As the Title suggests I am a vet, and proud of it, and proud of all those that wear the uniform of the United States of America. You name it we'll talk about it. Politics, sports and much more. However, I am also very interested in what is happening to this great country of ours, politically and socially...So SOUND OFF PRIVATE!!!

The Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes
Respect Her, Defend Her, and Cherish what she stands for.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Senator Robert Byrd - Champion of the Muslims?

Well, it would seem that all the great minds, both politically and militarily just need to close their doors hang up a “for rent” sign on them and go home. There intellect and professional thoughts are no longer needed as guidelines for the course America should take. At least that is what one writer to Senator Robert Byrd thinks.

Senator Byrd received open letter from
Mohamed Khodr a muslim, freelance writer for Media Monitoring, which by itself wouldn't seem too strange. What does strike me as curious is the fact that Senator Byrd has been associated with the KKK and therefore as a member of such an organization, is against all “non-white” groups. He has made this very clear from years past. Yet, Mr Khodr, a muslim, seems to think that Sen. "KKK" Byrd is his savior and champion. However, back to the letter.

Mr. Khodr throws mountains of flowers to Sen. Byrd in his letters. Acknowledging on several occasions how Byrd is a stand up senator for the minority population around the world. Khodr goes on in his letter to educate everyone that the whole reason behind going to war in Iraq and the threats of war in Iran are solely based on the State of Israel and our support for it. An area, in which Senator Byrd has been very outspoken, against Israel.

Khodr continued by stating that “Israel threatens the MidEast with a nuclear holocaust; not Iraq, Iran, Syria,
Hezbollah, or Hamas.” Khodr goes on to explain how Israel is the primary force behind Bush’s push for war with Iran. After all he states, “It will be America’s youth who’ll die, not Israeli’s, Cheney’s, Bush’s, Rice’s, Bolton’s, Foxman’s, or our media elite.”

Now not to be just a criticizer, Khodr joyfully offers up some
“solutions”, sort of. Again he goes back to Israel as the primary force behind MidEast strife, by stating that the one’s who are preventing Bush from carrying on diplomatic courses with these nations is the Israel. Khodr goes on to illuminate Sen. Byrd even more by remarking, “Only you, Sir, Who’s ever had the courage to speak about our incredible aid to Israel, one of the nations richest nations, being secure in your position and history, can courageously address this on the Senate Floor. America loves you and will wholeheartedly support you…”

In light of the defeat suffered by the Democratic Senate on Saturday, and some of Senator Byrd's remarks on the floor, it would seem that Mr Khodr's remarks just might fall on deaf ears, as the Democratic Party struggles to gather in its constituants and try to move onto the next step in shutting down the Iraq War. In accordane to Senator Murtha's remarks during this last week, threatening to start cutting off funding for the troops and the war.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Iwo Jima - The Flag That Didn't Make The Front Page

The battle for Iwo Jima holds a special place for me in history. Not because I was there, I wasn't. But because my father was. He was serving on the USS Hamlin, AV - 15, a Seaplane Tender anchored off shore from Iwo. Though he did not physically set foot on the volcanic island in the pacific, he was there for the flag raising. Though most of America pictures the taking of Iwo Jima with the now famous Rosenthal picture of the flag raising, some know not of the original flag that went up just hours before, nor the men that put it up. That is the short focus of this post for a battle that cost America more lives in one battle than any other in the Pacific. This is not to take away from the second flag that went up on Suribachi, or those that raised it and rallied the U.S. on to victory in the Pacific. This is just one small salute to the "Greatest Generation".



Between Feb. 16 - 19, U.S. Naval Forces conducted pre-landing bombardment on the island of Iwo Jima. At 08:59 on Feb. 19, 1945, 30,000 marines landed on the shores of Iwo Jima. After four days (Feb. 23) of yard by yard fighting, the Marines had pretty much cut off Mt. Suribachi from the rest of the island. Popular legend (embroidered by the press in the aftermath of the release of the now-famous photo "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima") has it that the Marines fought tooth and nail all the way up to the summit. But although the riflemen were tensed for an ambush, none materialized. They made it to the summit and scrambled down again, reporting the lack of enemy contact to Colonel Chandler Johnson.



Johnson then called for a platoon of Marines to climb Suribachi. With them, he sent a small American flag to fly if they reached the summit. Again, Marines began the ascent, expecting to be ambushed at any moment. And again, the Marines reached the top of Suribachi without incident. Using a length of pipe they found among the wreckage atop the mountain, the Marines hoisted the U.S. flag over Mount Suribachi, the first foreign flag to fly on Japanese soil in centuries.


As the flag went up, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal had just landed on the beach at the foot of Mt. Suribachi. He decided that he wanted the flag as a souvenir. Popular legend has it that Colonel Johnson wanted the flag for himself; in fact, he believed that the flag belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, who had captured that section of the island. He scrounged up a second flag, and sent that one up the volcano to replace the first. As the first flag came down, the second went up, and it was then that Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took the famous photograph "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" of the replacement flag being planted on the mountain's summit.


In 36 days of fighting there were 25,851 US casualties. Of these, 6,825 Americans were killed. Virtually all 21,000 Japanese perished with only 214 surrendering.

Source: Wikipedia

Pictures courtesy of: FIRST FLAG ON SURIBACHI - THE IWO JIMA FLAG RAISING

Another interesting article on the web regarding the first flag is found at http://carol_fus.tripod.com/marines_hero_ray_jacobs.html . This article gives a very descriptive account of the flag raising.

Other Links on Iwo Jima:

http://www.nps.gov/archive/wapa/indepth/extContent/usmc/pcn-190-003131-00/sec5.htm

http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/iwojima/iwo-3.htm

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Enough Already!!!

I will try to keep his post short, but I for one am getting sick and tired of all the publicity that is being given to Anna Nicole Smith. Let me explain. My heart goes out her family, her husband(s) and friends that she left behind, I am sure that there’s much grieving taking place at this time.

It amazes me that the press, both written and on TV, are devoting so much time to this issue. It amazes me even more knowing that not much time is devoted to what our troops are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now I am not talking about the conflicts, loss of life or equipment being blown up; I’m talking about the good things that they are doing for the countries that they’re in. Little to no coverage given regarding the rebuilding of the school’s, hospitals and yes the towns and cities themselves. The only time we see anything about the troops is if there is a loss of life involved, scandal, rape, torture and some stupid officer thinking that he did not have to go to Iraq.

Getting back to Anna Nicole Smith, it is time to move on. Enough is enough. I’m sorry that the lady is dead, I know that she has suffered quite a bit over the last few months, but to devote this much time and coverage on one person of such a low stature simply baffles me. The way she is covered in the press one would come to the conclusion that she was some sort of a high dignitary figure such as a president or a leading figure from another country.

If the press really wants to cover individuals on an individual basis, let’s start covering the individual soldier that puts his life on the line every day so that we may sit back and are cozy little chairs and complained to the world how bad we are. Why not pick out soldiers at random and get their story, where they’re from, who their family is and whether or not they think they are doing the right thing in Iraq or Afghanistan. Or maybe even run special coverage on the families of the soldiers that are defending our nation. Anna Nicole Smith has had her ten years in the press; which is nine years, eleven months, 29 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes more than the average person. Let’s get back to the reporting the new, not some gossip magazine coverage. OK, I’m through with my ranting now, let’s get back to the more important things going on. I just had to vent it.

Firm Offers New Way Of Staying In Touch for Troops and Families

As posted by fellow blogger and friend ,Griz, at God Bless America, many of our troops are able to communicate with their families and loved ones through a new program that allows fathers and mothers of the loved ones left behind, the ability to read books to them via a recording. This program, from my understanding, is in place at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

Now a New York firm is providing 24 HR web based live video and conferencing services free to American troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere else in the world, to help them keep in touch with their families back home.

The program known as Video Furlough, was introduced just before Christmas by Instant -stream Multimedia Communications. Basically what this program does is it allows soldier to be involved with his family via video conferencing. The cost is only a couple of cents per minute and is paid for by the company offering the video conferencing.

Michael J. Daly, chief executive officer at Instantstream offers up this technology to our troops and will even setup a $500.00 account for the users, as long as they are military personnel using this procedure to communicate with their families at home. For more on this new technology, please read following article and pass it along to all the military families and soldiers that you have contact with through your blogs or personal contact.

Being a vet and having a son-in-law in harms way, I know it is very important for both the soldier and the family back home to know that everything is fine and well on both sides of the globe.

More on the Story

Spending reforms empower agencies to ignore earmarks

Members of Congress quietly have been calling federal agencies demanding their pet projects still be funded weeks after they swore off pork-barrel spending, the Bush administration says.

In response, administration officials have signaled they ignore many of those requests -- a move that thrills fiscal conservatives who have called on the president to take that step. But it's likely to irk congressional spending committees because it may threaten 95 percent of pork-spending projects, or "earmarks."

"Some of your offices have begun to receive requests from some congressional offices asking that the department continue to fund programs or activities that received earmarked funds in prior years," the Department of Energy's chief of staff, Jeffrey Kupfer, wrote in a Feb. 2 internal memo. A check by The Washington Times of other agencies turned up similar reports of phone calls -- from congressional offices of both parties.

But now, Mr. Kupfer wrote, they will no longer feel bound by earmarks and will follow through only on those "with meritorious proposals or programs that effectively support and advance the department's missions and objectives."

  • Want More - click here
  • Monday, February 12, 2007

    We Are Going To Run A Fair House - nah just kidding

    Why is it the Democrats don’t want to debate or allow a debate with the Republicans in the House of Representatives? Are they just trying to get back at the Republicans for the last twelve years? Or could it be that the Democrats are afraid that if a debate took place, certain Democrats would jump ship and join the opposition? Many will tend to go with the later. Why?

    It is not a secret that the Democrats are trying to embarrass Bush at every turn, however, if the Republicans were allowed to present a alternative resolution many Democrats in the House just might support it. The fear is that a Republican resolution might expose the messy divide within the Democratic Party over whether to cut off or to restrict funding for troops on the ground. The Democratic Whips are reigning in their constituents and not giving them the chance to flip on the issue.

    The fact of the matter is this, many rank and file members are wary of ending the funding for the mission. A good example of how the Ranking members are trying to hold things together was displayed by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Sunday’s Meet The Press. Hoyer had earlier said that the Republicans would have a chance to offer their own measures but recanted his statement over the weekend by stating that was “not necessarily” the case.

    Another Democratic Rep., Ed Perlmutter, first timer said that he plans to back his party’s measure to reject the troop increase, but added he would be in favor to support a resolution committing to funding of the troops. Perlmutter added, “I don’t want to cut off funding. Our troops are performing magnificently.” Perlmutter added that the Republicans are trying to “trip us up” by proposing such a measure now, considering the fact that there is “no consensus on funding” among the Democrats.

    If you wanted further proof as to how divided the Democrats are, here is what Democrat Rep. Michael Arcuri had to say, “We feel that we want to do what is best for the troops, but we have some differences in terms of how you do that.” The Republicans know that a resolution expressing a commitment to funding the troops would put the Democrats in a bind.

    The Democrats ran on a platform against the war in Iraq. They also said that the need for transparency in Congress would be a primary issue when they took control. However, when asked about this their reply was this, “We’re going to run a fair House, but we are not going to be na├»ve about it. We’re just trying to give the American people a clear debate and a clear answer” on Iraq. Then answer me this if you would please, how can you have a clear debate and answer without having that debate? Is this more double talk coming from the Democrats? The fact is simply this, and put well by Will Marshall of the DLC, “there is broad unity on the fact that we have to start winding the occupation down, not doubling down on it, but after that, I think it’s harder to find a consensus.” In other words they have no solution to the War in Iraq, but are hell bent on trashing Bush for it, and wanting him to resolve it before 2008.

    La Drang Hero Finally Gets Medal of Honor

    Major Bruce P. Crandall



    My congradulations to Major Crandall, it has been a long time coming (42 years) and if the movie "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young" did him any justice, he deserves much more than this.

    A Company, 1, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

    MAJ Bruce P. Crandall will receive the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony February 26, 2007 for his heroic actions in the Battle of Ia Drang.
    Spouse: Arlene Crandall of Kent, Washington
    Children: R. Donovan; Steven; Michael
    Hometown: Olympia, WAEducation: BA University of Nebraska, 1969; MPA Golden GateUniversity, 1977

    Drafted: U.S. Army, 1953Commissioned: Engineer Officer Candidate School, Ft. Belvoir, VA, 1954Deployments: Dominican Republic Expeditionary Force; two tours of Vietnam

    Aircraft: U-1 Otter fixed wing; L-20 Beaver fixed wing; L-19 Birddog fixed wing; H-23 Raven "couldn't get off the ground on a hot day"; H-13; H-19; UH-1 Huey "best helicopter ever built"

    Biography: LTC (Ret.) Crandall is a veteran Master Army Aviator in both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He led over 900 combat missions during two tours in Vietnam.

    Born in 1933, Crandall grew up in Olympia, Wash., where he played baseball and became a high school All American. He was drafted into the Army in 1953.

    After commissioning and graduation from fixed-wing and helicopter training conducted by the Air Force and Army, he was assigned to a mapping group based out of the Presidio of San Francisco "that at the time was the largest flying military aviation unit in the world. " From there he went to fly L-19 Birddogs and L-20 Beavers in Alaska, again for topographic studies.

    Crandall's first overseas flying assignment was to Wheelus AFB in Tripoli, Libya, mapping the desert for two years flying YU-1 Otter, L-20 Beaver, L-19 Birddog and H-23 Raven aircraft as an instructor pilot and unit test pilot.

    His next overseas tours were flying over thousands of square miles of previously unmapped mountains and jungles in Central and South America. For this mission, he was based out of Howard AFB, Panama, and Costa Rica. While assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division, Crandall helped develop air-assault tactics as a platoon commander. In early 1965, he joined the Dominican Republic Expeditionary Force as a liaison to the 18th Airborne Corps.

    Later that year, he would command the 1st Cavalry Division's Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion at An Khe, Vietnam. Using the call sign "Ancient Serpent 6," he led a flying unit supporting eight battalions on the ground.

    On Nov. 14, 1965, Crandall led the first major division operation of airmobile troops into Landing Zone X-Ray in Vietnam's Ia Drang Valley and is credited with evacuating some 70 wounded comrades with his wing man and fellow Medal of Honor recipient MAJ Ed Freeman. The two also flew in the ammunition needed for the 1/7th CAV (Custer's old battalion) to survive. The craft he was flying was unarmed.

    Read the rest of the story at : http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/crandall/profile/index.html

    WHAT A WEEKEND

    Well this is certainly been a long and painful weekend for me. Last Wednesday, February 7, I had to have an operation on my shoulder for a torn rotator cuff. I actually injured the shoulder last June and have been seeing a doctor since then. At first the doctor told me I had a bad case of bursitis and was giving me cortisone shots to help the pain. But the cortisone shots only helped for about 24 to 48 hours and then the pain was back.

    After about a dozen trips to the doctor for these cortisone shots and gulping down at least three or four bottles of ibuprofen, the doctor finally decided that there might be something else wrong and it might not just be bursitis. So he set me up an appointment or an MRI on my shoulder. This is when they finally discovered that I had a torn rotator cuff.

    I had to go in early Wednesday around 7:00 to prep for the surgery, which took place around 10:30. I had a partial tear and a complete tear along with some fluid that had built up in the rotator cuff area. I ended up staying at the hospital for almost two hours after the operation was complete trying to get my wits about me. I was told by my daughter and my wife, that it took quite awhile for me to come round. They also told me that it was quite funny watching me try to wake up. Personally, I really don’t remember much of anything.

    My wife went on to work and my daughter brought me home. My daughter stated that it was quite a task getting me from the car into the house, claiming that I was bumping into just about everything in my way. I remember finally working my way to bed and pretty much collapsing and waking up about six hours later. My arm was in a sling held snug against my body so that I couldn’t move it, and the pain medication that the doctor prescribed for me pretty much get me out of things up through about Saturday. So needless to say, it was pretty hard to focus on much of anything for the better part of the weekend until the drugs and the pain finally wore off.

    The doctor says that I will probably be off or out of work for about two to three months before I can go back to resuming my normal daily life. So, during this time I’ll be going to see the doctor, therapy, and pretty much sitting round watching the world go by. I guess that’s all right though, it’s not football season anyway. So I guess there’s a chance that I will be on here a little bit more often than I have in the past. Since I can’t use my left arm to type with, I purchased me one of those voice recognition programs for my computer. That’s what I am using right now. I sure hope it gets better, because right now it’s taking a long time just to get this out. I guess the more you use it, the faster it will recognize what you’re saying. Oh well, I guess I’ll have plenty of time to work the kinks out of it.