Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Commanding General Honors Paratroopers

"A Job Well Done: 82nd Airborne Commanding General Honors Paratroopers
By Sgt. Mike Pryor, 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. Public Affairs

Feb 3, 2007 - 6:56:19 PM

Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez (left), commanding general, 82nd Airborne Division, pins an Army Commendation Medal on the uniform of Capt. Peter Young, the battalion logistical officer for Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, during an awards ceremony Jan. 22. (US Army photo by Sgt. Mike Pryor, 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. Public Affairs)

Blackanthem Military News, BAGHDAD, Iraq - The 82nd Airborne Division moves so fast and furious that it is sometimes difficult to find time to stop and recognize paratroopers for their achievements."

...Most of the awards went to paratroopers who played key roles in helping the 2nd BCT deploy to Kuwait in January only days after receiving orders. The Falcons moved more than 3,000 troops and 300 containers of equipment halfway across the world in less than a week.

Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, commanding general, 82nd Airborne Division, addresses paratroopers from the 2nd "Falcon" Brigade Combat Team gathered for an awards ceremony in Baghdad Jan. 22. The general pinned on 28 medals during the ceremony. (US Army photo by Sgt. Mike Pryor, 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. Public Affairs)


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Blue Star Mothers

"Blue Star Mothers Offer Constant Care

By Rudi Williams

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2000 -– They’re there when
military men and women head overseas. They're there
to shower them with love when they come home again.
Their thoughts are with them every day, no matter
where they are.

They are the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc.,
whose members hang blue stars in their windows
whenever their children join the armed forces. "


Blue Star Mothers

82 near Sadr City

Battle for Iraq Video - Free Video Player

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Iraq Pictures

Iraq Pictures: "Soldiers from Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, attached to 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, prepare to fire a 120 mm mortar to ensure their proper distance and accuracy at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in East Baghdad, Iraq. Pic: SSG Bronco Suzuki"

CSM Klaus J. Meckenstock, of Bad Kreuznach, Germany, the senior noncommissioned officer with 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, hangs a mortar round during the platoon’s registration at Forward Operating Base Loyalty. Pic: SPC Courtney Marulli

Monday, February 19, 2007

In Our Store

Support our Troops

Keepsake collectors photo plaque honoring your military hero! Show them you care. A portion of sale goes to military charity.

Holds any 4 x 6 vertical photo. Mounting instructions supplied as well as 2 sided adhesive for challenge coins/ medalions, the acrylic photo cover plate and the 4 brass tacks. If you would prefer to email your photo we will print it out on good quality photo paper and mount it before shipping.

The poem or inscription can be any that you desire. The Soldiers Creed is shown. This can be personalized for any branch of the military with any text you choose.

For every plaque we sell we will send $10 to Blue Star Mothers
or other organization registered with America Supports You*

*Canadian orders may specify a Canadian military organization to receive donations on approval.
*10% currently earmarked for Fisher House -- remainder to your choice of above.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Checking in

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Soldier survives sniper scare, still serving

"CAMP LIBERTY — The life of one paratrooper was forever changed Sept. 2, 2006. A 7.62mm round from a sniper’s rifle found its mark and struck the 20 year-old.

Unlike other stories of fallen heroes, the story of Pfc. Andrew Woods continues to unfold. Today the saw gunner carries on despite the life-threatening wound he received just over six months ago – he has made a full recovery.

Now on his second tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Woods is assigned to 1st Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, attached to 2nd BCT, 1st Inf. Div., which is securing the city streets of Baghdad." More...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Paratroopers in Hurriyah

"Paratroopers Stand up Joint Security Station in Hurriyah
Feb 12, 2007
BY Spc. L.B. Edgar
Sgt. John Pruitt, a squad leader with 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, which is attached to 2nd BCT, 1st Infantry Division, patrols the Hurriyah neighborhood of the Kadhimiya district of Baghdad Feb. 8. The Joint Security Station encourages transition by allowing Iraqi Security Forces to train with paratroopers on a one-on-one basis. Photo by Spc. L.B. Edgar

KADAMIYAH, Baghdad (Army News Service, Feb. 12, 2007) - The sudden clap of a firearm's discharge prompts the split-second reaction of paratroopers patrolling the volatile streets of Iraq's capital on foot. From behind urban cover - a car, a corner or even a light post - they meticulously scan their interlocking sectors of fire to ensure 360-degree security for the platoon conducting a presence patrol.

Thanks to a revamped strategy to quell sectarian violence throughout Baghdad, the paratroopers of Company A, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, attached to 2nd BCT, 1st Inf. Div., are spending more time on the streets of the Hurriyah neighborhood, within the Baghdad's Kadamiyah district."


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Troops laugh it up with visiting comics

Stars & Stripes: "Troops laugh it up with visiting comics

By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, February 12, 2007

Comedian David Alan Grier delights nearly 300 troops at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Baghdad on Saturday night.

BAGHDAD — David Alan Grier of the 1990s TV series “In Living Color” and two fellow comedians kicked off a three-day visit to the Baghdad area with a show Saturday night for nearly 300 delighted troops.
With routines lasting almost a half an hour each, Grier, Kevin Avery and Kristopher Tinkle offered their audience at Forward Operating Base Loyalty little on the war, the military or Iraq.

Instead the men focused on such universal topics as jobs, relationships and, of course, sex.
Avery, a comic who often opens for comedian Dave Chappelle, moaned about his latest blind date. "


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Crackdown in Baghdad

"Associated Press February 08, 2007
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Baghdad's streets were electric with tension Wednesday as U.S. officials confirmed the new security operation was under way. U.S. armor rushed through streets, and Iraqi armored personnel carriers guarded bridges and major intersections. "More...:

Soldier recovering from war injuries returns home

"Soldier recovering from war injuries returns home
Dorothy Nobis The Daily Times
Article Launched: 02/08/2007 12:00:00 AM MST
Sgt. Kenneth Gibson gives a thumbs up in this photo, taken in Baghdad .

FARMINGTON, NM — It was not the kind of homecoming 26-year-old Army Sgt. Kenneth Gibson expected.
A quiet and modest young man, Gibson requested his Feb. 3 arrival at the Four Corners Regional Airport be met with family.
When his plane touched down around 3:45. p.m. and he appeared at the door of the plane, approximately 50 people waited inside the terminal. As the Iraq War veteran met the awaiting crowd, they burst into cheers.
Gibson's father and stepmother, Larry and Rita Gibson, embraced him was he walked through the door. Also waiting where his grandparents, Frank and Alice Gibson, other family members, the Blue Star Mothers and Farmington Mayor Bill Standley. Despite his request for only a family welcome, Gibson smiled broadly when he saw the small assembly and visited with those gathered.
The reunion was not one of normal circumstances, however.
Gibson was injured Jan. 11 when the Humvee he and his team were in was hit by a bomb in Iraq. He sustained shrapnel injuries and was sent to a hospital in Germany,
where he remained for three weeks. Two other soldiers in the Humvee suffered minor injuries, Gibson said, and remained in the war-torn country." more...

82nd Airborne Sets Up Shop in Adhamiyah

82nd Airborne Sets Up Shop in Adhamiyah
Feb 09, 2007BY Sgt. Mike Pryor

A paratrooper from B Company, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, pulls security during a patrol in Baghdad's Adhamiya District Feb. 7. Photo by Sgt. Mike Pryor

BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Feb. 9, 2007) - The 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team established a combat outpost in the heart of Baghdad this week in an effort to reduce sectarian violence in the Iraqi capital and assist the Iraqi security forces to take control of the city.

Paratroopers from the 2nd BCT's 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, will be living, working and conducting operations out of the newly-established Combat Outpost Callahan, located in Baghdad's Adhamiyah district.

"Living in this neighborhood means we can maintain a constant presence. We're not going home at night. We're here 24/7," said 1st Lt. David Bopp, platoon leader with Company C, 2nd Bn., 325th AIR.

Until recently, COP Callahan was nothing more than the skeletal remains of what had once been a busy shopping mall. But in the early morning hours of Feb. 7, following dozens of precision-targeted raids in the area by the 2nd Infantry Division's 3rd Stryker BCT, the 2nd Bn. "White Falcons" moved in and occupied the building.

Since then, COP Callahan has been a whirlwind of activity. At any given hour, paratroopers are busy stringing concertina wire, sawing and hammering lumber, and stacking sandbags to ensure maximum force protection. Outside, cranes and forklifts move heavy concrete barriers into place along the perimeter, mindful of the occasional sniper fire. As all of this happens, patrols constantly move in and out to meet the local population. (more)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hero Dog

"Hero Dog
Photo by Spc. Daniel Bearl

February 06, 2007

Eddie hops aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, along with Iraqi security forces and Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division.
Hero Dog"

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

FOB Loyalty

'Head Fobbit' Works for Quality of Life at Forward Operating Base

By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service

A swimming pool, started during Saddam Hussein's regime and finished after his overthrow, provides a respite from the desert heat for servicemembers at Forward Operating Base Loyalty, Iraq. Photos by Jim Garamone

FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq, Dec. 16, 2005 – Life on the FOB is a little bit different from life in your typical neighborhood.

A FOB is a forward operating base. These are interspersed throughout Iraq, and are the bases that coalition soldiers use as home during their year-long deployments to the country. The "mayor" of FOB Loyalty is Army Capt. Melissa Ringhisen. "Anything that has to do with feeding, bunking or caring for the troops comes under my office," she said. "We try very hard to make it a good place to work out of." Servicemembers on the base patrol areas of East Baghdad, including Sadr City. Going off the FOB can be uncertain. Improvised explosive devices, car bombs, suicide bombers and mortar and rocket attacks are the main threats.

Those who don't leave the base are called "fobbits." Going "back to the FOB" means going back to safety. And being "the head fobbit" means being the mayor - a term Ringhisen enjoys. FOB Loyalty is located in what was Saddam Hussein's directorate of internal security. There are a couple of monuments to U.S. Air Force accuracy on the grounds of the FOB. The main building took three or four precision-guided bombs, and another precision bomb wiped out the house Saddam used when he visited the base.
Contractor Kellogg Brown & Root runs the dining facility, or DFAC. The chow is excellent, with a wide variety of choices and even ice cream. Each week features a steak and seafood night. It's tough having to eat crab legs in Iraq. All that good food means that there needs to be a way to work it off. The gym on the FOB has weight machines and free weights. There are treadmills for those who don't care to run in 120-degree heat in the summer.
There is even a roofed pool started by Saddam's men and completed by KBR for the soldiers, Marines and airmen to use. At the POB laundry, "if you drop off your clothes before 9 a.m., you can get them back that afternoon," Ringhisen said. A dayroom open around the clock has a large-screen television, two pool tables, pingpong and a library of books donated by Americans from all over the United States.
The FOB is not large enough for Army and Air Force Exchange Service store, but the mayor has a store stocked with sundry things servicemembers need on a daily basis. "We make a bulk order with AAFES weekly," the captain said. "There is always the AAFES catalogue, and we can pick up special orders if needed." It's not home, but Ringhisen and her "head fobbit" counterparts throughout Iraq do everything they can to make life on the FOB as comfortable as possible for servicemembers.

n.b. This article is over a year old and it has been reported that the new growth of the camp with the additional troops now qualifies FOB Loyalty for a full AAFES

Saturday, February 03, 2007

An update from Company B

Dear Friends and Family of Bravo Company,

Greetings from FOB Loyalty,
Iraq. We hope that this letter finds all of you doing well and in good health. The last three weeks have been incredibly busy, but you would be proud of the great work that your loved ones in the Bravo Company have accomplished. We were happy to get out of Kuwait and begin the journey north to our final destination. Since our arrival, the men have been busy at work in preparation to begin our mission. All Platoons have been training hard, preparing their equipment, and getting ready mentally for the upcoming operations. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Platoons have focused hard on their individual skills as well as getting used to operating out of and with vehicles.
HQ platoon meanwhile has continued to do an outstanding job supporting the company in all aspects. Finally, SSG Jensen needs to be congratulated for reenlisting here at FOB Loyalty. In addition to the platoons mentioned above, we have had the good fortune to have Delta Company’s 3rd AT Platoon, as well as a Reconnaissance Squad from the Battalion Scouts added to our ranks. These are great Paratroopers and are being incorporated in all aspects of Bravo Company. The living conditions at FOB Loyalty are steadily improving as your loved ones are starting to move into converted
apartment buildings. In addition, FOB Loyalty is equipped with an outstanding Mess Hall, Internet Services, and Phone Center. The men are in good spirits and ready to do the job so that we can get home to our loved ones.
You can be sure that you are on our minds and in our prayers constantly.
Please continue to send packages and mail as they are a huge boost to morale and greatly appreciated. We miss you all very much


The world we live in

Mama....The precious first Words: The world we live in:
Our troops will fight. We will fight because we can understand better than the sheep, the dangers the wolf presents. We as the troops entered into our line of work knowing we could die. We entered our work knowing we were willing to put the lives of the people we protect above our own. We are willing to make that sacrifice so other may not have to lose their lives, and although the sheep may not understand the sheepdog's reasoning for doing this, the sheepdog will continue to protect the flock. We are willing to do our jobs and serve our country. It's time the country stepped aside, and let us do our job.

-Private Jeremy Hill 2nd Royal Canadian Regiment"

n.b. This is a small excerpt from a wonderful article. Click the heading to read it in its entirety.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Bragg general to lead in Afghanistan

2/2/2007 9:49 AM
By: Ilin Chen, News 14 Carolina

FAYETTEVILLE -- The commanding general of Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division is taking on a new role Friday. Gen. David Rodriguez is taking over as the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Rodriguez took over command of the 82nd Airborne in April, and now, as he's getting ready to take charge of American forces, he's been meeting with military and government leaders in Afghanistan. He says he expects his troops to encounter more suicide attacks this year.

Rodriguez won’t be the only one from Fort Bragg in Afghanistan. About 5,000 paratroopers, including soldiers from the newly formed 4th Brigade combat team, left just a few weeks ago. They are scheduled to be gone for about a year.

All four brigade combat teams are scheduled to be deployed at some point in time this year."

82nd Airborne Accepts Responsibility for Afghanistan Task Force

By Pfc. Anna K. Perry,

USA Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Feb. 2, 2007 – The 82nd Airborne Division accepted responsibility for Combined Joint Task Force 76 from the 10th Mountain Division in a transfer-of-authority ceremony here today.
The task force supports NATO operations in eastern Afghanistan. The 10th Mountain Division has been in Afghanistan for about a year, conducting missions such as Operation Mountain Lion, Operation Mountain Thrust, Operation Mountain Fury and Operation Mountain Eagle. "This has been a noble endeavor for the 10th Mountain Division, and we are honored to have been a part of this ... As we depart, we leave behind 3,200 battle-hardened soldiers to serve with the 201st and 203rd Corps under the great command of the 82nd Airborne Division," said Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commanding general for CJTF 76 and the 10th Mountain Division. "We know that they will work hard to continue the efforts that have been put forward over the past five years." However, those efforts did not come without a significant price, the general noted. The Afghan and coalition servicemembers who gave their lives for the freedom of Afghanistan will forever be remembered and honored for their great sacrifice, Freakley said. Thousands of 82nd Airborne paratroopers will be deployed throughout Afghanistan for more than year, continuing the combat, combat service and combat service support operations of their predecessors. "I would like to thank the 10th Mountain Division for their significant progress over the past year. We accept this mission and the partnership with the Afghan people, the Afghan security forces and the Afghan government," said Army Maj. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commanding general for the 82nd Airborne Division and the incoming commander of CJTF 76. "I look forward to our partnership in advancing governance, security and infrastructure development." Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division plan on a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

Photo:Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley (left), commander of the 10th Mountain
Division, furls the division's colors with the help of outgoing Combined Joint
Task Force 76 command sergeant major Army Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Borja during a
transfer-of-authority ceremony at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, Feb. 2. Photo by
Sgt. Jim Wilt, USA 'high-resolution image available.

(Army Pfc. Anna K. Perry is assigned to the 19th Public Affairs Detachment.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Other Canadians in Iraq

"Chilliwack man fighting with U.S. army in Iraq

Former Chilliwack resident Terry Foster is now serving with the U.S. military in Iraq.

By Robert Freeman
The Progress
Jan 30 2007

Terry Foster, a former Chilliwack resident and infantryman in the Canadian Armed Forces, is now serving with a U.S. Army combat team in Iraq.
“I just like it,” Foster, 36, said about the army life in both countries during a satellite telephone interview Friday. “Knowing what you have to do in the morning ... and being with a group of guys you can count on no matter what, through thick and thin.”
Foster developed a taste for military life after serving for three years with Canada’s special airborne forces. But with the downsizing of the Canadian military in the 1990s, he decided his future lay elsewhere.
He worked at the Canadian Corps of Commissioners for a short time, dealing with security and immigration matters, and was considering a career with the RCMP when he decided it was going to be too hard on his family.
The idea of joining the U.S army was always simmering in the back of his mind, he said.
“It’s always appealed to me ... because the opportunities are outstanding in the U.S.,” he said.
So he enlisted in 2004, knowing full well that deployment to Iraq was a distinct possibility. "