Thursday, March 31, 2005

In Memory 


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Medal of Honor Winner SFC Paul R. Smith 

The Last Full Measure of Devotion

We have had several posts about SFC Paul Smith in the past. The White House announced today that President George W. Bush will honor Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith on the second anniversary of his courageous actions during the Battle of Baghdad Airport. The Medal of Honor will be presented to the Smith family during a White House ceremony, April 4. Link.

Smith is the first to receive the military’s highest award for actions taken in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The army has an excellent site with all the information here.

You can also find an outstanding multimedia website by the St. Petersburg Times here. It is worth the visit.

Well deserved.

Hattip to Mrs. G. at Mudville Gazette.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

No compelling reason to kill Terri Schiavo 

Mark Steyn of the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday,

This is not a criminal, not a murderer, not a person whose life should be in the gift of the state. So I find it repulsive, and indeed decadent, to have her continued existence framed in terms of ''plaintiffs'' and ''petitions'' and ''en banc review'' and ''de novo'' and all the other legalese. Mrs. Schiavo has been in her present condition for 15 years. Whoever she once was, this is who she is now -- and, after a decade and a half, there is no compelling reason to kill her. Any legal system with a decent respect for the status quo -- something too many American judges are increasingly disdainful of -- would recognize that her present life, in all its limitations, is now a well-established fact, and it is the most grotesque judicial overreaching for any court at this late stage to decide enough is enough. It would be one thing had a doctor decided to reach for the morphine and ''put her out of her misery'' after a week in her diminished state; after 15 years, for the courts to treat her like a Death Row killer who's exhausted her appeals is simply vile.

Read it and wonder what the legal system has in store for you.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Update on SFC McNaughton 

Matt at
BlackFive brings us news of Sergeant First Class Michael McNaughton and his participation Sunday in the annual Bataan Memorial March at White Sands Missile Range.

Former Walter Reed patient, Staff Sgt. Michael McNaughton (#1803), walks with Sgt. Robert Faulk (#1802) at the 16th annual Bataan Memorial Death March in New Mexico.

One generation of war heroes paid tribute to another Sunday at the 16th annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

After marching 26 miles through gravel, sand and wind-blown dust, Sgt. 1st Class Michael McNaughton sprinted toward the finish line. He was one of five men, all amputees, sponsored by Walter Reed Army Medical Center, who participated in this year's march.

"I wanted to do this for the Bataan survivors," McNaughton said. "The sacrifices they made were incredible." Link.

From the El Paso Times:
It is a formidable athletic event -- a 26.2-mile marathon slog through sandy desert roads that tests the endurance of even the most seasoned athlete.

Among those taking the challenge was a team of veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq who had lost limbs while serving their country.

They've taken part in other athletic competitions, but Army Sgt. Mike McNaughton said before the memorial march that it may be one of the toughest.

"I lost a leg, but (the Bataan veterans) went through a hell of a lot more than I did. I'm doing this to honor them," McNaughton said. Link.


President George W. Bush and Laura Bush visit Army Staff Sergeant Michael McNaughton of Denham Springs, La., at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Friday, Jan. 17, 2003. Sgt. McNaughton was wounded in Afghanistan Jan. 9, 2003. The President and SSgt. McNaughton ran together at the White House Wednesday, April 14, 2004.

President George W. Bush runs with U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Michael McNaughton, of Denham Springs, La., on the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday, April 14, 2004. The two met January 17, 2003, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where SSgt. McNaughton was recovering from wounds sustained in Afghanistan. The President then wished SSgt. McNaughton a speedy recovery so that they might run together in the future.

We salute SFC McNaughton for his dedication and courage.


Saturday, March 26, 2005

A Jedi's strength flows from the Force 

:: How Jedi Are You? ::

Always in motion is the future.

Hattip to Dan at Schadenfreude, who in real life (it appears) is Han Solo!

[And just what does he do with that Wookie?]


Friday, March 25, 2005

Kentucky National Guard MPs In Action 

DOD: A Kentucky National Guard unit is being credited with responding in “textbook” fashion during an ambush in Iraq March 20, killing 27 insurgents and capturing a sizable weapons cache and valuable intelligence.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Marshall Ware and Capt. Todd Lindner, platoon sergeant and commander of the Richmond, Ky.-based 617th Military Police Company, respectively, credit training and sticking to the rules with their unit's success in killing 27 insurgents during a March 20 firefight. Photo by Donna Miles

The insurgent death toll is the highest in Iraq since the Fallujah operation in November 2004 and, according to Army Capt. Todd Lindner, commander of the Richmond, Ky.-based 617th Military Police Company, represents “without a doubt, one of the most significant impacts an MP company has had in this war.”

Lindner credits his unit’s dogged commitment to training and unwillingness to cut corners with preparing his soldiers for the firefight along an alternative supply route about seven miles southeast of Baghdad.

An ambush by insurgents in Iraq on Sunday wounded, from left, Spc. Bryan Mack, Sgt. Joe Rivera and Spc. William Haynes II of the Kentucky National Guard. Link

Matt at BlackFive has the After Action Report - Raven 42 Ambushed!

Those seven Americans (with the three wounded) killed in total 24 heavily armed enemy, wounded 6 (two later died), and captured one unwounded, who feigned injury to escape the fight. They seized 22 AK-47s, 6x RPG launchers w/ 16 rockets, 13x RPK machineguns, 3x PKM machineguns, 40 hand grenades, 123 fully loaded 30-rd AK magazines, 52 empty mags, and 10 belts of 2500 rds of PK ammo.
Read the post at BlackFive. It is something you will never see in the MSM. Two of the MPs were females. Way to go!! Lets not talk about women in combat.


Insurgents Attack Convoy Poor quality. Wildly panning. At the end a Humvee drives into frame. Via a DVIDS link - opening seems to say the video was taken by the insurgents!

Interview with SGT Morris - Sergeant Dustin Morris of the 617th Military Police Company, Kentucky National Guard, speaks to NEWS 14 Carolina about his involvement repelling an insurgent attack against a convoy his unit was escorting.

MP Interviews After Insurgent Ambush - Interviews include Specialist Ashley Pullen, driver (from Edmonton, KY); Staff Sergeant Timothy Nein, squad leader (from Clark County, IN); Specialist Mike, medic (from Radcliffe, KY), Specialist Jessie Ordunez, gunner (from Marshall County, KY). Video from Multi-National Corps-Iraq Public Affairs. See related interviews with SGT Morris / NEWS 14, SGT Hester and CPT Lindner / CBS, and SGT Hester / CNN

Interviews with various members of the unit.


Sew Much Comfort 

An Angel recently directed me to Andi's World, a Soldier's wife posting to a blog whose "hubby" is on active duty. Be sure to bookmark her blog and check in often.

I direct you to Andi's post about Sew Much Comfort. Be sure to read the whole post. It's not that long and it's for a good cause.

Sew Much Comfort Deserves Some Exposure

Twice I've blogged about Sew Much Comfort. Currently, the problem is one of exposure. Namely, Sew Much Comfort needs some in order to reach the troops who can truly benefit from its product. Ginger Dosedel -- a true angel -- founded this incredible organization. Ginger is a military wife and mother of three. One of her children is a cancer urvivor who still has significant medical problems to contend with. In between flying from Washington to Minnesota to see her son's specialist, Ginger manages to squeeze in mothering her children, supporting her husband, sewing for amputees, visiting soldiers and their families at Walter Reed and taking wives and female soldiers out for shopping sprees. Yes, Ginger Doesdel is Superwoman.

If you've never been to Walter Reed or Bethesda Naval Medical Center, it's next to impossible to describe the experience. Nobody understands this better than Ginger, which is why she personally delivers the adaptive clothing to these heroes. Military families truly appreciate it when someone, like Ginger, invests their own time to sit and talk with them.

The Sew Much Comfort website debuted a couple of weeks ago. Soldiers can now log on and order underwear and pants free of charge, they can even request special fabrics. Ginger and her partners want to encourage more people to use this new feature. Want to know just how much this product means to soldiers:

One of the soldiers, upon receiving a pair of pants, cried when she realized the pants would cover her fixator, provide her with comfort and protect her dignity. The realization she could wear underwear again left her speechless.

I recently heard from the wife of a soldier whose leg was amputated. Ginger took him a pair of her fixator pants and even made a matching pair for his child. The wife raved about Ginger, and her product.

Ginger does a million things behind-the-scenes that she doesn't talk about. I know about her acts of kindness through people who have personally benefited from them. Ginger works incredibly hard to bring
some dignity to our wounded heroes, and smiles to the faces of their families. If you know someone at Walter Reed or Bethesda who could benefit from Ginger's adaptive clothing, let her know.

Lastly, why not email Ginger and her business partner, Michele, and simply thank them for devoting their time and energy to helping our amputees and other severely wounded troops.

Sample of the adaptive clothing for amputees and wounded soldiers with leg fixators. Notice that one leg is made larger than the other, this is to accommodate the injury. Ginger has also made pants for double amputees.

I'm sure you can see how Ginger and Michele at Sew Much Comfort are true "Angels". Visit and offer an encouraging word. Contribute if you can. Spread the word if you have a blog.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Congress Should Investigate The Courts 

Too bad Arlen Specter is chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee. 

 That committee needs to hold public hearings on why the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore of the District Court for the Middle District of Florida failed to follow the intent of the law recently passed by congress and signed by the president.

The legislation required that a new, independent evaluation of her case be made, according to papers filed for House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois, Majority Leader Tom DeLay and others. They said it also required the courts to "ensure that desperately needed nutritional support" is provided to Schiavo while the review is conducted.

That has not happened.  These judges have ignored the intent of the bill (law).

Maybe Congressman James Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the House Judicial Committee will take up the gauntlet.

These judges should be held accountable.


Congratulations to the New Dad 

Dan at Schadenfreude is the proud new papa to a beautiful baby girl.

Dan and his brother Mark run the Schadenfreude blog. Both are active duty special ops NCO's and have been deployed to Iraq twice.

Stop by and wish mom and dad well and be sure to bookmark their blog while you are there!


On Patrol In Iraq 

Matt at BlackFive points us towards a great read from a Lt. on patrol in Iraq.

There are only two days in Iraq; the day you get here and the day you

March 16, 2005 was the single best day thus far of my time in Iraq. The day started off as any other. I got out of bed, and donned cammie top, bottom, boots, threw a cap on my head, made sure I had a 30 round magazine on my weapon stock. Op checked the “mistress”, grabbed my back pack and headed out the door, total time from eyes open to departure, 4 minutes. I looked bad, and felt worse.
Sleep is the only escape here, and that has come with such randomness as of late when I get it I have to trick myself into accepting that I can actually do it. As per the norm when I got into the TOC I was bombarded with the SITREP, and all the things that intel is supposed to know ad naseum and verbatim. For those of you old enough to remember the TV show “Taxi” at the end when the credits had rolled. We hear a female voice saying “Goodnight Mr. Walters.” Mr. Walters replies, inaudibly; Mr. Walters: “Mumble mumble…” That is my usual response until I get to my desk and get the SITREP (Situation Report, a snapshot of what has happened in a given time). The day itself was shaping up to be more if the same a real snoozer.

Read the rest of it here. I have added him to the Warrior links on the left.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Soldiers' Angels Needs Your Help 

In another week or so it will be one year since I took the plunge and followed Hugh Hewitt's advise and signed up to help support a Soldier on active duty status serving our country in Iraq. I'm glad I did and now I'm asking you to help too.

Hugh promoted
Soldiers' Angels on his blog and wrote about their commendable service in trying to make sure that "no Soldier goes unloved". You see, there are Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines (both men and women) serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan who don't get any mail or support from home. Soldiers' Angels works to match these heros with someone back in the states who is willing to "adopt them".

Here is why YOU are needed. It has been proven time and time again, care packages, letters, and cards help bring back a healthy soldier. You can make a difference!

“When your name is called during mail call, your heart skips a beat. Days are long and boring, punctuated with moments of fear and confusion. Mail from home keeps me going.”

Dear "Army Mom,"

Just wanted to take a second to tell you what happened in Iraq today. It was raining - and I was just coming in to my headquarters when I passed by one of my newer soldiers - an immigrant from the former Soviet Union - and one of my BEST privates. I was stopped in my tracks, for behold - on such a dreary day he was smiling. I was being funny (at first) and I said "awww you got a package with some goodies? Who sent that to you?" And as I expected to hear him say "my mom (or something like that)" he turned his face to me and said "I don't know...." he had a smile on his face.....and as I saw his eyes glazing he said " ...that's why I was smiling" and at that my eyes began to glaze too. I can never take for granted their service, not for one minute - not for one second. And now...even in a hell hole like this - God has sent yet another Angel. I'll bet you didn't know that did you? How truly amazing - how close we come to God in such a far away place. You made one of my soldiers smile today - sitting there by himself - and for that, you have touched my soul. I'd thank you, but that's not why Angels do what they do (I know). So instead I'll just say - Well Done! You can rest easy, message received. And I'll do my best to bring them home. I owe God one. Thank you from my soul. PS From the Fourth Army, son of a mom like you no doubt.

When you adopt a Soldier you agree to write a letter or a post card to them every week or so. That simple act of writing on a regular basis can mean a lot to someone half a world away. If your finances permit, you can send a care package once a month or so.

To adopt a Soldier, go the the Soldiers' Angels web site and click on the link on the left Adopt A Soldier. Fill out the form and then submit. That's all. When you get approved you will receive an email with your Soldier's name and mailing address. A card, letter or note takes only a first class stamp - 37 cents. A care package can be simple or lavish, either will be greatly appreciated. Perhaps a group you belong to (work, church etc.) would be willing to help defray expenses or help collect care package items.

Soldiers' Angels is dedicated to ensuring that our military know they are loved and supported during and after their deployment into harms way.

I encourage you to adopt a Soldier today. If you are a blogger, I encourage you to pass on the message.


Ten Ways Cheney Can Kill 

For a little fun on Friday;

Compliments of Grouchy Old Cripple with a hattip to Schadenfreude


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Greyhawk Puts in 20 Years 

We salute Greyhawk of Mudville Gazette for his service to our country for the past 20 years!

Thank you.

We are proud to be a “Friends of MilBloggers” blog and support our military friends. Greyhawlk is the founder of the MilBlogs concept.

Thank you Mrs. G. also!

(Hattip to BLACKFIVE.)


Friday, March 11, 2005

A Final Farewell to a Fallen Marine 

Marine Lance Cpl. Andy Nowacki is shown with two unidentified children in Nasiriyah, Iraq in this 2003 photo provided by his family. Nowacki, 24, died Saturday, Feb. 26, 2005, from a roadside bomb while protecting a truck convoy south of Baghdad.

Motorcycle police escort the funeral procession of Lance Cpl. Andrew Nowacki as it makes its way through All Souls Cemetery in Chardon Twp. Nowacki, also a Grand River patrolman, was killed while serving in Iraq.

Lindsey Kimble of Fairport makes sure her daughter, Kelsie Kimble, 3 1/2 is warm enough as they watch the funeral procession of Andy Nowacki in Grand River.

Rose Simek, of Euclid wipes away tears as a parade of police cars pass on Ohio 84 on their way to the funeral of Andy Nowacki at St. Gabriel's Church in Concord Twp.

Sheila Nowacki is escorted from the gravesite of her son, Lance Cpl. Andrew Nowacki, by Grand River Police Chief Robert Antonelli after his burial at All Souls Cemetery in Chardon Township, Ohio, Monday, March 7, 2005.

Rest in Peace. Thank you for your service to our country.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hundreds say goodbye to fallen soldier Andy Nowacki 

From The News-Herald

It was a tribute fit for a hero.

Hundreds of police and military officials from all 50 states and Canada paid their respects Monday to slain U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Andy Nowacki.

The 24-year-old Painesville Township resident, who was also a Grand River policeman, was killed in action Feb. 26 by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

In keeping with the soldier's constantly upbeat personality, the funeral Mass at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Concord Township was more a celebration of his life than the mourning of his death.

The Rev. Jerome Duke - the man who baptised Nowacki as a newborn - gave the homily at his funeral. "A friend once asked him, 'Andy, what's with you? Why are you always so happy?' Andy told him, 'There's nothing to be unhappy about,' " the reverend said.
Duke got the grieving crowd to chuckle when he recalled how Nowacki gave himself the nickname Ace while attending Brush High School in Lyndhurst.
When Nowacki and some friends met some college girls at the former Eastgate Coliseum, he inexplicably introduced himself as "Ace, from the school of hard knocks."
For some reason, the name stuck, and even teachers started calling him Ace.
Several friends and family members showed up at the church service with yellow ribbons on their arms emblazoned with the nickname.

But the self-given nickname was only the beginning of Nowacki's unique sense of humor.
As a Grand River patrolman, he decided to spruce up his patrol vehicle with fuzzy dice on the rear-view mirror and smiley-face stickers on the back seat so those carted off to jail could get a laugh.

And although he could be tough when need be, Nowacki rarely wrote a traffic ticket - "unless the person he stopped was a real jerk," Duke said.
"He thought it wasn't his job to hurt people, but to educate," the reverend said.
The serious side of Nowacki loved children and animals, and was close to both his biological family and his clans at the Grand River Police Department and in the U.S. Marines.
"He was like family to us," Grand River Police Chief Robert Antonelli said.
Nowacki also was loved by the Iraqi people and their children.

"Andy totally believed in what he was doing," Duke said. "The night before he died, he told his mother he was going back for a third tour of duty."

Nowacki - who was injured during his first stint in Iraq in an eerily similar incident, while on Humvee patrol in the fall of 2003 - was supposed to come home April 1.
"Andy risked his life so we could have freedom and justice in the world," said the Rev. Frederick Pausche of St. Gabriel.

Before the service, the Marines gave Nowacki's parents, Denis and Sheila, a posthumous Purple Heart for their son's sacrifice.

After the Mass, Nowacki's body was laid to rest at All Souls Cemetery in Chardon Township.
As an estimated 400 police, military and citizens' cars made the hour-and-a-half-long trip to the cemetery, numerous residents from Lake and Geauga counties expressed their gratitude to the soldier for paying the ultimate price.

Crowds of flag-waving people waved and gave the thumbs-up sign to the procession in various spots in Mentor and Grand River.

A young mother and her toddler son - clutching a Teddy bear dressed in red, white and blue - stood in their King Memorial Road driveway cheering for police as the cars drove by.
Businesses along the procession route put out signs exclaiming, "God Bless Andy Nowacki."
Firefighters stood outside their trucks at attention.

"We would like to thank all of the citizens who came out and showed their respects to the fallen hero," said Ed Drum, commander of the Willoughby American Legion Palmer-Roberts Post 214, after the burial.

But perhaps what Nowacki would want most of all is for others to share his secret for a happy - albeit too short - life.

"Smile," Duke said. "As Andy always says, there is nothing to be unhappy about. Life is great. Life is beautiful and life is eternal. So smile."


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Lance Cpl. Andrew W. Nowacki 

A northeast Ohio Marine on his second tour of duty in Iraq was killed by a roadside bomb, the military and his family said.

The Department of Defense on Monday confirmed that Lance Cpl. Andrew W. Nowacki, 24, of South Euclid, died Feb. 26 in Babil Province, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve's 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, based in Erie, Pa.

Nowacki died Saturday while serving as a gunner on a Humvee that was protecting a truck convoy south of Baghdad, said his mother, Sheila Nowacki of Painesville.

"He's been in Iraq more than he's been home the last two years," she said. "But he was really OK with being over there because he saw the oppression and the cruelty that had happened to the people there.

"He thought a lot of the Iraqi people and he was willing to go back because he thought we were doing so much good."

Nowacki graduated from Brush High School in the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst in 1998, and enlisted in the Marine Corps reserve the following fall.

Nowacki was a police officer in Grand River, about 25 miles northeast of Cleveland.

Police Chief Robert Antonelli called Nowacki an "ideal police officer." "Andy was an exceptional peacemaker," Antonelli said Monday at a news conference. "When we lose a loved one like Andy, it tears part of our hearts out."


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

In the year 2014, The New York Times will go off line. 

I returned yesterday from a 5 day convention for professional photographers and my head is spinning from all things relating to digital photography.  I was reading up on my posting program of choice, BlogJet, and followed a couple of links and discovered a marketing blog called brand autopsy. From there I found this fascinating link about the possible future of Google.

Follow the link below and watch this 8 minute streaming movie.  Very Orwellian in what's ahead for the MSM.

Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson, staffers at the Poynter Institute for Journalism in Florida, give us their vision of how Google will rule the media landscape in 2014.

Done from a ‘backcasting newsreel’ perspective, Sloan and Thompson express their vision of the future as if we, in 2004, were viewing it in 2014.

Click here to stream the fascinating eight-minute EPIC 2014 newsreel video.

After watching this movie I think Hugh Hewitt has not over sold the power of the blogosphere one bit in his recent book, Blog.

I will be visiting brand autopsy regularly.


Soldiers Angels Network 

‘Lynette Frascella Named Volunteer of the Quarter’

Today's News

Wednesday, March 02, 2005— Lynette Frascella, Administrative Assistant in the Point Pleasant office of Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate, has been awarded the Volunteer of the Quarter for the fourth quarter 2004 for her work with Soldiers’ Angels. As part of the award, Lynette’s charity will receive a $1,000 donation from GMAC Residential.

Since getting involved with Soldiers’ Angels last year, she has officially adopted six soldiers and has written to many more. She writes many letters weekly, mails about six packages per month, and spends about one to two hours daily volunteering for this organization.

Soldiers’ Angels is a nonprofit organization, created in August 2003 with a mission to reach out to the United States’ military heroes and their families, providing comfort, aid and support in many different ways. Volunteers of this organization adopt soldiers and keep in touch with them by writing letters and sending care packages, totaling thousands of care packages to date. Soldiers’ Angels currently supports thousands of American Service Members stationed wherever an American Flag waves and the number is growing daily.

Lynette found out about this organization via the internet when searching for military support groups. She became interested in this organization in February 2004 as a way of “paying forward” the blessings her family received during a difficult time. After speaking with Patti Patton-Bader, the groups’ founder, Lynette was drawn to the organization by the fact that it is a non profit, 100% run by volunteers, and all donations go directly to the support of our military heroes.

“I have met so many wonderful people, both fellow volunteers and heroes, deployed and wounded. The volunteers of this organization have one purpose, the well-being and support of our military and their families,” she says. “I get the extreme satisfaction of knowing I’m letting our heroes know how much we support and appreciate their bravery, courage and sacrifices. They are making to make our world a better and safer place. One of the nicest things about writing these men and women is that some of these heroes keep in touch with us even when they come home. That is an added bonus!”

Lynette e-mails some of the soldiers daily and also places phone calls to wounded heroes.

Soldiers’ Angels supports wounded soldiers at all major military hospitals in the U.S. and in Landstuhl, Germany, by providing transitional backpacks, personal visits, phone calls, and more. Volunteers send “thank you” letters and e-mails to the military of Great Britain, Poland and Australia, who serve by our soldiers’ side in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lynette is currently manager of the Wounded TLC Team for Soldiers Angels. This is a first response group, providing comfort, aid, care and support to our wounded heroes and their families. We have teams in all major military hospitals here and in Landstuhl.

For more information on Soldier’s Angels, click here.

Nominate yourself or a co-worker as Volunteer of the First Quarter 2005 by March 31, and get $1,000 corporate donation to the charity of your/their choice!

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Lynette Frascella Named Volunteer of the Quarter

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