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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mail request for Wounded Marine

I received a request for mail for a young Marine in a burn unit here in the states. I called myself to the nurses station and verified that he's there - they can not release any info but verified he's there and could use some mail. The Marine's name is Matthew and was injured from a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. He's 23 years old and suffered multiple fractures of his leg and forearm, lacerations on his face and eye plus burns on his legs from the blast beneath the Humvee he was operating last month. He's currently doing good. He was on his third tour of duty overseas when injured. He's glad to be home and glad to be alive. He was initially treated in Germany before being transferred to the US towards the end of June. The doctors there said he would be able to walk again, but he may be receiving treatment at the Burn Center for about a year. He's in an awful lot of pain...suffered third-degree burns on his skin.

So if you can, take a few minutes and write a short note and send a card to me & I will forward it on. Email me at . I mailed the first batch out on July 29th with next batch going out on August 25th. This will be an ongoing project.

Absolutely no glitter on these Get Well cards please & envelopes must be unsealed.

If you have any other cards (all occasion) for the troops at this time you can send em along now too.

UPDATE ON MATTHEW: I have learned that he has been released from the hospital & is living with his family in guest house on grounds...guess it is like a Fisher House type of setup. Trying to get more information as to how long that he will still be there but not getting called back. I know it will be another month at this point.

Friday, August 29, 2008


We participated in the Welcome Home for a Marine who had served 7 months in Iraq. We staged at local Harley Dealership & headed to the airport to wait for his flight along with his parents. He was very surprised to see us all but it wasn't over yet. We then did an escort (28 bikes & 2 vehicles) to his home about a half hour away where neighbors, friends, family, local Veterans Groups, Military Family Support Groups & local dignitaries all were waiting. It was awesome! If you know any service men or women who are coming home this is a great way to honor then for all they have done for us.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Army Opens Prep School for Dropouts

FORT JACKSON, S.C. - Austin Swarner left high school to care for his mother while she fought a losing battle with cancer. Tony Brown wanted to begin supporting himself and left two classes shy of a diploma. Haelee Holden got tired of trying to make it through school while flipping burgers until 1 a.m.

But , doesn't see them as dropouts. They are recruits who only need a GED before they're ready to begin basic training.

And so, the Army formally opens its first prep school Wednesday.

"It's academic immersion," explained Col. Jeffrey Sanderson, chief of staff at Fort Jackson, home of the Army's largest basic training school. "Our studies show that with only three out of every 10 people of military age being capable of joining the Army, we are going to have to do something different."

That includes turning six World War II-era buildings at the base into a mini-campus of spartan classrooms and barracks. Under the yearlong pilot project, classes of about 60 soldiers will enter the monthlong program every week.

Their day begins in uniform at 5 a.m. with physical training. Then they attend about eight hours of academic review classes, followed by homework each evening. An hour of marching drills and military discipline is thrown in for good measure.

"It's a tough, structured day. Some of them have sat on the couch for 18 years, but I haven't heard any howling yet," said social studies instructor John Solis, one of 14 certified teachers on hand. "By and large, they are chomping at the bit; they are ready to go."

The soldiers work in small classrooms outfitted with simple desks, chairs, and dry-erase boards. In-desk computers are used for test-taking. Grouped three to four to a class, the students hunch over special GED preparation books, working on basic math, social studies and reading selections.

Recruits must score in the top half of the Army's aptitude test to qualify for the prep school and get two tries at a General Educational Development certificate. If they still can't pass, the Army will release them from their contract, Sanderson said.

He said the Army prefers those who graduate from high school on their own, because it demonstrates "tenacity." But the reality of current graduation rates has the Army pressed to find an alternative, Sanderson explained.

Holden, 18, of Medford, Ore., is racing through her first week of practice tests before taking a formal GED exam soon. She left home at 16, one of nine children of a mill worker, and wants to be a military police officer.

"There's no jobs out there, nothing. It's just horrible. And it got hard just trying to support myself and go to school at the same time," Holden said.

Swarner, a native of Baton Rouge, La., left school in the ninth grade. Now 20, he dreams of becoming a combat engineer.

With the small classes, hovering teachers and a disciplined schedule, Swarner said he's learning quickly.

"The teachers here are helping a lot. My best class is English, the hardest is probably the math," he said.

With the GED behind them, Swarner and his classmates will enter basic training at Fort Jackson, where more than half of all incoming male soldiers and more than 80 percent of female recruits go through basic combat training. Others will go to one of the Army's three other basic training sites.

Those entering prep school have signed on for a two- to four-year stint, just like any new recruit.
"We have two missions: get the GED and prepare them physically and mentally for basic training," said the school's commander, Capt. Brian Gaddis.

Last October, Army officials said they intended to expand the force by adding 74,000 soldiers by 2010, with the active duty force growing to a total of 547,000.
But Sanderson said the Army's own studies show that only 3 in 10 people ages 17 to 24 are eligible to enlist, with the remainder barred by health or legal issues, or the failure to earn a high school diploma or equivalent.

A study issued by the National Priorities Project released in January found that while the Army has a goal that 90 percent of recruits be high school graduates, it hadn't met that percentage since 2004. In the 2007 budget year, the Project found that only 71 percent of soldiers entering the service had graduated.

Gaddis said he knows his students might have quit high school, but believes that shouldn't be held against them. He added that the school is a move to reach those who have been left behind, not to attract those who are less qualified or lower than the Army's standards.

"These kids may have quit at some point, but the big thing is, a lot of people have quit on them," Gaddis said. "We are not going to allow them to quit."

Saturday, August 23, 2008



You can find out how to download "Warrior" after you watch the video. Great song!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Want to be in a Soap Opera?

ABC's "All My Children" is conducting a nationwide search to cast a real life Iraqi War veteran to play a new role on the Emmy® Award-winning daytime drama. The announcement was made today by Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group.

Male veterans who are interested in submitting themselves for this role should send a photo and contact information to "All My Children" casting director:

Judy Blye Wilson,
320 West 66th Street,
New York, NY 10023.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Good Morning Sailor...Welcome Home!

This was definitely one the more interesting Missions for me since being with the Patriot Guard Riders. There have been alot of delays with the airlines of late and shortly before we were to head out to this one we were notified that the 9:00 pm time was changed to 1:30 am (O Dark 30). Well we both decided to take a bit of a nap as this is just a tad past our bedtime. We got up, put on warmer clothes as it was a bit chilly out & headed to our staging area. The night crew was there...Spike even brought coffee to warm folks up (and keep em awake). 6 bikes & our pickup is pretty impressive for that hour. We headed to the airport to wait for his arrival. The airport was empty except for people who work there. He had no family waiting as his wife is out of country...he will be meeting up with her at a later date.

He came thru the gate to meet with us....very surprised. We were supposed to escort him to Naval Center so that he could pick up his car but he was just too tired. He requested to just go to his motel so that he could get some well needed sleep....not sure how long this guy had been traveling but I know he had put in many hours in the air. After getting some photo's we headed out. Spike had called ahead to Alameda PD to let them know we were coming thru because of the hour & as we were riding thru there was a police car on a side street. As we drove by lights started honor for the IC1 (INTERIOR COMMUNICATIONS ELECTRICIAN). It was very kewl for sure. As we pulled in front of the motel a woman was at the drivers door of the pickup. She yelled "YOU GUYS ROCK!" She asked what was up & we told her. It turns out she was retired Navy. She went up to Mario & invited him to stay out her place...she had food, pool table & beer. We all could come too. Maybe back in the day but we were all too tired for such an invite. We thanked her & she gave Mario her number in case he changed his mind. I can't wait to do this again.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I heard this song for the first time today & went looking for a video....hope you will listen

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Welcome Home Robert!

It was a long trip for this Spc & his family. After 15 months in Iraq he returned home to his wife & son in Italy which is where he is stationed. For his leave they were to fly back to the USA to spend time with family & friends whom they hadn't seen in over two years. A normally long flight was made longer by delays so he arrived a day later than expected. So the planned Homecoming Celebration had to be split up during the day & evening. His flight arrived early afternoon & a few of the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) were there to meet him along with many members of his family. The PGR escorted Soldier & family to parents home about 50 min away without traffic. There was a large crowd waiting for him when he arrived. Did I mention this was a surprise? I was unable to be at the airport or do the escort but we picked up the party later in the evening.

We left the house right after Steve got home & headed to the address we were given which was the sister of the Soldier. A large crowd was already there....friends, neighbors, family, Blue Star Moms, Operation SAM, VFW, American Legion plus the Lafayette Flag Brigade had the giant flag up. And the Vice Mayor from the city too as well as TV reporter. It was absolutely awesome to see the fire truck pull up. Then we heard the comes our Hero! He was totally shocked when he got out of the SUV to see that more people were there to honor him. He either hugged or shook the hang of everyone there. Another great Mission! You really should do one of'll be hooked too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


22 years ago my day started off pretty much like they all do when you are 7+ months pregnant but boy it sure didn't end that way. I was to have a Tupperware Party that evening & was cleaning up our apartment in preparation when I realized that something was wrong. I immediately called Steve at work to have him come home...then called my OB/GYN. Dr. Gary told me to head for the hospital. As I waited for Steve to get home I called the Tupperware lady & a couple of my friends to let them know there would be no party this evening but would keep them informed.

When Steve arrived we headed out & about half way to the hospital I started feeling labor pains. My Dr was waiting for me as I got there & after a while decided to send me on to Alta Bates in Berkeley. He explained that they would be able to stop the labor & if not at least I would deliver where they had a NICU & I would be in the same hospital as the baby....otherwise if I delivered there the baby would have to go to Children's Hospital in Oakland....not good to be separated. So I was gonna go on an ambulance to Berkeley so they could stop the labor & I sent Steve home to get my bag so I had my things as I would prolly be there awhile. My Dr. assured me that all would be well & not to worry. He had never lied to me before.

What a ride! It was rush hour & the freeway was packed as it usually is here at that time of day. The driver got over to the center divide & hauled a** to get me to the hospital. As I was on my back I couldn't see anything but the nurse had white knuckles so maybe that was a good thing. We arrived at Alta Bates & they couldn't find where I was to go so we stopped on each floor while going up on the elevator. Finally I was where they needed me to be.

I was prepped & the Dr. decided to do an ultrasound. I was told I had a Placental abruption & needed to do a c-section immediately. Tried to call Steve but he wasn't home so called a friend & let her know what was going on so she said she would keep trying to call the Apt. The then took me to delivery & put me to sleep. The next thing I remember is Steve talking to me in recovery....he got to the hospital just before the baby was born....letting me know that baby was ok & that we had a son. "The Communicator" was born at 7:26 pm, was 2 lb., 15.6 oz & 16 inches long. I didn't get to see him until the next day & didn't get him home for 7 weeks.

The rest, as they say, is history.

A few days old....

His 1st Birthday.....5th Birthday....
And I've never hosted another Tupperware Party to this day.

PS....he sent this today....him at 22 years old offically!!

You can leave him some birthday love ....he will be checking here later.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Purple Heart Day – August 7th

Medal of Honor that is now the Purple Heart actually began as the ‘Badge of Military Merit.’ On August 7th, 1782 in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington designed a new badge of distinction for enlisted men and noncommissioned officers. They were awarded for ‘any singularly meritorious action.’ The badge was a figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk, edged with narrow lace or binding. It was pinned to a uniform coat above the left breast. That was then, this is now.

On January 7th of the year 1931, a new design was reopened. Ms. Elizabeth Will, an army heraldic specialist in the Office of the Quarter, created the design sketch for the present medal of the Purple Heart. It consists of a purple enameled heart within a bronze quarter inch border showing a relief profile of George Washington in continental uniform. Washington’s family coat of arms adorns the medal, along with an inscription inside the heart that reads, ‘For Military Merit.’

The Purple Heart is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces that has been wounded or killed, died as a result of a wound in battle, or otherwise designated by the President of the United States. This now includes those persons killed as a result of friendly fire. Now we celebrate Purple Heart Day on the anniversary of its inception, August 7th. On this day it is our patriotic duty to remember and recognize those people willing to serve our country, no matter the price.
Source: U.S. Army, Center for Military History, The American War Library

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Monday, August 04, 2008



Date: August 4, 2008

Contact: (202) 372-4620

Coast Guard Celebrates 218 years of Service

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Coast Guard is celebrating 218 years of service as America's maritime guardians today.

"The Coast Guard has a proud history, and on the occasion of our birthday, we must pay tribute to those who came before us," said Adm. Thad W. Allen, commandant. "We must also rededicate ourselves to making the Coast Guard the best it can be for those who will follow in our footsteps."

This year's birthday coincides with a historic event and an important step forward in the Coast Guard's modernization, the commissioning of the first National Security Cutter, Bertholf, in Alameda, Calif.

The Bertholf and its sister ship Waesche, which was christened on July 26, are at the forefront of the Coast Guard's fleet modernization. The National Security Cutters will improve operational readiness and enable the Coast Guard to fulfill its multi-mission roles more effectively through better sea keeping, higher sustained transit speeds, greater endurance and range, and a greater ability to launch and recover improved small boats, helicopters, and eventually unmanned aerial vehicles - all key attributes in enabling the Coast Guard to implement increased security responsibilities.

Additional modernization efforts include added capabilities to workhorse assets like the MH-65C helicopter, C-130 aircraft and the Medium Endurance Cutter (WMEC) fleet as well as introduced new assets such as the Response Boat-Medium and the HC-144a Ocean Sentry patrol aircraft. The Coast Guard is also adding capacity to its marine safety program, improving our shore-based command and control capabilities and achieving a greater degree of maritime domain awareness. All Coast Guard modernization efforts are designed to improve mission execution and enable the Coast Guard to be more adaptive to the maritime challenges of the 21st century.

The Coast Guard is one of America's five armed forces and traces its founding to Aug. 4, 1790, when the first Congress authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of the federal revenue. Considerable responsibilities have been added over the years including humanitarian duties such as aiding mariners in distress. The service received its present name in 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the U.S. Life-Saving Service to form a single maritime service dedicated to safety of life at sea and enforcing the nation's maritime laws.

The United States Coast Guard -- Proud History. Powerful Future.

FOX News Cameraman Helps Rescue Injured Marine From Insurgent Blast in Afghanistan

Monday , August 04, 2008

A FOX News cameraman helped save the life of an injured Marine in Afghanistan — and was injured himself — when the armored Humvee convoy he was traveling in was struck by a roadside bomb Sunday night in the Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold.

Two U.S. Marines were badly injured when the improvised explosive device detonated near their convoy. Though FOX News cameraman Chris Jackson was injured in the blast, he went back to the burning vehicle to rescue one of the Marines.

"The cabin was on fire and I jumped out," said Jackson in a report filed immediately following the attack. "I went, grabbed the sergeant out of the shotgun seat, pulled him out."

Click here to see Chris Jackson's report from the scene of the IED attack.

While Jackson and the Marines assisted the injured sergeant, the heat inside the burning vehicle began to fire off the ammunition inside it.

"We checked him over; his leg was injured. We then carried him away behind a second armored Humvee because the ammunition from the first armored Humvee was cooking off and firing in all directions."

Click here to see photos of Jackson.

Helmand province, the site of the IED blast, is a hotbed of insurgent activity and the largest opium poppy growing area in the world.

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit moved into the province's capital of Garmser in April to drive out the Taliban, and military officials say more than 400 insurgents have been killed so far in the campaign.

"For most of my Marines — about 25 out of the 45 — this is their second or third deployment, and it's not their first IED strike, so we're pretty adept at handling them at this point," said Lt. John Branson, commander of the platoon that was struck by the IED.

"But they can always get one over on us every once in a while.

"Jackson, 35, a longtime freelancer for FOX News, has been with the Jerusalem bureau since 2007. He is traveling in Afghanistan with Oliver North, a FOX News correspondent and retired Marine lieutenant colonel.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Fremont's Festival of the Arts

Fremont's Festival of the Arts is the largest free street festival west of the Mississippi River. This year was the 25th year and we have been to them all but this year we too Tammy..."The Communicator's" now ex-girlfriend. She had never been before and had a great time.

When we first got there we saw that KNTV, our local NBC affiliate, had a display up just like at the Olympics where they receive their medals so....We received our Olympic medals!

Then we headed for the main stage to listen to Appaloosa...the house band at The Saddle Rack in Fremont...

Then Stomper, The Oakland A's mascot, showed up to dance to the music...

He left the stage & grabbed Tammy for a dance...doesn't she look like she's having fun?

I ran into the brother's of my best friend growing up...David & Michael. Michael owns the Harley Dealership in Fremont, CA.....Faultline Harley-Davidson.

Great food, great music, great vendors & great friends....We had a great time. See ya next year!!

Friday, August 01, 2008


HBO will donate in your name. Go to this link and then to “troop drive” and then click Support the Troops and follow the instructions. Turn ur volume down as it gets a bit loud. Once per email address.

The donation drive will continue through the finale of the miniseries on August 24th, with all donations being shipped overseas in the fall.

Thank you for your support!!