US Navy saves Iranian hostages

[Jan 6, 2012] A few days before, the Iranian government warned the U.S. Navy to keep out of the Strait of Hormuz. Then there was a distress call from an Iranian fishing vessel. The USS Kidd, a guided-missile destroyer, heard the call. Traditionally, a ship will answer a distress call, if at all possible. Sailors from the Kidd boarded the ship (which had been held by pirates for two months), captured the pirates and freed the Iranian crew.

US Navy saves Iranian hostages - again

[Jan 11, 2012] This time, the rescue was from an Iranian ship, sinking in the North Arabian Gulf. The USCGC Monomoy, a U.S. Coast Guard Island-class patrol cutter, saw flares and flashlights, about 3 a.m. from a sinking cargo vessel. The six Iranian crew members were rescued, and later released to an Iranian Coast Guard ship.

All in a day's work for the U.S. military.

Beer Brewer Supports Military Families

Founding Fathers Beer, a Minneapolis company, is introducing a new beer called Founding Fathers. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to military families. Locally, the organizations are Tee it Up for the Troops and the Minnesota Military Family Foundation. Nationally, profits will go to the Armed Forces Relief Trust.

Operation Christmas Drop 2011

Operation Christmas Drop is the longest-running U.S. relief operation. Ever since 1952, OCD - a private, nonprofit organization - collects donations of food, medical supplies, tools, and toys to send to isolated islands in Micronesia. From a base in Japan, the U.S. Air Force airlifts the packages and parachutes them onto the islands.

Armistice Day, 2011

November 11th marks the anniversary of Armistice Day. On that day in 1918, World War I ended. A truce was signed with Germany, to go into effect at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”. (“Armistice” means “truce”; Germany didn’t officially surrender, but the terms of the truce were so punitive upon Germany that they may well have set the groundwork for World War II.)

The day was renamed “Veterans Day” in the U.S. after World War II. In Britain, it’s called “Remembrance Day”, also known as “Poppy Day”.

It has been a long tradition to observe 2 minutes of silence every November 11, at 11 o’clock.

Poppies have long been a symbol of veterans day. It began after WW I, with a poem by John McCrae: In Flanders Fields.

In England, there’s a guy called “Poppy Man” , who goes around supporting the Royal British Legion, an organization that serves British ex-servicemen.

That website hasn’t been updated since 2007, but the work goes on: Poppy Appeal 2011.

Mail a cake to Afghanistan or Iraq

If you've ever tried to mail a cake to a friend in another city, you know that it isn't easy.
Now try mailing one to Afghanistan. Or Iraq.

Over the last two years, a company in Huntington Beach, California, figured out how to make a cake that you can mail overseas - and still be good to eat.

Wire A Cake is the company that will do just that. They've worked out how to make the cake, and how to make it last to 10 to 14 days it may take to get there.

Wire A Cake is connected with Soldier's Angels.

September 11, 2010

First Medal of Honor for a living Afghan war vet

Army SSGT Salvatore Giunta, 25, from Iowa, will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He will be the first living recipient from the Afghan war.

This won't be his first combat medal:

Giunta, who was previously awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, among other medals ...

Coffee chain honored for outreach to troops

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf was honored as Yellow Ribbon America's 2010 Most Supportive Coffee Company Award.

During a ceremony Friday, California State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore's office also presented the 2010 Outstanding Support of California's Military Members and their Families Award.

Mrs Audie Murphy dies at 90

Pam Murphy was Audie Murphy's widow. After he died in 1971, she started working at the nearby Sepulveda (CA) VA Hospital. She worked there until 2007, when she retired - at age 87.

"Nobody could cut through VA red tape faster than Mrs. Murphy," said veteran Stephen Sherman, speaking for thousands of veterans she befriended over the years. "Many times I watched her march a veteran who had been waiting more than an hour right into the doctor's office. She was even reprimanded a few times, but it didn't matter to Mrs. Murphy."

Memorial Day

Remember meaning of Memorial Day

From an Oregon newspaper:

There are those among us who mark Memorial Weekend by honoring and remembering all of our departed loved ones. And we should. But we mustn’t forget that the original purpose of Memorial day, once called Decoration Day, was to honor those who died while serving their country.

From a Baltimore editorial:

As we come together this weekend for company and/or family barbecues and beach outings, let's remember to take the time to thank the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and to remember those who lost their lives in the service of this great country.

The article goes on to list ways to get involved. Here's one:

Let's say thanks - This website gives you an opportunity to send a free printed postcard to a U.S. military personnel stationed overseas. The cards are hand-designed by children from around the nation.

Baltimore remembers a veteran:

Remembering a Baltimore legend: Capt. Raymond V. Haysbert, Sr.

Capt. Raymond V. Haysbert, Sr., a Tuskegee Airman and former CEO of the Parks Sausage Company passed away on May 24th in Baltimore from congestive heart failure. He was 90 years old.

He served as a fighter pilot in Africa and Italy with the Tuskegee Airmen.

January 2010

Thousands of U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard troops are being mobilized for relief effortd in Haiti.

Soldiers from the Army's 82nd Airborne will arrive around January 20. Marines from Camp Lejeune will arrive this weekend.

A hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, is due to arrive on the 22nd.

Canada is also sending about 1,000 soldiers to help with search and rescue missions, and aid and stabilization missions.

Christmas 2009

Troops from the 3rd Infantry Division, from Georgia, celebrate Christmas.

Deputy commander Gen. Vandal read "The Soldiers' Night Before Christmas" to the soldiers.

Armistice Day

The three last living veterans of World War II, Bill Stone, 108, Henry Allingham, 113, and Harry Patch, 111, died this year.

A special memorial service will be held at Westminster Abbey on November 11th, at 11 a.m. GMT. Queen Elizabeth, Gordon Brown, John Major, and Margaret Thatcher will be in attendance.


"Exactly 91 years ago, at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of th eleventh month, the guns fell silent."

So began the memorial service at Westminster Abbey. This year's remembrance was especially moving, because during this year, the last three veterans of World War I died.


Bill Stone: Born in 1900, he was too young to fight in World War I. He tried to enlist when he was 15, but his father refused to give his permission. When he turned 18, he enlisted in the British Navy. In 1940, he was part of the evacuation of Dunkirk. After he left the navy in 1945, he ran a barber shop until he retired in 1968.

He died this year at age 108.


Harry Patch: Born in 1898, he was drafted into the British army in 1916. He fought in France, and was wounded in action in 1917. After the war, he came back to England and worked as a plumber, eventually running a plumbing company until he retired.

He died this year at age 111.


Henry Allingham: Born in 1896, he joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915. After the war, he joined the Ford Motor Company, at its British plant. During the Second World War, he worked on special projects, including counter-measures to German magnetic mines.

He retired from Ford in 1960.

A friend said of him, after he died at age 113, "Henry was active right up until his final months, celebrating his 113th birthday on board HMS President and although he was starting to show his age, he was jubilant about being a teenager again."

Five people remember their fathers, uncles, grandfathers, who fought in World War I

A sacrifice never to be forgotten

Mr Aitkin's father, three uncles and father-in-law all volunteered for the Great War. All five of them came back alive.

This is a slide show of photos from around Austrialia. (Each photo has a caption at the top - you have to hold the cursor over the top of each photo.)

Hurricane Sandy

... National Guard responds

The National Guard Coordination Center in Arlington, VA, is a central point for coordinating National Guard members for deployment to disaster sites. There was a 7.7 magnitude earthquake off British Columbia, generating tsunami warnings in Alaska and Hawaii. East coast states were declaring states of emergency

Army Staff Sgt. Wayne Woolley of the New Jersey National Guard said, "The National Guard is the hometown team. Soldiers and Airmen live in these communities, and they are eager to help and want to keep their fellow citizens safe."

... Uncovers WW II Memorabilia

Chester deGavre graduated from West Point in 1933. He was one of the first paratroop officers at Ft. Bragg, N.C. He rose to the rank of General, and was awarded the Silver Star during the Korean War, and the Legion of Merit, with three oak leaf clusters.

He retired in 1963, and died at his home in Virginia in 1993.

On November 28, 2012, Donna Gugger was helping in the cleanup along the New Jersey beach, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Among the debris, she found what eventually turned out to be Gen. de Gavre's West Point cadet's jacket.

She contacted the West Point Graduates' Association, where the jacket was cleaned, and its owner identified.

Donna delivered the jacket to Gen. deGavre's widow, Teresa, who still lives in their home in Virginia.

No-one knows how the jacket ended up on the New Jersey beach.

Kathleen Chaney and her son were walking on the beach in Atlantic Highlands, New York, after the hurricane. They found a box containing old love letters written by Lynn Farnham to his fiancee, Dorothy Fallon. They were married in 1948. Lynn Farnham served in the Pacific during WW II, and died in 1991.

Chaney did a bit of detective work, eventually located Mrs Fallon, now 91, and brought her the letters.

(News station video at the site.)


In 1969, Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown, and two others, were ambushed while on patrol in Viet Nam. They were missing in action and presumed dead. In 2010, after long searches, Sgt. Brown's remains, and those of Sgt. 1st Class Gunther H. Wald and Sgt. 1st Class Donald M. Shue, were found in Viet Nam.

The three soldiers were buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetary.


Seventy years ago, in August of 1942, the Army established the first paratrooper divisions: the 82nd Airborne Division (which began as the 82nd division, serving in WW I) on August 15, and the 101st, at Camp Claiborne, LA, on August 16.

A recent gathering at Ft. Campbell, KY, honored the 101st. Among the attendees were Ed Shames, 90, who joined the Division when he was 19, and saw action on D-Day.

Le Mars, Iowa, is a city about 30 miles northeast of Sioux City. Zoey Olsen, 13, is doing her part to support the troops by selling patriotic punch - with the proceeds going to help miltary families. Using Hawaiian Punch, Blue Gatorade, and Diet Sprite, the punch comes out red, white, and blue.

Staff Sgt. Scott Wood was severely wounded in Iraq in 2006.. He died a few months ago, leaving a widow, Sara, and a young son, Landon, aged 5.

Last week, Sara got an invitation to watch Scott's favorite team, the Texas Houstons. She didn't know that she was going to be presented with a new house - mortgage-free.

The home is being donated by Operation Finally Home, an organization run by Dan Wallrath of Houston, Texas. He has built 17 homes, with 19 more under construction.


The organization provides mortgage-free homes to veterans wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, or their widows.

The presentations are done at major sports events, like the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, and major golf tournaments.

One of the wounded warriors is Eder Palma, from Anaheim, California. He was wounded in Iraq in 2008, recovered, finished his tour of duty, and returned to civilian life.

(Jan 28, 2012) Seventy years ago, in April of 1943, Aaron Narvol was wounded while trying to save a wounded comrade at Okinawa. At the time, he earned a Silver Star, but not the Purple Heart. His wounds ended his military service.

After the war, he worked at Weinstein’s deli in Pittsburgh. Recently, he's been at a retirement home. Finally, at age 93, the Purple Heart came through.

(Jan. 21, 2012) "We want to show our appreciation for what they've been doing for us and maybe let them know what is going on here so that they get a little break, a little oasis away from what they are having to deal with."

Bobbi Wilds is co-president of the Buckeye group, at Marion College, Ohio, with fellow student Debi Frazier. Supporting our men and women fighting for our freedoms is just the right thing to do, they said.


On Sunday, the last U.S. troops left Iraq. This is the culmination of the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, which President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed to, in principle, in November 2008. It was then signed by the U.S. and Iraq, and shortly after, ratified by the Iraqi Parliament.

President George W. Bush praised the agreement, which was scheduled to expire on Dec 31, 2011.

George Key, 86, of San Clemente, California, is the great, great, grandson of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner".

"I would like to see every house and every business with a flag today," says the descendant of Francis Scott Key. "It's a special day. Fly a flag in remembrance of the loss of American life."

The owner of a local flag store tells of that day:

"9/11 was on a Tuesday and we were out of flags on Wednesday. We had people stand in line two-and-a-half hours. They all knew we didn't have flags left, but they had to come in to get blessed, so to speak. Nobody wanted to leave the line."

The Orange County Fire Authority held a Remembrance Service to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Troops returning home at Dallas-Ft. Worth airport were greeted by former President Bush last Wednesday.

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, made a surprise visit to U.S. troops this afternoon.

They showed up at the USO in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. There they mingled with the returning soldiers, thanked them, chatted and posed for photos as proof of the unexpected encounter for folks back home.

Here are some of the Facebook pages with photos the troops took.

Marine Cpl. Matt Garst is a squad leader in Afghanistan. While on patrol with his squad, he stepped on an IED. It blew up. He was thrown fifteen feet, and over an 8-foot wall.

As soon as he hit the ground, he stood up, got his squad together, cleared the area, and led them the four miles back to base.

He took the next day off, took some Ibuprofen, and was back on the job.

Memorial Day

Iraq, 2007. A small Army base near Baghdad, manned by paratroopers of Blackfoot Company. At least once a month, al-Qaeda assaulted the base. Early one March morning, a truck pulled up to the main gate, instead of turning aside to a holding area.

Sergeant Jason Stegall was manning the lookout tower when the truck pulled up. He fired at it with his heavy machine gun, killing the driver and stopping the truck.

Then it blew up, loaded with about a ton of explosives.

A little later, a second truck attacked and blew up.

The outpost was far from reinforcements, and the troopers fought the al-Quaeda fighters, eventually driving them off

Stegall's actions saved the base from being overrun. He died two years later, having earned two Purple Hearts.

"There are 100 fewer headstones with flags on them today because of Jason Stegall. One of those headstones should have been mine."

Veterans Day

Sgt. Miriam Cohen, USMC, age 101, died on Memorial Day, and was laid to rest in New York's Mount Carmel cemetary. A Marine bugler payed taps

She joined the Marines in 1943, when she was 35. During WW II, she was stationed in Washington, D.C. She also served during the Korean War. When she left active Marine duty, she worked for the IRS. When she retired from that, she refused to accept Social Security.

When she was 93, she moved to Arizona, where she lived alone until four years ago.

About 1,000 people attended a Veterans Day ceremony in Fullerton.

Other events around Orange County:



During World War II, 1100 women served in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Their job was to fly military aircraft, usually from aircraft factories to airbases, transporting cargo, towing targets for artillery practice, in order to free up men for combat duty.

Of the 25,000 women that applied, only 1,900 were accepted, and of these, 1,078 graduated. During the war, 38 were killed.

Fewer than 300 are still alive.

This year, four of the surviving WASP will be honored at a celebration at Mather (site of a former Air Force Base)