Woman Earns Silver Star in Afghan War

March 10, 2008

I am beaming with pride for a local Soldier! Our sincere gratitude for the brave actions of Spc. Monica Brown. She is another excellent example of the backbone of our country.

From time to time I fret that our youth are seriously lacking in values and strength, then I turn my attention to our men and women in the military and I am reminded that they are indeed our future… And I once again have reason to believe our nation is not as flawed as is painted with lopsided news stories. My thanks go out to our brave Soldiers.

By FISNIK ABRASHI,
AP

CAMP SALERNO, Afghanistan (March 9) – A 19-year-old medic from Texas will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest medal for valor.

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.


Rafiq Maqbool, AP

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second woman since World War II to receive the nation’s third-highest medal for valor.

After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.

“I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there,” Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost.

Brown, of Lake Jackson, Texas, is scheduled to receive the Silver Star later this month. She was part of a four-vehicle convoy patrolling near Jani Kheil in the eastern province of Paktia on April 25, 2007, when a bomb struck one of the Humvees.

“We stopped the convoy. I opened up my door and grabbed my aid bag,” Brown said.

She started running toward the burning vehicle as insurgents opened fire. All five wounded soldiers had scrambled out.

“I assessed the patients to see how bad they were. We tried to move them to a safer location because we were still receiving incoming fire,” Brown said.

Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in frontline combat roles – in the infantry, armor or artillery, for example. But the nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no real front lines, has seen women soldiers take part in close-quarters combat more than previous conflicts.

Four Army nurses in World War II were the first women to receive the Silver Star, though three nurses serving in World War I were awarded the medal posthumously last year, according to the Army’s Web site.

Brown, of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, said ammunition going off inside the burning Humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. She said they were sitting in a dangerous spot.

“So we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit,” she said. “I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of.”

For Brown, who knew all five wounded soldiers, it became a race to get them all to a safer location. Eventually, they moved the wounded some 500 yards away, treated them on site before putting them on a helicopter for evacuation.

“I did not really have time to be scared,” Brown said. “Running back to the vehicle, I was nervous (since) I did not know how badly the guys were injured. That was scary.”

The military said Brown’s “bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat.”

Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, of Nashville, Tenn., received the Silver Star in 2005 for gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Two men from her unit, the 617th Military Police Company of Richmond, Ky., also received the Silver Star for their roles in the same action.

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Supporting the Troops

March 1, 2008

I have been AWOL… (is there such a thing as Official Leave for Civilians?) Perhaps a better term would be AWOB… Absent With Out Blogging. Rather than go into a boring list of reasons, I will attempt to jump back into this.

Today I am sharing a fantastic email from my Favorite Marine: 

Have you ever walk into a room and immediately felt an enormous energy field?  It happened to me about 2 weeks ago. 

I walked into the fitness center in my building and there were 2 people in there; one of the condo owners and the other a petite blond I had never seen before.

The gentleman said, “Speaking of Marines,” as he nodded toward me.  The conversation started going 100 mph from that point on.  One of the first things said was that Dianne was from Berkley, CA – that’s what I thought I heard and we all rolled our eyes because of the protests going on at the campus concerning Marines. 

In reality, she’s from Tampa.  With me asking a few questions I found out a truly amazing thing about Dianne.

The Berkley connection was that she was so outraged over the protests that she got on a plane, by herself, and flew there for the sole purpose to take these people on single-handedly and to tell them to leave “her” Marines alone! 

She even got 2 of them arrested when they spray painted her (followed by her macing them)!! 

What I misunderstood about her living there was that she had just returned from that trip. 

I had an immediate respect and awe for Dianne.  I don’t know of anyone who would do something like this.  I asked her why she had this passion – what was her Marine connection. 

She kept alluding to “her” Marines – the tens of thousands of them in Iraq and Afghanistan; that she doesn’t want anyone “slamming” them, etc. 

Like many of my friends, Dianne started collecting goodies and mailing them to Marines a few years ago when the war started.  One thing led to another and soon all her waking hours were consumed with collecting and mailing packages and she was soon spending well over $2,000 of her own money, per month, to do this.  She didn’t care. 

Oh, and Dianne is a personal fitness trainer who started her own successful business and employs 10 trainers.  Her friends and the local businesses finally convinced her to start a non-profit organization to help her with the financial strain. 

Support our Marines was born on November 10, 2007 – picked because of the birthday of the Marine Corps

What many of you may not know is that more and more Marines are living further away from the main bases so they have less access to buy even the basics than they did 2 years ago.  We have learned that to be successful in this war, we need to get closer to the local population. 

Marines do not complain and we do what is necessary.  We always adapt.  Because of the greater sacrifices expected of the units, packages from home mean all that much more, now. 

“Most of our Marines operate out of very isolated combat outpost and under some of the harshest conditions. No hot water, we use things like WAG bags for our waste, we use plywood built outhouse and sleep in some of the worst buildings and conditions. But on the other hand (some) of our Marines live and operate in conditions that are better than some but worse than most. Overall though, we are determined and committed to accomplishing our missions out here. No matter what the conditions are we will do our jobs as Marines!” Quote from a sergeant with TF 3/2. 

Of course all of these Marines (in AFG and Iraq) are in the U.S. Marine Forces Central Command’s (MARCENT) area of responsibility, (so they are even more near and dear to my heart because I work at MARCENT). 

I wanted you to know about this wonderful woman and what she is doing. 

Please feel free to pass on this email and introduce Dianne to others, too!

Sharon 

Support Our Marines

Sending a wave and a hug to Dianne. We understand why you stands up and fights for “your Marines”… as many of us have also adopted those in the military past and present. The brave men and women, who fight for us, have all become members of our extended family.


Rally Behind the Troops

November 26, 2007

Move America Forward is once again asking us to rally behind the troops:

November 26 – December 16


Join Move America Forward for the “Honoring Heroes at the Holidays Tour” this November 26th – December 16th as we cross this nation holding pro-troop events in 40 cities across America to honor and salute the men and women of the U.S. military who will be thousands of miles away from their homes and families during this holiday season. (Help us pay for the cost of this effort by making a donation – HERE).


 

Along the tour we will be collecting more than 100,000 Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday greeting cards for our troops that we will deliver to them in Iraq and Afghanistan. Get your kids involved, and invite local schools to participate! On the outside envelope be sure to write either: “Christmas Card for Our Troops” or “Hanukkah Card for Our Troops” or “Holiday Card for Our Troops.”

Hear what legendary TV personality, Ed McMahon, has to say about the effort – CLICK HERE to LISTEN.

Bring the cards to one of our 40 pro-troop holiday events along the route of the “Honoring Our Heroes at the Holidays Tour” – you can find our tour route and itinerary here:


View the Tentative Route/Itinerary – HERE

 

That will put the rally in Texas December 1st – 4th! I am very excited as this is the first time they have travelled thru Houston. The Houston location is yet to be determined, but they will be in town at 3:00pm on the 4th! If you are not along the route and would like to donate cards for the Troops, please leave me a message.
 

Check www.moveamericaforward.org  Please help to get the word out and turn out a great crowd.

I will be posting updates as they come across.


How is the Weather?

November 1, 2007

  • Houston, TX

    • Thursday

      Clear81° / 60°

  • Baghdād, IRQ

    • Thursday

      Clear81° / 61°

    I like to keep tabs on the weather conditions in the Middle East and it is not very often that the temps line up like this.

    And let’s not forget our Soldiers in Afghanistan. The lovely Ms Morgan is facing a bit of a chill.

    Kabul, AFG

    • Thursday
    Clear
    70°/38°

    This is just a reminder to keep our Warriors in your thoughts. As November progresses into December, I am sure they would love some hand warmers and hot cocoa added to their box, along with wool socks and hearty soups. Don’t forget; nothing warms the soul like letters and pictures from home.

  • Also, it is now cool enough to send CHOCOLATE! If you do not have a Soldier who would like chocolate, then feel free to mail it to me.


    Wednesday Hero

    October 31, 2007

    Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas R. Anderson

    Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas R. Anderson
    21 years old from Sauk City, Wisconsin

    1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division,

    III Marine Expeditionary Force
    March 13, 2006


    Lance Cpl. Nicholas Anderson lost his life after the Humvee he was riding in rolled over as a group of Marines pursued a suspicious vehicle near Jalalabad, Afghanistan. He suffered head injuries in the crash and died as he was being transported to a hospital.

    Nicholas Anderson joined the Marines in January 2005 and began a six-month tour of Afghanistan two months ago with the 3rd Marines Weapons Platoon, his father, James Anderson said.

    “I just know that he died fighting for what he believed in,” he said. “He wanted to be a Marine and even though it was a major risk he just wanted to go.”

    James Anderson said his son, a 2003 Sauk Prairie High School graduate, enjoyed riding his motorcycle, lifting weights, going fishing and hanging out with friends.

    He joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard when he was 18, but an injured shoulder forced him to drop out. He then enlisted in the Marines.

    “I was very nervous when he first joined the Marines because two words jumped into my head: Afghanistan and Iraq,” his father said. “I just supported him and prayed that it would end before he had to go over.”

    These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
    We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

    This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.


    Wednesday Hero

    October 24, 2007

    This Week’s Hero Was Suggested By Cindy

    Lt. Michael P. Murphy

    Lt. Michael P. Murphy
    29 years old from Patchogue, New York
    SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1
    June 28, 2005
    On Monday, Lt. Michael P. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor. His father was the one who accepted the award. Lt. Murphy will receive the award for his extraordinary, selfless heroism and steadfast courage while leading a four-man, special reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines east of Asadabad in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan June 27 to 28, 2005

    “We are thrilled by the President’s announcement today, especially because there is now a public recognition of what we knew all along about Michael’s loyalty, devotion and sacrifice to his friends, family, country, and especially his SEAL teammates,” the Murphy family said in a statement released earlier in the month. “The honor is not just about Michael, it is about his teammates and those who lost their lives that same day.”

    Murphy was the officer-in-charge of the SEAL element, which was tasked with locating a high- level Taliban militia leader to provide intelligence for a follow-on mission to capture or destroy the local leadership and disrupt enemy activity.

    Taliban sympathizers discovered the SEAL unit and immediately revealed their position to Taliban fighters. The element was besieged on a mountaintop by scores of enemy fighters. The firefight that ensued pushed the element farther into enemy territory and left all four SEALs wounded. The SEALs fought with everything they had. despite being at a tactical disadvantage and outnumbered more than four to one.

    Understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his men, Murphy, already wounded, deliberately and unhesitatingly moved from cover into the open where he took and returned fire while transmitting a call for help for his beleaguered teammates.

    Shot through the back while radioing for help, Murphy completed his transmission while returning fire. The call ultimately led to the rescue of one severely wounded team member, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell, and the recovery of the remains of Murphy and Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson.

    Eight more SEALs and eight Army “Nightstalker” special operations personnel comprising the initial reinforcement also lost their lives when their helicopter was shot down before they could engage the enemy.

    Murphy was also inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon during a ceremony yesterday. His name was engraved beside the names of some 3,400 other service members who have also been awarded the nation’s highest honor.

    These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
    We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

    This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.


    Wednesday Hero

    September 19, 2007

    1st Lt. Forrest P. Ewens

    1st Lt. Forrest P. Ewens
    26 years old from Tonasket, Washington
    1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
    June 16, 2006
    The love of Megan Ewens’s life arrived at Arlington National Cemetery on July 7, 2006. His ashes inside a small wooden box, the box inside a coffin, the coffin draped with an American flag and carried on a caisson pulled by six black horses.

    Lt. Forrest P. Ewens had shipped out for Afghanistan in March of that same year. His wife, being the same rank in the Army, understood the risks, telling a colonel at Fort Drum, N.Y., that if anything happened to her husband, she didn’t want to hear about it from a stranger.

    On June 6, 2006 Lt. Ewens and Sgt. Ian T. Sanchez were killed when ATV struck an IED while on combat operation in Pech River Valley, Afghanistan.

    A few weeks before his death, Lt. Ewens called his wife from an Afghan mountain to inform her that his unit had been subsisting on melted snow and rations and that he had been writing his impressions down in a notebook he carried.

    “This was the love of her life,” Megan Ewens’s mother said. “They were so well-matched and made such a good team. We couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law.”

    These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
    We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

    This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.