance and wisdom.  It just so happens that we planned on staying here in New York this Christmas, and I had already requested leave from 16-19 December.  Well, three days ago on December 8th, we learned that Hussein’s flight is on December 19th.

Adra and I have no idea what the next step is, but we are trusting God to guide us every step of the way.  First things first, I think we are going to drive to JFK next Friday and pick up Hussein and his family.  Hussein has told us that they have absolutely nothing but the clothes on their backs and their immigration paperwork.  Put yourselves in their shoes.  They will land in a foreign country where they know no one, have no money, no job, no house, no food, no toothbrush, and no idea where they are.  Did I mention that they have a 2-year-old son named Ali and a 10-month-old son named Ramy?

hat’s where God paints The Bouren Family into the picture (and hence the subject of this message, “The Bourens are expecting!”…not a child, but a family!).  We are going to pick them up and bring them back to our house, but we need your prayers for what we should do next.  Obviously, Hussein needs a job as quickly as possible.  He’ll need a driver’s license, a car, a house, a social security number, and probably a million other things that I’m not thinking of right now.  I do know one thing for sure—God is in control.  I also know that we are not authorized to keep them in our government military quarters for more than 30 days, and I will actually have to go to work every day while Adra continues to homeschool our children.  We’ll probably need to get them out of New York and into an area with a much lower cost of living.  But how we’ll do that, only God knows right now.

As I was tucking Kayla into bed tonight, I asked her if she would be willing to give up her room for Hussein and his family.  She got very excited and said, “They’ve probably never seen a real house before, have they Daddy?”  Then she proceeded to talk about how fun it will be to have them here for their first Christmas in America.  She also started talking about getting them some gifts and toys for the kids.  So, Hussein and his wife, Otor, and their two boys will live in Kayla’s room for now.  Some of you may remember my stories from Iraq when I shared that Mr. Ali and his wife and their 7 children all lived in a very small house (if you could even call it a house).  It was a cement slab of about 500 square feet that they had quartered into a bedroom where all nine of them slept together on the cement floor in one room; another room they built as a kitchen; another room was the entry/living room/study; and the last was a bathroom—all of this on a pure cement slab with no flooring or carpeting and only part of that covered by aluminum roofing.

Loved ones, I must tell you, I have tears of joy streaming down my face as I think about those kids taking a bath in our warm bathtub with clean water.  I can already picture my son, Brady, playing trains and cars with Ali.  I can see Kayla being very motherly toward baby Ramy.  I can see all of us hugging at the airport and treasuring this God-given moment in time.  I see us stopping at a restaurant on the way home and watching their eyes pop out of their head when they see the menu.  I can’t wait to see their faces as we pass NYC on our way to West Point.  If you had seen what I saw over there and the horrific conditions many of the Iraqi people have lived in, you would know my excitement.  To think that I will be able to give some clothes to Hussein and share Christ’s love with him and his family is absolutely overwhelming.  To know that they will be in a loving home, sleeping on a soft bed, in a safe place that is VERY quiet..with no bombs going off and no death threats from terrorists who try to kill anyone who works with the Coalition Forces…yes, my friends, these are some of the reasons why I cry for joy.

Here’s where God paints you into the picture.  Please begin to pray about this situation and feel free to share this note with anyone you think might be able to help.  Let me tell you a little more about Hussein so you can help me find someone who might be able to hire him for a job.  If you or anyone you know can help or might have some ideas for us, we are all ears.  We are taking this by faith, one step at a time, trusting that the Lord will provide.

Hussein’s background is as follows: he most recently served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army, so he can obviously speak and write English and Arabic fluently; previously, he was a student at the Railway Station’s Institution where he earned a diploma for air conditioning study; prior to that, he worked as a laborer in a mill factory that produced flour.  I think he is about 26 years old.  I have attached a picture that I had taken in January of 2004 when I was presenting Mr. Ali with a car that we purchased for his family.


I had raised money from family and friends back home (many of you) so that we could purchase a car for Mr. Ali.  I am shaking Mr. Ali’s hand, and the man on the right is Mr. Ali’s son, Hussein.

Thank you for your prayers.

Waiting on the Lord expectantly,

Kevin (for the Bouren Family)

So, you can pray for the Bourens and the Husseins.  And if you have any ideas about how to help the Husseins, email me and I'll put you in touch with Major Bouren.

The Onion Crosses A Line

I just got an e-mail from Hooah Wife expressing her thoughts on an Onion segment dealing with wounded troops.  The Onion, for those not in the know, is a satire and parody site that does some amazingly good stuff.  They do, sometimes, step over lines and are usually pretty good about dealing with things. 

That said, I think that this time they didn't step over a line, they nuked it.  One thing I've seen at LRMC and WRAMC is the determination the wounded have to get better and get back to their unit.  For many of the most severely wounded, it is what makes them push and helps them to deal with loss of limbs, sight, and more.  It is more than a goal, it is the drive that makes progress and adjustment possible.  To belittle that, to flat out denegrate it with a smug smile and laugh, is beyond the pale.  It is an attack on a pillar of strength that many of wounded count on to survive and to improve.

I found the video to be disgusting and a failure of parody, satire, comedy, and basic humanity.  Bill and Bob's has a few well chosen words and thoughts to share on this.  Mrs. Greyhawk (who is not the Greyhawk you want to PO) is unamused. 

Judge for yourself:

The nice thing about freedom of speech is that you are free to express yourself pro or con on this issue, not just here, but to those behind the video as well.  Courtesy of Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure comes this:

So, here's the information I've gathered to date:

The Onion editorial email: [email protected]

Advertising at The Onion: [email protected]

Director of PR for Screen life, LLC: [email protected]

Sonic Director of External Communications: [email protected]

Sonic regional contact information can be found at:


As for me, I plan to put together a thoughtful missive to send to every one of these people.  Thoughtful, polite, reasoned -- and I can easily express my thoughts on the matter and the contempt I have for those behind this within those parameters.  I urge one and all to do the same. 

Also as for me, Sonic, Fosters, and Burger King are off the menu.  I will also let the local establishments and distributors know why.


[Blackfive note:  Since LW beat me to it, I thought I would mention that, if anyone had spent any time with any wounded troops at Walter Reed, Bethesda, Brooke, Landstuhl - they would not see the humor in this.  This flies in the face of the soldier who decided to have his legs amputated in order to get prosthetics to be better able to chase his daughter around his backyard, or the Sergeant I met who just wanted to stay on Jump Status and get back to the fight...SO, a suggestion from The Donovan - Perhaps we send an invitation to the editorial board to make a trip to WRAMC and visit some of our recovering soldiers?  Thoughts on that?]

UPDATE:  Chuck Z's letter to The Onion and my letters are below:

Continue reading "The Onion Crosses A Line" »

Two To Tangle

RE:  Operation Toy Drop - Earning Irish Jump Wings While Helping a Great Cause!

[CPT Blackfive (as Pathfinder):  "Sergeant, check their canteens for Guinness...if they have Guinness in their canteens, bring it to me and we'll conduct a full analysis."]


Tangled together, two U.S. Army soldiers descend under a parachute canopy safely to earn their foreign jump wings during Operation Toy Drop at Ft. Bragg, N.C., Dec. 6, 2008. The soldiers are assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. More than 1,200 soldiers donated toys for a chance to jump under a foreign jumpmaster, earning them their foreign jump wings.    U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lock.

Up For A Challenge?

If so, there is one heck of a good one that is now available to a qualified and dedicated individual, for Soldiers' Angels is seeking an Executive Director to carry on Patti's work:

Soldiers’ Angels Executive Director

Soldiers’ Angels, one of the nation’s largest military support groups, is seeking
nominations and applications for the position of Executive Director. The ideal candidate
will be an entrepreneurial leader who has the vision, creativity, energy and experience to
continue the work of the founder and to place the organization on footing to serve the
future needs of our military and their families. Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the
Executive Director will provide strategic leadership, empower and motivate the senior
volunteers and oversee all day-to-day operations. The Executive Director will also be
responsible for hiring support staff and other key employees. Areas of responsibility
include: financial management, volunteer development, program oversight,
internal/external communications, and fund raising.

The successful candidate will have:

• Prior significant leadership experience in a multi-faceted non-profit organization
• Demonstrated ability to work effectively with volunteers, staff and donors
• Knowledge of and appreciation for the military and their families, preferably through
prior military experience, active duty or civilian
• Strong communications skills
• Experience in financial planning and management

This position also requires the candidate to demonstrate:

• In-depth knowledge of fund raising program development and administration, including
direct mail and major giving functions
• Experience in marketing, public relations, and media relations.

Cover letter and Resume should be mailed, before January 15, 2009, to:

Soldiers’ Angels
Attn: Executive Director Search Committee
1792 East Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, California 91104

Or emailed to:

[email protected]

If you email the documents please use the Return Receipt function to ensure that the send
was successful.

If you meet the qualifications, or know someone who fits the bill, are you (or they) up for the challenge?


The Sheepdogs by Russ Vaughn (a video)

I assume most of you have read the poem "The Sheepdogs" by Russ Vaughn. Russ wrote it in response to this, an essay (an extract from the book, 'On Combat') written by Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, U.S. Army (Ret.) Director, Killology Research Group (www.killology.com).  Colonel Grossman is a somewhat controversial figure - he authored the book - "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" - a very interesting topic that our politically correct society would rarely discuss. (Thanks to Tom and Mark for sending the article).

I put together a video w/music and some images I thought fit the poem.

The Sheepdogs

Most humans truly are like sheep
Wanting nothing more than peace to keep
To graze, grow fat and raise their young,
Sweet taste of clover on the tongue.
Their lives serene upon Life’s farm,
They sense no threat nor fear no harm.
On verdant meadows, they forage free
With naught to fear, with naught to flee.
They pay their sheepdogs little heed
For there is no threat; there is no need.

To the flock, sheepdog’s are mysteries,
Roaming watchful round the peripheries.
These fang-toothed creatures bark, they roar
With the fetid reek of the carnivore,
Too like the wolf of legends told,
To be amongst our docile fold.
Who needs sheepdogs? What good are they?
They have no use, not in this day.
Lock them away, out of our sight
We have no need of their fierce might.

But sudden in their midst a beast
Has come to kill, has come to feast
The wolves attack; they give no warning
Upon that calm September morning
They slash and kill with frenzied glee
Their passive helpless enemy
Who had no clue the wolves were there
Far roaming from their Eastern lair.
Then from the carnage, from the rout,
Comes the cry, “Turn the sheepdogs out!”

Thus is our nature but too our plight
To keep our dogs on leashes tight
And live a life of illusive bliss
Hearing not the beast, his growl, his hiss.
Until he has us by the throat,
We pay no heed; we take no note.
Not until he strikes us at our core
Will we unleash the Dogs of War
Only having felt the wolf pack’s wrath
Do we loose the sheepdogs on its path.

And the wolves will learn what we’ve shown before;
We love our sheep, we Dogs of War.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66

Dogs of war

Your Help Needed To Get Packages To The Troops

Sometimes, you truly can be a victim of your own success. The roughly 250,000 volunteers that are Soldiers' Angels outdid themselves and came up with a warehouse full of "Wrapped in Holiday Spirit" care packages for deployed soldiers and those injured and in hospitals far from home.

The problem is, the money for shipping those packages is gone, and some 40,000 remain to be sent. Soldiers' Angels is now faced with trying to raise $150,000.00 to get the remainder sent so that they all arrive before Christmas. Some of us here at Blackfive have already been working behind the scenes to raise money and find solutions, but the clock doesn't wait.

Your help is needed. It doesn't matter if it is $1.00 or $5.00 or more, what matters is that each donation adds up and gets them closer to the goal. You can give whatever amount you like (PayPal link at bottom), or they have some other options available for you.

If your company cares to help, that too is appreciated and if you drop me a line I will get you in touch with the right people.

This time of year, we get hit with lots of requests for money. Keep in mind that this request sends some cheer to those who are serving so that you can enjoy this season in safety and comfort.