Wednesday Hero

January 16, 2008

Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus

Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus
28 years old from Wolf Creek, Montana
3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
July 29, 2006
Marine Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus was the nephew of Montana Senator Max Baucus. He joined the corps in 2002 and was sent to Iraq in March of 2005.

Cpl. Baucus was killed alongside fellow Marines Sgt. Christian Williams, 27 yrs old from Winter Haven, Fla. and Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield, 19 yrs old from Clovis, Calif. during combat operations in Al Anbar province.

“Phillip was an incredible person, a dedicated Marine, a loving son and husband, and a proud Montanan and American,” Sen. Baucus said. “He heroically served the country he loved and he gave it his all.”

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 site, you can go here.

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Incredible Story from Iraq

January 14, 2008

Debbie Lee and our Troops in Iraq

Iraq’s Progress, Safety and Blessing

Darkness surrounded her as the helicopter lifted, whipping the air around her with a reverberating thump, thump, thump. A tall blonde in a war-torn Middle Eastern land, Debbie Lee felt a familiar ache in her heart.

She stood in a Western Iraqi city where her son, Marc Alan Lee, gave his life. He was the first Navy SEAL to die while fighting terrorists in Iraq.

As she stepped onto the sand where her son was killed, Debbie Lee became the first mother to visit the city where her son died for America in the Iraq War. She walked through Camp Marc Lee and saw where her son slept and ate. “I feel very blessed,” Lee said. “It was a miracle to me to be where Marc was, to see what he saw and walk where he walked.”Please read the rest of the story here:  Human Events


Wednesday Hero

December 19, 2007

This Weeks Hero Was Suggested By Leo

SSgt. Mike Mills

SSgt. Mike Mills


On June 14, 2005 SSgt. Mike Mills’s life was forever changed. The HETT(Heavy Equipment Transport System) he was riding in was hit by an IED. The attack resulted a cracked clavicle and scapula bones, dislocate shoulder, broken left hip, 4 out of 5 bones broken in his foot and being set on fire. The driver in the truck behind him ran with a cooler of melted ice which he threw on Sgt. Mills to put him out. He spent three months in the Brooks Army Medical Center at Ft. Sam Houston, TX with the injuries listed above plus 2nd, 3rd and deep tissue burns to 31% of the left side of his body. The first thing he remembers thinking after the attack was that his soldiers needed him and he needed to get back to them.

“Then the guilt set in about what I did to my family. I’ve totally screwed that up. Look at me, no don’t. I look hideous. How can I face my kids looking like this. They’ll be embarrassed to be seen with me. What if they won’t love me anymore? Speaking of love, my wife, oh my god. How can I expect her to stay with me. I’m not a man anymore. She’s not going to want be intimate with a freak. What if I can’t work, how do I support myself, my family.

I had the nightmares and couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t eating and was loosing weight. I didn’t really care. If I didn’t start eating, they where going to put the feeding tube back in. Who cares, I’ve totally screwed up my life anyways.”

But he found out just how much is wife loved him, when she stood by his side throughout the entire ordeal. She was there for every wound dressing and even learned how to change the dressings herself.

SSgt. Mike Mills now runs the site For The Veteran… By A Veteran in which he helps veterans, soldiers and their families find information they may not have been given after their medical discharge or retirement.

Some may say that Mike gave his country more than enough when he was severely maimed by an IED on that fateful day of June 14, 2005, but Mike continues to give to his fellow servicemen, as well as to his nation!

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.


Preparing for Christmas

December 17, 2007

Prosperity Christmas Tree Lighting

As we prepare for Christmas here in Texas, our hearts and prayers are with our Troops who are serving so far from home. We do not take for granted the comforts of our homes, nor the safety of our families. We are forever grateful for sacrifices that our Warriors make so that we can continue to live in peace.

2nd “Black Jack” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division commander, Col. Bryan Roberts, addresses Soldiers at the Black Jack Bistro before the lighting of the Forward Operating Base Prosperity’s Christmas tree in central Baghdad, Dec. 1. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public
Affairs)

2nd “Black Jack” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Soldiers kicked off the Christmas season at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in central Baghdad with the lighting of the Christmas tree inside the Black Jack Bistro, Dec. 1. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

Every year I read the following poem. Every year it warms my heart in much the same manner.

A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said ‘Its really all right, I’m out here by
choice. I’m here every night.’

‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,’
Then he sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.’

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’
‘So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.’

‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’


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.


Wings Over Houston!!!

October 8, 2007

On Saturday the fabulous Mr. J… aka… The Love of My Life, took me out on a date to Wings Over Houston.

I felt like a child who had been let loose in a candy store! I am fascinated by history and here it was all around me.

We began the morning snapping pictures of the old war birds.

We stopped and spoke with several Veterans.


On the right is COL (RET.) Robert Walker USMC… On the left is another Marine COL who just returned from Iraq. (I am embarrassed to say that I did not catch his name)

We moved on and visited with part of the WWII Living History Crew


Pictured left to right – COL Miles Root, Maj Kim Lampkin, Capt Renee Powel, and Maj David Lampkin


We talked some wonderful Air Cav Soldiers into standing for a picture. Love those Stetsons!

 

We moved into the concession area and ran into George Watts, a member of the Commemorative Air Force.  He told us about his missions flying B-25 & B-26 medium bombers, and the P-39 Fighters.

Mr. J was grateful when we moved to our seats to watch the air show. I will be honest, most of the time I was very lucky to catch anything moving in my lens. Those boogers are fast! All I can say about the F-18 Super Hornet is WOW!

The AH64 Apache demo was impressive as well!

Alas, it was hot and extremely humid and like a child, I became restless. I began wandering thru the display tents and got an autograph for my L’il Trooper!

 

Thanks Ladies, I am sure he will love it.

Two pilots with the Canadian Air Force let me cross the ropes for a close up picture.

 

They send their well wishes to all of the Troops!

 

I wandered back to take a couple pictures of the Tora! Tora! Tora! reenactment, but became too enthralled with the show to take many pictures.


LtCol (RET.) Fred B. Machol – WWII Veteran

Part of the reenactment crew


 
And I saved the best for last… I wandered into the Autograph tent and met the most wonderful group of Veterans!

 SSgt Stan Bruin and his wife
He flew 24 missions as a tail gunner on B-17 Bombers. On Feb. 25th, 1945 his plane was shot down over Munich and on the way to his first POW camp was forced to march through the heart of Nuremburg. (Sir, I cannot wait to watch your interview on DVD tonight!)

 

Three charming Pearl Harbor Survivors!
I am pulling their names from their signatures (so, I hope I spell them correctly)
Left to right; L.E. LaGerre, E.E. Vaughn, and G.M. Hemingway

Yes, Mr. Vaugh, I caught your wink! You are such a charmer. Mr Hemingway was only 17 on the day that Pearl harbor was attacked. He said that the percussion of a ship being bombed 1/2 a mile off shore was so strong that it knocked him off his feet. They each showed me on the map where they were and what they were doing when the attacks occurred. I could have spent all day listening to them tell of their experiences!

On the left: LtCol Vince Lipovsky – a Veteran of both WWII and the Korean conflict. Besides the 66 combat missions that he flew during WWII, LtCol Lipovsky also flew missions with Charles Lindberg and 33 photo recon missions during Korea.

He asked me to send a personal message to our L’il Trooper; “Tell your son, that LtCol Lipovsky wishes him a safe mission.”

He said that he was very upset when he shipped off to Korea that he did not take the opportunity to give his Mom a hug. He said her tear stained face was stuck in his mind the entire time he was away.

On the right in the photo is Capt John B. Lee _ he was a P-51 Fighter pilot in WWII. He flew 52 combat missions escorting the B-17 and B-24 Bombers. I have a fantastic autographed photo of Capt Lee in his flight suit taken back in the 30’s!

Sgt David Stedman – I could just hug this man! He showed me his scrap book, including letters and cards that he sent home. He also showed me the telegram that his mother received when he was Missing in Action. He explained the horror that his mother went thru until he was able to send her word that he was ok.

He then showed me a special little book (see picture) that his girlfriend gave him before he deployed. He married her when he returned home and they have been together for 60 years. She said the book would protect him while he was at war. (I know… it is so romantic)   

Capt. James A “Pete” Mullinax – a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. His 9th mission was to attack the heavily defended ball bearing plants at Schwienfort, Germany on October 14, 1943. After releasing the bombs on his target his B-17 was attacked forcing him and his crew to bail out over enemy territory. He was captured and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp.

I am only on chapter three of his book and can hardly wait to pick it back up tonight!

There were so many more, but I had so many stories dancing in my head and could not retain any more.

Oh the rich history of our great nation! I hope we can all grab bits of it when presented with the opportunities.

To all the Veterans that I met on Saturday… and those who I missed: Thank you for all that you have done to make our Nation strong and safe. My heart is filled with eternal gratitude for the many sacrifices.

And to the Fantastic Mr. J: Thank you for helping me experience so much in such a short time. Luv ya always!


Do I make You Proud?

September 25, 2007


To my L’il Trooper and the men serving with him in the 4-9 Cav:

Yes, you make me proud!

When I sit here and think of what a fine man you have grown to be, I get all choked up. (with happy tears)

Yes, son, you make us all so very proud!