Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sigh. Another outrage

If there is a benefit to spending so much time being stuck with needles and registering for procedures, it's some of the interesting people you meet.

On Friday, a young intake clerk was running through all of the permission forms needed for next week's seed implant. She asked if there was another person beyond my wife that should be listed as an emergency contact. SGT Mark, of course (the medical training he received in the Army has been very helpful).

She started talking about her twin brother who has recently completed his tour of duty with the Marine Corps. He is now in Charlotte, NC attending school and waiting on his GI Bill benefits. He went to a restaurant that was hiring servers and applied for a job to make ends meet.

On his application, he listed his recent job experience:

Squad leader.
One tour in Iraq. Just back from Afghanistan.

The restaurant manager looked at the application and said "You haven't really served anyone in quite a while."

He didn't get the job.

He told his twin later: "Served anyone? What did he think I was doing the last five years. I was making life-and-death decisions every day. And I'm not qualified to wait tables?"

His sister was outraged and so are we.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

82nd Airborne's Mission in Haiti

Video from the CBS report

82nd Airborne Makes a Difference in Haiti

Trained for War, the 3,400 Troop Brigade has a Different Mission in Haiti

By Bill Whitaker

(CBS)  At 6:00 a.m. in Port-au-Prince, troops from the 82nd Airborne wade into the heart of desolation - handing out 55-pound bags of rice to the desperately hungry. Afternoons, they're at it again.

CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports they've been doing this every day for two weeks -- and every day it's a contact operation.

After every delivery 28-year-old Captain Edward Kim from Tacoma, Washington and his men assess what went right, and what went wrong.

"How do we get better at this," Capt. Kim asked.

How to Help Victims

Food distribution is just one of the 82nd's missions. The 3,400 troop brigade has a huge footprint in this crumbled capital: treating almost 500 wounded and sick, flying 50 of those worse off to the U.S. medical ship Comfort; supplying and feeding a sprawling tent city of 50,000 displaced citizens. It's a round-the-clock operation.

They're on the front line of the massive clean-up and fixing the destroyed power grid - America's mighty military arm extending a helping hand.

"It's rewarding to see people smile," said Staff Sgt. Adam Farmer. "And actually know that a little bit of something you're doing can change someone's day."

Complete Coverage: Devastation in Haiti

Helping can be hazardous, but rewarding.

"I thank God for the American People is coming in Haiti, try to help Haitians," said Pierre Dubrezil an earthquake victim.

"We're the face of the Army," said Sgt. Brian Robinson. "You see an 82nd patch, and you know the Army's out there making a difference.

Making a difference and saving lives.

Monday, January 25, 2010

NY Times: Foot on Bomb, Marine Defies a Taliban Trap

Lance Cpl. Ryan T. Mathison, left, after stepping on a mine that did not go off. An ordnance disposal team destroyed the explosive. More Photos >

Published: January 23, 2010
SHOSHARAK, Afghanistan — If luck is the battlefield’s final arbiter — the wild card that can trump fitness, training, teamwork, equipment, character and skill — then Lance Cpl. Ryan T. Mathison experienced its purest and most welcome form.

On a Marine foot patrol here through the predawn chill of Friday morning, he stepped on a pressure-plate rigged to roughly 25 pounds of explosives. The device, enough to destroy a pickup truck or tear apart several men, was buried beneath him in the dusty soil.

It did not explode.

Lance Corporal Mathison’s weight triggered the detonation of one of the booby trap’s two blasting caps. But upon giving an audible pop and tossing small stones into the air, the device failed to ignite its fuller charge — a powerful mix of Eastern Bloc mortar rounds and homemade explosives spiked with motorcycle parts, rusty spark plugs and jagged chunks of steel.

The rest of the story can be found here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cool graphic

Let's go Falcons.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti aid mission uses lessons of war

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — This is not war, this overwhelming humanitarian effort. But after eight years of dealing with counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lessons learned there — getting into the communities to understand the people’s needs — apply here to the job of distributing food and water and providing medical help.


Gen. Honore is right

Right now, a fair number of America's Rapid Response Force, the 82nd Airborne Division,  are sitting on their duffs at Ft. Bragg waiting for clearance to land at the Port-au-Prince airport. Clogged with civilian aircraft and foreign aircraft spending four hours on the runway for photo ops, the military can't get in.

Gen. Honore complained from the beginning that the military, not USAID, should be in charge at least until its assests are deployed. The 82nd has the capacity to find a straight road, parachute in and establish another runway that can land C-17s, Honore says. Instead, they hurry up and wait.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bragg soldiers heading to Haiti

from the Fayetteville Observer:

Fort Bragg is sending a battalion to Haiti to help with humanitarian efforts in the wake of Tuesday's devastating earthquake.
More than 100 soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 73rd Infantry are to travel to Haiti this afternoon, according to a release issued by Fort Bragg this morning. The rest of the battalion is to deploy tomorrow. It will be joined by about 800 soldiers in a 2nd Brigade Combat Team Command & Control Element.
Meanwhile, a six-person liaison team was sent to Miami Wednesday night by the XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters to assist with the planning effort.
In the release, Fort Bragg said its units "are highly trained and ready to respond to crises such as this tragic event in Haiti and fully prepared to support the mission as long as required to do so."
Soldiers from Fort Bragg will continue preparations for additional deployments for continued support if called upon, the release said.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti

2nd BrigadeCombat Team, 82nd Airborne is standing by for deployment to Haiti.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fort Stewart facing deep budget cuts |

Fort Stewart facing deep budget cuts |


Like Fort Stewart, some of the Army's biggest posts - where soldiers have completed four and five combat tours since the wars began - are facing significant spending reductions, according to AP's figures. Fort Stewart currently has 13,541 soldiers deployed.

Figures showed potential cuts of 40 percent at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne Division; 25 percent at Fort Bragg, N.C.; 22 percent at Fort Drum, N.Y., and 21 percent at Bamberg, Germany...."

Ft. Bragg is home to the 82nd Airborne Division and a host of Special Forces and Ranger battalions; Ft. Drum, 10th Mountain Division; Bamberg, 173rd Airborne BCT and other units.

Officially official

The Veteran's Administration has classified our young vet as permanently disabled. He has quite a list of injuries, one of which will require surgery later in the year. This is not something any parent would wish on their son but at least there is some certainty about his future.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Another chapter is closed

While it is not official, it looks as if the VA has agreed that SGT Mark has lifetime of service-related injuries with which he will have to deal. We have mixed emotions about all of this. On the upside, he should be able to apply for an honorable discharge ending the threat of an individual ready reserve mobilization and ending the harassing phone calls from Army Reserve recruiters.

On the other hand, I wouldn't wish a lifetime of pain on anyone, much less my son.

He never complains....just goes about his business...because he was ....and is....and will always be....a Red Falcon paratrooper.

1-325 Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne, the All American division. All the way. Let's Go!!!!

On to the next chapter.