America's Son didn't really take a vacation from blogging this summer/fall, he was just a bit wrapped up in the transition from Marine to Police Officer. There are still wolves to be dealt with, and fellow Sheepdogs to honor. There are also some somber but important parallels between Suffolk County and Al Anbar province.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2006 — Back in March in Iraq, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lori Hill, with the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, was piloting her Kiowa Warrior when the lead chopper came under heavy fire. She drew the fire away, simultaneously providing suppressive fire for the troops engaged with the enemy on the ground.
A rocket-propelled grenade hit her, damaging the helo’s instrumentation, but instead of focusing on her predicament, she established communication with the ground forces and continued to provide them with aerial weapon support until the soldiers reached safety.
As she turned her attention to the aircraft, which was losing hydraulic power, the helo took on machine-gun fire, a round crashing into one of Hill’s ankles. Still, with a damaged aircraft and an injury, she landed at Forward Operating Base Normandy, saving her crew and aircraft.
For her actions she was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross by Vice President Richard Cheney at Fort Campbell, Ky., on Oct. 16.
“It’s was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to get the award and then have the vice president come and award it to you,” she said. “It’s just incredible for any soldier.”
Recalling that day in March, Hill reflected, “I was actually just glad I didn’t pass out and very happy I was able to help the ground guys out, and get our helicopter down safely on the ground.”
Sunday, November 26, 2006
John of Argghhh posted a pic of a 6-inch gun at the Castle yesterday, and the comment thread implied the device was located somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Sadly, my investigative powers were not up to the challenge, and I failed to track down the little beastie in my searching.
This cannon was placed along the path in Woodland Park in 1911:
Cannons from Admiral Dewey's cruiser, the USS Concord, were placed in a plot on the southwest corner of Woodland Park, now called the War Garden.
The USS Concord had a rich history ...
(Displacement 1,710 tons; length 244'6"; beam 36'; draft 14'; speed 14 knots; complement 187; armament 3-6", 1-4")
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
I had the best time joining with 100+ fellow military supporters at a pack event arranged by the local Operation Support our Troops organization. They raised enough funds through our local radio stations, including 570-KVI, to send over 7000 stockings to troop units in Iraq and Afghanistan. So the assembly lines were formed, and the OSOT 'troops' and volunteers (including myself, BCR and her sibling) stuffed stockings full of goodies until the stocking supply ran out. What a great feeling when the trailer full of boxes headed off to the Post Office!
If you want to help grant the Christmas wishes of a military family, or provide dinner, or just donate to this good cause - click here, or on the picture above to get the details.
Sgt. Hook also writes about a similar program for his unit, and is accepting donations in the Angel Basket on their behalf as well. I'm thankful for many things - my health, a job that rewards me in many ways, a wonderful family, great friends (including all of you!), and the flag of freedom flying over my head. It only makes sense to help ensure that the men and women who preserve the rights of freedoms of this great country should have comfort and joy as well.
Political correctness defined :
A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
Monday, November 13, 2006
I was thrilled to attend a very special Veteran's Day event this weekend, and to shake the hands of five very special men. The first four are recipients of the Medal of Honor for their actions in WWII, Korea or Vietnam. The fifth man is the photographer who created Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. This beautiful collection contains images of most of the surviving Medal of Honor awardees, captured by photographer Nick Del Calzo, along with the stories of their valour.
The book is presented in a format with two pages for each man, one of which is the new photograph, with the other containing the story of their actions and a photo from their days in uniform. The images Nick has captured of each person are great art, studies in light and shadow. You can preview some of the images online at the Portrait Collection site, but you will want to own this book for your self.
It was my honor to meet ...
Richard M. McCool
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, USS LCS(L)(3)122. Place and date: Off Okinawa, 10 and 11 June 1945. Entered service at: Oklahoma. Born: 4 January 1922, Tishomingo, Okla.
Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant (j.g.) U.S. Navy, pilot in Fighter Squadron 32, attached to U.S.S. Leyte. Place and date: Chosin Reservoir area of Korea, 4 December 1950. Entered service at: Fall River, Mass. Born: 31 August 1924, Fall River, Mass.
Kenneth E. Stumpf
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant (then Sp4c.), U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, 25 April 1967. Entered service at: Milwaukee, Wis. Born: 28 September 1944, Neenah, Wis.
Thomas R. Norris
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, SEAL Advisor, Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team, Headquarters, U.S. Military Assistance Command. Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 10 to 13 April 1972. Entered service at: Silver Spring, Md. Born: 14 January 1944, Jacksonville, Fla.
The event took place at the Seattle Museum of Flight (see post below), and started with live performances of patriotic music by the Boeing employee band. We were also treated to a presentation of colors. Then photographer Nick Del Calzo talked about his inspiration to capture recent images of as many MOH recipients as he could, to honor their amazing actions and celebrate the living history. He then introduced each man by telling his story, at which point each stepped to the podium to make remarks.
Not surprisingly, each one was totally selfless, taking almost no credit for their brave actions. To a man, they spoke only of love for their brothers in arms, and a desire to do what had to be done.
After they were done, and the colors retired again, they proceeded to sit together at a long table to sign autographs. Many of us had bought the new edition of Medal of Honor to be signed, and we presented the books open to their pages for signature.
What struck me as I came close enough to hear and watch them was their gentle humor and easy natures. They chatted and joked with us, and their eyes lit up when some visitor would mention stories of their own parents service. I had to chuckle when I said to Ken Stumpf, "Thank you, Sir" ... and he responded "Don't call me Sir! My name is Ken". Ken Stumpf, by the way, was a draftee in the Vietnam War, and went on to serve 30 years and retire a Sgt Major.
It still amazes me that these gentlemen were happy to give up their day of honor in order to grace us with their presence. Only Richard McCool lives in the local area, all the rest came from other states. It was a great day ... one that I will cherish all my life.
"May we never forget those who fought for our Freedom.
My Best Wishes, Thomas R. Norris"
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Today is for thanking Veterans for their service, no matter when they served, and no matter for how long. Today is about the living, mostly, since we remember the fallen on Memorial Day. You can't really talk about one without the other, as John says.
Friday, November 10, 2006
I just want to wish all active and former Marines and spouses (they also serve!) Happy Birthday!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
So the Dems are dancing in the streets and the halls of Congress, and there's a new guy taking over the DoD. Lots of folks wanted change - and bless their flabby little hearts, they got what they wished for.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Election day seems like it should be a whole day event. Mandatory time off from work, at least a half day, to allow everyone plenty of time to vote - no excuses. It really disturbs me that some people, otherwise smart and well-informed, do not vote. Maybe they figure they'll go after work, and then 'get busy'. Or perhaps they simply don't want to be bothered.
"But sometimes all the solutions are awful, and it is the mark of an responsible adult, and a responsible adult nation, to realize that some problems you can not get around. Some problems you have to go through. "
Sanger at The Grand Retort reminds us how much Voting Matters.
Matty at Blackfive gathers input from a most important source : The Troops themselves.
Speaking of the troops, Sgt Hook has another fine production posted up for your enjoyment ... don't miss it!
Sunday, November 05, 2006
The Project Valour-IT
Thursday, November 02, 2006
If you have donated already – Thank You! Now go tell 3 other people !!
This is such an important project, and there are many deserving troops who still need help. The Army team has made good progress on our goal of raising $45,000 (see the graphic at the top right), and currently leads the other teams. But remember that it all goes towards the wounded troops, and we have a ways to go to reach the overall goal of $180,000.
Don’t miss the auction post at Op-For … okay, they are flyboys, but the auction benefits the whole fund-raising event – so go take a look anyways!
From my fellow Army team members:
Blackfive kicked it off, and is still recruiting Army Strong team members.
Chuck Z, our motivation, puts the need in plain language … he speaks from experience.
Continue the mission!
Local commentator and talk show host, Ken Schram, has taken the whole Kerry kerfuffle and turned it into something that supports the troops. Mr. Schram is a fairly liberal leaning guy, and regularly awards “Schrammie” bobble heads to various targets of opportunity. This week, he decided to award one to John Kerry for his remarks and (non)apology. Better yet, he decided that he would auction off the Schrammie for a good cause … Operation Support Our Troops!
“As much as I believe Sen. John Kerry deserves to be awarded “The Schrammie” this week, I don’t think he should actually receive it.
The bidding is over – and the winner will donate $2500 to OSOT in exchange for his Schrammie. That’s good money to help this amazing group arrange for packages for so many troops. Of course, they always need volunteers, and this year I will be one of the Santa’s Soldiers helping with the pack out operation. If you are located in the Seattle region, and feel like helping out, please visit the Santa’s Soldiers site for more info.
My hat’s off to you, Ken! Good work on supporting the troops.