color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: October 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's Not About You

I read this website PostSecret where people send in their deepest (and sometimes darkest) secrets on post cards. (Doc turned me on to the site a few years ago.) The site has spawned a number of books... and to tell the truth, I am sometimes shocked! by the secrets people send in -- to the point that every once in a while I wonder whether people are making things up just to see if they can get on the website.

This week's secrets include the one shown above. I wonder if it's the same Mom I wrote to here? If not, I'd like to address this Mom here:

Dear Madam,
Makes you feel like a failure as a mother?? Oh give me a break lady! Did you raise him/her to live YOUR dream or did you raise your child to live HIS/HERS??

So, let me enlighten you:


It's about your Marine... your child. You should celebrate that you did something really right... that your child has embraced a world of hard work, discipline, selflessness and, yes, danger. Your son or daughter has chosen to support an ideal that is so much bigger than themselves that some people (and you might be one) cannot begin to comprehend its magnitude. Perhaps it bothers you that you are no longer numero uno in his/her life -- that they didn't do what you had planned for them... or you don't "support the war"... or perhaps you just simply do not understand The Corps... or the whole concept of military service? But again, it's not about you.

I don't know if you have yet had the opportunity to attend your Marine's graduation or his/her promotion (or commissioning) ceremony. If you haven't, then you may be in for the surprise of your life when you experience and share the extreme pride in this Marine's accomplishments... and you simply will not believe the change that surrounds and lives in him/her. If you are debating whether to attend the ceremony, I urge you -- STRONGLY -- to GO for there are few moments in your life that will be more meaningful or rewarding -- for you and for your son or daughter. Not only will it show your child that you support his/her decision -- putting their dreams before yours -- but it will also mark your promotion ceremony and graduation into the ranks of the elite band of military parents... those like me and you who did not sign but also serve.

If you are not or cannot be proud of your Marine's accomplishments, know that I AM... and I know a whole lot of other people who are as well.

I tell you now what I told Mary-Jo and what I tell every mom, dad, grandparent, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, sibling, cousin, friend who writes to me about their loved one's service: The burden of having a loved one at war is without a doubt one of the heaviest burdens a mother or any family member can bear... but we -- the entire military family -- will be here with you and for you... to help you through the most amazing (and at times frightful) journey of their life and yours!!

P.S. If it just has to be about you... you are one of the few people in the world who can say, "I raised a Marine!" Believe me, most people will think very highly of you... and you will have to get used to people saying, "You must be very proud! Thank your [son] [daughter] for their service... and thank you for yours."

Welcome Andrew Sullivan/ readers!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


There is a place.

It is a place specifically to honor those of the Third Infantry Division killed in Iraq. A tree for each soldier lost… a living monument to those who gave all. A place that families and friends and comrades come to remember… to reflect… to pay respects. It is a place that provides comfort… and for some, peace.

It is Warriors' Walk at Fort Stewart, Georgia. There are now 373 trees. Four were added October 19. Two of those new trees were for soldiers in Noah's battalion/regiment. There are hopes that these will be the last to be added to the Walk; with at least eight more months in this deployment, it is a wish prayed with fervency and many promises attached.

Many family members and friends regularly leave mementos for fallen 3ID soldiers: pictures with family members, sports teams' memorabilia, plaques, toy motorcycles and even the occasional bottle of a soldier's favorite beer. Last December, as family members of the Third Infantry Division were preparing for their loved ones’ deployments -- some for the third time -- they paid homage by decorating the Warriors' Walk trees of family and friends. But the wife of the (now) Command Sgt. Major and others noticed that many trees had no decorations and she vowed to do something about it.

In connection with Wreaths Across America that I have written about before, funds are being raised to be sure that every tree at Warriors' Walk has a wreath this holiday season. If you would like to sponsor a wreath, here is the information:

To sponsor a wreath, click HERE or Go to the Wreaths Across America Web site,, and click on the "Become A Sponsor" link on the top left side of the page.

The cost is $15 each and sponsors can choose to buy more than one. For an extra dollar, you can order a Wreaths Across America Lapel Pin; for $18 (+$10 flat rate shipping) you can order yourself or someone else (like your favorite veteran) a Personal Remembrance Wreath which is identical to the Sponsored Wreaths. It is a 501c(3) charity so sponsorships are tax deductible.

To ensure the sponsored wreaths are used for the Warriors Walk initiative, you must type-in "Warriors' Walk/Ft. Stewart" on line two of the address information section on the sponsor form.

Sponsors leery of paying online can also mail a check made out to Wreaths for Warriors Walk to: Wreaths for Warriors' Walk, c/o Anthony Justi (project co-chairman), P.O. Box 3533, Fort Stewart, GA 31315. Checks will be consolidated and forwarded to WAA.

Arlington National Cemetery at Christmas

The wreath-laying ceremony is scheduled to take place on Warriors' Walk on December 15 at noon. I hope all who are or can be in the area will attend.

Wreath-laying ceremonies will also take place at Arlington National Cemetery and the other National Cemeteries around the country on that date. More information is available at the WAA website.

You can also volunteer to help place the wreaths at Warriors' Walk by contacting Anthony at You may also volunteer at your local wreath-laying ceremony via the WAA website.

There is also a private fund raiser by the 3ID families to purchase bells for every one of the trees on Warriors' Walk so that the air is filled with the gentle sound to remind all who pass of those who have fallen. This is how it was explained to me:

The bells were the idea we came up with at the [] reunion back in June. As we visited Warriors' Walk we realized how quiet it was with a few little dings here and there put off by chimes down the row of trees. We also noticed how over 250 trees out of those planted then did not have a single thing on or around it (they purge the decorations every few weeks or so and place them in their own section in the [3ID] Museum). This is when we decided as a token of our love, appreciation, utmost respect and gratitude, we wanted to buy bells or chimes to place in all of the trees so that they could remain there instead of being purged as all of the other decorations are.

These are some wonderful and caring people.....

x-posted at Milblogs


Saturday, October 27, 2007


From the Arizona Patriot Guard Riders

WELCOME HOME - ANG 259TH SECFOR, Phoenix, Arizona, 27 Oct 07

OUR GUYS ARE COMING HOME!!!! Approximately 175 of OUR National Guard are COMING HOME!!!! These guys have been in Iraq as a major security force.

They have been beat up, shot and faced IED’s and all kinds of other stuff we can only imagine. They have lost one and have had over 40 injured, with approximately 30 having already received Purple Hearts. BUT...they are COMING HOME!!!!!

Mark the day Patriot Guard keep the day open and know this: OUR GUYS ARE COMING HOME!!!!!!!.

STAGING: 10:30am
Kick Stands up 12:30pm
Cutter Aviation
2802 East Old Tower Road
Phoenix, AZ 85034



Thursday, October 25, 2007


Some Pro-Troops Gatherings
Come On - Join Us!

CHICAGO (my Hometown!!) stands against Code Pink

Saturday, October 27 - 1:00 pm - Federal Plaza
CONTACT: Beverly Perlson (708.466.2983)

Beverly Perlson has organized a pro-troop rally on Saturday, October 27th at 1:00 p.m. at the Federal Plaza in Chicago. The Chicago Police Dept has designated the southeast corner of Dearborn & Adams (Federal Plaza) for those would like to come out and show SUPPORT FOR OUR TROOPS. Barricades will be setup.

Participants must enter on the east side from Adams Street. Starting at 6 a.m., the streets will be closed off. Parking is available east of State Street or in nearby parking garages.

Bring your Families, your Friends and your Flags.

Let's show our Troops the Great City of Chicago Supports Their Service and Sacrifice! Numerous military organizations are expected to attend the event in support of troops.

Other opportunities to share your voice this week:

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Vets for Freedom & Families United - Ohio Town Hall Meeting on Iraq
6:30 PM EST - 9:00 PM EST
Columbus, OHIO
The Ohio State University, 18th Avenue Building, Room 160
For more information, contact: Lee C

Saturday, October 27, 2007
Gathering of Eagles - New York City Counter-Protest
9:30 AM EST -- George Washington Bridge, Fort Lee, NJ (Hudson Terrace & Merkle St.)
10:00 AM EST -- Brooklyn Bridge Entrance Ramp; Centre street next to City Hall
12:30 PM EST -- Broadway & Worth Street
For more information, contact: Dan M

Saturday, October 27, 2007
Gathering of Eagles and Eagles Up - Orlando, FL Counter-Protest
10:00 AM EST
Orange County Regional History Center - 65 E Central Blvd.
For more information, contact: Deborah K-L,


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

WELCOME HOME 92nd Engineer Battalion

92nd Engineer Battalion

Since Sept. 11, 2001, and since America's War on Terror began, Fort Stewart's 92nd Engineers have deployed four times.

On this most recent yearlong stint in Iraq, the battalion was attached to the 411th Engineer Brigade, 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat Airborne) and Task Force Sapper. The soldiers built forward operating bases, performed combat construction and executed tactical missions.

A second group of soldiers with the combat engineers battalion is expected to return Wednesday evening to Fort Stewart.

The happy story here:
Family, friends welcome 250 soldier-engineers home at Fort Stewart

Welcome Home!!! and a big HOOAH!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Happy Birthday

to the man

that makes my world go 'round

that makes every day worth living

there never was a day I did not love you

there will never be a day that I do not

Wishing you many more years of health, happiness, adventure and contentment

All my love -- always,

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I received the following this evening. To protect the family's privacy (and to keep nut cases away), I have eliminated the locations and times.
Visitation. Visitation will be in San Antonio on Sunday, 21 October.

Funeral. The funeral will take place in San Antonio on Monday, 22 October.

Burial. Tom will be buried at West Point. The ceremony will be small and private with just immediate family in attendance.

Memorial Service. There will be a memorial service held in Cabot, Arkansas (Tom's hometown) on Saturday, 27 October.

Memorials. Two memorial funds to honor Tom's life have been established. The first is a college scholarship fund at Tom's high school that will be given annually to a young man or woman that exemplifies many of the same traits as Tom: leadership, and community and church involvement. Contributions may be forwarded to the 1LT Tom Martin Memorial Scholarship, Cabot Scholarship Foundation, Inc., 200 West Main Street, Cabot, Arkansas 72023.

The second fund supports the Returning Heroes Home foundation. The foundation runs an assistance center at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio that provides support for wounded Soldiers and their families. For more information see HERE. Contributions made in Tom's name will go towards the completion of their new building and provide a lasting impact for many members of the military family. Donations may be sent to Returning Heroes Home, 1162 E. Sonterra Blvd #210, San Antonio, Texas 78258.

Websites. For those interested, Tom's personal website is HERE... he kept an online journal for a few years before arriving in Alaska - it is so clear that he lived a full and wonderful life.

Tom's Memorial Service in Iraq will be at FOB Falcon on 18 October at 1930 hours. His friend, 1LT Chris Gerbas, is there serving as an Apache pilot. He asked me to tell Tom's family and Erika that he is flying to Tom's memorial service and will be carrying two American flags with him in the cockpit in memory of Tom. The flags will be sent to Erika and to Tom's parents from the service. God bless our friends and Soldiers still serving in Iraq. Please keep them in your prayers that God will keep them safe.

I again offer my sincerest condolences to the family, fiancee and friends of this American Hero.

As I posted at Milblogs, sometimes all the politics, strategy, finger pointing and arguing fall away and we remember the human side of war.


Rest in Peace TommyM1080.

UPDATE 17 Oct (from the Patriot Guard Riders thread): Lt. Martin's parents live in TEXAS. (TENTATIVE) They are having a FUNERAL or MEMORIAL in San Antonio on Monday, Oct. 22 or Tuesday, Oct 23. Internment will occur at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York.

From Tom's September Update:

We're over 800 kilometers now for the total distance we've walked in this wonderful country and we've still got a few months left. I told the boys when we cross the 1K mark we’d have a near-beer keg party.


I was overcome tonight. I learned a friend of mine was killed in Iraq yesterday. I had never gotten to meet Tom Martin, but through blogging he and I struck up an email friendship. We have traded emails throughout his long deployment.

See, Tommy had a blog: Green to Grey to Gold. He was enlisted and did a tour in the Sandbox (that's the green), got accepted to The Point (that's the grey). TommyM1080 thrived and did well and graduated an officer (that's the Gold). After graduation he learned to race drive tanks. Then he went to Ranger school. Got his unit. He was DAMNED proud of his men. One of my posts a few months back was from one of his emails to me.

Although he didn't blog this deployment, he sent many emails to a very large group of friends detailing the work and success they worked hard for in Iraq and he was looking forward to redeploying soon. He kept track of every mile he and his men walked in Iraq. I'll have to look that up and see how far that was. It was A LOT of miles.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

1st Lt. Thomas M. Martin, 27, of Ward, Ark., died Oct 14 in Al Busayifi, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire during combat operations.

He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Tom's father is retired Army... his mother is still active Army. and a blogger (The Desert Chief). She did a tour in Iraq while Tom was finishing West Point... he led a sniper squad. Was just getting ready to redeploy. Just got engaged to a wonderful Army Medevac pilot.

While he was not actively blogging this tour (at the behest of command), his West Point Journal and the journals through training and Ranger School are chronicled with great humour on his blog... for instance, in order to keep spam out of his guestbook, you have to type "Beat Navy" as the security code. He and I shared a love of Calvin & Hobbs... It's just another one of those times about "the good dying young".

He leaves his parents Ed and Candy, three sisters and his fiancee Erika... and his best friends Jason, Ed & Les among so many.

Please leave your thoughts for Tommy's family on Tommy's guestbook.


COME to his assistance, All you Saints of God! Meet him, you Angels of the Lord. Receive his soul, and present it to the Most High. May Christ who called you, receive you; and may the Angels lead you into the bosom of Abraham. Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Into your hands, O Lord, we humbly entrust our brother. In this life you embraced him with your tender love; deliver him now from every evil and bid him enter eternal rest.

The old order has passed away: welcome him then into paradise, where there will be no sorrow, no weeping nor pain, but the fullness of peace and joy with your Son and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.



Sunday, October 14, 2007

This Story Shall the Good Man [Always] Teach His Son

Traveling... in Colorado... Noah & M are traveling, too... they're in Tucson visiting one of her sisters... and remembering the anniversary of this horrible day.

I noticed it last year while at Fort Benning and Noah and his buddies would say, "It's a year today that Sgt. Benford was killed..." and "It's a year today that Matt Bohling was killed..." They all know the dates... they cannot forget. It's the same way Niles Harris remembers the 8th of November 1965 and the way Matt remembers 26 May 2003... No, they cannot forget -- nor would they want to... nor should they.. nor should we. When we forget those who died for us and for our country, we dishonor them and their sacrifice. The rest of the world remembers on Veterans Day or Memorial Day... and that's appropriate. So long as they remember. Families remember every day... but there is also a Band of Brothers that will never forget.

Tomorrow Noah is visiting the grave of his good friend Tommy Byrd. Tommy went to war with Noah... and, as they promised each other, Noah brought Tommy home. And we were there when Tommy was laid to rest.

Tomorrow, Tommy will meet Noah's wife... not the way they would have wanted to meet. Tomorrow Noah will tell his friend Tommy that Noah's first born son will carry Tommy's name and that the new Tommy will be a declaration and and affirmation that Tommy Byrd's sacrifice was not in vain and that it -- and he -- will always be remembered... and in the telling and retelling of Tommy's story, so will be told the stories of SPC Jeffrey W. Corban, SPC Richard A. Hardy, SPC Timothy D. Watkins and SSG Vincent E. Summers.

I'm glad M will be there with Noah... she'll do a great job of helping him through... it will be hard... but it is important that we remember.

I will still be here,

As long as you hold me in your memory

Remember, when your dreams have ended,

Time can be transcended,

Just remember me

I am the one star that keeps burning so brightly,

It is the last light to fade into the rising sun

I'm with you,

Whenever you tell My story,

For I am all I've done

Remember, I will still be here,

As long as you hold me, in your memory,

Remember me

I am that one voice, in the cold wind,

That whispers,

And if you listen, you'll hear me call across the sky

As long as, I still can reach out, and touch you,

Then I will never die

Remember, I'll never leave you,

If you will only

Remember me

Remember me...

Remember, I will still be here,

As long as you hold me,

In your memory


When your dreams have ended,

Time can be transcended,

I live forever,

Remember me

Remember me,

Remember... me...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We Need Some Catfish

Whether you believe we are making progress in Iraq, if you support the Mission in Iraq -- but more importantly, if you think we're losing or you do not support our mission in Iraq, I urge you -- I implore you -- to read the letter from Command Sgt. Major Pippin... over at Michael Yon's. Please. It is worth the 5 minutes or so of your time to have this man tell you what you need to know.

And, CSM Pippin... if you bring the catfish, I'll bring the corn bread.

h/t Deebow at Blackfive

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

BlogWorld & New Media Expo: Nov. 8 & 9

As I have mentioned before, Milbloggers will be represented at the BlogWorld and New Media Expo in Las Vegas, NV in a few weeks.

The tentative schedule for the Milblogging Conference Track includes

Moderator: Christian Lowe
Thursday, November 8 (1:30 – 2:30)
Panelists: John Noonan, Carla (Some Soldier's Mom), Uncle Jimbo, Steve Schippert

Moderator: Ward Carroll
Thursday, November 8 (2:45 – 3:45)
Panelists: Matt Burden (Blackfive), Jack Holt, Noah Shachtman (maybe), Media Representative (TBD)

Moderator: Ward Carroll
Friday, November 9 (10:15 – 11:45)

Moderator: Andi Hurley
Friday, November 9 (1:30 – 2:30)

And just for you, there is a 15% discount on the registration fee... click
here for information.

Register soon. It will informative AND fun -- and you can't beat that combination!