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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Proud But Broken Hearted Dad

I was going thru my blog roll on Google Reader when I found this post thanks to Stacy who had read it on The Thunder Run. It is definitely powerful & deserving of your time...

What fear at times like these should our nation hold given the willing sacrifice of my son, SGT Mike Stokely and many others like him?

Wall Street may heave, it may even tumble. Some may lose their homes, and others their golden parachute, but the price of freedom is not devalued by the greed and failure of those who lead in politics or private business. Let us be careful, for while enemies like Al-Qaeda may seek from without to devour us, there are those of our own kind whose selfishness can lead to a similarly disastrous effect on our country.

In these coming days, when there are those who call-out to bail out Wall Street and others, who bails out the financial needs of soldiers who work for $63.00 and change in a war zone? When loved ones come home in a flag draped casket, their severance pay paltry compared to the golden parachutes that many corporate executives seek. Most recently the CEO of Washington Mutual, who after 17 days on the job walked away with $20,000,000.00 severance ($1.2 million per day, $50,000 per hour on a 24/7 time clock)?

And for those in the mortgage industry taking back the bad fruits of their ill given labor - billions in bad loans only an idiot would have made in the first place, consider this: Mike Stokely owned but one piece of Real Estate in his time, small as it is. For three years in a severe drought I have traveled 70 miles one way and fought to get grass to grow on his lawn in Georgia red clay. But, finally, a good stand these last few weeks, after hours of digging down two plus feet, taking out red clay and putting back rich organic soil with fresh cut sod on top and hauling water from a mile down the road to drench it, and keeping it drenched with a bucket brigade of friends.


Grave of SGT Mike Stokely, Corinth Christian Church Cemetery, Loganville GA KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq E 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG (Photo by author)

What you are willing to give, how much you get in return and what you are willing to worry about is relative.

Robert Stokely

proud, but broken hearted dad

Monday, September 29, 2008

Re-enlistments outpacing fiscal year mission

By Jim Tice - Staff writer Army Times
Posted : Monday Sep 29, 2008 5:56:54 EDT

Retention in the active component is thousands of re-enlistments ahead of its goal for the year.

Combined with a strong recruiting year, the retention numbers are rapidly pushing the Army toward its expanded end-strength goal of 547,400 for 2010.

With a month left in the fiscal year, unit commanders and career counselors had re-enlisted 72,083 soldiers.

That total is more than 7,000 re-enlistments above the fiscal year mission of 65,000.

Recruiting figures released in early September show that through August, recruiters had enlisted 71,863 new soldiers, just 8,137 shy of the annual mission of 80,000.

September traditionally is a good recruiting month, and personnel officials are confident the 80,000-goal will be met or exceeded.

The 2008 manning campaign is designed to support an end-strength increase of about 11,000 over the next three years.

Active-component manning stands at about 536,000 soldiers, which puts the Army in good position to achieve an end strength of 547,400 by 2010 or possibly earlier, according to Maj. Gen. Sean Byrne, commander of Human Resources Command.

Byrne cautioned that any acceleration in the manning increase is subject to budgetary considerations.

The Army’s primary retention incentive during the past year has been the Enhanced Selective Re-enlistment Bonus program, which features flat-rate, lump-sum bonuses of $3,000 to $29,000 across a swath of combat, support, and service military occupational specialties, in addition to special bonuses for deployed soldiers and soldiers recently returned from deployment.

The Enhanced SRB program was last updated in February. Changes to the program for fiscal 2009 have not been announced.

Changes to the Bonus Extension and Retraining program were announced in late July. They sharply increased rates for certain first- and second-term soldiers in several priority MOSs.

BEAR bonuses also were targeted at soldiers whose terms of service expire before Oct. 1, and who agree to retrain and re-enlist in one of 20 critical skills. The BEAR program complements the Enhanced SRB program by shifting soldiers to priority specialties during the ongoing reorganization and expansion of the Army.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Gold Star Mothers Club

Shortly after World War I the Gold Star Mothers Club was formed in the United States to provide support for mothers that lost sons or daughters in the war. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a banner called a Service Flag in the window of their homes. The Service Flag had a star for each family member in the military. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star. Gold Star Mothers are often politically and socially active. Today, membership in the Gold Star Mothers is open to any American woman who has lost a son or daughter in service to the United States. On the last Sunday in September, Gold Star Mother's Day is observed in the U.S. in their honor. USC Title 36 Sec. 111 The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.

Founding of the Gold Star Mothers

The Gold Star Mothers was founded by Grace Darling Seibold of Washington, DC. Her son, First Lieutenant George Vaughn Seibold, was killed in aerial combat over France in August, 1918. Mrs. Seibold was already doing volunteer service in veteran's hospitals. After her son's death, she continued this work, and also began organizing a group of other women who had lost their sons in the war. The mothers did volunteer work together, and served as a support network for one another.

On June 4, 1928, the members of the club decided to establish it as a national organization. They incorporated in Washington DC under the name of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. At the time, the club had sixty five members, but this number soon increased as more women learned about the national organization.

Gold Star Mothers today
Today, membership in the Gold Star Mothers is open to any American woman whose child has died in the line of duty of the United States Armed Forces. Stepmothers and adoptive mothers are eligible for membership under certain circumstances. Husbands of Gold Star Mothers may become Associate Members, who do not vote or pay dues.

Gold Star Mothers is made up of local chapters, which are organized into departments. Five members are required to start a local chapter. If no local chapter is available, a woman may join the organization as a member at large.

Just as when it was founded, the Gold Star Mothers continues to concentrate on providing emotional support to its members, doing volunteer work with veterans in general and veterans' hospitals in particular, and generally fostering a sense of patriotism and respect for members of the Armed Forces.

In early September 2005, Gold Star Mothers accepted its first non-citizen - Carmen Palmer of Mount Vernon, New York, who was born in Jamaica - as a member. The group had banned non-citizens for the first 77 years of its existence, most notably rejecting the application of Ligaya Lagman whose son Anthony was killed while serving in Afghanistan. Palmer's son, Marine Cpl. Bernard Gooden, died in 2003 in Iraq at age 22.

The group currently has 933 members.

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Throughout our history, the men and women of the Armed Forces have put our Nation's security before their own, doing their duty in the face of grave danger. On Gold Star Mother's Day, we pay solemn tribute to the mothers of the patriots lost serving this great Nation.

Gold Star Mothers inspire our Nation with their deep devotion to family and country. These extraordinary women serve their communities, dedicate their time to helping members of our Armed Forces and veterans, and bring comfort and hope to families whose loved ones laid down their lives in the defense of our liberty. Nothing can compensate for their sacrifice and loss, yet Gold Star Mothers demonstrate tremendous courage and resolve while working to preserve the memory and legacy of all our fallen heroes.

On this day, we honor our country's Gold Star Mothers and remember their sons' and daughters' noble service and great sacrifice. We offer them our deepest gratitude and our most profound respect, and we ask for God's blessings to be upon them and their families.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in its observance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 28, 2008, as Gold Star Mother's Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this special day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation's sympathy and respect for our Gold Star Mothers.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Army Families - Army Strong

This a great video that will give you a little insight into what Military Families go thru...the sacrifices they make for you. I found it on a blog I read...Arkansas Army Mom. Thanks for finding this Tami. I hope you will watach it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No Indictment in Palin Email Hack

A federal grand jury in Chattanooga ended its session Tuesday without indicting David Kernell, a University of Tennessee student, who is being investigated in the hack of Gov. Sarah Palin's email account.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Tuesday that a federal grand jury in Chattanooga had wrapped up hearings around lunch after failing to return an indictment. The paper noted that the FBI is still investigating Kernell, and that subsequent grand juries may still return an indictment.
Three students arrived at the federal courthouse on Georgia Avenue about 8:45 a.m. to testify, the paper reported. They did not give their names.
Kernell was linked to the hack of Palin's Yahoo Mail account after the alleged hacker posted details of the hack to The poster's name reflected Kernell's e-mail address, while the IP provider of the hacker was the same as the one that provides service to Kernell's dorm. FBI agents subsequently searched Kernell's apartment over the weekend.
David Kernell is the son of Tenn. Rep. Mike Kernell, a Democrat. Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska is the Republican vice-presidential nominee.
A lawyer for the Kernell family said that "the Kernell family wants to do the right thing, and they want what is best for their son," the Times Free Press reported.

Friday, September 19, 2008

National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 2008

The following is a letter from President George W. Bush, dated 9/17/2008:

National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 2008

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we honor the brave and patriotic Americans who were held as prisoners of war, and we remember those who are still missing in action. For their valor and selfless devotion to protect the country they love, our Nation owes them a debt we can never fully repay. On this day we underscore our commitment and pledge to those who are still missing in action and to their families that we will not rest until we have achieved the fullest possible accounting for every member of our Armed Forces missing in the line of duty.

To observe this important day, the National League of Families POW/MIA flag is flown over the Capitol, the White House, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and other locations across our country. The flag is a solemn reminder of our Nation's enduring obligation and promise to our courageous service members who remain missing and a tribute to those who have been imprisoned while serving their country in conflicts around the world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 19, 2008, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in honoring and remembering all former American prisoners of war and those missing in action for their valiant service to our Nation. I also call upon Federal, State, and local government officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


A Pentagon ceremony for National POW/MIA Recognition Day will be held on Friday, Sept.19, 2008. This ceremony will feature troops from each of the military services. The president will issue a proclamation commemorating the observances and reminding the nation of those Americans who have sacrificed so much for their country.

Observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans' facilities. This observance is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families' POW/MIA flag. The others are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. The flag is to be flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs, the director of the selective service system and the White House.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike

My thoughts & prayers are with all that have been affected by this monster. I woke this morning, turned on the TV to find out what was happening & was glad to hear it wasn't as bad as predicted but it is pretty horrendous down there. I must admit that I was very happy to hear that San Antonio was fine & that "The Communicator" would have to wait til another time to see his first hurricane. He was like those people who come here & are all excited when they feel an earthquake....of course those folks weren't here for Loma Prieta Quake in '89. I have been unable to reach a friend in Houston who told me last weekend not to worry about my son that all would be well. Please call me Vickie when you get your power back up!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Third Annual Milbloggies Begins! Place Your Nominations!

Rules and Instructions

The Milbloggies Award recognizes military bloggers for their contribution to blogging, news and information, and to the military over the past year.

Nomination and Voting Overview

1. A military blog can be nominated ONLY once by the same registered user. However, a user can nominate as many military blogs as they wish.
All nominations must be submitted online through by 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008.

2. The top five nominees in each branch category will be announced on Thursday, September 11th, 2008 and those nominees will move into the Voting Phase beginning September 11th, 2008.

3. Nominees may be military blogs that belong to the following branch categories in the database:
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Army
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Military (Parent)
U.S. Military (Spouse)
U.S. Military (Veteran)
U.S. Military (Supporter)
U.S. Navy

4. To nominate and/or vote for a military blog, you must be signed in to the website. Registration is quick and free and you will not receive any SPAM. This helps maintain the integrity of voting by reducing possible click fraud. To place your nomination, simply click on the listing in the database, and click the Nominate button that appears at the top of the military blog profile.


5. To vote for a military blog (once the nomination phase is over), a chart will be published that includes the top nominees in each category, along with the ability to vote.

The Voting will close on Sunday, September 14th at 11:59 PM EST.
6. Winners will be presented awards at the 2008 Milblog Conference in Las Vegas on September 20th at the Blog World Expo. Winners are not required to attend the conference in order to receive their awards.
USAA sponsored the Second Annual Milbloggies. Last year's awards included: a digital camera, plaque, and a $1000 donation to Project Valour-IT. USAA will also be sponsoring the Third Annual Milbloggies.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to leave your comments below or send an email to
You can also discuss and chat about this year's Milbloggies with other members in the Discussion Boards.
Stay updated on the Third Annual Milbloggies, by visiting the Milbloggies Home Page.
Current Standings (Third Annual Milbloggies)

Friday, September 05, 2008

All is well

He called & no problems. I guess whoever placed him in the room never noted it so the day folks had no idea where he was just that he had checked in the night before. Whoever was given the task of locating him went room to room asking "Is ther a Dresser in here?" Well you know where that went. "Sure, we have a dresser...and a desk & a chair....". By the time he was introduced to the Company he was famous. "Oh! You're the Dresser!!!"

Friday night he had a great time. They have a rec center there with a BOSS program. He loves it. I found out today that Tim McGraw will be there next week but tickets were given out yesterday. Hopefully he can get one.


Our phone rang at 6:00 am this morning. Steve grabbed it as he was still home...I heard him talking but wasn't really sure what the conversation was about. He came back in a little bit later to tell me it was his Drill Instructor (DI) & they were looking for our son...he hadn't showed up for Formation. He didn't need to report til midnite that night so not sure what this was all about. I had last heard from "The Communicator about 8:15 pm PDT that he was at Ft Sam Houston (FSH) but they didn't know what to do with him & he was waiting outside of Delta Co for Van to pick him up...he would call later. Well he didn't ...I tried to call him but it went straight to voice mail ...I went to bed. The DI had asked Steve for the cell phone of "The Communicator". I checked to make sure he gave the right number...he hadn't . I got "The Communicator" to find out what was up. He said they didn't know what to do with him so put him in a private room & he went to sleep. No one came to wake him up. He was sure this was major F**K Up for him. I tried to call the number of the DI & of course it was one of those you cant' a pay phone. So...he said he would take care of it...2 Soldiers had just come in. They have found him. Will call me later.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Well due to his ankle injury "The Communicator" will need to change his MOS so he is heading to Ft. Sam Houston this afternoon. He is so happy to get out of Ft. Gordon.....and I'm really happy for him also. Now to see if they will be doing the surgery to repair the ankle now that the damage has gotten worse being it went so long (plus he had to do PT with the injury) & the tendons have now fused together. As this is where the medical training is done I think it would be the right place to do it. Will keep ya'll posted.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Welcome Home Abraham!

Today we had the honor of welcoming home a young Soldier after his graduation from Basic Training. He joined the Army under the Split-Training Option so he will either finish his Senior Year of High School or pass the GED soon. After Graduation or getting his GED he will go on to AIT for his training. His MOS is Infantry. He was very happy to see the flag line when he came off the plane. Lots of hugs & handshakes after he was saluted by the Vets among us. There were 15 bikes & our pickup truck to escort his family to their home about 20 min away....we look pretty impressive going down the freeway with flags waving! The neighbors can hear the rumble of the pipes while we are still out a bit. We were all very impressed with this young man...please keep him in your prayers.