November 10, 2010

From the Front: 11/10/2010

Personal dispatches from the front and the home front. (New complete posts come in below)

Wife of a Wounded Marine: You are my motivation and my drive - You give me hope and love even though you're gone. I've had some time to reflect and really think about everything and sometimes I cannot wrap my mind around all that we went through and where we are now. In the end I'm just thankful to have loved and been loved by you. Nobody is perfect. We were not perfect, but damn it, I loved you with everything in me. I know... you did too. I still do. I always will. Moving on with my life has been interesting (for lack of anything more intelligent to call it), but you will always be right there. I cannot fathom letting the thought of you go for even one day. (READ MORE)

Wife of a Wounded Marine: We Are Not Entitled - I'm feeling ranty. First of all, I want to thank all of the organizations who have helped me and my husband in some way over the years. When my husband was first injured over a year went by where I felt very alone. It's hard to make friends in this situation and the friends you have are far away and cannot relate. You are stuck in a hospital with your injured spouse. Half of your time is spent sitting in a chair next to them while they sleep, the other half is spent sleeping in waiting rooms while they are in surgery. I spent a lot of time alone in a hotel room and a lot of time wrapping wounds. I was scared, I was exhausted, and I felt very alone. If it were not for organizations like Semper Fi Fund, Wounded Warrior Project, Operation Homefront, Yellow Ribbon Fund, and all the others that I'm sure I'm missing, we would have tanked on many occasions. Because of these we were able to breath. (READ MORE)

A Little Pink in a World of Camo: Happy Birthday, USMC - Taking a break from the regularly scheduled San Diego update (I know, you're all itching to hear and see pics) for a little Marine Corps bus-nazz. So here we are at 235 years. First and foremost, thank you to all of our Marines out there. (All our service members, of course, but hey, it's the USMC Birthday!) You guys are doing a wonderful thing for our nation and I am so proud of you and what you do. Thank you to my babe for his service and sacrifice. You make me proud to say I am your wife. I am honored that you chose me to share your life with and to be the mother of our beautiful daughter. I don't think I can ever say how thankful I am to have you and how proud I really am of you. Thank you to all those who have gone before and after him, you are true heroes. I would like to share a few things with you in celebration of this. First, I received an email about a new channel on Hulu. (READ MORE)

Bouhammer: So now the date slips for Afghanistan - Well the news is out now, that the date for the possible start of the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan won’t be until 2014, a mere 3 years after the President said wanted the withdraw to start. This should not be a shock as many of us connected to the military and with in-depth knowledge of Afghanistan knew that the 2011 date was complete BS and was only said by the President to appease his ultra-left. Now after a terrible loss suffered by the President and his party, I find it ironically coincidental that the Pentagon is about to push back the withdrawal date to what Afghan President Karzai asked for which is 2014. When I say coincidental, I mean I believe the administration is moving forward on this push back because they know they will have a hard time trying to withdraw in 2011 with a GOP controlled House and a almost evenly split Senate. Why can’t politicians tell the truth. Don’t they realize that the American people would rather be told the truth rather that what politicians think they want to hear? (READ MORE)

Army Live: What, I’m Not a Veteran? - I was told I’m not a veteran. What does it mean to be a Veteran? I thought I knew, but after this weekend, I’m not so sure. Before 9/11, I never considered myself to be a veteran, although I had been in the Army for over five years and was serving in Korea. At that time, I viewed a veteran as someone who had seen combat or had deployed to a combat zone or on a mission somewhere. With Veterans Day coming up this week, I saw an ad that a nice restaurant was offering a special meal to veterans. So, I made the reservation a week in advance and had been looking forward to it all week. My friend and I got dressed up and went to the restaurant to be greeted by the host -an older gentleman wearing a hat that said “Korean War Veteran.” Immediately, I shook his hand and thanked him for his service. Then he asked if we were here for the veterans dinner and if either of us were veterans. We both said, yes, and that we are still currently serving. (READ MORE)

Army of Dude: Bring It In! - Nearly half a decade ago in a stuffy barracks room corner, I created this blog for a very simple reason: to communicate to my family the curious aspects of Army life. Before I committed, I enjoyed writing but never had an impulse to do so. Writing for sheer pleasure was a difficult concept to grasp; the act was often sullenly attached to school assignments I habitually ignored in favor of reading dry military history texts. But after I got started, writing became my only creative outlet, a way to relay thoughts and experiences that I would never dare speak out loud. Emails, letters and occasionally blog postings were sent from the grounds of Fort Lewis and enormous bases carved out of Iraqi soil. My only audience was an assembly of blood – family members and close friends were the only ones following my travels. In an all male infantry unit, writing was the furthest thing from grunt machismo. This blog was a closely guarded secret. (READ MORE)

better when we're together: Time for a little honesty - I’m following lmc’s lead. Sunday, I had one of those, “I’m really missing my husband more than usual” days. One of those days where this year just seems so daunting and I question our decision. I posted a status on FB saying that it was one of those harder days, and immediately lmc sent me a message to check on me. Have I ever met lmc in person? Not once. And you know what? That’s what I have found in the blogging community I have become a part of. I started blogging about a month after Scott deployed to Iraq back in 2008. Scott had been stationed at Ft. Hood, and I had just finished my undergrad back home in SC. So, we had never lived together. When he deployed a month after my graduation, there was no question that I would spend that year living in SC. I wasn’t going to make things even harder on myself and move out to a state I had never lived in when I needed relationships the most. But, in doing so, I didn’t get the perks of living near other military wives. (READ MORE)

Patrick S. Poole: Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki trained Pentagon’s Muslim chaplains - Back in September I reported on a video showing that Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, spiritual mentor to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, had led Friday prayers in the U.S. Capitol for congressional Muslim staff members. The video was part of the PBS documentary, “Mohammad, Legacy of a Prophet”. And just a few weeks ago Catherine Herridge at Fox News reported that Awlaki had been hosted at a luncheon at the Pentagon by the U.S Army’s Office of Government Counsel. Now I can report exclusively here at Big Peace that Anwar Al-Awlaki, who is currently subject to a kill-or-capture order signed by President Obama, was involved in the training of the Defense Department’s Muslim chaplains and lay leaders as an instructor at the Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America (IIASA) in the Washington D.C. area. Controlled by the Saudi Embassy and operating under the kingdom’s Ministry of Higher Education, IIASA served as the branch campus of the al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh. (READ MORE)

Free Range International: Afghanistan Summary - On this week numbers of countrywide incidents decreased slightly in every category in comparison to previous reporting period, but in spite of the decrease on this week, the overall trend after the elections is still showing upwards, which is not a promising sign for this winter and expected lull in fighting what usually has started this time of the year. Even if the trend would turn in near future, still the difference between this and last year is drastic and actually been increasing from earlier months of this year (from last year TB / AGE incidents were approx 40% up during the first three months of this year, during the summer incidents were approx 80% higher than on last year and since the election TB / AGE (Taliban / Anti-Government Elements) incidents have been up approx 120%). If the same trend will continue throughout the winter we will have total of approx 17500 – 18000 TB / AGE initiated incidents on this year, which would be approx 80% higher than last year. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Sad on Many Levels - Iraq is still recovering from last week's horrific attack on a church in Baghdad even as it braces itself for more such terror. An American general says al-Qaeda is still a threat, and the terrorists have made it clear they will target Christians specifically. The Iraqi people carefully try to go on with life, not knowing what will come next. The useless politicians have done nothing. Nearby countries continue to meddle in Iraq's affairs. What else can we expect. Iraqis everywhere are doing something the politicians are incapable of doing. All week people everywhere have been planning to stand together, light candles, attend church in a show of support and solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters. Meanwhile a church leader is telling Christians to leave. Who can blame him? The typically ignorant reporter describes Iraq's Christians as "ethnic Assyrians." If you say so. (READ MORE)

Letters to You: Thursday - I don't know what it is with that freaking day of the week. Ever since Thursday, September 2nd, it's my bad day of the week. Really I can get through pretty well until Thursday. I don't know if I'm at the point now where I project it to be a bad day or what. It's been 9 weeks and I don't know about you, but it feels like forever. As each week passes by it weighs heavier on my mind. Without our plan I feel like I'm lacking a purpose in life. I know this isn't going to get better over night. I'm just really impatient and I want the hurt and the pain to just go away already. Dealing with this on a daily basis is emotionally and physically draining. Lately I just find myself completely exhausted. It really makes me wonder how I'm going to keep doing this. People say "it gets better with time." I can't even count the amount of times I hear that in a day. I know it does, but it's going to be such a long time. Honestly at this point I could very well still be in the shock/denial phase. (READ MORE)

The Kitchen Dispatch: The Leap From Teenager To Soldier - The morning started off as all of them do: with my dog barking ferociously at a squirrel nattering outside the window. It was a signal to start the day, make breakfast and sack lunches and get our daughter off to school. This sliver of 45 minutes is a well-rehearsed dance. In the car, we had our usual conversation that hinged on her scanning the parking lot for her friends. We passed several tall, lanky boys who looked to be seniors — 18-year-olds strolling to class, moving neither too slow or too fast, their tousled hair bouncing as they walked along. They moved with less rush or assurance than the girls. When I dropped her off, I said goodbye, then watched one of the boys lope past with a graceful, quiet stroll onto campus. The radio was on, and NPR announced it would be playing a tribute to a fallen soldier. I turned left, passing the community college to make my way back home. The program came on, telling the audience about Spc. Gerald R. Jenkins, of the 101st at Fort Campbell. (READ MORE)

Katherine Tiedemann: Daily brief: White House Afghanistan review underway - The Obama administration has reportedly begun its Afghanistan review, which will judge "how this current approach is working," and a declassified version of the findings will be made public in late December or early January. The review will focus on presenting information, not examining alternatives or recommending fixes. Military officials continue to be optimistic about the coalition's momentum and progress. Afghan investigators are reportedly upset that the Afghan attorney general's office has dropped corruption charges against an aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Mohammad Zia Salehi, who was released from detention after personal intervention by Karzai in July. Officials say Karzai's "swift and angry response" to Salehi's arrest has had a chilling effect on other corruption investigations. The Afghan government has ordered the closure of around 150 aid groups for failing to submit proper paperwork documenting their projects and finances, as required by Afghan law. (READ MORE)

When three becomes two: Keeping the pieces together - "You're so strong, I don't know how you do it. I can't even begin to imagine." I thought the same thing about the wives I know that lost their husbands in war, and now I'm facing it head on. Before Cody deployed he said "Be strong Ashleigh, I know you can do this." I in turn just cried (big surprise there) and told him how tired I was of being strong, and I wanted it to be someone else's turn. But what other choice do I have, but to pick myself up and carry on? I'm Colten's mother, being there for him is my job. I have no other options. I get through each day by remembering all the conversations that Cody and I had about the what ifs. To some me talking to Cody about him not coming home over and over, and crying every night we lied in bed together because I was so scared may seem morbid or depressing. For me it was what I needed. Trying to "prepare" myself strings from my moms passing. I wasn't ready for her to leave me, so in my mind discussing it with Cody would make the blow of him not coming home a little easier. (READ MORE)

No comments: