« August 2013 | Main | October 2013 »

September 2013

Photo: Seabee Stamina

U.S. Navy Seabee Petty Officer 3rd Class Denim Pettit lets a fellow squad member push off his arm during a six-hour endurance course at the Marine Corps Jungle Warfare Training Center at Camp Gonsalves at Okinawa, Japan, on Sept. 22, 2013. More than 60 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 are attending the 8-day training course to sustain the battalion’s overall readiness as the Pacific Region’s primary forward-deployed construction battalion.   DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Fahey, U.S. Navy. (Released)

While We Honor them Everyday, Sunday is the official Gold Star Mother's Day

Sunday to honor Gold Star Mothers

September 26, 2013

By Army News Service

Sunday to honor Gold Star Mothers
Gold Star Mother's Day will be observed Sept. 29, 2013, around the nation. Here, during Gold Star Mother's Day in 2012, electric candles light each of the 295 luminaries representing Soldiers from South Carolina who died while on active duty since 2001. The event was hosted by the Survivor Outreach Services, Fort Jackson, S.C.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 25, 2013) -- This Sunday, the Army and the nation will, for the 77th time, turn their attention to mothers who have lost sons or daughters while fighting America's wars.

The Congress first created "Gold Star Mother's Day" in 1936 to honor those women whose children were taken from them as a result of war.

"The Gold Star Mothers, as well as all family members who bear the enormous burden of loss, will always be cherished members of our great Army family. We maintain our commitment to support these families while honoring the legacy of our fallen Soldiers," stated Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III in a tri-signed letter to the Army.

Donna Engeman, program manager of the U.S. Army Survivor Outreach Services, is also a "Gold Star Wife." She lost her military husband. She said just the letter from Army senior leadership -- proof that the Army recognizes the heartache of those who lost their loved ones -- is meaningful.

"The feedback we get is that this is very important to our Gold Star Mothers," said Engeman. "They tell us it's very heartwarming to them, it's comforting to them to be remembered and recognized by the Army."

The Army's Survivor Outreach Services provides access to support, information and services for those who have lost a Soldier. The services are provided at the closest location to where the survivor resides, Engeman said, and for as long as they desire.

In the nation's capital, the Army will join all Americans in support of the 2013 Gold Star Mother's Day. Memorial events will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknowns. Army leaders are also encouraging Soldiers, their families, and Army civilians to take time to remember both those who have given their lives in service to their country and the loved ones they have left behind.

Around the Army, Engeman said, many installations are having events to honor and recognize Gold Star Mothers. Included are various picnics, luncheons, and breakfasts.

"Gold Star Mother's Day is important because it's a day set aside to recognize mothers who have lost a son or daughter on active-duty service," Engeman said. "If you think about it, we have Mother's Day, every May. But when you have lost a son or daughter in service to our nation, Mother's Day is not the same. This day, Gold Star Mother's Day, is set aside to honor mothers who have lost a son or daughter who made the ultimate sacrifice. And it recognized the loss of our mothers."

Survivor Outreach Services works with more than 56,000 "survivors." That includes not just Gold Star Mothers, but also spouses -- like Engeman -- and other family members, including children.

"The Survivor's Outreach Services is kind of a big process, but a simple concept," said Hal Snyder, chief, Wounded and Fallen Branch, U.S. Army Survivor Outreach Services. "It's to continually link our surviving families to the Army for as long as they desire; that they remain part of the Army family. That is a promise that has been made to our surviving families and it is part of the job of SOS to honor that promise and to provide the services and support that link these families to the Army."

Engeman said services to Gold Star mothers and other surviving family members are provided by local resources such as support groups. The SOS works to put surviving family members in touch with those services, and can also coordinate counseling.

"Many of our survivors have asked for and sometimes need some financial counseling and education on how best to care for their families after the loss of their Soldiers," Engeman said. "We have extensive financial counseling and education available. Our job is really to get to know our survivors and develop a personal and professional relationship with them, and help them walk through their grief journey. As you get to know your survivors, you find out or you come to understand what they are looking for and what their needs are and we help them navigate that."

The SOS is available to surviving family members of Soldiers across the total Army -- including the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.

During World War I, families would hang flags in their windows that were white with red borders. Inside, a blue star would represent each family member who was serving in the military. When a service member was killed, the blue star was changed to a gold star. In 1947, the Gold Star Lapel pin was designed and created to be presented to eligible surviving family members of service members who died while deployed in support of overseas contingency operations, or who died from wounds sustained in theater.

(For more ARNEWS stories, visit our homepage at www.army.mil/ARNEWS, or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ArmyNewsService)

Former Rams Practice Squad Player Rips Military Via Tweet

As I sit back in America, enjoying a nice cigar and jack I look around and watch people and shake my head. So many people take for granted for what we have in the US. So many think expect the luxuries we have here. Forget the nice things like electricity and fresh water but no many demand all of the additional luxuries we have that so many do not. Yet, they forget so quickly who paid that price to go and keep evil away from America.

Continue reading "Former Rams Practice Squad Player Rips Military Via Tweet" »

Interesting Normandy Tribute Art

It is a haunting reminder of millions of lives lost in war.  Two artists stenciled 9,000 bodies onto one of the Normandy (D-Day) invasion beaches:

The project, named, 'The Fallen' is a tribute to the civilians, German forces and Allies who lost their lives during the Operation Neptune landing on June 6, 1944.

The design was the brainchild of Jamie Wardley, 33, and Andy Moss, 50.

Together with a team of volunteers the pair travelled to Arromanches beach, Normandy, to create the silhouettes, which were individually drawn into the sand.

Granted it was for International Peace Day.

Nevertheless this bears a moments viewing.  It is a pretty interesting set of images...always a good reminder of the costs necessary if you wait too long to deal with tyranny.

Here's a preview:  Article-2429903-18314F7700000578-966_634x475

View the whole article here

How Do We Fix The Problem?

On Facebook this morning, I asked for people to put forward ideas on how we fix the problem of the troops being treated as infants.  In my previous post here you (our readers) posted comments discussing all the ways this was being done -- and the problems created by the practice.  Deebow had a comment that included a suggestion I liked, which was to get Gen. Mattis involved in the reform. 

So, sound off!  What suggestions do you have to fix the problem? 


Former Royal Marine Reportedly Saved 100 lives at the Nairobi Westgate Mall Massacre

From the Daily Mail UK - former Royal Marine was enjoying a coffee when the attack occured...and he was armed:

...The former soldier is said to have returned to the building on a dozen occasions, despite intense gunfire.

A friend in Nairobi said: ‘What he did was so heroic. He was having coffee with friends when it happened.

‘He went back in 12 times and saved 100 people. Imagine going back in when you knew what was going on inside.’...

Picture of former Royal Marine helping survivors and other photos of the incident are here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2430201/British-hero-mall-massacre-Ex-Royal-Marine-handgun-saved-100-lives-terrorists-ran-amok.html#ixzz2foanRPM0 


Arlington Fly By Honors

The Sizemore/Andre Missing Man Formation Flyby by Warrior Aviation and assorted other folks went off pretty much without a hitch yesterday.  A B-25 (from the Delaware Aviation Museum) led the fly by.  Next came the A-26 "The Spirit of North Carolina", based out of Wilmington, NC with a pair of P-51s on its wings.  Finishing up was a 4-ship of L-39s with a missing man pull (I was in that jet - tres cool!).

Aside from a few timing glitches and a delay of the time-on-top time of about 13 minutes, from all accounts it went off very well.

It was a gratifying and distinct honor to be able to participate in these honors for Majors Sizemore and Andre.  Theur family have closure after 44 years and they can rest at night knowing their country honored and respected their loved one.

Sizemore andre flight 4

Holding over southern Maryland.

Sizemore andre flight 1

Overhead Pentagon - the big brown patch at center right WAS where the old Navy Annex stood.  Its supposed to become more Arlington space, I believe.


A-26 Invader and 2 P-51s pass over.

Thansk for your support everyone!  Talk amongst us was that we'll probably see more of these civvie-led honors for our servicemen.  I'll keep you up on anything I hear.

Meaning of Semper Fi - Part 499

Never leave your brother behind, and do your best to keep him alive.” -  Joseph Cordileone, Silver Star recipient (Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1967), when asked for advice for new recruits.

Tony Perry, at the LA Times, has a great story about two very un-recognized heroes finally getting recognition for their valor during the first Battle for Khe Sanh in 1967.  With seventy-five percent of the Marines were either killed or wounded, two privates (also wounded and refusing evac) saved the day and many Marine lives:

...So many officers were killed in Vietnam that spring that the paperwork needed to officially acknowledge the courage of the two young Marines -- one from San Diego, one from Morro Bay -- was lost in the fog and blood of war.

At a recent reunion of Khe Sanh veterans, a retired major general heard of the oversight and vowed to make things right.

So on Friday morning, in a solemn ceremony at the San Diego boot camp, Joseph Cordileone received a Silver Star and Robert Moffatt received the Bronze Star...

Be sure to read the whole piece by Tony Perry. It is excellent.

As for the meaning of Semper Fi, aside from the quote up at the top of this post from one of the two Marines in the story, there's another example of Semper Fidelis in the story. A retired Major General righted a wrong for those two privates...