Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.
-George W Bush
Monday, February 22, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Friday, February 05, 2010
Thursday, February 04, 2010
I recently made a Memorial Bracelet in memory of Captain John R. Teal, KIA Oct 23 2003, Baquaba Iraq. Here is one story of a man I knew for a short period of time, but admired greatly.
We were all deployed in March of 2003, during the invasion, for 13 months. Our outfit was a Civil Affairs Battalion attached to the 4ID, 2BCT. Other CA teams in our battalion were split up amongst the whole Division spread out across the area they were assigned too; we didn't see our own Battalion as a whole, until we redeployed back to the States once we left Kuwait in March 2003. Upon taking the airfield which was Camp Warhorse (Camp Freedom now), after entering Baquaba, it became readily apparent we would need to move closer to the populace in order to be more affective. Shortly there after convincing the commanders, we did move to a blown out government building in the middle of Baquaba with a population of 450,000+. However with this responsibility came extra personnel to help, the 2BCT sent military intelligence folks, Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), some infantry folks for guard-post on the roof, PYSOP, and some extra officers, just to name a few. It was also a place were SF and sniper teams would come in between night missions to change-up, adjust gear, brief us on enemies, get a bite, etc. This where we all met John.
At first many of us NCO's were a little skeptical of another officer coming to live with us not being from one of the other outfits mentioned above, as we thought he might be there to "keep eyes on us". We didn't do anything wrong, but our community was a tight-knit band of soldiers, from many different backgrounds, charged with many responsibilities, and a commander from the 2BCT that expected results yesterday. Our team alone had 1.3 million American dollars funneled through our hands for various projects to get this city back on its feet, and there were multiple teams at the CMOC. Baquaba held elections a full year before the highly publicized ones of 2005, all because of this great group of professionals we worked with. John was right there all along in the thick of it; facilitating, coordinating, adjusting, showing us he was one of the best at this business.
One night I was walking down the hallway and I heard a sound all grandchildren of Italian immigrants growing up in the 70's and 80's knew all to well, Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. It was coming from Cpt.Teal's room, I walked in with a big smile on my face, and we yapped about him, from then on we connected very well. He had many DVD's and CD's that we exchanged and listened too, as well as all the goodies that somehow officers' always seem to have, snacks, hot plates, etc. You couldn't help to notice when walking into his room, a big cardboard cut-out of this gorgeous chick, the kind you see at liquor stores, or bars, smack dab in the middle of his room. After a while I asked, "Sir who sent that to you?", he told me "My girlfriend" I told him it must be a pretty special woman, he replied "You are looking at her." I laughed taking it as joke but he was serious, and showed me a picture of them two. John had that "it", that ability, attitude, looks, a smooth cat that loved sunglasses with all the combinations in life to be a success and he knew how to use all of them to his advantage. We worked out on the roof at night all of us, after daily missions, late so no enemies could see us, John had his mountain bike on a trainer, and let us all use it, a 1000 dollar mountain bike being used by multiple people, John was generous. I'll never forget one night we got mortared, and when the flash went off before the blast, I saw a silhouette of John pedaling his ass off amongst the darkness, I couldn't help but laugh as I took cover. Funny thing how you just laugh when you get attacked sometimes.
The day of October 23, 2003 was a day I know none of us will ever forget, it started with an attack at the back gate, that Cpt. Teal was pulling security on. Attacks on our compound were common place, you have a compound in the middle of a 450,000+ city, even if you take say 1% of people that don't like us and attack us, that is still 4500 people. After the attack people geared up to go on missions, at the last second we got pulled off our mission, and placed on another one. Cpt. Teal and two others; Sgt Jared Myers, and Sgt Charles "Chuck" Bartles took our place on that mission. I don't know the details about the blast as I wasn't there but I do know that Jared Myers is a hero, John died instantly, and Chuck, who was the gunner up top, on top of being cut up pretty badly, lost his arm. Jared several miles from the CMOC with a broken leg, lacerations, and in obvious shock drove the damaged vehicle back to safety. Jared do not ever forget your efforts that day, and certainly don not discredit them, what you did in the face of adversity is simply mind blogging brother. I only aspire to be 1/8 the man that Jared, Chuck, and Cpt. Teal are. When we came back later in the day from our mission, and saw the vehicle sitting there on the grounds of the compound and found what happened, to this day I can't describe the feeling I had, I was numb.
Not many days go by that I don't think of John, and all the other guys on OIF 1 with me, and it truly scares me to think it was my teams' mission they were on. I am extremely lucky, but at the same time guilty. There are times when I look at my daughter (who was born when I was in Iraq) playing, and laughing and think of John, Jared, and Chuck and think how close man, how close. To the family, I truly am sorry for your loss, may God bless you, and watch our you with love and care, as John most certainly is as well.
Sgt Michael R. M.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Today, while the War against Terrorism might not be popular, it is necessary. I believe the American public knows this. I believe that's why we "support our troops." We all recognize that our fighting men and women stand between us and those who would harm us, our country, and our way of life. It is only fitting that we honor these men and women who give so much for us. There are a number of things we can to do give our military their due; volunteering for Soldier's Angels, sending packages to "Any Soldier," donating to charities that support the families of those who gave their lives, or by simply saying "thank you" to anyone you see in uniform.
My Marine Son has pointed out another way to honor those who have given all; a memorial bracelet. These bracelets are similar to the POW-MIA bracelets of the '70s. Like those bracelets, a memorial bracelet is a simple way to keep the sacrifice of those who "gave all" in the forefront of our minds. They're a way to remember. You can order a memorial bracelet at MemorialBracelets.com. You can order a bracelet with the name of someone you know, someone from your hometown, or home state. You can order a bracelet to memorialize someone who gave their life in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam; or someone who was the victim of terrorism. It's not hard to order, and wearing the bracelet is another way to show support for our military.
I ordered two bracelets today. I ordered them to remember two young men that I didn't know. I may not have known these young men, but I will honor them forever; not only because they gave their lives for this wonderful country, but because they served with my son. He knew them. He said they were "good kids." He mourns them. So to honor him, and to honor them, my husband and I will proudly wear these bracelets in memory of LCpl Leopold F. Damas of Floral Park, New York, who was 26 years old when he died in Afghanistan on the 17th of August 2009, and for LCpl Javier Olvera of Palmdale, California, who was only 20 years old when he died in Afghanistan on the 8th of August, 2009. May God Bless them both, and may God Bless their families.
I started wearing a POW/MIA bracelet in the early 70s when my father gave one to me just after his return from SE Asia. I remember breaking it in half when the guy returned. Later on, I was assigned as a Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 1988 and picked up a new bracelet down at the Vietnam memorial, for a CPT Cecil C. Perkins, who was MIA in Vietnam. I wore that until I lost the bracelet in Iraq in 2007. I was putting on my body armor to board a helicopter and didn’t notice the bracelet had come off until after arriving back at my camp. I decided to purchase a replacement for the one I lost but instead, decided to get a bracelet with the name of a friend of mine who was killed in action in Iraq, CW3 Mitch Carver. I don’t want to ever forget his service and his friendship.
Brad D. L.