Monday, April 30, 2007

1-504 PIR Casualty

Soldier from Elyria dies in Iraq
Associated Press
Christina Jolliffe The Chronicle-Telegram
"ELYRIA, Ohio - Army Sgt. Norman Lane Tollett, 30, of Elyria, was killed last week in Baghdad. Two military officers went to the Loyola Drive home of his father, David, early Sunday morning to tell him about his son. Stationed at Ft. Bragg where he was in the 82nd Airborne Division, Tollett had joined the military in August 2003. His father said his son made his decision to enter the military after he visited Ground Zero and after hearing ex-NFL player Pat Tillman, who was later killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, said he wanted to join the military to be part of a “bigger team.” A huge sports fan, Tollett was a 1994 graduate of Elyria Catholic High School, where he played football all four years and was co-captain of the team. He would have been 31 on May 6. "

n.b. Sgt Tollett was in Charlie Company and was killed in action while on patrol. I join the rest of the Red Devil families in offering my deepest condolences to the friends and family -- and to the 1-504 PIR troops. Sgt Tollet will be remembered for his significant contributions and ultimate sacrifice. ~Wendy

Prince Harry will go to Iraq

"by Prashant Rao
1 hour, 32 minutes ago

LONDON (AFP) - Prince Harry will serve in Iraq with his regiment, the head of the British army said Monday, despite fears that insurgents could target the third in line to the throne.

'I have taken the decision as chief of general staff. It's my decision as chief of general staff. I have full command of everyone in the army, including Prince Harry,' General Sir Richard Dannatt said in a statement."

More... Prince Harry will go to Iraq: army chief - Yahoo! News:

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Blue Star Moms -- MyFox

"Blue Star Moms

Created: Saturday, 28 Apr 2007, 11:08 PM CDT

Back in World War II, the first Blue Star Moms began hanging blue banners on their doors. It let folks know someone they loved had gone to battle. The Blue Star Mothers are back and with them comes the reminder of just how much hurt and hope this war sows here at home."

More... Blue Star Moms

View Video

Friday, April 27, 2007

For the 82nd Airborne

The YouTube General

"Petraeus Reports on Iraq
by Jed Babbin (More by this author)

Posted: 04/27/2007
The Iraq war has come down to a decentralized fight against clan or family-based terror networks supplied by Iran and Syria, against which more and more Iraqis are willing to fight, according to the description given by Gen. David Petraeus in a Thursday interview. This was the first time I’d met with Petraeus since he left to take command in Iraq earlier this year.


The latest news from Iraq is mixed and the good seems to weigh as heavily as the bad. Petraeus said that the rate of sectarian murders in the Baghdad area had been reduced by two-thirds since January 2007. However, this success seems to have driven the terror networks to work harder at achieving mass casualties which they have in a number of horrific bombings. But those bombings seem to be making more mileage in the US media and Congress for al-Queda than in Iraq. Al-Queda’s indiscriminate attacks on Iraqi civilians is creating a backlash of support for the government forces. (That does not equate to support for the Baghdad government) In some of what had been the most insurgent-sympathetic areas, such as Anbar province, Sunni Iraqis are now rebelling against al-Queda by volunteering to join the Iraqi security forces. In Western Nineveh province, local sheiks want their people in the Iraqi Third Division and in Diyala, sheiks “of all tribes” are pushing their people to join the fight against al-Queda. This adds up to a trend toward success in the classical counterinsurgency fight. But is the trend sustainable? No one can say yet.


Case in point: David Petraeus is our first “YouTube” general. Go to the website for Multinational Force Iraq and you’ll find this link ( to the MNFI “you tube” page. Why is this there? Because for every snuff flick the terrorists use to recruit (showing their bravery in hacking off some handcuffed hostage’s head) there should be one showing the good guys winning. Petraeus gets it. Forget psychobabble about “hearts and minds.” Petraeus understands laptops and IPods. This guy gets it."


Townhall Cartoon

Visit the Daily

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Kurds step into sectarian battle in Baghdad

International Herald Tribune - By Edward Wong
Photo of Kurdish fighters by Kevin McKiernan

BAGHDAD: The Shiite mother and her son opened their door for the soldiers on night patrol. In walked the Americans, each brandishing an M-16 assault rifle. Next came the men wearing tan uniforms and carrying Kalashnikovs and looking not quite Iraqi.

They spoke Arabic with accents as thick as crude oil.

'Are there problems in the neighborhood?' said their leader, Captain Sardar Hamasala. 'We're here for your safety. Let us know if there are sectarian problems or other kinds of problems - Sunnis threatening Shia, Shia threatening Sunnis.'

The black-robed mother and her son shook their hands. The soldiers stepped back into the cool night air of western Baghdad.

'There was a time when we couldn't go from house to house like this among the Arabs just because we're Kurds,' Hamasala said. 'Now we're trying to make things easier for them. We're proud of that.'"

More... Kurds step into sectarian battle in Baghdad

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Our Sacrifice

America Supports You: Musician Champions Recognition of Soldiers' Sacrifice
By Samantha L. QuigleyAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 24, 2007 – A Cleveland-based musician and songwriter is hoping one of his newest works will raise the country's collective awareness of the sacrifices its servicemembers are making every day.
"Our Sacrifice" offers musical support to servicemembers and their families, Mark Reis said. "After I wrote the song, I started looking at the lyrics and the meaning behind it. I knew that it was intended to support (servicemembers) and their families and what they're going through." "Our Sacrifice" was recorded in Nashville with Frank Camp and Nicole Cuglewski singing vocals. For a year, Reis said, he didn't really do anything with the song. And though the song's intent was clear, its true purpose came to light only recently. Working in the entertainment business has Reis in and out of airports frequently. During a two-hour layover in Dallas, he took advantage of the beautiful weather and wandered outside. "There was this woman and she was standing there and she was thanking this young soldier who was on his way to Iraq," he said. But that woman's actions were the exception to the norm, he said he discovered during his two hours in Dallas. "I watched soldiers coming by, and they were just being passed by by businessmen and women ... and nobody's actually thanking them," Reis said. "That kind of struck me as odd." Reis said he's trying, through "Our Sacrifice" and its accompanying video, to raise the country's awareness of how important it is for Americans to support their servicemembers regardless of their views on the war. "That's pretty much what the real goal is, to remind people that we have a patriotic duty to support and honor our brave servicemen and women and their families," Reis said. "They're making sacrifices -- some of them are making the ultimate sacrifices -- to defend us (and) protect our freedom." He said he hopes that eventually "Our Sacrifice" will be "embraced as the national theme for all Americans to show their support for troops and their families." To help make that happen, he has turned to major corporations in hopes of getting one to come on board and use the song and video in its advertisement campaign. This, he said, will raise awareness to the next level.

Waiting for Wuffy

Charlie is patient and loyal and even quite willing to display his support.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

'Til the troops come home

Today the 4 corners Blue Star Mothers were hanging ribbons for our troops.
I was talking to Dallas just before I headed out and he mentioned he was letting the other guys know. So for him and all the troops -- here's some photos of us -- for you -- and we'll keep it up 'til the troops come home.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

So Brave Song

From a Canadian Cadet to an American Soldier: So Brave Song

The link above is from a previous posting about this song. I am posting it again along with a link to the main web page of "The Military Mother's Anthem" where it gives the current information on Angela Lashley and the So Brave Song.

"Memorial Day Weekend Appearances by Angela Lashley
MAY 25, 2007
At the invitation of actor & musician GARY SINISE of the LT. Dan Band, Angela
Lashley will perform the song “SO BRAVE” at the Dulles Expo Center,
Washington D.C..."

Find out other upcoming events on the So Brave Song home page.

The video below is from Angela's appearance at The Gathering of Eagles on March 17, 2007

Armed Miss America 1944 stops intruder

"There she is — Miss Intruder’s Nightmare
82-year-old Miss America 1944 shoots out car’s tires with her trusty .38"

Photo:Venus Ramey walks with her dogs Tuesday near her property in Waynesburg, Ky.

Updated: 6:33 p.m. MT April 20, 2007

WAYNESBURG, Ky. - Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle's tires and stop an intruder.
Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment.
Ramey said the man told her he would leave. "I said, 'Oh, no you won't,' and I shot their tires so they couldn't leave," Ramey said.

She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.
"I didn't even think twice. I just went and did it," she said. "If they'd even dared come close to me, they'd be 6 feet under by now."
Ramey then flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911.

After winning the pageant with her singing, dancing and comedic talents, Ramey sold war bonds, and her picture adorned a B-17 that made missions over Germany in World War II, according to the Miss America Web site.

More... Armed Miss America 1944 stops intruder - Peculiar Postings -

Friday, April 20, 2007

U.S. walls off Baghdad neighborhood

Yahoo! News: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer
Fri Apr 20, 2:10 PM ET
Iraqi army soldiers share a moment with Iraqi children at a checkpoint in central Baghdad, 20 April 2007. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has urged Iraqi leaders to end sectarian conflict and warned that American troops would not stay on indefinitely if no progress is made.(AFP/Ali Yussef)

BAGHDAD - U.S. soldiers are building a three-mile wall to protect a Sunni Arab enclave surrounded by Shiite neighborhoods in a Baghdad area 'trapped in a spiral of sectarian violence and retaliation,' the military said.

When the wall is finished, the minority Sunni community of Azamiyah, on the eastern side of the Tigris River, will be gated, and traffic control points manned by Iraqi soldiers will be the only entries, the military said.

'Shiites are coming in and hitting Sunnis, and Sunnis are retaliating across the street,' said Capt. Scott McLearn, of the U.S. 407th Brigade Support Battalion, which began the project April 10 and is working 'almost nightly until the wall is complete,' the statement said.

It said the concrete wall, including barriers as tall as 12 feet, 'is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence' in Baghdad."

Monday, April 16, 2007

New Rules for Combat Patches

Army News Service J.D. Leipold April 16, 2007WASHINGTON -
The Army has changed its policy on the wear of combat patches as a result of the way Soldiers and their units now deploy. Since 1945 the intent behind the wear of the combat patch, known as the "shoulder sleeve insignia-former wartime service," was to recognize Soldiers' participation in combat operations. However, this only applied to Soldiers who were serving with such large echelon deployed units as separate brigades, divisions, corps, Army commands or higher. "Soldiers deploy differently now, at smaller echelon levels such as companies, battalions, combat brigade teams and as individual augmentees in support of larger echelon units," said Sgt. Maj. Katrina Easley, branch chief for uniform policy at Army G-1. "At those levels they weren't authorized to wear their unit patch as a combat patch." Once Soldiers report to their first units, they wear their command's patch on their left sleeves. When deployed to a designated combat zone, Soldiers may also wear the company-level or higher patch that they serve with on their right sleeves.In the past, confusion resulted over which combat patch should be worn by Soldiers who were cross-leveled, assigned, attached or serving as augmentees to deployed units. This also affected Soldiers under temporary duty orders in a combat zone. The new guidance states that when echelons below company level deploy, Soldiers in those units may now wear the combat patch of the lowest-echelon command they deploy with, as long as it's at company level or higher.The new implementing instructions to Army Regulation 670-1 became effective March 28 and are not retroactive.As before, Soldiers who have earned multiple combat patches may choose which patch to wear. Soldiers may also elect not to wear a combat patch.
Sound Off...What do you think?
Copyright 2007 Army News Service. All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Supply Our Soldiers Act of 2007

I recently read about the upcoming increase in postage rates through USPS and was immediately struck by the impact the $1 per box increase will have on many families. And, as is usually the case, it will be the troops that feel the impact.
My first thought was to start fundraising -- most likely establish a non-profit -- that has a single purpose of raising money to supply military families with postage. For families only sending one box per week, the increase will amount to an additional $52 per year but that can be hard to come by in many cases. These families are already spending nearly $425 on stamps, just for these boxes.
While the intentions of doing something are still uppermost in my mind and I am still trying to formulate a method of delivery that will not spawn postage abuse, I have come across the following bill that has been introduced to the house.
This bill should be passed -- and without delay. It only provides for one package per week but, more importantly, it DOES provide for one package per week. It would be such a help to the military families that are struggling. It doesn't eradicate a need for my plan either but lessens the immediate necessity. I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions on organizing a 'postage for the troops' funding entity.


"Supply Our Soldiers Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)

HR 1439 IH
1st Session
H. R. 1439
To provide for free mailing privileges for personal correspondence and parcels sent to members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.
March 9, 2007"

Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress):

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Defense Ministers Conference

"Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, left, meets with Canadian Maj. Gen. Daniel Gosselin, director general of international security policy, upon arriving in Quebec, Canada, April 11, 2007. Gates is in Canada to attend the Regional Command South Defense Ministers Conference. DoD photo by Cherie A. Thurlby. (Released)

Record ID No. (VIRIN): 070411-D-7203T-001"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Army extends Iraq tours to 15 months

Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON - Stretched thin by four years of war, the Army is adding three months to the standard yearlong tour for all active-duty soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, an extraordinary step aimed at maintaining the troop buildup in Baghdad.
The change, announced Wednesday by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is the latest blow to an all-volunteer Army that has been given ever-shorter periods of rest and retraining at home between overseas deployments.
Rather than continue to shrink the at-home intervals to a point that might compromise soldiers' preparedness for combat, Gates chose to lengthen combat tours to buy time for units newly returned from battle. The longer tours will affect about 100,000 soldiers currently in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus untold thousands more who deploy later. It does not affect the Marine Corps or the National Guard or Reserve.
'Our forces are stretched, there's no question about that,' Gates said."


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Albuquerque soldier killed in Iraq

"Albuquerque soldier killed in Iraq
Source: KRQE News 13
ALBUQUERQUE -- Spec. Clifford A. Spohn III of Albuquerque was killed Monday when his unit was hit with indirect fire while working at an Iraqi police station in Karmah.
Three other paratroopers were injured.
Spohn, 21 was assigned to Bravo Company, 3-509th Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
He is the 26th New Mexican to die in Iraq since the beginning of the war four years ago."

KRQE News 13 - More ... :

Local soldier injured in Iraq

"Local soldier injured in Iraq
By Lindsay Whitehurst The Daily Times
Article Launched: 04/11/2007 12:00:00 AM MDT

When they sat in the mall photo booth, Burley Miller tilted his head toward his mother and flashed a 'thumbs up.' Her cheeks creased in a wide smile.
'We were at the mall — it was a mom-and-son day, just horsing around,'said Miller's mother, Cathy Bassett.
The photo was taken in March 2002, when her son was just 17.
'He needed some new clothes, but he didn't have the money, so I sneakily bought him some clothes,' Bassett said.
She hung the picture on the refrigerator. Now 23, Miller tucked a copy in his wallet when he was deployed with the Army to the war in Iraq in February.
Monday night, she got the call. "

Farmington Daily Times -More...:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Three area women receive honors

Farmington Daily Times - Three area women receive honors:
"The Daily Times

Article Launched: 04/03/2007 11:34:57 PM MDT

ALBUQUERQUE — Three San Juan County women were selected as recipients of the 2007 Governor's Outstanding Women Award.
Those selected are Lynette Justice, of Aztec, Betty Ojaye of Shiprock, and Karen Stevens, of Farmington. They are among 21 women from around the state being honored for their exceptional contributions to their community and state.
They will receive their awards during a banquet at 7 p.m. May 4 at the Hotel Albuquerque.
The New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women and the governor's office host this event.
'The caliber of award recipients this year is truly outstanding,' said Mary Molina Mescall, commission executive director. 'Their successes and achievements honor us all as women of New Mexico.'
The award recipients, chosen by a panel of judges appointed by Gov. Bill Richardson, were judged on their unique community leadership abilities, effectiveness of advocacy for women and their families, and leadership in their careers."

n.b. Karen Stevens is a local Blue Star Mother and also National President. Congratulations Karen!

General Petraeus Goes to Market

"General Petraeus Goes to Market
By Maj. Kirk Luedeke
4th Light Infantry Brigade
Combat Team Public Affairs
BAGHDAD, April 4, 2007 — U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, visited the Dora Market March 31 and saw the significant improvements made there since December.
“Chai for everyone,” Petraeus exclaimed with a smile as he placed some money on the counter at a small tea shop to buy tea for all who accompanied him on the trip and then some. Later he sipped tea with an Iraqi Army battalion commander and Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, whose unit is responsible for securing the Dora Market area. They discussed the visible progress in what was, just four months ago, a dangerous cluster of ramshackle buildings full of roaming death squads and criminals."


Sling Shot Kid

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Iraqis enjoy Baghdad attractions after crackdown

Reuters AlertNet - FEATURE-Iraqis enjoy Baghdad attractions after crackdown:
"By Mussab Al-Khairalla
BAGHDAD, April 4 (Reuters) - Baghdad's once largely deserted theme parks and other attractions are showing signs of life as Iraqis, encouraged by a drop in sectarian murders and bombings in the capital, enjoy some much-needed entertainment.
The government, which has hailed the early gains of a new U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown in Baghdad, felt confident enough on Tuesday to reduce the hours of a nightly curfew, which had forced many businesses and restaurants to shut early.
Although many residents in the city of seven million people are still wary to go out for entertainment, some have been venturing back to Rusafa Amusement Park -- Baghdad's largest -- to take a break from violence and a lack of basic services.
'We were a little worried before we came,' said Riyam Baqir, who had queued up with her friends to ride the Gravity Rotor, which spins thrill-seekers around inside a cylindrical room, plastering them to the walls.
'But thankfully there are a lot of people here and we can briefly forget about the violent world outside the park and enjoy ourselves today.'"

Monday, April 02, 2007

Iraqi Wins Arab "Idol" Competition

By Aws Qusay Sat Mar 31, 11:03 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - After enduring one of the bloodiest weeks in Iraq's sectarian conflict, Iraqis on Saturday were united in celebrating the win of an Iraqi woman in the hit pan-Arab television talent show Star Academy.

More from Yahoo! News

Or from CBS:

Iraqi Wins Arab "Idol" Competition, "Daughter of Mesopotamia" Wins Talent Competition In Lebanon - CBS News: "

(AP) For four long years, life has been brutally unkind to most Iraqis, but Friday night they had one of those rare moments to focus beyond the daily violence that is swallowing their lives. One of their own took first prize in the Arab version of American Idol.

In Baghdad, a city that becomes deserted and plunges into darkness after nightfall, residents who had electricity to watch televisions celebrated with gunfire that briefly pierced the quiet just before midnight.

Wearing a turquoise evening dress, Shadha Hassoun, wrapped herself with the white, red and black flag of Iraq and broke into tears as fans swarmed the stage in Beirut, Lebanon, where the contest was held and broadcast live throughout the Middle East.

'Her triumph will show the world that Iraqis will still sing despite their wounds,' Israa Tariq, a homemaker from Baghdad's al-Ghadeer neighborhood, said before Friday's final episode. "

Force Adjustment

The Department of Defense announced today additional major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The announcement involves one corps headquarters, two division headquarters and one brigade combat team consisting of approximately 7,000 personnel
Specific decisions made by the secretary of defense include:
XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, Fort Bragg, N.C.
1st Armored Division Headquarters, Wiesbaden, Germany
4th Infantry Division Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas
1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Additionally, the Department announced that the 25th Infantry Division headquarters will have its tour extended by approximately 45 days.
Other combat-support and combat-service-support units consisting of approximately 2,000 personnel have also been identified to deploy in support of operations in Iraq.
More combat-support and combat-service-support units may be deployed should commanders determine additional support forces are required.
These deployments reflect the continued commitment of the United States to the security of the Iraqi people. The Department recognizes the continued sacrifices of these units and their family members.
DoD will continue to announce major unit deployments as they are identified and those units are alerted. For information on the units announced today or other units involved in this rotation, please contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Clearing Rusafa

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket This photo is one taken by Dallas in the Rufasa district the other day. The link below is a slide show of Rusafa being searched in Dec 2006. Life is returning in the streets.

Clearing Rusafa