A Life That Came Full Circle: SGT Manny Herrera

June 24, 2008

Early Saturday morning, my family and I got up early and headed towards Corpus Christi to spend the weekend spoiling our grandbaby. I was pretty excited about the trip, not only because I’d be able to see … errrrr spoil little Kendall, but I was finally going to be able to meet someone who I’ve featured here at A Soldier’s Mind, when I wrote this story and this one. I was finally going to be able to meet Bob Kunkle, as he was in San Antonio to make contact with staff at BAMC and the Center For The Intrepid, so that he could begin his self defense demonstrations there. We had arranged to meet Bob in San Antonio for breakfast and he told me that he was bringing a special guest with him, a Wounded Warrior named Sgt. Manny Herrera. It turned out that Manny and Bob were headed to Corpus Christi as well, so I was able to ride with them and hear Manny’s story. It’s one I’ll never forget. He’s definitely someone that I want our readers to know.

He’s a quiet and unassuming man. It’s obvious when you first meet him that he’s a Soldier; a Wounded Warrior, which is obvious as he has to use a cane to walk around. You see it in his bearing and because of the hat he wears, proclaiming him to be a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His story is a remarkable one.

He grew up in California and by his own admission, he found himself getting into trouble as a teenager. When he was 17, he decided that he needed some direction and his life and enlisted in the Army at the age of 17. He served his country proudly, doing tours in Panama, Desert Storm and Somalia. After 13 ½ years active duty, he got out of the Army. At the time he was living in El Paso, when he was offered a job as a car salesman at Peoria Pontiac GMV in Phoenix, Az. As the market for cars began getting worse, he took a job at Shamrock Towing in Phoenix and continued his life as a civilian.

One day, he received a call to tow a 1967 Corvette. When he arrived, the owner of the car asked him to be very careful with the car, as it had special meaning to him. He had purchased the car right after he returned from Viet Nam. As he pulled the cover off of the car to begin hooking it up for towing, he noticed a tag bearing two stars. He immediately recognized the significance of those two stars. “Sir,” he said as he crisply saluted the General. The gentleman returned his salute and then told him that he didn’t have to Salute him, because he was no longer in the military. As they visited, the General asked him if he had ever considered coming back in the military, since he had so many years invested and was so close to retirement. The general went on to say that he should consider joining the National Guards. As they parted ways, the general gave him a $20 tip.

He continued doing his job with the towing company, making a living to raise his family. Then 9/11 happened. He began thinking more about what the general told him, especially when he watched the news and saw the reports about the young Soldiers being injured and killed and kept hearing about the multiple deployments. That made him angry. One day, as his job brought him near the National Guard Armory. He stopped and asked to speak with the recruiter. The recruiter wasn’t there. He waited for awhile and then finally left and didn’t think much more of it.

Time past and he continued working for the towing company. One day, while doing through things at home, he ran across his DD214 (Discharge papers). That got him thinking again about what the General said and the reports he continued to see about Iraq in the news. He stopped at the National Guard Armory, to see what it would take for him to reenlist. This time the recruiter was there and he began the process of re-entering the Army. He went to MEPPS and took his oath of enlistment. He had requested that the General who owned the corvette, swear him in and he was more than happy to do just that. He reenlisted for 6 years. He found out that he had missed a sign on bonus for his MOS by a month, so he was given the option of decreasing his enslistment to 3 years. He declined that offer.

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World Class Athletes Represent The Army In The Olympic Games

June 21, 2008

When most of us think of the Army, we think of men and women training to fight enemy forces in wars. Most of us have no clue about the US Army World Class Athlete Program. It is a program that allows outstanding soldier/athletes, the opportunity to train, compete succeed in national and international competitions. That includes the Olympic Games. They’re able to do this, while still maintaining their career in the US Military. Soldiers who are chosen for the program, are the best of the best. The training they receive is topnotch, from some of the best coaches and trainers in the country. The selection process for the program is tough and Soldiers must be able to remain at the top of their specific sport to be admitted into the program. I’ve always said that the men and women who serve in our country’s Armed Forces are the best and brightest of our citizens. The men and women who are part of the US Army World Class Athlete Program, should be considered and are the “Best of the Best.”

I had the opportunity on Thursday to interview two of these athletes over the phone. SSG Libby Callahan, a member of the US Army Reserves and Major Michael Anti, an Active Duty US Army Soldier currently stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia as part of the Army Marksmanship Unit. Both SSG Callahan and Major Anti, have qualified to represent the United States in the upcoming Olympic Games in Bejing China. Both are members of the US Shooting Team. Both athletes will be competing in their 4th Olympic Games.

Major Michael Anti is currently assigned to the US Army Marksmanship Team at Fort Benning, Georgia as well as the World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson, Colorado. I was curious what prompted Major Anti to try out for a spot on the Olympic shooting team for the first time. He said that he’d been shooting since he was 10 years old and has been a member of the US shooting team from the age of 17. In 1982, Major Anti enlisted in the Army, graduated college in 1988 and received his commission. Major Anti feels that the Army has the best shooters in the world. Currently he said that there are Army athletes competing in almost every sport in the Olympics. He knew that by becoming part of the World Class Athlete Program, that he would receive all the support in the world that he would need , in order to become successful in his support.

Major Anti feels that competition in the Olympics parallels what he does as a Soldier. Both require dedication, focus, hard work and the motivation to do his best at all times. He feels that he has been successful in his shooting career because of the resources that are available to him as a member of the US Army World Class Athlete Program. The Army has the best facilities, best coaches and the best gun smiths in the country. He receives all the support in the world from the Army, as he competes. Major Anti shared that as a member of the US Army Marksmanship Unit, his job is a multifaceted one. Not only is he training for competition, but the unit’s main mission is to train and enhance the marksmanship skills of Soldiers and ensure that they’re able to perform that part of their mission as well as possible. Major Anti shared that training for the Olympics, begins just as soon as the last Olympic games are over with. He’s been hard at work training, since he won the Silver medal in the 2004 Olympic Games. Training focuses on the shooters skills as well as the mental aspects that go along with it. The training is very intense, with the team training every day, or at least Monday through Friday for 4-6 hours per day minimum.

I asked Major Anti what advice he would give to a young Soldier/athlete, who was hoping to be selected for a spot in the World Class Athlete Program. His advice to aspiring Soldier/Athletes is to remain dedicated. The training is very intense and the Army is very selective when picking up an athlete for the program. Once they’re chosen for the team, they need to remain focused and continue training. Major Anti’s parting words were that he’s very proud and honored, first as a Soldier and as an athlete to be representing not only our country but the US Army in the 2008 Olympic Games.

SSG Libby Callahan joined the US Army Reserves after spending 23 years as a Police Officer for the Washington D.C. Police Department. She retired from the Police Department as a Captain. She has been involved in competitive shooting for 28 years, first competing when she was still working as a Police Officer and later becoming involved in Olympic style shooting after she joined the Reserves. Libby joined the Army Reserves after retiring from the Police Department as a second career. She used to train police officers in shooting and as she trained them to shoot. When she joined the reserves she tried out and was selected for the Army Reserve All Shooting Team. In the last Olympic games, Libby was the oldest member of the Olympic team. She said that she really doesn’t think about her being the oldest member, until someone mentions it to her. She doesn’t feel that it’s that much of a factor. Libby likes to shoot and said that because she often trains by herself, she has to be self motivated. Her advice for other Soldier/Athletes who aspire to make the Army World Class Athlete Team is to remain self-motivated. It requires discipline, hard work and motivation and the competitive desire to succeed and improve. Libby feels that being able to compete in the Olympic Games goes hand in hand with her military career. Both emphasize a person’s value system …. The values of honor, duty and respect. Libby feels that you can’t be successful without discipline and hard work. She shared that she has seen many extremely talented athletes not succeed, because they relied solely on their talent and didn’t work hard to improve and enhance their skills to become the best.

Libby attributes her success to self discipline, her motivation and her desire to excel at whatever she tries to do. Libby really pushes herself and sometimes is told by her coaches that she needs to take a break and not push herself so hard. However, she feels that she wouldn’t be where she’s at today without her drive to push herself to surpass what she’s accomplished in the past. Some of the younger members of the shooting team have told Libby that they look to her as a mentor, that she inspires them and that she’s their Hero. Libby’s hard work and dedication to success should definitely be a positive example for the younger members, who wish to attain the success she has.

Libby prepares for training, outside her shooting, with mental training exercises. A large part of the competition is mental, staying focused on what she needs to do. She stays focused and on task in the midst of the many stellar athletes that she faces by using techniques to help her remain focused. For Libby, that is visualizing a calming ocean scene. If she becomes nervous or distracted, using that visualization helps to relax her and bring her back on track.

Libby said that a lot of people have made a big deal out of the fact that this is her 4th Olympic games. She said that she’s just proud to be a US Soldier, representing our Troops, who by virtue of being deployed to places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, aren’t able to represent themselves in such a setting. She said that’s she’s very honored and proud to be able to represent our country and those men and women who are currently serving in these countries, in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Both of these Soldiers are stellar examples of the men and women who serve in our countrys’ Armed Forces. Our military will be very well represented in the 2008 Olympic Games. Each of these athletes are bringing with them, the advantage of the ethos of discipline and hard work that comes with being a US service member. I’m excited to watch the upcoming Olympic Games and cheer our Military members on in their quest for the Gold Medal.

To find out more about the US Army World Class Athlete Program, please visit their website. To read more about Major Anti and SSG Callahan, as well as the other members of the US Shooting Team, please visit . I’m excited to see our Military so well represented in the 2008 Olympics and hope to see many of them coming home with the Gold!

Pentagon Honors Civilian Worker Killed In Afghanistan

June 1, 2008

Geraldine Marquez was a retired Air Force Sergeant and serving in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor with Lockheed Martin Corporation, when she was killed in a suicide bombing attack February 27, 2007. On Friday, Marquez’s family received a posthumous award of the Defense of Freedom Medal from the Department of Defense.

“It doesn’t replace her departure, but it does recognize her commitment,” said her sister Jeanette Marquez at the ceremony. “It’s comforting to know her sacrifice did not go unrecognized.”

Marquez worked as a civilian military-operations analyst for Lockheed Martin and was serving at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. The medal that was awarded to Marquez’s family, is the civilian equilivant of the Purple Heart.

The bombing in which Marquez was killed, was believed to have been targeting Vice President Dick Cheney, who was visiting the base at the time of the bombing. Twenty-three people were killed in the blast. According to information provided about the bombing, Marquez had escorted several Afghan trucks inside the main gate of the base, when the bomb exploded, only 30 feet away from her. According to officials from Lockheed Martin, the death of Marquez was the first for the company in two years overseas.

Prior to the ceremony, the Defense of Freedom Medal was displayed on a table next to the certificate that was signed by Army Secretary Pete Geren. Also displayed was the American Flag that was flown at Bagram Air Base in honor of Marquez. Rev. Jim Parris of Calvary Chapel Golden Valley Church spoke, before the ceremony in honor of Marquez.

“God bless all the Soldiers like Geraldine, who fight so we have the right to have freedom,” Parris said to the crowd of more than 50 family and friends of Geraldine Marquez.

It’s important to recognize the service and sacrifice of the civilian workers, who alongside our Troops, put themselves in harms way, in order to ensure our freedom and the freedoms of those in other countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. It only makes sense to honor Geraldine Marquez and other civilian workers who lose their lives as they provide vital support to our Troops in the warzones.

Daily Bulletin

Soldier/Cowboy Launches Army’s Wounded Warrior Sports Program

May 28, 2008

On February 11, 2007, SPC Jake Lowrey was in Fallujah, Iraq when he and a fellow Soldier were hit by an IED that left his fellow Soldier dead and left Lowrey severely injured. Lowrey lost his right eye, sustained a massive head injury from the explosion and suffers from PTSD. Less than a year after being injured, Lowrey, who’s been a cowboy all of his life, was back atop a horse and roping steers.

“This pretty much keeps me going - it’s the only thing that does,” Lowrey said. “Without it, I’d just be hanging out in my room somewhere.”

On May 10th and 11th, Lowrey officially launched the US Army Wounded Warrior Sports Program, by participating in a team-roping performance at Denny Calhoun Arena in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The program was designed to provide active-duty Soldiers who have sustained life-altering injuries, the opportunity to compete in a sporting event. The Army Wounded Warrior Sports Program pays for their athletic attire, registration fees, transportation and lodging and per deims. Lowrey traveled from his home in Alaska to El Paso, Texas and joined up with his fmaily for a ride to Silver City, N.M. There, he, his stepfather and grandfather loaded up a trailer with their horses and drove on to Las Cruces to participate in a weekend of roping. All three of them participated in the Troy Shelley Affiliate event.

“This is one of the best things the Armed Forces could have done, because it’s just therapy for these guys who feel like, ‘I lost that,’” said Retired SFC Pete Escobedo, Lowrey’s grandfather. “If you really want to do something with yourself … Jacob is a prime example. He’s really trying. We’re thankful for the Army for doing everything it can for him.”

Lowrey did well in the competition. In the first round he successfully roped two of six steers, in the first round. In the second round, he roped two more and another in the third round. That left him in third place in the event. In the last round, his steer got away. Despite his injuries and the limit it places on his depth perception, Lowrey was encouraged that his roping skills will continue to improve. Since his injury, he’s already won an all-around crown in Alaska and teaming with his step-father, he captured a team roping title at the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association’s 2007 World Finals that were held in Fort Worth, Texas.

“I’m not back where I was, by any means,” Lowrey said. “I just keep practicing and hope it eventually comes back.”

Since his injury, Spc Lowrey has struggled with coming to grips with his injuries. His step-father, knowing him so well, felt like getting him back on a horse and doing something that he loves is probably the best therapy for him, that he could think of. Over the weekend in Las Cruces, the three generations of cowboys took turns roping steers.

“Jake has done remarkably well in coping with his injury,” said his grandfather Pete Escobedo. “Instead of saying: ‘Well I’m injured,’ he says: ‘I’m going to do what I can. The Good Lord handed me this hand, so I’m going to do with what he dealt me the best I can.’”

His step-father and grandfather are both proud of what he’s accomplished since his injury, though both are aware that what’s happend to him, have changed him. Both feel it’s important for him to stay active and not allow him to sink into depression and self-pity. So, they do what they can to keep him active and doing things that he enjoys. By doing so, they in turn teach him that despite his injuries, he can participate in the things he enjoys and excel at them.

“If we can ever get him where he’ll just start talking again and intermingling with people and not being paranoid, I think life will be good,” said John Escobedo, his step-father. “When he’s on horseback or working out, he’s a normal guy. But we’ll be sitting at the house watching TV or something and it ain’t the same buy. We drove six or seven to the world finals - 14 hours of drive time - and he probably said three words. But you stick him on a horse or in the gym, where his comfort zone is, and he’s fine.”

Jake believes his desire to get back on a horse, get active and participate in what he loves, sets him apart from some of his wounded peers. While some of them were stuck pitying themselves and didn’t want to do anything, Jacob couldn’t wait to get active again and start doing the things he loves to do.

“Some of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation people told me about it (Wounded Warrior Sports Program) when I was at the Warrior Transition Unit,” SPC Lowrey said. “About two days later, I sent in the paperwork. I sent them about four or five events they could pick from.”

Army sports specialist Mark Dunivan, feels that this was the perfect venue for Spc Lowrey. He said he expects more applicants to follow and began participating in the program. He’s already been contacted by an amputee who wants to run in the USA Triathlon Physically Challenged National Champions, that is scheduled for July in New York. The hopes are, that as the word begins to spread about the program, that more Wounded Warriors will participate.

This is a great way for our Wounded Warriors to begin walking down the path to their recovery. So many of them were involved in different sporting events prior to joining the military, as well as during their time in the military. People like SPC Lowrey, Major David Rozelle and scores of other Wounded Warriors who have not let their injuries stop them from participating in sporting events that they love, serve as fantastic role models to other Wounded Warriors.

To discover more about the Army Wounded Warrior Sports Program, please visit the Army MWR website, or contact Army Sports Specialist Mark Dunivan by email at .

Wounded Warrior To Lead Medical Battalion

May 27, 2008

When he was injured in Iraq in September 2007, Army Command Sgt. Major Mark Cornejo was reluctant about being medivaced back to the United States for medical treatment, because that meant he would be leaving his comrades and his mission behind. Throughout his recovery, he never lost his desire to continue to serve his country. On May 13th, he assumed responsibility for the 187th Medical Battalion at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

“Giving up never entered my thought process,” Cornejo said, speaking of his recovery. “It wasn’t ‘if,’ it was ‘when’ I was going to get back. I just wanted to know how fast I could get fixed so I could get back.”

Cornejo was deployed with III Corps out of Fort Hood, Texas in November 2006, as the chief medical NCO for the corps staff. He and 10 fellow Soldiers were injured in a mortar attack on their FOB, September 11, 2007. After returning to the United States for treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, he underwent 3 months of in-patient treatment and over 5 months of rehabilitation. He’s still working on building the strength in his shoulder.

“I suffered shrapnel wounds on the left side of my body and left shoulder,” he said.

Last fall, I had the pleasure of meeting CSM Cornejo while he was still a patient at BAMC. I had went to BAMC with 1st Cavalry Division rear detachment personnel on one of their trips to visit the Wounded Warriors at BAMC. CSM Cornejo had just undergone another surgery that day, and was in great spirits when we visited, laughing and joking with us, especially after we presented him various 1st Cavalry Division memorabilia. During his time spent recovering at BAMC, Cornejo found out that his next assignment would keep him there at BAMC. I was quite impressed with his positive attitude, despite the pain he had to have been feeling that day.

“I was very happy. Since I’m a medic, I’ve come full circle. I’m back where I was trained 20 yeras ago,” he said.

CSM Cornejo is now the battalion CSM of the 187th Medical Battalion. He has responsibility for over 450 instructors and nearly 6,000 Soldiers who will be trained at BAMC throughout the year. His battalion is responsible for the logistics and training of 8 military occupational specialties, 8 officer cources and 9 additional skills identifiers. With his experience in Iraq and then as a patient at BAMC, he will be able to bring valuable lessons to the Soldiers that he’s in charge of.

“My hope is to shed some light on past experiences to magnify the importance of basic warrior tasks each Soldier needs to know,” he said. “My goal is to provide realistic, but safe, training for our Soldiers.

This is a great move for CSM Cornejo and I’m sure that he’ll perform his new duties will the pride and dedication that we so often see in the military. He’ll definitely be able to share first-hand experience with his Soldiers, from the perspective of a medic, as well as from the perspective of a patient. I’m sure his leadership will be sorely missed at III Corps.


He Fought To Deploy

May 20, 2008

Often when we turn on our televisions, we see stories in the media about Soldiers who’ve refused to deploy with their fellow Soldiers to Iraq, saying that they refuse to fight in, what they term is an “illegal war.” We’re constantly reminded that the media is very much against the policies of the current administration and anything that they do. We’re constantly hearing about groups like IVAW and others who “claim” that our Troops are constantly committing horrible acts against the people in Iraq. Yet, we never see in the media, stories about our Troops who want to go to Iraq, because they know the good that’s being accomplished there. The Troops, who wouldn’t have to go, due to medical reasons or situations in their families, yet they make the choice to go, and they serve honorably.

I’m constantly amazed at the courage, dedication and sense of duty that so many of our Troops have. Yet the media never tells us about them. Instead, they chose to focus on the very small percentage of screw ups and do their best to make it look like all of our Troops are that way. They never tell us about the men and women who feel that it’s their duty and obligation to deploy … Soldiers like Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christian Smith.

CWO3 Smith is a maintenance technician, with Troop R, 4th Squadron, 3rd ACR, who could have stayed home when his unit received orders for Iraq. But that’s not what he wanted to do and he fought long and hard to make sure that he’d be able to deploy with his fellow Soldiers.

CWO3 Smith’s story started in 2003 when he was deployed to Iraq with a military police brigade. He began experiencing times when he would trip and fall for no reason at all. His fellow Soldiers saw this happen and were worried about him. Smith and his fellow Soldiers had no clue what was causing him to fall. Smith noticed that over the course of the deployment, his muscles began growing weaker and weaker.

“It was very humbling, to say the least,” he said. “There wasn’t much I could do about it then, but I knew that once I got back from [Iraq], I was going to have to go see a doctor and find out what was going on.”

After returning home from Iraq, Smith began visiting doctors. In February 2005, he underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his back to relieve pressure on what the doctors at the time thought was a pinched nerve. The surgery didn’t help and by that time, he had lost the ability to move the toes on his left foot. His muscles continued to grow weaker. Finally after even more visits to the doctor, he was sent to a neurologist. In late September 2005, he was finally given the diagnosis of multifocal motor neuropathy.

“It’s a condition where my body thinks there’s something wrong with the nerves,” Smith explained. “It’s attacking my nerves, and it doesn’t allow good conduction for the signals that tell the muscles to move. But there’s treatment for it.”

Once he had a diagnosis, he began the treatment for his condition. Every three weeks, he had to have an intravenous immunoglobulin treatment. By then, Smith’s unit was once again scheduled to be deployed. Smith was ready to deploy, but instead he was slated to stay back home with the rear detachment. His protests, that he was getting better, didn’t help and he ended up staying at Fort Hood while his unit deployed without him.

“Within four or five days, I started noticing a lot more strength, and by 10 days after that, I could wiggle my toes and keep my left foot up,” he said. “I went back to the unit and told them the treatment was working. At that point, it was a matter of how the Army medical system was going to handle this.”

His doctors told him that his condition was a legitimate medical condition that would definitely be enough to keep him from deploying. His doctor couldn’t seem to understand why he would want to deploy, when he had a reason that he didn’t have to.

“It’s one of those things where, having grown up playing sports, you spend all that time practicing with a team; and, all of a sudden, they go to an away game, out of town, and you’re stuck at home,” he added. “It’s not a good feeling.”

A year and a half later, Smith was again faced with his new unit getting ready to deploy and he was determined that he wasn’t about to be left behind again. His treatments were working, he was free of symptoms and he was ready to deploy. So he began and long and very frustrating campaign to ensure that he would be deployable. One again, his doctors told him No. There were a chain of emails from one medical professional to another, all stating that he shouldn’t deploy. Their reasons were risk of contamination, with the secondary possibility of anaphylaxis or renal failure. They felt that Smith didn’t have a good grasp on what his medical condition was. Smith, however had researched his disease and discussed a plan with the squadron surgeon Major (Dr) Sean Hollonbeck and they had come up with a plan for administering his treatments during deployment. Even then, doctors said no. His commander was skeptical that he’d get the clearance necessary to be able to deploy, but they supported him in his efforts.

“The Army is attempting and perfecting new things in theater of operation every day,” Smith wrote. “Why not this?

“I guess I just felt like I’m in the Army to do a job,” he said. “Having been left back once, I told my wife, ‘If I can’t deploy and go do what I’ve trained to do, then I shouldn’t be doing this anymore.’”

This was personal for Smith and he had the support of everyone is Troops R. It finally came down to a month at Fort Irwin, California at the National Training Center. While there, an enlisted combat medic administered his treatment and he had no problems whatsoever. The Army finally gave in and Smith deployed with his unit, as part of Task Force 12, in November 2007.

“Army doctrine is to train in times of peace and to win at war,” Smith said. “I see a lot of value in what I did as a rear detachment soldier, but if the Army’s at war, I want to go.”

“I know it motivates me,” Sgt. Nelson Dawson, a soldier in Smith’s troop, said. “Even though he has this condition and could have stayed home with his family, he chose to come here and be with his soldiers. He said, ‘You know what? … I can still do my job. Why can’t I go?’”

During his struggle to get clearance to deploy, Smith was asked by a Doctor what he hoped to get from the fight to deploy. His only response was that he wanted to be able to run and play basketball and do the things he’s done all his life. The doctor appeared shocked that Smith wanted to stay in the military, especially with a medical condition that would allow him to get out altogether.

“I said, ‘Well yeah, if I can do all those other things, of course I want to stay in the military,’” he went on. “If I wanted to get out, I would have done it a long time ago, but that’s just not me.”

This young man is someone to be admired. There are many other men and women just like him, who despite things that would allow them to get out of the military, continue to fight to stay and serve a country that they love in it’s time of need. What an inspiration!


Marcus Luttrell Tonight On BlogTalk Radio

May 13, 2008

I just wanted to let everyone know that Marcus will be interviewed this evening on BlogTalk Radio with FlyLady Marla Cilley and BlogTalkRadio CEO Alan Levy. You can listen to the interview online by clicking the following link; You’ll be able to hear from Marcus himself, as he talks about his book and the events that inspired his book. The show is free to listen to online and free to participate in. After the interview, the hosts will talk your calls.

So, if you can’t make it to Chicago to hear Marcus in person, tune in tonight at 8pm Eastern Time, 7pm Central Time, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific Time. I’m sure that it’ll be a great interview.

Marcus Luttrell Update: Appearance In Illinois

May 12, 2008

I know from the responses we’ve gotten here on our stories about Marcus Luttrell, that many of you are chomping at the bit, to get an opportunity to hear Marcus speak and perhaps get the opportunity to meet him, shake his hand and tell him how much you appreciate his service to our country. Well, if you’re in the Chicago area, that opportunity will be upon you before you know it!

I just recently got word from one of our reader’s Haole Wahine that Marcus has an appearance scheduled at the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago on Monday, May 19th at 3pm. The event is free to the public. So, if you’re in the Chicago area and you’re able to attend this event, I encourage you to do so. Believe me when I say, you’ll be quite impressed with Marcus.

On Monday, May 19, Marcus Luttrell will appear at the Pritzker Military Library to discuss his memoir, Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, in an interview with executive producer Ed Tracy. This event is free and open to the public. The presentation and live webcast will begin at 3:00 p.m. It will also be recorded for later broadcast on WYCC-TV/Channel 20. Please not that there will not be a reception prior to the event, but copies of Lone Survivor will be available for purchase and signing by Luttrell afterward.

On the same day, the Pritzker Military Library will also partner with The Book Stall at Chestnut Court and a downtown club for a luncheon featuring Marcus Luttrell.

For more information about this event, as well as ones planned in the future, visit the Pritzler Military Library website.

Honoring Matt Maupin

April 29, 2008

Sunday, thousands of people descended upon the Cincinatti, Ohio area to pay their respects and to honor an American Hero …. SSG Matt Maupin, as a memorial service was held at the Great American Ball Park. Military members and supporters from all across the United States attended the services honoring Matt.

As our readers know, on April 9, 2004 the convoy then PFC Maupin was in near Baghdad was attacked and Matt was captured. A short time later, Al-Jazeera aired a tape showing Matt being held captive, surrounded by masked men holding automatic rifles. Matt’s family never gave up hope that he would be found and Matt’s hometown rallied around Matt’s parents, Keith and Carolyn Maupin and turned their community into a sea of yellow ribbons. After his capture, Matt’s parents started the Yellow Ribbon Support Center, in support of deployed US Troops. They’ve vowed that their work will continue, in Matt’s honor.

Sunday, Matt’s flag-draped coffin was on a platform in the area of the pitcher’s mound at the stadium. On the field were members of the 338th Army band and about 100 family members, military representatives and other dignitaries. The crowd of supporters occupied the lower portion of the baseball staduim, behind home plate and stretching from first base to third base.

SSG Maupin is a Hero and one who deserves to be honored and remembered. My heart goes out to his family, who never gave up hope over the past 4 years, that somehow Matt would be found alive. While that hope wasn’t realized, his family can finally have closure in knowing that their son, their Hero is finally home and being honored in the way that he deserves. Rest in Peace Matt, Welcome Home and thank you, brave warrior for your service and sacrifice.


Operation Iraqi Freedom Looms Closer

April 25, 2008

We are less than 30 days from deployment and I’m nervous, one would think that being deployed to war before would make a person less anxious the second time around.  The truth is, every deployment is fearful.  It is easier for my wife because she knows what to expect, but I know this is taking a toll on her.  Let’s not forget my dearest little girl Bella.  I’m going away for 15 months, she’s going to wonder why her daddy isn’t here.  Let me tell you a well known fact about children.  Majority of parents with children under a year who deploy believe that their child will not remember the deployed spouse when they come back from deployment.  But my family is a prime example that this is not the case.  When I deployed to Afghanistan in April 06, Bella was only 2 weeks old.  We were apart for more than 8 months before I took midtour leave and came home.  It took a minute or two but Bell knew who her daddy was and we bonded.  A simple but effective means to keep in touch with your child is, 1. make sure you talk to your child.  Your voice will soothe them and they will remember you, nomatter how old they are.  2. leave a photo with them, though they may be too young to hold it, they will remember your face. 3. never force your child to pay attention to you when you come home, they must get adjusted to you being home, eventually they will come around and your family will be complete once more.  I would like to leave you with this last announcement.  On behalf of the Begley Family, to the family of Mathew Maupin, “Please accept my deepest sympathies and most sincere apology for the loss of your son.  You have recieved a copy of my music in good faith and if I can do anything to help your family in your time of suffering, don’t hesitate to contact me.  You will always be in my thoughts.  Godsbee to you and your family, your son has paid his debt to our nation, HE WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN!!!!”.  May God be with all of our men, women, and families who support the founding principals of our nation. “GOD AND COUNTRY”.  As I prepare for Iraq, I will go with pride.  I am an American soldier, and I will always remember my place in the world……….”America’s Guardian Force”.

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