Semper Gratus!

Be Grateful You’re an American!

October 31, 2006

Kerry’s Just Jealous

by @ 9:22 pm. Filed under Politics, Troop Support

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” – John F’ing Kerry

animated_kerry_bunny.gif

This turd is just jealous ’cause W got better grades than him in college. W got to be a super-cool fighter pilot while the F’ing ‘tard got to be Skipper of the Minnow.

CodePink Kerry courtesy of Mary*Ann. Animation by me.
H/T: Tony in Boulder for the link to Michelle Malkin

October 30, 2006

Liberals (Democrats) Want Terrorists to Kill You!

by @ 7:43 pm. Filed under Politics, Vengeance!

If Michael J. Fox can say that Republicans want him to die from Parkinson’s, then I can say that he wants all of us to die at the hands of Islamofacist terrorists.

“Senator Talent opposes expanding stem cell research. He even wanted to criminalize research…–From Fox’s political ad in MO.

Gee, if Fox says it, it must be true! Even if he didn’t read the bill he was campaigning against.

Obviously, he wants all conservatives to be beheaded by al-Zarqawi wanna bees. So there!

October 29, 2006

D.J. Dietz – You Will Never Be Forgotten

by @ 1:12 am. Filed under Troop Support, True Heroes

Friday, September 29, President Bush gave a speech to the Reserve Officers Association on the occasion of the visits by President Karzai of Afghanistan, and President Musharraf of Pakistan. He praised the efforts of both leaders in the War on Terror and the commitment and bravery of U.S. troops, including two Navy SEALs who were posthumously honored recently with the Navy Cross, the Nation’s second highest military award.

I think of two Navy SEALs named Matthew Axelson and Danny Dietz. In June of 2005, they were part of a SEAL team operating deep in the mountains of Afghanistan on a mission to kill or capture a Taliban leader. They were discovered, and they were soon surrounded in a mountain ravine by 30 to 40 Taliban fighters. During the firefight that ensued, Axelson urged an injured teammate to escape, and he provided cover before suffering a mortal wound. Fighting nearby, his partner Dietz was also mortally wounded, but he too stood his ground and kept firing until finally, he finally died.

Because of the courage of Petty Officers Axelson and Dietz, their wounded teammate made it out alive. For their heroism, these two Petty Officers were awarded the Navy Cross. But I want you to hear what Petty Officer Dietz’s wife said about her husband and his comrades in arms. She said, “Danny and his brothers went toward evil and ran forward and gave their last breath.”

Warrior D.J.

It’s difficult to find words to adequately describe someone whose bravery and dedication go above and beyond anything you’d likely see in your daily life, let alone in your entire life. What makes a man into a hero? What gives him the courage to voluntarily be dropped into a nightmare with no hope of waking up to find it was only a dream? The only way out is to finish the job, and he knows it doesn’t always end with the good guys coming home safe and sound. Sometimes, no matter how much you’ve trained or how well you’ve planned, the monsters win. What kind of man looks at those lousy odds and says “that’s for me”?

We can have confidence in the outcome of the war on terror — because our nation is determined. We’ve done this kind of hard work before, and we have succeeded. And we can be confident because we’ve got incredible men and women who wear our nation’s uniform. I am constantly amazed at the incredible courage that our fellow citizens who wear the uniform show on a regular basis. –George W. Bush

Those incredible citizens were encouraged by friends and loved ones and mentored by the best Americans trained in the past, but first they were raised and taught by incredible parents. The following is a heartfelt tribute by a mother to her warrior son.


You Will Never Be Forgotten.
By Cindy Dietz
Mother of Petty Officer 2nd Class, Navy Seal, Seal Delivery Team Two Danny Phillip Dietz Jr.
January 26, 1980 – June 28, 2005

On June 28, 2005 we lost our hero – beloved son, brother, brother-in-law, grandson, and husband. He will forever be in our hearts and souls until we meet again in the heavens above.

We want D.J. to be remembered for the amazing and caring and full of life person he was and is. He always strived to be the best in everything he did and achieved everything to the best of his abilities. D.J. was very strong willed and that is who he needed to be to become the hero we all have come to admire and love.

Toddler

D.J. and his sister Tiffany could have been twins. They were very close and they shared the kind of unique, private way of communicating that such a bond creates. He was a very protective but very loving older brother. They were always together not only in childhood but were inseparable in their teen years as well.

D.J. and Tiffany loved their little brother Eric. They very much babied him most of the time, but would sometimes gang up on him thinking they were only making him tough. Eric looked up to D.J. and he was definitely his role model while growing up.

Highschool

D.J. came home from one of his deployments when Eric was in a terrible car accident. He broke his neck in the same type of injury as Christopher Reeve. The medical staff let D.J. stay with his brother, and D.J. did not leave Eric’s bedside the whole time he was in intensive care. We were told he would never walk again but Eric kept telling his brother “I will walk again,” and after his surgery he did. We never questioned what D.J. told his little brother but we believe whatever it was he gave him the strength to walk again.

Eric is now going to run a marathon in honor of his brother D.J., something only his brother and God above can see him through with all the family and friends supporting him.

D.J. was our first born. We learned through him the true meaning of love. He was such a joy to us and we felt blessed with such a beautiful and loving infant. Through his childhood, teen and adult years we as parents were thankful to our heavenly father for giving him to us and though we were not perfect parents, we did the best we could in raising such an amazing hero. We are very proud of our son’s accomplishments and thankful for the time, though cut short, he was here on earth. The love we shared was and is the true meaning of what love is all about.

D.J. loved his Grandma Dee and Grandpa Jim, and their tremendous love for D.J. will always be with him.

D.J. married his soul mate March 14, 2003. Although their life together was short they shared a fairytale love that not many of us in a lifetime get to share.

Graduation


Agnieszka has become a close friend to the Dietz family. She has written her own tribute to D.J. and his family.

Extraordinary Gallantry and Valor
By Agnieszka O., family friend

Navy Cross Medal, Silver Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Award, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Expert Pistol and Expert Rifle Medal.

Many knew him as Danny, but for family and many friends he was D.J.

I have never met D.J., but I feel like I know him in some way. I know him through his parents , Cindy and Dan, his brother Eric, his sister Tiffany and her husband Alex, his grandmother, aunts and uncles, family members, friends as well as pictures and video clips.

On June 28 this year family and friends celebrated D.J.’s life in a private memorial service in Denver, CO. The memorial service was a moving tribute to the HERO who, like his father Dan, wanted to serve his country and joined the Navy. Dan Dietz Sr. served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and provided an early inspiration for D.J. to become a Navy SEAL. They also shared the love of martial arts. Dan has a black belt in Taekwon-Do and started to teach D.J. when he was a toddler. D.J. also liked boxing and won the Armed Forces Boxing Championship representing the Navy team.

Cake

On September 13, the Dietz family traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a special presentation ceremony at the United States Naval Memorial next to the “Lone Sailor” statue. Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny Dietz Jr. and his Navy SEAL brother, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matt Axelson, were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Nation’s second highest Military Award for valor and gallantry. The medals were the fourth and fifth to be awarded to Navy SEALs since 2001.

Navy Cross in Presentation

D.J. was one of the four Navy SEALs inserted into the hostile territory close to Asadabad, Afghanistan during Operation Red Wing. D.J.’s specialty on the team was communication. After the team’s hiding position was compromised, they engaged in a fierce battle against overwhelming numbers of Taliban militia. They radioed for help and helicopters were dispatched to extract the team. By the end of that day, 28 of June 2005, two of D.J.’s teammates on the ground, Matt Axelson and Mike Murphy were KIA, one of the SEALs was able to escape, and eight Army Night Stalkers and eight Navy SEALS on board the Chinook helicopter perished in the rugged mountains of South Afghanistan.

D.J. gave it all to his team. He fought till the end.

The SEAL Ethos says:
“My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves.”

D.J paid the ultimate price to protect his teammates and his country.

On Monday August 18, Littleton Boulevard in Littleton Colorado was temporarily renamed in honor of D.J. to Danny Dietz Drive. The sign will be in place for 10 days. The City of Littleton is planning to unveil a permanent memorial in honor of DJ in one of the Littleton parks next year.

Street dedication

Eric is going to run the 31st Marine Corps Marathon in honor of his older brother D.J. The marathon will be held on Sunday, October 29, 2006 at Fort Meyer, Arlington, VA, near the Pentagon. Eric has never run in a marathon before but he has been diligently training the past several months — it will be very emotional for Eric but I know he’ll be able to complete the race.

The family site at T.A.P.S. is here.

My six-year-old son, Adam, really wanted to run a marathon in memory of DJ as well. Adam is going to run the Marine Corps Marathon Healthy Kids’ Fun Run on Saturday, October 28th. Eric took some time off with his own training to run with Adam. Adam is proud to run in memory of DJ.

Together with the City of Littleton, the Dietz family is raising money for the memorial statue of D.J.

Tax-Deductible contributions can be mailed to:

City of Littleton Finance Department
Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Fund
2255 West Berry Ave.
Littleton, CO 80165

The Dietz family is also developing a web site in a memory of their son at www.dannydietzjr.com.


The President’s conclusion to his speech:

We live in freedom because of the courage of men like Matthew and Danny. And we will honor their sacrifice by completing the mission. From Afghanistan and Iraq to Africa and Southeast Asia, we are engaged in a struggle against violent extremists — a struggle which will help determine the destiny of the civilized world. We’ve borne these responsibilities before, and we have seen our faith in freedom vindicated by history. In this young century, a new generation of Americans is being called to defend liberty — and once again the cause of liberty and peace will prevail.

American Hero

No one can replace a man like D.J. Dietz. He was unique and will be fondly remembered by all those lives he touched.

Additional reading:
Blackfive, Axelson and Dietz to receive Navy Cross
Navy NewsStand, Two SEALs Receive Posthumous Navy Cross Awards
Hampton Roads, Beach SEAL honored for his sacrifice in Afghanistan

Navy Cross award given on September 13, 2006.


navycross_citation.JPG

The Navy Cross citation.

This is a video tribute to D.J. created by Agnieszka.


July 5, 2007

The Memorial Statue in Littleton, CO was unveiled July 4, 2007. Slapstick Politics has a very nice post about it with pictures and links.

October 27, 2006

My Buddie Eddie

by @ 1:45 pm. Filed under Troop Support

What a dope I am sometimes. I met the cutest Soldier at WR several weeks ago and he’s fast becoming one of my all-time favorite young warriors. He told me that he entered America as an “illegal”, but that it was all cool now since he had been fast-tracked to citizenship (one of the really good things Military service will do for you!). He was even given his citizenship by THE President of these United States, Mr. George W. Bush himself. How d’ya like me now?

New Americans at Walter Reed
Eddie is the one in the glasses next to Mr. President.

I downloaded this picture in July and it didn’t dawn on me until today to go back and look at it more closely. Sure enough – there’s Eddie!!!

Two weeks ago he learned that he was not going to lose his injured leg – something he’s been dreading for months and months. The surgeons took a final look and said “Nope, I think it’s going to be fine!” What a relief!!!! Edward Leal-Cardenas speaks 5, Count ’em FIVE, languages including Japanese. He’s one of the really bright young men that you just want to hug and never let go of.

October 26, 2006

Thursday Funny

by @ 1:28 pm. Filed under Politics, teh Funny

TweetiePie sends:

Memorable Quotes from The Ghost Breakers (1940)

Ghost Breakers Movie Poster

Geoff Montgomery: It’s worse than horrible because a zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring.

Larry Lawrence: You mean like Democrats?

——————————

Extra Credit: Go over to Insolublog‘s place and see the video.

October 25, 2006

Another Combat Artist Down Range

by @ 7:55 pm. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support

Introducing Sgt. Kristopher Battles, USMC, of Sketchpad Warrior. A friend and colleague of WO-1 MD Fay of Fire and Ice, Kris has landed and is setting up shop in beautiful Camp Fallujah, Iraq.

After a short flight in a C-130, I arrived at an airbase (abbreviated “TQ”) on 20 October, stepping down the ramp onto Iraqi soil around 1830 hours local time. It was then a short helicopter ride to beautiful Camp Fallujah, Home of the Thousand Shades of Beige! I arrived around 2230, and Major Durr, another combat artist, met me and showed me the office– then let me crash in an empty rack at the barracks he was in.

Here is an example of his work.

andrew

Go on over to his place and check it out. Isn’t the name “Battles” pretty cool for a warrior?

I don’t get over to F&I as often as I should. I just now read an October 2nd post that really kicks ass.

Post-entry: Several weeks ago one of the good readers of Fire and Ice posted the comment “When will we stop praising the warriors, and praise the peacemakers?” in response to the post Wounded Warrior. It is quite evident here at Fire and Ice that I, and many of our readers, celebrate warriors….especially in light of the current unfolding historical struggle with Islamofascism. Today, Tuesday, via a wonderful blog called Dr. Sanity, I read a revealatory commentary by Victor Davis Hanson, and the good Doc’s accompanying thoughts. Both of these accomplished and lucid thinkers have articulated how the self-proclaimed peacemakers of today’s world, the unhinged left-leaning world of feel-good-wishful-thinkingocrats, have both created and nurtured not peace, but the conditions for war. What stands between us and the caliphate chaos of Islamic fanaticsm is not George Soros, MoveOn.org, the DailyKos, the Democratic Party, Code Pink or any other slice of the left’s soft underbaked marshmallow pie, but hard young men and women willing, like the Marine corporal pictured here, to strap on a gun, 60 pounds of gear and under the most hostile conditions of heat, dust and death keep reaching for another can of Old Fashion All-American Whoopass. Hanson makes the keen counter-intuitive observation that at the end of the proverbial day it’ll be NASCAR guys keeping the legacy of the Age of Enlightenment alive. You’re either with these kids or against ’em…..which is it? Drivers, start your engines!

monday's marine

Oo-freakin’-rah, Mike!

October 22, 2006

Week #79 at Walter Reed

by @ 7:10 pm. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support, Walter Reed

Hey! Looky here! It’s actually a post about Friday nights at Walter Reed Army Medical Center! HOOAH!

OK, ok, so it’s no big deal. I just haven’t done a blog post in several months, I guess. Or at least since all the Big Dogs came out to play with us. Anyhoo, a lot of soldiers and a Marine came out to “the corners” this week and let us thank them in person for their service and sacrifices.


SPC James and SPC DJ

British soldier SPC James W. hams for the camera as SPC DJ V. looks on.

James, DJ, SPC Jaime C. and SPC Richie P. were going out to eat and stopped long enough for us to get pics and hugs. We warned them about the Pink scum down the block and sure enough, they couldn’t wait to go waaaaay down there and have a “dialog” with the creeps. The Pink Pansies didn’t want to have anything to do with them (as usual) because the “support” they show is the “Bring them Home and Make Them Shut Up” type (quote thanks to Donna, Los Osos).

Jordan and Fiance
Jordan posing with FReepers as his fiance takes a pic.

Jordan B. was an engineer in Ramadi whose job it was to defuse IEDs. In the 11th month of his tour he fell prey to one. Just like most of the Wounded Warriors we meet, he’s got an incredibly optimistic outlook and a joy to be living.

Other troops included Brad, Neil, Jim, Lety, Kari, Marrissa (double-amputee) and boyfriend, Todd and Martin. I got pics of most of them, but two are non-wounded active duty and came out to hang with us in civilian cloths and I’m NOT getting them in trouble!

A priest drove by about midway through the evening and blessed the crowd under the MOAB (Mother Of All Banners). How cool is that?!?


MOAB

It was a terrific evening and not counting the troops we outnumbered the CodePink ‘tards 28 to 8. heh!
If you want to see all the non-crappy pics, go here.

October 20, 2006

The Auction is Open for “Buzz” Books

by @ 8:51 am. Filed under Troop Support, True Heroes

Here is the link to the eBay item. Thanks to Anna of A Rose By Any Other Name for keeping us up-to-date with the auction info. And to Mary*Ann who fought her way over a huge crowd of supporters to pounce on Hugh Hewitt, spew forth a torrent of info about the Stanley’s and their pressing need to raise funds, and actually getting Mr. Hewitt to say something on-air!

October 18, 2006

HOOAH! Army Sets Record Re-enlistment

by @ 9:58 am. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support, True Heroes

Re-enlistment ceremony

Who says the Army isn’t reaching it’s enlistment and retention goals? On October 14, 2006 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, 307 Soldiers took part in the largest ever deployed reenlistment ceremony in Army history!

Headquartered at Fort Richardson, Alaska, the unit ceremony took place at Camp Buehring, where the Soldiers stopped for final preparations before entering Iraq.

“This ceremony says a lot about the personal courage and selfless service of these paratroopers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. David Turnbull, command sergeant major for the 4th BCT (Airborne), 25th Inf. “They understand they have a tough mission ahead of them and are still willing to commit themselves to continue in the Army.”

The large turnout underscores the service’s new campaign slogan, “Army Strong,” said the brigade’s commander, Col. Michael X. Garrett.

“Many are going to attribute this record-setting event to reenlistment incentives. But, on the eve of deploying north to Iraq, these paratroopers show that it is on a much more personal level,” Garrett said. “These paratroopers have seen something in someone, somewhere – whether it was a squad leader, platoon leader or commander – that led to this moment.”

Cpl. Brian Anderson, a recon scout with the unit’s 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, said he reenlisted for much the same reason as his comrades.

“I am reenlisting for the same reason as any other paratrooper here in this formation. I want to serve my country and I love the Army,” he said. [emphasis mine-GN]

Now, this has got to upset the naysayers who constantly complain about “quagmires” and “no exit strategy” and “we can’t win this war!” If things were as bad as they say, then why would the brave men and women who are getting blown up and shot at every day be going back for more? Why are even the Wounded Warriors anxious to RTD and get back to their units? I meet these incredible vets every week who are not only NOT complaining, but who actually KNOW they are making a real difference to the Iraqi people.

I’d much rather believe the folks who are doing the hard, dangerous, dirty work than a bunch of weekend-warriors, armchair generals, or political hacks. And to the 307 Warriors who reenlisted, I say

HOOAH!

Thanks to Tony in Boulder for the tip!

(See Leta, I DO like the Army!)

October 17, 2006

Operation ‘FOX & Friends’

by @ 11:27 am. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support

Taco has a mission – Get Marty & Brian Horn, Maj Pain, and himself on TV to spread the word about AnySoldier.com.

Bridget has kindly found the contact info for FOX. Here is the # for news line at Fox 1-888-369-4762, then option #5, and leave a message about the ‘Operation’ with Fox and Friends (it’s toll free) or email them at friends@foxnews.com.

Then go back to Taco’s place and vote on what the guys should wear to the TV appearance. I’m kinda partial to this one:

Dressed to Kill

UPDATE: Cheryl F. has added another option to our choice of outfits for the guys!

marines_in_kilts_sm.JPG

And I’m going to throw in another one. This is a “Holiday” outfit that I think is quite chic!

Santa Taco

OK, OK! One more: Capt B as his favorite Muppet, “Burt”

Burt with C-gar

October 16, 2006

Heroes in Need and Updates

by @ 9:05 pm. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support, True Heroes

First, an update: SPC Joshua Sparling is getting a promotion to Seargent this week, and has scheduled Nov. 15th for the amputation of his lower-right leg.

Soon-to-be Sgt. Sparling
Josh in March of this year outside Walter Reed.

The amputation is a good thing! The poor guy has been in misery for nearly a year while the leg heals enough to support the upper part once he’s fitted with a prosthetic. Below mid-calf is toast, but he’s keeping a lot more of the leg now than if the Docs had amputated last year.


Second, a Soldier’s family in need: Many of you may be readers of A Storm In Afghanistan and know the unbelievable trials and victories of a tremendously courageous family. The Stanley’s are again facing a life-threatening illness and have decided to come home to the States.

The Stanleys

The following email from Andrea Shea King was forwarded to me by super-troop supporter Mary*Ann, who has been a real friend and rock for Reid and his family.

Military Family Compassionate Auction The auction bidding will begin at 10 p.m. ET, Thursday night, 10/19.

Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson, USAF (Ret.), Chief Operating Officer with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is donating and will personally autograph a trio of his best selling books: “Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security”; “Dereliction of Duty – The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America’s National Security”; and his most recent book “War Crimes – The Left’s Campaign to Eliminate the Military and Lose the War on Terror”, debuting in January ’07.

Patterson was the senior ranking officer of the five military aides serving in the Clinton White House, and carried the “nuclear football” – the top secret briefcase containing the launch codes for America’s nuclear weapons.

Constitutional Public Radio is honored to join Buzz Patterson in this benefit auction for Army Spc. Reid Stanley (“SC Eagle” at Kafstorm.blogspot.com) and his wife Ellicia, who is battling cancer of the brain, breast, and lungs. They have three young children. And mounting expenses.

SC Eagle writes at his website: “We have finally received word back from the military. Hospice care is not covered. Which means, any home care we provide Ellicia here will be out of our own pocket. This is going to be expensive. So, reluctantly, and humbly, we’d like to ask those of you who stop by… Please help. Anything will be appreciated. Ellicia will likely need home care as her mind shuts down. And she wants to be at home, not in a hospital… home, surrounded by our children.” And military insurance doesn’t cover that.

“SC Eagle”, stationed in Germany, was deployed to Afghanistan, and now faces another, more personal war, one with Ellicia’s life in the balance.

Patterson will autograph each book with a personal message to the top bidder.

Sure to make a thoughtful and personal Christmas gift for that special military guy or gal or your favorite veteran, the three-book set will be a historic keepsake for years to come, and help a military family in their time of need.

I’ll put the link to the auction up when I get it, but in the meantime please go to Reid’s site and put a few $$ in the kitty.


Third, a new arrival from Iraq:
Cole Gainey arrived Wednesday. His wife, Heather, came in Thursday. Friday afternoon mom Lynn and father Tom arrived along with his sister, Aubrey.

Sister Aubrey is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleader.

Hooooeeeee!

Guess who’s going to be the most popular guy on the ward?

Kids Can’t Learn if Their Brains Are Frozen

by @ 7:14 pm. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support

Leta has written a post and emailed it to several of you guys who, for some inexplicable reason, read this blog. Others may not have seen it so I’ll post it in the hopes of generating a little income for some very deserving kids.

Klokot Schoolroom

Good morning all. While I don’t “know” most of you personally I am truly honored to be included in your “group” thanks to GunnNutt! That’s right – it’s ALL HER FAULT! 🙂

REALLY long story but as a result of “adopting” one Soldier deployed in OIF1 I have ended up (as all of you have) with a huge family of military personnel in my life. Ah! What a wonderful feeling and huge honor. During the course of this “journey” one of my groups of “adoptees” who had all served in OIF and some in Afghanistan, were deployed to Kosovo. While they were there they (UNOFFICIALLY) invited me to Kosovo. It was a setup! 🙂 Within days of arriving there I was absolutely hooked on helping. I found out many things during that first trip but the most important thing I found out regarding the military there is that they are directed to accomplish certain tasks and missions yet they are not funded to do so. Therefore, when I returned I founded Progress Through Peace, Inc. (PTP) as a means by which to assist them (indirectly, of course -we MUST follow the rules!) in securing tools, resources and funding for the needs they identify there. It has been the most amazing experience of my life and it’s just beginning. I have returned to Kosovo 3 more times since last August and will be leaving again on November 17th for my fifth trip (at my own expense). WE HAVE made significant progress in many areas and have begun the work on several others. We are working to establish a DARE program in the schools, we are working with a partner here in the US as well as the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology there to totally overhaul the elementary and secondary school systems to bring them up to, at least, minimum standards as set forth by the Ministry, we have recently sent 10 horns and hundreds of pages of sheet music and will this week send 20 violins, 20 music stands and more sheet music for the Gnjilane School of music (a GREAT story in itself), we will be establishing educational coops throughout the region so that teachers can both receive basic educational materials such as pens, paper, pencils, educational maps, etc AND attend professional educational seminars on subjects such as “problems students”, “slow students”, “involving parents”, etc. and on and on and on. We have a LOT of work to do but with the Soldiers of US KFOR as our partners it’s an “easy” job. They are THE BEST!

I’m writing all of you for two reasons. One – to get the “word out”. Two – because of the email below mine.

I received the email yesterday from a teacher at an elementary school in Kosovo, Serbia (former Yugoslavia). I’m forwarding it to you because it is just one of MANY basic needs that we are trying to provide for the schools there. I was wondering if maybe your company or any other organization (civic, church, etc.) might be interested in helping out with a donation. I do know the teacher who sent the email. He actually risked his job to participate in an Educational Summit we held in Kosovo in July and August of this year because he knew that he would gain knowledge from it for his students and fellow teachers. The military had to pick him up and return him every day because of security “issues.” He came under the guise of “interpreter” because the “powers that be” in Belgrade absolutely positively forbade any Serbian teachers from participating in the Summit because it was multi ethnic. We had other Serbian teachers there as well and were pleased that they realized the value of the seminar and were willing to take the risk. All of the non Albanian teachers had to have military escort to and from each day. Not surprising to me was the fact that the Albanian teachers welcomed them and the group was completely cohesive and worked together. I have visited in the home of the author of the email below and have been to his school on several occasions. The attached photos are of me in that school in December 2005. Notice that I am wearing a heavy coat which I never took off. Also notice that many of the students have on coats as do the teachers in the photos. The ones who don’t have coats on didn’t have one to wear but we remedied that before we left. Finally, notice the wood burning stove. It was NOT burning that day because they only had enough wood last year to burn for a few days. None of the schools in Kosovo have heat other than from wood burning stoves. Most, including this one, have no indoor plumbing at all – yet another story!

While it may be difficult to read his email because of his English all he is asking for is money to purchase firewood for the wood stoves that provide heat in the class rooms. They take education very seriously and know it is a basic building block to any future they may have. Our estimate for the purchase of wood for this school for the winter is $2000.00. Any part of that amount that will be appreciated and 100% of your donation will go to the purchase. NO Administrative fees!

Hopefully this information will assist you in our request for a donation. For more information you may access our website. It is very elementary in design but we have no interest in paying money for a “pretty” design right now when the money needs to be spent on basics in Kosovo. In time we hope to find a volunteer who can make it “prettier” but that is not a priority.

We have already provided funds for wood for another school but our funding is tapped out at the moment and we still have expenses to pay for the Summit that was held in July/August of this year. I receive an email or two each week from teachers asking for very basic things. We are doing our best to accommodate them. We have 2 warehouses full of palletized educational materials and hygiene items as well as access to 20,000 lbs of medical equipment and supplies that we are working to get transported to Kosovo. I expect to get a flood of emails like this one requesting money for fire wood in the coming weeks as the temperatures plummet there.

Thanks so much. Please understand I am NOT expecting a donation from you. I know that EACH of you has done more than your share to support our amazing troops. I’m just hoping that you may know of an individual or organization that might be interested in helping out. Fund raising admittedly, is the part of this job I dislike the most.

In order for a donation to be tax deductible under 501c3 it must be made out to Delta Living Academy (our partner). We do have pay pal as a link on the PTP web site but PTP has not yet been approved for 501c3 status (my own fault – just not enough hours in the day).

Regards,

Leta M Carruth
Progress Through Peace, Inc./Delta Living Academy
Executive Director (PTP)
P O Box 100
Cordova, TN 38088
www.progressthroughpeace.org
901-219-7692


From: teacher
Sent: Sun 10/15/2006 4:24 AM
To: Leta Carruth
Subject: letter
Dear Mum Leta,

With a great respecting of yours.I want to say hallo and I also want to ask you,how are you and what impresions you took back home from Kosovo.I hope you remember me, my name is teacher. I worked with you during conference in Ferizaj-Kosovo like interpreter. I realy hope that you effort and work you did in Kosovo will bring concrete purposes,also I want to remind you about project with name KLOKOT SCHOOL,that I have wrote.

The bigest problem we are dealing at this momen is fire wood. Maybe you can do something for us, because school has not money to provide fire wood for this season.

Apprecative for everything you did for us,and everything you do for our school.

Answer me at teacher.


Klokot Schoolroom Stove
Leta in the schoolroom with the tiny wood stove and student.

Yes, I look like a dork in these photos but I stayed (as I always do) in a local family’s home with no heat, no electricity and no running water.

I encourage all of you to check out Leta’s site. If you want to read more about her exploits, set aside some time and click on “Travel Journals” for all her exciting (and tear jerking!) encounters in the strange and wonderful land of Kosovo. While you’re there, drop some $$ in the kitty to fund the much needed help that PTP is providing.

October 12, 2006

Corpsman and Kids

by @ 12:19 pm. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support, True Heroes

Here’s another one. I just can’t resist pics like this.

corpsman_and_kids_hr.jpg

Navy Seaman Samuel L. Blanco, a hospital corpsman, hangs out with Iraqi children during a recent patrol in Husayba. He and the Marines of Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, paused the patrol to spend time with the kids. Blanco, a 25-year old from Justin, Texas, serves under Regimental Combat Team 5.

Ahhhh, I need a puppy…

October 10, 2006

It’s Sprinkling in Iraq

by @ 9:21 pm. Filed under True Heroes

Just got this wonderful note from a truly wonderful lady. Stephanie is an Army nurse doing work I can’t even begin to imagine, but she’s a pro and I’m so proud of her…

Hey Folks!
Greetings from Iraq. Tonight, while working my 8 hour shift in the ER here in “this place”, I heard the distinct pitter patter on the aluminum roof of our trailer hospital… That sound that any Washingtonian can specify in less than a nanosecond… Yes, rain!!!! It has been drizzling off and on for the last 30 min. Every time I hear it pick up a little, I run out side without my cover and dance around like a ninny, with my hands raised high to catch as many drops as possible. It is as if it is bathing my tired body.

hahha… I can do without the pending mud hole, but heck, I love the rain none-the-less…

Love,
Stephanie

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Support n. To act in a secondary or subordinate role to (a leading performer).

junkie n. Slang One who has an insatiable interest or devotion.

AnySoldier.com proper name. A site where Support Junkies get their fix.

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Tribes. "I am not a wolf. I have never harmed a person in my life. But I am not a sheep, either. I know these forces are out there, and wishing it were not so will not only not make them go away – it will rob me of my chance to kick their ass when they show up."
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