Because of an excess of spambot activity, I have blocked new registrations. I hate taking such drastic measures, but I don't have time to clean up all the false registrations that result from whatever attack list I landed on. I will likely revise this in the future once I've upgraded some of my code, but until then, please email me if you would like a user account. Most days, you'll get a login within a few daylight hours. Please let me know:
Real name or callsign
The WatchCat spent a year in Russia and the Middle East in preparation for a government career. Unfortunately she got in a little too deep, and health problems sabotaged her career before it began. The future? Now there's an open question. She gets her paws in the action whenever possible, with or without a paycheck. WatchCat keeps busy supporting the troops, recruiting pararescue candidates, yelling at traitors and helping people navigate the grey areas on international everything.
A close family member is active duty US military, but due to OPSEC (and the general need for family peace), WatchCat is unable to write about that person's activities. She makes the most of the opportunities that God gives her, knowing that she should be dead by now.
And yes, she is married & is going to stay married. Smacks upside the head are delivered as needed to those who don't understand this.
Any Amazon.com shopping you do via these links will help keep WatchCat in cream & ammo:
When the towers of the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, 2001,
Clarence Wolf Guts asked his son to call the U.S. Department of
Defense to see if the country needed his code talking abilities to
find Osama Bin Laden. Wolf Guts was in his late 70s at the time, so
his son did not make the call, but said the request personified his
father's love of country. "He still wanted to help. He was trying to
still be patriotic".
Pfc. Wolf Guts was the last surviving Oglala Lakota code talker from
It has been...a storm.
And an almost peaceful week, the eye of the storm, is drawing to a close and I jump back into the fray tomorrow.
I used to think that gated communities were way too uptight for my taste, but I'm finding it a blessing to just exhale because I don't have to worry about who is driving by. While it's not true security, it's easier to relax here.
I met a Navy guy today who assumed I was a veteran. It's not the first time I've been mistaken for one, and it's always an odd feeling. I know I've done good work in my life, despite some missteps, but days like today make me feel like I missed my niche. And it's even stranger in these turbulent times when so many veterans are depressed and disillusioned by what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. I've always thought it would have been an honor to serve...but was I spared something?
I don't know what to make of this life. So many mistakes entangle us, yet the oddest things preserve us.
I'm getting ready to leave my new favorite place, and I'm trying to cultivate an attitude of patience. There's a life I want, but it's not yet in my reach.
One step forward in faith. Another day of endurance and looking hard for joy. Digging deeper, inside and out, for that first handhold.
There are circumstances and then there are choices. We mess up when we confuse the two.
We've sadly lost yet another Code Talker. Edmond A. Harjo was the
last surviving Code Talker for the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. Back
in November of 2013, 33 tribes were honored in a ceremony in
Washington, D.C. with the Congressional Gold Medal for their
contribution in the war, Harjo was the only living Code Talker to
Friday marks the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, or
D-Day. In the early hours of June 6, 1944, 156.000 troops from 12
nations including America, United Kingdom and Canada set out with the
largest seaborne invasion force in history. The invasion marked the
end of Germany's occupation of Europe and turned the course of the
war. When the fight was over, there were 12,000 Allied casualties and
4,414 dead. We remember these brave men on Friday, as well as today,
for the sacrifices they made in the name of freedom. With each
passing year we lose more and more of these veterans until one day
they'll be gone. They didn't set out to make history or garner glory,
but that's precisely what they did. So cherish and honor them while
we still have them.
You can find more information about D-Day 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
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.
Memorial Day this year was only typical in that it was my usual float between the military and civilian worlds. The whole "Happy Memorial Day" and "Do you have any plans?" bugged me like it bugged many of you. I wished I could have taken my son to one of the services, ideally the one at the national cemetery, but the timing just didn't work out with a toddler schedule.
So I remembered names and read new ones in wordless sympathy as friends posted their personal remembrances. And it seemed that so many people were wearing their Army shirts or Navy hats that day, and I knew they were thinking of someone.
All in all, it was a day lived in front of the eyes of the fallen. Would they approve of how we spent the day?
And a strange, beautiful truth: how would they have spent the day if they had not sacrificed themselves for our freedom, for their brothers? Would they have felt it was too high a price to pay for life? A different choice would have made a different person. They gave us their best; we stop short at asking God to rewrite that history.
Then there are the shadow memorials. We remember those who lost something of themselves through service. We remember that innocence even as we hold on with white knuckles to every effort to build a new, stronger life.
This Memorial Day, my heart remembered, but my hands changed diapers and planted flowers and packed the garage in anticipation of the next adventure. We've been given life. But we do well to remember how we received that gift.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Levitow (then A1c.), U.S.
Air Force, distinguished himself by exceptional heroism while assigned
as a loadmaster aboard an AC-47 aircraft flying a night mission in
support of Long Binh Army post. Sgt. Levitow's aircraft was struck by
a hostile mortar round. The resulting explosion ripped a hole 2 feet
in diameter through the wing and fragments made over 3,500 holes in
the fuselage. All occupants of the cargo compartment were wounded and
helplessly slammed against the floor and fuselage. The explosion tore
an activated flare from the grasp of a crewmember who had been
launching flares to provide illumination for Army ground troops
engaged in combat. Sgt. Levitow, though stunned by the concussion of
the blast and suffering from over 40 fragment wounds in the back and
legs, staggered to his feet and turned to assist the man nearest to
him who had been knocked down and was bleeding heavily. As he was
moving his wounded comrade forward and away from the opened cargo
compartment door, he saw the smoking flare ahead of him in the aisle.
Realizing the danger involved and completely disregarding his own
wounds, Sgt. Levitow started toward the burning flare. The aircraft
was partially out of control and the flare was rolling wildly from
side to side. Sgt. Levitow struggled forward despite the loss of blood
from his many wounds and the partial loss of feeling in his right leg.
Unable to grasp the rolling flare with his hands, he threw himself
bodily upon the burning flare. Hugging the deadly device to his body,
he dragged himself back to the rear of the aircraft and hurled the
flare through the open cargo door. At that instant the flare separated
and ignited in the air, but clear of the aircraft. Sgt. Levitow, by
his selfless and heroic actions, saved the aircraft and its entire
crew from certain death and destruction. Sgt. Levitow's gallantry, his
profound concern for his fellowmen, at the risk of his life above and
beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of
the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed
Forces of his country.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of LCI (G) 449
operating as a unit of LCI (G) Group EIGHT, during the preinvasion
attack on Iwo Jima on 17 February 1945. Boldly closing the strongly
fortified shores under the devastating fire of Japanese coastal
defense guns, Lieutenant (then Lieutenant, Junior Grade,) Herring
directed shattering barrages of 40-mm. and 20-mm. gunfire against
hostile beaches until struck down by the enemy's savage counterfire
which blasted the 449's heavy guns and whipped her decks into sheets
of flame. Regaining consciousness despite profuse bleeding he was
again critically wounded when a Japanese mortar crashed the conning
station, instantly killing or fatally wounding most of the officers
and leaving the ship wallowing without navigational control. Upon
recovering the second time, Lieutenant Herring resolutely climbed down
to the pilot house and, fighting against his rapidly waning strength,
took over the helm, established communication with the engine room and
carried on valiantly until relief could be obtained. When no longer
able to stand, he propped himself against empty shell cases and
rallied his men to the aid of the wounded; he maintained position in
the firing line with his 20-mm guns in action in the face of sustained
enemy fire and conned his crippled ship to safety. His unwavering
fortitude, aggressive perseverance and indomitable spirit against
terrific odds reflect the highest credit upon Lieutenant Herring and
uphold the highest traditions of the United States Naval
Yes, you. That faithful reader who keeps coming back to see what I've posted, even if it's just "Wednesday Hero" for weeks on end. :)
But this isn't about blog readership.
This is a slap upside the head in a public place because I know if I call you out in private, you'll dodge.
I know you're in a bad place right now. You're cutting vegetables in the kitchen and thinking about what else that knife could do. You're starting your vehicle in the garage and hesitating just a moment before raising the garage door. You wonder if carbon monoxide is your friend. You wonder if your life insurance policy is good enough.
You wonder if there's a point where you've just made too many mistakes.
Been there. Done that.
But today, take a deep breath (and maybe a B vitamin) with that pot of coffee. Take one step toward life.
Accountability is a double-edged sword. The right people holding you responsible will pull you through. But if the people keeping you accountable specialize in reminding you how you've screwed up, they aren't the right people to lean on.
Our real responsibility in life is to make Christ present to the people around us. We all have to work out the meaning of this, but I'll give you a hint: it's not about the bank account. I only know a few people who do this really well; the rest of us are muddling through. And we need to know that you're struggling just as hard as we are.
There might be a beautiful sky out that window. Or a good joke that someone is just bursting to tell. You can give them 30 seconds of your day.
Because there's someone who loves you no matter how much you've screwed up, and they need you to choose life for another 24 hrs.
"Even to the death fight for truth, and the Lord your God will battle for you." -Sirach 4:28
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Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" -Isaiah 6:8
As many of you are aware, the PJCountry blog disappeared in November 2008.
I'm doing my best to help the pararescue community by sharing PJ-related news and events on my blog. The following information may be helpful:
You will find answers to many questions at pararescue.com and specialtactics.com
If you're ready to become a PJ, you'll need to decide between Active Duty and Reserve. This will determine who will handle your official recruitment. Visit Contacts and POCs to find the appropriate person or email me.
304th Pararescue Team (Reserve) (Oregon)
If you're on the west coast near Oregon and are considering being a PJ/CRO on the Portland Pararescue Team (commitment of 4 years beyond training), contact TSgt Stanley Iakopo at stanley.iakopo AT us.af.mil or email me.
I have no official role with pararescue or other SpecOps but I know enough to get you connected to the right people. Email to CAT at THEWATCHCAT dot NET
Jubilate Agno, Fragment B
[For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry]
by Christopher Smart
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in
For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.