Friday, September 30, 2005

Danish Air Force Admits to Killing Rudolph the Reindeer

Reindeers are a vital part of
The Danish air force has admitted causing the death of Rudolph the reindeer and has paid compensation to Father Christmas.

Olovi Nikkanoff, one of Denmark's professional Santa Clauses, says his reindeer died of shock as fighter planes flew low overhead.

The air force admitted liability and paid him 31,175 kroner (£2,850).

"We're more than happy to pay if it means children around the world will get their presents," a spokesman said.

Mr Nikkanoff said he was devastated in February when he discovered his reindeer's body.

The animal had been grazing happily, he said, when two Danish F-16s thundered overhead.

He complained to the air force, which ordered an investigation.

"We got a letter from Santa complaining about his reindeer's death and looked into it seriously," air force spokesman Captain Morten Jensen told Associated Press.

Flight data showed the jets had been in the area at the time, and a vet concluded that their deafening roar had caused Rudolph to have heart failure.

Mr Nikkanoff feared he would have only one reindeer to pull his sleigh this Christmas.

But after the air force's decision he declared himself happy with the payout and said he was looking forward to this year's festive season with a new animal on his team.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The "Rose Hill Cookie Lady"

Grandmother Sends 30,000 Cookies Overseas
By Staff Sgt. Kristine Dreyer/22nd Air Refueling Wing Public AffairsMCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kansas, Sept. 28, 2005 -

Three Airmen received some “sweet” support from the “Rose Hill Cookie Lady” while they were deployed.

Since Feb. 5, Merry Debbrecht, nicknamed the Rose Hill Cookie Lady, has baked more than 30,000 cookies for deployed troops all over the world.

Mrs. Debbrecht’s baking project began after her grandson, Army Private 1st Class Andrew Webb, deployed overseas.“As soon as I knew my grandson was going, I started baking,” she said.

But supporting just her grandson wasn’t enough. What really sparked her baking drive was her grandson’s graduation at Fort Hood, Texas. Unable to attend the ceremony, she asked her son, Mike, to tell her every detail. As he told her about the ceremony, he mentioned how Soldiers celebrated with their family. But at her grandson’s ceremony, one lonely Soldier stood alone on the field with no family.

“That just broke my heart,” she said. “And I realized that there are others out there deployed overseas with no family or whose family can’t afford to send them things from home. I just couldn’t stand the thought of one our Soldiers not getting at least something from home.”

At first, she counted every Soldier in the pictures her grandson would send her. Her grandson always told her that deployed troops share everything, so she always sent enough cookies for everyone.

But she wanted to do even more.

To expand her cookie mission, she contacted and joined forces with the original Cookie Lady, Jeanette Cram from South Carolina. Mrs. Cram began baking cookies for deployed troops in 1990 and to date has sent more than 82,700 cookies.

Now Mrs. Debbrecht bakes for five to six hours every day serving up a minimum of 20 dozen cookies by day’s end. Her cookie-support mission has now grown so large she has recruited two additional volunteers, one in Wichita, Kan., and one in Haysville, Kan., to help with the baking.

With more than a dozen different recipes, the Rose Hill Cookie Lady ensures each person receives a variety of cookies. For example, because of the summer heat, chocolate chip cookies are not sent until the weather cools down. But she has found an alternative to meet the needs of the troops whose favorite cookie seems to be chocolate chip.

“I’ll make the cookie and substitute chocolate chips with M&Ms, and they survive (through the mail,)” said Mrs. Debbrecht. “When it gets cooler, I will send chocolate chips (again.)”

But for those troops who just can’t wait, she has found another chocolate chip alternative.

“I (use) carob chips for those who are allergic to chocolate,” said Mrs. Debbrecht. “It looks and tastes like chocolate, and it makes it through the mail without melting.”

And it seems that the Rose Hill Cookie Lady’s labor of love has been appreciated on the deployed front.

“I think it really boosted their morale,” said Suzanne Jones who requested a package be sent to her husband, Master Sgt. Keith Jones, and his deployed co-workers in Southeast Asia. “It lets them know people really appreciate what they do over there.”

“It’s a great feeling to us when people send care packages,” added Sergeant Jones.

Not only did Sergeant Jones and his group receive 50 dozen M&M cookies, the care package also included chips and candy.

The little extras don’t seem to affect Mrs. Debbrecht’s operation. In fact, her whole cookie project is self-funded. She sells her homemade cookies at a local Rose Hill store to help fund her project. The cost for her mission averages about $200 a week, which includes ingredients and postage.

Although showing her support for the troops may not be cheap, the troops pay Mrs. Debbrecht back with friendly thank you cards. And, while she “just loves every single picture, post card, letter and e-mail,” that is not why she bakes and sends her cookies.

“I want to do this,” Mrs. Debbrecht said. “They take care of our country. If I can provide a bright spot in the day of just one Soldier, I’ll do whatever I can do -- they deserve it.” (Senior Airman Matthew Rosine contributed to this story)

Hispanic Americans in the U.S. Army


Staff Sgt. Roy Bnavidez
For the following action Staff Sgt. Roy Benavidez, of Texas, was awarded

On the morning of May 2, 1968, a 12-man Special Forces reconnaissance team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam, to gather intelligence about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. Shortly after arriving, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted to extract them, but were unable to land due to intense small-arms and anti-aircraft fire.

Staff Sgt. Roy Benavidez was at the forward operating base in Loc Ninh, monitoring the operation by radio when the helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage. Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small-arms fire to the crippled team.

Prior to reaching the team's position he was wounded in his right leg, face and head. Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team's position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy's fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents of the dead team leader. When he reached the leader's body, Benavidez was severely wounded by small-arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded and his helicopter crashed.

Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter, distributing water and ammunition to the weary men, and re-instilling in them a will to live and fight.

Facing a rapid buildup of enemy opposition against his beleaguered team, Benavidez mustered his remaining strength, calling in tactical air strikes and directing fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy's fire and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his thigh by small-arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. On his second trip with the wounded, he was attacked by an enemy soldier, who clubbed him in the head and arms. After killing the soldier, Benavidez continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the helicopter from an angle that prevented the helicopter door gunner from firing on them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

First All-female Crew Flies Combat Mission

From left to right, Staff Sgt. Josie E. Harshe, flight engineer; Capt. Anita T. Mack, navigator; 1st Lt. Siobhan Couturier, pilot; Capt. Carol J. Mitchell, aircraft commander; and loadmasters Tech. Sgt. Sigrid M. Carrero-Perez and Senior Airman Ci Ci Alonzo, pause in the cargo bay of their C-130 for a group photo following their historic flight. U.S. Air Force photo
First All-female Crew Flies Combat Mission

By U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael G. Johnson
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Sept. 27, 2005 — A crew of six Airmen at a forward deployed location climbed aboard a C-130 Hercules together recently for the first time in their careers. But something distinguished this mission from others they had flown --it was the first time an all-female C-130 crew flew a combat mission.

Capt. Carol Mitchell, aircraft commander; 1st Lt. Siobhan Couturier, pilot; Capt. Anita T. Mack, navigator; Staff Sgt. Josie E. Harshe, flight engineer; and loadmasters Tech. Sgt. Sigrid M. Carrero-Perez and Senior Airman Ci Ci Alonzo are all permanently assigned to the 43rd Airlift Wing at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., and currently are deployed to the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron flying cargo and troops in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.

While some would call their mission “historic,” they feel this mission should be recognized like every other flight -- a successful combat mission.

“I enjoyed flying with this crew, but I don’t think we should go out of our way to have all-female crews,” said Captain Mitchell. “It took a long time for women to become accepted as aircrew members, and now that we are, we would be taking a step back by singling ourselves out rather than blending in with the rest of the Air Force.”

Airman Alonzo agrees. “It was a great experience not many females can say they’ve had,” she said. However I don’t believe the Air Force should seek out all-female crews -- instead, we should focus on experience.

“(The Air Force) should have the best crews they can put together. Nothing other than qualification and ability should be considered,” said Captain Mack.

Not only did this all female crew fly together for the first time, 6,800 miles from home-station, but they flew the mission on a Vietnam-era airplane -- a significance the crew did not miss.

For the rest of the story:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Final Inspection

The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass,
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
The soldier squared his shoulders and
said, "No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod,
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well,
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

Courtesy of

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The continuation of the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" Tour!!!

From the Move America website:

The continuation of the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" Tour!!! Move America Forward is leading a bus tour across the nation from California to Washington, D.C. to rally Americans to stand united behind our troops and their mission. The bus tour began in San Francisco on Monday, September 19th and will end in Washington D.C. at a giant pro-troop rally on Sunday, September 25th. Once we get to Washington, D.C., we'll join forces with other organizations for the Support The Troops And Their Mission Weekend - CLICK HERE

Trip reports from our stops so far - including pictures - CAN BE FOUND ONLINE - CLICK HERE

If you cannot make it to one of our rally-stops or the D.C. Pro-Troop Rally on Sunday, you can still help support our troops and this important event by CONTRIBUTING ONLINE - CLICK HERE


Friday, September 23, 2005

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon Calderon

From the Defend America website, a Department of Defense Profile.

U.S. Air Force
Airman 1st Class Brandon Calderon
Airman Helps Load Supplies for Katrina Survivors
line space

By 1st Lt. Ed Gulick
4th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 23, 2005 — Airman 1st Class Brandon Calderon's first deployment came at a record-setting pace in support of the relief effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Calderon, 60th Aerial Port Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., left home at 4 a.m. and arrived here at 9 a.m. on Sept. 3 expecting the worst possible conditions.

"The floodwaters, the death toll, the violence, everything on the news, that's what I was expecting," he said.

Although he found himself somewhat removed from the chaos, he was heavily involved in the mission, loading and unloading aircraft.

"We hit the ground running,” he said. “The first three days we were pushing 120 missions a day.”

Thirty hours passed between the time he was notified and the first opportunity he had to sleep.

"We didn't know when we would be able to sleep," he said. "We were running on adrenaline."

After a couple of days he was able to go to the airport terminal to see what his efforts had been supporting. He helped unload much of the supplies from military and civilian aircraft to support the New Orleans evacuation process.

"I was really upset to see that much pain," he said. "It hit me all at once and brought it all home. I don't know what I'd do if it was my family.”

Although New Orleans is not the environment most expect on a deployment, Calderon is spending his nights in a tent, which he said he does not mind.

"I really think that everybody who's been thrown into this environment has done well," he said. "I've made a lot of friends here."

Calderon said the experience has been good, and he considers the memories he has invaluable.

"I really have enjoyed being here," he said. "Later on, when I have kids, I'll be able to tell them that I supported the relief effort for one of the worst disasters in U.S. history."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Support the Troops Weekend

September 23-26, 2005 Washington. D.C.
A weekend of events in which patriotic Americans and their friends will show their support for our nation's military personnel, honor their families and demonstrate their resolve that the missions of their loved ones fighting terrorism and protecting liberty in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world be completed with victory and

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

'Extreme makeover' rebuilds home of Army family

I had never watched 'Extreme Makeover-Home Edition' until the other day when the show built a home for the family of Pfc. Lori Piestewa. In fact, that has been the only Extreme Makeover show that I've watched. But, there will be a second show that I won't miss. The story follows:

'Extreme makeover' rebuilds home of Army family

By Kristen Marquez

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Army News Service, Sept. 19, 2005) – The home “makeover” of a Soldier injured in Iraq will kick off the season premiere of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” Sept. 25.

In late June, the family of Master Sgt. Luis Rodriguez got a surprise visit from the cast and crew, including the popular Ty Pennington, and a new 3,225-square-foot home near Fort Campbell, Ky., specifically tailored to the Rodriguez family’s needs.

Rodriguez was injured in Iraq in 2003, losing his right leg above the knee, two fingertips on his left hand and he sustained serious shrapnel wounds when his Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb near Mosul, Iraq. Over a period of four months, he underwent 16 surgeries and had to learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg and crutches.

Show to reveal ‘Spirit of Soldiers’

Although the Rodriguez family has lived in their “made over” house for nearly three months now, they look forward to seeing the behind-the-scenes actions that transformed their home.

“I don’t know what to expect [from the show],” Luis Rodriguez said. “[The producers] won’t tell me anything.”

The Rodriguez’ lives have not been the same since the home makeover.

“The first two weeks after we got back we had people driving by, snapping pictures and coming to the door,” Luis Rodriguez said.

Overall, he is pleased with the new home and is looking forward to seeing how the show turned out.

“It represents a lot; It represents the spirit of Soldiers,” he said. “It will be a positive thing to go out to the entire nation.”

(Kristen Marquez is a staff writer for the Fort Campbell Courier newspaper.)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

One More

In this video, there is a photo of an Iraqi woman holding up a purple finger to signify that she has voted. In the corner of her eye, a teardrop. Some of us take for granted the right to vote and maybe, never even exercise that right. She may have voted for the first time in her life, risking that very life for something many of us never think about-Freedom! It seems worth our effort to empower the people of Iraq and Afghanistan in there efforts to live free and make their own choices in life. That's just my opinion.

Click to view

A military mom named Millie sent me an email which explained how she was sent a link to our "Until Then" presentation on Christmas eve. She had lost her son in Iraq in March of 2003. As she watched, she saw one of the last pictures taken of her son, sitting relaxed, reading a newspaper. I have pondered greatly on that happenstance and of the many families that have lost loved ones in this conflict. Some have spoken against our presence in Iraq. But I believe that those who have given their lives in this war have done so for a great and noble purpose. One only needs to look at the faces of those who voted in the first free Iraqi election in 50 years.

Music - "Main Theme" from For the Love of the Game by Basil Pledgors - © 1999 Varese Sarabande

Video courtesy of the good folks at GCS Distributing. The above comments are theirs and I agree. I just wish that I had said them.

Friday, September 16, 2005

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

May they never be forgotten!

Presidential Proclamation on National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 2005 By the President of the United States of AmericaA Proclamation
In every generation, members of our Armed Forces have answered the call of service in our Nation's hour of need. These patriots have defended our freedom and way of life, triumphed over brutal enemies, and answered the prayers of millions. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we honor the Americans who have been prisoners of war and recognize them for enduring unimaginable hardships while serving in military conflicts around the globe. We also remember those who are still missing in action, and we renew our commitment to keep searching until we have accounted for every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine missing in the line of duty.
On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the flag of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia is flown over the White House, the Capitol, the Departments of State, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, the Selective Service System Headquarters, the National Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials, U.S. Military Installations, national cemeteries, and other locations across our country. The flag is a reminder of our continued commitment to those brave patriots imprisoned while serving in conflicts around the world and of our pledge to continue to achieve the fullest possible accounting for all our men and women in uniform who are still missing. Americans are blessed with the freedom made possible by the service and sacrifice of so many. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, our entire Nation honors and pays special tribute to our prisoners of war and those who remain missing.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 16, 2005, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in saluting all American POWs and those missing in action who valiantly served our country. I call upon Federal, State, and local government officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

"America Loves You"

"America Loves You"
This is a very nice music video by Tony Diana. All the proceeds from it will go to Relief/Rebuild for Katrina.
Tony Diana's website:

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The American Red Cross

The American Red Cross does wonderful things, as demonstrated with Hurricane Katrina. Through the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement, they assist people around the world in a multitude of ways.

International Services

The American Red Cross helps vulnerable people around the world to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, complex humanitarian emergencies, and life-threatening health conditions.

The American Red Cross accomplishes this goal by working within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement—the world’s largest humanitarian network with 181 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and more than 100 million volunteers. In all our work, we abide by the seven fundamental principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.

The American Red Cross works to build the local capacities of our partner Red Cross and Red Crescent societies by strengthening their leadership, financial management, volunteer networks, and technical capabilities. We also work with our Movement partners to train and organize volunteers and educate communities to empower them with the skills and knowledge they need to help themselves. To ensure that programs are comprehensive, the American Red Cross establishes partnerships with other public and private organizations whose capabilities strengthen and complement our initiatives.

International Services initiatives focus on primary health care, emergency response and preparedness, restoring family links, and the dissemination of international humanitarian law. For each of these priority areas, we promote cost-effective, community-based programs, which target large numbers of people with humanitarian aid that is rapid, effective, and large-scale.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

DFW Marine Corps Families

This is a local organization doing a worthwhile purpose. Please, support simliar organizations in you community. Thank you!



DFW Marine Corps Families, a non-profit organization, was formed for the purpose of providing friendship, support, and encouragement to families of those serving in the United States Marine Corps. Very often our family members and co-workers do not understand or relate to the unique circumstances of military families. We recognize the great need for Marine families in our community to associate with others who share the same pride, worries, and concerns. This group will also undertake charitable activities which benefit the Marine directly, such as sending care packages, writing letters of support during deployment, organizing support rallies, and other activities that convey our support and gratitude, especially during times of deployment.

DFW MCF sponsors many activities in which we encourage the community to participate. In addition to bi-monthly gatherings for our members, we invite you to participate in some of our group sponsored events.

The 75th Ranger Regiment

The 75th Ranger Regiment, composed of three Ranger battalions, is the premier light-infantry unit of the United States Army. Headquartered at Fort Benning, Ga., the 75th Ranger Regiment’s mission is to plan and conduct special missions in support of U.S. policy and objectives. The three Ranger battalions that comprise the 75th Ranger Regiment are geographically dispersed. Their locations are:
  • lst Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
  • 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Wash.
  • 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.
The Army maintains theRegiment at a high level of readiness. Each battalion can deploy anywhere in the world with 18 hours notice. Because of the importance the Army places on the 75th Ranger Regiment, it must possess a number of capabilities. These capabilities include:
  • Infiltrating and exfiltrating by land, sea and air
  • Conducting direct action operations
  • Conducting raids
  • Recovery of personnel and special equipment
  • Conducting conventional or special light-infantry operations
To maintain readiness, Rangers train constantly. Their training encompasses arctic, jungle, desert, and mountain operations, as well as amphibious instruction. The training philosophy of the 75th Ranger Regiment dictates the unit’s’ high state of readiness. The philosophy includes performance-oriented training emphasizing tough standards and a focus on realism and live-fire exercises, while concentrating on the basics and safety. Training at night, during adverse weather, or on difficult terrain multiplies the benefits of training events. Throughout training, Rangers are taught to expect the unexpected.

All officers and enlisted soldiers in the Regiment are four-time volunteers – for the Army, Airborne School, the Ranger Regiment and Ranger School. Those volunteers selected for the 75th Ranger Regiment must meet tough physical, mental and moral criteria. All commissioned officers and combat-arms NCOs must be airborne and Ranger qualified and have demonstrated a proficiency in the duty position for which they are seeking.

Upon assignment to the Regiment, both officers and senior NCOs attend the Ranger Orientation program to integrate them into the Regiment. ROP familiarizes them with Regimental policies, standing operating procedures, the Commander’s intent and Ranger standards. Enlisted soldiers assigned to the Regiment go through the Ranger Indoctrination Program. RIP assesses Rangers on their physical qualifications and indoctrinates basic Regimental standards. Soldiers must pass ROP or RIP to be assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Junior enlisted soldiers who are not Ranger qualified must attend a Pre-Ranger course, which ensures they are administratively, physically and mentally prepared before they attend the U.S. Army Ranger Course. The result of this demanding selection and training process is a Ranger who can lead effectively against enormous mental and physical odds.

Each Ranger battalion is authorized 660 personnel assigned to three rifle companies and a headquarters company.

Ranger battalions are light infantry and have only a few vehicles and crew-served weapons systems. Standard weapon systems of the unit are listed below:
  • 84mm Ranger Antitank Weapons System (RAWS)
  • 60mm Mortars M240B Machine Guns
  • 81mm Mortars Mark 19 RP MM Grenade Launcher
  • 120mm Mortars Stinger

Monday, September 12, 2005

September 12th, 2001

On September 12th, 2001, while most of us were still in shock, the sons and daughters of America were gearing up for the War on Terrorism. They have been holding the wolves at bay for us, ever since. I wanted to take the time to remember all that they have done in the defense of Freedom. Below, I have posted several links to video in tribute to the Military of the United States of America.

Operation Enduring Freedom Video

Operation Enduring Freedom II Video

Until Then

Red, White and Blue -- Toby Keith

If I Die Before You Wake

Die Terrorists Die Video

"When I'm Gone" - 3 Doors Down

"Not Me" Keni Thomas (Mogadishu veteran)

"I Kissed My Son Goodbye Today"

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Remember The Blood of Heroes-a 9/11 Reminder

"In October of 2002, after hearing all the nay-sayers whining about going to war to fight against terrorism, (and to protect our interests and defend our allies) I wondered; how exactly do we defend and maintain our freedom then? If not by the violent destruction of those who would threaten us, then by what means? There comes a time when even peace loving people have to fight.

It seemed to me that far too many of us had forgotten the real issue in all of this - the people. More precisely, the American people - our Founding Fathers, our veterans, our military, our civil servants and even regular folk - those who have died or could die in the service of this country - in establishing, protecting and maintaining our freedom. If this isn't enough of a reason to go anywhere to fight anyone - to preserve the American way of life - then what is there left on this earth that matters at all? God help us!

I made 'Blood of Heroes' to remind people that everything we enjoy in America today is the result of someone's sacrifice, that it is constantly threatened - and that it is still worth fighting for. Not a lighthearted thought, indeed.

Hopefully, this site will remind us all of the human cost that has been paid for our freedom, our safety and our luxury. A price paid not just so you and I can vote and pray, but also so we can sit on the couch, watching TV, having 30 minute pizzas delivered to our doors. Even if you don't vote or pray, there is still plenty left worth fighting for. Think about that.

With all the invective about "blood for oil", we are not only justified in going to war - we were obligated to do it - and to do it in every place on this earth that ever poses a threat to the American way of life. It isn't blood for oil. It's blood for freedom - the blood of our heroes. We owe it to them... and we owe it to our children. Period.

We are lucky to live in the United States of America - and this privilege didn't come cheap."

A Tribute to Our Military Men and Women: Red, White and Blue

Click on post title and then click on Launch Red White and Blue

Friday, September 09, 2005

Can't' Cry Hard Enough

A tribute to the victims of September 11th, 2001

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Have You Forgotten?

forgotten.gif (289567 bytes)

I hear people saying we don't need this war
I say there's some things worth fighting for
What about our freedom and this piece of ground
We didn't get to keep 'em by backing down
Now they say we don't realize the mess we're getting in
Before you start your preaching let me ask you this my friend

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going thru a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

They took all the footage off my T.V.
Said it's too disturbing for you and me
It'll just breed anger that's what the experts say
If it was up to me I'd show it everyday
Some say this country's just out looking for a fight
Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going thru a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

Now I've been there with the soldiers
Who've gone away to war
And you can bet that they remember
Just what they're fightin' for

Have you forgotten all the people killed?
Some went down like heros in that Pennsylvania field
Have you forgotten about our Pentagon?
And all the loved ones that we lost and those left to carry on
Don't you tell me not to worry about bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going thru a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

Have you forgotten?

Have you forgotten?

A 'great hero' who saved comrades

Private Johnson Beharry with his wife Lynthia
"His level-headed actions almost certainly saved the lives of his crew"

Private Johnson Beharry has been awarded the Victoria Cross. The full citation reads as follows:

Private Beharry carried out two individual acts of great heroism by which he saved the lives of his comrades.

Both were in direct face of the enemy, under intense fire, at great personal risk to himself (one leading to him sustaining very serious injuries).

His valour is worthy of the highest recognition.

In the early hours of the 1st May 2004 Beharry's company was ordered to replenish an isolated Coalition Forces' outpost located in the centre of the troubled city of Al Amarah.

He was the driver of a platoon commander's Warrior armoured fighting vehicle.

His platoon was the company's reserve force and was placed on immediate notice to move.

The vehicle was hit again by sustained rocket-propelled grenade attack from insurgent fighters in the alleyways and on rooftops around his vehicle

As the main elements of his company were moving into the city to carry out the replenishment, they were re-tasked to fight through a series of enemy ambushes in order to extract a foot patrol that had become pinned down under sustained small arms and heavy machine-gun fire and improvised explosive device and rocket-propelled grenade attack.

Beharry's platoon was tasked over the radio to come to the assistance of the remainder of the company, who were attempting to extract the isolated foot patrol.

This a great story. But, it is longer than I have room to post. I'll post a link to the rest of the story. Please, read it:

Honoring the Firefighters of New York City

Remembering the brave Firefighters of the Fire Department of New York City who gave their lives to save those of others on September 11th, 2001. May they rest in peace and never be forgotten.
FDNY Forever

Joseph Agnello, Lad.118 Lt. Brian Ahearn, Bat.13 Eric Allen, Sqd.18 (D) Richard Allen, Lad.15 Cpt. James Amato, Sqd.1 Calixto Anaya Jr., Eng.4 Joseph Agnello, Lad.118 Lt. Brian Ahearn, Bat.13 Eric Allen, Sqd.18 (D) Richard Allen, Lad.15 Cpt. James Amato, Sqd.1 Calixto Anaya Jr., Eng.4 Joseph Angelini, Res.1 (D) Joseph Angelini Jr., Lad.4 Faustino Apostol Jr., Bat.2 David Arce, Eng.33 Louis Arena, Lad.5 (D) Carl Asaro, Bat.9 Lt. Gregg Atlas, Eng.10 Gerald Atwood, Lad.21 Gerald Baptiste, Lad.9 A.C. Gerard Barbara, Cmd. Ctr. Matthew Barnes, Lad.25 Arthur Barry, Lad.15 Lt.Steven Bates, Eng.235 Carl Bedigian, Eng.214 Stephen Belson, Bat.7 John Bergin, Res.5 Paul Beyer, Eng.6 Peter Bielfeld, Lad.42 Brian Bilcher, Sqd.1 Carl Bini, Res.5 Christopher Blackwell, Res.3 Michael Bocchino, Bat.48 Frank Bonomo, Eng.230 Gary Box, Sqd.1 Michael Boyle, Eng.33 Kevin Bracken, Eng.40 Michael Brennan, Lad.4 Peter Brennan, Res.4 Cpt. Daniel Brethel, Lad.24 (D) Cpt. Patrick Brown, Lad.3 Andrew Brunn, Lad.5 (D) Cpt. Vincent Brunton, Lad.105 F.M. Ronald Bucca Greg Buck, Eng.201 Cpt. William Burke Jr., Eng.21 A.C. Donald Burns, Cmd. Ctr. John Burnside, Lad.20 Thomas Butler, Sqd.1 Patrick Byrne, Lad.101 George Cain, Lad.7 Salvatore Calabro, Lad.101 Cpt. Frank Callahan, Lad.35 Michael Cammarata, Lad.11 Brian Cannizzaro, Lad.101 Dennis Carey, Hmc.1 Michael Carlo, Eng.230 Michael Carroll, Lad.3 Peter Carroll, Sqd.1 (D) Thomas Casoria, Eng.22 Michael Cawley, Lad.136 Vernon Cherry, Lad.118 Nicholas Chiofalo, Eng.235 John Chipura, Eng.219 Michael Clarke, Lad.2 Steven Coakley, Eng.217 Tarel Coleman, Sqd.252 John Collins, Lad.25 Robert Cordice, Sqd.1 Ruben Correa, Eng.74 James Coyle, Lad.3 Robert Crawford, Safety Lt. John Crisci, H.M. B.C. Dennis Cross, Bat.57 (D) Thomas Cullen III, Sqd. 41 Robert Curatolo, Lad.16 (D) Lt. Edward D'Atri, Sqd.1 Michael D'Auria, Eng.40 Scott Davidson, Lad.118 Edward Day, Lad.11 B.C. Thomas DeAngelis, Bat. 8 Manuel Delvalle, Eng.5 Martin DeMeo, H.M. 1 David DeRubbio, Eng.226 Lt. Andrew Desperito, Eng.1 (D) B.C. Dennis Devlin, Bat.9 Gerard Dewan, Lad.3 George DiPasquale, Lad.2 Lt. Kevin Donnelly, Lad.3 Lt. Kevin Dowdell, Res.4 B.C. Raymond Downey, Soc. Gerard Duffy, Lad.21 Cpt. Martin Egan, Jr., Div.15 (D) Michael Elferis, Eng.22 Francis Esposito, Eng.235 Lt. Michael Esposito, Sqd.1 Robert Evans, Eng.33 B.C. John Fanning, H.O. Cpt. Thomas Farino, Eng.26 Terrence Farrell, Res.4 Cpt. Joseph Farrelly, Div.1 Dep. Comm. William Feehan, (D) Lee Fehling, Eng.235 Alan Feinberg, Bat.9 Michael Fiore, Res.5 Lt. John Fischer, Lad.20 Andre Fletcher, Res.5 John Florio, Eng.214 Lt. Michael Fodor, Lad.21 Thomas Foley, Res.3 David Fontana, Sqd.1 Robert Foti, Lad.7 Andrew Fredericks, Sqd.18 Lt. Peter Freund, Eng.55 Thomas Gambino Jr., Res.3 Chief of Dept. Peter Ganci, Jr. (D) Lt. Charles Garbarini, Bat.9 Thomas Gardner, Hmc.1 Matthew Garvey, Sqd.1 Bruce Gary, Eng.40 Gary Geidel, Res.1 B.C. Edward Geraghty, Bat.9 Dennis Germain, Lad.2 Lt. Vincent Giammona, Lad.5 James Giberson, Lad.35 Ronnie Gies, Sqd.288 Paul Gill, Eng.54 Lt. John Ginley, Eng.40 Jeffrey Giordano, Lad.3 John Giordano, Hmc.1 Keith Glascoe, Lad.21 James Gray, Lad.20 B.C. Joseph Grzelak, Bat.48 Jose Guadalupe, Eng.54 Lt. Geoffrey Guja, Bat.43 Lt. Joseph Gullickson, Lad.101 David Halderman, Sqd.18 Lt. Vincent Halloran, Lad.8 Robert Hamilton, Sqd.41 Sean Hanley, Lad.20 (D) Thomas Hannafin, Lad.5 Dana Hannon, Eng.26 Daniel Harlin, Lad.2 Lt. Harvey Harrell, Res.5 Lt. Stephen Harrell, Bat.7 Cpt. Thomas Haskell, Jr., Div.15 Timothy Haskell, Sqd.18 (D) Cpt. Terence Hatton, Res.1 Michael Haub, Lad.4 Lt. Michael Healey, Sqd.41 John Hefferman, Lad.11 Ronnie Henderson, Eng.279 Joseph Henry, Lad.21 William Henry, Res.1 (D) Thomas Hetzel, Lad.13 Cpt. Brian Hickey, Res.4 Lt. Timothy Higgins, S.O.C. Jonathan Hohmann, Hmc.1 Thomas Holohan, Eng.6 Joseph Hunter, Sqd.288 Cpt. Walter Hynes, Lad.13 (D) Jonathan Ielpi, Sqd.288 Cpt. Frederick Ill Jr., Lad.2 William Johnston, Eng.6 Andrew Jordan, Lad.132 Karl Joseph, Eng.207 Lt. Anthony Jovic, Bat.47 Angel Juarbe Jr., Lad.12 Mychal Judge, Chaplain (D) Vincent Kane, Eng.22 B.C. Charles Kasper, S.O.C. Paul Keating, Lad.5 Richard Kelly Jr., Lad.11 Thomas R. Kelly, Lad.15 Thomas W. Kelly, Lad.105 Thomas Kennedy, Lad.101 Lt. Ronald Kerwin, Sqd.288 Michael Kiefer, Lad.132 Robert King Jr., Eng.33 Scott Kopytko, Lad.15 William Krukowski, Lad.21 Kenneth Kumpel, Lad.25 Thomas Kuveikis, Sqd.252 David LaForge, Lad.20 William Lake, Res.2 Robert Lane, Eng.55 Peter Langone, Sqd.252 Scott Larsen, Lad.15 Lt. Joseph Leavey, Lad.15 Neil Leavy, Eng.217 Daniel Libretti, Res.2 Carlos Lillo, Paramedic Robert Linnane, Lad.20 Michael Lynch, Eng.40 Michael Lynch, Lad.4 Michael Lyons, Sqd.41 Patrick Lyons, Sqd.252 Joseph Maffeo, Lad.101 William Mahoney, Res 4 Joseph Maloney, Lad.3 (D) B.C. Joseph Marchbanks Jr, Bat.12 Lt. Charles Margiotta, Bat.22 Kenneth Marino, Res.1 John Marshall, Eng.23 Lt. Peter Martin, Res.2 Lt. Paul Martini, Eng.23 Joseph Mascali, T.S.U. 2 Keithroy Maynard, Eng.33 Brian McAleese, Eng.226 John McAvoy, Lad.3 Thomas McCann, Bat.8 Lt. William McGinn, Sqd.18 B.C. William McGovern, Bat.2 (D) Dennis McHugh, Lad.13 Robert McMahon, Lad.20 Robert McPadden, Eng.23 Terence McShane, Lad.101 Timothy McSweeney, Lad.3 Martin McWilliams, Eng.22 (D) Raymond Meisenheimer, Res.3 Charles Mendez, Lad.7 Steve Mercado, Eng.40 Douglas Miller, Res.5 Henry Miller Jr, Lad.105 Robert Minara, Lad.25 Thomas Mingione, Lad.132 Lt. Paul Mitchell, Bat.1 Capt. Louis Modafferi, Res.5 Lt. Dennis Mojica, Res.1 (D) Manuel Mojica, Sqd.18 (D) Carl Molinaro, Lad.2 Michael Montesi, Res.1 Capt. Thomas Moody, Div.1 B.C. John Moran, Bat.49 Vincent Morello, Lad.35 Christopher Mozzillo, Eng.55 Richard Muldowney Jr, Lad.07 Michael Mullan, Lad.12 Dennis Mulligan, Lad.2 Lt. Raymond Murphy, Lad.16 Lt. Robert Nagel, Eng.58 John Napolitano, Res.2 Peter Nelson, Res.4 Gerard Nevins, Res.1 Dennis O'Berg, Lad.105 Lt. Daniel O'Callaghan, Lad.4 Douglas Oelschlager, Lad.15 Joseph Ogren, Lad.3 Lt. Thomas O'Hagan, Bat.4 Samuel Oitice, Lad.4 Patrick O'Keefe, Res.1 Capt. William O'Keefe, Div.15 (D) Eric Olsen, Lad.15 Jeffery Olsen, Eng.10 Steven Olson, Lad.3 Kevin O'Rourke, Res.2 Michael Otten, Lad.35 Jeffery Palazzo, Res.5 B.C. Orio Palmer, Bat.7 Frank Palombo, Lad.105 Paul Pansini, Eng.10 B.C. John Paolillo, Bat.11 James Pappageorge, Eng.23 Robert Parro, Eng.8 Durrell Pearsall, Res.4 Lt. Glenn Perry, Bat.12 Lt. Philip Petti, Bat.7 Lt. Kevin Pfeifer, Eng. 33 Lt. Kenneth Phelan, Bat.32 Christopher Pickford, Eng.201 Shawn Powell, Eng.207 Vincent Princiotta, Lad.7 Kevin Prior, Sqd.252 B.C. Richard Prunty, Bat.2 (D) Lincoln Quappe, Res.2 Lt. Michael Quilty, Lad.11 Ricardo Quinn, Paramedic Leonard Ragaglia, Eng.54 Michael Ragusa, Eng.279 Edward Rall, Res.2 Adam Rand, Sqd.288 Donald Regan, Res.3 Lt. Robert Regan, Lad.118 Christian Regenhard, Lad.131 Kevin Reilly, Eng.207 Lt. Vernon Richard, Lad.7 James Riches, Eng.4 Joseph Rivelli, Lad.25 Michael Roberts, Eng.214 Michael E. Roberts, Lad.35 Anthony Rodriguez, Eng.279 Matthew Rogan, Lad.11 Nicholas Rossomando, Res.5 Paul Ruback, Lad.25 Stephen Russell, Eng.55 Lt. Michael Russo, S.O.C. B.C. Matthew Ryan, Bat.1 Thomas Sabella, Lad.13 Christopher Santora, Eng.54 John Santore, Lad.5 (D) Gregory Saucedo, Lad.5 Dennis Scauso, H.M. 1 John Schardt, Eng.201 B.C. Fred Scheffold, Bat.12 Thomas Schoales, Eng.4 Gerard Schrang, Res.3 (D) Gregory Sikorsky, Sqd.41 Stephen Siller, Sqd.1 Stanley Smagala Jr, Eng.226 Kevin Smith, H.M. 1 Leon Smith Jr, Lad 118 Robert Spear Jr, Eng.26 Joseph Spor, Res.3 B.C. Lawrence Stack, Bat.50 Cpt. Timothy Stackpole, Div.11 (D) Gregory Stajk, Lad.13 Jeffery Stark, Eng.230 Benjamin Suarez, Lad.21 Daniel Suhr, Eng.216 (D) Lt. Christopher Sullivan, Lad.111 Brian Sweeney, Res.1 Sean Tallon, Lad.10 Allan Tarasiewicz, Res.5 Paul Tegtmeier, Eng.4 John Tierney, Lad.9 John Tipping II, Lad.4 Hector Tirado Jr, Eng.23 Richard Vanhine, Sqd.41 Peter Vega, Lad.118 Lawrence Veling, Eng.235 John Vigiano II, Lad.132 Sergio Villanueva, Lad.132 Lawrence Virgilio, Sqd.18 (D) Lt. Robert Wallace, Eng.205 Jeffery Walz, Lad. 9 Lt. Michael Warchola, Lad.5 (D) Capt. Patrick Waters, S.O.C. Kenneth Watson, Eng.214 Michael Weinberg, Eng.1 (D) David Weiss, Res.1 Timothy Welty, Sqd.288 Eugene Whelan, Eng.230 Edward White, Eng.230 Mark Whitford, Eng.23 Lt. Glenn Wilkinson, Eng.238 (D) B.C. John Williamson, Bat.6 (D) Capt. David Wooley, Lad.4 Raymond York, Eng.285 (D)

Please click on the following link:

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Military Support in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

Photo - See Caption Below
U.S. Air Force personnel from the 343rd Training Squadron assist a Hurricane Katrina evacuee from New Orleans off a C-17 Globemaster III at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, on Sept. 2, 2005. Military units have mobilized as part of Joint Task Force Katrina to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster-relief efforts. Defense Dept. photo by Robbin Cresswell.
Family Escapes New Orleans Nightmare
SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 4, 2005 – Ralph Price Sr. had a smile on his face Sept. 3 when he and his family got off the C-9 Nightingale aircraft that brought him here from New Orleans. He and his family had finally escaped what he called "the hell-hole of New Orleans." Story
Guard Chief Describes Katrina Operations
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2005 –- The chief of the National Guard Bureau declared the National Guard's role in Hurricane Katrina response operations "a great success story," Sept. 3, after returning from the Gulf Coast. Story
Guard Families Eligible for Free Legal Counsel
ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 4, 2005 – Members of the National Guard who are mobilized for federal service, along with their family members, are eligible to receive free legal counsel on any active-duty military installation that has a legal assistance office. This entitlement may be particularly important for families affected by Hurricane Katrina. Story

Military Focuses on Top Priority
WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2005 – The thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines supporting relief efforts along the Gulf Coast "are doing a great job" as they focus on what the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina today called their top priority: rescuing and evacuating victims and providing them food and water. Story
Distribution Sites Sprout from Devastation
PASCAGOULA, Miss., Sept. 5, 2005 –- Amidst the seemingly endless vistas of tragedy between Mobile, Ala., and Gulfport, Miss., relief distribution sites are increasing in numbers and providing vital sustenance and essential personal items to help ease the discomfort of Hurricane Katrina's victims. Story
Heavy Engineers Clear Way in Gulf Area
PASCAGOULA, Miss., Sept. 5, 2005 –- Heavy equipment engineers from the Alabama Army National Guard's 877th Engineer Battalion are clearing debris from Pascagoula, Ocean Springs and Gautier, Miss. Residents share conversations and occasional smiles with the soldiers, welcoming their presence. Story
Rumsfeld, Myers Observe Relief Efforts
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2005 –- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in the Gulf Coast area today to get briefed up on military support for hurricane relief efforts and to observe ongoing relief operations. Story

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina Damage-A Photo Slideshow

Amazing photographs, in this slideshow of Katrina damage from Bay St. Louis to Ocean Springs. There were some fine Civil War Era homes along the Gulf Coastline. I assume that they, along with everything else, are gone. I've lived through several hurricanes and I know what they can do. But, this is beyond anything that I have seen.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Paralyzed Veterans of America

A very worthy organization:

Paralyzed Veterans of America:
Helping veterans rebuild shattered lives

Before World War II, the only thing that soldiers with spinal cord injury had to look forward to was life in a VA hospital bed. Their life expectancy was a couple of years, at best. And there were few, if any, resources for those confined to a wheelchair.

But in the 1940s, medical advancements dramatically improved the prospects of living with spinal cord injury. In fact, the approximately 2,500 World War II veterans returning to the United States with spinal cord injuries had a life expectancy comparable to that of able-bodied individuals.

But what would their lives be like? The world wasn’t equipped for wheelchairs, or the medical challenges confronting these men and women.

Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) was formed to ensure that these veterans got, as Theodore Roosevelt said more than a century ago, a "square deal." And that has been our goal ever since.

PVA Today: A vital advocate for paralyzed veterans

As a major voice in the veterans’ community, PVA advocates for more than 21,000 members. Our members represent those who have served in virtually every major U.S. conflicts past and present including Iraq, the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, and World War II.

Whether it’s accessibility issues, veterans benefits and services, advocacy, spinal cord injuries research , or sports and recreation programs, PVA fights for those who answered the call when our nation asked for their service… and in return have given up their freedom to protect ours.

Through your support, PVA helps paralyzed veterans get the help they need. With help from generous individuals, in 2004:

  • PVA Service Officers conducted more than 24,000 counseling sessions with veterans and their families.
  • PVA representatives traveled more than 186,000 miles throughout the country serving veterans and their families.
  • PVA served more than 20,000 paralyzed veterans and their families and provided assistance to another 15,000 severely disabled veterans, their families and survivors.
  • PVA provided more than 175,000 hours of voluntary service at VA medical centers across the country.
  • PVA filed more than 17,000 benefit claims for our clients with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • PVA awarded 31 grants totaling nearly $1,500,000 for spinal cord injury research and education to find a cure for paralysis.
  • PVA delivered more than 500,000 cards to our hospitalized vets.
  • PVA offered membership at no charge to more than 21,000 veterans with spinal cord injury or disease.
And we want to do more in 2005. PVA cannot succeed without you. The reality is you really do make a difference. It’s that simple.

How you can give back to our nation’s veterans?

Support PVA Today! Make a contribution, learn more about our efforts to promote legislation, send a message to a veteran in the hospital.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Tribute To Our Lost Americans

Courtesy of:

The United States War Dogs Association


A Tribute To Our Lost Americans
Click on above flag to View and Listen to Presentation

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