"We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." James Madison

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wednesday Hero!

This Weeks Hero Was Submitted By Mark Bell

LCpl. Nicholas J. Manoukian
LCpl. Nicholas J. Manoukian
22 years old from Lathrup, Michigan
1st Marines 6th Batallion 2nd Marine Division
Oct 21, 2006

is a website that LCpl. Manoukian's mother set up for her son after he lost his life in Ramadi.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
It Is Foolish And Wrong To Mourn The Men Who Died. Rather We Should Thank God That Such Men Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

A day at the Museum

After having a nice breakfast with my family at a local restaurant, we decided to take the long way home and just enjoy the ride. Heading north on the 215, from a distance, I saw a minuteman missile on display indicating we were getting close to the March Air Museum. In the blink of an eye, we all decided today's the day to finally stop and visit some wonderful old and not so old military aircraft.

My wife asked if we should pay the extra for the tour, but I felt I could probably do an adequate job chatting about most of the resident pieces of art, so off we went. First perusing the WWI, WWII, Viet Nam and Korean War displays, we soon moved onto the recent Desert Storm Kiosk. Pictures of the F117 and B-2 were there in plain view, but as we rounded the corner a display of modern day ejection seats lay before us. I really enjoyed talking about how and why they work. Finally heading toward the door to the flight line, we passed a series of Jet Engines (my forte) and I began to explain a few of the laws of physics I learned in Millington Tennessee at NAS Memphis (I think that was the name of the base, but it was close to 30 years ago). Then just before we got to the door, a picture of "Little Man" was hung on the wall, and that gave me an opportunity to discuss a 'Nuclear world' that we live in.

Then it was time to head out to the ramp. Our first stop was an Army Cobra with gatling gun, and rocket launchers mounted. Down the ramp a little further we came to a special hanger dedicated to the P-38 Lighting. What an aircraft. I had a chance to chat with one of the retired hosts when all of a sudden I heard the familiar sound of afterburners off in the distance. I noticed that they were getting louder and then I called my family over to watch 2 F-16's kickin' it. The sound reminded me of a time gone by, and for some reason I got a little misty.

Moving on to the many parked birds proudly displayed, we saw and this is from memory:
F-15 Eagle
Mig 19, 21, & 23
three F-4's
three F-86's
F-14 tomcat
And so many more, I couldn't begin to name them. The website I linked to has a complete roster available.

But the most impressive of all is the recently retired SR-71 Blackbird. The display monument with a description talked about its service, and the fact that it flew out of Kadena AFB, Okinawa... Okinawa? That was where I was stationed for 2 1/2 years! That bird that was resting so proudly in front of me was one that I had watched on several occasions get preflighted, and then take off with such a roaring thunder, it would make your insides throb. It would get airborne and fly about 20 feet off the ground until it hit the end of the runway, at which time it would go almost vertical. It would disappear from sight in about 15 seconds on a clear day, but could be heard for three more minutes. Have a look.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Anyway, we all had a wonderful time just taking our time, walking around these huge 'flying cities', and I especially enjoyed the fact that I was able to share a little of my past military service with my family.

If you are ever in the neighborhood of southern California, Specifically Riverside, do yourself a favor and take a couple of hours to relive an era that has passed, but represents why we still have a future. I've attached a link for your enjoyment.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday Hero!

Lt. Col. Michael E. McLaughlin
Lt. Col. Michael E. McLaughlin
44 years old from Mercer, Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard
January 4, 2006

Sitting in the car with Lt. Col. Michael E. McLaughlin's 18-year-old daughter, her father's friend of 21 years had just broken the news of his death.

During years of friendship and service in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Lt. Col. McLauglin and retired Capt. Brad Mifsud had a bond so close that they promised each other if something were ever to happen to either one of them, they would be there for the other's family.

Lt. Col. McLaughlin died when a suicide bomber rushed through a crowd of Iraqi police recruits in Ramadi and detonated a bomb that also killed a Marine and nearly 80 Iraqis. The day before the attack, Lt. Col. McLaughlin said he was fully confident that Ramadi had finally turned a corner in the insurgency. As hundreds of local men streamed into the Ramadi Glass Factory on Wednesday to join the city’s long-defunct police force, a wide grin spread over a pinch of tobacco stuffed into the 44-year-old’s lower lip.

"This may not look like much, but it's history," McLaughlin told a reporter. "We're making history right here."

With a significant wound to the back of his head, Lt. Col. McLaughlin turned to his injured personal security detail officers and inquired about their well-being. Waving off medical attention, he asked them to check on the soldiers under his command.

"In an act of extreme selflessness, he stated that he was OK, but to concentrate on saving the lives of his men," said Col. Grey Berrier, a close friend of Lt. Col. McLaughlin.

Lt. Col. McLaughlin died shortly after giving that instruction, according to the Guard.

A long-time artillery officer in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, McLaughlin was assigned to Task Force 2-222 Field Artillery and was the primary liaison between the 2-28 Brigade Combat Team and local tribal and government leaders in Ramadi. His efforts were instrumental in getting local sheikhs to support the recruitment drive and encourage more than 1,000 area men to volunteer for the force, commanders said.

"Mike is a true hero in every sense of the word, and he died while doing his job the only way he knew how - out front and with great enthusiasm and courage," said Col. John L. Gronski, commander of the 2-28 BCT. "This loss only strengthens our resolve to carry on and complete the mission in order to honor his memory."

A gregarious wisecracker, McLaughlin said his hope was to one day return to a peaceful Iraq, where he planned to walk the streets of Ramadi in a traditional Arab "man dress," or dishdasha, and sip coffee and chai with those sheikhs he had met during the war. McLaughlin said that one particular tribal leader he had developed a close relationship with dubbed him "The Sheikh of Sheikhs" - a nickname that was soon picked up by fellow officers in the brigade.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
It Is Foolish And Wrong To Mourn The Men Who Died. Rather We Should Thank God That Such Men Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Would you survive in the wild?

Would you survive in the wild?
Your Result: Yesiree!....

You could live in the wild if you wanted to! You know what to eat, do, and stay away from! You could get shelter, food, water fast and easy-and the right treatments to injuries, snake bites etc...You know the outdoors like the back of your hand!!

Wouldn't last 2 minutes!.....
Not to sure...
Most likely you'll survive....
Would you survive in the wild?
Quizzes for MySpace

H/T AmericanAndProud

Sunday, January 21, 2007

U.S. Navy Command Master Chief Petty Officer Christopher Shannon

Scrolling through the blog roll for Wednesday Hero, I found another excellent Mil Blog called echo9er. He recently posted this article, and me being in the 'Seaward way', got all tickled. So after requesting and receiving permission to repost, here it is. GO NAVY!

Submariner Helps Protect Soldiers in Iraq

From Commander, Submarine Force,
U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii, Jan. 26, 2006, — Thanks to some help from a Hawaii-based submariner, soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division will be a little safer in Iraq.

Christopher Shannon, command master chief for Submarine Squadron 7, presented about 100 shipboard flash hoods that he collected to Chief Petty Officer Eric Tyler of Naval Security Group Activity Kunia Jan. 20 for use by the soldiers in Iraq.

Shannon is spearheading an effort to send extra Navy flash hoods to soldiers in Iraq. The hoods, which are designed to protect the neck and face from burns while fighting fires aboard Navy ships, have been shown to protect against burns during attacks by improvised explosive devices. Some Army units in Iraq are seeking the hoods to protect their soldiers.

Shannon heard about the need for Navy flash hoods from Tyler, whose brother is stationed in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, 3rd Brigade.

Shannon pulsed the waterfront requesting extra sets. There were about 100 sets gathered from the USS Cheyenne, USS Louisville, USS Pasadena and USS Tucson. Since the hoods were extras, their absence will not take away from the ships’ ability to protect their crews.

Shannon’s ultimate goal is that everyone involved in the convoy be protected with such gear.

“The process was easy, and we are going to stay in touch with these people (101st Airborne Division) and hopefully at a later date provide what we can,” said Shannon.

The flash hoods should arrive in Iraq within days.

Capt. Barry Bruner, commodore of Submarine Squadron 7, lauded Shannon for his efforts in helping to protect soldiers in Iraq.

“(Master Chief) Shannon is the kind of guy who would do anything for those that are on the pointy end of the spear,” he said.

Reference article and Photo. Since February 2002, Defense Link has been posting a series of comments/editorials/articles titled “Profiles.”

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wednesday Hero!

This Weeks Heroes Were Suggested By CavMom

This week I have three people to talk about. Roy Velez and his two sons, Jose and Andrew. One who was lost in Iraq and another who lost his life in Afghanistan.

It happens almost daily. A stranger reaches out to comfort Roy Velez, unintended symbol of unspeakable loss and grief.

Today it's a woman who approaches as he's halfway through breakfast at Montelongo's Mexican restaurant.

"My brother told me about you and your sons," she says, extending her hand.

He takes her small hand between his - this sturdy man who has buried two boys who went off to war - and listens gently as her own story of sorrow spills forth. Her 8-year-old daughter, a traffic accident, her son at the wheel.

As waiters bustle about with trays of huevos rancheros and barbacoa plates, Mr. Velez does what he does best: offers up a soft prayer to help this mother endure her emptiness.

Strangers learn about Mr. Velez from newspapers and TV. They come to him to share their gratitude or their grief. They come to thank him and console him, tearfully, for his family's sacrifice.

This is how Mr. Velez chooses to live after losing two sons in two years, not riven with anger or paralyzed with sadness. But as someone ready for those who might slip into the darkness of despair.

For his strength for others, compassion and grace - and for serving as inspiration for anyone who knows his story - Mr. Velez is the 2006 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year.

Because this story is so long, I've linked to the article which you can read in it's entirety.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

A tribute to the Fairer persuasion

My Pal Anna posted this today, and it really touched this old salt.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Unprecedented Move for Focus Action on Speech-Limiting Bill

Group Launches First-Ever Petition Drive to Urge Senate to Reject
Oppressive Provision of S. 1

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Focus on
the Family Action -- nationally recognized as a formidable force in
motivating social conservatives to speak their minds to their elected
officials -- has launched its first-ever petition drive in opposition to a
provision in a Senate ethics bill that would drastically limit free-speech

The petition -- which can be found online at -- can
be "signed" electronically; copies will be sent to all 100 senators. The
message that will be delivered demands senators reject a provision of S. 1
-- Section 220 -- that would severely limit the ability of Americans to
stay abreast of important issues being discussed and voted on in

The provision also would subject groups like Focus Action to miles of
red tape that could critically hamper their ability to rally constituents
to policy advocacy -- perhaps making it impossible to offer future
petitions drives and even impacting Focus Action Chairman Dr. James
Dobson's ability to discuss public-policy issues on his daily radio
program. Fines of $100,000 could be assessed for running afoul of the
oppressive regulations.

Peter Brandt, senior director of issues response for Focus Action, said
the petition gives concerned Americans another effective way to make their
voices heard on Capitol Hill.
"We've long urged our constituents to call, e-mail and fax their
lawmakers," Brandt said. "But they've told us they also want the
flexibility that comes with being able to sign a petition -- and forward it
to their friends and family. Other pro-family groups have been doing this
for years, but we have waited until now so we could offer a unique
experience that not only lets constituents speak their mind once -- but
also keeps them up-to-date on issues they care about throughout the year."
Tens of thousands of phone calls, faxes and e-mails were received in
Senate offices Wednesday, after Americans were alerted to the problems with
S. 1 by Dobson on his radio broadcast. Brandt said the new petition option
could easily double the number of everyday Americans who can stand up and
be counted.

"We have always been about informing and empowering families to make an
impact on the government policies that affect them," he said. "Adding
petitions to our communications efforts will only increase the power of the
people to have a say in the way they are governed."

James C. Dobson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, radio broadcaster and
founder of Focus on the Family Action. Founded in 2004, Focus on the Family
Action is an action organization dedicated to the preservation of the moral
and cultural values upon which our nation was founded.


Where is the ACLU now that free speech is being challenged by the Senate? Where are all the 'Free Thinkers' and free speech advocates? I guarantee we won't hear a peep out of them, because this ‘free speech’ doesn't represent their ‘free speech’.

Further, denying information to ‘the people’ is nothing more than an effort to shelter the senate and congress from their responsibility to their contingency.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wednesday Hero!

This Weeks Hero Was Submitted by Beth

Spc. Jordan William Hess
Spc. Jordan William Hess
27 years old from Marysville, Washington
Company C, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment
December 5, 2006

"Specialist Hess died of wounds received on a battlefield upon which no markers or memorials exist, yet his name will be etched upon the small part of each of our hearts that has hardened to stone by the realization of his passing. I will take Specialist Jordan Hess’ name to my own grave, in the hope that I can somehow preserve the honorable life that he led,” said Capt. Ian Lauer, commander of Company C.

Spc. Hess was a study in contrasts who loved a challenge. He had a warrior's spirit and was thrilled at the chance to serve his county, his parents said from their home in Marysville. He also was content to look for his muse in various forms of art, including glass-blowing, photography and poetry. It was this balance that people will remember most about the 26-year-old who was critically injured Nov. 11 in Ta'Meem, Iraq, when an IED detonated near his combat patrol.

A three-year veteran in the U.S. Army, Hess spent more than a year in Korea as well as time in Germany, always looking for an overseas assignment, Bill and Tammy Hess said. They knew their son was on his way to Kuwait the last time they spoke with him in October, and they suspected he had been deployed to Iraq as part of a tank unit when they didn’t hear from him for several weeks. After his injury, Hess was flown back to the United States and treated for several weeks at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. His parents, as well as his six brothers and one sister, were flown there to be with him.

"None of us wanted to see him hurt like that," Bill Hess said. "But one of the greatest blessings in my life was that we were able to say goodbye."

Hess was an avid wrestler from the time he was young, and news of his death circulated at Lake Stevens High School, where he attended until 1999. "He was a strong-willed, independent young man with a unique sense of humor," the Lake Stevens wrestling coaches said in a statement. "The Lake Stevens wrestling community today feels a strong sense of loss."

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

General Wants Gay Ban Lifted
In an op-ed published in Tuesday's New York Times, John M. Shalikashvili, retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says Congress should give "serious reconsideration" to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual military personnel. Shalikashvili, who supported the ban on open service in 1993, writes that "I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces," and goes on to say that "Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job."

"'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is out of step with both the American public and those within our armed forces," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "The counsel of military leaders increasingly supports repeal of the law. Congress must, as General Shalikashvili urges, consider the overwhelming evidence of the past fourteen years. If they do, the clear answer is that we must lift the ban."

Shalikashvili, who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 1993 to 1997, joins other senior retired military officers who have called for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In May 2006, Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (Ret.), the first female three-star officer in Army history, called the law "a hollow policy that serves no useful purpose." Lieutenant General Daniel W. Christman, former superintendent of West Point, recently told The New York Times that "It is clear that national attitudes toward this issue have evolved considerably in the last decade. This has been led by a new generation of service members who take a more relaxed and tolerant view toward homosexuality." Retired Admiral John Hutson, who currently serves as Dean of Franklin Pierce Law School, also recently wrote that "It would be a great tragedy if we didn't take advantage of (the) chance to correct a flawed policy."

In 2003, two retired generals and an admiral 'came out' in the New York Times, and in November 2006 fourteen senior retired military officers urged the First Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the ban. They wrote that the law "undermines the military's ability to fulfill its primary mission of providing national security by discouraging the enlistment of gay persons qualified to serve their country and by expelling from the military those who have served with honor."

OK, I admit, I have a problem with this. I view homosexuality as deviant behavior. I don't for one second believe that people are born homosexuals simply because it is a behavior, NOT a characteristic. I argued with a liberal individual on another blog several months ago about this issue, and his position was that people cannot choose to be gay or straight anymore that they can choose to be black or Hispanic.

Another commenter stated succinctly, that though he knew several people who formerly lived a homosexual lifestyle, he knew of no former blacks, or Hispanics.

With that being said, enlisting or commissioning men and women who are clearly unstable in their perception of normal sexual behavior would definitely be a detriment to the esprit de corps of all services. Here's why:

Civilians who have not served in the military typically do not understand the 'close quarters' environment that exists in the military. The very long work hours coupled with little or no time off, will, in my opinion create an 'in your face' hostile environment that will not be good for anyone.

Granted, there is a shortage of troops; however, lowering the standards on any level will certainly diminish the performance of our military.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Israel plans to hit Iran enrichment plant with tactical nukes?

This piqued my interest last night when I first read about it. Some bloggers have already published this as 'Isreal Plans to strike Iran'. Other bloggers have been a little more apprehensive in calling it facts.

I find it compelling that this even hit the wire. What I also find it interesting is that the MSM neglected publish any reactions to TheSundayTimes artical from the Iranian gov. So I decided to visit another source I feel is a little more credible, and have included their entire article in this post. I have also bolded the comments from the Iranians, and included a link to an additional article from the Jerusalem Post.

By Haaretz Service and Agencies

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem denied Sunday a report in the British media that Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities with conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.

Citing what it said were several Israel Defense Forces sources, the British newspaper The Sunday Times said two Israel Air Force squadrons had been training to blow up an enrichment plant in Natanz using low-yield nuclear "bunker busters."

Two other sites, a heavy water plant at Arak and a uranium conversion plant at Isfahan, would be targeted with conventional bombs, the Sunday Times said.

But Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said that Israel wanted the issue of Iran's nuclear program resolved through diplomacy.

"The focus of the Israeli activity today is to give full support to diplomatic actions and the expeditious and full implementation of Security Council resolution 1737. If diplomacy succeeds, the problem can be solved peaceably."

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office declined earlier to respond to the report.

"We don't comment on stories like this in the Sunday Times," said Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisin.

Minister of Strategic Threats Avigdor Lieberman also declined to comment.

In Tehran, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a news conference that the newspaper report "will make clear to the world public opinion that the Zionist regime is the main menace to global peace and the region."

He said "any measure against Iran will not be left without a response and the invader will regret its act immediately."

Jerusalem Post Article:
Teheran: Israel will regret any attack

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously last month to slap sanctions on Iran to try to stop uranium enrichment that Western powers fear could lead to making bombs. Tehran insists its plans are peaceful and says it will continue enrichment.

Israel has refused to rule out pre-emptive military action against Iran along the lines of its 1981 air strike against an atomic reactor in Iraq, though many analysts believe Iran's nuclear facilities are too much for Israel to take on alone.

The newspaper said the Israeli plan envisaged conventional laser-guided bombs opening "tunnels" into the targets. Nuclear warheads would then be used fired into the plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce radioactive fallout.

IAF pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000 mile round-trip to the Iranian targets, the Sunday Times said, and three possible routes to Iran have been mapped out including one over Turkey.

However, it also quoted sources as saying a nuclear strike would only be used if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene. Disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, the paper added.

Washington has said military force remains an option while insisting that its priority is to reach a diplomatic solution.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Israel, widely believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, has said it will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Israel has long maintained a policy of nuclear ambiguity. Recent perceived slips by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have reinforced suspicions that Israel does have nuclear arms, but Jerusalem has stuck to its line that it will not be the first to introduce atomic weapons to the region.

The Sunday Times newspaper was the first to report on Israel's nuclear capabilities in 1986, based on leaked information by Mordechai Vanunu, a former employee at the Dimona research plant.

Following the expose, Vanunu was snatched by Israeli agents in Italy and returned to Israel, where served an 18-year prison sentence. He was released in April 2004.

Whether this is an Israeli attempt to rattle the cage of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or just another tabloid article by TheSundayTimes, the fact remains that Israel has repeatedly shown a propensity to be proactive in the defense of itself. If Iran does not 'stand down' from their refining efforts, they'd better be prepared for a long day ahead. And remember, Israel does have the 'Big Boom'.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wednesday Hero!

This weeks hero was submitted by Jimbailoni

Sgt. Brent Dunkleberger
Sgt. Brent Dunkleberger
29 years old from New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania
1st Calvary Division, 4th Brigade Combat Team
December 11, 2006

Sgt. Dunkleberger was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was killed by an RPG when his convoy was attacked while on a security mission.

"We can't put into words right now the grief we feel, but we can put into words how proud we are of Brent. He chose to serve our country and give his life for what he believed in," said William Dunkleberger, Brent's father. "we thank the community for the outpouring of support and ask everyone to continue to pray for us. We also ask the media to respect our privacy during this very difficult time."

Sgt. Dunkleberger graduated high school in 1996 and enlisted in the United States Army in 2003 and became a tank driver for the 1st Calvary Division, 4th Brigade Combat Team.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.