color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: March 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Measure of a Woman

Ida Marie 1918-2007

Blogging will be light. My dear mother-in-law passed away yesterday. An interesting life story... her mother died when Ida and her brother were toddlers. A few years later her father married a widow with a child, and they had a child together before her father disappeared mysteriously when all the children were still under the age of 10. Her (step)mother raised all the children by taking in other people's laundry and baking bread in the wee hours of the morning that the children would then sell door to door before school each day -- in the rain, the snow and the heat of the Heartland. Until she came to Arizona last year to convalesce, she lived her entire life within 20 miles of where she was born -- in a small farming community in Illinois. It is where we will return to lay her to rest.

She hated getting old and her body failing her. She lived on her own in her own home until she was 87 years old and she hated losing her independence and having to rely on others. Hated it. But she loved... She loved the color lavender -- not purple or lilac -- but lavender. (Girls will get that.) She LOVED extra crispy bacon. And strawberry ice cream with real strawberries. Kentucky Fried Chicken. That old Irish wool sweater. She liked sitting in front of our fireplace. She loved reading the newspaper -- any newspaper... cover to cover, every page... with a cup of coffee (instant only) with real milk --none of that non-dairy creamer stuff. But more than anything she loved her family.

I can't say anything that would adequately describe Ida Marie. You may judge a woman by her looks or her clothing or perhaps even her accumulated possessions or wealth. I would measure a woman's accomplishments by the legacy she leaves behind in her children... and their children. If the three wonderful, caring, intelligent and happy sons she raised and all the loving, happy and successful grandchildren with which she was blessed are how we measure Ida's life, then it was full and complete and an unmitigated success.

She leaves in mourning one sister, one sister-in-law, three devoted sons and their wives, eight grandchildren (and seven spouses) and one great grandson. Her husband of 55 years and her two brothers predeceased her. She is already greatly missed.

Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2007. All rights reserved.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Oh, No, Lord! Please...

When you have loved ones at war, there are certain events and phrases that will literally knock the breath out of you and cause involuntary curse words to escape from you. Last night I had such a moment.

A friend emailed me a "Velvet Hammer". That's what the 3rd Brigade of the 3ID calls a notification to their families that one of their own has been lost. They never give the name and they never send them out until the family has been notified. But just seeing the words "Velvet Hammer" in the Subject line literally takes my breath away and makes my heart skip a beat. And the dreaded "shit" word escaped from my lips. "How can this be?" I think. "It's too early." Then I reprimand myself with, "100 years from now would still be too early." I held my breath and am thinking, "damn! damn! damn!" as I opened the email and quickly scanned the text to find what unit.

It was not Our Guys' unit, but a companion unit. But it was their BCT (Brigade Combat Team). I don't know the circumstances or the location. It doesn't matter. A soldier has died. I don't know if Noah knows, he's on a special assignment out of state for a few days. I hope when he hears the news that they tell him the unit and the soldier's name. It will not bring him much comfort; I hope it does not send him into the memories that haunt him.

The news kept me awake for hours last night and I tossed and turned... I couldn't stop thinking about this soldier's family... Did he have a wife? I can feel the pain of his parents... his siblings... I can imagine the reaction of his aunts and uncles and cousins. I'm certain the news flew through his high school friends in the community where he grew up. Somewhere there is a family in shock, crying and inconsolable this day.... every day for the rest of their lives.

I couldn't keep from thinking about the memorial service for Matt Bohling and thinking that this soldier's brothers -- still Matt's brothers -- would be attending another in the Sandbox and at Ft. Benning... I couldn't stop the memories of Tommy Byrd's funeral from flooding in and the recollection of the grief and the faces of his wife, his brother, his parents -- especially his mother -- cause tears to come to my eyes because somewhere out there tonight is another family engulfed in that same grief.

Our hearts go out to this family... our thoughts and prayers will be with them accompanied by our hope that they find peace... and that the Lord has flung open the gates of Heaven and welcomed this soldier Home with loving arms.

Copyright 2007 Some Soldier's Mom. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Gimme What You Got...

cause a man with a briefcase
Can steal more money
Than any man with a gun
-- Don Henley; "Gimme What You Got"

From the Wall Street Journal this past weekend (emphasis added):

(Everybody's a General in the Army called Congress)
The Wall Street Journal
March 17, 2007; Page A8

To understand why the Founders put Presidents in charge of war fighting, look no further than the supplemental war spending bill now moving through the House. Everybody's a four-star in Congress's Army, and every general wants his own command, especially if it includes cash for the troops, er, campaign contributors. Too bad none of this bears any relation to what real General David Petraeus is trying to accomplish in Iraq.

Not that we don't sympathize with Defense Secretary Nancy Pelosi. She won the majority in part by riding antiwar sentiment, and now her antiwar ranks are demanding satisfaction. So she's moved beyond the political evasion of "non-binding" resolutions and is trying to attach binding legal restrictions in spending bills on President Bush's ability to conduct the war. This is the strategy she and General Jack Murtha have worked out.

* * *

So what's a leader of Congress to do to get a majority? You know the answer: Let the vote-buying begin!

Thus has Mr. Bush's request for $100 billion to fund the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus $3 billion to replenish the disaster-relief fund, devolved into a $124.6 billion logrolling extravaganza. You can get the flavor from the bill's very first words on page two: "Title I -- Supplemental Appropriations for the Global War on Terror Chapter 1 Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service." Forget the Marines; send in the meat inspectors.

This bill has everything the modern military doesn't need. There's $25 million for spinach, designed to attract the vote of Sam Farr, a California farm-region liberal. Perhaps spinach growers who lost business due to last year's E. coli scare need this taxpayer bailout, but it won't intimidate the Taliban unless Mr. Farr plans to draft Popeye.

Other lowlights include $20 million to restore farmland damaged by freezing temperatures, and $1.48 billion for livestock farmers. And don't forget the $74 million "to ensure proper storage for peanuts," an urgent national-security need. This happens to be about the same amount that House Democrats propose to increase spending for operations of the Army Reserve, so it's good to see Congress has its priorities in order.

Then there are the provisions to raise the minimum wage, at one pace for the continental U.S. but at a separate, slower pace for the Northern Mariana Islands. And $500 million for "urgent wildland fire suppression" -- that's forest fires, not weapons fire. There's so much more, if only the press corps would take the time to look.

This pork-barrel blowout is grounds enough for a Presidential veto. But the vote-buying is more important for what it says about Congress and the way it wants to micromanage the war. Any legislature is essentially a committee of special interests, each of which wants to be massaged. This is true of war strategy as much as farm policy. The goal isn't victory in Iraq, but "victory" on Capitol Hill, which means cobbling together a majority of 218 in the House and 51 in the Senate. Logrolling and micromanagement are two sides of the same coin of the legislative Pentagon.
* * *
In any case, Democrats still aren't taking any real war responsibility. Instead of cutting off funds right now, which would at least be a policy, they kick the issue down the road by imposing "benchmarks." So unless the Iraqis meet certain conditions set by Congress by July 1 and October 1 of this year, U.S. troops will have to redeploy at once and finish within 180 days. And even if these earmarks -- sorry, benchmarks -- are met, all U.S. troops must begin to retreat by March 2008.

All of this is flatly unconstitutional, but far worse it is an insult to the troops in the field. If Iraq's parliament somehow gets bogged down -- like Congress? -- on de-Baathification or dividing up oil revenues, American troops have to end their mission. So General Petraeus's war strategy is made hostage to two legislatures, in Baghdad and the Beltway.

Once the U.S. retreats, American forces would then be permitted only to fight al Qaeda and "other terrorist organizations with global reach." So the Army Colonel leading a strike brigade would have to think twice, or consult his lawyers, about just what constitutes "global reach." Did Abu Musab al-Zarqawi qualify since he merely called his outfit "al Qaeda in Iraq"? Democrats are trying to appease their antiwar left by attaching a thousand bureaucratic and legal strings, rather than being accountable with an up-or-down funding vote. As Mr. Obey told those "idiot liberals" in a moment of candor caught on camera, he believes this "bill ends the war." Just not honestly.

Meanwhile, on the Baghdad battlefield, General Petraeus is moving ahead and signs of tentative progress are visible. Shiite death squads are laying low or leaving town, so casualties are down. The new oil law looks like a political breakthrough that would share revenues with all parts of Iraq based on population. Success isn't certain, but the Democratic Congress's only contribution is to make victory more difficult.
* * *

With all the news stories about the "scandal" at Walter Reed, here's what I find in the appropriations for Health Programs (speak up if I missed anything):

Defense Health Programs: $2.79 billion of which $2.29 billion shall be for operation and maintenance [only available until 9/30/2008 so spend it while ya got it!] and of which $500 million shall be for research, development, test and evaluation
[available until 9/30/2009]. [note that the $2.79 billion for military health isn't even 2x the Democrats' $1.48 Billion for livestock farmers!]


Compensation & Pensions:
$20 million for a pilot program for disability examinations
[OK, remember, the Dems have included $25 million for spinach...]

Medical Services:
$414.982 million, which includes $30 million for a new Level I comprehensive Polytrauma Center (doesn't say where this will be); $56 million for prosthetics;
$100 million for contract mental health care when appointment waiting times exceed 30 days [whiskey tango foxtrot??? there should be NO STRINGS for mental health care... it should be left to the VA how to spend this -- like using some of this $100 million to HIRE AND TRAIN TEAMS IN THE TREATMENT OF COMBAT-RELATED PTSD NOW 'CAUSE THE FLOOD GATES ARE ABOUT TO OPEN ON THE VA!!!!]; and $228.982 million shall be for the treatment of veterans of the global war on terror.

Medical Administration:
$256.3 million, including $6.3 million for polytrauma support clinic teams for case management

Medical Facilities:
$595.0 million, including $45 million for upgrades to polytrauma centers and $550 million
for non-recurring maintenance as identified in the VA Facility Condition Assessment

Medical & Prosthetic Research:
$35 million

Administrative Expenses:
$62 million, including $1.25 million for digitization of records [yeah, that should digitize about 100 pages of records] and $60.75 million "for expenses related to hiring and training new claims processing personnel" [YES!!! wonderful! but not nearly enough!]
[again... compare to the $74 million "to ensure proper storage for peanuts"]

OK, that makes the VA total $1.38 billion -- and the Dems have included $1.48 BILLION just for livestock farmers. More money for cows & horses than Veterans??? Yeah... you have not only shown us your priorities, you have shown us your stripes.

So much for "change", eh?? Still pigs at the public trough! If the Democrats or Republicans want these pork bills to proceed, then they should be proposed on their own and not attached to the funding needed by soldiers and veterans. If these are noteworthy and defensible fundings, then they should be trotted out in the light of day and made to be examined and supported -- separate from the funds for the War on Terror. And since when did the Federal government's responsibility to "save" BUSINESSES for every single setback? They're BUSINESSES. There are risks in every business -- no guarantee that weather or world prices won't cause a setback -- why are the Feds pumping up these BUSINESSES? (oh yeah, right. Campaign contributions... votes.) SHAME (again!) on the Congress for these evil and underhanded ploys at vote-buying! FOR SHAME!!

Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2007 (except WSJ content). All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

This is Going to be So Much FUN!

Registration for the 2007 MilBlog Conference is now open to the general public. To register, click here.

Update: A sneak peek at the registration list can be found

This is going to be so much FUN!


Monday, March 12, 2007

Honoring Chance: A Mother's Journey

As I note in my side bar, I have contributed to two books that were published last year: The Blog of War and Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan & the Home Front.

While it is difficult to pick any one of the fine writings that appear in these two books as a favorite, if asked, I would tell you that the one that moved me more than any other is the personal narrative of Lt. Colonel Michael R. Strobl and it appears in both of these collections. It is entitled, “
Taking Chance” and relates the highly emotional experience of accompanying the body of Chance Phelps, a young Marine killed in Iraq, from Dover, Delaware to his final resting place in Wyoming. I first read this narrative at Blackfive in April 2004, and more than a year and a half later I sent a copy of it to my son while he waited to accompany the body of his friend Tommy to his home in Tucson.

Today, on the front page of my local paper, The Courier, I was enthralled by
this story of Chance’s mother, Gretchen Mack, and her daughter who are walking the more than 1,500 miles from Twentynine Palms Marine Base -- where her son Chance trained -- to his final resting place in his home town in Wyoming. To Remember Chance. To Honor him… and all his brothers.

She and Orndoff make it a point that they are not marching to protest the war, but to support the troops.

Mack expressed her disapproval of people who protest the war by demonstrating against soldiers and their families. She derided them as "cowards."

"The troops watch the news in Iraq, and see that sort of thing happening," she said. "How do you think that makes them feel?"

On her Web site [for the Chance Phelps Foundation],, the introductory message states, "The Chance Phelps Foundation, and its sponsored events, do not support any anti-war effort."

Mack said she supports the troops and the commander-in-chief.

You can sponsor this team by the mile (one cent/mile is just $15.74) or you can make a donation of any amount. All money they raise is donated to Fisher House and to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Go to the Chance Phelps Foundation page and read their blog and to read more about this remarkable young man and the remarkable effort by his mom and sister(s).

Since they are walking through my neck of the woods, I’m hoping to track down their route and buy the ladies lunch or dinner (and bring dog treats for their dogs!)

All I can say, Gretchen, is OORAH. Chance is looking down and he sure is one proud Marine.

And to Cindy and the cronies of Code Pink -- THIS is how we honor the fallen.

Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2007. All rights reserved.

Pre-registration for the 2007 MilBlog Conference OPEN

Pre-registration for the 2007 MilBlog Conference is now open. Registration is $40 per person. The fee covers the cocktail reception on May 4 and the conference/luncheon on May 5.

The first 100 seats are reserved for pre-registrants and are available on a first come/first served basis. Pre-registration will run from March 9 - March 16 and is open only to members of the military community (active-duty, Guard, Reserves, Veterans and family members).

Registration will open to the general public on March 17.

Seating is limited to 275 people, so be sure to register early.

See you in Arlington, VA in May!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

My Guys Are Gone... Again

My Guys left for Iraq today... again. I wasn't at Fort Benning as I was in 2005, and my son didn't deploy this time, but I found myself thinking about my other "sons" all day -- Vinny & Rob. This time the Guys are married (both of these and many others will miss their first wedding anniversaries)... And they're two years older -- 21 and 22 this time instead of 19 and 20 like the last ... and both of My Guys have been there before. It's little consolation. They may be older, although far from old... but then again far older in many ways than those of us who have not been to war... not once but twice. How incongruent can it be that 21 year olds are the "old guys" the "new guys" will look to in the chaos of war?

So we're back to the worry. We're back to the waiting. We'll watch the news. And we won't. It's all more of the same... only different.

As for Noah, he's been a little down the last few days... helping his friends get ready for deployment, but with him not deploying, it's hard. It's even harder if he lets himself think about the consequences of war... He hasn't forgotten how many didn't return last time... no one has forgotten. No one will ever forget. And it's likely he'll have been medically discharged before his unit redeploys. Difficult. For now, he's assigned to the Rear Detachment, helping where he can and assisting the families of those deployed until he slays the "paper dragon" and the Army decides what will be his fate.

I know that there are those in American who claim to be suffering from "Iraq Fatigue"... but I really don't want to hear it. Really. How self-absorbed can you be to say you are "sick of the War" and "don't want to hear about Iraq" any more? When they say those things they disrespect these fine young men... and those of us who know why they serve should never miss the opportunity to remind them from time to time not only of these soldiers, but also of the families they have left for at least a year... reminded of the mothers, fathers, wives and children who remember every minute of every day that their loved ones are away.

Hurry home, my sons. Stay safe. Remember -- eyes up, heads & asses down!

Copyright 2007 Some Soldier's Mom. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Faith in Time of War: Grace Under Fire

I’m a believer that the words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” are actually a guarantee to all of us to our freedom OF religion and not the twisted battle cry of freedom FROM religion. How that has come to mean that openly praying to or invoking the name of one’s God should offend someone else is a mystery to me.

There is much discussion these days about religion and its rightful place in our society, our politics and political institutions. And, of course, there is great debate (actually it’s more like yelling and screaming) about the role of religion in conflict -- past and present. But there is no debate on the importance of Faith. While I would not say that I am a religious person, I am a person of great Faith and readily admit that my experiences with this war have tested -- and ultimately strengthened -- my Faith.

I cannot imagine that there are more heartfelt professions of Faith -- or a time of greater need of Faith -- than in time of war. In my own experience, after I
cried me a river, “I cried and begged God, His Mother and all the saints in Heaven to protect my son… and his new brothers.” And after my son would communicate with us, I would exuberantly "thank the Good Lord for the call and our son's continued safety.” Just hours after we heard from the Army that Noah had been wounded, I asked the blogsphere to "Please pray for my son." And the next day I told of how I busied myself the previous night and said, “Although this seems like a logical string of actions, in reality they are herky-jerky tasks strung together by time and episodes of gasping sobs and crying... and praying to God to please, please let our son be OK. I'm not really praying, I'm begging God to please spare my son. I'm bartering... I'm badgering...” Many hundreds of people left comments on that post principally with messages of prayers and Faith.

And when Noah’s friends
Matt and then Jason Benford, and then Tommy, Tim, Jeff, Rich and Vince Summers were all killed within weeks of each other, I wrote about one of my many conversations with Noah while he tried to make sense of why them and not he, “I tried to gently talk with Noah about how there must be some greater Plan set in motion by God in all this -- that while he has been wounded, he is about the lone survivor of his original Bradley crew and perhaps he was spared because there is a task he has been chosen for ‑‑ even if he can not see it at this moment. He says he knows that God has both a left and a right hand but says he's pretty tired of the Left hand... then he quickly says he doesn't want to talk about God today... he's angry with God for the moment. There's not much you can say... Haven't we all been angry with God at least once or twice?” And I finished that blog post with, “Please continue to pray for our soldiers, for the families of our fallen Heroes, for our leaders and those that must send or command our loved ones in harm's way. Please God, grant our dearly departed Peace in your Kingdom, and please grant the rest of us Peace on Earth.” (I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve prayed in my blogs -- for the living, for the wounded, for the dead… for Peace. I pray a lot for Peace.) And when the call goes out for prayers for a wounded soldier or Marine, milbloggers routinely refer to it as “waging spiritual warfare”. Just goes to show that perhaps the old adage about “no atheists in foxholes” is more accurate that not.

In this context, I’d like to draw your attention to a new book about to be published by the wonderful author and editor (and founder of
The Legacy Project - War Letters), Andrew Carroll, titled Grace Under Fire - Letters of Faith in Times of War. I was privileged to speak with Andy once or twice while he was editing the superb Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front.

Like his other critically (and commercially) acclaimed works War Letters and Behind the Lines, Grace Under Fire is a collection of letters (and emails) of soldiers from the US Revolution to the current War on Terrorism. Although written in war, these letters relate the hope, devotion, honor and Faith of soldiers and their families that transcend conflict. The letters are not overly religious, but they are filled with purpose and honor and commitment -- to family, to mission, to brothers-in-arms... to Faith. These letters contain lessons and inspiration valuable in war or peace.

You cannot help but be moved by the last letter of NBC News correspondent David Bloom in which he writes to his wife Melanie, “I hope and pray that all of my guys get out of this in one piece. But I tell you, Mel, I am at peace. Deeply saddened by the glimpses of death and destruction I have seen, but at peace with my God, and with you…. Yes, I am proud of the good job we’ve been doing, but -- in the scheme of things -- it matters little compared to my relationship with you, and the girls, and Jesus.”

And how can you not be impressed by the words of Lt. Col. Scott Barnes, a surgeon in Iraq when he says, “But I have no doubt that this is exactly where the Lord wants me to be. I am convinced that I am here for a reason. And I can see it in the faces of some of the soldiers and the Iraqi civilians on whom I operate…” and later in the same email asks and answers the question, “Where is God… He is in the OR guiding the hands of the surgeons, He is in the will of the sergeants helping organize a blood drive as only they can, He is in the hearts of the soldiers who immediately roll up their sleeves to give what they have to save a dying brother whom they don’t even know.”

While those are two of my personal favorite passages, the letters of Chaplain Ray Stubbe before, during and after the siege at Khe Sahn are riveting; and how timely the description of a WWII sailor evacuating soldiers from the jungles of the Pacific describing the many with “shell shock” (now called PTSD) saying, “… and we noticed the vacant look in the soldiers eyes which seemed widened by some recent horror.” And a bit later writes, “It was hard to read their ages; some looked as though they were fifty years old at nineteen; others looked as though they had been born as old men.”

I could personally relate to the joy Mrs. Norton surely felt when she received the April 15, 1945 letter from her wounded and captured son, PFC James Norton, after being liberated from a German POW camp. You’re bound to chuckle as I did when he writes about the Army showing up at the camp, “As much as I’ve cussed the army, I love it now, and I’ve never seen a more smooth working, efficient organization.” And again when he writes, “I'll never forget that first Yank. I always said I’d kiss the first one I saw who liberated us, even if it were a 2nd Looie, and you guessed it, he was.” And I imagine that it wasn’t the first or last time a soldier wrote his momma when PFC Norton wrote, “…I should be back in the States soon, Mom, and when I do get home, I'll probably never get further than the back porch, as I’ve had all the excitement and adventure to last me a lifetime.” But you will be able to envision his face when he confesses that he had faced death many times in the previous months and, while he had always considered himself a good Christian to that point, he learned “what a fool I had been and what it really means to have faith and the power of prayer.”

There are other letters -- an unidentified sailor’s letter to his mother describing in great detail the attack on his ship in September 1942 and the days spent adrift at sea awaiting rescue… a soldier convinced he will die at Bastogne… a war weary soldier who survived the invasion of Italy and is now asked to fight on another front… a WWI soldier who questions his pastor back home on God’s purpose in a time of war…

In Grace Under Fire,
Andrew Carroll has selected an array of letters that conveys the spirit and heart of soldiers, sailors and marines and their families through time -- and their belief that they are part of something bigger than themselves and that the mission is an honorable one. While the names of the correspondents and the wars may change, the words of these soldiers and their loved ones are timeless.

Just a note: a portion of the proceeds from Grace Under Fire will be donated to military support groups and used to underwrite a distribution of free books to US Military Chaplains stationed around the world.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Foxes, Chicken Coops... & Moms

So I posted yesterday that I was extremely disappointed that the Walter Reed "Blue Ribbon Panel" did not include at least one mother of a wounded soldier or marine... but then a friend brought to my attention the most recent Joe Galloway article on this HERE

which concludes

One reader e-mailed me this week to suggest that if we really want to get to the bottom of this scandal, we should appoint an investigative commission made up of 10 mothers of wounded soldiers instead of the usual suspects who sit on blue-ribbon commissions and find no one responsible for problems.

The mothers, the reader wrote, would sort out who was to blame in short order and find the problems that need fixing even faster. I second her motion.

and to that I might add that they would spend half the money to fix what's wrong than the guys wearing those blue ribbons...

I haven't always agreed with Galloway in some of his more recent tirades and pronouncements, but I think his outrage this time is warranted... but again, lots of finger pointing and breast beating by the press without a lot of tangible suggestions for change...

You know we'll all be watching this closely.

Copyright 2007 Some Soldier's Mom. All rights reserved.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Of Foxes and Chicken Coops...

I saw this little ditty in the In Box today... and my immediate impression: uh, washington... we have a problem here...

Independent Medical Review Group Holds First Meeting

The Independent Review Group (IRG) established by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to conduct an assessment of outpatient treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) and the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) held their first meeting at the Pentagon today.

The group was established as a subcommittee of the Defense Health Board to review, report upon and provide recommendations regarding any critical shortcomings and opportunities to improve rehabilitative care, administrative processes and the quality of lifeof patients. The review group is composed of the following individuals:

Togo West, former secretary of Veterans Affairs and secretary of the Army under President Bill Clinton
Jack Marsh, former secretary of the Army under President Ronald Reagan
Dr. Joe Schwartz, former Republican congressman from Michigan
Jim Bacchus, former Democratic congressman from Florida
Arnold Fisher, senior partner Fisher Brothers New York and chairman of the Board for the Intrepid Museum Foundation
Retired Air Force Gen. John Jumper, former chief of staff of the Air Force
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Chip Roadman, former Air Force surgeon general.
Retired Navy Rear Adm. Kathy Martin, former deputy surgeon general for the Navy
Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Holland, formerly with the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs

The group will have special advisors in the areas of social work, rehabilitation, psychological counseling and family support issues. They will be given free and unrestricted access to facilities and personnel.

"Our overarching goal is to identify any critical shortcomings and opportunities to improve the rehabilitative care, administrative processes, and quality of life for injured and sick members of the armed forces at WRAMC and NNMC, and make recommendations for corrective actions," said Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

The group will report their findings and recommendations within 45 days to the secretaries of the Army and Navy and the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
With the exception of Arnold Fisher (and the Fisher family is one group that knows how to get things done) -- the entire panel is all retired military, secretaries of military services and politicians!!! Not that I have a problem with retired military, but not one parent of a wounded soldier or Marine?? Not one spouse who had to go through the labrynth?? NOT EVEN A WOUNDED SOLDIER OR MARINE THAT ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY"RE TALKING ABOUT?? And why is the investigation being limited to "outpatient treatment"?

but come on Gates -- put someone else on the panel besides the foxes who BUILT the dang chicken coop... gggrrrr.

So if Gates wants a nomination of someone who fills both the "fox" and the "chicken" roles, how about Chuck Z (be sure to read at least his last 10 posts -- at least 8 of which are on the topic of Walter Reed -- a place with which he is intimately familiar. I'd volunteer as an interested party -- having no previous experience with Walter Reed (my son didn't go through WRMC... ) and maybe someone could have nominated a civilian administrator from say a profit-making trauma center to see what worked elsewhere that the military might be able to use??? oh, right -- that would make sense...

x-posted at Milblogs

Copyright 2007 Some Soldier's Mom. All rights reserved.

2006 Milbloggies Announced!

For a list and links to all the winners go here

My sincerest thanks to all who voted for my blog... I am truly honored to be in such great company!

See everyone at the Milblogging Conference in May... registration will be open soon -- so keep watching for the announcement!!

PS If you're interested in being a conference sponsor with a product or service you'd like to pitch to the military community, be sure to check out the information on the conference page (there are reasonable sponsorship packages available!!)
Again, thank you all.
Next, I want to make you aware of the following from Andrea Shea-King:




w/ Andrea Shea King

3 TO 5 P.M. ET (Rebroadcast on the internet again at 9 p.m. ET)




STUDIO LINE: 800-648-1437