Saturday, February 24, 2007

Docs Duty: Major Bea writes to supporters ...

This email was sent to Doc Duty. He was good enough to forward it to me (since I'm always asking!). The photos show all the "extra" ways our troops serve.

I've asked Doc Duty to get me the address of OPERATION OUTREACH.

We'll let the Major speak.



Every once in a while you are blessed with the ability to make a difference and do something extraordinary. Today the TMC at Camp Phoenix had the opportunity to make a difference in a young boy’s life. Funding from Operation Outreach, your donations of clothing and the staff at TMC Phoenix made today’s heart-wrenching event a rewarding memory.

Homad is a 2 y. o. boy who somehow got up into a burn barrel and couldn’t get out. He was treated by the local hospital and monitored for two weeks. They couldn't do anymore for him and therefore he was released. The father was concerned that he wasn't getting the care he needed and showed up at our front gate. Our medics took one look at him and immediately brought him to the TMC. Homad was given some pain medicine and his burns were treated and wrapped. We all put our heads together and worked out a way to get him to the Cure Hospital in Kabul for their Burn Treatment Center. Homad was given some socks for when he is better and a sweatshirt to keep him warm. We were able to arrange for a taxi to take him to the Cure Hospital after his ambulance ride to the front gate.

These pictures will break your heart as they did everyone involved, they are graphic but do tell a story that is improving thanks to you. Your donations, support of the troops, and all of the clothing have once again worked miracles.

On behalf of the Camp Phoenix TMC and TF Phoenix, Thank you, Maj. Bea

Docs Duty: Meet Homad

Look at those eyes!

Docs Duty: His leg, bless his heart ...

Docs Duty

Docs Duty: Father and Son

and is that U.S. Army?

Docs Duty: Bandaged Up

Docs Duty: Homad and is that the Major?

Doc Duty, is that you standing with your hand on your hip?

Docs Duty: Because of Camp Phoenix TMC and TF Phoenix

... Hope

Thank you so much, Docs and Medics the world over. I'm so glad this man loved his son so much and brought him to all of you.

It's like a story out of the Bible. Thank you for sharing it with Gunz Up.

Coming In and Coming Up

Karen's test pieces are coming in like crazy! What a student!

I haven't looked at her test yet, but I will tonight.

I haven't heard anything from Steve today. When I do, I'll let everyone know. I believe he feels pretty bad. I don't doubt for a second that that's the case. He has a nice place to stay and has his two dogs. I will go and see him when he feels more like having some company.

VB has a post in to me and I've got several I want to do. Doc Duty sent me some pictures today that I want to share. People, we've got such great troops. They never cease to amaze me. Our troops and our vets are the best people in the world. And so are the people who raised them. Thank you.

Later Gator,
I'm not Virgie; my name is De'on, but I see I've posted under her name all over the Panama place tonight.

It's late. Kayla is spending the night with me. She's on the couch with Hen and Aaron's pillow. Hen is breathing hard and it is warm in here with the fire and all.

I'm about to crash on the love seat across from them.

Maybe Steve will be better for the next couple of days since it's the weekend and that means no treatments. I sure miss him.

So, what's up with Walter Reed's outpatient care?

Well, just leave your password in the comments section and maybe tomorrow I can post under your name. :)

Love and nighty-night,


A helicopter is unloaded from a transport aircraft in a massive airlift from bases in the United States to augment the already formidable armaments available on U.S. bases in Panamanian territory.

The Enemy Within: Casting Out Panama's Demon. Copyright 1990. Focus Publications, El Dorado.

FEMALE ON THE FLOOR! The storming of Panama *2

Where we left off …

It was a complex operation involving airborne and air-assault troops from the States linking up in the hours of darkness with on-the-ground armoured, light infantry and special operations units. More than 3,000 men parachuted in—the biggest combat drop since World War II. The time of the assault, designated “H—hour”, was set at 1 a.m. on December 20 but was brought forward half an hour at the last moment for fear that troop movements might alert the PDF. Shortly before H-hour, U.S. commandos apparently went in on a covert operation to try to kidnap Noriega but their mission failed … he was not where they thought he would be.

During Tuesday afternoon [19th], Military Airlift Command began moving troops from six bases in the U.S. The transport aircraft gathered in a giant rendezvous pattern over the Gulf of Mexico, many being refueled to enable them to continue to Panama. They were to co-ordinate with the ground operation on five main fronts, designated Task Force Bayonet, Task Force Red, Task Force Pacific, Task Force Atlantic and Task Force Semper Fidelis.

Leading the attack was Task Force Bayonet, composed of two Panama-based infantry battalions, the 1-508th [this Airborne unit was right across the street from us.] and the 5-87th plus the 4-6th Infantry from Fort Polk, the 519th MP Battalion from Fort Meade and an 82nd Airborne armour platoon. They were assigned to the central canal area and their mission was two-fold: to capture the Comandancia, the headquarters of the Panama Defense Forces in Panama City and base of the 4th Infantry Co.(Urraca) and to secure the central canal area including Balboa and Ancon. This also included Fort Amador a former U.S. military installation shared, since the 1979 implementation of the Torrijos Carter Canal treaties, by the Panama Defense Forces.

Sheridan tanks and M 113 armoured personnel carriers rolled into the narrow streets of the district of Chorillo, a densely-populated and generally poor residential neighbourhood surrounding the comandancia in what was to have been a swift and decisive assault. The Comandancia made a difficult enough objective, but matters were made impossible for the quick conclusion which the Americans hoped for, by the fact that unexpected and fierce resistence was met from cadres of Dignity Battalion members and possibly PDF groups which had spread out from the Comandancia at the approach of the Americans and into houses and commercial buildings throughout the area.

The pre-determined technique of the U.S. forces to use loudspeakers or “bull horns” to urge the besieged groups to surrender, was not fully effective. Task Force Bayonet had to use its crushing fire power. Supported by Apache assault helicopters and C131 Spectre gunships with sophisticated infra-red targeting equipment, the task force pounded the area all night.

Fires began in the streets of houses, the majority built of wood and dating back to Canal construction days at the beginning of the century. The area became an inferno casting an orange glow over the whole city.

At daybreak, as American troops entered the now-empty Comandancia an enormous pall of smoke rose over the city and an area of over 50 acres had been reduced to heaps of rubble. Eye witnesses said that some of the fires were set by members of the Dignity Battalions.

Another element of Task Force Bayonet had an easier task in blocking the PDFs 5th Infantry Co. (nick-named “Los Cholos-Victoriano Lorenzo”) stationed at Fort Amador. Soldiers from the 193rd Brigade’s 1-508th quickly neutralized the company after attacking their barracks with 105 mm howitzer and M 60 machine gun fire, although sporadic fighting continued into the second day.

Meanwhile Marines had secured the Bridge of the Americas which spans the canal at its Pacific entrance and brings the Pan American of the Highway into Panama City from the Western Provinces.

In another operation nearby, a covert unit of Navy SEALS from Little Creek, Va. moved in to secure downtown Paitilla Airport, home base of most of Panama’s light aircraft including Noriega’s Lear Jet which could have been used for an escape. The SEALS made a seaborne approach onto the end of runway 35 which is close to the beach. They used the loudspeaker technique as they advanced down the runway and spread out through the hangars which line it on either side. They called on the PDF guards to surrender but were met with a hail of fire and four SEALS lay dead before the airport was captured in fierce fighting.

The gigantic airlift was the key factor in Operation Just Cause. Nearly 3,400 soldiers, Rangers from Regimental headquarters and the 1st 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 75th Infantry Rgt., paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Div and other Special Operations Command Units, parachuted into Panama to spearhead the assault on Noriega’s army.

On December 17th the Joint Chiefs of Staff had ordered Lt. Gen Carl W. Stiner, XVIII Airborne Corps commander to alert specified units. Stiner, who became commander of Joint Task Force South in Panama, alerted Major Gen. James H. Johnson, commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Div to alert the 82’s 1st Brigade.

Within hours, scores of Air Force cargo planes began landing at Pope Air Force Base, adjacent to Fort Bragg, N.C. The following day, 2,200 troopers moved in to the base and on Tuesday December 19th the fully combat-ready soldiers boarded 20 C-141 Starlifters. At 9:30 p.m.—after an ice storm had caused an hour’s delay—the jets began to take off from the 28f temperatures of Fort Bragg destined for a drop into the soft tropical night of Panama.

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

to be continued....

Jones, Kenneth J., The Enemy Within: Casting Out Panama's Demon Copyright 1990 Focus Publications, El Dorado.


Top left: A crewman loads a shell into the breech of the howitzer.

Top right: Another of the gunship's armaments was the "Rapid Fire" 40 mm cannon, which a gunner is seen loading.


This U.S. Airforce AC 130 gunship was the deadly weapon which made it possible to finish the "war" almost before it began. Called "Specter"; the specially adapted plane, equipped with sophisticated infra red detection and targetting devices, inflicted much of the initial heavy damage.

The Specter gunship on the ground at Howard Air Force Base, displays its 150 mm howitzer.

Copyright 1990. Focus Publications, El Dorado.

Friday, February 23, 2007


If I had known then what I know now, I’d have asked many more questions. But this was my first war, and I basically just did what they told me.

My NCOIC, we’ll call him SFC Grover, was an E-7 nearing retirement. He was a good ole boy who let me know right off that my main mission would be “coffee.” He said it was because I made such good coffee. Pulleezzz. It was a freaking coffee maker with a measuring spoon.

He also had me ride shotgun with him on every turn. I can’t even remember if I was locked and loaded with the safety in place. I do remember picking up huge crates of rounds and scores of cases of MREs from Ft. Clayton, which was located across the Bridge of the Americas. I also recall dropping them off at places unknown to me. I’d just gotten there!

SFC Grover was an all-out creep with red hair and a nasty temper. I had no job during that time. I was a soldier without any real mission or purpose other than to sleep in uniform and eat MREs (we did get C-rations or something in the chow hall on Christmas Day.) In between those times I rode with SFC Grover, pulled guard duty outside the section door, wrote letters, things like that. I don’t know if it was bad timing in my arrival there or just the culture of the place at that time. No doubt, part of the ‘tude was mine. I had been used to things being a bit different. I’d worked as a civilian for fifteen years and I’d worked hard at WRAIR. Now here I was stuck in the heat with people I’d hardly met, in a very full uniform and with my face breaking out like I’d just entered puberty. The sand fleas were eating me alive and bats made their appearance regularly. It turned out I was highly sensitive to the sand fleas and I can’t bear to itch. No Benadryl, no Lipton Tea, save for the one tiny PX near the Replacement Center; the beloved building 519. Every problem or benefit that awaited the soldiers in and near Ft. Clayton was born or killed in building 519.

But their tiny PX did have my brand of tea. Everyone carried Nestea. No. It’d been Lipton for years. And my job was coffee.


Like I said, if I had known then what I know now, I’d have learned a little about all that was going on around me. But I was just self-involved enough to believe the war had nothing to do with me. I sincerely believed this was punishment of some sort to be sent to this place and I intended to treat it as such, as if I was being punished.

I enjoyed the fact that my family back home was petrified for my safety. Yes, I was in the vicinity of war, but not close at all. Anyone whose ever lived and worked on a base knows what I’m talking about. I was well protected.

It was a different day then.

My Commander in Chief was President George Bush. Had we as parents known then what we know now, what would we have done differently?

For me, not really much of anything.

Aaron was seven at the time. He lived with his dad in Memphis, TX. I missed him desperately and I lived in that real time. I had no clue Aaron and his dad would join me in a few short months. At this time, I was counting down for twelve months, not thirty-six.

So this is my story of the war. I was an unhappy selfish wench surrounded by people with even less promise.

Hence my little book that I’ll be copying from to tell the story of the invasion. After the invasion itself, we’ll go back and cover Panama’s pre-invasion history as I continue with my own little soldier stories. Hopefully, we’ll all live through it, and maybe together we can enjoy some of the beautiful country and culture that I had an eye for, but not a heart.

Virgie Bell's View: Dancing with the Wallflowers

Now for all us hard news junkies: I thought we were back in business. This last couple of weeks I have had the TV on mute in order to not be present in mind or body to the Anna Nicole Smith debacle and the Britney Being Britney Backlogs but we are still at it. Everyone who claims to be the father of Anna Nicole’s baby (of which there are many) are still all out to sue each other for the right to the money, even if they have to take the baby girl, as they haggle over custody of the body that continues to decompose.

Today Britney is beating up a SUV with an umbrella. There was no report on if she wore her panties to perform this artistic act or not. She did not have on her wig and gave this performance solo sans hair. K-Fed has taken custody of their children. He is among the most awesomely seedy looking men on earth. He looks as if he has never had a full night of sleep in his life. True heroin chick is still in.

You who’ve read this post in the past know how much I enjoyed Dancing with the Stars last season. Well I am miffed with them in the coming season. Paul McCartney’s soon to be very rich ex-wife will be one of the contestants. She did lose part of a leg in an automobile accident some years back but being a cheesecake poster girl has not gone away. As far as I am concerned she just as well shave her head. I am embarrassed for her. Yoko Ono made the newspapers this morning about how the protesters of today are in some way inferior to her and John Lennon's anti war antics. It seems there are truly standards to be met in this contest.

We took Kayla and her Mom with us to Santa Fe once and we really enjoyed a pretty intellectual vacation. It is a city that runs buckets full of history and culture. It is also multi-racial with the best Mexican Food on earth. I could vacation there for a year and still love it. To get to the point, in one of the art exhibits there, one of the artists gave credit for his inspiration to John Lennon. Well of course I pooh-poohed such a thought and Lisa took issue with my statement because it was the great John Lennon after all. Uh did anyone else mistake his antics as intellectual accomplishments? I think not. Just miles and miles of shaved heads in various degrees. All of them.

In politics I think we can look for a real out and out slug fest between Obama and Hillary. Of course I look to report to Gunz up all the wonderful dirt they throw. If I were the president and vice president, I would resign before I would put up with all the many protesters and political enemies. It might do the Democratic Party a real favor to see if they could get us out of what they and slick Willy got us into. In the mean time, I’m that we will still have Kim Jung IL firing off atomic bombs into the ocean in a timely manner and Hugo Chaves seizing oil industries and public information facilities in the name of the government. He is of course, the great admirer of Fidel Castro.

Speaking of Castro, the Cubans in Florida plan to use some famous football stadium to throw a party to celebrate when the old codger finally is dead. I understand it will rival the Mardi gras in its scope. I just hope that we do not have to bear witness to Fergie the constant reminder to the curse of the royals as performing alongside of Sir Paul's ex when we watch Dancing with the Stars. Until then, SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

How the Rules of War Work

by Julia Layton

Inside This Article

1. Introduction to How the Rules of War Work
2. Background
3. In the Field
4. Prisoners of War
5. Civilians and Occupation
6. Cultural Property
7. Consequences of Violation

In the context of any armed conflict, the topic of war crimes inevitably arises, especially in reports of civilian and military casualties and the taking of prisoners of war. The idea of a "war crime" seems to be pretty redundant: Most of us are familiar with the phrase "All is fair in love and war," and in an armed conflict, in which the killing of enemy troops is considered an acceptable means to an end, it may seem that the concept of a "crime" is out of place. But there are countless treaties that declare otherwise, signed by almost every nation in the world.

The Hague laws and Geneva Conventions are some of the most widely applied of these international agreements. These treaties address, among other issues, the participants of war, the victims of war, occupation by hostile forces and the status of cultural property. In the 2003 war in Iraq, Iraqi troops waved a white flag and then opened fire on the U.S. soldiers who approached to accept their surrender; this act is prohibited under the Hague laws. In World War II, the Nazis in Germany performed medical experiments on civilians; this act is prohibited in all of the Geneva Conventions.

In this article, you will learn about the basic "rules of war" and about specific acts that have been designated as war crimes by the Hague and Geneva Conventions.


There have always been laws of war. Individual armies have their own laws that determine how their military actions will proceed, what is off limits and what is allowed, and "rules of engagement" that dictate the way they initiate battle. Throughout history, opposing nations have established ground rules for war, but until the nineteenth century, these rules applied only to a particular conflict and the countries it involved. Once that war was over, the rules were discarded.
With the 1864 Geneva Convention, the rules of war became an international matter. The laws that came out of Geneva and The Hague transcend any specific conflict. They attempt to "diminish the severity and disasters of war" (Hague IX) in general, applying to armed conflicts across the board.

The Geneva Conventions

Made official in 1949 and ultimately adopted by 190 countries, the Geneva Conventions establish the rules for the treatment of the "victims" of war -- wounded or sick soldiers, prisoners of war, and civilians.

The Geneva Conventions as we now know them were established in 1949, after World War II. But the first Geneva Convention was actually held in 1864. That first conference established a set of rules to protect wounded and sick troops on the field.

The initial 1864 treaty was initiated by an organization called the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded. This organization is now called the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Red Cross was originally established to provide medical care to those wounded in battle. It was created by Henry Dunant, who was traveling through Italy after the 1859 Battle of Solferino and saw dying soldiers left untreated. He asked civilians to help him gather and treat the wounded and insisted they not discriminate based on nationality. The Red Cross was founded on the belief that all soldiers, regardless of which army they belong to, should receive medical treatment.

That first treaty was amended and built upon in subsequent meetings, culminating in 1949 when nations gathered to address the horrors of WWII. The 1949 assembly resulted in the adoption of four Geneva Conventions:

I. Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field

II. Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea

III. Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

IV. Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

The Hague Conventions

Conferences regarding the international rules of war were held in The Hague, the Netherlands, in 1899, 1907 and 1954. Dubbed the International Peace Conferences, these meetings produced numerous rules, or conventions, that loosely fall into the categories of combat, weaponry, property rights and the duties of neutral countries.

The first two Hague conventions, the 1899 Hague Peace Convention and the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare, are largely similar, the latter expanding and adding to the initial Hague sections on combat laws, illegal weaponry and financial concerns. Another conference was scheduled and then cancelled with the outbreak of World War I.

The severe destruction of cultural property -- artwork, literature, artifacts -- that occurred during World Wars I and II revealed holes in the existing laws. In 1954, the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was signed into effect. This third set of laws addressed the issue of cultural preservation in greater depth than the first two, attempting to protect a nation's identity in the face of war and occupation.

As technology and awareness have progressed, the conventions produced in The Hague and those coming out of Geneva have progressively overlapped: Technological developments in the realm of war tend to threaten humanitarian concerns, and humanitarian concerns tend to want to stem the progress of weapons and methods of destruction. These major treaties comprise some of the most essential laws of war, attempting to protect humanitarian, cultural and financial concerns within a framework that inherently wants to disregard everything but the battle at hand.


Contracting Parties

A total of 190 countries have accepted the Geneva Conventions of 1949. For a complete list of countries and ratification dates, see ICRC: List of States

Remaining subjects outlined at the top will be covered in future posts.

More Marine Moms Online

Why Does My Son Want to be A Marine?

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

…Why did my son want to serve, I think it is a calling. My son was raised around no guns, not allowed near guns, but he always had the desire. He crawled through sewers and left greasepaint on our freshly painted walls and light switches. He wanted to be a Navy Seal, so he would don all his gear (bought at the military surplus store) and climbed the fence to the city pool and swam and swam to learn how to handle the cold and the gear in water. He would leave a smear of greasepaint so his friends would know he had been there the night before. He sat on our roof in the middle of winter so he could adapt to being in the cold. And he is very, very religious, but he saw that there is a need for warriors in our world to fight evil and he felt that is what he is meant to do. He changed his desire to be a Navy Seal to the Marines in high school after taking a military history class. IT IS HARD -- VERY, VERY HARD, I have cried and so has my husband, but we love our son and respect him so much. So we swallow our tears and wait for him to finish doing what he feels he is meant to. And we are proud that our son is not just our son, but our hero too.

…I don't know about any other guys and gals, but I do know about my son. He is using the Marines as a stepping stone. He knew we didn't have the money to put him through college, so that is one reason. He also said he wanted to travel. He is in Presidential Security. If there are any other motives, I don't know. These are the ones he gave me. I had the same questions you do and maybe even more. I want my son to be in church, a Pentecostal church, and that hasn't happened yet. I have put him in God's hands and I "bug" him all the time. When they are grown-up, maybe they will tell us.

…We have asked ourselves the same question you have about a million times. Our son has always been an "extreme kind of kid." He raced motocross and did everything to the limit. He is a wonderful kid and loves the Lord and has great friends but felt he wanted to go into the Marines. He didn't want to go to college and I think that he thought the Marines would be the answer to his future for right now. If he was going to join, he wanted to join the Best of the Best! When you are 15-21 years of age, you THINK you know what you want but you really have no idea what the future has in store. Our son has questioned his decision since being in boot camp but I think he is just homesick (in his sixth week). We write to him every day and support him 100%. We continue to tell him how proud we are of him, Marine or Not! We are trusting in the Lord to guide him through these trying times and Us too! The way we look at it is this: God doesn't make mistakes, and if you trust in him, all things will be for the good. That is what keeps us going.

…I'm sure there are many reasons. Some feel this is what they wanted to do for a long time, like being a doctor, or an attorney, or they just know it's what they want to do. My son knew he wanted to be in the military, but he also wanted to be the best of the best and that's why he chose the Marines. Why else? They train harder, they have to earn it -- it's not give to them, and once they are in, the Marines have to do more with less, compared to the other branches.

…Apparently your kid is the kind that needs to make a point! I had all of the same questions when mine joined and never got the answer that I wanted. My son was always very independent and did what he wanted, no matter what.

…There is a saying I came across a while back, it goes something like this: It is because you protected them, that they are so willing and able to protect you. I feel also that it is a calling. I think 9/11 had a huge impact on my son's decision. Like your son, my son also said that joining the Marines is something he "just felt like he needed to do." My son graduated from boot camp in October, 2003, so he's on his last year. He has done one tour in Iraq and will be going on his second tour after the first of the year. The whole Marine Corps experience has been a good for him. Good luck to your son and please thank him for his service.

…Freedom is not free and he firmly believed that he was helping the Iraqi people get freedom from Saddam. My son said what Saddam did to that country was unbelievable.

…Your son’s choice to become a Marine is an example of the leadership and selflessness that you have taught him. It is his choice to be one of the finest, and to challenge himself is a choice made by those who appreciate the gifts that God has given them, and the opportunities the USA has provided them. My son is a Marine, and it has been over twenty years since I was in. The challenge of being one of the few and the proud was something that lived with me for years. I passed up college to be a Marine, and I have since become a successful business owner. I am so proud that my son has continued with my commitment to serve not only my personal wants for him but the needs of a great society.

…That's a tough question to answer. Some want to be part of the best; be something not everyone can be. You usually picture a Marine as being the strongest, smartest, etc., but there are many that were small and not at all athletic. All find themselves in the process of becoming a Marine. I notice that whenever my son-in-law is in uniform he is taller, he stands straighter, and he is very proud. He has been a Marine for 10 years now - 4 years active duty (grunt) and the rest as an active reservist (combat engineer). He has deployed 4 times - 2 active duty, 2 reserve to Iraq. He left active duty to allow his wife to come home and finish college and have her career as a teacher. As a reservist he can still be a Marine which he loves. He just made Staff Sergeant. Even after being in Iraq twice, and seeing some friends die, his desire to be a Marine has not lessened. I'm sure there is a lot of fear in being over there, but they focus more on being there for the Marine next to them. Many who have left active duty miss it and come back - it's the brotherhood of the Marines. Being a Marine is never easy, and that challenge might be why many select it. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, I really was able to see the respect bestowed upon the Marines by those in the other services, and by the public.

…This would not have been the life I would have chosen for my son-in-law. He is a second generation Marine (father and 2 brothers were Marines), but I have seen the Corps build him into a fine young man. I hope your son will find himself as well and hope you're able to stand behind him. That is the toughest job, but one you will carry with pride.

…If you ask your son a few months from now why he wants to be a Marine, his answer may not be any different than it was before he left. But when you see him, I pray that you will receive answers to your questions without having to ask. Hang in there. He is an incredible person for doing what he is doing.

…He always had a strong personality and I think he needed a challenge. He also told me that if he stayed home and went to college first he didn't feel like he would become the man he wanted to be. He felt like he needed the discipline of the Marine Corps to motivate him to another level and he really wanted to be a part of something bigger than himself. He identified with The Commander in Chief and felt called to this. Face it, he is no longer your little boy.


Virgie Bell's View: Greenhouse and Gardens

Good for Prince Harry who remarked that there was no way he would sit on his "arse" while his troop mates went and fought for his country. He did something stupid when he came to a costume party dressed as a Nazi. This caused quite an uproar. I am sure if I was posting at the time that I had some snide comment about it. At any rate, my family got to hear me denounce him for such a stupid act.

I read Kitty Kelly's book titled The Royals and found it fascinating. I didn't know that the royal family descends from German stock, but they do. The genesis of the royal family was Fredrick 111 who was Emperor of Germany 1831-1888. In fact, during World War Two, they did all within their power to distance themselves from this fact, and did so admirably in my estimation. They stayed right in London while it was being bombed. So many other heads of states head for another country when their own is under attack. Actually it is the self imposed dictators that flee.

The United States is in a peculiar position in the world in that we are the New World. The Old World History is so very old that the Holy Bible is the first record of it. The history in the Bible holds up very well. The Pyramids still stand as testimony to that fact. If the world were to go on, they too would disappear and we would be left with our theories about them as we are with Stonehenge. The reason they will disappear is because of greenhouse gas, a “name” our language only recently adopted.

In Santa Fe, I saw fossils of sea creatures found in NM. If you want to believe that one day your ancestor grew legs and stepped out of the ocean, hey, have at it. Mine stepped out of an ark onto dry land. So the whole earth was covered by oceans. No problem there. The Flood sure happened. Proved by nature over and over again. When God looked at mankind and repented that he had ever made man he promised no more floods. He did not promise no more destruction. In fact, right up to the end God’s word promises that we will be destroyed by fire. The Bible also states that God made all things and that nothing made ever came to be with out Him. So Greenhouse Gas was always there and it always will be. If I were God, I would also throw in a few false trails to confuse the arch enemy.

People look at the beginning of the Bible and see the creation as actual days just like we have. If he wanted to he could have easily done so, but we are told that His ways are not our ways and His Time is not our time. Enough said. Now I don't know we can possibly how we can fix this greenhouse gas problem. It seems our politicians have taken on the role of playing God. We smokers are not the problem. The automobile is the cause. We are not going back to horse and buggy days. The Old World is not going to have its empire. We will continue on this course because it is the course we started on whether your relatives were fish or people. The Bible says so.

Oh yes, another thing I read is that some of our past presidents ran this country with a grade school education and did pretty well at that. Makes you wonder about all our posturing leaders today. Those kids of ours in the military are our leaders. For anyone to withhold one thin dime from them is treason. Sadly, our political leaders do not care one way or another about the War on Terror. They care about the party of choice in the coming election. This happened on Bush's watch. If anyone has the ability to do anything, it will be him.

If you look at the world today, you can see enemy dictators are after us. They want the New World as their own. They always have. At any rate, we are surrounded by enemies. We have one advantage right now. We have boots on the ground where civilization had its beginning. The Garden of Eden was right outside of Baghdad. The gardens of Babylon run beneath its bloody streets. Give our military the opportunity to complete the mission of protecting us … SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

Secret of Healing

February 23

LOVE the busy life. It is a joy-filled life. I love you both and bid you be of good cheer. Take your fill of joy in the Spring.

Live outside whenever possible. Sun and air are my great healing forces, and that inward Joy that changes poisoned blood, to a pure healthy life-giving flow.

Never forget that real healing of body, mind and Spirit comes from within, from the close contact of your spirit with My Spirit.

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

Make A Wish

Riley Woina chats with Master Sgt. Alexander Barnett during a lunch break Wednesday at Camp J. Rudder on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., during his Make-A-Wish Foundation trip to the camp. The U.S. Army Rangers and the Make-A-Wish Foundation helped Riley, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, live out his dream for a week.

When You Make A Wish

Riley Woina grins out of a military helicopter after taking a ride with the Army Rangers on Wednesday at Camp J. Rudder on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., during his Make-A-Wish Foundation trip to the camp. The U.S. Army Rangers and the Make-A-Wish Foundation helped Riley, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, live out his dream for a week -- flying in helicopters, riding in zodiac boats and watching an airborne jump. When he completes his training, Riley will advance to Fort Benning, Ga., where he will participate in U.S. Army Ranger graduation ceremonies.

Thursday, February 22, 2007



Mission: Neutralize the PDF 8th Infantry Company in Colon, the Atlantic gateway to the Canal, and also the PDF Marine Infantry Company at the port of Coco Solo. In the top left of the map above, this Task Force is situated near COLON.


Mission: Protect U.S. housing area at Gamboa and capture the Gamboa prison. Gamboa is below Colon.


Mission: Take Rio Hato, headquarters of the 6th and 7th Rifle Companies. "Macho de Monte" of the Panama Defense Forces. Paratroopers, supported by heavy air cover, have a fierce fight. Bottom left where the three chutes are at.


Mission: Engage PDF Cavalry squadron at Panama Viejo and the PDF 1st Infantry Co. (Los Tigres) at Tinajitas. They encountered stiff resistance. Mid-top, next to the Panamanian flag is TINAJITAS and then the next arrow points down to PANAMA VIEJO near the Marriot (Doug, Aaron and I stayed there for a couple of nights.)


Mission: Capture Torrijos International Airport in an airborne assault. Move out to secure the bridge over the Pacora River to block the PDF's 2000 Battalion at Fort Cimarron from moving into the city. Ice storm delays airlift and 2000 Battalion convoy is attacked from the air. Top right: TOCUMEN, RIO PACORA, CIMARRON and 3 more chutes.


Mission: Capture the Comandancia, central H.Q. of the Panama Defense Forces, and secure the central Canal area including Ford Amador, joint military installation of U.S. and Panama. Bottom right. Just under Task Force Red.


Mission: Secure the Bridge of the Americas, spanning the Canal and the Pan American Highway and protect Howard Air Force Base. This mission was the job of Marines and MP companies. I guess they were protecting us at Ft. Kobbe too, since it's hard for a novice to tell where one ends and the other begins.

My job during this time, and I think I've already said, was to support the Marines with MRE's, ammo, and water. We would leave the supplies at drop off points.

Photo is copyrighted 1990. Focus Publications, El Dorado.


Airborne Assault

13,000 TROOPS

  • Ft. Lewis, Wash.

Ranger battalion

  • Fort Ord, Calif.

Light Infantry Division

  • Ft. Polk, La.


  • Ft. Bragg, N.C.


  • Ft. Benning & Ft. Stewart, Ga.

Ranger battalions

copyright 1990. The Enemy Within. Focus. El Dorado.

FEMALE ON THE FLOOR! The storming of Panama *1

The climax was near. On December 15 the 500-member Assembly of People’s Power, controlled by the Revolutionary Democratic Party and other parties loyal to General Noriega, proclaimed him Head State, eschewing further pretense of constitutional democracy and openly acknowledging a military dictatorship for the first time. This came just days before the last and most deadly serious incident of harassment of U.S. army personnel by the Panama Defense Forces in which Lt. Roberto Paz was shot dead as he gunned his car away from a PDF roadblock.

Television viewers in Panama City watching the late movie on Channel 8, the channel of the U.S, forces in Panama, on the night of December 19th 1989 knew something was about to happen. Suddenly, across the bottom of the screen where the Personnel Movement Limitation is intermittently broadcast, the message upgraded from PML Delta which means “movement off base prohibited except on designated routes” to PML Echo which means, in effect: War.

Shortly afterwards, the night was hideous with the din of explosions. The heavy “crunch” of mortar and howitzer shells and the rattle of machine gun fire continued through the night and the district of Chorillo surrounding the headquarters of the Panama Defence Forces went up in flames. The Americans had finally invaded. For over a year before, Panamanians had speculated on this eventuality, but few really believed it would happen, even though General Manuel Antonio Noriega, to supplement his already powerful army, had poured considerable resources into training a civilian paramilitary force to “give their lives” for Panama in the fight against the “Yankee aggressor”

As 1989 drew to a close, however, relations between the U.S. and the Noriega-dominated Panama government had deteriorated to the point where it was no particular surprise when the giant C141 transport planes began to arrive at Howard Air Force Base indicating that something was happening at last.

The American attack, which threw 26,000 troops against Noriega’s army, was the larges U.S. military operation since Vietnam and the largest ever to be undertaken as “intervention” in the affairs of a normally friendly country.

The U.S.A. had labeled the invasion “Operation Just Cause” and President George Bush appeared on network T.V. as the inferno at Chorillo was lighting the sky above Panama City, to explain its four objectives: to protect American lives, maintain the security of the Panama Canal, restore democracy to Panama and to capture Noriega and bring him to justice.

The military objective was to strike with sufficient force and suddenness to quickly disable the Panama Defense Forces. To accomplish this, a massive airlift was organized from various military bases in the U.S. to combine with forces already in Panama. Altogether 13,000 troops from the Southern Command based in Panama, including 9,500 combat soldiers, were supplemented by a further 13,000 troops, 10,500 of them combat soldiers, flown in from the U.S.

It was a complex operation involving airborne and air-assault troops from the States linking up in the hours of darkness with on-the-ground armoured, light infantry and special operations units. More than 3,000 men parachuted in—the biggest combat drop since World War II. The time of the assault, designated “H—hour”, was set at 1 a.m. on December 20 but was brought forward half an hour at the last moment for fear that troop movements might alert the PDF. Shortly before H-hour, U.S. commandos apparently went in on a covert operation to try to kidnap Noriega but their mission failed … he was not where they thought he would be.

copied from source: Jones, Kenneth J. Copyright 1990 Focus Publications. El Dorado, Panama, R.P.

FEMALE ON THE FLOOR! Personal photos from Operation Just Cause

December 1989 Ft. Kobbe--across block from Burger King (one on wheels, I might add :)--Can you see the tents set up across the way? Those belong to 82nd Airborne.
This is the helicopter our 7th Engineer Detachment (Divers) pulled out of the canal. If I'm not mistaken, I believe this was the first U.S. casualty; the LT was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Friendly fire.

At the time, the Army had 110 divers. 536th Engr. Bn. had 12-14 assigned to them. They were such a neat group of guys. Gung ho!
SPC Moss and SPC Austin outside of S-4 (Battalion supply). I was assigned to S-4 when I first arrived. My section changed several times throughout the three years I was there. This was taken before the invasion, thus our shortage of gear. I think I gave away the only 2 photos I had of me "dressed up."

Panamanian refugee and SPC Austin a few days after the invasion. I went with SFC Frances (the very same guy who made me peel potatoes that first or second night after my arrival) to feed the refugees one day. Panamanian himself, SFC Frances felt comfortable riding around in his POV (privately-owned vehicle) which was a red convertible. We took a lot of photos that day of the war.

Virgie Bell's View: History

Well Anna Nicole is still at the top of the news along with Britney Spears. Britney begs for privacy while in rehab. She shaves her head in public and she wants privacy ... get real! I will not be sending in a bid to get her cut off hair where starting price is reported to be in the vicinity of a million dollars. Does anyone buy that perfume that is named for her? If so, poor you, but Kayla was absolutely smitten with Britney at one time. I think she may have gotten over this. Kayla gave me a Britney Spear’s Valentine years ago. I didn't even know who she was and when I finally did catch her on TV, she was wrapping an albino Python around her neck. I decided then that she was loco and nothing I've read of her ever changed that opinion.

As I reported before, I’ve been reading Winds of War. No one will ever know how grateful I am that God made me a reader. I can never tell you how much I enjoy Hermon Wouk's writing. I see that the end is near on this pleasure because I am just about through with his war stories. If you enjoy reading, this is a series you will love. I have read every book I could lay my hands on concerning World War II, and I can tell you the historical setting and the geographical descriptions are dead on.

I know that some people do not read fiction, but I enjoy it. MarilynVos Savant (with the highest IQ in the world) said that fiction writers have to know a little more than non fiction writers and I find it to be true. I was telling our editor yesterday that she could take this period in history and add just our family to it, throw in current news and entertainment, and with this, and we could write a novel. At any rate, here is a free tip from a proud mother of a great writer: If you read and do want some great material, then I can't endorse anyone more than her Hermon Wouk.

Here is the order that his books go in. First read , Margorie Morningstar, then Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Finish with The Caine Mutiny. He has also written The Glory and The Hope, which I know would fit in the same time period. Be warned that the only bad part of reading his works is that you get through much too quickly and find yourself back to reading the same old same old. I do enjoy other writers, but nonetheless, I recognize the difference. I try to stick with mysteries because a least there is a new story line. I love a historical and geographical accurate setting as well as the local color for that time that a novel is written. History is, after all, only the writer's interpretation of the time.

If you go to museums, you see that history is written in blood and preserved in weaponry. I didn't realize this until a couple of years ago. Santa Fe, NM is one of the oldest cities in the west. The Palace of the Governors is one of the oldest buildings and it has walls in excess of three feet thick. It is a collection of military equipment and uniforms. That is our history when you think of it. My history starts with being a slave in Egypt and my cry reaching the ears of God and the wandering around in the desert for forty years in the desert. Did you know that the desert was named Sin? And I am still wandering the same desert. I expect manna to rain down on my face anyday. Manna means "what is it" in the Hebrew language. My first choice in reading is usually the Holy Bible. Unlike Hermon Wouk, you will never get through with it. SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!

You Must Trust

February 22

YOU must trust Me wholly. This lesson has to be learnt. You shall be helped, you shall be led, guided, continually. The children of Israel would long before have entered the Promised Land--only their doubts and fears continually drove them back into the wilderness. Remember always, doubts delay. Are you trusting all to Me or not?

I have told you how to live and you must do it. My children, I love you. Trust My tender Love. It will never fail you, but you must learn not to fail it.

Oh! could you see, you would understand. You have much to learn in turning out fear and being at peace. All your doubts arrest My work. You must not doubt. I died to save you from sin and doubt and worry. You must believe in Me absolutely.

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Medal of Honor Photo

2dLt Mitchell Paige, third from left, and PltSgt John Basilone, extreme right, received the Medal of Honor at a parade at Camp Balcombe, Australia, on 21 May 1943. MajGen Vandegrift, left, received his medal in a White House ceremony the previous 5 February, while Col Merritt A. Edson was decorated 31 December 1943. Note the 1st Marine Division patches on the right shoulders of each participant. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 56749

What have we previously learned about these patches?

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: November in Guadalcanal continues *4

FIRST OFFENSIVE: The Marine Campaign for Guadalcanal
by Henry I. Shaw, Jr.
November and the Continuing Buildup

where we left off previously:

On 1 November, the 5th Marines, backed up by the newly arrived 2d Marines, attacked across bridges engineers had laid over the Matanikau during the previous night. Inland, Colonel Whaling led his scout-snipers and the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, in a screening movement to protect the flank of the main attack. Opposition was fierce in the shore area where the 1st Battalion, 5th, drove forward toward Point Cruz, but inland the 2d Battalion and Whaling's group encountered slight opposition. By nightfall, when the Marines dug in, it was clear that the only sizable enemy force was in the Point Cruz area. In the day's bitter fighting, Corporal Anthony Casamento, a badly wounded machine gun squad leader in Edson's 1st Battalion, had so distinguished himself that he was recommended for a Navy Cross; many years later, in August 1980, President Jimmy Carter approved the award of the Medal of Honor in its stead.


On the 2d, the attack continued with the reserve 3d Battalion moving into the fight and all three 5th Marines units moving to surround the enemy defenders. On 3 November, the Japanese pocket just west of the base at Point Cruz was eliminated; well over 300 enemy had been killed. Elsewhere, the attacking Marines had encountered spotty resistance and advanced slowly across difficult terrain to a point about 1,000 yards beyond the 5th Marines' action. There, just as the offensive's objectives seemed well in hand, the advance was halted. Again, the intelligence that a massive enemy reinforcement attempt was pending forced Vandegrift to pull back most of his men to safeguard the all-important airfield perimeter. This time, however, he left a regiment to outpost the ground that had been gained, Colonel Arthur's 2d Marines, reinforced by the Army's 1st Battalion, 164th Infantry.

Emphasizing the need for caution in Vandegrift's mind was the fact that the Japanese were again discovered in strength east of the perimeter. On 3 November, Lieutenant Colonel Hanneken's 23d Battalion, 7th Marines, on a reconnaissance in force towards Kili Point, could see the Japanese ships clustered near Tetere, eight miles from the perimeter. His Marines encountered strong Japanese resistance from obviously fresh troops and he began to pull back. A regiment of the enemy's 38th Division had landed, as Hyakutake experimented with a Japanese Navy-promoted scheme of attacking the perimeter from both flanks.

As Hanneken's battalion executed a fighting withdrawal along the beach, it began to receive fire from the jungle inland, too. A rescue force was soon put together under General Rupertus: two tank companies, the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, and the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 164th. The Japanese troops, members of the 38th Division regiment and remnants of Kawaguchi's brigade, fought doggedly to hold their ground as the Marines drove forward along the coast and the soldiers attempted to outflank the enemy in the jungle. The running battle continued for days, supported by Cactus air, naval gunfire, and the newly landed 155mm guns.

cont'd below

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: 38 years later photo

In a White House ceremony, former Cpl Anthony Casamento, a machine gun squad leader in the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, was decorated by President Jimmy Carter on 22 August 1980, 38 years after the battle for Guadalcanal. Looking on are Casamento's wife and daughters and Gen Robert H. Barrow, Marine Commandant.

Marine Corps Historical Photo Collection

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: November in Guadalcanal continues *5

FIRST OFFENSIVE: The Marine Campaign for Guadalcanal
by Henry I. Shaw, Jr.
November and the Continuing Buildup

cont'd from previous post

As Hanneken's battalion executed a fighting withdrawal along the beach, it began to receive fire from the jungle inland, too. A rescue force was soon put together under General Rupertus: two tank companies, the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, and the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 164th. The Japanese troops, members of the 38th Division regiment and remnants of Kawaguchi's brigade, fought doggedly to hold their ground as the Marines drove forward along the coast and the soldiers attempted to outflank the enemy in the jungle. The running battle continued for days, supported by Cactus air, naval gunfire, and the newly landed 155mm guns.

The enemy commander received new orders as he was struggling to hold off the Americans. He was to break off the action, move inland, and march to rejoin the main Japanese forces west of the perimeter, a tall order to fulfill. The two-pronged attack scheme had been abandoned. The Japanese managed the first part; on the 11th the enemy force found a gap in the 164th's line and broke through along a meandering jungle stream. Behind they left 450 dead over the course of a seven-day battle; the Marines and soldiers had lost 40 dead and 120 wounded.

Essentially, the Japanese who broke out of the encircling Americans escaped from the frying pan only to fall into the fire. Admiral Turner finally had been ably to effect one of his several schemes for alternative landings and beachheads, all of which General Vandegrift vehemently opposed. At Aola Bay, 40 miles east of the main perimeter, the Navy put an airfield construction and defense force ashore on 4 November. Then, while the Japanese were still battling the Marines near Tetere, Vandegrift was able to persuade Turner to detach part of this landing force, the 2d Raider Battalion, to sweep west, to discover and destroy any enemy forces it encountered.

Lieutenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson's raider battalion already had seen action before it reached Guadalcanal. Two companies had reinforced the defenders of Midway Island when the Japanese attacked there in June. The rest of the battalion had landed from submarines on Makin Island in the Gilberts on 17-18 August, destroying the garrison there. For his part in the fighting on Makin, Sergeant Clyde Thomason had been awarded a Medal of Honor posthumously, the first Marine enlisted man to receive his country's highest award in World War II.

In its march from Aola Bay, the 2d Raider Battalion encountered the Japanese who were attempting to retreat to the west. On 12 November, the raiders beat off attacks by two enemy companies and they relentlessly pursued the Japanese, fighting a series of small actions over the next five days before the contacted the main Japanese body. From 17 November to 4 December, when the raiders finally came down out of the jungled ridges into the perimeter, Carlson's men harried the retreating enemy. They killed nearly 500 Japanese. Their own losses were 16 killed and 18 wounded.

The Aola Bay venture, which had provided the 2d Raider Battalion a starting point for its month-long jungle campaign, proved a bust. The site chosen for a new airfield was unsuitable, too wet and unstable, and the whole force moved to Koli Point in early December, where another airfield eventually was constructed.


Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The First

Sgt Clyde Thomason, who was killed in action participating in the Makin Island raid with the 2d Raider Battalion, was the first enlisted Marine in World War II to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo 310616

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Guadalcanal--Weapons

75mm Pack Howitzer—Workhorse of the Artillery

During the summer of 1930, the Marine Corps began replacing its old French 75mm guns (Model 1897) with the 75mm Pack Howitzer Model 1923-E2. This weapon was designed for use in the Army primarily as mountain artillery. Since it could be broken down and manhandled ashore in six loads from ships' boats, the pack howitzer was an important supporting weapon of the Marine Corps' landing forces in prewar landing exercises.

The 75mm pack howitzer saw extensive service with the Marine Corps throughout World War II in almost every major landing in the Pacific. Crewed by five Marines, the howitzer could hurl a 16-pound shell nearly 10,000 yards. In the D Series table of organization with which the 1st Marine Division went to war, and through the following E and F series, there were three pack howitzer battalions for each artillery regiment.—Anthony Wayne Tommell and Kenneth L. Smith-Christmas

Blood Is Thicker Than Water will continue after I administer a little home health to Dad.


February 21st Birthday Gifties to Gary

Famous PhotographsTitle: James Webb with President Kennedy and others.Subjects: Civil service, Legislators, PresidentsPeople in Photograph: Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963, Magnuson, Warren Grant, 1905-1989, Webb, James E. (James Edwin), 1906-1992Date: February 21, 1962Accession #: 97-238

The Grigsby's

August 2003

Showing Off

Aaron and Gary

July 2003

Book results for February 21, 1962

Auburn-Folsom South Unit of the Central Valley ... - by United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subcommittee on Irrigation and Reclamation - 211 pagesPublic Works Appropriations, 1962 - by United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Appropriations Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons - by United States. Congress. Joint Committee on Atomic Energy - 179 pages

News articles: 1975-Watergate aides sentenced

Brainy History

The Music:

About the Songwriters: The "Happy Birthday" song was written in the late nineteenth century by two sisters from Kentucky, Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill. Patty was a nursery school teacher, while Mildred was a composer and pianist.

About the Song: Mildred was the sister who came up with the simply eight-note melody for "Happy Birthday", after which sister Patty added the lyrics. Originally sung "Good Morning to You, Good Morning to You, Good Morning Dear Children, Good Morning to All", the song was written as a greeting to be sung to students each day. It is unclear as to when the lyrics were changed, but by 1924 the new version of the song had appeared in print.

About the Tab: "Happy Birthday" is a simple three chord song, written in "waltz time" (3/4 time). Strum each chord three times, with one exception (see tab for details). As the song is so short, you might want to repeat it several times. As finding a good key to sing "Happy Birthday" in can be tricky, tab has been provided for playing the song in both the key of D and the key of G. Happy Birthday Tab and Lyrics


Happy Birthday, Gary,
from your friends and family
Gunz Up

Happy Birthday, Bro!

Hey, Baby Brother!

Happy 45th!

I'm finding you some birthday goodies from Gunz Up.

Lisa and I have you a shirt ordered. Well, I'm ordering it today. I was supposed to yesterday. It's really cool and I know you'll like it.

I wonder if I was supposed to tell you that? Oh well. I won't tell you what it looks like.


Nothing Can Hurt

February 21

THE way is plain.

You do not need to see far ahead. Just one step at a time with Me. The same light to guide you as the Hosts of Heaven know--the Son of Righteousness Himself.

Only self can cast a shadow on the way. Be more afraid of Spirit-unrest, of soul-disturbance, of any ruffling of the Spirit, than of earthquake or fire or any outside forces.

When you feel the absolute calm has been broken--away alone with Me until your heart sings, and all is strong and calm.

These are the only times when evil can find an entrance. The forces of evil surround the city of man-soul, and are keenly alert for one such unguarded spot, through which an arrow can pierce and do havoc.

Remember all that you have to do is to keep calm and happy. God does the rest. No evil force can hinder My Power--only you yourself have power to do that. Think when all God's mighty forces are arrayed to aid you--and your poor, puny self impedes their onward march.

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

Virgie Bell's View: Rewind

Did anyone notice that we are in the middle of a soap opera? The world is a stage and you have the part you long for. The absolutely, uniquely you. Or perhaps you are living in the most terrifying yet compelling part of history. The one known as THE WAR ON TERROR. So anyway, I'll be me and you be you.

Enter stage left.

There is much to be said for not being wealthy. Often it is equated with not being very bright and often enough, this is true. We know which roll we play. Our part in life shapes our character and you are not going to forget your lines. Those lines are written into your soul, each paragraph a principal part, each chapter a life, and the sum of all of this is a nation.

We hear a strangely familiar voice, full with menacing nuclear threats coming from the Far East. A threat against us and against other young democracies.

The simple cab driver can become the enraged terrorist and can run down his passengers because they didn't agree with his religious views. Simply put: the sum of every word spoken through all eternity still holds. Read the history of all civilization. This too, the cab driver and all the passengers who didn’t think it necessary to take time to trust or question. Another surprise attack takes place on the battleground of New York, again.


Sound effects: screaming, crying, crashing.

Scenery: black smoke rises, flames reach into the sky; they are furious as they boast of their most recent conquest. you remember? I do.


Today's News Briefs

Blair Announces Iraq Withdrawal Plan
Britain will withdraw around 1,600 troops from Iraq in the "coming months," aiming to cut its force to below 5,000 by late summer if Iraqi forces can secure the southern part of the country, Prime Minister Tony Blair said today. British troops will stay in Iraq until at least 2008 and work to secure the Iran-Iraq border and maintain supply routes to U.S. and coalition troops in central Iraq, Blair told the House of Commons.

Top Sunni Official Fired Over Rape Case
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki fired a top Sunni official Wednesday after he called for an international investigation into the rape allegations leveled by a Sunni Arab woman against three members of the Shiite-dominated security forces. A statement by al-Maliki's office gave no reason in announcing the dismissal of Ahmed Abdul-Ghafour al-Samaraie, head of the Sunni Endowments. Al-Samaraie, whose organization cares for Sunni mosques and shrines in Iraq, had joined other prominent Sunnis in criticizing the government's handling of the case. Al-Samaraie, speaking from Amman in neighboring Jordan, disputed al-Maliki's right to fire him, arguing that only Iraq's Presidential Council -- which comprises President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies -- has that authority.

Jury to Deliberate in CIA Leak Case
Five weeks and 19 witnesses into the CIA leak trial, jurors are set to begin deciding the fate of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Jurors heard a full day of closing arguments in Libby's perjury and obstruction trial Tuesday and are scheduled to begin deliberating today.

Utah Passes An Incredible Bill

Paula Lehmiller holds a prototype of a new gold star license plate in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday at the State Capitol complex in Salt Lake City. A bill creating the special plate honoring military who died in war was passed without opposition by the House.

Utah Honors The Fallen

John and Vikkie Carver react as the name of their son, Navy corpsman Charles Sare, and those of other family members of Utah military who have died in Iraq are honored by the state House of Representatives on Tuesday at the State Capitol complex in Salt Lake City.

For The Vets

Randall Clunen, right, and his his wife Heather and their children Brice, 19 months, and Brooklyn, 3 months-old, pose for a photo on the couch in the living room of their home in Leetonia, Ohio, recently. Randall was injured while serving in the U.S. military in Iraq and is among those who could benefit from a new relief program for injured Iraq war veterans. The newly created Military Injured Relief Fund allows Ohio taxpayers to donate all or part of their state refund by designating an amount on line 27 of the 1040 tax form or line 19 on the 1040EZ.

An Added Journey: About Steve AND ADDED UPDATE

This post will remain on top for a couple of days.

Most of our readers have probably noticed Steve’s absence. This post is meant to share the reason for that.

A couple of weeks ago, Steve was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As far as we know now, it is Stage II. He will be visiting with a doctor later today. [We've now learned that it is Stage III and in the spleen. His chances for recovery are excellent they say.]And there will be a change in his treatment. More chemo, less radiation.

Steve will be at M. D. Anderson for the next seven weeks anyway. He had been undergoing treatment with the VA in Amarillo for the past week and a half. Currently, Steve is undergoing radiation five times a week and chemotherapy twice a week.

We ask for your prayers. And in the same breath we both want you all to know that we believe with God’s help that Steve can beat this. And above all, we believe that God will have His way in the end no matter what. We trust God with our lives and with our deaths. We believe that Steve’s journey is not quite finished on this earth. This disease reinforces our belief that God brought Steve into mine and Greg’s life, and that ultimately, Aaron had something to do with that. As Steve once wrote, “In our lives there are no coincidences.” And as odd as it may sound, we thank God for our suffering and pray that it may be used for His glory and for His Kingdom and for you all, our Gunz Up readers.

While Steve is much too tired to write at this point in time, I trust that VB and I won’t have a problem in picking up his slack (:) now that I have my Internet problems worked out. My dad continues with medical problems that are bound to require more of his elder daughter’s attention, but still, our blogging will continue.

You all are very important to us. In a big way, you are part of our family. It is only right and fitting that you join us in the newest journey that has been brought into our lives.

I will keep everyone updated as to any changes one way or another: diagnosis, mental and physical health. While we know that God will be the One to take us through, we also know that through is going to be a very active adjective during these treatments.

Regular series will continue on Gunz Up along with new and fresh thoughts as they occur. Our new website will be on hold for a while, until Steve is able to finish it. I can’t take that one on and I don’t imagine anyone wants me to!

Steve’s email is

He may be slow or even absent in responding, but he appreciates hearing from you and about you.

This is now an open subject on Gunz Up and will be treated as such; meaning, if anyone has questions or comments in the future, don’t hesitate to share them.

Love to all.

Semper Fi,

Short End of the Libman

For Karen. Slow but steady wins the race, right?

Then I'm in.

This short story is part of a collection called The World May Deem You Failures, which was my senior final project before graduating from the fiction class in the Creative Writing.

I first wrote it in my junior year. The assignment was to copy the style of one of your favorite authors. I chose Flannery O'Connor not only because I like her short stories, but I also thought she'd be easy for me to copy.

I later revised it to fit in with the collection a semester later. Maybe you'll like it.



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She wasn’t fanatical. Randi pulled the cart using the weight of her good side to do most of the work. When she came across an aluminum can, she used her broom to sweep it up into a dustbin. The dustbin had a long tubular aluminum handle on it. She used aluminum to pick up aluminum. She also used the tool to sweep up cigarette butts, banana peels and pigeon feathers. On Mondays, she swept up beer bottles. Most of them empty. She picked up plastic bags if she could get to them quick enough, but usually the wind caught those and blew them away before she could bend down. This worried her some, but she tried to let it go.

No, she wasn’t fanatical. Her mother. Now there’s a different story. Randi’s mother was a fanatic. Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses usually ended up backing out Mrs. Gentry’s door. She’d just keep talking to them, using her nicotine stained finger, pointing out verses and versing her point of view. The Jehovah’s Witness group was serious, though. They always came back for more. A well-armed group they were, but they never stood a chance with Mrs. Gentry.

While Randi was working, the school bus pulled up and dropped off a little girl. She liked the little girl, even though they’d never had a real conversation. Not one with words, anyway. Some afternoons, after the bus would drop the little girl off, and after the little girl’s daddy had come to meet her, Randi would look their way. The man would raise his hat toward her and nod. The little girl would smile, kind of shy like, and make a little wave, while she struggled with papers and, maybe, the current Weekly Reader that her daddy would soon rescue from her small hands. It was nice, watching them that way.

Randi looked around the complex. She really liked the straight lines. Straight lines next to the curb. Straight lines next to the lawn. She hated it when people did their laundry, leaving lint all around. But usually she found a penny every day. Some days a nickel or dime. These were days she would really smile. She thought she’d throw all the money in an old burned out candle vase she had, and at the end of the year see how much money she’d made for free. Mrs. Gentry said nothing was for free. But Mrs. Gentry did believe in omens.

“The Good Lord may have shorted you on a leg, Randi girl, but he’s going to bring something good into your life. Just you wait and see. You keep on working hard like you do girl, finding all your little money. That’s okay. Just when you’re expecting it least, something good will come your way. Mark my words, girl. Especially you being born with one leg shorter than the other, shuffling the way you do, picking up other people’s trash. No, something good is going to come out all this. You’ll see.” Mrs. Gentry would say all this, fire up another Camel and tell Randi to fix her a glass of tea. “It’s getting hot out. Think I’ll just take me a glass of tea into the bedroom and read for a while. In Jonah maybe. Now there’s a man who had trouble listening to the Lord. Pay attention to that story, girl. The Lord’s bound to get your attention one way or another. He likes a good and obedient servant. You coming with that tea, girl? My, oh my, it’s hot today.”

So Randi just kept on sweeping up other people’s trash, picking up other people’s dropped-out-of-their-purse-or-fell-out-of-their-jeans-pocket-don’t-care-not-worth-the-trouble of picking it up money. By the end of the first year, Randi had collected four dollars and sixty-five cents. And she’d buried a dead duck.

Randi had been pushing her Libman Broom harder than usual that day. The wind was blowing ninety to nothing, bits of trash swirling in the air. Her straight lines were blurred with leaves. Leaves next to the curb, leaves under every stairwell and fine dust poured out like dirty talcum powder on every walkway. Just when she thought she was through for the day, she saw a mass of white, lying between the pond and the access road. Randi spent some time trying to stoop over in all the wind and saw the poor duck must have been hit by a car. It wasn’t bleeding or anything, but, looking around, she saw no other explanation for it. There was the road and there was the duck. She didn’t use her Libman Broom to scoop it up, but instead pushed the heavy trash out to the dumpster, went and got a box out of the storage room, and, as tenderly as possible, bundled the duck into the box, then spent a great deal of time digging a hole next to the pond, under a tree, and laid the poor duck to rest.

On her way back across the complex, Randi saw that someone had shaken a purple bath mat or some kind of linty fabric out. Long threads of purple scattered the grass, leaving an ugly mess. After she picked up the lint, she trudged the block to her house. Making the journey, she noticed the man she sometimes watched, picking up his daughter from the school bus.

She had mixed feelings watching the two. The picture of a daddy and a young girl reminded her of all she’d missed as a young girl—and now, a woman well on her way to aging. She wasn’t as slow as some people might think. And she could remember her own daddy, although he’d never met her at the school bus. He’d usually be well on his way to being good and drunk way before sundown. One thing she couldn’t get straight in her mind though, did her daddy’s drinking make Mama so hell-bent on heaven and hell or did Mama’s sermons push her daddy to drinking? Well, it really didn’t matter so much. Daddy was gone, no matter what. Straight to hell, if Mama had her way.

She didn’t let these thoughts weigh her down much. She liked watching the ducks, listening to their duck-talk. She thought about them a lot, especially when she’d carry her trash to the dumpster and see a mallard setting on a nest. After that happened a few times, she was more careful as she stumped around, picking up the orange peels and beer cans. Nests were everywhere.

She liked looking at the eggs the nests warmed, stopping by only after the parents were gone of course. Careful never to touch or bump, she wondered what made the eggs’ color different. Some were nearly gray, others a little paler. Why did they leave the nest for a while and what made them come back? The only thing she knew for sure, sometimes there were mallards that warmed the unborn and other times the mama duck sat on the nest.

cont'd. below

Short End of the Libman (cont'd.)

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Mrs. Gentry was smoking and reading when Randi walked in. “That you, Randi girl? It’s late. You know I like to eat earlier than this. What’s that dirt all over you? Go wash up. Good Lord in heaven. You’re twenty-six years old. Guess I’ll be having to watch after you like you’re a little girl for twenty-six more years if you don’t get a little humph in you somewhere. Bad leg or not, Randi, the good Lord hates sloth. Go on, now. I’m starved. Wait. Come back here. What’s that purple stuff all over you?”

“Oh, just some purple lint. From somebody’s rug, I guess. Lint I picked up. That’s all, Mama.” Randi was heading for the bathroom while Mrs. Gentry pronounced something good coming out of that purple.

“Wasn’t it Lydia in the Bible that sold purple cloth? I’ll have to look that up for you, Randi girl, but I’m just too tired and hungry right now.”

Randi bathed, cooked and went to bed.

The next day she swept. She swept up orange peels, coke cans and picked up Avon books scattered everywhere. She got her lines straight and just to be on the safe side, she picked up all the trash across the side street. There was a restaurant there, and she didn’t want all their trash blowing over to the complex, messing up her straight lines and all.

After she got her lines straight, Randi stood for a while, watching the ducks.

One day, some man, working at the park, explained the ducks’ habits to her. “No ma’am,” he’d said, “these mallard ducks, they take care of their young. They help the women-folk just as if they’d had those little ducklings themselves.”

Randi thought this interesting. And odd.

When Randi came home, she bathed, cooked Mrs. Gentry’s supper, and then bathed again. She went to bed. She went to sleep. She didn’t dream of a better life. Maybe she didn’t know how to dream.

She swept.

And the next year she collected six dollars and thirty-five cents. Mrs. Gentry said it was an omen. Randi didn’t know if it was an omen or not. But she did know she had covered more ground for more money that year. She was up to cleaning a full block away now. It was the windy season.


“What’s that you’re doing in there, girl? That must be the seventh time you’ve brushed your teeth tonight.”

Randi came out the bathroom door. She was so tired she didn’t think she had the energy to listen to Mama tonight. “What’s wrong with brushing my teeth, Mama?”

“I may not be the smartest person in the world, Randi, but I’m not the ignorant end of the shovel, either. Something’s the matter with you. You must need some kind of medicine or something.”

Or something.


Cigarette butts, coke cans, pigeon feathers, and Lord yes, this was Monday. Beer bottles, too. Randi spent a long time that day, bending, reaching. A person can’t just sweep up beer bottles when they’re half full. Pulling herself up, using her strong side, she reached and smiled as she caught the plastic bag gliding in the autumn air. From a soft distance, Randi could hear the ducks and their duck-talk. She could almost see the babies, born to swim—and following their two parents, as they lined up chattering. She imagined them racing after a small piece of bread, swelling in the man made pond.