Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Introducing Isabeau

Arrived here by collusion and conspiracy. Not an Airborne cat since Mark is not a cat person. But since my oldest son, the prime conspirator, is a Jimmy Buffet fan....she is a Margaritaville cat. She has taken over the Tiki bar as her own.

Glider is recovering from surgery. Absolutely hates the cone...he is miserable. The vet said to keep him calm for a week. Riiggghhht. He is an Aussie with only one speed: full speed ahead. Good luck with that.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday updates

*Airborne dog Glider is resting comfortably after surgery this morning. This was scheduled and part of the contract when he was purchased. All of the dogs and cats that we have owned during the last 35 years have been neutered. We can pick up from the vet tomorrow at 9 a.m. The house is eerily quiet without him.

*All the stories we have heard about the VA are apparently true. They are painfully slow in processing benefits and have put a veteran and parents in a predicament as to how to afford college in stressed economy.

*After two weeks of collusion and conspiracy between Gayle and my oldest son, a feral kitty has shown up at our house. She is all black and named Isabeau (pictures to come). My son and DIL are moving to Port St. Lucie and there have been a number of feral cats born at an apartment complex behind his house. He has rescued two and we now have the third. She has gone from feral to domesticated in about 24 hours. Border collie Olustee is quite taken with her.

*MSM has started to pick up its coverage of Afghanistan....finally. Couple of stories in both the Post and the Times and NBC and CBS have run some Afghanistan related stories.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

10th Mountain

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the men of 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery (STRIKE), 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division and our Internet acquaintances who are close to the unit. They've had a very tragic week. See the post below.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died July 20 in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle followed by an attack from enemy forces using small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fires. They were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery (STRIKE), 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

Killed were:

Sgt. Gregory Owens Jr., 24, of Garland, Texas
Spc. Anthony M. Lightfoot, 20, of Riverdale, Ga
Spc. Andrew J. Roughton, 21, of Houston, Texas.
Pfc. Dennis J. Pratt, 34, of Duncan, Okla.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hard working Airborne dog

after his swimming lesson.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

That was then. This is now.

In 1972, I had screwed around in college and lost my student deferment. I was working in a department store selling cameras when I came home one day. There on the den table was a neatly stacked pile of brown envelopes. One was from the Navy. Another from the Air Force, the Army, the Marines and the Coast Guard. Curious, I thought. My draft number was 92 and they had only been taking draftees through 70 and I had only three months to go before I fell back to the secondary pool.

The next day, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announced they were drafting another 50,000 young men and the draft number was moving to 95.

The very next day, I received a letter in the mail that began: "Greetings from the President of the United States." I was in the Army.

Yesterday, an Army Reserve recruiter called for Mark.

Then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that the Army needed another 20,000 men.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Open letter to the Army Reserve recruiters

Thank you for your service. We appreciate the difficult job that you have. But don't talk to us about stop-loss. Mark is not deployable, can't do PT and was on profile a good chunk of 2008 and all of 2009. His injuries are lifelong and cannot be reversed. He told you that when he out-processed. So make it easy on his parents' blood pressure. Don't call the house any more. Please?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New book

A good friend of mine has given me a book to read for the summer. It's called "Last Journey," A Father and Son in Wartime. It's written by Darrell Griffin Sr., and Darrell "Skip" Griffin Jr. (March 13, 1971 - March 21, 2007).

I'm not sure I'm ready to read something like this but I probably should.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Ran into SPC Danielle Inama and her mom at Target today. She is home on R&R from her second (maybe third) tour in Iraq. She is with the 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne. She was a classmate of Mark's at Nease High School many years ago. Mark was in 2nd BCT and they bumped into each other at Ft. Bragg once or twice.

She and her family are the only other 82nd Airborne families in our neighborhood, although we are a former 82nd Airborne family.

She looked good and I am glad that one of our local soldiers is home safe and sound.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Off topic

Hot dog on a hot day. Airborne dog knows how to stay cool.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

*Staff Sergeant First Class John C. Beale* June 11, 2009

Georgia recently sent elements of its 48th BCT to Afghanistan. Within 3 weeks 3 of their warriors were killed by an IED explosion. The following video is simply magnificent. It's 12 minutes long, but it makes an incredible point - the people of America love and honor their warriors and appreciate the sacrifice they make. The video is shot from inside the procession which picked up the remains of SSG John Beale and shows the crowds which turned out to honor him as it traveled through various parts and towns in Henry County, GA, where SSG Beale was from.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Solemn day at Dover AFB

Four soldiers and a sailor come home. Would have been nice if they would have told us who they were and what happened.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Off topic: Dogs before the storm


Glider, at left is four months old. Olustee is 4.5 years old. They are taking a break before the summer monsoons return this evening (Wednesday).
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Monday, July 6, 2009

A Life of Worth, Overlooked

(I picked this up from Airman Mom's blog)

From Sunday's letters to the editor in The Washington Post.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My nephew, Brian Bradshaw, was killed by an explosive device in Afghanistan on June 25, the same day that Michael Jackson died. Mr. Jackson received days of wall-to-wall coverage in the media. Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week? There were several of them, and our family crossed paths with the family of another fallen soldier at Dover Air Force Base, where the bodies come "home." Only the media in Brian's hometown and where he was stationed before his deployment covered his death.

I remember Brian as a toddler wandering around in cowboy boots and hat, not seeing the need for any other clothing. He grew into a thoroughly decent person with a wry sense of humor. He loved wolves and history. Most Christmases, I gave him a biography or some analysis of the Civil War. He read such things for pleasure.

He had old-fashioned values and believed that military service was patriotic and that actions counted more than talk. He wasn't much for talking, although he could communicate volumes with a raised eyebrow.

He was a search-and-rescue volunteer, an altar boy, a camp counselor. He carried the hopes and dreams of his parents willingly on his shoulders. What more than that did Michael Jackson do or represent that earned him memorial "shrines," while this soldier's death goes unheralded?

It makes me want to scream.



Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day

82nd Airborne - on call 24/7

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday news and notes

Glider - 4 months, 32 pounds

Trouble is: he still wants to be a lap dog and he uses his great leaping/pouncing ability to remind you.

Quiet Fourth: The Fourth of July generally has been a pretty noisy celebration at our house. But this year, my oldest son and his wife are down in Port St. Lucie with the in-laws and Mark, now that he is out of the Army and out of harm's way, doesn't think he has enough "pull" for a party. Probably just as well. We have a new baby next door.

Butterfly garden: One of our coping strategies - things to do to keep our minds off of a deployment - was to plant a butterfly garden. We've been at it for three years now (of course, no more deployments) and it looks like we are going to have our first crop of baby butterflies - Monarchs. See La Florida.