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I need everyone to post about this. Kat is having her annual Fouth of July ‘Thank you’ card run, and she only has 500 cards so far. We can do better than this! She will be on the radio tomorrow at 2-3 pm EST at station AFB Radio with CJ CajunLady. Please tune in. The link to the station is America’s Freedom Broadcast Radio. On the left-hand side there is a ‘Listen now’ button. Just click on it.

The link to this radio program is AFB Radio. The link to Kat’s site is Operation Love From Home. The last day she can accept any UNSEALED ‘Thank you’ cards is June 14, 2008. Remember, they have to be read and mailed. They are read as a precaution. This is not a dating service, so don’t send love cards please!

Kat has done so much for our troops, and all we have to do is mail her some “Thank you” cards. That’s it. It’s that simple. I’m sure you all know people who would like to contribute. Don’t you remember those leftover cards you put in a drawer somewhere? Now you can use them! Not that I’m saying leftovers are okay but if that’s all you have, please send them. Help us to help her reach 5000 cards. Help her to help our men and women in uniform. Show them that you still support them.

All ‘Thank you’ cards must be signed and UNSEALED. Mail these cards to:

Mrs. Kathy Orr
OPERATION: LOVE FROM HOME
P.O. Box 1660
Loganville, Georgia 30052

If you have any questions, please contact her at LoveFromHome AT Gmail DOT com. Her site is Operation Love From Home. If you listen to the radio program, you may notice that the deadline is June 7. She has extended it, so don’t worry about being wrong. Thank you for all your support, and you may copy this if you like. ;)

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There are three trackbacks which I recommend: Open Trackback Alliance, (host an open trackpost) Linkfest Haven Deluxe, and Open TrackBack Provider Blogroll at The Blue State Conservatives for more information.

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at ‘The Crazy Rantings of Samantha Burns‘ OTA:

M. Faultline USA: It’s Either McCain Or...
W. Right Truth: PATIENT EVIL – An R.J. Godlewski / Right Truth Blog Exclusive – Chapter Three.
Th. Diary of the Mad Pigeon Lost in Space, Catholic Style.
F. The World According To Carl: Another Hate-filled Preacher (And You Thought Jeremiah Wright Was The ONLY One?).
F. Pirate’s Cove (M, F) Bush Admin Gets Wonky With Polar Bears.
D. The Yankee Sailor (M, F): Thursday Open Post.
D. Dumb Ox Daily News Einstein’s Atheism Unmasked in Letter.

Posts that I’m waiting for them to post so I can trackback:

Su. The Amboy Times: …..
Su. wall of the city. …..
Su. Gandinite: …..
Su. OneManBandwidth: …..
Su. Stageleft: …..
Su. InMuscatine: …..

M. Perri Nelson (M, W, F): …..

T. Planck’s Constant: …..

W. Stop the ACLU: …..
W. third world county (W, F): …..
W. Maggie’s Notebook (W, Wknd): …..
W. Gribbit (W, S): …..

F. Stix Blog: …..
F. Woman Honor Thyself: …..
F. 123beta (F, Wknd): …..

S. Church and State: …..
S. LyfLines: …..

D. Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker: …..
D. Conservative Cat: …..

Wknd. Oblogatory Anecdotes: …..
Wknd. Stuck on Stupid: …..
Wknd. Blue Star Chronicles: …..
Wknd The Uncooperative Blogger: …..

Posts I’ve trackposted to at Linkfest and other sites:

A NEWT ONE: My Letter To My Representatives.
Democrat=Socialist: IT’S TIME FOR TERM LIMITS.

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Posts that have trackbacked to this post:

1. Oblogatory Anecdotes: Open Trackbacks.
Here is an easy way to get a link with open trackbacks . This can help you improve your Technorati rankings…You can trackback on any subject and I will make sure you get a link to your site…
2. Leaning Straight Up: The plight of the Polar Bear: Another Eco Fraud.
Ever since Al Gore’s lie-fest misrepresented this, it has continued to grow until the face of the cute majestic polar bear has become the face of the Eco Alarmists. Every day I see TV commercials bemoaning the plight of the mighty creatures, s…
3. Leaning Straight Up: No Brainer alert: California declares marriage a constitutional right for Gays. [We already have enough signatures to put it on the ballot in November. It over 'til the fat people sing!]
The ruling comes as no surprise, really. The California Supreme Court, striking down two state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman, ruled on Thursday that same-sex couples have a constitutional righ…
4. Nuke Gingrich: Good for your heart.
A bullied office worker has been awarded £5,000 after her boss raised his right buttock from his chair and broke wind in her direction…
5. Right Truth: Terror Alert.
United States President George W. Bush is visiting Saudi Arabia begging King Abdullah to produce more oil and thus lower the price of gasoline for Americans. Pathetic. Why isn’t Bush begging Congress to produce more here at home so he…
6. Right Voices: Breaking: California Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage.
Here’s the opinion. 172 pages for you to review! AP: Read this useful bullet-point background from the Journal to get up to speed on the legal posture. Note that six of the seven justices on the court are Republicans. Will the ruling stick? Proposition 22…

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CJTF-101

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (April 24, 2008) – Elementary school children from the U.S. and Afghanistan met each other Wednesday over a video teleconference facilitated by the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, as part of a partnership program and cultural exchange. CJSOTF-A has been working with village elders, teachers, parents and students of the Jan Qadam elementary school, outside the gates of Bagram Air Field, to enable the school to become a more effective center of education. Coalition troops have been able to supply more than 1,200 students with notebooks, pens, pencils, backpacks, rules and glue to get them started on a good school year, with the help of Calvert City Elementary School in Calvert City, Kentucky.

The Jan Qadam students used a conference room on Bagram Air Field while the Calvert City students used a conference room at Fort Campbell, Ky. Young Afghan girls wearing black dresses and white scarves excitedly whispered to each other, about the pretty, colorful shirts and long loose hair of their American counterparts. The Afghan boys, dressed similar to any American child with jeans, shirts and baseball caps, fidgeted as they waited their turn to talk and answer questions.

One of the highlights of the conference was when a young, confident Afghan boy stood up and read a letter he wrote to the American students in almost perfect English. At the end of the letter he said he hoped the American students would try to learn Dari and talk to him some day.

“We have been enriched by this program,” said Phyllis O’neill, Calvert City Elementary School Principal. O’neill said she encourages her students to do volunteer work and explore other cultures to gain an understanding of those cultures. This is important for the U.S. students because it really shows them it’s not easy for other students to go to school and get an education, O’neill said. “I appreciate all the students for sending these items,” said the Jan Qadam headmaster. “We are relatively poor and all the kids here are really happy for the supplies.”

Most students wanted to know simple things about each other. They asked about school, choice of favorite foods, sports, and animals and what activities they do during recess. Some of the Afghan children tried to stump the Calvert students with riddles and they clapped joyfully when the answers came over the airwaves. However, this is not the first communications these students have had. A few months ago, some of the Calvert City students wrote letters to the Jan Qadam students and their Afghan peers are in the process of writing them back.

According to a coalition representative, the goal is for the relationship between these schools to continue in order to enrich all of the students and show the importance of education. The partnership is meant as an exchange that will continue for years; enriching the lives of both sets of students.

Students and teachers from the Jan Qadam elementary school in Bagram clap at the answer a U.S. school child gave to a riddle they asked, during their first video teleconference. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Marie Schult).

Source: CENTCOM.

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by SFC Stacy Niles
214th Fire Brigade PAO

FOB DELTA, Iraq (April 24, 2008) – The El Salvador Cuscatlán Battalion X rotation distributed 125 wheelchairs to disabled children and adults at the al-Rhama Disabled Association in al-Kut, Iraq, April 18. “I was shocked by the large number of children,” said Col. Walter Arévalo, commander of the Cuscatlán Battalion. Many of the wheelchair recipients suffer from conditions such as epilepsy, heart disease, migraines and eye and skin disorders, said Arévalo.

Hussein Kase, a 12-year-old who received a wheelchair, is mute and suffers from a skin condition in addition to being paralyzed. The chair will give him mobility, said his father Kas Salaman. “I’m very happy about this gift,” Salaman said. “It will help him move and be able to play with the other children.”

More resources are needed to increase the quality of life for these individuals, said Arévalo. People had traveled from as far away as Basra, he said, to receive assistance. “It is important for us to run this type of activity,” Arévalo said. “We like to be able to give hope to the people.”

In addition to the wheelchairs, the Salvadoran soldiers distributed 125 packets of food and school supply kits.

Salvadoran Soldiers from the Cuscatlán Battalion X rotation distributed 125 wheelchairs, food packets and school supply kits at the al-Rhama Disabled Association in al-Kut, April 18.

Source: CENTCOM.

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Department of Defense

BAGHDAD (April 21, 2008) — Recent operations in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood are part of the overall Baghdad security plan and necessary to rebuilding in the area, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman told reporters Sunday. “The Baghdad security plan is to come in and create security in Baghdad, and as the neighborhoods become safe, then we can bring in other services,” Navy Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll said in Baghdad. “In the southern part of Sadr City, they’re establishing that — an area of security.”

Specifically, coalition and Iraqi forces conducted Sadr City operations to facilitate the delivery of day-to-day essentials like food, water and some emergency medical supplies, Driscoll said. Once the area is totally secure additional service will be brought in. Larger reconstruction projects — fixing and building hospitals, and restoring electricity and water — will take time, he added. “You’ve got to have security first before you can get the people in … to do those things,” Driscoll said. “Otherwise, … construction workers will come in [and] they’ll be subject to intimidation and extortion. They’ll be threatened, and they won’t be able to get the job done.”

Thanks to $150,000,000 the Iraqi government has allocated to Sadr City, Driscoll said, he hopes the infrastructure reconstruction will begin quickly once the area is secure. Driscoll conducted the brief with Tahseen Sheikly, the civilian spokesman for Operation Fardh al-Qanoon. Sheikly said the government’s priorities are to bring basic services back online to “hot zones.” “The government of Iraq has set the priorities that such places need some good care and … providing the basic services and also getting out the projects for the infrastructure so that we can provide the best services to the inhabitants of those place,” he said. “As Prime Minister (Nouri al-)Maliki announced, … this year will be a year of construction, and it cannot be done without having a good security.” Iraqi security forces are taking the lead on providing that security with support from coalition forces, Driscoll said.

Source: CENTCOM.

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28 Aug 07
by Staff Sgt. Paula Taylor
4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs.

TAL ‘AFAR, Iraq – Soldiers of D Troop, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have a unique mission that requires several trips outside the security of Forward Operating Base Sykes.

The Soldiers, who belong to D Troop’s “Outsider” Platoon, have conducted more than 350 re-supply missions since their operations began in November, said Spc. Joseph Moore, motor transportation operator.

Most recently, the Outsiders completed their 100th mission within the past two months, delivering food and water to local villages that were devastated by vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices that killed hundreds of local citizens.

The explosions, which began the evening of Aug. 14, set in motion a chain of events that would test the fortitude of the Outsiders and keep them on the road and in harm’s way for several days. “We got word that the villages needed emergency supplies around 11 o’ clock Tuesday night,” said Pfc. Mathew Fisher, motor transport operator. “Within an hour, we were loaded up and ready to go.” The next day, the Outsiders drove 10 pallets of water and eight pallets of food and met with the reconnaissance element near the villages of Al Jezeera and Khahtaniya.

“We linked up with B Troop who showed us where we needed to go and drop our supplies,” said Moore, an Albion, Penn., native. “Fisher and Sgt. [Jason] Bedore unloaded the food and water—they were walking around and delivering to people’s doorsteps because there were children and elderly people who couldn’t carry it. They were just helping everyone out as much as possible because the destruction was pretty massive. One of the [blast] holes was about the size of a bus.”

After delivering the emergency supplies to the villages, the platoon returned to Forward Operating Base Sykes, where they had just enough time to eat dinner before loading their trucks for their next supply mission that required a trip to Combat Outpost Nimur the following morning, Aug. 16.

“They went out there to deliver a forward repair system, a field feeding kit, Class I rations such as food and water, and Class III fuel supplies,” explained their Troop commander, Capt. Kenneth McGraw. “The forward repair system is a maintenance system for repairing vehicles. It has tools and a lift for hoisting engines; it’s a mobile garage. Within the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment’s area of operations, wherever there are Soldiers, it’s our job to provide them with necessary supplies, in addition to delivering emergency supplies to locals in times of crisis.”

The platoon continued their emergency deliveries on Aug. 17 where they delivered an additional 16 pallets each of water and food to the Iraqi police stations in the villages, Fisher said. “The [vehicle borne improvised explosive device sites] were pretty sad to see,” explained Spc. Randy Johnson. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. The destruction—the houses were just leveled. There were women and a whole bunch of people crying. The terrorists were cowards for attacking innocent civilians like that; they had no means of defending themselves. They destroyed innocent lives for no reason.”

Although Johnson admits these types of catastrophes are hard to witness, he appreciates the opportunity to help the people when they need it the most. “It’s good to see smiles and watch the little kids running around with the food and water. Hopefully they forgot, at least for a couple seconds, what happened,” the Lindenwold, N.J., native explained. “I enjoy my job—driving to different [combat outposts] where our troops are and supporting them. Even the humanitarian missions are rewarding, just knowing we’re helping people out.”

McGraw shares the platoon’s enthusiasm for helping people and lauds his Soldiers’ tenacity. “I’m so proud of them.” McGraw said. “They work really hard and never complain. It’s been nice to be able to watch them grow and learn every day.”

Photo – Sgt. Marshall Wright, D Troop, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, helps members of his unit and the Iraqi Army distribute water in Al Jezeera, Iraq, Aug. 15, during a humanitarian mission. The mission, which was formulated after a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated in the village on Aug. 14, was to deliver 10 pallets of water and eight pallets of food rations to the local people affected by the blast. Photo by Sgt. Paula Taylor.

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25 Aug 07
By Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein
U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs
.

HERO CAMP, Afghanistan – Airmen and soldiers are blending medical supply logistics with a dose of Afghan National Army partnership in a dusty warehouse at ANA’s Hero Camp near Kandahar Airfield.

It’s a prescription for successful mentoring as the Afghans prepare for a new hospital opening here, said Capt. Jay Snodgrass, a medical logistics officer and ANA mentor deployed from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The American servicemembers are helping install medical equipment into a new $6.5 million, 50-bed hospital at Hero Camp. “We’re simply here to help them improve the processes they already have in place, to share with them the lessons we’ve learned about hospital administration and logistics,” Snodgrass said.

The airmen and soldiers helping transfer equipment are medical logistics, administrators and equipment technician members for their respective services assigned to the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, which is headquartered in Kabul, Afghanistan. While in Kandahar, the servicemembers work side-by-side with their Afghan counterparts, who are responsible for supplying and equipping the Hero Camp hospital, as well as other ANA clinics and brigade support throughout the region.

Mentoring doesn’t always come easy, said Tech. Sgt. Curtis Miller, a medical logistics technician from Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. While Miller’s focus is to teach Afghans how to maintain hospital equipment, he and other embedded transition team members use every available opportunity to give advice where needed. “There is a learning curve,” Miller said. “A lot of the things we take for granted in the United States, such as changing gloves for each patient, are things Afghans typically don’t consider in a hospital. We try to spend time educating them on the benefits of sanitation and ways to prevent infection.”

Miller said when he first began as a mentor, he was a little unsure how a young, American noncommissioned officer would come across to an Afghan military man who has served longer than the sergeant has been alive. It was unnerving to say the least. “There is an Afghan colonel we work with who was put in prison during the Russian occupation two decades ago,” Miller said. “He was given execution orders and was two days away from being put to death when the Russians pulled out of Afghanistan — two days away from being killed. Now, he has those orders on display in his office. You see this and you think, man, these guys have been through a lot.”

Nevertheless, the Afghan officials are eager to learn and work with their American mentors.

“My mentor, Captain Snodgrass, and I are very close,” said Afghan Maj. Abdul Ghafar, the 205th Hero Corps warehouse commander. “The Americans work fairly with each other and with us. We interact as equals.”

The relationship between the Americans and Afghans is a result of respect and tolerance from both sides, Snodgrass said. “Major Ghabar has 27 years military experience,” he said. “He knows a lot about leading troops and warfare. What he doesn’t have full knowledge of is how to manage a warehouse of this magnitude, to take care of the logistics of supplying a hospital and an entire region with 30,000 troops. So, that’s why I’m here, to help him become familiar with the various processes.” Snodgrass pointed out that the Americans are not there to impose their way of life on the Afghan people. Instead, they are learning from each other.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations about our different cultures,” he said. “They wanted to know about some of the Christian holidays I celebrate. It’s not a big deal to them that I practice a different religion than they do.”

At the same time, Snodgrass and his team of Americans try to accommodate the Islamic traditions of the Afghans into their work. “We try to work around their prayer schedule,” he said. “Sometimes, we have to keep working through the prayer times, but then we step away and give them their space to lay out their prayer rugs and do what they need to do. We try to be aware of their holidays, too. For example, I won’t eat or drink in front of them during Ramadan, when they fast. When it comes down to it, it’s just about respecting each other.”

Snodgrass said he is confident about Ghabar’s leadership, and that the hospital and its warehouse will do well in the future as the Afghans gain experience in stocking and equipping such a vital mission. “What we are doing here is just part of an overall mission to help Afghans stand up a viable, safe, world-class healthcare system,” he said. “The day they can take on these operations themselves without our assistance will be a very good day for all of us.”

Photo – U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Doug Suddueth (bottom left) and Army Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rivas move a load of medical equipment to a truck Aug. 18 in Afghanistan. Suddueth is deployed from Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Rivas is deployed from Fort Sam Houston, Texas. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi.

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21 Aug 07
by Staff Sgt. Les Waters
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
.

MANAS AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan (AFPN) – Members of the 376th Expeditionary Medical Group recently saw their efforts come to fruition during a hand-over ceremony of humanitarian medical equipment from the United States to three hospitals in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, as part of Operation Provide Hope.

The largest single U.S.-assistance project for Kyrgyzstan since its independence, Operation Provide Hope is a humanitarian medical program coordinated by the State Department and supported by the Department of Defense and private donors.

This summer, the 376th EMDG worked closely with the State Department to inventory, inspect, install and train on millions of dollars of medical equipment to improve medical capability in three local hospitals. Bishkek City Hospital No. 4 (Center for Scientific Research), Bishkek City Hospital No. 1 and the National Center of Oncology were selected by the State Department to receive the equipment.

“It was a great pleasure to work with the U.S. Department of State and support the Operation Provide Hope hospital upgrade mission to the Kyrgyz Republic,” said Col. David Hocking, 376th EMDG commander.

The hope is that the upgraded equipment will translate into enhanced medical care for patients.

“It was like you are taking a good thing and making it better,” said Maj. Stephanie Gardner, 376th EMDG nurse anesthetist. “The care that is given in the hospitals is excellent, and the hope is that the equipment will make things easier to provide even better care. I feel like I helped them to ease the workload so they can concentrate on continuing to give excellent care.”

The ceremony was held at the National Center of Oncology, one of the locations Major Gardner helped install equipment and train people. “I had a hand in training the medical staff and setting up … I guess I felt like a proud parent because the equipment was all set up and the hospital looked really nice,” said Major Gardner. Part of the training the base medical staff provided included reviewing and highlighting equipment-operating manuals for translation, as well as assisting at all the locations that received equipment. It is training that is ongoing.

“We will continue to provide assistance and on-going training as much as the mission permits,” said Maj. Melissa Rokey, 376th EMDG administrator and project officer for this operation. “This ongoing assistance will hopefully further develop the relationship between our staff and the local hospital staff. This relationship is extremely important in many ways, to include our continual awareness of their ability to help support us in case of any contingency. It is our hope that we can continue giving something back to the community and their medical staff.”

Colonel Hocking said that the assistance translates on a larger scale the relationship between the two countries. “The critical support provided by our team ensured the overall success of this operation and demonstrated to the Kyrgyz people we’re a deeply compassionate nation as well,” Colonel Hocking said.

It was a team effort beyond the medical group. None of this would have been possible without the C-17 Globemaster IIIs bringing in the pallets and then maintainers and logistics Airman unloading it onto other vehicles. Security forces also arranged base entry for vehicles to take the equipment downtown.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the efforts … from unpacking boxes, to installing the equipment, to training, our team performed flawlessly and still never missed a beat in our primary mission at Manas AB,” said Colonel Hocking. Humanitarian assistance through Operation Provide Hope totals approximately $42.3 million over the past three years. The project was coordinated with the government of Kyrgyzstan, including the executive administration of the prime minister and the Ministry of Health.

Photo – Maj. Stephanie Gardner provides training to Chinara Djanaera, an operating nurse from the National Center of Oncology, following the hand-over ceremony of humanitarian medial equipment from the 376th Expeditonary Medical Group to three hospitals in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Col. David Hocking, 376th EMDG commander, and two other nurses observe the training. The National Center of Oncology was one of three hospitals to receive the medical equipment. Major Gardner is a nurse anesthetist with the 376th EMDG. U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Les Waters.

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