Daily Life of a Marine Mom

A Piece of My Heart is home from Iraq


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sigh .. work work work and more work. I kind of feel like a Marine myself lately!

My tattoo has healed up well ... and yes the tattoo pic a few blogs down is on my right calf! I told Eric that when he got one that I would too. He now has two and is working on his third ... think I will probably stop at one. Although, I hear that tattooing yourself is addicting!

My prayers are going out right now to the Camp Pendleton 8, anyone who is, in any way, connected with the Marine Corps knows exactly who I am talking about. I am getting a lot of info on these unfortunate casualties of the war within Iraq and I hope to get some valid links to websites that tell THEIR side of the story as well as their mistreatment here after they were taken to be interrogated by NCIS and whoever else wants their story. This whole thing scares me even more because I am pretty sure that the 3/7 WILL be redeployed to Iraq and it sounds like the government, both here and in Iraq are trying to make sure that they can no longer defend themselves without fear of prosecution. Any hesitation from our Marines and more than likely they will be dead Marines. I do NOT want to see any more of that happen than already has.

Another thing that really irks me is that the Iraqi government has freely given full pardon to any Iraqi or insurgent from the unlawful killing of Americans (of course this is if they will stop fighting) and yet they are requiring us to turn on our own soldiers. I am deeply saddened by this whole thing.

I am sure this is confusing to those of you that do not know who the CP8 are. For now I will leave you with a few websites that I know are done for their defense AND to tell you some of their story. What we, as a country, are doing to these young men is indefensible in my opinion. How can we expect soldiers to continue to follow orders blindly if THEY and not the commanders are the ones that receive the fall-out?

Fighting for Tyler http://www.fightingfortyler.com/

Defense Fund for My Hero http://www.defensefundformyhero.com/

Patriot Defense Fund http://patriotdefensefund.com/

PFC Jodka's Defense http://innocentmarine.com/

CP8 .. you and your families will remain in my prayers.

Semper Fi and God bless you all.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I had to take a tranqualizer for the first time since Eric got home from his recent deployment this morning. I still have the first bottle that the doctor gave me when Eric was still in the first few months of his deployment so that tells you that I didn't take many of them. Just enough to take the edge off the stress of worrying about your son and all the other Marines you have come to think of as family.

My heart goes out to the families of the missing, now found to be KIA, soldiers. I have been grieving with them and will for some time. I can't get the image of their last days out of my head. I pray for peace and ease of mind for their families. I know it will take time but I hope they find it.

You all know that I TRY so hard to be positive here and just do what I feel needs to be done which is SUPPORT THE TROOPS. I hope you also realize that I do NOT neccesarily support the politicians that have sent our sons and daughters into what I see as a fruitless situation in Iraq. I feel heartbroken for the normal Iraqi citizen that has to deal with the mess their country has been and become over the last few years. But it's THEIR mess and they need to deal with it. It is their sons that are joining the insurgents and their teachings that have caused the country to become a little bit of hell on earth. If that doesn't change Iraq will never see peace. But our young men and women should not be dying for it.

We need to get our soldiers home and let Iraq work this our for themselves, but that is just my opinion. I am still SO PROUD of our soldiers and what they are willing to do to for us. They only have to follow orders .. but they know that they are putting their lives on the line when they do every day they serve the military and our country. I am so disapointed in our present government though. In a way .. we are as crippled as the Iraqis right now. But I refuse to bring more of that here than what I have just said. Please forgive my lapse, I have grieving to do for our latest loss in this overdrawn war.

Semper Fi and God bless you all.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Well .. the life of this particular Marine mother is way too full right now !! I love the summer but so much work seems to come with it. Maybe it just seems like more work because I am playing so much more and the work still has to be done!

On a sad note I hope everyone keeps the two young soldiers that are missing in Iraq in your prayers. As well as their families and the family of the soldier that was KIA there when the two were abducted. The Defense Department has identified the missing men as Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., and the dead soldier as Spc. David J. Babineau, 25, of Springfield, Mass. They're assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. They and their families are definitely in my prayers right now.

On the homefront for me, all my kids are making me proud of them. Jason, the oldest, is hard at work with his writing and seems to be intent on becoming a best-selling author (he let me read his first book and I absolutely loved it! But being the perfectionist he is, he is editing the writing to make it more readable). His wife is working at a new job and loving it. Crystal, my daughter, is working on her personal trainer certifications and is happily settling into her marriage with Jim. And of course, Eric is doing great. Loves having his own vehicle out there. Made things much easier than it was before. Especially since he now has a .. ehem ... friend in Orange County. Nice girl he met at 29 Palms when she was there visiting with her sister (who lives at 29 Palms). I think I need to find out more, don't you? hehe

Anyway ... I checked out one of our local ABATE events here this past weekend with a few friends and we all had a great time! I would like to get opinions on the following pic. What do you think? I will get back to post more here later.

Semper fi and God bless you all.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I have some info posted below that I have been sitting on (in a draft) for almost a week. Figured I had better get it out there for you. I am really finding it hard to get here and blog during the summer! Its just that I am a major outside-type person and I have way too much to do while the weather is good!

Eric called me and told me some about the Marine Corps Ball he attended last week (29 Palms had one for the 3/7 in Nevada last week since they were deployed during the real one) . I hope to have some pics soon to post. Of course Eric says that he looks wonderful in his dress blues! He's funny, he said that even though they are uncomfortable he likes wearing them because of how good he looks LOL. I have never seen him in them yet, he promised to bring them home with him on his next leave and wear them when he takes us all out to a fancy resturant for dinner! My, but my little boy has sure grown up!

Anyway .. will try to get more here later for you all. Thanks for being loyal and stopping in to visit me! I am trying to get out and keep up with my blogging friends but bear with me while I take care of the summer stuff!

Semper Fi and God Bless you all.


God Bless the Ones at War
Dedicated to the many soldiers serving on the battlefield
By: Norma E. Wright, Copyright 2004,

As I turned on my radio, then watched the evening news,
I saw the wars and battlefields, the bloodshed and the truth.

The men and women, uniformed, and armed to fight a war,
So men and women just like us can walk through freedom's door.

For we are in a war to fight for those who are enslaved,
And freedom is not free unless a battle has been waged.

Our Founding Fathers fought the fight to free this mighty land,
And give us peace that only comes from God's Almighty hand.

The ones upon the battlefield who take surprise attacks,
Are still the ones protecting us, who daily have our backs.

For we would not be here today without the fearless ones,
Who fly the planes and guard the ships and shoot the dusty guns.

Each time I see the front page of the daily morning news,
I am reminded once again that war reveals the truth.

For truth is every time you see a wounded soldier's arm,
Who took a bullet just to keep this country safe from harm.

And truth is every time you hear a mother shedding tears,
Who's praying for she hasn't seen her soldier in a year.

Sometimes the truth is hard to hear when work consumes our lives,
But sometimes when a soldier works, a soldier bravely dies.

They die to give us freedom for we won't be like the others,
Who grow up in a world of fear and hating one another.

So when I see the camouflage or pass an army base,
Or hear a plane fly overhead or see a soldier's face.

I am reminded once again of why I have a choice,
And why a blessed American can have a vote or voice.

It's all because of soldiers who will not give up the fight,
The warriors who are fighting through the long and sleepy nights.

Be thankful where you live today, to walk through freedom's door,
And say a prayer for soldiers now - God bless the ones at war.



Click the links at the top to read the rest of the articles/blogs below.

BlackFive on Haditha

Haditha - Reasonable Doubt
Posted By Blackfive
This is probably one of the most important reads on the subject of Haditha and echoes sentiments that I've expressed on radio and here on Blackfive. ..............


Michael Reagan on Haditha

Replaying Vietnam May 31, 2006
by Michael Reagan

If you pay close attention to the media firestorm over the incident in Haditha, you’ll discover constant references to the war in Vietnam in general and My Lai in particular.

That’s no accident. The crazed American left in and out of the media is trying to accomplish in Iraq what they accomplished in Vietnam – a shameful American defeat wrested from the jaws of victory.

Make no mistake about it, these traitorous anti-war zealots are salivating over the possibility that they can exploit whatever happened in Haditha last November ......


Michael Yon on Haditha

Hijacking Haditha

Few people know what happened last November in Haditha. I first heard about it when the Associated Press called to ask if I was present. The answer was “no.” But I do know how our troops typically act on counterinsurgency missions, how surprisingly honest they can be about mistakes they make in the field, and the lengths to which they go to avoid collateral civilian injuries when on patrol and conducting raids and ambushes. I also know about being on the business end of an accusatory finger, after having been wrongly accused of murder. (http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/danger-close-chapter-one.htm) ............


Monday, June 05, 2006

The 3/7 is an awesome Battalion. Eric is in Lima Co (which he is proud to be a member of) but has friends that are Weapons Co too. It cool that I know some of these guys. I am proud of all of them! Semper Fi !!


6 Purple Hearts, 3 NAMs awarded to members of 3/7

Submitted by: MCAGCC
Story and Photos by: Lance Cpl. Michael S. Cifuentes

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.(May 31, 2006) -- Weapons and Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, held a formation behind their battalion command post May 31 to award two Marines and a Sailor with Lima Company the Purple Heart, three Marines with Weapons Company the Purple Heart and four Marines with Weapons Company the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

The Lima Company recipients of the Purple Heart were Lance Cpl. Benjamin J. Rende, a rifleman from Oswego, Ill., Lance Cpl. Jesse H. Hinkley, a rifleman from Las Vegas, and Seaman Benjamin L. McIntosh, a corpsman from Scottsdale, Ariz.

Seaman Benjamin L. McIntosh, a corpsman with Weapons Company, 3/7, stands at attention after he was awarded the Purple Heart May 31.

The Weapons Company recipients of the Purple Heart were Keith R. Laskey, an assaultman from Manteno, Ill., Lance Cpl. Francisco J. Conroy, a mortarman from Tempe, Ariz., and Lance Cpl. Michael M. Williams, a machinegunner from Lancaster, Calif.

The four Weapons Company recipients of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal were Lance Cpl. Aaron M. Cassel, a mortarman from North Manchester, Ind., Cpl. Shane R. Burge, a mortarman from Lyons, Kan., Sgt. Eric C. Dunham, a scout sniper from Wibaux, Mont., and Sgt. Marcus J. Major, a TOW gunner from Cleveland.

Lt. Col. Roger B. Turner, commanding officer of 3rd Battalion,
7th Marine Regiment, pins the Purple Heart on a Marine.

Even though seven Marines were awarded medals, all members of Weapons Company were recognized for their hard work. What each Marine did for Weapons Company was very honorable during the last deployment to Iraq, said 1st Sgt. Joseph C. Breze, Weapons Company first sergeant.

"I recall everyone in the company doing an awesome job out there," said Breze as he stood in front of a ‘school circle’ formation after the ceremony. "From the depths of my heart, I greatly appreciate all the hard work everyone’s done in this company. I believe we all were so successful because of our outstanding performance."

Cassel, a member of combined anti-armor team red, Weapons Company, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his hard work after he arrived to a scene destroyed by a suicide bomber.

"When I first got out there I was shocked by what I saw," said Cassel. "I snapped out of awe and began rushing to assist those who needed help. I didn’t have time to think, I just acted as fast as possible."

Three U.S. Soldiers were killed, as well as several Iraqi soldiers and civilians, said Cassel.

"We were ordered to police call the area of any parts that lay behind from the blast," continued Cassel. "This was the time when it all caught up to me. It didn’t bother me much, but it was a really bd sight."

"It feels good to receive this award," added Cassel. "I feel like I’m recognized and appreciated. A lot of the people I worked with deserve the same recognition. The company does recognize those Marines and know who they are. Everyone did their part that day. We couldn’t ever get through days like that, and the whole deployment, without each other."

Rende, a member of 4th Platoon, Lima Company, received the Purple Heart for wounds he sustained from an improvised explosive device blast in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Dec. 7, 2006.

"We were coming back from dropping off one of our platoons at an outpost, and our [convoy] took a turn down a side street," said Rende. "The third truck in the convoy was hit with an IED, and the vehicle I was in pulled around to help secure the hit truck. Just then, another blast went off as I was dismounting from the passenger side of my vehicle."

The second IED blast threw Rende back into the vehicle and knocked him unconscious for several minutes, he said. Upon regaining consciousness, Rende continued with his task of helping injured Marines on to a medical evacuation vehicle.

"After returning to the base, my section and I went to the battalion aid station to give blood," added Rende.

Although a Purple Heart is not an award one strives to achieve during a deployment, Marines still earn them. The battalion is just glad that you are still here to receive them, said Maj. Rory B. Quinn, Lima Company commander.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sorry no blogs lately. Made a 400 mile round trip to Michigan over the weekend on the Harley and found out that I need a cruise control if my hand is going to make it through long trips! Otherwise the trip was good for riding (just really HOT).

Other news is that Ben Hardgrove is improving daily!! You can still read updates about him at Caring Bridge.Org, his mom updates that info regualrly . Visit LCpl Ben Hardgrove by clicking here.

Eric bought a car when he got back to base. Good thing ... now he doesn't have to worry about getting a ride when he comes home to visit ... just how much it is going to cost him to park his car! Sounds like he got a great deal on a nice car, not new but well cared for. That's my boy ... a smart shopper!

My father (who was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer a few months ago) now has to go on dialysis because the radiation treatments pretty much destroyed what was left of his kidney function. If you have been saying a prayer for him, please keep doing so. His prognosis is not real good at the present time and we believe that the toxins building up in his body from the lack of kidney function has affected his mental state. Hopefully once he actually starts the dialysis his mental status will improve and he will feel better.

Well .. lots of work to do for me ... I will try to actually start writing some here soon. I want to approach the problems some of our young Marines are having with their return from Iraq. Its an important issue relating to PTSD and most military families have to deal with a least a little bit of that if they have spent time actively deployed. Till then ...

God Bless you and Semper Fi.

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