Tag Archives: support our troops

One American soldier killed, 2 injured in Afghanistan

American flag Marine 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

U.S. military command in Kabul: 1 U.S. troop killed, 2 soldiers wounded in fighting in southern Afghanistan.

An American soldier was killed during Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The fighting Tuesday against the Taliban was near the city of Marja in Helmand province, where the Taliban has made recent gains.

Details on the battle and the number wounded or killed is sketchy and the situation is fluid.

One U.S. official says a U.S. helicopter was sent to the scene to evacuate casualties but did not immediately take off because a mortar landed nearby. It was not clear whether the mortar has damaged the helicopter.

Prayers go out to the families with gratitude for their sacrifices. Freedom is not free.

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Bush Institute accepting applications for 2016 Warrior Open golf tournament

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The George W. Bush Institute has announced it is now accepting applications for the 2016 Warrior Open.

For the past five years former President George W. Bush has hosted the golf tournament that pairs America’s military veterans with professional golfers. Why golf? It has “become a way to help them recover from the physical and mental traumas they experienced on the battlefield,” according to the Bush Institute.

Here are details about applying to participate in the tournament:

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A military mom reflects on the anniversary of 9/11

Vonda LaceyBy Vonda Lacey
Originally published September 11, 2014

Blue, clouded skies today. September 11, 2001, was clear, blue skies and the eerie thing was the lack of airplane contrails. This day changed my world, as it did your’s! But little did I know or realize the impact of that change.

My children were in school or day care, and I just wanted to get them, and hug and hold them. Today, my oldest is in Kuwait on his 2nd deployment. And with new orders, just established last night, of fighting this war so close to his location, I am reminded once again of the impact of that day!

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Losing military members … America’s skewed priorities

Chattanooga military killed 2015

Five U.S. military men killed in Chattanooga, TN.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The following was posted to Facebook on August 1 by Kris Grogan, going viral in four days and shared 26,000 times. I saw it posted by military veteran friends.

For Kris Grogan, his last day in a military uniform was August 2, 2015. He is now retired from the Air Force for reasons he explains in this post, including this: “99 perent of America knows Cecil the Lion and Caitlyn Jenner. Only 1 percent will know the other 5 names (4 Marines and 1 Sailor) who gave their lives in Chattanooga, TN, at the hands of a terrorist.”

We thank Kris Grogan for his 14 years of service to our country. Can America afford to lose those willing to dedicate their lives to protect our freedoms?

By Kris Grogan

Tomorrow morning will be the final day I lace up my boots and put on my Air Force uniform. I have now served my country in uniform for 14 years but it is time to go.

As I was out-processing today my wife (who will be leaving service next month) and I were asked numerous times, “Why don’t you just stay in one more enlistment for your retirement?”

It was somewhat difficult to answer with just one reason as to why I have decided to take off the uniform. Was it the pay and benefits? No, not really (even though I make less than $15 a hour which many people think the minimum wage should be!). Was it all the deployments? Ummmmm, sort of (I have been deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Bosnia just to name a few in addition to about 25 other countries) but I love my country and would always give my life defending this great nation for my family and friends.

So I just wanted to share a couple thoughts with all of you while I sit here thinking about my final day in uniform which will come at 0630 tomorrow morning. I currently am an AMMO troop. Our mission is to build bombs and process numerous other munitions to take the fight to the enemy. We pretty much put “Warheads on Foreheads!”

But what I signed up for many years ago has changed dramatically. Even though our mission is to kill, we are more worried about upsetting someones feelings versus getting the mission done. We spend more time doing ancillary training then actually training. Even though I have a military drivers license, I have to be signed off in another database to drive a vehicle and then have a competency card saying I know how to drive on top of that. That is just a few examples of why I have decided to call it quits.

And then we get to the bigger issue, America. Can anyone tell me what the following names mean? Thomas Sullivan, Skip Wells, Carson Holmquist, David Wyatt, or Randall Smith? Or is this easier for you — Cecil the lion or Caitlyn Jenner? Yes, we give more attention and respect to stars and animals then we do to those who continue to give their lives for this country.
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What inspires a man to play ‘Taps’ every day….

By Lynn R. Mitchell

What a special talent this gentleman is able to share with his neighbors. What a special tribute to our military….

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Memories before the dreaded but necessary Vietnam commemoration

Vietnam WallBy Daniel P. Cortez

In compliance with federal mandates, ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will be held throughout Virginia this year and next.

Like millions who have waited decades for America to right the wrongs of a conflicted society that dishonored military men and women, I simply followed the military directives of the commander-in-chief. I should feel proud, but such pride carries a painfully cognitive price.

A scared but proficiently trained Marine lance corporal, I arrived in Da Nang, Vietnam, one day after my 19th birthday in 1970. Landing in a combat zone was accentuated as Marines, armed for battle, were directed to deplane first.

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Talking over iced tea with living history … former POW Paul Galanti

Paul Galanti 3By Lynn R. Mitchell
[Reprinted from SWAC Girl on August 20, 2006.]

Quick! Someone pinch me! I thought I had a conversation over iced tea with living history … former Vietnam POW and American hero Paul Galanti….

Not only did we have a discussion but he paid for my iced tea. He … a Navy fighter pilot who spent almost seven years in a stinking hole in Vietnam as a prisoner of war … bought me iced tea.

It was I who should have bought him … the world.

Flash back to 1967, front cover of Life magazine. Seated on a stark wooden bench, alone, in those Asian pajama outfits they wore, was a dark-haired young man staring directly at the camera.

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Terrorism again strikes America, 4 Marines dead

American flag Marine 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

Four American Marines woke up Thursday morning, got dressed, ate breakfast, and left home to drive to work, never to return. They had families. They were part of the community. They were part of our military.

Thursday’s terrorism attack on two U.S. Armed Forces recruiting centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by a lone 24-year-old gunman named Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez again points out the danger to America and the reason we need to be ever vigilant (see 4 Marines killed in attacks on Chattanooga military facilities). Four U.S. Marines, dead. Four families, shattered.

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The basics of freedom

Wayne OzmoreBy Wayne Ozmore
Guest Post

One of the points of military boot camp, in the late 80s, was to inflict mass amounts of mental and physical stress on recruits to break their individualism in order rebuild a team mentality to benefit the United States. Everyone was “broken” by our Drill Instructor without apology. Everyone had to be broken down and rebuilt without exception.

The Drill Instructor’s job (at the time) was to make the weak of mind and body quit in boot camp; otherwise, they would fail the United States in combat. Just after the most grueling week of boot camp (week four or so), our Drill Instructors mustered us inside the barracks one morning. They roughed us up for thirty minutes or so by making us hold wooden rifles out and away from our bodies with an outstretched arm (in five- and ten-minute intervals). It hurt and the pain was real.

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The story behind the POW/MIA flag

American flag 5

My Vietnam era Air Force veteran husband always includes the POW/MIA flag in tribute – Memorial Day 2015.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

June 14, 2015 … Flag Day, a tribute to our red, white, and blue American flags. But what about those stark black-and-white POW/MIA flags that are often seen flying in conjunction with the American flag? How did they come to be?

Wreaths Across America shared the history of the POW/MIA flag from History.com:

You see it everywhere—the stark, black-and-white POW/MIA flag—flying in front of VA hospitals, post offices and other federal, state and local government buildings, businesses and homes. It flaps on motorcycles, cars and pickup trucks. The flag has become an icon of American culture, a representation of the nation’s concern for military service personnel missing and unaccounted for in overseas wars.

From the Revolution to the Korean War, thousands of U.S. soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors have been taken prisoner or gone missing. But it took the Vietnam War—and a sense of abandonment felt by wives and family members of Americans held captive—to bring forth what has evolved into the nation’s POW/MIA symbol.
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Rolling Thunder rolled through Staunton

Rolling Thunder

Patriot Riders from D.C.’s Rolling Thunder.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

No, not the entire Rolling Thunder consisting of hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists. However, three Guardian Angels who had participated in Rolling Thunder in D.C. over the Memorial Day weekend stopped at Jake’s Convenience Store on Rt. 250 west of Staunton Monday, pulling in and parking beside us. They had stopped for Subway sandwiches, eating at the outside tables in the pleasant Shenandoah Valley breeze before resuming their journey.

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Memorial Day … a salute to those who did not come home

??????????By Lynn R. Mitchell
[Editor’s note: This is an encore post from Memorial Day 2014. Sadly, one gentleman in the story — our Vietnam War tunnel rat neighbor — passed away two weeks after this was written. He is not forgotten (see Husband, neighbor, friend, Vietnam vet … saying goodbye and Passings: Honoring a Vietnam veteran).]

It’s Memorial Day 2014. Our Korean War veteran neighbor stopped by the house this morning looking for my Vietnam-era vet husband who was across the street visiting with our Vietnam veteran neighbor. Now the three of them are sitting out there talking … one can imagine the conversation between these friends, neighbors, and military survivors.

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Compassionate words and deeds define new conservative leadership

Daniel Cortez 2By Daniel P. Cortez

The indefatigable Susan Allen, former First Lady of Virginia, co-hosted an open-to-the-public function this past weekend in Northern Virginia to benefit “Our Military Kids.”  It was a huge success to raise money benefiting our wounded soldiers and, specifically, the children of veterans whose parents face the financial difficulty of being deployed.

I was proud to be a co-sponsor, being a Vietnam veteran and having a military kid myself.  Recently-elected Congresswoman Barbara Comstock was also present to provide her support.

Another gallant cause by the extended Allen family.  And it was a family event as by her side was husband George, the enormously popular former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator.  And it didn’t hurt to have support of his brother Bruce, president of our beloved Washington Redskins.

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Wreaths Across America … remembering America’s fallen heroes at Christmas

Staunton National Cemetery

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Wreaths Across America tractor-trailer trucks left Maine last weekend for the week-long journey to Arlington and other national cemeteries throughout America, each loaded with evergreen wreaths. If you drive by a military cemetery today and see tombstones decorated with fresh, handmade balsam Christmas wreaths accented with bright red bows, you will have witnessed the generosity of Wreaths Across America.

The tradition was started in 1992 with 4,000 wreaths donated by Merrill Worcester, a tradition that continues on the second Saturday each December. This year, thousands of volunteers across the nation and around the world will lay 219,000 wreaths on military graves as a remembrance of those who sacrificed for our freedom.

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George W. Bush on Veterans Day: ‘We pause to thank those who serve’

By Lynn R. Mitchell

November 11, 2014

“On Veterans Day, we pause to thank those who serve in the United States military. We also thank their families and the hundreds of thousands of people who support our servicemen and women at home and overseas.” –President George W. Bush

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