Saturday, January 13, 2007

TEST TIME! Test 2 Part A

Hello Students:

I'll bet you thought since I had company, I would forget about your test!


The kids, to include Donna, are at the casino in Hobbs, so I was able to pull this off nicely! YEA!

Due date and further instructions are listed at the bottom of Part C.

I will accept questions BEFORE you start your test. And yes, of course, it's OPEN BOOK. But please, do not look at your neighbor's paper or you will receive an automatic zero.

Thank you and good luck!

1. a. Who is the current MCPON in the Navy? =2 pts.

b. What’s the name of the MCPON that visited NMCB 22 while COP South was being built? = 2 pts.

2. a. When the Marines first landed on Guadalcanal, how many meals a day were they given? =2 pts.

b. What Japanese food did the Marines become accustomed to because of these limited rations? = 2 pts.

c. The reduction in rations lasted for _____ weeks. = 2 pts

3. What does LVT (1) stand for? = 2 pts.

4. a. What unit does Doc Duty belong to? = 2 pts.
b. Who does he train? = 2 pts.

5. The French Armored Field Ambulance holds 1 patient and what 4 passengers? = 8 pts.

6. COP South is located near which of Iraq’s borders? = 2 pts.

7. Name 4 provisions of aide that LT Windham and his Seabees provided as they built a city out of “nothing.” = 8 pts.

8. What issue of the Double Deuce did LT Richard Windham publish an article about LCpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC in? = 2 pts.

9. a. What was Operation Steel Curtain? = 2 pts.
b. Why was it important? = 2 pts.
c. What larger operation was it a part of? = 2 pts.

10. a. What is the HM rating symbol called? = 2 pts.
b. The symbol's origins are thought to date back to ___________ in________ = 4 pts.

11. True or False: 2nd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division fought at Guadalcanal. = 2 pts.

Total points contained in Part A of this test = 50

TEST 2: Part B

Multiple Choice: 2 pts. each

12. Doc Duty was stationed with Aaron’s unit for:

a. 3 years
b. 2 ½ years
c. 3 ½ years
d. none of the above

13. Doc Duty is now rated as a Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class. This rating is equivalent to which pay grade?

a. E-5
b. E-6
c. E-3
d. None of the above.

14. Doc Duty is currently stationed in:

a. Afghanistan
b. Iraq
c. stateside
d. The Horn of Africa

15. Doc Duty has close ties with:

a. Aaron
b. Sgt. Rettenberger
c. Sergeant Major Skiles
d. All of the above.

16. According to Doc Duty, the ANA’s weapon of choice is the:

a. Lugar
b. AK-47
c. M-16
d. None of the above.

17. LT. Richard Windham

a. Was OIC for important building projects in Iraq
b. Is Karen’s brother
c. Attended Aaron’s funeral
d. All of the above.

18. LT Richard Windham’s profession is that of a

a. civil engineer
b. busboy at Applebee’s Restaurant
c. cook in the navy
d. both a & c

19. LT Richard Windham spent Christmas of 2005 in

a. Brownfield, Texas
b. COP South (Iraq)
c. Working a double shift at Applebee’s
d. Afghanistan

20. LT Richard Windham is now

a. an officer in the USNR
b. a Seabee with NMCB 22 headquartered in Fort Worth, TX
c. both A & B
d. None of the above.

21. While in Iraq, LT Windham and his Seabees built or re-built

a. The Green Zone
b. Bridges and cities
c. Hosted Admiral Mullen on a tour of the Seabees accomplishments
d. None of the above

22. The 1st Marine Division’s patch

a. has a recognizable “1”
b. has the word Guadalcanal
c. is worn by every member of the 1st Marine Division on their left arm
d. both a & b

23. General Vandegrift

a. served as General of the 1st Marine Division at Guadalcanal
b. advised President Bush before going into Iraq in 2003
c. served as General of the ANA
d. all of the above

24. During WWII:

a. heavy conservation measures were taken
b. because of the boom of the war, people spent freely and conserved very little
c. more than half the country did not support the war or American troops
d. it was thought the U.S. entered the war much too early

25. The reason “the teach” is interested in Guadalcanal is primarily because

a. her son’s unit has history there
b. her Uncle Lonnie’s unit has history there
c. she doesn’t really have an interest, but just copies that stuff up there for us
d.she was stationed there

26. The reason “the teach” is interested in Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima is primarily because

a. her son’s unit has history there
b. her Uncle Lonnie’s unit has history there
c. she doesn’t really have an interest, but just copies that stuff up here for us
d. she was stationed there

Part B is worth 2 pts. each for a total of 30 points.

TEST 2: Part C = oh, the dreaded writing part of the test!

For20 points combine the efforts of the Corpsman and the Seabee as related to the Marine Corps in general. Explain their importance, both as a personal opinion and as something significant in a historical sense, be it WWII history and/or the current Global War on Terror.

This does not have to be a professional or academic essay. The main things I want to see in this paper are your own thoughts on these two important groups of sailors and an understanding of their job in general. It's okay to personalize your writing and include the names of either Doc Duty or LT Windham.

Please email your test to me @

The winning test will be published on Gunz Up in honor of Corpsmen and Seabees who serve faithfully in this time of great need. You will also receive a free and autographed copy of your choice of A Corpsman’s Legacy or Operation Homecoming. If you already have these, then choose any other military book within the $20.-$30. price range, but skip the autograph!

Don’t fret yourself about spelling or any of those things I can easily correct. IT’S YOUR HEART FOR OUR MILITARY that is most important.

The test is due on Monday, January 22, 2007.

Good luck, God bless, and thank you for taking the time to learn about our military!

Semper Fi!

Virgie Bell's View

I am not at all surprised that our military men and women who stand between us and the enemy, those who would happily destroy us, are overwhelmingly in favor of the president’s strategy to send 21,000 more troops to Iraq. These are the brave men and women who realize that if they do not fight this evil there, they will fight it here on American soil. The cost of the war? What about the cost of no war?

We were living in a world where we thought we had peace when the events of 9/11 occurred. If Flight 94 had not been taken down, we would more than likely be fighting it on this soil anyway. We sustained a blow that nearly crippled us as it was. Only the American spirit and genuine love of our country prevailed. I can not help but notice that if anything happens to a country that has no natural resources but only poor hungry people, that most of the rest of the world is gung ho for the United States to intervene, even though that country has no sustaining power or hope until the next war-lord or tribal feud takes over again. Give the United States a hopeless and thankless mission, then the rest of the world expects, nay demands our military jump in, and yet we never seem to be anything but hated by a world that would jump in and take us down in a heartbeat. Long ago we became a bully nation. That had nothing to do with this administration. In fact it has nothing to do with the last few administrations. If you win wars and become a mighty super-power, you are hated. Power is just like property and thieves and terrorists are also the same. One can lock up property, but the only thing you can do with power is fight to protect it.

I consider myself very lucky to have been raised by parents that taught me as they did. My dad said on several occasions, "The only way you can whip a bully is to whip his ass." When my youngest daughter was in the fourth grade she came home in tears most days after school. There was a small gang of girls who met up when school was out to bully her. I tried everything and it just kept going on and getting worse until one day I had a gut full. I set my daughter down and told her what I had been taught by my dad. He told his children, "First Blood Wins,” Go on the offense.

I told Lisa the next time it happens, “Don't scratch and pull hair, double up your fist and hit as hard as you can in the face.” Well the very next day, sure enough, it happened and that was the end of that.

I had a phone call later from the girl’s mother; she was appalled that her daughter had been in a fight. “We don't allow our daughter to fight, she said.

"Then teach her to shut-up because I allow mine to fight," was my simple reply.

We are a bully nation. It was forced on us long ago when we became survivors and achievers. We will never achieve peace unless we pursue it. It is not done with talks and hair pulls and threats. Not in a world that uses us and hates us. What insanity. I value my career as a wife and mother very much, and have tried to instill in my children with good skills in the art of living, but they were never taught that they would be bullied. I hate the fact that we live in a world that is not peaceful. I value peace above anything in life, but I am no fool. I’m sure that it will come as no surprise in my family that my grand-daughter was given the same advice by her Granny.

I am glad the facts are coming out about Jimmy Carter. He is having people quit his foundation and has been using false facts (catchy huh?) and stealing other people’s words, and showing an extreme bias toward a group of people who are our enemies. He is a holder of many awards including the Nobel Peace Prize. The thing about it is that we were so very fooled as a nation. The Jim and Tammy Faye Baker thing should be no more disdained than the ex-president. In fact, I should think even less so. The religious sector is where we can be forgiven. The Bible is the success story for the world but it is the hardest book in the world to read. If you don't learn it on the knee of your parents, you are pretty much going to miss it. It’s always surprising to me to meet one upon whose heart it is tattooed. The best lesson in the world comes from them. Amazingly enough, the Bible is not hard to live, just hard to understand, but it is a wonderful truth. Faith is in the heart. The very seat of all our emotions.

How many nations and factions are against us at this very moment, and want to go nuclear to boot? If we allow them to succeed, we will only be committing suicide as a nation. I am gratified that when sixteen prisoners were released from Guantonimo and shipped back to their home countries, they were held as prisoners in Saudi Arabia. It behooves other nations to follow the same actions. We always have another Evil dictator ready to have a go at us. Cindy Sheehan kissed him on the cheek and called the United States terrorists and called insurgents freedom fighters. Yet we have a majority of the people who now support her words. We really need a troop build-up in Iraq. We need to win that battle as fast as possible, because we have Iran and North Korea ready take a shot at us, along with Venezuela who is headed that way as fast as possible.

Japan woke-up a sleeping giant back in World War II. We dare not let that giant become crippled. I am sorry but we have got to have oil. We are not allowed to drill for it here or fight to protect a vital strategic supply elsewhere. If that remains the fact, we will eventually have nothing to defend. SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!

Hey Everybody, especially Doc Duty!

This is a great post at Flag Gazer's. It's worth the read and I particularly wanted Doc Duty to read it since he's in Afghanistan. Click here for a great post.

It's loud at my house! Greg has us maxed out with the Colt's game and Donna, Jerrod, Shawna, Kayla and Weston are here.

Hennessy and Isaac have just left out their pet door to go into the freezing cold weather, not to get away from the kids, but the wrath of Greg against the refs.

Hope things are good where you are. I'll be back!

Jerrod and Shawna got here at 8:00 on Friday morning. It's been good. Really good. Love to all and goodnight, kids.
Semper Fi

WWII Boomtown Buyers

Top photo: Buyers from Seattle's Bon Marche in New York

Left: Shoe Buyer Frank Sullivan wants 10,000 pairs of low-heeled shoes, will probably get them, with delays. This year 50% of his shoe budget is for "sensible" shoes, against 5% normally.

Right: Stocking Buyer Harriet Norman orders all sheer rayons she can get. Bon Marche stocking sales increased nearly 100% in 1942 over 1939. Store sells as many as 300 dozen pairs daily.

Life November 30, 1942

WWII: Boomtown Buyers (cont'd.)

Top: Work-clothes Buyer Mildred Kirkendall used to concentrate on sports clothes, now shops for work clothes. These include fleece-lined garments for shipyard workers as well as denim slacks and coveralls for plant work. She buys in 100-dozen lots.
Bottom: Scissors buyer would like 5,000 pairs. Manufacturers accepted order from Charles McLaren, department head, first made him fill out complicated priority sheets and promised nothing. Probably delivery: 20. Also hard to buy are wire hangers, curlers.

Life November 30, 1942

WWII: Boomtown Buyers (final)

Top: Infant-wear Buyer Cina Clampet was saddest of all. She needs great quantities of all kinds of assorted baby merchandise. Her experience with safety pins was typical. She wanted 60 gross. Manufacturer offers her all he has--one pin, his last sample.Bottom: Bottles for Seattle's growing baby population are in great demand. Buyer wanted 1,200 of above with wide mouth, big nipple. She got 12. Small nipples can be had. Small bottles are scarce. Buyer suggests using nipples on Coca-Cola and beer bottles.

Life November 30, 1942


Besides gas prices, where are you hurting economically or provisionally from the war? I can't think of anything for me in the way of material.

WWII Brief: AA Ad

Life November 30, 1942

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The Patch

1st Marine Division
Semper Fi

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The 1st Marine Division Patch

The 1st Division shoulder patch originally was authorized for wear by members of units who were organic or attached to he division in its four landings in the Pacific War. It was the first unit patch to be authorized for wear in World War II and specifically commemorated the division's sacrifices and victory in the battle for Guadalcanal.

As recalled by General Merrill B. Twining, a lieutenant colonel and the division's operations officer on Guadalcanal, for a short time before the 1st left Guadalcanal for Australia, there had been some discussion by the senior staff about uniforming the troops. It appeared that the Marines might have to wear Army uniforms, which meant that they would lose their identity and Twining came up with the idea for a division patch. A number of different designs were devised by both Lieutenant Colonel Twining and Captain Donald L. Dickson, adjutant of the 5th Marines, who had been an artist in civilian life. The one which Twining prepared on the flight out of Guadalcanal was approved by Major General Alexander A. Vandegrift, the division commander.

General Twining further recalled that he drew a diamond in his notebook and "in the middle of the diamond I doodled a numeral one ... [and] I sketched in the word 'Guadalcanal' down its length ... I got to thinking the whole operation had been under the Southern Cross, so I drew that in, too ... About an hour later I took the drawing up to the front of the aircraft to General Vandegrift. He said, 'Yes, that's it!' and wrote his initials, A.A.V., on the bottom of the notebook page."

After he arrived in Brisbane, Australia, Colonel Twining bought a child's watercolor set and, while confined to his hotel room by a bout of malaria, drew a bunch of diamonds on a big sheet, coloring each one differently. He then took samples to General Vandegrift, who chose one which was colored a shade of blue that he liked. Then Twining took the sketch to the Australian Knitting Mills to have it reproduced, pledging the credit of the post exchange funds to pay for the patches' manufacture. Within a week or two the patches began to roll off the knitting machines, and Colonel Twining was there to approve them. General Twining further recalled: "after they came off the machine, I picked up a sheet of them. They looked very good, and when they were cut, I picked up one of the patches. It was one of the first off the machine.

The division's post exchanges began selling the patches almost immediately and they proved to be popular, with Marines buying extras to give away as souvenirs to Australian friends or to send home to families. Before long, newly established Marine divisions, as well as the raider and parachute units, and as the aircraft wings, sea-going Marines, Fleet Marine Force Pacific units, and others, were authorized to have their own distinctive patch, a total of 33, following the lead of the 1st Marine Division. Marines returning to the United States for duty or on leave from a unit having a distinctive shoulder insignia were authorized to wear that insignia until they were assigned to another unit having a shoulder patch of its own. For many 1st Marine Division men joining another unit and having to relinquish the wearing of the 1st Division patch, this rankled.

Shortly after the end of the war, Colonel Twining went to now-Marine Commandant General Vandegrift saying that he "no longer thought Marines should wear anything on their uniforms to distinguish them from other Marines. He agreed and the patches came off for good."


—Benis M. Frank

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The Coastwatchers

A group of fewer than 1,500 native Coastwatchers served as the eyes and ears of Allied forces in reporting movements of Japanese units on the ground, in the air, and at sea.

Often performing their jobs in remote jungle outposts, the Coastwatchers were possessed of both mental and physical courage. Their knowledge of the geography and peoples of the Pacific made them invaluable additions to the Allied war effort.

The concept for this service originated in 1919 in a proposal by the Royal Australian Navy to form a civilian coastwatching organization to provide early warning in the event of an invasion. By the outbreak of war in September 1939, approximately 800 persons were serving as coastwatchers, operating observation posts mainly on the Australian coast. They were, at the outset, government officials aided by missionaries and planters who, as war with Japan neared, were placed under the control of the intelligence section of the Australian Navy.

By 1942, the system of coastwatchers and the accompanying intelligence network covered an area of 500,000 square miles, and was placed under the control of the Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB). The AIB coordinated Allied intelligence activities in the southwest Pacific, and had as its initial principal mission the collection of all possible information about the enemy in the vicinity of Guadalcanal.

Coastwatchers proved extremely useful to U.S. Marine forces in providing reports on the number and movement of Japanese troops. Officers from the 1st Marine Division obtained accurate information on the location of enemy forces in their objective areas, and were provided vital reports on approaching Japanese bombing raids. On 8 August 1942, Coastwatcher Jack Reed on Bougainville alerted American forces to an upcoming raid by 40 Japanese bombers, which resulted in 36 of the enemy planes being destroyed. The "early warning system" provided by the Coastwatchers helped Marine forces on Guadalcanal to hold onto the Henderson Field airstrip.

The Coastwatchers also rescued and sheltered 118 Allied pilots, including Marines, during the Solomons Campaign, often at the immediate risk of their own lives. Pipe-smoking Coastwatcher Reed also was responsible for coordinating the evacuation on Bougainville of four nuns and 25 civilians by the U.S. submarine Nautilus.

It is unknown exactly how many Coastwatchers paid the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties. Many died in anonymity, without knowledge of the contribution their services had made to final victory. Perhaps they would be gratified to know that no less an authority than Admiral William F. Halsey recorded that the Coastwatchers saved Guadalcanal, and Guadalcanal saved the Pacific.—Robert V. Aquilina


Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Guadalcanal; The Landing and August Battles (cont'd) *9

FIRST OFFENSIVE: The Marine Campaign for Guadalcanal

by Henry I. Shaw, Jr.

General Vandegrift and His 1st Marine Division Staff

Whenever a work about the Guadalcanal operation is published, one of the pictures always included is that of Major General Alexander A. Vandegrift, 1st Marine Division commanding general, and his staff officers and commanders, who posed for the photograph on 11 August 1942, just four days after the assault landings on the island. Besides General Vandegrift, there are 40 Marines and one naval officer in this picture, and each one deserves a page of his own in Marine Corps history.

Among the Marines, 23 were promoted to general officer rank and three became Commandants of the Marine Corps: General Vandegrift and Colonels Cates and Pate. The naval officer, division surgeon Commander Warwick T. Brown, MC, USN, also made flag officer rank while on active duty and was promoted to vice admiral upon retirement.

Four of the officers in the picture served in three wars. Lieutenant Colonels Gerald C. Thomas, division operations officer, and Randolph McC. Pate, division logistics officer, served in both World Wars I and II, and each commanded the 1st Marine Division in Korea. Colonel William J. Whaling similarly served in World Wars I and II, and was General Thomas' assistant division commander in Korea. Major Henry W. Buse, Jr., assistant operations officer, served in World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam War. Others served in two wars—World Wars I and II, or World War II and Korea. Represented in the photograph is a total of nearly 700 years of cumulative experience on active Marine Corps service.

Three key members of the division—the Assistant Division Commander, Brigadier General William H. Rupertus; the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, Colonel Robert C. Kilmartin, Jr.; and the commanding officer of the 1st Raider Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Merritt A. Edson—were not in this picture for a good reason. They were on Tulagi, where Rupertus headed the Tulagi Command Group with Kilmartin as his chief of staff, and Edson commanded the combat troops. Also notably absent from this photograph was the commander of the 7th Marines, Colonel James C. Webb, who had not joined the division from Samoa, where the regiment had been sent before the division deployed overseas.

In his memoir, Once a Marine, General Vandegrift explained why this photograph was taken. The division's morale was affected by the fact that Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher was forced to withdraw his fleet from the area—with many of his ships not yet fully unloaded and holding more than half of the division's supplies still needed ashore. Adding to the Marines' uneasiness at seeing their naval support disappear below the horizon, was the fact that they had been under almost constant enemy air attacks beginning shortly after their landing on Guadalcanal. In an effort to counter the adverse influence on morale of the day and night air attacks, Vandegrift began making tours of the division perimeter every morning to talk to as many of his Marines as possible, and to keep a personal eye on the command. As he noted:

By August 11, the full impact of the vanished transports was permeating the command, so again I called a conference of my staff and command officers ... I ended the conference by posing with this fine group of officers, a morale device that worked because they thought if I went to the trouble of having the picture taken then I obviously planned to enjoy it in future years.

Recently, General Merill B. "Bill" Twining, on Guadalcanal a lieutenant colonel and assistant D-3, recalled the circumstances of the photograph and philosophized about the men who appeared in it:
The group is lined up on the slope of the coral ridge which provided a degree of protection from naval gunfire coming from the north and was therefore selected as division CP ...

There was no vital reason for the conclave. I think V[andegrift] just wanted to see who was in his outfit. Do you realize these people had never been together before? Some came from as far away as Iceland...

V[andegrift] mainly introduced himself, gave a brief pep talk ... I have often been asked how we could afford to congregate all this talent in the face of the enemy. We didn't believe we (at the moment) faced any threat from the Japanese. The defense area was small and every responsible commander could reach his CP in 5 minutes and after all there were a lot of good people along those lines. Most of the fresh-caught second lieutenants were battalion commanders two years later. We believed in each other and trusted.

—Benis M. Frank

For these officers' names and source of this copy, click here. Photo is shown below.

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Photos of ...

The General and His Officers on Guadalcanal, According to the Chart

Friday, January 12, 2007

Virgie Bell's View

I listened to the president’s speech two nights ago and I agree with his plan completely. I also predict that we as a country will pull behind him. I have found that in 70 years on this earth that when called upon as a nation, we have always been willing to win. No matter what we have in the air or on the sea or on the land it will always be that foot soldier that goes one-on-one in the fight for freedom. They are the only real strategic force, the one that can see the whites of the eyes of evil. They will always carry the burden of freedom. In my heart of hearts I do not believe that our citizens will let congress withhold funds from our military. That is so insane. This congress should be ashamed to even mention that.

Yes, we are tired of four years of just never making any apparent progress. But give us a chance to win and watch our military excel. They are the greatest fighting force on the face of this earth, give them the tools of their trade and take the shackles of politics off them and they can and will do it. Old goofy Ted stood up yesterday and said our congress would not fund any war that the congress did not approve, well, guess what? They did approve this war by a large majority. It is just another political ploy to make us look ridiculous in the eyes of the world. It is exactly what Osama Bin Lama said about the Americans that we do not have the stomach for a protracted fight and we could just be worn down. I say he is wrong. I say the vote was not about the war but about the war as it would be waged. The silent majority is no dummy. We cast our vote when we don't like something, but the American people are full of patriotic zeal and we will do as Churchill said in World War II, we will fight them in fields, we will fight them in the city, we will fight in the air and on the sea, we will never give in. We will never, never give in and I SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

Virgie Bell's View

How green is John Kerry? He and his very rich wife are greener than anyone else in the whole wide world. Yesterday I found out that they have asked their 75,000 closest friends to return their Christmas cards so Mr. and Mrs. Heinz Kerry can make a carpet out of them. Next year I am going to ask all fifty on my Christmas card list to return their cards and I am going to make a belly button cover. If you think for even one minute that I am going to be left behind in a cloud of dust in Christmas card recycling, well you can think again.

No one is greener than me. I have been in trouble for years with my husband about our water bill every summer. Like Christmas card recycle, I had to start my yard in class 101. I just watered everything I saw until it was big enough to tell if it was a weed or a flower. It worked too. I had weeds that were higher than my fence. Our privacy was such that I could have sunned my self buck naked and no one would have been the wiser. Of course I didn't, because I was too busy watering. I even grew wild flowers in my alley. Aaron was over here a lot back then and he demanded that his mother plant wildflowers in their alley. He always came to my house during nutrition break (I live across the street from the high school) and we would smoke for our nutrition and walk along the alley and admire my wildflowers.

I wish he was here now to help me figure out how to make my belly button cover. Trust me, if it could be done, he would figure out the way. For years I have tried to find my little niche in society so I could write an instruction book on something and finally it has come to me. I know the first step is to buy solid color green Christmas cards and envelopes. I can’t use green ink though, so I’ll use red ink. As I am sure that Senator Kerry will use ketchup to address his 75,000. I am sure they will have the market cornered on Carpet from Christmas Cards in ten easy steps. But that will be an entirely different market. It pains me to admit that in my life I doubt I have even met 75,000 people, much less become fast friends with them. When I write my book on success I have to say this lack was because I was raised in a rural community. I am just so tired of being such an under-achiever. If the Kerry's would get off their high horse and send me a Christmas card, I would certainly return it ,even if I didn't open it. And may I say I look for green belly button covers to be the in-thing on all girls’ Christmas lists. I am so excited that I may just run for President, or maybe I can become Secretary of the Interior. You know, then I could water the USA. SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

Is He Really Our Ally?

Iraq's prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki delivers a speech during celebrations of the Iraqi Army Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Baghdad, Iraq on Saturday. President Bush calls a crackdown on Shiite militias critical to success in Iraq, but Al-Maliki has been noticeably silent. Supporting Bush's plan would mean attacking the Shiite radicals who have helped expand his Shiite dominance over much of Iraq.

Goodnight, kids!

This photo was taken while I was stationed in Panama. Aaron looks pretty cozy, huh? See the cute poster in the background? Not very Marineish of him, though he did wear my boots and BDU's all the time. He was in the 4th grade in this photo.

Aaron's best friend, Jerrod, will be here at 11:00 tomorrow night, well really, now, tonight at 11:00. For those of you who don't know Jerrod, he lives in Phoenix. Jerrod and Aaron were as close as any two people I've ever known.

Needless to say, I've cleaned house all day. uuugghh! I like the old theory of Phyllis Diller who said, "Oh, you know, it's like cleaning your house, you do it, and sure enough, you turn around six months later and have to do it all over again!"

So, I'll get back a little tighter with Guadalcanal, but I did think the stories on the Marine Captain were pretty cool.

It's been a good day for me, and I sure hope it has for all of you.

Sleep well.

and Semper Fi!

Virgie Bell's View

Well I just checked out the new trends in clothing for the coming year to find out if I happened to have anything that would qualify as trendy. The trend says no arm candy, meaning no matter how cute the pet, do not use it as a fashion accessory. Poor Tony, I had my heart set to carry him around a la Paris Hilton. Antique jewelry is hot, hot, hot, and I have a lot, lot, lot, so I am cool there. No Booties, which I wasn't going to anyway, but I liked them on Karen's mom. I also like that she still gets in there and gives it a go to look snazzy. You go girl!

And for those of us with inquiring minds, the ratings are through the roof with loud mouth Rosie on The View, so much so that even Barbra Wa-Wa is going loud-mouth herself. I have asked my husband to get us hooked up to HBO or something, or I'm going to stroke-out over my politics. It's HBO or watch Oprah, and you know her show is about man-bashing, and I don't think I have the energy to hate Jerry.

I wish American Idol would screen a little closer so we didn't have to watch so many people make such fools of themselves... It should be more like Dancing with the Stars. It was a snazzy trip from the get go.

I noticed that the Super Bowl is next month, so finally, good-bye, for a short while anyway, to the evenings husbands are glued to the tube while we set there ignored.

I keep looking outside and can hardly wait for summer to get here; and out to the yard I'll go. Got some ideas I want to try out-doors this year. I really love the time that things just start to bloom and first peek through the soil. It is like God says, "Here I Am.... See!" SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

WWII Brief: Life Goes on a Marine Ace's Honeymoon

Marion Carl, who shot down 16 Jap planes at Guadalcanal, takes his New York bride home to Oregon for a visit

Last October Marion Carl, 26-year-old-Marine captain with the "Fighting 23" (LIFE, Dec. 7) brought down his sixteenth Jap plane in the Solomons. A few weeks later he was back in the U.S. addressing Grumman aircraft workers with Major John Smith, his squadron leader. At a party afterward he met Edna Kirvin, a Powers model who had come to help entertain the boys.

She and Marion liked each other from the start. After they had spent several days together seeing New York, Marion asked her to marry him.

Edna thought they ought to wait, and Marion flew on home to Oregon. But in a few days he reappeared at Edna's home in Brooklyn to ask her again, and next time he went West Edna was with him, and she was Mrs. Carl.

Top: Mrs. Carl brings out family photos and Edna (center) studies pictures of Marion as a boy on the farm. Marion's brother Manton and his wife are at right.

Bottom left: Edna's first motorcycle ride is part of introduction to the farm. Manton, Marion's younger brother, who is a first lieutenant in the Army, is driving. He and Irene (left) were married seven months ago.

Bottom Right: Learning to shoot a .22 is another "first" for Edna. Marion and Manton showed her how, but she didn't like it, shuddered when Marion later took pot shots around farm
Life November 30, 1942

WWII Brief: Marine Captain Marion Carl and 'The Little Woman' they happened to be sitting a few weeks ago, dreamy-eyed, on the front porch of Marion's farm home near Hubbard. It was the last day of their eleven-day honeymoon, half of which Marion had spent traveling over the state on a bond-selling tour....

Life November 30, 1942


(The Little Woman is what Greg calls me.... :)

We've got to have a little of the mushy stuff, too. After all, love and war!


Marion Carl lived to be 82 years old, and then a shocking thing you know? Click here for the rest of Marion Carl's story.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Photo of a Day in 2003

Goodnight kids, and Semper Fi

The Brotherhood of Gunners

Among the class of Warrior that have come to be known as Machine Gunners there is an unspoken bond. The men who dominate broad sweeping tracks of land in a foreign world have a legacy that reaches back as far as recorded history. You are taught that having that different weapon is going to make life difficult. You may not believe it until the rounds or arrows or sappers seem to focus only on you amidst all of the other warm souls in your area, but that is our cross to bear. The generations gave us our legacy.......Mitchell Paige, John Basilone, Ted Eleston, Winn Scott, Al Schmidt, Robert Camarillo, Jack Hanson, Al McLaughlin and a handful of others. To this we can quite easily add the names of todays Machine Gunners. One thing I have learned in my years as a Chieftain of this Tribe of Myrmidons is that we believe furiously in what we do. When the smell of burning powder from a freshly shot belt enters our nostrils, when we huddle close in our support by fire position watching with vicious intent as our enemy approaches oblivious to our presence and thinks that they are safe in the darkness. Little do the foul enemies realize..........For those fleeting moments that they rest and move with the intent to harm our flock.......WE ARE DARKNESS! We sacrifice that little bit of ourselves to keep our brothers safe. One truth every war-fighter comes to realize is that in this world, despite pop-culture and the trivial concerns of the day, there are evil men and there are wolves in the shadows. It is admirable to be the shepard, it is even admirable to be perfoming ones duty as part of the flock, but it falls to some to be the wolf-hound, and we will always bear that burden so that others may not have to.

I leave you with a Medal of Honor citation for a soldier by the name of Jack G. Hanson, who was an Army Machine Gunner in Korea. He is most certainly a Brother-of-the-Sword and he is one of those pillars that I have drawn my drive from-

Jack G. Hanson
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company F, 31st Infantry Regiment. Place and date: Near Pachi-dong, Korea, 7 June 1951.

Entered service at: Galveston, Tex. Born: 18 September 1930, Escaptawpa, Miss. G.O. No.: 15, 1 February 1952. Citation: Pfc. Hanson, a machine gunner with the 1st Platoon, Company F, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. The company, in defensive positions on two strategic hills separated by a wide saddle, was ruthlessly attacked at approximately 0300 hours, the brunt of which centered on the approach to the divide within range of Pfc. Hanson's machine gun. In the initial phase of the action, 4 riflemen were wounded and evacuated and the numerically superior enemy, advancing under cover of darkness, infiltrated and posed an imminent threat to the security of the command post and weapons platoon. Upon orders to move to key terrain above and to the right of Pfc. Hanson's position, he voluntarily remained to provide protective fire for the withdrawal. Subsequent to the retiring elements fighting a rearguard action to the new location, it was learned that Pfc. Hanson's assistant gunner and 3 riflemen had been wounded and had crawled to safety, and that he was maintaining a lone-man defense. After the 1st Platoon reorganized, counterattacked, and resecured its original positions at approximately 0530 hours, Pfc. Hanson's body was found lying in front of his emplacement, his machine gun ammunition expended, his empty pistol in his right hand, and a machete with blood on the blade in his left hand, and approximately 22 enemy dead lay in the wake of his action. Pfc. Hanson's consummate valor, inspirational conduct, and willing self-sacrifice enabled the company to contain the enemy and regain the commanding ground, and reflect lasting glory on himself and the noble traditions of the military service.

We Simply Will NOT Quit......If one more of our flock may be spared.

Semper Fidelis

Medal Of Honor

Deb Dunham, center, the mother of Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham of Scio, N.Y., wipes a tear away after President Bush presented her with the Medal of Honor during a ceremony for her son at the White House today. Dunham fell on a hand grenade in Iraq two years ago, giving his life to save comrades. From left are his father, Dan Dunham, brother, Kyle Dunham, Deb Dunham, brother Justin Dunham and the president. (Ron Edmonds)

Remembering Their Brother

U.S. Marines watch as President Bush's helicopter, Marine One, lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House today as he headed to Fort Benning. The Marines were at the White House for a posthumous Medal of Honor ceremony for Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham of Scio, N.Y., who died in Iraq. (J. Scott Applewhite)

Always Honor

As other members of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment line up to pay their respects, Spc. John Andrew Matt III salutes the names on the memorial to the fallen soldiers of the unit during a rededication ceremony at Fort Hood today. The unit moved from Fort Carson, Colo., to Fort Hood in 2006, bringing the memorial wall with them. (Steve Traynor / Killeen Daily Herald)

Docs Duty: Were the Medics You Train Involved in this in any way?

KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO on Thursday said as many as 150 insurgents were killed in a battle in eastern Afghanistan after two large groups of fighters crossed the border from Pakistan.

The fighters, who had crossed over into Paktika province, were hit by ground fire and airstrikes, NATO said. Gen. Murad Ali, the Afghan army regional deputy corps commander. He said the insurgents had come with several trucks of ammunition.

Click here for's World page.
A NATO statement said that "initial battle damage estimates" indicated that as many as 150 fighters were killed. Ali said more than 50 fighters were killed. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, estimated the toll at 80.

It was not clear why there was such a disparity in the estimates. Independent confirmation of the death toll was not immediately possible.

Go Afghanistan!

NATO: 'As many as 150' Afghan militants killed
Insurgents crossed Pakistan border with ammunition, commander says

Rafiq Maqbool / AP
A helicopter from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force patrols the sky over Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday.

Docs Duty: The Ache of Love

Sgt Major Skiles, Sgt. Rettenberger, Doc Duty, and me. After the Silver Star ceremony. My love and gratitude will always remain with the three of you.

Today's meditation is dedicated to us, and to others like us. Survivors.

The word is full of meaning.

I can't thank you all enough for your prayers. I have felt much better today and it sounds as if Sgt Rett is good to go himself.

We needed you guys, and you were there for us.

Semper Fi,



January 11

CRY unto Me, and I will hear you and bless you. Use My unlimited stores for your needs and those of others. Seek My wonderful truths and you shall find.

There may come times when you sit in silence, when it seems as if you were left alone. Then, I command--command--you to remember I have spoken to you, as I spoke at Emmaus.

But there was the time in the Upper Room, after My Ascension, when My disciples had to comfort themselves by saying, "Did He not speak to us by the way?"

You will have the consciousness of My Presence when you hear no voice. Abide in that Presence. "I am the light of the world," but sometimes in tender pity, I withhold too glaring a light, lest in its dazzling brightness, you should miss your daily path and work.

Not until Heaven is reached, do souls sit and drink in the ecstasy of God's revelation to His Own. At the moment you are pilgrims and need only your daily marching orders, and strength and guidance for the day.

Oh! Listen to My Voice, eagerly, joyfully. Never crowd it out. I have no rival claimants and if men seek the babble of the world, then I withdraw.

Life has hurt you. Only scarred lives can really save

You cannot escape the discipline. It is the hallmark of discipleship. My children, trust Me always. Never rebel.

The trust given to Me to-day, takes away the ache of rejection of My love, that I suffered on earth, and have suffered through the ages. "I died for you, My children, and could you treat Me so?"

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

Caduceus: The HM Rating Symbol

In July 2005, the Hospital Corpsman "A" school began instructing students in dental medicine, and effective 01 October 2005 the Dentalman (DT) rating was merged with the Hospital Corpsman rating. Former Dentalmen may opt to continue to wear the DT rating insignia on their uniform until 01 October 2007 at which time they must begin wearing the HM rating insignia. Sailors in both ratings are required to complete "difference training" which will familiarize them with the specifics of the other rating.
  • Did you have to complete difference training, Doc Duty?
  • How much "difference training" is there, and why did they decide to combine them, I wonder. Dentistry seems so different than medicine.


A caduceus (/kəˈduːsiəs/, -ʃəs, -ˈdjuː-; kerykeion in Greek; Unicode U+2624 (☤) on the Miscellaneous Symbols table) is a winged staff with two snakes wrapped around it. It was an ancient astrological symbol of commerce and is associated with the Greek god Hermes the messenger for the gods, conductor of the dead and protector of merchants and thieves. It was originally a herald's staff, sometimes with wings, with two white ribbons attached. The ribbons eventually evolved into snakes.

The symbol's origins are thought to date to as early as
2600 BC in Mesopotamia, and there are several references to a caduceus-like symbol in the Bible, namely in Numbers 21:4–9, and 2 Kings 18:4. During the Exodus, Moses was instructed by God to fashion a pole upon which he was to position a serpent made of bronze; when looked upon, this Nehushtan, as it was called in Hebrew, would spare the lives of the Israelites

stricken by venomous snake bites. The intent was that people would look upward and be reminded to pray to God, but eventually the meaning was forgotten and this symbol was apparently worshiped by the Hebrew people until the reign of Hezekiah as described in 2 Kings 18:4.


Corpsman listed POW/MIA

Only one flag besides the Stars and Stripes that represents the United States has ever flown over the White House in Washington, DC. Only one flag is ever displayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. That flag is not one that represents an individual state, branch of service, or other select group. It is the POW/MIA (Prisoners of War/Missing In Action) Flag that calls to mind the sacrifice and plight of those Americans who have sacrificed their own freedom, to preserve liberty for all of us. It's presence serves to remind us that, while we enjoy the privileges of freedom, somewhere there are soldiers who have not been accounted for and may, in fact, be held against their will by the enemies of Freedom.

Ten Hospital Corpsman have not been accounted during the Vietnam Conflict. Originally twelve, the two Corpsman whose remains were identified are Hospitalman Ronald James Manning, USN (Oct, 2000), and Hospital Corpsman Third Class Malcolm Thomas Millter, USN (Apr, 2005).

Hospital Corpsman Third Class, Peter Robert Bossman, USN
Hospitalman Donald Chester Dean, USN
Hospital Corpsman Third Class Manuel Reyes Denton, USN
Hospital Corpsman Third Class Roy Gillman Fowler, USNR
Hospital Corpsman Third Class John Henry Garner, USN
Hospital Corpsman First Class Bernard Gause, Jr., USN
Hospital Corpsman Third Class Michael Barry Judd, USN
Hospital Corpsman Second Class Michael Louis LaPorte, USN
Hospitalman James Patrick McGrath, USN
Hospital Corpsman First Class Thomas Aquinas Parker, USN


Hospital Corpsman Second Class David R. Ray

Photo #: USN 1143378-A
David R. Ray
Image cropped from a group photograph.Hospital Corpsman Second Class David R. Ray was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for heroism while serving in the Republic of Vietnam.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph
Hospital Corpsman Second Class David R. Ray, United States Navy

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a corpsman with Battery D, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, at Phu Loc 6, near An Hoa, Quang Nam Province, in the Republic of Vietnam, on 19 March 1969. During the early morning hours, an estimated battalion-sized enemy force launched a determined assault against the Battery's position, and succeeded in effecting a penetration of the barbed-wire perimeter. The initial burst of enemy fire caused numerous casualties among the Marines who had immediately manned their howitzers during the rocket and mortar attack. Undaunted by the intense hostile fire, Petty Officer Ray moved from parapet to parapet, rendering emergency medical treatment to the wounded. Although seriously wounded himself while administering first aid to a Marine casualty, he refused medical aid and continued his life saving efforts. While he was bandaging and attempting to comfort another wounded Marine, Petty Officer Ray was forced to battle two enemy soldiers who attacked his position, personally killing one and wounding the other. Rapidly losing his strength as a result of his own severe wounds, he nonetheless managed to move through the hail of enemy fire to other casualties. Once again, he was faced with the intense fire of oncoming enemy troops and, despite the grave personal danger and insurmountable odds, succeeded in treating the wounded and holding off the enemy until he ran out of ammunition, at which time he sustained fatal wounds. Petty Officer Ray's final act of heroism was to protect the patient he was treating. He threw himself upon the wounded Marine, thus saving the man's life when an enemy grenade exploded nearby. By his determined and persevering actions, courageous spirit, and selfless devotion to the welfare of his Marine comrades, Petty Officer Ray served to inspire the men of Battery D to heroic efforts in defeating the enemy. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Thank you, Doc Ray,
When I look at your picture, it amazes me that someone who looks so young, so small, would provide such a fierce act of bravery, such a commitment to oath, to Marines. Years later, your act of heroism still touches lives.
God bless your family,

US Navy Enlisted Medical Personnel Killed in Action

Civil War (1861-1865), 6
USS Maine (1898), 3
World War I (1917-1918), 20
Nicaragua (1932), 1
World War II (1941-1945), 1,170
Korea (1950-1954), 108
Dominican Republic (1965), 1
Vietnam (1962-1975), 638
Beirut, (1983), 15
Total, 1,962

War on Terror:

I counted thirteen from Iraq, but I'm not sure about this. Does anyone know? Have we lost any Corpsmen in Afghanistan?

Ships Named in Honor of Hospital Corpsmen

Reference: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

USS Caron (DD-970)

USS David R . Ray (DD-971)

USS Valdez (FF-1096)

USS Benfold (DDG-65)

USS De Wert (FFG-45)

USS Francis Hammond (FF-1067)

USS Daniel A Joy (DE 585)

USS Don O Woods (APD-118)

USS Durant (DER-389) *Also sailed as USCGC Durant

USS Frament (APD-77)

USS Jobb (DE-707)

USS Liddle (DE-206)

USS Thaddeus Parker (DE-369)

USS Walter C. Wann (DE-412)

USS Henry W. Tucker (DD-875)

USS Jack Williams (FFG-24)

USS John Willis (DE-1027)

USS Lester (DE-1022)

USS Halyburton (FFG-40)

USS Litchfield (AG-95)

**Does anyone know the requirements that must be in place to have a ship carry your name? Who makes those decisions?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Virgie Bell's View

Don’t you just love it when one minority tees off another minority and when it blows up in the face of the newly elected majority in our capital? I promise you if I could have written a script for the latest little tizzy among the top elites, I couldn't have come up with anything better for a screenplay. It took me right back to when Ross Perot was running for president. I went to a little league ball game and had a neighbor tape a speech I wouldn’t miss by Mr. Perot. Well people, let me tell you, I have taped only one show in sixteen years. I mean, he had my hopes up through the roof and all the new buzz was everywhere. Bumper stickers and signs were everywhere, and my heart leapt with fervor that I hadn't felt since I lived with my mother and daddy. Well Mr. Perot ruined the whole thing when he had a gathering of black voters and he called them "you people" and the black voters walked out on him. I was as stunned as Mr. Perot. I have tried not to use the title you people again in my life. I now say we the people, but I am the first to admit my conversation is sadly lacking. I can say white trash until I am blue in the face because you see, I am white trash. I am also a redneck and I knew Mr. Perot was a redneck.

It is really just better to stay home and read until you end up finishing The DaVinci Code and come to the end only to ask God to forgive you because you have been blasphemous (maybe) by reading this book (because you had studied art in college and thought he was an artist.) I am reading one right now and I am jittery about this one. Several times I have tried to ask God to lead me, but anyway, you get my meaning. It is getting to the point I can almost understand Cindy Sheehan with her porn habit. I never thought I would pray my way through a novel but I am there. I noticed that the Da Vinci Code was the biggest best seller in years, and I have looked at the best seller list and been ashamed that I helped.

But anyway, Barney Frank, the openly gay congressman tried to take advantage of Hurricane Katrina and said that the republican majority took advantage of that catastrophe and used the opportunity to try to wipe out the black population. Well the black caucus in D.C. is throwing a hissy fit because they say Barney Frank is a racist. In a way it is so refreshing that these two minorities are duking it out and I don't have a dog in this race. Oh thank you God I am finally neutral. I don’t know what the NAACP will do about this. Two sides, two issues, two rights, and two wrongs. I mean don't you just love it? And we are hot on the trail of Sandy Berger I see, and I do have a dog in that race, and I love playing gotya. And just so all my beloved readers will know, I am right on the trail of the latest Prince William’s bride-to-be and the paparazzi. Finally, off of dull boring Prince Charles and Camilla. You know, this may not be such a bad year after all...SUPPORT THE TROOPS

Osama Passes On

After getting nailed by a Daisy Cutter, Osama made his way to the pearly gates. There, he is greeted by George Washington.

"How dare you attack the nation I helped conceive!" yells Mr Washington, slapping Osama in the face.

Patrick Henry comes up from behind. "You wanted to end the Americans' liberty, so they gave you death!" Henry punches Osama on the nose.

James Madison comes up next, and says "This is why I allowed the Federal government to provide for the common defense!" He drops a large weight on Osama's knee.

Osama is subject to similar beatings from John Randolph of Roanoke, James Monroe, and 65 other people who have the same love for liberty and America. As he writhes on the ground, Thomas Jefferson picks him up to hurl him back toward the gate where he is to be judged. As Osama awaits his journey to his final very hot destination, he screams "This is not what I was promised!"

An angel replies " What did you think I said? I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you."

President Bush's Speech Tonight

Don't forget to watch President Bush's speech tonight when he will announce a revised strategy for the war in Iraq, The plan includes sending 21,500 more troops to Iraq. A breakdown of the addition troops includes:

* Committing 17,500 U.S. combat troops to Baghdad. The first of five brigades will arrive by next Monday. The next is to arrive by Feb. 15 and the reminder will go in 30-day increments.

* The president is committing 4,000 more Marines to Anbar Province, a base of the Sunni insurgency and foreign al-Qaida fighters.

*The Iraqis are committing three brigades for Baghdad, the first to be delivered on Feb. 1. Two more will arrive on Feb. 15th.

We Honor Sgt. Justin Rettenberger

So many Americans take their freedom for granted. Perhaps they believe that the liberties we enjoy as free Americans are showered upon them, flowing from inexhaustible source that never needs attention. They're so wrong.

Sgt. Justin Rettenberger left a message on Aaron's page at fallenheroes, a message that haunts every American who values the men and women who serve to keep the United States free. Sgt. Rett was with Aaron when he was killed in Iraq, and he's now a Marine recruiter. He writes about the parents of potential recruits who have cursed him for attempting to offer an American the priviledge of serving his country.

I can understand that parents want to cling to their children and are reluctant to send them in harm's way. I can understand a parent fearing the nightmare of being informed that their son or daughter has been killed. I can't, though, understand abusing a Marine recruiter, one who has fought valiantly for his country. I can't understand insulting a member of the same military whose sacrifices enable those parents to spit out their vituperations. How dare they.

How dare anyone curse a member of the U.S. military. The men and women who fight for us, defend us, aren't infallible, and they're certainly not perfect. But they deserve, they have earned, our respect. Sgt. Rettenberger is a hero, a man to be honored for his bravery and dedication to his country and his Marine brothers. He doesn't deserve to be cursed.

Recruiters have a difficult job, and the waning support for the war in Iraq isn't helping them to encourage men and women to serve their country. But you know what? The recruiters' job shouldn't be so difficult. If all parents would teach their children from infancy that our American liberties come at a cost and that it is a privilege to serve their country, then there wouldn't be any difficulty for the military to fill its ranks. Instead, children are taught to take the men and women who defend us for granted. They're taught that our American freedom is cheap.

And it's not.

From One Generation To Another

Soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade, from left, Matt Maderia, Rick Napier and Stephen Gautchi, greet World War II veteran Al Chill of Guymon, Okla., during a reception in Guymon.

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

Vietnam Veteran Aleida Sharp, a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, stands with an American flag during funeral services today for Army Pvt. David E. Diertich, 21, of Marysville, Pa.

Diertich, of Marysville, was killed last week in Iraq. (AP Photo)

Alligator Shoes

An Army Ranger was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana and he wanted a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking.

After becoming very frustrated with the "no haggle" attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the Ranger shouted, "Maybe I'll just go out and get my own alligator so I can get a pair of shoes made at a reasonable price!"

The vendor said, "By all means, be my guest. Maybe you will run into a couple of Marines who were in here earlier saying the same thing."

So the Ranger headed into the bayou that same day and a few hours later came upon two men standing waist deep in the water. He thought, "those must be the two Marines the guy in town was talking about."

Just then, the Ranger saw a tremendously long gator swimming rapidly underwater towards one of the Marines.

Just as the gator was about to attack, the Marine grabbed its neck with both hands and strangled it to death with very little effort. Then both Marines dragged it on shore and flipped it on its back. Laying nearby were several more of the creatures.

One of the Marines then exclaimed, "Darn, this one doesn't have any shoes either!"

Love Letters From WWII Returned

Lynn Ashton, left, sits with Terri and Howard Smith recently in Monroe, Mich. Antiques dealer Terri Smith paid $27.50 for a cardboard suitcase at a Toledo auction and found it stuffed with about 500 letters that Charles Ashton wrote to his wife, Ruthie, during World War II. Smith tracked down Ashton, one of Charles and Ruthie's two sons, and arranged to meet him to return the letters. (AP Photo)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Photo of the Day

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Semper Fi
Hey everybody,

I just don't have what it takes tonight. I hope you'll forgive me and come back tomorrow. It's been a rough one for me last night and today.

I appreciate any prayers and I will be fine. So not to worry.

Also, please keep Sgt. Rett in your prayers. He left a heart-wrenching message on Aaron's message board at Fallen Heroes. I'll never get used to "my boys" hurting, and I'll sure never get used to others being ugly to them.

Take care and I'll be back tomorrow.

Semper Fi,

January 9

Meditation for the Day

I will have faith, no matter what may befall me. I will be patient, even in the midst of troubles. I will not fear the strain of life, because I believe that God knows just what I can bear. I will look to the future with confidence. I know that God will not ask me to bear anything that could overcome or destroy me.

from Twenty-Four Hours a Day.

Goodnight, kids.
Semper Fi

To Be ... 2 of my favorite photos of Rich

LT Richard Windham, USNR ...
Covered ...

Without cover

To Be ... the host of the navy's top officer and enlisted

By LCDR Michelle Breaux, NMCB 22
Photos by LCPL Sheila Brooks, 2nd Marine Air Wing (shown in post below)

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWENTY-TWO (NMCB 22) recently hosted the navy’s top officer and enlisted, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chief of Naval Operations and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Terry Scott on their visit to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.

In a whirlwind tour around Iraq, Admiral Mullen visited many sailors supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. His stop in Al Asad included a site visit of the runway repair project, an all hands call and an impromptu visit with some Seabees wounded by an IED.

Mullen had many great things to say about the Seabees efforts, “The things you are doing here are important. We are helping to take some of the strain of off the army and the marines.”

Steelworker Third Class Christopher Moran of NMCB 133, one of the wounded Seabees Mullen visited said, “At the hospital they told us that the CNO was going to come by but I didn’t think he would actually come by to see us but we’ve got a picture so I guess people will believe us.” When asked about the coins he and his fellow Seabee, Engineering Aide Constructionman James Cannon received from the CNO and the MCPON, he said, “They were really cool. I’ve never got a coin before and now I have two.”

Admiral Mullen flew from Al Asad to visit other Navy units at various locations. His final stop was “the moon,” a dusty combat outpost being built by Seabees for the Iraqi Security Forces. The nickname comes from the talcum powder-like sand, which they call moondust, that covers the plot of desert they are building a camp on.

LT Richard Windham, the OIC of the project gave Mullen and Scott a situational brief on the important construction project they are working on. He then briefly toured the immense camp that was little more than dust in the wind a mere two months ago. Mullen and Scott then joined Seabees and Army Engineers in a tent for lunch. The only indication that it was a VIP lunch were the cans of soda not normally present for the troops 3 a day MRE meals. Mullen and Scott enjoyed the company and the lunch, although they were not completely familiar with the ins and outs of eating MRE’s, but, of course, the Seabees gave them directions.

This was written by Rich's XO. She's the one that kept in touch with Karen when Richard couldn't. Thank you LCDR Breaux.

To Be ... the pictorial visit of Admiral Mullen

LCDR Mike Read, LT Richard Windham and Admiral Mullen traipse through the moon dust at a combat outpost in western Iraq.
Admiral Mullen addressing the troops at an all hands call in Al Asad, Iraq.
UT2 Richard Hendrix, explains the MRE heater to Admiral Mullen, as BU3 Jeff Cox enjoys his lunch.
Admiral Mullen discusses the Al Asad runway project with SW2 Christopher Green and EO1 Donald Bradford
What did you think of Admiral Mullen, Rich?

To Be ... linked.

Some links you might enjoy:

Double Deuce selection

Seabee Shopping for Cadet Karen

Song of the Seabees (I'd go ahead and turn my volume down a little bit if I were you! or at least make sure no one else in your house is sleeping.)

Has anyone seen this movie with John Wayne and Susan Hayward?

To Be ... Chief of Naval Operations

A native of Los Angeles, Calif., Admiral Mullen graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968. He has served in Allied, Joint and Navy positions, overseas and in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.

As a junior officer, he served in various leadership positions aboard USS Collett (DD 730), USS Blandy (DD 943), USS Fox (CG 33) and USS Sterett (CG 31). Adm. Mullen commanded three ships: USS Noxubee (AOG 56), USS Goldsborough (DDG 20), and USS Yorktown (CG 48). As a Flag Officer, he commanded Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two and the George Washington Battle Group. Adm. Mullen's last command at sea was as Commander, U.S. Second Fleet/Commander, NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic.

Ashore, Adm. Mullen served as Company Officer and Executive Assistant to the Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. He also served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel as Director, Surface Officer Distribution and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense on the staff of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation. On the Chief of Naval Operations' staff, Adm. Mullen served as Deputy Director and Director of Surface Warfare; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Requirements, and Assessments (N8); and as the 32nd Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

Adm. Mullen graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., with a Master of Science degree in Operations Research. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

Adm. Mullen's last operational assignment was Commander, Joint Force Command Naples/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe. Based in Naples, Italy, he had operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq, and the Mediterranean as well as providing overall command, operational control, and coordination of U.S. naval forces in the European Command area of responsibility.

Admiral Mullen became the 28th Chief of Naval Operations on July 22, 2005.

Copied from Source

Sub Fender Bender

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine collided with a Japanese oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world's oil supplies travel, officials said.

No one was hurt in the accident that happened Monday night in the 34-mile wide straits, which are bordered by Iran and Oman and serve as the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

Damage to the fast-attack USS Newport News submarine and the supertanker was light and there was no resulting spill of oil or leakage of nuclear fuel, officials from the U.S. Navy and the Japanese government said.

Both ships remained able to navigate, Navy officials said.

The bow of the submarine was traveling submerged when it hit the stern of the supertanker Mogamigawa as the vessels were passing through the Straits, causing minor damage to the Japanese vessel, the U.S. Navy and Japan's Foreign Ministry said. The Japanese government said it was informed of the crash by the Navy and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

The tanker, operated by Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., was able to continue to a nearby port in the United Arab Emirates, the statement said.

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Monday, January 08, 2007