Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all who come this way.

To any soldiers and military families who stop by to get an update on the 2-16...this is one time where we truly can say that "no news is good news." There have been no news reports of deaths in the 2-16 since September. Continue to pray for Duncan Crookston and Joseph Mixson. The men of the 2-16 are critical to the success of "the surge" and even if they cannot see it where they are, they are providing for a peaceful future for Iraq and for us.

As for me, I just finished up the green Jell-o salad that is our family tradition, I'll be wrapping little weinies next and then some presents. This has been a most blessed year for our family and I almost dare not whisper it because it seems like it all might be taken away.

May 2008 bring us peace in the Middle East, in America, and throughout the world.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Ultimate Sacrifice

In August of 2005, journalist Steven Vincent was killed in Basrah three days after he had a story published in the New York Times about the worsening situation in that Southern Iraq city. His translator, Nour Khal was shot but survived.

Today, in the Los Angeles Times, there is a vivid story of Nour's journey to America and her relationship with Steven's widow, Lisa Ramaci.

Read the story and be grateful for men and women who put their lives at risk to bring you the news of the world.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Returning Heroes Home

Yesterday, I ran across a story in the New York Post that was written by Ralph Peters and has information about the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center. This center at Ft. Sam Houston near San Antonio is where soldiers and marines with amputations and other very serious injuries are treated. It is where Pfc's Duncan Crookston and Joseph Mixson of the 2-16 will face months of surgery and recovery.

Mr. Peters is writing a week-long series of articles to raise awareness (and money) for The Warrior and Family Support Center there. This support center is a privately funded refuge for wounded soldiers and their families where they can get reacquainted or where the soldiers can just get out of their rooms and relax with other soldiers.

Click the link to read Monday's story from Mr. Peters that covers an inspiring account of Pfc Adrian Garcia. Here is today's story about Army Staff Sgt. William Corp's work out with a boogie-board on the wave-rider in the rehab center.

Finally, you can donate to the Warrior and Family Support Center project via credit card by phone at 1-888- 343-HERO or at

To give by mail, send your donations to:
Returning Heroes Home
P.O. Box 202194
Dallas, TX 75320-2194

Checks should be made out to Returning Heroes Home, Inc. This is a nonprofit 501c3 endeavor; all donations are tax-deductible.

In this time of preparation for Christmas, take a few moments for thoughts of gratitude for our soldiers and prayers for the recovery of Crookston, Mixson, and all the soldiers and marines at Brooke Army Medical Center.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pfc Duncan Crookston

I know there are a lot of people who are very concerned about Duncan Crookston who was severly injured in Iraq. This morning, I found a page on a military forum that includes updates from his mother-in-law. The latest update was in November, but things looked encouraging at the time.

A trust fund has been set up. You can donate by stopping at any Chase Bank and directing your donation to: Duncan Crookston Trust, Chase Bank, Acct. # 1635716796, Routing #102001017. Also, you can make a check payable to Duncan Crookston Trust. Mail it to: Meaghun Crookston c/o Powless Guest House, 3298 George C. Beach Rd, Ft. Sam Houston, TX 78234.

May God bless Duncan and this entire family, and may angels guide all the caregivers as Duncan struggles to heal.

Update: If you are reading this post, you probably sadly know that Duncan passed away on January 25. For information about his funeral, go to this post.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Scott Thomas Beauchamp

A story that I've been following since this summer was that of a 24 year old soldier who was able to publish a series of reports from the theatre in Iraq. The series was presented in The New Republic magazine.

The author is Scott Thomas Beauchamp and the last entry contained three examples of how war had dehumanized him and his buddies. He wrote about:
  • Soldiers mocking a woman (either a fellow soldier or a contractor - the author wasn't sure) who had been disfigured by an IED
  • A soldier wearing the skull bone of a child as a yarmulke underneath his helmet
  • A Bradley Fighting Vehicle driver who intentionally ran over dogs with his equipment

Some in the conservative side of the blogosphere started poking holes in the story and after four and a half months, the editor of the magazine, Franklin Foer, said at the end of a fourteen page post that the magazine could no longer stand by the author's stories.

What I find quite amazing in this all is the support that people have for the American soldier in general. Attached to Foer's retraction, which takes thirteen pages to justify his magazine's shoddy reporting and fact-checking and to blame the Army for stonewalling, there are 419 comments. While I did not read every comment, of those I saw not one was supportive of the magazine. It is clear that readers took this series as a swipe at American soldiers in general and were not happy that the magazine sensationalized events in order to make the soldiers look bad.

Here are a few tips to the media:

Iraq is not Vietnam.

Our soldiers are not known for having "personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun."

Iraq will not be remembered as a Fiasco.

The American people love their soldiers and do not take kindly to their being slandered.

And one last thing: grow up!