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Tribute to American Warriors II

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Title: Tribute to American Warriors II


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Tribute to American Warriors II
February 01, 2005 This tribute honors the
American Warriors who fought, and are still
fighting, to protect our freedoms and restore
freedom to the Iraqi and Afghan peoples
throughout Operations Iraqi Enduring Freedom.
This Tribute intents to provide us a means to
never forget, to always remember, to always honor
our uniformed heroes, to never falter in our
support of them, to remember all who served and
sacrificed, especially those who fell and to
never forget that we remain a nation at war
against forces committed to killing us and
stopping the spread of freedom around the
globe. This tribute is a follow-on to a similar
Tribute I compiled, see website www.vvnw.org/Educ
ational_Material/Letters_and_Articles/OIF_Tribute.
ppt Bill Coffey Soldier, William.coffey_at_smdc-cs.
army.mil 719-554-4216 (work), 719-351-8321 (cell)
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JOINT MESSAGE FROM Chief of Staff of the Army and
the Acting Secretary of the Army Wednesday, May
12, 2004 NEVER IN RECENT MEMORY HAVE OUR ARMY
VALUES, THE SOLDIER S CREED, AND OUR WARRIOR
ETHOS BEEN MORE IMPORTANT FOR US TO REFLECT UPON
THAN TODAY. OUR ARMY IS SERVING OUR NATION WITH
GREAT COURAGE AND HONOR DURING VERY DANGEROUS
TIMES. WE ENJOY GREAT SUPPORT AND THE CONFIDENCE
OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WHOM WE SERVE, AND WE ARE
RESPECTED AROUND THE GLOBE. IN VIEW OF CURRENT
EVENTS, WE MUST RE-DOUBLE OUR EFFORTS HOLD OUR
HEADS HIGH AND DRIVE ON TO ACCOMPLISH OUR
INDIVIDUAL TASKS AND COLLECTIVE MISSIONS.
INTEGRITY IS NON-NEGOTIABLE. EVERYONE HAS
LEADERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN IT COMES TO THE
LEGAL, MORAL, AND ETHICAL. DISCIPLINE IS DOING
WHAT IS RIGHT WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING. WE ARE
PROUD OF YOU AND OUR ARMY. DRIVE ON! R. L.
BROWNLEE, ACTING SECRETARY OF THE ARMY
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Christmas Visitors To The Pentagon, December
2004 They came in single file, about 50 of
them. Silent ambassadors, to tell us who they
were. They moved at a slow pace, passing us for
over 20 minutes. Some walked, while others
pushed their wheel-chairs as best they could.
Some were helped along on crutches by their wives
or sweethearts. They were escorted front and
rear by U.S. Marines in dress blue uniform. I
have never seen prouder Marines. The Amputee
Ward from Walter Reed Army Medical Center visited
the Pentagon today. Some wore looks of
resolution, pride, or dignity. Many had
prosthetic devices where limbs used to be. All
of them wore looks of surprise. We, the 26,000
employees of the Pentagon, lined both sides of
the A ring (the inner ring of the Pentagon) to
watch them pass and welcome them with thunderous
applause. Half a mile they walked through a
gauntlet of grateful fellow citizens two and
three deep, who reached out to shake the hands of
the remaining good arms, or grasp the remaining
fingers of hands that have given ultimate
service. They walked through us to the main
concourse, where they were met by the Army Band
and color guard playing marshal music for them,
and where the mall was filled with additional
people who swelled the applause. Many of us just
called out loudly, Thank You, because we didn't
know what else could be said thank you for your
service to us. The applause never
stopped. None of them spoke. They just cried.
So did we. It was the closest I have been to
Christmas in a long time.
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Thoughts On Christmas in Iraq, December 2004,
from a Marine LTC
Who will we spend Christmas with? Let me answer
that one. Last night I was making my rounds and
had just entered the S-1 office. Now, office is
a gross overstatement, as our spaces are
essentially wood cubicles inside an old chicken
factory with the amenities of a pauper and enough
dust to choke a Hoover vacuum. But, office at
least gives the impression of a space where the
S-1 Marines do their combat admin magic, and it
is at least that. There were (3) Marines seated
in a close circle in the middle of the space, and
I immediately recognized them as from Fox
Company they had layers of dust on them, layers
of clothes on them for protection from the cold,
and the look of fatigue that is easily
recognizable by Warriors, the one that displays a
need to sleep, but a greater need to finish the
task at hand. I always try to talk to my
Warriors and I approached and after receiving the
usual, "good evening Sir," that I got from each
of them because of our Marine's unbreakable
professionalism, I asked them how things were at
Fox. Please understand, I cannot convey tone and
tenor, but these Marines instantly knew I meant
"how is Fox?" As in, how are you all holding up
in light of the tragic loss of LCpl Warner and
PFC Vroman. Now, these Marines can easily
dismiss the Bn Cmdr, who they all always want on
the other side of the Mayhem AO from wherever
they currently are, with a simple "doing fine,
Sir or "good to go Sir" or even better yet,
"oohrah Sir." But I got none of these. I got a
few seconds of uncomfortable silence, and then
one of them, a young handsome Devil Dog with
broad shoulders and the kind of look that should
be used as a recruiting poster, looked at me,
took a deep breath that instantly let you know
what he was about to say was important and
warranted your undivided attention, and said
"you know Sir, it's amazing. Even the "bad ass"
Marines cannot help but get a little choked up
about what we are doing in Yusufiyah. I mean,
when we seized that town and it was a running gun
battle day in and day out, that place was
abandoned. Nobody came out Of their houses. But
now, when we are out on patrol, and all the
schools are back open and people are living their
lives, it feels good. But what really gets you
Sir... those little kids...those little
kids...they come up to you, and in their broken
English say "look, we go to school" with a wide
smile and a thumbs up. It gets to you Sir, it
feels good. We are doing really good out there,
aren't we Sir? Well, after you could count every
hair on the back of my neck because it was at the
position of attention, and after the chills
stopped going down my spine, and the tears were
pushed back into my soul from whence they sprang,
I simply said, "you have no idea Devil Dog. You
have no idea. You have done amazing. And one
day, I will tell the world just HOW amazing.
So, weep not for us, because I for one, and I
think I speak for us all, Know the only thing
that would keep me from my beautiful wife and
angelic daughters on Christmas would be 1. to
be in the service of my country and 2. in the
presence of heroes. Check roger on both
counts. Therefore, from Iraq and on behalf of
all the heroes of 2/24 Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a good night! MERRY CHRISTMAS FALLEN
WARRIORS OF 2/24, CHRISTMAS DINNER WILL BE IN
YOUR HONOR, AS WILL ALL FUTURE CHRISTMAS DINNERS
IN THE SMITH AND MANY OTHER HOUSEHOLDS. REST
WITH THE ANGELS AND LOOK DOWN ON YOUR BROTHERS.
WE LOVE YOU. Mark A. Smith, LtCol USMCR, TF 2/24
Commanding Officer, 24 MEU, Mahmudiyah,
Iraq "Mayhem from the Heartland, or as the
terrorists call us, "The Mad Ghosts"
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Thoughts On Christmas in Iraq, December 2004,
from an Army Colonel
21 December 2004 MEMORANDUM FOR Soldiers of the
Warrior Brigade Combat Team, US Army 25th
Infantry Division SUBJECT Warrior Note 10
During my service in the military, I have
spent Christmas away from home on several
occasions. Eighteen years ago, it was spent as a
peacekeeper in the Sinai desert. A few days
before Christmas, we decorated a pathetic-looking
tree with empty little Tobasco bottles, bullet
ornaments, and strips of engineer tape. In the
evening, we built a fire in the bottom of a
55-gallon drum, and sat around laughing and
telling stories of home and family until we each
drifted off in our own thoughts. I imagine since
the time of the Continental Army, soldiers have
been sitting around lonely camp fires in
forgotten places during Christmas. I know
you wish you could be home for Christmas. I do
too. During this war, whenever the voice of
doubt would enter my mind, I would recall an
article I read about an Iraqi man, Ajami Saadoun
Khilis, whose son and brother were executed under
Saddam Husseins regime. When he was liberated,
he sobbed like a child and said to the Coalition
Forces, I knew you would come someday. Think
about that. Here is a man who was poor who had
nothing who had lost a son and a brother and
his only hope for the future was that someday we
would come. So if you have ever doubted,
like I have if you have ever asked yourself,
Why should I stay in the military? like I
have the answer I would give you is that your
country needs you indeed, mankind needs you to
carry hope to the lonely, forgotten places of
this world. Your service is more than your
commitment to support and defend the Constitution
of the United States. It is an acknowledgment of
undertaking something bigger and more important
than yourselves an acknowledgment of the
inextricable link between you and those who have
gone before you and it is an acknowledgment of a
life of sacrifice and honor for the noble causes
of this world. The great American pastor,
Dr. Vernon Johns, used to shout at his
congregation to be ashamed to die until you have
done something good for mankind. Someday, when
you look back on your life, you will remember
this Christmas with pride because you lived your
life so that other men might be free. If you ask
me, I think that comes closer to the true meaning
of Christmas than all of the slogans, and tinsel,
and presents of this season. Thank you for
your dedication and professionalism. May God
bless you and keep you safe this holiday season,
and I wish you the very best in the New Year.
Warriors! Lloyd Miles COL, IN Commanding
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An Army Lieutenant Tells It Like It Is
"Well, I'm here in Iraq, and I've seen it, and
done it. I've seen everything you've ever seen in
a war movie. I've seen cowardice I've seen
heroism I've seen fear and I've seen relief.
I've seen blood and brains all over the back of a
vehicle, and I've seen men bleed to death
surrounded by their comrades. I've seen people
throw up when it's all over, and I've seen the
same shell-shocked look in 35-year-old
experienced sergeants as in 19-year-old privates.
"I've heard the screams - Medic! Medic!' I've
hauled dead civilians out of cars, and I've
looked down at my hands and seen them covered in
blood after putting some poor Iraqi civilian in
the wrong place at the wrong time into a
helicopter. I've seen kids with gunshot wounds,
and I've seen kids who've tried to kill me.
"I've seen men tell lies to save lives What
happened to Sergeant A.?' The reply C'mon man,
he's all right - he's wondering if you'll be OK -
he said y'all will have a beer together when you
get to Germany.' SFC A. was lying 15 feet away on
the other side of the bunker with two medics over
him desperately trying to get either a pulse or a
breath. The man who asked after SFC A. was
himself bleeding from two gut wounds and rasping
as he tried to talk with a collapsed lung. One of
them made it one did not. "I've run for
cover as fast as I've ever run - I'll hear the
bass percussion thump of mortar rounds and
rockets exploding as long as I live. I've heard
the shrapnel as it shredded through the trailers
my men live in and over my head. I've stood,
gasping for breath, as I helped drag into a
bunker a man so pale and badly bloodied I didn't
even recognize him as a soldier I've known for
months. I've run across open ground to find my
soldiers and make sure I had everyone. "I've
raided houses, and shot off locks, and broken in
windows. I've grabbed prisoners, and guarded
them. I've looked into the faces of men who would
have killed me if I'd driven past their IED
(improvised explosive device) an hour later. I've
looked at men who've killed two people I knew,
and saw fear. "I've seen that, sadly, that
men who try to kill other men aren't monsters,
and most of them aren't even brave - they aren't
defiant to the last - they're ordinary people.
Men are men, and that's it. I've prayed for a man
to make a move toward the wire, so I could flip
my weapon off safe and put two rounds in his
chest - if I could beat my platoon sergeant's
shotgun to the punch. I've been wanted dead, and
I've wanted to kill. "I've sworn at the
radio when I heard one of my classmate's platoon
sergeants call over the radio Contact! Contact!
IED, small arms, mortars! One KIA, three WIA!'
Then a burst of staccato gunfire and a frantic
cry Red 1, where are you? Where are you?' as we
raced to the scene ... Knowing full well we were
too late for at least one of our comrades.
"I've seen a man without the back of his head and
still done what I've been trained to do -
medic!' I've cleaned up blood and brains so my
soldiers wouldn't see it - taken pictures to
document the scene, like I'm in some sort of
bizarre cop show on TV. "I've heard gunfire
and hit the ground, heard it and closed my Humvee
door, and heard it and just looked and figured it
was too far off to worry about. I've seen men
stacked up outside a house, ready to enter - some
as scared as they could be, and some as calm as
if they were picking up lunch from McDonald's.
I've laughed at dead men, and watched a sergeant
on the ground, laughing so hard he was crying,
because my boots were stuck in a muddy field, all
the while an Iraqi corpse was not five feet from
him. "I've heard men worry about civilians,
and I've heard men shrug and sum up their
viewpoint in two words - F--- 'em.' I've seen
people shoot when they shouldn't have, and I've
seen my soldiers take an extra second or two,
think about it, and spare somebody's life.
"I've bought drinks from Iraqis while new units
watched in wonder from their trucks, pointing
weapons in every direction, including the Iraqis
my men were buying a Pepsi from. I've patrolled
roads for eight hours at a time that combat
support units spend days preparing to travel 10
miles on. I've laughed as other units sit
terrified in traffic, fingers nervously on
triggers, while my soldiers and I deftly whip
around, drive on the wrong side of the road, and
wave to Iraqis as we pass. I can recognize a
Sadiqqi (Arabic for friend) from a Haji (Arabic
word for someone who has made the pilgrimage to
Mecca, but our word for a bad guy) I know who to
point my weapons at, and who to let pass.
"I've come in from my third 18-hour patrol in as
many days with a full beard and stared at a major
in a pressed uniform who hasn't left the wire
since we've been here, daring him to tell me to
shave. He looked at me, looked at the dust and
sweat and dirt on my uniform, and went back to
typing at his computer. "I've stood with my
men in the mess hall, surrounded by people whose
idea of a bad day in Iraq is a six-hour shift
manning a radio, and watched them give us a wide
berth as we swagger in, dirty, smelly, tired, but
sure in our knowledge that we pull the triggers,
and we do what the Army does, and they, with
their clean uniforms and weapons that have never
fired, support us. "I've given a kid water
and Gatorade and made a friend for life. I've let
them look through my sunglasses - no one wears
them in this country but us -and watched them
pretend to be an American soldier - a swaggering
invincible machine, secure behind his sunglasses,
only because the Iraqis can't see the fear in his
eyes. "I've said it a thousand times - God,
I hate this country.' I've heard it a million
times more - This place sucks.' In quieter
moments, I've heard more profound things Sir,
this is a thousand times worse than I ever
thought it would be.' Or, My wife and Sgt. B's
wife were good friends - I hope she's taking it
well.' "They say they're scared, and say
they won't do this or that, but when it comes
time to do it they can't let their buddies down,
can't let their friends go outside the wire
without them, because they know it isn't right
for the team to go into the ballgame at any less
than 100 percent. "That's combat, I guess,
and there's no way you can be ready for it. It
just is what it is, and everybody's experience is
different. Just thought you might want to know
what it's really like."
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A Great Reason
From LTG (Ret) Jack Woodmansee. December 20, 2003
316 PM Subject Re Army at War As I
departed Louisville airport at 0600 Friday
morning in my cords, baseball cap, and Gortex,
about 500 young soldiers from BCT/AIT were headed
home for 2 weeks Christmas leave. Shaved heads,
courtesy to a very high degree, Class A uniforms
fitted well and immaculate, marksmanship medals
in place, not one jacket unbuttoned in the hour I
saw them. . .In the terminal I sat next to a
young man who was going to be a Light Wheeled
Vehicle Mechanic. After a few minutes of polite
discussion, I asked him why he joined the Army.
He looked me in the eye and told me that he
joined the Army because he wanted to die FOR
something not FROM something. My eyes got a bit
blurry for some reason. (Guess I need to check my
prescription.) When I could speak, I told him I
thought that was a great reason. The Ft Knox DIs,
based on my observations in that airport, are
doing one great job!!!
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That is a Safety Violation!
IN EVERY WAR, THERE ARE THOSE THINGS THAT WILL
MAKE YOU SMILE AND THINGS THAT WILL MAKE YOU CRY.
ONE SUCH INCIDENT OCCURRED AS ARMOR COLUMNS
ATTACKED UP HIGHWAY 6 SOUTHEAST OF BAGHDAD . OUR
ARMOR AVAILABILITY HAD BEEN FANTASTIC. DIFFICULT
TO MAINTAIN, WE HAD STILL SHOWN READINESS RATES
OF 93 AND 94 PERCENT ON TANKS AND TRACKS
RESPECTIVELY. AS I STOOD WATCHING THE TROOPS MOVE
UP THE HIGHWAY I BETTER UNDERSTOOD WHY. STEAMING
PAST ME AT 40 MPH I SAW ONE AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT
VEHICLE TOWING ANOTHER. SITTING ATOP THE SECOND
VEHICLE WERE THREE MARINE MECHANICS, WITH FEET
AND HANDS DOWN INTO THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT,
WORKING ON THE ENGINE. I SAID TO THE DIVISION
COMMANDER STANDING NEXT TO ME, GEN MATTIS, THAT
IS A SAFETY VIOLATION GOD BLESS EM! LtGen.
James T. Conway, Excerpt from speech, October
8, 2004
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Enemy shot through head by US Sniper
(Details VERY GRAPHIC)
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