color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: September 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

Send Some Cookies to Our Marines

CJ from a Soldier's Perspective is taking orders for Girl Scout Cookies to the troops:

I'm in the final week of taking orders for Girl Scout cookies to send overseas to 2 Marine units. This is my second year doing this. Last year we shipped over 100 boxes to Army units in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our goal this year is 200. We've already gotten orders for 60 boxes in just over a week. Would you mention this on your site for anyone that would like to help send GS cookies? I would greatly appreciate it. Here is the link to all the information:
Hat tip: Uncle Jimbo writing at Blackfive.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

BAND OF BLOGGERS (A Television Project)

From my email...
It is time to move on to Phase II of the BAND OF BLOGGERS (working title) project.
As a refresher, I am the creator and executive producer of the Military Channel series BATTLEFIELD DIARIES. I am currently developing this as a new two-hour special for major international release that will utilize stories written by past and present MilBloggers, supported by video & still images personally shot by the troops. So what I need now are some specific stories written by interested Bloggers who are ready to share their experiences IN THEIR OWN WORDS with television & theater audiences worldwide. No censoring, no political/military agenda or media slant. Just your true accounts of life at war. Stories of hope, heroes, loss, grief, joy, humanity, recovery, frustration, relief, action, downtime, boredom, funny situations or just what life is really like inside and outside the wire. Nothing is out of bounds! The good, the bad, or the ugly. Fire-fights, missions, being homesick, FOB BBQs, best buds, being naughty,practical jokes, or training, helping & interacting with Iraqi civilians/children/police/military... anything that has a story to it or will be visually compelling & interesting.
But I need to act quickly as I must present the broadcasters some sample stories in 2 weeks! (Note: Sending in a story does not guarantee its use in any program. We will notify the authors of the stories we would like to use prior to moving forward with them.) This is a team effort! I'd even like it if the MilBloggers would read their own stories in the production...
Please send in your favorite stories, (1-3 per person is fine), so we can start going through them right away. We'll notify everyone ASAP with news of the first two-hour special, which we hope will turn into a series and a DVD release. So even if your submission isn't used for the first special, we hope to make this a long-running series in order to tell as many amazing stories as possible. You men and women deserve no less!

And to everyone who has already sent me some video and/or stills, thanks. If you are in the process of, or planning to send me video and your release, please do so at your earliest convenience. We're in the home stretch!! Please let me know if you have any questions. My number is below. Call or e-mail anytime. Thank you and stay safe.

Brian Leonard
President & Executive Producer of Normandy Films
W/C: 203-915-7080 Fax: 203-649-5048
Please visit

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Spouses Serve, Too

Since I've been blogging I have received a number of emails from other military parents to commiserate, for advice, to share their stories.
And just as I have a kinship with these parents, my friend Andi has received a lot of email from frustrated spouses, especially reserve and National Guard spouses who find themselves with a deployed spouse but without the local military infrastructure or support system available to active-duty spouses. So my friends Andi, ArmyWife, Melinda and a number of military spouses are attempting to fill that void, and bring milspouses together with SpouseBUZZ, a great new blog devoted exclusively to life from the perspective of a milspouse. It’s not a Milblog per se, no politics, no military strategy, etc.. The blog will focus solely on milspouse issues. The authors are incredible, and I’m sure they will provide a lot of support for their fellow military spouses.

So if you're a military spouse, pop on over to a place devoted to supporting you in the “virtual” sense.

Because Spouses serve too….

Saturday, September 16, 2006

War Inside the Wire (Yes You Can Handle the Truth)

From the WSJ Opinion Page:

"Prisons are about rehabilitation and punishment," Adm. Harris told me in a phone conversation last week, reiterating a point he had made a few days earlier in a briefing for visiting journalists here. "What we are about is keeping enemy combatants off the battlefield. . . . The enemy combatants that we have here were captured on the battlefield or running from the battlefield, and they were engaged in combat operations against Americans, and in many cases killed Americans. What we're trying to do here in Guantanamo is simply keep them off the battlefield, because we know that many of them would go back to the fight."

In fact, Adm. Harris says, many of them have kept fighting even while in captivity. They are carrying out coordinated actions with the apparent goals of disrupting the camp's operations, furthering anti-American propaganda, and wounding and intimidating the servicemen who guard them.

One such action unfolded on May 18. Early that Thursday morning, guards patrolling the high-security Camp 1 (one of five numbered detention areas, with a sixth under construction) found two detainees who had attempted suicide. "One was found unconscious," Adm. Harris recalls, "and then another one was found a little later, frothing at the mouth, if you will. It looked like . . . poisoning of some sort." Both survived, although one took seven days to regain consciousness, and the other took four days. Neither had a prescription for any drug, "so they had to get the meds from other detainees somehow."

To prevent more suicide attempts, "the detention group commander ordered a shakedown of all the cells. He was going through each of the cells looking for contraband, looking for pills. He found some, throughout the day. He found some hidden around the toilet area; he found some hidden in the bindings of the Holy Quran." (Each detainee receives a personal Quran in his native language, which non-Muslim guards are forbidden to touch.)

Early in the evening, the search reached Camp 4, the least restrictive of the detention areas. Unlike in the other camps, detainees in Camp 4 are not confined to individual cells but bunk communally and congregate in fenced yards. This is where the detainees live who are most compliant with camp rules. But on that day in May, their cooperation came to an end.

A guard noticed a detainee who appeared to be trying to hang himself. "The detainee had put a sheet in the ceiling around the lights and built what looked like a noose and was putting his head toward that noose," Adm. Harris says. "The quick-reaction force rushed into that [cell] block to save the life of the individual they thought was trying to kill himself. When they got in there, the detainees had slickened the floor with feces, urine and soapy water," making it hard for the guards to keep their footing.

"They proceeded to attack the guard force. . . . The attack was obviously planned. They managed to get a guard down on the ground. They attacked him with broken light fixtures, with fan blades and with [security] cameras that they had torn off to use as bludgeoning weapons. In that process the NCOIC [noncommissioned officer in charge] made the call--a gutsy call--to fire less-than-lethal rounds at the detainees. . . . All that took about three to five minutes. . . . The disturbance was quelled. No one was seriously injured, either the guards or the detainees.

"But at the same time, detainees in two adjacent blocks erupted and tore up their blocks completely--tore down all the lights, tore up all the fans, tore down all the cameras, and all that kind of stuff. They didn't attack the guards, but they did manage to tear up the blocks." In only one Camp 4 cell block did the detainees not riot: "When the uprising, or whatever you call it, happened, they went back into their block very quietly and stood by the beds," Adm. Harris says. "Today, those are the only residents of Camp 4." When I toured the camp, I saw perhaps eight of them, dressed in white, lolling about their outdoor yard. The other blocks are being repaired and made more secure, at a cost to the taxpayer of about $800,000.

Camp 1 is also unoccupied, undergoing repairs owing to the discovery of another sabotage scheme. Cells in Camp 1 were equipped with spring-operated faucets, and the detainees "managed to figure out how to take that apart and . . . pull the spring out. The spring, when it's fully stretched out, is probably a foot long, and it can be used as a weapon to jab someone in the neck or to jab someone in the eye. They would take that spring and hide it in the waistband of their pants. . . . This is just another indication of the creativity that the detainees have as they plan things against us."

There's more, so be sure to read it all... HERE

Feel free to send the link to Sen McCain, Sen. Kerry, Sen. Warner, et al.

As a soldier's mom and a sailor's mom, I ask these Senators why we can't draft the new "law" that says our treatment of prisoners under the "outrages against personal dignities" language of the Geneva Conventions is limited to signatories to (and hopefully practioners of) the Conventions and specifically exclude enemy combatants of terrorist organizations as those organizations are already identified by the government of the United States? You think these "enemy combatants" live by the caveat to avoid "outrages upon personal dignity" of captured US soldiers?? I would ask these Senators if the names of Thomas Tucker and Kristian Menchaca mean anything to them? Apparently not. And do they actually think that such machinations will protect Matt Maupin?
I know that people think that Sen. McCain's words deserve special consideration because he is a former POW (and my admiration for him and his experience knows no bounds -- he is my senator), but I ask, did the words on paper of the GC protect him? Those countries that will live by the Conventions will and those that won't will not care one spit what the US does or does not do. They will treat captive soldiers in whatever manner suits the captor's aims -- not by how the US treats their captives. North Vietnam being a prime example. And when we talk about uniformed armies we talk about soldiers fighting other soldiers. With al Qaeda and their ilk, their targets are not just soldiers -- but civilians. Regardless of what the Supreme Court says, my personal opinion is that no part of the protections of our Constitution nor the GC should apply to anyone that targets civilians. And as a soldier's mom and a sailor's mom, I am here to tell these senators that I don't think what they want to do will protect either of my sons one bit. If I thought it would, I'd be the first one standing up and saying so.
I am at a loss as to why Graham, Snowe, et al. think we need to cut the line so fine with these criminals? These are people who were or are on the battlefields killing Americans and who wouldn't hesitate to again attack American CIVILIANS on US soil. Perhaps if these animals knew that there were no such protections they might (however unlikely and remote that possibility is) take a step back. I'm all for maintaining the "moral high ground" but do we need to re-invent the hill we want to stand atop? This is war and someone needs to remind the Senators that THIS is the reality of our times. The old "we'll be fair so you be fair" is laughable to terrorists. We need to know what these @#$%^ are doing and who is planning it, financing it and supporting it... and I, for one, don't really care how we get the information short of murder and REAL torture. Personal dignities be damned.
Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2006. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

OPERATION HOMECOMING: Iraq, Afghanistan & the Home Front

Today, Random House is publishing an extraordinary new book titled: OPERATION HOMECOMING: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families. Admittedly, I’m a bit biased about the anthology because something I wrote is in it, but even if I weren’t a contributor I would feel just as strongly about the importance of this book and the project behind it.

In the spring of 2004, and for the first time in history, the National Endowment for the Arts asked military personnel and their families to write about their wartime experiences. Troops and their loved ones sent in more than 10,000 pages of short stories, personal letters, poems, private journals, and other writings, and the NEA selected the 100 best of these submissions to be published in the collection. The collection has been lovingly edited by Andrew Carroll, an award winning author and editor.

"Operation Homecoming" is a National Initiative is different from all the other books about Iraq and Afghanistan because it is not written by a reporter or a famous general, but by everyday folks who have lived through a wide range of experiences overseas and here at home. We’ve heard from the politicians and the pundits. Now it’s time to hear from the troops and their families.

Please know that “Operation Homecoming” is not a political book intended to promote or criticize a certain agenda. I have spoken (and gotten to know) Andy, and his whole mission is simply to ensure that Americans better understand what the troops and their families go through on a day-to-day basis. Yes, there are some very intense pieces in the book about what many troops are sacrificing, but there is a lot of humor, too, and, most of all, a sense of pride. I am truly honored to have contibuted to this book and this project.

Andy will be going on a 30-city book tour throughout the U.S., and he is also traveling to military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to personally hand deliver books to troops stationed overseas. He is extremely passionate about this book, and he did this entire project without pay. (The book’s royalties are going back into programs that support the military.) Andy has never served in uniform himself, but he is a real admirer of those who do—and of their loved ones, whom he knows bear the brunt of war, too.

For more info about Andy, his website is
YOU CAN ORDER THE BOOK HERE and it will be available in bookstores today.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Blog of War

Front-line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan
(and one girlfriend, one wife and one mom)

Back in 2004, when my son, Noah, was preparing to deploy, I searched the internet high and low for information about what it would be like; what he would need; what I could expect. I did find a few soldier blogs and a few by wives, but no blogs by moms.

I found Blackfive (and The Mudville Gazette, Doc in the Box...) and began reading these and other military blogs regularly. The stories that I read moved me -- some scared me, some made me laugh, many made me cry.
Then I decided that it was important to share the experience of being a soldier's mom -- not so much to tell the story of MY soldier, but every soldier ('cause every soldier has a mom) and I began this blog.
I am honored to be a contributor to The Blog of War. I have read it cover to cover and, while I had read many of the essays and stories before, to be able to read them all again in one collection was wonderful. Some of the stories still horrify me, some make me laugh and some make me cry. And if you have never taken the time to fully explore the emotion that the writers of milblogs can convey, The Blog of War will surprise and move you.

Matt has collected the best of the milblogs all in a single collection, including stories from:

· The Warriors. Each day they must go “to fight the dragons.”

· The Leaders. Combat leadership can be the toughest and loneliest job in the world.

· The Healers. The medics who staunch the blood and patch the wounds of their fellow soldiers on the wretched expanses of the battlefield, working feverishly between the next bullet and the nearest hospital to keep their buddies alive.

· Heroes from the Homefront. Having a loved one in harm’s way is a very stressful and trying experience.
· The Fallen. Not everyone makes it back home: bloggers pay tribute to those who have fallen in defense of their country – spouses mourn their husbands, soldiers mourn not only their comrades but their Iraqi friends as well, and heartbreaking last letters home are shared.

· Homecomings. Soldiers share their poignant accounts of homecoming. Some soldiers have been injured and others have wounds that can’t be seen.
All of these stories come straight from the front lines of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Homefront. And you won't find these points of view in the regular media. Not like this. Not with this honesty or the raw emotion.

THE BLOG OF WAR are the accounts of men and women as they actually experience the trials and tribulations of war on the battlefield, where our soldiers daily test their humanity against the hell that is war... and all that it entails. You'll certainly have a better understanding and a greater respect for those who risk their lives for their country.
And as I said on Andrea Shea King's show last evening, it doesn't make any difference what your politics on the War are: these stories are about the people who put it on the line every single day for all people regardless of anyone's politics. It's about duty, honor and courage... not politics. If you want honest and compelling views of what that's like, then read this book.
So go and get this book -- go online and order THE BLOG OF WAR: Front-line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (it will be shipped now) or go to your favorite bookstore and get it -- you won't regret it. It's published by Simon and Schuster; there's a link to the Amazon page on the right).
Now here's all the official stuff:

Matthew Currier Burden enlisted in the military when he was seventeen. He left the military as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve in July 2001. He has a Master of Science degree in computer science from the University of Chicago and works as an IT executive in Chicago.

About the Book
By Matthew Currier Burden
Published by Simon & Schuster
List Price: $15.00
ISBN: 0-7432-9418-1