Daily Life of a Marine Mom

A Piece of My Heart is home from Iraq


Thursday, March 30, 2006

MY SON IS STATESIDE AGAIN, at least till his next deployment! After an endless night last night, I finally got a call from Dee (the mother of one of Eric's buddies in his platoon) who told me that the buses had pulled into 29 Palms and she was looking for Nate (her son) and Eric. It didn't take her long to find them !! Then she gave the phone to Eric so he could talk to me. That voice never sounded as good as it did this morning to me!! He said they had a blast on the flight home so even though it was long they enjoyed it. I told him four things before I let him go. First, of course, I love him a LOT and I was so glad they were home. Second ... that he needed to buy his airplane ticket home ASAP (he gets to come home in two weeks, for three weeks!) so it didn't cost him an arm and a leg. Third .. that he needed to take half his money in his bank account (which is a lot) and put it in a savings account BECAUSE he would spend whatever was in his checking account. Fourth ... not to ride with any drunk Marines!! It was bittersweet because I so wanted to be there to hug him, but like he said, he will get to see me in two weeks and we can have our own mini-homecoming! I want to thank Dee (and Nate) for making sure that I got to talk to him when he got off that bus. And thank you Dee for hugging my son for me. I love you both!

It was funny because just when his plane landed at 2:11 am (I was tracking its progress with www.FlightAware.com before I went to bed to try to get some sleep) I woke up. Of course the first thing I did was wonder where his plane was in relation to March AFB. So I went and checked and it said it had just landed!! I guess a mother sometimes just knows.

So, after that long endless night, I logged onto the Dandelion Sisters messageboard (the group of 3/7 parents that I belong to .. and get most of my info from) to post to the board that Lima Co and the #4 flight were at 29 Palms safely.

Now .. the messages that I saw there were upsetting to say the very least. One of the other moms (her son is in Weapons Co) who could not go to homecoming either (her son had asked her not to, and she respected his wishes on that) had been tracking the flights of the 3/7 home with me earlier in the day. Her son had come in on the #3 flight and had gotten to 29 Palms about 4pm or so yesterday. She was the one that told us about FlightAware. Unfortunately she had a sick little girl (105 temp) that they had to take to the ER so I hadn't heard from her for a while before I went to try and get some sleep. So the first thing I did was check the messages from her and see if her little girl was okay. She got a call early this morning from California. Her son, Ben (3/7 Weapons) was hit by a car last night on Highway 54 and he is in critical condition in the hospital. She is, with the help of some other Marine parents, on her way to Palm Springs to be with Ben. Other Marine mothers that are out there are going to the hospital to stay with Ben until his mother gets there. If there is one thing the Marine family does, it is support and help each other.

Even though they have made it home safe from Iraq, you are never really safe. We all need to keep that in mind and make sure that we live every day as if it could be your last one. Say the things you need to say to the people that mean the most to you. Don't ever take life for granted. Because each and every one of us could be in those shoes.

Please say a prayer for Ben and his family. His condition will be touch and go for quite a while and he will have a long road to recovery because his injuries are severe. Through my joy at having the 3/7 back at 29 Palms and my son safe for now, I feel the horrible pain of Ben's mother as she flies out to be by his side at the hospital. My prayers are with them and all of our guys with the 3/7 .

Welcome home 3/7 .. please be safe and be aware. We don't want any more of you getting hurt.

Semper Fi and God Bless you all.

UPDATE ON BEN: Last I heard from his mom, he has a skull fracture (which they were concerned about most), shattered pelvis, broken arm and leg, and collapsed lung .. but .. the doctor called her and they don't think he has any brain damage (thank you Lord). He is responsive to pain and moving. I am keeping him and his family in my prayers. Thank you to everyone else that has said a prayer for this young man too. They are working.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I am an avid reader of Tucker Carlson's blog, Untied that is hosted by MSN.com. Now .. normally I get a little laugh for the absurd things that people do and Tucker, of course, ridicules them about. After reading a blog he posted on March 24th though I am most simply flabbergasted than anything else. I had to pass this one on .. what were these people thinking?!?!


Rescued peacemakers should show a little gratitude (Tucker Carlson)
excerpt of blog by Tucker Carlson (click linked title above to read whole story):

There was good news out of Iraq yesterday. US and British forces rescued three Western hostages from captivity outside Baghdad. The three men were Christian peace activists, two of them from Canada, the other from Great Britain. They'd been held for close to 100 days. A fourth man, an American, was murdered by insurgents before he could be rescued. ................. , in more than 700 words, there was not a single word of thanks - not one - for the American soldiers who carried out the rescue.

You go Tucker ... Semper fi and Oorah!


I also had to add this little link to a blog on Brutally Honest. Richard Belzer sticking his big foot in his big mouth. What are people thinking?!?!
"Does Richard Belzer Speak for the Left?"


Semper Fi and God bless, my son is almost back on American soil OOOORAHHHH!


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Just a quick note here for now. I am working on getting some actual information here for military families (mostly of course Marine families) so keep your eyes open for the new modules that will give you valuable links to places that you NEED to know about! As an example, for parents of Marine recruits in bootcamp (especially those in SD), an invaluable resource for you is Max Beerup whom has been a wonderful source of information for Marine parents for over 11 years. You can access his website here: USMC Graduation Information - San Diego. Now ... even if your recruit is at Parris Island, IF you have a question feel free to call Max. If he doesn't know the answer, believe me when I say he can tell you where to get it! I met him and his wonderful wife Dee at the Indiana Marine Parents conference in Pendleton, IN yesterday and they are wonderful people. BTW .. niether of them get paid for this. They do it just to help. Give them a OORAH!

Eric Update: The 3/7 are now all safely in Kuwait at a transition center OORAH AND SEMPER FI!! That of course, includes Eric. You can NOT begin to imagine the sense of relief I am feeling unless you happen to be one of the family members of another Marine that has been deployed in a dangerous area. Even though they are not exactly home yet, they are much safer than they were this time next week. As soon as I know all the 3/7 are home I will let you know. Troops movements are not something I am going to post here UNTIL they are completed so even though I have a good idea of when they are coming back to the states, until they are actually here I am not going to tell you hehe (see OPSEC rules, never post troop movements anywhere until they are completed).

On a sad note in my life, my finace's father is not doing well at all. Please add Don and his family to your prayers if you can. He had heart surgery about two weeks ago and has been having ongoing problems since. Now his kidneys are shutting down and for some reason they cannot put him on dialysis. The immediate family members were called to his side in Indianapolis so my finace and his sister are on their way there now (its about a two hour drive). I couldn't go because they were not sure how long they are going to have to stay at Indy but his mother, brother and sisters are all there and that is right.

Semper Fi and God bless you all.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Our Marines are hard at work in Iraq trying to make sure that the Iraqi force is as capable and safe as our own.

Semper Fi and Oorah!

News from the Front:

Iraqi soldiers roll in armor, thanks to Marines

story and photos by Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva

CAMP HABBINYAH, Iraq(March 18, 2006) -- Iraqi soldiers in Fallujah are rolling in armored humvees, just like their Marine counterparts.

Iraqi soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division took delivery of 10 new armored humvees, complete with their unique paint scheme and Iraqi flags painted on the sides. It was a significant step forward in increasing the capabilities and confidence of Iraqi soldiers to carry out their own independent operations.

Until now, Iraqis patrolled the streets of Fallujah in Nissan pick-up trucks, decked with armored doors and blast shields along the bed.

“This is very important to the soldiers,” said Gunnery Sgt. Herbert J. Kennedy, a 36-year-old assistant supply officer liaison to the Iraqi 2nd Brigade. “This is something they were looking forward to. It’s a very good day.”

The humvees were bought by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and fitted and painted by contractors and soldiers from 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment.

“Now they can actually feel protected,” added Kennedy, from Beaumont, Texas. “There’s a better sense of pride.”

Pride was apparent among the Iraqi soldiers as they looked over their new vehicles. The opened every door, popped the hood and inventoried parts as Marines gave quick refresher classes to make them familiar with all the controls.

Iraqi soldiers said through an interpreter, they were pleased with the delivery. They praised the “high technology” and said that with the added protection, they could “destroy the terrorists.”

“We’re very excited,” one Iraqi soldier said. “We can’t wait to go into the city of Fallujah with these cars. The terrorists will be more scared and will take more consideration before attacking.”

The new humvees are more than just better protection for the Iraqis. It’s also a visual reminder of their growing capabilities in the eyes of their own citizens.

“They’re a status symbol,” explained Capt. Jon J. Bonar, a 31-year-old from Los Angeles who serves as the senior logistics advisor to the 1st Iraqi Army Division. “All the soldiers take their picture in from of the humvees.”

Kennedy agreed, adding the unique paint scheme with Iraqi flags sends a message both friends and foes.

“There’s a definite distinction between their humvees and ours,” he said. “Its’ camo pattern won’t be mistaken. When they’re conquering an objective, they’ll be identified by their colors. It’s a great honor. It shows the Iraqis are taking the lead in the fight.”

The Iraqi soldiers added they’re excited about the residents of Fallujah seeing their own army’s humvees rolling through the streets.

“The people see we have modern weapons and will be more encourage because they will see we can protect them,” one Iraqi soldier said.

“I believe this is the best military vehicle in the world,” another said.

Lance Cpl. Brent E. Driskill, a 20-year-old motor transport mechanic from Hot Springs, Ark., said the new humvees are just about as good as they get.

“They have the new up-armored kits,” said Driskill, assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5. “They’re equipped with turbos on the engines. Everything’s built up. The turrets they have are more armored than ours.”

Driskill added that with regular maintenance, the vehicles should last seven to eight years.

“It’s amazing how much of a step up it is for them,” he added. “They have more than twice the amount of weight and twice the amount of armor. They’re pretty well protected.”

The Iraqis drove with Marines from Fallujah to Habbinyah and back. For the mission commander, it was his first time working directly alongside Iraqis. He was encouraged by what he saw.

“We made the assumption that they were not very experienced,” said Capt. Jason S. Freeby, a 31-year-old from Houston, serving as commander of Headquarters Company, Regimental Combat Team 5. “I think we saw an example of the human spirit. No matter what culture, everyone wants to be successful. Iraqi’s do too.”

The Iraqis folded inside the Marine convoy for movement, making the move to and from Habbiniyah smooth. Freeby credited it to the burgeoning professionalism of Iraqi soldiers.

“It was like Christmas morning for those guys,” he said. “They’re excited about being successful. They have some good leadership and it filters down to the younger guys.”

Iraqi soldiers said the new humvees also speak to the trust between Marines and their forces. They know that Marines won’t be around forever and saw the addition of armored vehicles to their ranks as a step forward to complete military independence.

“It’s a very good collaboration between the Iraqi Army and Marines,” an Iraqi soldier explained. “I consider them as friends, especially Marines. It will be a memory of a friend, because some day, U.S. forces will leave.”

[Note: First photo is of the new Iraqi Hummers, second photo is of Lance Cpl. Jason A. Lynd, a 22-year-old from Fountain Valley, Calif., explaining the switches and knobs of the newly-issued armored humvees to an Iraqi soldier.]


Friday, March 17, 2006

I heard from another Marine mother once that deployment is similar to being pregnant with that child all over again. Coming to the end of this seemingly endless (at least to me) first deployment of my son has given me a much better insight into the feeling that this mom was describing.

As we near the end of the 3/7s time in Iraq for now, I have found myself becoming increasingly tired and .. well ... just plain fried.

The first few weeks were frantic. Everytime I heard about someone being killed over there I panicked. I came very close to losing it a couple times, once a few weeks after they were in place, we lost several young men out of a platoon that my son has ties with. The day after that I ended up in the emergency room of our local hospital with severe chest pains. Well, I kept telling them it was just a combination of stress and asthma (along with a touch of costrochrondritis, a condition where the cartilage in your chest gets inflamed) but being on the nether side of 40, better safe than sorry. They ran the tests on my heart and even though it felt like it was breaking, physically it was fine. After that little incident I gave in and went to my doctor and asked to be prescribed a mild tranqualizer. That got me through the next few panic attacks without a lot of physical sypthoms, we won't talk about the heart-ache I still endured though. I am still on that first bottle of tranqualizers that he prescribed me so I did well in maintaining control most of the time. Shoot .. I have almost half a bottle left, but I realized that I needed a little help and I was willing to admit it to myself. An important milestone for someone that likes to think that they can handle anything (yes I am a control-freak).

The pressure to write tributes to each and every young man we lost during this tour from the 3/7 in OIF3 (Operation Iraqi Freedom III) is still overwhelming. But it is a pressing need that I can't shake and actually, wouldn't want to if I could. If I can do nothing else for these men that were willing to die for me, I can at least honor their memory in the only way I can. My heart and soul feels deep sorrow for the families of the young men we have lost and my prayers are with those families always. Unfortunately, I still have more to do yet since we [in the 3/7] lost two more of these fine and honorable young men in the last couple of week, LCpl Kristen K. Figueroa, 20, of Honolulu, Hawaii and Cpl. Adam Zanutto, 26, of Walker Basin CA. Their tributes will be posted here soon.

Let's see ... I was talking about the similarity to pregnancy that a deployment of your child seems to be orginally in this post. In any case ... as it draws nearer to the time for these young men who have seen too much and done more than enough already to be birthed from the bus that delivers them back to 29 Palms, I think every Marine mother has been overwhelmed and worn down by the constant stress of fearing for their safe delivery. With prayers and determination we have suffered through seven months of fear, fearing the worse too much and yet hoping for the best. Of joy, upon hearing the voice of our loved ones on the crackling connection of a SAT phone or a regular phone during (at least in my case) their infrequent opportunities to call home, like a soft movement in the womb. Of pain, trying to comfort the ones we know that lost their babies before they could be delivered home safely. Of strength, hearing and feeling the pride our sons bear with them on a daily basis, so similar to feeling the hard press of false labor that makes us believe that they will be delivered back to us safely.

And now .. as I come so close to the actual arrival home of my son once again .. I am exhausted, tired, no longer able to feel the stress so much because it is so close to the end, just wanting it to be over so I can hold him in my arms again. The fear isn't totally gone yet though. Till the day I see him, he will be held tightly in my prayers with his brothers.

Please keep them all in your prayers during this final transition back to their home. They are still in Iraq and still bored ... but for now all is good.

Semper Fi and God bless you all.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Well, my son is just a few weeks from coming home and from what I have heard from some other guys in his platoon, they are getting bored because they don't get to go out and patrol anymore (YIPPEEE). Like I keep telling him .. bored is GOOD! At least for mom .

A friend of mine is at her son's homecoming right now! YAH Robin and Rusty! So glad that Rusty is almost back on American soil, safe and sound! OORAH!

Anyone who hasn't heard of Ben Stein's latest column concerning the Oscars needs to read it if you support our troops at all. Here's an excerpt of his column:

[Missed Tribute by Ben Stein]
Hollywood is above all about self: self-congratulation, self-promotion, and above all, self-protection. This is human and basic, but let's not kid ourselves. There is no greatness there in the Kodak theater. The greatness is on patrol in Kirkuk. The greatness lies unable to sleep worrying about her man in Mosul. The greatness sleeps at Arlington National Cemetery and lies waiting for death in VA Hospitals. God help us that we have sunk so low as to confuse foolish and petty boasting with the real courage that keeps this nation and the many fools in it alive and flourishing on national TV.

Read his entire column by clicking the following:
Missed Tributes by Ben Stein. All I can say is AMEN BEN!

And one last note .. my finacee's father, who had MAJOR heart surgery yesterday is doing very well (thank you GOD). He had two valves replaced as well as a triple bybass and a hole in his heart repaired. Its amazing what they can do at the Heart Institute of Indiana. He should feel 20 years younger once he starts to heal up.

Everyone have a great day and of course ..

Semper Fi and God bless you all!


Thursday, March 09, 2006

See below for tributes to Army Sgt. Rickey Jones, 3/7 LCpl Adam Van Alstine and 3/7 LCpl Matthew Conley.

First I wanted to post a quick note about Airman Elio Carrion. He is doing well and recovering at home but ... just as many of us who saw the video hoped for ... the officer is being charged in this case! Click here to read about that. Thanks BRAD for this link and new info.

I am having such a hard time trying to do tributes for so many young soldiers that we are losing who have ties to me. Its left me with a 'heavy' heart and in a fugue state that I am finding hard to break. But I am going to try.

I attended the funeral of US Army Sgt. Rickey Jones yesterday in Kokomo, his home town, and the patriotism that I saw there did indeed awe me and raise me from some of the sorrow I have endured lately with the loss of more from the 3/7 and the loss of a friend's son. From the thousands of people that lined the streets and highways of the funeral procession with flags and pictures of their hometown hero, to the amazing sight of hundreds from various organizations like the Patriot Guard Riders, the Marine Vets, the Military Vets of Indiana and surrounding states standing guard outside the church during the entire service. Sgt Rickey Jones ... you did your country and its people an immense service by fighting for our rights. I am proud that our community came together as a whole to do a service back to Rickey and his family and show that we all honor his memory.

I wrote the following poem for them all.

Remember Me With Love

Even though my life was shorter
Than I ever dreamed that it would be.
I proudly stood up and fought for all
The things that mattered most to me.

My family, my brothers, my country,
All our freedoms and our rights.
I was there to help defend them,
Though the cost might be my life.

I knew that I might not come back
The way I was before I left
But I was more than willing to take that risk
For all the things that I loved best.

Some may call me hero now
For the cruel death that overcame
And separated me from my family
Left them with just my name.

But memories are fluid and precious
And the ones I brought with me
Of the people that all loved and cared
I can look down upon and see.

I lived my life with all the glory
Of a man that was once afraid
But faced those fears and conquered them
So grieve lightly, as to my rest I am laid.

For I am well ready for the freedom
For the Kingdom and for the Light
God welcomed me to His open Arms
I spread my wings and I take flight.

But know that I will watch still
Over those that cared and loved.
For one day I will welcome you home
Till then, remember me with love.

© 2006 MarineMom


In honor of the son/step-son of my friends, Rick and Debbie Fields, we will NOT forget:

Tribute to US Army Sgt. Rickey Edward Jones

Click here to view a slideshow of the procession

Akron man's soldier son dies in Iraq
IED blast claims Sgt. Jones

Akron resident Rickey Fields learned this week that his son, U.S. Army Sgt. Rickey Edward Jones, 21, Kokomo, was killed Feb. 22 in Al Hawijah, north of Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during patrol operations.

Also killed were Staff Sgt. Gregson G. Gourley, Pfc. Christopher L. Marion and Pfc. Allan A. Morr. The four were assigned to the lst Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, lst Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.

Survivors, in addition to his father, include his mother, Tenia Rogers, two brothers, Michael Jones and Jacob Hughes, maternal grandmother, Margaret Jones, and maternal grandfather, Ronnie Jones, and his wife, Mary, all of Kokomo.

Flags at the Akron Town Hall will fly at half-staff until after the funeral. Sgt. Jones’ name will be added to the military roster during the flag-raising ceremony on July 4.


In honor of my son's brothers in the 3/7, we will NOT forget:

Tribute to US Marine Lance Cpl. Adam J. Van Alstine

Lance Cpl. Adam J. Van Alstine, 21, was killed by an improvised explosive device in Ar Ramadi. A 21-year-old rifleman from Superior, Wis., Vanalstine was born Nov. 2, 1984, in Duluth, Minn. He joined the Marine Corps in 2004 and went to Iraq in September. Van Alstine's awards include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment ribbon. He is survived by his sister, Dawn Meyers, of Cottage Grove, Minn.

News From 91.3 KUWS

Superior buries its marine killed in Iraq


More than one-thousand people gathered in Superior to pay their last respects to one of their native sons. Danielle Kaeding reports from Superior.

The 21 year-old marine was killed February 25th by a roadside bomb while on duty in Ramadi outside of Iraq. Family and friends of Corporal Adam Van Alstine gathered at Superior High School to honor him. Van Alstine’s brother, Michael Garrity said it’s a sad time, but he’s proud of Adam. “yeah, it’s hard…I just know he died doing what he loved doing and I’m really proud of him.” Van Alstine’s cousin Susie Mattson says she knows Adam was a quiet but important presence to many people in Superior. “Yeah, he’s gonna be missed….he wanted to be a marine since he was a little boy—it was his dream. He lived out his dream.” Family friend Nancy Thompson remembers Van Alstine used to hang out at her house all the time when he and her oldest daughter were kids. She says she knows she’s not alone in her grief. “It’s not just my loss, it’s a loss for the whole world…he was a good person.” Van Alstine had been overseas since last fall, and was just 15 days from being released from combat duty in Iraq when he was killed. He is Superior’s first war fatality since the Vietnam War.


Tribute to US Marine Lance Cpl. John J. Thornton

The 22-year-old Thornton was also killed in Ar Ramadi. He was born Nov. 19, 1983, in Phoenix, Ariz., and joined the Marine Corps in November 2004. A rifleman, he deployed to Iraq in September. His awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment ribbon. Thornton is survived by his mother, Rachel, of Phoenix.

Arizona Marine dies in Iraq mortar attack
The Associated Press

PHOENIX - A U.S. Marine from Phoenix has died in combat in Iraq.

Lance Cpl. John J. Thornton, 22, died Feb. 25 in Ramadi after a mortar attack.

Thornton was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif., and his unit was serving with the 2nd Marine Division while in Iraq.
Thornton graduated from Tolleson Union High School in 2002 and joined the Marines in 2004.
His uncle, John Alvarado of Phoenix, said Thornton, "enlisted for eight years; he planned to make a career of it. The Marines was his whole life."
"He wanted to be a Marine since he was little," Alvarado said. "It was his dream."
He is the 63rd member of the military with Arizona ties to die in the war in Iraq.

May we salute each one of these young men who were willing to sacrifice the things they love to protect us all.

Semper Fi and May God Bless you.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I have received the following many times in my email. It never fails to remind me how much we owe the young men and women that give themselves over to the Armed Forces that defend our nation. It never fails to remind me that Eric uses the tagline on his messenger "Property of the United States Government". For whatever period of time they are in the Army, Marine Corps, the Navy, Guard, etc ... that is just what they are. We so owe them all. Thanks to Guinnesswench (Cat) for sending me this again.

Average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate, he was probably an average student , pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.

He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and 155mm howizzitor.

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark.

He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.

He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation , but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient.

He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other.

He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.

He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.

If you're thirsty , he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food.

He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.

He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all.

He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking.

In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy.

He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.

Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so.

As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot.

A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.

Semper Fi and God bless all our soldiers.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Quick update here for now. We lost 2 more from the 3/7 last week. My prayers are with the families as they struggle to cope with this horrible loss.

I will do tributes to these young men as soon as I am able. I will probably combine the tribute with one for US Army Sgt Rickey Edward Jones who died in Iraq on Feb. 22. I am a friend of his father's and attended his funeral today. The city of Kokomo truly came out and honored this young man. Also I was honored to meet many of the Patriot Guard Riders who came out in full force to honor Rickey. I want to give them, and everyone who honored this young hero a big Ooh Rah. I will try to talk more about this later when I have more time.

I did hear from a mom whose son is in Eric's platoon and he said that everyone there is well. So for now, I know my son is doing okay. Keep him, and all of the 3/7 in your prayers till we get them home, please.

Semper Fi and God Bless.


Lance Cpl. John J. Thornton, 22, of Phoenix, Ariz., died Feb. 25 of wounds received as a result of an enemy mortar attack in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).


Lance Cpl. Adam J. Vanalstine, 21, of Superior, Wis., died Feb. 25, from an improvised explosive device in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif. During Operation Iraqi Freedom,his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).


My prayers are with the families, friends and brothers of these fine young men who were willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedom. I will be attempting to do tributes to them soon as well as a tribute to the son of my friend whose funeral I attended yesterday. My heart is heavy though, give me time.

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