Showing posts with label Operation Iraqi Freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Operation Iraqi Freedom. Show all posts

Friday, August 20, 2010

Withdrawal Reports Anger Families and Soldiers

What is this all about? Every article I read and the MSNBC report covering the troops crossing the boarder of Kuwait stated clearly that 50,000 troops would be remaining in Iraq as "advisors" and support. Not one report I read said that they were all coming home. If the soldiers and families are angry over reports that came out what is behind it? The deadline for all combat troops to be out of Iraq was this month and the deadline for all troops to be out of Iraq is next year. Is it because the American public has not been interested in paying attention to any of this?

Combat operations have ended. The troops were no longer taking the lead in combat operations and the Iraqis have been responsible depending on the troops for help. No one has said there is no longer any danger for our troops in Iraq but it has been reduced. Take a look at the numbers and know what the truth is.

2003 486
2004 849
2005 846
2006 822
2007 904
2008 314
2009 149
2010 46
Total 4416

2001 12
2002 49
2003 48
2004 52
2005 99
2006 98
2007 117
2008 155
2009 317
2010 286
Total 1233

The combat operations have been over for a while now but we still lost lives and now that the combat forces have been withdrawn we still need to hold all the others there in our prayers. We still lost 46 this year and they are still in danger just traveling in Iraq. So what is behind this report? How can soldiers' families not know the difference between "combat" operations and troops still there? We still have about 50,000 troops stationed in Germany but they are not on combat missions in Germany. If anyone does not understand this, they have not been paying attention enough to know the difference.

Withdrawal Reports Anger Families and Soldiers Fighting in Iraq
Recent reports have been touting the end of combat operations in Iraq, saying the last of the combat troops have left, but the reports are angering some of the tens of thousands of troops who are still there and will remain there.
Posted: 11:04 AM Aug 19, 2010
Reporter: Leslie Fichera

Recent reports have been touting the end of combat operations in Iraq, saying the last of the combat troops have left, but the reports are angering some of the tens of thousands of troops who are still there and will remain there.

Just Thursday morning, Capt. Christopher Ophardt, spokesman for the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, said the last of the unit's vehicles were crossing the border into Kuwait. Reports from the U.S. Military say the last U.S. brigade officially classed as a combat unit formally handed over responsibilities to its Iraqi counterparts on August 7, but U.S. troops have been steadily flowing out of the country on transport aircraft and by road for a year.

However, tens of thousands of troops remain in Iraq, including thousands of Fort Carson soldiers.

11 News has received feedback from Fort Carson soldiers and families saying these reports are upsetting and are not representative of the fight that is far from over in Iraq.

Kiera Defaria's father will see her first day of kindergarten only by clicking on a video link on Facebook. Staff Sergeant Wagner Defaria is a 3rd Brigade Combat Team soldier from Ft. Carson currently in southern Iraq.

Michelle Defaria, who works for KKTV, is Wagner's wife and thought recent reports of the troop draw-down might end her husband's fourth deployment early.

"I thought, he's on a plane," she said. "Oh my God, he's coming home."

Now she's dismayed and disgruntled that those reports could mislead the American public, and she's not alone.

The assignment for thousands of soldiers is not over.
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Withdrawal Reports Anger Families and Soldiers

Combat brigades in Iraq under different name
As the final convoy of the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Lewis, Wash., entered Kuwait early Thursday, a different Stryker brigade remained in Iraq.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Last U.S. combat forces crossed the border into Kuwait

The last U.S. combat forces cross the border into Kuwait, bringing Operation Iraqi Freedom to a close after nearly 7½ years. NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, reports live from the border.

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Goodbye, Iraq: Last US Combat Brigade Exits
August 19, 2010
Associated Press

KHABARI CROSSING, Kuwait -- A line of heavily armored American military vehicles, their headlights twinkling in the pre-dawn desert, lumbered past the barbed wire and metal gates marking the border between Iraq and Kuwait early Thursday and rolled into history.

For the troops of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, it was a moment of relief fraught with symbolism but lightened by the whoops and cheers of Soldiers one step closer to going home. Seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion, the last American combat brigade was leaving Iraq, well ahead of President Obama's Aug. 31 deadline for ending U.S. combat operations there.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd ID, was officially designated the last combat brigade to leave Iraq under Obama's plan to end combat operations in Iraq by Aug. 31. Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana joined the troops on their final journey out of the country.

Last US Combat Brigade Exits

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Michael Fay reporting with art from war

Drawing Fire
In 2005, then Chief Warrant Officer Michael D. Fay traveled to Iraq in his capacity as official Marine Corps artist. There he fought with Marines engaged in Operation Steel Curtain against insurgents along the Euphrates River, and documented the events in sketches, photographs and audio recordings.

Michael D. Fay held the the position of combat artist for the United States Marine Corps from 2000 through January 2010. He was deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan working as a war correspondent embedded with Marine units. His blog is Fire and Ice.

Mr. Fay describes that experience here in “Drawing Fire,” to be published in five consecutive parts this week in Home Fires. It is based on material from his memoir, “The War Artist,” (earlier drafts appeared on his blog in January), and includes artwork and photographs from his time with Marine units in Operation Steel Curtain.

In 2006, Mr. Fay was a contributor to The Times’s Frontlines series, in which he described the orders he followed as Marine Corps artist: “Go to War, Do Art.” He is now retired from the Marine Corps, but is currently in Afghanistan working as a correspondent embedded with Marine units in Afghanistan.
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Drawing Fire
Drawing Fire: Last Day
Drawing Fire: Stay With Us
Drawing Fire: Reckoning

Monday, June 7, 2010

Vietnam War veteran meets Iraq wounded soldier he helped save

Iraq veteran reunites with rescuer
June 7, 2010 12:05 AM
Blood-splattered blue jeans -- worn two years ago by veteran photojournalist Jim Wade -- have never been washed.

Wade brought the well-preserved jeans with him from West Melbourne to show former Army corporal and Purple Heart recipient Walter "Matt" Bailey.

The recent reunion in a quiet gated Palm Coast condominium community was their first since an explosion in Iraq on March 30, 2008, wounded Bailey, then 19. He was driving the armored military vehicle in which Wade was a passenger.

Then a private, Bailey was injured by an improvised explosive device that sprayed molten-hot shrapnel.

"The last thing I remember seeing was Jim," said Bailey, 22. "He was wrapping up my foot."

In addition to losing part of his foot, Bailey suffered injuries to both legs, severe nerve damage to his right arm and serious emotional trauma.

The explosion left a crater, said Wade, a 60-plus-year-old Vietnam War veteran -- who leaped out of the back passenger door of the vehicle to help Bailey and others in the Humvee. A retired aircraft mechanic and Seabee, Wade was embedded with Wade's unit, and has been back and forth to the war zone capturing war footage.

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Iraq veteran reunites with rescuer

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Vietnam Veteran Mentors Soldiers in Iraq

Vietnam Veteran Mentors Soldiers in Iraq
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)
Story by Sgt. Chad Menegay
06.04.2010 VICTORY BASE COMPLEX, Iraq —As a point man during the Vietnam War, Marine Pfc. Willie Yarbrough guided his platoon through rugged jungles and fierce guerilla warfare near the Ben Hai river. He learned a lot about the North Vietnamese soldiers, developed a knack to sniff out an ambush and a capacity to stay focused on the moment.

As a radio operator in Vietnam, another highly targeted position, he became a skilled communicator under pressure and did what was necessary to stay alive.

Later in the war, as a Marine corporal and squad leader, Yarbrough made battlefield decisions and managed men in his squad.

During his 16-year tenure in the U.S. Marine Corps, Yarbrough served as a platoon sergeant, drill instructor, career counselor and a school instructor.

After a 22-year break in service, Spc. Yarbrough,
a logistics specialist for the 812th Quartermaster Company, 373rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Beaumont, Texas, native, now works in the Camp Liberty Oasis water treatment facility at Victory Base Complex, Iraq, to make sure Soldiers receive purified drinking water.

Forty years removed from Vietnam, the 59-year-old Yarbrough volunteered to deploy with the 812th, leaving his home unit, the 1002nd Quartermaster Company, out of Beaumont, Texas, which he joined three years earlier.

"A recruiter asked me did I ever think about going back in," Yarbrough said. "I told him, man, at my age, you must be out of your mind. He said, no, you could do it."

He's done it, and he's made an impact along the way, mentoring Soldiers.
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Vietnam Veteran Mentors Soldiers in Iraq

Monday, May 31, 2010

On Memorial Day, U.S. soldiers in Iraq contemplate 'forgotten war'

On Memorial Day, U.S. soldiers in Iraq contemplate 'forgotten war'
By Leila Fadel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 31, 2010; 4:40 PM

BAGHDAD -- Inside the ornate palace of the late dictator Saddam Hussein, now the main headquarters of U.S. forces in Iraq, dozens of U.S. service members bowed their heads in prayer at a Memorial Day commemoration.

They thought about their families waiting for them to come home. They thought about the fallen comrades lost in the past seven years of occupation and war. They thought about what would come next.

At the end of 2011, the last U.S. service member is supposed to leave Iraq. Sometimes, the service members wonder whether people at home remember that despite the drop in violence, Americans and Iraqis still die here. About 92,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq; about 4,400 have been killed. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis have also been killed.

"We've become the forgotten war, like Korea," said Maj. Scott Stewart, an anti-terrorism U.S. Air Force officer with the United States Forces-Iraq.
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US soldiers in Iraq contemplate forgotten war

Monday, May 24, 2010

CNN Pays Tribute to Coalition Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq

There are times when I am absolutely heartbroken by the lack of news coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan. There always seems to be some other story for all the major media stations to jump onto with too little time to remind the American people there are troops risking their lives everyday in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is more heartbreaking is that even when they return home, out of danger from bombs, they are still in danger from bullets but instead of the weapon held in the hands of enemies, the gun is held in their own hand. 18 suicides a day, most committed with guns. The American people are not reminded of the fallen except when a hometown boy or girl comes home for the last time. They are not reminded of the wounded. Most of the time the American people are left on their own to search for news or just get on with their own lives, their own problems, their own families. Few know of the hardships of the families of the military and harder times for the families of National Guards and Reservists.

CNN has done a good job tracking it all. They could have done a better job on the news station itself, but the online work they've done has been outstanding. I search it often because I know it is accurate and very up to date. It looks like CNN has done it again with this site. Take a look at it and remember, just because we are not reminded everyday of the price they pay, they still pay it.

CNN Pays Tribute to Coalition Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq Wars with Launch of “Home and Away”
Ten-Year Project Culminates in Immersive Online Interactive Memorial and Month-long On-Air Programming Honoring Troops
Continuing to develop innovative ways to present its audience with news and information, CNN is combining the unparalleled strengths of its on-air and online platforms to honor every Coalition Forces casualty in Afghanistan and Iraq. has launched “Home and Away,” an immersive interactive which allows users to learn about and pay tribute to more than 6,000 fallen troops from more than 20 countries. Simultaneously, CNN chief national correspondent John King begins a month-long tribute on his week-nightly 7 p.m. ET program, JohnKing, USA, airing one of the fallen’s personal stories each night. On Memorial Day, a special edition of JohnKing, USA, entitled “Home and Away,” will be dedicated entirely to this subject. Throughout these tributes, King will utilize the Magic Wall to go behind the statistics and provide human faces to the sacrifice.
“Each of these casualties has an inspiring and moving story, and we wanted to find an exceptional way to honor the sacrifice every single one of them made,” said Susan Grant, executive vice president of CNN News Services. “We hope ‘Home and Away’ serves as an enduring memorial for those that made the ultimate sacrifice while also helping the CNN audience more personally connect with this deeply complex topic.”
“We were so moved by the powerful stories of these service members and those who loved them along the way,” said Michelle Jaconi, Executive Producer, John King, USA. “Our colleagues have created a powerful tool that allows us to more deeply engage with our viewers, connecting them to personal tributes from the fallen's family and friends."
Available at this extensive data visualization project began nearly 10 years ago at the start of the war in Afghanistan. A cross-divisional effort between the CNN Library and, a team of researchers, producers, designers, user-experience specialists and developers have gathered information about the casualties of the wars. Evolving from two separate lists of casualties in Afghanistanand Iraq, “Home and Away” tells the story of where and how the lives of these troops began and ended, and is continually enhanced with personal memories from family and friends.
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CNN Pays Tribute to Coalition Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Veterans prepare memorial for 5,434 servicemembers killed OIF and OEF

Veterans prepare memorial for 5,434 servicemembers killed in Afghanistan, Iraq
By Rosalio Ahumada, McClatchy Newspapers
Stars and Stripes online edition, Sunday, April 25, 2010
RIVERBANK, Calif. — National Guard Staff Sgt. Mike Gamino didn't think twice when he was asked to help paint more than 5,000 crosses to honor those who have died while serving in the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Along with 17 other war veterans, Gamino, 41, grabbed a paint brush and got to work building a ceremonial display for next month's Memorial Day activities.

"It's a form of remembrance," said Gamino, a Salida, Calif., man who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq. "It's also a way for us to come together and bond; like a brotherhood."

About 10 other volunteers joined the veterans Saturday at Bruce Gordo's Riverbank, Calif., home to paint the crosses. Each one is meant to represent a soldier, Marine or sailor who died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While the crosses offer a tribute to sacrifice, the display will also provide a stark reminder of the number of lives lost, said Gordo, who served in the Marines in Vietnam.
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Veterans prepare memorial for 5,434 servicemembers killed

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Army preserves items of remembrance at Section 60

Charles Dharapak, AP / April 13, 2010

Paula Davis, 55, of Gaithersburg, Md., a single mother who lost her only child, Army Pfc. Justin Davis, 29, in Afghanistan in 2006, sits at his grave at Section 60, at Arlington National Cemetery where more than 600 service members who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are buried, Sunday, April 11, 2010 in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Army preserves items of remembrance at Section 60, Arlington's place for Iraq, Afghan war dead

Associated Press Writer

April 15, 2010 12:02 a.m.
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Army curator James Speraw stood by Spc. Christopher Coffland's grave, tucked among the rows of white headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, and read the inscription on dog tags that he cupped gently in his palms.

"I thank God every time I remember you," said the tags. "We love you Chris, our brother."

Speraw had little time to ponder the 43-year-old soldier who was killed in Afghanistan. "8955," he called out to a fellow curator, who jotted that grave site number down. They took photos of the dog tags and placed them in an archival bag, part of a new trial effort to preserve graveside mementoes at Section 60 — Arlington's primary resting place for the dead from the Iraq and Afghan wars.

The two then moved on to another grave to collect a teddy bear and blue stuffed bunny left for another fallen soldier. A few rows away, a backhoe pushed dirt over the grave of a servicemember buried minutes earlier, its loud, steady rumble punctuating the air in a sad refrain.

"It's an honor to do it, but you just really hate to see the graves," Speraw said, choking back tears.
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Army preserves items of remembrance at Section 60

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thousands swindled using soldier-in-need ruse

Thousands swindled using soldier-in-need ruse

By Joe Gould - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Mar 28, 2010 12:41:28 EDT

Whoever said all’s fair in love and war never met these Internet hucksters.

Con men impersonating deployed U.S. servicemen are hooking civilian women on dating Web sites and swindling them into spending money on fictitious laptops, international telephones, “leave papers” and plane tickets, said Chris Grey, a spokesman for Army Criminal Investigation Command.

The scheme appears to be a sophisticated twist on the ubiquitous lottery letter scam, but it uniquely exploits the victims’ patriotism and emotions while misrepresenting the Army and soldier-support programs, Grey said.

“These are not soldiers, they are thieves,” he said.

Officials say the phony American soldiers are often in reality African con men who seduce women online by creating profiles on dating and social media sites that appropriate the names, ranks and photos of actual soldiers, typically those serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Marine shields team from harm, earns Bronze Star

John Gastaldo
Velzeboer, part of an explosive-ordnance-disposal team, drove a trailer full of grenades away from the fiery aftermath of a bombing.

Marine shields team from harm, earns Bronze Star

Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

After the blast, Staff Sgt. Dustin Velzeboer looked around and realized he was the only person still standing.

His gunnery sergeant lay in pieces, literally, on the ground. Two other members of the bomb unit were dead, and so was the sergeant assigned to them for security.

Velzeboer, a 27-year-old Marine with a baby on the way at home, saw no other choice: He couldn’t move his guys away from the danger. He had to move the danger away from them.

The tall, blond Marine jumped into the team’s truck, which was hooked to a trailer packed with 45 Iraqi rocket-propelled grenades. The grenades were sure to detonate in the fiery aftermath of the roadside bomb blast.

With one hand — his other was shredded by shrapnel — Velzeboer drove the truck away from his men. These thoughts ran through his mind: “Get the rig off the road; we need the road to leave.” “I hope there are no more bombs where I’m driving.” “I need to tell my wife I love her.”

There were no speeches. But afterward, Velzeboer — not much for grandstanding himself — talked about the life of an explosive-ordnance-disposal Marine, one of the most dangerous and in-demand jobs in the military.

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Marine shields team from harm, earns Bronze Star

Families of contractors killed in Iraq sue feds

Families of contractors killed in Iraq sue feds

The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Mar 26, 2010 17:37:43 EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The families of three private security contractors who were kidnapped, held for ransom and beheaded in Iraq are suing the State Department over their deaths.

Joshua Munns, John Cote and John Young were working for Crescent Security Group in November 2006 when they and two other co-workers were ambushed and abducted while guarding a military convoy near the southern Iraq city of Safwan.

The complaint, which filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, seeks punitive damages and challenges the constitutionality of the U.S. government’s practice of using private military contractors in war but not supporting them when they are injured, killed or kidnapped.

“The primary goal is to peel back the lid on this black box .... to ask the hard question about what this ‘War on Terror’ is about,” Bill Palmer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told The Associated Press.
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Families of contractors killed in Iraq sue feds

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Only 19 percent of medical evacuations in Mideast battle-related

Data: Only 19 percent of medical evacuations in Mideast battle-related
By Teri Weaver, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TOKYO — Only one out of five medical evacuations of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan in the past eight years were diagnosed as battle-related injuries, according to a new analysis by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center.

During the same time, evacuations for mental disorders rose drastically, from 61 instances in 2002 to 1,014 in 2008, the last full year analyzed.

The majority of the medical evacuations from Iraq and Afghanistan occurred because of injuries classified as happening outside the battlefield, including back and knee problems, mental disorders, and other physical problems such as digestive, respiratory or urinary symptoms, according to the report.

The analysis was the first of its kind to look comprehensively at all 52,283 medical evacuations from October 2001 to September 2009, according to Army Col. Robert DeFraites, a preventive medicine doctor who directs the center.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Press called "despicable" for lack of war coverage

Press called despicable for lack of war coverage

Chaplain Kathie

Say what you will about Congressman Kennedy, but when he had a meltdown over the lack of press coverage while congress was debating Afghanistan, just as they had with Iraq, he was right. Two reporters were there. Kennedy pointed out that while everyone is fixated on Massa's sexual escapades, no one seems to be interested in our men and women in the military.

It seems there is always some other story they want to cover instead. Celebrities and other public figures, usually doing very selfish things, end up being the story of the day on every "news" program. Sex seems to get the most attention, then drugs and then other crimes. The more terrifying or horrific, the better. Then it was years of coverage for the campaigns of seekers of the White House address. Most of the time the media reports on what's going on, the stories getting the most attention are more like cat fights than debates and that's great for the media, but not too great for the American people trying to find out what is going on.

Everyone seems to want to just get the most attention including reporters. Two wars claiming lives yet they can't seem to find time to at least put up a moment of time when they actually mention any of these deaths. The people, the few interested in finding out what's going on, have to search the net to find out and as for the rest of the people, not interested, they are never pulled in to care.

The unselfish acts the troops deliver on everyday are never newsworthy. If you turned on any station once Iraq was invaded, it was almost as if troops were pulled out of Afghanistan and no one was dying there. Politicians never mentioned Afghanistan and the media didn't ask. The cat fight was all about Iraq. Yet the coverage was not about what was happening in Iraq, it was usually over politicians trying to defend their point of view and funding it instead of talking about the troops, how many were wounded, how many died, how the lives of the widows and orphans were changed, or even how the families of the wounded at Walter Reed and Bethesda were having to make a choice between being with their loved one or keeping their jobs.

There is so much going on when troops deploy that is never mentioned but these are not stories about selfish people doing what they can to make their own lives better. These are stories of the men and women in the military, the National Guards and the Reservists doing what they can to make their country better and safer for the rest of us when we don't seem to give a damn about any of it.

Debate why they are sent and how long they should stay all you want, but at least you are interested in it and find it worthy of your time. While you are debating the worthiness of war, do not overlook the men and women at the center of the debate.

Debate all you want about if you think their sacrifice was worthy or not but never, ever debate if what they sacrifice, what they were willing to give up was worth talking about. Once they deploy into combat, they will live with every memory of it for the rest of their lives. They understand this. They are willing to do it. That alone should be worthy of mentioning in between stories of selfish people only caring about themselves!

Congressman Kennedy did what should have been done a long time ago and the media should feel very ashamed they find the men and women putting their lives on the line so uninteresting to report on.

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Photo by Nelvin C. Cepeda - Union-Tribune

Marine Staff Sgt. Jesse Cottle strengthened his upper leg muscles at the Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care facility at San Diego Naval Medical Center.

“They’re not blood family, but they might as well be,” he says. “They are my brothers.” Marine Sgt. Christopher Lawrence, 23, was wounded on foot patrol in 2007 in Anbar province, Iraq

Wars' wounded get help to cope
Rehab clinic offers prosthetics, therapy

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 8:06 p.m.

Army Sgt. Daniel Biskey directs his wife to place the mirror just so, signaling with one hand like the combat-team leader he was. Then he steps forward, weaving uncertainly amid the cones stretching across the floor of the rehabilitation clinic, his lips rolled tight in concentration.

Surgeons had amputated Biskey’s left leg below the knee after his foot was shredded in November by a land mine in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

Biskey, 26, feels awkward testing his new prosthetic leg. His physical therapist, an Army veteran, assures him and says to give it time.

“They have me do a lot of stuff that hurts. It’s kind of cool,” he says later, smiling.

Biskey’s path will likely remain difficult. Yet it already has gone further than previous generations of war wounded could have imagined, thanks to treatment from the Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care center at San Diego Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park.

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Wars' wounded get help to cope

Many years ago I was the Circulation Manager for a newspaper. There was a saying "If it bleeds, it leads" meaning that the worst the story is, the more attention it gets. The saying turned out to be true. The worst the story, the more papers were sold. Well, these men and women are bleeding and dying. You'd think that covering their stories would be interesting enough. You'd also think that when congress debates on funding what they have been asked to do would be newsworthy. Human interests stories are important to most of us, but you'd never know that watching the cable or national news. Local newspapers and news reporters do a better job of covering some of what goes on in their area but when you think of how little has been reported on regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, it should be a clear indication that sex trumps servicemen and women, crimes trumps courage, selfishness trumps the selfless and as for bleeding, it all depends on who is bleeding and suffering.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bomb-sniffing dogs being rushed to Iraq

Bomb-sniffing dogs being rushed to Iraq

Chelsea J. Carter - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Feb 4, 2010 9:28:58 EST

BAGHDAD — American military officials are stepping up delivery of bomb-detection dogs to Iraq with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government under pressure for using equipment that may be ineffective in finding explosives.
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Bomb-sniffing dogs being rushed to Iraq

Monday, January 18, 2010

Balad burn pit harmed troops living 1 mile away

Balad burn pit harmed troops living 1 mile away

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jan 18, 2010 16:10:11 EST

As Wendy McBreairty hiked up a 20-foot bluff in her hometown of Cheyenne, Wyo., her thigh muscles felt heavy, as if she had been climbing for hours.

She breathed deeply, trying to fill her lungs but, as usual, she felt as if she could not get enough of the clear, cold air. Fatigue overwhelmed her, just as it does every other day of her life.

The 32-year-old Air National Guard staff sergeant sat on a rock, leaned toward the setting sun, and pondered her future.
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Balad burn pit harmed troops living 1 mile away

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

American military-aged population that is being asked to do virtually nothing in these two conflicts

They used to draft soldiers. This meant everyone had to do their part. We saw this especially with WWII when wives were showing up to work in factories as their husbands were deployed. We saw this during Vietnam, but the result of this draft was protests, burning draft cards and general ambivalence when they came home.

The worst thing about all of this is not just that the burden is carried by a tiny percentage of the US population, it's that so few seem to care at all.
US forces killed in Iraq 4,373
US forces killed in Afghanistan 958

"It's quite unusual, the inequality," says Christopher Hamner, a military historian at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. "You've got the vast majority of the American military-aged population that is being asked to do virtually nothing in these two conflicts. And then a very small percentage is being asked to shoulder enormous burdens."

Repeated deployments weigh heavily on U.S. troops
By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Army Staff Sgt. Bobby Martin Jr. has been fighting insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan longer than the entire three years the Korean War lasted.

At age 34 and finishing a fourth combat tour, he has seen five of his men killed since 2003. Four died this year, including two on Martin's birthday in May. Thirty-eight cumulative months in combat have left him with bad knees, aching shins and recurring headaches from a roadside blast, ailments he hides from his soldiers.

Out of earshot of his troops, Martin concedes, "This is a lot of wear and tear."

American soldiers of the 21st century are quietly making history, serving in combat longer than almost any U.S. soldiers in the nation's past, military historians say.

For many, the fighting seems without end, a fatalism increasingly shared by most Americans. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll conducted late last week found that 67% believe the U.S. will constantly have combat troops fighting somewhere in the world for at least the next 20 years.

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Repeated deployments weigh heavily on U.S. troops

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mom serving in Iraq hears two young sons died in house fire back home

Sons die in fire while mom's in Iraq

'SHE'S DEVASTATED' Father pulls boys, ages 2 and 5, from room as smoke billows out window

January 5, 2010

If the dreaded news comes, it's supposed to arrive stateside with a knock at the front door and a visit from two somber soldiers.

That tragedy played out in reverse Monday when a Lansing soldier serving in Iraq was told her two small children had perished in a fire while napping at home.

"She's devastated, and she is trying to hold on," said Clint Towers, who is Areah Brown-Towers' father-in-law and grandfather to the two victims -- Joshua, 2, and Jeremiah, 5.

Clint Towers said the American Red Cross was making arrangements Tuesday to bring the grieving mother home -- perhaps as soon as Thursday.
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Sons die in fire while mom in Iraq

Friday, January 1, 2010

No US combat deaths in Iraq in December but three non-combat deaths

One ugly truth about war is that we lose more after it than during it. With all the counts from the Department of Defense and the VA, the truth is that we never really know how many die because of war but are not counted in any of the totals. If they are out of the military, they are not tracked by the DOD. If they are not in the VA system as a veteran, they are not counted when they die either. It's almost as if they fall into a dark hole but their families know who they are, remember them and mourn them.

Zero combat deaths in Iraq for December but three non-combat deaths. This should not be the end of this story.

No U.S. combat-related deaths in Iraq in December
January 1, 2010 3:54 p.m. EST

NEW: Casualties decreasing among Iraqis with civilian death toll at its lowest in November
December is first month with no U.S. combat deaths since war began
"That is a very significant milestone for us," top U.S. commander in Iraq says
4,373 Americans have died in Iraq since start of war

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- December was the first month since the beginning of the Iraq war in which there were no U.S. combat deaths, the U.S. military reported.

There were three noncombat fatalities.

"That is a very significant milestone for us as we continue to move forward, and I think that also speaks to the level of violence and how it has decreased over time," said Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Since the beginning of the war more than six years ago, 4,373 U.S. military members have died -- 3,477 from hostilities and 898 in non-combat incidents.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

2 million men and women have shouldered deployments

A million soldiers deployed since 9/11

By Michelle Tan - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Dec 18, 2009 14:35:33 EST

Eight years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, American troops have deployed almost 3.3 million times to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Defense Department data.

The numbers, as of October 2009, show that more than 2 million men and women have shouldered those deployments, with 793,000 of them deploying more than once.

Here’s a look at how the numbers break down, by service.
go here for the numbers