News You Can Use: Dec. 13, 2004

Index of Articles

Note: Topics below are now bookmarked!
Click on the underlined topic below to link to the pages on that topic.

 

READINESS

Gov. Fletcher Joins Ky. Guard Members For Training Exercises

Army Emphasizes Convoy Training for Iraq

Troops Practice War Medicine On The Real Thing

DEPLOYMENT

Baylor To Host
Texas Army National Guard Deployment; 56th Brigade Send-Off Includes ‘Operation
Phone Card’

Montana National Guard Trains For Iraq

Guard
Members Gather For Christmas Goodbye

REUNION

Guardsmen
Return To Dallas As Armored Falcon Ends

HOMEFRONT: DEALING WITH DEPLOYMENT

Support
Group Charters Buses To Bring Guardsmen Home

TRIBUTE TO OUR
FALLEN HEROES

Governor Orders State Flags Lowered When National Guard
Soldiers Killed

Forever In His Debt

Army National Guard Unit Honors Fallen Soldiers

NYC Firefighter, Iraq Soldier Remembered

GENERAL

Cirrus Commended For Supporting Troops

Freedom Salute Held For 1438th
Engineer Unit

DaimlerChrysler Donates $100,000 to Michigan National Guard
Family Support Fund

An Increasing Number Of Troops, And Their Families, Need Our
Support

Group Effort Brightens Holiday for Guard Families

Governor, Wife Send Soldiers A Calling Card

Groups Bring Holiday Spirit To Soldiers’ Families

Websites:

 

National Guard Family
Program Online Communities for families and youth:

https://www.guardfamily.org/

http://www.guardfamilyyouth.org/

 

 

TRICARE website for information on health
benefits

http://www.tricare.osd.mil/

 

 

Civilian Employment Information (CEI) Program Registration for
Army and Air National Guard, Air Force, and Coast Guard Reserve

https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/esgr/index.jsp (Note to those viewing this page in
Word or PDF format:
You may have to copy this address and
paste it into your browser’s address window.)

 

 

Cumulative roster of all
National Guard and Reserve who are currently on active duty

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2004/d20040331ngr1.pdf

 

 

Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
contains links and information about schooling, distance education,
scholarships, and organizations devoted to the military family

http://www.militarychild.org/index.cfm

 

 

Militarystudent.org is a
website that helps military children with transition and deployment
issues.  It has some great features
for kids, parents, special needs families, school educators, and more—even
safe chat rooms for kids.

http://www.militarystudent.org

 

 

Disabled Soldiers Initiative (DS3)

This website provides information on the new DS3
program.  Through DS3, the Army
provides its most severely disabled Soldiers and their families with a system
of advocacy and follow-up.

http://www.armyds3.org

 

 

Have an article,
announcement, or website that you’d like to share with the National Guard
Family Program Community?  Send your
suggestions in an e-mail to
[email protected].

 

 

READINESS

Back to Table of Contents

 

Gov. Fletcher Joins Ky. Guard Members For
Training Exercise
s

 

 Kentucky Public Affairs Office

December 8th,
2004

By
Jeff Tang

 (GREENVILLE, Ky.,) – Members of the
Kentucky National Guard training
at the Wendell Ford Center received a special guest Wednesday: Gov. Ernie
Fletcher flew into Greenville, Ky., to visit Guard members preparing to
deploy to Iraq early next year. WAVE 3’s Jeff Tang reports.

Amidst the
colored flares, the sound of gunfire, and the cover of smoke, members of the
Kentucky National Guard learned
what it will be like fighting in Iraq. Atop a nearby hill, Gov. Ernie
Fletcher was learning too.

“It kind of
brings me back to boot camp a little bit,” Fletcher said.

But much has
changed since Fletcher served as an Air Force fighter pilot in the 1970s. The
new warfare in Iraq requires new training – like Wednesday’s exercises.

Fletcher’s
responsibility has changed as well. Once responsible for a single plane, he’s
now responsible for the entire Kentucky Guard.

There is a
grave sense of responsibility in sending these troops overseas. There is also
a sense of pride that these are the best troops in the world.

At Wendell
Ford, the military gives these Kentucky Guardsmen training and some of the
best equipment in the world. It also gives them a new family.

“I’m
responsible for their safety, their equipment. I’m the daddy,” says Platoon
Sergeant Cullen Ritchie.

“I’ve only
known them for a little while,” said says Medic Sgt. Donrick Blevins. I
haven’t been here long, but they’re all my brothers. They’re family to me.”

In Iraq that
bond will be tested.

Early next
year these Kentucky Guardsmen will leave for a new land with their new
family,

still
remembering the other family and the other land that is home.

“Louisville
is always in the back in my mind,” said Pfc. James Williams, a Louisville
native. It’s what keeps me going.”

Since the
attacks on 9/11, more than 5,000 Kentucky National Guardsmen have either been deployed overseas or are
waiting to be deployed to fight in the war on terror.

 

Army Emphasizes
Convoy Training for Iraq

Back to Table of Contents

Associated
Press

10 December
2004

 By Kimberly Hefling

 GREENVILLE, Ky. – Pvt. Timothy Parsons’ convoy
was stalled by a roadside bomb that hit another Humvee. He took aim at
targets on the ground as smoke filled the air, firing from his vehicle while
others helped retrieve soldiers in the damaged one. It was just a drill, but
Parsons said Wednesday he knows it’s a scenario he’ll likely face in Iraq.

“Convoys get
hit a lot. You never know what’s going to happen over there,” said Parsons,
21, of Harold.

Nearly all
Army troops deploying to Iraq are going through similar convoy drills to
prepare for guerilla-style attacks on moving vehicles, said Lt. Col. Alan
Bolton, chief of training operations for the U.S. Army Forces Command.

The Marines
and Air Force are also putting their ground fighters through similar
training.

Parsons’
unit, the 206th Engineer of the Kentucky Army National Guard, and 2113th Transportation Company were
conducting drills at the Wendell H. Ford Training Center in Greenville. They
are expected to be among the 1,500 Kentucky Army National Guard troops in Iraq by late-January.

Some convoy
training is being conducted on simulators at places like Fort Bragg, N.C.,
where soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division demonstrated the
machines, which are housed in windowless trailers.

“It gives us
the training of being in a high-stress situation without being shot at,” said
Sgt. Brandon Tinling, 27, of San Diego, Calif., after his second ride in the
simulator.

Tinling said
the Army has a number of practice ranges at Fort Bragg, but none approximate
the highways and overpasses leading from the desert into Iraqi cities.

During one
run-through on the simulator, three soldiers from the 82nd motored
along a four-lane highway in a Humvee, surrounded by images of the barren
desert southeast of Fallujah.

Suddenly,
insurgents began firing from under a bridge along a four-lane highway and a
roadside bomb exploded, injuring soldiers in another vehicle.

Pandemonium
broke out on the radio channel with everyone talking at once, but quickly
calmed as commanders sorted out the situation. Soldiers fired at the enemy
using a .50-caliber machine gun in a swivel mount atop the Humvee and M-16
rifles, each of which emitted a laser “bullet” that was tracked by infrared
cameras for later analysis.

“It’s the
closest thing you can get to doing live fire and being in country,” said Lt.
Col. Mike O’Halpin.

The convoy
trainers, being tested by the Army at Fort Bragg and Camp Shelby, Miss., are
something new, and soldiers who have already done time in Iraq say they do a
good job of simulating the real thing.

The
simulators were developed by Lockheed Martin and Firearms Training Systems
Inc. The government is paying $9.6 million to lease the eight units for a
year, said Terry Aringe of Lockheed.

So far,
about 2,000 soldiers at Fort Bragg have used the simulators, which are booked
for use through April.

 

 

Troops Practice War Medicine On The Real Thing

Back to Table of Contents

Duluth
News-Tribune

December
12, 2004 Sunday

By Chris
Hamilton; News Tribune Staff Writer

There’s only
so much that can be gleaned from textbooks.

That’s why
more than 250 regional U.S. Army reservists and National Guard medics
– many of whom are readying for combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan – got a
rare opportunity this weekend at the University of Minnesota Duluth School of
Medicine.

They got to
brush up on the latest battlefield emergency medical techniques with the real
thing, the school’s cadavers.

“These are
the guys who pick you up off the sand and put you on a litter,” said Dr.
Kevin Murphy, a colonel for the 34th Infantry Division, which has
15,000 troops from the Upper Midwest. “Often (in their training), though,
they have never seen a dead body up close.”

This is the
11th year a group of local emergency room doctors, surgeons and
medical school staff joined the National Guard’s 194th
Medical Unit from Duluth for the two-day seminar.

“Of course,
the need for this is a little more obvious,” Murphy said, referring to the
war.

The odor of
formaldehyde stifled the school’s anatomy lab, where county deputies, police
officers, local Naval reservists and members of the 148th Fighter
Wing also walked through the different stations. The half-dozen steel tables
each held a bloodless, faceless body, which the owner had donated to science.

Growing
accustomed to such sights is just another psychological hurdle for the
soldiers to overcome, Murphy said.

To most, it
would be a gruesome task. But to 134th Forward Support Battalion
members Spc. Jon Colstrom, 24, of Eden Prairie, Minn., and Pfc. Crystal
Rhode, 21, of Brownton, Minn., who both hope to work in the medical field, it
was a thrill.

“You
actually get to see in the body where something is,” Colstrom said. “It’s
pretty exciting the first time.”

Said Spc.
Troy Foucault of the 194th, “How often does somebody get to see a
spinal cord? There it is. It looks like just a few stretched-out rubber
bands.”

He said the
experience enabled him to better understand how to identify an injury and
relate it to the patient’s trauma.

The doctors’
lectures were dedicated to bleeding, broken bones, head wounds, flooded chest
cavities, bullet piercings… anything medics are likely to encounter in
combat.

Murphy knows
something about real-world trauma. The division surgeon served a three-month
stint in Iraq last spring and will return this summer.

The emphasis
is on trauma stabilization and being able to communicate with the doctors,
Murphy said. It’s about where to apply pressure and place bandages and how to
prevent shock, keep people breathing and move them safely “until they can get
to the big hospital in Baghdad,” he said.

Dr. Bob
Zotti is another old pro. He is a St. Mary’s Duluth Clinic emergency room
doctor and medical officer for the Duluth Police Department’s Tactical
Response Unit. Some of his information was passed along by Navy SEAL teams in
active theaters, he said.

His short
lecture on the “Dirty Dozen” or most common field injuries was popular. For
instance, most of his students had never seen what it looks like to release
pressure from a ruptured lung with a needle, at least from the inside.

Most of the
soldiers Saturday said they weren’t sure when they would go overseas. But
most figured it was inevitable and said they appreciated anything that could
better prepare them for battlefield conditions.

“The
hands-on experience is invaluable,” said Pfc. Geovani Quintero, 18, of Sauk
Centre, Minn., who’s 136th Mechanized Unit is headed to
Afghanistan. “Everything is so technical in medicine. It’s good to see what
is actually going on and literally point it out.”

CHRIS
HAMILTON is a general assignment reporter. He can be reached weekdays at
(218) 279-5502 or at
[email protected].com

 

 

 

DEPLOYMENT

Back to Table of Contents

 

Baylor To Host Texas Army National Guard
Deployment; 56th Brigade Send-Off Includes ‘Operation Phone Card’

 

Baylor
University

6 December
2004

by
Lori Scott Fogleman

 Baylor University will host the largest
overseas deployment of Texas Army National
Guard
troops since World War II, as more than 3,000 members of the 56th
Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, assemble on New Years
Day at Floyd Casey Stadium in preparation for their service in Operation
Iraqi Freedom.

 The ceremony, which will be attended by
approximately 18,000 family members and national, state and U.S. Army
dignitaries, will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 1, at the stadium. Reserved
seating will be available for family members. The public is invited to
attend.

 However, in case of severe weather, the
event will be moved to the Ferrell Center on the Baylor campus. Due to space
limitations at the Ferrell Center, attendance will be limited to family
members only.

 OPERATION PHONE CARD

  Baylor also is leading “Operation Phone
Card,” a Central Texas-wide effort to raise funds to provide a long-distance
phone card for each member of the 56th Brigade so they will be
able to call their families during their deployment to Iraq.

 Online contributions can be made securely
through the “Operation Phone Card” web site. Cash contributions can be
dropped off through Dec. 23 at the Baylor athletic ticket office at Floyd
Casey Stadium and the Baylor cashier’s office on the first floor of Robinson
Tower.

 Contributions also can be made through Dec.
27 at American Bank branches in Waco. Additional donation locations are
available on the “Operation Phone Card” web site.

 Checks should be made out to “Operation
Phone Card” and can be mailed to: Operation Phone Card, Floyd Casey Stadium,
150 Bear Run, Waco, TX 76711.

 All contributions must be received no later
than Dec. 27 to be included in the “Operation Phone Card” program.
Contributions to purchase these phone cards are not tax-deductible and are
not considered gifts to Baylor.

 Family members needing information about
hotels, restaurants and other attractions in Waco and surrounding cities, can
contact the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 321-9226.

 For specific deployment information, family
members are encouraged to go to the 56th Brigade web site. Media
inquiries should be directed to the Texas National Guard public affairs office at (512) 782-6856.

 HISTORY OF THE 56TH BRIGADE

  The 56th was organized as the 1st
Texas Cavalry Brigade in 1919. Re-designated the 56th Brigade of
the 23rd Cavalry Division in 1921, the 56th was the
only brigade of horse cavalry activated for World War II, serving stateside
with the southern defense command. In 1944, the brigade traded in its horses
and was reorganized as the 56th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop –
Mechanized. Its regiments, the 112th and 124th Cavalry,
fought in the Pacific and Asia until 1945.

 The 56th was re-designated as
Combat Command “A” of the 49th Armored Division in 1946 and served
on stateside active duty during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. During the Cold
War the unit had various designations, including 2nd Brigade 49th
Armored Division, 49th Armored Group, the 49th Armored
Brigade, and, again, the 2nd Brigade of the 49th
Armored Division. With the re-flagging of the 49th Armored to the
36th Infantry Division, it regained its previous name as the 56th
Brigade.

 

Montana National Guard Trains For Iraq

Back to Table of Contents

Billings
Gazette

12 December
2004

Associated
Press

GREAT FALLS
– The 163rd Infantry Battalion of the Montana National Guard has
been deployed and is training for combat in Iraq, officials said.

The
battalion of nearly 700 Montana soldiers left Fort Polk, La., last week for
Kuwait, public affairs officer Maj. Scott Smith said. The deployment is the
state’s largest since World War II.

The soldiers
are training with the 1st and 42nd infantry divisions,
Smith said.

The 1st
Infantry Division has patrolled Iraq’s violent Sunni Triangle area since last
March, while the 42nd Infantry Division provided security in New
York following the Sept. 11 attacks.

“They’re
doing right-seat ride-along,” Smith said. “If I’m a Bradley (fighting
vehicle) commander or a battalion commander or company commander or a first
sergeant, this means that I will be basically shadowing the person that I
will be replacing.”

 

 

Guard Members Gather For Christmas
Goodbye

Back to Table of Contents

Post
Tribune. Com

13 December
2004

By Michelle Quinn, Post-Tribune correspondent

HAMMONDAs friends and family
gathered at the National Guard Armory for the annual Christmas party Sunday
afternoon, they also gathered to say goodbye.

With the 376th Engineering
Battalion scheduled to leave for Iraq as early as this week, the mood in the
armory was uneasy, as some 250 loved ones tried to make the best of what will
likely be the last holiday they’ll spend together for at least 18 months.

Kids waited impatiently for Santa to
give away the huge pile of gifts collected by ISG employees and American
Veteran Motorcycle Riders Association as parents and grandparents enjoyed
each other, avoiding talk of what’s to come.

In times like this, it’s all you can do,
said Linda Johnson, who chairs the Family Readiness Group, which sponsored
the party.

“I’m doing fine,” said Johnson, whose
husband is at Camp Atterbury waiting to go. “We’ve been in the military for
so long, we’re almost used to it now.”

Johnson said she will focus her efforts
on the group, which helps the families adjust while their soldiers are away.

“We do quite a bit of fund-raising,” she
said. “We help out the deployed soldiers with supplemental equipment and
toiletries as well as provide outings for the family here.”

That support is crucial for Kelly
Johnson (no relation to Linda) of Gary whose husband, E-4 Spc. Toby Johnson,
will be leaving with the 376th.

“Between my church, my family,
co-workers and the community, I couldn’t ask for better,” Kelly Johnson said
as daughter Lexi, 2, ate the chocolate off an ice cream cone.

“My son (Khalil, 9,) asks questions
because he hears things on the news and catches the newspaper, and I try not
to sugarcoat it.

“But (the 376th) will come
home. They will come home.”

Amid the questioning Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld got this week from a soldier in Iraq, Toby Johnson
isn’t overly concerned about what he and his unit will find when they get
there.

“Really, it’s just one more thing I’ll
have to prepare when we’re there, but I think we’re as prepared as we can
be,” he said. “I just want to get over there and get it done.”

Spc. Andre Dawson of Calumet Township
isn’t so anxious. Because of a back injury, he is on standby and may be kept
stateside, but he’s waiting for word from Camp Atterbury.

“My family and I just moved into a new
home, and I don’t want to leave,” Dawson said. “I served in Vietnam in ’72; I
didn’t like that one, and I don’t like this one.”

Neither does his daughter, Tiffani, 11.

“It’s very dangerous and scary,” Tiffani
said. “I don’t like for people to die. It’s really crazy over there.”

 

 

 

REUNION

Back to Table of Contents

 

Guardsmen
Return To Dallas As Armored Falcon Ends

 

Texas National Guard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CAMP MABRY,
Austin, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) – More than 80 Texas Army National Guardsmen
are returning to their homes after as much as two years on duty in other
parts of the state.

These
Soldiers, who are members of the 372nd Forward Support Battalion,
augmented security forces on Lackland and Randolph Air Force bases (San
Antonio), Sheppard AFB (Wichita Falls) and Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint
Reserve Base. They provided security support for both the flight line and the
gates, where they served as a very visible element of the National Guard homeland defense
mission.

The
Guardsmen received a welcome from families, friends and fellow Soldiers Dec.
5 at the National Guard armory at
3130 W. Redbird Lane, Dallas. During an official ceremony Brig. Gen. Darren
G. Owens, assistant division commander for support, 36th Infantry
Division, and Lt. Col. Cynthia Smith, 372FSB commander, addressed the troops.

Two years
ago, the Army National Guard began
the Armored Falcon mission to provide Soldiers to bolster security on Air
Force bases. Now the mission is winding down throughout the United States.

The largest
contingent from the 372FSB went to Sheppard. A news release from the base
noted that, after the first year rotation ended, most of them volunteered for
the second year.

Based at the
Redbird armory in Dallas, the battalion also has one company in Texarkana.

 

 

 

HOMEFRONT:
DEALING WITH DEPLOYMENT

Back to Table of Contents

 

Support Group Charters Buses To Bring Guardsmen
Home

 

The
Associated Press State & Local Wire

December 8, 2004

GLASGOW,
Ky.A family support group has arranged to bring 182 Kentucky National
Guard
soldiers home for the holidays before they leave for Iraq.

Members of
the 1st Battalion, 623d Field Artillery have been at Fort Dix,
N.J., since November. The soldiers leave for Iraq early next year.

The soldiers
will get a 10-day pass for the holiday starting on Dec. 23.

The support
group, made up of family and friends, heard about the holiday leave and
decided to provide the transportation to bring the soldiers home. Other
members of the community also donated money.

As a result,
four buses have been chartered to bring the soldiers home.

“It started
off with people that somehow heard the soldiers were coming home,” Guard
Capt. Jack Anderson said at the armory in Glasgow. “Little groups here and
there took it upon themselves to send money.”

Glasgow City
Council member Linda Wells said everyone from churches to businesses have
helped with the homecoming. Wells said that several soldiers in the battalion
work at the same company she works at, and that the company also has pitched
in to bring them home.

“It’s been
community driven, by word of mouth mostly,” Anderson said. “This is a strong
community and I can’t say enough good things (about it).”

Meanwhile,
members Detachment 1 of the 617th Military Police Company, based
in Bowling Green, will have to wait longer for their homecoming.

David Altom,
spokesman for the Kentucky National Guard, said the company is
currently stationed in Kuwait. They left from training in Wisconsin on Nov.
18.

“They’re
expecting to be there for at least one year,” Altom said.

 

 

 

TRIBUTE TO OUR FALLEN
HEROES

Back to Table of Contents

 

Governor Orders State Flags Lowered When National
Guard Soldiers Killed

 

Associated Press

Dec. 06, 2004

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – All flags at state
offices will be lowered to half-staff on the days of funerals for Illinois National Guard soldiers killed in the
line of duty.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued an
executive order Monday requiring the flags to be lowered, a procedure that
was already in place at the state’s National
Guard
armories.

“These brave men and women are willing
to put their lives on the line for the sake of the state of Illinois and our
nation,” Blagojevich said in a statement. “This gesture will show our honor
and respect for citizen soldiers and airmen who have made the ultimate sacrifice
for the cause of freedom.”

More than 60 Illinois military and National Guard members have died so
far in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The state is exploring the possibility
of lowering flags for all slain members of the military from Illinois, not
just National Guard personnel. But
that is more complicated because state government is not notified about the
deaths of regular military personnel, said Blagojevich spokeswoman Rebecca
Rausch.

 

 



 

Forever In His Debt

Back to Table of Contents

Oregon
Live.com

December 08,
2004

By Catherine
Trevison

At the end
of Tuesday’s service for Army Spc. Jeremy E. Christensen, friends and family
approached his casket at Willamette National Cemetery, some weeping, some
trembling, kissing the wood or smoothing it with their hands.

Staff Sgt.
Mike Sampsell, Christensen’s friend and fellow cavalry trooper, waited until
almost everyone had moved away. Slowly, his head bowed, he saluted.

Christensen,
27, who grew up in east Multnomah County, was killed Nov. 27 in Ad Duluiyah,
Iraq, when his M1 Abrams tank was destroyed by a roadside bomb during a
combat patrol.

Christensen
wasn’t one for telling war stories, because he didn’t like to worry others or
glorify himself, friends and family said. But for about 300 people who
attended his funeral at New Hope Community Church in Clackamas on Tuesday,
Sampsell was able to fill in some of the blanks.

The men met
in March 2002, not long after Christensen – previously an Oregon National Guardsman – decided to
re-enlist, motivated by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Christensen was a
few years older than the other soldiers in the Anvil Troop of the 1st
Squadron, 4th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry
Division, and his maturity and easygoing temperament stood out, Sampsell
said.

“The entire
time that I knew him, I never heard him once complain about anything,”
Sampsell said. “It made him very easy to get along with.”

The training
didn’t prepare the men for the poor, torn-up areas they patrolled, often
meeting children with little to eat or drink, Sampsell said.

“Jeremy was
always good to the children,” Sampsell said. “You could see that he genuinely
cared, felt sorry for them, and that he wanted to help. The only thing he
cared more about was the safety of his fellow soldier.”

In May,
Sampsell was patrolling on foot with three other soldiers in Ad Duluiyah,
part of about 40 square miles north of Baghdad for which they were
responsible. Crossing an intersection, they came under intense fire from machine
guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The group’s
only cover was a curb 5 inches high. They couldn’t move. Sampsell radioed for
help and got an answer from “White 3,” Christensen’s tank.

“As they
approached, I could see Jeremy in the loader’s hatch manning the M240 machine
gun,” Sampsell said. “I pointed out the direction of the enemy, and Jeremy
immediately took them under fire. He was standing in the hatch the entire
time, completely exposed to enemy fire, but he did not budge.”

Without
Christensen, “Every member of my team would have been wounded or possibly
killed,” Sampsell said. “He saved our lives that day, while disregarding his
own safety.”

During the
firefight, Christensen’s arm was “zinged” by a bullet – a skin wound that he
later told his family was a reaction to a vaccination. Afterward, as Sampsell
thanked him, he asked Christensen why he didn’t stay down in the tank.

He replied,
“ ‘I wouldn’t have done you any good if I was hiding in the turret,’ “
Sampsell said.

Sampsell was
receiving treatment for wounds from a rocket-propelled grenade when he heard
Christensen had been killed. He asked his commanding officer to let him
escort his friend’s body home.

“I will be
forever in his debt,” Sampsell said.

Despite
Christensen’s courage, he realized how dangerous his assignment was, said
friends Jeremy and Angie Hubbard of Vancouver. On leave this past August, he
made Angie Hubbard promise not to let her husband go to Iraq. Christensen
also made her promise to “be there” for his mother, Linda Hakes of Newberg.

“I said, ‘I
don’t think you’re coming back.’ He didn’t, either,” Angie Hubbard said. She
hugged him and sat with him as he cried, she said.

But pictures
also showed Christensen concentrating on fun with his large extended family
during the leave, from hugging family at his grandmother’s joyful homecoming
party to hoisting a few beers for breakfast at the Hubbards’.

In the
church on Tuesday, they played some of his favorite songs, recalling one
silly tune he played over and over while grilling brats, because he wanted
them to eat like a “real German family,” said his sister Katie Hanson of Fort
Lewis, Wash.

But
afterward, at the cemetery, friends and family stood silently as the honor
guard fired a salute. Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who honored Christensen as “the
very best Oregon had to offer,” kneeled to give his mother a state flag.
Silently, she stroked it, along with his medals – a purple heart for being
wounded in action and a bronze star for valor – presented by Brig. Gen. Ray
C. Byrne of the Oregon National Guard.

The honor of
the service “is the best you can get,” said his uncle David Hunt of Woodland,
Wash. “But nothing will do him the honor he deserves.”

 

 

Army National Guard Unit Honors Fallen Soldiers

Back to Table of Contents

WAVY-TV

10 December
200

Contributed
by Steve Cornwell, WINC

WINCHESTER,
Va. (AP) _ The Winchester-based Army National
Guard
Unit serving in Afghanistan now has a constant reminder of their
two fallen comrades.

Staff
Sergeant Craig Cherry and Sergeant Bobby Beasley were killed along with an
interpreter August seventh when their vehicle was destroyed by a homemade
bomb in Afghanistan.

In a tribute
to the men, the camp where the unit is staying in Ghazni has been
re-designated Camp Cherry-Beasley. The soldiers in the unit have also been
authorized to wear the unit’s patch on their right sleeves, which signifies
serving in a combat theater.

 

 

NYC Firefighter, Iraq Soldier Remembered

Back to Table of Contents

The
Associated Press

10 December 2004

By Pat
Milton

NEW YORK
(AP) – A New York City firefighter who responded to the 2001 World Trade
Center attack and died last month serving with the Army National Guard in Iraq was remembered Thursday as “the true definition
of a hero.’’

Sgt.
Christian Engeldrum, who also was a former police officer, was killed Nov. 29
when his vehicle was attacked outside Baghdad. He was the first New York City
employee to die in the U.S.-led war.

At a funeral
Mass overflowing with thousands of police, firefighters and uniformed
military, Engeldrum was recalled as an extraordinarily brave public servant.

“Chris,
your courage and bravery inspire us all,’’ said firefighter Michael
Schiraldi, a friend. “The memory of your smile fills us with joy and
laughter. … You are the true definition of a hero and a great friend.’’

Engeldrum,
39, left behind two teenage sons and his pregnant wife, Sharon. One son,
18-year-old Sean, gave an emotional eulogy that received thunderous applause.

“My dad is
the greatest man I will ever know,’’ he said. “I only hope to be half the
man he was.’’

Mayor
Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Gov. George Pataki and Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the Mass at a church in the Bronx.

So did Daniel
Swift, a New York firefighter who was injured in the same attack in Iraq. In
his fire department uniform, wearing an eye patch and with one steel crutch
under his right arm, he was escorted up the church steps by fellow
firefighters.

Engeldrum
was a five-year fire department veteran. He also served in the Army from 1986
to 1991, including the Gulf War.

 

 



 

GENERAL

Back to Table of Contents

 

Cirrus Commended For Supporting Troops

 

Duluth News-Tribune

December 7,
2004

By Chuck Frederick; News Tribune Staff
Writer

A Duluth aircraft manufacturer will
receive an Outstanding Service Award today from the Minnesota National
Guard
and Minnesota Air National Guard.

The citation will recognize Cirrus
Design Corp.’s commitment to supporting the military and employees who also
are reservists or Guard members, said Brian McClung, press secretary for Gov.
Tim Pawlenty.

The governor will present the award to
Cirrus with National Guard Adjutant General Larry Shellito. The
presentation will be made during a luncheon sponsored by the Military Affairs
Committee of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.

Cirrus’ commitment, McClung said,
includes raising $1,700 this year for phone cards for deployed Air Guard
members, working closely with the Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing
and for flying relatives to the Northland in August to attend the funeral of National
Guard
member and Cirrus employee Robert Pylkka. A member of the St.
Paul-based 1256th Air Ambulance Company, Pylkka died during
physical training exercises at Fort McCoy, Wis., during a stateside
deployment. He was 43.

“Any small thing we can do to be
supportive of our military, we want to do,” said Kate Andrews, communications
manager for Cirrus, which employs about 700 people. “They’re out there doing
an incredible job on our behalf. We want to support them.”

Also at today’s luncheon, Gen. Shellito
will present awards in support of deployed employees to St. Mary’s Duluth
Clinic Health System, St. Luke’s Health System, and Dahlberg Law Office, P.A.
A veterans’ tribute will be led by Durbin Keeney, director of Veterans
Outreach North in Duluth.

Chamber members also will discuss plans
being made in Washington, D.C., to possibly close military bases, said Andy
Peterson, the chamber’s director of public policy. Decisions are expected in
May. The chamber has been lobbying to make sure Duluth’s Air National
Guard
base, home of the 148th Fighter Wing, remains open.

 

 

Freedom Salute Held For 1438th
Engineer Unit

Back to Table of Contents

Soldiers
from the 1438th Engineer Detachment as well as their family
members and employers were recognized for their support of Operation Iraqi
Freedom.

A Freedom
Salute Campaign ceremony was held at the Grayling Airfield Saturday to honor
soldiers of the 1438th unit and those who supported them while
they were on their 11-month mission.

The 1438th
Engineer Detachment was called to duty in February 2003 and served until July
2004.

During their
mission in Iraq, the unit completed more than 1,000 engineer missions
including construction of prisoner of war camps, houses for displaced Iraqi
citizens, several hundred operations and maintenance missions at Mosul
Airfield, numerous force protection missions and demolition of weapons
caches.

At the Freedom
Salute Ceremony, each soldier received an encased American flag, a lapel
insignia, a commemorative coin and a certificate of appreciation.

Spouses of
the soldiers received a commemorative lapel pin.

Children of
the soldiers were give a “Future Soldier Footlocker Kit, which contained a
Daring Eagle board game, Mission Command card game and Army National Guard trading cards.

“You
soldiers proudly served our country and the families served our country while
your soldiers were away,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Cutler, the director and
adjunct general for the Michigan Army and Air National Guard.

Employers
and centers of influence, including Veterans and Foreign War post, received a
medallion at the ceremony.

This was the
fifth Freedom of Salute Ceremony held for units after they have returned to
their families and civilian lives.

“With the
holidays coming up, we thought that this was a perfect time to get these guy
together and recognized these folks,” said Maj. Michael Webster, spokesperson
for Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Today,
nearly 2,000 Michigan National Guard
Soldiers and Airmen are deployed across the globe and at various state-side
locations, including more than 100 members providing security at the
Selfridge and Battle Creek Air National
Guard
Bases.

An
additional 200 Guard members will depart in December and January in support
of the third rotation of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As the
Michigan National Guard serves the
nation, more than 9,000 members remain in reserve, ready to respond to state
emergencies including homeland defense events.

 

 

DaimlerChrysler Donates $100,000 to Michigan
National Guard Family Support Fund

Back to Table of Contents

Press
Release Source: DaimlerChrysler

 December 10, 2004

Funds to aid
families of troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan * Guard expects requests to
increase with new deployments * Continuing the mission of the DaimlerChrysler
Fund

AUBURN
HILLS, Mich/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive
Officer Dieter Zetsche presented a $100,000 check from the DaimlerChrysler
Corporation Fund to the Michigan National
Guard
Family Support Fund at the company’s annual media holiday gathering
Dec. 9 in Royal Oak, Mich. The donation was accepted by Major General Thomas
Cutler, Adjutant General of the Michigan National
Guard
on behalf of the more than 1,900 Michigan Army and Air National Guard members currently
deployed.

“Many of our
own employees are currently serving on active duty today, so we know how
deployment can impact the lives of everyone in a family,” said Dieter
Zetsche. “It is important to support the parents, spouses and children of
those courageous men and women who serve in the Michigan National Guard, especially at this time of year.”

The funds
will be available to the families of active Guard members whose wages have
been lost or reduced because of their service. The financial assistance will
provide basic “quality of life” needs, like housing, transportation, medical
needs, utilities, food, and in some cases, airfare.

“We rely 100
percent on public support. Due to generous donations like the one from
DaimlerChrysler, the Family Fund can respond to a family’s needs within
minutes and has never turned down a qualifying request,” said General Cutler.
“With an increase in recent and pending deployments, the Guard is
anticipating an increase in applications for relief.”

There are
2,900 family members of Michigan National
Guard
members who have been affected by deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan,
Kuwait, Bosnia and within the United States. Since Sept. 11, 2001, 53 percent
of the Michigan National Guard has
been called to active duty.

Deployed
Guard members who work for DaimlerChrysler receive a supplement from the
company to make up the difference between their Guard pay and their regular
wages.

The Michigan
National Guard Family Support Fund
was created in 1990 during the Gulf War. Since that time hundreds of families
have benefited from the Fund. To make a donation to the Family Support Fund,
interested parties can call (517) 702-5116.

 

 

An Increasing Number Of Troops, And Their
Families, Need Our Support

Back to Table of Contents

Morning Call
(Allentown, Pennsylvania)

December
12, 2004 Sunday 

By
The Morning Call

U.S. troops
on duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places far from home must summon up
tremendous courage. “A lot of brave people doing a lot of brave things” is
how Lt. Col. Platte Moring described it at a Lehigh Valley Military Affairs
Council symposium last month at Moravian College in Bethlehem.

An
increasing number of Pennsylvania National Guard members are being
asked to make a greater commitment. Three days before Thanksgiving, 750
Pennsylvania Guard members left for Iraq, bringing the number there to 2,000.
On Dec. 2, the Pentagon announced that 2,400 additional Guard members from
this state – including some from the Lehigh Valley – will be mobilized to
train in January and arrive in Iraq by summer.

Lt. Col.
Moring, of the 213th Area Support Group of the Army National
Guard,
spoke at LVMAC’s Nov. 9 program. Another Guard unit, Company C of
the 228th Forward Support Battalion, will be part of the latest
mobilization. The 86-member Allentown unit was treated Dec. 5 to a
pre-Christmas program by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 13.

The unit
will leave in early January for six months of intensive training at Camp
Shelby, Miss.. It will go to Iraq in June for a 12-month tour, where it will
provide ambulance service to the front lines and mobile medical clinics. It
stabilizes the wounded before transport to military hospitals – brave people
taking care of other brave men and women.

In addition,
as Morning Call reporter Scott Kraus noted with poignancy in a Dec. 6 story:
“The soldiers will miss birthdays, first days at kindergarten, at least one
20th wedding anniversary and dozens of other milestones of civilian living
most take for granted.”

The VFW’s
auxiliary has adopted Company C and will send “care packages.” But
other people in the community also can help. Send donations to support
members of Company C and their families to Allentown Armory via Annalisa
Cavotta, Family Readiness Group, Co. C 228 FSB, 1501 Allen St., Allentown
18104.

Another way
to support the troops is to access OperationDearAbby.net to send messages.
People in the military with Internet access can read the messages via the Web
site. Those without their own access may still read messages when company
commanders have the ability to download bulk messages to be printed and
distributed, according to service branch and location.

Since Sept.
11, the Pentagon has activated more than 400,000 of about 800,000 members of
the Selected Reserve, including both Guard and Reserve troops who train with
regularity. The Pentagon also is calling on members of the Individual Ready
Reserve — primarily former armed forces personnel who can only be called up
in a national emergency. The number of U.S. troops needing our support grows
daily.

 

 

Group Effort Brightens Holiday for Guard Families

Back to Table of Contents

Roanoke
Times & World News (Roanoke, VA)

December 12, 2004 Sunday

By
Jen McCaffery [email protected]

The Salem
Rotary Club gathered the donations.

The Wal-Mart
in Christiansburg provided the wrapping paper, tape and tags.

And the
women of Main St. Baptist Church in Christiansburg picked out the gifts.

“I let
the ladies at the church go,” said Virginia National Guard
Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Price, who works at the Roanoke armory. “I
figure they’re the experts at shopping.”

Price, brass
from the Virginia National Guard and several prominent politicians
were on hand at St. John Lutheran Church on Brambleton Avenue on Saturday
afternoon at a Christmas party for the families of people from local Guard
units serving in the military.

The event
was sponsored by the Salem Rotary Club. One of the organization’s officers,
John Hahn, estimated that between 150 and 200 people attended the party. The
club bought gifts for the children with donations from local businesses,
churches, individuals and others that totaled from $12,000 to $14,000, Hahn
said.

“The
commonwealth has really stood by them and provided tremendous support,”
said Maj. Gen. Claude Williams, who runs the Virginia National Guard.

Four
thousand Virginia Guardsmen have been on duty and have returned home, and
2,000 are deployed now, Williams said.

Family
members who attended have relatives in the 116th Infantry, which is deployed
in Afghanistan, and the 1173rd Transportation Company, which is in Fort Dix,
N.J., and headed for Iraq. Guardsmen and relatives of the Rocky Mount-based
1710th Transportation Company, which returned from Iraq in April, also
attended.

Most of the
families live in the Roanoke or New River valleys, Price said. Family members
also came from Martinsville, Clifton Forge and Covington, and from as far
away as North Carolina and Virginia Beach. Price estimated that about 400
families have been affected by the deployment of local units.

Price said
soldiers tell him that what is most important to them is that their families
are taken care of, and that people support what they are doing.

“We
have some families who are struggling right now,” Price said.

But some
families are luckier than others.

Jennifer
Voorhees, who lives in Roanoke, expects that her husband, Jason, will be able
to come home for Christmas. She and their son, Devin, 3, haven’t seen him
since he left for Fort Dix in October, she said. He is with the 1173rd.

Missy
Thurman, who lives in Vinton, said this will be her first Christmas without
her husband, Jamie, in their 15 years of marriage.

Asked how
the family was doing, Thurman said her children, Zach and Hannah, were doing
fine.

“I’m
the one that’s a mess,” she said.

But she said
she and other wives from the 116th help each other by calling one another
when they get down.

Many
families recorded messages to send to their loved ones who had been deployed.
DVDs will be sent to Fort Dix and to Afghanistan, the Rotary Club’s Hahn
said.

U.S. Rep.
Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, and state Del. Allen Dudley, R-Rocky Mount, also
attended the party.

Toward the
end, Santa Claus arrived, much to the delight of the children. Not long
after, they were playing on the floor with their new tricycles, trucks,
remote-control cars and other gifts.

 

 

Governor, Wife Send Soldiers A Calling Card

Back to Table of Contents

Sacramento
Bee

December
12, 2004, Sunday

By Margaret
Talev Bee Capitol Bureau

For
thousands of California soldiers on wartime duty overseas, the phone call
home this Christmas is on the governor.

Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, are slipping prepaid telephone
cards, worth 50 minutes of call time to the United States from Iraq, into
each of the 5,103 holiday greeting cards they’re sending out this week to California
National Guard members stationed abroad.

Additionally,
Shriver’s staff is working on an ambitious plan to provide prepaid telephone
minutes to more than 20,000 more Californians overseas with the Army, Navy,
Air Force and Marines. They won’t receive holiday cards but they will be
issued ATM-style personal-identification codes to access their phone time.

“Though
we know you are away from your family and friends, it is with our sincere
respect and appreciation that we enclose a prepaid phone card so that you may
share a few special moments with your loved ones,” reads the inscription
inside the holiday cards. They also bear a nostalgic watercolor image by
Sacramento artist David Lobenberg of a crowd at the state Capitol beside a
Christmas tree decked with lights and ornaments, against the unlikely
backdrop of a snow-speckled nighttime sky.

“We
speak on behalf of all Californians when we express how honored we are by
your remarkable acts of courage and your bravery as you defend the
nation,” the greeting continues.

The
governor’s staff estimates the cost of the two campaigns could reach
$450,000, with each gift of prepaid phone time through AT&T worth about
$15. Both projects are being privately funded, through individual and
corporate contributions to nonprofit charities.

In wartime,
state leaders across the country this year are focusing special attention on
their troops far from home.

Connecticut’s
governor collects money and gifts for families short of money because the
breadwinner was called to duty. State officials in Michigan and Rhode Island
were raising money and collecting goods for care packages to be sent
overseas.

In Oklahoma,
residents were invited to the state Capitol to write messages on a state flag
headed to National Guard troops in Iraq. On the holiday tree at the
governor’s residence in Wisconsin, officials decided to hang one ornament per
soldier who hails from the state.

In
California, administration spokeswoman Terri Carbaugh said the idea for phone
cards sprang from two visits Shriver paid to Camp Pendleton this year, to
meet with the spouses of soldiers. “She was constantly asking, ‘What can
we do? How can we help?’ and a common theme was that phone calls were
inordinately expensive and out of reach for many,” Carbaugh said.

Postage for
holiday cards and the phone time for men and women of the California National
Guard
is being paid through the California Protocol Foundation, a
nonprofit group that defrays state cultural and diplomatic costs and
traditionally helps administrations promote California on overseas missions.

That
foundation also pays to send about 1,500 holiday cards to Schwarzenegger’s
friends and colleagues, governors from other states and California lawmakers
and constitutional officers. Typically, these cards are accompanied by a
keepsake tree ornament. This year, recipients will get a plastic phone card
ornament and a note explaining the program for soldiers.

The
California State Alliance, a charity established by Shriver, is paying for
the larger military phone card effort. The alliance raised $20,000 for that
project last week at the Governor’s Conference for Women and Families in Long
Beach. Information about how to contribute to that effort will be posted
later this week on Shriver’s Web site – www.firstlady.ca.gov

 

 

Groups Bring Holiday Spirit To Soldiers’ Families

Back to Table of Contents

The
Associated Press State & Local Wire

December 11,
2004, Saturday

By
BOBBY LeCOMPTE, The Courier

HOUMA, La. –
Less than a month after her husband was deployed to Iraq, Jessica Frisella
gave birth to a baby boy. The busy Houma mother now has two young children to
care for – the oldest is 5 – while husband Joseph Frisella IV serves his
country overseas. The couple goes as long as two to three weeks without
speaking on the telephone. Her citizen-soldier husband is expected to spend
12 to 18 months in Baghdad.

“It’s
stressful, it’s very stressful,” said Jessica Frisella. “It’s real
tough being without him.”

The
hardships Jessica Frisella and scores of other military wives endure while
their husbands are abroad was eased for a few hours one recent Sunday
afternoon while the Krewe of Cleopatra threw them and their children a
Christmas party.

The Mardi
Gras krewe’s event was special, Jessica Frisella said, because wives of National
Guard
soldiers did not have to lift a finger. Krewe members did it all,
from organizing Santa Claus pictures to arranging Toys for Tots and an
endless supply of food, games and arts and crafts.

“All we
had to do was show up,” said Frisella, who spent four hours at the party
with her children. “We got to socialize with other families and we came
home with huge bags of stuff.”

The Krewe of
Cleopatra organized the holiday gala at the National Guard Armory on
Williams Avenue in Houma, for families of loved ones deployed overseas. The
party, complete with games, gifts, prizes, food and Santa Claus, was held
especially for families of the Charlie Company 256th Infantry Brigade, whose
200-plus soldiers from the Houma-Thibodaux area recently arrived in Iraq.

Several
families attended, and they brought with them more than 40 prizes from games
and presents donated by Toys for Tots. The Bayou Board of Realtors also
helped with gifts by setting up a soldier tree, which helped collect toys for
every child. In addition, many of the women from the Cleopatra krewe
collected nearly $3,000 in monetary donations for gift certificates. Each
child who attended the holiday party received a $37 gift card to Wal-Mart.
Other donations were from Wacky Bear, which donated a stuffed bear for every
child; Space Jumpin’ Fun, which donated the use of a space walk for the
afternoon; and Dick Barker Mitsubishi, which donated $500 to the cause.

“We’re
happy to do this,” said Kristen Pellegrin, one of eight members of the
Vandebilt Catholic High School Key Club who helped children transform
pinecones into ornaments. “It’s for a good cause.”

In all, more
than 80 businesses, organizations, families and individuals worked together
to make the event possible, Pellegrin said. Paula Greene, one of the riders
on Becky Bonnecarrere’s float in the Cleopatra parade, spearheaded the event.
She and other riders said the party idea got started when they recognized the
need to help families of Houma’s deployed National Guard soldiers
during the Christmas season.

According to
Greene, many area military families are struggling financially because
soldiers who left civilian jobs for active duty took a cut in pay. Greene
enlisted the help of fellow float-rider Sandra Robichaux, a member of the
Family Readiness Group, an organization comprised of families of military
personnel. It is designed to help each family provide support to one another
during deployment.

The idea of
the Christmas party was brought to the attention of Jessica Frisella, the
leader of the Charlie Company’s family group. Frisella said she was thrilled
to find out that the krewe was organizing the Christmas party.

“Normally,
the FRG has to do all the work in organizing events for the families” of
Charlie Company, she said. “This time, the ladies from Cleopatra told
the FRG to take a break and just enjoy the party.”

The family
support group and another organization called Supplies for Soldiers paired up
to collect care packages for the deployed soldiers from the Houma area. They
have collected enough donations to pack 300 boxes. The local Nocko’s
convenience store and Alarm Detection Systems have donated a combined $800 to
cover the cost of postage.

                                                                    
End                         
Back to Table of Contents