Daily Life of a Marine Mom

A Piece of My Heart is home from Iraq


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

If you haven't already visited the tributes that I have placed here for Cpl Matthew Conley and 2nd Lt. Almar Fitzgerald, please click their names to visit the tributes or you can find the links to those blog tributes to your right on the 'Tribute' list.

I don't often ask for help but I am going to do a shameless plug here for MDA.

This year, I have the honor and pleasure of participating in MDA's Annual Lockup to help "Jerry's Kids®". To reach my goal I need your help!

I'd like to include you or your company on my list of contributors who are helping me reach my goal. Your donation would help MDA continue the important fight against muscular dystrophy. Check out my web page by clicking on the link below. There you'll find all kinds of information about MDA, and be able to make your tax-deductible donation on-line using your credit card.

MDA serves people in our communities with neuromuscular disease by providing clinics, support groups, assistance with the purchase and repair of wheelchairs, braces and communication devices, and summer camp for kids. MDA also funds research grants to help find treatments and cures for some 43 neuromuscular diseases that affect people of all ages, right here in our community.

I sincerely hope that you'll take the opportunity to support MDA. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail me.

On behalf of the families MDA serves, thank you!

Warmest Regards,

Tami aka Marine Mom

Click here to visit my Participant Page.

If the link above does not bring you to my Participant Page, cut and paste the address below into the address bar of your internet browser.



Monday, February 27, 2006

Tribute to Cpl. Matthew Conley
lost to us 2/18/06 OIF3

Unfortunately I couldn't find as much out about this young man as I would have wished to do a proper tribute to him. That we have lost another hero is well apparent though. He died a soldier and will be sorely missed by his family and many friends, including his brothers-in-arms in the 3/7. Cpl. Matthew Conley, we salute you and pray that you are happily walking with God in Heaven now.

GREENHILL, Ala. (AP) — A Lauderdale County native was killed in Iraq after a device exploded near the Humvee he was riding in over the weekend, exactly one week before his 22nd birthday, family members said.

Tommy and Debbie Conley said members of the U.S. Marine Corps. came to their Greenhill home early Sunday to tell them about the death of their son, Cpl. Matthew Conley.

"When I saw who was there, they didn't have to say a word, I knew what was going on," Tommy Conley told the Florence Times Daily.

Conley, 21, graduated from Rogers High School in 2002, where he was quarterback of the football team. He was a squad leader for the 37th Weaponry Division of the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed at 29 Palms, Calif., and had been in Iraq since September 2005.

Tommy Conley said his son was scheduled to leave Iraq on March 6 and was to be home on March 22.

Family and friends were planning a belated celebration for his Feb. 26 birthday and were going to have a baby shower for him and his wife, Nicole, who is expecting their first child in March.

Conley and other members of his squad were killed Sunday while on security patrol in the province of Al-Anbar.

He was a passenger in the Humvee, training the soldier who was to take his place when he returned home. Conley was killed when the vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.

"It's like this really isn't happening. It's like a nightmare," Debbie Conley said as she wiped away tears.

Conley's leadership ability was apparent on the football field, said Mike Curtis, who was part of the crew that produced radio broadcast of Rogers High School football games when Conley played there.

"He wasn't the best passer or runner, but he could lead that team," Curtis said. "It just totally shocked our family to hear the news today. You hear about these soldiers getting killed and it's tragic in itself but this makes it hit home and you realize it's a war over there."

Tommy Conley said being a Marine was something his son never regretted.

"He was proud to serve his country and me and his mother were proud of him, and always will be," his father said.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Tribute to 2nd Lt. Almar Fitzgerald
lost to us 2/21/06 OIF3

The Citadel mourned one of its own Wednesday after learning Marine Lt. Almar Fitzgerald died of wounds suffered in the Iraq war.

“It certainly is a sad day for the college,” said Col. Joe Trez, director of the president’s support office. “It’s like the loss of a family member.”

Fitzgerald, a Lexington native, died Tuesday in a military hospital in Germany where he had been treated for injuries suffered in a bomb blast about a week ago.

Fitzgerald was one of two Marines from South Carolina whose deaths were announced Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Jay Collado, 31, of Columbia, was killed Monday when the vehicle he was driving was struck by a bomb, the Defense Department said.

The deaths of Fitzgerald and Collado raised the number of troops with S.C. ties to die in the war to 39.

The 24-year-old Fitzgerald, who graduated in 2004, was the 11th Citadel alum to die in the Iraq war, but the first who was a native of South Carolina.


If a picture is worth a thousand words
Then what is a bright smile worth?
If its a smile that lightened the lives it touched
Its worth can bring to life all the precious memories
Of a man that cared
For his friends, for his country, for his brothers.

The loss of such a man can bring us to our knees in sorrow
But also make us all remember the joy he brought to us
The laughter in his eyes,
The genuine joy he felt and showed
Whenever he looked out into the world
Or upon the faces of those he loved.

That God missed his beautiful smile
We know is truth, especially those that miss that smile now
A beloved hero to the ones he left behind
But never forgotten,
That smile that could almost blind
Those that he chose to bestow it on.

May he walk with God, and smile all the time now.

(Lexington) February 21, 2006 - According to friends in Lexington, Marine 2nd Lt. Almar Fitzgerald, a Lexington native, has died as a result of injuries sustained in a weekend roadside bomb attack in Iraq. They say the Marine was taken off life support Tuesday.

2nd Lieutenant Almar Fitzgerald was among a group of California-based Marines who were injured in the weekend attack. At least one Marine was killed, and Fitzgerald was taken to a hospital in Germany to receive treatment for his injuries.

Fitzgerald had been in Iraq for about six months before the attack occurred, and he was scheduled to return home in March. He graduated from Lexington High School in 2000 and from the Citadel in 2004.

Fitzgerald's story has resulted in lots of sympathy. Trish from Columbia e-mailed WIS saying, "I knew him since elementary school, and also grew up playing sports with Almar. I can't remember one time of seeing him without a smile on his face."

Jocelyn Miller lights up when she talks about her friendship with Almar Fitzgerald, "If you heard him laughing you knew it was Almar. He had the biggest smile of anybody I ever met."

She gets teary-eyed when she thinks about his death, "I'm very sad. There's no words to describe it. My best friend is gone."

Alyssa Haladay talked to Fitzgerald's family in Germany after they took him off life support, "I know it's very hard on Roger, his brother. Omar just lit up everyone's life he came in contact with."

Miller says it was an honor to know Fitzgerald. He was brave, fearless, and proud to serve his country. Miller says, "I know he died doing what he wanted to do. As sad as I am, Almar was very happy and he made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and I will always remember he died with the utmost honor. And I will always love him for that."

Friends of the family are raising funds for the Fitzgeralds. You can make a donation at any branch of the First Palmetto Savings Bank.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Eric called me yesterday morning and he is so ready to come home. Even though he has told me time and again that he likes what he is doing in Iraq and feels that what they are doing is necessary, he is definitely missing the good old U.S. He did sound good, just like my happy-go-lucky boy that headed off to the Marine Corps a year and a half ago (gosh has it only been that long? it seems LONGER). I had to tell him about his grandpa's diagnosis though and he did take that hard. He knows that he needs to keep his grandpa in his prayers though and I think it was important to let him know that. I had debated NOT telling him till he got home but in the end, and listening to all the advice I could get from other Marine family members, I decided I should tell him now.

I will be posting the tributes to Cpl. Conley and 2nd Lt. Fitzgerald of the 3/7 here by tomorrow. I hope that you will honor these young men by saying a prayer (or just think of them and wish them well) for their families and friends.

Till then,

Semper Fi and God bless you all.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I have sad news to report today. We lost two more fine young men out of the 3/7, Cpl. Matthew Conley was KIA instantly by an IED Saturday and 2nd Lt. Almar Fitzgerald of Lexington, SC, who was injured in the same attack was sent to Germany to await his family before they removed his life support and let him pass on. There were a few others injured by this incident, but as far as I know they are all recovering well and the injuries were not life-threatening.

My prayers are with all these families and Marines as we deal with the loss of two more of their brothers. It is especially hard to deal with now as I have a fairly close relationship with some of the mothers of young men that were with Cpl. Conley and 2nd Lt. Fitzgerald when this happened.

As the 3/7 nears the end of their tour in Iraq, we need to keep them in our prayers even more and pray that they maintain their diligence and abilities that keep them safe. I will be posting tributes to the two heros that we lost soon. Bear with me as I recently have been dealing with the fact that my father has been diagnosed with lung cancer and he is considered in frail health, thus preventing some of the treatments that could ensure he would survive this. I will talk more about that later, but for now, I am keeping the families of the Marines we lost in my prayers as well as their brothers who are grieving greatly for them even now.

Semper Fi and God Bless you all.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

First off .. for those of you in the military that visit I want to send you a virtual Valentine. So click here and Happy Valentine's Day to our Soldiers!

Also click here and Happy Valentine's Day to everyone else too! I hope you get a smile out of my page there.

I know I have been missing lately on the blog-front but we are dealing with some issues in my family that have my attention and I am not sure when I will find the time to sit down and actually blog. I can't really cover those issues here until I have a chance to talk to Eric and explain some of them to him. He hasn't called and until he does, well, I may not blog a lot because what I want to write about, I can't till I talk to him.

But until I can write about that, I did want to pass on some links to info on recent issues that I have been following. I know the one to the Mudville Gazette is a bit old, but it's info that many may want to read.

OIFVet and the Vet March in April.

The Mudville Gazette, home of Milblog, info for Elio.
No Good Deed ...

Link to a great new organization dedicated to protecting the honor of our fallen heros. I joined today. Their (Our) mission is to block the sights and sounds of the nasty funeral protesters at the military funerals. That is one mission I am willing to undertake myself! Click the link below to the Patriot Guard!

I also wanted to send out a BIG thank you to BoomerBob from Boomer's World at MSN Spaces (you can visit him by clicking his name) for putting the Marine Corps flag on top of his 200 foot crane in California at his newest building project. He sent me pics today and I wanted to share them too. What a man!

Side View of the Crane

Looking out at the ocean.

View from the crane itself.

Wonderful pics Boomer! Thank you so much for honoring our Marines like this!
Semper Fi !!


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I am glad to report that Airman Elio Carrion is HOME and resting as he recovers from his recent ordeal. His family is calling for the deputy that shot him to be arrested. I know one thing .. I would NOT want to be the man that took that video considering he is currently being held in San Bernardino County Jail awaiting extradition to Florida for a warrant there (that he denies is valid). Interesting twist to a strange tale if you ask me. Umm .. I had better not get into this here. Got to keep it a family space. My mom reads it. Hi mom!

Semper Fidelis and God Bless you all.


Friday, February 03, 2006

PLEASE PLEASE continue to support your local police department! They are the unsung heroes of American more often than not and face danger on a daily basis.

I continue to search for information about the preceeding post concerning the shooting by a San Bernardino CA deputy of Airman Elio Carrion this week. While I haven't been able to find any updated information concerning Elio's condition, I have to assume that he is continuing to improve in the hospital. His recovery remains prominent in mine and many other people's prayers.

I did however find some more information concerning the deputy, Ivory John Webb. In all fairness to this deputy he was doing a job that most of us could not and would not want to do. I also continue to pray for him and his family. He needs prayers too although I am having a hard time being Christian about it because I can't get the image of him shooting young Elio out of my head. But .. I am trying. Therefore I am posting a link to a story about Deputy Ivory John Webb. His friends were as shocked by seeing the video as we all are. Click here for that story. You can also access footage of the video at this link as well as footage of the driver of the car that Elio was in. Both videos are very enlightening.

Truly, how do I feel about this? I think that the deputy made a terrible mistake and that he definitely needs to go to anger management classes and face the reprecussions of his actions this week. It was clear that he was very angry during the exchange and I, for one, do not want an angry person (police or not) pointing a gun at me. I think he forgot his tenet .. which was to 'Serve and Protect'. But that is just my opinion. You are going to have to make your own on this one.

Please remember to be nice to your local police and Semper Fidelis.
God Bless us all.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

NEWEST UPDATE: MilBlog has links to the video now. You can find them close to the bottom of the blog entry here: Info and Video at Mudville Gazette They also have more info than I have here.

UPDATE: First let me state that in NO WAY do I downgrade the service of our fine police officers and departments all over the country. Most of them enter into civil service because they want to help people and they do that very well indeed. I am indeed as grateful for them as I am the young men and women that enter into the Armed Services. This concern over what happened in CA a few days ago arises from the fact that I saw the video and I cannot get it out of my mind. I have no idea what went through the deputy's head (or why he did it) when he fired at Elio Carrion. It seems (key word here) to be completely unwarranted, but that is just my opinion. We will have to wait to see the outcome but for now Airman Elio Carrion continues to do well in the hospital.

There have been a lot of news stories posted about this incident since the video was released (by the man that made it) to the news station in the story link below. They are reserving the rights of the video (they paid $5000 for it, which the man who made the videotape asked for the money to be donated to Carrion's wife ... KUDOS to him from me) so you won't find it on the web anytime soon.

10News.com - News -
Video Shows Cop Shoot Man Who May Have Obeyed

Here are a couple of more stories about this from KTLA that I want to share.

Gunfire Stirred Another Shooter (story of the man that actually video-taped this incident)

Deputy's Gunfire Looks Like a Crime to Some

My prayers are still with this young Airman and his families. And the deputy that fired the shots that wounded him. He needs our prayers too.


I wanted to do a quick blog tonight and ask for your prayers for a wounded Air Force policeman who was shot three times. The wounded soldier I am talking about just returned from a six month tour in Iraq. Was he wounded in Iraq, you ask? Well .. actually no. He was shot in California by a sheriff's deputy while HE WAS COMPLYING WITH EVERYTHING THE DEPUTY TOLD HIM TO DO !! The latest article I could find about it can be read here http://www.twincities.com/mld/miamiherald/news/nation/13760694.htm?source=rss&channel=miamiherald_nation .

Updated CNN report here http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/02/01/police.shooting/index.html?section=cnn_latest. They are showing the video on a lot of news stations now. Watch your local news and I am sure you will see it.

Now in this article it says that the video tape (a home video taped by a bystander) was taken by The San Bernardino County Sheriff's department who were refusing to release it to the public. Apparently it was also sold to a local news station because CBS got a copy of it and showed it tonight. I know I am emailing the San Bernadino mayor as soon as I can and asking WHY THIS DEPUTY IS ON .. note this ..PAID administrative leave. If you see the tape ... you will totally understand my outrage.

Let's all say a prayer for Senior Airman Elio Carrion, 21, who last I knew was listed in good condition at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.

I am waiting patiently to hear .. the rest of this story .. but I saw the video so I am NOT favoring the police officer .. he had NO REASON to shoot this young soldier from what I could see of the video.

Semper Fidelis and God Bless you all.

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