IT AINT EASY BEING GREEN Following up on the Mothers day post, there is due recognition for another group of people that pay a dear price along with mothers, military spouses and family members. My first deployment back in 1997 was an eye opener for me. Nervous, doing a million things at once, not getting any of them done, one addition made the fire burn hotter. My better half was expecting and expecting about the day I was scheduled to depart. Luck would have it I was able to see the birth only to deploy a couple days after. Man did I ever hear it about that. Spouses and family members take it for the team time and time again while their military half is off in glorious spa’s and living large in far off places……yea right. From enrolling the kids to school to registering the house with the post office, scheduling departure inspections with the housing dept and battling the unfamiliarity’s that come with a new move, they continuously step up, and accomplish the mission. During deployments, spouses battle the broken sink, car, windows and all the other natural phenomenon that happen as soon as the warriors leaves for deployment. They become dependant and self sufficient where they fend for themselves. They are home front warriors and behind every good warrior are a great spouse and family. Not knowing what their spouse is doing or going through is almost better for their good. Hearing stories or rumors and watching the news always makes them uncomfortable because apart of them is what the news is about. Like the deployed warriors, they too develop their own routines and try not to think of the loved ones. They know their loved ones are out there but develop a livelihood that operates without thinking about them. Its always tougher thinking about them when they are so far away and when you do think about them, it’s a special time, your time. As the same is for the deployed warriors, conducting a daily chaos in an uncertain environment their day could only be distracted if they continuously sat around and thought about home. There is a time and place for it. Best suggestion is for service members to try to be creative and remind their spouses they care about them while being deployed. Handwritten letters are the best in this electronic world where its so easy to send an email off. But to get a card in the mail is a powerful way to say “Im thinking about you�. Best recommendation for the warriors at home, is to stay busy. Kids usually take care of that but those without little warriors should get involved with a community group, job or active event. Unfortunately, some dependants say good by to their loved ones the day they deploy and never get to say anything else again to them. There is always that thought of “I might not come back from this� out there when you leave. The percentage is so low; you never expect it would be you or your loved ones. These are the toughest ones. Seeing the small kids asking you the question, “Do you know where my daddy is?� Obviously speechless you hack your way through an explanation to an innocent Childs face. It aint easy being green, green in the states or abroad. Dress Blue Marines arriving at a door step is one of the first steps in notifying the family members of a Marine killed in action. A domino affect is about to transpire where a hundred people’s life is about to change. The immediate spouse or family memeber being dealt the toughest blow and most immediate. Nothing said can really help, nothing but time. These are the true warriors with their life falling apart and with it never going to be the same again. Hate, sorrow and pain settling to pride and the ever-present loss…….over time. Yes, these are the true warriors of our service members. The deployed know what they volunteered for; they know what they are getting into as they have been trained for it. The family members, they deal with the repercussions of their loss. Not knowing the details but not sure they want to know all of them at least right away. For all family members of current, past and the fallen that have served our great country, know you also are never forgotten and that without your support, your servicemember would make it, but it would be a bumpy road. The American Airlines 757 couldn’t have landedmuchfartherfromthe war. The plane arrived in Reno on a Friday evening, the beginning of the 2005 “Hot August Nights� festival — one of the city’s biggest—filled with flashing lights, fireworks,carefreemusicand plentyof gambling. When a young Marine in dress uniform had boardedthe planetoReno,thepassengerssmiledand nodded politely. None knew he had just come from the plane’s cargo hold, after watching his best friend’s casketloadedonboard. At 24 years old, Sgt. Gavin Conley was only seven days youngerthanthemanin the coffin.Thetwohad met as 17-year-olds on another plane — the one to boot camp in California. They had slept in adjoining topbunks,thetwoyoungestrecruitsin the barracks. All Marines call each other brother. Conley and Jim Cathey couldhave been.They finished each other’s sentences,had matchinginfantry tattoosetched on their shoulders, and cracked on each other as if they had grown up together— which, in some ways, theyhad. When the airline crew found out about Conley’s mission, theybumpedhim to first-class.He had never flowntherebefore.Neitherhad Jim Cathey. On the flight, the woman sitting next to him nodded toward his uniform and asked if he was coming or going.Tothe war,she meant. He fell backon the wordsthe military had told him to say: “I’mescortinga fallenMarinehometohis family from the situationin Iraq.� Thewomanquietlysaid shewassorry,Conleysaid. Thenshebeganto cry. When the plane landed in Nevada, the pilot asked the passengersto remainseatedwhile Conleydisembarkedalone. Thenthe pilottoldthemwhy. Thepassengerspressedtheir facesagainstthewindows. Outside, a procession walked toward the plane. Passengers in window seats leaned back to give others a better view. One held a child up to watch. From their seats in the plane, they saw a hearse and a Marine extending a white-gloved hand into a limousine,helpinga pregnantwomanoutof the car. READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE Al FURAT, Iraq -- In this small, mostly-Sunni region nestled along the Euphrates River in Al Anbar Province, Iraqi men say they are fed up with the insurgency in Iraq, and are doing something about it – joining the Iraqi Army.More than 189 Iraqi men, most 30’ish in age, lined up to sign their name on the dotted line and enlist for service during a May 8 Iraqi Army recruiting/screening drive in this town located just 14 miles northwest of Ramadi.Despite insurgents’ threats and violence here, most seem quite eager just to serve, regardless of where Army life may lead them.One 30-year-old Iraqi man accepted for enlistment said his younger brother had his left leg amputated after infection set in from a gunshot wound from insurgents. He’s hoping his enlistment in the Army is the beginning of the end of the insurgency in Al Anbar Province, he said.“He told me, my brother – ‘save our country,’� said the man through an interpreter. “’Don’t let another guy end up like me.’ I just do this for him.�Similar stories can be heard from just about all of those who showed up to the one-day enlistment screening. About 20 new Iraqi Army hopefuls were asked, through an interpreter, to raise their hand if they had not been personally affected by violence from the insurgency. HADITHA, Iraq -- A Marine sat on a collapsible metal chair with several other warriors seated around him and stared at four sets of dog tags, combat boots, rifles and Kevlar helmets. Tears welled up in his eyes as he slowly let his head drop into his hands. The tears fell, splashing the concrete floor. This Marine is one of hundreds from the Hawaii-based 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment who are still mourning the loss of Staff Sgt. Jason C. Ramseyer, who was killed two weeks ago in an explosion from an improvised explosive device.IEDs – roadside bombs used by insurgents in Iraq to target Coalition and Iraqi Forces – are the number one killer of U.S. troops in Iraq, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count – an organization which tallies U.S. and coalition casualties based off Department of Defense press releases. In a solemn ceremony at the Marines forward operating base here April 30, the Marines honored four more of their own killed recently during combat operations in Al Anbar Province. Among the deceased are: Sgt. Edward G. Davis, 31, of Waukegan, Ill.; Sgt Lea R. Mills, 21, of Brooksville, Fla.; and Cpl. Brandon M. Hardy, 25, of Cochranville, Pa.; who were killed April 28, 2006, when their vehicle struck and IED. Cpl. Eric R. Lueken, 23, of Jasper, Ind., was also killed by an IED April 22, 2006. Davis, Mills and Hardy were assigned to the Camp Pendleton, Calif. – based 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and were attached to 3/3 for duty. Lueken was assigned to 3/3. Individual eulogies were read for each of the fallen service members by Marines who served with them. Many of the Marines sat stone faced and tried to hide their emotions as they reflected on the fallen’s lives. “These Marines are not heroes because of how they died,� said 2nd Lt. Rajesh Mistry. “They are heroes because of how they lived.�Some Marines could only offer a few words to describe their fallen comrades. “Lueken was the kind of guy you could go to and tell how bad your day was and he would make it better,� said Cpl. William Harrison. “It was still registering to me that he is no longer with us.� Sgt. Jim Coelho, 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion, worked very closely with Davis, Mills and Hardy. “The Marines are not laughing and joking with each other like they usually do,� said Coelho. “We were all close; we were all brothers.� Gunnery Sgt. Jeff Duncan was the platoon sergeant for Davis, Mills and Hardy, and recalled characteristics of each one. “Each one of them had something different to offer the company,� said Duncan. “Davis we called ‘Manimal’ because he was always lifting weights. Mills could fix practically anything, and Hardy was a good leader who knew his job well.� Duncan said Davis, who would have been promoted May 1, will be posthumously promoted to staff sergeant. During the memorial, Navy Lt. Paul Tremblay led the singing of a hymn called “Eternal Father, Strong to Save� -“Eternal Father strong to save,Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, Who bids the mighty ocean deep,Its own appointed limits keep,O hear us when we cry to thee,For those in peril on the sea.“Eternal Father grant we pray,To all Marines both night and day,The courage honor strength and skill,Their land to serve the law fulfill,Be thou the shield forevermore,From every Peril to the Corps.� After the playing of “Taps,� the Marines paid final respects to the fallen and left the makeshift chapel the same way they shuffled in – with solemn faces. The battalion is scheduled to return to the United States later this Fall. BE LIKE MIKE........................OR HIS BROTHER! Meet Command Sgt. Maj. Jordan We yield to no one in our admiration of Michael Jordan, but I can't figure out why we haven't heard anything about his oldest brother James -- make that the Army's Command Sgt. Maj. James R. Jordan. Command Sgt. Maj. Jordan is completing his thirtieth year of service with the Army's 35th Signal Brigade and reaching his mandatory retirement date. Because his unit is about to be deployed to Iraq for a year, however, he has asked for permission to extend his duty for the year. Separated in the height department from his baby brother by nearly a foot, Command Sgt. Maj. Jordan appears to have set the example for him in the heart department. He is retiring today after a successful year tour in Iraq.
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