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Dear Sir/Madam:

I can not believe how quickly I received my shirt and how great it looks Thank you for the early delivery.

[name witheld]

To Dave and Ryan,

Good customer service is rare today and you guys are definitely on top of the game. You said you were going to call me back and to be honest, I wasn't expecting a call. To my surprise, the phone rang. You guys actually made an honest effort to help me out. I couldn't believe it. Especially in this industry, people simply don't give a shit.

I am leaving in about 10 days and I will be gone for 15 months. Your extra effort definitely saved my ass. This war we are fighting overseas may not be very popular, but there is one undeniable fact, we have managed to keep the fighting over there and far away from America. It is good people like you that give us the motivation to fight. I deploy with a smile because I know there are damn good Americans worth protecting.

I can only disclose limited information about my job, but know this, when I pull my shotty out of my scabbard to breach a door, you guys will definitely be responsible for the success of the operation.

Thanks again for all you do. It is much more appreciated that you will ever know.

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    A Message from Dave


    One Nation Under God

    Christmas is about celebrating God’s greatest act of grace towards the human race… where God fulfilled his promise to Adam.

    That was: the deity of God took on humanity as a perfect man through the virgin birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and then later He substituted Himself for us, bearing all of humanity’s sins in His body on the cross, and receiving the judgment of the perfect justice of God the Father—providing salvation and eternal life for those who accept Jesus Christ’s work on the cross.

    Jesus said: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me. [John 14:6]

    The founders of our country knew and understood this and the grace of God—that is why Christmas has always been big celebration in our culture and we as a nation must never forget that we all exist by His grace. For as easily as He created the universe, earth and the human race He could take it away. We truly live by His grace. Christmas is a time to celebrate the grace of God.

    Many of our soldiers will spend Christmas away from their homes and families as they always have—doing their duties selflessly. My first Christmas in the Army was spent at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, and it was a lonely one. I got through it and each one I spent away got easier for me because I began to focus on the grace of God focusing on the little positive things using the rationale that things could always be worse instead of focusing on myself. I found this comforting for the many Christmases I spent away from family and I hope many of you will learn to do the same thing.

    I have watched for many years the attacks and efforts by a minority in this country to wipe the Christmas celebration from our culture. Even the mention of it can become a firing offense in some companies as they forbid their employees from saying Merry Christmas, replacing it with Happy Holidays, banning Christmas trees and decorations associated with Christmas from public property, buildings, airports, etc…forbidding our children to give out Christmas cards and of saying the words “Jesus Christ” in some schools. Also, banning the mention of Jesus Christ at official memorial ceremonies like 9/11, the Swiss Air Memorial and military funerals given by chaplains to mention a few. Even our military chaplains are facing their emblem a simple cross being replaced lest it offends.

    I think this speech by one man should be heard, though it is not specifically about Christmas—it has a strong message about the path our nation has chosen in its leaders.


    Darrell Scott's speech to US legislators


    Guess our national leaders didn't expect this, hmm? On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

    They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

    "Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

    "The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.

    "In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that they are responsible for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder I would be their strongest opponent.

    I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy -- it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:

       Your laws ignore our deepest needs,

       Your words are empty air.

       You've stripped away our heritage,

       You've outlawed simple prayer.

       Now gunshots fill our classrooms,

       And precious children die.

       You seek for answers everywhere,

       And ask the question "Why?"

       You regulate restrictive laws,

       Through legislative creed.

       And yet you fail to understand,

       That God is what we need!

    "Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs -- politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

    "As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA -- I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

    My daughter's death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!"


    David Scott clearly understands the repercussions of the direction our country is headed, and we should follow his lead in standing up for truth and reality.

    In my last news letter we talked about Thanksgiving and in this news letter we focused on God’s greatest gift to humanity and I would like to talk about a great confusion in this country, the separation of church and state. In short this means that government will not mandate beliefs or in simple English not force anyone to subscribe to a religion. We have freedom of religion volition to choose for or against God which is a principle our forefathers took from the teaching of the Holy Bible through Christianity. But somewhere along the way our people have forgotten the true source of our freedom through the forming of the United States its heritage and its culture. I have picked some historical events to demonstrate my claim.

    My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [of Gods word] because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest [in this case the United States, client nation to God], since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6)


    "One Nation, Under God"

    There seems to be a rather fashionable idea floating around at the moment that we are not a nation founded "under God," and that the Pledge of Allegiance is therefore unconstitutional because it has those two words in it along with the fore mentioned movement by a minority in this country to remove Christmas from our culture. Throughout the Revolutionary War, under the Articles of Confederation, during the Constitutional Convention, and as the First Congress met--the same Congress that passed the First Amendment--our government collectively and as individuals used language that shows what the Framers of our government considered appropriate as part of official duties and documents.

    Some of this language, one might argue, is an expression of a lowest common denominator form of Christianity, and was so broadly encompassing as to mean almost nothing.  Very true--much like the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance today.

    Is having those words in the Pledge of Allegiance today still a good idea?  Should teachers be required to lead their students in the Pledge of Allegiance, as California law requires?  The claim that these two words in the Pledge are unconstitutional requires us to assume that the Framers of our Constitution intended the First Amendment to make some sweeping change from everything that they had stood for, during the Revolution, under the Articles of Confederation government, during the Constitutional Convention, and in the First Congress.

    Delaware's Constitutional Convention's on September 6, 1776, modified a statement required of all members of the House:

    The Convention met, on motion of Mr. McKean, resolved unanimously, that the following words be added to the Profession of Faith made by the Members of this House respectively, to wit, "And I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine Inspiration." Proceedings of the Assembly of the Lower Counties on Delaware 1770-1776, of the Constitutional Convention of 1776, and of the House of Assembly of the Delaware State 1776-1781.

    From the dark days of our War of Independence the Continental Congress wrote these words:

    Mr. W[illiam] Livingston, pursuant to leave granted, brought in a resolution for appointing a fast, which (being taken into consideration) was agreed to as follows:

    In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against Him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.

    The Congress, therefore, considering the warlike preparations of the British Ministry to subvert our invaluable rights and privileges, and to reduce us by fire and sword, by the savages of the wilderness, and our own domestics, to the most abject and ignominious bondage: Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God's superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprises, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; and by inclining their hearts to justice and benevolence, prevent the further effusion of kindred blood. But if, continuing deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and inflexibly bent, on desolation and war, they constrain us to repel their hostile invasions by open resistance, that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching Him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honorable and permanent basis--That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labor on the said day. [Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Saturday, March 16, 1776, pp. 208-209]

    Under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labor of the husbandman, that our land may yet yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth "in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost."[Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Saturday, November 1, 1777, pp. 854-855]

    In 1778, the Continental Congress again acknowledged their dependency on God:

    The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states, for setting apart a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, brought in the same; which was read and agreed to as follows:

    Whereas, Almighty God, in the righteous dispensation of his providence, hath permitted the continuation of a cruel and desolating war in our land; and it being at all times the duty of a people to acknowledge God in all his ways, and more especially to humble themselves before him when evident tokens of his displeasure are manifested; to acknowledge his righteous government; confess, and forsake their evil ways; and implore his mercy:

    And it is recommended to the inhabitants of the United States to abstain, on that day, from labor and recreations. [Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Saturday, March 7, 1778, pp. 229-230]

    From Washington's Farewell Address to the Continental Congress:

    I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them to his holy keeping. [Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Tuesday, December 23, 1783, p. 837]

    When they established the Northwest Territory:

    Article the third. Institutions for the promotion of religion and morality, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged, and all persons while young shall be taught some useful Occupation. [Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Wednesday, July 11, 1787, p. 318]

    Benjamin Franklin, near the end of the Constitutional Convention, addressed the members concerning prayer, God, and the founding of our nation:

    In this situation of this assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark, to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and, the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth--that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed, in this political building, no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and by-word down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

    I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service. [Elliot's Debates 5:253-4]

    Governor Huntingdon of Connecticut, addressing the ratification convention in that state a few months later:

    While the great body of freeholders are acquainted with the duties which they owe to their God, to themselves, and to men, they will remain free. But if ignorance and depravity should prevail, they will inevitably lead to slavery and ruin. Upon the whole view of this Constitution, I am in favor of it, and think it bids fair to promote our national prosperity. [Elliot's Debates 2:200]

    The First Congress, the same one that passed the Bill of Rights, had to decide on an oath for members of the House:

    Resolve, That the form of the oath to be taken by the members of this Houses, as required by the third clause of the sixth article of the Constitution of Government of the United States, be as followeth, to wit: "I, A B a Representative of the United "States in the Congress thereof, do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) in "the presence of Almighty GOD, that I will support the Constitution of the United "States. So help me GOD."[Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1793, Monday, April 6, p. 7]

    Three days later, Washington wrote a letter to Samuel Langdon observing:

    The man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude towards the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf. And it is my earnest prayer that we may so conduct ourselves as to merit a continuance of those blessings with which we have hitherto been favored. [The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799: Series 2 Letterbooks, George Washington to Samuel Langdon, September 28, 1789]

    From George Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789:

    Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

    Washington's Farewell Address to Congress:

    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. - [Link]

    State constitutions from this early period included some fairly astonishing language.
    The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, section 10, includes this requirement for officeholders:

    And each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz:

    I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.

    And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this State.

    The current Pennsylvania Constitution, Art. I, sec. 4,  still says:

    No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.

    From the North Carolina Constitution of 1776:

    That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State. - [Link]

    Maryland's 1776 Constitution includes a similar provision at Article 35:

    That no other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of support and fidelity to this State, and such oath of office, as shall be directed by this Convention or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion.

    You can track the later amendments of this provision here.  Neither of these provisions require these beliefs to hold office, but do allow the legislature to impose such a requirement on officeholders.

    How did the political figures of the early Republic regard the proper relationship between church and state?  The Library of Congress' exhibition on "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic" observes:

    It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson's example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House--a practice that continued until after the Civil War--were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a "crowded audience." Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel (the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ) was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.


    If you want to argue that America is broader religiously today than it was then, no argument.  I doubt any Americans today would seek what Massachusetts had: government paychecks to clergy, with mandatory attendance.  However, this claim that the First Amendment prohibits any expressions of religious belief in public buildings, Christmas celebration and the Pledge of Allegiance, is simply not supportable by the evidence of original intent.

    Some of these excerpts were from

    Clayton E. Cramer
    March 29, 2003

    I hope this Christmas you will take the time to think about the true meaning of Christmas and the sacrifices of Jesus Christ and our forefathers made to form this great Nation Under God and wish a “Merry Christmas” to all.

    Dave Thomas

    Click Here to let Dave know what you think about this month's message!


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    'The Finger' gesture

    Leading the fight is Gunnery Sgt Michael Burghardt, known as 'Iron Mike' or just 'Gunny'. He is on his third tour in Iraq He had become a legend in the bomb disposal world after winning the Bronze Star for disabling 64 IEDs and destroying 1,548 pieces of ordnance during his second tour. Then, on September 19, he got blown up. He had arrived at a ch aotic scene after a bomb had killed four US soldiers. He chose not to wear the bulky bomb protection suit. 'You can't react to any sniper fire and you get tunnel-vision,' he explains. So, protected by just a helmet and standard-issue flak jacket, he began what bomb disposal officers term 'the longest walk', stepping gingerly into a 5ft deep and 8ft wide crater.

    The earth shifted slightly and he saw a Senao base station with a wire leading from it. He cut the wire and used his 7in knife t o probe the ground. 'I found a piece of red detonating cord between my legs,' he says. 'That's when I knew I was screwed.'

    Realizing he had been sucked into a trap, Sgt Burghardt, 35, yelled at everyone to stay back. At that moment, an insurgent, probably watching through binoculars, pressed a button on his mobile phone to detonate the secondary device below the sergeant's feet 'A chill went up the ba ck of my neck and then the bomb exploded,' he recalls. 'As I was in the air I remember thinking, 'I don't believe they got me.' I was just ticked off they were able to do it. Then I was lying on the road, not able to feel anything from the waist down.'

    His colleagues cut off his trousers to see how badly he was hurt. None could believe his legs were still there. 'My dad's a Vietnam vet who's paralyzed from the waist down,' says Sgt Burghardt. 'I was lying there thinking I didn't want to be in a wheelchair next to my dad and for him to see me like that. They started to cut away my pants and I felt a real sharp pain and blood trickling down. Then I wiggled my toes and I thought, 'Good, I'm in business.' 'As a stretcher was brought over, adrenaline and anger kicked in. 'I decided to walk to the helicopter. I wasn't going to let my team-mates see me being carried away on a stretcher.' He stood and gave the insurgents who had blown him up a one-fingered salute. 'I flipped them o ne. It was like, 'OK, I lost that round but I'll be back next week'.

    Copies of a photograph depicting his defiance, taken by Jeff Bundy for the Omaha World-Herald, adorn the walls of homes across America and that of Col John Gronski, the brigade commander in Ramadi, who has hailed the image as an exemplar of the warrior spirit. Sgt Burghardt's injuries - burns and wounds to his legs and buttocks - kept him off duty for nearly a month and could have earned him a ticket home. But, like his father - who was awarded a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action in Vietnam - he stayed in Ramadi to engage in the battle against insurgents who are forever coming up with more ingenious ways of killing Americans.

    Update Iraq November 7, 2007

    I have been training and working with Iraqi SWAT daily. For most of them it is refresher training, as they have been working with Army Special Forces for nearly 5 years now. For some of the younger cadets it is new.

    I have established quite a rapport with most of the men, if not all of them. We usually work in two to six man training teams, working and spending our days at their camp. Due to lack of interpreters, I have been forced to learn quite a bit of Iraqi Arabic, which is slightly different from traditional Arabic, in the short period of time I have been here.

    I know most people wonder where the average Iraqi citizen mind set is. I have been trying to evaluate that since I got here. I work in Al Hilla which is predominately Shiite. the Police are 100 percent Shiite, but are asking for us to help recruit Sunnis, because they do not base their arrests on tribal or religious differences. Because they don't, they are targeted by Shiite insurgents as often if not more often than US troops.

    Briefly, Al Quida are Sunni. Saddam Hussein was Sunni. However the majority of the insurgents are Shiite. The majority in Iran are Shiite. The majority of Iraq is Shiite. I am told that the majority of Shiites in Iraq were happy to see Saddam's regime removed from power, and about half of the Sunnis were also glad.

    After getting to know the Iraqis I work with, I see they are regular people who live very similar lives to us. Some are religious, others are not. They play soccer, watch TV, laugh and joke about everything we do. I can't imagine what all the fighting is about. When we are not training, it seems everything for the most part is very peaceful, and full of laughs.

    My Iraqi counterparts, say there is not a problem with the Iraqi people, it is Iran who come across the boarder, and bring weapons, and bribe the Iraqi insurgents to join them.

    Anyway, I spoke to a young Iraqi regular police officer who spoke good English and asked if he would be interested in making much more money working as an interpreter for training. He said he would not take the job because if he worked with Americans he and his family would be killed. Many of the SWAT officers who work with us are at much greater risk because they have to go home and are often targeted.

    This week has been rough for both them and us. Last week, one of our SWAT officers was captured while off duty and tortured for working with us, but he denied it and they did not kill him. We flew him to a US military hospital in the green zone and he will live. Two days ago, one of the officers was assassinated while off duty.

    Today one of the guys we are attached to on another team working in a different area near Bagdad was killed by a roadside bomb. Two wounded. That makes two killed and four wounded by roadside bombs since we got here. It hasn't gotten to me yet, because I don't know any of them personally. It will probably bother me quite a bit if any of my good friends who I have known for neary 15 years gets killed.

    The only positive note is we have intelligence on several guys responsible for killing Americans and are just waiting for approval to go get.

    I'm attaching a cool guy picture of my Iraqi SWAT guys and me. I will keep you updated.

    Until then
    Love Rob

    Franco Harris

    Let me tell you about one soldier's return flight to iraq he saw a man go into the bathroom at the Pittsburgh airport & thought he recognized him.

    When the man came out he went over to him & said 'excuse me sir but are you Franco Harris?'

    The man replied 'yes I am' & then being such a big steeler fan that he is asked him if he could have a pic of him.

    Franco was agreeable to this.

    After taking the pic they talked for a few minutes & he told him he was on his way back to Iraq.

    Franco acknowledged his sadness & gave him encouragement & safe return.

    They then shook hands & parted on their ways...

    The end of the story you would think, but not so...

    You see after awhile the soldier's name was announced over the loud speaker to come to the desk... which he did... once there, the lady behind the counter informed him that there was an empty seat in first class & she was going to bump him up to that seat if it was OK with him.

    He said he didn't care where he sat in the plane as long as he made it to Atlanta to catch the army plane.

    So she informed him that he was now going first class to Atlanta.

    He thanked her & went back to tell everyone as he waited to board the plane. once he was seated on the plane he was waving out the window to his dad & pap as he felt a hand on his leg.

    He turned to his side & there was Franco sitting in the seat next to him!!!

    Needless to say they talked all the way to Atlanta about the Steelers & then parted with Franco taking his address & giving his signed ticket stub to the soldier as validation of their trip together.

    This was a trip not of sadness & loneliness but one this soldier will never forget & will talk about forever thanks to Franco Harris.

    This act of kindness & generosity from this man is one that words cannot express. in my opinion, Franco Harris is 'the man of all men'! wish I could thank him for making a soldier's lonely flight back to war one of his ultimate lifetime experiences that he will talk about forever.

    Thank you Mr. Franco Harris

    A Soldier's Aunt

    Ann Margaret

    Vietnam 1966

    This was sent to me and I thought it was a GREAT counter balance story to the Jane Fonda Vietnam Woman of the year.

    Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in Viet Nam other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black and white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margaret with Bob Hope in the background that was one of his treasures.

    A few years ago, Ann Margaret was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get her to sign the treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore at 12 o'clock for the 7:30 signing.

    When I got there after work, the line went all the way a round the bookstore, circled the parking lot and disappeared behind a parking garage. Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced that she would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted.

    Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her know how much those shows meant to lonely GI's so far from home. Ann Margaret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as second in line, it was soon Richard's turn.

    He presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there were many shouts from the employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, "I understand. I just wanted her to see it."

    She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, "This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and I always have time for 'my gentlemen.'"

    With that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him. She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated them. There weren't too many dry eyes among those close enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he were the only one there.

    Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he'd like to talk about it, my big strong husband broke down in tears. "That's the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army," he said.

    That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I'll never forget Ann Margaret for her graciousness and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband.

    I now make it a point to say "Thank you" to every person I come across who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom does not co me cheap and I am grateful for all those who have served their country.

    If you'd like to pass on this story, feel free to do so. Perhaps it will help others to become aware of how important it is to acknowledge the contribution our service people make.

    Don't be too busy today...
    Share this inspiring message with friends and family.

    On behalf of those who DO appreciate all that you did for us, thank you to each of you who receive this message who have served or are serving our country in the armed services or any other service.


    Hope Rides Alone

    Please take time and read this letter from a fallen soldier. It is worth your time.

    Oct 19, 2007

    SGT. Edmund John Jeffer's last few words were some of the most touching, inspiring and most truthful words spoken since the tragedy of 9/11 - and since our nation went to war.

    SGT. Jeffers was a strong soldier and talented writer. He died in Iraq on September 19, 2007. He was a loving husband, brother and son.

    His service was more than this country could ever grasp - but the least you can do for the man who sacrificed his life for you ... is listen to what he had to say.

    Listen up and pay attention to all of the Cindy Sheehans and Al Frankens of the world. To MSNBC, CNN, and CBS. To all who call themselves Americans ... Hope Rides Alone.

    Hope Rides Alone

    By Eddie Jeffers.

    I stare out into the darkness from my post, and I watch the city burn to the ground. I smell the familiar smells, I walk through the familiar rubble, and I look at the frightened faces that watch me pass down the streets of their neighborhoods. My nerves hardly rest; my hands are steady on a device that has been given to me from my government for the purpose of taking the lives of others.

    I sweat, and I am tired. My back aches from the loads I carry. Young American boys look to me to direct them in a manner that will someday allow them to see their families again...and yet, I too, am just a age not but a few years more than that of the ones I lead. I am stressed, I am scared, and I am paranoid...because death is everywhere. It waits for me, it calls to me from around street corners and windows, and it is always there.

    There are the demons that follow me, and tempt me into thoughts and actions that are not my own...but that are necessary for survival. I've made compromises with my humanity. And I am not alone in this.

    Miles from me are my brethren in this world, who walk in the same streets...who feel the same things, whether they admit to it or not. And to think, I volunteered for this... And I am ignorant to the rest of the world...or so I thought.

    But even thousands of miles away, in Ramadi, Iraq, the cries and screams and complaints of the ungrateful reach me. In a year, I will be thrust back into society from a life and mentality that doesn't fit your average man. And then, I will be alone. And then, I will walk down the streets of America, and see the yellow ribbon stickers on the cars of the same people who compare our President to Hitler.

    I will watch the television and watch the Cindy Sheehans, and the Al Frankens, and the rest of the ignorant sheep of America spout off their mouths about a subject they know nothing about. It is their right, however, and it is a right that is defended by hundreds of thousands of boys and girls scattered across the world, far from home. I use the word boys and girls, because that's what they are. In the Army, the average age of the infantryman is nineteen years old. The average rank of soldiers killed in action is Private First Class.

    People like Cindy Sheehan are ignorant. Not just to this war, but to the results of their idiotic ramblings, or at least I hope they are. They don't realize its effects on this war. In this war, there are no Geneva Conventions, no cease fires. Medics and Chaplains are not spared from the enemy's brutality because it's against the rules. I can only imagine the horrors a military Chaplain would experience at the hands of the enemy. The enemy slinks in the shadows and fights a coward's war against us. It is effective though, as many men and women have died since the start of this war. And the memory of their service to America is tainted by the inconsiderate remarks on our nation's news outlets. And every day, the enemy changes...only now, the enemy is becoming something new. The enemy is transitioning from the Muslim extremists to Americans. The enemy is becoming the very people whom we defend with our lives. And they do not realize it.

    But in denouncing our actions, denouncing our leaders, denouncing the war we live and fight, they are isolating the military from society...and they are becoming our enemy.

    Democrats and peace activists like to toss the word "quagmire" around and compare this war to Vietnam. In a way they are right, this war is becoming like Vietnam . Not the actual war, but in the isolation of country and military. America is not a nation at war; they are a nation with its military at war. Like it or not, we are here, some of us for our second, or third times; some even for their fourth and so on. Americans are so concerned now with politics, that it is interfering with our war.

    Terrorists cut the heads off of American citizens on the Internet...and there is no outrage, but an American soldier kills an Iraqi in the midst of battle, and there are investigations, and sometimes soldiers are even jailed...for doing their job.

    It is absolutely sickening to me to think our country has come to this. Why are we so obsessed with the bad news? Why will people stop at nothing to be against this war, no matter how much evidence of the good we've done is thrown in their face? When is the last time CNN or MSNBC or CBS reported the opening of schools and hospitals in Iraq ? Or the leaders of terror cells being detained or killed? It's all happening, but people will not let up their hatred of Bush. They will ignore the good news, because it just might show people that Bush was right.

    America has lost its will to fight. It has lost its will to defend what is right and just in the world. The crazy thing of it all is that the American people have not even been asked to sacrifice a single thing. It's not like World War Two, where people rationed food, and turned in cars to be made into metal for tanks. The American people have not been asked to sacrifice anything. Unless you are in the military or the family member of a service member, its life as usual...the war doesn't affect you.

    But it affects us. And when it is over, and the troops come home, and they try to piece together what's left of them after their service...where will the detractors be then? Where will the Cindy Sheehans be to comfort and talk to soldiers and help them sort out the last couple years of their lives, most of which have been spent dodging death and wading through the deaths of their friends? They will be where they always are, somewhere far away, where the horrors of the world can't touch them. Somewhere where they can complain about things they will never experience in their lifetime; things that the young men and women of America have willingly taken upon their shoulders.

    We are the hope of the Iraqi people. They want what everyone else wants in life: safety, security, somewhere to call home. They want a country that is safe to raise their children in. Not a place where their children will be abducted, raped, and murdered if they do not comply with the terrorists demands. They want to live on, rebuild and prosper. And America has given them the opportunity, but only if we stay true to the cause, and see it to its end. But the country must unite in this endeavor...we cannot place the burden on our military alone. We must all stand up and fight, whether in uniform or not. And supporting us is more than sticking yellow ribbon stickers on your cars. It's supporting our President, our troops and our cause.

    Right now, the burden is all on the American soldiers. Right now, Hope Rides Alone. But it can change, it must change. Because there is only failure and darkness ahead for us as a country, as a people, if it doesn't.

    Let's stop all the political nonsense, let's stop all the bickering, let's stop all the bad news, and let's stand and fight!

    Eddie's father, David Jeffers, writes:

    I'm not sure how many letters or articles you've ever read from the genre of "News from the Front," but this is one of the best I've ever read, including all of America's wars. As I was reading this, I forgot that it was my son who had written it. My emotions range from great pride to great sorrow, knowing that my little boy (22 years old) has become this man.

    He is my hero. Thank all of you for your prayers for him; he needs them now more than ever.

    God bless.

    Though Eddie is no longer with us, you can help to let his voice be heard.

    Word of Truth

    By Rev G.J. Rako

    The Night Before Christmas

    By Robert B. Thieme Jr.
    Copyright 1994 All rights reserved First Edition published 1965. Reprinted in its entirety with permission from R.B. Thieme Jr. Bible Ministries

    The true meaning of Christmas is described in the following poem and booklet written by Pastor Robert B. Thieme Jr. Bob was my Pastor for over thirty years. He was my friend, my mentor, and my source for understanding the Christian way of life. He made the Bible come alive and because of the grace of God and his dedication and unwavering love of the Scripture, the Word lives in me. A gift for which I will always be grateful and one I could never repay. Bob is now retired, and his son, R.B. Thieme III has picked up the guidon and is leading his congregation to the high ground.

    'Twas the night before Christmas,
    And all through the world
    A message was preached,
    A challenge was hurled:
    Believe on the Son
    And thou shall be saved!
    The road to heaven with His blood
    Was paved.
    Out of darkness of sin
    And despair
    God's salvation, the fairest of fair,
    Was born in a manger;
    No room in the inn.
    God in the flesh, He died for our sin.
    The angels sang;
    The shepherds rejoiced,
    Messiah has come!
    The message was voiced
    By joyous believers both far and near;
    Christmas has come!
    Immanuel is here!

    Christmas celebrates the incomparable divine gift to all mankind; the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Two millennia ago the Savior appeared, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The babe in the manger would demolish the barrier between depraved humanity and perfect God. He was born to die so that through Him we might have life everlasting.

    Unfortunately, today Santa Claus and shopping for presents take priority over the true meaning of Christmas. Exchanging gifts has supplanted our focus from the greatest of all gifts. The eternal consequence of the season is obscured. Only the Bible, God's infallible Word and inerrant Truth, reveals the import of that first Christmas. The Scriptures disclose a meaning far more momentous than the notions and traditions of men, however clever or charming.

    Seven truths recounted in Luke 2:7-20 illuminate the magnificent message of that first Christmas.

    A night of life and death

    The Word of Truth - Alive and Powerful

    And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes. (Luke 2;7a)

    The same [Jesus Christ] was in the beginning with God...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1:2, 14a)

    Jesus Christ is the God-Man, undiminished deity and true humanity united in one Person forever (Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3). Although Christ is eternal God, His incarnation began with His physical birth, as all human life begins. At birth Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes, the garments used to shroud the dead. From the beginning of His earthly life, He was identified with death. The shadow of the cross loomed over Him. In that moment, God proclaimed to the world that Christ's death is more significant than His life.

    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

    Thirty-three years later the Lord Jesus Christ bore all our sins, past, present and future, when He died on the cross.

    Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. (I Peter 2:24a)

    Christmas is not Santa and his sleigh. Christmas is Christ and His cross!

    A night of good news

    And the angel said unto them [certain shepherds], Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)

    The supernatural appearance of the angel rendered these shepherds speechless with fear and awe. But the good news announcing that salvation from God was brought down to man promptly transformed their fear to joy.

    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. (Titus 2:11)

    A wish for a "merry Christmas" should be a wish for all to know the joy of salvation through faith in Christ.

    The good news concerned the savior, Christ the Lord. All humanity is under the penalty of death; separation from God, because "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23). The proclamation made on that first Christmas announced the solution to sin. The advent of Christ was for the express purpose of saving mankind from the penalty of sin.

    Not only did the angel bring the good news to the shepherds, but to all people. There is no exception. Salvation was provided for all. Christ's substitutionary death is an unlimited atonement.

    Who gave Himself a ransom for all. (I Timothy 2:6a)

    That He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9b)

    And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

    A night of heavenly worship

    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God. (Luke 2:13a)

    On the first Christmas, the angels in heaven set the precedent for worshiping and praising God. Most people have long since ignored that precedent. True worship is based on a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas, above all, should elicit a personal response to Christ and adoration of Him. No one can enter into the true spirit of Christmas apart from personal faith in the God-Man Savior.

    And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (Acts 16:31)

    A night of potential peace

    Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14)

    But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

    Whether or not you have peace with God depends on your attitude toward Jesus Christ. God is well pleased only with those who believe in Jesus Christ. Only they are the ones who have peace that cannot be purchased.

    Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

    A night of reverent seeking

    The shepherds said one to another, let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste. (Luke 2:15b-16a)

    These shepherds were not ordinary shepherds, nor were the sheep ordinary sheep. These men were carefully chosen to watch over the flocks from which lambs without blemish were selected for Temple sacrifice. The sacrifices foreshadowed Jesus Christ, the true Lamb of God.

    Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot [His saving work on the cross]. (I Peter 1:18-19)

    The shepherds were well informed concerning the Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messiah (Micah 5:2). While the angel referred only to the "city of David," the shepherds went immediately to Bethlehem, the predicted birthplace of the Messiah. Their prompt response exhibited not only a knowledge of the Scripture but also faith in God's promise. In contrast, the pious religious leaders of Israel who attended Temple worship three times a day also knew where the Messiah would be born (Matthew 2:4-6), but they lacked the faith to act on their knowledge.

    The shepherds who tended the flocks night and day could not attend Temple worship. Yet the angel revealed the good news to them, not to the religious leaders. Although faithful in keeping the sheep, the shepherds now left those sacrificial lambs to witness an event of the greatest magnitude, the newborn Lamb of God, the Savior of all mankind. They went to

    Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29b)

    Is Christ more important to you than anything you possess? The shepherds made haste to seek the Savior. Oh, that men would make haste to seek the Savior today!

    Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)

    Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (II Corinthians 6:2b)

    And Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37b)

    A night of witnessing

    And when they had seen it [Jesus in the manger], they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. (Luke2:17-18)

    People were amazed and astonished when they heard that the Messiah had come. The shepherds made the salvation issue clear.

    He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)

    No greater joy or experience can come to the believer than to evangelize for Jesus Christ by presenting the Gospel to others.

    A night of quiet meditation

    But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

    Few people today sit quietly and think intently about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. Mary set the precedent that first Christmas. Will you give a thought to the Savior this Christmas? Or will your Christmas simply be a time of festivity, gift-giving, and excitement? From His birth day came His death day, and through His death day comes our eternal life day.

    For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten [uniquely born] Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

    Doctrinal Bible Studies

    Bible doctrine is the body of teaching drawn from a literal interpretation of the Scriptures. Doctrine serves as the standard for truth. Doctrine is the Christian's spiritual nourishment (Matt. 4:4).

    For many years, doctrinal Bible classes taught by R. B. Thieme Jr., have provided daily spiritual food for his congregation. Doctrinal books like the one above and tape recordings of his classes are available without charge or obligation. A Doctrinal Bible Studies catalogue will be provided upon request at

    Click here to send an email to Rev G.J. Rako >>
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    Quotes & Jokes

    "I hope our leaders will take things slow, make sure we KNOW every person that is behind this terrible act. This may mean having to use spies, other kinds of warfare, etc. to gather the intelligence we need to prove who is responsible. But we don't want to bring these b******s home for a trial. When we find out who they are, we need to go after them with EVERYTHING we have got, so we don't risk more good American youth by doing things half-way. We need to hunt them down, and then kill them. At the same time I want all of us to remember that we are Americans. Let's act like Americans, do what needs to be done, and do it right. "

    ~ John William Finn , 92 the Oldest living First Medal of Honor awardee in World War two for his actions during the raid on Pearl Harbor On How we must Avenge the aggression of September 11th.

    "Communists, never have a leader in waiting. But once a decision is made by the Politburo, no one dares step out of line. That's how it works. Whether it's Marxism, whether it's fascism, whether it's Nazism, they're all the same. They are all one-party dictatorships and their main function in life is to stay in power. That's all, you just stay in power. If you allow yourself to be removed from power, then you've bungled it."

    ~ Ian Smith Former Prime Minister of Rhoedesia

    "They guys I served with were really good men. Today’s Rangers are just as great, even better."

    ~ Henry "Zeke" Zyrkowski Mortoman 2nd Ranger Battalion WW II

    "I never thought of being killed. I guess I was stupid not to think so. I mostly was angry because I couldn’t get communication and ammunition."

    ~ Former USN Ensign Ed Vezy who 66 years later, recalled his thoughts during the chaos that one fateful Sunday morning, December 7th of 1941 while aboard the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor as Japanese bombs and torpedoes tore into his vessel.

    "This is a nation not a polyglot boarding house. There is not room in the country for any 50-50 American, nor can there be but one loyalty to the Stars and Stripes."

    ~ President Theodore Roosevelt


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    WWII Marine pilot awarded Medal of Honor

    Col. Jefferson DeBlanc Sr., who was awarded the Medal of Honor after a fierce World War II battle in which the Marine Corps pilot shot down five enemy aircraft, parachuted from his damaged plane, then swam to an island where tribesmen traded him for a five-pound sack of rice, has died. He was 86.

    DeBlanc, who later became a beloved high school math and physics teacher, died Thursday at Lafayette General Medical Center in Lafayette, La., of complications from pneumonia, said his son Frank of St. Martinville, La.

    The incident that earned Jefferson the nation's highest military honor took place Jan. 31, 1943, during operations against Japanese forces off Kolombangara Island in the Solomon Islands.


    John Noble, 84; wrote, lectured about captivity in Soviet camps

    John H. Noble, a Detroit native who languished for nearly 10 years in Soviet penal labor camps after World War II and spent the rest of the Cold War lecturing and writing about his captivity, died Nov. 10 at his home in Dresden, Germany, after a heart attack. He was 84.

    Noble's gulag ordeal -- including four years in the Vorkuta coal mine and prison complex near the Arctic Circle -- began in 1945 when he was swept up by Soviet forces in Germany at the end of World War II.

    In 1938, the teenage Noble had gone to Dresden to help his German-born father revive a camera factory. At war's end, they were captured by the Soviet troops occupying the city. Noble's mother and a brother were released, and his father spent seven years in detention. Noble's fate remained a mystery until 1953, when he managed to smuggle a postcard to a distant relative.


    Ian Smith, 88; last white leader of Rhodesia was staunch foe of black rule

    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Ian Smith, the last white minority leader of Rhodesia, who vowed that blacks would not rule his country "in a thousand years," died Tuesday in a clinic outside Cape Town, after recently suffering a stroke. He was 88.

    To many white Rhodesians, Smith was a savior who vowed to preserve white minority rule and protect their interests against rising African nationalist sentiment. They saw as heroic his unilateral declaration of independence from Britain in 1965, when Britain was pulling out of its African colonies.

    But to the blacks who fought a bitter war of independence, many of whom spent years in jail (including President Robert Mugabe), Smith was a ruthless despot who banned black nationalist parties, had leaders arrested and introduced harsh laws curbing civil rights.

    World News

    Brazilian Armored Car Makers Find New Market

    WAR ZONE: Faced with flat sales at home, companies like HPC are branching out to the Middle East, where their skill in producing protective vehicles is welcome

    Thursday, Nov 29, 2007, Page 10

    What do US Special Operations Forces generals in Baghdad and senior bankers in Sao Paulo have in common?

    Every time they drive to work, running risks of roadside attacks from armed assailants, chances are their lives are being protected by armored vehicles built by the same Brazilian companies.

    Those firms -- world leaders thanks to their long experience in countering the frequent risk to motorists in Brazil from armed bandits -- are branching out aggressively into the Middle East as domestic sales flatten.

    Indeed, the Iraqi market is proving so profitable that some of the companies have geared up operations to get a bigger slice of the pie.

    That is the case for High Protection Group (HPC), a Brazilian-run outfit that has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, to better bid for US government contracts.


    General: Special Forces Unit should have stayed in Afghanistan

    WASHINGTON A Marine company involved in the shooting of civilians in Afghanistan last March responded appropriately to an ambush against them, and should not have been pulled out of the country, the commander of Marine Corps special forces said Thursday.

    Marine Maj. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, head of Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based Marine Corps Special Operations Command, also confirmed that a legal tribunal investigating the incident has been postponed until mid-January.

    "Obviously it was not my decision to bring the company out of theater," Hejlik said. "It was the theater commander's decision. I will never second guess the commander on the ground. I will say, I did not agree with it. To this day, I do not agree with it."

    Eight members of the Marine Corps company involved in the March 4 shooting - which left as many as 19 civilians dead and 50 injured - were ordered back to Camp Lejune after the incident, and the rest of the company was told to leave Afghanistan and return to ships in the Persian Gulf.

    Hejlik, however, stopped short of clearing the Marines of any blame in the incident, saying he could not speak to what may have happened after the initial ambush, when the unit was returning to their base.


    Marines to Cut Armored Vehicle Orders

    By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer Fri Nov 30, 4:46 PM ET

    WASHINGTON - The Marines plan to buy fewer bomb-resistant vehicles than planned despite pressure from lawmakers who are determined to spend billions of dollars on the vehicles.

    The Marine Corps' requirement for mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles would drop from the planned 3,700 to about 2,400, The Associated Press has learned. The Marines would not comment on the decision, but defense officials confirmed the cut. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced.

    About a month ago, Marine Commandant Gen. T. James Conway signaled the possibility of a new examination of the commitment to the vehicles, saying he was concerned his force was getting too heavy. "I'm a little bit concerned about us keeping our expeditionary flavor," he said.

    At the same time, an independent study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington questioned whether the Pentagon was buying too many of the pricey vehicles, which can cost as much as $1 million each. The study found that in some cases, the heavily armored vehicles, with their bomb-deflecting V-shaped hulls, might not be the answer that many believe they are.


    New submachine gun could shake up the firearms world: Tom Maffin, senior gunsmith for Transformational Defense Industries Inc. demonstrates the company's revolutionary Kriss Super V 45 caliber submachine gun at a range on the Blackwater USA campus in Moyock, N.C.

    By JON W. GLASS, The Virginian-Pilot

    His Ford Crown Victoria disabled by hostile fire, driver Tom Maffin scrambled from the car, crouched behind the hood and sprayed a target with automatic gunfire to cover for a passenger.

    Maffin's weapon: a KRISS Super V .45-caliber submachine gun.

    If you're military or law enforcement and haven't heard of it, chances are you soon will.

    Maffin is senior gunsmith for Transformational Defense Industries Inc., a weapons technology firm that conducts its research and development from a Virginia Beach office park near Lynnhaven Mall.

    By early next year, the Washington-based TDI plans to open a production facility in Virginia Beach to begin manufacturing the submachine gun for police and military use and a .45-caliber semi automatic carbine for the commercial shooting market.

    Company Link >>

    British spy chief warns of China web threat

    The head of Britain's domestic security service has warned business leaders that China has been carrying out state-sponsored espionage against vital parts of the economy.

    The director-general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, wrote to 300 chief executives and security heads at banks, accountancy and legal firms, warning them they were under attack from "Chinese state organisations" via the Internet, The Times said Saturday.

    It is thought to be the first time London has directly accused Beijing of involvement in web-based espionage, the daily said.


    10th Special Forces Group Soldiers Awarded the Silver Star

    FORT CARSON, Colo. (USASOC News Service, Nov. 28, 2007) Two Soldiers from the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) were awarded the Silver Star in a ceremony held at Fort Carson, Colo. Nov. 28.

    Chief Warrant Officer Two Nathan J. Buelow, native of Dubuque, Iowa and Staff Sgt. Brent R. Baldwin, native of Jonesville, Mich., were awarded Silver Stars for their valor by Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, Commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, during a ceremony at Butts Army Airfield.

    Buelow was presented this award for actions against intense direct small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire in Baghdad, Iraq July 9, 2006 during an attack from numerous insurgents. He led Operational Detachment Alpha 065 and 44 Iraqi Special Operations Forces during a raid that saw one ISOF Soldier critically wounded and more than a dozen insurgents killed. Buelow further showed extraordinary courage and competence while maneuvering his entire convoy through a 360-degree ambush upon leaving the objective.


    Rangers Reactivate Historic Company

    FORT LEWIS, WA (USASOC News Service, Nov. 27, 2007) When Henry Zeke Zyrkowski joined the 2nd Rangers in France 63 years ago, it had been five days since they had completed arguably one of the greatest and most daring assaults in the history of warfare at Pointe du Hoc.

    The unit that then-Pfc. Zyrkowski joined was Company D, or Dog Company, and it later would go on to further distinguish itself in Huertgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. Shortly after the conclusion of World War II, Dog Company was inactivated and its history lived on only through the veterans that served in its ranks.

    On Nov. 21, a new page in that history was written at the Evergreen Theater with the reactivation of the company that helped coin the Ranger motto, Rangers lead the way.

    This is truly great, said Zrykowski of the activation of his former unit. Im proud to see Dog Company back in action.

    Zrykowski, a former mortar man, was on hand to uncase the units guidon with Lt. Col. Michael E. Kurilla, the 2nd Ranger Battalion commander.


    10th Special Forces Group welcomes new commander, farewells outgoing

    FORT CARSON, Colo. (USASOC News Service, Nov. 29, 2007) Special guests, family members, and Green Berets and support Soldiers from the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) gathered at Butts Army Airfield Nov. 29 to honor two veteran Special Forces officers during the groups change of command ceremony.

    Col. Darsie D. Rogers Jr. accepted command of the 10th SFG (A) from Col. Kenneth E. Tovo during the ceremony after the units recent return from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Tovo had commanded the group since 2005 and through two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula.

    During the traditional change-of-command ceremony, Tovo passed the group colors and the responsibility of the units Soldiers to Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Csrnko, Commander of the United States Army Special Forces Command (Airborne). After a few words of congratulations, Csrnko passed the colors to Rogers, who returned them to group Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Sekelsky.


    U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Wrangell Assists Ill Iranian Fisherman

    NORTH ARABIAN GULF U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Wrangell (WPB 1332) provided medical assistance to an ill Iranian fisherman the North Arabian Gulf Aug. 24, while conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) as part of Combined Task Force 158. The task force is responsible for protecting Iraqs two oil terminals and training Iraqi naval forces to take over the mission in the future.

    The six-person crew of an Iranian-flagged fishing dhow indicated they needed help by approaching the Wrangell as the ship patrolled around the Khawar Al Amaya oil terminal.

    A crew member aboard the dhow was lying unconscious on the deck. Wrangells medic immediately administered first-aid by pumping oxygen into his lungs via a bag-valve mask and placing ice packs to cool his body. After providing as much assistance as possible, Wrangells crew instructed the dhows master to return to port as soon as possible for further medical attention.



    BALAD, Iraq Iraqi Army Forces, advised by U.S. Special Forces, detained two suspected extremists and killed one extremist in a cordon and search operation Nov. 16 in As Sadiyah.

    The operation was conducted to counter increased activity by al-Qaeda in Iraq in the area, including small-arms fire attacks, multiple car-bomb, suicide-vest and other improvised explosive device attacks against Iraqi Army checkpoints.

    During the operation, the Iraqi Forces establishing the cordon were attacked, resulting in the death of one Iraqi Soldier and the wounding of another. An aerial weapons team identified and engaged the enemy responsible for the attack, resulting in one enemy killed.

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    Tactical Tips

    Tactical Tips:

    1) Keys To Success of All Tactical Leadership:


    1. KISS - Keep It Simple Soldier.
    2. Consider the human element in planning and issuing orders. It takes time for men to react and to perform.
    3. Hedge all bets. Never risk losing the advantages of surprise, shock action, and firepower.
    4. Maintain flexibility for fire and maneuver.
    5. Maintain control, but don't restrict subordinate action to a point of ridiculousness (which is what many commanders do).
    6. Lead.


    2) Lengths of rope carried around the waists do not interfere with duties, and become invaluable on patrols.

    3) Make use of light automatic weapons for shock action.

    4) A candle under a poncho is a good way to warm, but do not inhale smoke fumes as they are caustic.

    5) Ensure that all grenades carried are attached properly and can be reached easily.

    6) Speed of movement will be dictated both by the terrain and the patrol's slowest moving element, and not by the commander's desires.


    History Lesson

    A little history lesson. If you don't know the answer make your best guess.

    Answer all the questions before looking at the answers.

    Who said it?

    1) "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

    A. Karl Marx
    B. Adolph Hitler
    C. Joseph Stalin
    D. None of the above

    2) "It's time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few... And to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity."

    A. Lenin
    B. Mussolini
    C. Idi Amin
    D. None of the Above

    3) "(We) ...can't just let business as usual go on, and that means something has to be taken away from some people."

    A. Nikita Khrushev
    B. Josef Goebbels
    C. Boris Yeltsin
    D. None of the above

    4) "We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own ... in order to create this common ground."

    A. Mao Tse Dung
    B. Hugo Chavez
    C. Kim Jong Il
    D. None of the above

    5) "I certainly think the free-market has failed."

    A. Karl Marx
    B. Lenin
    C. Molotov
    D. None of the above

    6) "I think it's time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in (the) entire economy that they are being watched."

    A. Pinochet
    B. Milosevic
    C. Saddam Hussein
    D. None of the above

    Scroll down for answers


    (1) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/29/2004

    (2) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 5/29/2007

    (3) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007

    (4) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007

    (5) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007

    (6) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 9/2/2005

    Be afraid, Be very afraid!

    What Have We Come To?

    Yet another example of what we continue to lose, erode or give away as we accept the actions of people who trounce all over our culture.

    I had heard about this but a picture is definitely worth 1000 words! God save us!!!


    Senator Barack Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin stand during the national anthem.

    Barack Hussein Obama's photo (that's his real name)... the article said he REFUSED TO NOT ONLY PUT HIS HAND ON HIS HEART DURING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE, BUT REFUSED TO SAY THE PLEDGE... how in the hell can a man like this expect to be our next Commander-in-Chief???

    Nice Shooting, Patricia!

    Two illegal aliens, Ralphel Resindez, 23, and Enrico Garza, 26, probably believed they would easily overpower home-alone 11-year-old Patricia Harrington after her father had left their two-story home.

    It seems the two crooks never learned two things: they were in Montana and 11-year-old Patricia had been a clay shooting champion since she was nine.

    Patricia was in her upstairs room when the two men broke through the front door of the house. She quickly ran to her father's room and grabbed his 12-gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun.

    Resindez was the first to get up to the second floor only to be the first to catch a near point blank blast of buckshot from the 11-year-old's knee-crouch aim. He suffered fatal wounds to his abdomen and genitals.

    When Garza ran to the foot of the stairs, he took a blast to the left shoulder and staggered out into the street where he bled to death before medical help could arrive.

    It was found out later that Resindez was armed with a stolen 45 caliber handgun he took from another home invasion robbery. That victim, 50-year-old David Burien, was not so lucky. He died from stab wounds to the chest.

    Ever wonder why good stuff never makes NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, or ABC news...

    God I love this kid...

    Nice Shootin', Patricia...

    Thank You.

    Killed by the Rules

    August 17, 2007 by Diana West

    Now that Marcus Luttrell's book "Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10" is a national bestseller, maybe Americans are ready to start discussing the core issue his story brings to light: the inverted morality, even insanity, of the American military's rules of engagement (ROE).

    On a stark mountaintop in Afghanistan in 2005, Leading Petty Officer Luttrell and three Navy SEAL teammates found themselves having just such a discussion. Dropped behind enemy lines to kill or capture a Taliban kingpin who commanded between 150-200 fighters, the SEAL team was unexpectedly discovered in the early stages of a mission whose success, of course, depended on secrecy. Three unarmed Afghan goatherds, one a teenager, had stumbled across the Americans' position.

    This presented the soldiers with an urgent dilemma: What should they do? If they let the Afghans go, they would probably alert the Taliban to the their whereabouts. This would mean a battle in which the Americans were outnumbered by at least 35 to 1. "Little Big Horn in turbans," as Marcus Luttrell would describe it. If the Americans didn't let the goatherds go — if they killed them, there being no way to hold them — the Americans would avoid detection and, most likely, leave the area safely. On a treeless mountainscape far from home, four of our bravest patriots came to the ghastly conclusion that the only way to save themselves was forbidden by the rules of engagement. Such an action would set off a media firestorm, and lead to murder charges for all.

    It is agonizing to read their tense debate as Mr. Luttrell recounts it, the "lone survivor" of the disastrous mission. Each of the SEALs was aware of "the strictly correct military decision" — namely, that it would be suicide to let the goatherds live. But they were also aware that their own country, for which they were fighting, would ultimately turn on them if they made that decision. It was as if committing suicide had become the only politically correct option. For fighting men ordered behind enemy lines, such rules are not only insane. They're immoral.

    The SEALs sent the goatherds on their way. One hour later, a sizeable Taliban force attacked, beginning a horrendous battle that resulted not only in the deaths of Mr. Luttrell's three SEAL teammates, but also the deaths of 16 would-be rescuers — eight additional SEALS and eight Army special operations soldiers whose helicopter was shot down by a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade.

    "Look at me right now in my story," Mr. Luttrell writes. "Helpless, tortured, shot, blown up, my best buddies all dead, and all because we were afraid of the liberals back home, afraid to do what was necessary to save our own lives. Afraid of American civilian lawyers. I have only one piece of advice for what it's worth: If you don't want to get into a war where things go wrong, where the wrong people sometimes get killed, where innocent people sometimes have to die, then stay the hell out of it in the first place."

    I couldn't agree more, except for the fact that conservatives, up to and including the president, are at least as responsible for our outrageous rules of engagement as liberals. The question Americans need to ask themselves now, with "Lone Survivor" as Exhibit A, is whether adhering to these precious rules is worth the exorbitant price — in this case, 19 valiant soldiers.

    Another question to raise is why our military, knowing the precise location of a Taliban kingpin, sends in Navy SEALs, not Air Force bombers, in the first place? The answer is "collateral damage." I know this — and so do our enemies, who, as Mr. Luttrell writes, laugh at our ROEs as they sleep safe at night. I find it hard to believe that this is something most Americans applaud. But it's impossible to know, because this debate hasn't begun.

    It should. It strikes at the core not only of our capacity to make war, but also our will to survive. A nation that doesn't automatically value its sons who fight to protect it more than the "unarmed civilians" — spies? fighters? — whom they encounter behind enemy lines is not only unlikely to win a war, it isn't showing much interest in its own survival.

    This is what comes through, loud and ugly, from that mountaintop in Afghanistan, where four young Americans ultimately agreed it was better to be killed than to kill.

    Diana West is the author of the "The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization."

    The Alamo Scouts Sleeve Insignia

    by Les Hughes

    Sometime during the fall of 1944, a contest was held at the ASTC (Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea) to choose a suitable design for a Scout sleeve patch. The winning design was submitted by CPL Harry Golden, a medic assigned to the ASTC; $15 was the prize for his effort.1 Golden's design features the head of an Indian in profile, representing silent reconnaissance, superimposed on the Alamo. The patch was not authorized by the Army (the units size and status would not have justified its own patch, and The Institute of Heraldry would never have approved the design), but it was approved, by General Krueger, for wear in Sixth Army by ASTC graduates, staff, and overhead personnel.2 The approved manner for wearing the patch was on the right sleeve or left breast.

    To finance the patch purchase, all officers (Scouts and ASTC staff) were assessed five dollars; the EM nothing. A money order was purchased, and an order for the patches was submitted to N. S. Meyer, Inc., in New York. Although documentation regarding the purchase no longer exists, either among the Scouts or at N. S. Meyer, the best estimate is that 440 patches were ordered.3 Early in 1945 (probably in April), the patches were received and distribution began.

    Read More > >
    Always Remember

    John Finn's Message to America following the Attack on the US

    US Navy Medal of Honor, World War II

    On December 7, 1941 I was only a short distance from Pearl Harbor at Kaneohe Bay. In fact, our base was hit five minutes before the first bombs began dropping on Pearl Harbor. I was at home with my wife when Japanese Zeroes began strafing our airstrip, and by the time I got there all hell had broken loose. Our hangers were burning, our planes were exploding where they sat, and men were dying. I was so mad, I didn't have time to be afraid. I grabbed a machinegun and began shooting back at the enemy. To this day, I don't know if I shot anything down. I've always said its damn near impossible to shoot a moving airplane down with a machinegun on the ground. Whether I shot any of the enemy down or not isn't as important as the fact that at least, I fought back. I knew that no matter what, the men who were doing what those enemy pilots were doing, wasn't going to go unpunished, either by myself on that day, or by our country in the future.

    On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 I was only 55 miles from New York City, traveling to Boston to be with my brothers in the Medal of Honor Society for our annual reunion. This time I wasn't in a position to fight back, and like the rest of our country had to stand helplessly in the distance while a new enemy killed American citizens.


    Pearl Harbor victims to be memorialized in marble

    By Jaclyn Houghton
    CNHI News Service

    It was supposed to be a lazy Sunday aboard the USS Oklahoma as it sat in the waters of Pearl Harbor off Honolulu’s coast.

    Paul Goodyear, a Navy signalman 3rd class, arrived about 15 minutes early for his 8 a.m. to noon shift standing watch. He expected a slow day.

    Ed Vezey, an ensign, was inside the ship when he heard a loud speaker announcement to man his battle station.

    The announcement stemmed from what Goodyear and others on the ship's deck had just seen. A group of planes in single file approached to Goodyear’s right. The first and second planes each dropped a bomb but he didn’t think anything of it . He was used to seeing training missions where sand bombs were dropped over desolate areas. But then a third plane dropped a bomb, he said, creating what looked like a “miniature atomic explosion. ” Goodyear looked through his binoculars and saw a Japanese insignia on the planes.

    Special Forces Gear (800) 260-4127