Tuesday, November 29, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
Still no call from Eric. Its been over a month now since I heard from him although he did call his brother and sister-in-law a couple of weeks ago and they said he sounded fine. Hopefully all the stuff I sent him the last couple of weeks (hmm .. 6 boxes and counting?) will prompt him to call home and thank me LOL! I do understand why he doesn't call for so long but it doesn't make me miss hearing his voice any less. Its great that the guys have access to phones and computers (albeit limited access) so they can contact their families. Technology is a wonderful thing if it is used properly! I have heard stories from people that had loved ones in previous armed conflicts and many of them did not hear from their soldiers for months at a time, not knowing if they were dead or alive. I can only imagine their anguish during those times. As I have stated over and over again (both here and to myself!) NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS as far as our Marines are concerned.______________________________________________________
I found a couple of snips of news that I thought I would pass along here because they both touched my heart in a way.
The first is the crying statue of the Virgin Mary near Sacremento, CA. The Catholic Church has yet to admit that it is a miracle but even if it is caused by natural means, it still seems like a miracle to me. What an apt time for this to happen! We all need to remember to keep 'Christ' in Christmas and I hope the news of this statue will help people world-wide remember that. You can read more about this at this link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2005-11-27-marystatue_x.htm
The second thing that caught my attention in the news was the death a few days ago of the world's 'Ugliest Dog'. The ugly (truly very ugly, I hope I don't scare any little kids with this) little guy died on Wednesday last week just before his 15th birthday. He was so ugly that when his owner adopted him from a local shelter 5 years ago her boyfriend actually broke up with her over him. I guess it was a case of him or the dog. My question would have been HOW bad was this boyfriend that she chose the dog hehe.
Kudos to the lady that adopted this little beast because he definitely EARNED his title of the 'World's Ugliest Dog'. You can read some of his story here: http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-dog23.html
And ... he had his own website, poor little thing:
Semper Fi and God Bless you all!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season. Its been an amazing week with overwhelmingly supportive comments for our military here (ON MY MSN SPACES MIRROR BLOG) and for that I sincerely thank everyone that took a little bit of time out of their busy day to write those comments. Of course there are always the dissenters but our military fights for THEIR right to free speech too so those few comments that did not show support of our military remain here too. The only time I will ever actually delete a comment is if it is rude and profane both OR if it is just insults and has no bearing on what is blogged here. Profanity I will not tolerate here so to those few 'dissenters' or people that just don't like what, with my right to freedom of speech, I write here ... keep it clean and your opinion will remain.______________________________________________________
For those of you that visit, please be sure to visit the link above to other military related blogs. Notably the blogs of those that I have really come to see as friends here: Aron, an army wife awating her husband's safe return from Iraq (woohoo, less than a month to go!) and my honorary daughter; GuinnessWench at Area 51, a very interesting retired Marine who loves the show LOST (check her blog for great updates and info on LOST); Ben at Ben's Coffeehouse (who is also one of MSN's Best of) and Boomer (ongoing Oceanfront construction here -- very Cool). There are many other people here in Spaces that I am getting to know that I appreciate very much, too many to list them all but check out their links too!
NOTE: WarriorJason, one of our favorite Marine bloggers currently in Iraq is back! He had to shut down his blog (which unfortunately he deleted) but he got the okay from his commander to keep on blogging (as long as he doesn't violate OpSec!). So he is back blogging at a new address. http://warriorjason.blogspot.com/ . Check him out!
Well .. soon I am off to my grandmother's for Thanksgiving dinner. I have a video camera that I am going to tape everything and everyone with at Thanksgiving so I can burn a DVD to send to Eric who we will miss very much this Thanksgiving and Christmas. But you all have a safe and warm holiday and find a soldier to send a care package to, you have no idea how much they will appreciate it! For those of you with Marine leanings ... you can send a care package to a Marine. Let them know you are thankful for what they volunteer to do for all of us.
Semper Fidelis and Happy Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 21, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
we have loved
never really leave us.
They live on forever
and cast their
by sylvanna rossetti
Tribute to LCpl Scott Zubowski
I had the sad honor today of attending the funeral service of LCpl Scott Zubowski, who died in Iraq on Nov. 12, 2005 while on a combat mission. His funeral was attended by a great crowd that wished to say good bye to Scott.
Although the reason I went was to pay my respects to the young Marine that we lost and his family, as I listened to the touching tributes eloquently delivered by his teachers, family and friends, I caught a bright glimpse of the man behind the uniform. This glimpse of a young man, newly married to the love of his life, intelligent, caring, honorable and full of life, brought emotions far beyond the mourning and grief that I already expected to feel. The young man that I came to know during his service reminds me deeply of my own son who is still serving in Iraq.
The Scott Zubowski that is being remembered by his family and friends, was a loving young man with a great appetite for everything in life (including food according to his family, he frequently cleaned out their fridges!) and possessed of an intellect that would have taken him far in this world. This was a young man that spent the best years of his life bringing laughter and joy to his family. His humorous side and loving nature was very evident in the way his family remembers him. His older brother, Sgt. David Zubowski, remembers him as one of the best Marines he has ever had the privledge to know. They spent time together at 29 Palms where they were both stationed and David is glad he had the opportunity to get to know his little brother as a Marine. His young wife loved him with all her heart as he loved her. Scott told his mother once that he didn't want to live in a world without Klancey by his side and his mother thanked Klancey for making his last few months the best times of his too short life. All in all, the life of this young man, this Marine, touched a great many people as he shared the spark inside him that made him who he was. The world is a sadder place now that his spark is dimmed although an ember of that spark lives on in those that remember and honor LCpl Scott Zubowski.
The Marine Corps paid tribute to LCpl Scott Zubowski's sacrifice to the country he loved with full military honors. His flag-draped coffin never stood alone as there was always a Marine standing at the end of it, and when the Marines changed the guard over him, each would slowly salute Scott both before taking guard position and upon leaving it.
As we stood near his grave on this cold, dreary November day in North Manchester, the minister asked us all to join in singing "America the Beautiful" in honor of this fallen young American hero. Singing this song was probably the hardest, but the most meaningful part of the service to me today. As I tried, through a shaking voice and tears, to sing the words of this song, I had an ephipany. A sudden clear thought that we, as Americans, need to take the words of this simple song to heart and mean them with the prayful intent they were orginally meant to be sung with to bring this country back to what it once was. Thus I leave you with the words of "America the Beautiful" ringing in your ears. Sing it with all your heart in honor of this young Marine we saw buried today for the land he represented needs to hear it.
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!
O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!
Semper Fidelis and God bless you all.
Sunday, November 20, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
With the sad news of the death of a young local Marine in Iraq and the impending stress of attending his funeral (still not scheduled, should be held later this week) looming on my horizon, I wanted to post an interesting article that was written by one of our Marines and posted just after the death of LCpl Scott Zubowski. One of the featured Marines in this article is Scott's brother Sgt. David Zubowski (who is also serving currently in Iraq). Sgt. David Zubowski was interviewed for this article just days before his brother, LCpl. Scott Zubowski, lost his life during his tour of duty in Iraq. In the words of one of my fellow Marine mothers, we feel that this story speaks volumes about the Zubowski family and I wanted to share it with everyone.______________________________________________________
Semper Fi and God bless you all.
Gunfighters send U.S. flags flown in combat home to families
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 20051115132723
Story by Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan
TAQQADUM, Iraq (Nov. 14, 2005) -- For many, the flag is more than a symbol of the government. It represents the shared values of the people of the United States and their greatest ideal, freedom.
The Gunfighters of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 fly this symbol at Al Taqqadum, Iraq, and proudly take it with them in UH-1 Hueys and AH-1 Cobras during combat missions.
“Our flag represents pride in what we’re doing here,” said Sgt. David Zubowski, a UH-1 Huey crew chief with the Gunfighters and New Castle, Ind., native. “Looking at our flag, it just reminds you and makes you feel good about being here bringing freedom to the Iraqi people.”
Zuboswski has taken the flag with him during combat missions and flown it out of the Huey as he successfully returned back to camp each time.
“While you’re out on the mission, the flag sits in the back of your mind,” said Zubowski. “Once you come back, it comes to the forefront. When we return from combat missions, I fly our flag out of the Huey and everyone who sees it starts pointing and cheering. It’s a great feeling.”
The flags the Gunfighters fly in Iraq are sent to their families and loved ones in the United States. They get to pick the exact day the flag flies and send home a part of history.
“The flag flies into battle with the Marines and is there when the gunfire happens,” said Staff Sgt. Gary P. Huff, the Gunfighters’ support equipment plan maintenance staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge and Troy, Kan., native. “There is a certain amount of pride giving this kind of very personal gift. When we send a flag, we’re sending home a symbol of what we are doing here.”
Huff runs the flag program for his section and said he is running out of dates to fly flags. He said it is a morale booster, and when a person’s flag is flying, he will know it’s his flag going out on a mission.
“I think the whole squadron will send a flag home,” said Sgt. Maj. Troy Couron, the Gunfighters’ sergeant major and Nebraska native. “The Marines here sometimes fly two flags in one day. They are also constantly flying missions and taking their flags with them.”
Zubowski said the Gunfighters’ morale is high, and this program just adds to it.
“As long as we keep the birds flying, our morale will be high,” said Zubowski. “We know we are doing our jobs and supporting the guys on the ground. Our flag represents this mission to us and a great deal more.”
Couron said during the Gunfighters first 25 days in Iraq, they flew more than 1,300 combat hours. In the United States, he said it would take them more than two months to accomplish the feat.
“Sometimes, it’s really intense here,” said Cpl. Sean F. Mackall, a crew chief with the Gunfighters. “We work really hard and it can be really frustrating knowing there are Marines on the ground who need our help. But, we don’t shoot until we get a positive identification.”
Contrary to the insurgents, the Gunfighters make every attempt to use caution and not kill innocent civilians. They said their flag represents the values and ideals which make the United States the most powerful nation in the world.
“I think it’s awesome that I’ll get to send a flag home,” said Mackall. “My parents have a great deal of pride in what I am doing and what the other Marines are doing here. They support us and this flag will serve as a symbol of what we are doing here.”
Zubowski said he can’t think of anywhere else on the earth where the U.S. flag is flown out of a Huey and into battle.
“It will be a big thing for my father-in-law to get,” said Zubowski. “He was in the Army and is very patriotic and supportive of what we are doing here. After receiving a flag from Iraq that was flown in combat, he will definitely hang it in a place of honor.”
Photos included with story: Marines from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 fly an AH-1 Cobra out of Taqqadum, Iraq, and into combat, Oct. 30. The Gunfighters take the U.S. flag with them on combat missions in Iraq and send it back to family and loved ones in the United States. Photo by: Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan
Wednesday, November 16, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Marine family network you end up being involved in when you have a child or family member in the Marines, especially deployed, has its up and downs. Its amazing the number of people you meet and start caring about. Their Marines become YOUR Marines. We become an extended family that unfortunately has MANY members in dangerous situations. But we are there for each other through the good and the bad. These groups have answered so many questions I have had many times. If I need to talk, I know that there are Marine moms a phone call away that are willing to listen and try to help. I thank each and every one of these wonderful people for the caring and support they show each other, our Marines, and me.
I belong to two groups that I keep in contact with on an almost daily basis. One is the Dandelion Sisters which is an online group dedicated to helping and supporting the family members of my son's battalion. It helps keep us all updated on what is going on specifically with our own battalion. This group laughs, cries and mourns together as the need arises. I hope to make many lifelong friends from this group who live all over the country and the world.
My other main support group is a local group which meets at a town about 25 miles from me once a month. I have bonded with these people. Our Marines are all over the world serving their country but we have many of the same problems and we help each other and our Marines the best we can. We all got together last Saturday, did a video Christmas card for our various Marines and then packed care packages for them all, stateside and deployed. We had a wonderful time as we always do and came away feeling that we are there for each other.
This past weekend Indiana lost another young Marine to the Iraqi conflict. Lance Cpl. Scott Zubowski, 20, died after a roadside bomb exploded beneath his military vehicle near Fallujah, in Iraq's Al Anbar province. He is survived by his wife (he was just married December 18, 2004), Klancey, his mother Barb Weitzel of New Castle, his father Richard Zubowski of North Manchester and two older brothers, Brian of Huntington and David who is also with the Marine Corps, serving in Iraq. The mom had one question when she answered the door to see two uniformed Marines standing there -- "Which one?" My prayers are with this family and I plan on attending the services for this brave young Marine who died too young.
As the various Marine support groups in Indiana rallied to begin making condolence books for the family, with emails flying, I found out that one of the young wives we had in my local group whose husband is serving in Al Asad, Iraq knew Scott and his wife, Klancey and another of our Marine mom's son who is in the 2/7 was with Scott just before he died. Our local group (most of us live less than an hour from Scott's father) immediately begin making the plans to complete the condolence books and attend the services. We aren't sure yet where they will be held although since his father and his wife both live in the North Manchester area we are assuming they will be held there. This will be the first such service I have had to attend. I feel the need to be there to support his young man's family and be with my fellow Marine family members.
This is one of the sad duties that accompanies having an extended network of friends involved with the Marines one way or another. But we have to support each other and our Marines in the best way that we can.
The young wife in our group, Ashley, sent an email to us all, I wanted to share just a part of it since it emcompasses the feelings that we have when we lose a Marine. I will post it here if I get her permission. Her overwhelming question was though ... what do I say? What do I say to Klancey? She knows Klancey fairly well and when Ashley decided to marry Bryce, Klancey had said to her "Ashley, think it over before you do, you don't know what your getting into!" meaning of course being married to a Marine. What can we now say to Lance Cpl. Scott Zubowski's family?
What do you say, what CAN you say? Sorry most certainly is NOT enough for what this family has to endure now. Most of the Marine moms in our group, including me, responded to Ashley's heartfelt plea and told her that you really can't say anything that is going to make it better. You just have to be there and listen to the family and show your support with hugs if they need them. I know that I, for one, probably won't be able to say anything because everytime I try to say anything I will start crying too hard to speak. We just have to show them that we do care. It isn't enough ... but its all we can do.
Semper Fi and
Monday, November 14, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
Not much time but as far as I know everything is cool with Eric.______________________________________________________
One important note. For those of you that followed WarriorJason's blog from Ramadi, I don't know what happened to him or if he is okay but there is now a nasty link site where his site used to be. If you have a link to WarriorJason, you had better delete it unless you want to advocate porn.
If WarriorWife is around, please leave me an email so I can quit worrying about Jason. I pray he is safe.
Thursday, November 10, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
I want to say a big, huge THANK YOU to all our Veterans on this eve of Veteran's Day. If you are a Vet, be sure to visit your nearest Golden Corral for a free meal tomorrow (Friday) between 5-9.
Also, I copied this from Dan's (The Veterans' World) site. Thanks for spreading the word Dan!!
Help Make a Difference
There is a website which is conducting a fundraiser to help donate voice automated laptops to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines wounded in the Iraq War. Please visit this site and make a donation.
Remember folks, Veterans' Day is coming up in two days, and there are young men and women who served our nation whose lives will never be the same. They sit in places named Walter Reed, Bethesda and Brooke Army Medical Center and wait for their wounds to heal. Some of their wounds will never heal, but we should do what we can to help them along in the process. It's the least we can do.
You (and all our vets) rock Dan!!!
Semper Fi and Happy Vet's Day to all our military!!
Tuesday, November 08, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
ADDED NOTE 11/9/05: Anyone know what has happened to WarriorJason's Blog?? I saw his blog is not only down .. but doesn't show up at all. If anyone knows what is going on please leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I sure hope Opsec didn't take him down too :( . -thanks.
Sorry I haven't been around lately. Spent Sunday at Mounds State Park doing a run/walk race on the trails there. It was an all day thing since it takes so long to get there. I did place 2nd in my age group and beat my time last year by 11 minutes!! That was great! First time I ever got a medal at a walk. My finace, Rick, took 2nd overall and 1st in his age group. He would have taken first but he got lost LOL. He's a competitive race-walker. I just do it for fun and exercise and the nice sweatshirts they give out at the Mounds race hehe.
We signed up knowing the risk. Those innocent people in New York didn't go to work thinking there was any kind of risk.
Marines know how to use their bayonets. Army bayonets may as well be paper-weights. Navy Times; November 1994
Why in hell can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines.
The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth. Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997
For all of those that have son's or daughter's at bootcamp let me pass on what I found. Let me give you a little background first. When my son left home he had no motivation, he was lazy, slobby, no pride, no self worth. This is the boy that got off the bus March 18th at Parris Island. The man that I met on Thursday for parents day is AWESOME. There is no way I can describe to you all the difference. He looks different, he walks different, he talks different, he has such a sense of bearing and pride all I could do was look at him in awe. Oh yes, the training is hard, what he went through is unimaginable to any one that has not been there. They are definitely taught to be Warriors. Let me tell you the surprise of what else they are taught. My Marine son has better values, better morals, better manners than any one I know. It is so much more than Yes Sir, Yes Mam...so much more. He cares about how he looks, he cares about what he does, and its not a boastful, bad ass thing. He is a true gentleman. I saw patience, and a calmness in him that I have never seen. I could never express my gratitude enough to the Marine Corps for what they have given my son. I know this, I have an 11 year old Devil pup still at home. When the time comes for his turn if I had to I would take him kicking and screaming all the way. Although I'm sure that will not happen. The hero worship I see in my younger sons eyes for his Marine brother tells me I will have two Marines in the family, and I will be one very proud mother.
The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years. James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy; 23 February 1945 (the flag-raising on Iwo Jima had been immortalized in a photograph by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal)
I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world!
We have two companies of Marines running rampant all over the northern half of this island, and three Army regiments pinned down in the southwestern corner, doing nothing. What the hell is going on?
The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!
Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.
Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat.
They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or "we'll blow you away." And then they looked up and saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and they said in Somali, "Igaralli ahow," which means "Excuse me, I didn't mean it, my mistake".
For over 221 years our Corps has done two things for this great Nation. We make Marines, and we win battles.
Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?
Gone to Florida to fight the Indians. Will be back when the war is over.
Don't you forget that you're First Marines! Not all the communists in Hell can overrun you! Col. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC rallying his First Marine Regiment near Chosin Reservoir, Korea, December 1950
Marines die, that's what we're here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU live forever.
You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!
We are United States Marines, and for two and a quarter centuries we have defined the standards of courage, esprit, and military prowess.
I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold. 1stLt. Clifton B. Cates, USMC in Belleau Wood, 19 July 1918
I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past.
Courage is endurance for one moment more...
My only answer as to why the Marines get the toughest jobs is because the average Leatherneck is a much better fighter. He has far more guts, courage, and better officers... These boys out here have a pride in the Marine Corps and will fight to the end no matter what the cost.
A Marine should be sworn to the patient endurance of hardships, like the ancient knights; and it is not the least of these necessary hardships to have to serve with sailors.
Lying offshore, ready to act, the presence of ships and Marines sometimes means much more than just having air power or ship's fire, when it comes to deterring a crisis. And the ships and Marines may not have to do anything but lie offshore. It is hard to lie offshore with a C-141 or C-130 full of airborne troops.
This was the first time that the Marines of the two nations had fought side by side since the defence of the Peking Legations in 1900. Let it be said that the admiration of all ranks of 41 Commando for their brothers in arms was and is unbounded. They fought like tigers and their morale and esprit de corps is second to none.
You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth- and the amusing thing about it is that they are.
There was always talk of espirit de corps, of being gung ho, and that must have been a part of it. Better, tougher training, more marksmanship on the firing range, the instant obedience to orders seared into men in boot camp.
The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps.
By their victory, the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions and other units of the Fifth Amphibious Corps have made an accounting to their country which only history will be able to value fully. Among the American who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.
Being ready is not what matters. What matters is winning after you get there.
The Marine Corps has just been called by the New York Times, 'The elite of this country.' I think it is the elite of the world.
I still need Marines who can shoot and salute. But I need Marines who can fix jet engines and man sophisticated radar sets, as well.
I can't say enough about the two Marine divisions. If I use words like 'brilliant,' it would really be an under description of the absolutely superb job that they did in breaching the so-called 'impenetrable barrier.' It was a classic- absolutely classic- military breaching of a very very tough minefield, barbed wire, fire trenches-type barrier.
I am convinced that there is no smarter, handier, or more adaptable body of troops in the world.
The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle.
Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army.
The American Marines have it [pride], and benefit from it. They are tough, cocky, sure of themselves and their buddies. They can fight and they know it.
They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
I've always been proud of being a Marine. I won't hesitate to defend the Corps.
Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary.
A Ship without Marines is like a coat without buttons.
If I had one more division like this First Marine Division I could win this war.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our
Thursday, November 03, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eric called me a couple of days ago and he is doing well. Not much to say about 'there' which makes me wonder what exactly IS going on that he isn't telling me. He did tell me that they (Lima Co) adopted, actually rescued' an Austrialian Shephard puppy during the election time. I sent him some dog toys because I have to admit that Austrailian Shepards have a special place in mine and Eric's heart because my current dog is mostly Austrailian Shepard and he is a sweetheart.
Now, the Marines may be very resourceful when it comes to first aid (see the previous 'tampon' story) but when it comes to naming pets .. well, let's just say they take the easiest route LOL. Because this new pup of theirs lives in the XOs' tent .. they named him Ox hehe.
The Marines and the Army have a bit of a different outlook when it comes to pets, the Army shoots them because they can be disease-carriers and the Marines rescue them!! I am glad they do though, because these guys need something to think about besides what they are doing during the missions they go on.. AND they need a touch of home because of the danger they are constantly facing in a war-zone.
I want to pass on the story of "Beans". You may have heard about Beans because this little pup was in the news lately. It just goes to show you that maybe, dogs are Marines 'best friends' too.
Photo (below): Staff Sgt. Stephen L. Prince, a military policeman, makes Beans feel at home from a long flight at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. Oct 5. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Steven R. Cushman
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2005) -- Not many people find a best friend in a paper sack half way around the world, in a country littered with war and terrorists. But, that is what happened when Marine Cpl. Jeffery A. Boskovitch, a Reserve Marine from Akron, Ohio, decided to befriend a tiny mutt. For some pocket change and little bit of candy, the pup became his. It would have been impossible to guess that this friendship would span half the globe, involve the Commandant of the Marine Corps, a couple of Army generals and a congressman, and pull the heartstrings of thousands of Ohio residents.
Boskovitch, a sniper with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, found the puppy when he decided to inspect a paper bag carried by an Iraqi boy sometime in June. Inside the bag was a small brown and black dog. He convinced the child to sell the puppy for a quarter and three jellybeans. The boy agreed and Boskovitch called the dog Beans.
Boskovitch and other members of the unit took care of the mutt and declared Beans their unofficial mascot. In a letter to his mother, he wrote, "Beans is so cool." He emailed photos of Beans to his mother and she began raising money to get Beans to Ohio.
Although Boskovitch grew up around dogs, he always wanted one of his own. According to Boskovitch's mother, Kathy Wright, he told his girlfriend he wanted to get a dog when he got home from Iraq.
"Jeff always wanted a dog .. his own dog. He liked big dogs, something he could wrestle with," said Wright.
However, Boskovitch did not get off the plane with the rest of the members of 3/25 when they returned to Cleveland Oct. 6. The young corporal was killed Aug.1 in an ambush attack which left five other Marine snipers dead as well. His wish to get Beans home to Ohio sent his mother on a mission.
"I never meant for Beans to be a replacement for my son. I just felt I had to honor his request," Wright said.
When the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, visited the families of the fallen warriors Aug.12 and asked if their was anything he could do, Wright showed him the picture of her son with Beans.
"Please help me get this dog home," Wright said she plead. "He smiled and said he would do whatever he possibly could."
Hagee stood by his word and established "Operation Beans." Finding Beans, however, proved to be more difficult than first imagined. Marines of 3/25 were hiding Beans.
"Finding Beans took a little while because the boys were hiding her. They were scared that if she was discovered, they'd have to get rid of her," Wright said.
Wright stayed steadfast, never giving up hope, knowing the dog was there somewhere. Hagee was determined as well, directing his staff to get everything worked out.
"If Beans can comfort the mother of a fallen Marine, then it is our pleasure to help," said Hagee's spokesman.
Referring to Hagee, Wright said, "He was so polite, compassionate and sincere. I know generals are busy and are used to barking out orders, but he wasn't a general, he was a gentleman,"
After a month and a half of phone calls and appealing to whoever would listen, everyone's persistence paid off. Beans was on her way to a new home. The logistics were all worked out, and the Marines would fund the flight for Beans to arrive aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., via Spain, or so everyone thought.
Days before her scheduled flight home, Beans would again face uncertainty. Orders to fly Beans across the world were not signed and the Army would not sign a waiver.
Wright, disheartened, called everyone she could think of, including Ohio Congressman, Dennis J. Kucinich. Once again, her determination proved triumphant. Beans was soon to be hers .. finally.
Wright credits Hagee, his staff, U.S. Army Generals George W. Casey and John P. Abizaid, and Congressman Kucinich for making her son's wish come true.
:"It was a joint effort among the Marines, the Army and even the Air Force, because Beans flew to North Carolina on a C-5. I just want to thank everyone. General Hagee, General Casey, General Abizaid, my congressman and all the many people I don't even know," Wright said.
Beans finally arrived at Cherry Point on Oct. 5. She made a trip to Camp Lejeune later that evening to spend a final night with her friends in 3/25.
Sgt. Derrick Moore, an Embark Chief from Brook Park, Ohio, volunteered to pick Beans up at Camp Lejeune and fly back with her.
"I know it means so much to Mrs. Wright. I felt it was an honor to pick up Beans and deliver Beans to her," said Moore.
Beans arrived in Ohio around 1:30 pm. on Friday.
"It was bittersweet. I knew Jeff wasn't getting off the plane, but I was so happy to have Beans," Wright said.
Beans was thin and seemed tired, but Wright said she had to take her to visit Jeffery before anything else.
"I took her to Holy Cross Cemetery where Jeff is buried. That was the first thing we did. I wanted him to see that she was here. Then I asked Jeff, 'Now what?'" Wright recalled.
As of Friday, Beans was getting checked out by the vet and taking a break from all the attention.
"She may have sand ticks or sand fleas. I mainly just wanted her to rest," said Wright.
Wright says she is not sure if dogs should be a part of a unit or not. She was sure there were many stories about Beans and her time spent with 3/25. She heard that Beans was a part of several missions, including alerting the unit to an ambush attempt.
Whether Beans deserves to pin on a rank is questionable. For now, she said she was just happy to finally have Beans with her.
"I'm the type of person who follows the rules. If the rules say 'no dogs', then I stand by that. I wouldn't want it to cause distractions or diseases. But, the reality is that people care for loving animals," said Wright.
There are numerous stories left untold by veterans who had reluctantly left their four-legged friends behind, but not this one. A friendship forged at war formed a mother's will. The mother's will tested a general's commitment. The general's commitment had, in the end, honored a warrior's final wish. Welcome to the United States, Beans.