HEY, Ma Ma’s BOY! Its Christmas and you’ve gotten your 3 year old son a new train. It’s his sixth birthday and now he learns to ride his bike without training wheels. You send him off to school with the lunch you packed. He’s 16, got a girlfriend but not a real serious one. He wants to serve and be different from the rest. He’s headed for boot camp in Parris Island or Sand Diego to be one of the best. He’s now kicking in doors and saving lives in some of the god forsaken places like Iraq, Afghanistan and every other hell holes out there that need a hero or someone to rescue them. He’s dedicated and maybe he even signed up to joint this gun club under age and needed his parents permission………….or maybe just his mothers permission. He is surrounded by friends that may not know him like a brother but are his brothers and some his dad. He faces a relentless enemy that would cut his head off rather than see him spread democracy, but he doesn’t fear that enemy, its not like the fear his mother could bring. He is busy twenty four seven, three sixty five. He doesn’t get a lot of down time but when he does he likes to think of how great home is and what he has to go back to……..and who he has to go back to. There are a few things inside him that keep him going when its tuff and he doesn’t want to let his fellow Marines down or his loved ones at home either. His buddy’s back home are working at the burger joint or the mall. He just secured a building that had sniper fire coming from it wounding two of his fellow Marines. He thought he would miss home when he left but now home is a memory and where he is today is his new home. He’s not six anymore and he doesn’t need support from training wheels, he’s a US Marine and he now gives support where its needed. He’s tuff as nails, calloused and smart. He attacks like a bit bull and believes in what he’s doing with all his heart. Where he is at, his efforts are evident and gains are real for a people in need and an enemy to coward. Back home the news talks about movie stars and everyday events. None of their reports portray his daily events. People don’t really know what he does in the Marines but they know he’s tuff and a bit stubborn as they watched him grow up. Now today as he thinks about the one who brought him into this world on Mothers day and he’s the one trying not to tear up. Thanks Mom. …………yes Mom I know cigars are bad for me. Happy Mothers Day to all Moms out there. Without ya we wouldn’t be here! Click on “comments� below and leave a msg for your MOM! Quit reading this and go call your MOM and wish her Happy Mothers Day! Semper Fi Capt B CHECK OUT MORE PICTURES LIKE THE ONE ON TOP OF THIS BLOG AT LUCIAN READ PHOTOGRAPHY (Thanks & it was great to meet you. Keep up the good work!) MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (May 12, 2006) -- Conspicuous gallantry, valor and respect preceded the corporal as he proudly stepped forward to the front of the general; crisply his hand lifted for a salute as he awaited the general’s acknowledgement during the Morning Colors ceremony on the depot May 5.The Silver Star, the U.S. military’s third highest honor for valor, was awarded to Corporal Kristopher D. Kane, marksmanship coach, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, by Brig. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., commanding general, MCRD and of the Western Recruiting Region. “Corporal Kane has distinguished himself as a Marine leader, infantryman and a man of courage, conviction and valor in combat. He did brave things to accomplish the mission and save the lives of other Marines. He is part of the core of our institution of honor, courage and commitment,� said Brig. Gen. Paxton. “He is the role model for the next generation of Marines� During the ceremony, Kane’s parents and brother, who is a staff sergeant in the Army, looked on with pride.“It was really great to be awarded in front of the families and all of the Marines,� said Kane. “The general was very kind and a great speaker. I know my family enjoyed it, which made it even better.�The citation for the Silver Star was originally going to be submitted by 1st Lt. Dustin M. Shumney, Kane’s lieutenant in Iraq. However, before Shumney put him in for the medal he passed away in a helicopter crash in Western Iraq along with other members of Kane’s platoon Jan. 26, 2005.The award was submitted by the command he was under in Iraq. He said that he accepted the award on the behalf of everyone who was in his platoon that had passed away. On the morning of the Marine Corps’ birthday Nov. 10, 2004, Kane and his company, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, were in operations retaking the city of Fallujah, Iraq. While en route to their objective they stopped for rest in a guarded building. The next morning they found the home adjacent to them was taking fire, so Shumney sent some of his Marines over a wall to intercept the insurgents.“Once we got over the wall, gunfire erupted and a couple guys got hit,� said Kane. “A really good friend of mine, Lance Cpl. Aaron Pickering, couldn’t be found. He was my protégé, so I set out to find him.�Unable to find his deceased friend who was on the second deck, Kane found one of the platoon’s Corpsman on the first deck at the end of the hallway attempting to help the wounded. Kane positioned himself between the Corpsman and the incoming fire of the insurgents. Maneuvering through the incoming fire inside the home, Kane attempted to throw a grenade into the room where the insurgents were. Missing with the first grenade he threw a second one, which neutralized them. Eliminating only a portion of the insurgents, Shumney called for a bulldozer to demolish half of the home to eliminate the rest.When the bulldozer brought the house down, rubble was pushed onto Kane breaking his right femur and left clavicle. Injured, he was evacuated to Bravo Surgical Fallujah where he was treated and evacuated to other hospitals, said Kane.Kane, who is proud to serve his country, looks forward to serving another tour in Iraq after finishing his present duties as a marksmanship instructor. AR RUTBAH, Iraq (May 11, 2006) -- In this urban city located in the center of miles of open desert in western Al Anbar province, Iraqi soldiers are taking the lead in operations to keep criminals and insurgents out of the region.The Iraqi soldiers are doing the majority of the work here – checking IDs, searching cars and people at the city’s various checkpoints – while Coalition Forces assist. “It’s more us helping the Iraqis, than the other way around,� said Cpl. Victor M. Moreno, one of the Marine battalion’s scout team leaders. “They’ve been doing fantastic.� In recent months, U.S. Marines here say Iraqi soldiers have continually progressed towards operating independently, evidenced by their security operations here. Rutbah is the most populated city (about 25,000 people) in Anbar’s southwestern region – a mostly barren desert stretching from the Jordan/Iraq border to 120 miles east.Once known as a smugglers’ town, Rutbah is the first major city along the supply routes from Jordan and Syria eventually leading to the Al Anbar Province’s known hotspots- Ramadi, Fallujah and Baghdad, according to Col. Stephen W. Davis during a Pentagon press briefing several months ago. Davis was the commander of Marine forces in western Al Anbar province in 2005.“This town had the unfortunate occurrence of being strategically placed there -- very convenient for smugglers, terrorists, insurgents to operate in and out of there,� said Davis.Coalition forces and Iraqi soldiers have been working together to root out the insurgents. In January, an eight-foot tall berm was built around the city to prevent insurgents from entering Rutbah, requiring all traffic entering and exiting the city to pass through the checkpoints manned by the Iraqi soldiers.So far, Iraqi soldiers have caught 64 insurgents since the coalition and Iraqi military forces beefed-up security measures here five months ago.The Marines who work here daily say the city used to be a base of operations for insurgents - from planning attacks to storing weapons.“We assess that many criminal and insurgent activities are planned and financed from Rutbah,� said Maj. Ken Kassner, executive officer for the Twentynine Palms, Calif.-based 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, which arrived here nearly two months ago – about a year after the unit’s last deployment to this very area in Al Anbar province. “By maintaining the security of Rutbah, we significantly affect the ability of the insurgents to operate,� said Kassner. And the plan is working – a full gamut of terrorists have been caught by the Marines and Iraqi soldiers in and around Rutbah - from those who plant roadside bombs, to high-level officials in the insurgency, according to Moreno. “Insurgents have been fleeing [the city] and we have been catching them [at the checkpoints],� he said.“[The berm and checkpoints have] been getting rave reviews from the population down there because for the first time in years now, the insurgents can't freely travel in and out of that city -- one more step in making western Al Anbar a prohibitive environment for the insurgents and terrorists to operate in,� said Davis during the press briefing.The smuggling trade through Al Anbar contributes to the insurgency by financing criminal operations, and supplying weapons and munitions, according to Kassner. But with Iraqi soldiers taking more of the operational workload to secure the city, Coalition and Iraqi forces have been able to curb insurgent activity here and ultimately block insurgents’ once-direct route from other countries to the heart of Al Anbar province, according to Kassner, a native of Couplan, Texas. “The Iraqi soldiers are the key to our success,� he said. “Ultimately, they will be the ones to fully determine the outcome of this war.� The Marines who operate in this region have taken the role of supervisors – teaching the Iraqi soldiers in the functions of their duties — directing traffic, searching cars and personnel – so they gain confidence and maintain a presence in the local community, according to Moreno, of Modesto, Calif. While the Iraqi soldiers are making progress in their abilities to operate without the support of the Marines here, there is still work to be done before the uniformed Iraqis are 100-percent ready to operate independently, according to Sgt. Dale Fenner, a 27-year-old from Indianapolis and one of the battalion’s squad leaders. “We don’t want to prematurely leave before they’re ready,� said Fenner, who spends his days supervising the Iraqis and verifying the validity of the IDs of the men passing through the checkpoints and ensuring they are not known terrorists. “This is a work in progress – they are pretty good but have a long way to go.�While the Marines are pleased with the progress of their Iraqi counterparts, the soldiers need more time, training, and experience before they will be given the rubber stamp of approval by Coalition Forces as capable of operating fully independently. The Marines fully understand that the transition will not take place overnight.“It took years of training for me as a Marine to get to where I am now, and it will take years for them as well,� said Fenner.But the Marines here say the Iraqis’ progress has been more than just standing posts and checking identification. The Iraqi soldiers have learned the basics of command structure, and more importantly, the role of small-unit leadership and the value of ensuring the welfare of their subordinates - traits crucial to any military organization’s success and efficiency, according to Moreno, 21. The Iraqi soldiers have their own squad leaders in charge at each of the checkpoints around Rutbah, who ensure the soldiers have food, water, and time to rest, according to Moreno. They also “make sure they wear all their [safety] gear,� said Moreno – helmets and body armor.It may be a work in progress for the Marines, but the Iraqis’ hard work is paying off – the berm and checkpoints throughout the city seem to keep the bad guys from coming in, said Fenner.“The insurgents can’t get what they need [into the city] to get things started,� said Fenner. “I think that is what’s keeping things quiet.�Moreover, the Iraqi soldiers are the ones who communicate and interact with city’s residents, further putting the Iraqis in the driver’s seat of security operations while coalition forces take a back-seat role, according to the Marines. Here, locals are more inclined to speak with Iraqi soldiers than the Marines since the Iraqi soldiers have a better understanding of their country’s culture and language than the Marines, according to Capt. Michael Nakonieczny, a 32-year-old Marine company commander from Buena Park, Calif.“The Iraqi army is here to protect the people and each day we get closer and closer to complete Iraqi control of the city,� said Nakonieczny. “[The Iraqi soldiers] are a tremendous (force) multiplier.�
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