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There is a group named “Iraq Veterans Against the War” which is planning another lie-filled ‘investigation’ titled “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan“, this March 13-16, 2008, (at the Capitol) to provide ‘information of the atrocities’ our fine men and women are committing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They claim to have 4736 ‘people’ who support them. I find it ironic that they don’t use the word Soldier, don’t you?

It is not too late for us to infilitrate them. Remember, you must hold your tongues. You are just there to record everything. There is to be no violence. What you can do before you go is e-mail all of your friends and family members to ask them to stand with us against these liars.

You can get in by using this link. Make up a statement that they will want to hear. They may even ask you to speak at this display of disgusting dishonor. That will your opportunity to reveal the tapings you have made of THEM! The lies, the hatred for troops, and possibly who is sponsoring this meeting. Put it out there if you can get it.

We do not have much time. Please organize as if this was enemy terrotory and you were going in to save your buddies. In essense, you will be. Godspeed.

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest and other sites:

Stix Blog: USMC Silent Drill Platoon, Pirate’s Cove: Global Warming Today: Less Hurricanes To Hit U.S.?, The World According to Carl: Saturday Evening Humor, Woman Honor Thyself: Super BowL: Gooooooo Giants!, Leaning Straight Up: Friday Video Break: Smoke on the water… as you have never seen it before, Outside the Beltway: South Carolina Post Mortem Democrat Edition, A Newt One: Valentines’ For the Troops Blogburst, Right Voices: Caroline Kennedy Re-Uses Her 2000 Endorsement of Gore for 2008 Endorsement of Obama, Many thanks to: Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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2. Stix Blog: USMC Silent Drill Platoon.
3. Blue Star Chronicles: Ted Kennedy Endorces Barack Osama for the Presiden.

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Source: CJTF-HOA and CentCom.

by MC1 Mary Popejoy
CJTF-HOA
.

DJIBOUTI, Horn of Africa (Jan. 09, 2008) — Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa personnel took time out of their busy schedules to donate school supplies and clothing to Horsed Private School of English, Jan. 7. The 35 boxes of supplies were sent by Living Waters Foursquare Church in Mooresville, N.C., to Army Staff Sgt. Rex Hipp, 1132nd Engineering Detachment well drilling team. Hipp is a member of the church’s congregation who is currently wrapping up a one-year deployment in Djibouti.

The boxes were filled with backpacks, books, pencils, paper, shoes and clothes. “The 75 church members raised $1,500 so they could buy school supplies and clothing that would benefit the children of Djibouti,” Hipp said. Having his church make such a thoughtful gesture allows the 1132nd well drillers to make one last impact before they return to Mooresville this month.

“For the past year, when we’ve drilled and repaired wells we’ve given out flip flops and school supplies to villages near some of our well sites as another way to help the Djibouti people,” Hipp said. “Now that we’re wrapping up our deployment, it was nice to coordinate with the CJTF-HOA Chaplain’s office and the school director to donate items that will improve the students’ quality of life in a big way,” Hipp said.

Marine Sgt. Derico Cooper, CJ-6 Tactical Networking, was on hand to deliver the supplies and see firsthand just how grateful the school staff was for the gifts. “Their standard of living and educational facilities are far different than what we have in the states, so anything we can do to help them out is greatly appreciated,” Cooper said.

Hassan Mahamed, a teacher at Horsed Private School of English, said he appreciates donations from American friends. “We appreciate everything the U.S. military does for us, because a lot of the families cannot afford to buy these items, which prevents students from having the proper items for school,” Mahamed said. “It’s nice to know that their friends stateside wanted to do something nice for our students here.”

Wayne George, chief religious programs specialist, CJTF-HOA Religious Ministries Department, said donations like these represent the true spirit of America and what it truly means to do something nice for people they’ll never meet. “I have observed thousands of charitable items donated by caring Americans who expect nothing in return,” George said. “They have done it in silence without expectations of recognition because it’s not about the cost, but the smiles it will bring to the faces of the children half a world away.”

Army Staff Sgt. Lisa Dumire, 1133rd Engineering Detachment well drilling team operations non-commissioned officer-in-charge, receives a box from Hassan Mahamed, Horsed Private School of English teacher, while unloading boxes of school supplies that were donated by Living Waters Foursquare Church in Mooresville, N.C. The congregation of Living Waters sent the boxes to Army Staff Sgt. Rex Hipp, 1132nd Engineering Detachment well drilling team, who is a member of their congregation.
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Good evening. I will be hosting an open trackback weekend, so feel free to share with others your fabulous works. I have quite a bit to do, so I shall be using this trackback post to add news and other information as the weekend progresses. Check back later, because I am going to adding some really great news from our military.

Now hold it! I said I was busy. This shall happen later or tomorrow. lol. Have a great weekend everyone, and say a prayer and/or hold good thoughts for our courageous men and women who are working to keep us free. We owe them more than we could ever repay. God bless them.

Update: As I had promised, I have three articles for you so far. One is about an amazing task that our Airmen were faced with when they reached Afghanistan, another is about the handing over of control of one of the bases in Iraq, and the best – a book that is written by the guys who actually went there and did that.

The team’s original mission was to mentor their Afghan counterparts and teach them medical skills to treat Afghan military and police members, said Air Force Col. Mike Skidmore, the team’s senior mentor officer and administrator.

All that changed when the team arrived several months ago, he said. The hospital was 500 days behind schedule, and instead of finding equipment and eager ANA medical personnel, the team found an empty, incomplete facility. “We had to move from a mentoring mission to a new mindset of equipping the hospital, opening it and then mentoring,” said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Thomas Seay, the senior medical mentor and chief radiologist. [Continue reading.]

Our guys are AWESOME! You really should continue reading this one. You will be amazed at what our men can accomplish but the government cannot. (lol)

Control of Multinational Division Baghdad changed hands during a ceremony here yesterday [December 19, 2007]. The 1st Cavalry Division will redeploy to Fort Hood, Texas, while 4th Infantry Division takes over operations in the Iraqi capital. Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, presided over the ceremony. He said the battle in Iraq has changed significantly during the last year, and that the success could be directly linked to the 1st Cavalry Division’s efforts in and around Baghdad.

“Significant events are often a result of the right people being in the right place at the right time,” Odierno said. “In the case of Baghdad in 2006 and 2007, the right people were the magnificent men and women of Multinational Division Baghdad and their dedicated Iraqi security force partners.” [Continue reading.]

Ah, the sweet sounds of progress…

Like many Soldiers deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, Soldiers from the Oregon National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry brought their personal cameras to Iraq during their deployment in 2004. They snapped photos of each other firing weapons, shot video of explosives they detonated and logged plenty of footage of their own commentaries intermixed with Soldier humor.

But they never expected that their day-to-day antics would one day represent deployed National Guard Soldiers everywhere, preserved in a feature-length documentary film called “This is War: Memories of Iraq.” [Continue reading, really.]

This is one heck of a documentary. Here is a list of sellers from Amazon.com that ranges in price for the DVD. (I think it’s a DVD.)

The next set of military news shall be on the next open trackback. I do have to catch up with my writing. Everyone have a nice weekend, and I’ll see ya on the other side…God willing. 😉

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Samantha Burns’ OTA:

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest:

Other links:

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Source: CentCom.

05 December 2007
by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
.

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) – Airmen are improving the lives and operating conditions of Marines by constructing more than $9.8 million in aircraft shelters, taxiways and temporary shelters at Al Asad Air Base. Deployed in an “in-lieu-of” tasking in support of the 20th Army Engineer Brigade, 557th Expeditionary REDHORSE Squadron Airmen are completing numerous projects — from the design concept to completion — in a joint service environment.

“We’re here working on a Marine base, taking on an Army job while using Navy parts,” said Master Sgt. Richard Kapp, the 557th ERHS cantonments superintendent and acting first sergeant, deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. “It’s an odd process.”

REDHORSE is an elite Air Force engineer squadron, whose main function is to take a strip of uninhabited land and turn it into a fully functioning base with running water, shelters and power. The REDHORSE team currently has 14 assigned projects. Six construction tasks are underway, and six more are scheduled to start soon totaling $9.8 million. One project recently completed was a $65,000 convoy briefing facility, which included three temporary shelters.

“Having this facility complete now allows Soldiers and Marines going out on convoys to have a place to brief before heading out on dangerous missions without having their mind distracted by the extreme cold or heat,” said Senior Master Sgt. Rob Townsend, the 557th ERHS superintendent deployed from Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

REDHORSE Airmen also are building other temporary-shelters throughout the base. “One of our sites will house more than $1.5 million in Meals Ready to Eat that normally would have been thrown away due to the high heat in the summer,” said Capt. Andy LaFrazia, the 557th ERHS spoke commander for Al Asad AB, deployed from McChord AFB, Wash.

The engineers have faced several challenges as a result of the nontraditional nature of the deployment. “Getting materials we need for a project is a problem on everyone’s mind. It’s a brand new system,” Captain LaFrazia said. “We are getting used to it and are pushing forward, keeping our mind on the mission.”

The Airmen are driven to improve the quality of life of their fellow military members. “Everyone here wants to make a difference,” Sergeant Townsend said. “We all have the same focus of getting the job done and done safely.” “We are building a better way of life for all the servicemembers who live and work in Al Asad,” said Senior Airman James Cox, a 557th ERHS electrician deployed from Shaw AFB, S.C.

Photo – Tech. Sgt. Chris Collins cuts a 2-by-6 piece of wood to use as a frame for a bench Nov. 24 at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. REDHORSE Airmen are currently working approximately $9.8 million in projects here. Sergeant Collins, a 557th Expeditionary REDHORSE utilities technician, is deployed from Minot Air Force Base, N.D. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards).

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I am going to share several articles I have accumulated while my computer was down. Some are from some Milbloggers, some are videos, some are news articles and some are just because. I hope you enjoy at least one of them. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Sen. Bond: NIE Emphasis is Wrong.
By: Ronald Kessler.

The controversial National Intelligence Estimate on Iran should have emphasized that Iran continues to engage in centrifuge uranium enrichment activities that lead to developing nuclear weapons, Sen. Kit Bond, the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, tells Newsmax.

“The NIE was based on very in-depth, very good intel work on what happened in 2003 [when Iran is said by the CIA to have halted its nuclear weapons program],” says the Missouri Republican, who has read the classified portion of the NIE. But, Bond notes, the NIE’s first point was: “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons…” [Continue reading.]

This next post is from Mark Alexander. He writes with the Federalist Papers, a part of the Patriot Post. I really enjoyed his Christmas message, and I hope you will, too.

The Shepherd’s Christmas.
by Mark Alexander of the Patriot Post.
Scroll down from “Happy Christmahanakwamadan!”

If you were to wish us “Happy Holidays,” we would puzzle over which one you meant. Independence Day? Constitution Day? Thanksgiving? Easter? Christmas? Our Patriot mission is to keep kindled the flame of liberty our Founders sparked on this continent, and we believe that all these national celebrations should unite us in gratitude to God for all the blessings He has showered upon our free land.

John Quincy Adams asserted, “In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Saviour.”

Indeed, most of the Founders held these commemorations to be all of a piece, and that the events told and foretold in Scripture are true, fit as cornerstones for faith and governing principles.

Luke, in his Gospel, attests to the historical evidence for the Nativity, taken from “eyewitnesses” who could verify “the certainty” (Luke 1:1-4). Among the first eyewitnesses Luke cites were “shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night,” to whom an angel suddenly appeared, announcing the birth of Christ the Lord and providing directions to His location. After visiting the Holy Child, the shepherds related their experiences to those living in the surrounding countryside (Luke 2:8-20). [Continue reading. It is a magnificant article.]

This is copyrighted material, so please ask permission to copy any of their articles. They are very nice about it and if you are a member, it is okay as long as you follow the rules set in the copyright clause. They want to spread liberty, and they believe it is not theirs to hold from others. These people are a class above. Yes, indeed.

Here is a book I have not read, but I do agree that we have lost many of the State’s rights which were the strength of our individualism before this war. Here is a little bit about this book:

Finally, the true story of the War Between the States, in one captivating volume. With more than 530 illustrations, nearly 100 biographical sketches, and his attention-grabbing style, John J. Dwyer has radically transformed the tedious, uninspiring textbook rendering of the Civil War into what it should be America’s greatest epic.

Respected historians George Grant, J. Steven Wilkins, Douglas Wilson, and Tom Spencer are contributing editors to the The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War, and over two dozen of renowned historical artist John Paul Strain’s greatest works appear. The book offers 700 action-packed pages of war-time drama that will forever change the way Americans view the Civil War.

This book is not available at Amazon.com right now because they are sold out, but you may purchase one here or call 1-800-628-9460 to place your order. Hat tip: Human Events.

Please Mitt, at least a mea culpa.
An open letter to our former Massachusetts governor.

Dear Mitt:

Many of us from Massachusetts will be headed down to Washington, D.C. this January to join over 100,000 others in the 35th Annual March For Life, memorializing some 48 million pre-born children whose beating hearts were legally stopped by the sanction of the Roe v. Wade decision. Mitt, will you be with us? They’re betting that you won’t.

You made one of the smoothest transitions from being pro-Roe to anti-Roe of anyone I’ve ever witnessed, far less involved even than Norma McCorvey, the Roe plaintiff. Miss Norma told me that she had, in a worldly sense, everything to lose and nothing to gain by changing her position. Can you say the same?

We’re told that it was the studying of scientific data regarding embryonic stem cell research which led to your conversion to the Pro-Life position. This, after multiple years of publicity about the now-outlawed partial birth abortion procedure? Surely you knew about the courageous action of former Senator Bob Smith from our neighboring state of New Hampshire, who graphically depicted the gruesome procedure on the floor of the U. S. Senate. Where were you then? [Continue reading.]

I hope you find Gregg’s arguements as persuasive as they ought to be. He was a captive of that government. Can you imagine words like that being used with the full meaning–captive? Well, you should be afraid. It is our Life, Liberty and Property Rights we are fighting for in this campaign for president! READ IT! Now on to the next news article.

The Vets for Freedom recently went to London grand Westminster Hall, to join in a debate sponsored by Intelligence Squared. The attendance was over 2,200, and the topic of the topic was the defense of the idea that the surge in Iraq is working.

Of the 455 undecided voters who arrived in the hall, over half (234) later voted to support victory rather than defeat. By contrast, only 131 voted in favor of the motions “leave Iraq now” or “negotiated settlement.” Overwhelmingly, previously undecided voters left the hall convinced that we must win in Iraq. I was expecting a hostile audience, but these results prove that, with the credibility that we as veterans bring to the debate, it is not too late to shape the public’s perception of the war in Iraq.

The debate will be shown in its entirety on BBC World during the weekend of January 5th, and Vets for Freedom will send out a notice when it appears. In the meantime, visit this website for a podcast of the debate.

The title of the debate is The Future of Iraq. They also have another ad coming out to thank Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his steadfast support of the men and women fighting in uniform and those vets who are home fighting for their brothers and sisters right to win the victory. You can visit their website to view these ads.

What I can do is to get 5 people to sign up to support Vets for Freedom. Here is an opportunity for you to support those troops you say you support. 😉

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBET2sswiMI&rel=1″>

This is an excellent video from Blackfive. It was taped on the 90th birthday of the Army, and it has a lot of history in the short time allowed.

This is very sweet and moving video, again from Blackfive, that says to the troops, “Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!” It also says that we miss you, you are not forgotten, and we care. Greatly. We thank your families and you for your service, and we won’t give up the fight on our end either. (I just added that, but I know it to be true.) A shout out to Morgan, ‘B-Mo’ O’, Maniac, Major Stone Cold, Cookie Monster, Surferdude, T-Dog, Burt Schtickem, Coopage, Gonzo, Pineapple, Tater, Headspace, Sparky, Crash and Sack, and the Hometown Hero. God bless you all, and may your Christmas be safe, rememberable, and may you have the Joy that this world does not understand. Also, may God’s protection keep you from all harm and all evil. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest: Faultline USA: Spirit of Christmas and Religious Bigotry, third world county: Who is He in Yonder Stall?, Right Truth: The Saudis are Coming … A MUST READ for free speech, The World According To Carl: Clever Video: President George Bush “Covering” R.E.M.’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”, Stuck on Stupid: Fred Thompson’s Christmas Message, Big Dog’s Website: Vote for Hillary, Get Lower Oil Prices, Chuck Adkins: Weekend Open Trackback and Open Thread, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker: Oh! Tannenbaum, Right Voices: It’s Christmas Eve, and I Have Much To Be Thankful For, and The Yankee Sailor: Weekend Open Post, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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    This is good news for Rep. Duncan Hunter. To have one of the most Conservative senators (in New Hamphsire, no less!) endorse you is a big deal. Vermont is the first state to actually vote as we know it. Many people believe that whoever wins or suprisingly comes close to winning will go on to become president of the United States. Below is a copy of that endorsement:

    Dear New Hampshire Friends:

    After spending several weeks listening to all of the candidates, I have decided to support Congressman Duncan Hunter for President. I do not take this decision lightly. There are a lot of fine men running for this office and I know that many of you may have already made your choice. Your vote in the “First in the Nation Primary” is a very precious and personal right. Your decision will likely determine who will be the next leader of the free world. What an awesome responsibility! I only ask that you give serious consideration to the points that I make in this letter of endorsement for Congressman Hunter before you vote.

    The Republican Party, but more importantly our nation, needs strong conservative and inspirational leadership as we continue to face the threats to our liberty in the form of immorality, corruption, terrorism, a mountain of debt, border insecurity, loss of jobs and attempts to weaken our national defense. Here is why Duncan Hunter is that leader!

    I am sure that you are aware that I fought the battle for the conservative cause in New Hampshire for over 20 years. It was not an easy battle. Conservatives pay a heavy price for standing up for their principles. I can speak from personal experience on that. The Republican Party has lost its majority in Congress because it slowly and steadily has walked away from the “core values” that have made it a great party for the past 150 years in America . Remember Ronald Reagan? Liberals and moderates worked hard to defeat him in the New Hampshire primary in 1980 but he prevailed in spite of them! He will be remembered as one of our greatest Presidents because he stood on principle, but also because we conservatives in New Hampshire gave him the victory that propelled him to the White House! When President Reagan came into the oval office in the morning, he knew exactly where he wanted to take the country. He did not need an inbox full of directions, consultants, polls or focus groups to tell him what his core values were. There will never be another Ronald Reagan but fellow Californian Duncan Hunter can pick up the Reagan torch and light the way for America to come back from the dangers we now face. Congressman Hunter is a moral man, an inspirational leader and a no nonsense conservative who will always put “principle above politics” in the image of the late great New Hampshire patriot Meldrim Thomson.

    I had the enormous privilege to serve with Congressman Hunter for 18 years in Congress. He has been my personal friend for nearly 25 years. I can personally attest that he is a man of impeccable moral and family values, a great patriot and a leader. I have seen him fight even when others were prepared to give up. Congressman Hunter inspired me and many other young conservatives in the 1980s to continue the fight even when it was bleak. This has not been an easy campaign for Congressman Hunter. While he has been out on the campaign trail his son has been serving in Iraq and the Hunters lost their entire home in the recent fires in Southern California . He has been largely ignored by the pollsters and the media. I urge the people of New Hampshire to send a message to the pollsters and the Washington media elite. The people elect a President not the pollsters! You have the opportunity to do for the nation what you did when you elected President Reagan in 1980 by sending Duncan Hunter out of New Hampshire with a big win and on to the White House in January of 2009! Can you imagine listening to CNN and all of the talking heads trying to explain how they were wrong as Hunter claimed victory? Wouldn’t that be worth the price of admission? You can make it happen with your vote in January! Do not be intimidated by these spinmasters. You control the destiny of America and not them!

    The American people need to take control of this country. We are a republic, not a democracy. We elect leaders to stand up for us as they make decisions. Duncan Hunter has proven that he can lead. He has been tested. If given the chance as President, he will inspire people, young and old, to rally to our nation in this time of need. Congressman Duncan Hunter for 25 years has stood up for the rights of the unborn, to balance the budget, to cut the pork out of the spending bills, to strengthen our national defense by supporting our troops and providing them the weapons they need, to seal off our borders by building a fence along the US/Mexican border and to keep American jobs in America. He is a known entity. You do not have to guess about what he might do on these critical threats to our security. Imagine President Duncan Hunter leading our nation and using the “bully pulpit” to lead on these issues! I am proud to support this great American patriot for President. If you really want to see change, then I urge you to vote for him. He is what American needs now more than ever! Thank you!

    Senator Bob Smith
    Tuftonboro, N.H. and Sarasota, Florida.

    As I remember, for full disclosure’s sake, Sen. Smith did leave the Republican Party for about a month or two while he was running for president in 2000. Many people did not forgive him for that. I was one of them. At least for a while.

    Why did I not forgive him? If you want change, if you want to help, then you should do it from within. That used to be my philosophy. I do not know what has happened to my party, but it certainly is not the fiscally responsible, pro-life, pro- all the Amendments – the Constitution – the Declaration of Independence, and just plain decency along with the will to fight for what is believed to be correct. I do not see this anymore, and maybe Sen. Smith saw this before I did. Either way, all is forgiven. How could it not when I am sitting here wondering where can I go?

    Today is Samantha Burns’ OTA Weekend and Open Trackback Linkfest Haven Oasis. Please have a nice weekend, and please have a wonderful and safe Merry ChristMass. Please keep our men and women who cannot be at home during this season because they are protecting our liberties close to your heart. Also remember their families, the empty chair for Daddy or Mommy, keep them in your prayers. Maybe if you know someone like that, you may even bake them some cookies or see if there is a need. Come on. ‘Tis the season to give. Thank you.

    IMPORTANT NOTICE TO HALOSCAN USERS
    If you are using haloscan, please understand that I will have to leave my trackback in your comments section. For some reason, haloscan has not been available to me for 3 days now. It does not appear as though the problem will be solved soon, either. I am so p***ed off! (lol) Please leave your comment section open. Thank you.

    UPDATE: Haloscan is back online. Wheh!

    Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Samantha Burns OTA and Linkfest:
    Stop the ACLU: Weekend Free-For-All, Stix Blog: U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007, Pirate’s Cove: TB Friday Featuring The Surrender Monkey: The 400, The World According To Carl: Open Trackback Friday — December 21, 2007, Woman Honor Thyself: Smile! It’s ChristmaS, CommonSenseAmerica: Spare time is not always my friend…OTB, The Midnight Sun: CHRISTMAS: LOVE IT OR HATE IT, 123beta: Merry Christmas Open Trackback Weekend, Adam’s Blog: Post of the Day for December 21, 2007, Right Truth: What you need to know about Mormons, Stix Blog: Who knew I had have fans in Trinidad & Tobago, Leaning Straight Up: Friday Video Break Christmas, The Amboy Times: Tancredo Endorses Romney, Conservative Cat: NMPDR – The Really Bad Strain of Staphylococcus Aureus, Nuke’s: Fla. Newspaper Publishes Problem Teacher List, third world county: A 15th Century Christmas Message, The Crazy Rantings of Samantha Burns: OTA Weekend, The World According To Carl: This Explains A Lot, Blue Star Chronicles: TB Friday Featuring the Surrender Monkey: The 400, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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    So the Democrats say they want to see more visible effort on Iraqi government and her people before they will pay our men and women for the work we sent them there to do? Well, check this out:

    CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – The number of Iraqi-led reconciliation efforts swelled over the past two weeks across Multi-National Division – Center as local Iraqi leaders seek to capitalize on an improved security situation by developing the institutions that will enable long-term stability.

    With Coalition Forces and Iraqi Concerned Local Citizens working increasingly in tandem with the Iraqi Police and Army to solidify security relationships, a window has opened for local leadership to push forward business development and infrastructure repair and forge political relationships across sects and neighborhoods.

    On Nov. 26, Khalif Haloos of the Sadr al Yusifiyah Nahia Governance Council hosted more than 500 sheiks from Sunni, Shi’a and Kurdish tribes. Also in attendance were Coalition Forces from the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), who were the invited guests of the Iraqis who organized the meeting. Security for this meeting, the largest of several important reconciliation gatherings in MND-C in recent days, was provided by the Iraqi Security Forces.

    “This meeting was an example of Sunnis and Shias working together,” said Col. Dominic Caraccilo, commander of 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div (AASLT). “The ISF took the lead in providing security for the meeting, and we had representation from all the key players in that area. That dynamic, coming from the local level, could be an example for the national government.”

    The sheiks discussed reconciliation issues, from the return of displaced families, to a pact that would allow Iraqis of all sects to travel freely through the sheiks’ territory without fear of sectarian reprisal. They also discussed restraining Iranian influence, suppressing the remaining insurgents in their territory, and ways to integrate their activities with Iraq’s central government.

    On Nov. 27 [2007] at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, leaders of the Iraqi Army and Police met with elected officials and Coalition commanders to discuss security cooperation and coordination in Babil province.

    Col. Michael Garret, commander of the outgoing 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, used the occasion to say goodbye to the Iraqi leaders with whom he had worked for more than a year. Working to build on those relationships now is Col. Thomas James, commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

    Although it’s early in James’ deployment, his brigade has seen many examples of local leaders taking steps to improve their community through Sunni and Shia cooperation, specifically from the Sunni sheik and the police chief in Musayyib. Both will tell you that they are Iraqis first, not Sunni or Shia, and only want what’s good for their country and citizens, James said.

    Another meeting was held Dec. 1 on the other side of MND-C at Forward Operating Base Hammer, east of Baghdad. Iraqi civic and tribal leaders in attendance offered frank assessments of their needs and asked U.S. and Iraqi officials for continued support with stabilization efforts.

    Col. Wayne Grigsby, commander of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, said after the meeting, “I’ve spent 35 months of my life in Iraq, and this is the best I’ve ever seen it.” He noted, however, that there remain opportunities to synchronize U.S. and Iraqi efforts.

    Part of that direction involves parlaying improved security and cooperation among the different parties to build a stepped-up reconstruction program. Similar to the reconciliation conferences that took place, the reconstruction effort is manifesting itself across MND-C as community development projects.

    On Nov. 28, the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. opened a new medical clinic in Narwhan after the project was approved by Iraq’s Ministry of Health. As a signal of its commitment to the initiative, the ministry hired three doctors to work at the facility, two of whom are female.

    The following day, the 1-10th FA conducted a school bag and bottled-water drop in Sabah Nisan. School children there received 180 school bags and 3,500 cases of water, distributed by the Concerned Local Citizens.

    On Nov. 26, the Al-Wehda Nahia council celebrated with Iraqi and Coalition Forces the completion of a well system in al Sadiq. The system includes water pumps, storage tanks, a generator and quarters for a caretaker. The project was a joint effort by local Iraqis and Coalition Forces.

    Finally, on Nov. 28, Iraqis celebrated the graduation of a class of small businessmen from an entrepreneur training program in the Mada’in Qada. The program helps develop business skills and planning among local business owners and then provides them with micro-grants to revitalize their businesses. As part of the program, U.S. military and civilian officials assess the proposals of the Iraqi graduates and award grants of up to $10,000 to eligible candidates.

    Now I want you to go to your phones and dial toll free at 1-866-340-9281, and tell the Democrats to PAY OUR MEN AND WOMEN! They wanted evidence? Here it is. To continue to ignore this fact, is to ignore any and all facts they with which they disagree politically. This is outrageous, and it should not be allowed to stand. Write about it, talk about it on the radio programs, do whatever you can. Our men and women did not ask to be deployed by the same people who are now refusing to pay them so that they can make political points back home. They really, REALLY, need to stop. Thank you.

    Source: CentCom News Release.

    Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest: The Florida Masochist: Marilou Ranario, The Florida Masochist: Weekly Dolphins prediction, Wolf Pangloss: Interplanetary: Open Trackbacks thru Tuesday, Stop the ACLU: Friday Free For All, Faultline USA, Adam’s Blog, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, Shadowscope, Global American Discourse, Stuck On Stupid, The Pink Flamingo, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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    Crap. I have to wait until I reboot the computer…AGAIN. Arghh.

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    Source: CentCom.

    27 November 2007
    Spc. Micah E. Clare
    4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office
    .

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan – A young Soldier rubbed sleep from his eyes as he stumbled into the giant machinery garage at 10 p.m., his vision flooded with harsh yellow light. He’d been working on various trucks and machines since 4 a.m., but he still had to work on one more.

    Late nights are nothing new to deployed mechanics like Pfc. Carson Beaver, from the Headquarters Support Company, 864th Engineer Battalion out of Fort Lewis, Wash., whose main mission is providing “last stop” maintenance support for the continuing fight against the insurgency in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.

    That night, Pfc. Beaver and his team had to fix yet another damaged Humvee returning from a late night patrol. After running some tests, they determined that the vehicle’s dirt-encrusted front differential needed to be replaced. “This vehicle is a four-wheel drive, and right now, it’s not driving with all four wheels,” Pfc. Beaver explained, adding that the repair would take at least four to five hours, but the vehicle would be ready to roll the next morning.

    “We find ourselves fixing everything from gators (small utility vehicles) to five-tons (heavy transport vehicles),” Pfc. Beaver said, lying on his back while unscrewing bolts, with several tons of metal inches above his head. “This is a very important job though, keeping units coming through here on their feet. When they come to us needing something fixed, they know we’re reliable and they’ll be able to continue on their mission.”

    “Missions would cease without proper vehicle maintenance because everyone relies so heavily on them out here,” explained Lt. Alex Faber, an HSC motor officer. “We’re a last-stop repair shop for units traveling into southern Paktika. Whether we’re just providing them with some parts or staying up all night to repair a broken vehicle, we’ll support anyone who comes through here.”

    Because of the incredibly rough terrain and lack of paved roads these vehicles drive on on a daily basis, they take an unimaginable beating. Sometimes the team faces problems they don’t have any idea how to fix at first, which requires a brainstorm for newer Soldiers, even after their extensive schooling, Lt. Faber said.

    “I tell every one of my new guys, unless you’ve fixed something out here, it’s like you’re doing it for the first time,” he said. “Sometimes it comes right down to pulling out the manual and taking it step by step, by the numbers. Our worst job was restoring a vehicle that had been submerged in water for an extended period of time. It took us over 30 straight hours to completely replace the front end with one from another broken vehicle.”

    When the team finally completes a repair, the only way to find out whether it works or not is to start it back up and take it for a test drive. “You spend all this time fixing something, and you hope it works,” said Pfc. Beaver as they finished replacing the Humvee’s differential around 2 a.m. “If not, you get right back to work. That’s the real job.”

    “We work 12 hours days mostly,” said Sgt. Emmanuel Lamsangam. “But we’ve learned sometimes that when we’re completely exhausted and not getting anywhere, we have to pack it up and start fresh in the morning. If it’s a mission priority though, we get it done. It just takes a lot of coffee.”

    During those 12 hours, bloodied knuckles, grease stains, oil spills and many other unpleasant things are commonplace, said Spc. Rodolfo Sombra, another HSC mechanic. “These coveralls don’t always help,” he said while grinning and wiping fluid spillage off his face. “It makes a shower and a good night’s sleep pretty nice after a long day like this one.”

    Even though the mechanic teams spend a lot of time working, they still make sure to get some off time every once in a while, said Pfc. Beaver. “You still have to have fun sometimes to keep you going,” he explained. “We play a lot of video games, mostly racing games. It’s funny when we custom create our racing cars with ease, replacing parts in seconds that would have taken us hours in the shop to do. I wish it was always that easy.”

    On the few easy days they have, without the usual five to six vehicles to fix, they really clean up their work area. The large garage can become quite a wreck in the hustle to crank vehicles back to life and send them on their way, said Pfc. Beaver.

    “Clean up will be tomorrow for sure,” said Lt. Faber, looking around at the garage, strewn with tools and oil spills. His team had finally been able to get the Humvee on its way. His Soldiers were definitely going to be given a few extra hours of sleep that morning.

    “It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding to push yourself,” said Pfc. Beaver as he slipped out of his messy coveralls. “I love this job, it’s the best thing I could be doing in the Army.”

    To mechanics like him, being a Soldier doesn’t always mean being out on patrols, missions or firefights. “Having the state of mind to do whatever it takes to do your job and keep the mission going, that’s what being a Soldier is all about,” said Pfc. Beaver.

    Photo – Mechanics from Headquarters Support Company, 864th Engineer Battalion raise a Humvee that needs repair up on jacks while determining how to fix it at Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan, Nov. 7. Photo by Spc. Micah E. Clare.

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    Source: CentCom.

    07 November 2007
    By Sgt. 1st Class Rick Emert
    1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
    .

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Set up in five trucks with heavy machine guns, enemy forces sat in wait for a helicopter to fly over their location west of Baghdad on the last day of May. It appeared their plan was to strike a blow to Multi-National Division-Baghdad by taking down a U.S. Army helicopter.

    The enemy forces were trained and prepared with personnel to drive the trucks, man the guns and keep a lookout for any of the U.S. helicopters that patrol the skies of Baghdad in search of roadside bomb emplacers or insurgent mortar teams.

    The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade’s Apache crews had become a thorn in the insurgency’s side by regularly disrupting terrorist attacks on Coalition Forces and Iraqi civilians.

    As they waited, four Apache pilots from 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB, 1st Cavalry Division, were getting an intelligence briefing before heading out on their mission. The intelligence indicated that there were up to 30 gun trucks in a specific area, and the pilots’ mission was to check it out.

    With both determination and caution, 1st Lt. Brian Haas, chief warrant officers 4 Steven Kilgore and Elliott Ham and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Cole Moughon took to the skies to check the validity of the report. All four said they thought from the onset that some sort of engagement was imminent. They expected to find at least several trucks with gun mounts that could easily be modified to attack air and ground assets.

    The two Apache crews, each with a pilot in command and a copilot-gunner, came up on a truck and sedan that stopped suddenly; the occupants quickly exited the vehicles and low crawled toward a ditch. The crews didn’t know if this meant the people were being cautious, preparing for a possible engagement by taking cover, or if they knew that an engagement was imminent.

    “That instantly heightened our awareness; something is going on out here,” said Kilgore, a Portage, Ind., native. “These people aren’t just scared of us. They may be a little bit, to an extent, but there’s something going on out here. We started keeping an eye open.” It didn’t take long for their suspicions to be confirmed.

    “I remember … thinking this is weird; something’s up,” said Moughon, from Gray, Ga. “We (in the lead aircraft) heard (Kilgore) make the call over the radio: “Hey, I’m taking fire at my rear.” We heard (Haas) say there was a big gun. I looked over to my right, and I was about to say: “Oh, I got it.” I just got out “oh.” I could see the flash from the muzzle. I saw a stitch of dirt in the road coming up towards us.” It was even worse than the intelligence report had predicted; the trucks had more than just weapon mounts.

    “We were looking for trucks with mounts – not trucks with heavy machine guns looking to kill us,” Moughon said. “At that point, it was pretty scary, because I knew – back in February, we lost an aircraft to heavy machine gun fire – we knew what the deal was right away. We knew that we were in something pretty dangerous.”

    Kilgore spotted a gun truck about one-and-a-half kilometers away shooting at the helicopters, but there was a much more ominous threat. “We started taking fire from my right side about 1,500 meters away,” Kilgore said. “What I didn’t know is there was another gun about 300 meters away in the same line that started shooting at the same time. That rattled the aircraft. It didn’t hit … but rattled the aircraft.”

    A seasoned Apache pilot with multiple deployments under his belt, Kilgore initially thought his aircraft had been hit. “We were so close to the gun that when the aircraft started to rattle, I thought I was taking hits,” Kilgore said. “I actually saw muzzle flashes from it. It was about 250 to 300 meters out my right door.” Within a couple of minutes, the Apache crews had gone from searching for the gun trucks to becoming the targets of a planned ambush by the enemy forces. “I was definitely at a position of a disadvantage, and I needed to gain an advantage,” Kilgore said. “That meant … moving out away from that (gun truck) to get out of his ability to track me. I was able to put a salvo of (rockets) on that gun truck and clear that gun truck. We came back later and destroyed the gun truck.”

    Both aircrews broke contact safely, and then came back in to engage the trucks and insurgents.
    The trail aircraft had disabled one of the trucks, and Moughon and Ham in the lead aircraft took out another one on the second pass. “They broke off that truck, and we followed them out and then came back in. (Ham) called and said he had trucks fleeing to the north,” said Haas, from Ashley, N.D. “They came around and engaged there. We came in behind them and just kind of suppressed again as they were breaking. They shot another missile. I think we made two more passes.”

    With nearly half of the gun trucks already disabled, the aircrews were not about to let some of them get away to launch an ambush on another aircraft. “I saw three trucks with machine guns in the back in kind of like a straight trail formation hauling … down the road,” Moughon said. “As soon as I got the sight on them, I launched the missile. I saw the guy swing his gun around and just a bright flash of the gun firing. The (driver) braked. The missile hit right in front of the truck and didn’t do anything. We broke, I think (the trail aircraft) suppressed, then we came back around and fired another missile.

    “(It was) the same thing; the guy knew what he was doing. He slammed on the brakes, but this time it killed the driver. That caused him to careen into his buddy and pushed him off the road. We further engaged with the (30mm) gun and got several guys that were running away. We just started (destroying the weapon systems) from there.” The seemingly determined enemy forces had blinked and tried, without success, to flee.

    “Once they knew that we weren’t going to run away from them, that’s when we got the advantage and just got real aggressive,” Haas said. “I think that helped us, because we got noise and rockets flying off the helicopter, and they saw that and they knew they were in for it.”

    A couple of days later, with plenty of time to reflect on the engagement, the pilots realized there were some things they could have done differently. “In this situation, you’re going to make mistakes,” Moughon said. “It’s not like (training) back at Fort Hood where we’ve got time. Everything was heat of the moment. You had to get rounds out. It was all a matter of who made fewer mistakes – whether or not you were going to be going home. Obviously, we made fewer mistakes than the enemy.”

    While that may have been true about their actions during the 15 intense minutes that the engagement lasted, the Apache crews were simply more prepared, thanks to a whole team of Soldiers from the 1st ACB who provided support back at home base, Kilgore said. He explained that the information on the gun trucks from the brigade’s intelligence report, the operational briefing from the brigade operations staff and the aircraft maintenance and armament personnel all contributed to the mission’s success.

    “All of that led to us being successful in this engagement,” Kilgore said. “Yes, we were the executors – the four of us – but, there is a big picture here that goes into everything we do. It’s really the Army aviation team that led to this win, this success. I think we can all take pride in that. We, 1ACB Army aviation, defeated the enemy. We did it pretty much by ourselves as aviation. We didn’t have ground forces with us. We didn’t use artillery. “We can see th[e] teamwork that went into it – across the board teamwork – we can see that tenacity that is being exhibited every day by these guys. I think it’s something we can all take pride in. This was a big win for the whole team.”

    For their quick and heroic actions in the chaotic scene on May 31, the pilots were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses – the top aviation-specific military award. The awards were presented Oct. 28 by Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, Multi-National Corps-Iraq commanding general.

    “I’ve been an aviator my whole career, and I’ve always wanted to be an aviator, since I was a little kid,” Kilgore said. “The Distinguished Flying Cross … is a special award. For me to be included in that group that has received the Distinguished Flying Cross – it feels a little humbling. There have been a lot of great aviators who have received the Distinguished Flying Cross and great aviators who haven’t received the Distinguished Flying Cross. How do I match up to that? I don’t know; maybe it’s a one fight thing, and it was something special enough that someone took notice and thought that we deserved the Distinguished Flying Cross for it.”

    For Moughon, it still hasn’t sunk in that he earned the prestigious medal. “When I got to the unit, my commander (for Company B, 1-227th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion) had gotten a DFC for acts in OIF II. I got to looking at it, because I wanted to know what it was,” Moughon said. “Then, I realized who all had got it before him. When somebody mentioned that we might get it, I thought: ‘I am not in their company.’ I’m just two years out of flight school. I was just trying to stay alive. Receiving the award was a very humbling experience and almost embarrassing. There are guys out here that do just as much every day – sacrifice every day to go out there and find the enemy and kill them. They don’t get recognized for it.”

    While the pilots couldn’t pin down what made their actions heroic, perhaps how they approached the engagement itself is telling as to why they received Distinguished Flying Crosses. In the initial moments of the engagement, with bullets and tracers flying past their aircraft like something out of “Star Wars” – as Moughon said – and with the Apaches outnumbered nearly three to one by gun trucks on the ground, the pilots never even considered high-tailing it to safety.

    “I can’t say that I thought: ‘We should get out of here.'” Haas said. “I don’t know why, but it never crossed my mind. Maybe that’s just the way we are. I didn’t come here to say: ‘Yep, there’s bad guys out there. I’m not going out there.’ I came over here to – I’m not going to be naïve and say to make a difference – but I came over here to do my job and do it to the best of my ability. There’s a lot of the guys that I’ve flown with before, and they’re the same way. The hard part is finding (the enemy). We fly around Baghdad where there are millions of people and they all look the same; unless somebody is shooting at you, you don’t know. When they shoot at you first, that makes it easy.”

    “The initial contact was scary, and you thought about – yeah, this was a big deal,” Moughon added. “At that point, it was like they say in the westerns: ‘If you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound.’ We were in it, so we had no choice. If we had just flown away, they probably would have been there to take somebody else down. We’re a gunship; that’s what we do. We don’t get low and suppress and run. We stay and fight. Our job is to go out, find the enemy and kill them. That’s what we do.”

    Photo – Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commanding general of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, (left) presents the Distinguished Flying Cross to Onawa, Iowa, native Chief Warrant Officer Elliott Ham, (second from right), as Portage, Ind., native Chief Warrant Officer 4 Steven Kilgore, (right), waits in a ceremony Oct. 28 at Camp Taji, Iraq. Four Apache pilots from 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, earned Distinguished Flying Crosses for their actions against five gun trucks with heavy machine guns on May 31. The Distinguished Flying Cross is the U.S. military’s highest aviation-specific award. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Rick Emert, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs.

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    Blackfive has a great link to Greyhawk who hits the nail on its head about Iraq. He sets the record straight between the reality of on-the-ground circumstances in Iraq vs. dinosaur media defeatism. Hey, he’s been there and done that, have you? An absolutely must read.

    I just have to add this article that I just read to this post. For those of you who actually read what I write, lol, this has the potential to be outstanding:

    Colorado Supreme Court Approves Ballot Language for Abortion Amendment.

    by Steven Ertelt
    LifeNews.com Editor
    November 14, 2007
    .

    Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) — The Colorado Supreme Court has affirmed the ballot language a group wants to place on the 2008 ballot that would restore personhood to human beings from the moment of conception. The measure has already sparked a heated debate over abortion as abortion advocacy groups have filed suit to prevent a vote. [Continue reading.]

    Everyone should at least admit that the discussion should move forward. Why are people in groups like NARAL so afraid? All you have to do is understand that they came into existence to get rid of our black brothers and sisters. Yup.

    Here is an article to prove to you that the first article, written by Greyhawk, is true. This verifies what we’ve all known about those who begin a sentence with, “We support the troops, but…”

    Boy Scouts Accused of Being Too Pro-War.

    In a nutshell, a troop of Boy Scouts tried to raise money for the the U.S. troops. Some moonbat cried that the message was too pro-war and so the city removed the donation boxes. Talk about appeasing the appeasers. Outrageous! [Continue reading.]

    If you read this, you will understand why I have not a word to add. At least not one that would make it more clear as to my anger at these beaurocrats…

    Most Reverend Shlemon Warduni, Auxiliary Bishop of the St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Diocese for Chaldeans and Assyrians in Iraq officiated standing directly beneath the dome under the Chaldean cross. Speaking in both Arabic and English, Bishop Warduni thanked those American soldiers sitting in the pews for their sacrifices. Again and again, throughout the service, he thanked the Americans.

    Update: I just have to share this with you. Michael Yon is a citizen journalist in Iraq, and he recently wrote an article about Christians and Muslims placing the Cross on top of St. John’s Church. Today he writes about the phenominon of Muslims and Christians worshipping together so that these Muslims may make a plea to their Christians neighbors and friends: Please come home. This caption belongs with this picture.

    Today, Muslims mostly filled the front pews of St John’s. Muslims who want their Christian friends and neighbors to come home. The Christians who might see these photos likely will recognize their friends here. The Muslims in this neighborhood worry that other people will take the homes of their Christian neighbors, and that the Christians will never come back. And so they came to St John’s today in force, and they showed their faces, and they said, “Come back to Iraq. Come home.” They wanted the cameras to catch it. They wanted to spread the word: Come home. Muslims keep telling me to get it on the news. “Tell the Christians to come home to their country Iraq.”

    This is open trackback Friday for Linkfest and the Open Trackback Alliance by Samantha Burns. Please remember to link back to this post if you wish to participate in the open trackbacks. Also, I will use my right to pull your post if it is pornography. Fortunately, I have been introduced to a great group of people who also agree with me on this area, so I haven’t had any problems. Thank you, LORD. Yes, I can invoke the name of the one and only true God, so there!

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    My trackbacks: http://www.mudvillegazette.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/6967, Greyhawk. (I need to do this because my computer is locking up on me. It will be back to normal momentarily. lol)

    Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest: Blog @ MoreWhat.com: Secure the Borders Linkfest, third world county: Talk about talk, Woman Honor Thyself: Instant Message & TexT Messages eh!, The Populist: Thursday and Friday Open Comment & Open Trackback, Pirate’s Cove: TB Friday Featuring The Surrender Monkey: Dem Cattle Call, The Pink Flamingo: There Is a God, and He Loves Baseball!, The Amboy Times: Grim Milestone Ignored, The Bullwinkle Blog: Moosetracks Open Trackbacks, Leaning Straight Up: Hillary denies playing the gender card then plays it anyway, Right Voices: Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) To Military: “The days of a free lunch are over,” and Adeline and Hazel: Happy Belated Birthday to Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo – Links, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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    Source: US Central Command.

    05 November 2007
    BY Cpl. Nathan Hoskins
    1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
    .

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq – When most kids get a new electronic toy, they play with it until it no longer interests them. But a small portion of those kids, when they get bored with the toy, simply grab some screw drivers and take it apart to see what makes it tick.

    It’s quite possible that the majority of those kids that take apart their toys end up as aircraft maintainers in the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. Aircraft maintainers from Company B, 615th Aviation Support “Cold Steel” Battalion, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div., recently hit their 200th phase – a major maintenance mile stone.

    There are two different types of phases that most helicopters go through, a preventive maintenance inspection 1 and preventive maintenance inspection 2, said Fajardo.

    The difference between them is that in PMI 1 the Soldiers take the aircraft apart and visually inspect it, sometimes replacing a part here and there. For a PMI 2 they take everything apart knowing they’ll be replacing certain parts and any others that might need it along the way, Fajardo said.

    The Avengers have five platoons that assist with phases. Each platoon plays an integral role in completing a particular phase.

    First, there’s the Headquarters Platoon which handles the paperwork and scheduling for every phase bird. Next is the Forward Support Platoon which disassembles, inspects, and reassembles the aircraft. The Shops Platoon provides support to engines, hydraulics, rotor heads, and different structural pieces. Then there’s the Avionics Platoon which does inspections and repairs on aircraft radios, aviation survivability equipment and more.

    Last, but not least, is the Armament Platoon which removes, inspects, repairs and reinstalls all of the Apache weapon and sighting systems, and works on all of the electrical and avionics systems.

    It’s easy to see that the phase process is no child’s play – it’s a lot of hard work done by dedicated teams throughout Co. B.

    For this maintenance phase team, formed of too many Soldiers to list here, it is not only their 200th phase, but their last phase before they head home, he said.

    The Avengers have been working around the clock since they took over the mission from the 4th Infantry Division November 2006. Most of them didn’t even know they had done so many phases, said Spokane, Wash., native Capt. Christian Ruddell, a platoon leader for the Avengers.
    “When we had been here a while I asked someone … how many they’d thought we’d done, and they said 35 when we had really done 120,” said Ruddell.

    Aguadilla, Puerto Rico native, Sgt. Anthony Bermudez, a line shop leader for the Avengers, said the Soldiers don’t keep track, they just want to keep the aircraft moving through. “It didn’t even seem like 200. When you’re out there working on the aircraft, you’re not thinking ‘this is the tenth aircraft I’ve done,’ you just do it, get it over with and bring in the next one,” said Bermudez, whose team works on all things electronic.

    For the 200th phase, the Co. B maintainers completed a PMI 1 on a Black Hawk.

    Although they aren’t flying in Apaches killing the bad guys or flying the Chinooks and Black Hawks moving Soldiers safely through the air, they are still an integral part of the mission in Iraq, said Midwest City, Okla., native Sgt. Patrick McTheny, a technical inspector for Co. B. “Our job is to keep aircrafts flying. We reduce the footprint on the ground; we reduce IED exposure; we’re saving lives by keeping them in the air,” said McTheny.

    And they’re doing it at break-neck speeds, he said. “Our turn around time is really good. The standard is 21 days (to complete) a PMI 2, but I’d say we’re averaging them in 15 to 18 days. That’s because of the experience we have on our phase team and good leadership,” said McTheny.

    When standing back and looking at their deployment thus far, there is more to be said about hitting the 200th phase than just the large number, said San Antonio native Spc. Jared Rivera, an airframe structural repairer. “It’s not that the 200 isn’t important, but it’s also how far we’ve come in our jobs,” he said.

    With all these phases and numerous other jobs that come up along the way, some of the novice
    Avengers have matured into experts in their craft, said Milford, Ohio, native 1st Sgt. Timothy Johnson, the senior noncommissioned officer for the Avengers. “When we first deployed in October of 2006, we were undermanned and had a lot of troopers who were going on their first deployment; quite a few were straight out of (Advanced Individual Training) and had never performed a phase inspection before,” said Johnson.

    “Thanks to the experienced NCOs and officers of our company, the phase teams pushed through the rough times in the beginning of the deployment and became the quality aircraft mechanics and maintenance technicians they are today,” he said.

    “Rough times” is one way to put it, another way to break it down is to say that Co. B did seven years of work in one year, said Ruddell. “Experience-wise, you’d have to be in the states for six or seven years to get this much experience. We’ve condensed six or seven year’s worth of work down into a one-year time frame,” he said.

    “I remember my first (sheet metal) job took me about six days. Now that same project would last me two hours, three hours maybe,” said San Antonio native Spc. George Ponce, an airframe structural repairer for Co. B. While the phase maintenance keeps the Soldiers busy, they are simultaneously working on other maintenance projects. Like all machines, things tend to wear out, break down, and – sometimes – get shot at, said Ponce.

    While working on a phase, if an aircraft comes in that has battle damage it gets special attention to get it fixed and back out on mission, he said.

    Contracted civilian maintainers augment the Soldiers during the phases and other maintenance missions. “We assist the Army; that’s our main function here is to assist the Army,” said Lucky Luciano, a civilian contractor from L3 Vertex Aerospace.

    They’ll take up tasks just like the Soldiers in a relationship where it’s a give and take, Luciano said. “If we don’t know about something, we’ll ask them. If they don’t know something, then they’ll ask us. It’s 50-50,” he said.

    Another L3 contractor, Charles Frye, knows the teamwork between the two groups created the right environment for 200 phases to be completed. “To produce that many phases with minimal deficiencies is a testament to the will and the character of the (Co. B and L3) phase teams,” said Frye.

    “I’d compare our unit to the (National Football League’s New England) Patriots right now … because they’ve got more power players than they know what to do with. And that’s what we’re like right now; we look like a Super Bowl football team,” said Ashland, Pa., native Staff Sgt. Ron Bolinsky, an Apache technical inspector with the Avengers. [I protest! The NE Pats suck! lol]

    Gone are the days of taking apart toys for these Soldiers and civilians. Now are the days of contributing to an important job in Iraq that directly affects the daily aerial missions. They take their job seriously and the 200 phases are a result. So, leave the child be who wants to take that toy apart … they may have a higher calling some day.

    Photo – Soldiers from Company B “Avengers,” 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, pose near the UH-60 Black Hawk that they worked for their 200th major scheduled maintenance task – called a phase. A phase is when Soldiers take apart nearly the entire aircraft and inspect, repair or replace the parts, said San Diego, native Sgt. Justin Fajardo a squad leader for Co. B and the 200th phase team leader. Standing in front of the Black Hawk is a small part of the phase team. From left to right: Phoenix, Ariz., native Spc. James Eldridge, a hydraulics repairer; San Antonio native Spc. Jared Rivera, an airframe structural repairer; San Antonio native Spc. George Ponce, an airframe structural repairer; Fajardo; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, native Sgt. Anthony Bermudez, a line shop team leader; Lakeland, Fla., native Sgt. Robert Evans, a Black Hawk mechanic; and Midwest City, Okla., native Sgt. Patrick McTheny, a technical inspector. Photo by Cpl. Nathan Hoskins, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs.

    All emphasis is mine. 😉

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    Thank you for this beautiful day.
    Thank you for the days that are far too glum.
    Thank you for the days I smiled.
    But most of all, thank you for my freedom.

    Thank you for the roof over my head.
    Thank you for my comfortable bed.
    Thank you for my running water.
    But most of all, let us never forget our dead.

    Thank you for the fresh air I breathe.
    The breath of freedom, I do concede.
    Thank you for all your sacrifices.
    Just so this stranger may live free.

    Thank you for your love of country.
    Thank you for the love you share amongst your brothers.
    Thank you, families left behind, for enduring the long, lonely nights.
    Thank you for fighting for the freedom of others.

    Thank you to those who are far from home this day.
    I cannot imagine your struggles.
    Have faith, my dear friends, hang on.
    The day shall come when you receive all your huggles.
    (New word.)

    You are so special to me, as you may tell.
    I cannot find the words of gratitude you are due.
    My hope on this day is that ya’ll will know,
    Yesterday, today and tomorrow I will owe a debt to you.

    Not a debt of money, for that would tarnish your honor,
    Not a debt of worldly words, for those you’ve heard before.
    Yet I do believe that if it were not for you,
    America would exist no more…

    Dear Morgan, thank you. It is not my best poem, but it is for you and all the others. Keep the faith, my dear friend. We do appreciate you so very deeply. Our prayers are with you, and ‘O’ and Maniac. Also your teams. Take care on this and every day. God bless you, and God bless America. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

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    So. They want us out of there, right? Then explain this:

    Thanks and Praise: I[, Michael Yon,] photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome.

    I find this quite amazing and encouraging. Do you think we’ll ever see this on the evening news? Yes. Sadly, me neither. It does not fit the mold of the sectarian civil war. That is why it is so important that we have people such as Michael Yon on the ground bringing us the truth. [He is over there with only the support we provide for him. If you like hearing the truth and would like to support to support him, you may do so here. Thank you.]

    I would like to share with you a couple of paragraphs he also wrote in this post.

    A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from “Chosen” Company 2-12 Infantry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John’s, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope.

    The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. “Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” [This one made me tear up with pride.] Another man, a Muslim, said “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.” The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers. (Videotape to follow.) [Continue reading.]

    Actually, the whole article has me beaming. Imagine a city, a state, a country who has finally found freedom after so many years, decades of oppressions.

    Our men and women are the best in the world, but they do not like that label. They are so humble. THAT is why I will stand up for them when they are attacked by idiots who know not of what they speak and when they are arrested unjustly. You bet your sweet touchy. God bless you for our freedom, and thank you for all your sacrifices. When you come home, I pray it is a joyous occasion. Godspeed.

    This will be Thursday’s Open Trackback. It must be shared. If you are from the press, READ HIS WARNING for this post. There are ways to find you, and he shall not be ripped off again.

    If you backtrack from here, all I ask is that you place a link in your article leading back to this article. Oh yes, no porn, also. Other than that, have at it, and have a great day.

    Hat tip: Little Green Footballs.

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  • 1. 123beta: Bush’s Resignation Speech.
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    Source: US CentCom.

    24 Sept 07
    By Spc. Nathan W. Hutchison
    22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
    .

    GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan — With the help of American and coalition forces, the Afghan national security forces are gradually earning the respect and acceptance of the Afghan people.

    Embedded tactical trainers spend their days training and coaching Afghan national army and police how to conduct themselves during and outside operations.

    “Our biggest job is showing ANSF what ‘right’ looks like,” said Army National Guard Maj. Chris P. Guziec, ANP ETT district commander. “We take what they think is right and mold it into something that is workable. This helps them better understand the steps to take and the reason for the changes.”

    Guziec said this type of training requires flexibility for both groups, along with consideration for Afghanistan’s cultural and religious foundation.

    “We are the ANP’s mentors; making sure they are being professional at their jobs and not exploiting their power,” explained Army National Guard Cpt. Jason E. Knueven, ANP ETT district team chief. With the mentoring, Knueven said he notices positive changes in the Afghan security forces in each of the missions he oversees.

    The most recent mission involved the ANA and ANP securing several villages and searching houses based on intelligence gathered by coalition forces and ANSF.

    “They were being professional at their job,” Knueven said. “They weren’t going in and stirring up the houses. The people took it really well because the ANSF was doing it the right way.”

    American soldiers working with ANSF in operations and exercises also see improvement in their Afghan colleagues’ performance. “The local populace needs to be able to build that trust with its own military and police,” said Army 1st Lt. Brian M. Kitching, 2nd Platoon Leader, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. “ANA and ANP working to catch the bad guys will do that. It’s a slow process and a gradual process, but I definitely see an improvement in the way they plan and execute missions and control their forces.”

    But Kitching said the ANSF has to do more than catch bad guys to earn the trust and respect of the Afghan people. Afghan civilians need to know they can rely on their military and police to protect them, he said.

    “The good people want the bad people out, too, but they have to trust the people searching their homes,” Kitching said.

    Photo- An Afghan national army soldier checks an area of recently disturbed soil searching for possible hidden weapons or explosives during Operation Jam Morad, Sept. 12, in Ghazni Province. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nathan W. Hutchison.

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    Source: US CentCom.

    21 Sept 07
    By Spc. Robert H. Baumgartner
    82nd Sustainment Brigade
    .

    CAMP ADDER, Iraq — Whether pioneering coalition air drops or providing critical support to major offensives like Operation Marne Torch, the 82nd Sustainment Brigade paratroopers’ logistical contribution to the security of Iraq has been considerable.

    Arguably one of the most far-reaching and longest-lasting contributions has been the brigade’s commitment to “growing the future” by implementing realistic, reactive training programs through the creation of the Black Scorpion Combat Logistics Patrol Academy.

    The program is designed to keep soldiers’ existing skills sharp, teach them new skills based on the most current information available and train them to handle situations they may encounter on the road.

    Since January 2007, more than 1,000 soldiers have completed the training, which includes casualty extraction and treatment, improvised explosive device detection and escalation of force procedures.

    Army Capt. Robert Walls, 82nd operations officer in charge, said the goal is to give combat escort teams the ability to evolve as the insurgency evolves.

    “The insurgency is adapting to our tactics at a rate that is inconsistent with our deployments,” Walls said. “The enemy has had four years to study us. We only have one rotation to get a step ahead of him.”

    This lag in tactical knowledge creates a deficit that can increase soldier’s susceptibility. The academy program creates a bridge to give soldiers the edge they need to be successful in a rapidly changing asymmetric environment.

    “A lot of what we teach can be practiced in the unit motor pool, the squad leader or convoy commander can run them through the scenarios,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Chris Patterson, commandant of the academy. “But we allow a more in-depth range of possible scenarios. We can provide all the resources needed to conduct the training and make it a little more realistic.”

    One scenario designed to improve real-time decision-making requires students to drive vehicles down a road at convoy speed to be confronted by an instructor driving a white pickup truck.

    Soldiers are then expected to exercise escalation of force procedures, flexible to each unique situation. Sometimes the instructors comply with the soldier’s overtures. Sometimes they do not.

    “We try to drive home the point that their efforts to stop a vehicle may not be as effective as they think they are,” Patterson said. “Each of the students gets a chance to sit with us in the pickup truck while their buddies go through the EOF procedures so they can get an idea of what it looks like. It gives them a better understanding of how to effectively communicate their intentions when time is so limited.”

    Photo – Army Spc. Octavio Garza pulls security while his fellow soldiers treat a mock casualty at the 82nd Sustainment Brigade’s Black Scorpion Combat Logistics Patrol Academy on Camp Adder, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Robert H. Baumgartner.

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    Source: CentCom.

    Ah, the great people behind the scenes. Back home, I hate doctors. They are so full of themselves. Not out here…

    Please allow me this one moment to say I AM NOT IN THE MILITARY. I know there is a big to-do about phony soldiers, and I do not want to give the impression that I am. I just love and appreciate our troops so much. That’s all folks.

    1 Oct 07
    by Capt. Christopher Moore
    386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
    .

    SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) — Army Sgt. Scott Boomershire injured his ankle kicking down doors in Iraq. However, it’s up to Airmen here, stationed hundreds of miles from the infantryman’s unit in Baghdad, to help Sergeant Boomershire get the medical care he needs to put him back in the fight.

    Members of the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group’s Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility team are charged with preparing injured servicemembers for transport to medical facilities around the world.

    “If we receive someone who looks like they can be treated in the area, we’ll make sure they are cleared for travel and send them to a regional medical facility for treatment and return to duty,” said 1st Lt. Elizabeth Quinn-Wilber, a CASF nurse deployed from Travis Air Force Base, Calif. “If medical conditions are too severe, we’ll prepare the individual for flight aboard one of our C-130 (Hercules aircraft) and they’ll be flown to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, for advanced care.”

    The CASF receives patients via C-130 from bases throughout the region or via ambulance from nearby military bases. Once patients arrive, the CASF staff makes sure their vitals are within normal limits, changes dressings if necessary, and prepares the servicemembers for their next journey.

    “Most patients we receive are actually pretty close to being ready to go,” said Senior Airman Elle Liza Marie Franz, a CASF medical technician also deployed from Travis AFB. “We keep the patients for about 12 hours — usually just long enough for transportation to be arranged.”

    The CASF processes more than 300 patients a month, with ailments ranging from hernias and broken bones, to gunshot wounds and improvised explosive device-related injuries.

    It’s those patients arriving after being hit with IEDs that draw the most attention at the CASF. The CASF has implemented a “Battle Injury Program” where American flags are presented to those with combat injuries.

    “It’s the least we can do,” said Maj. Cheryl Spray, the officer in charge of the CASF’s medical control center and also deployed from Travis AFB. “It’s a way to show that we appreciate the sacrifices that they make for us and it’s a small reminder of what we’re fighting for.”

    Photo – Senior Airman Elle Liza Marie Franz conducts a vital check on Army patient Sgt. Scott Boomershire at the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility Sept. 24 in Southwest Asia. The CASF is a 24-hour medical holding and staging facility, which averages about 300 patients per month. Airman Franz is a 386th Expeditionary Medical Group medical technician. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tia Schroeder.

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    I have ‘borrowed’ this from Subsunk who ‘borrowed’ it from the great lady, Mrs. Greyhawk. Thank you for finding this.

    Unfortunately, I could not manipulate the code to bring the video over here, so please go Blackfive’s to view it. Thank you.

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    Source: CentCom.

    This article is especially special to me, since the guy I’ve been talking to is over there to do the same thing. These guys do a great job, and they also go through many hardships. Personally, I pray for everyone over there not to have survivors guilt.

    11 Sept 07
    by Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein
    U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs
    .

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE MEHTAR LAM, Afghanistan (AFPN) — Afghan instructors are training Afghan national police officers in a series of security forces classes here, while two American Airmen provide watchful mentorship. The Afghan national police sustainment training is a giant step forward for the future of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan military, said Staff Sgt. Daniel Smith, Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team’s police technical adviser.

    Sergeant Smith and Senior Airman Zackary Osborne, both deployed from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., are mentors for the instructors.

    “From this point on, the Afghans will have a more active role in the development of their police and security forces,” he said. “In the past, coalition and government forces supplied the training to the Afghans, but now, as the instructors receive qualification, we can step back and let them train themselves.”

    The month-long classes cover a wide variety of security-related topics, such as arresting procedures and riot control, and are required by all first-year officers. Once the course is completed, the police officers are no longer considered “rookies” and are given a pay raise.

    Already, Sergeant Smith said, he can see a difference within the classroom. “The students’ attention is held when the Afghans are instructing,” he said. “They go through the material a lot faster, since nobody has to pause and wait for an interpreter to translate everything. And we can see how they are catching onto things a lot faster. At this point, all that we (Americans) do is stand back, observe and give suggestions every now and then. They are running the show.”

    The instructors were trained by a U.S. government-contracted security firm at the Regional Training Center in Jalalabad, a city east of Laghman Province where forward operating base Mehtar Lam is located. In a few months, construction will be complete on a provincial training center near the FOB, so more instructors can become trained and qualified locally.

    “We will be able to hold our classes there at the PTC, rather than inside a tent on the FOB,” said Sergeant Smith. “There all their training needs can take place.” These classes are only part of the Laghman PRT’s mission, which serves to provide international aid to the area via security backed by national and coalition forces, reconstruction projects and humanitarian aid delivery. They are also responsible for disarming and demobilizing militia forces and terrorist activity throughout the region with the help of the locals.

    “I’m extremely proud of what my Airmen are doing here with the Afghan military and the Afghan police,” said Lt. Col. Robert Ricci, the PRT commander deployed from Pope Air Force Base, N.C. “They have allowed the local authorities to expand their capabilities for security, and because of that, Laghman Province is a lot safer and that allows all of us to work harder to get this province, this country, on its feet.”

    Photo – Staff Sgt. Zachary Osborne listens as Afghan National Police instructor Maj. Muhammad Omar teaches a class on patrol procedures to Afghan National Auxiliary Police trainees Sept. 3 at forward operating base Mehtar Lam in Afghanistan’s Laghman province. Sergeant Osborne is an Air Force security forces member deployed from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. He is assigned to the Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team police technical advisory team and works as a mentor to the Afghan instructors. The course is now being taught entirely by ANP instructors. The PTAT’s role has now shifted to monitoring the course’s progress and mentoring the ANP instructors. U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi.

    May God be with all of them, and may no one need comforting…

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    Bill Roggio: Sr. AQI leader killed

    Bill Roggio has a new site: The Long War Journal. What I read today, gives me great pleasure. I would like to share a bit with you to get you to go read it. I’ll give you a hint, a top AQI bites it.

    Senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader killed in airstrike.
    By Bill Roggio, September 29, 2007, 12:00 AM.

    The intelligence-driven raids against al Qaeda in Iraq’s command structure has netted two senior operatives in the past month, a senior American military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. On September 25, Task Force 88, the hunter-killer teams assigned to kill or capture senior al Qaeda operatives, killed Abu Usama al Tunisi, who is described as the possible successor to al Qaeda in Iraq’s leader Abu Ayyub al Masri. On August 31, Task Force 88 killed Abu Yaqub al Masri, al Qaeda’s military advisor to units operating in and around Baghdad. [Read more.]

    How about that, eh? Way to go guys. Keep up the good work. The sane among us support not only you, but your mission as well. Godspeed.

    PS. My left paw isn’t working, so it is hard for me to write. That also makes it difficult to write the trackbacks on the front page. Please forgive me for this. I will correct this as soon as possible. I think it is my wrist, because I can move fingers a little but I cannot lift my hand. Hmm. NO, I will not go to the doctor. For what? So he can tell me I have a pinched nerve? Well…duh. lol.

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    Trackback for this post: http://rosemarysthoughts.com/2007/09/29/bill-roggio-sr-aqi-leader-killed/trackback/ If you would like to read to read the trackbacks and comments, just add /#comments/ to the end of the URL. If all else fails, just hit comments. lol.

    UPDATE: 18. Leaning Straight Up: San Francisco’s Anti Military Disease Spreads to Oakland. A MUST READ, says me. Toll free to the Capitol: 866-340-9281. Do the right thing.

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    Victory Caucus: Stand by the Mission

    Would you like to host a copy of the petition that is for Stand by the Mission in Iraq for our Troops on your website or blog? Visit Victory Caucus to find out how to have your own petition. You could also go to Loving God Holy to get the instructions.

    Please feel free to put this patch or words on your sidebar. It will take visitors to Victory Caucus so that they may sign the petition as well. As we sit around wondering what we could do to fight back against the MoveOn.org crowd, this is one of the best things we can do. The troops will surely appreciate this also. Thank you.

    PS. Just in case you do not have a website or a blog and would like to call to Congress toll free to show your support for the Troops, you may reach them at 1-877-222-8001. Have a nice day.

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    28 Aug 07
    by Staff Sgt. Paula Taylor
    4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
    .

    TAL ‘AFAR, Iraq – Soldiers of D Troop, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have a unique mission that requires several trips outside the security of Forward Operating Base Sykes.

    The Soldiers, who belong to D Troop’s “Outsider” Platoon, have conducted more than 350 re-supply missions since their operations began in November, said Spc. Joseph Moore, motor transportation operator.

    Most recently, the Outsiders completed their 100th mission within the past two months, delivering food and water to local villages that were devastated by vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices that killed hundreds of local citizens.

    The explosions, which began the evening of Aug. 14, set in motion a chain of events that would test the fortitude of the Outsiders and keep them on the road and in harm’s way for several days. “We got word that the villages needed emergency supplies around 11 o’ clock Tuesday night,” said Pfc. Mathew Fisher, motor transport operator. “Within an hour, we were loaded up and ready to go.” The next day, the Outsiders drove 10 pallets of water and eight pallets of food and met with the reconnaissance element near the villages of Al Jezeera and Khahtaniya.

    “We linked up with B Troop who showed us where we needed to go and drop our supplies,” said Moore, an Albion, Penn., native. “Fisher and Sgt. [Jason] Bedore unloaded the food and water—they were walking around and delivering to people’s doorsteps because there were children and elderly people who couldn’t carry it. They were just helping everyone out as much as possible because the destruction was pretty massive. One of the [blast] holes was about the size of a bus.”

    After delivering the emergency supplies to the villages, the platoon returned to Forward Operating Base Sykes, where they had just enough time to eat dinner before loading their trucks for their next supply mission that required a trip to Combat Outpost Nimur the following morning, Aug. 16.

    “They went out there to deliver a forward repair system, a field feeding kit, Class I rations such as food and water, and Class III fuel supplies,” explained their Troop commander, Capt. Kenneth McGraw. “The forward repair system is a maintenance system for repairing vehicles. It has tools and a lift for hoisting engines; it’s a mobile garage. Within the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment’s area of operations, wherever there are Soldiers, it’s our job to provide them with necessary supplies, in addition to delivering emergency supplies to locals in times of crisis.”

    The platoon continued their emergency deliveries on Aug. 17 where they delivered an additional 16 pallets each of water and food to the Iraqi police stations in the villages, Fisher said. “The [vehicle borne improvised explosive device sites] were pretty sad to see,” explained Spc. Randy Johnson. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. The destruction—the houses were just leveled. There were women and a whole bunch of people crying. The terrorists were cowards for attacking innocent civilians like that; they had no means of defending themselves. They destroyed innocent lives for no reason.”

    Although Johnson admits these types of catastrophes are hard to witness, he appreciates the opportunity to help the people when they need it the most. “It’s good to see smiles and watch the little kids running around with the food and water. Hopefully they forgot, at least for a couple seconds, what happened,” the Lindenwold, N.J., native explained. “I enjoy my job—driving to different [combat outposts] where our troops are and supporting them. Even the humanitarian missions are rewarding, just knowing we’re helping people out.”

    McGraw shares the platoon’s enthusiasm for helping people and lauds his Soldiers’ tenacity. “I’m so proud of them.” McGraw said. “They work really hard and never complain. It’s been nice to be able to watch them grow and learn every day.”

    Photo – Sgt. Marshall Wright, D Troop, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, helps members of his unit and the Iraqi Army distribute water in Al Jezeera, Iraq, Aug. 15, during a humanitarian mission. The mission, which was formulated after a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated in the village on Aug. 14, was to deliver 10 pallets of water and eight pallets of food rations to the local people affected by the blast. Photo by Sgt. Paula Taylor.

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    20 Aug 07
    By Sgt. Sara Wood
    American Forces Press Service
    .

    WASHINGTON – U.S. troops serving in Iraq will have a little more protection soon, as two of the military’s newest armored vehicles are on their way to the theater.

    Two Buffalo Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, known as “MRAPs,” were loaded onto C-5 Galaxy aircraft Thursday night at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., to be shipped to Iraq. This latest shipment is part of the Defense Department’s push to get as many of the new vehicles to troops in combat as quickly as possible.

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has been pushing the production and delivery of MRAPs, which boast a V-shaped hull that deflects bomb blasts and protects troops inside better than the military’s current vehicles. The Defense Department awarded two more contracts for the vehicles the week of Aug. 10, which brings the number of vehicles on contract to 6,415. An estimated 3,500 MRAPs are expected to be shipped to Iraq by Dec. 31.

    The MRAPs are shipped to Iraq by the 437th Airlift Wing, out of Charleston. The vehicles are part of the 300 tons of cargo the unit moves on a daily basis. It typically takes two days to airlift the MRAPs to Iraq, said Cynthia Bauer, a public affairs officer with U.S. Transportation Command, which oversees the movement of the vehicles. A small number of MRAPs are taken by sea, which takes between 22 and 30 days, she said.

    As of Aug. 9, Transportation Command had shipped 701 MRAPs and MRAP-like vehicles to the Central Command area, Ms. Bauer said. The command will continue to ship the vehicles as military commanders in theater request them, she said.

    MRAPs come in three categories: Category I vehicles are designed for urban combat operations and can transport six people; Category II vehicles have multi-mission capabilities, including convoy lead, troop transport, ambulance, explosive ordnance disposal and combat engineering, and can transport up to 10 people; Category III vehicles perform mine and IED clearance operations and explosive ordnance disposal and can transport six people, or five with additional equipment. The Buffalos that were shipped Thursday fall under Category III.

    The troops who participated in loading the vehicles yesterday told local media that they feel their job is important, because the MRAPs have been proven to save lives in combat. “It’s absolutely critical. It saves lives every day when they have them,” Air Force Master Sgt. Jared Breyer, with the 437th Airlift Wing, told ABC News.

    Photo – A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle is loaded onto a C-5 Galaxy aircraft Aug. 16 at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. Air Mobility Command assists with the movement of MRAP vehicles to U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility as directed by the National Command Authority, the Joint Staff and U.S. Transportation Command. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Robertson.

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    13 Aug 07
    By Multi-National Division – Baghdad
    Public Affairs Office
    .

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Multi-National Division – Baghdad soldiers rescued a 2-year-old Iraqi boy from a dry well in which he fell Aug. 9.

    Soldiers with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division responded to the pleas for assistance from the father of a boy who had fallen into a dry well near the family’s residence.

    The company commander, Capt. David Powell of Newport Beach, Calif., was about to begin a scheduled security patrol when the boy’s father approached the gate of his Coalition outpost on foot. Using an interpreter, Powell quickly assessed the situation and sent the patrol to assist with the recovery of the child.

    The father directed the soldiers to the location of the well and Powell used his flashlight to find the child at the bottom. “I could see that the baby had fallen some 25 feet and was lying at the bottom of the well,” Powell said. “He appeared to be breathing, but would not answer to our calls.”

    Using a back hoe from the outpost, the patrol began a slow and meticulous process of digging a parallel shaft to the dry well, then tunneling to the well horizontally, being careful not to cause the well to cave in. “The back hoe made quick work of the rescue shaft just to the south of the well. Then the real digging began,” said Powell. Because of the instability of soil, a fear of a cave-in and desire to not risk any of his soldiers, Powell selected himself and Staff Sgt. Raul Torres, a native of San Venito, Texas, to dig the horizontal shaft to the well.

    Using an entrenching tool, a flat-head screwdriver, rebar and other primitive farming tools, Powell and Torres went to work. After several hours of digging, a faint crying was heard from the boy. “He sounded scared, but OK,” said Powell. “I don’t think I have ever heard a more beautiful sound.”

    After five hours of digging the horizontal shaft reached the well. The well was basin shaped at the bottom, making the boy very difficult to locate. After several attempts to reach for the boy, Powell was able to pull the boy to safety.

    Coalition medics on the scene quickly assessed the boy, finding no serious injuries. The child was then returned to his mother and father, who were thankful for the assistance. The patrol then filled in the hole they dug, and returned to their outpost.

    The following day, Powell visited the family’s residence with a medic to ensure the child was not having any medical issues from the fall. The medic determined the child was in perfect health. “In my 18 years in the Army,” Powell said, “this is, by far, the greatest thing I have ever done.”

    Photo – Capt. David Powell from Newport Beach, Calif., holds the 2-year-old Iraqi boy the day after he rescued him. The boy fell into a dry well Aug. 9. U.S. Army photo.

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    8 Aug 07
    By Army Sgt. Brandon Aird
    173rd ABCT Public Affairs
    .

    NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Sailing through the clouds Soldiers from the Afghan National Army and Task Force Saber air-assaulted onto landing zone Shetland July 19 during Operation Saray Has.

    The LZ was located in a large meadow near the top of a mountain in here. Local Afghans use the area as a grazing pasture for livestock, while Taliban extremists often use it to stage attacks against TF Saber.

    The spot the Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and the Afghan 3rd Kandak, 201st Corps landed on was roughly 10,000 feet above sea level. The air-assault was part of a reconnaissance mission to determine the point of origin for rockets, which were fired at Forward Operating Base Naray that injured several Soldiers a few weeks prior.

    “We came up here to confirm or deny enemy-use of the hilltop,” said Army 1st Lt. Chris Richelderfer, HHT executive officer. “Seven Soldiers were injured from that attack,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Pedraza, command sergeant major of TF Saber.

    After air-assaulting onto the mountain, a patrol was dispatched to an adjacent mountain to scout out the terrain and possible enemy positions. The rest of the Soldiers secured the area while Army Capt. Nathan Springer, HHT commander, along with the Naray district Sub-Gov. SamShu Rochman spoke with the local populace. “I wanted the local government to have the lead when talking with the locals,” said Springer.

    Rochman spoke with civilians from the villages of Badermashal and Cherigal about security in the area. While Rochman and Springer were speaking with villagers, wood smugglers accidentally walked their donkeys carrying stolen wood into the meadow.

    “The wood on the donkeys had been stolen from the Naray lumber yard two days before our mission,” said Springer. Rochman was adamant about bringing the wood smugglers to justice. The wood smugglers were brought off the mountain, back to Naray to face prosecution.

    Operation Saray Has was more productive than both Springer and Rochman had planned. “It validated the need to conduct future operations in the area to deny [Taliban extremist] that terrain,” said Springer.

    Photo – Army Capt. Nathan Springer, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop Commander, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, looks up the mountain July 19 while on patrol during Operation Saray Has. During Operation Saray Has, two rocket positions were found that had been previously used to attack Forward Operating Base Naray. Photo by Sgt. Brandon Aird.

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    A Letter to the People of Iraq

    There is a letter being sent to the people of Iraq that I found over at Victory Caucus. This is a wonderful site, and I highly recommend you sign up and join us.

    You do not have to be a conservative, liberal, republican, democrat, or whatever label they choose to ascribe upon us. Just as long as you love America and wish for her victory (hence the name, lol)

    This letter is one of encouragement and to let the Iraqi people know that we know how to go around the media when it is necessary. It is necessary. Our press appears to be working for al Jazeer! So we shall carry the message ourselves. Please join us. When I signed the petition, I was only #13. I know we can do better than this! We are better than this. Thank you for all of your support for our troops and the people we are helping to help us.

    Here is the petition: Online petition – A letter to the Citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iraq.

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    This is the post for an open trackback. Please take a moment to sign the petition and take a look at Victory Caucus. Thank you, and have a wonderful day. 🙂

    The Bullwinkle Blog: Moosetracks Open Trackback, third world county: More Envirowacko B.S, Blog @ MoreWhat.com: Open Trackback Linkfest 07/17/2007, Perri Nelson’s Website: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Woman Honor Thyself: NYPD Terror Report Open Trackback Weekend, Adam’s Blog: The Tort Reform Song Weekend Open Trackbacks and The Yankee Sailor: Weekend Open Post. Outside the Beltway, The World According to Carl, Shadowscope, Nuke’s News & Views, Blog @ MoreWhat.com With many thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

  • Stop the ACLU: Friday Free For All.
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    31 July 07
    By Sgt. Brandon Aird
    173rd ABCT Public Affairs
    .

    KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team spent July 22-28 in Dangam district in Kunar province near the Pakistan border. The area is surrounded by lush farms that thrive from a stream flowing through the valley.

    The Soldiers are from Red Platoon, Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), and they were in the area to help fortify the position of an Afghan National Police station and also to establish and reinforce observations posts with the Afghan National Army on nearby hilltops.

    The OPs help monitor and stop Taliban extremist movement in the area. Red Platoon named the OPs after one Soldier’s mom, another’s daughter, Sandra and Haden respectively and famous TV stars:, Chuck Norris and Mr. T. “We thought of the baddest dudes we knew,” said Army Staff Sgt. David Benoit, a squad leader in Red Platoon. “Naming OPs like we do helps keep morale up.”

    Even though the atmosphere in Red Platoon is a little laid back, the Soldiers take their jobs seriously. From OPs Norris and Mr. T, the platoon observed cross-border activity, called for and adjusted indirect fires, and engaged the enemy with direct fire.

    “Our mission was to establish a joint security station in the Dangam area with the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army,” said Army 1st Lt. Jesus Rubio, Red Platoon leader. “We’re also out here to get situational awareness of the area and build friendships with the local leaders.”

    The district center of Dangam is a sign of progress for the local ANP. The center has a store, mosque, police station and a school for girls and boys. It also has computers and internet capabilities.

    Red Platoon has built up the area around the ANP station to better safeguard against attacks from Taliban extremists. The district center fortifications are just a small piece of the mission. The observation posts that Red Platoon maintains also help build cohesion between the Soldiers and the local populace. “We met the new Afghan Border Patrol commander while we were out at Mr. T,” said Benoit. “A local villager walked all the way up the mountain to tell us the whole valley was talking about us. Everyone was very excited we were up here, he told us.”

    Another benefit of establishing OPs throughout the valley is the intelligence that was gathered. “We observed the bad guys moving on the mountain,” said Benoit. “We also got names of smugglers. We definitely laid the grounds for long-term relationships with the locals.”

    Red Platoon is in the initial phase of helping build up the district center. Future joint operations will continue for the next 14 months that Red Platoon will be in Afghanistan.

    Numerous times at OPs and at the district center, the local village elders would invite the Soldiers over to their houses for food and tea. “The Afghans treated us like kings at Mr. Ts,” said Benoit. “It was awesome.”

    Photo – Paratroopers from Red Platoon, Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), navigate to Observation Post Chuck Norris July 25 in Dangam, Kunar province. Photo by Sgt. Brandon Aird.

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    There was a young gentleman who read Beyond Glory: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words by Larry Smith. After reading this book, he felt compelled to write a play about these men and tell their stories in words. It opened in 2004 “on the edge of Arlington Cemetery, at a small theater inside the Women in Military Service Memorial.” Eight of these men were chosen of the twenty-four available to represent the men to be honored. There was an apolitical play, meaning this was not about politics. It is about our Heroes.

    So how did it Mr. Lang, the performer, come to travel the world performing his play for our men and women in the Middle East, on the DMZ (dividing line between North and South Korea, otherwise known as the ‘demilitarization zone’), Europe, and many other places? This is where our precious poets step up to the plate to support our Troops.

    Mr. Peede had been asked to direct a new NEA [National Endowment for the Arts] program called Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. Its intention was to help soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, or their families, to put their experiences into writing–fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The idea was suggested to NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, a poet, by Connecticut poet Marilyn Nelson, who’d recently served as a visiting writer at West Point. Good for the poets.

    Reluctant to wait years for Congressional funding or to divert money from other NEA programs, Chairman Gioia sought private funding for Operation Homecoming. Quietly, the Boeing Company stepped up, ultimately giving $1.2 million. The soldiers’ tutors at NEA’s workshops included writers such as Barry Hannah, Tobias Wolff, Mark Bowden, Victor Davis Hanson and Tom Clancy. The result is a book, “Operation Homecoming” (Random House), which–again some understatement–is breathtakingly good. [Continue reading Mr. Henninger’s article.]

    It is a wonderful thing that has been done, finally, by the NEA and the Opinion Journal’s article. You may purchase Operation Homecoming at Amazon.com. I thought you might like to know. Have a wonderful day! 🙂

    Editor’s Note: There will be another open trackback today. If you have an article you’ve written and would like to share it with others, please feel free to link it here. Just remember to add me to the list of others you’ve linked. LinkFest is a wonderful new ‘station’ where we can go to find out who, what, where and how everyone is posting. Well, the people that belong to the open trackbacks! Join up! It’s lots of fun. Thank you.

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    Source: My brother emailed this to me.

    Read down to the very bottom highlighted in green,
    IT’LL GIVE YOU GOOSEBUMPS!

    You don’t want to miss this! ((*_*))

    VERY INTERESTING-

    1. The Garden of Eden was in Iraq.
    2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!
    3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.
    4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.
    5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq!
    6. Isaac’s wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq!
    7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.
    8. Jonah preached in Nineveh – which is in Iraq.
    9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel.
    10. Amos cried out in Iraq!
    11 Babylon , which is in Iraq , destroyed Jerusalem.
    12. Daniel was in the lion’s den in Iraq!
    13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the Fiery Furnace!)
    14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the ‘writing on the wall’ in Iraq.
    15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.
    16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq ..
    17. The wise men were from Iraq ..
    18. Peter preached in Iraq.
    19. The ‘Empire of Man’ described in Revelation is called Babylon, which was a city in Iraq!

    And you have probably seen this one:

    Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible.
    But do you know which nation is second?
    It is Iraq!
    However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible.

    The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia.
    The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers,
    more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers ..

    The name Iraq, means country with deep roots.

    Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible.

    No other nation, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated with it than Iraq

    And also, This is something to think about:

    Since America is typically represented by an eagle.

    Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages…

    The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)

    Koran (9:11) – For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah;

    And there was peace.
    (Note the verse number!) Hmmmmmmm?!

    This is a ribbon for soldiers fighting in Iraq.

    Pass it on to everyone and pray.

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    Trackback posted:

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    Oh my, a brand new boy-toy! That is what I call anything that has to do with cars, trucks, tanks, etc. But wait until you get a look at these new tanks! Well, I don’t if I can call them tanks. They’re more like gigantic trucks with all the protection of a tank and the versitility of a Humvee. Does that sound cool or what?

    Marines with Regimental Combat Team 6 recently got their hands on the Marine Corps’ newest counter to attacks by terrorist forces in Anbar Province. The Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicle, or JERRV, is the latest melding of technology and combat firepower to find its way onto the battlefield in Iraq. Like any new weapon fielded to Marines, instructors are needed to certify potential operators in its use.

    “There’s a higher sense of security with brand new vehicles. They’re designed to carry the weight of the armor,” said McMillian, a Las Vegas native and 1998 graduate of Meadows High School. “(The JERRVs) are 40,000 pounds but they can go up to 52,000 pounds with extra modifications. Being surrounded by all that armor makes you feel safe.” [Continue reading.]

    I know as soon as I mentioned boy-toys, I probably lost half of my audience, but for those of us who can wait a minute, these new vehicles will save many, many lives. My only question is, why did it take so long?

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    WARNING: Not age appropriate; Video

    This is a video where you must be over 18 years old to view. That is why I am linking to the video instead of having it here.

    There is some writing on this video, however, which I believe would be alright to share. Sometimes these videos go by so fast that I cannot read it all, so I have decided to write it down for you in case you missed it.

    MNF-Iraq

    A sniper that fired on Coalition Forces was killed by an attack helicopter Northeast of Baghdad. July 14, 2007.

    (No sound.)

    After the sniper was killed, Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division were able to proceed beyond the bridge where they later discovered a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device factory in the Qanat Banat al Hasan area.

    The car bomb factory contained 2,000 lbs. of ammonium nitrate, 1,000 lbs. of nitric acid, 10 large shape charges and two trucks already rigged for detonation. Artillery fire was used to destroy the factory.

    WWW.MNF-IRAQ.COM.

    It lasts only 1:46 minutes. Great job, guys.

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    This article is one that should be on the front pages of all newspapers, but (un)fortunately it does not fit the ethic of blood and guts. No, this is an article of success!

    There was no network news coverage, no front page spread, but local leaders of Mrezat, a small agricultural village in a northern section of the Adhamiyah District, shed tears of joy as water pumped from the Tigris River and passed attendees of a ceremony to mark the opening of a new pumping station in the community.

    In Mrezat, water is the lifeblood of the people. The agrarian community subsists primarily on palm-date groves, which are grown throughout the year. Without proper irrigation the groves wither and date production ceases.

    Mrezat’s refurbished irrigation pump brings the needed water from the Tigris’ base to the farmers’ crops.

    Though the opening was of critical importance to the residents of Mrezat, the success story will not make any headlines, said Lt. Col. Al Shoffner, the commander of 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

    Sources: CentCom and reposted @ DoD Daily News-2. Please continue reading.

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    Originally posted @ DoD Daily News-2.

    15 July 07
    by John J. Kruzel
    American Forces Press Service
    .

    BAGHDAD – Now at full strength, the U.S. troop surge in Iraq is showing “definitive progress” and the number of forces serving in Iraq’s Multi-National Division-North could be halved by summer 2009, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon said.

    A reduction of U.S. forces under the general’s command could begin as early as January 2008, he told Pentagon reporters via videoconference.

    Mixon, commander of both Multi-National Division-North and the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division, is responsible for six Iraqi provinces in northern Iraq, including the city of Baqubah — site of the ongoing Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

    He said he has given U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, a plan indicating a possible reduction of force in Multi-National Division-North during 2008.

    Mixon said the current debate over troop withdrawal should revolve around reaching a strategic “end state.”

    “It seems to me that we should first decide what we want the end state to be in Iraq, and how is that end state important to the United States of America, to this region and to the world, and then determine how we can reach that end state, and how much time that will take,” he said. “To me, that seems to be the most important thing, because there will be consequences of a rapid withdrawal from Iraq.”

    “It cannot be a strategy based on, ‘Well, we need to leave,’” he added. “That’s not a strategy, that’s a withdrawal.”

    U.S. forces that remain in the region after a reduction could focus on training and assisting their Iraqi counterparts as needed, Mixon said.

    “Over time, in a very methodical and well thought out way,” he said, Multi-National Division-North could be drawn down to “a minimum force that would continue to work with the Iraqi forces in a training and assistance mode, have the capability to react and assist the Iraqis if required, and provide them those capabilities that they don’t have, like attack aviation, Air Force fixed-wing support, and medical support,” he said.

    Speaking about Iraq’s Nineva province, the general said the provincial government and security forces there continue to grow and improve. Mixon said he has observed the 2nd and 3rd Iraqi Army Division and Iraqi police providing security to provincial residents requiring scant coalition assistance.

    “Based on this assessment, I have recommended that Nineva province go to provincial Iraqi control in August,” he said. Though a handover to the provincial government is a sign of progress, Mixon added that it alone won’t usher in a reduction of U.S. troops, who will continue to partner with Iraqi security forces there, he said.

    As part of the troop surge, which reached full strength in mid-June, Mixon received two brigades based out of Fort Lewis, Wash. The general credits the additional forces with helping to improve security in Diyala province, and cited Operation Arrowhead Ripper that was launched last month.

    “Operation Arrowhead Ripper kicked off on June 19 with the arrival of 3/2 Stryker Brigade and will continue until Baqubah is secure and the government center there is functioning,” he said. “We have had to clear numerous complex obstacles, including 24 houses booby-trapped with explosives … and 100 other types of improvised explosive devices.”

    In the ongoing operation, troops are clearing Baqubah’s city blocks in an “intentionally slow” fashion to reduce the number of casualties. To date, Coalition and Iraqi security forces have killed more than 90 al-Qaeda operatives, discovered 45 weapons and munitions caches and detained about 130 suspected al-Qaeda operatives, Mixon said. During raids in Western Baqubah neighborhoods, troops also have uncovered al-Qaeda safe houses, torture houses, medical clinics and bomb-making factories.

    Local leaders, tribal sheikhs and the Western Baqubah’s citizens are cooperating with combined forces, providing them valuable information about al-Qaeda, Mixon said.

    “These people are coming forward because they have increased confidence in their security forces and they are simply tired of al-Qaeda dominating their lives and terrorizing their neighborhoods, as they have done over the last several months,” he said.

    Mixon specified that al-Qaeda operatives in his area of responsibility primarily are Sunni Iraqis, some of whom received weapons and explosives training as members of the former Iraqi regime or army. The 1920s Revolution, composed “principally former Ba’athists” and others who oppose the new Iraqi government, is one of the multiple groups comprising the greater insurgency, he said.

    Listing signs of progress in Baqubah, Mixon said Iraqi forces are beginning to take responsibility for security, and that a “small influx” of residents are returning to the city which they had previously fled. The city’s municipal employees also are working to repair the water and power infrastructure, the general said.

    “We still have a long way to go in Baqubah and Diyala,” he said, “but with the influence of al-Qaeda diminished, the security situation will now allow Iraqi security forces and government officials to re-establish basic securities for the citizens of Baqubah.”

    Photo – U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Christopher Kluser, machine gunner with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, stays alert while on the up gun in the turret located in a 7-ton truck in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, July 9, 2007. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy M. Stewman.

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    Below is the speech that President Bush gave Tuesday, July 24, 2007, at the Charleston Air Base. If you would like to by-pass this, you may do so by looking at my headlines on the sidebar. (Look for the orange ‘Feed’ button. It is those headlines that keep changing.) Just click it to go to the one you like.

    I am putting the whole speech here, because I have not heard a word about this except that it is supposed to be good and no one is going to read it because there are more important things happening. Don’t you know? There was another debate–yawn–and some chick got arrested for drunk driving.

    I see. And when the President of the United States gives a speech on the state of the war that the jihadists have waged against us, this is potato chips? Nothing? That is why I took up so much space. If they do not be careful, I’ll start printing everything over at the White House! I may be picking it apart with great joy or sorrow, but at least someone will know what is going on around here.

    Charleston Air Force Base
    Charleston, South Carolina

    11:50 A.M. EDT.

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Thank you, Colonel. Thanks for the hospitality and kind introduction. I’m proud to be with the men and women of the Air Force, the Navy, the Marines, the Army and the Coast Guard. Thanks for serving. Thanks for wearing the uniform of the United States of America.

    I’m proud to be back here in the great state of South Carolina. I’m proud to be with some of the Palmetto State’s finest citizens. I’m glad to be eating lunch with you. The food is pretty good, Colonel. (Laughter.) I always like a good barbecue.

    I also am proud to be with the military families. You know, our troops are obviously engaged in a tough struggle, tough fight, a fight that I think is noble and necessary for our peace. And so are our families. Our military families endure the separations. They worry about their loved ones. They pray for safe return. By carrying out these burdens, our military families are serving the United States of America, and this country is grateful to America’s military families. (Applause.)

    I appreciate Colonel Millander leading the 437th Airlift Wing here at the Charleston Airbase. Thank you for the tour. Nice big airplanes carrying a lot of cargo. And it’s good to see the amazing operations that take place here to keep our troops supplied.

    I’m honored here to be with Deb, as well. That’s Red’s wife. I call him Red; you call him Colonel. He did a smart thing; he married a woman from Texas. (Applause.) So did I. (Laughter.) And Laura sends her very best to you all.

    I’m proud to be here with Mark Bauknight — Colonel Bauknight — Acting Commander of they’re 315th Airlift Wing, and his wife Leslie.

    I am traveling today with one of the true stalwarts of freedom, a man who understands the stakes of the war we’re in, and a man who strongly supports the military in accomplishing the mission that we’ve sent you to do, and that’s Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. (Applause.)

    This base is represented by Congressman Henry Brown, of South Carolina. (Applause.) He understands what I understand; when we have somebody in harm’s way, that person deserves the full support of the Congress and the President. And you’ll have the full support of the President of the United States during this war against these radicals and extremists.

    I appreciate the Lieutenant Governor of this state, Andre Bauer. Thanks for coming, Governor. I’m proud to be here with the Speaker of the House of Representatives for South Carolina, State Representative Bobby Harrell. Mr. Speaker, thanks for coming.

    We’ve got some mayors with us, and I appreciate the mayors being here today: Mayor Riley, Mayor Hallman, Mayor Summey. I’m honored that you all would take time out of your busy schedule to come by and pay tribute to these men and women who serve our nation so ably.

    I’m proud to be with Chairman Tim Scott of the Charleston County Council. I’m proud to be with other state and local officials. And I’m really glad to be with you all. Thank you for your courage.

    Since the attacks of September the 11th, 2001, the Airmen of Team Charleston have deployed across the globe in support in the war on terror. During the liberation of Afghanistan, air crews from Team Charleston flew hundreds of sorties to transport troops and deliver supplies, and help the liberation of 25 million people.

    Team Charleston is playing a crucial role in Iraq. Every day C-17s lift off from Charleston carrying tons of vital supplies for our troops on the front lines. Your efforts are saving lives and you’re bringing security to this country. Every member of Team Charleston can take pride in a great record of accomplishment. And America is grateful for your courage in the cause of freedom. And your courage is needed.

    Nearly six years after the 9/11 attacks, America remains a nation at war. The terrorist network that attacked us that day is determined to strike our country again, and we must do everything in our power to stop them. A key lesson of September the 11th is that the best way to protect America is to go on the offense, to fight the terrorists overseas so we don’t have to face them here at home. And that is exactly what our men and women in uniform are doing across the world.

    The key theater in this global war is Iraq. Our troops are serving bravely in that country. They’re opposing ruthless enemies, and no enemy is more ruthless in Iraq than al Qaeda. They send suicide bombers into crowded markets; they behead innocent captives and they murder American troops. They want to bring down Iraq’s democracy so they can use that nation as a terrorist safe haven for attacks against our country. So our troops are standing strong with nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a future of peace, and they so for the security of Iraq and the safety of American citizens.

    There’s a debate in Washington about Iraq, and nothing wrong with a healthy debate. There’s also a debate about al Qaeda’s role in Iraq. Some say that Iraq is not part of the broader war on terror. They complain when I say that the al Qaeda terrorists we face in Iraq are part of the same enemy that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001. They claim that the organization called al Qaeda in Iraq is an Iraqi phenomenon, that it’s independent of Osama bin Laden and that it’s not interested in attacking America.

    That would be news to Osama bin Laden. He’s proclaimed that the “third world war is raging in Iraq.” Osama bin Laden says, “The war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever.” I say that there will be a big defeat in Iraq and it will be the defeat of al Qaeda. (Applause.)

    Today I will consider the arguments of those who say that al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq are separate entities. I will explain why they are both part of the same terrorist network — and why they are dangerous to our country.

    A good place to start is with some basic facts: Al Qaeda in Iraq was founded by a Jordanian terrorist, not an Iraqi. His name was Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Before 9/11, he ran a terrorist camp in Afghanistan. He was not yet a member of al Qaida, but our intelligence community reports that he had longstanding relations with senior al Qaida leaders, that he had met with Osama bin Laden and his chief deputy, Zawahiri.

    In 2001, coalition forces destroyed Zarqawi’s Afghan training camp, and he fled the country and he went to Iraq, where he set up operations with terrorist associates long before the arrival of coalition forces. In the violence and instability following Saddam’s fall, Zarqawi was able to expand dramatically the size, scope, and lethality of his operation. In 2004, Zarqawi and his terrorist group formally joined al Qaida, pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden, and he promised to “follow his orders in jihad.”

    Soon after, bin Laden publicly declared that Zarqawi was the “Prince of Al Qaida in Iraq” — and instructed terrorists in Iraq to “listen to him and obey him.” It’s hard to argue that al Qaida in Iraq is separate from bin Laden’s al Qaida, when the leader of al Qaida in Iraq took an oath of allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

    According to our intelligence community, the Zarqawi-bin Laden merger gave al Qaida in Iraq — quote — “prestige among potential recruits and financiers.” The merger also gave al Qaida’s senior leadership — quote — “a foothold in Iraq to extend its geographic presence … to plot external operations … and to tout the centrality of the jihad in Iraq to solicit direct monetary support elsewhere.” The merger between al Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate is an alliance of killers — and that is why the finest military in the world is on their trail.

    Zarqawi was killed by U.S. forces in June 2006. He was replaced by another foreigner — an Egyptian named Abu Ayyub al-Masri. His ties to the al Qaida senior leadership are deep and longstanding. He has collaborated with Zawahiri for more than two decades. And before 9/11, he spent time with al Qaida in Afghanistan where he taught classes indoctrinating others in al Qaida’s radical ideology.

    After Abu Ayyub took over al Qaida’s Iraqi operations last year, Osama bin Laden sent a terrorist leader named Abd al-Hadi al Iraqi to help him. According to our intelligence community, this man was a senior advisor to bin Laden, who served as his top commander in Afghanistan. Abd al-Hadi never made it to Iraq. He was captured, and was recently transferred to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. The fact that bin Laden risked sending one of his most valued commanders to Iraq shows the importance he places on success of al Qaida’s Iraqi operations.

    According to our intelligence community, many of al Qaida in Iraq’s other senior leaders are also foreign terrorists. They include a Syrian who is al Qaida in Iraq’s emir in Baghdad, a Saudi who is al Qaida in Iraq’s top spiritual and legal advisor, an Egyptian who fought in Afghanistan in the 1990s and who has met with Osama bin Laden, a Tunisian who we believe plays a key role in managing foreign fighters. Last month in Iraq, we killed a senior al Qaida facilitator named Mehmet Yilmaz, a Turkish national who fought with al Qaida in Afghanistan, and met with September the 11th mastermind Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, and other senior al Qaida leaders.

    A few weeks ago, we captured a senior al Qaida in Iraq leader named Mashadani. Now, this terrorist is an Iraqi. In fact, he was the highest ranking Iraqi in the organization. Here’s what he said, here’s what he told us: The foreign leaders of Al Qaida in Iraq went to extraordinary lengths to promote the fiction that al Qaida in Iraq is an Iraqi-led operation. He says al Qaida even created a figurehead whom they named Omar al-Baghdadi. The purpose was to make Iraqi fighters believe they were following the orders of an Iraqi instead of a foreigner. Yet once in custody, Mashadani revealed that al-Baghdadi is only an actor. He confirmed our intelligence that foreigners are at the top echelons of al Qaida in Iraq — they are the leaders — and that foreign leaders make most of the operational decisions, not Iraqis.

    Foreign terrorists also account for most of the suicide bombings in Iraq. Our military estimates that between 80 and 90 percent of suicide attacks in Iraq are carried out by foreign-born al Qaida terrorists. It’s true that today most of al Qaida in Iraq’s rank and file fighters and some of its leadership are Iraqi. But to focus exclusively on this single fact is to ignore the larger truth: Al Qaida in Iraq is a group founded by foreign terrorists, led largely by foreign terrorists, and loyal to a foreign terrorist leader — Osama bin Laden. They know they’re al Qaida. The Iraqi people know they are al Qaida. People across the Muslim world know they are al Qaida. And there’s a good reason they are called al Qaida in Iraq: They are al Qaida … in … Iraq.

    Some also assert that al Qaida in Iraq is a separate organization because al Qaida’s central command lacks full operational control over it. This argument reveals a lack of understanding. Here is how al Qaida’s global terrorist network actually operates. Al Qaida and its affiliate organizations are a loose network of terrorist groups that are united by a common ideology and shared objectives, and have differing levels of collaboration with the al Qaida senior leadership. In some cases, these groups have formally merged into al Qaida and take what is called a “bayaat” — a pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden. In other cases, organizations are not formally merged with al Qaida, but collaborate closely with al Qaida leaders to plot attacks and advance their shared ideology. In still other cases, there are small cells of terrorists that are not part of al Qaida or any other broader terrorist group, but maintain contact with al Qaida leaders and are inspired by its ideology to conduct attacks.

    Our intelligence community assesses that al Qaida in Iraq falls into the first of these categories. They are a full member of the al Qaida terrorist network. The al Qaida leadership provides strategic guidance to their Iraqi operatives. Even so, there have been disagreements — important disagreements — between the leaders, Osama bin Laden and their Iraqi counterparts, including Zawahiri’s criticism of Zarqawi’s relentless attacks on the Shia. But our intelligence community reports that al Qaida’s senior leaders generally defer to their Iraqi-based commanders when it comes to internal operations, because distance and security concerns preclude day-to-day command authority.

    Our intelligence community concludes that — quote — “Al Qaida and its regional node in Iraq are united in their overarching strategy.” And they say that al Qaida senior leaders and their operatives in Iraq — quote — “see al Qaida in Iraq as part of al Qaida’s decentralized chain of command, not as a separate group.”

    Here’s the bottom line: Al Qaida in Iraq is run by foreign leaders loyal to Osama bin Laden. Like bin Laden, they are cold-blooded killers who murder the innocent to achieve al Qaida’s political objectives. Yet despite all the evidence, some will tell you that al Qaida in Iraq is not really al Qaida — and not really a threat to America. Well, that’s like watching a man walk into a bank with a mask and a gun, and saying he’s probably just there to cash a check.

    You might wonder why some in Washington insist on making this distinction about the enemy in Iraq. It’s because they know that if they can convince America we’re not fighting bin Laden’s al Qaida there, they can paint the battle in Iraq as a distraction from the real war on terror. If we’re not fighting bin Laden’s al Qaida, they can argue that our nation can pull out of Iraq and not undermine our efforts in the war on terror. The problem they have is with the facts. We are fighting bin Laden’s al Qaida in Iraq; Iraq is central to the war on terror; and against this enemy, America can accept nothing less than complete victory. (Applause.)

    There are others who accept that al Qaida is operating in Iraq, but say its role is overstated. Al Qaida is one of the several Sunni jihadist groups in Iraq. But our intelligence community believes that al Qaida is the most dangerous of these Sunni jihadist groups for several reasons: First, more than any other group, al Qaida is behind most of the spectacular, high-casualty attacks that you see on your TV screens.

    Second, these al Qaida attacks are designed to accelerate sectarian violence, by attacking Shia in hopes of sparking reprisal attacks that inspire Sunnis to join al Qaida’s cause.

    Third, al Qaida is the only jihadist group in Iraq with stated ambitions to make the country a base for attacks outside Iraq. For example, al Qaida in Iraq dispatched terrorists who bombed a wedding reception in Jordan. In another case, they sent operatives to Jordan where they attempted to launch a rocket attack on U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea.

    And most important for the people who wonder if the fight in Iraq is worth it, al Qaida in Iraq shares Osama bin Laden’s goal of making Iraq a base for its radical Islamic empire, and using it as a safe haven for attacks on America. That is why our intelligence community reports — and I quote — “compared with [other leading Sunni jihadist groups], al Qaida in Iraq stands out for its extremism, unmatched operational strength, foreign leadership, and determination to take the jihad beyond Iraq’s borders.”

    Our top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, has said that al Qaida is “public enemy number one” in Iraq. Fellow citizens, these people have sworn allegiance to the man who ordered the death of nearly 3,000 people on our soil. Al Qaida is public enemy number one for the Iraqi people; al Qaida is public enemy number one for the American people. And that is why, for the security of our country, we will stay on the hunt, we’ll deny them safe haven, and we will defeat them where they have made their stand. (Applause.)

    Some note that al Qaida in Iraq did not exist until the U.S. invasion — and argue that it is a problem of our own making. The argument follows the flawed logic that terrorism is caused by American actions. Iraq is not the reason that the terrorists are at war with us. We were not in Iraq when the terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. We were not in Iraq when they attacked our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We were not in Iraq when they attacked the USS Cole in 2000. And we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001.

    Our action to remove Saddam Hussein did not start the terrorist violence — and America withdrawal from Iraq would not end it. The al Qaida terrorists now blowing themselves up in Iraq are dedicated extremists who have made killing the innocent the calling of their lives. They are part of a network that has murdered men, women, and children in London and Madrid; slaughtered fellow Muslims in Istanbul and Casablanca, Riyadh, Jakarta, and elsewhere around the world. If we were not fighting these al Qaida extremists and terrorists in Iraq, they would not be leading productive lives of service and charity. Most would be trying to kill Americans and other civilians elsewhere — in Afghanistan, or other foreign capitals, or on the streets of our own cities.

    Al Qaida is in Iraq — and they’re there for a reason. And surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaida would be a disaster for our country. We know their intentions. Hear the words of al Qaida’s top commander in Iraq when he issued an audio statement in which he said he will not rest until he has attacked our nation’s capital. If we were to cede Iraq to men like this, we would leave them free to operate from a safe haven which they could use to launch new attacks on our country. And al Qaida would gain prestige amongst the extremists across the Muslim world as the terrorist network that faced down America and forced us into retreat.

    If we were to allow this to happen, sectarian violence in Iraq could increase dramatically, raising the prospect of mass casualties. Fighting could engulf the entire region in chaos, and we would soon face a Middle East dominated by Islamic extremists who would pursue nuclear weapons, and use their control of oil for economic blackmail or to fund new attacks on our nation.

    We’ve already seen how al Qaida used a failed state thousands of miles from our shores to bring death and destruction to the streets of our cities — and we must not allow them to do so again. So, however difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it. And we can win it.

    Less than a year ago, Anbar Province was al Qaida’s base in Iraq and was written off by many as lost. Since then, U.S. and Iraqi forces have teamed with Sunni sheiks who have turned against al Qaida. Hundreds have been killed or captured. Terrorists have been driven from most of the population centers. Our troops are now working to replicate the success in Anbar in other parts of the country. Our brave men and women are taking risks, and they’re showing courage, and we’re making progress.

    For the security of our citizens, and the peace of the world, we must give General Petraeus and his troops the time and resources they need, so they can defeat al Qaida in Iraq. (Applause.)

    Thanks for letting me come by today. I’ve explained the connection between al Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate. I presented intelligence that clearly establishes this connection. The facts are that al Qaida terrorists killed Americans on 9/11, they’re fighting us in Iraq and across the world, and they are plotting to kill Americans here at home again. Those who justify withdrawing our troops from Iraq by denying the threat of al Qaida in Iraq and its ties to Osama bin Laden ignore the clear consequences of such a retreat. If we were to follow their advice, it would be dangerous for the world — and disastrous for America. We will defeat al Qaida in Iraq.

    In this effort, we’re counting on the brave men and women represented in this room. Every man and woman who serves at this base and around the world is playing a vital role in this war on terror. With your selfless spirit and devotion to duty, we will confront this mortal threat to our country — and we’re going to prevail.

    I have confidence in our country, and I have faith in our cause, because I know the character of the men and women gathered before me. I thank you for your patriotism; I thank you for your courage. You’re living up to your motto: “one family, one mission, one fight.” Thank you for all you do. God bless your families. God bless America. (Applause.)

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    Cross-posted at DoD Daily News-2.

    This is an email I received. Without further ado, please read it. It is from Shrek’s Mom.

    Families United Call to Action – United for a Strong America!

    Your Voice needs to be heard today! You’ve seen the news today. General Petraeus presented to the President his PRELIMINARY Report. The congressional leadership are referring to it as done/final and are again discussing legislation aimed at undermining our Troops while they are in harms way – protecting us! They are discussing bringing them home – before they complete their mission.

    They are discussing ways to weaken our country by weakening our military – tying their hands when they’ve been asked to do a job that they are succeeding at! The surge is finally at it’s full strength and some leaders are saying it has failed – without ever giving it a chance to succeed! I don’t know about you but this feels like they are aiding the enemy! In fact – this is exactly what the enemy wants!

    Is that what you want? Is that the future you want for your children and grandchildren? Is that what your son/daughter/spouse/mom/dad/neighbor fought for? In Iraq … Afghanistan … Vietnam … Korea … WWII?

    I didn’t think so. Now – today is the day to do something about it. Please take a few moments today to email or call your congressional leaders and let them know where you stand and that you need them to work and speak out for victory in Iraq, that you expect them to provide the Troops with the funds they need to be successful on the war on terror, and they need to start standing United for a Strong America! Continue reading at DoD Daily News-2.

    Merrilee Carlson, Chair
    Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission
    merrilee@familiesunitedmission.com.
    Shrek’s mom

    America – Home of the Free because of the Brave!

    I hope many of you will heed her wishes. This is our country and our countrymen who are in danger, whether or not they realize it. These men and women are giving up everything so that we may preserve that which is here at home. What is the sense in fighting if you have no home to come back to after all is said done?

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    Opinion Journal has written a tremendous article about the new strategy that went into full effect on June 15, 2007. Today is July 11, 2007, and the Democrats have been decrying that this is a lost war. Have they spoken with the soldiers? No. Have they spoken with the generals who are on the ground? No. Have they read this article? I strongly doubt it. Why do I believe as I do? Because I have seen this movie before, as Sen. John McCain has put it.

    This is the Baghdad Security Plan, and its mission is to secure the people of Baghdad. Even so, commanders are not ignoring the outlying areas of Iraq. U.S. forces have killed or captured many important al Qaeda leaders in Mosul recently, and destroyed safe havens throughout northern Iraq. Troops are conducting counterinsurgency operations in Bayji, north of Tikrit. And Iraqi forces have “stepped up” to secure some southern cities. The Eighth Iraqi Army Division has been fighting Shiite militias in Diwaniyah, an important city halfway between Basrah and Baghdad. As commanders stabilize central Iraq, they will undoubtedly conduct successive operations in outlying regions to follow up on their successes and make them lasting. [Read the whole article.]

    I am so very proud of our brave men and women who are willing willing to wear the uniform of the USA and fight for our freedoms. They know what they are doing. They know the different between right and wrong, good and evil. Trust me, they have seen things no one should ever see. They know…and they continue to do the jobs that Americans won’t do…oh, wait a minute…they ARE Americans! How about that, President Bush? Is this not the most honorable and toughest job? Hmm. Just as I thought, but getting beyond that…

    Thank you, Military. All of you. You are in a class of your own, and you deserve to be there. That doesn’t mean we will treat you differently, because we know that is not what you want. We just want you know how grateful we are to have men and women such as you. Thank God!

    Update: Have you ever heard of LinkFest? Well apparently these people have! (If you’d like to trackback, this is also over at My Newz ‘n Ideas. I cannot figure out how to put Trackback here, yet. My apologies.) Leaning Straight Up, DragonLady’s World, 123 Beta, A Quiet Noise, MacBros’ Place, Madman Returns, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson’s Website, Pirate’s Cove, Publius Rendezvous, Pursuing Holiness, Rashbre Central, Renaissance Blogger, Right Truth, Adam’s Blog, Assorted Babble, basil’s blog, Blue Star Chronicles, bRight & Early, Chaotic Synaptic Activity, Church and State, Committees of Correspondence, Common Folk Using Common Sense, Diane’s Stuff, Dumb Ox News, Gospel Fiction, Gribbit’s Word, Is It Just Me?, Jack of All Trades, Jo’s Cafe, Right Wing Nation, Rightwing Guy, Stop the ACLU, Stuck On Stupid, The Amboy Times, The Bullwinkle Blog, The Clash of Civilizations, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The HILL Chronicles, The Random Yak, The Right Nation, The Uncooperative Blogger, The World According to Carl, third world county, Tor’s Rants, Urban Paradise, Woman Honor Thyself, and the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Wow! You really should go over there and find out what it’s all about. If you want more readership, I’d do it. As a matter of fact, I don’t have trackback, but my My Newz ‘n Ideas site does! I’ll be doing some reading and linking over there today. Have a great day
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    This is such a touching article from CentCom. Why? The Father is in one place that is not near the son on a very important day.

    Pfc. Jason Steffen, a mechanic with the 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, stationed at Forward Operating Base Kalsu had a special guest at his re-enlistment ceremony June 27 – his father.

    Mr. Robert Steffen, Jason’s father, is a mechanic working in the International Zone in Baghdad and was able to get a few days off work to attend his son’s ceremony. [Continue reading.]

    I wish everyone could experience something so special. Congratulations Jason, and God bless the both of you so you may stop worrying.
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    An article from CentCom:

    20 Jun 07
    By Spc. Alexis Harrison
    2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
    .

    BAGHDAD – For many of the Soldiers in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the current 15-month tour in Iraq isn’t their first. For the rest of the Soldiers in the “Black Jack” Brigade, having well-seasoned leaders can make all the difference.

    While out on the streets every day, Soldiers from Troop B, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, rely on much more than just the individual body armor systems they wear. They depend on each other to make it through daily situations and even the entire deployment. [Continue reading.]

    This is a great article which tells of young man who learns about leadership by the example he sees all around him. This is one thing we could certainly use a lot more of!

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    An article from CentCom:

    18-Jun-07
    By Army Sgt. Brandon Aird
    173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Public Affairs
    .KORENGAL VALLEY, Afghanistan — The paratroopers were keen for the mission despite their rough conditions. The difference between a tan line and dirty skin has long since passed. Bites from sand fleas and mosquitoes just add to the problem. Electricity, toilets and running water (a 45 minute patrol away) are long forgotten conveniences.

    The paratroopers are Sky soldiers from Battle Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. [Continue reading.]

    This is a pretty gruelling one, probably because it hits so close to home. That’s all I will say at this moment. These guys are the best we have, so read about them. If you would like to adopt a Soldier, a Marine, a Platoon, whatever, you just go right here. I am telling you, you will not regret it. You want to know what you can do for the war effort? Try this!

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    Michael Yon used to be in the service, now he is out reporting the facts about what is really happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now he is in Iraq with the British Queen’s Royal Lancers. He has an amazing story to tell. Anyone who remembers the Brits who were kidnapped by Iran will not recognize these people. Nor will you recognize them by the stories the dinosaur media has giving us due to the fact that they have never actually gone to find the truth. They rely on terrorists or people who don’t actually know the truth. Anyway, here is the link. Have a nice day.

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    The Aghanistan National Army (ANA) are busy training and working towards the day when they may be able to defend Afghanistan on their own. It seems to be going well. The 205th Regional Security Assistance Command are quite capable and are making sure of this. They are making sure that the ANA has the supplies they need and that the British are teaching them the American ways to run an Army. I like this. If you would like to read the whole story, you will find it here. Have a great day, and to those of you who are serving, “THANK YOU, and God bless you!”

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