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Thursday, November 15 2018 @ 11:03 am PST

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USAF suicide

Grieving Parents Sue Air Force for Answers in Daughter's Death

I hesitate to share my thoughts on this, particularly as I have no special information on this case. But I'm disturbed by the correlations with John Frueh's death several years ago.

I'm asking the question, not answering it. It's not unusual for families to have shock and denial in the case of a suicide. No one wants to believe that their loved one would make that decision, and it's common for someone to hide their despair.

Still...another person with a great future dies of a gunshot wound in an odd location? I'd be asking questions too. I pray that the family may find closure and peace.

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Wednesday Hero

PJ Stuff
SSgt. Robert Gutierrez ,
Jr.
SSgt. Robert Gutierrez , Jr.

U.S.
Air Force

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Staff Sergeant Robert Gutierrez, Jr., United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States in Heart Province, Afghanistan, on 5 October 2009. On that date, while assigned as a combat controller to an Army Special Forces Detachment, Sergeant Gutierrez and his team conducted a high-risk nighttime raid to capture the number two Taliban leader in the region. During the initial assault, the team was attacked with a barrage of rifle and heavy machine-gun fire from a numerically superior and determined enemy force. Sergeant Gutierrez was shot in the chest, his team leader was shot in the leg, and the ten-man element was pinned down in a building with no escape route. In great pain and confronting the very real possibility that he would die, Sergeant Gutierrez seized the initiative and refused to relinquish his duties as joint terminal attack controller. Under intense fire, he engaged Taliban fighters with his M-4 rifle and brought airpower to bear, controlling three "danger close" A-10 strafing runs with exceptional precision against enemy forces just 30 feet away. After the first A-10 attack, the team medic performed a needle decompression to re-inflate Sergeant Gutierrez's collapsed lung, allowing him to direct the next two strafe runs which decimated the enemy force and allowed the team to escape the kill zone without additional casualties. Throughout the four-hour battle, Sergeant Gutierrez's valorous actions, at great risk to his own life, helped save the lives of his teammates and dealt a crushing blow to the regional Taliban network. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Sergeant Gutierrez reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

You can read more about SSgt. Gutierrez here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Wings to Watch

PJ StuffA400M Set for July Delivery to the French Army

(linked for PJ Stuff because of some plausible future applications)

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Wednesday Hero

Wednesday Hero Blogroll This post was suggested by Cindy
Theodore Harvey
Theodore Harvey

78 years old from Mescalero Apache Reservation, New Mexico

U.S. Army

Theodore Harvey was only 19 when he enlisted in the Army in 1954. He served with honor for 17 years when was discharged in 1971. Then one day, 41 years later, a social worker at Mr. Harvey's care center ask him what happened to his medals. "I never got them," he replied.

You can read more about Theodore Harvey here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Quiet professionals

General NewsEven though I only gave the SEAL "Warrior Princess" story a headline glance, this bit from Froggy nails the bigger issues of quiet sacrifice. It's not so much about one operator or another as the cultural change. Yeah, it's a bit "old school" but I'm feeling old school these days... Silent Warriors V. The Warrior Princess
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Feedback please!

General NewsI'm having my semi-annual struggle with the status of the blog.

I don't want to waste anybody's time.

And I'm not sure of what I have to offer any more. These days, being a mom is taking just about everything I've got. And I'm not really looking to make this a mommy-blog. Pararescue... Current events... PTSD... it's still just as important as it ever was. But my life has changed and different things are taking my time and energy.

Forgive me, but I'm going to indulge in about 15 seconds of self-pity. I miss being that person who could offer all kinds of skills to friends and strangers just for the fun of it. I miss dropping in at a base or helping out at the VA. I miss being that emergency fallback.

Being a mom is... humbling. I'm muddy (etc!) in the trenches with everyone else who is just trying to survive their day. A good day is actually getting to sit down with my coffee and/or having time to wash my hair and maybe look in the mirror.

On the other hand, the mom version is still very much...me. I carried a small refrigerator up a flight of stairs a few weeks ago. I refuse to carry a traditional diaper bag. And although I've come a long way, I'm still terrible about calling for backup, preferring the expediency of handling a lot of things on my own.

A lot of other things I could say about all that, but again, I don't intend to make this a mommy blog. ;)

But if you have a moment to comment or email, I'd like to know what you'd like for this new version of me to write about here. None of us have time to waste. I make no promises, apart from keeping your input in mind, but I really would like to hear what I can offer that would be valuable to you.
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Wednesday Hero

Wednesday Hero BlogrollThis Post Was Suggested By Michael

GySgt. John Basilone

GySgt. John Basilone

21 years old from Raritan, New Jersey

Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division

November 4, 1916 - February 19, 1945

U.S. Marines

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines' defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machine guns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone's sections, with its gun crews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

GySgt. Basilone was killed helping to guide a tank to safety that was trapped in a mine field under heavy mortar and artillery barrages during the invasion of Iwo Jima.

You can read more about GySgt. Basilone and his amazing bravery here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Pain

General NewsThis week I have a decent excuse for the lack of posts: I got hit in the eye and got a significant scratch on my cornea. (Lest you worry, the "how" had its own humor and is something I will hold over the perpetrator for years to come.) Day 1 wasn't so bad, but then irritation and infection set in and effectively shut me down for a while. Then, all the computer time I could tolerate was used rescheduling my vacation...sigh! Anyway...

A part of me stepped back from it all and started analyzing the oddities of dealing with pain. Because, well, no single moment was particularly horrible. A scratched cornea is a step or two down from childbirth, which I only rated a 6-7 on the pain scale. A few years ago I wrote about the emotional impact of getting hit (in training) and I see a similar trend here. I can mentally isolate any particular moment of physical pain. But it's the other stuff, the stuff that goes on in our heads, that makes or breaks our "pain threshold."

I see this as a mom, when my son falls and looks to me for whether he should laugh or cry. We hear the stories of SEALs like Mike Monsoor who overcome tremendous physical challenges in order to meet their goals.

But pain becomes unbearable when we're alone. It's unbearable when we expect it to break us. It shakes our foundations when we're hit, because on some visceral level we know that our fellow man isn't supposed to treat us that way.

Left unchecked, pain morphs into our way of relating to the world. It becomes a language of its own. I've had friends who would cut themselves just to feel something than numbness. Or they'll set themselves up to be hit because they crave physical contact so badly.

The experience of pain is all about the voice in your head. The nerves and pain receptors are going to do what they're going to do. But how do we interact with that physical sensation? Do we start to believe that no one cares that we're hurting? Or do we listen to heroes who say that pain is only temporary?

Pain doesn't make us weak; it only finds the existing weakness.

And that's okay. It gives us a place to start.
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Building a Safety Net

The PTSD DiariesThe Most Important Step in Caring for Those with PTSD, Especially Our Veterans

Silouan Green has been a trusted resource for a while now, and the latter part of his article demonstrates why. (Some people have quibbled about the number of programs available but that's not the point of the article.) This isn't about funding more programs; it's about bringing PTSD awareness and outreach to an accessible point for all of us. It's recognizing who is at risk in our existing community and building them a safety net.

I've written before about intentional friendship, and this is yet another reason why I believe it's important. Building one more friendship may save a life.

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Wednesday Hero (backlog)

Wednesday Hero Blogroll
1st Lt. Nathan M.
Krissoff

1st Lt. Nathan M. Krissoff

25 years old from Reno, Nevada

Headquarters and Service Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force

December 9, 2006

U.S. Marines

Nathan Krissoff enlisted in the Marine Corps. after the attacks on Sept. 11 out of a sense of duty to his country. 1st. Lt. Krissoff was killed in 2006 when his convoy was hit by an IED in al-Amariyah, Iraq. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart.

On Memorial Day his family shared some of his letters that he wrote to them while deployed.

************************************

Capt. Barry F. Crawford , Jr.

Capt. Barry F. Crawford , Jr.

U.S. Air Force

The President of the United States of America awarded the Air Force Cross to Captain Barry F. Crawford, Jr., for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as Special Tactics Officer near Laghman Province, Afghanistan, on 4 May 2010. On that date, while attached to Army Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha and their Afghan partner force, Captain Crawford conducted a helicopter assault into Hendor Village. Upon landing, Captain Crawford received reports that multiple groups of armed enemy were maneuvering into prepared fighting positions in the high ground around the village. As the assault force initiated clearance operations, they began to receive a high volume of accurate machine gun and sniper fire from an enemy force well over 100 fighters. As the assault force was attacked, Captain Crawford took decisive action to save the lives of three wounded Afghan soldiers and evacuate two Afghan soldiers killed in action. Recognizing that the wounded Afghan soldiers would die without evacuation to definitive care, Captain Crawford took decisive action and ran out into the open in an effort to guide the helicopter to the landing zone. Once the pilot had eyes on his position, Captain Crawford remained exposed, despite having one of his radio antennas shot off mere inches form his face, while he vectored in the aircraft. Acting without hesitation, Captain Crawford then bounded across open terrain, engaged enemy positions with his assault rifle and called in AH-64 strafe attacks to defeat the ambush allowing the aid-and-litter teams to move toward the casualties. While the casualties were being moved the team's exposed position once again came under attack from two enemy trucks that had moved into the area and were threatening the medical evacuation landing zone. As one of the aid-and-litter teams was pinned down by enemy fire, and the medical evacuation helicopter took direct hits from small arms fire, it departed with only four casualties leaving one wounded Afghan soldier on the ground. Captain Crawford developed, coordinated, and executed a plan to suppress the enemy, enabling the helicopter to return to the hot landing zone to retrieve the last casualty. While Captain Crawford's element exfiltrated the village, the assault force conducted a two kilometer movement over steep terrain with little to no cover. During this movement the ground force commander and Captain Crawford's element were ambushed and pinned down in the open from multiple enemy fighting positions, some as close as 150 meters away. Without regard for his own life, Captain Crawford moved alone across open terrain in the kill zone to locate and engage enemy positions with his assault riffle while directing AH-64 30-mm. strafe attacks. Continuing to move the team further over 1.5 kilometers of steep terrain with minimal cover, Captain Crawford again engaged the enemy with his assault rifle while integrating AH-64s and F-15E's in a coordinated air-to-ground attack plan that included strafing runs along with 500 and 2,0000-pound bomb and Hellfire missile strikes. Throughout the course of the ten hour firefight, Captain Crawford braved effective enemy fire and consciously placed himself at grave risk on four occasions while controlling over 33 aircraft and more than 40 airstrikes on a well-trained and well-prepared enemy force. His selfless actions and expert airpower employment neutralized a numerically superior enemy force and enabled friendly elements to exfiltrate the area without massive casualties. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Captain Crawford has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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