Monday, October 01, 2007

What We Are

This post was written by Sgt. Billy Knipper, who has joined Gunz Up as one of the writers. We moved this powerful post to the top of the blog because it defines the men we want to honor on Gunz Up. Sgt. Knipper was the Chief Instuctor for Camp Pendleton's Divisional Machine Gun Classes.

There are some who might ask if a young man today is as 'Rough and Tumble' as they were 60 or 70 years ago. If the iron will of the greatest generation has seeped away and left us with the shabby ram-shackle gathering of video gamers and I-Pod enthusiasts. Can Wars be won by such men?

Without a doubt the answer is YES!

All people are preprogrammed with survival traits and that fury of centuries old-anger and oppression that all people felt at some point in the earth's history, and the right kind of tempering will drive that Warrior to the surface. After that he will become an outcast, an anachronism seen amongst his former peers as an oddity. So we congregate together in our legions as "Brothers-of-the-Sword" have for millenia and wait.

And then a War strikes. And a person must decide if the metal and steel is sharp and hard enough.

Among who show merit-

We are gunslingers of the highest order. The Gear we carry is heavier than the others just as the burden which rests on our hardened shoulders. We know when the gunfight breaks out, whether it is reactionary of deliberate, our task will not change. We must become a ghost, a phantom, an in-human monster, that is not simply relegated to being part of the bullet-here, bullet-there, poke and hope rifleman way of the business. Our task will involve us leaving a covered area to get in to the fight with our two or three man team which is of one mind, one goal. To lay withering fires across the field and dominate the enemies real estate and their will. We know that the number of enemy we will destroy is tempered by the number of brothers that will not have to lay down their lives today because of the dragons fire we bring to the field.

We are not simply servicemen. We are not only Marines. Nor, or we just Marine Infantry. WE ARE MARINE MACHINE GUNNERS.

We will live by five truths.

The Marine Machine Gunner...

...Does Not Know Fear
...Does Not Know Pain
...Does Not Suffer From the Fog of War, but Creates It
...Seeks Position to Destroy Evil
...Is Not Human

We are avenging angels who will destroy the will of our enemy and bolster the spirits of our brothers for they know we watch the walls and dark places tonight. We are not simply a throwback to WWII or Korea, but the incarnation of all warriors who chose the path gauranteeing further destruction of those who would do their kinsmen harm. Like the perfect Spartan Phalanx in ancient times where each shield covers the man to your left or right thereby securing the safety of the whole we will become that perfect mesh of metal and iron will that will win the battle.

We are United States Marine Machine Gunners.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Moment of Your Time

A Time Set Apart for unity in prayer for
+++OUR Troops+++
+++Their Families+++
our leaders, the innocent, and our U.S. civilians
currently serving in the Middle East
Daily. 11:09 A.M. CST
Welcome to Gunz Up.
Embrace the Journey.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


When Aaron first learned that he and Tiff had lost their baby, three years ago today, he was bawling so hard when he called me that I could barely make out what he was saying. When he repeated himself, he was nearly shouting. That was perhaps the hardest place I've ever been in. My son, broken-hearted and in Kuwait, waiting to begin his 2nd tour in Iraq. Me, in Lovington, NM, unable to patch or fix one darn thing--after years and tears of trying to fix everything.

The delay in the phone, the cracking of Aaron's voice, the call lasted no more than three minutes and ended with, "I gotta go, Mom. I have to give a class and I don't want the Marines seeing me crying."

At the end of the day, all I could do was call Tiffany in Phoenix, send a plant, record it in my Bible, and pour my heart out to him in a letter that would take 2-3 weeks to arrive. At the last minute, I grabbed a card no larger than 2"x 2" that said, GOD NEVER CLOSES ONE DOOR WITHOUT OPENING ANOTHER. It was a little card we picked up off the table at the Methodist Church here for his Senior Breakfast.

I put that card in with the letter. It was one of the things that came back to me and is now in Zach's possesion to pass down to Weston.

I can think of no better way to close with a last post here at this address, than to share those words with you.

Truly, one of the comforts is that I know that Aaron holds my grandchild, a boy I think, in his arms even now.

Join us now in opening a new door to the same place that's been home to me since early October 2006. The URL is simple:
and it is still and will forever be Gunz Up.

Semper Fi,

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Guadalcanal-December and the Final Stages (cont'd) *3

FIRST OFFENSIVE: The Marine Campaign for Guadalcanal
by Henry I. Shaw, Jr.

The aerial buildup forced the Japanese to curtail all air attacks and made daylight naval reinforcement attempts an event of the past. The nighttime visits of the Tokyo Express destroyers now brought only supplies encased in metal drums which were rolled over the ships' sides in hope they would float into shore. The men ashore desperately needed everything that could be sent, even by this method, but most of the drums never reached the beaches.

Still, however desperate the enemy situation was becoming, he was prepared to fight. General Hyakutake continued to plan the seizure of the airfield. General Hitoshi Immamura, commander of the Eighth Area Army, arrived in Rabaul on 2 December with orders to continue the offensive. He had 50,000 men to add to the embattled Japanese troops on Guadalcanal.

Before these new enemy units could be employed, the Americans were prepared to move out from the perimeter in their own offensive. Conscious that the Mt. Austen area was a continuing threat to his inland flank in any drive to the west, Patch committed the Americal's 132d Infantry to the task of clearing the mountain's wooded slopes on 17 December. The Army regiment succeeded in isolating the major Japanese force in the area by early January. The 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, took up hill positions to the southeast of the 132d to increase flank protection.

By this time, the 25th Infantry Division (Major General J. Lawton Collins) had arrived and so had the 6th Marines (6 January) and the rest of the 2d Division's headquarters and support troops. Brigadier General Alphonse De Carre, the Marine division's assistant commander, took charge of all Marine ground forces on the island. The 2d Division's commander, Major General John Marston, remained in New Zealand because he was senior to General Patch.

With three divisions under his command, General Patch was designated Commanding General, XIV Corps, on 2 January. His corps headquarters numbered less than a score of officers and men, almost all taken from the Americal's staff. Brigadier General Edmund B. Sebree, who had already led both Army and Marine units in attacks on the Japanese, took command of the Americal Division. On 10 January, Patch gave the signal to start the strongest American offensive yet in the Guadalcanal campaign. The mission of the troops was simple and to the point: "Attack and destroy the Japanese forces remaining on Guadalcanal."

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Guadalcanal--U.S. Halftrack

U.S. Halftrack Mounting a 75mm Pack Howitzer and a .50-Caliber Air-Cooled Machine Gun

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: December and the Final Buildup (cont'd) *4

The initial objective of the corps' attack was a line about 1,000 to 1,500 yards west of jump-off positions. These ran inland from Point Cruz to the vicinity of Hill 66, about 3,000 yards from the beach. In order to reach Hill 66, the 25th Infantry Division attacked first with the 35th and 27th Infantry driving west and southwest across a scrambled series of ridges. The going was rough and the dug-in enemy, elements of two regiments of the 38th Division, gave way reluctantly and slowly. By the 13th, however, the American soldiers, aided by Marines of the 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, had won through to positions on the southern flank of the 2d Marine Division.

On 12 January, the Marines began their advance with the 8th Marines along the shore and 2d Marines inland. At the base of Point Cruz, in the 3d Battalion, 8th Marines' sector, regimental weapons company half-tracks ran over seven enemy machine gun nests. The attack was then held up by an extensive emplacement until the weapons company commander, Captain Henry P. "Jim" Crowe, took charge of a half-dozen Marine infantrymen taking cover from enemy fire with the classic remarks: "You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a fox hole. Follow me!" The men did and they destroyed the emplacement.

All along the front of the advancing assault companies the going was rough. The Japanese, remnants of the Sendai Division, were dug into the sides of a series of cross compartments and their fire took the Marines in the flank as they advanced. Progress was slow despite massive artillery support and naval gunfire from four destroyers offshore. In two days of heavy fighting, flamethrowers were employed for the first time and tanks were brought into play. The 2d Marines was now relieved and the 6th Marines moved into the attack along the coast while the 8th Marines took up the advance inland. Naval gunfire support, spotted by naval officers ashore, improved measurably. On the 15th, the Americans, both Army and Marine, reached the initial corps objective. In the Marine attack zone, 600 Japanese were dead.

(cont'd below)

Guadalcanal: Final Phase Map

Final Phase: 26 January—9 February 1943

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: December and the Final Stages continues *5

The battle-weary 2d Marines had seen its last infantry action of Guadalcanal. A new unit now came into being, a composite Army-Marine division, or CAM division, formed from units of the Americal and 2d Marine Divisions. The directing staff was from the 2d Division, since the Americal had responsibility for the main perimeter. Two of its regiments, the 147th and the 182d Infantry, moved up to attack in line with the 6th Marines still along the coast. The 8th Marines was essentially pinched out of the front lines by a narrowing attack corridor as the inland mountains and hills pressed closer to the coastal trail. The 25th Division, which was advancing across this rugged terrain, had the mission of outflanking the Japanese in the vicinity of Kokumbona, while the CAM Division drove west. On the 23d, as the CAM troops approached Kokumbona, the 1st Battalion of the 27th Infantry struck north out of the hills and overran the village site and Japanese base. There was only slight but steady opposition to the American advance as the enemy withdrew west toward Cape Esperance.

The Japanese had decided, reluctantly, to give up the attempt to retake Guadalcanal. The orders were sent in the name of the Emperor and senior staff officers were sent to Guadalcanal to ensure their acceptance. The Navy would make the final runs of the Tokyo Express, only this time in reverse, to evacuate the garrison so it could fight again in later battles to hold the Solomons.

Receiving intelligence that enemy ships were massing again to the northwest, General Patch took steps, as Vandegrift had before him on many occasions, to guard against overextending his forces in the face of what appeared to be another enemy attempt at reinforcement. He pulled the 25th Division back to bolster the main perimeter defenses and ordered the CAM Division to continue its attack. When the Marines and soldiers moved out on 26 January, they had a surprisingly easy time of it, gaining 1,000 yards the first day and 2,000 the following day. The Japanese were still contesting every attack, but not in strength.

By 30 January, the sole frontline unit in the American advance was the 147th Infantry; the 6th Marines held positions to its left rear.

The Japanese destroyer transports made their first run to the island on the night of 1-2 February, taking out 2,300 men from evacuation positions near Cape Esperance. On the night of 4-5 February, they returned and took out most of the Sendai survivors and General Hyakutake and his Seventeenth Army staff. The final evacuation operation was carried out on the night of 7-8 February, when a 3,000-man rear guard was embarked. In all, the Japanese withdrew about 11,000 men in those three nights and evacuated about 13,000 soldiers from Guadalcanal overall. The Americans would meet many of these men again in later battles, but not the 600 evacuees who died, too worn and sick to survive their rescue.

(cont'd below)

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Medal of Honor

President Franklin D. Roosevelt presents Gen Vandegrift the Medal of Honor for his heroic accomplishments against the Japanese in the Solomons. Looking on are Mrs. Vandegrift, and the general's son, Maj Alexander A. Vandegrift, Jr.

National Archives Photo 208-PU-209V-4

It kind of looks like he's getting choked here, huh?

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: December and the Final Stages--FINALE

On 9 February, American soldiers advancing from east and west met at Tenaro village on Cape Esperance. The only Marine ground unit still in action was the 3d Battalion, 10th Marines, supporting the advance. General Patch could happily report the "complete and total defeat of Japanese forces on Guadalcanal." Nor organized Japanese units remained.

On 31 January, the 2d Marines and the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, boarded ship to leave Guadalcanal. As was true with the 1st Marine Division, some of these men were so debilitated by malaria they had to be carried on board. All of them struck observers again as young men grown old "with their skins cracked and furrowed and wrinkled." On 9 February, the rest of the 8th Marines and a good part of the division supporting units boarded transports. The 6th Marines, thankfully only six weeks on the island, left on the 19th. All were headed for Wellington, New Zealand, the 2d Marines for the first time. Left behind on the island as a legacy of the 2d Marine Division were 263 dead.
The total cost of the Guadalcanal campaign to the American ground combat forces was 1,598 officers and men killed, 1,152 of them Marines.

The wounded totaled 4,709, and 2,799 of these were Marines. Marine aviation casualties were 147 killed and 127 wounded. The Japanese in their turn lost close to 25,000 men on Guadalcanal, about half of whom were killed in action. The rest succumbed to illness, wounds, and starvation.

At sea, the comparative losses were about equal, with each side losing about the same number of fighting ships. The enemy loss of 2 battleships, 3 carriers, 12 cruisers, and 25 destroyers, was irreplaceable. The Allied ships losses, though costly, were not fatal; in essence, all ships lost were replaced. In the air, at least 600 Japanese planes were shot down; even more costly was the death of 2,300 experienced pilots and aircrewmen. The Allied plane losses were less than half the enemy's number and the pilot and aircrew losses substantially lower.

President Roosevelt, reflecting the thanks of a grateful nation, awarded General Vandegrift the Medal of Honor for "outstanding and heroic accomplishment" in his leadership of American forces on Guadalcanal from 7 August to 9 December 1942. And for the same period, he awarded the Presidential Unit Citation to the 1st Marine Division (Reinforced) for "outstanding gallantry" reflecting "courage and determination ... of an inspiring order." Included in the division's citation and award, besides the organic units of the 1st Division, were the 2d and 8th Marines and attached units of the 2d Marine Division, all of the Americal Division, the 1st Parachute and 1st and 2d Raider Battalions, elements of the 3d, 5th, and 14th Defense Battalions, the 1st Aviation Engineer Battalion, the 6th Naval Construction Battalion, and two motor torpedo boat squadrons. The indispensable Cactus Air Force was included, also represented by 7 Marine headquarters and service squadrons, 16 Marine flying squadrons, 16 Navy flying squadrons, and 5 Army flying squadrons.

The victory at Guadalcanal marked a crucial turning point in the Pacific War. No longer were the Japanese on the offensive. Some of the Japanese Emperor's best infantrymen, pilots, and seamen had been bested in close combat by the Americans and their Allies. There were years of fierce fighting ahead, but there was now no question of its outcome.

When the veterans of the 1st Marine Division were gathered in thankful reunion 20 years later, they received a poignant message from Guadalcanal. The sender was a legend to all "Canal" Marines, Honorary U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Major Jacob C. Vouza. The Solomons native in his halting English said: "Tell them I love them all. Me old man now, and me no look good no more. But me never forget."


Blood Is Thicker Than Water

The temporary resting place of a Marine killed in the fighting at Lunga Point is shown here. The grave marker was erected by his friends. The Marine's remains were later removed to the division cemetery on Guadalcanal, and further reburial at war's end either in his hometown or the Punchbowl National Cemetery in Hawaii with the honors due a fallen hero.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Virgie Bell's View: This Land IS Our Land

I read in the paper yesterday where T. Boone Pickens gave an interview saying that the world oil supply has peaked. He said that oil would be $70 a barrel probably from here on in. This man who hails from Amarillo has been quoted as having been correct with his predictions much of the time. If anyone needs to have a better reason to understand why the petroleum industry plays such a vital role in the world they would do well to remember that the countries that are the biggest producers of oil are in the Middle East.

The Middle East is also a country of sand, more sand, and oil. They will be left with the sand when their oil reserves are depleted. The USA leads the world in technical knowledge and manufacturing. We have what our enemies who threaten us desperately need. Put simply, they need our country and its natural resources. If one will really look at the landscape of these Middle East countries, it’s easy to see why it is so vital to them. Will Rogers remarked once that a person should invest in land because we are never going to grow anymore. How true.

If one shops around to buy a little place to live and to raise a family, the wise investment would not be the Middle East. It would be right here in the United States if for no other reason than we are the new world. We are therefore fighting a war that has been waged from the beginning of time. The war for survival of the entire civilization. The best way to understanding that is exemplified in the little homesteads of the western states here in the land of the free and home of the brave.

Wagon trains carried the pioneers to this vast area and for each mile that was accomplished they paid a price of three lives lost for each mile. This was solely for land so they could build for themselves a future. You can say what you will about this being Indian country and what happened to the tribes of these first American citizens as a result of this great surge of population, but also remember that these wagon trains were equipped with settlers. They did not use the wagon trains to attack the Indians. They also did not plan on acquiring vast sums of land. They needed just enough that a family could build a log cabin and raise a garden and a few farm animals. A cow for milk, a horse for travel, a few chickens for eggs, etc. They dug down in the ground to find wells for water. Remember they started with just what they could carry on a wagon. The trails of this vast wilderness were littered with grandfather clocks, pianos, and other frivolous items. What they arrived with was the things that would ensure survival: hand tools, pots and pans, and seed to plant.

I am grateful to God that the little place Jerry and I have carved out for ourselves is a brick home with a lot and two pecan trees that shade the entire back yard. Our little heaven on earth suits us just fine. A place to grow old together. If you live long enough you value that more than anything. But take Hugo Chaves of Venezuela. He has taken over the oil from the companies that installed and paid the upkeep. He told the peasants of his country to go build a little lean-to shack on anyone's land, that it was rightfully their own. He never explained that it was rightfully his own, because he took it.

This is the beginning of the wars that have been fought until the last war finishes us off. This land was paid for by the sacrifice of our forefathers. Because of the blood that was shed by them to travel across a vast unknown ocean and to traverse this continent in order have a home to raise a family. In the end when you finally get to what really matters is that place to grow old together and to be buried side by side.

The United States is very much like our backyard. It is perfect for us and anyone else with realistic goals. So oil aside...and all the factories, farms and cities that have been built up over our country remains the reason these other countries seek to destroy us. They do not want to take away our western ways as they claim. They want my little lot with my modest home and my beautiful backyard. They want yours too. Our military is the only thing that stands in the way of the desperate dictators like Hugo Chaves and Ahmadinejad and all the others who have gone before. If we don't fight this fight we won't have to worry about those that come after. They will control this country. They will own the homes, the farms and the factories. They will control the cities and the wealth thereof. They will retire in my backyard and they will retire in yours too. The War on Terror is about survival. Mine and yours too. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Support the leaders of this country that SUPPORT THE TROOPS!


Well, I've never been a good one for holding a surprise! I'm the one that makes people open their Christmas presents early!

I've set us up with a new site that we will be using within a few days. I need the other authors to get set up and add what touches they'd like. I still have several links to put in, so if you don't see yours, don't worry. Just started some on that and Gunz and Ebyjo's is new, so I put it in thinking I could copy the others later.

The new site is really in Dress Blues. :). I tried so hard to make it in desert colors, but Blogger just doesn't have but one green that fits and the brown looks too strong, so see what you think about the new Gunz Up. I had to do this to switch to New Blogger because I made the switch before the owner (Steve) and therefore would be stuck.

The computer screen makes Steve so sick, so our new one, that will be awesome, it even has a chat on it, will have to be finished by him because I know absolutely nothing about that kind of thing. He is having a hard time, so we do appreciate your prayers on it.

BTW, I will be re-doing the Bible Study site as well. The constant Lime Green is too much. It takes too many pinks to try to blend in and I figure it will be hard enough to get the guys over there as it is, so, better do a knock down on that one.

So, look out. We're not just remodeling here. We're moving. Twice! But for now, our home within a short time will be @ CLICK HERE. The new address is, which shouldn't be too hard to remember, but go ahead and add it to your FAVORITES LIST RIGHT NOW...BEFORE YOU FORGET! :)







Friday, March 02, 2007



Former Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey

WASHINGTON — The scandal over conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center claimed its second victim Friday when Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey handed in his resignation to his boss Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

"The problems at Walter Reed appear to be problems of leadership," Gates said at the Pentagon at an unscheduled appearance before reporters.

Harvey's resignation follows the departure of a top Army official on Thursday. Army Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman was relieved of his command after senior officials said they lost trust and confidence in his leadership abilities. Weightman, a two-star general, oversaw the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed.

"I am disappointed that some in the Army have not adequately appreciated the seriousness of the situation pertaining to outpatient care at Walter Reed. Some have shown too much defensiveness and have not shown enough focus on digging into and addressing the problems," Gates said.

Gates' announcement came on the same day that President Bush ordered a comprehensive review Friday of conditions at the nation's military and veteran hospitals.

bipartisan commission to assess whether the problems at Walter Reed existed at other facilities.

Officials were forced to respond after news articles drew concerns of a deteriorating environment at the 113-acre institution that helps soldiers recover from injuries. Building 18, a facility that houses hundreds of soldiers recovering from battle wounds, was reported to have mold and soiled carpets as well as mouse and cockroach infestations, among other problems.

A permanent commander for Walter Reed was expected to be named late Friday. Harvey has been the Army secretary since November 2004. Gates said Harvey will depart March 9. Gates said the Army under secretary, Pete Geren, will become acting secretary until Bush nominates a permanent replacement.
Congressional hearings on Walter Reed are scheduled for Monday. Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and John Tierney, D-Mass., of the House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, issued a subpoena on Friday to force Weightman to testify before lawmakers. Weightman was scheduled to come before the committee but the Army refused to authorize him after he was relieved of command.

An independent panel on Thursday began reviewing allegations of poor quality-of-life conditions at two military medical facilities treating soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan plans to meet for the first time.

Bush devoted his weekly radio address — to be broadcast on Saturday — to the problems of veterans' care, and the White House took the unusual step of releasing excerpts in advance. A full text also was to be released later Friday. The administration's response came amid growing outrage about the poor treatment of some veterans — and the prospect that it could backfire on the White House.

"One of my most solemn experiences as president is visiting men and women recovering from wounds they suffered in defense of country," Bush said his prepared address. "Spending time with these wounded warriors is also inspiring because so many of them bring the same courage they showed on the battlefield to their battle for recovery."

The commission to be named by Bush is separate from a review panel appointed by Gates to investigate outpatient care at Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. The presidential panel will look at all of the nation's military and veteran facilities, according to White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Which Kinda Cat ARE We Talking About, WRAMC?: The Rebuttal

Army denies patients face daily inspections

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writerPosted : Thursday Mar 1, 2007 14:02:05 EST

Army officials are denying that soldiers in the Medical Hold Unit at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington will have daily early-morning wakeup calls and room inspections.

But one Building 18 soldier said he woke up Tuesday morning to the sounds of sergeants pounding on doors and yelling, “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”

“I was like, ‘Jesus Christ, I’m back in basic training,’” the soldier said.

The soldier said the outpatient soldiers at Building 18 were issued garbage cans and cleaning supplies and told to keep their rooms clean and organized because of all the officials who would be making their way through the building during the investigation next week.

Earlier in the week, soldiers in the unit said they had been told they would have to wake up at 6 a.m. and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

But Army spokesman Paul Boyce said Wednesday there will be no daily room inspections, and that standard formations would continue as before at 7:30 a.m. He also said there would be occasional health and safety inspections, but nothing “obtrusive.”

Soldiers also say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.

Boyce said the brigade commander told 600 soldiers Monday afternoon that they should come to him if they have any problems, and that there would not be any retribution or reprisals for reporting problems.

Soldiers were also told they would be moving out of Building 18 to Building 14 within the next couple of weeks. Building 14 is a barracks that houses the administrative offices for the Medical Hold Unit and was renovated in 2006. It’s also located on the Walter Reed Campus, where reporters must be escorted by public affairs personnel. Building 18 is located just off campus and is easy to access.

Boyce confirmed that a move is being considered so Building 18 can be renovated.

The soldiers said they were also told their first sergeant had been relieved of duty, and that all of their platoon sergeants have been moved to other positions at Walter Reed. And 120 permanent-duty soldiers are expected to arrive by mid-March to take control of the Medical Hold Unit, the soldiers said.

Boyce said some personnel actions have been taken but could not confirm them Wednesday.

Boyce said the soldiers may speak to the media, but only with permission if the interview takes place in a government building, such as Building 18. However, he said, if soldiers at Walter Reed want to talk with reporters down the street at a coffee shop, “that would be fine.”

Boyce also responded to a gag order issued to military spokespeople after extensive media reports on the problems facing troops in the Medical Hold Unit with both the medical evaluation bureaucracy and their living conditions.

In a message Tuesday, the Pentagon clamped down on media coverage of any and all Defense Department medical facilities, to include suspending queries for interviews and filming by CNN, saying in an e-mail to spokespeople titled “Media inquiries related to Walter Reed”: “It will be in most cases not appropriate to engage the media while this review takes place,” referring to an investigation of the problems at Walter Reed.

Boyce, however, said he will continue to work with CNN and will continue to set up interviews on an individual basis for other interested reporters.

The order not to “engage the media” sparked discussion on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., issued a press release in which she said “any attempt to silence the very soldiers who brought their own mistreatment to light, or to hide ongoing abuses from the public eye — if such attempts are occurring — would be morally reprehensible. It would be an abdication of one of the most fundamental responsibilities of our government: the protection of those who have fought to protect us.”

At a Senate defense appropriations subcommittee hearing, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, asked for an explanation about the order not to speak to the media after reading reports on the problems at Walter Reed in the Military Times newspapers.

“That’s not our standard, to tell people to keep quiet,” said Adm. Edmund Giambastiani Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. “If they’ve got problems, we want to hear about them.”

Army News: Walter Reed patients to to keep quiet

Walter Reed patients told to keep quiet
By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 28, 2007 20:26:13 EST

Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.

Soldiers say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.

They were also told they would be moving out of Building 18 to Building 14 within the next couple of weeks. Building 14 is a barracks that houses the administrative offices for the Medical Hold Unit and was renovated in 2006. It’s also located on the Walter Reed Campus, where reporters must be escorted by public affairs personnel. Building 18 is located just off campus and is easy to access.

The soldiers said they were also told their first sergeant has been relieved of duty, and that all of their platoon sergeants have been moved to other positions at Walter Reed. And 120 permanent-duty soldiers are expected to arrive by mid-March to take control of the Medical Hold Unit, the soldiers said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Army public affairs did not respond to a request sent Sunday evening to verify the personnel changes.

The Pentagon also clamped down on media coverage of any and all Defense Department medical facilities, to include suspending planned projects by CNN and the Discovery Channel, saying in an e-mail to spokespeople: “It will be in most cases not appropriate to engage the media while this review takes place,” referring to an investigation of the problems at Walter Reed.

Related reading:
Walter Reed soldier wins small victory
Gates’ candor on hospital woes lauded
Pentagon names members of Walter Reed panel
Renovations underway at Walter Reed
Wounded and waiting

Out to Lunch

You can't imagine how hard at work I am for a HUGE, VERY BIG SURPRISE FOR US. iN FACT, i'M RAthER AmAZeD MEsELF.

SO NEVER FEAR, I haven't jetted you. i'm loving you all the more, baby!!

be patient. i know you're mission (oops), missing my million posts per day. xoxoxoppphhhsmack

Thursday, March 01, 2007

i've had to be domestically dutiful today in that we had 0 packages of meat left and one roll of toilet paper for 2 bathrooms. so, i went, i saw and i bought, brought and cooked it up in a pan.

lisa has added $10. to the shoes fund so we will be sending that check tomorrow.

i have also been struggling to get this blog over to new blogger. i've even deleted most of my employees--i may be stuck with old blogger. i'm out of ideas. and i'm not technically inclined.

so i shall return with more brilliant material later! gator.


Shower Love

March 1

I ALWAYS hear your cry. No sound escapes Me.

Many, many in the world cry to Me, but oh! how few wait to hear Me speak to them and yet to the soul, My speaking to it matters so much.

My words are Life. Think then to hear Me speak is to find Life, and healing and strength. Trust Me in all things. Love showered on all brings truly a quick return.

Just carry out my wishes and leave Me to carry out yours. Treat Me as Saviour and King, but also with the tender intimacy of One much beloved.

Keep to the rules I have laid down for you, persistently, perseveringly, lovingly, patiently, hopefully, and in faith, and every mountain of difficulty shall be laid low, the rough places of poverty shall be made smooth, and all who know you shall know that I, your Lord, am the Lord.

Shower love.

Russell, A.J., ed., God Calling, Barnes & Noble, 2002.

Turtling Along

Click here for a look see at the totally uncompleted, but finally started Bible Study Blog I'm building. It's called sCRiVEnERs foR CHRIST and I think it's going to be pretty suavA once I get it going. There is a post on it you might like.

guess I better get some sleep.

Love and hope you're dreaming sweet!


Pick a voice, any voice....

Hurl it on out of there....


.... I'm pretty good. Tired is all and trying to force myself to eat. But overall, pretty good.

...are you drinking Boost or something similar? Put bananas and make a shake out of it. get the extra calories one. how's your weight? Is it sweets you can handle? Buy frozen pancakes or waffles. Eat Malt o Meal or cream of wheat.

...Cool. Those are awesome tips. I'm gonna try them.

... I did the best post of my life today and had spent 4 or 5 hours and was within one or two words getting done and my computer went down and then started over and went down again so I wont even post today. It makes me so mad!

.... I know how Virgie feels. You want to throw the computer across the room. It's happened to us at the newspapers. We'd be close to deadline and the system would crash, losing our work. I wanted to shoot all the computers and anyone who tried to stop me.

Yes, looking at the computer screen makes me want to hurl. That's why I don't get on it much. So I just lie back and do a lot of thinking. I'm able to read some but not for long. Sometimes I just want to run out in the traffic!! But I won't. My luck all I'd do is damage someone's car and they'd sue me!

Well, I'm going to bed ... again!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How the Rules of War Work

by Julia Layton

Inside This Article that will be posted in future posts.
1. Introduction to How the Rules of War Work (previously posted)
2. Background (previously posted)
3. In the Field (previously posted)
4. Prisoners of War CURRENT
5. Civilians and Occupation
6. Cultural Property
7. Consequences of Violation


Prisoners of WarPrisoners are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour. (Geneva III)

First off, prisoners of war are prisoners of the country that captures them; they are not prisoners of the soldier, unit, or commander of the unit that captures them. Also, much along the lines of "innocent until proven guilty," any captured combatant is assumed to be a prisoner of war and must be treated accordingly; if there is any doubt as to the applicability of POW status, the rules regarding prisoners of war must be followed until a proper tribunal is convened to determine whether POW status is applicable on a case-by-case basis. When the United States systematically denied POW status to captured Taliban combatants in the 2001-2002 war in Afghanistan, it was in violation of the third Geneva Convention. In the course of an armed conflict involving parties to the Geneva Convention, captured combatants are POWs until proven otherwise.

Like the sick or wounded, prisoners of war (POWs) are protected under the Hague and Geneva laws from any violence, indignity, or biological experimentation. POWs must receive medical treatment if they need it, and medical staff must be brought in to the POW camp at least once a month to make sure everyone is okay. Unlike the sick or wounded, however, the military hierarchy is observed when it comes to prisoners of war: Officers can't be assigned to the same paid labor as enlisted troops; and while hard labor may be assigned to an enlisted troop as disciplinary action, an officer can't be punished in that manner.

Most of us have seen in movies and on TV the interrogation response of "name, rank and serial number." This stems from the third Geneva Convention, but its purpose is not exactly what it seems. It's true that prisoners of war have to provide their name, rank and serial number (as well as date of birth), but this is not only for identification purposes. It is also to assure that the person be treated "according to his rank or status." If an officer fails to make known that he is an officer, he can't be granted the privileges due an officer.

On the topic of questioning POWs, the interrogation tactics that seem to be common practice in a time of war are all illegal. The third Geneva Convention outlaws everything beyond the simple asking of a question:

No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.
Confinement is illegal (POWs can't be held in prison cells unless it is for their own protection), but internment is allowed -- they may be kept within certain boundaries. However, their location must be as far from the fighting as possible. Besides being held in a special "camp," prisoners of war are supposed to be granted all of the rights and privileges that their captor grants to its own armed forces, at least in terms of food, water, shelter, clothing, exercise, correspondence, religious practice and other basic human needs. They are supposed to be informed of their exact location -- supplied with their mailing address, in fact -- so that their relatives may send them letters and packages.
Beyond the protection from violence, intimidation and affronts to personal dignity, prisoners of war are supposed to be safeguarded from "public curiosity" (Geneva III). The broadcasting of pictures and video of wounded prisoners of war is an affront to their dignity and an appeal to public curiosity, and as such is prohibited.

Once captured by the enemy, prisoners of war are subject to the laws of the armed force that is holding them. They must act according to the rules and regulations of their captors, and breaking those rules leaves them open to the same trial and punishment as that faced by a member of the detaining military. They are under the control of the detaining power and their detention is legal; as such, their escape is a breach of that law. So if they escape, they can be punished. But only if they are recaptured before they make it make to their own army. If they successfully escape -- if they return to the territory of their own armed forces -- and then are captured once again, they cannot be punished for their previous escape. This same rule of success negating the offense applies to spies who escape their captors: If a spy breaks free and is caught before he makes it "home," he can still be tried as a spy; if he makes it back to his own side and is then recaptured, he is no longer considered a spy who is subject to trial and punishment -- he is considered a prisoner of war, and is therefore protected.

POW Status

When taken by the enemy, the following people are classified as prisoners of war:
  • Members of the armed forces
  • Members of militias and other volunteer corps
  • Members of the armed forces of a government not recognized by the enemy
  • People who accompany the armed forces (such as members of the media)
  • Crews of the merchant marine and civil aircraft

from Howstuffworks

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Guadalcanal continues

As he tells it, "Too Many, Too Close, Too Long," is Donald L. Dickson's portrait of one of the "little guys, just plain worn out. His stamina and his spirit stretched beyond human endurance. He has had no real sleep for a long time ... And he probably hasn't stopped ducking and fighting long enough to discover that he has malaria. He is going to discover it now, however. He is through."
Captain Donald L. Dickson, USMCR

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Guadalcanal - December and the Final Stages *1

FIRST OFFENSIVE: The Marine Campaign for Guadalcanal
by Henry I. Shaw, Jr.

On 7 December, one year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, General Vandegrift sent a message to all men under his command in the Guadalcanal area thanking them for their courage and steadfastness, commending particularly the pilots and "all who labored and sweated within the lines in all manner of prodigious and vital tasks." He reminded them all that their "unbelievable achievements had made 'Guadalcanal' a synonym for death and disaster in the language of our enemy." On 9 December, he handed over his command to General Patch and flew out to Australia at the same time the first elements of the 5th Marines were boarding ship. The 1st, 11th, and 7th Marines would soon follow together with all the division's supporting units. The men who were leaving were thin, tired, hollow-eyed, and apathetic; they were young men who had grown old in four months time. They left behind 681 dead in the island's cemetery.

The final regiment of the Americal Division, the 132d Infantry, landed on 8 December as the 5th Marines was preparing to leave. The 2d Marine Division's regiments already on the island, the 2d, 8th, and part of the 10th, knew that the 6th Marines was on its way to rejoin. It seemed to many of the men of the 2d Marines, who had landed on D-Day, 7 August, that they, too, should be leaving. These took slim comfort in the thought that they, by all rights, should be the first of the 2d to depart the island whenever that hoped-for day came.

General Patch received a steady stream of ground reinforcements and replacements in December. He was not ready yet to undertake a full-scale offensive until the 25th Division and the rest of the 2d Marine Division arrived, but he kept all frontline units active in combat and reconnaissance patrols, particularly toward the western flank.

The island commander's air defense capabilities also grew substantially. Cactus Air Force, organized into a fighter command and a strike (bomber) command, now operated from a newly redesignated Marine Corps Air Base. The Henderson Field complex included a new airstrip, Fighter Two, which replaced Fighter One, which had severe drainage problems. Brigadier General Louis Woods, who had taken over as senior aviator when Geiger returned to Espiritu Santo, was relieved on 26 December by Brigadier General Francis P. Mulcahy, Commanding General, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing. New fighter and bomber squadrons from both the 1st and 2d Wings sent their flight echelons forward on a regular basis. The Army added three fighter squadrons and a medium bomber squadron of B-26s. The Royal New Zealand Air Force flew in a reconnaissance squadron of Lockheed Hudsons. And the U.S. Navy sent forward a squadron of Consolidated PBY Catalina patrol planes which had a much needed night-flying capability.

continues below

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Change of Command

American Division commander, MajGen Alexander M. Patch, Jr., watches while his troops and supplies are staged on Guadalcanal's beaches on 8 December, the day before he relieved Gen Vandegrift and his wornout 1st Marine Division.

U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo SC164898

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Guadalcanal-December and the Final Stages cont'd * 2

The aerial buildup forced the Japanese to curtail all air attacks and made daylight naval reinforcement attempts an event of the past. The nighttime visits of the Tokyo Express destroyers now brought only supplies encased in metal drums which were rolled over the ships' sides in hope they would float into shore. The men ashore desperately needed everything that could be sent, even by this method, but most of the drums never reached the beaches.

Still, however desperate the enemy situation was becoming, he was prepared to fight. General Hyakutake continued to plan the seizure of the airfield. General Hitoshi Immamura, commander of the Eighth Area Army, arrived in Rabaul on 2 December with orders to continue the offensive. He had 50,000 men to add to the embattled Japanese troops on Guadalcanal.

Before these new enemy units could be employed, the Americans were prepared to move out from the perimeter in their own offensive. Conscious that the Mt. Austen area was a continuing threat to his inland flank in any drive to the west, Patch committed the Americal's 132d Infantry to the task of clearing the mountain's wooded slopes on 17 December. The Army regiment succeeded in isolating the major Japanese force in the area by early January. The 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, took up hill positions to the southeast of the 132d to increase flank protection.

By this time, the 25th Infantry Division (Major General J. Lawton Collins) had arrived and so had the 6th Marines (6 January) and the rest of the 2d Division's headquarters and support troops. Brigadier General Alphonse De Carre, the Marine division's assistant commander, took charge of all Marine ground forces on the island. The 2d Division's commander, Major General John Marston, remained in New Zealand because he was senior to General Patch.

With three divisions under his command, General Patch was designated Commanding General, XIV Corps, on 2 January. His corps headquarters numbered less than a score of officers and men, almost all taken from the Americal's staff. Brigadier General Edmund B. Sebree, who had already led both Army and Marine units in attacks on the Japanese, took command of the Americal Division. On 10 January, Patch gave the signal to start the strongest American offensive yet in the Guadalcanal campaign. The mission of the troops was simple and to the point: "Attack and destroy the Japanese forces remaining on Guadalcanal."

to be continued with 1 more post before getting back with Uncle Lonnie and Guam.


Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The George Medal

The George Medal is legendary among 1st Marine Division veterans of Guadalcanal. Only about 50 were cast, in Australia, before the mold gave out.

The medal commemorates the difficult situation of the division during the early days on Guadalcanal, when ammunition, food, and heavy equipment were short and the Japanese plentiful. When the issue was no longer in doubt, Marine had time to reflect on the D-plus-3 Navy withdrawal in the face of increasing Japanese air attacks and surface action which left the division in such a tight spot.

In the recollection of then-Captain Donald L. Dickson, adjutant of the 5th Marines, the Division G-3, then-Lieutenant Colonel Merrill B. Twining, resolved to commemorate the occasion. Twining told artist Dickson in general terms what he had in mind. Dickson went to work designing an appropriate medal using a fifty-cent piece to draw a circle on a captured Japanese blank military postcard.

Dickson's design was approved and when the division got to Australia a mold was made by a local metal craftsman and a small number were cast before the mold became unserviceable. Those wanting a medal paid one Australian pound for it and received a certificate as well. The medals are now an even greater rarity than at the time. In recent years, reproductions have been cast, and can be identified by the different metal and a poor definition of details.

The obverse design shows a hand and sleeve dropping a hot potato in the shape of Guadalcanal into the arms of a grateful Marine. In the original design the sleeve bore the stripes of a vice admiral intended to be either Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley, ComSoPac, or Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, Commander Joint Expeditionary Force, but the final medal diplomatically omitted this identification.

Also on the obverse is a Saguaro cactus, indigenous to Arizona, not Guadalcanal, but representing the code name for the island, "Cactus." The obverse inscription if Facia Georgius, "Let George Do It." Thus it became known as the George Medal.

The medal's reverse pictures a cow (the original design showed a Japanese soldier with breeches down) and an electric fan, and is inscribed: "In fond remembrance of the happy days spent from Aug. 7th 1942 to Jan. 5th 1943. U.S.M.C."

The suspension ribbon was made, appropriately, of the pale green herringbone twill from some Marine's utility uniform. Legend has it that to be authentic the utilities from which the ribbons were made had to have been washed in the waters of Guadalcanal's Lunga River. Some medals were provided with the oversized safety pin used to identify laundry bags in Navy shipboard laundries.

Such unofficial commemorative mementos are not uncommon in military circles and recall, among other, the Soochow Creek medals recognizing the defense of Shanghai's International Settlement during the Japanese invasions of 1932 and 1937 which were inspired by the Military Order of the Dragon medals of veterans of the China Relief Expedition or Boxer Rebellion. —Brooke Nihart


  1. Karen = $15.60
  2. Semper Fi Mom = $15.00
  3. Hubby Greg Miller = $29.40





Thanks to all the participants & protestors!

And Miss Karen will be writing our next test at a time of her choosing. The Teach will be required to take this test.

Further Congratulations go to Michael Reagan and Semper Fi Mom

A couple of days ago I announced Karen as the winner of the essay contest. While she, STAR STUDENT, still holds this coveted position, I felt it important to post this poignant piece as well.



Michael Reagan, Artist

When De’on assigned the essay portion of her test, I knew which artist I would write about. Michael Reagan’s Fallen Heroes Project caught my attention the first time I read about it on Gunz Up. When a loved one is lost, pictures of that loved one and the memories that go along with them, are a wonderful remembrance. A lovingly hand drawn portrait would be even more cherished.

I have, hanging in my bedroom, a pastel portrait done of my second son when he was in preschool. It is a profile view drawn as he watched Barney on TV. Not that he would admit today that he ever watched Barney! I never tire of looking at it. I see the sweet curve of his little four year old cheek and the tilt of his perfect nose. I see his wispy blond hair brushing the back of his neck right in that spot where he was so ticklish. That pastel portrait, even more than most of the photos I have of him at that age, is very dear to me. It is one of the first things I would grab if my house were on fire. Somehow it captures that time in his (and my) life. Maybe it is the attention and care that goes into the drawing of a portrait that makes it so appealing and timeless. It is something to be treasured and passed down from generation to generation, not just zoomed past in a busy photo album. I can only imagine how important a portrait done by Mr. Reagan would be to a family who had lost their loved one to war.

I truly admire Mr. Reagan, a Vietnam veteran, for using his God given abilities to celebrate the lives of those who have been lost in the War on Terror by hand drawing custom portraits free of charge. His portraits must be a source of emotional nourishment and healing to the families left behind. As God’s children, we are not on this earth to merely make a living or amuse ourselves. We must find the work that God wants to do through us. Mr. Reagan has found that work. May God bless him as he follows his calling.

About Michael Reagan, Artist

In case you weren't able to watch the video about this artist, here is some info copied from his site. His email is at the bottom if you or anyone you know are in need of his service. He is currently at work on mine.


Custom Portraits of Fallen Soldiers Drawn Free of Charge

Premier Northwest Artist Generous Offer to Draw Soldier Portraits

What if all you had left of a loved one was photos and memories?

For those that have a family member killed as a soldier in the War Against Terrorism, that is all they have left of them. Using the family’s favorite photo, professional custom hand-drawn portraits are available free of charge to the families of all servicemen and women who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in America’s War Against Terrorism from portrait artist Michael Reagan.

Michael Reagan is an internationally-recognized portrait artist who has assisted charities such as the Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center raise over $10 million through his drawn and donated autographed celebrity portraits. As a portrait artist for more than 30 years, Reagan has drawn approximately 10,000 portraits including over 1500 portraits of celebrities, professional athletes, U.S. presidents and other heads of state.

As a Vietnam War combat veteran, Reagan understands and empathizes with the extreme challenges faced by servicemen and women, as well as the ultimate sacrifice their families make. It is his passion to share his portrait-drawing talents with the families of killed servicemen and women as a lasting memory of the soldier’s contribution, as a comfort to the family in their grief and as a service to the United States.

The first request for a soldier’s portrait commission came from the wife of a serviceman Michael Johnson who was killed in Iraq, Cherice Johnson. Cherice contacted Reagan after seeing a story about his work on Seattle’s Evening Magazine show.

As a war veteran Reagan’s heart went out to Cherice and her deceased husband - he would not accept payment for the commission. “Being a combat veteran that was fortunate enough to make it home has me thanking God every day,” he explained. “Because I truly consider all of us that have fought or are fighting for this country brothers there just isn't any way I could charge you for your picture.

Healing was found in capturing the essence of the fallen soldier in a portrait. “I am forever grateful you have opened your heart and are willing to share your great talent with others,” describes Cherice in thanking Reagan. “It is people like yourself, along with my family and friends, that make this grieving process even slightly bearable.” This rich experience with Cherice inspired Reagan to offer the opportunity to any family with a fallen soldier in the War Against Terrorism.

Reagan views his art as much more than work, he feels called to share his talent for larger purposes. While he is sought out to draw many commissioned portraits, even some as high profile as President and Mrs. Bush, he feels called to bring healing to difficult situations through his art. “After reading in the paper about a terrible car accident involving a drunk driver that had killed two daughters, I felt compelled to provide a memory of the girls through a portrait for the parents,” he describes. “When I met the family to present the portrait, the grandfather told me I had brought life back into the family. I can’t eliminate anyone’s grief, but I can provide some comfort and healing.” This is just one of many such examples of Reagan sharing his gift to bring healing to a family after loss.

Reagan discovered his talent for portrait drawing when as a youth he was looking for distraction while recovering from a football injury. While he enjoyed the praise his work received what he found important was the healing power of drawing. As a Marine in Vietnam, Reagan often drew portraits of the other Marines. “I drew portraits of a lot of Marines whose pictures came home but they didn’t,” said Reagan. “I was on the front lines in Vietnam during most of tour, it is only through the grace of God that I have come back alive. Given a second chance on life, I am making the most of it – including sharing my talent to help others.” Portraits are drawn from a photo of the soldier.

All requests for drawings of soldiers killed in the War Against Terrorism will be honored. Portraits will be completed on a first come, first serve basis. Requests can only be made by a spouse, parent or other immediate family member and are to be e-mailed to

NewsPortraits From The Heart - July 16, 2004'
When You Look At That Picture, There Is Joy' - November 11, 2004

Perfect Work

February 28

SPEND more time alone with Me.

A strength and a Joy come from such times that will add much to your friendship, and much to your work.

Times of prayer are times of growth. Cut those times short and many well-filled hours of work may be profitless. Heaven's values are so different from the values of earth.

Remember that from the point of view of the Great Worker, one poor tool, working all the time, but doing bad work, is of small value compared with the sharp, keen, perfect instrument, used only a short time but which turns out perfect work.

Russell, A. J., ed., God Calling. Barnes & Noble, 2002.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

FEMALE ON THE FLOOR! The storming of Panama *3

where we left off:

Taking part in the operation were: the 82’s Assault Command Post, 1st Bde Headquarters: 1st and 2nd Battalions, 504th Parachute Infantry Regt: 4th Bn. 325th Parachute Infantry Regt.: “A” Co. 3rd Bn. 505th Parachute Infantry Regt.: 307th Engineer Bn.: 3rd Bn, 4th Air Defense Artillery, 307th Medical Bn. and the 319th Field Artillery Bn.

Securing Torrijos International Airport where the PDF’s 2nd Infantry Co. Airmobile (“Los Pumas”, “Cougars”) were stationed was one of the chief objectives of the airborne assault and was assigned to Task Force Red, made up of Rangers, and also members of the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) and elements of the 96th Civil Affairs Bn, all part of U.S. Army Special Operations Command and with the purpose of dealing with civilian targets.

The assault of Task Force Red was marred by a serious hitch. The ice storm in North Carolina meant that half of the troops to be deployed were delayed about three hours. This did not seriously affect the operation at Torrijos Airport but it delayed the operation which was to move out from Torrijos to attack the nearby PDF garrison at Fort Cimarron, home of the elite 2000 battalion. The Americans were to have secured the bridge over the Pacora River and prevent the 2000 Battalion from advancing down the only road to the Torrijos Airport and Panama City. This was the battalion which rushed into Panama City to rescue Noriega during the October coup when he was held captive by rebel officers in the Comandancia. The great fear of the Americans was that if this battalion broke through to Panama City, past the lightly armed Rangers by now in control of Torrijos Airport, they could cause immense trouble as an urban guerrilla force.

Before the Airborne troops could reach the Pacora Bridge, a convoy of the 2000 Battalion was already on the road bound for the city. Once again, the devastating air power of the Specter [sic] Gunships equipped with 105 mm Howitzer firing 40 lb shells was brought into play. They blew up the first nine vehicles in the convoy and the rest retreated to Fort Cimarron, which was itself pulverized later in the conflict.

Task Force Red also sent paratroopers to Río Hato, 90 miles west of Panama City. World War II airfield built by the U.S. and turned over to Panama. Based there were the 6th and 7th Rifle Companies of the PDF, known as the “Macho de Monte” (a feisty jungle animal). Paratroopers from the 2nd and 3rd Ranger Battalion engaged the Panamanians, supported by heavy air cover, and after a fierce fight, with loss of life on both sides secured the installation, taking about 300 prisoners.

Elements of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Group from Fort Campbell, Ky, flew combat missions in support of Task Force Red and other Special Operations units. Soldiers from Fort Bragg’s 528th Support Bn. (Airborne) 1st Special Operations Command (Airborne) established a forward armaments and refueling point in support of the 160th.

cont’d. below

FEMALE ON THE FLOOR! Aerial Bombardment

Aerial bombardment was a key factor in bringing the invasion to a swift conclusion.

A flight of Dragonfly jets over the Canal at the Bridge of the Americas. These planes are used in "forward air control" for combat escort, search, rescue and reconnaissance.

FEMALE ON THE FLOOR: Operation Just Cause

Troops run to helicopters arriving to take them to combat zones.

FEMALE ON THE FLOOR! Storming of Panama *4

Task Force Pacific, composed of the 82nd Airborne’s 4-325th, 1-504th and 2-504th Parachute Infantry Regiments, tackled the Panama Defense Forces Cavalry squadron at Panama Viejo and the 1st Infantry Co. (Los Tigres) at Tinajitas where they encountered stiff resistance.

One of the firefights which broke out in Panama City following the main assault took place at the Marriott Caesar Park Hotel. Dignity Battalion gunmen had made sorties on the hotel during the day of the invasion and had taken American hostages from among both staff and guests and held them for a few hours. Members of the 82nd Airborne arrived and evacuated the hotel freeing 14 Americans who had barricaded themselves in the basement. Shooting broke out during this operation during which a Spanish new photographer was killed and another photographer badly wounded. Other journalists at the scene say that American soldiers, nervous of snipers, began firing at each other. Some accounts say that snipers were indeed at work.

At Colon, the Atlantic gateway to the Panama Canal, Task Force Atlantic comprising soldiers from the 82 Airborne Division’s 3-504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, joined by the 7th Infantry Division’s 4-17th Infantry, reported that they easily subdued the PDF 8th Infantry Co. but encountered heavy resistance before overwhelming a PDF naval infantry company near the port of Coco Solo.

An element of Task Force Atlantic went to Gamboa midway across the isthmus to protect a U.S. housing area. They also took Gamboa Prison, releasing former PDF officers and men held there since October for their part in the unsuccessful coup against Noriega.

No bookmaker would have bothered to give odds on the outcome of the battle. The Americans launched 26,000 troops with massive air support in a night-time attack against about 3,500 soldiers of the Panama Defense Forces distributed in isolated garrisons throughout the republic. It is remarkable that Noriega’s army offered any resistance at all, knowing full well the might of the military machine which had been launched against them.

Psychologically, however, they had been prepared for the American invasion. The fighting elements of the PDF were tough, disciplined and well trained. A high proportion had in fact been trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas which located in Panama from 1946 to 1984 when it was transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia. The PDF did a good job on brainwashing its soldiers, as do all armies, in the matter of discipline, loyalty to the flag and laying down of life for country and cause. The cause, apart from occasionally subduing un-armed civilian protesters, was to defend Panama from the Yankee aggressor, according to Noriega and his group.

The Panamanian soldiers who refused to surrender at the urging of the U.S. troops bellowing through their bellhorns, were doing their duty. The ones who shed their uniforms and melted into sidestreets and mountainsides can hardly be blamed for their pragmatism.

to be continued

Jones, Kenneth J., The Enemy Within: Casting Out Panama’s Demon
Copyright © 1990 Focus Publications, (Int.), S.A.

Spirit Sounds

February 27

TAKE time for prayer. Take more time to be alone with Me. So only will you prosper.

Realize that the hearing of Spirit Sounds is more than the hearing of all earth's noises. I am with you. Let that content you, nay, more, let that fill you with rapture.

Seek sometimes not even to hear Me. Seek a silence of spirit-understanding with Me. Be not afraid. All is well. Dwell much on what I did, as well as what I said.

Remember, I touched "her hand and the fever left her." Not many words, just a moment's contact, and all fever left her. She was well, whole, calm, able to arise and "minister unto them."

My touch is still a potent healer. Just feel that touch. Sense My Presence, and the fever of work and care and fear--just melts into nothingness and health, joy, peace, take its place.

Russell, A. J., ed., God Calling. Barnes & Noble, 2002.

Marine Moms Online

Why Does My Son Want to be A Marine?

The reasons why some young Americans have chosen to become
United States Marines
As told by their mothers, fathers, wives, and other loved ones

…When the recruiter brought came to our house, I looked my son straight in the eyes and asked "Why?" He said he felt called to do it. Our children become Marines for so many reasons: the challenge, the opportunities for advancement, the educational benefits, just to name a few.

…I do believe it is a "calling" of sorts.

…Some young men, and women, just have what it takes and they know it. My son said he just had to do it because he wanted to know he was making a difference.

…When my son left for Iraq, I told him what an honor it was to call him my son, the fact that he chose to be a Marine to protect "my country" to use his words. I had the opportunity to visit the Naval Medical Center of Bethesda 2 years ago and meet some of the wounded. What an honor and such a humbling experience. Every one of these young men told me they were "just doing their job."

…My son told me he did the right thing, for his freedom, the freedom of his family, and the freedom of his friends. He has been in the Al Anbar providence of Iraq since February. I think that some kids just have it in them that it is their duty. My son is also an Eagle Scout, where he learned duty at an early age. My husband served 4 years in the USMC, but I did not know him then, and he is not one of the vets you see doing all the vet stuff, until our son joined. So I say ‘thank you’ to your son for wanting to serve our country in a time such as this. Folks should be thankful of our sons volunteering theirs do not have to.

…There are probably as many reasons as there are Marines! My son wanted to prove to himself, and those who looked down on him, that he could do it. He told me he wanted to see if he could handle it and that he felt he needed the discipline. Whatever the reason, I hope you will honor and support your son’s choice. Please tell him ‘thank you’ too! We need as many with the drive to serve as possible. Bless their hearts!!

…I know for my son it was because you have to be tough to be a Marine, and I think he was trying to prove it to himself that he could do it. My son is now in MCT (military combat training) and will graduate on Friday and then off to his MOS. It has changed him so much, and all for the better.

…Good question. Why did MY son become a Marine? Why did I become a Marine, and why does ANYONE become a Marine? It is true what they say: It takes a certain kind of person to be a Marine. When I heard about it in high school, I was a hard working gal who made good grades and was graduating early, but I wanted something more than just college. I knew that I would go some day, but I wanted to experience life first. I liked the tradition of the Marine Corps, and I liked the fact that I wouldn't be doing what everyone else was doing. And I was always independent anyway. There were times I asked myself "What did I do?!" while in boot camp. That was 25 years ago. I served 4 years, and the lessons I learned in the Corps never leave me. Everyone that I tell "I am a former Marine" immediately has a look of respect in their eye that wasn't there before. I know I can make it through anything in life, because I made it through boot and so much more. I did my 4 years, went on to raise 2 sons, and I'm doing okay. I have owned 2 businesses; I have an undergrad degree in Marketing and a master's degree in Leadership. I am currently working in the field of non-profit fundraising for the YWCA "eliminating racism and empowering women.” I am training for my first marathon - The Marine Corps Marathon - on October 29th of this year. I'm doing it to raise money for Team in Training -The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I'm also doing it for my son who is currently serving in Iraq and due to come home in October. What I'm trying to say is, your son is doing this because he is not ordinary, and he doesn't think like everyone else. He is probably more driven than most his age, and more goal oriented. He will achieve much in life, more than likely, and there will be times where you will sweat out your own fear and doubt while he is a Marine. Be sure you make it to his graduation from boot camp. No matter how you feel right this minute, you will never be more proud of him in your life as you will the day he graduates.

Passing It On

I am passing on to all of you this message I received today.


This message came in to the American Gold Star Mothers Headquarters. I am mailing it to you for your own consideration as Dept of PA President. As a part of the PA Hometown Heroes Banner emailing list I thought you might be interested.

Ruth Stonesifer


Thank you for speaking with me this afternoon about Newsweek's efforts to contact family members who've lost loved ones in the Iraq War. In the next several weeks, Newsweek is attempting to write a history of the war that is composed almost entirely of the letters, emails and journals of men and women killed in the conflict. My own task is to contact families of service members killed in Iraq during 2006. But that is only part of the story and colleagues of mine are making similar efforts to amass the correspondence of those killed in the first year of the war, in Fallujah in 2004, and in 2005. We'd appreciate anything you can think of that would spread the word quickly to your members who might be willing to share their loved one's letters from Iraq with the public. Perhaps there are list serves, email lists or other ways you folks know about that might help spread our request quickly. It may help for folks to understand how project began. Last fall, Newsweek ran a lengthy piece about a Marine Captain, Robert Secher, who was killed by sniper fire in the Anbar province of Iraq. Secher was a prolific letter writer and, after receiving from his parents a stack of his letters home, we decided to run long excerpts. The letters told one slice of the Iraq story -- what it was like for Secher to train Iraqi troops, how his view of the war had evolved, and how bleak the mission seemed to him by the end of his nine months in Iraq. As a follow-up, we've decided to devote an entire issue to "voices of the fallen" -- letters from a variety of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who served and died in Iraq. We hope to get letters written during different periods, from the major battles of 2003 through the end of 2006. We will divide the letters into four periods and run excerpts verbatim. There will be no political analysis attached to the text and no editorializing; just introductions to the letters and transitions between the sections. This is the first time in years the magazine will devote most of its pages to one story.The key to this project is getting a large selection of correspondence. Family members willing to share letters or emails from loved ones killed in Iraq can reach me by email or by phone, listed at the bottom of this email. I'm also attaching a link to the story on Secher, which appeared in our November 6 issue, and attaching a copy below. The link: in advance for your assistance and regards, Andy Murr

**There was not a phone number or email, but I don't imagine it would be hard to find out. I've let this sit in my Inbox since the 19th. Some things take me longer than others. I don't know why I put stuff off like this.

Virgie Bell's View: Seasons

I finished Winds of War in the wee hours this morning. Again, I can't brag on Herman Wouk’s work enough. Isn't work a funny name for getting to weave plots around in writing? Writers love to write. They have to travel in order to research local color. Then they get to put their spin on the detail, intriguing us enough to purchase their books. They end up having created something lasting to an appreciative people. They also end up usually very rich and sought after.

I have started on the next to the last in his war series. It is called The Hope and I already find it fascinating. It is about the Six Day War between the Arab nations and the new Jewish state of Israel. After more than two thousand years, God has brought his Chosen People back to their homeland. These people come from all over the globe and are of every nationality. The battles and the leader of the day are the real historical people and places. They all spoke so many languages and had this small little rag tag military. Some actually fought the enemy with shovels and rakes. Against all reason and any logic, they won this war in just days. They fought against real armies with real tanks and guns, yet they won.

This little band of survivors had watched all of their loved ones die in a mass slaughter. They were reduced from millions of people to a few hundred thousand. They have been chased out from every place on earth and have this small little homeland that they believe to be their own, given to them by God. It is absolutely fascinating stuff and it is just like being there in person. I will admit that I find it all very mysterious in the way that they believe. How much time they devote to different feasts and celebrations. I also find the Amish belief strange. But I will say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone to adhere closely to their religious practices. As long as it is kind and gentle, as many are, then who on earth does it hurt? What is a little land with a little peace and a little space in time going to hurt anyone else on the planet? It just is not going to. Yet look at us. Is the United States so impoverished that we would stand idly by as they are truly wiped from the face of the earth?

You can say it is not our fight but of course it is. How can you turn your back on anyone that asks so little? Here is one thing to keep in mind. They are chosen by God as His elected people. The blood of our Savior was shed on that soil. He was of that race and the Bible promises that in the end they all come together with nothing being lost. They have a special place in history; therefore they have a special place to me in my heart.

I am extremely provoked by all the hype about finding the earthly remains of Jesus and going to be examined for DNA. What a lot of rot. My Savior rose from the dead after He had won the battle over death and captured the keys to hell. Jesus is with us in every good thought and deed we do. The Bible tells us that we are forever of the priesthood of Melchizedek. That means we are of no genealogy. Thus they will not be finding any DNA.

I realize that this is hard to understand. I am a gifted reader and have quite a grasp of creative art, but when it comes to the math and science department, I am out to lunch. I learned long ago to bring something to the lowest common denominator. I have no more reservations about the resurrection of Jesus than I have of the fact that one day I met Roy who is my daughter’s husband and that in the fullness of time they married and gave birth to Kayla. She did not exist one day and then at a later date she did. I don't have to understand, I just have to hold his hand, as the old saying goes. As Aaron said" It is a belief man. You either believe in God or you don't."

Back to the present day and counting. It is day nineteen that Anna Nicole remains in a morgue. It is still all over the news. What a bunch of greedy clowns. I feel embarrassed for the career reporters for having to keep up with such nonsense. After riding with our troops in Iraq and facing the guns and weapons of the enemy, then having to report on such trivial junk. I mean, what is wrong with us? But I am just as guilty as the next in keeping up with it. I find that everyone has something to say about it. Most say they are just very tired of it all. I hate the fact that the deceased woman left behind a mother named Virgie. Lisa and Jerry were teasing me about it the other night and my reply was that I do have a couple of daughters that remind me of Anna Nicole, except she was prettier. Lisa said she would tell De'on what I said. It was of course, a joke. Oh well. I hope the whole thing is over soon. I do so long for my old hard news in politics and entertainment. I find my heart is very sad for the little baby daughter. May God protect her.

I have asked our editor to post Mr. Michael Creighton’s credentials and education on Gunz Up. Compared to the theory being put forth by the latest Hollywood Star, Al Gore, I think we should know more about nearly anyone else. One of the promises that we have from God is that we will always have our due seasons. To me, this means that we will not have to be here to endure a nuclear winter. I believe there will be a nuclear winter but we will be ruptured at that instant and just in time. Things are shaping up more and more for just such a catastrophic occurrence. Lisa and I were talking about this very thing yesterday and she asked me what would happen to us if we were to be conquered by the very ones who threaten us now. I replied that we would be given just enough food in order to work as slave labor. She was horrified and said, “Well, I would slit my throat first.” I told her that is self murder. And is forbidden. We both pondered the problem for a while and agreed that we would go out fighting the War on Terror to the best of our ability and we would gratefully SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

***i am making a correction in the post that I just wrote. The book is about when the Jewish people first returned to Isreal so it is not the six day war. I have no idea how long this war went on but they have just now returned. I have just gotten a little way into the book. the six day war comes later. signed Virgie Bell