Troopathon 2011: Updates from the War Zones and After

I mentioned recently that I am participating in my first Troopathon and am so proud to be on Hot Air’s Hot Steamers team along with The Lonely Conservative, No Sheeples Here and One of Nine. The goal is to raise money for care packages for the troops in cooperation with Melanie Morgan’s Move America Forward and several other teams. We are less than 30 days from the actual live event and so we must get busy contributing for much appreciated and much needed items for our military. Today I want to tell you how to do that as well as bring some news from the war zones and beyond. Click any picture on this page to donate.

Please Click and Contribute

I  hope you will read the following stories of sacrifice and families and give whatever you can…no matter how small or large – anything helps to put together a care package. Join with the Hot Air Steamers and Click any picture on this page to donate.

Click here to read my first Troopathon post to learn about the Troopathon teams competing to do their very best for our military. Remember that we receive nothing for blogging about Troopathon but the deep satisfaction of supporting the troops.

The actual live Troopathon show will be June 23rd, 4 pm to midnight. Last year, many radio and television conservatives took part in raising funds for this worthy cause. Only 29 days left. Please help today.

IRAQ:

Father and son reuinited: Natives of Killeen, Texas, Staff Sgt. George Chisholm II and his son SPC. Ryan Lamar Chisholm have not seen each other since Ryan’s high school graduation. SPC. Chisholm, a military analyst, was stationed at Contingency Operating Base Speicher (COB Speicher) attached to Task Frce Odin, 4th Infantry Division.

Staff Sgt. George Chisholm, II and Spc. Ryan Lamar Chisholm

“Oh, here he comes,” Ryan said jokingly, when he found out that his father will be joining him at COB Speicher.

George’s unit was ordered to deploy in support of Operation New Dawn six months before his unit was slated to deactivate.

Not many soldiers can say they have deployed with their father and stationed at the same post,” Ryan said.

However, there are negative aspects of serving in the military together, such as the realization that your family member may be in harm’s way. Ryan knows that his father must perform convoy missions and other tasks required of soldiers.

“It makes me a little nervous, but he has been doing it for a long time, so I know he’s going to take care of himself,” said Ryan of the tasks his father is required to perform while at work.

“Also, my unit provides over-watch and route surveillances for the convoys, so I’m watching his back when he is on a mission,” Ryan said.

We must remember that our forces in Iraq are still in danger.

AFGHANISTAN:

In Afghanistan, the Department of Defense (DoD) reports that the “number and quality” of Afghan security forces are increasing. Take a look at the problems our men and women face while dealing with the Afghan forces:

“The size of the Afghan National Army has increased from 97,000 in November 2009 to over 164,000 today,” Kem said, and will grow to 171,600 by summer’s end. The Afghan National Police has grown from just under 95,000 in November 2009 to 126,000 today, and will reach 134,000 by fall.

Taken together, Kem said, this is an increase of 98,000 recruits in 18 months that has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in quality.

The literacy rate for incoming soldiers and police officers is about 14 percent, Kem said, “meaning that 86 percent of our recruits are unable to read and write at the third-grade level. This has been an enormous challenge.” What began as a voluntary literacy program with less than 13,000 enrolled has become mandatory for basic army and police training, he said, and programs around the country are teaching basic literacy and numeracy.

“Today, we have over 81,000 Afghan [soldiers and police] in mandatory literacy classes, and we have graduated another 92,000 in different literacy classes since November 2009,” Kem said.

“We know that we will improve the literacy rate in Afghanistan in the Afghanistan national security forces to over 50 percent by January 2012,” he added.

The goal, Kem said, is to have full functional literacy in the army and police, defined as third-grade-level literacy.

Hard to comprehend, isn’t it.

Did you know we have a Forward Operating Base Tillman? Named in honor of pro-football player and soldier, Pat Tillman, who gave his life serving his country in Afghanistan, the base is located in Paktia Province, very close to the Pakistan border.

FOB Tillman Mail Call (Photo Credit Karen Parrish)

…here and on Combat Outpost Munoz, where most of the soldiers live who are assigned to the 101st Airborne Division’s 4th “Currahee” Brigade Combat Team, ‘Dog” Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, there’s not a shop to be found.

Army Sgt. Justin Payne, a team leader for 1st Platoon, said soldiers receive many of their needs through the mail, sent from family and friends at home. “Tobacco is a big thing,” he said. “Snacks, candy, … stuff like that. Magazines.”

Most soldiers at Tillman have personal computers they use to watch movies, Payne said, while seven public computers with Internet connections and two phones are available for the troops to keep in touch with their families and friends.

Barracks space is divided into small plywood cubicles, Payne said, so the soldiers who live at Tillman have some personal sleeping space.

No doubt, your contribution to Troopathon will be enjoyed by some of the members of the 101st Airborne Divisions 4th Currahee Brigade Combat Team.

Snipers from the 10th Mountain Division worry about IED’s, and now the Taliban will stress about C Company’s Scout platoon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team and their sniper skills:

Spc. Victor Bardales treated for shrapnel wounds near Combat Out Post Naigham

A sniper team killed two insurgents and wounded a third near a Taliban weapons cache and staging area in the Nalgham region of Kandahar province on Sunday according to U.S. forces and local Afghan nationals. Coalition forces had been tracking the insurgents using surveillance and reconnaissance assets for nearly two weeks before they fired on the site.

Snipers with C Company’s Scout platoon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, positioned themselves after dark on Saturday in response to an attack from the area earlier that day. Intelligence sources anticipated that insurgents might return to the staging area at some point.

“They usually don’t repeat themselves like that. Actually, we were all surprised. They’re very good at not repeating themselves,” Sgt. Paul Gorse, a sniper with Scout platoon said.

“Anytime you have a sniper kill, it’s such a devastating psychological blow to the enemy. It denies the enemy freedom of movement, it creates stress,” Gorse said.

“Every time we walk out there, we’re stressed out about IEDs. Now when they step out, they’re going to be worried about snipers.”

AFTER THE WAR ZONES:

Ret. Army Capt. Adrian Veseth-Nelson and wife Diana with Loki

This snippet from an Army wife/blogger shows just one problem left to cope with after the war zones:

I remember Fourth of July at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., when we were all standing outside listening to the band, enjoying the picnic and listening to fireworks. The fireworks bothered Adrian because they sounded so much like gunfire. It made other soldiers upset too, and we all went inside. I thought it was ironic because the celebration was supposed to be for the American soldiers; they couldn’t even enjoy it.

He’d see a can on the side of the road and swerve, thinking it was an improvised explosive device. When he’d go out to dinner with other soldiers, I’d say it looked like a “The Last Supper” painting because they’d all sit there with their backs against the wall. If a room became too busy, he’d want to leave. He’d suddenly become unfriendly or unapproachable. At first, I confused his behavior with depression, or I thought maybe he was just tired. I also couldn’t help but think it had to do with me; I’m only human.

I was fortunate that Adrian was willing to get help once he got back. Once he was diagnosed, I knew we’d know better how to deal with his symptoms. I educated myself on PTSD; I went to his group therapist and reached out to the Real Warriors Campaign for information. But the most important thing I did was to listen to Adrian.

There are only 29 days left. Give a little each pay check or one care package today. Click any picture on this page to donate. – it takes only 3 minutes to use your credit card.

Move America Forward is a 501(C)3 so all care package donations are tax deductible.

Most importantly, each care package will include a personal message written by you where you can express your gratitude to our military.

Care Packages include include any or all of the following:

Gourmet Organiz Coffee
Oreo Cookies
Deodorant
Candy Diplomacy
Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Hot Chocolate
Hot Apple Cider
Wet Wipes
Sunblock
Battery Operated Fans
Gatorade
Painted Hills Beef Jerky
Chap Stick
Planters Trail Mix
Ocean Spray Craisins Trail Mix
Bug Repellent
“For The Troops” CDs
Diana Nagy “The Journey of Life” CDs
Foot Powder

 

Thank You from the Hot Air Steamers!