Monday, March 19, 2007

Soldiers' Angels Around the Net

Soldiers' Angels in Texas held a benefit with the PGR for an Iraq veteran and his family.

It was my pleasure to be able to attend a benfit dinner, auction and dance for Hero Jason McCully and family. Spc. McCully, 33, was in his 11th month of deployment as a forward observer in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, when a mortar landed 10 meters away from him. The vehicle in front of him took the brunt of the impact. Spc. McCully was knocked and was later found to be suffering a closed head injury.[snip]

Soldiers Angels Organization members Stephanie Brown of Waxahachie and Twyla Choate of Plano presented a donation of $1000 to Jason and his family.

Soldiers' Angels Europe points to an article about the wounded

For Capt. Edward Arntson, the worst wounds might be deeper than flesh. They’ve left some painful memories.

One began around noon on New Year’s Eve, while Arntson was leading a patrol east of Fallujah as commander of Able Company (3rd Batallion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment). He’d just stopped to talk to a young boy and his family about what they’d seen in the area.

"His house was right near one of my platoon’s observation posts," recalled Arntson, 26, who’d previously fought in Afghanistan with other soldiers from Fort Richardson.

"And right at the tail end of the conversation with the boy and his mother, as I turned to leave, he was shot through the chest — and the bullet passed through the boy and hit me in the arm."

It came from a sniper hidden from view about 275 yards to the west. The bullet shattered bones as it passed through Arntson’s right forearm. It was fatal to the child.

"My guess is that they were aiming at me, and the only way to get at me was to shoot through the boy," Arntson said.

And this one called "Battle Scars"

For Schank, most stories have no real ending. The Bucks County nurse anesthesiologist treated hundreds of soldiers and civilians during the four months she served at the medical center last year.

She cleaned shrapnel from the brain of ABC news reporter Bob Woodruff after he and a cameraman were caught in an improvised explosive device attack. She cared for suspected terrorists whose deadly handiwork regularly deluged this modern M.A.S.H. unit.

Most were her patients for a day or two. What happened after they left her care is a mystery.

“You never, never know,” she said, before adding, “I don’t know if that is a bad thing.”

Still, all these months later, inside her Holland kitchen, flashes of those many memories summon tears for the longtime U.S. Air Force Reservist. All these months later, the battle scars, the ones Schank wears on the inside, feel like fresh wounds.

Americans can see and read all the news reports about the war in Iraq, which marks its four-year anniversary Monday, but there is no way for them to get an accurate picture of what it’s like.

“How is it ever possible, until you’ve walked that road?” she said. [snip]

Roadside bombs — better known as improvised explosive devices — are the weapons of choice there. The 155-mm artillery shells are buried in the road, in dead animals or humans and triggered by a cell phone, according to the military.

The shells often are combined with shrapnel, such as steel nuts or nails. The worst bombs are those with shrapnel covered in feces or decaying flesh, which increases the likelihood of secondary infections, which require many surgeries and threaten limb loss.

“They want their wounds to be bad,” Schank explained.

Soldiers' Angels New York welcomed home some Marines (pictures and video included)

Today I attended a welcome home for a group of Marine Reservists. Below are pics and video. After hours of waiting, when they finally arrived I was so busy clapping and cheering, I forgot to turn on the video. But you will get the idea. Just sorry I didn't get more of my new friend, Les the bagpiper.

- May no soldier go unloved
Soldiers' Angels