Friday, March 30, 2007

Deployments cancel All American Weeek - Current Article Page:

A staff report

The 2007 All American Week will be canceled due to 82nd Airborne Division deployments, Fort Bragg officials said Monday.
‘‘All American Week is an integral part of our relationship with paratroopers past and present and their families, and we look forward to celebrating our airborne heritage again in 2008,’’ said Maj. Tom Earnhardt, a division spokesman.
“We are all eager to redeploy the majority of the division in time for next year’s event to celebrate together again.”
The 2003 All American Week was cancelled for the same reason.
The annual event traditionally occurs the week before Memorial Day. Hundreds of veterans visit during the week of events, which include sports competitions and the review, in which the division’s 17,000 troopers march on Pike Field.
It has been a busy year for the 82nd.
About 6,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne’s headquarters and its 4th Brigade Combat Team are in Afghanistan.
The division’s 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams are in Iraq, and the division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team is scheduled to deploy to Iraq this summer."

Airborne All the Way

Reason Magazine - Airborne All the Way: "Airborne All the Way
America's ongoing battle with reality
Jeff Taylor March 30, 2007
Massive recent media coverage to the contrary, the most important story out of North Carolina regarding the 2008 presidential election and beyond did not involve a recurrence of Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer.

It does not diminish the Edwards' somber news in any way to note that there is more significance for the United States in reports that the 82nd Airborne Division has given up its long-held 'first responder' status among American ground units. Both the ongoing foreign policy debate and the task that awaits the next president are immediately impacted by the news.

For several decades now, the 82nd has been home to the United States' only 'division ready brigade.' This means that at any time, one of its four combat brigades is ready to deploy 3,300 troops from Ft. Bragg to anywhere in the world within hours. However, that will change later this year when the entire 82nd will be deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

This presents a rather concrete case of the strain on the U.S. military five years into major ground combat operations across the Middle East. The next President, whoever he or she might be, will have to manage that strain.Paratroopers are not born, they are made. It takes more than a little training to convince men with explosives strapped to themselves to jump out of airplanes in the dead of night, land on people who want to kill them, and then proceed to kill those people non-stop until they are relieved or they run out of bad guys.Yet the current pace and scope of operations has made the 82nd a victim of its own competency and unit cohesion. Need a unit to run interference for elections across wild Afghanistan? Send the 82nd. Baghdad looking a little too hot? Send the 82nd on a tour of Downtown.That America is using such highly trained assault troops in essentially a para-military police role should inform and temper the likes of Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) who yesterday wrote in USA Today that "things are at last beginning to look up in Iraq." Assume that is true, but at what cost?"


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Medal of Honor Vanguard

MoH -- 82 Airborne

Gameplanet - Features - Medal of Honor Vanguard: "YOU ARE ABOUT TO embark on a journey through history as Corporal Frank Keegan in Medal of Honor Vanguard. As part of the 82nd Airborne Division gamers will be thrown across enemy lines and right into WWII.
Medal of Honor Vanguard is an epic story that is told through the eyes of wartime heroes. They take you across Europe carrying out various operations such as Operation Neptune which sees you battle through France, or Operation Husky which sees you on the shores of Sicily.
Your strategy skills will be tested in each operation and your ability to identify and attack key positions will be key. Pick out an advantage point when you first parachute into a diverse battle ground which EA believe is the best seen of the Medal of Honour Series. Then strategically move through the battle grounds picking out best ways to bring down the enemy to cross advantage points.
Medal of Honor Vanguard is due for release next week on PS2 and WII."

Spirit of the Free

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Flags at half-staff

Flags at half-staff for soldier with NM ties - KOB-TV - "NM - Flags are being flown at half-staff around New Mexico Monday and Tuesday in honor of a 32-year-old Army specialist who died in Iraq. Stephen Kowalczyk graduated from Albuquerque's Highland High School, where he was on the swim team.
His family lived in Albuquerque while his father was in the Air Force.
Kowalczyk, who lived in San Diego, was killed in Iraq on March 14th by small arms fire."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Voices of the Fallen

NEWSWEEK: Special Issue: : Voices of the Fallen
'Any day I'm here could be the day I die,' wrote Travis Youngblood, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class

NEW YORK, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- America's fallen warriors are garlanded and buried beneath white marble, revered but silenced. Yet they still have stories to tell, stories that bear hearing, and remembering, writes Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham in the issue on newsstands Monday. 'In letters and journals and e-mails, the war dead live on, their words -- urgent, honest, unself- conscious -- testament to the realities of combat. What do they have to say to us? This special issue of Newsweek is an attempt to answer that question.'
A team of correspondents and researchers collected the correspondence of American soldiers who served in Iraq and put them together in the April 2 issue, 'Voices of the Fallen' (on newsstands Monday, March 26). Almost all of the magazine is devoted to the Voices project, which marks the beginning of the fifth year of war in Iraq. The accounts written were not for the public, but for those they loved -- wives, children, parents, siblings. 'Each of the warriors whose words are excerpted died in the line of duty. Each of the families chose to share their stories with us, and with you,' Meacham writes."


Friday, March 23, 2007

Computer Hackings

DoD Investigates Hacking of Troops' Personal Computers

By Carmen L. Gleason
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2007 – Defense Department officials have launched an investigation into recent computer hackings of servicemembers' home computers that compromised personal information and led to the redirection of funds from their military pay accounts.
Over the past eight months, nearly two dozen Defense Finance and Accounting Service "myPay" participants have had their accounts accessed by unauthorized personnel, officials said. The myPay program allows DFAS users to manage pay information, leave and earnings statements and W-2s online. The compromise likely came from personal information being stolen from home computers via spyware and keystroke-logging viruses, DFAS officials said. A hacker redirected one servicemember's pay to a credit card vendor by changing account information the day before pay day, Tom LaRock, DFAS spokesman, said. However, he added, DFAS quickly worked with his bank to have funds returned to his account within two days. When suspicious activity is detected under the current system used by DFAS, LaRock explained, financial institutions are immediately notified so reversals can be made to servicemember's accounts. DFAS plans to launch a new program soon that will increase the ability to detect unauthorized changes prior to processing by pay systems. This will make the system for myPay's 3.7 million users even more responsive, LaRock said. "This won't completely stop compromises," he said, "but it will help alert us more quickly so appropriate actions can be taken." Key-logging software often is installed on systems when an individual simply views e-mails or clicks links that look and seem like reputable sites. Hackers then are able to detect passwords and other personal information, DFAS officials said. The organization is reminding customers that they have a responsibility to take measures to protect their personal information from scams and identity theft. DFAS warns that a variety of methods can be used to attack home computers, including phishing, malicious software and outside takeovers via bad software configurations. Users are encouraged to install and continually update anti-virus and firewall software. DFAS offers tips for security and protection to its users on its Web site, The Defense Department also offers free downloads of antivirus and firewall software programs to servicemembers and civilians under terms of the DoD enterprise antivirus license with supporting companies.

Defence Finance and Accounting Service

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Support our Troops

Canuck Warrior in the 82nd Airborne

Celestial Junk: Canuck Warrior in the 82nd Airborne: "I just discovered a blog that is hosted by Wendy Hoffman, mother to a Canadian lad who is serving with the 82nd Airborne in Iraq. The blog is a great place to get the gossip and goods on the 82nd Airborne from the view point of a Canuck. Keep in mind that the 82nd is serving both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that it usually plays a very dangerous roll in its deployments. Stop by and check it out."

Thanks for the mention.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Stars & Stripes: Your View

Stars & Stripes: Your View: "Nobody knows better than Stars and Stripes what you go through downrange. Except you. So we want your help in telling your story. E-mail us your digital photos, depicting what life is like wherever you are, whether on the FOB or on a mission somewhere in the wild. It’s “Your View” of your role in the wars, whether Iraq, Afghanistan or somewhere else. Candid (not posed) shots are best, and please include your name, unit, location and a short caption explaining the picture and your thoughts when you took the shot. Selected photos will be used in the paper and here at E-mail your photos to:"

Fallen Warrior

LAS CRUCES— Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Chavez, 20, died in Iraq doing what he had dreamed of since his childhood— being a soldier, his father said Thursday.Steven Chavez's family in the Hondo Valley of south-central New Mexico was informed of the Marine's death about 8 p.m. Wednesday, about 15 hours after his last phone call home.His father, Eddie Chavez, said his son shipped out of Camp Pendleton in California in September and arrived in Kuwait in November, shortly before traveling to a base in Ramadi, Iraq.Steven Chavez "only had one more week out, and then he was coming back," his father said in a telephone interview."He said, 'Dad, do you have my fishing rod ready?'

'' Eddie Chavez recalled of the 5 a.m. call from his son Wednesday morning. "I said, 'I'll get it ready, and we'll go.' ''Chavez was a gunner with what his father called the 2-4 Marine Division.Chavez was a 2005 graduate of Hondo Valley High School, his father said. He was athletic and loved the outdoors— fishing, hunting and camping. He was a 4-H member for at least six years, participated in track and basketball and excelled as a linebacker in six-man football, his father said.Eddie Chavez served 12 years in the Army as a combat engineer, and, as a boy, Steven Chavez told his father that he, too, wanted to be a soldier. Since sixth grade, his father said, Steven Chavez's favorite clothing was camouflage gear.

"I can remember him always running around the hills here in camo," next-door neighbor Danelle Martel said. "He died living his dream, and he died for us.

"Steven Chavez joined the Marines just months after graduating from high school.Steven Chavez is survived by a sister, Jackie Chavez, 22; a brother, James Chavez, 11; his father; and his mother, Novelda Chavez.

From Albuquerque Journal

Sunday, March 18, 2007

DefenseLink News Article

"Also, Iraqi police from the 8th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division and paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team conducted a humanitarian medical assistance operation in Sadr City yesterday as part of operations to bring security and stability to the former Mahdi Army stronghold.

Iraqi and coalition medical providers treated 453 people, including 153 women and 122 children, during the first large-scale humanitarian aid operation conducted in Sadr City since Iraqi and coalition forces moved into the area in early March.

“Medical operations are just one way that we can make an immediate positive impact in areas in which we operate. This is just the beginning of a long-term program to improve the quality of life for residents of Sadr City,' said Maj. Kyle Simpson, Brigade Civil Affairs Officer for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

Since Iraqi and coalition forces entered Sadr City as part of the Baghdad security plan, violence has dropped off 75 percent and the overall security situation has dramatically improved since December, when surge troops began arriving, military officials said. "

Read all...DefenseLink News Article: Suspected Terrorists Captured, Killed in Iraq; Weapons Caches Found:

It takes communities to bring soldiers all the way home

"By Chaplain Major John Morris

I am watching the growing furor over the shortcomings in the Veterans Administration system and the fallout from Walter Reed Army Hospital with growing alarm. I am concerned that we are going to fix the crisis and forget the problem.
The problem is how to help warriors, and their families, successfully reintegrate back into our communities, and their homes, after combat. A portion of that problem is health care related. For a majority of combat vets, however, only a small part of their reintegration challenge has to do with health care for physical injuries. Behavioral and mental health are bigger issues. And for most, the biggest challenge is relational: rebuilding marriages, reconnecting with children, rejoining friends, rejoining the global economy, getting back to the communities of faith we left, etc."

St. Paul Pioneer Press | 03/18/2007 | More...:

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Blue Star Mothers

We Support our Troops
Lots of honks -- loads of support
It was warm and sunny with just enough breeze.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In Iraq

This morning during a brief chat Dallas IM'd the following statements:

yea, its fun going out doing patrols, working with the Iraqi national police, and the Iraqi army, talking with the locals, finding out whats going on in their neighborhoods, or mulhullahs.

...but the people love us, almost everyone we've talked with, while doing patrols and shit, have thanked us for what we are doing, a couple rather articulately in english

This video seems to fit with that sentiment.

Press Release Distribution

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition Soldiers from eight brigade combat teams completed a nine-day sweep throughout Baghdad to disrupt the Baghdad vehicle borne improvised explosive device network on March 10. The operation was designed to attack the terrorist command and control structure organizing and financing the deadly car bomb attacks."...

The operation coined as Arrowhead Strike 8 included Soldiers from 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division; 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division; 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division; 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division; 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division; 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division; 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division; and other Special Operations Forces.
"We wanted to put pressure on the entire network at one time" said Colonel Steve Townsend, Commander of 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Get the whole story...:

Monday, March 12, 2007

1-504 PIR on patrol

"'Coalition forces will continue deliberate and methodical operations in order to pursue, capture or kill terrorists trying to prevent a peaceful and stable Iraq,' said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

Elsewhere, at least 20 people were killed and 11 others were wounded when insurgents launched several attacks in the Rusafa security district of the Iraqi capital yesterday.

At about 11 a.m., Iraqi police officers reported that a car bomb detonated, wounding one Iraqi officer. Iraqi police quickly cordoned, secured and cleared the attack area.

In a separate incident, the 9th Iraqi Army Division reported a suicide bomber attack on a bus several blocks from the Mustansiriyah University at 12:20 a.m. Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, responded and secured the scene, reporting seven Iraqi civilians killed and five wounded.

About two hours after the initial attack, a second car bomb detonated near a checkpoint in the Karradah peninsula area in eastern Baghdad. A separate unit from 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, responded and reported 13 Iraqi civilians killed and six wounded.

In all three incidents, Iraqi emergency services responded and aided in transporting the wounded to a nearby hospital. "

read the whole story:

In Iraq

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Pearce sits next to an Iraqi boy during a visit to Sheik Burhan Al Asee's house during a patrol in Riyahd village, Iraq, March 8, 2007.

n.b. I posted this because of the incongruity of the image.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Baghdad Order of Battle: March 5, 2007

Roggio Report

larger picture

THE BAGHDAD SECURITY Plan is now well into its third week of operations since the official announcement on February 14. Over the course of the last week, Baghdad has seen a significant reduction in violence. Deaths from sectarian fighting have dropped dramatically since December. "The number of bodies found this month in Baghdad--most shot and showing signs of torture--has dropped by nearly 50 percent to 494 as of Monday [February 27], compared with 954 in January," reports the Associated Press. "The figure stood at 1,222 in December, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press. ...

Iraqi and U.S. troops continue to move into [Sadr] city, establishing checkpoints and building Joint Security Stations, where U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and police will patrol from inside the individual neighborhoods. Fifteen of the planned 32 Joint Security Stations are now open in Baghdad. The most recent station to open is located inside Sadr City, where elements of the 2nd Brigade of the 82 Airborne Division have set up shop. The 82nd, along with Iraqi soldiers and police and two companies of Strykers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division--1,150 troops total--have initiated a clearing operation in Sadr City. Sheikh Rahim al-Daraji, the mayor of Sadr City, has welcomed U.S. forces into the neighborhood, but is unhappy with the deployment of the 1st Iraqi Special Operations Forces. "We want you here sooner, rather than later," Al Daraji said."...


Friday, March 09, 2007

NM family mourns paratrooper’s death in Iraq - NM family mourns paratrooper’s death in Iraq: "BELEN, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico family is mourning the death of an Army paratrooper who was killed while serving in Iraq.
Twenty-seven-year-old Andrew Perkins was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Perkin is being remembered by his family as an energetic outdoor enthusiast and someone who knew the consequences of serving his country.
Perkin’s family says he had planned a career in the military and was to be promoted to sergeant when he died.
The family was informed that Perkins died while on patrol in Samarra, the capital of the Salahuddin province. They were told he was likely killed by an improvised explosive device.
The Defense Department has yet to confirm Perkins’ death, but the military has said six soldiers of the 82nd Airborne were killed Monday in a bombing in Salahuddin province.
It was the single largest loss of life in the past three years of combat for the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based unit.

Note: The following was released March 8, 2007 by DoD.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of six soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Mar. 5 in Samarra, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their unit during combat operations. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Killed were:
Staff Sgt. Justin M. Estes, 25, of Sims, Ark.
Staff Sgt. Robert M. Stanley, 27, of Spotsylvania, Va.
Sgt. Andrew C. Perkins, 27, of Northglenn, Colo.
Spc. Ryan M. Bell, 21, of Colville, Wash.
Spc. Justin A. Rollins, 22, of Newport, N.H.
Pfc. Cory C. Kosters, 19, of The Woodlands, Texas.
For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the 82nd Airborne Division public affairs office at (910) 432-0661.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Canadian-American

From a fellow patriot and blogger:

"Mutual-Link Blogroll Additon: From a Canadian Cadet to an American Soldier
This morning I am proud to introduce an addition to my Mutual-Link Blogroll,
From a Canadian Cadet to an American Soldier. Here you'll find 'stories by and
about a multinational patriot -- an American Soldier -- and a military mom.'
With all of the broad strategic pronouncements we make on our blogs daily, this
wonderful resource shows us very clearly that the War on Terror is being fought
by people with families who love them very much.

God bless North
America, its fine service-people and those they are working to protect."

Victoria Cross Canada

"A Victoria Cross medal has been produced in Canada for the first time and sources believe it will be presented by the Queen at a ceremony in April marking the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
The launch will not only restore the decoration to the top of Canada's military honours system, but also end a controversy that raged in the 1980s and 90s about whether an award of British origin had a place in Canada.
The VC has been awarded just 1,350 times since it was instituted by Queen Victoria after the Crimean War in the 1850s. Of those, 94 were given to people serving with the Canadian military -- the first in 1856 and the last in 1945. Canada's last living recipient, Ernest (Smokey) Smith, died last year.
Each of the Canadians received a VC cast by Hancock, a jewellery store in London. Canada assumed responsibility for the decoration in 1993, but it has not been awarded or produced in that time.
Military historian Jack Granatstein said the reinstatement of the VC is a step forward for Canada."

See alsoAlpha Mike Foxtrot

Monday, March 05, 2007

In Iraq

Image Gallery - Full Caption: "An Iraqi child walks U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Sepulveda back to his vehicle in Al Salaam, Iraq, March 1, 2007. Sepulveda is from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Martin K. Newton, U.S. Army. (Released)

Record ID No. (VIRIN): 070301-A-7430N-053"

Friday, March 02, 2007

Why I'm Not Embedded in Iraq

The Army isn't helping win the war at home.
by Michael Fumento
03/02/2007 12:00:00 AM

MOST PEOPLE WOULD rather undergo several root canals than go to Iraq. Most reporters would, as well. But there are a tiny number who actually feel the need to do so--even to the extent that they're willing to pay all their own expenses in the hope, but nothing more--of recovering part or all of those expenses through donations and selling articles about their experiences. These are the citizen embeds, and I am one of them. I was supposed go over in February, but I didn't, and the reason I didn't is of more than personal interest."