Not sure how to move all of the archives from here but check me out over there:
Not sure how to move all of the archives from here but check me out over there:
From DVIDS (can't get links to work in Vox for some reason) http://www.dvidshub.net/index.php?script=images/images_gallery.php&action=viewimage&fid=233020
And from "The ROCK 2nd Bn 503rd Airborne Infantry" facebook page photos tab:
Be safe men and don't ever forget how much we appreciate and respect you. We're here for you 24/7.
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, the 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division and their distinguished guests, stand for the American and Afghan national anthem at a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Shank, Dec. 20. The Spartans of 3rd BCT transferred authority of Logar and Wardak provinces to the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd ABCT for their third deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Army Pfc. Michael Sword, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team)
Written by Task Force Bayonet Public Affairs Tuesday, 22 December 2009 01:43
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - In a ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Shank, the Spartans of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, handed over control of their area of operations to the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based out of Vicenza, Italy, Dec. 20.
Scaparrotti highlighted some of the achievements of the 3rd BCT.“Working side-by-side with Afghan partners, you protected the southern gates of Kabul, improved the infrastructure at the provincial and district levels and extended the reach of good governors throughout both provinces,” he said.
“While much has been done through Task Force Spartan, there’s still plenty of work to be done,” he added.However, Scaparrotti showed confidence that the 173rd will continue where Task Force Spartan left off.
I received a call early Tuesday morning from a Platoon Sergeant that I know well. One of his Soldiers was in a very difficult situation. I won't go into all of the details but his 16 year old son from a prior marriage had been the victim of a drunk driver. The son was in a coma for 3 weeks and had recently awakened from the coma. He has paralysis in all but his left arm. The father had been granted emergency leave to be with his son but didn't have the financial means to travel from his duty station with his wife and step daughter to be with his son.
As the Soldier and I talked throughout the day while I was contacting people and organizations to help him he kept telling me two things over and over. 1) "Ma'am I can't ask you to do this for me." To that I assured and reminded him that HE didn't ask - his Platoon Sergeant did and I was grateful to his PL for doing so. 2) "I don't know how to thank you." His sincere gratitude was overwhelming to me. I knew from talking to this Soldier that he was a good man, a good father and a good Soldier. Zero doubts.
I am very happy to report that the Soldier arrived at his son's hospital bedside last night thanks to the generosity, love and compassion of Donna Cranston of Defenders of Freedom and Patti Patton Bader of Soldiers' Angels. I also want to thank two special friends of mine, Matt Burden of Blackfive and Jo Lombardi, for their assistance in helping get this information expidited so quickly.
The Soldier and his family may not be having the merriest of Christmases this year but thanks to the people and organizations mentioned above the father and son are together. My heart is happy for that and more than grateful to Donna and Patti. The emotion and relief in the Soldier's voice reminded me of the true spirit of giving, family and Christmas.
'til kev is home.
He's SO photogenic. And the pics of his "best side" are always my favorites.
Lordy he's HOT!
Luv ya kev! SWEAR
It would be my honor to meet the young people interviewed in this video.
I am grateful to all of those who volunteered their time to lay the wreaths, honor, respect and remember our fallen heroes from all wars.
SSG Justin Grimm - Silver Star for 13 July 2008 Battle of Wanat, Afghanistan
SSG Clifton M Anderson, Jr - Bronze Star with V device for 23 June 2008 battle in Chowkay Valley, Afghanstan
SSG Michael J Lawrence - Bronze Star with V device for 23 June 2008 battle in Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan
SSG Zachari A Rushing - ARCOM with V device for his actions following a catastrophic IED strike in 2007 in Charbaran District, Afghanistan
"It's a great honor to get an award like this. But I'd say the greater honor was being able to be out there with Chosen Company. I think mainly I feel privileged to get this award on behalf of all the guys who fought out at Wanat." SSG Justin Grimm
"Great Day for The ROCK and EAGLE. MG Ferriter presented a Silver Star to SSG Grimm in front of his parents. SSG Anderson and SSG Lawrence received BSMVs - SSG Anderson's family was present - and SSG Rushing, an EAGLE (1-503) medic, received an ARCOMV the day after his daughter was born." COL William Ostlund, former Commander of 2-503 and current Deputy Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment
From Ledger-Enquirer.com Please follow the link to watch a exceptional video interview with SSG Grimm
Staff Sgt. Justin D. Grimm was awarded the Silver Star — the nation’s third highest military decoration behind the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross — in a ceremony held Monday on Fort Benning.
Grimm earned the Silver Star for his actions during the July 13, 2008, battle of Wanat in Afghanistan while assigned to Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vincenza, Italy.
Two of Grimm’s fellow staff sergeants each received a Bronze Star.
“To get an award is great,” Grimm said following the ceremony, “but a lot of these tough fights, anybody out there — everybody out there — deserves a valor award. It’s just certain members get recognized. So, I don’t know the best way to describe it. It’s humbling.”
On the morning of July 13, as Chosen Company was preparing to leave Afghanistan after a 15-month tour of duty, their vehicle patrol base was attacked by about 200 insurgents. The battle lasted for hours. In the end, more than 50 insurgents were killed and nine American lives were lost. Twenty seven more Americans were wounded in action.
Grimm was serving as a squad leader when the insurgents struck.
“He immediately ran forward in order to prevent the enemy from overrunning one of the outposts,” his award citation says. “He manned a Squad Automatic Weapon in order to suppress the enemy and bring relief to the beleaguered defenders, and on numerous occasions left his covered position to render first aid to wounded soldiers and help move them to safety. Despite the heavy volume of accurate enemy fire impacting all around his position and forcing him to take cover, he refused to abandon his post, detonating a mine and lobbing grenades into the enemy ranks, thwarting their advance and forcing them to retreat.”
Staff Sgt. Clifton M. Anderson Jr. and Staff Sgt. Michael J. Lawrence, also assigned to Chosen Company, each received a Bronze Star with “V” Device for their actions during a separate battle in the Chowkay Valley on June 23, 2008.
“I’ve got to give it to my soldiers, basically,” Lawrence said of his honor. “The soldiers that served with me while I was there and fought right alongside with me. They deserve it just as much as I do.”
An Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device was given to senior line medic Staff Sgt. Zachari A. Rushing for his actions following a catastrophic improvised explosive device strike in 2007 in Charbaran District, Afghanistan. Rushing was assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment.
Grimm, Anderson, Lawrence and Rushing are all currently assigned to units on Fort Benning.
On Wednesday 16 December 2009, many milblogs — including This Ain’t Hell, From My Position, Blackfive, Miss Ladybug, Boston Maggie, Grim’s Hall, and those participating in the Wednesday Hero program — are going silent for the day. Some are choosing to go silent for a longer period of time.
The reason for this is two-fold. First, milblogs are facing an increasingly hostile environment from within the military. While senior leadership has embraced blogging and social media, many field grade officers and senior NCOs do not embrace the concept. From general apathy in not wanting to deal with the issue to outright hositility to it, many commands are not only failing to support such activities, but are aggressively acting against active duty milbloggers, milspouses, and others. The number of such incidents appears to be growing, with milbloggers receiving reprimands, verbal and written, not only for their activities but those of spouses and supporters.
The catalyst has been the treatment of milblogger C.J. Grisham of A Soldier’s Perspective . C.J. has earned accolades and respect, from the White House on down for his honest, and sometimes blunt, discussion of issues — particularly PTSD. In the last few months, C.J. has seen an issue with a local school taken to his command who failed to back him, and has even seen his effort to deal with PTSD, and lead his men in same by example, used against him as a part of this. Ultimately, C.J. has had to sell his blog to help raise funds for his defense in this matter.
An excellent story on the situation with C.J. can be found at Military Times. While there have been new developments, the core problem remains, and C.J. is having to raise funds to cover legal expenses to protect both his good name and his career.
One need only look at the number of blogs by active duty military in combat zones and compare it to just a few years ago to see the chilling effect that is taking place.
Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to the public. They have provided vital context and analysis on issues critical to operations and to the informed electorate critical to the Republic.
On Wednesday 16 December, readers will have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Those participating are urging their readers to contact their elected representatives in Congress, and to let their opinions be known to them and to other leaders in Washington.
Some milblogs will remain silent for several days; some just for the day. All have agreed to keep the post about the silence and C.J. at the top of their blogs until Friday 18 December.
The issues go beyond C.J., and deserve careful consideration and discussion. We hope that you will cover this event, and explore the issues that lie at the heart of the matter. Contact the milbloggers in your area or that you know, and hear the story that lies within.
More info at Blackfive
From This Ain't Hell a partial list of milblogs participating:
This Ain’t Hell
Delta Bravo Sierra
Concrete Bob at United Conservatives for Virginia
The Canadians join us at What the F*&#!?!?
I'm not really sure what year this poem was first published but each year it holds just as much meaning. This year, for me, is much more bitter sweet than any other. May God Bless and keep our troops and their families in his comforting embrace.
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear..
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many
people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our
U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these
festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people
stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.
LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq
Those of you who, either through Bob Connolly or me, so quickly and generously stepped up to help resupply the survivors of COP Keating have probably received the following "thank you" from the 3-61 B Troop FRG. If you have not received a thank you from them but have seen one that someone else has received or are reading this that would be MY FAULT. I tried to keep a spreadsheet of who donated, what was donated and an email or mailing address. My intent was to share the information with the unit to let them know everyone who joined in our efforts. For three days in a row I received over 1,000 emails each day and I imagine a few probably slipped through the cracks. If you haven't received a "thank you" please email me so that I can rectify that and let the unit know who you are
Dear Black Knight Troop Supporters,
On behalf of the Black Knight FRG, 3-61 Cavalry, we want to thank you for your generous donation. Your support provides great strength for our soldiers in Afghanistan and the families back home.
October 3, 2009 is a day that we will never forget. The attack on Combat Outpost (COP) Keating and Observation Post (OP) Fritsche was a hard-fought battle and has changed the lives of so many of our soldiers and their families. We will always remember the lives of SGT Joshua Kirk, SGT Justin Gallegos, SGT Joshua Hardt, SPC Michael Scusa, SPC Christopher Griffin, SPC Stephan Mace, PFC Kevin Thomson, and SGT Vernon Martin. Their service to our country and their sacrifices will never be forgotten.
Each soldier in Black Knight troop is a true American hero. As the soldiers were focused on surviving during more than 12 hours of intense combat, more than 70% of their buildings caught fire. As you know, many lost everything they had. Please know that your donations and quick response helped our soldiers get back on their feet quickly. They are strong soldiers who have become closer through this very challenging time.
Your support has given all the families back home peace of mind that their soldiers are being very well taken care of. We appreciate your kindness and generosity. Thank you for your patriotism and support to Black Knight Troop, 3-61 CAV.
Black Knight FRG