OIF Tribute by suchenfz


									    A Tribute to American Warriors
          This tribute honors the American Warriors who fought, and are still
fighting, to protect our freedoms and restore freedom to the Iraqi people
throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom. Many choose to speak of how America
fought the war; weapons, tactics, units, war plans etc. I choose to discuss the
American Warriors who fought the war and how they reflect the best of
          Since the buildup of American forces in Iraq I have collected stories,
quotes and pictures which reflect the character of American Warriors, items
that have touched my heart or humored me in some way. These stories allow
us to reflect with pride the courage and resolve of our warriors. Many of
these stories and pictures will be featured in my next book, “More … Patriot
Hearts”, due out this August (2003). Go to www.patriothearts.com to learn
more about this book and its predecessor, “Patriot Hearts”.
Bill Coffey
Soldier,                                              "Hate war,
coffeybil@aol.com,                       but love the American warrior."
719-351-8321 (cell)                          Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.)
       "There's no question we've sent the finest of our
citizens into harm's way. They perform with great skill and
great bravery. We thank them, we thank their loved ones. We
appreciate their sacrifice."
              At the White House, March 20, 2003
              U.S. President George W. Bush
“I‟ll Take It From Here”
                                     From the Battlefield …
                                              The Warrior Spirit
                                                  I’m Not A Hero
22 February 2003
       I'm not a hero. That is to say, I don't think of myself that way. I don't seek out danger. I'm not the type of guy
who is always looking for the next adrenaline rush, or the latest thrill sport. I generally avoid dangerous activities.
I'm not a coward, either.

       I'm not fearless. I realize, every day that I am here, that my life is in danger. There is no way to avoid this
conclusion. I'm told to wear body armor and a helmet. I carry a weapon. We build fortifications. I lug a pack full of
chemical protection gear everywhere I go. I've received so many shots, I feel like a pincushion. Sometimes, when I
have a moment or two to think about it, I feel a little bit scared. Frankly, only an idiot would not be afraid under these
circumstances. But I do have courage. Courage is not the absence of fear. To the contrary, courage involves
recognizing danger, but acting on the realization that danger must be confronted -- or it will find you when you are
least prepared. I didn't come here looking for a thrill.
I'm here because there is a hole in the ground in New York, where a couple of the world's tallest buildings used to be.
I'm here because I knew some of those people in the Pentagon.
I'm here because my seven-year-old nephew has nightmares about terrorists.
I'm here because whether Saddam is responsible or not for those terrorist attacks, he has the will and is developing the
means to do much, much worse.
I'm here because if History teaches us anything, it is that evil men cannot be deterred by sanctions, containment
strategies, diplomacy, resolutions, or weapons inspections.
I'm here because I don't believe in appeasement.
I'm here because someone has to be.
I'm here because I was called.
I'm here because I have a job to do.

From an Army officer, (alias) “Lieutenant Smash” (author unknown), in the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations, while
preparing for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
      A stenciled reminder on the Aircraft Carrier, USS Iwo Jima,
               March 08, 2003, while en route to support
                       Operation Iraqi Freedom

    In December 2002, the Nuclear Aircraft Carrier, U.S.S. Harry S. Truman departed from
Norfolk, Virginia for an extended deployment. Just as the lines were cast off, this
announcement was made throughout the ship and topside on the ship’s intercom:
             "Peace on Earth to men of good will - All others, Stand By"
                                         From the Battlefield …
                                                  The Warrior Spirit
                                          No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy
                                                  1st Marine Division (REIN)                March 2003
                                   Commanding General's Message to All Hands
      For decades, Saddam Hussein has tortured, imprisoned, raped and murdered the Iraqi people; invaded neighboring
countries without provocation; and threatened the world with weapons of mass destruction. The time has come to end his
reign of terror. On your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind.

      When I give you the word, together we will cross the Line of Departure, close with those forces that choose to fight,
and destroy them. Our fight is not with the Iraqi people, nor is it with members of the Iraqi army who choose to surrender.
While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency,
demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam's oppression.

         Chemical attack, treachery, and use of the innocent as human shields can be expected, as can other unethical tactics.
Take it all in stride. Be the hunter, not the hunted: never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down. Use good
judgement and act in best interests of our Nation.

      You are part of the world's most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. Share
your courage with each other as we enter the uncertain terrain north of the Line of Departure. Keep faith in your comrades
on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.

          For the mission's sake, our country's sake, and the sake of the men who carried the Division's colors in past battles -
who fought for life and never lost their nerve - carry out your mission and keep your honor clean. Demonstrate to the world
there is "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy" than a U.S. Marine.

J. N. Mattis
Major General, U.S. Marines
                         From the Battlefield …
                               The Warrior Spirit

         “Soon, our nation will call upon you, the men and women of our Navy, to
meet the next challenge in the global war on terrorism.

         When you raised your right hand, took the oath, and donned the Sailor’s
uniform, you chose to make a difference in the service of this nation – and you are.
Rest assured, your service is unquestioned; you have the support of the citizens of
the United States of America and your families. They care, and they believe in
you. Make them proud. I couldn’t be more proud to serve with you.

        You are part of the greatest joint and combined military force ever
assembled. If our Commander-in-Chief gives the signal, fight and win!”

                                    Admiral Vern Clark
                                    Chief of Naval Operations,
                                    Given just prior to the beginning of
                                    Operation Iraqi Freedom, March 2003
            “You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, and wipe it clean of life
- but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the
ground, the way the Roman Legions did - buy putting your soldiers in the mud.”

                                             T.R. Fehrenbach, from his book,
                                             “This Kind of War”

         American Soldiers in Iraq, April 2003
 Combat Graffiti, on the side of a
US M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank,
  Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom
    “No nation can long endure that does not foster a military
spirit among its young men.”
    General John J. Pershing, December 5, 1916
                               From the Battlefield ...
Email from the Iraqi front. from a U.S. Army Colonel in the Third Infantry Division. He wrote this email as a
result of being deeply angered over much of the reporting he is seeing in the American media:

          "The Third (3ID) is making history here. In the past 48 hours, we have
destroyed two (Iraqi) divisions and six other divisions decided not to fight or have
formally capitulated. Of course, this is never reported in the news. I do daily air
recon in a Blackhawk escorted by Apaches and we have probably killed close to
10,000 (Iraqi soldiers). We are continuously sniped at and receive periodic mortar
fire. Bottom line, they shoot - they die. Every American soldier (here) is getting a
chance to engage and kill the enemy. Iraq has these maniacs, death squad guys
called Saddam Feddyen, DGS forces, IIS, and Ba'ath party forces that we spend
most of our day killing. They continuously make suicidal charges at our tanks,
Brads (fighting vehicles), and checkpoints. We are happy to send them to hell. You
would not believe the carnage. Imagine body parts about knee deep, with hundreds
of (Iraqi) vehicles burning, occupants inside. We fill up trucks with body parts
daily. The plan is going exactly as scripted. The news is full of shit. We have
almost total control. Don't know how much longer the division can keep up this
pace, but we are prepared to do it."
                     “Hear My Voice, O
A Marine’s tattoo,   God, In My Prayers
picture from the      Preserve My Life
Iraqi desert :
                     From Fear of The
                          From the Battlefield ...
          “The Marne Division [3rd Infantry Division] led offensive operations into Iraq.
As a vanguard for the attack and the main effort, 3rd ID moved 750 kilometers in 21 days,
500 in the first three days. This was the farthest offensive thrust accomplished in the
shortest time period in history. The division was in contact with the enemy for all 21 days.”
                              Maj. Gen. Buford C. Blount III, Commanding General,
                              3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)

     “Do not hit at all if it can be avoided, but never hit softly.”
                                       Theodore Roosevelt
                               From the Battlefield ...
              Historian Stephen Ambrose said of the American soldier: "When soldiers from any other army,
even our allies, entered a town, the people hid in the cellars. When Americans came in, even into German
towns, it meant smiles, chocolate bars and C-rations." Ours has always been an army like no other, because our
soldiers reflect a society unlike any other. They are pitiless when confronted by armed enemy fighters and yet
full of compassion for civilians and even defeated enemies. American soldiers immediately began saving Iraqi
lives at the conclusion of any fight. Medics later said that the Iraqi wounded they treated were astounded by our
compassion. They expected they would be left to suffer or die. I witnessed Iraqi paramilitary troops using
women and children as human shields, turning grade schools into fortresses, and defiling their own holy sites.
Time and again, I saw Americans taking unnecessary risks to clear buildings without firing or using grenades,
because it might injure civilians. I stood in awe as 19-year-olds refused to return enemy fire because it was
coming from a mosque. It was American soldiers who handed over food to hungry Iraqis, who gave their own
medical supplies to Iraqi doctors, and who brought water to the thirsty. It was American soldiers who went
door-to-door in a slum because a girl was rumored to have been injured in the fighting; when they found her,
they called in a helicopter to take her to an Army hospital. It was American soldiers who wept when a three-
year-old was carried out of the rubble where she had been killed by Iraqi mortar fire. It was American soldiers
who cleaned up houses they had been fighting over and later occupied-they wanted the places to look at least
somewhat tidy when the residents returned. It was these same soldiers who stormed to Baghdad in only a
couple of weeks, accepted the surrender of three Iraqi Army divisions, massacred any Republican Guard unit
that stood and fought, and disposed of a dictator and a regime with ruthless efficiency. There is no other army-
and there are no other soldiers-in the world capable of such merciless fighting and possessed of such
compassion for their fellow man. No society except America could have produced them.”
              By Mr. Lacey, a Time magazine correspondent, was embedded with the 101st Airborne Division.
We Love Our Children ….
                        …. And theirs too!

           “Here's the really special part -- while our troops are devastatingly lethal, with the
same heart, we watched as they were just as likely to share their water with thirsty people, or pass
out portions of their own rations to a starving man, hug a frightened child. No subjugation, no
occupation, no brutality, only joy at seeing an oppressed peoples' reaction to their first taste of

             The world is witnessing first hand, live on television, the hearts of American warriors --
and the spirit and pride only displayed by magnificent young men and women who are volunteers
in the fight for the cause of freedom. It's all about heart. I'm proud just to be associated with them.”
           by Colonel. A.J. Stewart, 71st Flying Training Wing commander
Our soldiers pray for peace …..

                         "Urge all of your men to
                pray, not alone in church, but
                everywhere. Pray when driving.
                Pray when fighting. Pray alone.
                Pray with others. Pray by night and
                pray by day. Pray for the cessation
                of immoderate rains, for good
                weather for Battle. Pray for the
                defeat of our wicked enemy whose
                banner is injustice and whose good
                is oppression. Pray for victory.
                Pray for our Army, and Pray for
                Peace. We must march together, all
                out for God.

                George S. Patton Jr.
  … and are willing to fight like hell for it!

“… stand firm in the faith; be
men of courage; be strong.          „Lord, make me an
Do everything in love.”          instrument of Thy peace.”
1 Corinthians 16:13-14           Prayer of St. Francis
                               From the Battlefield …
                                   Unsung Hero

March 31, 2003. Soldier risks life to rescue civilian caught in the crossfire
“We’ve got to get her off that bridge”
          The elderly woman got stuck in a haze of smoke and bullets as she tried to cross a
bridge south of Baghdad, she had a bullet wound to her lower torso. Capt. Chris Carter (a
Company Commander with 3/7 Cav, 3ID) did not hesitate. He ordered his Bradley armored
vehicle onto the bridge while he and two men followed on foot. Taking cover from Iraqi bullets
behind the bridge's iron beams, Carter tossed a smoke grenade for cover and dashed toward the
crying woman. Then the 31-year-old company commander pointed his M-16 rifle and provided
cover for his men to carry the wounded woman to the safety of an ambulance.
By Jeordan Legon, CNN correspondent
                    From the Battlefield ...
       While out on what he called "battlefield circulation," Col.
Hodges, Commander, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division,
surveying suspected enemy positions with one of his battalion
commanders when a soldier yelled "Incoming" to alert
everyone that mortar shells were headed our way. A few
soldiers moved closer to a wall, but Hodges and Hughes
never budged and only briefly glanced up when the rounds hit
a few hundred yards away. As Hodges completed his review
and prepared to leave, another young soldier asked him
when they would get to kill whoever was firing the mortar.
Hodges smiled and said, "Don't be in a hurry to kill him.
They might replace that guy with someone who can
                  From the Battlefield ...
                  ”Wish You Were Here”
                     For all the free people that still protest.
    You're welcome. We protect you and you are protected by the best.
          Your voice is strong and loud, but who will fight for you?
                          No one standing in your crowd.
We are your fathers, brothers, and sons, wearing the boots and carrying guns.
                     We are the ones that leave all we own,
                  to make sure your future is carved in stone.
                       We are the ones who fight and die,
        We might not be able to save the world, Well, at least we try.
                    We walked the paths to where we are at
                     and we want no choice other than that.
                   so when you rally your group to complain,
                      take a look in the back of your brain.
                        In order for that flag you love to fly
                wars must be fought and young men must die.
              We came here to fight for the ones we hold dear.
              If that's not respected, we would rather stay here.
                  So please stop yelling, put down your signs,
                     and pray for those behind enemy lines.
                    When the conflict is over and all is well,
                  be thankful that we chose to go through hell.

               By Corporal Joshua Miles and all the Marines
          from 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines, Kuwait, March 09, 2003
      From the Battlefield …
          Unsung Hero
By Jeordan Legon, CNN Correspondent. Marine Lance Cpl. Jose
Antonio Gutierrez, age 22, was orphaned at the age of 7 and grew up
homeless in the streets of Guatemala City. At age 14 while yearning for
a better life, the strong-willed youth left Guatemala, on a 2,000 mile
journey, hopping trains and hitchhiking through Mexico until he reached
the United States. He was later granted legal resident status and went to
high school and college in California before joining the Marines in
March 2002. Wanting to be an Architect, he put off college to serve his
adopted country. With only a year in the service, LCPL Gutierrez was
Killed In Action March 21, 2003 in a firefight near the Iraqi port city of
Umm Qasr. He was one of the first U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, even
though he was not yet a citizen of the United States. He enjoyed
writing poetry and in 2000 he wrote a poem titled, "Letter to God,"
which was read at his funeral. "Thank you for permitting me to live
another year, thank you for what I have, for the type of person I am,
for my dreams that don't die, May the firearms be silent and the
teachings of love flourish.”
            Jackie Baker, the LCPL Gutierrez foster parent’s adult
daughter, said that Gutierrez "wanted to give the United States what the
United States gave to him. He came with nothing. This country gave
him everything."
                          From the Battlefield ...
        “My spotter positively identified a target at 1,400 meters
carrying an RPG [Rocket Propelled Grenade] on a water tower. I
 engaged the target. The top half of the torso fell forward out of
     the tower and the lower portion remained in the tower.”
       A Sniper with the 325th PIR / 82nd Airborne Division
         (from Operation Iraqi Freedom, PEO Soldier Lessons Learned, LTC Jim Smith, 15 May 2003)
                                   From the Battlefield …
                                       Unsung Hero

Marine makes heartbreaking decision.
Major deploys to Middle East while his 6-month-old baby gets a new heart
By Jeordan Legon, CNN Correspondent
            Marine Major Hal Sellers, age 37, Executive Officer, with the Marine's 3rd Light Armored
Reconnaissance Battalion deployed with his unit while his newborn son was in need of a life-saving heart
transplant. He faced a seemingly impossible decision. Take a desk job with the Marines in Twentynine Palms
so he could be with his ailing baby or be deployed to the Middle East with his unit. Sellers, a 13-year veteran
of the Marines who is his unit's second in command, chose to serve overseas. “It was not an easy decision to
make, but I felt it was the right decision to make," said the 37-year-old Sellers during a recent television
interview from Kuwait. "I joined the Marine Corps voluntarily and not just for those times when it's easy."
MAJ Seller’s son, Dillon, who was born with a heart that was unable to pump blood, got a transplanted organ
on March 12. Doctors say he's recovering well. So well, the infant was sent home in the arms of mom, Betsy,
on April 17, 2003.
                     From the Battlefield ...
          Before I end this I want to point out one other quality of the American
soldier: his sense of justice. After a grueling fight, a company of infantrymen was
resting and opening their first mail delivery of the war. One of the young soldiers
had received a care package and was sharing the home-baked cookies with his
friends. A photographer with a heavy French accent asked if he could have one.
The soldier looked him over and said there would be no cookies for Frenchmen.
The photographer then protested that he was half Italian. Without missing a beat,
the soldier broke a cookie in half and gave it to him. It was a perfect moment and a
perfect reflection of the American soldier.
          By Mr. Lacey, a Time magazine correspondent, was embedded with the
101st Airborne Division.
                                     From the Battlefield …
                                         Unsung Hero

                                                 LTC Hughes,
                                             controlling the crowd
                                               and his soldiers

             Bravery inspires men, but brains and quick thinking win wars. In one particularly tense moment a
company of U.S. soldiers was preparing to guard the Mosque of Ali-one of the most sacred Muslim sites-when
agitators in what had been a friendly crowd started shouting that they were going to storm the mosque. In an instant,
the Iraqis began to chant and a riot seemed imminent. A couple of nervous soldiers slid their weapons into fire mode,
and I thought we were only moments away from a slaughter. These soldiers had just fought an all-night battle. They
were exhausted, tense, and prepared to crush any riot with violence of their own. But they were also professionals,
and so, when their battalion commander, LTC Chris Hughes, ordered them to take a knee, point their weapons to the
ground, and start smiling, that is exactly what they did. Calm returned. By placing his men in the most non-
threatening posture possible, Hughes had sapped the crowd of its aggression. Quick thinking and iron discipline had
reversed an ugly situation and averted disaster. Since then, I have often wondered how we created an army of men
who could fight with ruthless savagery all night and then respond so easily to an order to "smile" while under
impending threat.
By Mr. Lacey, a Time magazine correspondent, was embedded with the 101st Airborne Division.
                        From the Homefront ...

                                From the New York Post.

Just when you think you've heard it all.

May 6, 2003 -- John Belushi would have loved it. Restaurant workers at the United
Nations cafeteria staged an impromptu strike last Friday in a dispute over a new
contractor's refusal to honor their vacation pay. That left delegates and others -
including Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members of the Security Council - unable
to find anyone to serve their meals or clean their tables. OK. Things like that happen.
But guess what happened next. The high-end U.N. crowd went wild, grabbing
everything that wasn't bolted down, including $10,000 worth of food - including a raid
on the delegate lounge bar, which was stripped clean of liquor. Even the cafeteria
silverware disappeared en masse. And this is the outfit that wants to administer the
rebuilding of Iraq?
                            From the Battlefield …
                                   The Warrior Spirit

           Above picture is of PVT2 Christopher Nauman, from TF3-15, 2BCT, 3ID, lying on a
stretcher after being wounded during combat operations at Objective Curley, a key highway
intersection on the outskirts of Baghdad, April 07, 2003. After US Forces arrived this
objective they were completely surrounded by an enemy force of about 200-300 soldiers.
During the 7 hour fire fight, PVT2 Nauman was wounded and while being prepared to be
evacuated to an aid station on a stretcher he insisted on taking his shotgun with him as he
evacuated. He shot an enemy soldier who popped up from the rubble while he was on the
litter being carried to the aid station, perhaps saving not only his own life, but also the lives
of his two litter bearers.
                                  From the Homefront ...
            As reported by the wife of General B.B. Bell, Katie Bell, April 9, 2003, while visiting soldiers
who had been wounded, :
            A soldier, wounded in Operations Iraqi Freedom, from Alabama, spoke to General B.B. Bell,
while lying in a hospital bed in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.
            As reported by Katie Bell: This soldier had a bullet that entered his lower abdomen and
traveled up and exited through his back. He was on oxygen but pulled the mask off and refused to put it
back on. He wanted to tell General Bell that he had met him at Fort Knox when he was there for his initial
training. He was 21 years old and had been married for one year. He was frantic to know about his
buddies, where they were, how they were doing. He said he had such guilt about leaving them. He looked
at me as if he were deciding whether he should say something or not. Then he somehow raised himself up
on an elbow, took B. B.' s hand and said,
            "Sir, when I got hit I want you to know that I took a couple of the sons of bitches down.”
            She continued, “The soldier who had lost both legs said, in response to B. B. asking him what he
could do for him, "Sir, I am fine. I have everything I need. I have nothing to complain about.” Well, that
was it for me. I just cried. I left the room but the soldier asked me to come back. "M'am.don't cry for me.
Let's pray for all who are carrying on." Even now I have to cry. I was wearing a HOOAH pin that Patty
Shinseki gave me and I took it off and gave it to him. Today, for the first time ever, I was in the presence of
real heroes, indescribable bravery and I can't tell you how honored I am to have touched them. I held their
hands and told them all how proud we and the nation are and that I love them. At the end of the visit I was
totally wrung out and just wanted to get home and go in my room and be by myself and thank God for these
young men and women who are giving so much.”
                From the Battlefield …
                     The Warrior Spirit

        At one point during an American attack against Iraqi
military forces, a squadron commander's driver, Pfc.
Randall Duke Newcomb, steered the Humvee with one
hand and his knees while emptying two magazines of
M-16 rounds and two 40mm grenades out the window.
                 From the Battlefield …
                      The Warrior Spirit

        “No one bitching. These fine troopers have been down
the road and want follow on forces to be prepared. Not once
was I asked when they would be going home. They had just
come out of 7 days of continuous combat ops, gotten a good
night's sleep, pulled some maintenance and are rearing to get
on with the job. I did not observe any loss of focus or shirking
by the troops. As one 1SG put it "Even the meatball's seem to
get their act together when the bullets fly!" VICTORY!!!”
SFC Cooper, V Corps Master Gunner
                           From the Battlefield …
                    The Enduring Human Elements of Combat
         Email excerpts from a First Sergeant, 24th MEU, from his "Lessons Learned"

          "Get your Marines mail to them even if it means shooting your way to them
with LAV's. They get mail and they will do anything for you." "Use the Satellite Phone -
Forget the cost. Grab a few young Marines when you can and let them call home - that
Marine could lead the entire Bn after he talks to his wife after a fire fight."' A can of
dip, cigar, pack of smokes and a hand shake go along way. A cup of coffee helps - Make
a cup if you can and give half to a young Marine at stand to and he will remember it.
Buy a short waive radio and get the news. Write it down under a poncho at 0200. Get
the baseball scores out to the Marines and you are a hero. Have all the e-mail
addresses of your Marine's wives - Get to any HHQ and send a blanket e-mail to all of
them. Promote your Marines on time if you can - We promoted a Marine in 81's to Merit
SSgt in the field a few hours after a fire fight - Can't begin to put a price on that.
Ensure your Marines write letters on anything they can get their hands on - MRE boxes
work great. I put a ammo can on my vehicle for outgoing mail. Get the mail out. There
is always a way. Pass if off to other units if you have to. Find a helo and give him your
mail. Give him a can of dip to do it for you.
                                From the Battlefield ...
                             Marine Lance Corporal Brian Buesing,
                             Age 21, Killed In Action,
                             March 23, 2003 near Nasiriya, Iraq
                                                                                       Martin Savidge

                                  Young Men Like This
            Martin Savidge of CNN, embedded with the 1st Marine battalion, was talking with 4 young
Marines near his foxhole this morning live on CNN. He had been telling the story of how well the
Marines had been looking out for and taking care of him since the war started. He went on to tell about
the many hardships the Marines had endured since the war began and how they all look after one
another. He turned to the four and said he had cleared it with their commanders and they could use his
video phone to call home. The 19 year old Marine next to him asked Martin if he would allow his
platoon sergeant to use his call to call his pregnant wife back home whom he had not been able to talk to
in three months. A stunned Savidge who was visibly moved by the request shook his head and the young
Marine ran to get the sergeant. Savidge recovered after a few seconds and turned back to the three young
Marines still sitting with him and asked which one of them would like to call home first, the Marine
closest to him responded with out a moments hesitation " Sir, if is all the same to you we would like to
call the parents of a buddy of ours, Lance Cpl Brian Buesing of Cedar Key, Florida who was killed on 3-
23-03 near Nasiriya to see how they are doing". At that Martin Savidge totally broke down and was
unable to speak. All he could get out before signing off was "Where do they get young men like this?"
                                    From the Homefront ...
                            Army Private First Class Howard Johnson,
                            Killed In Action, Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom
              “I want to tell you of an experience I had Thursday night flying home from Atlanta. The pilot came on
the intercom and went through the usual announcements telling us that "we're just east of Montgomery cruising at
28,000 feet" and "you've picked a beautiful night for flying, just look at the gorgeous southern sunset out of the right
side of the plane". He then, however, said this: "Please bear with me as I deviate from the script, but I want you all to
know that simply by coincidence you have been granted both the privilege and honor of escorting the body of Army
PFC Howard Johnson, Jr. home tonight. PFC Johnson was killed in Iraq defending the freedoms we all enjoy, and
fighting to extend those freedoms to the people of Iraq. We are also accompanied by PFC Johnson's cousin, Marine
Sergeant Major Talley, who has been chosen by the family to escort PFC Johnson home. Semper Fi!" The plane
quickly became very quiet, but soon erupted in thunderous applause that lasted for several minutes. It was quite moving,
to say the least. As I sat there thinking about what the pilot had said, and visualizing PFC Johnson's dead body riding
below me in the belly of that plane, I noticed a couple of things. Two rows in front of me sat a father holding his
daughter, an infant, and they were practicing "ma-ma" and in the row behind me was another young boy, probably 2 or
so, learning to count to 10. Now obviously both are too young to realize we're at war, or that one of our dead was with
us, but it made me think, and this is the point: These warriors, mostly young, all volunteers, everyday are prepared to
give their lives for our future, for a safer, more secure future for people they don't even know, all based on the principle
that fighting and dying for this country is worth it. You all know and agree with this, but not everyone does, so I would
ask that if you meet anyone that's not "on board" with this philosophy, i.e. the protesters to which Bob refers, that you
"correct the situation".
              By the way, the flight ended with all of us deplaning only to line the windows of the gate house to watch
PFC Johnson's body, draped in the American flag, be rolled out of the plane and into a waiting hearse that was
surrounded by his family members. Please pray that our soldiers' sight is acute, their aim is true, and that
as many come home as God can spare.”

Eric Dawson
                                  From the Homefront ...

                                          A Warrior Honored
             At a recent Soldiers Breakfast held at Redstone Arsenal, AL (May 2003), Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA)
Jack Tilley shared the following story. This story was captured by James Henderson, Chaplain to the Association of the U.
S. Army Redstone Huntsville Chapter.
             During the breakfast, SMA Jack Tilley described one of his recent visits to meet with some of our wounded
soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D. C.. He noted, "A Special Forces soldier had lost his right
hand and suffered severe wounds to his face and the side of his body [during Operation Iraqi Freedom]". SMA Tilley
asked, "How do you honor such a soldier, showing respect without offending? What can you say or do in such a
situation that will encourage and uplift? How do you shake the right hand of a soldier who just lost his?" Finally he
told the audience how he acted as though the man had a hand, taking his wrist as though it were his hand and
speaking encouragement to him. But he said there was another man in that group of visitors who had even brought his
wife with him to visit the wounded who knew exactly what to do. "This man reverently took this soldier's stump of a
hand in both of his hands, bowed at the bedside and prayed for him. When he stood from praying he bent over and
kissed the man on the head and told him he loved him. What a powerful expression of love for one our wounded
heroes! And what a beautiful Christ-like example! What kind of man would kneel in such humility and submission to
the Living God of the Bible?
          It was George W. Bush, President of the United States and Commander in Chief of our Armed forces, a
man who understands and follows his chain of command, a leader God has given us."
           "In a president, character is everything. You can't buy courage and decency, you can't
rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him.... He needs to have a
vision of the future he wishes to create. But a vision is worth little if a president doesn't have the
character -- the courage and heart -- to see it through." Peggy Noonan
                             These smiles don’t lie!
President Bush IS our Commander and Chief, he IS a Warrior, and the troops are proud
                                    of him!
      A reminder of sacrifices paid..... Glad to live in a state where our military is respected...
           What follows is a message from Vicki Pierce (a member of my church here in Highlands Ranch) about her
nephew James' funeral (he was serving our country in Iraq):
              I'm back, it was certainly a quick trip, but I have to also say it was one of the most amazing experiences of
my life. There is a lot to be said for growing up in a small town in Texas.
              The service itself was impressive with wonderful flowers and sprays, a portrait of James, his uniform and
boots, his awards and ribbons, his boots. There was lots of military brass and an eloquent (though inappropriately
longwinded) Baptist preacher. There were easily 1000 people at the service, filling the church sanctuary as well as the
fellowship hall and spilling out into the parking lot.
               However, the most incredible thing was what happened following the service on the way to the cemetery.
We went to our cars and drove to the cemetery escorted by at least 10 police cars with lights flashing and some other
emergency vehicles, with Texas Rangers handling traffic. Everyone on the road who was not in the procession, pulled
over, got out of their cars, and stood silently and respectfully, some put their hands over their hearts, some had small
flags. Shop keepers came outside with their customers and did the same thing. Construction workers stopped their work,
got off their equipment and put their hands over their hearts, too. There was no noise whatsoever except a few birds and
the quiet hum of cars going slowly up the road.
                When we turned off the highway suddenly there were teenage boys along both sides of the street about
every 20 feet or so, all holding large American flags on long flag poles, and again with their hands on their hearts. We
thought at first it was the Boy Scouts or 4F club or something, but it continued .... for two and a half miles. Hundreds of
young people, standing silently on the side of the road with flags. At one point we passed an elementary school, and all
the children were outside, shoulder to shoulder holding flags ... kindergartners, handicapped, teachers, staff, everyone.
Some held signs of love and support. Then came teenage girls and younger boys, all holding flags. Then adults. Then
families. All standing silently on the side of the road. No one spoke, not even the very young children. The last few turns
found people crowded together holding flags or with their hands on their hearts. Some were on horseback.
              The military presence...at least two generals, a fist full of colonels, and representatives from every branch of
the service, plus the color guard which attended James, and some who served with him ... was very impressive and
respectful, but the love and pride from this community who had lost one of their own was the most amazing thing I've ever
been privileged to witness.
              I've attached some pictures,[see next slide] some are blurry (we were moving), but you can get a small idea
of what this was like. Thanks so much for all the prayers and support.
                        From the Battlefield ...
                                                A Soldier’s Prayer

                                             “God bless my men, who now lie
                                   dead. I know not what You have in mind, but
                                   when You judge, please be kind … when they
                                   come before you, they will be poorly dressed,
                                   but will walk proudly, for they have done their
                                   best. Their boots will be muddy and their
                                   clothes all torn .. but these clothes they have
                                   so proudly worn. Their hearts will be still
                                   and cold inside, for they have fought their
                                   best and did so with pride. So please take
                                   care of them as they pass Your way .. the
                                   price of freedom they’ve already paid.”

                                   Author Unknown
Funeral service for CPT Seifert,
   101st Airborne Division
  Operation Iraqi Freedom,
          March 2003
 A Thank You
message from
    Age 5

  In this case,
 Annie speaks
 for the entire
nation in saying
“Thank You

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