color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: April 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008


Our Guys are




Looking forward to those middle of the night phone calls! And I know a lot of other 3ID moms (and wives and children) who are waiting anxiously for these 15 months to come to a close... travel plans made, signs finished and the tears and hugs at the ready!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mister Can You Spare a "Dime"??

If you read military blogs regularly, you are probably familiar with our wild and wonderful friend Chuck Z -- a US Army Major (well, he was a lowly Captain back then) who was seriously wounded in Iraq just weeks before Noah was wounded. I have lost count of the number of Chuck's surgeries -- I think his 35th was in January. Chuck has a blog "From My Position... on the way" which was the venue through which I am privileged to know him and his beautiful and wonderful wife, Carren. When Chuck lost the use of his hands as a result of his wounding, he inspired one of his blog readers to begin the Soldiers' Angels Project Valour IT which has provided and continues to provide voice-activated laptops for wounded soldiers (many hundreds... or maybe over a thousand now??) and for which he helps raise significant sums of money.

Well, now Chuck has added another personal test and goal for himself -- to ride in the 2008 Face of America Bike Ride, a two-day inclusive bike ride from Bethesda, MD to historic Gettysburg, PA the National Naval Medical Center to honor and assist our disabled veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. READ THE DETAILS FROM CHUCK (below) or go to his blog entry for April 6, 2008 to read more.

Please consider making a donation of any amount to Chuck's endeavor and PLEASE forward this to all your friends and family. If you have a corporate donations program, please consider nominating this ride. There is no worthier cause... please do it today.

Carla, Some Soldier's Mom

From: Chuck Ziegenfuss
Subject: From My Position... hell on wheels 2008

I am participating in this, and am trying to raise between $5K (personal goal) and $10K (team goal). I am $3k short of my personal goal right now, and the event is only a scant 3 weeks away.

I am writing to not only ask for your contributions, but to also as for you to spread this information through your address books, word of mouth, web pages, and any other means at your disposal.

ANY amount, even a single dollar is appreciated. This is my personal achievement after being wounded. Completing this ride will mark almost three years or rehabilitation, over 30 reconstructive surgeries, and healing from being wounded in 2005. It is my honor to ride along with other wounded warriors. Please donate what you can, and ask others to do likewise.

Link for donations: GO HERE

More information from the website:

On May 3rd & 4th 2008 World Team Sports, working with The Walter Reed Army Medical Center, The National Naval Medical Center, The Brooke Army Medical Center, The Soldiers Angel Fund, The Severly Injured Semper Fi Fund, and others will be hosting our 2008 Face of America Bike Ride, a two-day inclusive bike ride from Bethesda, MD to historic Gettysburg, PA the National Naval Medical Center to honor and assist our disabled veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This ride is an opportunity to welcome these disabled servicemen and women ,and able-bodied servicemen and women, as teammates and show them how much we appreciate their efforts. We will also have the opportunity to show them that they can still be a part of the TEAM.

There is no charge for any active duty servicemen or women, both able-bodied and disabled, to participate. There is a $ 400 minimum fund raising goal for all other participants. The money raised will pay for all the costs of the active duty participants, including accommodations, food, outreach, providing usage of bikes, cycling clinics,and all other costs associated with the ride.

Chuck Z

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Yeah, Medea… That Worked (Again)

Last month I noted how all that protesting and blocking of the entrance to the US Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Berkeley was "working" to slow down the recruitment of those poor innocent misguided youth who sought to serve their country and be a part of something so much bigger than themselves. Well, note to the Code Pinkos: Keep up the good work! And to those signing on the dotted line, a great big THANK YOU!!

DoD Announces Recruiting/Retention Numbers - March 2008

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

Active Duty Recruiting.

All services met or exceeded recruiting goals for the month of March (below) and have surpassed goals for fiscal 2008 to date.

March 2008












Marine Corps




Air Force




Active Duty Retention. Army and the Marine Corps retention continued with a strong showing this month; both are exceeding year-to-date goals.

Reserve Forces Recruiting. All six reserve components met or exceeded their accession goals through March 2008.

March 2008




Army National Guard




Army Reserve




Navy Reserve




Marine Corps Reserve




Air National Guard




Air Force Reserve




Let's "Surge" Some More

Michael Yon has an OpEd in the Wall Street Journal today... Michael -- by his own admission -- is probably the most embedded journalist in Iraq AND (my opinion) the most unbiased, independent journalist who has told us everything we ever wanted -- or didn't want -- to know about the war being waged. It is an absolute MUST READ if you REALLY want to know.

I found the piece enlightening, encouraging and vindicating for those of us who have tried to keep the focus on what was happening there, the good being done, and keeping the eye on the prize of Democracy in Iraq. This one passage actually brought tears to my eyes:

Iraqis came to respect American soldiers as warriors who would protect them from terror gangs. But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are even happier helping rebuild a clinic, school or a neighborhood. They learned that the American soldier is not only the most dangerous enemy in the world, but one of the best friends a neighborhood can have.

If you opt to not read Michael Yon's message, consider yourself a victim of Bush derangement syndrome because you are clearly not interested in the truth. Thank you, Michael and Welcome Home!!

And if you haven't ordered a copy of Michael Yon's new book "Moment of Truth in Iraq" (due in stores April 23), go HERE (there are some autographed copies still available -- I just received mine yesterday and it's the weekend read.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Tonight We Wait...

There are things and events in our lives that we never really forget... like riding a bike. Recently, with the birth of Noah's son, Thomas, I realized it doesn't take much to wooosh you back in time and to places in your mind and heart you thought you'd long forgotten. Although it has been more than 20 years since I fed a bottle or sung a lullaby to a little bundle to coax him to sleep and then stared into that sweet cherubic face, it doesn't take much to rouse the memories and fullness of love and amazement that come with those simple acts.

Yesterday and today, I have been pushed back into the fears of waiting... wondering... anxious... dreading. The area near Our Guys was hit in an attack over the weekend... a dozen or more wounded, one KIA. Of course, there has been a communications blackout on since then and the mothers, wives, sisters, children and brothers of those serving in that area are forced into a vacuum of silence and not knowing.

I have received a number of emails from other 3ID Moms and a few wives wondering if I had heard anything or knew anything "unofficial"... they know I "know" people (but not as many as they think). I, myself, once news of the attack broke, scoured the internet and news sources for information... gleaning every little nuance from the words in print.

Others on the private forum for families of this Division posted what they had heard before the phones were locked down or that Rear Detachment said they knew no details (and that Rear D couldn't tell even if they knew pending official notification) or links to various news stories... each responding person careful to say when they heard it and from whom to allow those readers the all-important ability to reason away unreasonable fear.

I have even had one mother email and ask me how long it had taken the Army to call us when our son had been wounded. When I responded that it was 12-15 hours between the attack and the phone call, I cautioned her that I have heard of some people who were notified in just a few hours and a few that it took longer than a day to hear -- that each scenario and command and branch of the service has their own protocols and SOPs (which is something the services really need to lock down better and address!) I took great pains to build in this warning to this mother because I needed her not to rush to judgment one way or the other -- fearing that if she thought the "magic" time had elapsed then her son must be safe or if she hadn't heard by now then it must be worse news. And, of course, I strongly encourage all those waiting to speak the mantra many times and swiftly: NO.NEWS.IS.GOOD.NEWS.'CAUSE.BAD.NEWS.TRAVELS.FAST.

All the families of the military are a related "community" -- sharing a kinship with that town in Iraq by reason of the temporary residence of sons and husbands and brothers... and tonight, that community is on pins and needles. No one knows anything -- or if they do, they are wisely keeping it to themselves until it's "official". It is a large community that encompasses many forward operating bases, combat outposts, patrol bases and other installations... all are subject to the communications blackout... and none have been named in news reports so none have been excluded from the worry.

So it's back to the worrying and waiting... holding our breath until that car coming down the street passes... putting a note on the front door warning that if you are not from the Army, don't bother knocking or ringing the bell... turning up the volume on phones and instant message programs... so that each will know the minute the comm blackout is lifted... or until the phone rings... or the knock comes.

Tonight we wait... hardly daring to breathe... working diligently to keep ourselves from the "dark side" of our thoughts... waiting in the throes of the mental asthma attack that is fear for loved ones in harms way. Tonight we wait...

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Velvet Hammer

I have written before that the Hammer Brigade (3BDE) of 3rd Infantry Division releases a "Velvet Hammer" notification when they lose one of their own. I knew (via Noah) a few days ago that Echo Company had another fallen Hero, but had to wait for the official notification before posting. Although he was not a personal friend of Noah's, he was familiar with the Sgt.

Noah said it made no difference that they were not personal friends, he was nonetheless his brother.
Sgt. Dhanoolal's death brought back significant memories and that specific type of anxiety that Noah hasn't experienced in a while. We have talked about the unit's targeted redeployment date and as for Noah (and me), it can not get here fast enough (we have been there done that before... the waiting). Rest in Peace, Sgt.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

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

Sgt. Dayne D. Dhanoolal, 26, of Brooklyn, died March 31 in Baghdad, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.

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