June 28, 2006

Telephone Attacks Against Mil-Spouses

It makes a person wonder how many wives and mothers here have received these same calls.

I remember at the onset of the war that there were instances of domestic nutjobs and knuckleheads representing themselves as members of the Red Cross and other organizations who called many a GI's wife with such "news" but that these calls seemed to have abated after a few months.

Insidious and evil as those calls were, I cannot imagine the anguish that would stem from this newest round of telephone assaults, for that is what they most certainly are. They are vile and evil attacks by cowardly sacks of bullshit who don't have the requisite intestinal fortitude it takes to pick up an AK or strap on a homicide vest and take on trained, battle hardened military personnel. Instead of actually doing something that might actually result in more than a hangnail in their battle against we infidels, they choose make obscene telephone attacks on women.

I have serious doubts that the combined testicular matter of no less than a dozen of them would make a decent pair of cat balls. The women they're harassing have more than they do. The only thing that makes these donwanabe martyrs brave is their mistaken notion that they cannot be found.


It's called "Triangulation." It's not that difficult. And all it takes is one misbegotten phone call to the wrong wife's phone to start up the simple, elegant, and effective process that will literally bring "hellfire" down on their sorry, fleabitten, chickenshit asses.

Now, that's one video I want to watch on GrouchyMedia.

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June 22, 2006


It took DNA tests to confirm that the two mutilated and unrecognizable bodies found Tuesday in Iraq were in fact the two missing servicemen taken during an insurgent attack on a checkpoint the two were manning.

Let me repeat that for those of you who weren't paying attention. It took DNA tests to confirm that the two mutilated and unrecognizable bodies found Tuesday in Iraq were in fact the two missing servicemen taken during an insurgent attack on a checkpoint the two were manning.

Their bodies were so badly mutilated that those with whom they served would not have been able to adequately identify them. One or both of them had been beheaded. Apparently they were unable to use dental records to identify them, which leads to speculation that either their heads were not recovered, or if were that they had been so badly damaged by whatever it was the "Insurgents" did that it simply was no longer possible.

I read the news about this, articles from the home states of each of the slain young men. I read stories about how young, how dedicated, how loved, how respected each of these slain young men was. Is. Remains even in death. I have read words of extreme sadness, grief, loss, mourning.

I have even read petulant words of "I told you so" from various quarters.

But I have read no words of outrage against those who were responsible, those men who traded whatever fragments of humanity lay within them for savagery.

I have read no screams of condemnation against those so-called nations that would encourage their own nationals to filter into Iraq for no other purpose than to commit state sanctioned murder, be their victims innocent civilians, servicemen, or the fledgling attempt at a democratically elected and non-dictatorial government. I have heard no calls for vengance against the animals who not only slew these two young men and a third who's body was left at the checkpoint, but then also desecrated them in ways that not even the most reactionary and shock-oriented sources would divulge them. I have witnessed no cries of unquenchable anguish by those who's lives and livelyhoods, who's nation and homes were protected by these young men from the very same thugs and ideological mercenaries who perpetrated this act.

No outcry.

And by this we show the shamefulness of our own national impotence. We as a people are woefully and potentially irretrievebly impotent, unable to so much as gain, much less maintain the raging, white hot stainless steel hard-on we need as a nation to end this war the way it must end: Conclusively, victoriously and without remorse, not as some Montesori-esque feel-good-touchy-feelie-multi-cultural exercise conducted by some committee of milktoast "little old ladies" of both sexes from a plan they schemed up during a coffeklatch after their bi-weekly Self-Loathing Victimhood du Jour support group meeting.

We, all of us, as a nation and as a people, civilians and military, secularist and religious, political and apolitical, right and left and center and all of the permutations therein need to find that steel, strap it on and not bother to grease it the hell up. We can no longer shackle our troops with the nightmarish spectre of Mi Lai, the threat of becoming the poster boy of neo-colonial facism for some fringe lunacy of any ilk, or the backhanded condemnations of washed up finger-pointing elected officials who would just as soon gain the bloodstained votes of the vociferous NIMN/Peace at Any Price (as long as they're not handed the check) crowd than those of the men and women who would protect them with their very lives, regardless of how badly these officials impune them.

Let them take off the gloves and do what they have to do to get this done as expeditiously as possible, as decisively as possible, and if necessary as brutally as possible within the guidelines and structure of military law.

Untie their hands and get the everloving fuck out of their way. Bind their wounds, mourn their deaths, salve their souls, celebrate their victories, and support them and their cause. When they are attacked and brutalized by the amoral garbage that slips across the borders from Iran and Syria and Gaza and the other septic dumps that spawned them, scream your outrage at the ones with the literal blood on their literal hands, not those who can conveniently be splashed with figurative blood for political ends.

One of those moments is now. Grieve with these young men's families, both immediate and extended, and celebrate their love of life, love of family, and the love of country which they expressed by taking on the mantle, the responsibilities and the title of Soldier.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 06:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 11, 2005

The List

Please go and read the names and honor these men and women.

Don't dishonor them by calling them "Boys" or "Girls" but honor them by acknowledging their actions, their deeds, their sacrifices. I'm sick to death of those sad, infantile sympathy-mongers who try to cheapen the sacrifices of these service members. I'm disgusted by those who say "You're killing our children."

Children do not answer a call to arms selflessly. Children do not place themselves in harm's way for Freedom, Honor, Duty, Family, or Country. Children do not suck it up when shit flies. Children do not lie in a hole in their own blood, giving comfort to one wounded even worse. Children do not make sure that no one is left behind.

Brave Men do. Brave Women do. The rest of us pale by comparison.

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Here's a Hero for you.

Cpl. Tony Stevens, USMC, is a hero you'll probably never hear about unless you're one of those crazed baseball fans who tracks stats down to the minor league level.

Yes, baseball stats.

You see, Cpl. Stevens was a member of the Minnesota Twins minor league farm club, the New Britain Rock Cats in 2001 when the WTC was attacked. And like Pat Tilman, he answered both a national and personal call to duty, joining the Marines. Since then, according to the Republican-American from Waterbury, CT, he "was there during the assault on Baghdad. He was involved in a firefight in "Ambush Alley" that has been called the bloodiest American military engagement since Vietnam. On his second tour he was in a place called the "triangle of death" south of Baghdad."

Because the Republican-American news site doesn't have separate links for individual articles, I have it posted in its entirety in the extended post.

New Britian is proud of him. They're so proud of him, they honored him before the game last night and had Tony Stevens bobblehead dolls for the people in attendance.

We should all be proud of him. So, why isn't this in the NYSlimes or Newsbleak? Is it because he's still alive? Because he hasn't been accused of some Human Rights crime? Because he hasn't keyed cars in protest, like that moronic Air Force Reservist did in Colorado?

Cpl. Stevens returns to Iraq in November for a third tour. Keep him in your hearts and be ready to wear a Rock Cats ball cap next spring.

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Minor leaguer now major player for America

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Copyright © 2005 Republican-American

He went from patrolling shortstop at New Britain Stadium to charging up Ambush Alley on the road to Iraq.

He went from ducking high, tight fastballs tossed by Eastern League pitchers to hunkering down in a fighting hole as mortars flew over his head. He went from a dugout on the sidelines to a bunker on the firing line.

He went from being a ballplayer to an American hero.

Tony Stevens, a former professional baseball player in the Minnesota Twins minor league system who spent one season with the New Britain Rock Cats, quit the game and went to war. Days after the Sept. 11 attack on America, Stevens made a decision. He turned in his baseball bat for a grenade launcher.

He joined the Marines, fought in the battle of Baghdad, and has now served two tours of duty in Iraq. He's been in the line of fire for a total of 14 months. In November he goes back again.

Wednesday night the Rock Cats brought Cpl. Stevens back to New Britain. They handed out 1,200 Tony Stevens bobble head dolls. Wednesday was declared Tony Stevens Day by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. He was brought in from left field riding a golf cart. They waved flags, they rose to their feet and cheered, and the modest Stevens, a Florida native, hardly knew what to make of it all.

He was there during the assault on Baghdad. He was involved in a firefight in "Ambush Alley" that has been called the bloodiest American military engagement since Vietnam. On his second tour he was in a place called the "triangle of death" south of Baghdad.

In November he goes back. Tony, why?
"There was a lot of history with the military in the family," Stevens said. "It's what I wanted to do. The country has a job to do, and I wanted to do it as a Marine."

But Wednesday, Tony Stevens, 26, was a ballplayer again. He put on a Rock Cats uniform. He took ground balls at short for the first time since his 2001 season. He took his whacks in the batting cage while the Marine Corps Hymn was blasting through the stadium sound system.

His skills were obvious. You could see this guy was a pro ball player once, and yet his bearing was all military. He didn't stand straight, he stood at attention. He wore his baseball cap military style, riding up in the back with the bill riding low, hooding his eyes.

In 2001 he hit just .171, your classic middle infielder who throws a lot of leather. He didn't lead the league in any offensive category. But Stevens, all 5 feet, 10 inches and 170 pounds of him, leads the U.S. military in a dreadful category: roadside bombings. Stevens has been through 11 roadside attacks in 14 months. He's seen 30 Marines die, three of them close friends.

"I haven't been injured," he said. "Just dinged up a bit."

Stevens said there isn't time to grieve in a war zone. "It puts a lot of things in your life into perspective," he said.

He also said the word hero is not in his vocabulary. "We're just doing our jobs."

Stevens isn't a name as recognizable as Pat Tillman, another former professional athlete who went off to war. The former Arizona Cardinal football player turned down a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract. Instead, Tillman joined the Army Rangers and lost his life in Afghanistan in April 2004.

Stevens doesn't think about that. He won't discuss U.S. policy in the Middle East, saying only those decision are made by people "on a higher pay scale."

Some guys from that 2001 Rock Cats season kept playing the game. Justin Morneau, Lew Ford, Mike Cuddyer, even David Ortiz, are now in the Major Leagues. Stevens is in the Bigs too, but he wears fatigues and a flak jacket.

"I have no regrets," he said. "When I am in a fight hole in Iraq I'm not thinking that I could be playing a ball game tonight. It is a big job there, and I just have a small part in it."

When he turns in his military uniform he plans to try on a baseball uniform again. Right now he's the property of both the U.S. Marine Corps and the Minnesota Twins.

He has a one fan in Rock Cats manager Stan Cliburn. He thinks Stevens still has a shot at this game, "Especially the way he was hitting the ball in batting practice. He didn't hit it that far before.

"Everyone has the aspiration to be a professional athlete, but he is serving his country and you have to respect that. In my eyes there are a lot of heroes -- Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Paul Molitor -- but when I look at Tony Stevens, I say there is a real hero right there."

Joe Palladino is a Republican-American staff writer. He can be e-mailed at jpalladinorep-am.com.

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August 06, 2005


Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a young soldier killed in Iraq in 2004, protested outside the Bush ranch with a group of protesters demanding to speak to President Bush.

Supported by more than 50 shouting demonstrators, Cindy Sheehan, 48, told reporters, "I want to ask George Bush: Why did my son die?"

Why did her son die? She honestly claims not to know why her son was killed in Iraq?

Your son, as well as every other soldier killed in this conflict, died because he made an informed and conscious decision to join the military of a nation committed to protecting its citizens during a time of terror and upheaval. To say he was duped by a recruiter with promises of cash and a guarenteed slot in the Chaplancy is to call into question and discount to the world his intelligence, his sense of duty, his honor, and his manhood. You turn him from the man he was into the child you raised. He earned his manhood and independence, and the world owes him it's respect.

Your son died because he stepped up bravely when he was needed and did what was necessary to quell rioting near Baghdad. He knew the risk and accepted it.

Your son died because thousands of foreign nationals cross the border into Iraq every day from such places as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, Jordan, Palestinian Israel, Morrocco, Pakistan. They cross the border and take up arms, not for the freedom of a nation, but to preserve the status quo of corruption, despotism, fanatisism, and intollerance. They do so, emboldened by the words and deeds of those here who do not merely question or debate the war, but who take up verbal and written arms against this nation, her government, and her military for no other reasons than intellectual arrogance and political intollerance.

Your son is dead because France and Germany and Russia put their own greed and self interest ahead of the good of an entire people held in servitude by the avarice and ego of one man, Saddam Hussain, and his quest for ever increasing territory and power in the Middle East. Even after the US pulled away from him after the gas attacks during the Iran-Iraq war, these countries and more continued to trade with him, enhancing his military and his outlandish palaces while leaving his country in ever increasing poverty. If you want to yell "No Blood for Oil" and accurately address the involved parties, you will need to have a visa and risk imprisonment. Most of these countries are not nearly as open to dissent as what you are used to.

If you want to know why your son is dead, look in the mirror. He is dead because you raised him right, inspite of your behavior now. And although you may hate the man he called Commander in Chief, and you may hate me for what I believe, I have nothing but thanks for how your raised your son. Just remember that what you say and do endangers the sons and daughters of other mothers just as caring and loving as you are. Do not endanger them as a part of your grief process.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:20 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

August 02, 2005

Semper Fi/A Study in How An Event Is Covered

This is an example of why it is essential to take the time necessary to find all the facts surrounding what should have been a straight-forward news story. This is why we do what we do, we bloggers, when we get a piece together and post it on our sites. To do less is simply irresponsible.

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Seven Marines were killed in action Monday, six of them in Haditha, and one southwest of the same town.

According to the radio reports I heard this afternoon before work, the group of six had received intel and orders to take sniping positions within town. When they reached and established their positions, they came under small arms fire from what was catagorized as an ambush by insurgents. Yahoo News, however, is not giving any details on the situation surrounding the deaths.

The UK Guardian, however, is providing a little more information on the battle:

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan, a US army spokesman in Baghdad, said six marines died on Monday during a battle with insurgents in the town of Haditha, 120 miles north-west of Baghdad. A seventh was killed by a suicide car bomber in Hit, about 40 miles south-east of Haditha.

According to WCCO, a CBS affilliate, we get just slightly more information:

Seven U.S. Marines were killed in two separate attacks west of Baghdad, where American forces are trying to seal a major border infiltration route for foreign fighters, the military said Tuesday. The deaths pushed the U.S. military death toll in Iraq past 1,800.

One of the Marines died Monday in a suicide car bombing in Hit, 85 miles northwest of Baghdad. The other six were killed Monday in Haditha, 50 miles from Hit. All were attached to the same suburban Cleveland unit.

“Every single one of them is a hero,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Rush of the Headquarters and Service Co. 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines based in Brook Park, Ohio.

Intrestingly enough, the PakTribune had many more details and wasn't shy about sharing them:

US Marines battled insurgents with tanks and aircraft on Sunday in western Iraq after the Americans came under attack from a village schoolhouse, the US military said, adding eleven insurgents were killed in fighting.


The building was rigged with explosives and fortified with at least three 0.30 caliber machine guns in the windows, a military statement said. US Abrams tanks and jet aircraft attacked the building, setting off secondary explosions from the munitions stored inside, the statement added.

Coalition forces on the scene described the secondary explosions as being larger detonations than the bombs that were dropped," the statement added.

ABC International expands a little further with these details:

The U.S. command said the six Marines were "engaged by terrorists and killed by small-arms fire" in Haditha, which U.S. and Iraqi officials have identified as a major route for insurgents entering Iraq.

After the attack, residents of Haditha said several masked gunmen identifying themselves as members of the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, a major Sunni Arab insurgent group, appeared in the market carrying helmets, flak jackets and automatic rifles they said belonged to U.S. troops.

They distributed fliers claiming they had killed 10 American service members.

"They were on a mountain near the town so we went up, surrounded them and asked them to surrender," the statement said. "They did not surrender so we killed them."

Now, to put this in perspective, let's look at the DOD/AFIS release for the same time period. See if you...

...remember any of these details in the previous items.

Seven U.S. Marines were killed in Iraq Aug. 1, U.S. officials there announced today.

Six Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), were killed in action near Haditha. Elsewhere, a Marine assigned to the same unit was killed by a suicide car bomber while conducting combat operations near Hit.

The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Three U.S. military personnel and two civilian interpreters assigned to a Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq special police transition team were injured today in central Baghdad when their Humvee was struck by a suicide car bomb.

Two soldiers and one interpreter were later transported by helicopter to the 86th Combat Support Hospital, officials said.

In other news from Iraq, coalition forces captured 11 terror suspects and seized weapons and bomb-detonating devices during five separate sweeps through western and southwestern Baghdad on July 31, Task Force Baghdad public affairs officials announced today.

A task force unit securing a roadside bombsite at around 1 p.m. in southwest Baghdad saw two people parked on a nearby overpass. One of the men had a cell phone, and both were acting suspiciously.

As the soldiers went to investigate, another car drove up, and the two men jumped inside and the car sped off. The soldiers gave chase and detained the men. The vehicle was impounded after the soldiers found explosives material inside, and the two men were held for questioning.

At around 2:30 p.m., a U.S. patrol working in the western Baghdad district of Ghazaliya saw four men in a vehicle waving weapons in the air while driving along a major highway. When the unit stopped the vehicle, one of the occupants tried to run away and then pointed a weapon directly at the soldiers. "The patrol then fired and killed the terrorist," stated a release from Task Force Baghdad.

When the unit went back to the car, they detained the other three occupants and searched the vehicle, finding two AK-47 assault rifles and a pistol. The soldiers impounded the car and detained the three men.

In southwest Baghdad, anti-Iraqi forces driving a blue van fired on a Task Force Baghdad patrol at 6 p.m. The unit pursued the van for 10 minutes until the vehicle pulled over and the enemy fighters jumped out and tried to get away by running through a cornfield. The unit caught one of the attackers and took him into custody for questioning.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, Task Force Baghdad soldiers working in the western part of the city saw a car speeding down a road throwing items out the window just before 8 p.m. The unit found two of the items, which were hand-held radios. One of the radios was wired to a motorcycle battery. Other members of the patrol chased the vehicle and detained five terror suspects for questioning.

Shortly after midnight, a terrorist fired on U.S. soldiers working in the Amin district of eastern Baghdad. No one was hit and the patrol returned fire, hitting the attacker in the arm. The soldiers then captured the attacker and brought him in for medical treatment before taking him into custody.

An hour later, the same patrol ran across an Iraqi woman who had injured herself in a fall. The soldiers suspected she was bleeding internally and brought the woman to a military medical facility for treatment.

In northern Baghdad, task force soldiers manning a traffic control point stopped a minivan with four military-aged men just before 4 a.m. The van matched a description of a vehicle that was involved in a roadside-bomb attack earlier in the day.

When the soldiers searched the minivan they found $4,000 in U.S. currency and explosive materials. All four men were taken into custody for questioning.

Later, the soldiers stopped a car in western Baghdad and the driver gave them a fake I.D. card. The driver told the patrol he was from the area, but when the soldiers asked other residents in the neighborhood about him, no one recognized the man or confirmed his story. The soldiers then searched the vehicle, found explosive material inside, and detained the driver.

Just before noon, an Iraqi farmer led U.S. soldiers working in the Ghazaliya district of western Baghdad to a weapons cache hidden in a field. When the soldiers arrived at the site they found nine mortar rounds and two rocket-propelled grenades. A team of explosives experts safely detonated the munitions.

See how it works, people? And isn't it sad that it takes some old chick on dial-up on a busted office chair with nothing but a pig lamp for light to do this, while the journo-types get paid good money to turn out half-assed articles. And don't talk deadlines. I did this in an hour. Most deadlines are more lenient than that, unless one has been hiding in the lounge at the hotel for too long and cut themselves short.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 23, 2005

Selective Memory

Now this bit of interesting news from the Washington Times doesn't have anyone scratching their head in confusion does it? Not really.

Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii Democrat, met with several soldiers during a visit led by Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican.

Pentagon officials said soldiers criticized the harsh comments made recently by Senate Democrats.

So Kennedy and Akaka allowed currently serving members of the Amerikan Gestapo KGB Armed Forces to enter their offices to voice their complaints against his statements about the war and those who are fighting it.

A spokesman for Mr. Kennedy had no comment. A spokeswoman for Mr. Akaka confirmed that the senator met with soldiers from Hawaii but did not recall receiving any complaints during the meeting.

Are any of you really surprised? Really?

Posted by Mamamontezz at 06:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 11, 2005

For the men of Darkness...

I do not know your names,
nor will I ever.
I only know that you are dead and gone,
casualties of war,
fallen heroes,
who's deeds will never be shared
except by those who were with you.

I do not know your families,
nor will I ever.
I only know that in the hours
and days
and months of their grief and anguish,
there is nothing that can be said to ease their pain.
Only their memories
and the knowledge of your courage
can soothe them
and give them solace.

I do not know your comrades,
nor will I ever.
I only know that their pain is great
and their guilt at not having been
the one
in your place
gnaws hungrily
at their exhausted
and dusty souls.

I do not know your lovers,
nor will I ever.
I only know their hearts,
once tender and ripe,
lie wounded,
bloodied by the death
of your bodies but not their love for you.

I do not know your pasts,
nor will I ever.
I can only look into the eyes of Darkness
and see the lives you shared,
glimmering in the bright tears
that refuse to be shed willingly.

I do not know your futures,
nor will I ever.
I can only hope you have found
the company of good men
with good hearts,
and strong minds,
and a bravery that rivals your own.
For it is with these men,
these fallen brave,
where you belong,
not with us,
we who will never be worthy
of lifting a drink in your names.

Please keep Darkness and his men in your prayers. These days have not been kind to them, and they mourn their losses. I know not where, nor how, nor whom. I only know why...

Because they did what they needed to do.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005


After several days of grief over the loss of 16 service members in the downing of a Chinook helicopter in Afganistan, one small bright piece of news came today. One member of the team on the ground who had called for reinforcement, a team which has been missing since the incident, has been found alive and transported from the area.

For obvious reasons, no information on his identity or condition has been released. We can only pray that he is well, and that the rest of his team is found soon.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 03:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 22, 2005

Wondering about the Darkness...

I've been out of communication with Darkness, my friend, as he and his team are away doing that which they do best in a desert that's both kiln in the sunlight and freezer under the stars. I have no doubt that he and his team, with the support of both command and the support units on base, are out taking care of the safety of the rest of our military presence at his "undisclosed location."

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I see items like this and wonder if the people in the pictures are either Darkness or some person with whom he works, with whom he exchanges his safety for their safety every day. I probably will never know. It's not like command condones photoswaps and the passing of sensitive information with total strangers. I'll never ask. I know better.

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In the meantime, every day in the privacy of my own heart and mind, I talk to Darkness and to my perceptions of his teammates and wish them success and safe return. I don't want to have to remember any of them with sadness or regret.

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Hold them in your prayers, touch them with your hearts, keep them in your minds, thank them for their willingness and abilities, and take your place at their sides as they do what needs be done.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2005

Soldier Ride

Wounded Warrior Project, a worthwhile group who work hard to provide returning hospitalized servicemen with necessary personal items, is involved in something very special, something of which you need to be aware.

Soldier Ride began on May 21, 2005 with a wheel-dip in the Pacific Ocean at Los Angeles, and will be completed on July 19 at Montauk, New York. The riders, many of them Wounded Warriors themselves, are giving their blood, their time, their efforts, and their strength to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, with a goal of $5million with this ride.

If you are along the route these riders will take, you can even sign up to ride with them. You can sponsor a rider, sponsor a team of riders, or make a lump sum donation at their site. You can even make a telephone donation at 866 RIDE GI 1.

To see what will be done with these funds, take a few minutes and visit the "About Our Organization" page of the Soldier Ride site, or visit the Wounded Warrior Project home site.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 08:20 PM | Comments (2)

June 01, 2005

Lance Cpl Ryan Autery

Yes, I realize it's summer vacation and the kids are out of school and running wild in the neighborhood. The days keep getting warmer, the nights keep getting shorter, and your budget is as strapped as it ever was. Mine too, trust me. But it's time again for a little nudge from The Blog Mama to open your wallets and do something good with that extra dollar or two that you were only going to blow on a pack of cigarettes anyway.

I have not kept up with Lance Cpl. Ryan Autery for the past few months. Other things kept popping up. But today I decided to do a Google and see how this young man was doing. I am deeply concerned at what I found.

According to the Daily News Journal article writen May 29, Lance Cpl. Autery has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, the combat equivalent of shaken baby syndrome. For nine months of treatement for his orthopedic injuries, no doctor diagnosed this. Now, at this late time, they have an explanation as to why he cannot remember conversations or events, even recent ones.

To his parents, I cannot imagine the frustration and anger you must have felt when a diagnosis was finally made. But now you know. That has to be better than always wondering.

To all of you, this new development cannot be a good one for the Autery finances. Forego one pack of cigarettes, one popcorn at the movies, one video rental and do what you can. A hundred $1 checks will do as much as two larger ones. It all spends, it all pays bills, it all helps.

I hope this information is still current. If not, they will surely forward any donations approprately. Make checks to ''Ryan A. Autery Medical Transition Fund'' and send donations to: Bank of America, Nissan Banking Center, Attn: Mark Combs, P. O. Box 2206 Smyrna, Tenn. 37167. Please include Combs' name in the address.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2005

Bands for Freedom

Let us remember the fallen. Let us support the living and the survivors.

I was watching Fox News this afternoon and saw Linda Vester interviewing three men affiliated with this site, BandsForFreedom. I was impressed. Over 200,000 bands ordered at a dollar apiece, and half of that money going to the Armed Forces Relief Trust. I can't think of a better way to help out if money is tight and you have very little left after taking care of your families.

I'm saving my pennies. I want to get 10 of the cammo "Freedom" bands to slip into care envelopes. How many will you be getting?

Posted by Mamamontezz at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Darkness in the darkness...

This is Memorial Day, and I had planned to write a lengthy post in rememberance of those who had sacrificed their lives to you, to me, to this country and its ideals. But I met someone online the other day, someone who has been there, has done that, and after 23 years he is still doing it every day to protect each of us.

"Darkness" is the perfect name for a silent ghost with a Barret .50 and a heavy blade. It is the name by which I know him in our IM's and it is fitting. He does the dirty work of tracking, seeking, finding, and dispatching those who would by their deeds endanger not only the bulk of our forces in that rocky desert land, but also those there who value the freedom they so recently were able to attain. He goes where he is sent, does what is necessary, and brings his team back to play the game and do the job again another day.

We have a date for Boubon, poker, bad jokes, rowdy stories and range time when he gets home. I hope to act as witness for his wedding, as he and his little angel hope to do that soon.

So in addition to memorializing those who are the fallen, not in lieu of it, I ask you all to hold the name Darkness in your hearts and in your prayers this day as he sets out once again with his team in search of persons of interest to Intel. See him and his team in your mind's eye, see them successful, see them back in camp whole and well in a few days.

And while you're at it, see them celebrating their return home soon and sharing a round in honor of their fallen.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 03:10 PM | Comments (2)

May 04, 2005

Operation Gratitude

May 1st to June 15th are the dates for the semi-annual Patriotic Drive by Operation Gratitude. It's a great website with lots of opportunities to give back and give thanks to our Warriors.

If you have a few dollars to spare, either as a donation towards postage or to purchase some items from the wish list, please try to do so.

And don't forget our friends at Keystone Military and their ongoing efforts for the troops. The good folks there have been ever so kind to me and mine, and I hope you can be the same for them. It's an awesome burden they have taken on themselves, and every little bit helps.

Also, it's starting to feel like time for a letter drive. What do you think? You feel like it too? Let me know, and if we can arrive at a consensus, I'll draft Blogson Slaglerock and get this thing rolling.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:31 PM | Comments (3)

March 31, 2005

Welcome Home, Sirs...

Three Hoosiers returned home today. Members of the Indiana National Guard's 76th Infantry, they were in Afganistan when the vehicle they were in hit a mine, killing them and one other Guardsman with ties to Indiana.

Capt. Michael "Todd" Fiscus, Master Sgt. Michael Hiester, and Spc. Norman "Kyle" Snyder, God Speed and Fare Well.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:28 PM | Comments (3)

March 07, 2005

Call for Letters

Blackfive, one of the finest people with whom I have been acquainted online, is asking for letters to a group of Tankers. Now, I know from experience you are all amazing letter writers, and I hope you will avail yourselves for his effort.

Please, go over, write a letter, and get it to him. Mine is posted below.

Dearest Tanker,

Spring has finally arrived, albeit modestly, in Indianapolis. Three days ago a robin stood his ground just five feet away from me, listening for the earthworms' song that would signal his dinner. The crocus bulbs have begun to push their tender green heads through the loose, damp earth, and the air has the smell of fertile mud. It is resurrection and rebirth, and the change is palpable.

The beauties that are spring are everywhere. I hope that as you work your days and your nights you are able to find the signals of the changing season around you as well. Know that as you look down and see a small, sweet green shoot fighting for it's way to the sun, your family and friends and love, even a love perhaps not known to you now, look down and see the tender grass fighting toward the same sun. Know that even across the thousands of miles that separate us all, we can share the miracle that is spring.

My online radio is playing George Benson, and his songs stir the soul with rememberances of love and life. Take the time to let the music touch you and bring you home through your headset or earbuds, and let your soul be touched. The goodness of your soul needs fed, and a song can do that almost as well as the sun breaking through on a rainy day. Close your eyes and let the music caress you and know it, too, links us all.

Take care, little brother. Live well, little sister. Spring is here.

Yours sincerely,

Lila Meyer,

Posted by Mamamontezz at 02:21 AM | Comments (1)

March 04, 2005

Call for Help: Cpl. Ryan Autery

Okay. Don't buy my book right now. Do this instead.

Make checks to ''Ryan A. Autery Medical Transition Fund'' and send donations to: Bank of America, Nissan Banking Center, Attn: Mark Combs, P. O. Box 2206 Smyrna, Tenn. 37167. Please include Combs' name in the address.

His family needs your help.

And my thanks as an American, as an ex-military-brat, and as a supporter of our men and women in uniform to Mr. Tim Chavez of the Tennesseean for his consistant and compassionate support for our troops and their families. Mr. Chavez, sadly people like you are too few and too far between. I salute you.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:24 AM | Comments (3)

February 06, 2005

I Want To Shake Their Hands!

We've all heard the meme the last several days about Lt. Gen. Jim Mattis and the Eeeevil, Vile things he said regarding the amusement value of shooting bad guys in a war. We've all seen the Outrage, the miles of text dedicated to denouncing this man for what he said and demanding Punishment for expressing something so blatently violent and unforgivable.

At least, that was, until today. In an insightful piece by Ralph Peters, himself a retired Army officer, we find out just how on the mark this Lt. General was, and how the press manipulated both his quotes and the situation to further their own agenda against both the military and the ongoing war against terrorism as currently personified by the hostilities in Afganistan and Iraq.

The hypocrisy is stunning. Gen. Mattis told the truth about a fundamental human activity — war — and was treated as though he had dropped a nuclear weapon on an orphanage. Yet when some bozo on a talk show confesses to an addiction or a perversion in front of millions of viewers, he's lionized as "courageous" for speaking out.

Sorry. It's men like Jim Mattis who are courageous. The rest of us barely glimpse the meaning of the word.

Go read the rest of the article. And General Mattis, any time you are in Indianapolis, I would be humbled and proud for the opportunity to shake your hand. The same for you, Mr. Peters.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:16 PM | Comments (2)

January 31, 2005

Thank you

This is really beautiful. If you have a few minutes, take the time to watch this and say a little Thank You for those who are in harm's way tonight.

Hat tip to Queenie for this beautiful piece.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:08 AM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2005

Response to your email, Aza Zel

Well, on the "It's Monkeytime" post below, I received a comment from an individual. In this comment, he made wild accusations, published my IP, and threatened a restraining order.

I responded publicly in a following comment, and in an email. Thinking that perhaps my email had been hacked and used by some moron, I explained to this gentleman that it had happened before, and that I am using numerous anti-spyway and other odd programs to try to keep this from happening again.

I also informed this man that as he had chosen to make a public attack against me on my own blog, I had banned his IP. As I have said before, this is my blog, my space, and I'll conduct my blog the way I want. Period. Shit on the carpet in my livingroom, and I'll show you the door and lock it behind you.

Interestingly enough, today I get this email from the same individual. I want to share it with you to see if you can understand his obviously disturbed and seriously misinformed rambling:

Yeah, well guess what, you started the civil war. the Donavon and mama track same IP and that error crap was right off Donavon and u can find out anything you want about me, I think it's wanna be time. I think you are Beaucoup Dinky Dau.

I'm older than your father, that was our war and I'm sick of people who were in grade school when I was crying watching those beautiful birds getting pushed off the flight deck. Now they are wearing ragged surplus crap and everybody was a LRRP, or Ranger, or Seal.

I don't like coming on the D site, getting threatened and then punked out.

I don't have any pretty ribbons and crap. I got one scar on my left wrist where I slashed it, and the only reason I was crying when the wife called the cops was because I was in the basement with the lights out, and too drunk to find shotgun shells before two cops hog tied me for a free ride to the locked ward.

I don't need your smart mouth, your attention, or blog anything.

Maybe you are for real, if so, this ain't a good day. Support our men and women in the service, bring em home and draft congress.

Does anyone have any idea what this sad person is talking about? I explained in my email to him that I do not troll, nor have I have never trolled the sites of others, any more than I would enter someone's home uninvited and rearrange the furniture. It's not in my nature, nor has it ever been.

I will say this, however, to the person who authored this email: You presume a lot about me. You presume I am some child, some skull full of mush, with no idea about the world around me or the service of those who served in Viet Nam.

True, I cannot claim to have squatted in torrential rains, burdened with not only the equipment needed to survive, but also with the disgusting politics and policies within this country that cut you off at the knees and called you all murderers and baby killers.

I can make no claim to having to muck around in wet boots and socks for days at a time incountry, and watching the skin shred off my feet because there was no way to keep them dry until they healed.

I can make no claim that I have ever been fired at by women, or had grenades pitched at me by children in squatty little hovels in hot, steamy, dirty villages.

I can make no claim that I now carry any baggage, any psychological scars that pulse and scream in the night, taking my very sanity, because of the things I may have seen or was forced to do by circumstance or by following orders.

At the relatively young age of 47, I was too young to serve, turning 18 in 1975. And at the age of only 10 I walked through the wood frame wards of Ft. Ord, past men without faces, men witout arms or legs, men who's beds were shared with the angel of death and the ghosts of the dead they either knew, or were responsible for before being wounded and brought back home to die. My nostrils were filled with the stench of infection and death, and my very soul was imbued with that experience, reinforced each and every time I was taken there to visit the family member who was healing from his own wounds in that awful, dark and desparate place.

I remember being in my late 20's and being invited to participate in a benefit at an American Legion post on the east side of Indianapolis. I remember singing "God Bless America," and all of the big, burly, jean-clad Viet vets standing up and raising their hands, clasped between them, while they cried and sang along. My heart was full of pain for them and what they were enduring, and had endured from the moment they arrived back home. They wore their tattered fatigues, not with shame, but with pride in what they had survived, and what they had done to survive.

But this is not enough. I understand that this is not enough. Nothing I could ever do could ever repay the disemboweled man on the bloody sheets who lay there when I walked past at Ord. Nothing I could ever do will ever repay my cousin for his constant pain over the last almost 40 years because of bones that never fully set and wounds that never really healed. Nothing I could ever say will ever ease the trouble in the minds of those who cannot ever leave the mangrove swamps or rice paddies, or the men who didn't come back with them.

I can, however, protect the memories of those who served. I can say "Thank You" to a man I know for a fact was the 32nd man to graduate from Recondo School, and who served bravely until he was severely wounded. I can say "Thank You" to any man or woman in uniform that I see on the street, and to the little old men who still proudly display the small pins and ribbons on their lapels, symbols of the medals they won for the sacrifices they made.

In the meantime, if you feel the need to continue to harangue me through my email because it either makes you feel better, or gives you some purpose in an otherwise bitter and wasted existance, feel free. You keep right on emailing, and I'll read them. You keep right on talking, and hopefully someday you'll exorcise your demons. If that is the only thing I can do to say "Thank You" or repay what I owe you as an American, I am willing to do so for as long as you feel the need to vent your anger, your frustration, your pain, and your bitterness.

It's the least I could do.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 06:21 PM | Comments (2)

January 28, 2005

Someone I wish I had known.

1st Lt. Nainoa K. Hoe, a man who believed in what he was doing, a man who served both as an enlisted man and most recently as an officer in the 25th Infantry, was killed by a single shot from a sniper in Mosul on Saturday, January 22, 2005.

What this article in the Honolulu Advertiser doesn't tell you is why he was where he was on that day. An item which Laura Ingraham read this evening on her show tells much more about this man and how much he believed in his troops, how he held up their morale, and how he worked toward the goal of a successful election on this coming Sunday.

There is a link on her site to an item in the Washington Post regarding this man and his sacrifice. You'll have to register to read it. Please do.

Lt. Hoe, our prayers are with you and your family. God Bless.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:20 PM | Comments (3)

January 19, 2005

From a Boot on the Ground

Well, one of the blog-children has a piece that needs to be read. Not only one piece, but two from persons who know intimately the situation not just in Iraq proper, but specifically in Fallujah.

You read pieces like this every day, as I do, on many of the mil-blogs, particularly Blackfive, and even on some of the more mainstream sites. Yet for reasons one can only attribute to blind hatred of our Commander in Chief, the powers that be, whether it is at Network News, the rapidly more obsolete big city dailys, or mass publication magazines either refuses to acknowledge the information in them, or decide to deride it as propaganda from the CIA, as happened within the last few days to Iraq the Model. The item referred to in the BBC piece is in the NYTimes, and if you feel like looking for it, feel free. I, for one, refuse for the most part to register my personal information to read a news item, particularly from a bastion of anti-middle class, anti-military rhetoric such as the likes of the Old Grey Zombie.

What this all amounts to is this: we, as citizens of this country, regardless of our political beliefs or even our stand on matters of state, policy, or military issues, has got to do our homework. We owe it to ourselves as citizens, and particularly to those who sucked it up, took the oath, and stand ready to not only defend our nation from immediate threat, but also from the threat which oozes unchecked from other nations in the form of terrorism, misinformation, or political pressure. We cannot accept as gospel truth anything we read without checking it and often times even double or triple checking what is presented to us as fact.

Dan Rather was not the problem with the media. He was and remains merely a symptom.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:29 AM | Comments (3)

December 14, 2004

"Taking Chance" -A Revisting

In April of this year, Matt at Blackfive posted this account by Lt. Col. M.R. Stroble, USMC. Given the events of the last several days, and because I just needed to read it again, I am reproducing the account in its entirety.

I found it as moving and profound in this most recent reading as I did the first time I encountered it those many months ago.

23 Apr 04 – The enclosed article was written by LtCol M.R. Strobl USMC who is assigned to MCCDC Quantico, VA and served as the officer who escorted the remains of PFC C. Phelps USMC from Dover AFB, DE to his home. PFC Phelps was assigned to 3d Bn, 11th Marines – an artillery unit functioning as a provisional infantry battalion during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 2. PFC Phelps was killed in action from a gunshot wound received on 9 Apr 04 during combat operations west of Baghdad. He was buried in Dubois, WY on 17 Apr 04.

Chance Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday. Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn’t know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him.

Over a year ago, I volunteered to escort the remains of Marines killed in Iraq should the need arise. The military provides a uniformed escort for all casualties to ensure they are delivered safely to the next of kin and are treated with dignity and respect along the way.

Thankfully, I hadn’t been called on to be an escort since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. The first few weeks of April, however, had been a tough month for the Marines. On the Monday after Easter I was reviewing Department of Defense press releases when I saw that a Private First Class Chance Phelps was killed in action outside of Baghdad. The press release listed his hometown—the same town I’m from. I notified our Battalion adjutant and told him that, should the duty to escort PFC Phelps fall to our Battalion, I would take him.

I didn’t hear back the rest of Monday and all day Tuesday until 1800. The Battalion duty NCO called my cell phone and said I needed to be ready to leave for Dover Air Force Base at 1900 in order to escort the remains of PFC Phelps.

Before leaving for Dover I called the major who had the task of informing Phelps’s parents of his death. The major said the funeral was going to be in Dubois, Wyoming. (It turned out that PFC Phelps only lived in my hometown for his senior year of high school.) I had never been to Wyoming and had never heard of Dubois.
With two other escorts from Quantico, I got to Dover AFB at 2330 on Tuesday night. First thing on Wednesday we reported to the mortuary at the base. In the escort lounge there were about half a dozen Army soldiers and about an equal number of Marines waiting to meet up with “their” remains for departure. PFC Phelps was not ready, however, and I was told to come back on Thursday. Now, at Dover with nothing to do and a solemn mission ahead, I began to get depressed.

I was wondering about Chance Phelps. I didn’t know anything about him; not even what he looked like. I wondered about his family and what it would be like to meet them. I did pushups in my room until I couldn’t do any more.

On Thursday morning I reported back to the mortuary. This time there was a new group of Army escorts and a couple of the Marines who had been there Wednesday. There was also an Air Force captain there to escort his brother home to San Diego.

We received a brief covering our duties, the proper handling of the remains, the procedures for draping a flag over a casket, and of course, the paperwork attendant to our task. We were shown pictures of the shipping container and told that each one contained, in addition to the casket, a flag. I was given an extra flag since Phelps’s parents were divorced. This way they would each get one. I didn’t like the idea of stuffing the flag into my luggage but I couldn’t see carrying a large flag, folded for presentation to the next of kin, through an airport while in my Alpha uniform. It barely fit into my suitcase.

It turned out that I was the last escort to leave on Thursday. This meant that I repeatedly got to participate in the small ceremonies that mark all departures from the Dover AFB mortuary.

Most of the remains are taken from Dover AFB by hearse to the airport in Philadelphia for air transport to their final destination. When the remains of a service member are loaded onto a hearse and ready to leave the Dover mortuary, there is an announcement made over the building’s intercom system. With the announcement, all service members working at the mortuary, regardless of service branch, stop work and form up along the driveway to render a slow ceremonial salute as the hearse departs. Escorts also participated in each formation until it was their time to leave.

On this day there were some civilian workers doing construction on the mortuary grounds. As each hearse passed, they would stop working and place their hard hats over their hearts. This was my first sign that my mission with PFC Phelps was larger than the Marine Corps and that his family and friends were not grieving alone.

Eventually I was the last escort remaining in the lounge. The Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant in charge of the Marine liaison there came to see me. He had Chance Phelps’s personal effects. He removed each item; a large watch, a wooden cross with a lanyard, two loose dog tags, two dog tags on a chain, and a Saint Christopher medal on a silver chain. Although we had been briefed that we might be carrying some personal effects of the deceased, this set me aback. Holding his personal effects, I was starting to get to know Chance Phelps.

Finally we were ready. I grabbed my bags and went outside. I was somewhat startled when I saw the shipping container, loaded three-quarters of the way in to the back of a black Chevy Suburban that had been modified to carry such cargo. This was the first time I saw my “cargo” and I was surprised at how large the shipping container was. The Master Gunnery Sergeant and I verified that the name on the container was Phelps’s then they pushed him the rest of the way in and we left. Now it was PFC Chance Phelps’s turn to receive the military—and construction workers’—honors. He was finally moving towards home.

As I chatted with the driver on the hour-long trip to Philadelphia, it became clear that he considered it an honor to be able to contribute in getting Chance home. He offered his sympathy to the family. I was glad to finally be moving yet apprehensive about what things would be like at the airport. I didn’t want this package to be treated like ordinary cargo, but I knew that the simple logistics of moving around a box this large would have to overrule my preferences.

When we got to the Northwest Airlines cargo terminal at the Philadelphia airport, the cargo handler and hearse driver pulled the shipping container onto a loading bay while I stood to the side and executed a slow salute. Once Chance was safely in the cargo area, and I was satisfied that he would be treated with due care and respect, the hearse driver drove me over to the passenger terminal and dropped me off.

As I walked up to the ticketing counter in my uniform, a Northwest employee started to ask me if I knew how to use the automated boarding pass dispenser. Before she could finish another ticketing agent interrupted her. He told me to go straight to the counter then explained to the woman that I was a military escort. She seemed embarrassed. The woman behind the counter already had tears in her eyes as I was pulling out my government travel voucher. She struggled to find words but managed to express her sympathy for the family and thank me for my service. She upgraded my ticket to first class.

After clearing security, I was met by another Northwest Airline employee at the gate. She told me a representative from cargo would be up to take me down to the tarmac to observe the movement and loading of PFC Phelps. I hadn’t really told any of them what my mission was but they all knew.

When the man from the cargo crew met me, he, too, struggled for words. On the tarmac, he told me stories of his childhood as a military brat and repeatedly told me that he was sorry for my loss. I was starting to understand that, even here in Philadelphia, far away from Chance’s hometown, people were mourning with his family.

On the tarmac, the cargo crew was silent except for occasional instructions to each other. I stood to the side and saluted as the conveyor moved Chance to the aircraft. I was relieved when he was finally settled into place. The rest of the bags were loaded and I watched them shut the cargo bay door before heading back up to board the aircraft.

One of the pilots had taken my carry-on bag himself and had it stored next to the cockpit door so he could watch it while I was on the tarmac. As I boarded the plane, I could tell immediately that the flight attendants had already been informed of my mission. They seemed a little choked up as they led me to my seat.

About 45 minutes into our flight I still hadn’t spoken to anyone except to tell the first class flight attendant that I would prefer water. I was surprised when the flight attendant from the back of the plane suddenly appeared and leaned down to grab my hands. She said, “I want you to have this” as she pushed a small gold crucifix, with a relief of Jesus, into my hand. It was her lapel pin and it looked somewhat worn. I suspected it had been hers for quite some time. That was the only thing she said to me the entire flight.

When we landed in Minneapolis, I was the first one off the plane. The pilot himself escorted me straight down the side stairs of the exit tunnel to the tarmac. The cargo crew there already knew what was on this plane. They were unloading some of the luggage when an Army sergeant, a fellow escort who had left Dover earlier that day, appeared next to me. His “cargo” was going to be loaded onto my plane for its continuing leg. We stood side by side in the dark and executed a slow salute as Chance was removed from the plane. The cargo crew at Minneapolis kept Phelps’s shipping case separate from all the other luggage as they waited to take us to the cargo area. I waited with the soldier and we saluted together as his fallen comrade was loaded onto the plane.

My trip with Chance was going to be somewhat unusual in that we were going to have an overnight stopover. We had a late start out of Dover and there was just too much traveling ahead of us to continue on that day. (We still had a flight from Minneapolis to Billings, Montana, then a five-hour drive to the funeral home. That was to be followed by a 90-minute drive to Chance’s hometown.)

I was concerned about leaving him overnight in the Minneapolis cargo area. My ten-minute ride from the tarmac to the cargo holding area eased my apprehension. Just as in Philadelphia, the cargo guys in Minneapolis were extremely respectful and seemed honored to do their part. While talking with them, I learned that the cargo supervisor for Northwest Airlines at the Minneapolis airport is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves. They called him for me and let me talk to him.

Once I was satisfied that all would be okay for the night, I asked one of the cargo crew if he would take me back to the terminal so that I could catch my hotel’s shuttle. Instead, he drove me straight to the hotel himself. At the hotel, the Lieutenant Colonel called me and said he would personally pick me up in the morning and bring me back to the cargo area.

Before leaving the airport, I had told the cargo crew that I wanted to come back to the cargo area in the morning rather than go straight to the passenger terminal. I felt bad for leaving Chance overnight and wanted to see the shipping container where I had left it for the night. It was fine.

The Lieutenant Colonel made a few phone calls then drove me around to the passenger terminal. I was met again by a man from the cargo crew and escorted down to the tarmac. The pilot of the plane joined me as I waited for them to bring Chance from the cargo area. The pilot and I talked of his service in the Air Force and how he missed it.

I saluted as Chance was moved up the conveyor and onto the plane. It was to be a while before the luggage was to be loaded so the pilot took me up to the board the plane where I could watch the tarmac from a window. With no other passengers yet on board, I talked with the flight attendants and one of the cargo guys. He had been in the Navy and one of the attendants had been in the Air Force. Everywhere I went, people were continuing to tell me their relationship to the military. After all the baggage was aboard, I went back down to the tarmac, inspected the cargo bay, and watched them secure the door.

When we arrived at Billings, I was again the first off the plane. This time Chance’s shipping container was the first item out of the cargo hold. The funeral director had driven five hours up from Riverton, Wyoming to meet us. He shook my hand as if I had personally lost a brother.

We moved Chance to a secluded cargo area. Now it was time for me to remove the shipping container and drape the flag over the casket. I had predicted that this would choke me up but I found I was more concerned with proper flag etiquette than the solemnity of the moment. Once the flag was in place, I stood by and saluted as Chance was loaded onto the van from the funeral home. I was thankful that we were in a small airport and the event seemed to go mostly unnoticed. I picked up my rental car and followed Chance for five hours until we reached Riverton. During the long trip I imagined how my meeting with Chance’s parents would go. I was very nervous about that.

When we finally arrived at the funeral home, I had my first face to face meeting with the Casualty Assistance Call Officer. It had been his duty to inform the family of Chance’s death. He was on the Inspector/Instructor staff of an infantry company in Salt Lake City, Utah and I knew he had had a difficult week.

Inside I gave the funeral director some of the paperwork from Dover and discussed the plan for the next day. The service was to be at 1400 in the high school gymnasium up in Dubois, population about 900, some 90 miles away. Eventually, we had covered everything. The CACO had some items that the family wanted to be inserted into the casket and I felt I needed to inspect Chance’s uniform to ensure everything was proper. Although it was going to be a closed casket funeral, I still wanted to ensure his uniform was squared away.

Earlier in the day I wasn’t sure how I’d handle this moment. Suddenly, the casket was open and I got my first look at Chance Phelps. His uniform was immaculate—a tribute to the professionalism of the Marines at Dover. I noticed that he wore six ribbons over his marksmanship badge; the senior one was his Purple Heart. I had been in the Corps for over 17 years, including a combat tour, and was wearing eight ribbons. This Private First Class, with less than a year in the Corps, had already earned six.

The next morning, I wore my dress blues and followed the hearse for the trip up to Dubois. This was the most difficult leg of our trip for me. I was bracing for the moment when I would meet his parents and hoping I would find the right words as I presented them with Chance’s personal effects.

We got to the high school gym about four hours before the service was to begin. The gym floor was covered with folding chairs neatly lined in rows. There were a few townspeople making final preparations when I stood next to the hearse and saluted as Chance was moved out of the hearse. The sight of a flag-draped coffin was overwhelming to some of the ladies.

We moved Chance into the gym to the place of honor. A Marine sergeant, the command representative from Chance’s battalion, met me at the gym. His eyes were watery as he relieved me of watching Chance so that I could go eat lunch and find my hotel.

At the restaurant, the table had a flier announcing Chance’s service. Dubois High School gym; two o’ clock. It also said that the family would be accepting donations so that they could buy flak vests to send to troops in Iraq.

I drove back to the gym at a quarter after one. I could’ve walked—you could walk to just about anywhere in Dubois in ten minutes. I had planned to find a quiet room where I could take his things out of their pouch and untangle the chain of the Saint Christopher medal from the dog tag chains and arrange everything before his parents came in. I had twice before removed the items from the pouch to ensure they were all there—even though there was no chance anything could’ve fallen out. Each time, the two chains had been quite tangled. I didn’t want to be fumbling around trying to untangle them in front of his parents. Our meeting, however, didn’t go as expected.

I practically bumped into Chance’s step-mom accidentally and our introductions began in the noisy hallway outside the gym. In short order I had met Chance’s step-mom and father followed by his step-dad and, at last, his mom. I didn’t know how to express to these people my sympathy for their loss and my gratitude for their sacrifice. Now, however, they were repeatedly thanking me for bringing their son home and for my service. I was humbled beyond words.

I told them that I had some of Chance’s things and asked if we could try to find a quiet place. The five of us ended up in what appeared to be a computer lab—not what I had envisioned for this occasion.

After we had arranged five chairs around a small table, I told them about our trip. I told them how, at every step, Chance was treated with respect, dignity, and honor. I told them about the staff at Dover and all the folks at Northwest Airlines. I tried to convey how the entire Nation, from Dover to Philadelphia, to Minneapolis, to Billings, and Riverton expressed grief and sympathy over their loss.

Finally, it was time to open the pouch. The first item I happened to pull out was Chance’s large watch. It was still set to Baghdad time. Next were the lanyard and the wooden cross. Then the dog tags and the Saint Christopher medal. This time the chains were not tangled. Once all of his items were laid out on the table, I told his mom that I had one other item to give them. I retrieved the flight attendant’s crucifix from my pocket and told its story. I set that on the table and excused myself. When I next saw Chance’s mom, she was wearing the crucifix on her lapel.

By 1400 most of the seats on the gym floor were filled and people were finding seats in the fixed bleachers high above the gym floor. There were a surprising number of people in military uniform. Many Marines had come up from Salt Lake City. Men from various VFW posts and the Marine Corps League occupied multiple rows of folding chairs. We all stood as Chance’s family took their seats in the front.

It turned out that Chance’s sister, a Petty Officer in the Navy, worked for a Rear Admiral—the Chief of Naval Intelligence—at the Pentagon. The Admiral had brought many of the sailors on his staff with him to Dubois pay respects to Chance and support his sister. After a few songs and some words from a Navy Chaplain, the Admiral took the microphone and told us how Chance had died.

Chance was an artillery cannoneer and his unit was acting as provisional military police outside of Baghdad. Chance had volunteered to man a .50 caliber machine gun in the turret of the leading vehicle in a convoy. The convoy came under intense fire but Chance stayed true to his post and returned fire with the big gun, covering the rest of the convoy, until he was fatally wounded.

Then the commander of the local VFW post read some of the letters Chance had written home. In letters to his mom he talked of the mosquitoes and the heat. In letters to his stepfather he told of the dangers of convoy operations and of receiving fire.

The service was a fitting tribute to this hero. When it was over, we stood as the casket was wheeled out with the family following. The casket was placed onto a horse-drawn carriage for the mile-long trip from the gym, down the main street, then up the steep hill to the cemetery. I stood alone and saluted as the carriage departed the high school. I found my car and joined Chance’s convoy.

The town seemingly went from the gym to the street. All along the route, the people had lined the street and were waving small American flags. The flags that were otherwise posted were all at half-staff. For the last quarter mile up the hill, local boy scouts, spaced about 20 feet apart, all in uniform, held large flags. At the foot of the hill, I could look up and back and see the enormity of our procession. I wondered how many people would be at this funeral if it were in, say, Detroit or Los Angeles—probably not as many as were here in little Dubois, Wyoming.

The carriage stopped about 15 yards from the grave and the military pall bearers and the family waited until the men of the VFW and Marine Corps league were formed up and school busses had arrived carrying many of the people from the procession route. Once the entire crowd was in place, the pallbearers came to attention and began to remove the casket from the caisson. As I had done all week, I came to attention and executed a slow ceremonial salute as Chance was being transferred from one mode of transport to another.

From Dover to Philadelphia; Philadelphia to Minneapolis; Minneapolis to Billings; Billings to Riverton; and Riverton to Dubois we had been together. Now, as I watched them carry him the final 15 yards, I was choking up. I felt that, as long as he was still moving, he was somehow still alive.

Then they put him down above his grave. He had stopped moving.

Although my mission had been officially complete once I turned him over to the funeral director at the Billings airport, it was his placement at his grave that really concluded it in my mind. Now, he was home to stay and I suddenly felt at once sad, relieved, and useless.

The chaplain said some words that I couldn’t hear and two Marines removed the flag from the casket and slowly folded it for presentation to his mother. When the ceremony was over, Chance’s father placed a ribbon from his service in Vietnam on Chance’s casket. His mother approached the casket and took something from her blouse and put it on the casket. I later saw that it was the flight attendant’s crucifix. Eventually friends of Chance’s moved closer to the grave. A young man put a can of Copenhagen on the casket and many others left flowers.

Finally, we all went back to the gym for a reception. There was enough food to feed the entire population for a few days. In one corner of the gym there was a table set up with lots of pictures of Chance and some of his sports awards. People were continually approaching me and the other Marines to thank us for our service. Almost all of them had some story to tell about their connection to the military. About an hour into the reception, I had the impression that every man in Wyoming had, at one time or another, been in the service.

It seemed like every time I saw Chance’s mom she was hugging a different well wisher. As time passed, I began to hear people laughing. We were starting to heal.

After a few hours at the gym, I went back to the hotel to change out of my dress blues. The local VFW post had invited everyone over to “celebrate Chance’s life.” The Post was on the other end of town from my hotel and the drive took less than two minutes. The crowd was somewhat smaller than what had been at the gym but the Post was packed.

Marines were playing pool at the two tables near the entrance and most of the VFW members were at the bar or around the tables in the bar area. The largest room in the Post was a banquet/dinning/dancing area and it was now called “The Chance Phelps Room.” Above the entry were two items: a large portrait of Chance in his dress blues and the Eagle, Globe, & Anchor. In one corner of the room there was another memorial to Chance. There were candles burning around another picture of him in his blues. On the table surrounding his photo were his Purple Heart citation and his Purple Heart medal. There was also a framed copy of an excerpt from the Congressional Record. This was an elegant tribute to Chance Phelps delivered on the floor of the United States House of Representatives by Congressman Scott McInnis of Colorado. Above it all was a television that was playing a photo montage of Chance’s life from small boy to proud Marine.

I did not buy a drink that night. As had been happening all day, indeed all week, people were thanking me for my service and for bringing Chance home. Now, in addition to words and handshakes, they were thanking me with beer. I fell in with the men who had handled the horses and horse-drawn carriage. I learned that they had worked through the night to groom and prepare the horses for Chance’s last ride. They were all very grateful that they were able to contribute.

After a while we all gathered in the Chance Phelps room for the formal dedication. The Post commander told us of how Chance had been so looking forward to becoming a Life Member of the VFW. Now, in the Chance Phelps Room of the Dubois, Wyoming post, he would be an eternal member. We all raised our beers and the Chance Phelps room was christened.

Later, as I was walking toward the pool tables, a Staff Sergeant from the Reserve unit in Salt Lake grabbed me and said, “Sir, you gotta hear this.” There were two other Marines with him and he told the younger one, a Lance Corporal, to tell me his story. The Staff Sergeant said the Lance Corporal was normally too shy and modest to tell it but now he’d had enough beer to overcome his usual tendencies.

As the Lance Corporal started to talk, an older man joined our circle. He wore a baseball cap that indicated he had been with the 1st Marine Division in Korea. Earlier in the evening he had told me about one of his former commanding officers; a Colonel Puller.

So, there I was, standing in a circle with three Marines recently returned from fighting with the 1st Marine Division in Iraq and one not so recently returned from fighting with the 1st Marine Division in Korea. I, who had fought with the 1st Marine Division in Kuwait, was about to gain a new insight into our Corps.

The young Lance Corporal began to tell us his story. At that moment, in this circle of current and former Marines, the differences in our ages and ranks dissipated—we were all simply Marines.

His squad had been on a patrol through a city street. They had taken small arms fire and had literally dodged an RPG round that sailed between two Marines. At one point they received fire from behind a wall and had neutralized the sniper with a SMAW round. The back blast of the SMAW, however, kicked up a substantial rock that hammered the Lance Corporal in the thigh; only missing his groin because he had reflexively turned his body sideways at the shot.

Their squad had suffered some wounded and was receiving more sniper fire when suddenly he was hit in the head by an AK-47 round. I was stunned as he told us how he felt like a baseball bat had been slammed into his head. He had spun around and fell unconscious. When he came to, he had a severe scalp wound but his Kevlar helmet had saved his life. He continued with his unit for a few days before realizing he was suffering the effects of a severe concussion.

As I stood there in the circle with the old man and the other Marines, the Staff Sergeant finished the story. He told of how this Lance Corporal had begged and pleaded with the Battalion surgeon to let him stay with his unit. In the end, the doctor said there was just no way—he had suffered a severe and traumatic head wound and would have to be med’evaced.

The Marine Corps is a special fraternity. There are moments when we are reminded of this. Interestingly, those moments don’t always happen at awards ceremonies or in dress blues at Birthday Balls. I have found, rather, that they occur at unexpected times and places: next to a loaded moving van at Camp Lejeune’s base housing, in a dirty CP tent in northern Saudi Arabia, and in a smoky VFW post in western Wyoming.

After the story was done, the Lance Corporal stepped over to the old man, put his arm over the man’s shoulder and told him that he, the Korean War vet, was his hero. The two of them stood there with their arms over each other’s shoulders and we were all silent for a moment. When they let go, I told the Lance Corporal that there were recruits down on the yellow footprints tonight that would soon be learning his story.

I was finished drinking beer and telling stories. I found Chance’s father and shook his hand one more time. Chance’s mom had already left and I deeply regretted not being able to tell her goodbye.

I left Dubois in the morning before sunrise for my long drive back to Billings. It had been my honor to take Chance Phelps to his final post. Now he was on the high ground overlooking his town.

I miss him.

LtCol Strobl

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:57 PM | Comments (3)

December 08, 2004

My Letters

I have finally written my letters for the Letter Project, Christmas Edition. This is the first one, the other two are continued below. Please, feel free to add your letters to this in the comments, or write one and post it on your blog with a trackback to Slagle's post.

To the brave man who fights alongside our brave sisters,

Little Brother,

Often are the times I think of my young brothers in Iraq and hope so hard that you are doing well.

As I get ready for the holidays, I wish there were a way to bring you home, if even for just a few brief moments. If it were possible, I would wish you home to sit beneath the tree in a warm, dark room and watch the lights twinkle and glitter. To feel the warmth of the smouldering embers as the fire in the fireplace slowly dies to a soft red glow.

I would wish you home to raid the refrigerator in the middle of a dark, starry night for a sandwich made from the leftovers of Christmas dinner, and a cold long-neck of your favorite beer. To walk from a hot shower to your chest of drawers for clean, soft underwear and socks and your favorite jeans and t-shirt. I would wish this for you tonight.

I would wish you a few sweet moments in the sweet embrace of your love, to stroke her hair and kiss the salty tears from her eyes as she dreams of you and wants for you to come home. To watch your little angel asleep in bed, all innocence and love and hopes and dreams.

Sadly, wishes do not always come true, however badly we want them for someone. But be comforted in knowing that each of us holds you in our wishes and prayers today.

Thank you, little brother, for being where you are, for doing what you do, and for doing it for your family here at home, the family of all of us who believe in you and what you do.

With fondness and gratitude,

Lila Meyer

To the brave woman who fights alongside our brave brothers,

Little Sister,

I was thinking of all the little sisters overseas and hope that you and all of the others are doing well.

I imagine you're pretty tired of the boy's club by now and would give your left one for a little bit of privacy for even five minutes. Must be a lot like how my aunts must have felt growing up in a home of 13 boys with only one outhouse in the middle of Maine.

We have had pretty warm weather here in Indiana for a December. The days have been in the 40's and 50's, and it just cracks freezing at night, so it's good sleeping weather. Most of the leaves are finally down, and the grass has that pretty green color it gets just before it gets too cold, almost emerald and soft when you look at it. The kids are enjoying this last respite before winter finally begins in earnest, and if I have to run my daughter's coat through the washer one more time to get the muddy dog-prints off of it... Well, you catch my drift.

Anna, my 10 yr old and the apple of my eye, watches the news with me, and sees the faces of both the men and the women like you who are currently in Iraq. She prays for you every day, and when her teacher asked for those things she was thankful for at Thanksgiving, all of you made her list quite prominently. She wants to be a Marine, and I hope she can reach her goal. I was never able to serve, because I was just too big and too out of shape and way to blind even with the RPG's to qualify. I always had wanted to follow in my father's footsteps, a 20 yr USAF retired Master Sergeant. Perhaps his granddaughter will.

We are all keeping you warm in our thoughts and our hearts. I hope that even though you weren't able to be home, you were at least able to enjoy some of the blessings of the season. My little family sends it's love, and cheer, and gratitude to you, today and every day.

With fondness and thanks,

Lila Meyer


To the gentleman who leads my young brothers and sisters,

Kind Sir,

Yours is a thankless job in these days of both the certainties and the uncertainties of war. You make decisions each and every day, moment to moment, the outcome of which you may know instantly and with devastating effect, or not for days, weeks, or even months. Because you do so, because you do everything you can to make the correct decisions for achieving your goals and still safeguard those entrusted to you, I thank you.

Yours is a job that I could not do, and this realization makes me appreciate all the more that you are able, and that you have chosen to do so.

During this season, when you are far from home and familiar sights and sounds, I would wish for you a quiet and uneventful time. To have no after action reports to file, or letters to write to stunned and grieving loved ones.

I would wish that you are able to spend some time either online or over the telephone with those who love you, and whom you love. To hear in their distant voices nothing but love for you.

I would wish that you find yourself surrounded by friends who care deeply for you and share with you the joy they receive from those who love them back home. To enjoy a crumble of fudge made by your radio operator's little girl, or a Crayola drawing by his son.

I would wish that you find comfort in knowing that your efforts are not only appreciated by those to whom you report, but also by the men and women you lead each and every day. To see in their eyes trust, respect, loyalty, and fierce, determined love.

I wish these things for you out of gratitude and respect. You are in the prayers and thoughts, minds and hearts of me and my family as you remain on guard, protecting all we love and cherish.

Fondness and thanks to you,

Lila Meyer,

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:37 PM | Comments (3)

December 07, 2004

December 7, 1941

I wanted you to see the USS Arizona proudly, the way her crew saw her the day they first boarded her, the way she looked when she cruised the Pacific Ocean in the days before her destruction. To use an old quote, "She was Yar."

But hers was not the only story of the attack on Pearl Harbor. There was also the story of the USS Vestal, who was moored next to the Arizona at the time.

USS Vestal

The repair ship Vestal was moored between the Arizona and Ford Island and had already been taking its own share of hits from the enemy bombs. Standing exposed on its deck was Commander Cassin Young, ordering resistance and seeking to organize his crew. The violence of the explosion on the USS Arizona was so intense more than 100 crewmen on the nearby Vestal were thrown into the air and hurled into the oil-covered waters of Pearl Harbor. Commander Cassin Young was among them.

Immediate panic set it. The Vestal appeared to be done for with water flowing into the engine room from an earlier bomb hit. Bulkheads bowed and buckled inward. The ship's commander vaporized along with 100 others in the explosion that destroyed the Arizona and Japanese airplanes kept coming. In a last-ditch effort to save the crew the ship's executive officer issued the order to abandon.

Men were streaming over the sides when an apparition clambered aboard. His uniform drenched with water and his entire body covered with oil, the figure presented an eerie sight standing completely exposed on the Vestal's gangplank. "Where the hell do you men think you are going?" shouted the voice of Commander Cassin Young. Unbelievably he not only survived the blast that hurtled him into the air but also the flaming waters of Pearl Harbor. Determinedly he swam back to save his ship. Looking down at the water, now filled with crewmen who were racing towards shore, he shouted, "Come back here! You're not going to abandon ship on me yet!" Then he strolled the litter-strewn deck, heedless of enemy strafing and bombardment. "All hands back to your battle stations and prepare to get under way," he shouted.

Normal steam pressure for moving the Vestal was 250 pounds. Damaged pipes spewed hot steam into the air and only 50 pounds of pressure could be achieved. On this day, it was enough. Mooring lines to the doomed Arizona were cut and slowly, miraculously, the Vestal moved into open water under the fearless guidance of Commander Cassin Young. Two tugs were commandeered to help the stricken vessel continue its escape from the burning Arizona, but water continued to pour in and it was apparent that the Vestal was sinking. To prevent the loss, Commander Young ran his ship aground on a coral reef at Aiea. The Vestal would sail again, after some repair work, thanks to its fearless skipper's sheer guts and determination.

Many are the stories of bravery under fire, as well as those stories loss and grief. Take a moment and remember the men who survived, and the hell they lived through on that day and afterward. Pray for the souls of those entombed, those never recovered, and those who went on to fight and die to defend their memory and the country they all held dear.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2004

An True American Hero

One of our readers made the following as a comment on my post about Sgt. Engledrum. It wasn't a comment, it was a heartfelt post of it's own, so here it is:

Some people say what this county lacks are real Heroes. I say they are
wrong. This county has plenty of Heroes and Patriots, and a great one
died on this day December 1, 2004 while serving his country in Iraq.

That alone makes him a hero for he made the ultimate sacrifice for his
country and our way of life. However, this man did so much more than that.
On September 11, 2001, he along with many other members of the NYFD
charged into the gates of Hell of what once were the World Trade Centers,
and 343 did not come back along with 2,792 other who died when the planes
stuck the towers and then collapsed.

In the mist of searching for survivors, this man and two other found a battered and dirty American flag that fell, and out of respect for the flag, love for their county, and defiance to bastards that did that heinous act, they hung that flag up for all the world to feel.

Did he retire? Did he write a book?, no ladies and gentlemen he went to war.

Citizens of the United States of America

I say ye Christian P. Engeldrum, citizen,police officer, fireman, solider, patriot,
hero, American, may he always be remembered and never forgotten.

Let us not forget wife and two sons and the hard journey that they have ahead
of them.

Save a Prayer

God Bless America

Spider John

Posted by Delftsman3 at 05:41 PM | Comments (1)

December 01, 2004

Sgt. Christian P. Engeldrum, A True American Hero

We all remember the torment and grief of September 11, 2001, and the pain in the faces of the various police, EMS workers, and firemen on the scene as they struggled with the unalterable fact that four passenger planes had changed the world forever and had taken so many of their badged brothers and sisters with them.

And a great many of us also remember the pride and redemption we felt when we watched that small group of responders, exhausted from digging for the missing and the lost in the ruins of war as they raised the flag, the American flag on a tilted and damaged flag pole in the midst of the smoking rubble.

People who were old enough to remember looked at the tableau and saw this act as a victory, an act of defiance against those who had perpetrated an act of war against out nation. "Ground Zero Iwo Jima" it was called.

We lost a little piece of that history this week.

One of those brave and defiant firemen was Sgt. Christian P. Engeldrum. He was a former policeman, a former member of the Army, and a former fireman. He left the New York Fire Department to rejoin the military and fight in the war on terror, and on Monday, November 29, 2004, he became a casualty of that war.

Sgt. Engeldrum was killed in when when his vehicle came under attack outside Baghdad. With him when he was killed was Daniel J. Swift, who served with him in the NYFD and also left to serve in the military.

Either one of them could have remained in the relative safety of NYC and worked until retirement age. Either one of them could have written a book, made a movie deal, and lived on the stories of their experiences during and after that horrible event. Instead they decided to volunteer and take the war that was brought to them and throw it back to those who brought it.

Now Sgt. Engeldrum truly is in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Posted by Delftsman3 at 10:16 PM | Comments (3)

November 30, 2004

LCpl. Kyle Renehan Update

I just got out of AIM with Spence, the brother of LCpl. Kyle Renehan, and I have some updated information.

Because of some difficulty with the wounds to his leg, they are giving him a transfusion and are holding him in Iraq until the wound closes enough to make air travel safer. He is still sedated heavily and basically unconscious.

He will remain in Iraq until tomorrow night. They will start the process of waking him tomorrow, and reassess any damage to his brain. LCpl Chris will remain with him until he is moved, which is very good for Kyle. I'm sure he is talking Kyle's ear off, and that's good for both of them at this point.

Spence also said that he appreciates all of the kindness shown during this situation. Good and wonderful people have been hitting the Paypal link and doing what they can to assist his family, and it was overwhelming.

If you can help with prayer, please do so for Kyle and for his parents who are taking this very hard and need your support.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 02:51 PM | Comments (5)

November 29, 2004

Pray for One of Our Own

Lance Corporal Kyle Renehan, USMC, was seriously injured during a mortar attack in Fallujah today. LCpl Renehan is one of the Loyal Citizens older brother (Spencer,AKA SLG).

Beth has the details on her blog Yeah,right,Whatever and will be updating it as more details come in.

This man is one of our own, please keep LCpl Renehan in your prayers and with the hope that he makes a full recovery.


Posted by Delftsman3 at 08:24 PM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2004

True Life

You want to know what the life of a combat soldier is like?

Go read this first person account of a platoon leader in Iraq. These men do what they do because of their devotion to their fellow soldiers, that is the one enduring truth in war.

You might take note of the fact that the war experience is not the same for all soldiers in Iraq. It makes a difference on where you are and what your job specialty is.

That does not denigrate anyone's experience, but it does show that war is like the parable of the elephant and the blind men; each man's description is dependent on what part of the elephant he happened to feel.

I once related to a friend some of my experiences in Cold War Germany, he told me that he had other friends there at the same time who refuted that what I had experienced was what it was "really like". All I can say is that was their tale and I stand by mine. I'm sure that if I had spent all my tour at Ramstein AB, my experiences there would have been vastly different than they were.

In the end, the only thing that truly matters is that you are there for your fellows when the going gets rough, and you do what needs to be done despite the fear, exhaustion, frustration and discomfort, and remembering that while those in the rear may not have experienced the same things you have, you could not have done your job without them.


Posted by Delftsman3 at 05:50 PM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2004

The SHAME of our Country

Bill Faith over at Small Town Veteran has a post linked to a story that emphasizes something that in our fervor to support the troops that we don't seem to talk about; what happens to their families when one of our brave men makes the ultimate sacrifice.

We all seem to assume something that couldn't be farther than the shameful truth. We think that the military will naturally assist those left behind.

In fact, unless they meet an arcane and red-tape ridden set of qualifications, the only thing the family gets is a one time death benefit of $12,000. They may receive $250,000 IF the service member opted to pay the premiums for the insurance from his already meager pay. Think how far that amount of money would go when raising a family on your own for the next eighteeen years,and you can see that we do not seem to return the soldiers sacrifice with anything but yellow ribbons and a hollow thanks.

If they are in base housing, they will be asked to vacate within a month of the service members death. The health coverage at military/veteran facilities only last for three years after the service members death. SOME long time service members do receive SBC(survivor benefit compensation)...it amounts to 55% of a service members RETIREMENT pay, which in the best case is 75% of his last highest permanent pay grade.

Remember that in many cases,especially in the enlisted ranks, a soldiers FULL rate of pay qualifies his family for food stamps and ADC payments in the civilian world! Now imagine trying to live on 55% of 75% of that same pay, and realize that only a fraction of servicemen's families even qualify for that, and we have what can only be termed a national scandal on our hands.

We as a nation owe it to the Briannas that are left behind.

I join my voice to Bill Faiths:

... GOD DAMN IT TO HELL, PEOPLE! Is this what our Warriors deserve? Is this how we reward an all volunteer force? Don't the men and women dying for our country deserve to at least know their loved ones will be taken care of? Who's going to help me make some noise about this? Here's the least that I'll be happy with, and I don't care which side of the aisle it come from. Hell, I could end up voting for a Democrat next time if they do what's right here. I want full pay and benefits continued to surviving spouses for life, or to their surviving children until they're 21, whichever comes last...

Like Bill, I DON'T CARE WHICHside of the aisle this comes from; the only important thing is that IT GETS DONE! Expensive? you bet!, but if we can give a Congressman/Senator a full retirement benefit for life after only two/six years service in the congress, we can damn sure provide for the families of those who gave the last full measure in the service of this country.

Maybe it's time we revisit the compensation we give our Solons in government....put THEM through the same restrictions, qualifications and red tape we put a fallen servicemembers family through in the worst time of their lives, maybe it will serve to wake some of them up.


Posted by Delftsman3 at 09:54 AM | Comments (2)

"A Father's Farewell"

I cannot imagine the gut-wrenching sadness of writing my own child's obituary. In a perfect world, no parent would ever be placed in the position of burying a child.

Today, on the Federalist Patriot site we see a father doing exactly that, and doing so in a powerful, personal, and touching way.

"My son, the soldier, comes home for good.

At last report he had left Iraq and was waiting a flight in Kuwait. With luck he will be in Germany today and then on to Texas. By the way, he is called "remains" but I know better. He is my son.

I want to tell you about him. Not because he is so great a guy - although I think so, but because he represents the thousands of sons and daughters America is sending to far away places to secure our peace and our liberties at home."

Retired Colonel Tom Sims, a grieving yet proud and realistic father, saw his son through the eyes not only of a parent, but of a fellow warrior, and articulates this with an honesty and a love no one but a father can feel.

This is a better country for having know both father and son.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:44 AM | Comments (2)

November 26, 2004

Phantom Warriors

I have always been a reader, generally a pretty indiscriminate reader
who could find something of interest or pleasure in almost any
collection of printed words. Yes, I have even been the butt of jokes about
reading cereal boxes and beer bottles if there was nothing else to read.

But as loose as the quality control may seem to be for my reading
habits, things are not always as they appear.

Currently I am in the midst of book 1 of Phantom Warriors by Gary A.
Linderer. Originally I purchased the book on Ebay because I was meeting
an individual who's story was in the book, and I wanted to have him
sign a copy for me. Of course, I find out later that he is actually in
book 2, but he was gracious about signing my tome anyway. It is destined
for my father as a Christmas present, but in the meantime I have been
reading it during lulls and breaks at work.

The story of the Long Range Recon Patrols (LRRP), Long Range Patrols
(LRP), and Rangers deployed in Viet Nam is told one incident at a time,
intimately and with no varnish or flowery prose. Each incident it
recounted with a vivid intensity which often times makes it extremely
difficult to move from one to the next.

Even for a woman who has never worn camo or looked down the business
end of a rifle, the read has been exceptional. Gary Linderer has taken
the tragedies, the celebrations, and the visceral, filthy and dangerous
episodes between them, and relayed them in a way that is both
informative and stirring.

It is my understanding that the hardback edition of Phantom Warriors,
Book 1 is out of print, but I have seen both the larger "trade size"
soft cover and the traditional paperback editions at Barnes and Noble.
You can also do as I did and haunt Ebay until one turns up. I have not checked Amazon, but I would almost bet you can get both new and used copies there as well.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:17 PM | Comments (3)

November 25, 2004

My Soldier

Manhattanville College has begun a program to match pen pals to enlisted personnel called the "My Soldier" program.

The program was created by Juan Salas, an active U.S. Army Sergeant who also is a Manhattanville student. Salas, a naturalized US citizen originally from Venezuela, served for almost two years in Iraq, where he saw active combat duty and was commended for his part in saving the life of a child. Though the experience changed his life, today Salas is back home on campus, playing soccer and going to classes. For Salas, the My Soldier program is a way to give something to his fellow soldiers who are still in Iraq.

I was watching Fox News tonight after copious gastronomical delights, and they interviewed Sgt. Salas and the president of Manhattanville college, Richard A. Berman. They were very enthusiastic about their program, and this enthusiasm was infectous.

Follow the link above and read about this great outreach on the Manhattanville College web page. And if you have the time in your lives and the place in your heart for participating, please do so. As Sgt. Salas said, nothing feels as good as a letter from home in your hands. The letters are read and re-read, passed from one friend to the next, and are a real morale booster for those who genuinely need it.

And if you, too, are a blogger, spread the word to your readers. The more the merrier. Small Town Vet is already on the bandwagon. And Jack at Conservative Insurgent is on board as well. Join the party. There's plenty of room for all.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:27 PM | Comments (1)

November 24, 2004

Linky Lovin's

Let me preface this by saying that B.D. Faith is one of the good guys. His site, Small Town Veteran, is always a good read from the perspective of (in his words) a "Baby boomer, nerdy kid, Viet Nam veteran, engineer, daddy, grandpa, Politically Incorrect, Proud Anti-Idiotarian". You always know exactly where he stands.

I'm glad I sent him the link to the story of Marine Lance Corporal Cory Hixon the other day, because true to form he did the story of the brave young man justice. And he copied the entire article from the small town newspaper so that it would not be lost.

Go, read, and make sure you have Small Town Veteran in your blogrolls.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 12:00 AM | Comments (2)

November 22, 2004

Torture Rooms Found

A Marine makes a split second life and death decision; it's caught on tape by an embedded camera man/reporter;It's FRONT PAGE news for days...

Now in the course of liberating Fallujah, our men have found evidence of Torture Rooms in at least 20 locations.

What amount of coverage is there in the MSM? It is an AP report, so they certainly have seen it, yet the only place that has put it out as of yet is Yahoo Online News....

Just the fact that Coallition forces took control of Fallujah at a 21.4 to 1 casaulty rate is a story in and of itself; conventional wisdom has always predicted that in an urban warfare scenerio, the attacking force would sustain at least a 25 to 30% casaulty rate. Yet all we would garner from listening to the MSM is that we are in a deep quagmire, where the insurgents Islamofacists are striking at will and decimating the Marines, indeed, WE have no control of anything at all in Iraq, according to the MSM reporting.

"Journalists quick to judge the Marine are more forgiving when it comes to the terrorists. "They're not bad guys, especially, just people who disagree with us," said MSNBC's Chris Matthews."

Who could take anything that Chris Matthews says seriously ever again?

STILL think the MSM DOESN'T have an anti-American bias?


Posted by Delftsman3 at 03:48 PM | Comments (2)

F-16 30, Islamofacists 0

I have a cousin-in-law that is in a defense related field that sometimes can send me some de-classified field footage from the battlefield perspective.

Go right here and you can observe just how flexible our field operations can be.

What you will see is the F-16 pilots eye view of a tasked mission. The mission was to deliver a laser guided munition on a building suspected of being an insurgent Islamofacist sally point. After the missile is fired, the pilot notices that aproximately 30 of the goblins are exiting the building, heading to a nearby gun battle of Goblins and Marines; the pilot notifies his Forward Air Controller and asks if the mission task should be changed to the new threat, the Air Controller agrees and the targeting of the missile is changed to the group of combatants. Keep in mind that the pilot is flying the plane, talking with a controller, and managing the flight of his armament all at the same time.

Results? Scratch 30 threats to our ground troops, HOO--AH!


Posted by Delftsman3 at 10:37 AM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2004

Hero or War Criminal?

All of the crap being put out in the MSM and Al Jazeera about the incident involving the young Marine in Falluja "executing" aninsurgent Islamofacist has brought home just what a spot our guys in uniform are going through. The fact is that this is the same thing soldiers have gone through for time immemorial,. The only thing that has changed is that with modern comunications being as good as they are, now the general population hears about these incidents as the echo of a gun shot is still hanging in the air.

Small Town Veteran has a post up with a first person account of something similar that occured in Viet Nam in 1969. The results were different, but the situation wasn't all that dissimilar.

The general population has no right to judge any of these incidents; unless you have been there in a split-second life or death decision moment, you can not know what is really going on in the minds of any of these men. The ironic thing is that this young Marine is being hoisted on the petard by one of the representatives of one our most cherished rights, that of a free press with free speech as the standard norm, and what he is there in Iraq defending.

The problem as I see it is that the press has forgotten that with the right of free speech comes the responsibility of presenting ALL the facts surrounding any story, and thinking of how their reporting may affect the attitudes of the general population, our soldiers, and our enemies.

This was true in Viet Nam as well. In fact, I would contend that this lack of living up to the responsibilities led to our "loss" in that conflict. We lost not a single military encounter in that conflict, but biased reporting made it seem as if we were losing not only the battles, but that we were animals in pursuit of combat operations.

People that had no experience of combat and guerilla warfare were sitting safe at home decrying the actions of men who were living moment to moment with death as the reward of a wrong decision made in less time than it takes to take one breath. And only the "brutal" decisions made under such circumstances were portrayed, with none of the background surrounding those decisions being shown. You can not judge combat under civilian conditions.

This is not to say that we should not hold our soldiers accountable for their decisions, we can, for we MUST; but you must have all the facts before coming to any judgement, and the MSM is doing a very poor job of that.

It is time that we as a people must demand that the MSM is held as accountable for their actions as are our soldiers.

If we applied the same standards to the media as we demand of our soldiers, I sincerely believe that the media would be found more derelict in their duties than 99.8% of our men and women in uniform.

We still have Abu Gharib thrown up as the definitive example the "brutal" conduct of our soldiers, and yet how much do we hear of the prosecutions of those same soldiers?

During WW2 my father was a member of the Dutch Underground. One of the activities he participated in was lying in wait as his sister would lure a lone German soldier into a dark alley with a promise of sexual favors, whereupon he and and a compatriot would slit the soldier's throat and steal whatever was of use in his possession. Had they even been observed on the streets, they would have been shot by the Germans without even a second thought. They were fully aware of that fact. This was an accepted risk of their activities.

They knew the possible consequences of their actions and accepted the risks. They never held the Germans wrong in doing this, because they knew that in war both sides accepted the consequences.

It seems that our media has forgotton that standards of behaviour in war are different than in a safe civilian environment. It is up to all of us, especially those of us who have experienced the horrors of war, to remind them of the difference and demand that they be held as accountable for their actions as are our soldiers.


update: Lest you still run into Moonbats crying about how Eeeevil our Marines are; refer them to THIS and ask THEM if they still think that Marine was overreacting, or protecting himself and his compatriots...INCLUDING the MSM cameraman that made him the focus of possible war crimes charges...

Posted by Delftsman3 at 01:46 PM | Comments (5)

November 17, 2004

Thank you, Dr. Savage.

Dr. Michael Savage made a excellent point on his radio show last night, and I hope someone from the White House or Pentagon was listening. It needs to be done by them, and it needs to be done quickly.

Savage stated that someone in authority needs to make a public statement of support for the young Marine who shot the insurgent who was trying to pretend that he was asleep. Rumsfield, at the very least, should do this. It would be better if Bush did it. The statement should be something to this effect:

"Brave members of the Marine Corps are currently fighting the terrorists who have kept the good and law abiding citizens of Fallujah from living their lives free from fear, virtual prisoners in their own homes. During the course of fighting, one of these young men, was both observed and taped killing a known insurgent inside a mosque, and this tape has found it's way onto Al Jazeera.

"Needless to say, this has sparked "outrage" among some individuals, the same individuals who defended the beheadings of Daniel Perl and others, and the summary execution of a defenseless woman, a Muslim, who had dedicated her life to the improvement of the human condition in Iraq.

"We are examining this situation carefully and we will determine if this was appropriate to the situation or if there was any wrongdoing on the part of this Marine. Until that time, however, we recognize his had work and bravery in the face of fierce fighting and the unimaginable horrors both witnessed and experienced by he and his fellow warriors during the battle for Fallujah.

"This nation supports him during this time, as we support all of his brothers in this fight. We will not second guess this young man's decision or actions based solely on a video tape taken out of the context his unit's actions during the period preceding this singular event. Nor will we allow a brave member of our armed forces to be damaged unnecessarily. When, and only when, we have indisputable evidence of any wrong doing, actions will be taken.

"Until then, God bless you young man, and thank you for your service in protecting the members of your unit, and ultimately in protecting the United States of America."

Yes, this is what needs to come out of the White House. And it needs to happen now. The people of the world in general, and specifically the terrorists need to know that we will not walk away from one of our own just because they have been able to generate a stench. No arbitrary "Stench" level can be seen as having any effect on our support for the war on terror or the brave individuals involved in it.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 06:58 PM | Comments (3)

November 16, 2004


Here's a story of one damned lucky paratrooper. He fell 3500 feet and only ended up with three cracked vertabrae and a dislocated finger! I can imagine the scene in the house that he landed...

Motunga: Pass the dried cow tongue please.

Mozumbo: here..whats that noise?

Motunga: sounds like a banshee wailing!


Lt. Williams: I say, old boy, would you get that tongue out of my face? Sorry about the roof, I'm sure Her Majesty's government will pay all damages. Oh, and would you call me an ambulance please?



Lt. Williams: I say, you do speak English don't you? I'm in a little pain here, that first step was a little longer than I had expected!

Motunga: Try to get a decent lunch, and it starts raining men! Maybe those old Disco ladies in America were right! Lets's Dance!

Mozumbo: My Roof! My lunch! My God! We weren't prepared for lunch guests!


Posted by Delftsman3 at 01:46 PM | Comments (3)

November 10, 2004

Light 'Em Up!

Eat your heart out Steve McQueen...

What a Stud!

Image provided by The New York Post, via Michelle Malkin

Posted by Darth Monkeybone at 03:33 PM | Comments (2)

November 08, 2004

Sending Old Men To War

My sister sent me this, I don't know who wrote it, but it fits me....I wish they would let ME go in the place of some young turk with his whole life before him;
I would like to believe I could still give a good accounting of myself (a few remarks are mine):

If I could, I'd enlist today and
help my country track down those responsible for killing thousands
of innocent people in New York City
and Washington DC. (HOO-AH!)

But, I'm over 50 now
and the Armed Forces say I'm too old
to track down terrorists.
You can't be older than 35
to join the military.

They've got the whole thing backwards. Instead of sending 18-year-olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys.
You shouldn't be able to join
until you're at least 35. (well, still let the young-uns join, but use us old farts in the rough stuff first!)

For starters:

Researchers say 18-year- olds think about sex every 10 seconds.
Old guys only think about sex
a couple of times a day, (well, I guess I'm STILL 18 in this area LOL)
leaving us more that 28,000
additional seconds per day to
concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven't lived long enough
to be cranky,
and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. If we can't kill the enemy
we'll complain them into submission.
"My back hurts!" "I'm hungry!"
"Where's the remote control?" (This one fits me to a tee!)

An 18-year-old hasn't had a legal beer yet and you shouldn't go to war until
you're at least old enough to legally drink. An average old guy, on the other hand,
has consumed 126,000 gallons of beer
by the time he's 35 and
a jaunt through the desert heat
with a backpack and M-60
would do wonders for the old beer belly. (I could SURE use this!)

An 18-year-old
doesn't like to get up before 10 a.m.

Old guys get up early every morning to pee. (not to mention get up half the night!)

If old guys are captured
we couldn't spill the beans because
we'd probably forget where we put them.
In fact, name, rank, and serial number
would be a real brainteaser. (what was the question?)

Boot camp would actually be easier
for old guys.
We're used to getting screamed
and yelled at (I've been married twice, I don't even hear the yelling any more)

and we actually like soft food.
We've also developed a deep appreciation for guns and rifles.

We like them almost better than naps.

They could lighten up on the
obstacle course however.
I've been in combat and
I didn't see a single 20-foot wall
with rope hanging over the side,
nor did I ever do any pushups
after completing basic training.
I can hear the Drill Sergeant now,
"Get down and give me...er...one."

And the running part
is kind of a waste of energy.
I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old
has the whole world ahead of him.
He's still learning to shave,
to actually carry on a conversation,
and to wear pants without
the top of his butt crack showing and
his boxer shorts sticking out.
He's still hasn't figured out that
a pierced tongue catches food particles, and that a 400-watt speaker
in the back seat of a Honda Accord
can rupture an eardrum.
All great reasons to keep our sons at home to learn a little more about life
before sending them off to possible death.

Let us old guys track down those
dirty rotten cowards
who attacked our hearts on September 11. The last thing the enemy would want to see right now is a couple of million old farts with attitudes.

Posted by Delftsman3 at 03:45 AM | Comments (8)

November 05, 2004

At Last!

Mama found this story from First Coast News.

It demonstrates just what kind of people we were dealing with in Iraq.

Saddam had sent a pound of flesh saying that it was the remains of Capt. Speicher..DNA testing proved to the contrary. Now after 14 years, it is believed that the true remains may have been found, maybe allowing his family to have the closure they need.

The fact that Capt. Speicher survived being shot down and was held captive for an unknown length of time prior to his demise, as the prior government of Iraq claimed that he had died on impact shows that government to not have even had the first concept of honor in war. I, for one, celebrate that we removed that government.

I hope that the DNA testing does prove that the remains do belong to Capt. Speicher. He has waited long enough to return home from his last mission to the rest he earned in his native soil, and his family deserves the chance to lay him to that rest.

Posted by Delftsman3 at 12:48 PM | Comments (3)

October 31, 2004

You can help

Take a moment and get your wallet then come back. I'll wait...

Got your wallet? Credit card? Good.

Sergeant Joseph Bozik, an Airborne Soldier with the 118th MP Company (Airborne) from Ft. Bragg, was recently wounded. He has lost both legs and an arm from a landmine, is not not conscious and has many medical complications. On Monday, Sergeant Bozik will be flown into Walter Reed from Landstuhl (Germany).

Unfortunately, the family doesn't have enough money to maintain themselves in a hotel (let alone buy food) for an extended period. The Army paid for airfare for 2 family members and Soldiers' Angels paid for airfare for 2 two more. The Angels can cover hotel expenses for only three days. Fisher House is full so they have to stay at a hotel.

I'm sure you see where this is going. Please go to Blackfive and read the rest of the story. Then take the opportunity to help these people rejoin with their son.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

Someone I would like to know

This story is one of the reasons I still have hope that this country will survive,
as long as we have people like Michael Brown who are willing to put it ALL on the line.

Posted by Delftsman3 at 11:58 AM | Comments (2)

October 30, 2004

Christmas is Coming...

...the goose is getting fat. So is the Montezz Posterior, with all of this pre-Halloween quality control in which I find myself forced to participate. Ah, the pains we take for our families, I tell you. It's a never ending job.

Christmas is another of those neverending holidays. Just when you think it's over, it's time to start up again with no rest for the elves. And our friends, the little BDU elves at Keystone Military are looking for a little workshop help right now for the holidays.

Stockings for the Troops could sure use a little assistance right now. If you can sew stockings, send a bunch of necessary niceties, or drop a few coppers in the alms box, they could sure use it. Christmas is coming fast, much too fast in my opinion, and they need to get this tied up and on the sled ASAP.

These are great folks doing great work for our great military personnel. Kick-in with them and make it even better.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:58 PM | Comments (1)

October 18, 2004

A Poster for our times!

I believe this to be true...it IS that important! VOTE!

Posted by Delftsman3 at 03:13 AM | Comments (2)

Islamofacists: 0, Bradley: 1

Seems that a member of the "Religion of Peace", Fanatic Division, decided to gain entry to Paradise by using himself as an anti-tank mine...the results are obvious.

If only they would all go to their just deserts so futilely!

Thanks to LC Paratus for the link...go to see more military photos at:strategypage.com

Posted by Delftsman3 at 01:16 AM | Comments (3)

Quote of the day

"Marines die. That's what we're here for. But the Corps lives forever...this means you live forever."
R Lee Ermey

Posted by Delftsman3 at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2004

Cpl. Lonnie Young

Some men are just men. Some men are Military Men. And some Military Men are Marines.

This, by God, is a Marine.

Thanks, Slaglerock! Excellent post. And a huge Thank You to Marine Cpl. Lonnie Young. I sleep better in my bed at night knowing there are men like you keeping watch on us all.

Semper Fi!

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:56 PM | Comments (6)

The Letter Project.

You all remember how torqued-off I get when people disrespect military personnel? You remember how that inspired me to write an open letter to the troops that started out like a snowflake and snowballed and ended up starting a drive for letters at Slaglerock's Slaughterhouse? Remember?

Well, after collecting about 300 of these letters, Slagle and I built a site for them and he has been posting them all online. We thought that having a site where our men and women in uniform could go anytime they needed a pick-me-up or a warm message from home was a good idea. No politics, no advertisements, no pressure, just letters from appreciative people.

I want to direct you to The Letter Project, the outcome of our brainchild and of the gracious goodwill of the many many people who cared enough about our troops to take the time to send a letter for posting.

If you know anyone who is serving, whether they are deployed overseas or not, pass along this link. If you want to post a letter to the letter project, you can do so at any time by contacting me at mamamontezz(at)sbcglobal(dot)net. I will make sure it is posted.

Expect this site to evolve over time as we find better ways to get the letters up. And if you have any suggestions for sites to include in the gutter, support sites or humor sites, as long as they are not political, let us know.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 04:24 PM | Comments (1)

August 29, 2004

Care Packages from Donatos pizza?

Early this morning, while lying in bed all warm and snuggly with the Spousal Unit, I heard something on the radio that I haven't been able to verify. Or at least I think I heard it. It may have been one of those restless, half-lit dreams a person has when they're not quite awake yet not quite still asleep.

I heard/dreamed about a Donatos Pizza commercial. The commercial stated that Donatos Pizza was collecting items for the purpose of putting together care packages for our troops overseas. Interested persons could drop off these items at any Donatos in the Indianapolis area, or give them to the driver who delivers their pizza.

Okay, it sounded pretty real to me, but there's nothing on the Donatos Pizza national corporate website about it, and the radio station that's on at work hasn't run any of their ads today. And I'd really like to verify this.

If this is true, I'll be certain to order Donatos this week. I make it a point to support businesses that support our troops, and I always have liked their pizza. Nothing fancy, nothing pretentious, but it at least gets delivered while it's still hot and it's never all slid to one end of the box in a sodden mess.

Anyone else hear about this program in any other region? If this was infact a real commercial and not some dream, please let me know.

Now, what will I order? Mmmmm... Sausage, 'shrooms, and extra cheese... Oh, and Anchovies on the side for the rest of the family. NO fish on pizza for me, thank you.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:19 PM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2004

Deployed letter writers wanted.

I know that some of you readers are still knocking the gritty remnants of the sandbox out of your boots, so I'm going to direct you to something you might be interested in as a participant.

Keystone Military News is asking active-duty deployed servicemembers to act as pen-pals for other active-duty deployed folks who need to hash out mutual experiences. This is the result of a letter from a deployed guy asking for another deployed person with whom he could correspond. And his reasoning is sound: no one but one who's there can understand what he's doing or seeing or feeling in that hole.

If this is something you think you can do, hit that link. And if you've been recently deployed or have some history in that area, maybe they could find a place for you in this project as well. I know I have some good readers here who would be welcome in this endeavor.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:23 PM | Comments (1)

August 13, 2004


Reuters is reporting that al-Sadr has been wounded in fighting in Najaf.

"He was in the cemetery at the time. He was wounded in the chest, arm and leg," Shinabi said. Other spokesmen said Sadr was being treated at the mosque.

There was no independent confirmation.

Considering what our men are using for weapons, this most likely cannot be considered merely flesh-wounds. Infinitely more serious than slivers and wayward grains of rice.

The Mehdi Army has vowed no surrender, and Sadr has urged his militia to keep fighting even if he is killed.

Good. Keep fighting. Keep pointing those weapons. That makes you legitimate targets. Good reactive targets, too.

Let's all hope for a successful outcome to this battle, and a rapid one. And I hope we can find that lump of hamburger before he gives it up so we can have his capture on film. If he bites it on camera, fine. But get his shredded remains alive and on tape.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 02:00 AM | Comments (4)

August 11, 2004

Go! Read! Link!

You all know, if you've read more than a post or two, that I hold a special place in my heart for persons with service in the military, either past or current. I think almost all of my blog children have either a service background or are connected by blood or marriage to someone who does.

Even my blogroll tends toward these men and women and to those who support them.

As such, I want to bring your attention to a blog that needs your support for what it is doing.

Keystone Military News is a remarkable clearinghouse of information and provides a wonderful link for current personnel. I want you to take a moment and go there and see the wonderful works they are involved with.

While you're there, make sure you read the letter and check out the video at the A Soldier's Thanks post. If you don't get a lump in your throat, you have a problem.

Let's see if we can't get this blog a few inbound links and a better spot in the blogosphere than Lowly Insect. I've got my link up. Do your bit.

(Ooo... I wonder... Does this make me a Link-Madame?)

Update: You're doing good! As of today, August 16, they've reached Crawly Amphibian status. Keep up the good work. Let's find these good folks a few more links. And keep them bookmarked for updates as they post them.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 02:56 AM | Comments (4)

August 01, 2004

An Open Letter

To the members of the Armed Services of the United States currently serving overseas in and around Iraq:

I have read the letter from Spc. Joe Roche regarding the impact of Michael Moore's film on the morale of young men and women who have served or are currently serving in Iraq.

The motives of any person who would download this film, burn it to a disk, and mail it to a young, exhausted, and vulnerable man or woman far from home doing what has to be the world's most difficult and thankless job have got to be questioned by sane and rational people. Any person who would do this is nothing less than thoughtless and cruel. I liken this behavior to telling "dead baby jokes" to a couple who has recently lost an infant, or amputee jokes to someone who is still learning to use his newly fitted prosthetics.

Michael Moore has an agenda, a very specific agenda, which he promotes with this film: The overthrow of a sitting president for the purpose of weakening this country and her military. He is Jane Fonda in a fat suit. He very obviously cherry-picked those he interviewed and then edited what was said in such a way to make their words as damning to their fellow fighting men and women as possible, and to undermine all sense of duty, honor, and patriotism in each of you, as well as in as many of us who remain at home as possible.

Spc. Roche is right that the youngest of you is the most vulnerable to his deceits, and because of this, you have been targeted for his venom. By undermining your confidence in yourselves, in your NCOs, in your officers, and ultimately in your Commander-in-Chief, he forwards his agenda and comes ever so much closer to accomplishing that which he prizes and seeks so openly. By turning your pride and spirit into despair and anger, he destroys you and all who depend on you. He knows and depends on the fact that when you begin to question yourself, you become a danger to yourself and to the man or woman who stands beside you, and you become a liability to your comrades, to your unit, and to your mission.

"Farenheit: 911" is a web of half-truths and outright deceits spun together for no other purpose than to become a rallying point for the anarchists, pacifists, and appeasers in this country and abroad. It gives them purpose and puts the fire in their bellies, instigating them to do such contemptible things as phoning the wives and mothers of servicemen, impersonating the Red Cross to give false death notifications. It gives them the nerve to confront returning military personnel at airports and on the streets for the purpose of abusing them much in the same manner as a great many veterans were abused during and after the Viet Nam war.

You may look at this film and feel that this nation views you as so much "cannon fodder" for a war about oil. Nothing could be further from the truth. My family and I are proud supporters of each and every one of you, and of your efforts to make our home a safer place. We are not the exception, but the rule. Our support is quiet. It takes the form of a box of snacks, a letter to a stranger, the anonymous picking up of the check when we see a man in uniform eating alone at a restaurant. It is the envelope with a 4th grade child's hand drawn card saying "I Love You" to a person she's never met.

We don't have the media voice given to those like Michael Moore or his followers, but we are not silent. We write on weblogs such as this one here, and those you find listed on this site. We are appreciative, we are informed, we are supportive of you and of your mission, and we are Legion.

I can only hope that when you see one of those disks being passed about on an installation, you get that disk, find the person who received it and didn't have the good sense to either send it back or destroy it, and bring that person up to speed on what they are doing to the very men and women they are supposed to be supporting. They have become by their actions a cog in a machine that has no purpose other than the destruction of all you have accomplished, and the discrediting of you and your mission and your entire chain of command.

There is little we can do to take away the pain of what this man and his propoganda have caused you, except to tell you that his movie and his agenda in no way represent the prevailing sentiment of the men and women who remain here at home. We do what is right, we support you and your efforts, and we welcome the day when you can return. We do what we can to counteract the damage he has done over here, and hope that you can do the same where you are, so many thousands of miles away.

A Call to Action: It is up to each of us to counter what this man has done, and to heal those who's hearts and minds bear his bitter wounds. Do what's right. Send your support. However small or insignificant you may think it is, there is no such thing. Tell someone you support them and the job they're doing in your name, in our names.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:12 PM | Comments (10)

July 31, 2004

Kerry meets the Marines

Inspired by the captioning contest going on now at Greyhawk's Mudville Gazette. Damn, Greyhawk. They really pile on when you do one of these, don't they? In the few minutes it took to do this, you went from two comments to a huge string! I'm impressed.

And the rest of you? I suggest you get over there and submit a good one! I know you got one in you! And no, I didn't link straight into the specific post because you should read through to find it.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:35 PM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2004

24 Honorable Men say No.

You know, when a man or woman so selflessly does what these men have done, and by doing so saved the lives of their fellows, and did it not for glory but for honor, it would behoove us to pay attention when they talk.

You know by their actions that they do what's right because it's what's right. You know they are motivated by love of their country and duty to their fellow countrymen. You know that when they say something like this, it is not politics as usual for them. It's genuine, it's sincere, and it bears our attention.

First the Swiftboat Vets. Then the combined officers of the theatre. Now the Medal of Honor recipients.

What more do some people need?

Posted by Mamamontezz at 06:54 PM | Comments (2)

July 14, 2004

Put your Emails where your Mouth is.

Several bloggers wrote about this sickening incident after it happened on Indepence Day, the Spousal Unit among them. For a Vietnam era kid, this brought back all manner of horrible memories and unresolved anger. No, I didn't serve. I was a kid. But I certainly remember what I saw, what I heard, what my older cousins and uncles and friends experienced, whether they were ever In Country or not.

Matt "The Coolest Milblogger in the Midwest" Blackfive has a way for you to lend your support to this young warrior, and I suggest you do so. It's only right.

See what I sent in the extended entry.

Update: Slaglerock weighs in too. And he's not as nice about it as I am.


It is difficult for me to understand the mindset of people like those you encountered during what should have been a celebration of everything given to us all by sacrifices like yours.

I know that rationally, intellectually, you know these people and what they espouse are an aberration and not representative of most of this country. Sure, they're more vocal, and certainly more obnoxious in their caterwauls, but they certainly don't represent me or mine.

Let not these fools deter you. Let not their bitter words hurt you. For when this is done and you look back upon your service and your gifts to all of us, you have reason for nothing but pride.

I thank you, my family thinks you, and your country thanks you. Let these words replace their stinging insults in your heart.

Lila Meyer,

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:06 PM | Comments (2)

June 22, 2004

Brit Sailors in Iran

Okay, let's discuss how this is an actual violation of the oft cited Geneva Convention.

The government's attempts to resolve a deepening diplomatic row with Iran over the capture of British sailors and marines were poised on a knife edge last night after a day in which two of the men appeared in blindfolds on Iranian television and apologised for entering the country's territorial waters. (emphasis mine)

Okay. It is against the Geneva Convention to do this. The State, in this situation the Government of Iran, has placed two of these men on display in a State Sanctioned program for the purpose of propoganda.

Earlier, pictures on Iran's main state-run channel, showed the men sitting silently on chairs and a sofa. Three of them were in British military uniform; five others wore military trousers and civilian T-shirts.

By placing these men in civilian T-shirts, they open the possibility for a trial of these men as spies or infiltrators. By changing their mode of dress, they remove them from the pervue of the military and all of the protections afforded them by the Geneva Convention.

Now let's see what the real reason for this act of aggression is.

While Tehran welcomed the end of Saddam Hussein's regime, it is deeply worried about the continuing presence of US troops in Iraq. It is also embroiled in a dispute with the US, the EU, and the UN over its nuclear programme

Ah. They are deeply worried scared spitless that the continued presence of the coalition in Iraq will bring something resembling a representative republic to the region, right next door for that matter, and give their own population even more reason to rebel and revolt against the Mullahs and their pet regime.

They are also concerned freaking out that their plans for regional nuclear domination could be squashed by the proximity of coalition troops.

The question now is whether or not Tony Blair will be a Reagan or a Carter.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:33 PM | Comments (3)

June 06, 2004



Update: The list of posters in Blackfive's D-Day blogging project has grown substantially. These posts are touching, enlightening, and informative, and each and every one honors those who are fallen and whose dwindling few who remain. Take the time to read these wonderful works by the best of the blogosphere. I am humbled in their presence, and honored to be included in even this small way by people who's service overshadows anything I have done in my life.

Red Surf

Red flows the water
that caresses Utah beach,
bringing gifts of sacrifice
with every touch.

It murmurs gentle sighs
into ears which do not hear
the sharp retort and whine
of hostile missiles.

The tears of God
swell up and lift each man
to rest upon the shore,
each in turn.


His mercies are not sweet
to the abbreviated men
cradled in the arms
of the reddening sea,
or nestled in the sand
stained with their life.

Some cry out to their NCOs
seeking their strength.
Others plead for their mothers
to ease their fear and pain.
Some seek their wives and lovers
for the comfort of a final touch
a final word,
a final kiss

Youth, no longer tender,
take stock of their brothers,
and move on
in their stead,
veterans at 19 years old.

Free men fight
to free a land
which holds no claim
to their loyalties.
Free man struggle
to free a people
languishing in fear,
in bigotry,
in hatred,
in hunger,
in the darkness of evil.

Red flows the water
that flows to Utah beach,
bringing gifts of sacrifice
with every touch.




Our heartfelt thanks to the men who approached the beaches of Normandy in LST's, on ships of war, in gliders and bombers, and offered their skills and their lives and their honor to the world.

God rest the souls of all the heroes who passed that day and since.

Please take the time and go to Blackfive for links to wonderful posts honoring the fallen and the survivors of D-Day, all of them heroes.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:59 PM | Comments (9)

June 01, 2004


Battle Haiku

I've been rather affected by Memorial Day this year, quite likely because I've cultivated some World Wide Web friendships with some men either currently in the sandbox, recently home from serving there, or veterans of wars over the last few decades.

I can think of no other reason for sitting down and writing Haiku, a poetry form I've never been terribly good at, and consequently one I tend to avoid. Like the plague. Or a butt-ugly drunk.

But I sat last night at my parents' home and watched The Longest Daywith them, and strangely enough these darned Haiku kept buzzing about in my consciousness like big, black attic flies in the kitchen window on a warm winter day. They wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote them down.

So indulge me. I had to do something with them. It was me or them.

NCO becomes
Second Lieutenant.
Officer now lost.

Damp and sticky sand
grows bright crimson and amorphus.
Sea slowly disburses.

Claymore no longer
a blade wielded with honor.
Hot shrapnel horror.

Strangers by birth,
they break down all dif'rences.
Brothers to the end.

Canopy reduced
to fluttering silk ribbon.
"Beautiful Streamer."

Hacked Off

I strongly suggest you head over to Dok Russia's Bloodletting and give a read to his recent post. Particularly the Novak Nonsense at the end.

Yes, another "Journalist Pundit" becomes a hack propagandist against our troops, from the least experienced private to the Commander in Chief. People like that disgust me.

Go ahead, read it.

Hacked Off, Redux

And While I'm on a major piss-off, go read this from Poisoning Pigeons. There is nothing to add without causing undue stress to my cardio-vascular and neurological systems.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 06:51 PM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2004


Well, it looks like the Bomb Planters in Iraq are having some of the same problems as their little, like-minded buddies in Gaza.

TWO men were killed when a bomb they were planting by a road north of Baghdad, exploded prematurely, police said today.

"We discovered two bodies. They were killed when they tried to plant a home-made bomb on the road in the Baiji area," Lieutenant Colonel Aymad Abdullah al-Obeidi said.

US convoys frequently drive along the road running through Baiji, which heads south to Baghdad and north to the city of Kirkuk.

Makes a person wonder if maybe Emperor Misha needs to start another Pizza fund to commemorate Stupid Bomb Planters in Iraq now, too.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 07:46 PM | Comments (3)