New Service Available For Troops Flying Out Of Iraq

February 27, 2007

Wolf, one of the authors at Black Five posted yesterday about a new AMERICAN owned airway that he helps to operate, that will help to decrease the time that our soldiers and civilians in Iraq have to wait to get a flight back to the United States.

In my civilian capacity, I run a part of a new airline. This airline has one basic goal - to help reduce the time it takes to get in and out of Iraq for all our folks there. Recently, we have finally begun charter air service in and out of Baghdad - and we are the first AMERICAN owned airline to do so.

The inaugural flight was last Sunday. For now flights will be on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with hopes to expand this service in the near future. To learn more about this service, please visit Fly Gryphon.

Currently it can take several days for our troops to get from Baghdad to Kuwait, as they have to wait for a flight out. Then they may have several more days of wait for a flight out of Kuwait. I think this new airline will provide a valuable service to our troops and cut down on their “wait time,” as they’re flying in and out of Baghdad.

Greatest readers in the world….

February 26, 2007

Seriously, the title says it all. A Soldier’s Mind has the greatest, most caring readers in the world. I’m usually not a betting man, but I’d be will to bet on that. Terri and I would like to personally thank you all for your support of our fundraiser for the 3rd Brigade, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division Family Readiness Group. There are going to be a lot of happy soldiers receiving a new challenge coin.

Through your compassion and kindness, we have raised well over our goal of $650.00, in only two days! I know there are many of you out there that still want to donate and help these soldiers. We will not be taking the donation button down until the 30th of March, as scheduled. The drawing and announcement for the recipient of the FOB Warhorse flag will still be held on the 31st of March.

Your donations are still welcome, and will still go to the 3BSTB, 1CAV FRG. Anything over our goal of $650.00 will be applied to the Hero Homecoming celebration. You will continue to be entered in the drawing for the FOB Warhorse flag, and the same rates still apply $7.00 per chance, three chances for $20.00.

Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It really is great to see the amazing turnout for this event. Please give yourselves a pat on the back, and maybe a hug or two for me.

[Note from Terri} I want to thank everyone who has donated thus far, from the bottom of my heart! You all are simply AMAZING!!!! 1SG Rodriguez is going to be so happy and I plan to get word to him today that we've exceed the goal. His main goal is to make sure his soldiers are taken care of and given the thanks he feels they deserve. He won't hesitate to tell you that his soldiers come first. Remember, 1SG Rodriguez will be mailing this flag to the winner, directly from FOB Warhorse!

As Anthony said, we're still going to run this raffle until March 30, as everything over $650 is going to the FRG, so that they can plan one FANTASTC Hero's Homecoming for these guys when they come home this fall. With the outpouring of giving and support that you've all shown so far, I know that they're going to have a wonderful homecoming! You're the greatest!

My apologies…

February 26, 2007

I just wanted to apologize to anyone who has been receiving unwanted emails from A Soldier’s Mind. At the bottom of the comment forms is a small check box you may not have noticed. Checking this box subscribes you to email updates for that topic. In one of my fits of back end changes, I accidentally set the option to auto-subscribe everyone to the email updates. These can be very inconvenient and annoying if you didn’t intent to subscribe, because some topics get MANY updates and MANY emails. To avoid you having to block ASM from your email, or thinking we are spamming you I’ve deleted the entire comment subscriber list. If you legitimately subscribed to a certain topic, I am sorry, next time you comment please re-subscribe. This does not affect your RSS site updates via email, the two systems are unrelated.

Hear our Heroes: SGT Anthony Cavella

February 26, 2007

I thought since we were doing all these interviews with soldiers, it would only be fair to interview myself. Throughout the year here at A Soldier’s Mind, I’ve never officially introduced myself. This interview should let you know a bit more about me. Also, if I don’t fill out this interview Terri might kick my ass.

What made you decide to volunteer for the Military?

When I graduated high school, I went to college for a little over a semester. During that time, I could not focus or find the drive to stay in college. I decided to join the Army at the end of the 2002 summer. Everyone in my family has served in the Army, and it just seemed like a natural decision.

In what branch of the military do you serve?

I am currently a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Army.

Are you planning to reenlist?

I just reenlisted about seven months ago. So far the Army has treated me well, I will continue to reenlist until the day it doesn’t.

Are you planning to make a career of the military?

At this point in time I plan to make a career of the military. I love my job and it makes me feel great everyday I go to work.

If you are not currently deployed, have you been deployed before?

I have not had the opportunity to deploy as of yet. With the current operations tempo of the military, it would not surprise me if I deployed soon. Read more

Let’s Send These Soldiers Some Love…….

February 26, 2007

I just received an email from Brat over at Tanker Brothers asking for our help. One of the 1st Cav units that is in Baghdad, I believe it’s 2nd Brigade guys in this area, has been on some missions lately that has caused some decrease in troop morale. Here’s the email from the mom of one of these soldiers.

I need a few minutes of your time. David’s unit with the 1st Cav
Division, have been fighting on Haifa Street for the last several weeks on foot
patrol. They have been taking fire from both sides of the street and are struggling
to keep up the morale.

As his Mom, I am trying to gather as many emails from proud Americans,
who are willing to stand up and send their support.
Would you be so kind as to help me with a few words.

I am printing the emails and placing them in a scrap book for the unit
along with pics from the States.

Thanks and hugs,

So what I’m asking of our readers here is to please take a moment to send an email to me at with your words of support and encouragement to these brave men and women and I’ll make sure that they get forwarded on to the mother of this soldier. Let’s show these soldiers how much they’re loved and appreciated!!!!

“Fight For Me” by Citizen Reign

February 26, 2007

I’d like to introduce everyone to a band that I ran across this weekend that has written and performed an incredible song in support of our troops. Some of you may be asking, what does a progressive Rock and Roll band do to support the troops. Once you listen to “Fight For Me” and watch the video that accompanies it, I think you’ll understand. Watching the video and listening to “Fight For Me” made me really stand up and take notice of this band and the message they’re sending out to our troops. Comprised of Allen Wright as the lead vocalist, Ryan Vergara on lead guitar, Sam Hickey on drums and Patrick Antal on bass, Citizen Reign is a band from Everett, Washington that has just released their first album, which is sure to be a success.

I contacted lead guitarist Ryan Vergara and asked their permission to feature their band and their song here at A Soldier’s Mind. I also asked Ryan what inspired them to write and perform “Fight For Me.” Here’s what Ryan had to say:

This song was inspired by every soldier who has ever been deployed into conflict, but more directly to those who have served, currently are and those not coming home from the middle-east.

We are not taking a political side with this song, but simply trying to remind people that our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers continue to sacrifice their lives everyday, and to remind people that our Men and Women of the military have accomplished many great things during these conflicts. Our band members, like the rest of America, have a mixture of opinions on the war in Iraq, but one thing we can all agree on is that we want our troops to be successful and all come home safe to their families.

There is so much negative media surrounding the conflicts in the mid-east which made us stop and think how incredibly difficult it must be to keep your head high as a soldier in Iraq. Especially with the news consistently focusing on everything bad that happens. Not often do we get to hear about all the good things our troops have done while in Iraq and there are many. The news like any other TV broadcast is based on ratings and unfortunately in this world we live in today, bad news usually sells better than good news.

Our drummer was in the Marines and after I came up with the music, he took a rough recording home and wrote the lyrics. Him and I played it for the rest of the band and we all fell in love with it right away. It touched home for all of us as everyone in the band has friends and family in the military. After a few minor changes it became track number 7 on our album.

War is a brutal and gruesome reality and through all of the controversy and division in this country, we just want all the troops to know that they are and always will be American Heroes.

I find it incredible and very heartwarming, that these talented young men, understand and appreciate all to well, the sacrifices our soldiers continue to make for this Nation, despite all of the negative press that goes along with the war in Iraq. They’ve definitely gained a new fan and I’m hoping many more, by featuring them here at A Soldier’s Mind. Please visit their website to hear more of their music and to purchase their CD.


February 26, 2007

I found this article very cool. It seems that all 14-year-old Riley Woina ever wanted to do is become an Army Ranger. Unfortunately Riley suffers from cystic fibrosis.

“I wanted to train with the Army Rangers because they are heroes and their motto is to ‘leave no one behind,’” Woina said after completing a full day of training with the 6th Rangers Training Battalion.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation and the 6th Ranger Training Bn made Riley’s dream come true this past week. At Eglin Air Force base, he was able to fly along in a C-130, observe an airborne jump, sit in an Air Force fighter jet, and ride along on a training flight in a UH-1V Huey.

The Ranger experience also gave him an opportunity to negotiate a Zodiac boat along a river, cross a river on a one-rope bridge, conduct swamp movements, participate in snake and rappelling demonstrations, and receive tours of the Air Force base and the Air Force Armament Museum.

Riley’s motivation and inner strength was an inspiration to the Rangers who had the opportunity to train him.

“When you’ve been in the Army for a long time, you forget what it feels like when you first join. I will never forget the look on Riley’s face as he got off the helicopter, or when he conducted a rope-bridge crossing with the other Ranger students cheering him on,” said Capt. Jeremiah Cordovano, 6th Ranger Training Bn.

Next week Riley will travel to Fort Benning, Georgia. There he will be given the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Army Ranger School graduation ceremony.

Seizure Of Major Weapons Cache In Diyala Province

February 26, 2007

Due to information from an informant on Saturday, Iraqi Police Officers from Judihah, Iraq and 1-12 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav, who are currently based at FOB Warhorse, discovered a large cache of weapons and material used in the making of IED’s. The following were seized:

2 explosively formed projectiles in various stages of assembly
1 eompleted improvised mine and more than a dozen in various stages of construction
More than 2 dozen mortar rounds
15 rockets
Over 130 disks capable of producing as many individual EFP’s
6 Rocket Launchers
5 Anti-Aircraft rounds
Over 2 dozen RPG Warheads
More than 400 plastic and steel containers in various stages of fabrication for IED construction
Large quantities of IED making material such as detonation cord, C-4, blasting caps, fuses, EFP launching tubes, bags of ball bearings and voltage regulators.

Military officials have stated that this is one of the largest caches that has been found North of Baghdad. At this time, the origin of the weapons is being investigated by Military Officials. This shows that the citizens of the province are determined in their desire to put a stop to terrorist activities in their neighborhoods.

“The people are choosing, and they are choosing progress and development by providing information,” said Col. David Sutherland, 3-1 Cav Commander and senior US Army officer in Diyala province.

This shows that the citizens of Diyala province are willing to work with Coalition forces, to ensure that their communities are safer for their families and children. As Col. Sutherland says, the people ARE making the choice to move forward to achieve that goal. After discovery of the cache, an explosive ordinance disposal unit was notified and some of the munitions were safely disposed of, with the majority of the cache being transferred to FOB Warhorse.

“The vigilance of the Iraqi Police and the willingness of the people of Diyala to end the cycle of violence led to this discovery,” said Col. David W. Sutherland.

This just emphasizes the importance of our soldiers getting out there among the citizens of the regions and developing a working relationship with them. If these people continue to see that our troops are willing to help them rid their communities of violent terrorists and are willing to help them rebuild their communities, then in turn the citizens will continue to be willing to come forward with information. Just one more thing that shows the positive things our troops are doing!


Military Work Rules……

February 25, 2007

Those of you who are in the military, can appreciate the humor in this I’m sure! I thought it was pretty funny!

1. Sickness: No excuses will be acceptable. We will no longer accept the Medical Officer’s statement as proof of illness as we believe that if you are able to go on sick parade, you are able to come to work.
2. Leave of Absence for an Operation: We are no longer allowing this practice. We hired you as you are, and to have anything removed certainly makes you less than we bargained for.
3. Death, Other than Your Own: This is no excuse. If you can arrange the funeral services to be held late in the afternoon, however, we can let you off an hour early, provided all your work is up to date.
4. Death, Your Own: This will be accepted as an excuse, but we would like at least two weeks notice, as we feel it is your duty to teach someone else your job.
5. Quantity of Work: No matter how much you do, you’ll never do enough.
6. Quality of Work: The minimum acceptable level is perfection.
7. Advice from the Commanding Officer: Eat a live toad first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
8. The senior officer is Always Right.
9. When the senior officer is Wrong, Refer to Rule 8.

Warrior Spotlight: 1LT Elliott Ackerman

February 25, 2007

On January 16, 2007 Marine 1LT Elliott L. Ackerman, was awarded the Silver Star for his heroism and bravey during a firefight in Fallujah, Iraq in November of 2004. Ackerman is distinguished as one of only 69 Marines who have received this award since the beginning of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Silver Star is the third-highest military award for valor.

From the first day that they enter boot camp, US Marines are taught to act boldly in the face of any adversity that they might face. Few Marines are able to face that directly. However, in a 6 day period beginning on November 10, 2004, Marine Corps 1LT Elliott L. Ackerman was able to do just that.

“We had a mission to get a foothold for the battalion,” said Ackerman, who returned in December from his second deployment, the latest as a member of Battalion Landing Team 1/8, the ground combat element of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “We saw that the original building we intended to go into just wouldn’t work to get that mission done. We pushed a little bit deeper than it probably would have been prudent to do.”

Read more

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