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Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This is required reading!! Excellent reading from a woman in the Army in Afghanistan. Share far and wide.

This article was written by a service woman in Afghanistan responding to a column raising the debate about the sacrifice of America's Sons and Daughters in Uniform. It is very well written and something that every American should appreciate. Her comments bring it closer to those who do not understand or appreciate that the freedom they have is fueled by the blood of others.

Service itself is our honor
Saturday, March 21
Sarah Albrycht
United States Army

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before
us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for
which they gave the last full measure of devotion -that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain.
- Abraham Lincoln,
Gettysburg Address

A few nights ago, I walked a quiet mile with hundreds of other service
members. It was a clear night in Bagram, Afghanistan. Although it was late, the birds were singing, perhaps roused by the unusual occurrence of people walking under their trees at the late hour. Soft voices broke the solemnity, but no words were discernible. Suddenly, as if on cue,soldiers, airmen, seamen, marines, broke off the sidewalk and lined the road, spacing themselves regularly and assuming a position of silent watchfulness. The honor cordon had formed.

Heads began to turn right as flashing blue lights appeared far down the
road. As the vehicles neared,one by one, service members assumed the position of attention and rendered the hand salute. In the back of an open truck sat eight military members,and between them, at their feet, was a flag draped casket. As I rendered my salute, I thought about the fallen soldier. I did not know his name, his unit or his home. I never saw his face or spoke to his family. I did not know why he volunteered for the Army or what he was doing when he was killed. But there was much I did know. I knew he had fought and died in an honorable cause, a cause that had little to do with our policy on Afghanistan. This soldier had volunteered to put his very life on the line in service to his nation and his brothers-in-arms. I see no more honorable cause that that.

In a column, Mr. Putney has again raised the debate about the sacrifice of America's "sons and daughters" in uniform. Some have argued that we must continue the fight to honor their memory"so that they have not died in vain." Others argue we must stop the wars to save soldiers from this fate. I think an essential understanding of what motivates those of us in uniform is missing in this debate.

We are not your sons and daughters, whom you must protect and defend. We are your sword and your shield. We are men and women who volunteer to place our lives on the line so you do not have to. We do not decide when or where we will be sent. We go. You are our advocates, not our parents.

We trust you to care for our families, to hold our jobs, pay for our
equipment, salary and medical care and yes, to honor our sacrifice. We trust you to vote for good political leadership, to speak out against bad policy decisions and to demand public accountability. However, we do not count on you to explain the honorable character of our service. We are ennobled by the very fact we serve.

Our "high moral cause" is one of service to a nation whose principles we
believe in. We miss the point of political debate when we distill it down to numbers of service member deaths. Debate should be about the policy that leads us in or pulls us out of war. I, as a soldier, am personally insulted when debate about war becomes not about policy, but about deaths,because it implies that my service is at best uninformed or ill-conceived, and at worst valueless.

I know my life is in the hands of others because I choose for it to be that
way. I am not your daughter, a child who must be guided. I have made my choice and pledge my honor to it. I will thank you to remember that because we serve our nation, none of us dies in vain, regardless of the cause; end of debate.

Every day a new Marine enlists or an airman puts on her uniform is a
reminder that our defenders come from people who still believe in our nation and the values it aspires to, as flawed as we sometimes are. War does not make our sacrifice honorable, death does not make our service honorable; service itself is our honor. We, your American service members, do not seethe cause for which we may give our last full measure of devotion, as our nation's goals in Iraq or Afghanistan, and perhaps that is the difference. Our cause is our Nation, in all her beautiful, imperfect glory.

So on a dark night in Afghanistan we stood under a velvet sky of a million stars to honor one man who lay under 50. We never doubted what he died for. Pfc. Patrick A. Devoe II died for you, the United States of America. That, Mr. Putney, is no goof.

Sarah Albrycht is a Bennington native serving in the Army in Afghanistan.

Monday, April 06, 2009


The following fallen Heroes died on April 6th 2004 in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. All were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif. Please remember them & their & always.
Semper Fi!
• Pfc.Benjamin Carman, 20, Jefferson, Iowa
• Lance Cpl. Marcus Cherry, 18, Imperial, Calif.
• Pfc.Christopher Cobb, 19, Bradenton, Fla
• Lance Cpl. Kyle Crowley, 18, San Ramon, Calif.
• Pfc.Deryk Hallal, 24, Indianapolis
• Pfc.Ryan Jerabek, 18, Oneida, Wis
• Lance Cpl. Travis Layfield, 19, Fremont, Calif.
• Lance Cpl. Anthony Roberts, 18, Bear, Del.
• Staff Sgt. Allan Walker, 28, Lancaster, Calif.
• 2nd Lt. John Wroblewski, 25, Oak Ridge, N.J.
• Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Fernando Mendez Aceves, 27, Ponce, Puerto Rico

Thursday, April 02, 2009

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2009 - A recent increase in mail addressed to "Any Servicemember" has prompted the Military Postal Service Agency to remind the general public not to send mail or care packages addressed in such a manner. "Mail to 'Any Servicemember/Any Wounded-Recovering Warrior,' deposited into a collection box and erroneously accepted at a United States Postal Service post office will not be delivered," MPSA officials said in a news release. "This restriction applies to all classes and types of mail."
The Defense Department suspended the "Any Servicemember" and "Operation Dear Abby" programs in 2001 following the terrorist attacks. The policy was adopted as a way to bolster force protection.
"Even though these programs may provide an excellent means of support to deployed personnel and wounded-recovering warriors, they also provide an avenue to introduce hate mail and hazardous substances or materials into the mail system," MPSA officials said in the release.
The Dear Abby program, founded by the newspaper advice columnist, delivered mail to U.S. servicemembers overseas during the holiday season for 25 years. "Any Servicemember" mail grew out of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Since shortly after the start of recent operations in the Middle East, many grassroots organizations have made sure servicemembers know they're remembered. Those interested in writing to servicemembers can visit the Defense Department's Community Relations Web site and click the "Citizen Support" link on the right side of the page to find groups that support troops with letters.