color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: March 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Rest in Peace, Sgt.

While Noah was deployed to Iraq, there was a hoax of a soldier's capture (turned out to be photos of a toy) and I still remember the gut crunching feeling we experienced when we first heard the news. I had that same reaction when we learned of Matt Maupin's capture and I have always been pained by the purgatory of uncertainty that Sgt. Maupin's parents have endured these four years.

Today we know... and we salute Sgt. Matt Maupin as a Hero. Our prayers go out to the Maupin family and Matt's friends and brothers-in-arms. Rest easy, soldier.

We ask for your prayers for this American Hero and his family.

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. Amen.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oh Yeah… That Worked

The Code Pinkos and anarchists of the world are protesting and picketing the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Berkeley... Maybe that had the exact opposite effect?? Perhaps drew attention to the fine work the USMC does?? Look at that number, Medea!

OORAH, HOOAH, BRAVO ZULU and WHOOHOO to those fine young men and women who joined!!

DoD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for February 2008

The Department of Defense announced today its recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for the month of February.

· Active Duty Recruiting.

· February Monthly. All services met or exceeded recruiting goals for the month of February (below) and to date have surpassed goals for FY 2008.

February 2008












Marine Corps




Air Force




  • Active Duty Retention. Retention remains exceptionally strong in the Army and Marine Corps, both of which are exceeding goals across the board.

· Reserve Forces Recruiting.

· February Monthly. All six reserve components have met or exceeded their accession goals through February 2008.

February 2008




Army National Guard




Army Reserve




Navy Reserve




Marine Corps Reserve




Air National Guard




Air Force Reserve




Friday, March 07, 2008

Pictorial Icons

Our local paper ran a piece in today's paper that led with 5 crudely scrawled hash marks and the title "5 Years in Iraq: Photographs recall unforgettable moments of a long war." (I don't know if that was the title it was distributed with or if a local editor's touch) by Jerry Schwartz with the Associated Press tag. Schwartz starts out with this query: "When you close your eyes and think of Iraq, what do you see in your mind's eye?

Before I launch into my rant, let me answer you Jerry. Here's what comes to mind:

copyright Michael Yon

Well, not to mention

Tommy Byrd (KIA Oct. '05)

Tim Watkins (KIA Oct. '05)

My son, Noah and Mykel Byrd, 20 yr. old widow of Tommy (photo copyright David Sanders, AZ Daily Star)

Memorial Service for SFC David Salie, Baqubah, Iraq 2005

3rd ID Warriors' Walk, Ft. Stewart (one tree for each 3ID soldier killed OIF/OEF)

Thomas Michael Martin (KIA Oct. 2007)

My youngest son wears this honor

In his "article", Schwartz talks about the "iconic" images that emerge from each war. It is a full color, full page spread. (I cannot find a link to it via google nor on the local paper's website... but if you find one, please email it to me or put it up in the comments and I'll add it to this post.) In our paper, it was a single column of text accompanied by the following pictures in full color.

(AP/Laurent Rebours)

(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

(AP/Jean-Marc Bouju)

(AP/Los Angeles Times/ Luis Sinco)

(AP/US Militry via APTN)

The accompanying text includes the following descriptions:

"charred bodies hanging from a bridge"
"a Marine climbing a massive statue of Saddam"
"an Iraqi prisoner standing on a box"
"as much as the body counts and the sad tales of the wounded"

In discussing the images of previous wars, Schwartz first says "World War II, a triumph" and then describes the pictorial icon from that war as "Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima". He follows that with "Vietnam, a disaster" (no... not a withdrawal forced by politicians... not a negotiated settlement... but "disaster") and follows that with his choice of iconic images as "a general executing a Viet Cong prisoner" and "a napalm-drenched, naked young girl running screaming".

When I think of the iconic images of Vietnam, these come to my mind:

Final evacuation of the US Embassy, Saigon, 1975

Skulls of some of the estimated 2 million Cambodians (30% of the population) who died by starvation, torture or execution after US withdrawal from Vietnam)

So I dashed off the following to the local paper:

We would like to express our disappointment at the publication of the "5 Years in Iraq" hit piece in [your paper] today. While the core of the article was that the images of Operation Iraqi Freedom are memorable, and featured the pictures of Saddam's grubby face, a detained father and his young son and the statue of Saddam, the accompanying text claims that the images of Abu Ghraib and the weary "Marlboro Man" and his subsequent return home to "hard times and post-traumatic stress disorder" are the most demonstrative images of "a long war". What a blatant slap at our military and their successful efforts in Iraq!

Oddly, Mr. Schwartz doesn't include or mention Michael Yon's photo of a US soldier carrying the tiny body of the dying Farah after al Queda drove a bomb into a large crowd of Iraqi children as US soldiers handed out toys and candy.

Nor did Schwartz include the principle iconic image of the young Iraqi woman broadly smiling while flashing her purple stained finger in a "V" after having been allowed to vote in the first free elections in Iraq in a half century.

Also not included are the photos of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis standing proudly in front of newly opened and refurbished hospitals, schools and clinics.

If the Associated Press and Mr. Schwartz wanted to show "iconic" images of the "long war" in Iraq, they should also have showcased photos of Saddam's torture chambers, the mass graves and the decadent and lavish palaces of Saddam and his henchmen that were built while the Iraqis starved and lacked basic medical care.

We don't quibble that there have been horrific and regrettable moments and photos from Iraq, but there are two sides to the story of this war that the AP and many of its writers routinely neglect to tell and that papers like [yours] perpetuate when they publish such once-sided features. We are especially offended by the slanted and scurrilous conclusion of the article that "... photos of caskets have become commonplace, as the funerals go on and on." In the future, if [your paper] has a need to fill space, we expect your staff to resist using such inflammatory fill and present a more balanced report.

As the parents of a soldier wounded in Iraq (now medically discharged) and of an active duty sailor, and the sponsors of a number of 3rd Infantry Division soldiers currently serving (their 3rd deployment) in Iraq, we find it deeply offensive to have such a lopsided FULL PAGE hit piece in your paper while our young men and women are still in harm's way.


And, yes, I did include the images I referenced. I'm certain they won't publish the pictures, but I'm hopeful they will publish the text.

I guess what really got me was that Jerry Schwartz picked these images -- that represent HIS view of the war in Iraq and wants them to be my images and everyone's memories of the war. However, with the Internet and the variety of sources available -- including the photos of those we know who have served -- we each have our own "pictorial icons" of the war in Iraq. I don't want Jerry Schwartz and the AP telling me that these are them. If the AP is going to pick 5 or 6 images, there are many more I'd choose to represent the war than those of Schwartz.

So I ask the question: When you close your eyes and think of Iraq, what do you see in your mind's eye?