January 08, 2005
God is in this place
USMC Captain Shannon Arnwine is a Supply Sgt. serving at Camp Fallujah. Here's an e-mail he sent to his parent in Sonora, Texas:
Hey Mom and Dad,
PFC Folman, also from Sonora, was eulogized by his brother Marines following his death on September 24, 2004 as a result of hostile action in Ramadi. Here's what they said about this fallen hero:
"We come here to seek closure and try to understand why a friend, a fellow human being has been lost," said Lt. Col. Randy Newman, commanding officer, 2/5. "We try to understand and respect the fact that he was dedicated to his duties, executed them as a Marine flawlessly and paid the ultimate sacrifice because he understood his call to duty here in Iraq."
Pfc. Timothy Shane Folmar will never be forgotten by his brother Marines. Here, Sgt. Ryan Schulze, 2/5 Marines, F Company, pays his final respects during a memorial service held Sept. 28, 2004 at Combat Outpost.
January 07, 2005
39 years after he left for Viet Nam, Kendall Phelps is returning to the front. This time, he'll serve with his 34 year old son, Major Chris Phelps.
"I'm a father and a Marine. I can't separate the two," said Phelps, 57, a clarinet player who runs the music program for Silver Lake's schools. "I need to be there with Chris." On Friday, Kendall Phelps will get his wish.
Godspeed, father and son.
January 06, 2005
New Year's greetings from CSSB-7
LtCol Drew T. Doolin, Commanding Officer for CSSB-7 reports from the Al Anbar Province of Iraq:
|Happy New Year! Our battalion area was quite festive for the holidays. Folks from around the U. S. sent Christmas cards and decorations, which adorned our work and living areas.|
|One of our welders, LCpl Tara Taylor, made a steel Christmas tree that is positioned in front of our Command Post. Religious services were available for those who wanted to attend. All in all, it was a joyous holiday, as we spent this special time with our “Marine Family”. Of course, our families and friends at home were constantly in our thoughts and prayers during this holiday season.|
Your Marines and Sailors continue to excel in everything that they do. They remain highly motivated and are setting new standards of providing logistics support in combat. For example, our Truck Company has been averaging over 230,000 cumulative miles driven per month. For any given vehicle, we are averaging about 1,600 miles driven per week. That puts an incredible strain on the equipment as we put year’s worth of mileage on it in just a matter of months. We have great mechanics that keep these vehicles operating.
Honor, courage and commitment in action
When recent MCRD-PI graduates Pfc. William Patnode, Pfc. Charles Meskunas, Pvt. James Stewart and Pfc. Gregory Lafountain spotted a fiery crash on New York's Interstate 87, they didn't hesitate. Here's why they were 2 hours late to Recruiter's Assistance training, as related by Sgt. Pamela Shelley
The Marines pulled their vehicle to the side of the road, and all four Marines instinctively leapt into action to help.
Captain Heffner, 1/2 Marines, Bravo Battery, reminds those who are sending care packages to their Marines:
Alcohol is a contraband item for Marines in Iraq. Those Marines possessing alcohol risk non-judicial punishment or court martial. We have not had an incident involving alcohol in the battery, however I have confiscated a few small bottles of alcohol that have been sent via U.S. mail. In this case the Marine voluntarily surrendered the alcohol. I view the action as a credit to that particular Marine's character. Our duties require our attention 24 hours a day. Alcohol would impair our ability to attack the enemy and protect ourselves. Please support your Marine by not sending alcohol which could hurt his ability to perform his duties or his ability to protect himself from attack. Thank You.
January 05, 2005
He's given it for you
Marines from 2nd MARDIV's Small Craft Company said goodbye to fallen hero, LCpl Brian Parello in a memorial service held on the shores of Lake Habbaniyah in the Al Anbar province of Iraq on Jan. 4, 2005. He was killed in action on New Year's Day while conducting operations against anti-Iraqi forces in Iraq's Al Anbar Province.
LCpl Parello served as a small unit riverine craft coxswain and took part in a number of riverine security patrols while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and also earned the Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal.
This poem was read during his memorial service:
In a crowd you see him,
Condolences to LCpl Parello's family and the Marines with whom he served.
how to write to the wounded
From Diana Hartman, Marine spouse living in Germany, suggestions for writing letters to wounded troops. She visits Landstuhl regularly and carries letters from folks who send along their greetings to injured Marines.
i know most people aren't letter writers per se and concern themselves with writing something of substance, something comforting, something that will really matter...
24th MEU update
Col. Johnson sends this update from the front. His caution on operation security regarding deployment information is worth noting:
Remember back to June and July, as the whole deployment lay ahead of us? Remember thinking to yourself how much happier you'd be once Thanksgiving arrived? And that once Christmas came, we'd be home free? Well, we're just about there.
January 04, 2005
Starting 2005 on the right note
Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation authorities declared to be the "target number one" in Iraq, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources. Al-Zarqawi, leader of the terrorist group Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad, was recently appointed the director of the Al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq.
Nothing official yet. But if this pans out, note that it was Iraqi police who made the arrest.
Task Force Wolfpack reports from Ramadi
LtCol Steve Dinauer, Commanding Officer of the 3d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion/Task Force sends this report from the Al Anbar province:
To the Families and Friends of Task Force Wolfpack: As always, I hope this note finds you all in good spirits and health. I must keep this note to the point and brief. I am at a camp just west of the city of Ramadi with a little over half of Headquarters and Service Company and Company C. We also have a unit from one of our fellow infantry battalions under our tactical control. I expect we will stay here through the elections on 30 January 2005. Ramadi is the capital of the Al Anbar Province, so it is critical we keep the security situation stable for the elections. The city of Ramadi is a dangerous place, but it is not at all like Fallujah was before it was taken back in November. We are primarily operating in the rural areas outside of the city. The living conditions aboard this camp are the best we’ve had in Iraq from the excellent billeting to the great chow hall to the Post Exchange.
January 03, 2005
Diana Hartman sends this report:
a major army deployment returned to the germany area at the height of christmas package arrivals through the post office (hundreds of soldiers mailed stuff home that wouldn't fit in duffle bags) so many packages to families were delayed and didn't arrive until after christmas to include some of the packages of cards...
Happy New Year, part II
Here's how my son celebrated New Years Day. I took out the details of a raid, but his e-mail ended up with:
Nothing like spending New Years in a hostile city. Well God bless the Commandant. He ordered all Marines to get one shot of Bacardi and 2 beers so weve got a fridge full of beer in the hooch.
Seeing as how he turns 21 next month and told me that sending him alcohol would get him in more trouble than it would be worth, this will have to do. However, he's also instructed me to make reservations at The Palms in Las Vegas for his 96-hour liberty. This will be the first time I'll be able to buy my son a beer - one beer, I'm a mom after all - and I'm looking forward to it. I imagine we'll have a few more Marines with us to join in the fun and I really hope they won't mind me joining them. It's like they're all my sons and I am so proud of all of them.
January 02, 2005
The United States acted swiftly after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Dec. 26 off the coast of Indonesia causing tsunami waves that have affected 12 countries. In addition to pledging $350 million which is the entire U.S. foreign disaster assistance budget, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said yesterday Congress will work to pass emergency legislation to go "well beyond" that figure, possibly to billions of dollars. In addition, thousands of troops have been sent to the region. Lt. Smash notes "the irony that the USS Bonhomme Richard, the same ship which Navy deserter Pablo Paredes refused to board, has been directed to the area to provide humanitarian aid. ".
And, President Bush issued this statement:
The disaster around the Indian Ocean continues to grow both in size and scope. I have been monitoring closely the developments and our recovery and relief effort underway. I also look forward to the detailed report of the official delegation led by Secretary Powell and Governor Jeb Bush that will travel to the region very soon.
Predictably, there were some who reacted with outrage, sputtering that only they had the moral authority to manage this crisis. Former British International Development Secretary Clare Short had this to say:
“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.
Well, duh. The "UN system" is one of graft, corruption, and utter inefficiency. Although it has recently been included after a conversation between Colin Powell and Kofi Annan, this is a clear signal and challenge from the United States to the United Nations. About time.
Ed from Captain's Quarters correctly points out that "it's the Clueless Clares of the world who sacrifice the downtrodden of the world to the brutal and incompetent clutches of the UN for the greater purpose of having a single world government. The idea that Short can make this kind of assertion with a straight face shows the depth of corruption on the radical Left. I say bravo to George Bush for bypassing the grifters and rapists of the UN."
Here are a few images of how American troops are helping:
U.S.A.F. photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard Freeland
|Airman Autumn McHam of the 733rd Air Mobility Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, helps cover an aircraft pallet of MREs to be sent to Southeast Asia as part of the disaster relief effort.|
|U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Justin Sturn, 733rd Air Mobility Squadron loads cases of MREs.|
U.S.A.F. photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard Freeland
U.S.M.C. photo by Cpl. Jonathan K. Teslevich
|U.S. Marines load a pallets of prepackaged dehydrated meals onto a C-130 Hercules aircraft on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 30, 2004. The Marines are loadmasters assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152. The meals, along with support supplies, are being sent to Utapao, Thailand, the hub of U.S. Pacific Command's humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. |
|Aerial view of a devastated Sumatran landscape from a Navy SH-60F helicopter, Jan. 1, 2005. The sailors are assigned to the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 2, taking part in during humanitarian relief operations on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.|
U.S.N. photo by Seaman Patrick M. Bonafede
U.S.A.F. photo by Staff Sgt. Cohen A. Young
|.S. Air Force crewmen, assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron, 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, unload water from their C-130 airplane after landing at Phuket Airport in Thailand, Dec. 31, 2004.|
A Marine father reports that care packages for Marines headed to the tsumai relief effort should include disposable surgical masks and oil of peppermint. Masks can be purchased at larger drug stores, and oil of peppermint can be found in the spice aisle at the grocerery store. Vick's VapoRub will help too - rub a bit under the nose. They'll be issued gloves and protective gear but the masks and aromatic oil willl help mask the smell of death.
And if you're still wondering how you can personally help, Cassandra from Villainous Company suggests:
In a way, it's like Chaos theory - a butterfly's wings beating on this side of the world can start a mighty wind half a world away: your small $10 donation may save a human life.
$10 isn't much but the final effect of cumulative $10 donations adds up. Amazon contributions so far have totalled over $12 million with an average contribution of approximately $80. All contributions reach the American Red Cross.
Scott Ott at Scrappleface also has a list of Christian relief organizations who will put your contributions to good use. And, Hugh Hewitt recommends World Vision. If the page is slow to load, you can make a phone donation at 1-800-777-5777 or 1-888-562-4453.
Finally, click here for a comprehensive list of international aid organizations.
$10. If each of us donates just that much, the final magnitude of the effort would save many lives.