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Wednesday, October 31, 2007


We are just watching TV tonite & sorting cards for the packing. I have a sign on the Door that says
"We are sending
all our candy
to the troops
in Iraq & Afghanistan!
Hope you have a great Halloween no matter how you celebrate it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Well the day has arrived....Operation: MOM's big Christmas for the Troops Fundraiser. Will be held at the Moose Lodge, 20835 Rutledge Rd Castro Valley, CA from 6:00 PM to 10:oo PM. Tickets are $10. for adults & $5.00 for children. We will have a raffle with some awesome prizes along with a silent auction. 2 Grand Prizes will be 1)1 night @ Rancho Caymus in Rutherford, Wine Train w/Dinner for 2 plus dufflebag & wine, 2) 1 nite @ Harvey's or Harrah's Tahoe w/dinner & show for 2 plus overnite bag & wine. Soda, water & coffee included. Other drinks available at the bar. Bring an unbreakable ornament for a free raffle ticket. Items for the Holiday Packing will be collected also along with CHRISTMAS & WINTER HOLIDAY CARDS.

Hope to see you there!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


This will be a real quick post as I am off to the airport to welcome home some service members from Iraq which is something we love to do.

I am in need of more Christmas/Winter cards to put in our packages for the troops to send home to their loved ones. If you are interested in helping out please email me at for more information. These can be store bought cards or you can make a donation at the box on the right column & specify Cards for the Troops. Thank you so much!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Marine who pulled comrades to safety is honored

Marine 2nd Lt. Chad Cassady, 33, shows his Silver Star to his wife, Summer, and to his mother and father after he received the medal at Camp Pendleton on Wednesday.

Now a 2nd lieutenant, Chad Cassady is awarded the Silver Star for his bravery in Iraq . Wounded himself, he dragged two others away from insurgent gunfire.
By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 18, 2007

CAMP PENDLETON -- As a sniper, Sgt. Chad Cassady, a quiet Texan with a master's degree in political science, helped protect his fellow Marines during the battle in Fallouja, Iraq, in late 2004.
But when insurgent mortars fell behind and in front of the Marines -- a tactic called "bracketing" -- Cassady and other Marines were forced to run across a rubble-strewn street. When another mortar landed in their midst, two Marines were knocked to the ground and Cassady was thrown into the courtyard of a home.
The explosion collapsed his right lung, lacerated his liver and kidneys, and peppered his knee and leg with shrapnel. Although he was bleeding and dazed, he immediately went back into the street to drag two wounded Marines to safety as insurgent gunfire rained down.
On Wednesday, Cassady, now 33 and a 2nd lieutenant, was awarded the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for combat bravery. The ceremony had to wait until his return a week ago from yet another deployment to Iraq, his third.
Cassady did not speak at the ceremony. In a brief interview he was cordial but declined to suggest he had done anything special. "It was one of those days when Marines were doing what had to be done," he said.
Cassady enlisted in early 2001 after receiving a bachelor's degree in political science from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and a master's from Southwest Texas State University. He could have become an officer but preferred to join the infantry in the enlisted ranks."
He wanted the full Marine Corps experience," said his father, Joe Cassady. "He's an action figure.
"When he called his family from a military hospital after being wounded, the Marine downplayed the severity of his injuries."He said, 'Compared to the guys laying next to me, I'm in great shape,' " his father recalled.
For the assault on Baghdad in 2003 and then the battle in Fallouja in 2004, Cassady was attached to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. After his injuries healed and he graduated from officer candidates school, he joined the 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, which just completed a seven-month deployment.
Like other new officers, he was a platoon leader. Marines who served in his Two-Five platoon were at the award ceremony on the parade deck of the 5th Marine Regiment.
"He's one of those quiet ones but very tactical," said Cpl. Dwight Bibbins.
Sgt. Aaron Beckett agreed. "He's definitely a lead-from-the-front type," he said -- which in the infantry is a compliment second to none.

U.S. soldiers help get needed surgery for boy

U.S. soldiers help get needed surgery for boy
By Katarina Kratovac, Associated PressArticle Last Updated:10/22/2007 02:37:39 AM PDT

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi boy born with a rare congenital defect captured the hearts of a group of U.S. soldiers who stumbled upon him in a farming village southeast of Baghdad.
The 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment decided to help. Six months and two intricate surgeries later, Ihaab Najim Mohammed, 5, has a chance at a full, healthy life.
Born with an obstructed bowel condition, Ihaab was taken to a Baghdad pediatric hospital when he was three days old. At the time, surgeons created an opening, a stoma, on the abdomen, so Ihaab could pass stool.
But as he grew, the stoma could not keep up. Ihaab's health worsened and he increasingly faced severe infections.
Unemployed and with seven children to care for, Ihaab's father, Najim Mohammed, 40, could not afford the $3,200 reconstructive surgeries he was told his son needed.
Ihaab languished at the family's home in the tiny farming village of Hollandiyah, named for Dutch engineers who constructed the area's canal system some 12 miles southeast of the Iraqi capital.
He was plagued by anemia, stunted growth and the discomfort of having a bag attached to his abdomen to hold his intestines.
"No one knew exactly what, but we had to do something," said squadron commander, Capt. Jimmy Hathaway, of Fort Benning, Ga.
The U.S. soldiers got in touch with a hospital in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, where a team of Iraqi doctors agreed to perform the surgeries on Ihaab at no charge.
The next hurdle was to get Ihaab to Najaf. Driving was impossible; the roads through the volatile area south of the Iraqi capital were too dangerous.
Hathaway's soldiers appealed to the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, who offered to lend them his own aircraft. The Iraqi Ministry of Health also helped with the hospital logistics.
By early June, two Black Hawks, two Apaches and a Medevac team were ready.
But Ihaab wasn't. He was crying, afraid to leave his mother, Badriya, behind.
"He was scared at first," Hathaway said, describing how Ihaab sat in his father's lap in the helicopter. "We had to stop and refuel, and he seemed to relax after that. He seemed to be having a good time near the end."
The first surgery, on June 17, went well, Hathaway said, but Ihaab still had to carry the colostomy bag. He returned to Najaf for a second surgery that completed the reconstruction, and on Oct. 8, the stoma was permanently closed.
Ihaab has been recovering in Najaf and is expected to come home soon.
First Lt. Christopher Sweitzer, who flew with Ihaab to Najaf, said the journey was extraordinary. Sweitzer's 489th Civil Af fairs battalion is attached to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, which is in charge of the area south of Baghdad.
"But only when I see Ihaab running with other children ... When I see this, then I will know that our team took part in something special and allowed a child to have a full life that will endure for long after we are gone from here," said Sweitzer, 34, of Maryville, Tenn.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


As I get ready to head out I would like to share the video of a report that was on The Today Show this morning. A True American Hero!! Do something to honor him today.

A New York solider becomes a hero
A New York solider becomes a hero

And here is the NBC News story about him.......
Newest Medal of Honor recipient
Newest Medal of Honor recipient

October 17th: Day to Support U.S. Military

On Wed. October 17th We Stand Up to
the Anti-Military Attacks in the SF Bay Area!
by: Joe Wierzbicki

You've no doubt read about the recent anti-military actions taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area.

These aren't just actions by left-wing, anti-military activists, but also by officials in local government as well! There was the attempt to keep the Blue Angels from performing for the public. They banned Jr. ROTC from high schools and slammed the door on those kids' futures. There was the banning of the U.S. Marines from filming a 9/11 video in the streets of San Francisco. Then there was the incident just the other day where, as the Oakland Tribune reports, airport officials admitted to "prohibiting a planeload of U.S. troops, just back from Iraq, from entering the passenger terminal during a layover Thursday."

But it gets even worse, folks! Now we at Move America Forward, the nation's largest pro-troop organization, have learned that anti-military activists associated with Code Pink have staked out the Berkeley, California, Marine Recruiting Center, vandalized and defaced the building, harassed the staff, and are now orchestrating a campaign to intimidate their landlord to evict them from the building where their office is located.

Enough is Enough!

On Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - at 12:00 Noon Pacific Time - we will hold a large patriotic, pro-troop, pro-veteran rally in front of the Berkely, CA., Marine Recruiting Center (located at 64 Shattuck Square, Berkeley, CA. 94704). We're going to respond with a positive, pro-military, patriotic rally and we need you to be there! We're inviting the media to come out and cover this pushback so we need a really great crowd to be on hand!!

Here's what a reader of Michelle Malkin's blog reported about their conversation with one official at the Marine Recruiting Center:

"I called the USMC Officer Recruiting Office at Berkeley and expressed my support to one of the recruiters. He asked how I knew about the situation, and I told him your blog was my source. He said the Pinkos vowed they would be back on the weekends and during the week, every week, until the office is shut down…

The recruiter hoped that more support would come in and that the word would be spread."

East Bay Code Pink Protestors at a recent Anti-Military Rally

Did you read that? "The recruiter hoped that more support would come in and that the word would be spread" -- that's our call to action, friends, we must turn out a huge, patriotic, pro-troop, pro-veteran crowd waving American flags next Wednesday, Oct. 17th at Noon at the Berkeley U.S. Marine Recruiting Center.

Let's overwhelm the Marine Recruiting Center with a giant crowd of grateful Americans who will stand in solidarity with the men and women of the United States Military. It is the men and women in uniform who have served this nation that give those Code Pink protestors the rights they have to assemble and speak freely. They do not even realize that they are attacking that which gives them freedom, security and liberty.

So please help spread the word, and do your part to join us on this day. Bring your American flags. Bring pro-troop signs. Most importantly, bring your appreciation and respect for those who serve this nation and make sacrifices, sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, so that we may all be free and safe.


And listen in to Move America Forward Chairman, Melanie Morgan, on KSFO 560 AM - San Francisco each morning between 5:00 AM - 9:00 AM Pacific, as she'll provide daily updates leading up to the big pro-troop rally on Wednesday, October 17th in front of the United States Marine Corps RecruitingCenter, 64 Shattuck Square, Berkeley, CA 94704. Located at Shattuck Square (Intersection of University Avenue and Shattuck)Berkeley, California - MAP HERE

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Here's another side of our troops that you should see.....just having a little fun.

Rock down to Iraq

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Concert Photo's Here!

Concert was absolutely poured all day & we left early to get there as the traffic reports showed everything was a mess. As we got almost to Concord it stopped raining tho we hoped that the patch of blue we saw in the sky was gonna be right over the Pavilion.......IT WAS NOT. But it was fair & we were able to park up close so we were the first to get in & were able to get front & center on the lawn. We had brought a large tarp to lay down so we had an area big enough for our group to sit comfortably with no one able to stand/sit in front of our view.

Jason Michael Carroll was the opening act.....I didn't know much about him but he was really good but only did about 45 min. He went off making me wish he was on longer. Next was Brooks & Dunn!!! If you have never seen Kix & Ronnie live all I can say is "WHY THE HECK NOT???". They are so awesome (how many 'Entertainer of the Year' awards have they won?)tho this show didn't' have the usual blow-up's that they have nor the confetti at the end. We heard that Alan Jackson had said he would not tour with them if they did it. BORING! At the encore they had 4 Marines come on each carrying one item, rifle, helmet & dog tags......a Final Respects Tribute. Everyone in the arena was on their feet & screaming. They are the best. After another short intermission Alan Jackson came on. Tho I do enjoy listening to his music he just can't follow Kix & Ronnie ....just my opinion & I know that everyone will agree with that. He is just mellower than they are & after getting all worked up it was hard to settle down. Anyway........if you'd like to see our photo's here they are.
Brooks & Dunn_Alan Jackson Concert_Oct 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson Concert tonite

And it's been raining since last nite.......this is outdoor concert & we are gonna be on the lawn. We have been in a near drought for months & it picks today to open up. Will post soggy photo's later......Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Texas Roadhouse for dinner

Had to do some running around on Tuesday evening to look for something we could use for our table decorations so we stopped to have dinner at Texas of my favorite places to eat for sure. They have a promo called the Two-fer......2 can order from a special menu for $16.99 between 4 to 6PM!! We were even lucky to two-fer was a trainee. They were great for sure. If you are in the area give this spot a try.

Hi Gals!!

Vote for a Purple Heart Marine!

Twenty-one year old former Marine Neil Schalk is much more than a "hot bachelor" and the subject of attention for many young women. He is a Purple Heart hero from Muscoda , Wisconsin . He and his family are very involved with Team Marine Parents and Purple Heart Family Support. Neil's sister Natalee, has nominated him as Cosmopolitan' s Bachelor of the Year, 2007.

Hurry! Voting ends at midnight eastern time October 11. VOTE HERE (Choose Wisconsin).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


This is a response to Code Pink by CPT Richard Lund as printed in the Berkeley Daily Planet regarding the ongoing protests being held at the Marines Recruitment Office in Berkeley.

Commentary: An Open Letter to Code Pink By Richard Lund (10-02-07)

While the protest that you staged in front of my office on Wednesday, Sept. 26th, was an exercise of your constitutional rights, the messages that you left behind were insulting, untrue, and ultimately misdirected. Additionally, from the comments quoted in the Berkeley Daily Planet article, it is clear that you have no idea what it is that I do here. Given that I was unaware of your planned protest, I was unable to contest your claims in person, so I will therefore address them here.

First, a little bit about who I am: I am a Marine captain with over eight years of service as a commissioned officer. I flew transport helicopters for most of my time in the Marine Corps before requesting orders to come here. Currently, I am the officer selection officer for the northern Bay Area. My job is to recruit, interview, screen, and evaluate college students and college graduates that show an interest in becoming officers in the Marine Corps. Once they’ve committed to pursuing this program, I help them apply, and if selected, I help them prepare for the rigors of Officer Candidate School and for the challenges of life as a Marine officer. To be eligible for my programs, you have to be either a full-time college student or a college graduate. I don’t pull anyone out of school, and high school students are not eligible.

I moved my office to Berkeley in December of last year. Previously, it was located in an old federal building in Alameda. That building was due to be torn down and I had to find a new location. I choose our new site because of its proximity to UC Berkeley and to the BART station. Most of the candidates in my program either go to Cal or to one of the schools in San Francisco, the East Bay, or the North Bay. Logistically, the Shattuck Square location was the most convenient for them.

Next, you claim that I lie. I have never, and will never, lie to any individual that shows an interest in my programs. I am upfront with everything that is involved at every step of the way and I go out of my way to ensure that they know what to expect when they apply. I tell them that this is not an easy path. I tell them that leading Marines requires a great deal of self-sacrifice. I tell them that, should they succeed in their quest to become a Marine officer, they will almost certainly go to Iraq. In the future, if you plan to attack my integrity, please have the courtesy to explain to me specifically the instances in which you think that I lied.

Next, scrawled across the doorway to my office, you wrote, “Recruiters are Traitors.” Please explain this one. How exactly am I a traitor? Was I a traitor when I joined the Marine Corps all those years ago? Is every Marine, therefore, a traitor? Was I a traitor during my two stints in Iraq? Was I a traitor when I was delivering humanitarian aid to the victims of the tsunami in Sumatra? Or do you only consider me a traitor while I am on this job? The fact is, recruitment is and always has been a part of maintaining any military organization. In fact, recruitment is a necessity of any large organization. Large corporations have employees that recruit full-time. Even you, I’m sure, must expend some effort to recruit for Code Pink. So what, exactly, is it that makes me a traitor?

The fact is this: any independent nation must maintain a military (or be allied with those who do) to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. Regardless of what your opinions are of the current administration or the current conflict in Iraq, the U.S. military will be needed again in the future. If your counter-recruitment efforts are ultimately successful, who will defend us if we are directly attacked again as we were at Pearl Harbor? Who would respond if a future terrorist attack targets the Golden Gate Bridge, the BART system, or the UC Berkeley clock tower? And, to address the most hypocritical stance that your organization takes on its website, where would the peace keeping force come from that you advocate sending to Darfur?

Finally, I believe that your efforts in protesting my office are misdirected. I agree that your stated goals of peace and social justice are worthy ones. War is a terrible thing that should only be undertaken in the most dire, extreme, and necessary of circumstances. However, war is made by politicians. The conflict in Iraq was ordered by the president and authorized by Congress. They are the ones who have the power to change the policy in Iraq, not members of the military. We execute policy to the best of our ability and to the best of our human capacity. Protesting in front of my office may be an easy way to get your organization in the headlines of local papers, but it doesn’t further any of your stated goals.

To conclude, I don’t consider myself a “recruiter.” I am a Marine who happens to be on recruiting duty. As such, I conduct myself in accordance with our core values of honor, courage, and commitment. I will never sacrifice my honor by lying to anyone that walks into my office. I will never forsake the courage that it takes to restrain myself in the face of insulting and libelous labels like liar and traitor. And, most importantly, I will never waver from my commitment to helping individuals who desire to serve their country as officers in the Marine Corps.

Captain Richard Lund is the United States Marine Corps’ officer selection officer for the northern Bay Area.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Today was our final trip over the Bay for Fleet Week. Not as many service members walking around as the prior days but we still shook alot of hands. No show in the air this day.......all the action was on the water. They had tours of some of the ships & the lines were long.....this was the warmest day we have had too, absolutely gorgeous weather. We choose the Canadian Mine Sweepers to tour as this was the first time that has been available.....we even saw a couple of the guys who work on the USS Hornet visiting these ships too. It was very interesting & the crew was great. I hope they come back next year.

After we finished the tour we had lunch at Fog City Diner which is all chrome outside & so kewl looking.....I have gone by it so many times in the past & have always wanted to go inside. I recommend it for a nice lunch. From then on we just played tourists & walked all over. The one place you must check out is Forbes Island which is on the other side of the Sea Lions from Pier 39. It is a floating island restaurant. I have soooooo many photo's of this little lighthouse & never knew it was a restaurant. It is definitely on my list of places to go in SF now.....make sure you check out their website. From the end of that pier we snapped some pictures of the fog starting to come thru the Golden Gate.....awesome.

Then we wandered down to Fisherman's Wharf......more pictures of course......and then back to Pier 39 for a farewell cocktail & then back reality. It's gonna be a long year waiting for Fleet Week again. If you can you will be there too!!

If you are interested in seeing our PHOTO's of DAY 5......

Also keep


Overflow crowd jams Braley benefit
Staff reports of the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin

It was a gathering fit for a hero.

Congressman Jerry McNerney was present. So was state Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian. They were part of an overflow crowd that arrived at Friday's benefit dinner for wounded sailor Christopher Braley at the Manteca Golf Course clubhouse passing 50 American flags placed along Union Road by the Manteca Chamber of Commerce.

Braley, a sailor corpsman attached to a Marine unit, was wounded by an improvised explosive devise while on patrol in Fallujah in Iraq. Earlier Friday, Braley went into surgery again at the Navy hospital in Bethesda, Maryland - this time to deal with bleeding from his eye and other parts of his head.

The sold-out crowd was there for one purpose only - to support Braley and his family as he faces the daunting task of numerous surgeries and months of recovery before returning to his native Manteca.

Proceeds from the $30 tickets will allow his mother to stay with him beyond the month the military pays for family to stay near their wounded sons and daughters. It is considered crucial given the number of surgeries that await him plus the trauma of dealing with the aftermath of having his cheek bones crushed, his nose broken, his right eye gone, and a part of his scalp still open due to shrapnel hitting his head from an improvised explosive device.

Among those present were Gold Star dads Chuck Palmer and Michael Anderson.

Palmer is the father of Marine Cpl. Charles Palmer, the first Manteca soldier to lose his life in Operation Freedom.

Anderson knows all too well the dangers of Fallujah. He lost his son Cpl. Michael Anderson Jr. there on Dec. 14, 2004 during the fierce "Battle for Fallujah." Anderson resides in Modesto and works at Manteca Auto Plaza.

Braley, 23, is a Sierra High graduate.

Those who wish to make a donation may do so by writing a check to
Larry Braley, Jr., c/o The Christopher Braley Fund, acct. #1250009527 at the Bank of Stockton is located at 660 North Main St., 249-2200.

If you'd like to send him mail, you can do so by writing:
HM Christopher Braley
National Naval Medical Center; Building 9 - ICU
8901 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, Maryland 20889

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin
Bill Scaces, who is a childhood friend of
Christopher Braley, stands next to a
tribute honoring the Navy corpsman.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin
Gold Star dads Chuck Palmer, left,
and Michael Anderson who have
both lost sons in the Iraq war.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Getting the word out......

Today we took a break from Fleet Week to get the word out about Operation: MOM & meet some wonderful people. We set up at WalMart on Albrae Street in Fremont & handed out flyers about the Organization plus the Spaghetti Feed & wish lists for our upcoming Holiday Packing. We had such a wonderful response that we stayed an hour plus longer than planned. We will be back next month on November 4th if you are in the area. In case you would like to help with items for the packing here is the Troops Holiday Wish List.
Steve, Debbi & Leslie

Our Information Table

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fleet Week-Day 3

Total Exhaustion here I tell ya........but what a wonderful experience this has been. Steve & I spent the ENTIRE day at Pier 39 today. We met the most amazing people & shook so many hands of young men & women who are serving this wonderful country. So humble when you thank them........fabulous. We met several people who were visiting. John from NY....he told us about 9/11 from his experience. He saw that 2nd plane hit the tower & was there to help afterwards. He also went to MS after Katrina. A great person. A new Army Mom & Army Wive from Oakland plus a Navy Mom from Concord....hope to see them all again. We met a gentleman who was a POW in WWII....talked to him for quite awhile....he lives up by Sacramento & was here for the show. A lovely couple was here from England.....on the way to Hawaii....Fleet Week was a pleasant surprise for them. Many many more.....Hi to all who stop by to see my blog.

Here are my photo's from today......we will have more later as Steve took 4 rolls of films. YUP!!
Fleet Week_Day 3 (Debbi's Photo's)

Fleet Week-Day 3 (Diane's)
Fleet Week Day 3_Steve's pix

Friday, October 05, 2007

Day 2.....Marines Memorial Club in SF

Diane, Bev & I spent the day at the Marines Memorial Club in SF. We had lunch up in the Leatherneck Steakhouse which is up on the 12th floor of the building with hopes to get a better view of the Blue Angels as we had heard they fly right by the windows. We didn't have that kind of luck but did get a pretty good cold or wind either. We also got to see that new Airbus which flew by on the way to film a commercial with the Golden Gate as a backdrop.

That evening we had the pleasure of attending the The 1st Marine Division Band Concert which was held in the Theatre there. They are great......please try to see them if you ever get the chance. Wonderful group of young men & women with lots of talent. After the concert we headed back up to the 12th floor to watch some of the fireworks & got the opportunity to meet some of the young men in the band. After a very long day we headed back across the bridge & home. More tomorrow.......

Pictures of DAY 2 are HERE!
Fleet Week 2007_Day2

I've been MIA!

Sorry I've been lax in posting but another really busy week. The stamp show was great....I met alot of neat people & hopefully will have more cardmakers from this area too. Came home with a big box of cards.......someone put in 2 shoeboxes full of cards.

It is now Fleet Week.......Diane & I were in SF all day yesterday. My first time seeing the Blue Angels & let me tell you........A M A Z I N G ! ! !

Here are our photo's from DAY 1!!
Fleet Week Day 1