Saturday, January 06, 2007

Virgie Bell's View

First of all, I want to make it perfectly clear, or as John Kerry said, crystal clear; I am not running for President of the United States. Yes, you got it right; I am not a candidate. My hat is not in the ring and I will not change my mind. I am the first to admit that I know this comes as a shock to everyone, especially all of those who are at the present either running, or about to run, for this coveted office. In the first place, after due consideration, I do not have 75,000 close friends. I tried for at least one hundred friends and relatives to send my Christmas cards to. I couldn't even get that far. I’m left with half of those I purchased. This is after I added slight acquaintances and even a few I detest, but still, I wasn’t able to mail more than fifty cards.

It hurts me to admit that I’m not from politically famous family. I am also sadly lacking in the brood mare category in having five children in six years. I come from humble beginnings, but even that is not good enough. I am a white married female and we are all married to blue collar workers. I think we have one or two lawyers on the horizon but that is by marriage, not blood kin, so you can see I really have nothing to offer my fellow Americans in the way of credentials.

My beginnings are not even humble enough. I am not half-white, just plain old white on rice white. I am also not near cute enough, and there aren’t any freezers around here that will hold 90,000 dollars earned in an absolutely pure and innocent way. For a while I thought that I had something to offer, but this, Virgie’s View, is all I've got to offer and De'on is the most famous among us. In other words, I’m not very famous. I also want to make this very clear, as in crystal clear: I don't want anyone to overlook this as just another botched joke that all of you are too ignorant to understand, and I am already packed up to go into rehabilitation, or politics. I just haven't made up my mind which, so for just now, let me just say that I SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

Photo of the Day: Name Something Tall
Semper Fi

F-16 Fighting Falcon

Three F-16s scrambed from Langley Air Force Base to protect the nation's capital on Sept. 11, 2001. Lt. Col. Brad Derrig, who flew the alert mission that day, piloted the last flight aboard the retired aircraft in December 2006. He called the cross-country trip a historic moment for the 119th Fighter Wing, known as the Happy Hooligans.

The F-16s were retired in December. The planes no longer are "relevant and useful" to the Air Force, Derrig said.

Go Air Force!

Ernie Pyle On The Medical Corps

Ernie Pyle was America's most beloved columnist during World War II. He didn't write from the safety in the rear. He stayed with the soldiers, writing about them ... loving them. They loved him back. I've posted a couple of his columns, and since De'on has been writing about Doc Duty, I thought I'd post this Pyle column about the medics, Doc Duty's peers in the Army.

SOMEWHERE IN SICILY, August 11, 1943 -- Probably it isn't clear to you just how the Army's setup for the care of the sick and wounded works on a battlefront. So I'll try to picture it for you.

Let's take the medical structure for a whole division, such as the 45th, which I have been with recently. A division runs roughly fifteen thousand men. And almost a thousand of that number are medical men.

To begin right at the front, three enlisted medical-aid men go along with every company. They give what first aid they can on the battlefield. Then litter-bearers carry the wounded back to a battalion aid station.

Sometimes a wounded man is taken back right away. Other times he may be pinned down by fire so that the aid men can't get to him, and he will have to lie out there for hours before help comes. Right there in the beginning is the biggest obstacle, and the weakest feature of the army's medical setup.

Once a soldier is removed from the battlefield his treatment is superb. The battalion aid station is his first of many stops as he is worked to the rear and finally to a hospital. An aid station is merely where the battalion surgeon and his assistant happen to be. It isn't a tent or anything like that - it's just the surgeon's medical chest and a few stretchers under a tree. Each station is staffed by two doctors and thirty-six enlisted men. They are very frequently under fire.

At an aid station a wounded man gets what is immediately necessary, depending on the severity of his wounds. The idea all along is to do as little actual surgical work as possible, but at each stop merely to keep a man in good enough condition to stand the trip on back to the hospital, where they have full facilities for any kind of work. Hence if a soldier's stomach is ripped open they do an emergency operation right at the front but leave further operating to be done at a hospital. If his leg is shattered by shrapnel they bind it up in a metal rack, but the operating and setting isn't done till he gets back to the hospital. They use morphine and blood plasma copiously at the forward stations to keep sinking men going.

From the battalion aid station the wounded are taken by ambulance, jeep, truck or any other means back to a collecting station. This is a few tents run by five doctors and a hundred enlisted men, anywhere from a quarter of a mile to several miles behind the lines. There is one collecting station for each regiment, making three to a division.

Here they have facilities for doing things the aid station can't do. If the need is urgent they redress the wounds and give the men more morphine, and they perform quite a lot of operations. Then the men are sent by ambulance on back to a clearing station.

The 45th Division has two clearing stations. Only one works at a time. While one works, the other takes a few hours' rest, then leapfrogs ahead of the other one, sets up its tents and begins taking the patients. In emergencies both clearing stations work at once, temporarily abandoning their rest-and-leapfrog routine.

All these various crews -- the company aid men, the battalion aid station, the collecting station and the clearing station -- are all part of the division. They move with it, fight when it does, and rest when it does.

Then back to the clearing stations the hospitals begin. The first hospitals are usually forty miles or more back of the fighting. The hospitals are separate things. They belong to no division, but take patients from everywhere.

They get bigger as you go back, and in the case of Sicily patients are evacuated from the hospitals right onto hospital ships and taken back to still bigger hospitals in Africa.

The main underlying motive of all front-line stations is to get patients evacuated quickly and keep the decks clear so they will always have room for any sudden catastrophic run of battle casualties.

A clearing station such as the one I was in is really a small hospital. It consists of five doctors, one dentist, one chaplain, and sixty enlisted men. It is contained in six big tents and a few little ones for the fluroscope room, the office, and so forth. Everybody sleeps outdoors on the ground, including the commanding officer. The mess is outdoors under a tree.

The station can knock down, move, and set up again in an incredibly short time. They are as proficient as a circus. Once, during a rapid advance, my station moved three times in one day.

My Party is the U.S.A.

I'm idealistic. I believe good always wins. I believe in happily ever after, and I believe that the United States of America is, still, the greatest country in any hemisphere. Those ideals have illuminated my path during some of the darker times in my life. Because of those beliefs I survived a childhood that would have done a Charles Dickens novel proud, and I returned from Iraq -- alive -- after a short stint as a journalist. I always believe in "tomorrow" and the sunshine it will bring.

However idealistic I may be, I do, however, look at the world through a lens of objectivity. At least I try. I've learned that shooting from the hip usually isn't the best response. I like to step back, calm my emotions, and then evaluate a situation from a position armed with facts. I don't always succeed, though. Sometimes my humanness gets in the way, and I do "shoot from the hip," only to end up shooting myself in the foot.

My idealism keeps cynicism at bay; it's the moat that slows the advance of negative thoughts and gives me time to look at a situation objectively and rationally. Sometimes, that buffer has to be a wide one, and, sometimes, it is breached.

It's easy to read the news about our political leaders and despair. Democrats attacking Republicans. Republicans attacking Democrats. It's a centuries-old feud, nothing new, and anyone who believes otherwise is just plain dumb. Political discord has existed in this country since, well, this country has existed. Consider the duel between Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in 1804, a duel that ended Hamilton's life.
All countries suffer from political strife because all countries are inhabited by humans -- those creatures who have that habit of acting out of self interests.

It's not the disagreements that bother me, though. It's how they're articulated. I have no problem with someone challenging another's opinion. I welcome it. My problem is how personal those attacks can be. I'll never get used to Americans hating Americans. That's like a brother hating a brother, and I'll never believe our country benefits from it.

I've never been a person who tows the "party line." I've voted for Republicans and Democrats because I want the most qualified person to win. My country's future is at stake, and that's too important for me to squander on a stubborn notion that "my party is always right." My party is the American one. I believe in America and in anyone who will stand up to defend her against any enemy, those inside and outside our borders.

I read this morning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are warning the president that any plan to increase troop strength in Iraq will be unacceptable to the Democratic majorities that now control the House and Senate. No one should be surprised since Pelosi has always been candid about this. But I could care less about Pelosi's shopping habits or if she exfoliates. She can have the complexion of a mountainman and grow a beard for all I care since the halls of Congress aren't a fashion runway. I just want to know what causes her and Reid to believe that the United States will be safer if we begin troop withdrawals. But Pelosi and Reid aren't singing a Democratic duet. Republicans also are telling the president they won't support more troops in Iraq.

Even the military is divided about troop strengthening. The president announced a few days ago that Lt. Gen. David Petraeus will replace Gen. George Casey as the senior American commander in Iraq. Petraeus favors sending in more troops, but Casey doesn't. Casey has said that an increase in American forces in Iraq would destabilize the country. I don't understand where that reasoning comes from. I can believe that Pelosi and Reid are politically motivated, but why would an American military officer, so senior as Casey, accept that notion? Where does it come from?

Casey focused on shifting security responsibilities to Iraqi security forces so American troops could gradually withdraw. I, too, want an eventual American withdrawal, but only after the insurgency has been eliminated or politically neutered. Petraeus will shift to a strategy that will protect the Iraqis from sectarian violence and insurgent attacks. From the beginning, we told the Iraqis we would help them build a country where they could live free from oppression. Pulling out now will ensure their country will return to the dictatorship it was before 2003. Pulling out now will ensure that American military forces will have to fight a strengthened enemy in the future. The bottom line of Petraeus' strategy is that his soldiers will kill insurgents. I hope they kill every one of them.

I began this post talking about idealism, and I had a point. I believe in the goodness of my country and that it is our national altruism that motivates us. Sometimes, we get sidetracked, though. I'm not so idealistic and naive that I can't see that. While I disagree strongly with Pelosi and Reid about a plan for Iraq, I also want to see some members of the Bush administration held accountable for the blunders that helped to create this situation. They were blunders that could have been prevented, but a blind allegiance to their party caused them to act stupidly.

During the Reagan administration, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reagan's ambassador to the UN, denounced former President Jimmy Carter for having attempted "to impose liberalization and democratization" on other countries. She derided Carter for his "belief that it is possible to democratize governments anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances." Democracy, she said, depends "on complex social, cultural and economic conditions," and takes "decades if not centuries." One of Kirkpatrick's first diplomatic missions was to the dictators in Chile and Argentina to assure them that Carter's intrusive human rights policies would no longer be a problem for them.

I don't say anything of that to support or negate Carter's legacy or to criticize Kirkpatrick. I say it to remind people of our short political memories and how we conveniently scoot past remarks and behavior under the rug when they don't fit our current declarations. Members of both parties do it, but we shouldn't fall for it.

Declare your allegiance to the United States of America, not to a party or to a person. When we place our hands over our hearts, we say "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands ..." No where in the Pledge of Allegiance do we promise our loyalty to a person or group.

This country was founded on godly ideals, and we can't go wrong when we cling to them. Humans fail; leaders, being humans, will fail. And when they do, vote them out -- no matter what party they claim.

Goodnight, kids. And yes, Rock On!
Semper Fi

To Be ... Building COP South

NMCB-22 Seabees build camps out of dust

A horizon of sky and dust
greeted Seabees on their first
day of work at a camp near
the Syrian border. Just weeks later a
base camp for the Iraqi Security Forces,
emerged from the flatted and bleak
landscape of Western Iraq.

With little more than hand tools,
NMCB-22 Seabees are building small
cities in areas that are otherwise
wasteland, in support of Operation
Iraqi Freedom. That includes
everything from berthing spaces, places to cook food, eat, shower,
do laundry, store water and fuel, plus manage waste. Providing
electrical power is also part of the plan.

“The primary mission of our detachment is to assist in the
construction of Iraqi Security Forces installations,” said
Construction Electrician 3rd Class Richard Taylor. “The ultimate
goal of these facilities is to enable Iraqi Security Forces to function
on their own without U.S. assistance.”

“It’s an elemental part of reducing U.S.
forces in Iraq,” said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony
Spinler, NMCB-22 operations officer.
Two major challenges confront these

First, the earth is not sand, but very fine
silt that behaves like talcum powder.

“It gets into everything, gets very
gummy and very hard to maneuver
equipment,” said Spinler. “You have to
put down a lot of construction to ensure
you have firm footing and you
constantly have to manage that as you do your construction.” He
said gravel helped provide a workable surface.

Second, materials needed to do the job must be convoyed to the
site. “When we came on board, the materials were not on site. We
had to transport all of the materials.”

Support staff are pitching in to help build as well. “These
activities help the battalion be at more than 100% effective,"
according to Spinler.

This is on page 3 of the Double Deuce. Click here to see a great publication with lots of great photos. OR Just wait til the next one, the same link will take you there.

To Be ... an inspiration to others ...

In another comment on December 29, 2006, Karen wrote:

Yes, De'on, Operation Steel Curtain was a Marine Operation, not Seabee. I just printed off the article for that Op for the scrapbook to show what was going on in the area Rich was in at that time. In conjuction with Steel Curtain, there were other Marine Ops going on during those months at the Syrian border. I could always feel the excitement from Rich when he would write about our Marines and the Marines his battalion was supporting. He got to go out on a patrol with the Marines while he was out at COP South and I think he was just as proud of that as anything he built out there. He loves our Marines as much as he does his Seabees.

This post is dedicated to the Navy & the Marines.

I guess it must have been sometime before Richard started on COP South that he started to work on an article about Aaron. It's very touching and I can't do the layout justice on the format here.

Besides, I'd really like for you to take a look at the nine page publication of the Double Deuce's November 10, 2005 issue, if you haven't already.

The stories are good and the photos show all the hard work that went into Richard's mission to build many "somethings" out of nothing.

Way to go Seabees!

Click here for the PDF file. So, I hope you have Adobe, and then zoom in at about 163% to get the full, full view.

The article LT Windham wrote about Aaron is on page 2.

Thanks, Rich.

To Be ... At COP South (Not.)

This is the beginning of the "CAPTION THIS" game, which will last for the next 5 posts.

I'll caption it, you caption it, and then maybe LT Rich or Kadet Karen (don't you like it better spelling it that way? Then, we might even shorten it to K.K., sort of like her husband's name is G. G.)

Ah well, back to the game. Rule is, every caption must begin with "To Be ..." Ready, Set, GO!

To Be ..."Anywhere else but here!"

tO bE ... sOMeBodY hELp THe pOOr mAN uP!


I'm going with, To Be ... "back in the LAND OF THE FREE, please?!"

To Be ...A Kudos for Steve

CAPTION THIS: I'll take $500. for, To Be ... "In the Navy where I'm allowed a five o'clock shadow. Shoulda joined the Air Force like Steve, then I wouldn't be in this 5 star deployment ..."


To Be ... "A Little Too Happy for This."

To Be ... Photogenic Wih Weaponry


to be ... "the female in this photo who will appreciate PASTELS."
qUESTION: why is her uniform different?

To Be ... In The Shade Where There Is None


how about

To Be "Consistently with a five o'clock shadow," OR

"what's UP with your scanning jobs, De'on?"

Rich's Favorite Bee

come BEE with us next time as we follow LT Rich around with a


Til then BEE There or BEE [] ...{what, a gapped rectangle?}

Way to go Desert Protectors!

Ubaydi-A suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist was captured in an Ubaydi hospital dressed in women's clothing. The terrorist was discovered by a Desert Protector, specially trained scout unit of soldiers recruited from the al Qaim region. Desert Protectors are part of the 1,000 Iraqi Army soldiers taking part in Operation Steel Curtain in the al Qa'im region.

For more photos and gobs of info from newsblaze on Operation Steel Curtain, Click here.

OPS Steel Curtain

A U.S. Marine and Iraqi Army soldiers watch over the surrounding streets from a rooftop in Karabilah, Iraq, during Operation Steel Curtain on Nov. 11, 2005.

Operation Steel Curtain was a military endeavor executed by coalition forces in early November 2005 to blunt the protrusion of foreign insurgents crossing the border and joining the Iraqi insurgency. The operation was important in that it was the first large scale deployment of the New Iraqi Army. Operation Steel Curtain was a phase in the larger military offensive, Operation Hunter.

Click here for more on Operation Steel Curtain according to Wikipedia.

Friday, January 05, 2007

To Be ... a tiny tile in the mosaic

In one of her comments on Dec 29, 2006, Karen writes, ".....At this time, Rich was still able to e-mail and send the pics of the bridge. He then e-mailed telling me that he recieved his orders for his next mission and that they would be heading to what they called the "Wild, Wild West." This mission was to go and build COP South. They would head way west to the Syrian border to build a camp for the Iraqi Army to occupy, to try to keep insurgents from crossing the border into Iraq. This camp was not far from Al Quaim, where Operation Steel Curtain was clearing this city and others of insurgents. Rich let me know that while he was out at COP South, he wouldn't be able to e-mail because he said they would be out in the middle of nowhere, building a camp from dust, like the surface of the moon, nothing there. So for those months, I was able to befriend his XO that had contact with him daily from camp in Kuwait, and was able to know if he was safe daily. Due to the success of Operation Steel Curtain, the scope of COP South was reduced. He said that while out there at COP South they would see the "fireworks", sometimes just a mile away,from Operation Steel Curtain."

In looking through the scrapbook Karen designed for her brother, I find that Rich has written one of these emails on 10/29/06. He writes, "I'll be heading north in a couple of few days ... I should be there for at least a few months. I'm going to be the OIC for the det that is building this new place. According to the intel I've seen, right now it just looks like the surface of the moon ... nothing there ...ha ha...."

After I flip through a number of articles and photos, I find a familiar email that was sent to me; one I'd forwarded to Karen. It was an email from one of the Marines that was with Aaron, LCpl. David Bryant. David and Aaron were really good friends, and Chantal took me under her wing as far as news on the unit after we lost Aaron. Here is a portion of her email:

I don't know if you've seen the news since yesterday, but Echo Co. was hit pretty hard along the Syrian border. I don't think you know Maj. Mendoza, but he was KIA. SSgt Martinez has burns to over 75% of his body and Barnes, whom you should know, was hit with shrapnel to the armpit that went into his chest cavity. Barnes is seriously wounded, but he will make it. I wanted to let you know because I know that the media can mess things up in occassion and I wanted you to know the facts....

When I came across this email in her scrapbook, I thought, what is this doing here? Then I thought, oh, okay, because of the Syrian border, so I put Maj. Mendoza's name into Google, hoping to find out if he was a part of Operation Steel Curtain. Sure enough. He was.

Marine Maj. Ramon J. Mendoza, Jr.

37, of Columbus, Ohio.Mendoza died of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces during Operation Steel Curtain in New Ubaydi, Iraq. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). He was assigned to Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on November 14, 2005.

I guess he was killed just a few days after LT Windham and his Seabees arrived at COP South.

And down not too far on Major Mendoza's message board, are these messages:

"To Mrs. Mendoza My name is Elena Zurheide, My husband was in the same unit as your husband at one point. I just want to give you my condolences I know that your husband as well as mine are our gardian angels and that they are proud of us. I hope to hear from you sometime in the future. God Bless you and your family."


"Elena Zurheide,I can not tell you how many prayers I have sent your way. Ray was 2/1 H&S Company when your husband was sent to heaven. Ray and your husband also carried the 300 pound memorial cross up the hills of Camp Horno. They did it together and now they are together in heaven. Ray wanted to attend the baby dedication last year, but he couldn't bear to do it. It was too difficult for him to be up there without your husband there as well. After Ray's services, I had a "motivational hump" to the cross at Camp Horno. We scattered the dirt from Ray's gravesite and I know Ray was with us that day. My 8 year old was one of the first to arrive at the cross. When I finally got up there, he told me that he heard his daddy's voice. Ray's family and friends humped up that hill not to remember only Ray but all of the brothern Marines lost in the pursuit of freedom for all of God's children. I thought of you at the top of the hill and prayed a special prayer for you and your son. You have always been in my thoughts in prayers. Thank you for reaching out to me, as we both now walk in the shoes down the path without the father of our children, and the love of our lives. I am humbled by your extension of love. May God's Grace always be with you and your son.

"Difficulties do not define you, they simply strengthen your ability to overcome."

Small world. Elena's husband along with another Marine from Echo, Brad Shuder, were killed on April 12, 2004--just a little over two weeks before Aaron was killed.

When Elena's husband and Shuder were killed, Aaron was very upset when he called. That's the only time I ever heard Aaron so negative. I asked him, "Did you get the pillow?"

He replied that he had indeed received the pillow and was about to go get some sleep. At midnight that night, Aaron called both me and his dad back, to let us know "he'd shook it off, and was OK now."

Aaron's best friend, Jerrod, never got that last phone call at midnight from Aaron, and I think I've told before that in his earlier phone call to Jerrod, he'd said, "I'm scared. I don't think I'm coming home."

So, I'll never know exactly how it was for him at midnight that night, but he did sound better. Much better. And now, that pillow is right next to me, here on the couch, much like it will be when I go to sleep, except then, the pillow stays clutched against my chest, up under my nose, and held much the same as the baby I once pulled out of the tub, petting, patting, and sniffing. I loved that smell.

As far as I know, Barnes is doing well. Yes, I'll always remember Barnes. He was on Aaron's machine gun team. During the luncheon the Marines in Aaron's section gave us the day after the Marine Ball of 2004, Barnes got up and told how Aaron would take the bathroom door off its hinges between their two rooms, get a few beers from Barnes' little fridge, and hang the door back up again.

Barnes said it took him a few months to figure it out. How beer was strangely disappearing from his room since it was locked!

Ohh, there were lots of stories that day. Every one of them make me smile.

I wonder how SSgt Martinez is. Was Doc Duty with them too, I wonder? And to Karen Mendoza, what a brave woman you are. I saw through Google all the good that comes from the love of your life.

So readers, as you can see, I've been working on COP South, got a little side-tracked, but appreciated the journey.

Will be back before the night is out with COP South. Okay, make that morning. My night, your morning, or whatever...

Love & Later,

Austin, Shuder, and Zurheide are remembered by their brothers ...

I found this paragraph below, written on a site for Shuder. The two to the right are for Shuder and Zurheide. The one to the left is Aaron's. His memorial card was designed by Chris Brown. The memorial cards have been placed near where they were killed. The photos to the far left are from 'Baptism in Fallujah' filmed by Rick Loomis of the LA Times.

The Marines put up a small memorial for Shuder and another Marine who died during the same battle. The piece of cardboard serving as a tribute read, "All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Photos of the Day

Which war is memorialized here?

How many troops did we lose?

Virgie Bell's View

Well, did we all have fun watching the festivals of the new history made in Washington D.C.? And don't you just love the giddiness and laughter of the new majority party as they put us in our place, as in, we win...we will make you so sorry that you lost … we are so very much more righteous … we are so very much more ethical and so very much more honest and by far, so much more beautiful.

It goes without saying that Ms. Speaker of the House, the gentlewoman from San Francisco has got Dennis Hastert beat in the looks department, and she has made history as the first female to be speaker, but come on.... This is because she is wife, mother, and grandmother. The women of the world unite! Ms. Pelosi has no more to do with the average woman or mother in the USA than I do with the women who govern there in D.C. Some of those who serve, it’s more like self-serve to me. But anyway, on to the important stuff like who did what to whom in politics and where they did it. Who is running for what and so on.

First of all, did any of my fellow bloggers receive one of the 75,000 Christmas Cards sent out by Mr. and Mrs. John Kerry? Me either, and I am hurt. I feel rejection at not being included in the list of their 75,000 very closest friends, and are we surprised to find out that Sandy Berger (you know the one who made the honest mistake of accidentally dropping classified documents into his socks, shoes, and underwear?) received permission from Slick Willie, who is running for first—first husband of the United States of America. Yep, and he had the future 2nd first lady (Chelsea) Clinton right next to himself and Hill-a-ry.

Last week it was noted that Obama had that elusive ‘IT’ quality and this week, we find out that he did coke and pot and crack etc. But hey, I want to be your president in 2008 ... even though I did indeed inhale, I want to serve, serve, serve.

Truth be known, I can assure you that Hill-a-ry and Bill-a-ry will use the info to get her into the White House so she can serve, serve, serve. I want to call attention to the fact that Bill never inhaled when he smoked pot. What a waste of a good joint. I think Obama did inhale. But on to cute.

Who do you think is the cutest? Is it Hillary or Nancy? Or is it Sheila Jackson Lee or even Cindy Sheehan? Remember folks, this is not a scientific poll, just something to keep you occupied while we wait for American Idol to start so we can get our minds off those who serve, serve, serve, and onto the latest entertainer who has shed her panties in order to celebrate the failure of her long, and successful two year marriage to Kevin Federline. I hope to hear more of Ms. Spears in the coming year on tips to a happy marriage and the joys of motherhood—right along with words of wisdom from her french-kissed-best-pal, Madonna. You go girl. I am also looking forward to the latest in the feud between The Donald and The no longer Queen of Nice. And of course, to hearing more exciting news of the Chicks from Dixie.

And so to everyone who has a title and a prefix of Ms., Miss, Madam, first lady or first husband, I want to tell you who is the winner by a long shot and that is me. My official title? It is 'My Granny' as in Kayla's post. 'My Granny' beats the heck out of all the rest, and no matter what Kayla’s Granny will SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

Jeremiah 29:11

“Letting go and letting God” is not just a saying, it is the pathway to your freedom while here on earth. Yet it is so easy to get in the way of peace and joy that “letting go” can give. Just as a drowning person flailing his or her arms in a wild panic can not be rescued, neither can a hurting person be rescued until he or she stops, relaxes and trusts that help is at hand. It is our prayer that these few minutes each day together can help remind you stop, relax and not just believe in, but trust in God by letting go and letting God. [quote from Duke Duvall.]

Click here for Duke Duvall's Moment of Inspiration. This one is on Jeremiah 29:11, which was Aaron's verse, as well as mine and Greg's. I really liked today's.
I was working for a newspaper in the Arizona desert, and I took this picture during an unusually rainy winter. The desert's earthtones gave way to an explosion of wildflowers and emerald grass for several weeks, but then summer came, and the 120-plus heat took its toll. On me and the flowers. Heat like that is insane.

I had to edit the picture, though. There were a couple of cars on the road and some road signs that I took out of the picture. After standing in that spot for an hour or so, waiting for an opportunity to take the picture without any cars to clutter up the scene, I gave up. I thought I'd take it with the annoying cars and just remove them on the computer. And you wonder how they make those cover girls look so good? It's all about the computer, baby!

I haven't posted much lately because I'm still working on our new Web site at I'm also working on other projects that have fallen to the wayside. But you're in good hands here with De'on.

Goodnight, kids.
Semper Fi

On This Day ...

7 years ago ...

The 2000 al-Qaeda Summit was a meeting of several high-level al-Qaeda members held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The meeting was held in the hotel room of
Yazid Sufaat, a former army captain and businessman, in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. The meeting lasted from January 5 to January 8, 2000. The summit's purpose was allegedly to plan future terrorist attacks, which apparently included the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the 9/11 plot. The attendance consisted of Arab veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, including Hambali, Ramzi Binalshibh, Nawaf al-Hazmi, Khalid al-Mihdhar, and Tawfiq bin Attash.

Before the meeting, the
United States intercepted a telephone call to Yemen by al-Mihdhar concerning arrangements for the trip. Osama bin Laden had called that number dozens of times. By request of the CIA, the Malaysian authorities videotaped the meeting, but no sound recordings were made. The men were also photographed when they came out of the meeting. U.S. investigators did not identify these men until much later. That Binalshibh attended the meeting was discovered by the investigators by looking into his credit card records. Sufaat was later arrested, but he denied that he knew any of the men and told that Hambali had arranged the meeting.


Blood Is Thicker Than Water: 1st Marine Division Engineers Build Bridge

When the 5th Marines entered the jungle from the beachhead, and had to cross the steep banks of the Ilu River, 1st Marine Division engineers hastily constructed a bridge supported by amphibian tractors. Though heavily used, the bridge held up.

Photo courtesy of Col James A. Donovan, Jr.

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Landing & August Battles in Guadalcanal *4

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

The Landing and August Battles (continued)
[where we left off] The Japanese on Tulagi were special naval landing force sailors and they had no intention of giving up what they held without a vicious, no-surrender battle. Edson's men landed first, followed by Rosecrans' battalion, hitting Tulagi's south coast and moving inland towards the ridge which ran lengthwise through the island. The battalions encountered pockets of resistance in the undergrowth of the island's thick vegetation and maneuvered to outflank and overrun the opposition. The advance of the Marines was steady but casualties were frequent. By nightfall, Edson had reached the former British residency overlooking Tulagi's harbor and dug in for the night across a hill that overlooked the Japanese final position, a ravine on the island's southern tip. The 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, had driven through to the northern shore, cleaning its sector of enemy; Rosecrans moved into position to back up the raiders. By the end of its first day ashore, 2d Battalion had lost 56 men killed and wounded; 1st Raider Battalion casualties were 99 Marines.


Throughout the night, the Japanese swarmed from hillside caves in four separate attacks, trying to penetrate the raider lines. They were unsuccessful and most died in the attempts. At dawn, the 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, landed to reinforce the attackers and by the afternoon of 8 August, the mop-up was completed and the battle for Tulagi was over.

The fight for tiny Gavutu and Tanambogo, both little more than small hills rising out of the sea, connected by a hundred-yard causeway, was every bit as intense as that on Tulagi. The area of combat was much smaller and the opportunities for fire support from offshore ships and carrier planes was severely limited once the Marines had landed. After naval gunfire from the light cruiser San Juan (CL-54) and two destroyers, and a strike by F4F Wildcats flying from the Wasp, the 1st Parachute Battalion landed near noon in three waves, 395 men in all, on Gavutu. The Japanese, secure in cave positions, opened fire on the second and third waves, pinning down the first Marines ashore on the beach. Major Williams took a bullet in the lungs and was evacuated; 32 Marines were killed in the withering enemy fire. This time, 2d Marines reinforcements were really needed; the 1st Battalion's Company B landed on Gavutu and attempted to take Tanambogo; the attackers were driven to ground and had to pull back to Gavutu.

After a rough night of close-in fighting with the defenders of both islands, the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, reinforced the men already ashore and mopped up on each island. The toll of Marines dead on the three islands was 144; the wounded numbered 194. The few Japanese who survived the battles fled to Florida Island, which had been scouted by the 2d Marines on D-Day and found clear of the enemy.

The Marines' landings and the concentration of shipping in Guadalcanal waters acted as a magnet to the Japanese at Rabaul. At Admiral Ghormley's headquarters, Tulagi's radio was heard on D-Day "frantically calling for [the] dispatch of surface forces to the scene" and designating transports and carriers as targets for heavy bombing. The messages were sent in plain language, emphasizing the plight of the threatened garrison. And the enemy response was prompt and characteristic of the months of naval air and surface attack to come.

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Prelanding Strike

Photographed immediately after a prelanding strike by USS Enterprise aircraft flown by Navy pilots, Tanambogo and Gavutu Islands lie smoking and in ruins in the morning sun. Gavutu is at the left across the causeway from Tanambogo.

National Archives Photo 80-G-11034

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Landing & August Battles *5

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

The Landing and August Battles (continued)

Throughout the night, the Japanese swarmed from hillside caves in four separate attacks, trying to penetrate the raider lines. They were unsuccessful and most died in the attempts. At dawn, the 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, landed to reinforce the attackers and by the afternoon of 8 August, the mop-up was completed and the battle for Tulagi was over.

The fight for tiny Gavutu and Tanambogo, both little more than small hills rising out of the sea, connected by a hundred-yard causeway, was every bit as intense as that on Tulagi. The area of combat was much smaller and the opportunities for fire support from offshore ships and carrier planes was severely limited once the Marines had landed. After naval gunfire from the light cruiser San Juan (CL-54) and two destroyers, and a strike by F4F Wildcats flying from the Wasp, the 1st Parachute Battalion landed near noon in three waves, 395 men in all, on Gavutu. The Japanese, secure in cave positions, opened fire on the second and third waves, pinning down the first Marines ashore on the beach. Major Williams took a bullet in the lungs and was evacuated; 32 Marines were killed in the withering enemy fire. This time, 2d Marines reinforcements were really needed; the 1st Battalion's Company B landed on Gavutu and attempted to take Tanambogo; the attackers were driven to ground and had to pull back to Gavutu.

After a rough night of close-in fighting with the defenders of both islands, the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, reinforced the men already ashore and mopped up on each island. The toll of Marines dead on the three islands was 144; the wounded numbered 194. The few Japanese who survived the battles fled to Florida Island, which had been scouted by the 2d Marines on D-Day and found clear of the enemy.

The Marines' landings and the concentration of shipping in Guadalcanal waters acted as a magnet to the Japanese at Rabaul. At Admiral Ghormley's headquarters, Tulagi's radio was heard on D-Day "frantically calling for [the] dispatch of surface forces to the scene" and designating transports and carriers as targets for heavy bombing. The messages were sent in plain language, emphasizing the plight of the threatened garrison. And the enemy response was prompt and characteristic of the months of naval air and surface attack to come.

At 1030 on 7 August, an Australian coastwatcher hidden in the hills of the islands north of Guadalcanal signalled that a Japanese air strike composed of heavy bombers, light bombers, and fighters was headed for the island. Fletcher's pilots, whose carriers were positioned 100 miles south of Guadalcanal, jumped the approaching planes 20 miles northwest of the landing areas before they could disrupt the operation. But the Japanese were not daunted by the setback; other planes and ships were enroute to the inviting target.

On 8 August, the Marines consolidated their positions ashore, seizing the airfield on Guadalcanal and establishing a beachhead. Supplies were being unloaded as fast as landing craft could make the turnaround from ship to shore, but the shore party was woefully inadequate to handle the influx of ammunition, rations, tents, aviation gas, vehicles—all gear necessary to sustain the Marines. The beach itself became a dumpsite. And almost as soon as the initial supplies were landed, they had to be moved to positions nearer Kukum village and Lunga Point within the planned perimeter. Fortunately, the lack of Japanese ground opposition enabled Vandegrift to shift the supply beaches west to a new beachhead.

to be continued copied from Source

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Gavutu Palm Trees

After the battle, almost all palm trees on Gavutu were shorn of their foliage. Despite naval gunfire and close air support hitting the enemy emplacements, Japanese opposition from caves proved to be serious obstacles for attacking Marines.

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo 52231

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: A Canal Scrapbook




Thursday, January 04, 2007

Marine 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey

Maybe you've seen the article I'm linking to before. I did quite a while back and I thought it said so much about our Marines. While it is heartbreaking; it is also very moving, in photos as well as text.

Click here.

In the near future, I'd like to bring together some articles and thoughts on the casualty officers, the hard jobs they perform, and the respect and honor with which they serve.

Back later with Guadalcanal!

Semper Fi,

The Fallen

Gunz Up
pays tribute to December's Fallen (Iraq)
and the
Fallen of 2006 (Iraq & Afghanistan)
please keep their precious families in your prayers and continue to pray for the wounded and those still serving who protect our freedom,
the freedom and protection of others,
who sacrifice daily
for me and you,
for your children and grandchildren,
and giving us the
of living free for all our lives.

Photo of the Day

Worn Path
Semper Fi

The Way Will Open

January 3

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.

You must be renewed, remade. Christ, Christ, Christ. Everything must rest on me. Force is born of rest. Only love is a conquering force. Be not afraid, I will help you.

Be channels both of you. My Spirit shall flow through and My Spirit shall, in flowing through, sweep away all the bitter past.

Take heart, God loves, God helps, God fights, God wins. You shall see. You shall know. The way will open. All My Love has ever planned, all My Love has ever thought, you shall see, you shall see each day unfold. Only be taught. Just be a child. A child never questions plans. It accepts gladly.

January 4

Shew us Thy Way, O Lord, and let us walk in Thy Paths. Lead us in Thy Truth and teach us.

ALL is well. Wonderful things are happening. Do not limit God at all. He cares and provides.

Uproot self--the channel-blocker. Do not plan ahead, the way will unfold step by step. Leave to-morrow's burden. Christ is the Great Burdenbearer. You cannot bear His load and He only expects you to carry a little day-share.

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

Goodnight, kids.
Semper Fi

Docs Duty: the ANA

I've had a couple of emails from Doc Duty. He is such a great guy, and I know a very busy Corpsman in what is still a dangerous part of the world.

If you are new to Gunz Up, or behind on the multiple mechanical manuscripts we throw your way here, then just a quick bio.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jason "Doc" Duty is currently stationed at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan with four other Instructors assigned to the Navy ETT (Embedded Training Team) 620A . The team travels to the vaious ANA training camps to train the Afghanistan National Army medics.

Doc stays very busy and doesn't get many opportunities to be online, but we're glad to have him comment when he can.

He spent 3-1/2 years with 2/1 at Camp Pendleton, so he was actually with the unit longer than Aaron was. That just suddenly struck me!

I had asked Doc a while back what his take was on Afghanistan. Below is a quote from him:

My personal take? I think Afghanistan is a whole different animal than Iraq. The people act like they actually want us here and are quick to divulge info about the bad guys, the ANA soldiers make-up for lack of training in soldiering with ferocity. They love to fight and will get up and run to the battle; the only problem is that when they get there, they've forgotten items necessary to sustain the fight, such as extra ammo, procedures for evacuating the casualties etc. But they aren't like the Iraqi soldiers I dealt with last time, they like to fight!!!

At this point I wanted to ask Doc if this assignment feels almost like downtime after being on the battlefield in the middle of heavy combat action with multiple casualties?

And just how much at risk are you?

How many hours a day do you train and how are your quarters?

Which Instructor's assignment has been most rewarding so far? CONUS or OCONUS? [great test question! What does this term mean?]

Check back in a few days for a photo essay of some of the training that Doc is providing to the ANA medics.

Doc's Duty

A ceremonial guard stands tall in front of the Afghan National Army's new military medical training center before the recent grand opening ceremony. The new center will consolidate the medical training for ANA combat medics, nurses, medical faculty and medical officers.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Meyer, USAF

Docs Duty: 'Medical Training Center Opens Up Opportunities'

Here is an article I found from 2005, and copied here. This sounds like the place that Doc Duty must be.

If so, is it a joint effort between the branches of our military, since the quotes come from the Army? Are other countries involved in providing medical training as well, and if so, do you work alongside them or do you work strictly with Corpsmen and the ANA medics?

Medical Training Center Opens Up Opportunities
By Staff Sgt. Victoria Meyer, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 12, 2005 – The Afghan National Army's first military medical education center opened recently here with the help of the ANA Surgeon General's office and the Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan.

Located on the National Military Hospital campus here, the center will consolidate medical training for ANA combat medics, nurses, medical faculty and medical officers. The facility can accommodate, house and feed up to 500 students and has 27 classrooms.

Before the new facility, medical training was conducted in various locations around Kabul such as the Kabul Military Training Center, the military hospital and the Pol-e-Charkhi garrison.

"This is a much better learning environment for the students," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Luis Montes, combat medic in OSCA's medical plans and operations section. "They have everything they need on the campus of the National Military Hospital. The students have professional instructors and will be able to receive instruction within the hospital from the physicians and nurses."

With the opening of the new education and training center, the ANA is better equipped and more prepared for its medical mission.

"We can provide the ANA the best equipment, supplies and medications, but if they are not trained to use them, it will be a wasted effort," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jose Betancourt, former section chief.

The center originally consisted of two separate Soviet-built structures from the 1970s. OSCA medical section leaders determined it would be more cost effective to renovate them instead of starting from scratch. A local construction company remodeled and refurbished the new building at a cost of almost $500,000.

"Taking what was once a battered and beaten up building and turning it into a quality education center is a great representation of the mission and the people who will work here," said Air Force Maj. Gen. John Brennan, OSCA chief.

Combat medic students are the first to occupy the building. They will go through a six-week training course to learn the medical skills they need in a field environment.

Throughout the course, the students will learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administer IVs, treat battle wounds, and perform field sanitation, preventive medicine and emergency medicine.

"We believe the building will enable the ANA to dramatically improve its combat medic training by co-locating the training at the hub of their medical system," said Army Lt. Col. Thomas Paul, medical plans and operations chief.

Besides the convenience of having everything needed in one building, the Afghan army also has a large military hospital just steps away.

"They can work on their clinical and medical skills in the hospital, which will make them better qualified as medical professionals," Montes said.

"I look forward to this medical training facility producing well-trained and skilled medics for the Afghan National Army," Brennan said at the grand opening of the center. "It will open the door of opportunity for many of your young men and women-an opportunity to serve the people of the new Afghanistan and help rebuild this great nation."

(Air Force Staff Sgt. Victoria Meyer is assigned to the Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan Public Affairs Office.)


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

It's not Christmas, Lisa, but it is your Happy Birthday! I love you and have gifties galore for you when you finish at Judy's. Come by, Little One. And I love you!
Semper Fi

Not in dress blues for this photo. The photo of Richard on that fateful day is in my head. My heart.
Semper Fi

Cadre on May 3, 2004.
Semper Fi

The Tonic Chord; for Richard

It was the final salute, a last show of respect from the heart of a Sailor to the body of a fallen Marine that guided Richard to the airport in his dress blues on May 3, 2004. What a miserable day for suits that was. And a Monday, no less. Monday to Monday.

One of the few things I took comfort in that day was that from the time Aaron had left this earth, from the time I first heard that the someone’s son who willingly laid down his life, the life that was his and mine and so many others; from the horrible three seconds my heart stopped, not his, what, fifteen hours after the fact? But one of the things I took comfort in was the number of days since deadly labor had begun. The number, a symbolic seven. Completion.

Quick, too quick no doubt, for such news from Marines with such a message.

And exactly seven days later I buried him.

It was complete.

So many finals. Final this, final that. Names engraved here and there. And it is all so beautiful and touching. And that is it. It’s fast, and snap, snap. And, and, and….


But Final final does not exist in the hearts of good men. I am blessed among women in the way I buried my son. It is a son that is buried. The son will be missed as a hero. And for me, would be missed just as much had the tragedy been a drug overdose, a car accident, any unlinking of everything for a time.

Sensory deprivation.

That’s what is missed: the babies we raised, the teenagers who charmed us, then snap, were initiated into the hood of man. We stood by, merely glimpsed a former youngster, a splendid creation birthed from our bodies. And suddenly, always suddenly, no matter the time, they are no more.

The mothers whose shoulders were built for such a parting are not honored by an entire nation. Seems a little unfair, really. Later, down the road.

Those who came to my aide, stood at my side, stunned me then. Their goodness astonishes me still.

Admittedly, there is a great deal during that time, which is forever lost to me, but there are images and conversations that will die only with dementia or death.

Since Aaron’s funeral was in Amarillo, four hours from here, most of the family came the night before. Greg, Tiff, and I left a couple of days earlier since I was to ride with Doug and Eric to meet Aaron’s body in Oklahoma City.

I’ll never forget the hotel we stayed at. Tiff’s parents reserved rooms at the Four Seasons or Fifth Season, something season, which is not important except to say that in its day, it lived up to one of those images, but May of 2004 was well past the crucial color of any four or imaginary fifth fluctuation of any bit of month of the year.

Rick and Cindy reserved these rooms while they were still at home in Scottsdale, so of course they ddidn't realize how this one time paradise of a place had been well seasoned and for all intense purposes, tossed out to sea.

The sympathetic clerk, owner or owner’s wife no doubt, told them via the long distance call that we could get these special rooms for only $39.99 during these distinctive days of death's duty. She said,or he said, just tell them we were with the Austin family.

We all thought, how nice, and alerted the entourage. We all called the hotel and mentioned the code phrase in a quiet and covert fashion, but the secret was out when hours later, we drove up, or when we were about a mile away really, and saw a sign: $39.99 EVERY NIGHT. Its pomp and flash shamed New York City on New Year’s Eve at its shiniest. And of course, we, Greg and I being smokers, got the worst room in the place.

Rich didn’t miss much by flying from Dallas to Amarillo the morning of the funeral, then back out before the graveside service began. A service in the architecture and tradition of man. A tradition that I hold high in a mother's heart, because these traditions were founded by men with a Richard heart.

A young busy executive, a stand in or newly appointed president of the company (if memory serves me justly), flew from Dallas to Amarillo to pay his respects to me, to my son and my family, even though he hadn’t talked to Aaron for nearly a decade.

I don’t remember Rich’s exact arrival. I believe I was in the viewing room or whatever dressed up thing funeral homes name such bizarre rooms of great cush and comfort. A spotlight in the stage set for waxed bodies and their survivors.

The room did comfort me. I didn't want to leave. It wasn't the overstuffed chairs and great divans of antiquity, not the flaked gold of frames that squared and rectangled a perfect pastoral scene. Not the dimmed lights that glistened and glowed upon the body of a Marine and the portraits of how the Marine really looked a few months prior. These were our own geometric shapes that hinted personality of the missing to the unknowing, but all of us in this final room knew.

Unrushed and handsome, tenderly eager, Richard attended me there in that room. He told me what Aaron’s ribbons represented. Even that, I’ve since forgotten, though their significance is duly noted, recorded, tucked away.

There are times in our lives that the brain snaps a forever photograph.

As everyone filed out before us, as the ushers or flower gatherers or whatever their directors call them are, gathered flowers, dispensed directions and quick, quick, snap, snap. Snapped duties and biddings, after all, the next funeral is at two, for heaven’s sake, take this, not that, okay, these go first, oh for the love of new ushers or flower gatherers, I’m the Director, but no one can do it without me, I must do everything.

A scene I never heard, but felt.

My mind’s film argued with the rush. We have to leave?

But yes, everyone’s leaving and talking and directing....

But Greg, I’m sure he must’ve been behind me.

He always was.

And Karen, in front of me some, I think.

Her eyes. Yes, Karen was there. And Richard.

Richard walked part way with us. Stopped.


I could hear the voice, orders from somewhere, another time, a different place, something different.

No. Somebody different.




The broken chords
drift …

The triad begins. A tonic chord it is built upon too.

Steady. Slow before the eyes of eternity, the naval officer’s hand ascends near his temple and waits there.


Before beginning its
slow descent and
steady cadence as

his right hand
lowers and finds
its end. Presses

itself firmly against
the side nearest
a sailor's heart.

Come on, LT Rich, smile for me.
Semper Fi

There's that smile!
Semper Fi

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Photo of the Day
Semper Fi

Virgie Bell's View

Well, it’s good to know that Madam Speaker of the House is going to go great guns during her first 100 hours in office. I am the first to admit that I find this a little comforting – to be one of the minority. Yep, I can begin by finding the little unimportant details which others might overlook.
I said she was cute, the Speaker of the House. I also know that she has one of the oiliest complexions in the world; her face outshines everyone’s in our Capitol. If I were higher up on the food chain, I would be able to tell her that she will have to get out of the fashion houses and go to the Wal-Marts with the rest of us women. She must get into 100 percent cotton.

Oh, I know that the people who govern us don't dabble in synthetics except for control top pantyhose – and at her age you gotta have ’em or you will look like crap. Me, I am another sweet-face woman. But like other women, not the darlings of D.C., I can buy a moo moo or caftan at the same time I shop for buttermilk, and they all cost about the same. Another thing is I don't spend a lot of time shopping because I can go through the fast check-out line with all my true peers – the women in Wal-Mart cotton shifts, etc.

Our panties are also 100 percent cotton, and our shoes are usually 100 percent rubber, either tennis or flip flops. They have the largest selection of flip flops in the world, and they are often be-jeweled or sequin encrusted. I try to get a pair to match every outfit I own, and there’s no guess work involved. I just hold up the shoes to the frocks in my basket.

I will slow down a little at this section and look at the prices of the giant TVs with screens as big as my walls. I also slow down at the camera department, and I try to find out how much my kids are spending to turn their homes into movie theaters with dark Barca loungers, laptops and a dozen remote controls. While my decor spells Santa Fe, their decor screams ODE TO TV.

Because women need to compare shifts and shoes, we try as much as possible to all have our stuff as near each other’s stuff -- flip flops, etc. Do the black ones make the bottom of your feet black? Mine too! Chuckle, chuckle.

Our poor Speaker of the House is in for a rough time. Designers don't tell you the truth, just as Madam Speaker doesn't tell those of us women who buy our buttermilk and ensembles at the same place. Maybe she can borrow Hillary’s plastic headband form when she also ran with Bill. She wore it all the time, but if she hasn't kept up with it, I will tell Ms. Pelosi that she can purchase her own at any decent Super Store, with shoes to match. She can skip the buttermilk; she doesn't do buttermilk. But I did hear she does yogurt, and just think how much we tax payers would save if she would get real and SUPPORT OUR TROOPS.

Virgie Bell's View

As per usual in Sundays Edition a columnist who I will in the future try to keep up with gives some good news...His name is Victor Davis Hanson and he seems to be one of the good guys...He said that Iran is in a world of hurt with the embargos that are being used against the evil empire...and that the best thing is to let it suffer in other words no dialogue is necessary. I have noticed that there is a faction in Iran that likes things of the west. Recently on Fox News it showed that the women and some men are very big into nose jobs...and that it is the Caucasoid that is the type of nose they are going far. It also seems that there are some students at universities that rebel pretty strongly against what they see as an out of date leadership no longer in their best interest. This has cropped up in the news a few times and is worth looking for as good signs to look for. If the people rebel it is pretty hard for dictators to hold them down.

This is really a very good sign...These are an educated people and they are the ones that Saddam's last words of "Death to America and death to Persia"...This would be of the handwriting on the wall, mentioned in the book of Daniel, and as I mentioned before the symbolism of the bear of the four beasts. The bear is also the symbol of the final Anti-Christ. Dan.7.5 Rev.13.2 are the same bear...and if God was to grant me my greatest wish, it would be that I could set down and read Revelations and Daniel as easy as I find other books to read today. But we are looking at God’s words as told by Daniel the prophet and it is a kept secret book ...Michael the arch-angel told Daniel, “Go thy way, Daniel for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” But it is revealed to us through Revelations...Christ himself said the end will not come until the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel be fulfilled. It was a saying in my childhood by my mother that if it is the handwriting on the wall it is complete and also true. I do intend to spend my future in research of this mystery, but just this part of the scripture would take years to study. Of course you may buy and read other interpretations, but in the end it is just that...someone else's interpretation. I really believe we are called according to God’s purpose and His word is revealed to us by that purpose.

This is just a little heads up on what I find interesting...something like pray for your leader for he is appointed by God whether it be for good or evil. If we even for one minute think we will change God’s will in our lives, in other words, if he doesn’t control global warming... it ainta...a...gonna...happen...Fool's Folly Prov. 17.12---Wicked Rulers Prov. 28.15 are warning of things that are set in stone or in the mind of God. In fact, God laughs at our puny effort to control these events that must come to me on that. But you can look it up for yourself. Really God’s word can rightly be divided. It says so in the Bible. Divide is to give a portion to however many . There are some who have God’s Word tattooed on their heart and some have to get off the milk onto the meat...or study.

You will know if you are gifted in that department. I am and I know Karen is. I love Bible Study with Karen and I do some of some nearly every time we are together. She has several friends who share that with her in her workplace, so you may take God out of the government but you will not take God out of the people who work within this government system. That is really the only reason I fully support Bush. I believe that he does believe and with God nothing shall be impossible.

You know what? I'm going to do some pretty deep study in the afore mentioned Proverbs. Karen turn to Bear in the bible part we always go to ...also what else I am going to do today? The thing I do easily everyday, I WILL


Another Joke: New Enlistment Oaths


"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES COAST GUARD because I know being in the real military scares me. However, I swear to defend our position as the fifth branch of the Armed Services, although at one point we were under the Department of Homeland Security. I understand that at least twice a day, someone will refer to me as a member of the Air Force or Navy, and when I correct them, they will question my military status. I will work on boats the size of kayaks and small yachts during the worst of natures storms, and recieve no thanks or notice form the public. I will fly in helos into the eye of the storm to rescue people dumber then rocks, and then be heckled by the same people when I bust them for transporting drugs two months later! I will prevent thousands of gallons of pollution, but be accused of impeding the economy when I won't allow vessels to pour oil into the ocean. I will be the red-headed step child to all of the other services, although I know I got the better deal. All of my equipment will be discarded Navy property. I will use most of my time in the Coast Guard to take college classes, and perfect my web surfing abilities, then complain that I work too much. I will perfect avoiding PT at all costs, and do my best to attend training that will give me a great competitive edge in the career field of my choice, making retention efforts of the Coast Guard pointless. I will come in contact with so many pollutants during my tenure, I will glow in the dark for the rest of my natural life and refer to myself as "salty" because of it. I will do my best to work 8 to 3, with a two hour lunch, on normal days, and have my pager and cell phone surgically attached, SO HELP ME GOD.


"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES AIR FORCE because I know I couldn't hack it in the Army, because the Marines frighten me, and because I am afraid of water over waist deep. I swear to sit behind a desk. I also swear not to do any form of real exercise, but promise to defend our bike-riding test as a valid form of exercise. I promise to walk around calling everyone by their first name because I find it amusing to annoy the other services. I will have a better quality of life than those around me and will, at all times, be sure to make them aware of that fact. After completion of "Basic Training," I will be a lean, mean, donut-eating, Lazy-Boy sitting, civilian-wearing-blue-clothes, Chair-borne Ranger. I will believe I am superior to all others and will make an effort to clean the knife before stabbing the next person in the back. I will annoy those around me, and will go home early every day. So Help Me God!"

"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my otherwise mediocre life to the UNITED STATES ARMY because I couldn't score high enough on the ASVAB to get into the Air Force, I'm not tough enough for the Marines, and the Navy won't take me because I can't swim. I will wear camouflage every day and tuck my trousers into my boots because I can't figure out how to use blousing straps. I promise to wear my uniform 24 hours a day even when I have a date. I will continue to tell myself that I am a fierce killing machine because my Drill Sergeant told me I am, despite the fact that the only action I will see is a court-martial for sexual harassment. I acknowledge the fact that I will make E-8 in my first year of service, and vow to maintain that it is because I scored perfect on my PT test. After completion of my Sexual ... er ... I mean "Basic Training," I will attend a different Army school every other month and return knowing less than I did when I left. On my first trip home after Boot Camp, I will walk around like I am cool and propose to my 9th grade sweetheart. I will make my wife stay home because if I let her out she might leave me for a better looking Air Force guy. Should she leave me twelve times, I will continue to take her back. While at work I will maintain a look of knowledge while getting absolutely nothing accomplished. I will arrive to work every day at 1000 hrs because of morning PT and leave everyday at 1300 to report back to "COMPANY." I understand that I will undergo no training whatsoever that will help me get a job up! on separation, and will end up working construction with my friends from high school. I will brag to everyone about the Army giving me $30,000 for college, but will be unable to use it because I can't pass a placement exam. So Help Me God!"


"I, Top Gun, in lieu of going to prison, swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES NAVY, because I want to hang out with Marines without actually having to BE one of them, because I thought the Air Force was too "corporate," because I didn't want to actually live in dirt like the Army, and because I thought, "Hey, I like to swim ... why not?" I promise to wear clothes that went out of style in 1976 and to have my name stenciled on the butt of every pair of pants I own. I understand that I will be mistaken for the Good Humor Man during summer. I will strive to use a different language than the rest of the English-speaking world, using words like "deck, bulkhead, cover, geedunk, scuttlebutt, scuttle and head," when I really mean "floor, wall, hat, candy, water fountain, hole in wall and toilet." I will take great pride in the fact that all Navy acronyms, rank, and insignia, and everything else for that matter, are completely different from the other services and make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I will muster, whatever that is, at 0700 every morning unless I am buddy-buddy with the Chief, in which case I will show up around 0930. I vow to hone my coffee cup-handling skills to the point that I can stand up in a kayak being tossed around in a typhoon, and still not spill a drop. I consent to being promoted and subsequently busted at least twice per fiscal year. I realize that, once selected for Chief, I am required to submit myself to the sick, and quite possibly illegal, whims of my newfound "colleagues." So Help Me Neptune!"


"I, (pick a name the police won't recognize), swear ... uhhhh ... high-and-tight ... grunt... cammies ... kill ... fix bayonets ... charge ... slash ... dig ... burn ... blowup ... ugh ... Air Force women ... beer ... sailors' wives ... air strikes ... yes SIR! ... whiskey ... liberty call ... salute ... Ooorah Gunny ... grenades ... women ... OORAH! So Help Me Chesty PULLER!"
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