Wednesday, February 28, 2007

On Going Walter Reed Saga

Cathc up on the current Walter Reed situation here.

- May no soldier go unloved

Soldier Keeps Giving Even After Death

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. - The same day an 11-year-old Iraqi boy underwent heart surgery on Long Island last week, the widow of an Army captain who had befriended the youngster was opening a package at her home in California.

It was Capt. Brian Freeman's personal effects, sent to Charlotte Freeman after his death in Iraq Jan. 20. They included a hand-held Sony PlayStation video game that he had played with during breaks.

On Tuesday, Charlotte Freeman fought back tears as she presented the gadget to the smiling, gum-chewing boy named Ali as a token of what she hoped would be a lifelong friendship.[snip]

An interpreter said Ali's "biggest thanks are to God, Captain Freeman and Charlotte."

When Capt. Freeman was abducted and killed in Karbala by Iraqi militants, he had just learned that Ali had received the paperwork needed to visit the United States for surgery.

Freeman had learned of the boy's heart problem after he befriended him and his father, Abdul. The family name was withheld for fear of reprisals in Iraq.

Freeman contacted Gift of Life International, which helped raise $10,000 to pay travel and medical costs for Ali and another boy who has not yet arrived in the United States.

After Freeman was killed, members of his unit and his widow both contacted Gift of Life to ensure that Ali would still receive the promised surgery.

Read the rest here.

- May no soldier go unloved

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Event and Updates

Again, we're continuing with our preparation and planning for several events.

Snake Saturday

Saturday, March 3 will be our paint and paste party for the "pot of gold" and signs. Email me at: kehenry1-AT-hotmail-dot-com for directions.

Wednesday, February 28 4pm we will be painting the big rainbow that goes on our float. We need volunteers for that as well. Email Darice at: dmheishman-AT-yahoo-dot-com.

Poker Run June 3

Don't miss our first clip for our Kansas City Soldiers' Angels Shout Out To the Troops.

Patti left us a message in the comment section of the post in case you missed it.

I love you guys!!

Thanks, Patti, I think the feeling is mutual.

On a separate note, I thought some of you might be interested in our blog stats.

At midnight, February 26, we had 440 "unique" visitors. In otherwords, people logged on to our site 440 times. We had over 550 "page loades". So, not only did they log on to our site, but they looked at other pages 550 times. Today we had over 100 "hits" or people logging on to our site. That's the power of networking.

Some other interesting facts, we have world wide visitors. Today we had visitors from Italy, Paris, France; London, England; Munich Germany and, aside from a previous hit from sea near the equator, two of our most interesting hits:

Taian-changcheng-high-school Taian City Shandong Province
Chinanet Guangdong Province Network

Both of these were "direct hits" which means that there was no "referring URL". THAT means we weren't googled or stumbled across. It means someone (or two) specifically typed in "" to get here. They knew we existed.

I do have a friend from another forum that teaches English to Chinese students, but he is in Taiwan (not mainland where our hits are from). It could be that my friend passed the website on. The best part is that we are not blocked in China. Why is that good? Because China blocks a lot of websites they feel are too "dangerous" to be viewed. We are spreading the news about community support and liberty around the world.

- May no soldier go unloved

Things To Read and Listen To

It's probably difficult for many to search the internet for stories or information about our soldiers, how they are doing and their current situation.

One of the best places to read to get an overview of events in Iraq and Afghanistan is the Mudville Gazette where Mrs. Greyhawk (wife of active duty Air Force) keeps up an almost daily Dawn Patrol.

Those who are interested in the Walter Reed situation should read Tom the Red Hunter who goes every Friday to the Walter Reed Support the Troops Events. Something special happened this time when the buses were rolling into the Walter Reed driveway.

Then Lt Smash, Iraq Veteran, went to visit friends at the now infamous Mologne House (Building 18) and gives a different perspective. I would caution to say that both aspects of the Mologne House are probably correct. The building is well over 60 years old and, until the two big wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, probably did not have a full compliment of people staying there. Which means, like any other institute, parts were probably not kept up as well as those that were in continuous use.

Now, unfortunately, it is needed and parts are most likely in need of repair. I'll talk more about why Mologne House is such a contradiction this week.

In the meantime, I would also suggest, if you have good speakers or an I-Pod, I suggest that you listen online or download Pundit Review presenting Blackfive's series Someone You Should Know: "Doc" Kirby. Every week, Pundit Review and Blackfive present stories of great heroic men and women serving in our armed forces. Check the archives here (scroll down).

My personal favorites:

Patti Patton-Bader
Raven 42 (Sgt Leigh Ann Hester - First woman to receive silver star for combat action)
Jason Dunham (recent recipient of the Medal of Honor)

Listen to them all if you have a chance.

- May no soldier go unloved

Monday, February 26, 2007

Snake Saturday: Let's Get Moving!

Snake Saturday Parade Planning and Preparation is on going. Saturday March 3 we'll be having a paint and paste party at my house. We'll be putting together our "pot of gold" and some signs to carry in the parade.

Those interested in joining us should email me at kehenry1-AT-hotmail-DOT-com for directions. I'll have some refreshments and snacks. Feel free to bring anything else you might like. The prep party will begin at 12 noon.

We've got most of the materials and the last update indicated that the rainbow was being made and would be delivered to the man who will be pulling our float.

Other updates: We'll be meeting early before the parade to put the float together. Some of the Legion Riders have indicated they will come to walk with us.

We need everyone to participate, so come on out.

Looking forward to seeing you there!!!

Let's show Kansas City how we feel about Mo Ghile Mear (Our Heroes)!

Cross referenced at the Castle

- May no soldier go unloved

KC Soldiers' Angels and American Legion Post 370

Mark your calendars! Our first major fundraiser for Soldiers' Angels, a Poker Run, is scheduled for Sunday, June 3, 2007.

A Poker Run is an organized event where riders travel over a predetermined route and at designated stopping points, select a playing card. At the end of the run, the person with the best poker hand wins a prize. This event will be open to both motorcycle and car riders and may also include a dinner, silent auction, and a 50/50 drawing.

Ronda G., in cooperation with local American Legion Post Rider members, is chairing the Poker Run Committee. If you are interested in serving on this committee, the next meeting will be held on Sunday, March 11 at 11:00 am at Post 370 in Overland Park. The post is located on W. 75th St. just west of Metcalf.

There will be a breakfast that morning from 9am til noon. Breakfast will include an omelet made to your request, toast, hashed browns, bisquits and gravy, fruit, juice and coffee. All of the proceeds after cost will go to purchasing phone cards for troops supported by Soldiers Angels. Cost is $6 per person.

If you are interested in helping with this fun event but can't make it to the meeting, please contact KC Soldiers' Angels

Please continue to look for information on this event in upcoming monthly newsletters and on this website.

We had a great meeting on Saturday. We had about 20 people from both Soldiers' Angels and the American Legion.

Everyone is really excited about this project. The Angels got together for a picture and some videos (video to come).

Cross referenced at the Castle
- May no soldier go unloved

Kansas City Soldiers' Angels

Shout Out To the Troops

We've been taking video of our Angels during our meetings and events. This is our first video and there will be more to come. We'll be making a complete video that will be burned on CDs for those who want to send them to their troops.

Here's our first clip:

Why I am a Soldiers' Angel and a Shout Out to Our Troops!

If you want to share this video with friends, family and soldiers you support, click on the "share" button on the bottom right hand corner of the video frame above. Or, click on the word "Permalink" at the bottom of this post, copy the link and paste into an email.

Watch this site for more video from our other events and more shout outs to the troops!

Cross referenced at the Castle

- May no soldier go unloved

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Soldiers' Angels Kansas City Parade Planning

AAR (After Action Report)-We had our first KC Soldiers' Angels Meeting to plan our float for the Snake Saturday Parade in North Kansas City March 10. We had a great group of Angels show up at the National Guard Armory for some brainstorming. If you've never been to an Angel meeting then you've missed out meeting some really creative people. Everyone added some ideas and volunteered for part of the project. In fact, I'd guess we could out do many advertising agencies AND stay in budget. Angels know how to get the most bang for the buck. (That's why they can pack three boxes with enough goodies to support a squad for a month and still keep the family in peanut butter and jelly *just kidding*)

This years theme is "A Leprechauns Pot of Gold". Our float has to play to that theme to be allowed entry. We came up with our motto, "Supporting Those Who Protect Our Pot of Gold". A soldier in Iraq is loaning us his truck and 16 foot trailer. His dad is going to drive it for us. We're ordering t-shirts for the angels walking and asking all those who want to walk and support the troops who aren't members of Soldiers' Angels to wear green.

One of our angels was an excellent artist. She drew a pretty good 2 dimensional representation of our float, complete with soldiers and a pot of gold. According to our project organizer, we have three soldiers who are guaranteed to ride with us and one more potential. Right now we have about 12 people who are guaranteed to walk with the float (including me). We're still looking for more people. I've been prodding my family and a few others mentioned extended family that are willing to participate. But, we still need more so, aside from building the pieces for the float and the signs we will carry, we are looking for a few good men and women (and children) who are willing to walk with us and show their support. I mentioned before that there are plenty of prizes to be had that would be helpful in sending out care packages or providing other support. But, what we're really interested in reaching is this:

We want to tell people about our organization and how great it is. We want to reach people who might be interested in supporting the troops, but don't know how. We also want to tell them how proud we are of our men and women in uniform.

To do that, we need presence. So, I'm putting out the call again to Angels wherever they are that might want to come to NKC to participate. Please contact KC Soldiers Angels for information on how you can join us and show your support. If you're not a Soldiers' Angel, but you want to show people that you support our troops, we're looking for you, too.

What can you do? We just need you to walk with the float and, if you want to, carry signs that show how to support the troops or simply saying "Support the Troops". We want to show people that we really care about our men and women in uniform.

As an added bonus, we're going to video tape our activities and get group and individual messages of support for our troops. This video will be posted at this site and several other forums. We are looking at creating DVD or CD/other media recordings to send with care packages and letters. So, if you want to get your mug on the video and send a personal message to our troops, you just need to show up for the parade.

We already started Tuesday night and I want to thank all the Angels that recorded a message. Standby for some clips to be posted here.

I am personally very excited about our project and I am very glad to be working with the dedicated Angels of Kansas City.

Looking forward to seeing you there!!!

Let's show Kansas City how we feel about Mo Ghile Mear (Our Heroes)!

~Keep an eye on this space for updates.

- May no soldier go unloved

Wednesday Heroes

Staff Sgt. Kara Opperman
Staff Sgt. Kara Opperman
332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron

Staff Sgt. Kara Opperman performs a quality control check Feb. 13 on fuel coming out of a fill stand at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Sergeant Opperman ensures the fuel is safe and meets Air Force specifications before it is used for aircraft and equipment.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

Another heroine and her husband are deployed to Iraq together. Their 20 yr old daughter takes care of the other five daughters ranging in age from 3 to 17. (Although, after reading the article, I thought maybe her daughter should get a medal).

The girls say Delgadillo is more lenient than their mother. But if anyone messes up, Iraq is only an e-mail away.

“My mom is still the law in this house,” Delgadillo says.

“She’s just far away. The only difference is that now she does her yelling in all caps.”

Straight out of basic training, then-Spc. Sanders deployed to Iraq in 2003 in the early stages of the conflict--but it was not until April 4, 2004, that he faced his greatest challenge on the battlefield. A platoon of 20 men was trapped deep within Sadr City, which was in the midst of an uprising. Sgt. Sanders’s tank crew and two others from his unit were called to aid the rescue.

The first two attempts failed, and during the second, Sgt. Sanders took a bullet through his left shoulder. Sanders waved the medics away, and instead hopped on another tank for a third rescue attempt, one which pushed through numerous firefights and impromptu roadblocks, such as burning tires and washing machines, to reach the stranded men. Sanders told the Chicago Tribune later, “All I needed was a Band-Aid.” Because Sanders’s unit had previously been scheduled for transport, the tanks were carrying a minimum load of ammunition. At one point Sanders ran out of ammo and resorted to throwing rocks and anything else he could find at the enemy. Sanders was awarded the Silver Star in October 2004.

Tanker Gets Silver Star

- May no soldier go unloved

You Know You've Been in Baghdad Too Long...

From Nevada Soldiers' Angels: You know you've been in Baghdad too long when...

• When mortars land near your compound and you roll over in bed and think "still way off, I got another 5 minutes"
• When you start humming with the Arabic song playing on the radio on the shuttle bus
• Every woman that reports to your unit starts looking attractive
• Every guy that reports to your unit starts looking attractive
• You walk an extra 6 blocks to eat at the KBR (contractor run) dining facility to have the exact same food they are serving in your dining facility because you think it tastes better
• You actually volunteer for convoy security duty because you still haven't seen the country yet

Read the rest here

- May no soldier go unloved

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Reminder: Snake Saturday Parade

Don't forget to join us at Armory Night on February 20, 6:30 to 7:30 PM to go over our float design.

Army NG Armory
7600 Ozark Rd. KC, MO
Near I-435 & Eastwood Trafficway
(near ArrowheadStadium)

More details on this post.

Remember, Soldier's Angels needs you! to help us bring awareness to the Kansas City area and more support to our troops!

You can see how important it is on this post that we bring attention to our organization and bring together those who want to support our troops with those who need it.

Questions? Email KC Soldiers' Angels

- May no soldier go unloved

From the Forum: Angel Power

If you haven't caught the news the last two days, Baghdad CSH is getting hit hard and could need some support.

Don't forget Amy's Alerts every Sunday that have large group requests. There are several requests still open. Large groups and CSH units looking for special care.

If you're not a Soldiers' Angel and want to help out, click on the icon at the bottom of this post to join. If you're an Angel, but haven't made it to the forums yet to keep up on the requests or would like to contact Amy to help with an alert, click here to register and then go here for alerts and contact information.

Also, a Wish List From Afghanistan

A little reminder of why we do it-

A heartwarming message from the field for the Angels who sent items to Sgt Corey to be used as prizes for his morale program:

Hello Janet - we have received some packages with prizes. We all want to tell you how thankful we are and we will use these prizes to help with the morale here. I will try to send pics of the troops receiving the prizes. I know my boss was really uplifted when he watched me open up the packages. We really want to send out a truly felt thank you from our hearts and continue to keep us soldiers in your thought and prayers. I will be sending pics real soon. Thank you and God bless.

It's the simple things.

Feb 13, 2007 - I do have something I could use help on, it actually made me kinda sad today to see this. My NCO, has like no bedding at all except for a sheet set that Therese sent me and I passed it on to him, He is a really great guy but can't afford to purchase decent bedding, for family reasons. But I mean that guys face lite right up when I gave him a set of sheets something so simple made his day.

If I could make every soldier around me lite up like that man that would be great, because then I know that for at least a little bit they arent stressing about things they cant control right now. We all need to keep our heads in the game, and the little things that occur back home make it hard at times. But the little items that remind us from home, or even a tiny thing like sharing my Red Bull with someone who was dying for one....Makes a Soldiers Day
I've seen some of the things you all have done, and wanted to tell you how much of a impact you make on peoples lives. I know we are in a bad place, and its only going to get worse, but you cant smile on the outside without feeling good on the inside.

Feb 17, 2007 - Well our mail person just dropped off our mail, and WoW I cant believe there is stuff already coming. We got stack of Thank You cards from Ann Marie...everyone says thank you. I'm going to be passing them out tonight at our meeting but alot of people already got a couple they all want to write back to everyone that left a address. Patti and Roger we got the stuffed animals and they couldnt of come at a more perfect time, we just had a child come in yesterday, he looked a little nervous when I walked up to him with a few stuff animals but he was very happy. I'm going to see him again tomorrow and just hang out with him for a bit. Everything is going pretty well here, all the medics are excited now since I've talked to them to let them know that we have a group of awesome people helping us out. Monday is my day off so Roger I'll be sure to send you some pictures from this past week. Well going to get chow, Everyone have a great day. And THANK YOU SO MUCH ! !

~Bobby (Happiest Medic in the world)

Remember, if you're not a Soldiers' Angel and want to help out, click on the icon at the bottom of this post to join. If you're an Angel, but haven't made it to the forums yet to keep up on the requests or would like to contact Amy to help with an alert, click here to register and then go here for alerts and contact information.

- May no soldier go unloved

A hero, after all, should be remembered -- always

Someone you should know. He graduated from Duke and enlisted in the Army then went "Ranger".

Regan arrived at Duke and it wasn't long before he known on campus and on the team. He was a scholar in the classroom and was selected from Duke to the academic all-ACC team. On the Blue Devils team he scored 22 goals and four assists, and led the team to a four-year record of 43 wins, 21 losses and two ACC championships along with four trips to the NCAA tournament. His senior year, Regan was selected for the ACC all-tournament team.

He earned a bachelor's degree in economics, with a minor in business and marketing and was immediately offered a position with UBS, a financial services company. He was also offered a scholarship to attend Southern Methodist University's Law School.

Life, as they say, was looking good for Regan. He met the girl of his dreams. He had great options. He also had great dedication.

Instead of accepting the job or the scholarship, Regan volunteered for military service. He passed on going to officer candidate school and, instead, entered the Army on Feb. 11, 2004, focusing on becoming a Ranger.

Read the rest.

- May no soldier go unloved

Monday, February 19, 2007

Reminder: Snake Saturday Parade Meeting

Don't forget to join us at Armory Night on February 20, 6:30 to 7:30 PM to go over our float design.

Army NG Armory
7600 Ozark Rd. KC, MO
Near I-435 & Eastwood Trafficway
(near ArrowheadStadium)

More details on this post.

Remember, Soldier's Angels needs you! to help us bring awareness to the Kansas City area and more support to our troops!

- May no soldier go unloved

Recommended Reading

I have two posts up at my personal blog where I have rounded up some interesting posts from blogs in Afghanistan and Iraq

I also recommend reading Mudville Gazette's Dawn Patrol.

- May no soldier go unloved

Message from KC Angel - Joy

I fell into the Soldier Angels website quite by accident, but am so glad that I did. I have a son who will deploy to Iraq in mid March and he will have so many people to support and write to him. When I found the website, I thought of how lucky he is to have so many people to support him and how there are so many other soldiers who do not. That was when I knew that I wanted to support another person who needed someone to be there for them.

My husband was in the military during the Vietnam war and they were treated so badly. I want our young soldiers to know that we, the generation who fought that war, may not like the situation as it is but do support the young people who choose to go over to support our country.

Believe me when my son enlisted I like his wife and children were not thrilled but we all support him and believe in his beliefs.

- May no soldier go unloved

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Let Us Rededicate Ourselves...

I read this over at Soldiers' Angels Germany:

I know that many remember us, I get letters and packages from so many caring people.

But we watch the news and the lead story is some bimbo model who took her life (that is what we think the result in the end will be). She had money and is famous, the tragic loss of one child and disputed fathership of another because of the life style she chose to live.

Are we to feel sorry for her? How does her death compare to this young man here in Afghanistan? [a soldier who took his life] His name will be forgotten by the country he served and world he sought to better... hers will become a movie of the week. Just the way it is I suppose…

I've thought about this alot lately. I was reading our National Soldiers' Angels newsletter the other day and noted that the letter writing team had sent out over 169,000 letters. Soldiers' Angels, as groups and as individuals have sent out tens of thousands of care packages and additional letters.

Yet, one word or one image on cable network news that is beamed into their bases can seem to shake or undo all the work we do. Should we despair and give up?

I don't think so.

Even as this young man wrote seemingly despairing, he said, "I know people care" because they get letters and packages. In some ways, it vindicates everything we do because, without those packages and letters, who knows what this young man would feel about what he sees and does every day without our efforts.

I see these letters every day popping up in the forum:

Hello and thank you! The "Grub" was good and the joke was great. I appreciate the time you all invested in the care package. The personal touch made my day. If you wanted to know, I am a SGT in the US Army Infrantry and am serving in Southern Iraq. We do not have electric or running water and I think Saddam forgot to pay the heat before he left cause it sure gets cold.

I am married (14 years). I have 3 youngsters, 2 girls(11 & 12) and 1 boy (8 months). I know they would be proud to know that you guys spent time and money to make a total stranger smile. Thank you for that more than anything. It is nice to know that the soldiers serving are being thought of and we are still making the states proud.

Thank you,
South of Mumadyah, IRAQ

Or this one:

.......I am great, GOD is great. I feel so BLESSED by soldier's angels! Ha ha ha, I can see that you have such a loving, caring, giving heart!!! already got my first 2 packages(1) 2 religious magazines(cool) (2) Art Supplies...and do I mean supplies...Wow...GOD BLESS YOU ALL! I wish that I could just gather up all of our hugs over here and give them to you all! I really don't mind not getting ANY packages at all =o) I'm just grateful for you all!!! The weather here is beautiful! This may sound weird, but, if there is EVER anything that I can do for any of you, then PLEASE don't be afraid to ask...i.e. prayer, special-letters for the elder or children, spiritual suggestions, ideas for something...just ANYTHING that you can think of. I'd LOVE to help. Well, TBS (type-back-soon) ha ha ha


I read the soldier in Afghanistan's letter yesterday and felt a lump of lead go straight to my heart. I had a hard time concentrating after that. That's why there was no Saturday post. I finally went to the Soldiers' Angels forums and read many letters of thanks and many posts of Angels excited about their efforts or grouping together to make something happen for this unit or that soldier. It lifted my spirits considerably.

I have to admit, it took a lot of posts and a lot of immersion to make me feel that way. Then I realized that if that's how I felt over that one message, how must these young men and women feel everyday? What would it take to lift the spirits of a soldier far away from home, in a dangerous world where he must see death and destruction every day, trying to remind themselves that they are doing good?

From these two letters of thanks, it doesn't seem like much. For others, it might take many more letters and packages.

What should we do? Do we give up and give in, imagining the job to be too difficult and the outcome uncertain?

In the words of Winston Churchill, during the blackest days of the Blitzkrieg over London:

Never! Never! Never give in!

Most of us, whether we knew someone serving or not, have one correlating reason to become Angels: because we wanted to do something. For that reason, we have joined the mission: may no soldier go unloved. Whether we think of it or not, that mission is vitally important to the health and welfare of our men and women in uniform.

I did not write this post to make you somber. In fact, if you felt that same lead feeling in your heart, I ask now that you put it away and instead let it be replaced by a resolve to continue this mission, surrounded by the love and pride we feel for our men and women in uniform who serve, for the most part, silently and without complaint.

Quoting this time from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address:

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us

Let us rededicate ourselves to the mission...

- May no soldier go unloved

Don't forget: Tuesday, February 20th, Armory Nights to discuss our float in the Snake Saturday Parade and how we can bring attention to Soldies' Angels and the men and women who need our support.

Born on the Fourth of July

Reading around the net, I was reminded of a story I had read recently about a young man who chose to serve his country for the best of reasons: to help others.

I don't know how many KC Angels know the story so I am going to post a link to the one written in the LA Times (requires free registration):

A Higher Calling Than Duty

Lt Daily wrote:

One thing is certain, as disagreeable or as confusing as my decision to enter the fray may be, consider what peace vigils against genocide have accomplished lately. Consider that there are 19-year-old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics. Oftentimes it is less about how clean your actions are and more about how pure your intentions are.

- May no soldier go unloved

Friday, February 16, 2007

Silent Soldier: Don't Be Discouraged

When soldiers are assigned through Soldiers' Angels, new angels are informed not to expect to hear from them. Even though angels understand the many obvious reasons and continue their support, this can sometimes be discouraging. I am contributing this as a personal account of a once silent soldier named Mike as an example of the difference support from an angel can make and how it can spread beyond just the adopted soldier.

This is a little story about Mike, back in 05'-06 also known as, "Silent Mike" the classic silent soldier until month eight of my weekly letters and monthly care packages. He sent one of the most heartfelt emails I have received since joining SA and I've received some that would make even a grown man tear up. It totally closed the gap on the eight months of silence and made it all make sense- I knew he was probably silent because of how tough it was and I was right + 10. He'd married shortly before deploying, the deployment had been rough, good friends had been lost. He said our family's letters and care packages always seemed to arrive on a day when things had been bad, and talked about how much they helped. Following the deployment Mike and I kept in touch, nothing regular just an email every couple of months or a joke or something.

Now it is in '07 and Mike is back in Iraq. His wonderful wife sent me a very nice email to thank me for the last deployment, to let me know his address, and to share the website address they were going to use to keep people updated. She even decided to adopt a soldier through Soldiers' Angels- because in her words,

"Not only am I a proud soldier's wife but I'm also just like you, a thankful American."

Being an organized angel I sent Mike the survey found on the forum, with my usual instructions, "Fill this out if you have time but if you don't I'll send a variety of things." It arrived today filled out. Funny how he remembers so many of the things I sent before (ideas from the forum). Comments like, "I'm hooked on Burt's Bees lip balm now because of the package you sent." or "Where did you get that Chillow?" There are also many signs of the wit I have come to know since '06. Survey question: "Do you have any allergies?" his answer "The Army" Or Survey question: I could really use - answer "A ticket home". The survey ended with yet another heartfelt thank you to our family. I could also tell from the note why survey # 1 was never returned- he didn't really want to ask for anything as was just happy with whatever support we chose to send.

I am posting this story for those of you with silent soldiers as an example of what results from your continued support, not that you always hear of it personally. I've had a couple adopted soldiers who never broke the silence either, but I can tell you from this one experience it is obvious how important this whole "support from a stranger'" thing is to these young men and women and their families. In this case kindness from a stranger has been "paid forward" to another worthy hero.

I'll be honest being, "In the loop" can be tough on me, causing increased worry, so this whole no longer silent thing does have a flip side. However, with all I've learned in the last 21/2 years including some good coping strategies, I am all set to "Keep my helmet on" for a 2nd deployment.

God Bless you all for all that you do and most of all God Bless our Troops!

Marcia Conley
Regional Manager Kansas/Greater KC Area

- May no soldier go unloved

Thursday, February 15, 2007

MASCAL Alert In Forum: Children Involved

If you don't frequent the forums often, you might miss some special emergent requests.

CSH Unit Ramadi needs children's clothes, diapers, formula, etc.

MASCAL = Mass Casualty. A "MASCAL" is a mass casualty alert, and means that all medics, volunteers and anyone who can help should rush to the CSH to help with the inflow of injured.

Message from Sgt Yurek:



Nothing on AP or Centcom yet on any attack. I'll keep everyone posted.

You can go to the forum to get the address to send the needed items. If you aren't an angel yet or haven't registered, get to it so we can help these guys out. Or, email KC Soldiers Angels for details.

The Senate and House debate, but the war is still on.

- May no soldier go unloved

And may God have mercy on the children

Local Soldiers in the News: Sgt. James from Chilicothe

Reading the AP news on what's going on with the surge to secure Baghdad, I came across an article quoting a local soldier on the status of clearing operations:

Staff Sgt. Michael James, 32, of Chillicothe, Mo., said the area in northeastern Baghdad had been targeted before but not in such force.

"This is the final clearing. We're trying to hit all the major hotspots. I don't think it has ever been cleared as fully as it will be today," said James, of the 3rd Stryker Brigade, Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

James said he wasn't surprised that the troops did find more as they hunkered down in a so-called Joint Security Station in the area for the night.

"It's never clear. These guys are going to have safe-houses all over the place. Whenever we come into one area, I'm sure they just move on," he said. "Just our presence alone is enough to push the bad guys out. They're not stupid enough to fight an entire battalion, because they will lose."

My question to the angels, is anyone supporting this Stryker Brigade?

Some Iraqis are praying that our soldiers will stop the violence:

"My friends and I who are the old women of the neighborhood went to the soldiers and welcomed them and prayed that God would help them to defeat the terrorists," said Um Sabah of the Mashtaal area in eastern Baghdad. "Although, the presence of army and vehicles is not very comfortable, we welcome it because it is for the sake of Iraq."

There was little if any resistance. Soldiers even teased one young girl about her taste in music after they found her doing homework on a couch, wearing white and pink socks with a poster of Shakira on the wall.

Some people left their doors open as the troops arrived, and little evidence of hostilities turned up other than some pictures of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, an illegal bolt action rifle and a heavyset man watching an insurgent propaganda video that he said had appeared while he was channel surfing.

Shakira? We need to send better music over there! The most important part to recognize in this story is that our soldiers, regardless of claims to the contrary, are more often than not viewed in Iraq as the deliverers of justice and defense. I've never seen a poll regarding it, but I would bet that our forces are more trusted than internal Iraq forces (ie, police, army, etc). That's both good and bad since we need these internal forces of Iraq to be trusted and capable of providing justice and defense for all Iraqis in order for our men and women to come home.

Here's the tell on the operations...

At least 38 Iraqis also were killed or found dead nationwide, including four civilians who died when a parked car bomb struck a predominantly Shiite district in central Baghdad. Only five bullet-riddled bodies were found on the streets of the capital, an unusually low number of apparent victims of so-called sectarian death squads mainly run by Shiite militias that have killed thousands in the past year.

But, it's only quiet now. It is not unusual for the terrorists and militias to lay low as troops move in and continue "kinetic" operations (ie, aggressive patrolling) since there is a higher chance that these opposition forces will be noted, engaged and killed or captured. Once our forces have settled into any sort of routine, the opposition consolidates its intelligence and begins to re-organize around those routines.

Let's hope for the continued quiet and safety of our troops.

- May no soldier go unloved

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Six Degrees: Local Connections In Far Away Places

Surfing the Soldiers' Angels Forum, I noted that Soldiers' Angels Europe had thrown a Valentine's Day party at Landstuhl on February 11th.

Going through the pictures I noticed one of a card from Assisteens in North Kansas City.

Here is a young wounded soldier with his Assisteen Blanket:

Soldiers' Angels Europe reported that they gave out over 120 packages and cards.

Just goes to show that, yes, there is only six degrees of separation. With local connections, we can make a very big impact on our serving men and women.

Speaking of that, please note the "six degrees" donation button here and on the side bar. Kevin Bacon is sponsoring a program to match donations to the highest grassroots organization; up to $10k. We can make this happen with just a few dollars from every angel. Please consider donating to the fund (which will go to Soldiers' Angels regardless of matching donations from Six Degrees).

- May no soldier go unloved

Wednesday Hero

Capt. Lyle L. Gordon
Ellicia Stanley & her husband SPC Reid Stanley

I received and email from Wednesday Hero Blogroll member Mary Ann in which she suggested that I profile the spouse of a soldier. Seeing as I'd profiled one such spouse in the past, I though this was the perfect opportunity to do it again. I hadn't read the entire letter before I said yes, but after reading it I'm glad she sent it to me.

I think military families, especially the spouses, while they sign no contract, serve our country just as much as the service member. They give up familiar home ties and relocate all over the country, all over the world. They give up their civilian lives for something bigger than themselves. Ellicia was a military wife for only two and a half years. Before they married, but after 9/11, Reid came to her and told her of his desire to enlist. He wanted to do his part. He tells part of the story in his blog post
Why I Joined The Army

She encouraged him, pushing him so he could meet his goal of serving his country. He did and took his oath in October 2002. By the time they were married in July 2004, Reid was already stationed in Germany. It was 3 months before she could join him there. In a move that, for someone who'd seldom left her hometown in South Carolina, must have come as quite an adjustment. But she did it, as do so many other military wives.

Then came deployment to Afghanistan in May 2005. They spent their first anniversary apart. Reid writes about that anniversary in this post
My Hero

It was in the sixth month of deployment when Ellicia received the news — she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Devastating. However, in an email to me on the day she received her diagnosis, the phrase she used was, "not stellar news". Understated, calm, steady, no hysteria, it was another challenge to face.

I came to admire her because, I too, had been away from home, (not to a foreign country), with a one small child (not three), and my husband traveling (not in a war zone). Knowing what my experience had been like, I was amazed at how she took it all in stride. Even when faced with a terminal diagnosis, she faced it all with grace, dignity and humor. All the while supporting her husband, the mission and the country.

Reid was given compassionate leave back to Germany in November 2005. For the next thirteen months they fought their own personal war with cancer…breast, lung…and finally eleven tumors in her brain.

In November 2006 the Stanley's took compassionate reassignment back to the U.S. to Ft. Eustis, Virginia.

On 31 December 2006, Ellicia lost her battle. But her spirit lives on in her husband, her children, and the many people she inspired with her courage.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

- May no soldier go unloved