Thursday, August 25, 2005
Michael Yon has the latest installment, Gates of Fire, posted at his Online Magazine, and it’s great.
You might have heard Hugh Hewitt reading it on the air today. It will knock your socks off.
Good job Michael!
Visit and read away.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Matt at BlackFive has a great post about Army Specialist Casey Sheehan. Casey’s mom is Cindy Sheehan – the anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-America protester camped outside President Bush’s Crawford ranch.
If all you’ve seen is the MSM’s coverage of his mother, you may be surprised to learn more about this Hero.
Casey Sheehan grew up in a devout Catholic home. He served as an altar boy and then as a key member of his church's youth group for years.
When he was old enough, Casey joined the Boy Scouts, becoming the very second Eagle Scout out of his troop.
He enlisted in the Army when he was twenty years old. He decided to be a mechanic. He would undergo Combat Lifesaver training - a class on how to give IVs and treat trauma only second in intense learning to combat medic training. He was also certified to assist with giving communion to soldiers while in the field.
Specialist Sheehan re-enlisted in the Army in 2004 knowing full well that he could be sent into a combat zone.
Casey Sheehan was a Humvee mechanic with the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.
On April 3rd, 2004, forces loyal to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al'Sadr stormed police stations and government offices in Sadr City (a city of over 2 million). They knew the Americans would come, and they wanted a fight. Muqtada Sadr was working them up into a religious frenzy. And he had his thugs murder anyone who he thought might stand in his way - even other Shi'ite clerics. His forces were known as the Mahdi Army.
American forces quickly surrounded Muqtada al'Sadr's quarters.
On April 4th, 2004, al'Sadr's Mahdi forces blocked roadways and bridges with burning tires, vehicles and trash. Visibility was less than 300 meters anywhere in the city. They began to attack American vehicles on patrol throughout Sadr City - some were protecting Shia worshippers (Holy Arbayeen) while others were escorting city government vehicles.
A battle raged across Sadr City. Insurgents assaulted American troops while looters and mobs formed and stormed through the streets. Word spread quickly across the American FOBs that there was trouble.
Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment were ambushed with RPGs and pinned down and dying. While fighting off an attack himself, the Commander of the 2/5th, LTC Volesky, called for help. A Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was formed of volunteers - their mission was to go out and rescue the American troops.
Casey Sheehan's Sergeant asked for volunteers. Sheehan had just returned from Mass. After Sheehan volunteered once, the Sergeant asked Sheehan again if he wanted to go on the mission. According to many reports (and according to his own mother), Casey responded, "Where my Chief goes, I go."
The QRF was launched. Not long after entering the Mahdi area, the QRF was channelled onto a dead-end street where the roofs were lined with snipers, RPGs, and even some militia throwing burning tires onto the vehicles. The Mahdi blocked the exit and let loose with everything they had.
Sheehan's vehicle was hit with multiple RPGs and automatic-weapons fire.
Specialist Casey Sheehan and Corporal Forest J. Jostes were killed.
A second QRF was formed - all volunteers - to go rescue the first. Specialist Ahmed Cason was hit in the second QRF - but kept fighting until he bled to death.
Seven men died with Casey Sheehan on Sunday, April 4th, 2004.
They were Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, Spc. Ahmed Cason, Sgt. Yihjyh L. "Eddie" Chen, Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, Spc. Israel Garza, Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, and Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell.
It was Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday commemorates the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem. Back then, the palm frond was a symbol of victory - laid beneath the feet of those of the highest honor and triumph. Some believe it was this honor fit for a king that forced Jesus's enemies to act and crucify him.
In recognition of Casey, the Catholic Chapel at Fort Hood, Texas (where Sheehan was stationed) named the Knights of Columbus chapter the "Casey Austin Sheehan Council".
Casey also received the Bronze Star for his Valor that day.
Palm fronds for the most honored.
Thanks to BlackFive for the information.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Michael Yon posts today on his blog about Mosul, Iraq. In it he references an IED strike.
Many readers have asked for combat video. I have made a few videos of fighting, but mostly photos. Nevertheless, to see a real IED strike on our troops while I was in Baquba (near Baghdad), please click the title of the story above. The video was shot by 1st Infantry Division soldiers that I often accompanied in Baquba.
No one was hurt, thank God. Visit his blog to see the video and read his interesting post, including:
The enemy’s operating practices for overcoming delivery and timing problems speak volumes about their predatory nature. They use human bomb delivery devices—the miss-labeled "suicide bombers"—who become organic elements of primitive weapon systems. They call these temp workers "martyrs," in a shameless exploitation of the na?vet? and narcissism of certain young men. The "martyrs" allow themselves to be used as targeting and acquisition systems. More than just "allowing" they actually see the act of mass murder as the fulfillment of a glorious plan.
Good job Michael.
Monday, August 15, 2005
From the Dawn Patrol at The Mudville Gazette I found a link to Capt. Danjel Bout’s blog; 365 and a Wakeup. His post titled: Scorch Marks is worth reading. It’s good to hear that day in and day out Soldiers are doing their jobs – killing terrorists – and staying safe at the same time due to their training.
The moment the car turned its nose towards the patrol and started to pick up speed the troops recognized that this wasn’t a confused driver trying to find a shortcut to work. This was a VBIED. Weapons slewed into position and as the car continued to pick up speed the soldiers engaged with their rifles. A split second later the harsh crack of rifle fire was eclipsed by the unholy thump of a heavy machine gun engaging the target. The windshield blossomed into a spider web of broken glass, and the driver slumped over from the impact of a dozen rounds. Unfortunately there was no stopping the ironclad laws of inertia, the vehicle continued to lurch forward until it fluoresced into a shrieking high explosive fireball. The hard wave of concussion slammed into the troops like a sledgehammer, a welter of metal and meat following an instant behind. The vehicles engine block rocketed forward and slammed into the armored HMMWV, glancing off the thick steel with a metallic hiss. The soldiers who had dismounted the vehicle managed to take a knee a split second before the powerful explosion, leaving them mercifully free of almost all of the screeching fragments.
Thanks to the alert soldiers in Demon Company the only life that ended that day was the suicide bombers. All that will mark the bombers bitter existence is a scorch mark on a worthless piece of road. A scorch mark that will forever recount his dismal failure.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
The defense of Freedom is an ongoing battle, one that continues to call our finest, one that comes with great cost. Let those who bear this cost never be forgotten.
Support the Marines.
Click on over to give him credit.
A message to Cindy Sheehan
I realize how tragic your loss is and I know how much pain there is crushing your heart and I know the darkness that suddenly came to wrap your life and wipe away your dreams and I do feel the heat of your tears that won't dry until you find the answers to your question; why you lost your loved one?
I have heard your story and I understand that you have the full right to ask people to stand by your side and support your cause. At the beginning I told myself, this is yet another woman who lost a piece of her heart and the questions of war, peace and why are killing her everyday. To be frank to you the first thing I thought of was like "why should I listen or care to answer when there are thousands of other women in America, Iraq and Afghanistan who lost a son or a husband or a brother…”
But today I was looking at your picture and I saw in your eyes a persistence, a great pain and a torturing question; why?
I know how you feel Cindy, I lived among the same pains for 35 years but worse than that was the fear from losing our loved ones at any moment. Even while I'm writing these words to you there are feelings of fear, stress, and sadness that interrupt our lives all the time but in spite of all that I'm sticking hard to hope which if I didn't have I would have died years ago.
Ma'am, we asked for your nation's help and we asked you to stand with us in our war and your nation's act was (and still is) an act of ultimate courage and unmatched sense of humanity.
Our request is justified, death was our daily bread and a million Iraqi mothers were expecting death to knock on their doors at any second to claim someone from their families.
Your face doesn't look strange to me at all; I see it everyday on endless numbers of Iraqi women who were struck by losses like yours.
Our fellow country men and women were buried alive, cut to pieces and thrown in acid pools and some were fed to the wild dogs while those who were lucky enough ran away to live like strangers and the Iraqi mother was left to grieve one son buried in an unfound grave and another one living far away who she might not get to see again.
We did nothing to deserve all that suffering, well except for a dream we had; a dream of living like normal people do.
We cried out of joy the day your son and his comrades freed us from the hands of the devil and we went to the streets not believing that the nightmare is over.
We practiced our freedom first by kicking and burning the statues and portraits of the hateful idol who stole 35 years from the life of a nation.
For the first time air smelled that beautiful, that was the smell of freedom.
The mothers went to break the bars of cells looking for the ones they lost 5, 12 or 20 years ago and other women went to dig the land with their bare hand searching for a few bones they can hold in their arms after they couldn't hold them when they belonged to a living person.
I recall seeing a woman on TV two years ago, she was digging through the dirt with her hands. There was no definite grave in there as the whole place was one large grave but she seemed willing to dig the whole place looking for her two brothers who disappeared from earth 24 years ago when they were dragged from their colleges to a chamber of hell.
Her tears mixed with the dirt of the grave and there were journalists asking her about what her brothers did wrong and she was screaming "I don't know, I don't know. They were only college students. They didn't murder anyone, they didn't steal, and they didn't hurt anyone in their lives. All I want to know is the place of their grave".
Why was this woman chosen to lose her dear ones? Why you? Why did a million women have to go through the same pain?
We did not choose war for the sake of war itself and we didn't sacrifice a million lives for fun! We could've accepted our jailor and kept living in our chains for the rest of our lives but it's freedom ma'am.
Freedom is not an American thing and it's not an Iraqi thing, it's what unites us as human beings. We refuse all kinds of restrictions and that's why we fought and still fighting everyday in spite of the swords in the hands of the cavemen who want us dead or slaves for their evil masters.
You are free to go and leave us alone but what am I going to tell your million sisters in Iraq? Should I ask them to leave Iraq too? Should I leave too? And what about the eight millions who walked through bombs to practice their freedom and vote? Should they leave this land too?
Is it a cursed land that no one should live in? Why is it that we were chosen to live in all this pain, why me, why my people, why you?
But I am not leaving this land because the bad guys are not going to leave us or you to live in peace. They are the same ones who flew the planes to kill your people in New York.
I ask you in the name of God or whatever you believe in; do not waste your son's blood.
We here have decided to avenge humanity, you and all the women who lost their loved ones.
Take a look at our enemy Cindy, look closely at the hooded man holding the sword and if you think he's right then I will back off and support your call.
We live in pain and grief everyday, every hour, every minute; all the horrors of the powers of darkness have been directed at us and I don't know exactly when am I going to feel safe again, maybe in a year, maybe two or even ten; I frankly don't know but I don't want to lose hope and faith.
We are in need for every hand that can offer some help. Please pray for us, I know that God listens to mothers' prayers and I call all the women on earth to pray with you for peace in this world.
Your son sacrificed his life for a very noble cause…No, he sacrificed himself for the most precious value in this existence; that is freedom.
His blood didn't go in vain; your son and our brethren are drawing a great example of selflessness.
God bless his free soul and God bless the souls of his comrades who are fighting evil.
God bless the souls of Iraqis who suffered and died for the sake of freedom.
God bless all the freedom lovers on earth.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
From The News Herald
Family mourns man whose son turns 1 today; was among 6 killed Monday in Iraq
Alexander Montgomery turns 1 today.
But the candle to celebrate that milestone instead now will burn in memory of his father, Marine Lance Cpl. Brian P. Montgomery, who was killed Monday while serving in Iraq.
The U.S. military reported Tuesday that six Marines were killed Monday by insurgents at Haditha Dam, Iraq, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad. Montgomery's father, Paul of Willoughby, said Brian, 26, of Mentor, died Monday in small-arms fire in Haditha when he was out on a mission, according to military officials. Brian, in the Weapons Company with the Third Battalion, 25th Regiment of Marines, shipped out in January from Akron, and was deployed to Iraq in March, Paul said. He had been a Marine since 2002.
He said Brian's younger brother, Eric, stationed in Haditha in a different unit, will escort Brian's body home.
Tearful at times, Paul, while sitting in his living room, recalled his most cherished memory with Brian: "When he said, 'Don't worry, Dad. I'll be coming home.' "
"He was just a very loving person, a very happy person," Paul said. "It was just in his nature."
Paul said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks moved Brian to join the Marines Corps Reserves. "He felt like his country had been attacked," Paul said. "The feeling was that it was his duty to do something about that."
Paul said Brian, a 1998 graduate of South High School in Willoughby, was studying at Cleveland State University.
Rest in Peace LCpl Montgomery
We've been affiliated with Soldiers' Angels for about 18 months now and it has been wonderful getting to know some of the men and women serving our country in Iraq. It all came about via Hugh Hewitt as he mentioned Soldiers' Angels on his radio show.
Soldiers' Angels was founded by Patti Patton-Bader (great niece of General George S. Patton) when her son was deployed to Iraq in OIF. Her simple efforts to help and care for soldiers in her son's unit who were not getting any mail from home has blossomed into an international effort. The mission of Soldiers' Angels has grown from simple letter writing and care packages to support for the wounded, help for their spouses and children and comfort for the families of the fallen. Their efforts and results are wide ranging and far reaching.
Matt at BlackFive has pointed us towards a great podcast interview with Patti by Soldiers' Angel Holly Aho on her blog. It runs about 21 minutes and is fun listening. Be sure to leave a comment for Patti as well as a pat-on-the-back for Holly. Read Matt's post for an interesting look at some of the behind the scenes happenings by Soldiers' Angels volunteers.
Check it out. If you haven't already, visit Soldiers' Angels and adopt a soldier today. Your life will be enriched!