Sunday, July 29, 2007

Parade will file past Intrepid in '08

USS Intrepid

It's more than a year away. But officials Thursday that the 2008 Veteran's Day Parade will be re-routed west across 42nd Street and north on 12th Avenue to pay homage to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid, which will return to its refurbished berth at Pier 86 on Sept. 26, 2008 -- the birthdate of the late Zachary Fisher, who founded the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Museum officials announced the plans to more than 100 government and corporate leaders Thursday at a gathering in Brooklyn. The museum's grand re-opening celebration will officially take place on Nov. 11, 2008 -- Veteran's Day.

Museum president Bill White said the celebration will "afford us the opportunity to give Intrepid the glorious return she so deserves."

Commissioned in August, 1943, the Intrepid became one of the most famous ships in the U.S. Navy, serving in a variety of roles until she was finally decommissioned in 1974.

Torpedoed by the Japanese in World War II, struck on multiple occasions by kamikazes, the Intrepid was a key player in the Pacific Fleet, fighting in battles in the Kwajalein Atoll, the Marshall Islands, Truk, the Battle of Leyte Gulf and Okinawa. She later served as the primary recovery ship for NASA and the Mercury Astronauts and even served in the South China Sea during the Vietnam War.
Parade will file past Intrepid in '08

Rescued by Fisher to establish the museum in 1982, the Intrepid was moved from its Manhattan berth late last year for refurbishment, including an $8 million interior renovation. The Intrepid is undergoing refurbishment in Staten Island.

On Thursday, officials announced the carrier will begin its trek back to Pier 86 at 8 a.m. on Sept. 26, 2008 and should return to the pier at 1:30 p.m.

It is expected that 5,000 veterans will take place in the museum's grand re-opening celebration on Nov. 11, 2008.

"We are thrilled that we are nearing the return of the Intrepid to its New York City home," New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn said Thursday. "The Intrepid is a living monument to our nation's courage and our resolve to stand for freedom, whatever the cost."
Come on Out and Support Operation Patriot

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cold War Veterans News for August 2007

CWVA Chairman’s Contest Announcement

The CWVA is considering changing the organization's logo. As part of this reconsideration, we are having a contest and EVERYONE is invited to participate.

We invite all members -- as well as their friends and family members -- to submit CWVA logo suggestions in the form of a graphic (e.g., as either an attached graphic to an email or as a drawing on a sheet of paper mailed to the address below).

The top three candidates will win a prize from the CWVA catalogue!

The following limitations apply to a submitted logo:

(1) It must reflect the global nature of the Cold War conflict (i.e., it cannot be theater-specific nor can it ignore the service of all allied countries whose contribution is recognized by our global membership).

(2) It must reflect the service of all branches of the military.

Please submit your suggested logos to (one or both of) the following:

Cold War Veterans Association

P.O. Box 13042

Overland Park, KS 66282-3042

Cold War Remembrance - Washington, DC May 1, 2007

We held a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on May 1 honoring the memory of those killed, captured, or lost on missions during the Cold War. It is not generally known that many men and women died protecting the United States from 1946-91 at remote outposts and during missions at sea and in the air. Often, these missions were carried out in secret at the time, and only years later were the facts disclosed – and their memory forgotten except by close friends and family. So far, 14 states have proclaimed May 1 Cold War Victory Day, and the State of Virginia has declared May 1 Cold War Victory Day in perpetuity.

House Joint Resolution No. 184

Designating May 1, in 2006 and in each succeeding year, as Cold War Victory Day in Virginia. (Passed by the House of Delegates and Agreed to by the Virginia Senate, )

We were determined to honor the memory of these brave men and women, and selected May 1 (Cold War Victory Day) as the date to formally visit Arlington Cemetery and place flags and flowers at their graves. There are significant numbers of Cold War casualties buried at Arlington. We had a commitment from the press to cover this event, and had high visibility. We invited Members of Congress and officials from the White House and Defense Department, as well as the press.

We were able to purchase silk roses (one for each grave), and had a preliminary estimate of between 30 and 50 roses. Because many bodies of Cold War casualties were not recovered, we placed a rose and a flag at suitable memorials in the Cemetery. Many of our national officers attended and participated.

Frank M. Tims, Ph.D.

National Legislative Director

Cold War Veterans Association

6372 Palma del Mar. Blvd. #508

St. Petersburg, FL 33715

CWVA Presents Wreath on Memorial Day 2007

On May 28, 2007, the Cold War Veterans Association was honored to have members Nils Parr and Richard Isaac represent the CWVA as part of the National Ceremonies commemorating Memorial Day in Washington D.C., at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Richard Isaac presents the CWVA wreath to the honor guard representative below.

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Cold War Veterans Association (CWVA)

Legislative Update - June 25, 2007

In the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the House is a provision, SEC 556 COLD WAR VICTORY MEDAL. The Senate version does not include a Cold War Medal, but S.1097 "The Cold War Medal Act of 2007" is very much alive, and our greatest need is for enough cosponsors to show that it is the will of the Senate (and yes, I did deliver all the letters to Senators while I was at the Capitol - thanks to all of you who wrote).

The best insurance we can get is to get cosponsors and pledges of strong support from our senators. Each of you has to try and get your two senators to cosponsor S.1097. We have to take all of these options seriously at this time. I will handle option 1, trust me on this. Sean is getting the petition bound for presentation to SECDEF Gates' office. I have sent a message to DOD through one channel and am working on another, so I am asking all of you to work on your senators NOW.

Debate on the NDAA in the Senate will likely take place in July, since the immigration bill is front and center at this time. So we have a window of perhaps 2 weeks to push for Senate action on S.1097, and demonstrate that this legislation has enough support that a Cold War Medal can emerge in the 2008 NDAA.

Trust me on this, I am also in communication with DOD asking them to support a Cold War Medal, but we really need two cosponsors from each state to get this thing moving. Clinton and Collins (Democrat and Republican, respectively) are sponsors of S.1097. NOW, we need Snowe and Schumer (NY), Martinez and Nelson (FL), Chambliss and Isakson (GA), Inouye and Akaka (HI), Warner and Webb (VA), and ALL THE OTHER SENATORS to sign on as cosponsors of S.1097. If we can show solid support for S.1097 - or for a floor amendment in the Senate - we can win this time. The only way to get 2 senators per state is for those who live in those states to e-mail, telephone, fax, and ask, ask, ask, urge, point out how important this is, that it has been repeatedly introduced in Congress since 1997 and now is the time to show support.

Tell them the certificate is inadequate, and about to be discontinued anyway (sunsets 2008). Point out that a single day of civilian service during the Cold War earns the certificate, and the men and women who protected America in uniform deserve more than a piece of paper.

Now, many will say "I support," but we need hard strong support -- co sponsorship. If there are enough cosponsors for S.1097, we may be able to get a floor amendment in the Senate during debate of the NDAA - think what that will mean!!!

Let's Work On Cosponsors For S.1097, The Cold War Medal Act Of 2007. Let's Get Solid Support In The Senate!!!

Frank Tims, Legislative Director, CWVA

CWVA Quartermaster Special Offer

Get a regularly priced $8.00 Mousepad of any of our designs FREE when you place a $50.00 order.

This offer is good until further notice.

Chuck Rysticken, Imperial Designs, CWVA Quartermaster

CWVA Membership Director Announcement

I am in the process of developing an association newsletter. This newsletter will be sent to all members of the association, via email, and/or snail mail. The newsletter will be monthly beginning January 1, 2008. I have been trying to get it up and running for since May, but it just didn't happen. I will be sending out a format for approval to the leadership committee, along with solicitations for contributions. I will expect contributions from CWVA leadership regarding Association business as well as zone specific activities, etc. No one will be exempt. Listed below are the proposed headers for the columns that will be a regular occurrence in the newsletter.

Message from the Chairman -

From the Hill -

Membership -

PR News -

Chaplain's Corner -

News from the Zone – (each Zone Director providing synopsis of what has been happening in their zone and what's coming up).

Member's Mailbag -

Old Business/New Business -

New Members/Chapters Welcome Page -

Member/Chapter Recognition Page -

VA News

Please feel free to make suggestions for additional topic areas, or changes to the topic areas. I would like to also make a space available for members to contribute articles, poetry, songs, stories, etc.

Please respond to me via personal email at, with questions, concerns, and/or contributions.

Lloydene Fay Hill, National Membership Director, Pacific Zone Director, CWVA

CWVA Public Affairs Cold War Song in Development Stages

Wendell Austin of Winn, Maine, Peace and Freedom Music, is in the process of writing a Cold War Song. A copy of the lyrics to the song can be downloaded at

CWVA Public Affairs Director, Sean Eagan indicated that Mr. Austin, hopes to begin recording the song in September.

For more information, questions, concerns or input, please contact CWVA Public Affairs Director, Sean Eagan at

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Food Network and former Marine Josh Adam Garcia, a competitor on the network's "The Next Food Network Star," embellished information about his culinary and Marine Corps experience

By C. Mark Brinkley - Staff writer

Military service helped former Marine cook Josh A. Garcia land a shot at fame, and now it appears to be helping him stay in the running.

Garcia, who goes by the nickname “JAG” as a contestant on the reality show “The Next Food Network Star,” dodged elimination again Sunday night thanks to a solid performance in a military-inspired challenge at Fort Dix, N.J.

But because the bulk of the episodes were taped weeks ago, soldiers who participated in the event and supported Garcia didn’t know of his embellished military record.

Originally promoting himself as having deployed to Afghanistan before leaving the service as a corporal and graduating from the New York Restaurant School, Garcia, 26, defines himself on the show through his military service. After the season began June 3, however, Military Times found that Garcia was discharged as a private eight months before his enlistment contract was set to end, never deployed to Afghanistan and never graduated from the cooking school he once attended.

Asked to explain the inconsistencies in a June 11 interview, Garcia admitted that he allowed producers to “believe what they wanted to believe” and allowed the “war hero” notion to take hold during final selections for the show.

“It’s my fault,” he said. “I let them believe it – that’s my fault.”

The Food Network eliminated any references to Afghanistan from Garcia’s online biography in response to Military Times’ inquiry and promised to investigate the situation. Because of the military theme at Fort Dix, Garcia was the center of attention, even getting teary at the end.

“I went through a lot in the military,” Garcia told the judges at the end of the show, in which he and his teammate were the favorite contestants of the Army crowd. “As soon as I walked into that room, I smelled CLP. CLP is what you use to clean your weapons. It took me back for a second.”

While visiting Fort Dix, the contestants were given two challenges — spice up an otherwise boring Meal, Ready to Eat food ration, and whip up a comfort-food meal for 75 hungry soldiers. Garcia turned a pork rib MRE into a spicy chipotle stew, and helped his partner whip up a deep-fried meatloaf after the mess hall oven they were using failed to heat up for baking.

One soldier interviewed on the show said he supported Garcia for being a former Marine.

But a visitor to the Military Times online message boards claiming to be a soldier who participated in the event at Fort Dix, said he felt duped after learning the truth about Garcia’s past.

“I hope the food network takes the appropriate action and cans him,” wrote “SSG C” in a June 22 posting.

Network officials have not announced what action, if any, might result from Garcia’s tall tales. The series is almost entirely prerecorded, with guest judges narrowing the field down to the final two contestants before turning the final decision over to viewer voting. As of Tuesday, no portions of the final episode had been taped.

“Food Network remains committed to fully investigating Josh Garcia’s background,” Cara Brugnoli, a network spokeswoman, said Tuesday. “We are working with the military and others to conduct our research and we will release any relevant details when appropriate.”

The winner of the contest — now down from 11 competitors to just five, including Garcia — gets a six-episode deal for their own Food Network series.

But pretending to be a combat veteran for any reason should not be taken lightly, said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of the non-profit group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

“That’s absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “It’s an insult to the 1.6 million Americans who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The network should own up to the mistake publicly, he said, and if Garcia wins, should make a healthy donation to a veteran’s group, such as Fisher Househousing for families near hospitals where military members and veterans are receiving care.

“The Food Network stands to make a lot of money off his show,” Rieckhoff said. “That would be the right thing to do.”

read article

Thursday, July 26, 2007

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin vowed Wednesday to strengthen Russia's military capability and step up spying abroad in response to U.S. plans to build missile defense sites and deploy troops in Eastern Europe.
"The situation in the world and internal political interests require the Foreign Intelligence Service to permanently increase its capabilities, primarily in the field of information and analytical support for the country's leadership," Putin said at a meeting with senior military and security officers in remarks that were posted on the Kremlin's website.

The Foreign Intelligence Service is a successor agency to the KGB.

Putin did not identify specific nations as targets, but officials in the United States and Britain have said recently that Moscow has intensified its spying in those countries.

Putin said U.S. plans to station troops in Eastern Europe and Washington's intention to base missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic pose security challenges for Russia. Washington says the facilities are necessary to protect the U.S. and Europe from missiles launched by Iran or other rogue states.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cold War Veterans Association Kansas City Mo. August 18th 2007

Who we are and what we are about and most importantly where we are going :

The Cold War Veterans Association Is dedicated to the Veterans of the Armed forces who served
during the Cold War Era.

The Cold War Veterans Association (CWVA) is a tax-exempt, federally-recognized 501(c)(19) veterans
service organization

While there are a number of honorable Veterans Service Organizations, there is only one dedicated to
exclusively representing the interests of Cold War Veterans — The Cold War Veterans Association

The Mission of the Cold War Veterans Association is to:

(1) Fight for rights and benefits that Cold War Veterans deserve;

(2) Educate people as to why the Cold War was fought and why vigilance must be
maintained; and

(3) Provide a fraternal community for men and women whose patriotism binds them

To be eligible for membership, one must have served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces
at some time during the Cold War period (September 2, 1945 – December 26, 1991).

CWVA Membership Application

PDF version

Home Please print off, complete, and submit the following Home

ELIGIBILITY: The Cold War Veterans Association (CWVA) is a tax-exempt, federally-recognized
501(c)(19) veterans service organization open to honorably discharged veterans and active-duty
personnel who served at any time during the Cold War period – September 2, 1945 to December 26,
1991. (NOTE: RESERVISTS and National Guardsmen who engaged in basic training, advanced
training, and/or annual training during this period ARE ELIGIBLE.)

Name: ____________________________________________________________________

E-Mail Address: _____________________________________________________________

Mailing Address: ____________________________________________________________



Telephone Number(s): ________________________________________________________

Branch(es) & Period(s) of Military Service: _______________________________________




(a) Platinum Club (Contributors of $100 or more annually)

(b) Gold Club (contribute $50-$99 annually)

(c) Silver Club (contribute $25-$49 annually)

The above classes get special privileges (including mention on our
web site)

(d) Dues-paying member ($15 annually)

(e) Non-dues-paying* member (we will NOT exclude someone from the Association

simply for lacking the funds - all veterans have paid enough "dues")

PLEASE REMIT Completed Application along with DUES/CONTRIBUTIONS to:


P.O. Box 13042

Overland Park, KS 66282-3042

PLEASE BE SURE TO INCLUDE evidence of your military service -- e.g., a photocopy of your DD-214 (feel free to delete any confidential information such as your Social Security Number). If
evidence of your military service cannot be provided, please explain why. (
*If signing up as a
NON-DUES-PAYING member, please so indicate.

NOTE 1: Donations/dues are NOT tax deductible – even though we are a federally recognized, tax-exempt veterans service organization – because Congress has yet to fully recognize the "Cold War."

Download this application in PDF

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Soldier's Wall: A Challenge: Read and Repost.

Here is a challenge for everyone, and an incredible opportunity for American Citizens to show their support:

Because THIS site is viewed frequently by Military personnel, at home, and abroad, we would like to challenge everyone to leave a comment on at least 5 of these service member's pictures. You can pick at random, and send them a simple "Thank You".

This is very important. A simple comment could really go a long way in helping to boost their morale.

Thank You!

“They fought together as brothers-in-arms.......To them we have a solemn obligation.” -- Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
Our medals are our permanent legacy

Dear Otis,

First, I want to thank you and your staff for producing the 'Tis of Thee' series, and choosing the title of the Series from the first sentence of our Founding Father's original National Anthem. The 'Tis of Thee' series is a proud testimony to the individual men and women who served our Nation.Second, last week I attended the funeral of someone I served with. I was shocked to see that none of his ribbons were pinned to his suit before his burial, which is the custom for U.S. veterans.

With so many veterans passing from World War II, Korea and Vietnam these days there should be more said about them... at least by their families. But it is sad that their family's don't think enough of their veteran's military service to bury them with the proudest emblems of the veteran's finest moments in life, when he or she served in our military.

Kids come, grow up and go, jobs come and go, friends come and go, and spouses come and go... but our medals stay with us for life. Our medals are the one part of our lives that truly belongs to us. Our medals never leave us, abandon us, betray us. Our medals honor us. Our medals prove that there was a time in our lives when we did something selflessly for our country and the world. Our medals are our one true, personal legacy to last for all time. And even if future members of our families forget about our military service there is a record of our medals somewhere... and somewhere in time, someone will remember us for our sacrifices and hardships in earning our medals.

Keep up the good work!

An Appreciative Veteran

Military Medal Issue Regulations
http://www.amervets .com/isr. htm

Contact Person for this posting: Roger Simpson,
Public Information Office: 13105320634. com ( )
The American War Library: ( )
16907 Brighton Avenue
Gardena CA 90247-5420
Fone/Fax 1-310-532-0634

Sunday, July 22, 2007

America's Huey-091

"Going Home with America's Huey-091" is a completely philanthropic and voluntary project with the purpose to:

• Educate current and future generations
• Honor our Vietnam Veterans for their valor, courage, and selfless sacrifice, as well as all veterans who have answered our nation's call
• Pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate price in the defense of freedom
• Our mission objective is to deliver and donate UH-1H 65-10091 to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on 19 March 2004 for display in the Price of Freedom exhibit.

you can check 091-America's Huey out HERE:


Visit their "real" website at:
Islamist Win Turkish Election

Turkish Interverntion in Northern Iraq seems more likely after these election results providing yet another obstacle to future stability in Iraq and the possibility aof larger regional conflict seems to loom.
The U.S. has said little other than warning Ankara not to invade Northern Iraq but quite possible has privately agreed to turn a blind eye on Turkish incursions into Northern Iraq . The Turks want to hit PKK rebel bases and have long made it know it would not except a independent Kurdish state on its border.

Turkey's Islamic-rooted ruling party won parliamentary elections by a wide margin Sunday, and the prime minister pledged to safeguard the country's secular traditions and do whatever the government deems necessary to fight separatist Kurdish rebels.

Kurdish Rebel Leader Expects Turk Attack
Kurdish rebels of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, are seen near the Turkish border

Kurdish rebels of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, are seen near the Turkish border in the remote village of Lewzhe, in northern Iraq, Saturday, July 21, 2007. Their commander, Murat Karayilan, says he believes the Turkish military will launch a long-anticipated offensive against separatist bases in northern Iraq shortly after Sunday's general elections in Turkey and warned his fighters were prepared for battle.(AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed)

Kurdish Rebel Leader Expects Turk Attack

Jul 22, 5:27 PM (ET)

LEWZHE, Iraq (AP) - The commander of Iraq-based Kurdish rebels said he believed Turkey will quickly follow its parliamentary elections Sunday with a long-anticipated offensive against his remote mountain bases.

Murat Karayilan, the leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, warned that his fighters were prepared for battle, but denied Ankara's charges that his group was using Iraqi soil to launch attacks against Turkish forces across the border.

"The date of the Turkish offensive has drawn near," Karayilan told The Associated Press in an interview Friday at his base in the remote northern Iraqi village of Lewzhe. "We are ready to confront it and to defend ourselves. The Turkish army cannot move with ease in this mountainous terrain."

Turkey has been fighting PKK rebels since 1984 in a war that has killed tens of thousands.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party won a new mandate Sunday, has threatened to stage an incursion into northern Iraq if post-election talks with Iraq and the United States fail to produce effective measures against the Kurdish guerrillas.

Erdogan told jubilant supporters in a victory speech in Ankara that: "In our struggle against separatist terrorists, we are determined to take every step at the right time."

Opposition parties have criticized his ruling party for not showing determination to stage an incursion, a move that could seriously strain ties with Iraq and Turkey's NATO ally, the United States. The United States, facing problems elsewhere in Iraq, opposes such a move, but Turkey, frustrated by escalating rebel violence, says Washington has reneged on promises to help it fight terrorism.

Karayilan said that the autonomous Kurdish government in Iraq was not supporting his group. He described his group's bases in northern Iraq as primarily political indoctrination centers. An AP reporter, however, saw PKK guerrillas training on the use of light arms and doing endurance drills in full combat gear as he made his way to Lewzhe.

"The arms market and merchants are our main sources of weapons," said Karayilan who said that his guerrillas recently ambushed and commandeered an Iranian truckload of weapons that was on its way to Lebanon. He said he commands about 10,000 people.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has protested to Ankara over cross-border shelling of Iraqi territory by the Turkish army and repeatedly called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Al-Maliki has received an invitation from Erdogan to visit Turkey, but no date has been set.

Karayilan charged that any Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq would be intended to thwart efforts by Iraq's Kurds to annex the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Read rest of the article

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Current Nuclear Threat Worse Than During Cold War

File image of the first Soviet nuclear test.U.S. NGOs want to ban Kazakhstan from nuclear technologiesWashington (RIA) Jul 20 - Four non-governmental organizations in the United States have called on the Bush administration to ban Kazakhstan from nuclear technologies and from buying 10% in the Westinghouse nuclear power company from Japan's Toshiba. Greenpeace, Essential Action, Knowledge Ecology International, and Nuclear Information and Resource Service opposed the deal between Kazakhstan's state company Kazatomprom and Westinghouse, saying it would undermine non-proliferation efforts and hand over sensitive nuclear technologies to the Kazakh regime, which they described as cruel, repressive and undemocratic. The organizations' letter, which has been sent to a U.S. Treasury committee for foreign investment, also said Kazakhstan's nuclear facilities and materials were not protected, and added some people in the country were involved in illegal trade in nuclear materials.

Washington (RIA Novosti) Jul 20, 2007

The risks of an accidental nuclear war have increased since the Cold War as Russia's early warning capability has deteriorated, a former U.S. defense official said. William J. Perry, who is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and co-Director of the Preventive Defense Project at Stanford University, said in congressional testimony Wednesday that "the danger of nuclear war occurring by accident" still existed.
"Both American and Russian missiles remain in a launch-on-warning mode," Perry, who served as U.S. defense secretary in 1994-97, said. "And the inherent danger of this status is aggravated by the fact that the Russian warning system has deteriorated since the ending of the Cold War."

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Russia has heavily depended on its radars located abroad, particularly the Daryal facility in Azerbaijan and two Dnepr stations in Ukraine, near Sebastopol and Mukachevo.

Some reports said the outdated radar facilities that Moscow is renting on the territories of former Soviet republics were in poor conditions, and Russia had developed "holes" in its early-warning missile threat coverage.

In the same testimony, Perry blasted the Bush administration for concentrating its efforts on building defenses to protect the U.S. from a potential ballistic missile threat, while downplaying the danger of nuclear terrorism.

"The centerpiece of our government's strategy for dealing with a nuclear attack is the

National Missile Defense system now being installed in Alaska," he said.

"But the greatest danger today is that a terror group will detonate a nuclear bomb

in one of our cities," the expert said.

"Terrorists would not use a ballistic missile to deliver their bomb, they would use a truck or a freighter," Perry said, adding that a missile shield alone would not reduce the nuclear threat to the country.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Dave Matthews Band is urging fans to push Congress to do more to ensure that U.S. troops coming home traumatized by combat get the help they need.

A petition on the band's website has 23,000 signatures so far, singer Dave Matthews said in an interview aired Sunday on ABC's This Week.

The Pentagon and Congress are reviewing possible changes to the military's much-criticized mental health system.

A task force last month found that more than one-third of troops and veterans suffer from problems such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, and it urged stronger leadership, more money and greater focus on prevention and screening.

"It just struck me as a profound injustice that someone who had given so much of themselves and clearly showed such a quality of personality that the gratitude we're showing them was basically a dishonorable discharge," Matthews said.

The petition asks Congress to investigate reports that some troops' service-related mental health problems have been misdiagnosed by the military as pre-existing personality disorders.

The effort is non-partisan, the Grammy-winning musician said.

"It's only about how we treat people who have given their, essentially, their lives, put their lives in the hands of our country."

A Marine The Final Inspection (PLEASE PRAY AND FORWARD)


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The Marine 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, Marine,

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 Marine waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Marine,

You've borne your burdens well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

~Author Unknown~

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It's the Soldier, not the reporter

Who has given us the freedom of the press.

It's the Soldier, not the poet,

Who has given us the freedom of speech.

It's the Soldier, not the politicians

That ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It's the Soldier who salutes the flag,

Who serves beneath the flag,

And whose coffin is draped by the flag.

If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the Military,

Please pass this on and pray for our men and women

Who have served and are currently serving our country!

And pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

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God Bless America

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Here is the latest Cold War Medal Act Bill Introduced by Senator Clinton Last Week

S. 1763: A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to provide for the award of a military service...
S 1763 IS


1st Session

S. 1763
To amend title 10, United States Code, to provide for the award of a military service medal to members of the Armed Forces who served honorably during the Cold War era.


July 11, 2007

Mrs. CLINTON introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services


To amend title 10, United States Code, to provide for the award of a military service medal to members of the Armed Forces who served honorably during the Cold War era.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as `Cold War Medal Act of 2007'.


(a) Authority- Chapter 57 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

`Sec. 1135. Cold War service medal
`(a) Medal Authorized- The Secretary concerned shall issue a service medal, to be known as the `Cold War service medal', to persons eligible to receive the medal under subsection (b). The Cold War service medal shall be of an appropriate design approved by the Secretary of Defense, with ribbons, lapel pins, and other appurtenances.

`(b) Eligible Persons- The following persons are eligible to receive the Cold War service medal:

`(1) A person who--

`(A) performed active duty or inactive duty training as an enlisted member during the Cold War;

`(B) completed the person's initial term of enlistment or, if discharged before completion of such initial term of enlistment, was honorably discharged after completion of not less than 180 days of service on active duty; and

`(C) has not received a discharge less favorable than an honorable discharge or a release from active duty with a characterization of service less favorable than honorable.

`(2) A person who--

`(A) performed active duty or inactive duty training as a commissioned officer or warrant officer during the Cold War;

`(B) completed the person's initial service obligation as an officer or, if discharged or separated before completion of such initial service obligation, was honorably discharged after completion of not less than 180 days of service on active duty; and

`(C) has not been released from active duty with a characterization of service less favorable than honorable and has not received a discharge or separation less favorable than an honorable discharge.

`(c) One Award Authorized- Not more than one Cold War service medal may be issued to any person.

`(d) Issuance to Representative of Deceased- If a person described in subsection (b) dies before being issued the Cold War service medal, the medal shall be issued to the person's representative, as designated by the Secretary concerned.

`(e) Replacement- Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned, a Cold War service medal that is lost, destroyed, or rendered unfit for use without fault or neglect on the part of the person to whom it was issued may be replaced without charge.

`(f) Application for Medal- The Cold War service medal shall be issued upon receipt by the Secretary concerned of an application for such medal, submitted in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary prescribes.

`(g) Uniform Regulations- The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that regulations prescribed by the Secretaries of the military departments under this section are uniform so far as is practicable.

`(h) Cold War Defined- In this section, the term `Cold War' means the period beginning on September 2, 1945, and ending at the end of December 26, 1991.'.

(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

`1135. Cold War service medal.'.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

WTF is Going on the Army is not Properly Screening these guys for PTSD before and after Deployments .

This is a sad story that a 20 year old man could do this rather than face another deployment to Iraq. I really do not think the Army is screening these guys properly for PTSD. This man has already done a tour in Iraq and obviously had reached a breaking point now he is facing prison when most likely he needed mental health help. Well now he is a criminal but the real criminal thing is that adequate screening wasn't done fill out a questionaire attend a few do not beat your wife and recognize the symtoms classes are not enough at this point especially when tours are up to 15 months and they are on 2nd and 3rd Tours.

Sean Hennessey

(CBS) NEW YORK The death and destruction of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq seems to have become so rampant to one local soldier that he actually staged an attack on himself -- allegedly hiring a hitman to non-fatally shoot him -- so he wouldn't be sent back for another tour of duty.

Now, 20-year-old Jonathan Aponte is under fire at home in the Bronx for his decision that may send him to prison.

"There are some people mentally that can handle it. There are some people who just can't. You need to know when to say enough is enough," Aponte told CBS 2 HD exclusively Friday.

For Aponte, that day was Monday, the very day he was supposed to go back for another tour of duty to serve ten months on the front lines. He admits to CBS 2, however, that he couldn't face another tour of drama and devastation.

"Bullets being shot at me, almost being hit, with car bombs, burning flesh," Aponte recalls of his first tour. Now the soldier, his mother, and lawyer all say his plot for pain proves he's a victim of post traumatic stress disorder caused by the horrific memories of battle.

Digg This Story!

The proof, they say, is the bullet wound he helped give himself after feelings he described as "desperate."

Aponte's lawyer wouldn't let him talk about the event that's brought criminal charges, but a statement of his in court records bring his confession to light:

"I jokingly said that I should get shot in the leg ... so that it can buy me some extra time away from Iraq," he said.

After his new wife text messaged a hitman who would do the job, Aponte admits, "I asked him what was a good price. He told me $500 would be fine."

The shooting was set to happen under a bridge on Gunhill Road on the very day of the redeployment.

"I decided I wasn't going to go back one way or another," he said.

When Aponte arrived at the appointed time, he smoked a cigarette then closed his eyes because he didn't want to see it coming, he told police. The next thing he knew, he had a gunshot wound to his right knee.

"He was asking for help, but we didn't know what he was asking for. We didn't understand," said Gwen Aponte, his mother.

Now Aponte's mother, father, and lawyer all say a doctor diagnosed him with post traumatic stress disorder, and that's why he should be counseled, not incarcerated.

"If he's ill, he needs to get help," said Martin Goldberg, Aponte's lawyer. "He is as much a casualty of the war as someone struck by a bullet."

Aponte says the pain and potential of prison are a better option than another dose of duty. "There are risks in prison, but as far as getting shot at everyday, I think it's better," he said. "Mentally, I can't do it anymore. I can't handle it anymore."

Both Aponte and his wife are facing charges of conspiracy and filing a false report. The soldier's lawyer says the military will soon evaluate his client and either say he's fit for duty and send him back to Iraq, provide counseling if needed and then send him back, or give him some kind of discharge.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dear Members of the Senate,

Please vote to include Senate Amendment (SA) 2163, which calls for a Cold War Service Medal, into H.R. 1585 (the 2008 NDAA). The Senate is currently working on its version of H.R. 1585 and is considering a variety of amendments. Representing a bipartisan effort, SA 2163 was submitted by Senator Hillary Clinton (on behalf of herself and Senator Susan Collins) as part of ongoing efforts to properly recognize honorable military service during the Cold War.

As you are aware already, H.R.1585 was passed by the House of Representatives on May 17, and includes SEC 556 (Cold War Victory Medal). AMVETS, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Reserve Officers Association, the Korea Defense Veterans of America, and the Cold War Veterans Association all support authorization of a Cold War Medal.

Your support of a Cold War Medal provision in the 2008 NDAA is fully expected. I thank you in advance for your YES vote on SA 2163, and will always appreciate your cooperation in including a Cold War Medal provision as part of the final H.R.1585 defense bill.

Best Wishes,

Sean P. Eagan
Northeast Zone Director
Cold War Veterans Association
CWVA NY 716-708-6416
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Media General News Service
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

His father dropped from the sky.
And it has given Francis Gary Powers Jr. a mission in life.

Powers is named for the former U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down May 1, 1960, while flying for the CIA over the Soviet Union.

The elder Powers' capture, imprisonment and later his exchange for a famous Russian spy -- Soviet Col. Rudolf Abel -- provided some of the most dramatic moments of the Cold War.

"In high school and college, I could care less," said Powers, who moved to Midlothian from Northern Virginia two years ago. "... then a light bulb came on."


Powers' gradual awakening to his father's role in history -- prompted by questions that usually began "Aren't you ... ?" -- has led him down a winding path.

In 1996, he incorporated the Cold War Museum, and he's been working ever since to raise money, collect artifacts and find a place for the museum to call home. He's now in negotiations with Fairfax County to possibly house the museum in a former missile base on the outskirts of Washington.

Powers says the museum already has an estimated $3 million worth of Cold War artifacts.

"Our primary goal now is the capital campaign," he said. "Over the next three years we want to raise $3 million, and over the next 10 years, $46 million."


While moving the idea of the Cold War Museum forward, the 42-year-old Powers, who holds a master's degree in nonprofit management from George Mason University, has worked a variety of jobs.

He was an assistant registrar for the city of Fairfax and also worked on a Main Street preservation and revitalization effort. Before moving to the Richmond area, he was president of the Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce from 2000 to 2005.

But development of the Cold War Museum was always his dream.

"It's a passion," he said. "It started out as a way to show Dad's role in the Cold War. But it immediately turned into a way to preserve the international aspects of Cold War history and to honor our Cold War veterans."


Harold Closter, director of the Smithsonian's Affiliations program, said he works with emerging galleries such as the Cold War Museum -- -- as part of a goal to make it easier for Americans to see Smithsonian objects in their own communities.

Often, it helps the Smithsonian.

"We have benefited from the relationship by receiving artifacts from the Powers family ... that have gone to the [Smithsonian National] Air and Space Museum," Closter said.


Since 2005, Powers said he has drawn a modest salary as director of the Cold War Museum. He said it's been one of the sacrifices he made to turn his dream into a reality.

"With my educational background and dedication to work, I could probably be out making six figures a year. As it is, I'm making less than half of that."

In 2002, Powers was named one of the year's Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce.

He's been earning his pay with the museum by giving lectures, organizing Cold War conferences, building relationships with other museums, fundraising and traveling the U.S. and the world to cement international partnerships.

Earlier this month, he took a trip to Berlin, Germany, to develop a relationship with a museum there that wants to show both sides of the Cold War.

Powers said he relocated from Northern Virginia to Midlothian for a number of reasons, ranging from a lower cost of living to the stress of daily commuting on his wife, Jennifer, who works in the legal field.


As the world has moved further away from the Cold War, Powers said he has seen interest in it increase. Much of the terrorism and upheaval in the world today, he said, have their roots in the conflict.

"We have to understand the Cold War and learn from it, so we won't make the same mistake," Powers said.

Though his father died in 1977, Powers said he hopes the Cold War Museum will keep the elder Powers' memory alive.

He may get a little help from his 5-year-old son, Trey.

Trey's formal name is Francis Gary Powers III.

Gary Robertson is a staff writer at Media General's Richmond
Gary Powers Jr. with Cuban Missile Crisis Vets at fathers grave at Arlington National Cemetary,

Gary attended our May 1st meeting in Washington D.C. and gave a presentation on the Cold War Museum.

GaryPowers Jr. Center at CWVA meeting with Frank Tims and Julio DeCastro of the Cuban Missile Crisis Veterans and myself.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Date: Jul 14, 2007 2:28 PM


----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: kim
Date: Jul 14, 2007 4:37 AM

From: Operation Home
Date: Jul 14, 2007 4:09 AM

DUCT TAPE ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT - You may wish to wrap your head in duct tape to prevent it from exploding while reading this ...

The silence from the "news media" seems deafening, so the only in depth account I can find is an opinion piece. But this story, and it's non-coverage is INFURIATING.

Michelle Malkin

AIRMAN Jonathan Schrieken, USAF, is fighting for his life in Camden, N.J. He was shot on Independence Day by a crazed gunman who reportedly had a beef with the military and the U.S. government and "wanted to make a statement" on the Fourth of July. Have you heard about the plight of the 22-year-old McGuire Air Force Base loadmaster? Probably not.

The Schrieken shooting got no mention in The New York Times - not even a squib in a back section (though the paper did see fit to put the shooting of a 7-year-old girl in Trenton on the front page).

Local media outlets have gathered a few news tidbits about the shooter, Matthew Marren, who killed himself after attacking Schrieken outside his Willingboro home. Schrieken roomed with a few other servicemen in the rented house. Schrieken did not know Marren. reported that a relative said Marren was "angry at the government and wanted to make a statement" on Independence Day. Authorities found two suicide notes that "were indicative of an individual suffering from mental-health problems."

A random act of insanity? Not so fast. There's more to the story. A reader whose son is the best friend of Senior Airman Schrieken wrote to Charles Johnson of the Little Green Footballs blog with background details:

"My son's best friend, Jon, who's in the Air Force stationed in New Jersey at Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base, was shot by a crazed anti-military white guy on Independence Day and he remains in critical condition. He had been on leave here in Ohio and got back to his home off base and was unpacking stuff from his car when this 22-year-old guy walked up to him and asked him if he lived in the house. When Jon said yes, the guy said 'not any more' and shot him point-blank in the chest. He tried to shoot him again, but his gun jammed. Jonathan made it into the house. The guy then shot himself.

"Turns out the guy left a couple of suicide notes stating how much he hated the military and he wanted to go out making a statement, so he chose to make his statement on Independence Day trying to kill a soldier.

"We are very worried about our Airman . . . he's like a son to me. He's been to Iraq and Afghanistan on our behalf and then gets shot in his own driveway here in the U.S. by an anti-war, anti-American lunatic. This is gut-wrenching."

Now, imagine the scenario flipped: What if a soldier had attempted to murder a peace activist over the holidays in order to "make a statement"? The Times would be holding a front-page vigil, and Katie Couric's brow would be furrowed for a week. The yakkity-yaks on "The View" would be clucking their tongues about the culture of violence bred by the military - and who knows what Rosie O'Donnell would be dressing her poor child in to exploit the story on her Web site.

Funny how the Root Causes crowd becomes so incurious about the root causes of crime when the suspects are anti-military nutballs and anti-war protesters. To the extent leftists pay any attention at all to this attempted murder, you can expect it to be downplayed as an isolated incident.

Never mind the pro-fragging comments made by troop-bashing academic fraudsters like Ward Churchill; the iconic banners that proclaim "We support our troops when they shoot their own officers" and "Don't impeach Bush . . . execute him the countless acts of vandalism against military recruitment offices nationwide since 9/11; and the burning of soldiers in effigy by hate-filled peaceniks.

Oh, and this week, the trial of Michael Curtis Reynolds began. He's a Pennsylvania man and al Qaeda sympathizer accused of plotting to blow up U.S. energy installations in order to drive up gas prices and precipitate a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. In e-mail exchanges with Internet sleuth Shannen Rossmiller, who unmasked the bombing plot, Reynolds called the United States an "accursed country" and said "it isn't the land of the free, but the home of the new dictators."

Harmless rantings? No. Ideas, like the bullet in Jon Schrieken's chest, have consequences.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Senators Clinton and Collins Add AMDT. to HR1585 to include Cold War Service Medal

Download Ammendment in PDF

S.AMDT.2163 to H.R.1585 Purpose will be available when the amendment is proposed for consideration. See Congressional Record for text. Sponsor: Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] (introduced 7/12/2007) Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 7/12/2007 Senate amendment submitted
SA 2163. Mrs. CLINTON (for herself and Ms. Collins) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by her to the bill H.R. 1585, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2008 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:
At the end of subtitle H of title V, add the following:
(a) Authority.--Chapter 57 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:``§1135. Cold War service medal
``(a) Medal Authorized.--The Secretary concerned shall issue a service medal, to be known as the `Cold War service medal', to persons eligible to receive the medal under subsection (b). The Cold War service medal shall be of an appropriate design approved by the Secretary of Defense, with ribbons, lapel pins, and other appurtenances.
``(b) Eligible Persons.--The following persons are eligible to receive the Cold War service medal:
``(1) A person who--
``(A) performed active duty or inactive duty training as an enlisted member during the Cold War;
``(B) completed the person's initial term of enlistment or, if discharged before completion of such initial term of enlistment, was honorably discharged after completion of not less than 180 days of service on active duty; and
``(C) has not received a discharge less favorable than an honorable discharge or a release from active duty with a characterization of service less favorable than honorable.
``(2) A person who--
``(A) performed active duty or inactive duty training as a commissioned officer or warrant officer during the Cold War;
``(B) completed the person's initial service obligation as an officer or, if discharged or separated before completion of such initial service obligation, was honorably discharged after completion of not less than 180 days of service on active duty; and
``(C) has not been released from active duty with a characterization of service less favorable than honorable and has not received a discharge or separation less favorable than an honorable discharge.
``(c) One Award Authorized.--Not more than one Cold War service medal may be issued to any person.
``(d) Issuance to Representative of Deceased.--If a person described in subsection (b) dies before being issued the Cold War service medal, the medal shall be issued to the person's representative, as designated by the Secretary concerned.
``(e) Replacement.--Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned, a Cold War service medal that is lost, destroyed, or rendered unfit for use without fault or neglect on the part of the person to whom it was issued may be replaced without charge.
``(f) Application for Medal.--The Cold War service medal shall be issued upon receipt by the Secretary concerned of an application for such medal, submitted in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary prescribes.
``(g) Uniform Regulations.--The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that regulations prescribed by the Secretaries of the military departments under this section are uniform so far as is practicable.
``(h) Cold War Defined.--In this section, the term `Cold War' means the period beginning on September 2, 1945, and ending at the end of December 26, 1991.'.
(b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:
``1135..Cold War service medal.'.

Subject SGT England LVPD Update
Posted Date: Friday, July 13, 2007 - 12:22 PM

Do what you can to help fight the LVMPD who brutally, beat, tased, mimicked and laughed at Sgt. England.

Your help with this is much needed!

Link to help Sgt. England

Okay, now we need people to start swamping these contacts with mail, phone calls, faxes, anything. If we swarm these cnatacts, and show them how many people support SGT England. Things might be done to either fire these police officer who were invloved, or at least have them suspended until a trial happens.
They wants this story to die. I will not let that happen. But I need everyones help. Here are the contacts. Please pass this on to everyone you know, even off of myspace.
I will also post this in a blog and in the group. Thank You!!!

Kathy Page
Personal Assistant & Scheduler to
U.S. Senator John Ensign
333 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Suite 8203
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Phone- (702) 388-6605
Fax- (702) 388-5899

Catherine Cortez Masto
Office of the Attorney General
Las Vegas Office
555 E. Washington Ave Suite 3900
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
(702) 486-3420
Fax - (702) 486-3768


Office of the Attorney General
Carson City Office
100 North Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701-4717
(775) 684-1100
Fax - (775) 684-1108


Office of the Attorney General
Reno Office
5420 Kietzke Lane Suite 202
Reno, Nevada 89511
(775) 688-1818
Fax - (775) 688-1822

"He fought for our rights, time to fight for his"

Listen to Joseph Kilna Mackenzie's Many Man have Gun From We Were Soldiers


We Were Soldiers

I have to say this is a must rent DVD great film.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thanks to Joe bello of NY MetroVets for sharing this story I thought I would pass it on .

For your information. Please take a look at the links to see the pictures of Michael Murphy. This is a great story by the Daily News and I hope that they will continue with more. I look at this article as an extention of Newsweek's April 2nd issue - Voices of the Fallen. God Bless Mike and his family. Honor him and those who have died by fighting for those who return and need help! Read on...Joe

An American hero
How a loving son from New York lived and died for us all (Part 1)



Posted Sunday, April 15th 2007, 4:00 AM

Shot in the gut after holding off a swarm of Taliban militia fighters, Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy dashed out to a ledge on an Afghanistan mountain to get a clear signal to call for help on his satellite radio, exposing himself to fatal gunfire.

He made the decision to give his life to save three men who served under him; one is alive today. The sacrifice has earned Murphy consideration for the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.

What led this brave New Yorker to such a selfless act in the brutally inhospitable mountains of Afghanistan, thousands of miles away?

Those who knew him weren't surprised at how he died. Throughout his life, there were glimpses of the American hero he would become. The Daily News proudly tells the story of Michael Murphy.

Michael Murphy was 2 years old when his family moved into a house in Patchogue, L.I., in 1978, next door to a house with a built-in pool. Mike went right over as his parents spoke with the neighbors, and jumped off the diving board.

"We all headed for the pool in a panic," said his father, Daniel. "He just swam over to the side and got out with a big grin, almost like he knew he'd scare us. I knew then that he'd be okay."

He would be a daredevil all through his life, but he would also be a protector, living up to his namesake, the archangel, the patron saint of warriors and police.

His mother, Maureen, said when he was a toddler he hurt his head, blood was gushing out, and he had a gash above and below his eye.

"Mike was so brave, he saw me panic," said the mother, her eyes filling with tears, "and he said, 'It's okay, Mommy ... it doesn't hurt.'

"He was so unselfish to put his pain to the side."

Murphy was born on May 7, 1976. "He was the cutest little kid, and he picked his head up on the first day home," Maureen Murphy recalled.

He attended Canaan Elementary School and Saxton Middle School, played Little League, and developed a love for scary movies.

The blue-eyed, brown-haired boy grew up in a cozy, elegant house with porcelain teapots and family photos everywhere. He came from a family of fighters with a sense of duty.

Daniel Murphy, 60, was a prosecutor and now works for a Suffolk County judge. He earned a Purple Heart when he was wounded by sniper fire and rocket-propelled grenades on the border of Cambodia and Vietnam while fighting with the 24th Infantry Division — "Tropical Lightning" — out of Pearl Harbor. He was deemed 40% disabled by the Army.

Murphy's paternal grandfather, James, whom he called "Pop," was born on a boat from Ireland as it neared America. He served in World War II with the storied Fighting 69th. He raised a family in Ozone Park, Queens, and worked for B-line buses.

Maureen Murphy, 54, who works for a title company, spent time in Ireland as a girl, and her grandfather was imprisoned for his role in the Irish Republican movement in the 1900s.

Her son, she says, was always for the underdog, always defended people being picked on.

"The closest Mike came to 'getting in trouble' was when his middle school principal called me that Mike had been in a fight," said Maureen Murphy. "Some kids had pushed a special ed kid into a locker, and Mike got into that fight to protect the kid."

She said he was always a good student; history was his favorite subject. She recalled when he was 9, they were at a friend's house, and the friend's son happily announced he got 96 on a test.

"I asked Mike how he did, and he said, 'I did okay.' Later at home I saw he got a 98 ... he didn't want to burst the other kid's bubble," she said.

At his typical suburban sprawling brick high school, Patchogue-Medford, Murphy was in the National Honor Society and played defensive back for the school's football team, the Raiders.

One teammate, Kieran Sweeney, now a phys-ed teacher at Patchogue-Medford, said Murphy was an unassuming guy but led by example. He never missed practice.

His guidance counselor, Patty Fucci, said Murphy wanted to be a lawyer like his dad. "He put 110% into everything he did here," she said, holding his transcripts with all As.

"I knew whatever goals he had, he would achieve them," she said. "He's everything you're hearing now."

Murphy graduated in 1994 and went to Penn State University.

Meanwhile, "Murph" became close friends with Owen O'Callaghan and his twin Jimmy, Jay Keenan and Jim Emmerich, the "Five-O crew" as his father called them.

They worked as lifeguards all through high school, at Holtsville pools, Corey Beach and Lake Ronkonkoma.

"Mike always pushed himself, but he was the biggest clown," said Jim O'Callaghan. "On rainy days at the pool, he'd make a slip-and-slide with a garbage bag."

They hung out every waking moment, listening to DMX, the Beastie Boys, Biggie Smalls, drinking "40s," O'Callaghan said.

Emmerich saw the fearless side of Murphy, who would climb to the top of the flagpole at Corey, and do heart-in-mouth high dives at Holtsville. "He adjusted the spring on the diving board to project him over next to the wall ... he'd do backflips, gainers, he'd go as close to the wall as possible.

"I had a minivan with a sliding door, he'd dive into it while it was moving. He was resilient, he had a ton of courage, he was considerate, compassionate," Emmerich said.

The Murphys' second child, John, came along when Mike was about 11, and he was thrilled.

"We were never the stereotypical fighters. I wasn't the annoying, embarrassing little brother," said John, 20, a junior at New York Institute of Technology who wants to become a cop.

"He'd include me in things."

Such as a keg party when their parents went away, and a visit to Penn State because the cute little boy was "chick bait." They rooted for the Islanders, the Yankees and the Jets.

"John was his world," Emmerich said. "One time we were firing a BB gun around, and I was trying to clear the air out of the gun and Mike really yelled at me about not being careful. 'My brother is here!' he yelled."

Murphy fell in love with another Penn State student from Long Island. He and Heather Duggan met at a firemen's carnival in Patchogue, Maureen Murphy said.

When Murphy graduated Penn State in 1998, he was accepted to three law schools.

"I told him to be a teacher, but he said he couldn't do that," said Daniel Murphy. "He said maybe later ... he didn't want to be behind a desk, he wanted to help people."

Emmerich said his friend was torn between law school and the military. "I think his 'Pop' had a lot to do with his decision to join."

So Murphy approached retired Navy SEAL Capt. Drew Bisset, director of the SEAL Recruiting District Assistance Council.

"Mike was definitely above and beyond just the normal guy," Bisset said. "He was very determined; he had a very strong inner focus. He never drew attention to himself; he was humble and patriotic."

Murphy took a screening test in January 1999, and then reported to Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy every month until September 1999 for scoring tests. Only about a dozen of several hundred hopefuls get into Officer Candidate School, so they strive to improve.

They must swim 500 yards in under nine minutes, do 100 pushups, 100 situps, 20 pullups and run a mile and a half in combat boots and long pants in under nine minutes.

"Every month he'd improve," said Bisset. "He had to work at it, it wasn't easy for him."

The 5-foot-10 Murphy had everybody on the beach at Lake Ronkonkoma training with him, said Jim O'Callaghan.

"He had a pullup bar set up. It was funny; we couldn't keep up."

Murphy swam across the vast, deep lake to train for the swim test, worrying his parents, who thought of the legend surrounding the lake: an Indian princess drowned herself there over an unrequited love, and each year her spirit pulls a young man down to his death.

Murphy aced his tests. He could swim the length of five football fields in seven minutes, 47 seconds. He did 102 pushups, 87 situps, 22 pullups and ran the course in eight minutes, 55 seconds.

"He was an outstanding leader. His actions spoke louder than his words," said Bisset.

In December 1999, Murphy's grandfather James died. Emmerich remembered the funeral at Calverton National Cemetery. "I'd never seen Mike cry, and he just stood there crying with his hand on the casket."

Within a few months Murphy would attend Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., then go on to Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego for intense tactical training.

He was on his way to being a Navy SEAL.


An American Hero

Navy SEAL was an officer and a gentleman right to the end (Part 2)


Monday, April 16, 2007, 4:00 AM

There are fewer than 2,500 Navy SEALs, and their training tells you why.

Michael Murphy headed to Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, six grueling months of physical conditioning and instruction in scuba skills, long-distance underwater transit dives, land navigation, small-unit tactics, rappelling, military land and underwater explosives and weapons training.

Then there were months of advanced training at specialty schools for foreign languages, SEAL tactical communications, sniper, and military free-fall parachuting. At jump school, he learned to jump from heights of up to 25,000 feet.

He looked to his father for inspiration.

"He asked me to send him a picture I have of me when I was in the hospital in Vietnam," Daniel Murphy said. "He said, 'I want to hold on to that. If you got through being wounded, I can get through Hell Week.'"

He got through, and graduated Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL as an officer of special warfare three weeks after 9/11. His father, mother Maureen, brother John, and friends Jim Emmerich and Jay Keenan flew out for the ceremony.

"We took the same flight from Boston, on American Airlines, that the hijackers took on 9/11," said Maureen Murphy. "But nothing was going to stop me from getting to San Diego."

Four hundred clean-cut men who all looked alike in their dress uniforms came marching in, Daniel Murphy recalled, "and Maureen spotted Mike right away."

When he came home on leave he never wore any clothes with the SEAL insignia, never told people he was one. "He showed up in ripped jeans, a T-shirt, still Mike," said Emmerich, a high school math teacher.

Murphy sported a Celtic cross tattoo on one shoulder, and when overseas he wore an FDNY T-shirt everyday, honoring his buddy Owen O'Callaghan, who at the time was a firefighter with Engine 53, Ladder 43, in East Harlem. He wore the red-and-orange patch for "El Barrio's Bravest" on the right shoulder pocket of his battle dress uniform.

His mentor, retired Navy SEAL Capt. Drew Bisset, said Murphy was always giving back. When he came home on leave, he'd show up at Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy and give a pep talk to the SEAL hopefuls.

Murphy had been to exotic locales and trouble spots around the globe, but spoke little of his missions. He had been in Jordan before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in Iraq twice, Qatar, Djibouti in East Africa and Afghanistan.

O'Callaghan's twin, Jim, a Suffolk County cop, said, "Mike would be in Iraq, or Somalia, telling us to be safe. He always thought of other people."

Emmerich remembered meeting Murphy at Irish Times, a bar, after he had been in Iraq once.

"He was different, very blank, I asked how it's going and he said, 'Good,'" Emmerich said. "You could tell Mike's been to war."

Murphy sent his mother gifts, a compact engraved Momma, and an angel figurine of pink glass, packed in a box she cherishes because on it he wrote, "Momma, your my angel. Love, Mike."

Maureen Murphy still marvels at how a big, tough man could pick out such a delicate trinket.

She adorned the living room window of the family house in Patchogue with a small flag made of red, white and blue lights which she'd turn off only when her son was home on leave. Then she decided she'd keep it on until all the service people come home.

At Christmas 2003, Murphy and Heather Duggan got engaged.

"He adored her," his mother said. "He carried the engagement ring with him everywhere in his backpack until he gave it to her at the Rockefeller Center tree."

They were to be married on Nov. 19, 2005.

In January 2005, Murphy was promoted to lieutenant and went on a training mission on the West Coast before deployment to Afghanistan. A fellow lieutenant in Alpha Platoon, Mario Melendez, recalled how the "hard-as-nails" Murphy saved the platoon from failing a tough task.

"It was 2 in the morning, and we were cold and tired, and our equipment was flooded and malfunctioning, and we couldn't establish contact," Melendez said. "Mike took another guy and they walked for a couple miles to get a position to establish communication, and we completed the mission. He singlehandedly saved our butts that night. "I'd like to think we're all like that, but he was that way all the time, and very humble about it."

Six months later, Murphy and his reconnaissance and surveillance team were 9,000 feet up in the forested mountains along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, in the Hindu Kush region, sent there to capture or kill high-value Taliban target Ahmad Shah, known as Ismail.

On June 28, 2005, the four-man field team, in camouflage and scruffy beards, encountered a pair of Afghan goatherds, one of them a young boy. Their lives and the classified mission to find Ismail were now at risk.

Murphy decided to let them go, rather than kill or capture them.

Military sources said it was not clear that the goatherds intentionally alerted anyone to the SEALs' presence, but two hours later Taliban militiamen headed toward their position.

A running firefight began as the Taliban attacked from three sides. The SEALs leapfrogged backward down the steep slope, covering each other as they moved.

For about 30 minutes, the four men fought on, as ammunition ran low, according to military officials.

Three SEALs were wounded by gunfire or rocket-propelled grenades. One screamed, "I'm hit!" Murphy yelled back, "We're all hit! Keep moving!"

Forty-five minutes into the harrowing battle, Murphy decided to radio for a quick-reaction force to get the team off the mountain. He crept into the open to get a clear signal.

"Troops in contact!" Murphy radioed, according to a source who heard the transmission.

Murphy was bleeding from severe wounds in his arm and stomach, but still firing his M-4 rifle at the enemy and exhorting his men to escape while he held off their attackers.

Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, 25, of Littleton, Colo., was the first to die as they tumbled 2,600 feet downhill, firing the whole way. Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson, 29, of Cupertino, Calif., fell next.

Murphy's radio call reached Bagram, about 100 miles west of Asadabad and the military's hub for Operation Red Wing, the campaign against Taliban militia and Al Qaeda terrorists along the border.

Two Chinook helicopters raced to save the team. One, carrying eight SEALs and eight Army Special Forces troops, was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed, killing all 16 aboard.

With the deaths of Murphy, Dietz and Axelson, it was the worst loss of life for the elite Navy commando group.

It took several days to recover the bodies of the team. Murphy was found July 4, quickly recognized by his muddy FDNY T-shirt.

The fourth member of Murphy's team, Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell, was slammed by a rocket-propelled grenade but managed to crawl through the mountains for four days, until he was found by a local shepherd who bandaged his wounds and gave him sanctuary. He was later rescued by U.S. forces.

Luttrell has written a book about the ordeal, called "The Lone Survivor," due out in June.

"He has told us, and everyone he meets, that Michael saved his life," said Daniel Murphy.

Dietz, Axelson and Luttrell were awarded the Navy Cross, a combat valor medal second only to the Medal of Honor. Murphy earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart, and is being considered for the Navy Cross, and possibly the Medal of Honor.

"They died trying to save him as much as he sacrificed his life for them," Daniel Murphy said. He added that Rear Adm. Joseph Maguire, chief of special operations for the Navy, told him, "Don't think these men went down easily ... Taliban bodies were strewn all over, 30-40 were killed, with a total of 80 casualties from the four-man team. Satellite recon tracked 80-100 people coming over the border."

"We always knew he was a tough son of a bitch, but he was so nice," said Emmerich. "I'd ask him, 'Are you afraid to die?' and he'd dismiss it. I don't think he was." When he called for the helicopter he was already severely wounded, more bullets whizzed toward him and still Murphy kept his cool to give the coordinates of his position.

And at the end of the transmission, ever the officer and gentleman, he said, "Thank you."