GI SPECIAL 4I9: 9/9/06
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If You Can’t Look At A Dead American Soldier, You Don’t Deserve To Live In This Country
From: Mike Hastie
Operation Iraqi Freedom
While the White House Goons ride around in this
You got to give these Limousine Warriors credit, they know a
There is not one person
You know why? ---because they don’t want to die!!!
But, when it comes to your kid, that’s another fucking story.
I wish I could bring a dead American soldier who has
Now do you get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you can’t send your own kind, don’t send my kid.
If you can’t look at a dead
Do you have a friend or relative in the service? Forward GI Special along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly. Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services. Send requests to address up top.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
MND B Soldier Killed By IED South Of Baghdad
8.9. 2006 Multi National Corps Iraq Public Affairs Office RELEASE No. 20060908-02
BAGHDAD: A Multi National Division Baghdad Soldier died of wounds at approximately 2 a.m. today after his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad.
Marine From Fairborn Killed
August 26, 2006 By Steve Bennish, Staff Writer, Dayton Daily News
A U.S. Marine from Fairborn was killed Thursday during combat operations in Al Anbar province, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Friday.
Staff Sgt. Gordon G. Solomon was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejune, N.C. He was 35.
Solomon was infantry unit leader in charge of a platoon, said 1st Lt. Barry Edwards, 2nd Marine Division spokesman. He enlisted in June 1990 and joined the 3rd Battalion in April 2006.
Some of Solomon’s decorations include five Good Conduct Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
He is the 121st U.S. casualty from Ohio in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.
Utahn’s Longtime Dream Of Service Ends After Three Months In Iraq
08/30/2006 By Kristen Moulton, The Salt Lake Tribune
ROY – Dan Dolan’s parents and friends had sensed a change in the way the 19-year-old soldier felt about life in the military, a life he had dreamed about for years.
He was not disillusioned. He did not regret that he enlisted in the Army just months after graduating from northern Utah’s Roy High School last year.
But Pfc. Dolan’s boyish enthusiasm had been replaced by something else. He had come to the awful realization that serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq is dangerous.
On Sunday, just a month after arriving in Baghdad, Dolan’s fears came true.
He and three others were shot and killed while trying to tip up their armored personnel carrier after a roadside bomb had knocked it on its side, his mother, Fay Dolan, said Tuesday.
Her son was driving the M1126 Stryker Vehicle, she added.
The Defense Department confirmed Dolan’s death Tuesday evening. He was assigned to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team from the 2nd Infantry Division, based at Fort Lewis in Washington state.
“Half the team survived,” Fay Dolan said.
Dolan becomes the fourth Utahn to die in Iraq this year. The total U.S. military fatalities confirmed by the Pentagon now stand at 2,631 since the war began.
Last weekend marked the only one since Dolan shipped out from Fort Lewis in late June that he had not called his parents and 16-year-old sister, Michelle.
He spent a month in Kuwait, acclimating to the desert climate.
“He would call to say, ‘Mom, I love you. I’m OK.’ He was just that way. He called every chance he got,” Fay Dolan said.
Dolan had enlisted despite his parents’ reservations. “I was reluctant, but I supported him fully,” said Tim Dolan, Dan’s father, who is the deputy flight test chief for the C-130 aircraft at Hill Air Force Base, a civilian position.
“I never wanted him to go. Nobody ever does,” Fay Dolan added. However, she did not try to persuade her son against the Army.
“I knew my son, and I knew when he makes a decision, he stands by it. He thought it was important to serve his country.”
Dolan, his parents said, never was halfhearted, nor was he short on imagination. As a 6-year-old, he invented his own airplane – a three-way chaise lounge perched in his wagon, with the two extensions serving as wings. Soon all the neighbor kids were mimicking the contraption.
“Everyone had trashed lawn chairs,” Fay Dolan recalled.
He played baseball and a year of football at Roy’s Sand Ridge Junior High, but hockey, which he began playing as a sixth-grader, became his passion. During high school, Dolan went to the hockey rink almost every day, playing on competitive teams and for Roy High’s club team.
He also loved snowboarding and rollerblading and, for about five years, kept up with a paper route for Ogden’s daily newspaper. “He did everything full out,” his mother said.
Dolan’s principal at Roy High, Lee Dickemore, remembered him as “just a grand kid.” He earned good grades and never had to be disciplined. “He was just fun to be around,” Dickemore said.
Dolan took most of Kenny Hokanson’s marketing classes at Roy High – including the one that runs the school store. He also joined the marketing club, Hokanson said.
Dolan visited his former teacher last spring after basic training. “He thought it was a good deal, a good thing. He was excited to serve. It gave him some focus,” Hokanson said.
Candace Sallade, a close friend who grew up across the street, said Dolan looked the part of a “macho” guy, but his desire to help others led him to enlist.
“He had the softest heart and would do anything for anybody. That’s all he wanted to do – fight for someone else.”
In recent months, the two had talked about his choice and the implications. The infantry, he realized, was especially vulnerable, she said.
“He said, ‘I’m excited but I’m scared because I see how dangerous it is,’’’ Sallade said. “He was such a good guy. It just isn’t fair. It’s just not right.”
Meridian Soldier Remembered As A Friend To All:
2006 Aug 26 By Vickie Ashwill, The Idaho Statesman, Boise
“He was tall, slender, cleancut, handsome. A clown.”
That’s how Judy King, of Meridian, described her son, Sgt. Jeremy E. King, who at 23 was the 19th service member from Idaho to die since the U.S. began its war on terrorism in October 2001.
King died early Thursday morning in Baghdad from injuries after being shot during combat. He was assigned to the 8th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, in Fort Hood, Texas. It was his second tour in Iraq.
On Friday, his family and friends described themselves as being shocked and numb.
“It’s tearing everyone up,” said Judy King, when asked how she, her husband, Bob, and daughter-in-law, Yulanda, were doing.
“We have our spurts where everyone cries. We keep leaving our computers on, hoping they made a mistake, hoping to get an e-mail from him. We know they have it right, but in your mind, you keep … It hasn’t sunk in.”
Judy King last saw her son when he came home in May for the birth of his daughter, Kaidyn. King’s wife and daughter have been living with his parents.
The May visit was a chance for lots of family photos and reconnecting with friends.
Jeremy was one of two best men in Billy Calkins’ wedding during that leave. King, Calkins and the other best man, Padraic Brunton, have been best friends since elementary school.
“I scheduled my marriage around (King’s leave) so he could be in it,” said Calkins, of Nampa. “We grew up together. We did everything together. He was the only friend I didn’t get in trouble with.”
Brunton said King always wanted to help people and cheer them up. “He helped me through problems in life, talking through them,” he said. “He had a lot of courage, wasn’t really afraid of anything.” “I never thought this would happen,” said Brunton. “But I want people to remember that he died serving this country.” “He died for us,” said Calkins.
King dropped out of Meridian High School, but entered the Job Corps and got his GED, his mother said. He joined the Army after that.
He asked his mom for homemade fingersteaks when he came home. He loved them so much, he wasn’t shy about asking Calkins’ mom, Tanya Calkins, to make them as well. “He loved his fingersteaks,” she said.
“He was like a son to me,” she said. “He had such a great sense of humor. People were just drawn to him.”
Billy Calkins last saw his friend when he boarded the plane for the trip back to Iraq. “He never wanted to talk about (Iraq),” he said. “We didn’t say much when they started loading. I said goodbye and gave him a hug.”
The family last connected via e-mail a few days before his last mission. Jeremy wrote that it was hot and he had a lot of time on his hands.
He was a “wonderful human being,” his mother, Judy, said. “Responsible. Loving. Courteous. Caring.”
Services will be planned through Chapel of the Chimes Funeral Home in Meridian, but the date is still uncertain. body will be buried at the Idaho Veterans Cemetery.
Prayer chains for the King family have started at the First Baptist Church of Kuna and the First Baptist Church of Meridian.
Friends, Family Mourn Alabama Soldier Killed In Iraq
8.29.06 Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: Army Sgt. Marquees A. Quick was a scout in Iraq – one of the first troops to move into a new, dangerous area. It was tough work, and he didn’t tell relatives much about it.
On Tuesday, his family gathered for the funeral of the 28-year-old soldier, killed Aug. 19 in Ramadi, Iraq, when his unit came under a grenade attack on a mission.
Quick, a 1996 graduate of Huffman High School, served seven months in Iraq. Family members would ask him about the conflict, but he tried to shield them as much as possible, according to grandmother Lois Nipson, 85.
“There are so many things he wouldn’t talk about. I would say, `How is it over there, Marquees?’ and he said, `Grandma, it’s not that good,’” Nipson said. “I would continue to try to get things out of him, but he wouldn’t tell me. He would say, `Grandma, don’t worry. I’ll be all right.’”
During a break from Iraq after his first assignment, Quick returned home obviously troubled, his wife said.
“Marq pretty much doesn’t cry,” Alashia Quick told The Birmingham News. “But there was so much bad stuff going on, he started crying.”
Even then, he tried to reassure his wife.
“I was worried,” she said. “But he just said, `It’s OK.’”
Quick’s mother, Linda Rawlings, said her son became interested in a military career when he was in high school and joined ROTC. His life’s path soon started to take shape, as did his interests.
“On our first date, he pretty much asked me how I feel about the military,” Alashia Quick said. “He knew he needed someone supportive and understanding because being a military wife is not easy.”
She last spoke with him two days before he was killed. In that conversation, Alashia Quick said, her husband told her of a foreboding dream, but it wasn’t about his duty in Iraq.
“He told me his bad dream was about me,” she said. “I asked him what it was about, but he didn’t say. He just said as long as I was OK, he’s OK.”
Although there was concern a protester might demonstrate at the funeral, no one protested the service. The Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle group that serves as a buffer between family and protesters, received permission from Quick’s mother to attend.
They were parked outside the St. James Baptist Church in the Brown Springs community until Quick’s wife arrived and asked them to leave.
Meigs County Native, 24, Killed
August 31, 2006 Holly Zachariah, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
As the oldest of six children, Joshua D. Jones had always taken on the role of family protector.
That sense of responsibility was also behind the southeastern Ohio native’s decision to sign up for military service nearly three years ago.
“Whenever he was talking about the Army, he always said he was going to go fight so that his siblings would never have to,” Jones’ father, Gary, said yesterday from his home in Langsville, in Meigs County. “I was just so proud of him for everything.”
The Department of Defense says that Jones, a 24-year-old Army specialist, was killed Sunday in Baghdad when his Humvee was attacked by small-arms fire. Jones was assigned to the 3 rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, in Fort Hood, Texas.
Now that word of the death is spreading through the tightknit Appalachian community where Joshua Jones was raised, his father says he has been overwhelmed by the support of others.
Jones and his wife, Tiffany, had moved to Georgia just before he enlisted in the Army in January 2004. There, he earned his general educational development diploma. After finishing boot camp at Fort Knox, he was stationed in Louisiana, and then at Fort Hood. He shipped to Iraq on Dec. 6 last year, his dad’s birthday.
He last visited home in June, and spent some quality time with his 2-year-old daughter, Cami, the elder Jones said.
“And then not long after he was home, we got the call.
“His wife is expecting again,” Gary Jones said. After pausing to collect himself, he added: “He was a great husband, and a great father. I wish this second child would have at least gotten the chance to know that.”
Gary Jones said his son most cherished his role as protector, but he also was passionate about his hobbies, which included riding all-terrain vehicles in the rough Meigs County countryside and racing remotecontrolled cars.
“If it had wheels, he loved it,” Gary Jones said. “That’s all he loved until his daughter came along, and then he understood the joys of being a dad.”
He said he’s still awaiting word from the Army on when his son’s body will arrive home. Whenever that is, he said, the whole family will be there waiting.
Baghdad-Based Stryker Driver Killed In Action
August 29th, 2006 The News Tribune
A local Stryker brigade soldier based in Iraq’s capital city was killed in a roadside bomb explosion Sunday, according to family members.
Army Cpl. Kenneth Cross, 21, of Parkland, Wis., was a driver on one of the eight-wheeled Stryker vehicles. The Department of Defense had released no information on Cross’ death by Tuesday morning. His parents said Cross was the type of person who knew what he wanted in life.
“He was a fun kid, always smiling, laughing, joking, you never knew what he was going to do,” father Michael Cross told The Daily Telegram in Superior, Wis.
Mother Elizabeth Cross said her son dropped out of high school and earned his general education diploma because he wanted to go right into the service.
She also said her son loved children and wanted to be a soldier since he was a small boy. “He was up to mischief most of the time,” she said.
He met his wife, Heidi of Steilacoom, Wash., through an online dating service and the two were friends for a time before deciding to get married quickly after they began dating.
“He was always doing something goofy to make me laugh even on the bad days,” Heidi Cross said. “He treated me like a queen and an angel. I don’t think we ever had a bad moment.”
She also said she spoke to her husband two hours before his death. “People say I’m pretty lucky to have talked to him right before it happened,” she said, grateful she was able to tell him she loved him, “I don’t know how many times.”
His mother admitted she was afraid of her son going to Iraq.
“I told when he went over there it took me nine months to put him together perfectly, and there better not be any more holes in him than when he left,” Elizabeth Cross said. “He didn’t listen.”
Marine From Natchitoches Dies Of Wounds
8/30/2006 The Associated Press
A 28-year-old Marine from Natchitoches, La., died from wounds received while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday.
Lance Cpl. Donald E. Champlin died Monday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, officials said. He was injured while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq the day before, DOD said.
Champlin was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Champlin obtained a medical technology degree from LSU Health Sciences Center’s School of Allied Health Professions.
“He loved working in the labs, but he felt there was something missing,” said his father, retired Chief Warrant Officer Danny Champlin. So, his father said, he joined the Marines.
Danny Champlin said he was told his son was on a foot patrol when an improvised explosive device went off.
“He was in Iraq less than a month,” Danny Champlin said.
He said his son was proud of being a Marine, and was proud of the things he and other Marines were doing in Iraq. “He called us last week. He wanted us to buy some sunglasses for the little girls there. He wanted us to send him sunglasses so he could hand them out to the kids he met,” his father said.
The Champlins are raising Donald’s son, 2 1/2 year-old Mekhiah Champlin. Beside his son and parents, Donald Champlin is survived by his older sister, Brooke Wall, and her husband, Shreveport plastic surgeon Dr. Forrest Wall.
“My son asked to be buried in North Carolina,” he said. “That’s where the rest of his Marines are. We’re trying to make sure that’s what’s done.”
Lejeune Marine Killed In Bombing:
Sep 02, 2006 Jay Price, Staff Writer, The News & Observer
A Camp Lejeune-based Marine was killed in western Iraq Wednesday, his father said.
Pfc. Colin J. Wolfe, 18, of Manassas, Va., was on patrol in Habbaniyah in Anbar province when his truck rolled over an improvised bomb, his father, Mark Wolfe, said in a telephone interview Friday.
“He was a passenger in a truck, and basically it went off right underneath him,” Wolfe said.
Colin Wolfe was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. First Lt. Barry Edwards, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, said Wolfe had joined the Marines in July 2005 and joined his unit in January.
Wolfe had a strong sense of patriotism, and the elite image of the Marine Corps had appealed to him when he was growing up, his father said. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, there was no question what he would do when he graduated from Osbourn High School last year.
Off duty, in many ways he was a typical 18-year-old Marine, his father said. “He liked to goof off, play video games, find some beer and girls.”
Wolfe wasn’t a typical Marine in at least one way: He was an expert ballet dancer with 15 years of study and several stage performances to his credit. His mother, Amy Wolfe, owns a ballet studio, and he had studied dance since he was 3 years old.
“Which I’m sure he tried to hide from the guys in his unit,” his father said.
They might have appreciated one of his motivations, though: “Colin said that it was the best way in the world to meet girls,” Mark Wolfe said.
He last spoke to his son about two weeks ago.
“It was the things you might expect — I’m here, I’m OK, the food sucks,” Wolfe said. “He also talked about how he trusted the Iraqi soldiers and how professional and how tough they were. The conditions were lousy, but he felt they were making a difference, that things were getting better there.”
If there was one consolation, Mark Wolfe said, it was that Colin was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing when he was killed.
Colin’s plans for the future were unclear. He had talked about joining one of the elite units in the Marines or Navy but also had gained the maturity he needed to attend college and was thinking about that, his father said.
Just before Colin enlisted, the family had visited France and the beaches where the Allies landed on D-Day. The military cemeteries there made a big impression on the soon-to-be Marine. His father said he’s sure Colin would appreciate that he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The family plans to establish a memorial fund in his name to support a community performing arts center that’s being built at George Mason University’s Prince William County campus.
Wolfe’s survivors include his parents and his sister, Cecile, 15.
British Soldier Killed In Al Qurna
Sep 8 Reuters
A British soldier has been killed in Iraq, the Ministry of Defense said on Friday.
A spokeswoman said the soldier, from the 12th regiment of the Royal Artillery, was injured in an attack in al Qurna in the south of the country on Tuesday and died of his injuries on Thursday.
Resistance Attacks In Fallujah:
Clashes between insurgents and U.S. troops after a roadside bomb attack on a U.S. convoy on Thursday in Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, residents and police sources said. Raed al-Ani, a hospital doctor, said three Iraqis were killed and six wounded.
Residents said U.S. troops used loudspeakers to demand people turn in insurgents or face a “large military operation. [Since whoever ordered this tactic has no power to make it happen, the net result is to make the occupation look even weaker than it already does. ]
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Kabul Blast Kills 3 U.S. Soldiers
Sep 8 DUBAI (Reuters) & AP
At least three American soldiers were killed in the Afghanistan capital Kabul in as a car bomber struck a convoy of U.S. military vehicles in downtown Kabul on Friday, attacking near the U.S. embassy, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television said on Friday.
Earlier witnesses in Kabul said they saw four bodies after the blast, all presumed dead.
The bomb, one of the worst in Kabul in recent years, blew pieces of an American Humvee and U.S. uniforms into trees, which were set ablaze by the explosion. The blast shattered windows throughout downtown, and a cloud of brown smoke climbed hundreds of feet into the sky.
The Kabul blast went off about 50 yards from the landmark Massood Square, which leads to the main gate of the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy compound.
It dug a 6-foot-wide crater and left body parts, Muslim prayer caps, floppy khaki-colored military hats and shoes scattered on the ground.
A witness, Najibullah Faizi, said he saw a blue Toyota Corolla driven by a young, heavyset man speed past another car on the inside lane before ramming one of two U.S. Humvees in a convoy.
“I fell to the ground after the blast. American soldiers started shooting at another car nearby. There was smoke and flames everywhere,” Faizi, 25, told reporters.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw the bodies of two coalition soldiers lying yards from the Humvee. U.S. troops stood guard around the bodies, one of which was slumped in the gutter, the other covered by a plastic sheet.
Dozens of U.S. and British soldiers cordoned off the scene as investigators sifted through the wreckage of the charred military vehicle.
Soldiers retrieved body parts, apparently from the bomber, and placed them into plastic bags for further investigation.
Wisconsin Airman Killed In Afghanistan
August 25, 2006 By DAN SIMMONS, La Crosse Tribune
How to capture a life in one story?
Drew Larson, 23, now of Milwaukee, said he’s struggled to find that one story, the one “that will tell the world what a great guy my friend was,” ever since he learned that Senior Airman Adam P. Servais, 23, was killed Saturday while fighting extremists in southern Afghanistan.
Servais, of Onalaska, Wis., had been in Afghanistan since mid-June. He was one of only 400 elite combat controllers in the entire Air Force.
Combat controllers go, undetected, into combat and hostile environments to establish assault zones or airfields, according to the Air Force. Their motto is “First There, That Others May Live.”
Servais was the lone Air Force controller assigned to a U.S. Army Special Forces unit in Uruzgan province.
Amid his grief, Larson eventually thought of a story about his friend, about their first road trip on their own, that told a lot about their friendship.
They were 16, newly licensed and headed to Madison to — what else? — watch a college hockey tournament.
“For us, everything comes back to hockey,” Larson said. He and Servais met at the rink near their Onalaska homes as tykes. They were next to each other when they learned to skate. Most in their close-knit group of friends played hockey for Onalaska.
Larson played goalie. Servais played defense, wearing a purple No. 3 sweater.
The hundreds of games blur together. “It’s this image of a big guy with red hair leveling someone in front of me,” Larson said. “I could trust him. We had that rapport.”
On that Madison road trip, they drove Servais’ 1989 Chevy S10. Driving — and cars — became their second obsession.
“We worked on each other’s cars all the time,” Larson said. Once, he helped Servais and his father, Pete, reconstruct a Chrysler New Yorker, using the front end of a 1984 model and the back end of a 1988.
“We decided it was an ’86,” he said with a laugh.
And one more thing about the road trip: It was fun.
“We were two kids drinking way too much Mountain Dew, listening to silly rap music, telling dumb stories,” Larson said. “Adam was very active, —some might even say hyperactive — always trying to get people riled up.”
Pete Liska, now retired as an assistant football coach and teacher at Onalaska High School, also said he and other adults saw a different side of Servais — a “quiet leader,” a player whose maturity made him seem “17 going on 25,” who reserved his live-wire energy for the field.
Servais, who graduated in 2001, started at outside linebacker as a senior on the football team, but “volunteered for every special teams job we had,” Liska said. “It was always, ‘Coach, what do you need?’ That was Adam.”
Once, late in a tight game, Onalaska’s kicker sent a low-flying kickoff, end over end, to the opposing team’s kick returner. He fumbled it.
Instantly, No. 70 in a purple jersey — Servais — was there to pounce on the ball near the goal line.
“He had sprinted the entire length of the field,” Liska said. “He just blew right by everybody. It’s one of the most amazing hustle plays I’ve ever seen.”
At the end of the season, Liska awarded Servais as the special teams player of the year. “When I gave him the award, he gave me this look, like ‘Coach, I don’t deserve this.’ But he definitely did.”
Servais joined the Air Force in June 2002. He graduated from combat controller school — earning the right to wear the scarlet beret — Sept. 24, 2004, after enduring a grueling 35-week training regimen.
The unit is equivalent in prestige to the Navy’s SEALS or Army’s Green Berets, Ray said. “We consider it a huge milestone in your career. It’s held in such high regard because of people like Adam.”
Servais also served in Iraq from December 2005 to March 2006, doing search-and-rescue missions.
Ray said the intense training controllers go through together forms a tight bond among airmen. “You learn to trust your team members with your life. As important as Adam’s family was to him, his team members were that important, too.” News of his death cast a pall over the Air Force base in Florida, Ray said, as everyone there knew him.
“He was known for his smile, most commonly referred to as ‘the grin.’ The operators really valued his ability to light up a room, even in the most austere conditions,” Ray said.
Larson agreed. He didn’t have many chances to see his friend since high school, due to Servais’ deployments around the world.
“But I saw pictures,” Larson said. “It always looked like he wasn’t living in the nicest places, but he’s always smiling. He looked happy. If there’s anyone I’d want defending our country, he’d be the guy.”
Colo. Family, Town Mourn Loss Of Medic
August 23 By Ellen Miller, Rocky Mountain News (Colorado)
MONTROSE, Colo.: In a subdivision near the isolated foothills east of Montrose, Judy and Steve Sitton tried Tuesday to absorb the news that their son, Army Spc. Chris Sitton, had died in a roadside bombing in eastern Afghanistan.
Friends and neighbors decorated their lawn and porch with American flags and yellow ribbons, and placed the sign “Lest He Be Forgotten” on the front porch.
“Chris has been gone, and now to think he’s not coming back . . . ,” said Judy Sitton. “He was awesome, one of those kids everybody wanted to know. Even as a little kid, he was helping people and always thought of others first.”
The 21-year-old Eagle Scout, lifeguard and track star was a medic with the 10th Mountain Division deployed to Afghanistan in March. He died Saturday when an improvised explosive device detonated as his supply convoy traveled along a road.
Sitton was in the Boy Scouts from second grade on and qualified for Eagle while the family lived in Quinlan, Texas, before they moved to Montrose in 2001. The Colorado outdoors proved a powerful lure for Sitton.
“He camped, hiked, skied, waterskied, you name it,” his father said. “Chris was a high-speed, low-drag guy. Life was about fun.” “And friends,” Judy Sitton added.
Sitton’s older sister, Laura, talked of her brother’s passion for music and how he played in a jazz band in Texas. Sitton began running track as a junior in Montrose. By his senior year, he won the 400-meter run and placed second at 200 meters at the Western Slope regional track meet and also qualified for the state meet as part of two relay teams.
Sarah Ackerman, a senior at Regis University, talked of her friend’s love of the outdoors and how “he’s gotta be the greatest guy ever, with the biggest heart.”
Ackerman said she met Sitton shortly after his family moved to Montrose and they both worked as lifeguards at the same pool. They were among other teenagers on the Venture Crew, a co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts.
“I remember when he just got here from Texas and he just had to go backpacking,” Ackerman said. “We were above timberline and the altitude is a whole lot different than Texas. He was so energetic he was bounding off rocks. We told him to slow down but he wouldn’t, but it caught up with him later.”
He entered the Army in January 2004 and was to have been discharged in January 2008, after which he wanted to go to college and then medical school.
Services are pending. The Sittons don’t know when the Army will return his body to Montrose or where he will be buried. They have decided they want full military honors.
“We just found out today,” Judy Sitton said. “He’d qualified for corporal and it was approved, and now it will be awarded posthumously.”
“He’s really going to be missed,” she said.
Local Soldier Killed In Afghanistan
Hiawatha residents mourn a serviceman’s death this week. Army Specialist Jeremiah Scott Cole is remembered by his family and friends as a hero.
The Cole family says they are holding on to their happy memories of Scottie Cole. They say he was proud to serve and protect not only his country but also his town.
“Pride we’re so proud of that boy, a lot of people look at it like anger. And yeah that’s a normal reaction, we’re shocked, hurt, that’s a chunk of our heart gone,” said Tom Jimeson.
Jimeson is remembering his nephew, 26-year-old Army Specialist, Jeremiah ‘Scottie’ Cole. Who was serving with the 10th Mountain Division, and was station in Fort Drum, New York.
Cole and three other soldiers were riding in a humvee in Afghanistan on August 16th, when it hit an IED or a land mine.
Cole was the only one to die.
“He was doing what he wanted, he loved his wife, he loved his boy he loved his country and he loved his town,” said his mother, Candice Cole.
In May of this year, he shipped out for his first tour of duty and left behind his new wife, Andrea and his now five-and-a half month old son, Nicholas.
“They had their goals and it was get her thru school, get him thru school, he wanted to be a history teacher and a coach,” she said.
His family has found strength in each other and the Hiawatha community. They all want to honor and remember the happy memories that Scottie created when alive.
“He had the best heart; in every situation and would go the extra mile, to make sure that things were fair if it was something he could fix,” his mother said. Cole came from a strong military background, his father and uncles all served their country.
His family says Cole always fought for the underdog and was loved by everyone he befriended.
“He made a big impression on everybody and he expected nothing in return,” Candice said. September 5, 2006
His family says the small town of Hiawatha that he loved so much, will for ever remember his giving heart and smile.
Specialist Cole’s funeral arrangements are still pending. But his family says the Hiawatha community is invited to pay their respects.
Four Italian Troops Wounded By Farah IED
A roadside bomb hit an Italian military convoy in western Farah province Friday, wounding four troops, one seriously, NATO and the Italian Defense Ministry said.
THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
“Why Did Blair Send My Teenage Son To Fight An Illegal And Dishonest War?”
[Thanks to Z, who sent this in.]
He stopped talking of peacekeeping and began describing deadly battles in the “hell hole”. He sounded exhausted.
“They don’t have enough resources. They are over-stretched. Everyone is doing two men’s jobs. Every time I spoke to him he was dead on his feet. He could barely say ‘yeah’ on the phone.”
3 September 2006 By Terri Judd, Independent News and Media Limited
The mother of a British soldier caught up in one of the bloodiest incidents in Iraq this year has accused Tony Blair of sending her son to fight an “illegal” war.
Dani Hamilton-Bing, whose son tried to quell rioters in Basra after the downing of a Lynx helicopter in May that killed five British soldiers, attacked Mr Blair for putting the lives of over-stretched troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at risk.
The early learning lecturer’s comments are unusual because tradition dictates that military families of serving soldiers do not speak out.
But Mrs Hamilton-Bing said that anger at seeing her son sent to fight a dishonest war had driven her to take action, adding that many other military families shared her views.
She said: “My son joined to fight legal wars, not wars based on lies and deception.
“Does Tony Blair really value what these men are going through? Does he really understand the sacrifices these men and women are making?” she asked.
Mrs Hamilton-Bing was out shopping with her husband, Rob, when live images of the Lynx helicopter crash were broadcast across the world from Basra. Frozen to the spot, they stared at the images of soldiers battling rioters, knowing that somewhere in that violent melee was their teenage son.
“We just got in the car. We couldn’t get home fast enough and sat glued to the television. We just wanted to catch a glimpse of him, to know he was alive,” said Mrs Hamilton-Bing, 43. Unaware that her son was in fact inside the burning Warrior armoured vehicle on their screen, she tried to call his mobile throughout the day until they finally spoke:
“He said, ‘That was me Mum, that was my wagon that was alight’. You have to remain calm but inside you are screaming and crying,” she explained.
Mrs Hamilton-Bing insists that she is part of a majority vehemently against the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, who believe the forces have been over-stretched, and treated like “mercenaries” for hire by a dishonest Prime Minister.
She believes that she is only reflecting the views of the servicemen and women who say nothing because they acknowledge that they relinquished that right when they signed up and “took the Queen’s shilling”.
“People just see these big strapping lads going off to war and these strong people waiting behind. It is a fašade,” she said.
On Thursday Mrs Hamilton watched her son, Pte James Hamilton-Bing, 18, of the 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry, return to Basra after his leave, knowing full well that in his previous four months in Iraq he has endured nightly mortar attacks, riots, countless fire fights and watched a comrade die.
Perhaps worse are the things he would not talk about. The first time she watched his father drive him off to the airport on his way to Iraq in April the normally relaxed lecturer – a military daughter and a military wife – disintegrated.
“I couldn’t walk. My legs would not carry me. I was like jelly. I just sat and cried. It was self-pity. I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed, to eat. I was quite horrid and uncaring to (my 12-year-old daughter) Chloe. I didn’t appreciate how she was dealing with it,” she explained.
After her own mother declared that she had two choices – dissolve into a nervous wreck or channel her grief – she decided to set up a support network for families and was stunned by the response. She received calls from women just streets away and others half-way across the world. Today the Iraq families are being joined by those whose relatives have been deployed to Afghanistan.
“Nobody believes what the Government says. Nine out of 10 agree with me,” she said, adding: “There is a general feeling of two steps forward, one step back all the time. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.”
Like them, she now has rituals for coping. The telephone never leaves her side. The family do not go out together in case a call comes in. Her son’s bedroom is left exactly as it was the day he walked out. “When he went his bed was left as he had got out of it that morning. I would not clear it up in case he didn’t come back.”
The other day she found herself accosting a woman who was yelling at her young son in the supermarket. “I said, ‘I don’t want to be rude but can you not speak to your son like that? My son is 18 and he is in Basra. Just appreciate your son. My son could be dead any day and you are worrying over a bag of sweets’.”
Over the months she has listened to the change in her teenage soldier. Initially enthusiastic, his phone calls home began to change. He stopped talking of peacekeeping and began describing deadly battles in the “hell hole”. He sounded exhausted.
“They don’t have enough resources. They are over-stretched. Everyone is doing two men’s jobs. Every time I spoke to him he was dead on his feet. He could barely say ‘yeah’ on the phone.”
The worst moment came when the Lebanon conflict was dominating the news, she explained: “He said, ‘People have forgotten about us, Mum. We are doing this shitty job, doing our best and they have forgotten about us’. That cut me to the quick.”
Mrs Hamilton-Bing admits she was fiercely proud when her son joined the Army at just 16. In their home county of Cornwall, it offered a far better career than joining the tourism or building trade. It was not until she was listening to the local news one day that she realised that the “Op Telic” training he was undergoing meant he was off to Iraq.
“I am not against war, just an illegal war. I can’t understand why we are there. I want to know why we needed a UN mandate of nine out of 15 and we went in with just four. Maybe if Tony Blair tried to tell me I would understand better,” she said.
THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
“The Graves Of Millions”
From: Richard Hastie
U.S. Government Tank in Vietnam — A picture I took in 1970
America’s Imperialistic prosperity is built over the graves of millions
When I came back from Vietnam, this was
No one owns my belief system anymore.
“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Who Lives And Who Dies
From: Dennis Serdel
Written by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade, purple heart, Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against The War, United Auto Workers GM Retiree, in Perry, Michigan
Who Lives And Who Dies
Peterson was in Camron Bay waiting for a plane
YOUR FLAG DECAL WON’T GET YOU INTO HEAVEN ANYMORE
By John Prine 1971
While digesting Reader’s Digest in the back of the dirty book store
Well I went to the bank this morning and the cashier said to me
Well I got my windowshield so filled with flags I couldn’t see
“It’s Impossible For The Worlds Greatest Terrorist Organisation –
Sep 5, 2006 Graeme Greene, METRO [Excerpts]
Do you think peoples belief in the War On Terror is dwindling?
Its a pity people believed in it from the start. There isn’t a war on terror. Its impossible for the worlds greatest terrorist organisation – the United States – to conduct a war on terror. Its absurd. Since 1946, they’ve overthrown some 50 governments, many of them by terrorist means – that’s terrorism.
What do you think the War On Terror is really about?
Its presented as something new but it isn’t. The only way I can make sense of what’s happening in the world is in terms of empire and imperial ambitions.
What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
Bush Says Americans Won’t Bow Down To Him
“America will not bow down to tyrants.” Bush to an association of U.S. military officers on Sept. 5. Robert Parry, 7.9.06, Consortium News
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
Telling the truth – about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington – is the first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance – whether it’s in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what you’ve read, we hope that you’ll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers. www.traveling-soldier.org/ And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! www.ivaw.net
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