Telling the Truth & Good Things For Our Troops
Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Hi, I just joined the community and I wanted to express my reasons for joining. Everyday I read and see more about people dying and horrible things happening in Iraq. My heart pounds to think that our brave men and women are enduring these conditions. But there is a silver lining. They are bringing freedom to a people that have hoped for this for so long. The Iraqi people truly deserve freedom. I joined this community because I want to hear these stories of good will. We, the American people, do want to help the world... and our troops are the most important messengers of this good will right now. I have hope that there is a silver lining to this war.
Two good friends of mine will be leaving for Iraq in September. I can only hope they will continue to do good in the same way so many of our troops already have.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Hi, I just found this community and I think that it's really great, whose ever idea it was. My brother just got back from the Middle East about two months ago but he was in Afghanistan not Iraq. One of my favorite teachers at the school I go to just got back from nine months in Kuwait yesterday, it was great to see him as well.
What I really wanted to say is that my prayers and thoughts are with all of your friends and family that are fighting over there and keeping the American soil safe for my family and I. Thank you.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
I just recently joined this community, so I figure I should give an introduction of myself and why I came here.
My name is Tara, and I live in Pennsylvania. My boyfriend is in the Army, and they're leaving for Iraq in 29 days. At first I was really worried about it, mostly because of the mainstream media, but I've been talking to some people over there that are friends with my boyfriend and reading on the different communities here and just anyone who has been in Iraq over the past year. I really miss him, and I'm still scared, especially since he might not to come home to visit before he leaves, but I promised him I'd support him no matter what. Well, that's all I've got right now, so if anyone has any soldiers that need some letters I'll be glad to add them to the list of who I write to now.
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Just received this from Pamela Bates, founder of Hugs To Kuwait - Adopt A Soldier. The post she shares is absolutely amazing! Hearing about this is like a serious dose of hope that I have needed for about a month now.
I hope you enjoy hearing this as much as me!
I wanted to share a post from my Hugs to Kuwait website-one of my members wrote this and spoke so well what I feel--as she often does and I wanted to share her experience with you (I hope she doesn't mind)-I don't do this often enough--but for those of you in and round the military--here is an example of what you mean to many of us--and since this is Memorial Weekend I wanted to take a moment and tell you THANK YOU--being a Military Spouse--I don't think I say it enough--It means so much to me--and seeing it everyday, well, I guess sometimes I become sort of immune to what the sacrifice is and what a Thank You would mean--so for all the times I haven't said it--THANKS!! and let the following show you that many more are out there that appreciate you too!!
Let's all remember to say thanks!!
I just wanted to share something very positive with all of you.
Like many of you, I had been concerned that some recent negative publicity may have eroded nationwide support for our wonderful men and women in uniform. I don't mean among patriots such as ourselves, but within the general public at large.
Well, it's "Fleet Week" here in NYC. I don't know the total number of ships we've got here now, or the total of Armed Forces members....but there is a "sea of uniforms" practically everywhere you look. Last night I left the office an hour before I intended to get my bus because I wanted to have time to stop and thank all of the service members I encountered.
Let me step back a sec for those of you who are not familiar with New York City. It is not a bit similar to Columbus, Ga., or Twenty-nine Palms, CA. I certainly didn't think that our Troops would receive a "bad welcome", but even I was not prepared for what I saw last night. What I thought would take me an hour, took 3. The reason is that I had to "stand in line" to speak with each Soldier, Sailor and Marine. I heard business executives and firemen say to them..."you are my hero". Children wanted to be photographed with them, folks said "thank you and God bless you". I let them know how very much they are appreciated, and almost lost it when a big burly Marine got a little misty and said "we appreciate you too"!
So much for my unscientific take on the pulse of America, but if most Americans are somewhere between Columbus and New York City....then I am convinced that our wonderful Defenders are "well loved" by ALL.
Oh one more thing that is pretty interesting. I had no idea that the Sailors and Marines were so tight. I'd expected to see groups of Sailors and groups of Marines, but was surprised to see groups walking together and pairs of a Soldier and Marine, or Sailor and Marine. If rivalries (friendly or otherwise) still exist in the U.S. Armed Services, you would never know it if you were in NYC last night.
GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!!
Hugs to you,
Hugs To Kuwait
Truth from Our Troops in Iraq
Please Support Hugs To Kuwait - Adopt A Soldier
Why I Joined Hugs To Kuwait - Adopt A Soldier
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
1:21PM - Honestly,... How Much Do You Expect Truth?
Just for a few minutes, I ask every American to stop and give me your undivided attention long enough to read through this, slowly and carefully, giving serious thought to what is being shared with you. If ever there was a time when every human being in this country needed to pay attention… this is it.
Time To Be Concerned
Sunday, May 23, 2004
6:35AM - Letter from 1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger - USMC
I am taking time to ask you all for your help. First off, I'd like to say that this is not a political message. I'm not concerned about domestic politics right now. We have much bigger things to deal with, and we need your help. It seems that despite the tremendous and heroic efforts of the men and women serving here in Iraq to bring much needed peace and stability to this region, we are losing the war of perception with the media and American people.
Our enemy has learned that the key to defeating the mighty American military is by swaying public opinion at home and abroad. We are a people that cherish the democratic system of government and therefore hold the will of the people in the highest regard. We love to criticize ourselves almost to an endless degree, because we care what others think. Our enemies see this as a weakness and are trying to exploit it.
When we ask ourselves questions like, "Why do they hate us?" or "What did we do wrong?" we are playing into our enemies' hands. Our natural tendency to question ourselves is being used against us to undermine our effort to do good in the world. How far would we have gotten if after the surprise attacks on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, we would have asked, "Why do the Japanese hate us so much?" or "How can we change ourselves so that they won't do that again?"
Here in Iraq the enemy is trying very hard to portray our efforts as failing and fruitless. They kill innocents and desecrate their bodies in hopes that the people back home will lose the will to fight for liberty. They are betting on our perceived weakness as a thoughtful, considerate people.
Unfortunately our media only serves to further their cause. In an industry that feeds on ratings and bad news, a failure in Iraq would be a goldmine. When our so-called "trusted" American media takes a quote from an Iraqi doctor as the gospel truth over that of the men and women that are daily fighting to protect the right to freedom of press, you know something is wrong.
That doctor claimed that out of 600 Iraqis, that were casualties of the fighting, the vast majority of them were women, children and the elderly. This is totally absurd. In the history of man, no one has spent more time and effort, often to the detriment of our own mission, to be more discriminent in our targeting of the enemy than the American military.
The Marines and Soldiers serving in Iraq have gone through extensive training in order to limit the amount of innocent casualties and collateral damage. Yet, despite all of this, our media consistently sides with those who openly lie and directly challenge the honor of our brave heroes fighting for liberty and peace.
What we have to remember is that peace is not defined as an absence of war. It is the presence of liberty, stability, and prosperity. In the face of the horrendous tyranny of the former Iraqi regime, the only way true peace was able to come to this region was through force. That is what the American Revolution was all about. Have we forgotten? Freedom is not free and "peace" without principle is not peace.
The peace that so-called "peace advocates" support can only be brought to Iraq through the military. And we are doing it, if only the world will let us!
If the American people believe we are failing, even if we are not, then we will ultimately fail. That is why I am asking for your support.
Become a voice of truth in your community. Wherever you are fight the lies of the enemy. Don't buy into the pessimism and apathy that says, "It's hopeless," "They hate us too much," "That part of the world is just too messed up," "It's our fault anyway," "We're to blame," and so forth. Whether you're in middle school, working at a 9-5 job, retired, or a stay-at-home mom you can make a huge difference! There is nothing more powerful than the truth.
So, when you watch the news and see doomsday predictions and spiteful opinions on our efforts over here, you can refute them by knowing that we are doing a tremendous amount of good.
Spread the word. No one is poised to make such an amazing contribution to the everyday lives of Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world than the American Armed Forces. By making this a place where liberty can finally grow, we are making the whole world safer.
Your efforts at home are directly tied to our success. You are the soldiers at home fighting the war of perception. So I'm asking you as a fellow fighting man: Do your duty. Stop the attempts of the enemy wherever you are. You are a mighty force for good, because truth is on your side.
Together we will win this fight and ensure a better world for the future.
God Bless and Semper Fidelis,
1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger - USMC
6:30AM - Letter from ANG Medic in Iraq
This is a letter from Ray Reynolds, a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard, serving in Iraq:
As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks of my stay in Iraq, I wanted to say thanks to all of you who did not believe the media. They have done a very poor job of covering everything that has happened.
I am sorry that I have not been able to visit all of you during my two week leave back home. And just so you can rest at night knowing something is happening in Iraq that is noteworthy, I thought I would pass this on to you.
This is the list of things that has happened in Iraq recently: (Please share it with your friends and compare it to the version that your paper is producing.)
* Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.
* School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.
* Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there so education can occur.
* The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster.
* The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.
* Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.
* The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the war.
* 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before the war.
* Elections are taking place in every major city, and City Councils are in place.
* Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.
* Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
* Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
* Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.
* Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.
* Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.
* An interim constitution has been signed.
* Girls are allowed to attend school.
* Textbooks that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years.
Don't believe for one second that these people do not want us there. I have met many, many people from Iraq that want us there, and in a bad way. They say they will never see the freedoms we talk about but they hope their children will. We are doing a good job in Iraq and I challenge anyone, anywhere to dispute me on these facts. So If you happen to run into John Kerry, be sure to give him my email address and send him to Denison, Iowa. This soldier will set him straight.
If you are like me and very disgusted with how this period of rebuilding has been portrayed, email this to a friend and let them know there are good things happening.
Ray Reynolds, SFC
Iowa Army National Guard
234th Signal Battalion
6:26AM - We let our allies down, say Spanish troops back from Iraq
By Isambard Wilkinson in Badajoz
In the old military city of Badajoz the sound of drums and trumpets that welcomed Spanish troops home from Iraq had given way yesterday to a discontented silence among men who feel they have let down their allies.
Senior army officers are guarded in their response to the decision of the socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to withdraw soldiers from Iraq.
But as a small contingent of Spanish troops prepares to remove the last vestiges of the country's 1,300-strong presence, there are whisperings of discontent from those now returned.
The previous prime minister, José María Aznar, contrary to 90 per cent of Spanish public opinion, committed the force in support of US policy.
Yet soldiers now regret leaving Iraq so hastily following Mr Zapatero's election victory on March 11, three days after the terrorist train bombs in Madrid that killed 190 people and wounded 1,900. They also expressed disappointment over a lack of official recognition on their return and the public's seeming willingness to forget them and their mission.
Cpl José Francisco García Casteñeda, who previously completed three tours in Bosnia, said: "We left our coalition colleagues behind and abandoned the local people, who are living in wretched conditions."
Sitting at the same cafe table, Sgt Manuel García, 31, went further in his criticism of the withdrawal. "We felt used and let down by the politicians. Zapatero made the move purely for his own popularity," he said.
Two weeks ago a beaming Mr Zapatero went to the Botoa base, 15 miles outside Badajoz, for the ceremony to disband the Plus Ultra II brigade after its return.
Extremadura, the region around Badajoz, provided 80 per cent of the troops in the brigade, stationed mainly in Diwaniya and Najaf.
Mr Zapatero arrived after fulfilling his election pledge to withdraw troops if the military mission in Iraq was not put under United Nations command by June 30.
"It was just a photocall. He did not address us and the king did not come. No thanks were given. There was no encouragement for the job we did," said Sgt García. "It was a celebration for Mr Zapatero."
Some soldiers disagreed with Spanish involvement from the outset but felt that it was wrong to pull out.
Sgt Sergio Sanesteban Peña, 29, said: "There are two aspects to it. As westerners, we entered an Arab country not on a humanitarian mission as we were told but an imperial mission in a very hostile environment. The result is as we see it today. On the other hand, speaking from a military point of view, we should have finished our job to help the Iraqi people."
He echoed a commonly held opinion that the Spanish mission was undermined by the American decision last month to arrest Muqtada al-Sadr's number two, increasing violence in the Shia region where Spanish troops operated. On patrol in Diwaniya in February, Sgt Sanesteban was wounded in an arm and leg in a grenade attack. He will have more surgery next week.
But he feels that his sacrifice has been in vain. "We had the ceremony and now our work is forgotten. But for us it will not be easy to forget.
"I would not want to exaggerate but it is a little like the American troops returning from Vietnam. There were no thanks. You came back and you could feel the indifference."
6:04AM - Mom Helps Soldier Son In Iraq
In case you haven't heard.... ABC is responsible for the initial releasing of the photos of Iraqi prisoners in compromising positions, which has resulted in the landslide of terroristic activity and murders of more soldiers and civilians.
Personally, I find this to be a form of "damage control" in an attempt to appear as if ABC wants to "make amends" to America.
I appreciate the story and I'm thrilled that a mother could accomplish something so wonderful with help from her community. However, I find this to be another military bashing under the covers of this story. I don't appreciate ABC's tone in the reported portions regarding the military's distribution of communications equipment
May 21, 2004
Kathy Parks works at a grill serving up some of the biggest burgers in Texas. And it turns out her patrons have some of the biggest hearts, as well.
Her 22-year-old son is a Marine fighting in Iraq and last month he sent her an E-mail from the war zone.
It read: "Dear Mom, I need a favor. The command I am with in Iraq needs 250 of those talk-around Motorolas for the rest of the Marines in the company."
Parks' son told her that his commanding officer had asked everyone to call home requesting the lightweight walkie-talkies, which they say are invaluable in the event of an attack.
The Pentagon says it issues military radios, but limits the number in order to keep the lines of communication clear and secure.
Parks learned many soldiers, including her son, believe everyone in a war zone needs to be able to communicate in case they come under fire.
She said her son told her, "Many times when they were under mortar fire, they had no way of knowing who might be injured or had been hit. They needed help, and they wanted to be able to keep in touch with each other at all times, especially when they had to be separated."
So Parks decided to take the e-mail her son sent from the war zone and put a copy on every table in the grill.
$8,000 in Eight Days
In eight days she had raised more than $8,000, and off she went to Radio Shack.
The local store had to request an emergency shipment of Motorola TalkAbout Two-Way Radios from the warehouse. Within 24 hours, the Radio Shack store had more than 250 units ready to be sent to Iraq.
Kathy Parks and a few friends packed them all into boxes and sent them via priority mail to Iraq.
Parks said her son called last week to tell her the radios are "wonderful" and the Marines are grateful.
It's a lesson to never underestimate the ability of a waitress who is a mother deep in the heart of Texas.
5:59AM - Sick Iraqi Infant to Be Treated in Ohio
By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An 8-month-old Iraqi girl with a possibly fatal growth in her neck arrived in the United States for free treatment, weeks after her parents brought her to a U.S. military base in her homeland.
Doctors were examining Fatemah Hassan on Thursday to confirm a diagnosis and decide on treatment, said Pam Barber, spokeswoman for Children's Hospital in Columbus.
Army doctors believed the baby has a cavernous hemangioma, an abnormally dense group of blood vessels that in her case has become so large that it could restrict her breathing.
Fatemah was blue when she arrived at the base last month, and it took doctors three days to stabilize her, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
One doctor, Lt. Col. Todd Fredricks of Ohio, contacted Children's Hospital in Columbus, which decided it would treat Fatemah at no cost if she could get there.
Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller , D-W.Va., helped with visas for the infant and her 21-year-old mother, Beyda'a Amir Abdul Jabar. The 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base arranged travel to Columbus.
They arrived late Wednesday aboard a converted military cargo plane and spent the night at the hospital.
Testing could go into Friday, Barber said. "You have to see how the baby tolerates each test before you move on," she said.
During the treatment, a Kurdish family will host the pair, who are part of Iraq (news - web sites)'s Kurdish ethnic minority.
5:49AM - 1st Cav's Big Score Could Get Bigger
By Terry Boyd, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Thursday, May 20, 2004
Usually it's the firefights that get scouts' attention. But a big cache of artillery shells eclipsed that. "We all knew when we saw (the cache) we had saved a lot of lives that night," said Spc. Owen Starlin.
CAMP BLACK JACK, Iraq — Any way you look at it, it was a big score.
First Cavalry Division officials are analyzing artillery shells that were part of a weapons cache seized Saturday night outside Baghdad.
Ordnance experts are analyzing the shells, trying to determine if they’re conventional 155 mm artillery shells or if they contain other substances, including sarin nerve gas or phosphorus, said Maj. Derik von Recum, spokesman for the 1st Cav’s 2nd Brigade.
On Saturday, a roadside bomb using a 155 mm shell filled with sarin exploded in Baghdad. It’s unclear whether that bomb is connected to this weapons cache.
Some of the shells were leaking, according to soldiers on the scene. Even if the shells turn out to be conventional, it would still be one of the most significant weapons seizures during the Fort Hood, Texas-based 1st Cav’s four months in Iraq.
A team of Dark Horse scouts from 2nd Platoon, Troop D, part of the 1st Cav’s 9th Cavalry Regiment, seized the cache, which included 43 artillery shells, each weighing about 90 pounds.
Slowly, word began to filter back to the scouts from explosive disposal soldiers that the find might be more significant than first thought.
“Frankly, it meant more to me when it was 4,000 pounds of explosive,” said Spc. Owen Starlin, the M-240B gunner who spotted four Iraqis unloading the cache. “That’s just [really] huge.”
Starlin and other soldiers say that even if the find turns out not to contain sarin, it’s still 43 fewer roadside bombs, the only way insurgents can use howitzer shells.
The night started out routinely, with two teams of scouts working observation points in a rural area northwest of central Baghdad.
Starlin said he was scanning outside his sector — looking past an earthen berm concealing his position — with high-powered night surveillance equipment when he noticed four Iraqis pull up and start working with irrigation equipment.
He didn’t pay much attention: “They’re always messing with irrigation.”
But on a second scan, he saw the men begin pulling munitions out of the small flatbed truck.
“I yelled to [Pfc. Keith] Haynie, ‘Hey, we got a lot of rounds!’ At that point, we knew it was huge,” Starlin said.
The men kept pulling out 155 mm artillery shells, one after another, he said.
At a relatively close range, Starlin said he could have taken out the men with his 240B.
“I said, ‘I’ve got eyes on them. You need to let me light them up?’ That’s an easy shot.”
Instead, the order came to try to capture the men along with their cache.
As scouts closed in, the men ran for it. A poor decision.
“I saw four running. [Spc. Mike] McCormick and I probably fired 200 rounds each. Then I looked and only saw one running,” Starlin said.
After that, the two gunners fired on the palm grove where they believed the remaining man was hiding, but found no bodies in the tall grass.
What they did find was artillery shells and fuses, four Russian-made AT-3 Sagger anti-tank guided missiles, an improvised rocket launcher capable of firing nine rockets simultaneously, and assorted weapons including a G-3 Heckler and Koch German-made assault rifle, said Haynie.
“When we walked up there, there were five or six holes, each 3 feet across and 4 feet long,” Starlin said.
Each hole was full of artillery shells, with more rounds set in between the holes, he said. He considers the night “an early birthday present,” with the seizure coming two days before his 21st birthday, Starlin said.
The seizure is one more in a string of productive nights for the Dark Horse scouts, who’ve killed or captured at least 30 insurgents since March. They have also scored major intelligence coups, including lists of insurgent leaders and addresses, as well as lists documenting attacks against U.S. soldiers.
“Usually, the main emphasis is firefights,” Stalin said. “That night, no one cared about the firefight. It was so big that everyone realized firefights are one thing … but we all knew when we saw [the cache] we had saved a lot of lives that night.”
Saturday, May 22, 2004
8:44PM - The Media Has Put Our Troops Into A Second War
I am so ashamed, embarrassed and fed up with the direction the media has taken over the past month, regarding all that's going on in Iraq and the war. I'm absolutely appalled by the way they've chosen to twist this entire situation to serve their own political agenda.
I find it absolutely disgusting that our own media has become the monster rearing it's ugly head at the expense of our deployed military personnel who have given so much of themselves to bring freedom to an oppressed population and defend our very own protection, safety and freedom.
I hold the media responsible for the deaths of every soldier and civilian who has been murdered by these terrorists since the exploitation of photos taken of Iraqi prisoners. It is the negativeness they choose to report that has created all the devastating results immediately following their unleashing of only the bad things to the entire world.
To all our military personnel, whether you are currently deployed or not... I sincerely extend my deepest apology. Please know there are Americans still here who continue to support you, pray for you and are now coming to stand beside you and fight with you against the unforgivable malice being exhibited by the media at your expense.
I invite any troops who wish to share accomplishments and wonderful things witnessed coming true in Iraq, to feel free to do so right here. This community is your given platform from my heart. I hope and pray many will take the time to go through and read, listen... and take hold of the positive realities all of you have busted your tails to accomplish.
Any family members wishing to share messages from their loved ones are more than welcomed, just as much.
God bless each and every one of you. May He intervene and turn all the wrong back into the right.... just as you have been accomplishing all along.