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If we send our men and women off to war, we should not avert our faces from what we ask of them.

Bookman: For their sakes and ours, don't avert your eyes from Iraq
By Jay Bookman
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Article Last Updated: 05/25/2008 11:17:44 PM MDT

ATLANTA - The experience of returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan is often disorienting for our Marines and soldiers. Some feel as though the experience of combat has changed them forever; others believe that it hadn't changed them at all, only to be told otherwise by the loved ones who know them best.
    But one reaction is common: Most returning veterans are startled that the wars that absorbed every minute of their lives and every bit of their attention have been all but forgotten by their fellow Americans. Life here at home goes on as if nothing has changed, with news of the war relegated to the back pages of the newspaper and a few fleeting minutes on the evening news shows.
    It's as if the American people have become bored by the wars that others fight on their behalf, and in their name. But for those Americans who do still care and want a sense of the sacrifices, difficulties, patriotism and professionalism of our men and women in uniform, the Internet offers a valuable, real-time window into war, as told from many different perspectives.
   

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Memorial Day

Funeral Memorial Day definition for those that may have confused it with other focuses of efforts.

Memorial Day is a United States Federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (in 2008 on May 26). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to their country. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include casualties of any war or military action .

This Memorial Day as 3 others that I have spent on a deployment I ponder of the warriors who came before us, the ones we try to emulate. It’s an unwritten rule, that we try to fulfill the expectations of those that have gone before us and have changed the world. WW I, WW II, all the wars and battles before and after, one constant theme has been in every one, American men and women have volunteered to stand for the country and keep the wolf at bay. Some returning home, many paying the ultimate sacrifice.

I personally take Memorial Day like this, take the patriotism from the 4th of July, the intensity that comes from the bottom of your gut when you see a scumbag burning an American flag and the feeling of an open can of whoop-ass like you felt following Sept 11th  all wrapped up with the upmost respect you can give to someone who has given all for their country.

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OMV HEROES CALL

Severely burned in Iraq bombing, 'Miracle' Marine refused to surrender fierce will to live
In this May 21, 2007 file photo, Marine Sgt. Merlin German, 21, poses following during his promotion ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. No one expected Sgt. Merlin German to survive after he had been burned over 97 percent of his body by a roadside bomb in Iraq. But the determined Marine would not surrender. He endured more than 100 surgeries and procedures. He learned to live with pain, to see a stranger's face in the mirror. He walked again. He danced with his mother. He was dubbed the "Miracle Man." But after three years, he could no longer defy the odds. A few weeks ago, he died unexpectedly after routine surgery.
05-25-2008 8:46 AM
By SHARON COHEN, AP National Writer

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Support the Supporters!!!

Pkgs_3   Gang,

In the photo, you can see a load of mail (pile on the right) that came to us at our distant Company Out Post (COP). Today May 22nd we just got mail dating Feb 10 and a few Valentines Cards, a bit late is better than not at all.  These items we received are a direct result one family making a difference, being leaders by motivating others and creating a conduit to allow others to express their support for their troops. The Horn family.

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Your Marines

One_marine_2 Missions are going very well for us. We have detained several bad guys and corresponded warrants for them. The weather has been hot, then full of sand as the movie like sandstorms roll into our area.  As we conduct our partnered American and Iraqi missions, we compliment one another as they can notice things we cant and we can bring a hell storm to the scene in a blink of an eye. I know you arnt hearing anything about how well the Iraqi’s are doing but they are doing great things, every day. They are listening to us, learning and when we see them make several small strides we know we are on the right path. Some working for free, only to make a difference. They are making a difference!

Your Marines have great morale. Living in sandy uncomfortable conditions, covered in sand after each sandstorm as their wooden swahut allows the dirt to flow in from the constant blowing wind.  I love these times, I really do. You have those unforgettable events with fellow Marines, you live them. Like the ones you may have have experienced at a family reunion when you laughed so hard you cried. Here, there are times to laugh and times you are ready to throttle up. Times that make you shake your head and think that there is no way you could make these things up. Sharing the misery, building an indescribable bond.

Making a difference, a difference that won’t be on the TV screen in front of America’s faces tonight but a difference to that family who has lived in fear but now can replant their fields to grow vegetables because “We are so glad the Marines are around to keep us safe”.

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One Of Last Marines Out Of Saigon Dead At 66

Kean Commanded Vietnam Embassy Evacuation

One of the last men on the roof of the United States Embassy at the Fall of Saigon has died on Cape Cod, according to his family.

Lt. Col. Jim Kean was in command of the embassy evacuation on April 30, 1975.  The U.S. signed a peace agreement ending its involvement in the Divisive Southeast Asian conflict in January 1973. By 1975, with North Vietnamese forces moving in, Americans fled the South Vietnamese capital as throngs of Vietnamese civilians scrambled to escape with them. 

Helicopters from U.S. carriers in the South China Sea landed at Saigon's airport and on roofs at the United States Embassy compound to pick up most of the approximately 1,000 remaining Americans and several thousand Vietnamese trying to flee the country in advance of approaching North Vietnamese forces, according to New York Times archives.

Kean was among the last Marines to leave the rooftop of the American Embassy, thus ending the U.S. involvement in Vietnam during the Vietnam War era.  The final stage of the evacuation lasted 19 hours and four Marines died in the effort, two when their helicopter crashed into the South China Sea.  The last Americans out of Saigon were 11 of the 800 Marines who had guided the evacuation effort.  They fired a red smoke grenade to guide the last helicopter in, then scrambled aboard as hundreds of other desperate refugees swarmed the rooftops hoping to be picked up.

Kean's family said he died suddenly while he was having his daily swim. The exact cause of death has not been determined.  He lived in the Cummaquit neighborhood of Barnstable.

A service will be held on Monday, May 12 at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass., his daughter, Pamela Kean, said.

Jim Kean was 66 years old.


Living the Dream

Sandstorm_2

So we got a break from the 110 temps. Last night a kick in the butt sand storm hit and visibility was slim. The enemy is frustrated and can't stand that every time they turn around there is a Marine there. We thwarted a complex ambush last week as we patrolled with the Iraqi's. They are getting stronger by the day and before you know it, they will ask us to leave. They have become so much stronger since my last deployment here it would truly astonish you. We had a young Marine get informed that he is now a dad. Proud and a bit different now that he knows he is a dad shows the true caliber of these studs over here. They too should make you proud.

 

They continue to put in long days, bear the difficult environment and continue to accomplish the mission. All are in good spirits because they see first hand the difference they are making. I bet you haven't heard any crap story's on the news lately have ya?? Nope because all of the armed forces are kicking butt here. Thank you for all of our support and although you may not hear it in the news, you should be proud to be an American, by witnessing these Marines kick butt, I know I am. Semper Fi-Time for a cigar.