Currently in Israel. This is such an incredible place. Look forward to telling you all about it when I get back.
LATEST IRAQ NEWS
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Remembering a Hero
From an e-mail I received this morning:
You’re a 19 year old kid. You’re critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam. Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8–1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.
You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you’re not getting out. Your family is half way around the world—12,000 miles away—and you’ll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He’s not Medi-Vac, so it’s not his job, but he’s flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.
He’s coming anyway.
And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the doctors and nurses.
And, he kept coming back…13 more times…and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.
On November 14, 1965, Freeman and his unit transported a battalion of American soldiers to the Ia Drang Valley. Later, after arriving back at base, they learned that the soldiers had come under intense fire and had taken heavy casualties. Enemy fire around the landing zones was so heavy that the medical evacuation helicopters refused to enter the area. Freeman and his commander, Major Bruce Crandall, volunteered to fly their unarmed, lightly armored helicopters in support of the embattled troops. Freeman made a total of fourteen trips to the battlefield, bringing in water and ammunition and taking out wounded soldiers.
Freeman was sent home from Vietnam in 1966 and retired from the military the next year. He settled in the Treasure Valley area of Idaho, his wife Barbara's home state, and continued to work as a pilot. He used his helicopter to fight wildfires, perform animal censuses, and herd wild horses for the Department of the Interior until his final retirement in 1991.
Freeman's commanding officer nominated him for the Medal of Honor for his actions at Ia Drang, but not in time to meet a two-year deadline then in place. He was instead awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The Medal of Honor nomination was disregarded until 1995, when the two-year deadline was removed. He was formally presented with the medal on July 16, 2001, by President George W. Bush.
Freeman died on August 20, 2008 due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He was buried in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise.
In the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, which depicted the Battle of Ia Drang, Freeman was portrayed by Mark McCracken. The post office in Freeman's hometown of McLain, Mississippi, was renamed the "Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office" in March 2009.
Posted by Mark P. Miner at 6/25/2009 08:33:00 AM
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
"The United States must seek out opportunities for resolving the increasingly urgent impasse over Iran’s nuclear program and addressing the broader array of concerns about Iranian policy. The elections have not changed the fact that negotiations represent the best of a range of unappealing options available to Washington. However, as a result of the increasingly arbitrary actions by Iran’s leadership, the American diplomatic approach has become more complicated and a successful resolution of the three-decade long estrangement becomes unfortunately less likely."
-Suzanne Maloney, June 14, 2009
Saban Center for Middle East Policy
For the entire article, click here.
Posted by Mark P. Miner at 6/23/2009 03:58:00 PM
Media Cheer Obama's Golf Outings; Criticized Republicans' Trips to Course
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer
(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama has gone to the golf course at least 11 times since he took the oath of office a little more than six months ago--three rounds were played during the late January, 12-day holiday Obama took with his family in Hawaii; one at Andrews Air Force Base; and seven at Ft. Belvoir Golf Course, including a round on Sunday, Father’s Day, with Vice President Joe Biden.
These 11 rounds played by the president are documented through media reports of his golf trips. The White House press office told CNSNews.com that to confirm every round of golf played by the president since he took office would take “hours” because the only records kept are those sent to the media through e-mails that are not posted on the White House Web site because they are for media planning only.
Despite ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ongoing violence in Iran, and an economy that Obama has described as the worst since the Great Depression, the president has golfed multiple times in the past several weeks--on April 26, May 16, May 25, May 31, June 7, June 9, June 14 and June 21.
Obama’s golf outings have generated favorable reports from the media, in contrast to his predecessor, George W. Bush.
On Aug. 5, 2002, The Washington Post wrote about President Bush golfing near his parents’ home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Under the headline “Before Golf, Bush Decries Latest Deaths in Mideast,” staff writer Mike Allen described Bush as he “sprang from his golf cart at 6:15 a.m. and said he was distressed to hear about the latest suicide bombers in Israel.”
“Bush, wearing khakis and a knit shirt, was holding a driver in his gloved left hand,” Allen wrote.
“However incongruous the setting, the president plunged ahead,” Allen wrote.
“There are a few killers who want to stop the peace process that we have started, and we must not let them,” he [Bush] said. “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers.”
“His business out of the way,” Allen wrote, “Bush barely paused for breath before saying, ‘Thank you. Now watch this drive.’”
A search of news reports on Nexis revealed that photographers, but not reporters have access to Obama when he is on the links. But his outings have been covered, including by The Washington Post on June 9, 2009, in an article with the headline “Just the Sport for A Leader Most Driven.”
“What’s the deal? Why golf?” Post staff writer Richard Leiby wrote. “The attraction seems to be simple. It’s a great escape; the game demands such attention that nothing else matters. It’s time spent with friends, an unhurried afternoon in loose clothing (shorts seem to be Obama’s preference).”
Leiby continued, “To some, Obama’s frequent outings reflect a cool self-confidence.”
Leiby even quoted a sports psychologist who said Obama seemed able to play golf despite the grim reports by the media about the wars and the economy.
In August 2003, Bush said he decided to stop playing golf to show his respect for the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.
“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” Bush said in an interview with Politico and Yahoo News on May 13, 2008. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”
Bush said he made the decision after the August 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top U.N. official in Iraq and the organization’s high commissioner of human rights. He was golfing when he got the news.
“I was playing golf--I think I was in central Texas--and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, ‘It’s just not worth it anymore to do.’”
Bush was criticized for giving up golf, including by presidential historian Robert Dallek who was quoted in a May 14, 2008 article in The Washington Post.
Dallek said Bush’s remarks about Iraq “speak to his shallowness.” Dallek added: “That's his idea of sacrifice, to give up golf?”
Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush, also was criticized for golfing in a time of war.
In an Aug. 3, 2006 article in USA Today entitled “No Rest for the President,” it noted that George W. Bush cut his summer vacation to 10 days because of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, and a sidebar reviewed other presidential vacations.
Among other things, the sidebar said, “George H.W. Bush: In 1990, Bush was criticized for playing golf and fishing at his Kennebunkport, Maine, summer home and seeming indifferent as U.S. troops were being deployed to the Persian Gulf in anticipation of a war with Iraq.”
Obama golfed on May 25 after he spoke and placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day. Presidential aides told the media that Obama observed a moment of silence at 3 p.m. while on the links.
Obama also played golf on June 7, the day he returned from his trip to Egypt and Germany, where he visited Holocaust concentration camps, and Normandy, France, where as many as 6,000 American troops died when Allied Forces invaded the country during World War II.
“With his wife and daughters still in France, the president ducked out of the White House 90 minutes after getting home and headed out to the Andrews Air Force Base course with his clubs to enjoy a round, with skies only partly cloudy and temperatures about 80 degrees,” United Press International reported on June 7.
The following U.S. troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan while Obama was on golf outings, according to records of U.S. troop casualties kept by the Department of Defense:
-- Spc. David A. Schaefer Jr., 27, of Belleville, Ill., died May 16 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Schweinfurt, Germany.
--Cmdr. Duane G. Wolfe, 54, of Port Hueneme, Calif., died May 25 from injuries suffered as a result of an improvised explosive device attack on his convoy southeast of Fallujah. Wolfe was assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division in Iraq.
-- Spc. Eduardo S. Silva, 25, of Greenfield, Calif., died June 9 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, of a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
Posted by Mark P. Miner at 6/23/2009 03:32:00 PM
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Heroic Nurse, Shot 27 Times, Saved Lives
Coast Guard Vet Died While Alerting Others As Gunman Went On Rampage In N.C. Nursing Home
ROCKINGHAM, N.C., March 30, 2009
(CBS) Jerry Avant Jr. died while protecting others.
Doctors said the 39-year-old male nurse was shot more than two dozen times Sunday while trying to shield others from a gunman at a Carthage, N.C. nursing home.
The suspect, 45-year-old Robert Stewart, seemingly picked his targets at random, moving from room to room inside the Pinelake Health and Rehab Center in Carthage, N.C., shooting 11 people in all, eight fatally.
Seven of the eight killed were patients at the facility, where police say Stewart's ex-wife was employed.
Avant's father, Jerry Avant Sr., told CBS Affiliate WRAL-TV that the doctor told him his son was a hero. "He said he undoubtedly saved a lot
of lives before he went down, because he counted, himself, 27 bullet holes."
Avant was a 10-year veteran of the Coast Guard before he became a male nurse.
Avant's fiancée, Jill DeGarmo, a medical technician who was working at Pinelake's Alzheimer's unit when the shooting began, told CBS' The Early Show that she'd heard Avant over the intercom: "I couldn't make out everything he was trying to say, something about 'Lock the doors.' And one of the girls got a call that there had been a shooter in the building.
"And the first thing we did, we grabbed the patients as quickly as possible and got them in a room that would hold everyone. We put the blinds down and made sure everyone was in there. Turned the lights off, got it quiet."
Shortly after, DeGarmo said she heard doors open up "and we heard a couple of shots go off."
DeGarmo stayed with the patients until word spread that the gunman had been apprehended - and that her fiancée had been shot. "I went to the front to see where he was. He was laying on the floor bleeding. I ran and got some towels and tried to help control his bleeding the best I could until someone got there."
"He told me he felt like he was dying. And I kept telling him he wasn't going to die, everything would be OK.
"And he asked me to pray with him. And he started to pray. And he said a couple more times, he said, 'I'm dying.' I guess … I just didn't think that way. I didn't think that no matter how bad it got … he was not going to die, he was going to be OK. And he was losing consciousness. I just tried to keep him awake the best I could until someone got there. And then once the paramedics got there, they took over."
DeGarmo followed him to the hospital where he was taken into surgery.
"The doctor informed me during surgery - he had come out and spoke with me- [that] his heart had stopped. And they did revive him, but I guess his heart stopped the second time around, and they couldn't revive him. He had lost too much blood."
Avant's sister, Frances Greene, said she wanted the world to remember her brother as "a very compassionate, wonderful person.
"I couldn't have went out and hand-picked a better brother," she told Early Show anchor Julie Chen. "I mean, God blessed me with a wonderful brother for 39 years. And I love him so much. And I'm going to miss him, so much."
Avant's father told WRAL that he takes solace in knowing his son may have saved many more lives.
"Like it said in the Bible, John 15:13, any man that would lay down his life for another man, that's good."
For the original article, click here.
Posted by Mark P. Miner at 4/01/2009 05:15:00 PM