End of Watch, 498, Officer David Camden September 21, 2007Posted by daveintexas in honor.
We wish you Godspeed to your final destination. We will miss you.
Requiescat in pacem.
Never Forget September 11, 2007Posted by daveintexas in honor, War.
Choosing my words carefully here.
It’s not that I don’t think memorials are fine and proper things. I do. They evoke remembrances of people who were taken from us, from their families and loved ones. They hurt, and for a while we feel bad. And that’s ok.
At some point we have to get past that. I do not mean forget. I mean move on, keep living. If we don’t, it would be as if we lost some part of our lives too, you know?
We are at war with the same menace that took Rocco’s life, and so many others, so mercilessly. That threat still exists, and it is real. Attacks continued, and will continue, and we have to take them on.
It’s easy to get tired of it. I’m tired of it, I understand. You have to find something inside you that keeps you going, keeps you ready and willing to face your enemy, and fight them.
When I see Rocco’s big smiling face, I get sad. I do.
Then I get pissed off. Mad at the bastards that killed him, mad at the bastards who insist it was all our fault, that we had it coming, that we deserved it.
So I’ll be sad for a bit today. I’ll indulge it. But only for a while.
Miss Utah will kick your ass July 4, 2007Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, drama, honor.
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I’ll bet she has a lot of pals who will pick up the fight if she falters. I’d judge her to be better protected than my daughters.
Cute kid. Godspeed girl, and God bless.
Michael Yon – thoughts flow on the eve of a great battle June 19, 2007Posted by daveintexas in History, honor.
According to Michael, it is a huge one, and one we are hearing next to nothing about back here. He describes it as a series of battalion and brigade sized battles (see here for description of hieracrchy of modern armies), that collectively will be the largest since the end of major hostilities.
It’s objective is to clear AQ our of Diyala province. Michael makes the case for the possibility of saving the patient, and that Petraeus is the doctor who might be able to excise this cancer. To that end he has put together a force that can take it on, and a series of adriot political manuevers to capitalize on the present unpopularity of AQ. In his words, they’ve raped enough women and boys and lopped off enough heads to call their moral supremity into serious question.
They are ready for us. Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipers—real snipers—have chiseled holes in walls so that they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots. They will shoot for our faces and necks. Car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared.
Sobering words. They are engaged right now. 10,000 of our soldiers, in operation “Arrowhead Ripper”. MayGod grant them safety on the battlefield, and success.
June 6, 1944 June 5, 2007Posted by daveintexas in History, honor.
Operation Overlord – the second battle on the western front to liberate Europe.
Omaha Beach landing, June 6, 1944
It was and remains the largest amphibious assault in the history of warfare. The Allied invasion of Normandy began today, 63 years ago. Over the next three months almost 3 million men would cross the English Channel and fight the Nazis for a foothold that, if successful, would break Germany’s hold on Europe.
Allied invasion force and German positions
Iraqi boy hides behind US soldier after bomb blast June 2, 2007Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, honor.
Thanks to Alec.
Sorry – link fixed (hopefully. WordPress is being retarded lately about posting links)
Memorial Day post eight – Congratulations Graduates May 27, 2007Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, honor.
For the past several year, the Army has made arrangements with local high schools to set up simulcasts so that family members in Iraq and Afghanistan can participate with the high school graduation ceremonies of loved ones back here near Ft. Hood.
I remember the first one I attended, the graduation of my oldest daughter, and seeing the soldiers who were deployed able to watch on the big screen, their child or sibling, walk across the stage and recieve their diploma. In the early summer in Iraq, late at night, you could see the sweat pouring off of the soldiers. And the smiles and pride were as big and wide as you would imagine.
Very few dry eyes at that moment.
This year was no exception. I am impressed, as I always am, at how the 1st and the 4th look after their soldier families. So far away, so many concerns and worries, and still they go out of their way to connect them to the ones they love.
This is a message from Major General Joseph F. Fil, Jr., Commanding Officer of the 1st Cavalry Division, to graduates here in Central Texas. (sorry, scroll down and click on the image of General Fil).
In it, he recounts the story of a hero, Lt. Col. (USA ret.) Bruce Crandall, whose story was told by Col. (USA ret.) Hal Moore and Joe Galloway in We Were Soldiers Once, and Young. Recently Col. Crandall was honored for his heroism and sacrifice during the Battle of the Ia Drang. A time when the men on the ground needed air support, ignoring the book, (then) Maj. Crandall flew 22 resupply and medical evacuation missions into a hot LZ.
This stubborn SOB, along with his wingman Capt. Ed Freeman (now Major, USA ret.), brought 70 wounded men back to aid. Seventy.
While under intense enemy fire.
For his courage and his determination, in the face of strong enemy opposition and at risk to himself, Col. Crandall was awarded the Medal of Honor. It should have happened a long time ago, but at the time, the commander of the air operations group felt that honors should be reserved for the men on the ground.
He was wrong, and I’m glad to see that Col. Crandall was still here to receive the honor he so very much deserved.
God bless him, and God bless those who serve.
BUMPED again, because I’ve been wondering how the Sun Kings have been doing.
God bless em, and keep em.
VAW – 116.
The Sun Kings.
UPDATE: They cover Hey Ya at least as well as Linus and Lucy
Shake it like a Polaroid picture.
Memorial Day Post Six – 1st Lt. Phillip Neel May 24, 2007Posted by daveintexas in honor.
The young platoon leader had sustained a serious leg wound about 10 minutes after midnight Easter Sunday but continued to give orders for his men to return fire from where he’d fallen.
In this case, Fredericksburg Texas. The home of Admiral Chester Nimitz.
Phillip’s unit, the 3rd Battalion, 3rd of the 8th, part of the 1st Cavalry Division, became engaged in a fight north of Baghdad on Easter Sunday. He was mortally wounded in that struggle. And yet he commanded his troops to fight. Although mortally wounded, he ordered men under his command to return fire from their position.
He had recently come back from a brief trip home to visit his loved ones.
Neel had recently returned home to Fredericksburg while on a two-week leave from his duty station at Baquba, Iraq, to join his brothers and sisters in a surprise spring break visit for their parents who have lived in Fredericksburg since moving here in 1996 from Ft. Leavenworth, KS, after his father retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army.
Phillip enlisted in the Army after he graduated in 1998. He went to Kosovo, having qualified as a paratrooper. But later he decided to come back and attend and study at West Point.
He earned his commission in May, 2 years ago.
In addition to his parents, Neel is survived by a grandmother, Katherine (Mrs. Zeke) Lewis of Fredericksburg, along with five brothers and sisters.
My heart goes out to each and every one of them. God grant you peace, and comfort, in your pain and loss.
UPDATE: I neglected to note his honors.
The Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism (Service) Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachute Badge and the Italian Parachutist badge.
He’ll be awarded the CIB too, and I daresay there is one making its way through the chain of command for valor.
A war correspondent – Memorial Day Post Five May 23, 2007Posted by daveintexas in honor.
He wrote about the death of a young captain, Henry T. Waskow of Belton Texas. A town just a couple of miles from me.
Here’s what he opened with.
In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow, of Belton, Texas.
What follows is one of the most touching stories I have ever read.
Here is another haunting phrase:
You feel small in the presence of the dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don’t ask silly questions.
Ernie Pyle was killed by a Japanese sniper near the end of the war, on an island close to Okinawa. He was 44 years old. And he was loved and admired by thousands of GIs and their families, who considered him one of their own.
It was a goddamn shame.