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Archive for June, 2008

If I were to mention Cindy Sheehan, would you know whom I was referring to? Then why is it there are only 32 articles on the deaths of these three marvelous men who were out there fighting for and protecting us from another 9/11/2001? I am amazed and disgusted. Could it be that by googling his name, I made an error? I did not see it on one single major paper’s site. Why not?

Could it be because these men were REAL men? This is such a great loss, they have given so much during their lives. I know the old saying is true: It is not how long you live; what matters is what you do while you are alive.

I would like to thank Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai for all the help he provided to us for the cause of Life, Liberty and pursuit of property while over seas. He did so much for so many during his time in the service, whether he was in or out of the combat zone.

This past Thursday, three of our lovely men have fallen. There names and ages:

Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai, 42, of Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Capt. Philip J. Dykeman, 38, of Brockport, N.Y.
Cpl. Marcus W. Preudhomme, 23, of North Miami Beach, Fla.

The Marines were assigned to 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

For additional background information on these Marines, news media representatives may contact the Marine Corps Base Hawaii public affairs office at (808) 257-8840/70.

Bob Ellis
USN 80-86

In Memory of Ed “OldIron” Barrett

“Remember that no matter how many missions you have been on, all that matters to the family is the one you are on today.” ~ Roert

Source: DoD Identifies Marine Casualties, Patriot Guard Riders.

Here is some of the activies of that day, as best as I can gather. They were killed in the town of Karmah in Anbar province, about 30 miles west of Baghdad, by a suicide bomber who disguised himself as a police officer. This occurred during a meeting with tribal sheiks opposed to AQI. There are rumors that two Iraqi interpreters, a local mayor, and several important tribal sheiks were also killed, but the DoD would only confirm the deaths of the Marines.

When this happened, there were just two days left before the transition was to be made to the Iraqis to take full responsibility of this very region. They are saying that bad weather had postponed the handover, but if you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn…

On the brighter side, if there could be one, 10 of the 18 provinces have been returned to the control of the Iraqis. The eight provinces that are left are dominated by the Kurdish and Shi’ites.

Here is a little insight into WHO Lt. Col. Max Galeai was:

Friends yesterday remembered Galeai, of Pago Pago, American Samoa, as a dedicated family man, a natural leader and a caring buddy who would never burden others with his problems. Just last week, in the midst of his deployment in Iraq, he sent e-mails to friends with jokes about the hot weather and friendly queries about how they were doing.

“I’m trying to cope with the fact that he’s no longer with us,” said Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Taumaoe Gaoteote, of California, a longtime friend. “I didn’t know how to react when I heard. I never thought it would actually happen to him.”

In a newsletter for families of Kane’ohe-based Marines, Galeai wrote in February that during the deployment, battalion members would be “working with Iraqi police, Iraqi army and other(s) … as we help the Iraqi people establish the conditions necessary for them to assume responsibility for their own security and local governance.”

One of Galeai’s friends, Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Paul Moniz, of New York, said he heard from Galeai about a week ago in an e-mail. Galeai didn’t talk much about what he was doing in Iraq, but made sure to ask Moniz about how he was holding up. “He was a friend, mentor, bigger than life, extremely bright, just one of those guys,” Moniz said. Moniz, who used to work under Galeai, said the officer always “sunk his teeth into his work” and expected a lot from people, but also praised them when they delivered. “He was definitely an inspirational guy. He was caring, compassionate.”

Master Sgt. Brett W. Beard, of California, also used to work under Galeai and quickly befriended him. “He just made it super easy to go out there to work day after day,” Galeai said. “His first love was always leading Marines.”

Source: Suicide bomber kills 3 Hawaii Marines, HonoluluAdvertiser.com.

But this is not all there was to these men. No, not by a long shot. These men were heroes and commanders! Lt. Col. Galeai was on his second tour in Iraq. He had served in the Marines in Virginia, California, Okinawa and elsewhere. In the time between 1988 until his death, he had earned and was awarded two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart and five Meritorious Service medals. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and four children.

Cpt. Dykeman was the leader of Fox Company. He had been awarded a host of medals, including the Purple Heart. Preudhomme’s awards include the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon. Yes, these men did not back down when the fighting got tough. They got tougher. If you don’t like that, then go live as a slave in another country. You are killing mine.

Back to the post…

This is a very sad post, please forgive me. I wish I could make it different. I truly do. I’ve never one like this before, and I do not have the words. Therefore please allow me to use the words of our dear friends over at the Gathering of Eagles:

It is with great sadness that I must report that a very good Marine and a friend of the Gathering of Eagles, Lt. Col Max Galeai, has died in Iraq. Max was the CO of the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment , which Gathering of Eagles Hawaii Chapter has been supporting with Kona coffee, during their deployment in al Anbar Iraq.

Max died on Thursday, June 26th, 2008 along with two other good Marines, and a number of Iraqi local dignitaries that he was meeting with in al Karmah. An AQI suicide bomber , dressed as an Iraqi policemen detonated himself to cause the deaths. You can read the details here: Honolulu Advertiser.

I had come to consider Max Galeai a personal friend , having exchanged at least a 1/2 dozen e-mails with him recently over the coffee project, Operation Jarhead Java -Kona for the Corps. Max’s words to me were always so kind and respectful, I considered it an honor to receive each one of his communications.

Just last week a package arrived in the post for me , from Iraq. It was a beautiful United States flag, perfectly folded, along with a document personally signed by Lt.Col Galeai, stating exactly where and when it had been flown (Fallujah). This flag has now become a sacred treasure to me .

Rest in eternal peace Max. Captain Dykeman and Cpl Preudhomme too. We will never forget you, and may God bless you greatly for your sacrifice for our dear country.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

I wish I had the proper words to say, but I do not. What a sad state of affairs when the only press you receive is if you are AGAINST the country so many of us love and are willing to give our lives for. May you rot in hell, AP.

Cross-posted @ The Talon and Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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If I were to mention Cindy Sheehan, would you know whom I was referring to? Then why is it that there are 32 articles on the deaths of these three marvelous men who were out there fighting for and protecting us from another 9/11/2001? I am amazed and disgusted. Could it be that by googling his name, I made an error? I did not see it on one single major paper’s site. Why not?

Could it be because these men were REAL men? This is such a great loss, they have given so much during their lives. I know the old saying is true: It is not how long you live; what matters is what you do while you are alive.

I would like to thank Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai for all the help he provided to us for the cause of Life, Liberty and pursuit of property while over seas. He did so much for so many during his time in the service, whether he was in or out of the combat zone.

This past Thursday, three of our lovely men have fallen. There names and ages:

Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai, 42, of Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Capt. Philip J. Dykeman, 38, of Brockport, N.Y.
Cpl. Marcus W. Preudhomme, 23, of North Miami Beach, Fla.

The Marines were assigned to 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

For additional background information on these Marines, news media representatives may contact the Marine Corps Base Hawaii public affairs office at (808) 257-8840/70.

Bob Ellis
USN 80-86

In Memory of Ed “OldIron” Barrett

“Remember that no matter how many missions you have been on, all that matters to the family is the one you are on today.” ~ Roert

Source: DoD Identifies Marine Casualties, Patriot Guard Riders.

Here is some of the activies of that day, as best as I can gather. They were killed in the town of Karmah in Anbar province, about 30 miles west of Baghdad, by a suicide bomber who disguised himself as a police officer. This occurred during a meeting with tribal sheiks opposed to AQI. There are rumors that two Iraqi interpreters, a local mayor, and several important tribal sheiks were also killed, but the DoD would only confirm the deaths of the Marines.

When this happened, there were just two days left before the transition was to be made to the Iraqis to take full responsibility of this very region. They are saying that bad weather had postponed the handover, but if you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn…

On the brighter side, if there could be one, 10 of the 18 provinces have been returned to the control of the Iraqis. The eight provinces that are left are dominated by the Kurdish and Shi’ites.

Here is a little insight into WHO Lt. Col. Max Galeai was:

Friends yesterday remembered Galeai, of Pago Pago, American Samoa, as a dedicated family man, a natural leader and a caring buddy who would never burden others with his problems. Just last week, in the midst of his deployment in Iraq, he sent e-mails to friends with jokes about the hot weather and friendly queries about how they were doing.

“I’m trying to cope with the fact that he’s no longer with us,” said Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Taumaoe Gaoteote, of California, a longtime friend. “I didn’t know how to react when I heard. I never thought it would actually happen to him.”

In a newsletter for families of Kane’ohe-based Marines, Galeai wrote in February that during the deployment, battalion members would be “working with Iraqi police, Iraqi army and other(s) … as we help the Iraqi people establish the conditions necessary for them to assume responsibility for their own security and local governance.”

One of Galeai’s friends, Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Paul Moniz, of New York, said he heard from Galeai about a week ago in an e-mail. Galeai didn’t talk much about what he was doing in Iraq, but made sure to ask Moniz about how he was holding up. “He was a friend, mentor, bigger than life, extremely bright, just one of those guys,” Moniz said. Moniz, who used to work under Galeai, said the officer always “sunk his teeth into his work” and expected a lot from people, but also praised them when they delivered. “He was definitely an inspirational guy. He was caring, compassionate.”

Master Sgt. Brett W. Beard, of California, also used to work under Galeai and quickly befriended him. “He just made it super easy to go out there to work day after day,” Galeai said. “His first love was always leading Marines.”

Source: Suicide bomber kills 3 Hawaii Marines, HonoluluAdvertiser.com.

But this is not all there was to these men. No, not by a long shot. These men were heroes and commanders! Lt. Col. Galeai was on his second tour in Iraq. He had served in the Marines in Virginia, California, Okinawa and elsewhere. In the time between 1988 until his death, he had earned and was awarded two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart and five Meritorious Service medals. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and four children.

Cpt. Dykeman was the leader of Fox Company. He had been awarded a host of medals, including the Purple Heart. Preudhomme’s awards include the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon. Yes, these men did not back down when the fighting got tough. They got tougher. If you don’t like that, then go live as a slave in another country. You are killing mine.

Back to the post…

This is a very sad post, please forgive me. I wish I could make it different. I truly do. I’ve never one like this before, and I do not have the words. Therefore please allow me to use the words of our dear friends over at the Gathering of Eagles:

It is with great sadness that I must report that a very good Marine and a friend of the Gathering of Eagles, Lt. Col Max Galeai, has died in Iraq. Max was the CO of the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment , which Gathering of Eagles Hawaii Chapter has been supporting with Kona coffee, during their deployment in al Anbar Iraq.

Max died on Thursday, June 26th, 2008 along with two other good Marines, and a number of Iraqi local dignitaries that he was meeting with in al Karmah. An AQI suicide bomber , dressed as an Iraqi policemen detonated himself to cause the deaths. You can read the details here: Honolulu Advertiser.

I had come to consider Max Galeai a personal friend , having exchanged at least a 1/2 dozen e-mails with him recently over the coffee project, Operation Jarhead Java -Kona for the Corps.
Max’s words to me were always so kind and respectful, I considered it an honor to receive each one of his communications.

Just last week a package arrived in the post for me , from Iraq. It was a beautiful United States flag, perfectly folded, along with a document personally signed by Lt.Col Galeai, stating exactly where and when it had been flown (Fallujah).

This flag has now become a sacred treasure to me .

Rest in eternal peace Max. Captain Dykeman and Cpl Preudhomme too. We will never forget you, and may God bless you greatly for your sacrifice for our dear country.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

I wish I had the proper words to say, but I do not. What a sad state of affairs when the only press you receive is if you are AGAINST the country so many of us love and are willing to give our lives for. May you rot in hell, AP.

Cross-posted @ The Talon and Rosemary’s News and Ideas.

This post is also open for trackbacks at Rosemary’s News and Ideas. Thank you. (If you do not feel like going over there to trackback, you may do so here. It will take longer, though. That is why I switched it. lol.) 😉

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Founders’ Daily Quote

Monday, 30 June 2008

“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.”

Source –Benjamin Franklin (letter to Benjamin Vaughn, 14 March 1783).
Reference: Respectfully Quoted, p. 201

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by Cpl. Chris Lyttle
RCT-1 PAO

FALLUJAH, Iraq (June 24, 2008) – The joint security station in the Khadairy District of Fallujah is now home solely to Iraqi police, as Company K, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, detached from the station in a step toward transitioning security to IPs, June 18. IPs will continue their daily tasks here on their own as part of the transition of security from coalition forces.

“We really didn’t ‘de-militarize’ it, we more or less unpartnered,” said 1st Lt. Cory Colistra, platoon commander, 3rd Platoon. “We left the station intact. It’s an IP station now instead of a joint security station. We continue to work with them every day. The mission is to transition provincial Iraqi control and this is a physical example of being one step closer to mission accomplishment. The idea is that the Iraqis are taking over and we’re there as a backstop to support their operations. Doing that allows the IPs to directly provide security and stability while the Marines indirectly influence that end state.”

The purpose of JSS Khadairy, which was in operation for more than a year, was for coalition forces to transition security to Iraqi police led counterinsurgency operations while maintaining the security of the precinct. As the IPs have stepped up to conduct missions on their own, Colistra said the only change to daily tasks are the Marines’ responsibilities. “The mission and operations don’t change, but our method has transitioned to more of a support role,” Colistra said. “The Marines will advise the IPs on certain tactical issues, but it is the IPs who are running their own show. We will be in that overwatch position and step up when needed. This builds confidence for both the (Iraqi security forces) and the local nationals and that’s all they need. We’re slowly taking a step back, allowing the ISF to step up and they’re gaining control of their city one day at a time.”

Accomplishments at the JSS came through partnered operations that built the IPs’ skill capacity. The IPs learned to properly guard their compound, patrol the streets and perform operations in their district, resulting in decreased insurgent activity. In turn, IPs positively influenced their local population. Colistra described how this transition is similar to how a Marine unit relinquishes command to another unit.

“I would compare it to turning my battle position over to another Marine platoon, but (in this case) we’re turning it over to the IPs,” Colistra said. “They are in control of their precinct – it is their area of operations. Now if we want to go into their AO, we will conduct cross boundary coordination with them. It is as if we were to go into an adjacent platoon’s AO. We would coordinate with them, let them know where we’re going and see if they can support us in any way. So I would do basically the same thing with the IPs, except our role is to support them.”

The IPs must work in their district without the constant presence of their Marine counterparts, and be ready to operate on their own. Colistra said there is no better time than now. With the local government’s support, IPs are building on their successes and Marines’ assistance is less needed with time. “The IPs at Khadairy are very capable,” Colistra said. “With their government’s support and the Marines as a backstop, they will have all the tools needed to be successful in taking control of their city. Once they become confident that they can do the job successfully and maintain security on their own, it’ll be the kick start for complete control.”

U.S. Marines move out of Joint Security Station Khadairy in the northern District of Fallujah June 18. The movement means the building is now solely an Iraqi police station.

Source: CENTCOM.

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by Staff Sgt. Les Newport
76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

BALAD, Iraq (June 23, 2008) — Joint Base Balad marked the beginning of a new program to spur progress in Iraq in the provinces surrounding the installation. A ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard, Brig. Gen. Gregory E. Couch, commander of the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and Sheik Shihab Ahmed Saleh Al-Tamimi commemorated the opening of the Iraqi-Based Industrial Zone (I-BIZ) Service Center, Basateen Al-Dejayl General Training and Contracting Company, ltd., at Joint Based Balad. The initiative is being spearheaded by the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Indiana Army National Guard.

“We are proud to call Iraqis our wonderful allies and we wish you the very, very best in your new venture,” said Umbarger. “Here is a local sheik very well respected in his community, able to create a business and work in conjunction with us as his allies.”

The center was selected as the first of several initiatives to provide local Iraqi business leaders with opportunities to tap into valuable military contracts, and provide a secure environment to grow their business. “To fulfill what Gen. Petraeus’ dream was when he came here, and that is to get the Iraqi people the opportunity to work in their country and to take back the opportunity so they can support their own families,” said Couch. “So this is the beginning of a great partnership and I too, as I’m getting ready to leave here, wish all great success to the Sheik and the rest of the Iraqi partners that join in on the IBIZ function,” he said.

Col. Courtney Carr, 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander said the initiative is tied to a theater-wide initiative to drive business and economic prosperity to the local economy. Significant improvements in the security of the local area, led by local Iraqi leaders, are the key that allows us to pursue these economic opportunities. “We want to support Iraqi business so they can flourish throughout the regions,” said Carr. “The types of businesses we have selected to support are the types of businesses that can provide products and services that are needed at the base and that can also prosper outside the base.”

Coalition forces expect, and in some cases have already received, dividends in return for investments made in the IBIZ initiative. Col. Kenneth Newlin, Deputy Brigade commander and I-BIZ Program Director, sees the program as a natural progression of security and stability operations. “The leaders and centers of influence that we are partnering with in establishing these businesses have the ability to influence economic progress and prosperity in Iraq. This program allows us to consolidate recent security gains made in the region by the local and national government that a year ago would not have been possible,” said Newlin.

In addition to the service center, which will provide maintenance for non-tactical vehicles owned by coalition forces, JBB has plans for a host nation business center, shipping container remanufacturing facility, an industrial, wholesale, and retail facilities, and a vocational training program.

Col. Kenneth Newlin meets with local leader Sheik Shehab Ahmed Saleh Al-Tamimi on June 17 during the commemoration of a service center aimed at improving Iraqi-based industry. (Army photo by Sgt. Robert G. Cooper III).

Source: CENTCOM.

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by Sgt. Jessica Dahlberg
CJTF-101

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (June 22, 2008) — The Heroes Program, an individual-recognition program for service members who have performed acts of bravery against insurgents and criminals, recently recognized Commander Mohammad Ahsraf, of the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Brigade, 201st Corps. Ashraf started his military career 22 years ago as a second lieutenant. He now controls the ANA in 10 provinces, where his innovative mind has come up with new ideas on how the ANA should work.

One of Ashraf’s ideas was to coordinate missions with the Afghanistan National Police to get them more involved. “I made it part of my standard operating procedure to make the Afghanistan National Police part of my missions,” said Ashraf. Ashraf created a Provincial Coordination Center in Laghman province. It was the first province where he tested his idea about the ANA and ANP working together.

Ashraf’s idea has spread throughout all the provinces he has worked within. In the Kapisa province, Ashraf and his friend of two years, Bakhtyar Padschagul, the Police Chief of the Nijrab District, worked together to make their province safer. “The ANA just helps support the ANP,” said Ashraf. “They have their own chain of command and system in place, we coordinate with the ANP to work together to make our province safer.” The ANP is responsible for the security of the district, and they ensure the safety and well-being of the district and people by holding checkpoints and conducting patrols around the villages, said Padschagul. While conducting these patrols, the ANA will secure the area, and then the ANP will be the ones who actually go in and search the houses.

The ANA and ANP in the Nijrab District meet often to coordinate and plan missions together for their joint team. Along with his innovative ideas, Ashraf shows his bravery just by showing up to work everyday. He has had Taliban leaders try to murder him because of what he is doing for his country. However, Ashraf does not fear the threats on his life because he puts his trust in his soldiers. “They are like my family members, and they take care of me and protect me just as I do for them,” said Ashraf.

The love that Ashraf and his soldiers have for each other is what makes the 201st Corps so successful. “When the enemy comes up against Ashraf and his men, they either run or die,” said Marine Capt. Jesse Melton. Ashraf is a brave and courageous man, and in every province he has worked in, no one has ever been unhappy with his work. He takes care of his soldiers and his people by fighting every day despite Taliban threats.

Bakhtyar Padschagul, left, Nijrab District police cheif, and Commander Mohammad Ashraf, commander, Afghan National Army 3rd Brigade, 201st Corps, shake hands at Forward Operating Base Morales-Frazier in the Nijrab District, Kapisa province, Afghanistan, June 20. Padschagul and Ashraf are known throughout Nijrab for working together to bring stability and security to the people of the district. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jessica R. Dahlberg).

Source: CENTCOM.

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by Lance Cpl. Casey Jones
RCT-1 PAO

CAMP RAMADI, Iraq (June 23, 2008) — Over the last two years, Ramadi has seen a dramatic rise in the number of policemen as the city progressively moves toward the final steps in becoming fully independent. In 2006, there were very few police in Ramadi when violence engulfed the city, the citizens lived in fear, and al-Qaida had a firm grip on the region. In the first two weeks of 2007, the city experienced an unexpected surge of applicants seeking to join the force. During that two-week span, more than 1,000 applicants sought law enforcement jobs in Ramadi, according to Army Maj. Thomas Shoffner, operations officer for the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

The turning point for the boost in applicants was the murder of a well-known sheik in August 2006. The murderers hid his body for three days, denying his family the right to bury him in accordance with Islamic tradition. After the killing, tribal leaders could not tolerate al Qaeda’s lawlessness and violence throughout their land and formed an alliance against the terrorist network called, Sahawa al-Anbar, or the “Awakening Council.”

Now the number of Iraqis seeking to become policemen remains high. This is due in part to the professionalism of the Ramadi Training Center, which trains and mentors the newly recruited policemen, and the insight provided by the awakening. “During the awakening, many citizens of al-Anbar realized what the right thing to do was and what the wrong thing to do was,” said Sheik Haji Talib through an interpreter. “The insurgents gave the wrong picture of coalition forces. They said coalition forces are invaders so we should fight them. They were able to get into the people’s minds and tell us the wrong things and lies. When the people realized they were wrong, they started waking up and started doing the right thing.”

Ramadi remains safe as a result of the awakening and fully functioning police training center. The training center is run by the Iraqi Police Training Cadre, International Police Advisors and the Army’s 194th Military Police Company, offering recruits the best law enforcement schooling by international experts and specialists. “The policemen will go to a variety of different stations within all of the Ramadi precincts almost immediately after they graduate the 11-day course or as soon as their station directs them to report,” said Capt. Gerard C. Dempster, Headquarters and Service Company Commander with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, and direct liaison for the Iraqi security forces. The city has nearly reached the desired number of policemen considered necessary to keep Ramadi safe, Dempster said. The school’s leaders will continue training recruits and placing policemen on the streets to further restrain the insurgents and their illicit activities.

Iraqi policemen celebrate their graduation at al Anbar Ramadi District Training Headquarters in May. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Casey Jones).

Source: CENTCOM.

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