Sunday, April 29, 2007

Welcome Home 24th Marine: 46 In, 46 Out

Update: Welcome Marines and Family Members!!!

We had another great experience welcoming home the 24th Marine Reserves, 12th Regiment from their 7 month deployment to Fallujah, Iraq.

Update: Video

It started at 5pm Friday, April 28th at the KCI Marriott where the Patriot Guard Riders assembled an estimated 200 bikes and 30 cars to escort the marines to their base at Richard Gabauer Air Force Base in Belton, Missouri. (Read the Patriot Guard Mission Report with pictures)

Official report says 185 bikes.

We then drove over to Lot G in the actual air port where we re-assembled and waited for the marines to land.

There were a few moments when the Kansas City Missouri police did not want the 200 bikes to participate in the escort. No full details about why exactly, but the marines insisted that we be allowed to participate. The marines landed a little late, but they came out to an overwhelming round of screams, roaring motorcycles and honking horns.

Our procession was several miles long with flying flags and honking horns. As we left the air port proper, people were lining the road with flags and signs. The highway travel was challenging. With such a long procession, other cars had to stop on the entrance ramps. The city was the toughest. It was well worth it as we pulled into Belton.

The first thing we saw was a giant sign over the overpass welcoming home the marines.

As we arrived into Belton, the road was lined with hundreds of flags [update] and THOUSANDS of family, friends, citizens of Belton and surrounding areas and members of support groups like Patriot Guard Riders.

When we arrived at Richard Gabauer, the first thing we noticed at the entrance was a pick up truck with the Soldiers' Angels banner telling everyone who arrived that Soldiers' Angels was there to support troops.

We also met up with Teri Louthain and Pat Louthain, Spc Louthain's mom and grandmother. The Louthains were instrumental supporting Soldiers' Angels in Kansas City at the Snake Saturday Parade (pictures and text report here). The Louthain's provided the truck to pull our float and t-shirts from their shop.

Hundreds more family members and support groups were on hand at the site to give the final "welcome home".

Deby Frerichs was on hand to hand out Soldiers' Angels Marine Coins and Rhonda Gray drove down with her husband and the Patriot Guard. Frank McGough from the Gen. Larry Oppenheimer Det. Marine Corp Leaque told us that the League "passed the hat" at their last meeting and provided $400 to bring in food, refreshments and some entertainment for the families and marines. The Kansas City area and Belton, MO Young Marines held flags, helped set up the welcome and gave a rousing salute to the returning vets.

Tamra Birchfield from the USO drove the USO RV supplying cookies, drinks and many "welcome home" pins and supplies. Tamara told KC Soldiers' Angels that Kansas City does not have its own USO, but is supported out of the St. Louis, Missouri area. She said that she was excited to meet other support groups in the area that could be on hand to welcome our men and women home. The USO is always looking to partner with these organizations where the USO is limited. That's why organizations like Soldiers' Angels is so important.

As we walked around the grounds, we met and shook hands with many marines, welcoming them home. Two marines were kind enough to give us interviews (video to follow). Sgt Foster said that he wasn't surprised by the welcome home, but it was exciting. Cpl Morris then took time away from his family to talk with us. When asked if the marines were excited to see all the support, he said, "Absolutely! Absolutely! It would be silly not to be excited. It's appreciated." Each of the marines returning from deployment were given a commemorative knife hand made by a metal working shop that one of the marines' brothers.

We ran into Maj. Mike Corrodo, commanding officer of the 24th Marine, 12th Regiment.

Maj. Corrodo was assigned to 24th Marine after they were deployed and did not go with them, but he spent a lot of time on the home front learning the names of his men, their families and where they all lived. He felt it was important to do everything he could on the home front. Maj. Corrodo said that the best thing about this deployment was that all of his men came home, "46 in, 46 out".

We later learned that Maj. Corrodo is a recording artist. He was recalled as an Individual Ready Reserve. Maj. Corrodo toured around the United States with many bands. His song, On My Watch, was featured at Soldiers' Angels.

Finally, it was the end of the day. All of the families and marines went home. The Young Marines took up the watch and cleaned up the parade grounds.

Soldiers' Angels thanks all of the support groups and citizens of the Kansas City and Belton, Missouri area for coming out to make this welcome home so fantastic for our marines. Most of all, we thank the marines and their great families for serving our country.

Semper Fi!

UPDATE: A special thanks from a family member of a Marine that arrived is up at the PGR:


To All Patriot Guard Riders and to all who made the Reunion of 1 / 24th Marines a success:

I can't say enough about all of you. You made this one heck of a day for the Marines and their families to remember - mine included. It was one impressive sight to see all those bikers escorting the bus back to the base and even more impressive from where I was at the front of the pack.

My Marine said that all of the guys were overwhelmed by the show of support that the Patriot Guard provided them.

This was definitely the heroes welcome that they deserved and that all veterans - past, present, and future - should receive - or should have received.
My heartfelt thanks to all.

Proud Pop of Corporal Will Hardy
1/24 Marines
and Patriot Guard Rider

Other Links:
Check out Techograpy: Welcome Home, Brother for more of the story and great pictures.
WDAF TV 4 Kansas City (video)
NBC Action News Top Video

KC Soldiers' Angels video to follow (update: it is up above)

Cross referenced at the Castle

- May no soldier go unloved

Friday, April 27, 2007

KC Soldiers' Angels Welcome Home 24th Marine

Come out and show your appreciation and support for a unit of 45 Marines returning
to Richards-Gebaur from active duty in Iraq this Saturday evening, April 28th.

The Belton and Raymore Chambers of Commerce are asking you to join us as we welcome these brave soldiers back to our community. We plan to line their path along 155th Street as they return to Richards-Gebaur with cheers and signs of appreciation.
We encourage you to bring signs, flags, etc… -- Complimentary flags will also be available.

We will be closing a section of 155th Street for their arrival and have made
arrangements for parking and transportation to the "Welcome" area. Below are details on how you can participate.

Saturday, April 28th


Belton Parking and Transportation

Parking Location: Markey Park
Buses will start loading at 6:00 p.m.

Raymore Parking and Transportation

Parking Locations: -Bank Midwest

-Community Bank of Raymore (CBR)

-Raymore City Hall

Buses will start loading at 5:30 p.m. in the CBR Parking Lot Departure at 5:45 p.m.


For more information call:

Belton Chamber: 331-2420 *********Raymore Chamber: 322-0599

Join Soldiers' Angels in welcoming home our wonderful troops. If you can't be there, help Soldiers' Angels continue to support such great men and women by adopting a soldier, sailor, airman or marine or donating to this great organization dedicated to serving our men and women in uniform.

- May no soldier go unloved

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday Heroes

This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Sunny Kay

Col. Cyril Richard
Col. Cyril Richard "Rick" Rescorla
68 years old from New York City, New York
16th Air Assault Brigade, Parachute Regiment (England)
Platoon Leader of 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) (U.S.)
September 11, 2001

Col. Rick Rescorla is a multiple time hero. In 1957 he enlisted in the British Army and began training as a paratrooper with The Parachute Regiment of the 16th Air Assault Brigade. He went on to serve with an intelligence unit in Cyprus, a paramilitary police inspector in the Northern Rhodesia Police (now the Zambia Police Service). When his military career ended in England he joined the Metropolitan Police Service in London. But he found the paperwork too boring and quite at the behest of a friend who encouraged him to join the United State Army. Which he did.

In 1963, Rescorla enlisted, with his friend, in the United States Army. After he completed basic training he attended officer training school and was assigned as a platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

He was shipped to Vietnam and participated in the Battle of la Drang. While in Vietnam, he was given the nickname "Hard Core" by his men for his bravery in battle.

In 1968, Resorla became a U.S. citizen and continued his service in the Army Reserves until 1990 when he retired. In 1985 he joined a financial services firm, located in the World Trade Center, as security director.

In 1993, when the WTC was bombed, Rescorla was instrumental in evacuating people from the building. Afterwards, he enacted a policy in which all employees of the firm practiced evacuation drills every three months.

September 11, 2001. Rick Rescorla was supposed to be on vacation getting ready for his daughters wedding. Instead he was at work covering a shift for one of his deputies so that he could go on vacation. When American Airlines Flight 11 hit Tower 1, Rescorla ignored officials advice to stay put and opted instead to put his evacuation drills to use. While evacuating the 3,800 employees of his firm in Towers 2 and 5 he kept reminding them "be proud to be an American ...everyone will be talking about you tomorrow" and sang God Bless America over his bullhorn. When Flight 175 struck Tower 2, Rescorla had already evacuated most of the employees from his firm as well as many others from other floors. He then went back in, despite being told he needed to evacuate himself. The last known words anyone heard him say were, "As soon as I make sure everyone else is out". Tower 2 collapsed with Rick Rescorla last seen heading to the 10th floor looking for more people to help.

As a result of his actions that day, all but six employees of his firm made it out alive. One of those being him and three others being his deputies who followed him into Tower 2, Wesley Mercer, Jorge Velazquez, and Godwin Forde.

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.

Heroism during Ramadi mission earns 1st, 149th Aviation pilots Distinguished Flying Cross

Low on fuel, taking fire and providing a vital communications link, the Apaches stayed long enough to allow the Humvee convoy to evacuate the wounded Soldiers before heading back to Camp Corregidor to refuel. While assessing battle damage, White and Moore discovered they had taken enemy fire to the aircraft’s tail wheel, belly and transmission. Salo and Stacy sustained damage to their helicopter’s flight systems. All four pilots could have determined that their aircraft were not safe to fly and headed back to LSA Anaconda, but they all decided to go back into the firefight and continue the mission.

“We knew the mission was vital and we had to go back in,” Salo said.

A "FOBBIT" is a slightly deragatory name for soldiers who do not go "outside the wire" (ie, generally remain on base). For the most part, while the army recognizes their endeavors with medals, they get little respect from their peers or recognition from the media for doing sometimes impossible tasks in tough conditions. Particularly, when those FOBs (forward operating bases) are in the middle of nowhere, far away from support, full of dust and mud and subject to mortar attacks. Yet, without them, the men who do go "outside the wire" couldn't function or do such a heroic deeds that are turned into movies of the week. So, here, we recognize the men and women who do the hard work in the shadows of giants on the battlefield.

Washington Air National Guard Bronze Star Recipients

The two airmen were deployed to Balad, Iraq, from March to September 2004 and were temporarily assigned to an Army transportation company, which turned out to be the first unit assigned to security convoys. The two quickly put skills they learned as civilians to use: Frady,

a systems administrator at a financial software company, set up the computer network for the camp; Stroisch, a sheriff’s deputy, created a training program to help new guardsmen become acquainted with the multiple duties they would be expected to perform.

Spc. Ashley Pullen from Raven 42

Then she heard a call for help over the radio. Pullen backed her Humvee into a better position, jumped out, and ran 90 meters through the line of fire toward the injured soldier. She administered first aid and tried to calm him down. As she was treating him, another soldier launched a shoulder-held rocket toward a nest of insurgents. Although he warned of the impending firing, Pullen couldn’t move out of the way fast enough. She threw her small frame over the wounded soldier to protect him from the blast – a blast that threw her off the soldier onto her backside.

She ran the length of a football field in full gear. She is 5'2". More on her return home.

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christopher S. Adlesperger: Navy Cross

As they entered the house, a volley of insurgent fire and grenades rained down upon them, immediately killing Adlesperger’s point man and injuring two others. Without pause, Adlesperger took control and moved out front, despite receiving minor wounds. As Adlesperger began firing back from the point position, he became the main target of enemy fire – but, with most of his squad pinned down by insurgent fire, he had no choice but to push forward on his own.

Adlesperger single-handedly cleared the stairs to the rooftop, which allowed the unit to move injured Marines upstairs to receive medical attention. And as U.S. forces gathered for a major assault on the building, Adlesperger, still inside, began moving from one spot to another, eliminating enemies in close quarters or forcing them to move out of entrenched positions to areas where U.S. forces were waiting.

Finally, an assault vehicle broke through a wall on the main floor. Adlesperger rejoined his platoon and demanded to take point for the final attack on the entrenched machine gun. He entered the courtyard first, and eliminated the final enemy at close range. By the end of the battle, Adlesperger was credited with having killed at least 11 insurgents.

The Citation

[snip]On his own initiative, while deliberately exposing himself to heavy enemy fire, he established a series of firing positions and attacked the enemy, forcing them to be destroyed in place or to move into an area where adjacent forces could engage them. Disregarding his own wounds and physical exhaustion, Private First Class Adlesperger rejoined his platoon and demanded to take point for a final assault on the same machine gun position.[snip]

Through his actions, Private First Class Adlesperger destroyed the last strongpoint in the Jolan District of Al Fallujah and saved the lives of his fellow Marines. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire and utmost devotion to duty, Private First Class Adlesperger reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Sadly, Cpl Addelsperger was killed a month later on a similar patrol.

His father speaks about how proud he is of his son.

According to the North County Times, Addelsperger was first nominated for the Medal of Honor.

Sgt York, upon being asked how he overcame such odds replied:

“There can be no doubt in the world of the fact of the divine power being in that. No other power under heaven could bring a man out of a place like that. Men were killed on both sides of me; and I was the biggest and the most exposed of all. Over thirty machine guns were maintaining rapid fire at me, point-blank from a range of about twenty-five yards. When you have God behind you, you can come out on top every time.”

God bless them, everyone! Please help Soldiers' Angels support our heroes.

- May no soldier go unloved

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

National Guard: Freedom Salute

"You get by with so little there," Lopez said. "Having it all back is overwhelming."

- Delicia Lopez

Grand Forks soldiers, their families, employers and friends were honored Saturday for their sacrifice and support during a Freedom Salute ceremony hosted by the North Dakota Army National Guard.

The motorcycle Patriot Guard team held U.S. flags to welcome soldiers and distinguished guests as they arrived at the Grand Forks Armory as the 188th Army Band brass quintet played.

North Dakota's congressional leaders, Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad and Rep. Earl Pomeroy, joined the families and friends of the 1-188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment's JLENS unit to honor the 39 soldiers who returned home in February from a year of service in Afghanistan.

Gov. John Hoeven arrived after a slight delay with Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk to pay tribute to the soldiers and family members.

"They are our citizen soldiers," Dorgan said. "They leave families, homes and jobs behind, which is very different than active duty. It is a significant sacrifice that these men and women do so willingly.

"I just want to thank them."

Irma Moran, Grafton, N.D., is thankful to have her sister, Delicia Lopez, 27, home safe.

"I came here to show my support," Moran said. "Glad the whole unit came home safe. They were in our hearts and prayers."

"It was long," Lopez said. "I was deployed with my fiance, and having him there was a big help."

The hardest part for Lopez was being away from her daughter, Peyton, 7, who was her biggest supporter.

"You get by with so little there," Lopez said. "Having it all back is overwhelming."

Before leaving, Lopez decided it would be best not to return home on leave during deployment.

"It was hard watching people go home on leave," she said. "It was best for my daughter. I made the right decision."

The unit was the first Guard unit to operate new surveillance technology to provide security for forces on military bases. They were replaced by 39 other soldiers from the 1-188th Air Defense Artillery.

"The JLENS unit was the eyes in the sky, keeping watch over their fellow soldiers," Conrad said. "Their service only reinforces the North Dakota National Guard's key role in defending our nation."

JLENS stands for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor.

"The ceremony honors the soldiers, the families, the children and employers," said Master Sgt. Rob Keller, public information officer. "They all sacrificed in their own way."

Shelle Michaels, regional manager for Soldiers' Angels, received a Center of Influence award for her commitment and dedication to the soldiers and their families.

"It is one of the most prestigious awards," Michaels said. "I am speechless, and very honored."

As part of the National Guard's "Freedom Salute Campaign", each mobilized unit that comes off active duty awards one "Distinguished Center of Influence" award to an individual or organization for their support of the unit's soldiers and their families.

Michaels and her group send support and information to soldiers overseas. When they come home on leave, they seek her out to meet her and thank her, Michaels said.

"Keeping them informed about what is happening back at home," she said. "It means so much to them."

Soldiers and their families were presented with commemorative flag cases with Freedom Salute medallions to honor their service and support.
- May no soldier go unloved

Friday, April 20, 2007

Soldiers Angels Texas: "Wild Child" Kebin Kinsley Supports Soldiers' Angels

"Wild Child" driver Kebin Kinsley offered to display Soldiers Angels web address and logo on his car for the 2007 season. This has so far been a wonderful partnership for Soldiers Angels. Kebin and his team feature two charities on their car; along with Soldiers Angels they also feature Childrens Miracle Network.

We arrived at the race track in Ennis around 10:30 a.m. and met the veterans from Waco VA Hospital in the stands. They were already enjoying the races and waiting for Kebin "Wild Child" to run his first qualifying race. Soldiers Angels and the Veterans from Waco VA were announced over the PA system and I saw smiles on each and every Veterans face when they heard that announcement! Needless to say when Kebin won the first race everyone around me stood to cheer and clap for Kebin and the team!

Read the rest here

- May no soldier go unloved
Soldiers' Angels

Things to Read, Watch or Listen To

Soldiers' Angels Europe points to several excellent stories about our men and women in uniform.

Volunteer Navy nurses serve as Skyway Angels

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq (April 19, 2007) — The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an angel as an attendant spirit or guardian.
In famous art, artists often depicted angels as human-like beings, with white robes and wings, serving as transporters of messages from other celestial beings.

Many seriously wounded service members in Iraq can testify angels aren’t always dressed in white. Several wear tan flight suits and their wings are merely the rotors of soaring aircraft.

These particular angels remain faithful to the Merriam-Webster definition by serving as attendant spirits, as well as guardians – guardians of life.

NFL Doc Saving Lives in Afghanistan

It’s a long way from small incision, computer-guided arthroscopic surgery on a linebacker’s knee to "blood, tissue, bones, everything blowing up in your face."

"I’m not used to people dying on me," the 37-year-old orthopedic surgeon said. "I’m seeing things I’ve never seen in my career. I’ve done more amputations in six months here than in my whole five years of residency," Slusher said.

And things aren’t likely to ease up during the second half of his yearlong tour with the U.S. Army’s 541st Forward Surgical Team.

Spouse Buzz: You Might Be a Military Wife If...

My first clue that things were going to be a little odd was while we drove home - about five hours from the airport where I picked him up. As we headed down the 99 in California (quite possibly the most boring drive on earth), my husband begin to randomly inject odd words into the conversation.
"Trash bag, right"
"Dog, straight ahead"
"Broken-down car, left"
"Excuse me, honey," I broke in after a few of these incidents. "But just WHY are you describing the scenery to me?"

Give This To My Daddy

Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camo's, as they began heading to their gate everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said "hi," the little girl then she asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her.

(hat tip: Mudville Gazette)

Our Era's Greatest Generation - Reflection on Kansas National Guard Soldiers

Recently, while in Washington D.C. , I had the honor to visit our brave military men and women recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center . As I met those who had sacrificed their health for our country, I was reminded of the courage and bravery exhibited by members of the armed forces.

While there, I met two Kansas soldiers who had both suffered debilitating injuries – one a major head injury and the other a leg injury that led to amputation. I thought, before my visit, that they may be bitter.

Bitter at the situation, bitter at the war, or just plain bitter.

I quickly discovered there wasn’t an ounce of bitterness in either of them. Indeed, both mentioned what they wanted, perhaps more than anything else, was to be back in Iraq with their units. I was stunned and humbled by their commitment.

With the Peshmerga in Kirkuk (Iraq)

Where Kurdistan Meets the Redzone

I suggest reading these two posts because they show you the true separation and condition of parts of Iraq. In one part, extremely stable and prosperous. In another part, slightly scary and dangerous. In a third part, extremely dangerous and violent. There are pictures illustrating the differences and a video of the road trip through Kirkuk.

(hat tip: Mudville Gazette)

- May no soldier go unloved
Soldiers' Angels

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Blog Talk: Connections and Credibility

What is in a blog? A blog is an internet based journal or web log (blog). A blog can be personal or about an organization or a group of people. A blog can be funny, witty, sarcastic, ironic, studius or stoic. A blog can be about daily life, politics, social commentary, military, religion, hobbies or special interests such as charities like Soldiers' Angels.

The best thing about blogs is that it connects people.

A recent study showed that over 3 million blogs are created daily and that over 37% of internet users read blogs. That is millions of readers every day.

People find blogs to read because they know the person who is writing the blog or, more commonly, because they were reading something or searching for something that led them to a blog. In a recent discussion, Laurie from Soldiers' Angels in New York said, "My blog focuses mainly on Soldiers' Angels and troop support issues in general. There are many people who find the blog while searching for something on the web, many of whom never heard about Soldiers' Angels before."

Soldiers' Angel Lindsey Rice said she found blogs when she read an article in a magazine about bloggers being fired from their jobs for blogging about them. "Until then," she continued, "I'd never even heard of a blog".

Blogs link to each other. They read each other, find it interesting or compelling and then point their blog readers to these sites. Or, someone who reads that blog and makes comments, will point other readers to another blog. Laurie from New York continued, "Friends would sometimes refer me to something they read on blogs, especially milblogs like Blackfive. That is how I found Soldiers' Angels."

A blog might only have a few dedicated readers, but, through these connections, a single idea can reach hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. If it is particularly compelling, a "blog swarm" (many blogs linking the same story or idea) can send an idea around the world with lightening speed.

I found Soldiers' Angels through a blog. My brother, currently serving in the Air Force National Guard, was being vetted as an individual replacement to go to Iraq. I needed to know more about the place and the war. A news article about Iraq in my local paper refered to a blog written by three Iraqi brothers in Baghdad, Iraq the Model. From there, I was linked to a military blog (milblog) that linked to another and another.

One day, someone linked to Blackfive, a fairly popular milblog that linked to stories and other milblogs from Iraq and Afghanistan. These were stories right from the soldiers serving on the frontline. Along with knowledgable commentary on tactics, people and places these soldiers were referring to, it made very compelling reading. In fact, this process of connections to blogs was extremely educational. I learned that there was more to the story. I learned that I did not have to be a passive observer, but could actively support our troops.

Not long after I found Blackfive in 2004, he put up a link to Soldiers' Angels asking for donations to send Kevlar Blankets to our troops. Because I had been reading Blackfive for several months and because I found the site to be credible in its explanations, connections and I found the blog owner Maj. Matt Currier Burden (ret) to be knowledgable and passionate about the military. It lent credibility to the organization and request. His credibility and the organization's legitimacy were enhanced by the feedback from many commenters that indicated they had dealt with or were part of the Angel organization with very satisfying results.

That sealed the deal for me so I donated some funds. Shortly after that, Matt posted the results of our donation drive. In total, we had raised enough money to buy nine kevlar blankets. A few weeks later, Matt posted a message from a unit that had received the blankets. I was happily surprised to find that all of the money had been used to buy the blankets. That verifiable message from the unit and Blackfive's endorsement were all I needed.

I became a member of Soldiers' Angels.

- May no soldier go unloved

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Soldiers' Angels Supports Virginia Tech ROTC Cadets

Pasadena, California -- April 17, 2007 - The students and faculty of Virginia Tech have experienced an unimaginable horror this week. The slaying of over 30 students has left the campus in a fog of disbelief and given rise to a flood of unanswered questions. The sanctity of the university, an institution of higher learning for our country's young adults, has been breached by the sights and sounds from the deadliest shooting rampage in American history . The stories have been splashed across the televisions and computer screens of America, and Americans have blanketed the survivors and their family and friends with thoughts and prayers. Even though the stories of tragedy and heroism are not fully known, the destruction has been wrought and the process of healing has begun.

The participation of the Virginia Tech Army ROTC in the ceremonies following this tragedy will be integral to the healing process. The Cadet Corp will participate in the convocation, flag raising ceremonies, and will help with student support. The Army ROTC cadets are motivated young men and women who will one day swear an oath to protect our nation. They will take on this obligation knowing that they will be placed in harms way to push the fight in the Global War on Terror forward. However, at the present time they will be called upon to serve their fellow students. They will stand up at a difficult time and represent the proud military institutions of this country.

The Virginia Tech Cadet Corp's history is the history of Virginia Tech. The school was opened as a military academy in 1872 and its corp of cadets have honorably served this country in every war since. During World War II, 7,285 Virginia Tech alumni served in uniform with three hundred and twenty three of them being killed. It is ironic that one of the first stories of heroism coming out of this tragedy is that of Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, a holocaust survivor.

Professor Librescu was an engineering science and mathematics lecturer at Virginia Tech for 20 years. Students in his class have reported that he held the door to his classroom shut to give the students time to escape through a window. He died when the gunman shot through the door to gain entrance to the room. In the 1940's the students of Virginia Tech answered the call to fight Nazi Germany and years later Professor Librescu answered the call to protect the students of Virginia Tech.

In honor of the students and professors who died in this tragic event and the sacrifices made by the Virginia Tech Corp of Cadets for our country, Soldiers' Angels is giving $10, 000.00 to the Virginia Tech Army ROTC Alumni Endowment Fund. Soldiers' Angels challenges the nation to double this amount by logging onto or by sending donations to Virginia Tech Army ROTC, Account # 872289, 226 Military Building, Blacksburg, VA 24061. The donation you make will help the Virginia Tech Cadet Corp continue on so that it may live up to its
motto of "UT PROSIM" - That I may move Forward.

In the time honored tradition of civilian support of American soldiers, Soldiers' Angels sponsors programs which provide support to American soldiers and their families. Soldiers' Angels' programs include first responder packs, support, and laptop computers to wounded soldiers who are receiving treatment at American military hospitals; care packages, letters, and support to deployed soldiers; armored blankets to military ambulances; items shipped for deployed soldiers to give children in the war zone; and memorial trees for the families of soldiers who have died in the service of their country.

# # #
If you would like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with Patti Patton-Bader, please call Don Mackay at (615)676-0239

Help Soldiers' Angels support our men and women, past, present and future.

- May no soldier go unloved

Soldiers' Angels "Get 'er Done"

Sgt Same Floberg, an amputee and veteran of the North Dakota Army National Guard, along with Soldiers' Angels Shelle Michaels, recently met with Larry the Cable Guy who mugged with a Soldiers' Angels T-Shirt and the visitors.

Sgt Floberg was presented with a cane made especially for him by the Oklahoma Woodcarver's Association.

Sgt Floberg posing with a poster for Larry the Cable Guy and the rest of the "Blue Collar" comics upcoming show, "Delta Farce".

Please join Soldiers' Angels in supporting our men and women in uniform. We provide unique opportunities to support individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines as well as entire units.

- May no soldier go unloved

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

General Reminders

Don't forget, Talking With Heroes is coming to our Area May 4. We are still looking for sponsors. Read the information here.

Come join us and see what Talking with Heroes is all about.

And, Operation Aces High is just around the corner on June 3. We're looking for volunteers and we're looking for riders to join us for the great fun.

Help us make our first annual poker run for the wounded troops a huge success.

- May no soldier go unloved

Soldiers' Angels: In the News

Shelle Michaels, Public Relations for Soldiers' Angels was recently interviewed by Studio One, University of North Dakota news and media station. She wanted to bring Soldiers' Angels to the campus.

Watch her interview here.

- May no soldier go unloved
Soldiers' Angels

Letters from the Fallen II

In a previous series, Letters from the Fallen, Newsweek brought us the story of a Soldiers' Angels Fallen Hero, Major Michael Mundell and many others.

The second series brings equally compelling letters.

2nd Lt Johnny Craver

As I write this I think of you and know that if you do get this letter, you will grieve and wonder why. Don't grieve mom, be proud of me and hold your head up and tell everyone how much your son loved you and is going to miss his mom. Lie down at night and look up at heaven and tell me how your day was. I was an American Soldier and you molded me to be a proud one.

I will be waiting on you. So don't be sad Mom, I have died doing what I wanted to do. I died a Ranger!

Marine Staff Sgt Anthony Goodwin

Finally was able to open the card you sent. I thank you so much. Looking forward to seeing you and dad both upon my return. I am glad to know that although my career path is at times difficult for you to endure, you understand and support my unwavering duty and dedication. I have chosen a rough path to say the least and it demands great sacrifices from all those involved. Remember, with great pride, that there are not many who are willing to give so selflessly, and those who do are needed and truly deserving.

Read the rest here.

- May no soldier go unloved

Saturday, April 14, 2007

From the Forums: Angel Power

A young man and his family need our support and prayers.

A friend of mine just messaged me saying her son sustained serious head and face injuries yesterday by an IED in Iraq. I don't want to give out her email without her permission so can I get some emails of support sent to my email and I will forward them to her. I know it would help her alot. Please email me and put Karen in the subject line and I will make sure she gets them all. Thank you all, you are all truly Angels.


I have been asked recently if I had learned anything from this war. I have learned many things: the kindness of strangers; true charity; absolute appreciation and a clearer concept of the word "sacrifice", the belief in good and the power of like minded people.

But, most of all, I have learned to pray again.

- May no soldier go unloved

If I Die Before You Wake...

You may have seen this before, but I thought it was worth seeing a few times:

Join Soldiers' Angels today and help us support our men and women in uniform.

- May no soldier go unloved

Friday, April 13, 2007

From the Forums: Angel Power

The little things we do can mean the difference between life and death:

Our buddy Jason the medic at Camp Ramadi tells me it's been raining like hell there. They've had lots of mud and their aid station got some flooding yesterday, which knocked out their electric lights.

Luckily, we sent him some rechargeable battery-powered Coleman lanterns last month, and they put 'em to good use last night.

He said the docs had to perform some procedures by lantern light, and these $29 wonders saved the day.

You can see what a difference even the little things we do makes!

- May no soldier go unloved

Things to Read, Watch or Listen to: What's going on "Over there"

A unique book I haven't read yet, but, from the review, seems like a very witty and emotional composite of what it's like to live and work in Afghanistan. Deb Rodriquez writing about her experience in micro-economics and (non-existent) women's liberation in a country she calls, "Manistan".

Kabul Beauty School” is the rollicking story of one of the strangest foreign-aid projects ever conceived, the creation of an academy to train Afghan beauticians. A surprisingly successful venture, it gives Afghan women practical training convertible into cold cash and personal power, a radical idea in a country where women have the approximate status of dirt.

“I knew from my own experience as a hairdresser back home that a salon is a good business for a woman— especially if she has a bad husband,” Ms. Rodriguez writes.[snip]

Teaching beauty techniques turns out to be tough sledding. For some reason, the students cannot understand the concept of the color wheel, essential for doing a professional dye job and correcting the contributing pigment that underlies a person’s primary hair color. At the end of her tether, Ms. Rodriguez reaches for a religious analogy: Think of contributing pigment as Satan. “It’s this evil thing in the hair that you have to fight,” she says. “You have to use the opposite color to keep it from taking over.” The light goes on.

When a woman from a government ministry comes in for a haircut, Ms. Rodriguez pulls out a hand-held blow-dryer to finish the job. The woman gasps. “She had never seen a blow-dryer before and had no idea why I was pointing it at her head,” Ms. Rodriguez writes. “When I turned it on, and hot air blasted out, she screamed and jumped out of the chair.”

If you want to know what's going on in al Anbar, ask the marines.

Plenty to read AND watch in videos straight from the horses' mouths. I recommend these:

2 Marines, 1 Corpsman and 40 Iraqis (movie)

Changing Ramadi: Trash Pickup keeps things safe (reading)

To understand the real importance to this trash pickup, besides taking away the places that IEDs (improvised explosive devices) hide, read this little snippet on Broken Windows Theory, Crime and Small Wars

Broken Windows Theory says that, in order to insure security in a neighborhood, not only must "major crime" (in this case, terrorist attacks, murders, etc) be combatted, but you knock major crime down by prosecuting every small crime, by cleaning up the graffiti, by fixing the "broken windows" (figuratively and literally) that it gives the impression that the neighborhood is "good", has eyes on it (thus criminals or terrorists don't want to hang around where they are watched) AND by getting the neighborhood involved, not just in pointing out the bad guys, but in cleaning up and maintaining the neighborhood, it makes them invested in its prosperity and security.

Suggested reading Tipping Points by Malcolm Gladwell. Then you will understand the strategy of "surge" beyond "more troops".

British Forces at War: by Michael Yon (embedded in Basra with British Army) (hat tip: Mudville Gazette)

Dutch and Afghan soldiers duke it out with the Taliban

Humanitarian Mission in Afghanistan (pictures)

Tech. Sgt. John Asselin carries bags of supplies for flood victims in front of the Afghan Olympic Stadium April 10 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Kabul was ravaged by the first flood in 15 years. The Training Assistance Group from Camp Alamo coordinated food distribution efforts to supply flood victims in Kabul. They provided 100 pounds of rice, beans, wheat, flour ,tea, cooking oil, shovels, sand bags, tarps and more to approximately 100 families. Hundreds of families lost their homes, belongings and supplies to the flood.

- May no soldier go unloved
Soldiers' Angels