Good morning America! It’s Veterans Day which makes it the perfect time to reflect on the fact that the bounty we enjoy in the United States has been won, protected and defended by a few willing, dedicated and selfless citizens for the benefit of all the rest of us. My wish this November 11th, is that our veterans feel the love, respect and admiration we have for them, today and every other day of the year.
242 years old and still going strong. God bless America and God bless our Marines!
I first saw this video yesterday on my friend’s fantastic blog (Pacific Paratrooper) and I wanted to post it here.
Ty impressed me thoughtful, kind, bright and energetic. He had a mischievous sparkle in his eye and a big, warm, welcoming smile.
Army Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter’s story was reprinted here from an article by Szoldra & Ingersoll on Business Insider.com, August 27, 2013
The day at Combat Outpost Keating was one to remember, or one to forget, depending on who’s doing the talking. So far, the fighting there has produced two Medal of Honor recipients.
On Oct. 3, 2009, Carter was one of 54 members of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment defending Outpost Keating in Nuristan Province. Shortly before 6 a.m., the remote base was rocked with blistering enemy machine gun and rocket fire. More than 400 fighters were attempting to overrun the base.
Then-Specialist Carter sprinted across open ground to join his fellow soldiers on the perimeter, then ran back again to gather up necessary supplies despite withering enemy fire. Later, Carter noticed his fellow soldier Specialist Stephan L. Mace was wounded.
While Larson provided cover fire from within a nearby Humvee, Carter stanched Mace’s bleeding and placed a tourniquet on his shattered leg.
He realized he couldn’t carry Mace while he had his weapon. He returned to the Humvee and told Larson his plan. Larson got out of the Humvee and provided cover fire while Carter returned to Mace, picked him up and carried him through the hail of bullets back to the Humvee, and went back to firing.
During the 12-hour long battle, Carter continued to give medical aid to Mace, engage the enemy, and communicate with his fellow soldiers to retake the base. According to the Army’s official narrative of the battle, “Carter’s remarkable acts of heroism and skill, which were vital to the defense of COP Keating, exemplify what it means to be an American hero.”
Carter first joined the military in 1998, enlisting in the Marine Corps and serving until 2002. After some time attending college and traveling, he enlisted in the Army in 2008, and continues to serve on active duty.
He joins fellow Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha as the second recipient of the Medal of Honor for the battle at COP Keating.
According to a Reuters report, Carter said he was eager to represent those who had suffered as a result of the war.
“Only those closest to me can see the scars that come from seeing good men take their last breath,” he told reporters.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Specialist Ty M. Carter distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Scout with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on October 3, 2009. On that morning, Specialist Carter and his comrades awakened to an attack of an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of Combat Outpost Keating, employing concentrated fire from recoilless rifles, rocket propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars and small arms fire. Specialist Carter reinforced a forward battle position, ran twice through a 100 meter gauntlet of enemy fire to resupply ammunition and voluntarily remained there to defend the isolated position. Armed with only an M4 carbine rifle, Specialist Carter placed accurate, deadly fire on the enemy, beating back the assault force and preventing the position from being overrun, over the course of several hours. With complete disregard for his own safety and in spite of his own wounds, he ran through a hail of enemy rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire to rescue a critically wounded comrade who had been pinned down in an exposed position. Specialist Carter rendered life extending first aid and carried the Soldier to cover. On his own initiative, Specialist Carter again maneuvered through enemy fire to check on a fallen Soldier and recovered the squad’s radio, which allowed them to coordinate their evacuation with fellow Soldiers. With teammates providing covering fire, Specialist Carter assisted in moving the wounded Soldier 100 meters through withering enemy fire to the aid station and before returning to the fight. Specialist Carter’s heroic actions and tactical skill were critical to the defense of Combat Outpost Keating, preventing the enemy from capturing the position and saving the lives of his fellow Soldiers. Specialist Ty M. Carter’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.
Oh my! This is the last day I get to enjoy my numerous Halloween decorations. Tomorrow my two light up Halloween trees, my skeletons, the spooky village, my dishtowels, ghosts, the big cauldron, talking pumpkin and assorted other thematic things go back in their boxes until next September 15th. Sigh…
Ah well, the way time seems to be passing lately, it’ll be time to dig them out again before I know it!
Happy Halloween my friends!
This weekend, my youngest son played the last football game of the regular season. During the game, one of his teammates hurt his ankle. After a couple of plays, during which he was limping around on the field, the coach asked him if he wanted to come out. He said “no.” The coach asked him if he could play. He said “yes.” The team ran a couple more plays and he continued to limp around. Once again, the coach asked him if he wanted to come out. He emphatically said he didn’t. At that point the coach shouted across the field, “THEN STOP LIMPING!!!”
I was a little taken aback but lo and behold, to my surprise, he did. He stopped limping until he got the to sideline later on. I thought about that after the game was over. I thought about the times in life when you just have to suck it up. You might be a little hurt, you might be a little sad, frustrated or angry, you might be a little sick but you have to pull it together for the good of the team, your family, or your co-workers. If you’re going to go out there and be a player you can’t flop around making it obvious you’re a weak link. It’s not fair to yourself or those around you.
Even though my “mom antennae” went up when the coach yelled, I realized he was entirely right to call the boy out. If he was too hurt to play, he could have opted to take himself out. He wasn’t, and he wanted to play, therefore he needed to take a breath and “straighten up.” It was a good lesson for the boy and a good reminder for me too. There is a time and place for all things and when you’re checked in for duty, it isn’t the time to limp around.
Everybody knows, I have a love-hate relationship with squats. I wish I never had to do them but I can’t get the results I want without having them in the repertoire. Ask me how I know. Yeah, I tried for years to get the quads I wanted without doing squats at all. Finally, with some encouragement from a friend (a Marine who told me I needed to “man up”), I caved and started doing them regularly. Lo and behold, I started seeing the leg development I’d always wanted.
I still do squats and I still don’t enjoy doing them but I LOVE the way they make my legs look!
I have a dear friend who is morbidly obese. I’ve known him since we were 17 years old. He was overweight at that time and has put on many additional pounds since then. We live in different states so we don’t see each other often but we keep in touch by phone, text and email.
He knows I’m interested in fitness and nutrition so often brings up his desire to lose weight in our conversations. He’s tried many times to shed some of those extra pounds but has never had any success long term. A couple of days ago, he told me he was thinking about going vegan in order to lose weight.
I’m not throwing rocks. I love my friend but I was left wondering how the heck he was going to go vegan when he’s never been able to exercise much control over ANY part of his food intake. If he did stick to a vegan diet, I’m sure he would lose weight but such an extreme change in habits, taken on all at once, seems to be destined for failure just like all his other weight loss endeavors. I would never discourage him from making the attempt but my philosophy is that a gentle, gradual approach to bringing your diet in line with healthier eating has a much greater chance of success over the long haul. Extreme changes are incredibly difficult to sustain and that’s the ultimate goal. You want to move toward a thoughtful, nutrient-rich way of feeding yourself, permanently.
My friend might have some success with his vegan plan. It might work where nothing else has. I will cheer his efforts to make positive changes as I always have and I will keep my doubts to myself…unless he specifically asks for my opinion.
If he asks, I will advise him to make small but important changes over time. I’ll tell him to do the very easy things first like drop soda from his diet and to start eating regular, smaller, balanced meals throughout the day instead of enormous meals two or three times a day. I’ll tell him that little changes are a lot easier to maintain over time and that the slow and steady approach works best for most people.
That’s what I’ll say…if he asks.
The following citation gives you the reason he was awarded the Medal of Honor but the video at the end gives you a bit of a feel for who he is as a person. His humility was obvious in person and it shows in the video as well. It made me enjoy being around him very much.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in the afternoon while serving as commander of River Assault Division 152 during combat operations against enemy aggressor forces. Lt. Comdr. (then Lt.) Kelley was in charge of a column of 8 river assault craft which were extracting 1 company of U.S. Army infantry troops on the east bank of the Ong Muong Canal in Kien Hoa province, when 1 of the armored troop carriers reported a mechanical failure of a loading ramp. At approximately the same time, Viet Cong forces opened fire from the opposite bank of the canal. After issuing orders for the crippled troop carrier to raise its ramp manually, and for the remaining boats to form a protective cordon around the disabled craft, Lt. Comdr. Kelley realizing the extreme danger to his column and its inability to clear the ambush site until the crippled unit was repaired, boldly maneuvered the monitor in which he was embarked to the exposed side of the protective cordon in direct line with the enemy’s fire, and ordered the monitor to commence firing. Suddenly, an enemy rocket scored a direct hit on the coxswain’s flat, the shell penetrating the thick armor plate, and the explosion spraying shrapnel in all directions. Sustaining serious head wounds from the blast, which hurled him to the deck of the monitor, Lt. Cmdr. Kelley disregarded his severe injuries and attempted to continue directing the other boats. Although unable to move from the deck or to speak clearly into the radio, he succeeded in relaying his commands through 1 of his men until the enemy attack was silenced and the boats were able to move to an area of safety. Lt. Comdr. Kelley’s brilliant leadership, bold initiative, and resolute determination served to inspire his men and provide the impetus needed to carry out the mission after he was medically evacuated by helicopter. His extraordinary courage under fire, and his selfless devotion to duty sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
On the last day of summer, I thought I’d bring you something lighthearted and fun…and just a little spicy. As you know, I love the pin up genre and one of my favorite modern artists is Robert Alvarado. He creates some lovely images and many of them are the in the military tribute or patriotic themes I love. He’s got some great examples of fit girls showing a little love for America. If you like the examples of his work I posted here, you may want to visit him on Facebook or Model Mayhem to see more.
Happy last day of summer!!
For those who may not know, the Medal of Honor is the United States of America’s highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who distinguished themselves by acts of valor.
Last week I traveled out of town in order to serve as a volunteer at a meeting of about 40 of our Medal of Honor recipients. I found out about a year ago that they were planning a get together in Colorado. As luck would have it, I have relatives there that live close enough to the meeting place to allow me to stay and work there for a few days.
As an aside, I want to know why airplane seats are so tiny. I’m a small person, thank goodness, and even I’m squished trying to sit comfortably. Oh well, that’s a rant for another day.
During the week, security was very tight. I saw law enforcement professionals of all types…city police, bomb squad guys, men from the sheriffs office, private security companies and I even had a long chat at one of the events with a Department of Wildlife officer. Once we were officially checked in each morning, however, we could socialize freely with the Medal of Honor recipients and their families as long we were taking care of our duties. Since I originally started off on the Reservation Committee and that job was done when the meeting began, I didn’t have hard assignments but served as a floater helping out whenever I was needed. Typically, I walked around making sure the recipients, their wives, children and guests were having a good time. It was an easy job because they were all very pleasant and easy to please.
I can say, without reservation, that I had a fantastic time. It was a wonderful thing to be part of. The recipients had many events that were planned strictly for their entertainment but they also had quite a few community outreach opportunities that they took full advantage of. They made visits to local schools and made sure that members of the public who wanted to meet them (and who planned ahead) would have a chance to do so. As a group, they were gracious, energetic, kind, funny…and a we bit ornery. As one would expect, they had minds of their own and trying to get them from one place to another, even if it was just from a reception tent into the main building was like herding cats but that’s where my years of teaching came in handy. I’m pretty good at moving groups of people around.
I was so happy to see the outpouring of love from everyone for our Medal of Honor recipients. Everywhere they went last week, they were showered with appreciation, gifts, kind words and gratitude…exactly as they should be. I was delighted for them and their families but it also hardened my resolve. It made me even more committed to seeing that our veterans who don’t enjoy the same level of public acknowledgment, know they are appreciated too. I want every last one of them to have the spotlight of recognition shined upon them by the American public. I’m only one person but I’ve taken that as my mission. Every veteran in my sphere will hear at least one sincere, personal “thank you” from me and I’ll keep volunteering my services in the community for veteran’s causes.
I don’t have a lot of photos to share since I was supposed to be working and contributing, not standing around taking photos but I do have a few from one of the events where it was appropriate to have your picture taken with the recipients. Over the next little while, I’ll post some of those and relay how the recipient in the photo earned their Medal of Honor.
Brian Miles Thacker
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Battery A, 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery. Place and date: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 31 March 1971. Entered service at: Salt Lake City, Utah. Born: 25 April 1945, Columbus, Ohio.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Thacker, Field Artillery, Battery A, distinguished himself while serving as the team leader of an Integrated Observation System collocated with elements of two Army of the Republic of Vietnam units at Fire Base 6. A numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force launched a well-planned, dawn attack on the small, isolated, hilltop fire base. Employing rockets, grenades, flame-throwers, and automatic weapons, the enemy forces penetrated the perimeter defenses and engaged the defenders in hand-to-hand combat. Throughout the morning and early afternoon, 1st Lt. Thacker rallied and encouraged the U.S. and Republic of Vietnam soldiers in heroic efforts to repulse the enemy. He occupied a dangerously exposed observation position for a period of 4 hours while directing friendly air strikes and artillery fire against the assaulting enemy forces. His personal bravery and inspired leadership enabled the outnumbered friendly forces to inflict a maximum of casualties on the attacking enemy forces and prevented the base from being overrun. By late afternoon, the situation had become untenable. 1st Lt. Thacker organized and directed the withdrawal of the remaining friendly forces. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he remained inside the perimeter alone to provide covering fire with his M-16 rifle until all other friendly forces had escaped from the besieged fire base. Then, in an act of supreme courage, he called for friendly artillery fire on his own position to allow his comrades more time to withdraw safely from the area and, at the same time, inflict even greater casualties on the enemy forces. Although wounded and unable to escape from the area himself, he successfully eluded the enemy forces for 8 days until friendly forces regained control of the fire base. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by 1st Lt. Thacker were an inspiration to his comrades and are in the highest traditions of the military service.