Tag Archives: military

Ready For Summer?

by Kimberly A. Cook                       (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

I am in complete denial. Yesterday I noticed the leaves are turning colors. Fall shades to be exact. Earth tones. Like pumpkins. While I may be able to ignore the calendar and the shortening of the light, the turning leaves are a beacon of the seasons.

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Official first swing of the summer – 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, September 26th. All is right with the world.  

 

Who stole my summer? It went from a record breaking rain year with moss growing on everything, including me, to a heat wave extravaganza since the end of June. Then forest fires with smoke, plus more smoke shared from Canada. So because of all those events and roofers who have been on my house for two months, don’t even ask, it has not been an average summer.

Between the cascading weatherproof membrane pieces, flying white waterproof sheeting, sliding pieces of block and tackle and packets of shingles this summer, I did manage to get the lawn swing spray painted so it looks brand new.

In the process I got so carried away I didn’t realize I had spray painted my toes silver. Should have taken a picture before I stuffed each foot in the sink and scrubbed. Amazed my pedicure of red sparkles still came back after the episode. Not letting it dry too long must have been the key.

Words to the unwise: Do not wear flip flops when you spray paint near your feet. Overspray happens. Just saying.

Which is why yesterday was the big day. I put the lawn swing out! For two days. Before it rains again. The roofers have finally quit throwing projectiles from above, so it was safe to assemble my haven of heaven.

But in the grand scheme of life, times are grand. I’m happy to have a roof, power and running potable water, unlike our fellow citizens in the U.S. Virgin islands and Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria flattened our islands. But the Navy is moving the hospital ship USNS Comfort into place. The Marines landed days ago. Other support is finally getting to the island with the hard work of military personnel, the Coast Guard and FEMA workers getting the airport fixed and the harbors cleared.

Pilots of both planes and ships get cranky if you give them runways with gaping holes and harbors full of hull piercing metal. Great job getting the debris and junk cleared out to start the relief efforts.

In the Army I served with several Puerto Rican soldiers. They worked hard, taught me cuss words in Spanish, loved to play jokes and had the best laughs. Wishing hugs, hope and support to all in our islands.

Donate what you can, be grateful for the life we enjoy and prepare for Fall and Winter. The best thing about winter this year? It will finally end the hurricane and fire seasons!

That is worth celebrating.

For me, I’m enjoying my new nickname: Silver Toes.

Lawn swing ho!

 

 

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Miracles Do Happen

by Kimberly A. Cook                       (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

When last we chatted Oregon was preparing for the fabulous eclipse. It was a great party. Since then, correct me if I’m wrong, but it feels like we’ve been playing a national game of disaster whack-a-mole. Hurricane Harvey, wildfires in Oregon and the West, then Hurricane Irma. Yowsa.

Whoever ticked off Mother Nature, apologize now.

But miracles do happen through the efforts of “ordinary” Americans:

The fire fighters who stood their ground and saved the historic lodge at Multnomah Falls by surrounding it in a wall of water all night while the flames burned all around and over them and embers flew across the Columbia River. No easy feat that save, with the fire coming within thirty yards of the wood shingled lodge.

The shelter dogs and cats evacuated ahead of Hurricane Harvey from Houston to Oregon and Washington, many have already been adopted.

The 1,700 food boxes packed and shipped by the Oregon Food Bank to Houston to help feed those in need. Know they will be packing more for Florida.

The curator and a staff of nine at the Hemingway House in Key West, Florida who rode out the storm with the fifty-four Hemingway cats and all were spared. Angels were above them all.

The news reporter who helped get one exhausted baby dolphin back out into the sea and helped with other volunteers to carry another stranded dolphin back out into the ocean.

The bystanders who quickly realized two manatees were stranded in the mud after the storm suck took all the water from the bay. With the help of Manatee Sheriff Deputies, they dragged the two manatees back out into the ocean a hundred yards.

There will be many stories of kind acts and we will grieve for those who have died. We will also rejoice in the team who went out in the storm to help deliver a baby. Baby’s don’t wait for weather.

Through all the damage and destruction, we’ve seen the best of our country while Mother Nature hit us with her worst. Maybe she wanted to let us know she was in charge after all, by blocking out the sun then hitting us with her best shots.

Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Oregon, California, Washington, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the East Coast, we’ve got your back. Huge hugs and thanks to all the law enforcement, fire fighters, U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, FEMA, federal, state, county, city, power company and gasoline employees working their butts off now and for weeks to come.

A special thank you to the men and women at the National Weather Service in Key West, Florida and the military personnel at the Key West Naval Station who stayed behind and did their jobs. You guys are rock stars!

Also gratitude to the American Red Cross volunteers and staff, the non-profit agencies, and all the animal rescue groups. The retailers who opened their stores and the restaurants who are feeding people now are all a big part of our USA team.

Our hearts swell from the volunteer efforts of the Cajun Navy to the monster truck drivers and the thousands of folks who helped their neighbors and the news crews who jumped in to help when needed.

This is going to be a long rebuild, but we’ll get through this together. What better way to honor the loss of the men, women and children on 9/11 that we honored yesterday, than to become a better nation after their and their family’s sacrifice.

With folks like the ones in the video below, USA, we’ve got this.

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Honoring The Brave

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

This weekend we head into Memorial Day and last Saturday was U.S. Armed Forces Day. With all the crazy going on in the world, we can always rely on the men and women in our military doing their jobs day in and day out to keep us safe.

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Tomb Sentinels from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) conduct a changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 5, 2017. Members of The Old Guard have guarded the Tomb every second, of every day regardless of weather conditions since April 6, 1948. (U.S. Army photos by Pfc. Gabriel Silva)

 

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A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter arrives at the pickup zone at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, April 6. The aviators were taking part in a joint-training exercise with Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, in anticipation of working together during future Atlantic Resolve missions. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Thomas Scaggs)

 

I wanted to recognize all service members in the National Guard, Reserve, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force and our military animals. This Sunday on Memorial Day is a time to remember all those who gave the greatest sacrifice for our country.

Laboon is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region

 U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (May 11, 2017) Yeoman Seaman Theresa Porcellini mans the ship’s wheel from the aft steering station during a simulated toxic gas drill aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58). The ship is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, and preserve the freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. R. DiNiro/Released)

 

A picture speaks a thousand words, so these photos are courtesy of the Department of Defense amazing photographers.

 

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Pfc. Heaven Southard, an Army military working dog handler with the Directorate of Emergency Services, Area Support Group – Kuwait, releases her military working dog “Jerry” during a demonstration of MWD capabilities at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Mar. 7, 2017. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Dalton Smith)

 

Give a prayer of thanks for those who serve and take a moment of silence to honor those who gave their lives in defense of our country. Freedom isn’t free.

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GULF OF OMAN (March 2, 2017) Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) disembark a landing craft air cushion (LCAC) after returning to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) following exercise Sea Soldier 17. The annual, bilateral exercise is conducted with the Royal Army of Oman and is designed to demonstrate the cooperative skill and will of U.S. and partner nations to work together in maintaining regional stability and security. Somerset, with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce and enhance regional stability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)

 

 

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USCG Motor Lifeboat 47213 conducting surf operations near the treacherous Columbia River Bar, Washington. The 47-foot Motor Life Boat is primarily designed as a fast-response rescue vessel for high-seas, surf, and heavy weather environments. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jamie Thielen)

 

Angel Thunder 17

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Air Force pararescuemen with the 58th Rescue Squadron prepare for aerial transport during a personnel recovery scenario at Pond Landing Zone during Angel Thunder 17 in Tucson, Ariz., May 11, 2017. Angel Thunder is a two-week, Air Combat Command-sponsored, joint certified and accredited personnel recovery exercise focused on search and rescue. The exercise is designed to provide training for personnel recovery assets using a variety of scenarios to simulate deployment conditions and contingencies. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

 


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Legacy and Sacrifice Live On 75 Years Later on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

by Kimberly A. Cook                       (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The importance of military veteran stories grows with the passing of time. For those who have not experienced combat, military service or being in a war-torn country as a civilian, aid worker or journalist, the catastrophe of war can drift away like a mirage.

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Looking from the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri Memorial to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. I took these pictures in November 2012. This photo always gives me pause.

 

 

December 7, 2016 is the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The U.S.S. Arizona lost 1,177 sailors and Marines from her crew that day. There were 333 U.S.S. Arizona survivors.

According to the Time Special Edition “Commemorating 75 Years since Pearl Harbor,” seventy-five years later only six of the sailors who survived the sinking are still alive. Four of the five of them hope to be at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial tomorrow to honor their fellow shipmates.

Some Pearl Harbor stories you might not know:

Doris Miller, an African American serving as a Cook Third Class in the segregated U.S. Navy, fought back manning a machine gun he had never been trained on when Japanese planes fired on the U.S.S. West Virginia. Miller received the Navy Cross for his actions. The first African American to receive the Navy Cross, he died in November 1943 when his next ship, the U.S.S. Liscome Bay, was torpedoed and sank.

“In four years at sea, I sat through 78 air attacks, but nothing was as frightening as the attack on Pearl Harbor,” Warren K. Taylor, ensign, U.S.S. Sumner in Time Special Edition.

The U.S.S. Oklahoma lost 429 sailors in the bombing. While being towed to California in 1947 after being lifted from Battleship Row, the ship was lost at sea. In 2007 the National Park Service opened a memorial to the ship and her crew on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.

After the bombing a total of 2,403 were killed or missing, half of them from the U.S.S. Arizona, and 1,178 service members and civilians were injured. All the U.S. casualties from sailors to civilians were listed as noncombatants since the U.S. was not in a state of war with Japan.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Congress passed public law 503 which ordered the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them born in America. There was no due process of law for these United States citizens.

All proceeds from her autobiography, “Wherever You Need Me,” by Anna Busby, go to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Fund. Busby was an Army Second Lieutenant in the Nurse Corps who witnessed the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field from the lanai at Tripler Hospital in Honolulu.

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The plaque on the U.S.S. Missouri’s teak deck where the surrender was signed. My Dad’s ship sailed past the Mighty Mo two days after the surrender signing in Tokyo Bay. He was part of the occupation forces first into Japan with the Army Air Corps. After she was discharged from the Marines, my Mom sailed into Tokyo Bay on a Liberty Ship to work as civilian staff for the Army Transportation Department for a year. Mom and Dad both sailed in and out of Pearl Harbor on their deployments.

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One of the U.S.S. Arizona’s three anchors. The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and U.S.S. Missouri Memorial are in the background on the left.

 

“It’s so important that Americans don’t forget this day,” Donald Stratton, 94, Seaman First Class, U.S.S. Arizona.   

IMG_8920.JPGVisit the National Park Service’s World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument web site below.

http://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm

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Veterans Day Thank You

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

To all who have served in the military, thank you. For all who continue to deal with the challenges of war and service, you are loved and not forgotten. To our future veterans serving today, we look forward to welcoming you when your tours of service end.

Happy Veterans Day to all who have earned it through service to our country. Including our military animals who served and therapy dogs who support our veterans after service.

 

 

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Got A Pumpkin Invasion?

by Kimberly A. Cook                   (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Running errands on Friday I stopped at the store and saw the big orange invasion; pumpkins everywhere! White pumpkins, bumpy pumpkins, baby pumpkins, miniature pumpkins, regular pumpkins and ceramic pumpkins. Plus all the Halloween candy one’s heart desires.

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A pile of perfect pumpkins!

 

Time to stock up now! If you want the good Halloween candy you have to buy in September, because the locusts come in and all that is left by mid-October is the candy nobody really likes. Consider yourselves warned.

The reason I was in the garden section was to find discounted items for the Fairy Rock Garden and perhaps a gazing ball on sale. Scored on all accounts. The garden art was twenty-five percent off, including the gazing ball, picked up some plastic butterflies,  a couple mini-elves and a mini-house.

Bargains make me so happy, but I’m sure there must be a garden art intervention in my future.

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Pumpkins for every taste. Think these are free range pumpkins.

 

More leaves are turning colors and falling off the trees, the tomatoes are giving their last crop of bounty and the weekend rainstorm reminded us all why we like sweaters and warm socks. The sun is coming back this week, but the shorter days tell the story; soon it will be time for pumpkin pie!

So the outside chores to do list is heating up. I will try to finally get the garage cleaned up and mucked out. Then it will be time to put the lawn swing away for the winter and break out the fuzzy blankets and fleece lounging jammies for cuddles.

Celebrate the seasons and enjoy the simple pleasures. Planting new bulbs is always a good idea to see what pops up in the new year. Must go back to the garden section while the sales are still raging. Plus pick up some extra Halloween candy. Just to be sure……

Got treats for tricks?

 

P.S. A salute to the first responders, law enforcement staff, military personnel and citizens who helped this past weekend after the terrorist acts on the East Coast. Wishing all those wounded and injured to heal fast and know you are in our hearts and prayers.

While we seek justice against terrorist acts, we must not lose our compassion. Fighting terrorism is not easy and it won’t be finished overnight. But with a United States population of more than 330 million strong, we’ve got this and we will finish it one day. Count on it.

 

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How About These SEALs?

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Heading into the long Labor Day weekend, wanted to send a shout out to all the troops around the world who will be working hard while we play. Then thought it might be super cool to watch these Navy SEALs play at a football game. Jumping into a football game that is.

Have a great, safe weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!

 

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