Category Archives: Veterans

Seeds of war

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Once again as I look at the news today I am reminded of what Claude Anshin Thomas said in his book “At Hell’s Gate” about the seeds of war. The below haiku was spewed forth from my pondering.

seeds of war
yield atrocities-
innocence lost

Source:
At Hell’s Gate: A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace by Claude Anshin Thomas

Congress hates Veterans

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While at the Veterans Hospital today I read a disclaimer that the staff had put on the counter at the dental clinic. It said:

“We would like to advise you that if you do not have dental coverage the cost of an extraction as set by CONGRESS is $487”

It goes on to say “a private extraction is less than $152 and at Cook County Hospital $50”

I find this disgusting and unjust. How can members of Congress sleep at night.

Thank you to the staff for bringing this to the attention of Veterans!

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Sowing the Seeds

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Tonight as I sit here meditating about what recently occurred in Afghanistan.
(which hit home as I was stationed at Ft Lewis)
I am reminded of what Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist priest, said to a group of Vietnam Veterans during a retreat years ago.

“The Non-Veterans were more responsible for the war than the Veterans. The very lifestyle of the non-veterans supports the institutions of War.”

The soldier who killed those civilians was there because of our lifestyle and the choices our country has made. Regardless of what one might think all things are interconnected, therefore there is no avoiding responsibility. Our society must change and stop sowing the seeds of war!

Source:
At Hell’s Gate: A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace by Claude Anshin Thomas

Last Stop

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va hospital
patiently waiting-
last stop

Today while visiting the VA I was nearly brought to tears as I looked around at the many Veterans who looked as if this visit might be there last.

A proud moment

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Today I was very surprised. Last month I submitted my photography in the Veterans National Art competition and today was the showing.

Happily I took 1st place in the Black and White category and 2nd place in the Color category.

I want to share in this moment with those who visit this blog.

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Radio host Bryan Fischer dishonors “Medal of Honor”

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As a Veteran I get really upset when people who have no idea what combat is like think they can judge who is a good soldier and who is not. Recently it came to my attention that Bryan Fisher of “Rightly Concerned” a “American Family Association” said this about the “Medal of Honor”

We have feminized (sic) the Medal of Honor. I would suggest our culture has become so feminized (sic) that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery.

Rev. Fischer continues saying

So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night? We know instinctively that we should honor courage, but shy away from honoring courage if it results in the taking of life rather than in just the saving of life. So we find it safe to honor those who throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies.

The soldiers who have been awarded the Medal of Honor were all kick-ass soldiers and I would have been proud to serve with any of them. All but one of the eight, who have been awarded this medal from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, died in the line of duty. Even though I served in the U.S Infantry as a sniper I do not agree with the war or killing but I do support the soldiers and applaud their heroism.

For those who wonder what are the criteria for being awarded the Medal of Honor, (other than killing enemy soldiers as Rev Fischer thinks) the following is the what Authorization 10 U.S.C 6241 says:

The Medal of Honor is Awarded by the President in the name of Congress to members of the naval service who conspicuously distinguish themselves by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty.

  • while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
  • while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

Army Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta – Charged the enemy, throwing grenades to rescue an American soldier who was being carried away by insurgents.

Army Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller – After his patrol was ambushed he charged the enemy, shooting and killing 10 insurgents and calling in enemy position until his radio went silent. The rest of his patrol, 22 soldiers, was able to recover and overrun the enemy position and retrieve Spc Miller who died of his wounds.

Army Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti – While on a mission his patrol of 16 men was attacked by enemy forces much greater in size. Sgt Monti called in for indirect fire support then engaged the enemy with his rifle and grenade successfully disrupting them while his patrol was able to retreat. Sgt Monti was mortally wounded.

Army Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith – First Sgt Smith’s unit of 100 men was working on construction when they were attacked by a company sized unit (75-200) of enemy soldiers. First Sgt Smith engaged the enemy first with grenades, anti-tank weapons, then when fearing they would be overrun he manned a .50 caliber machine gun to offer support. He was mortally wounded during this action.

U.S Navy Lt Michael P. Murphy – During an operation in an enemy controlled area Lt Murphy’s team of 4 was discovered and attacked by enemy forces, 30-40. Lt. Murphy encouraged and led his men to attack, the result was numerous enemy casualties. Realizing that if the enemy was given enough time their position would be overrun Lt Murphy left cover to call for assistance. Lt Murphy was successful in getting assistance but died while providing cover for his team.

U.S Marine Corporal Jason L. Dunham – A car approached the checkpoint that Cpl Dunham was manning and an insurgent jumped out of the car and attacked Cpl Dunham and others. The insurgent pulled out and dropped a grenade. Cpl Dunham fell to the ground and covered the grenade with his body and died of his wounds but saved the lives of the numerous civilians, U.S and Iraqi forces.

Army Specialist Ross A. McGinnis – While out on combat operations an enemy combatant threw a grenade into Spc’s McGinnis’ vehicle, without hesitation Spc McGinnis covered the grenade with his body saving the lives of the rest of the squad.

U.S Navy MA2 Michael A. Monsoor – Petty Officer Monsoor’s was on a mission to offer early warning in support of troops moving into the area. While Monsoor’s team was taking fire from both sides of their position, an insurgent threw a grenade that hit Monsoor in the chest and landed at this feet. Petty Officer Monsoor, instead of leaping to safety to save himself, dropped down and covered the grenade sacrificing his life for the rest of the team.

According to the logic of Rev Fischer we should applaud bullies, terrorists, misbehaving children, domestic violence and anyone else who hurts others, break things (like the budget) and does not value life. Rev Fischer is really generating lots of negative karma!

There is one bit of sanity on Rev Fischer’s blog, THE RESPONSES! To them and all who think like them Thank you.

sources:
http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/1110_moh/
http://usmilitary.about.com/library/milinfo/navawards/blmoh.htm
http://www.jasonsmemorial.org/about.html