Wednesday, November 29, 2006


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.

CENTCOM: Pilot Earns Distinguished Flying Cross

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

The Cannon in Woodland Park

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.

He implied that it was a piece from the Coastal Defense system, and it looks like a land-based cannon. The Armorer can be sneaky, however. Finally he noted that he was sent the image, and that it is located along a path in Woodland Park here in Seattle. That was enough information to track down another image of the same device:

Naval cannon from the USS Concord

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")

The second Concord (PG-3) was launched 8 March 1890 by N. F. Palmer, Jr., and Co., Chester, Pa., sponsored by Miss M. D. Coates; and commissioned 14 February 1891, Commander O.A. Batcheller in command.

Concord operated on the New England coast, and sailed from New York 17 November 1891 on a cruise to the West Indies and South America with her squadron, then arrived at New Orleans 27 April 1892 and cruised up the Mississippi River as far as Cairo, Ill., visiting various ports en route.

Returning to New York 18 June 1892, Concord made another cruise to the West Indies late that year, and arrived back at Norfolk 6 December. She participated in International Naval Reviews held at Norfolk and New York in March and April 1893, and in June sailed frum Norfolk for the Far East, calling at the Azores, Gibraltar, Malta, Port Said, Bangkok, and Saigon before arriving at Hong Kong 30 October. She cruised on the Asiatic Station showing the flag and protecting American interests until 29 May 1894 when she arrived at Unalaska. She cruised in the North Pacific to carry out the provisions of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain, which empowered her to seize all vessels violating the laws protecting valuable fur seals. She gathered hydrographic information to correct Bering Sea charts and conduct scientific observations of the fur seals.

Concord returned to the Asiatic Station in September 1894 and continued to serve in the Far East until returning to San Francisco 3 May 1896. She was placed out of commission for repairs between 27 May 1898 and 22 May 1897. After a cruise to Alaskan waters (1 July29 November), she sailed from Mare Island 8 January 1898 for the Asiatic Station. With the declaration of war between Spain and the United States in April, Concord joined Admiral Dewey's squadron at Mirs Bay near Hong Kong on the 24th and sailed for the Philippines. On 1 May the squadron entered Manila Bay and won the resounding victory that resulted in American control of the Philippines and renewed interests and responsibilities in the Far East.

Concord resumed her patrol on station in August 1898, but returned to the Philippines 19 December to assist in putting down the insurrection. Her duty consisted of patrolling the coast to restrict insurgent movements and shipping, bombarding various guerrilla strongholds; and aiding Army operations. Except for a voyage to Guam in March 1900 to deliver stores, and a brief voyage to Hong Kong for repairs, Concord remained in Philippine waters until June 1901, when she sailed by way of Alaskan waters to San Francisco, arriving 28 September 1901. She cruised with the Fleet in Mexican waters, then went out of commission 26 February 1902 at Mare Ialand.

Recommissioned 16 June 1903 Concord operated along the North American coast from Alaska to Panama and to Hawaii and Alaska until decommissioned at Bremerton 26 Aurust 1904. Concord was recommissioned again 16 September 1906, sailed from Bremerton 24 December 1906, operated in the Philippines until March 1906, then sailed to China. Until 1908 she remained in the Far East serving at timea on the Yangtze Patrol and as station ahip at Shanghai and Canton.

Concord served as station ship at Guam from 2 January to 10 September 1909, then sailed to Puget Sound Navy Yard arriving 11 October, decommissioning 4 November 1909, and assigned as barracks ship for the Naval Militia of Washington at Seattle. She was transferred to the Treasury Department 16 June 1914 and served as quarantine station vessel for the Coast Guard at Astoria, Oreg. Returned to naval custody 19 March 1929, she was sold 28 June 1929.

USS Concord

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Castle Denizens Alert

Yes, Castle Argghhh! is having some problems today. The Armorer is working on it behind the scenes, so all we can do is wait and watch.

In the meantime, amuse yourselves at some of the other fine blogs on the sidebar.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Spread a little Christmas Cheer

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!

The next mission on the horizon (after Thanksgiving - more on that later) is to help spread some Christmas cheer for a Ft. Lewis family. The program is called "Operation: Christmas Wish", and is sponsored by Operation Homefront / Washington Chapter. The Hubster and I found out about this program last year, too late to take part. This year we are starting early...

Grant a Christmas Wish

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.

Perfect Definition

Political correctness defined : 


A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which 
holds forth the  proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the
 clean end.


Monday, November 13, 2006

In the company of Heroes

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.

Medal of Honor

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

Thank a Veteran today

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.

Many of my family have served over the years, including my father and grandfather, both gone, but not forgotten. I have several uncles who served during and after WWII, and one in the early 60's. My brother joined the Army in 1971 - and we breathed a sigh of relief when he was stationed in Germany rather than sent to Vietnam. My cousin left the Navy a few years ago, and his daughter spent much time with her grandparents because of it. I have to thank them all -- their quiet service ingrained in me a pride for our military services.

I will have an opportunity today to thank some very special veterans. A big Veteran's Day event is scheduled at the Museum of Flight in Seattle ...

Museum of Flight
(click on the picture to go to the Museum of Flight page)

If I can get in to this, I will have the chance to shake hands with some Veterans who wear the Medal of Honor. Since the event information doesn't include the names of those who will be present, I will have to report back later. It's going to be a great day!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday to the Marines!

I just want to wish all active and former Marines and spouses (they also serve!) Happy Birthday!

Here are the blogs of just a few active and former Marines so you can visit and leave a Birthday greeting:
The Gun Line
One Marine's View
Straight White Guy
Drunken Wisdom
America's Son
Adventures of Chester
Grim's Hall
Villainous Company
The Word Unheard
Major Mike
Halls to the Shores
Evangelical Outpost
Grendel's Dragon
Random Firings
Stacking Swivel
Flight Pundit
Social Sense
Daisy Cutter

In time for the birthday, there is a new museum in Washington, D.C. ... The National Museum of the Marine Corps. OoRah! go check out the pretty pictures - including the glass-encased flag from Iwo Jima. I've already placed this site on my wish list for a future trip to the capitol.

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Meanwhile, we are still engaged in the battle to raise funds for the Valour-IT project for Soldiers' Angels. Thanks to everyone who has donated, and for the rest of you, please consider a donation for this worthy cause!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Continue the Mission - Project Valour-IT

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.

We still have a mission to accomplish, and a considerable distance to go before we are done. While the 'peepul' were voting, some amazing changes took place in the standings of the Valour-IT teams. For a day or so, the Marine Team took the lead from the Army Strong Team, and then the Army got it back in gear and regained the top spot. Then at some point, the Navy Team suddenly popped to the top with a commanding lead. On election day, no less ... Hmmmmmmm.

Regardless, last time I checked the Army team had about $29K - about $16K short of our goal. That means we still need to empty out the piggy banks and search the junk drawers for loose change to toss in the (Army) pot. Remember, folks - this is about helping our wounded - and each cent you give goes towards helping a laptop to match up with a troop whose life has been changed by injuries. They fought for us, now we have to fight for them.

Go Army!  Beat Navy!!!

It's easy. You can even bid on cool stuff - just check out the Valour-IT Auctions. Or go check out the Cluebats designed by the Armorer of Argghhh - you can't get these just anywhere! Especially good for whacking those moonbats in your world.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day ... Go Vote!

Election Day 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.

That's hard to imagine in this time and day. Global events and polarized domestic politics make it imperative that each of us does our part. Whatever your beliefs and desires for your community and state, and for the country as a whole - your voice matters, and your vote is very much needed.

Besides, as I wrote two weeks ago ... we owe it to every man and woman in Iraq and Afghanistan, every active duty or reserve troop, and every veteran to use the rights they defended to our fullest.

Before voting, make sure you read *all* of Bill Whittle's latest essay at Eject! Eject! Eject! -- Seeing the Unseen (part 1). Worth the wait, as always.

"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

Helping Wounded Troops

The Project Valour-IT challenge Blogwar has been underway for a week now, and I see that the combined amount raised is nearly half of our $180,000 goal -- HooAH! But we're not done, folks - there's another 5 days of work to do, and we owe it to the wounded to Continue the Mission.

Hint: Hit the Make a Donation button over to the right here, for the Army Team! --->

Keep giving until it hurts ... because it surely hurts to get blown up like Chuck Z did last year. And it hurts to lose limbs and suffer nerve damage, and it sucks completely to be stuck in a military hospital far from your buddies, your family, and anything familiar. So, please give it up for their sake - it's the least we can do.

There are so many blogs who have joined the Army Strong team, that I wanted to list them all here. So I finally built a blogroll for the team members, as of Sunday night. If you just joined the team, or notice that I'm missing any other blogs, please leave me a comment, so I can fix it up! If you would like to use my blogroll, send me an email or leave a comment with the email addy I can use.

If you need suggestions on how to spread the word locally, FbL and the Armorer put together an info packed post this weekend that you should check out. There are links for flyers you can print, and lots of ideas on how to spread the word.

Project Valour-IT Army Strong team blogRoll ...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Help Project Valour-IT

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.

John of Argghhh pins up poster girl ‘Sam’ from Chris Muir’s Day by Day cartoon.

Sgt Hook joined to beat the pants off of the Navy, Marines and Air Force .


Continue the mission!


The Silver Lining

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.

Given the inferred insult he hurled at the troops serving over in Iraq, I think it would be much more appropriate to use Kerry’s “Schrammie” in a way that benefits them.

To that end, I’ve contacted the people who run Operation Support Our Troops and with their permission will auction the Schrammie bobble-head off to the highest bidder.

The money raised -- every penny -- will be used to help pay the shipping costs of packages that OSOT will be sending to about 7,500 troops in time for the upcoming holidays.”


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.