Sunday, April 25, 2010

Help Us Raise Money for a Great Cause by Purchasing 173rd Airborne Throws

A group of Gold Star families, Blue Star families, families of the wounded from OEF VIII and civilian supporters of the 173rd, 2-503 are selling throws as a fund raising project.  The immediate goal is to raise funds to fly any medically cleared wounded of the 173rd ABCT from OEF X back to Italy and Germany at the end of the deployment to join their brothers in arms for Memorial Services and other official ceremonies.

The response we received from the Wounded, their battle buddies and family members at the end of OEF VIII was overwhelmingly positive, and, at times deeply emotional. The battle buddies commented about how important it was to “see” that their brothers-in-arms were “ok”. The Wounded commented about how important it was to attend the Brigade Memorial Service and to talk with their brothers-in-arms about the ambush or attack and about those who didn’t survive. The family members commented about the marked improvement in the emotional healing of their Wounded Soldiers after being able to sit down with those left behind on the battlefield. The results in 2008 were so positive for the Wounded they have asked us if we will do this at the end of the current deployment

We have two designs from which you can choose.  Buy one for yourself, for a Sky Soldier for Christmas, birthday or as a Welcome Home from deployment gift.  If you aren't a member of a Sky Soldier family consider purchasing one or more for us to give, in your name, to one of the wounded or one of the Soldiers currently deployed or even to one of the Vietnam Veterans of the 173rd.

Design #1:

Design #2

Please go to the 173rd, 2-503 Sky Soldiers Fund Raising (Civilian Sponsored) website and order 1, 2 or several.  Instructions for ordering either by paypal or check are on the above mentioned website.  All purchases are tax deductible thanks to Warrior Legacy Foundation's partnership with us on this project.

If you have any questions please email us at

SGT Thomas C Rasmussen - Task Force Mountain Warrior's Warrior of the Day 21 April 2010

On 3 October 2009, Sergeant (SGT) Thomas C Rasmussen, from Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, earned the Silver Star during a complex attack by an enemy force estimated at 400 fighters.  When the initial attack started, SGT Rasmussen volunteered to assault the ammunition supply point and establish a stronghold.  He was a critical member of the assault team that pushed to the LRAS 2 battle position and recovered two American Heroes while being knocked down by RPG blasts several times.  SGT Rasmussen then volunteered and took point man for the assault team that cleared the ASG's living quarters.  At one point, he was met by a wall of fire from an enemy fighter that had successfully breached the COP's perimeter, but SGT Rasmussen took him out with hand grenades and continued to engage multiple enemy fighters with his M4 and M203.  SGT Rasmussen then returned to the ECP to improve a defensive position while laying out concertina wire and claymore mines to hold and defend this position.

SFC Jonathan G Hill - Task Force Mountain Warrior's Warrior of the Day 20 April 2010

On 3 October 2009, Sergeant First Class (SFC) Jonathan G. Hill, from Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, earned the Silver Star during a complex attack by an enemy force estimated at 400 fighters.  When the initial attack started, SFC Hill exemplified the skill and bravery of a Cavalry Scout while leading his platoon in the platoon leader's absense during the battle of Combat Outpost Keating.  SFC Hill led and directed his platoon while exposing himself to a heavy barrage of enemy fire.  With no regard to his personal safety, SFC Hill organized multiple efforts to recover fallen Soldiers under effective, accurate fire.  While directing his platoon, SFC Hill took multiple shrapnel wounds from an RPG blast.  These RPG blasts suppressed his position, but he still managed to maneuver his platoon through the enemy fire to reconsolidate at the barracks and continue the resupply mission they were conducting to the different guard positions.  When one of the fallen heroes was unaccounted for, he courageously maneuvered his team once again to find the body.  Additionally, SFC Hill led his men in clearing and securing the HLZ in order to evacuate all wounded Soldiers and ANA.

Monday, April 19, 2010

CPT Christopher B Cordova and 1LT Andrew L Bundermann are TF Mountain Warrior's Warriors of the Day for 19 April 2010

On 3 October 2009, Captain (CPT) Christopher B Cordova, from Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, earned the Silver Star during an attack when his COP came under a complex attack by an enemy force estimated at 400 fighters.  When the initial attack started, CPT Cordova displayed great mental endurance and technical competence in treating and evacuating 16 US and AfghanNational Security Forces casualties and an additional 27 walking wounded.  CPT Cordova's expert decision and successful execution of a field-executed blood transfusion dept a dying Soldier alive until he could be evacuated to the next higher level of care.  Because of his calm demeanor and thorough understanding of medicien, CPT Cordova enabled his Soldiers to (sorry, I cannot read the remainder and couldn't find it on the internet).

On 3 October 2009, First Lieutenant (1LT) Andrew L Bundermann, from Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, earned the Silver Star during an attack when his COP came under a complex attack by an enemy force estimated at 400 fighters.  Throughout the attack, 1LT Bundermann was the acting Troop Commander.  1LT Bundermann orchestrated the defense of Combat Outpost Keating, preventing it from falling into the hands of the enemy.  His perseverance under heavy fire and ability to advance the troop's position enables him to lead Brave Troop Soldiers in a successful counter-attack to retake the COP.  1LT Bendermann's actions throughout the battle of COP Keating saved the lives of dozens of Soldiers.  He exhibited the Warrio Ethos and pushed the Soldiers of Bravo Troop to continue the fight.  Through his calm (sorry, I cannot read the remainder and couldn't find it on the internet).

Well done Warriors!  Well done!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Chicken Place - NOT to be confused with the Chicken Ranch - And Meeting Two Great Vietnam Veterans

I mentioned in this post a couple of days ago that Connie and her husband, Jim, who I hadn't met yet, were taking me to dinner at "The Chicken Place" in Ireland, IN.  Well, tonight was the night. 

That's the owner 4th from right

Yeah, that's where all the locals hang out - in the bar.  HOOAH!

The highlight of the night wasn't the chicken - which get's TWO THUMBS UP! - it was getting to meet Jim and a friend of his, Ron.  More on them is a second.

The chicken livers were the absolute best I have ever had in my life.  The chicken was fantastic.  There's no website for this place but the current owner tells me he's got someone working on that.  If you're ever cruising through Ireland, IN make plans to EAT AT THE CHICKEN PLACE.  The recipe they use has been handed down through four generations and is just YUMMY!  Be opens at 4:00 PM and closes, well, whenever they decide to.  LOVE IT!

Jim and Connie picked me up and away we went.  Connie has told me that Jim is a Vietnam Veteran.  I was so excited to meet him.  And what a wonderful gentleman he is.  I feel terrible that I don't remember what unit he served with back in 1966-67.  I'll ask again and update here.  He did, however, share great stories with me about how he went to basic at Fort Knox, AIT at Fort Polk, then to Fort Benning for his MOS training.  That, in itself, was an interesting story.  He was assigned MOS 11 H.  I'd never heard of that one.  Turns out it's for anti tank.  Since there were no tanks to destroy in Vietnam he was trained on Armored Personnel Carriers.  THEN they loaded them on buses.  Yeah, buses, and drove them to Oakland for their trip to Asia.  Holy Smokes!

Jim and Connie introduced me to most of the people who came and went.  Just one of those neighborhood places where, well, everyone knows your name.  And they even have a decent single malt scotch.  YAY!  One of the gentlemen they introduced me to is the father of the current owner, MAJ Ron Himsel (R).  CO D, 1-151 INF AIRBORNE RANGER.  Well you know I was in love immediately.  Yes, those three words that just make me melt...Infantry, Airborne and Ranger.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!  Ron is a member of and, I'm told, former Commander of VFW Post 673.  He, like Jim, was such an incredible gentleman.  What a wonderful experience I had tonight being in the company of those two men who served our nation so PROUDLY and well.  I am thankful for them.

While we were there two of Jim's and Connie's daughters stopped by.  One is the mother of their youngest grandson, Cooper.  Cooper is cute, smart, fun and so much fun to hang with.  I'll share two pictures.  Jim has his eye on the Cincinnati Reds game and I didn't get a good shot of Cooper and him at the same time. 

WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL night.  Sure hope I get the opportunity to spend more time with these great Americans.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

UPDATED: Madison, WI Police Department Names One of Its Two New K-9's After Fallen Hero SGT Joshua Brennan

A couple of months ago I wrote about a call I received from Mike Brennan, father of SGT Joshua Brennan who was KIA in Afghanistan in October 2007. Mike called to tell me that the Madison, WI police department was naming one of their new K-9 members in honor of Josh.  There are a couple of pictures of K-9 Josh at the link above.  It was emotional the day Mike called to tell me that news but even more emotional tonight when Mike called to tell me that K-9 Josh has finished his training and the department had the dedication today to signify that K-9 Josh is now offically a member of the force.  Mike pointed me to this video aired on local news by NBC 15 in Madison, WI

TISSUE WARNING with respect to the video.

SGT Josh Brennan never questioned that once he left the Army he would return to Madison, join the police department and serve with his dad.  SGT Brennan won't be able to fulfill that dream but Officer Mike Brennan who, by the way, also served our nation in the Army for many years, now has K-9 Josh to remind him of his son every day.  In an interview Mike was quoted as saying, "To some people, naming a K9 Josh might seem like just a name. But to me it's like having a little bit of my son back with me every day."

I asked Mike if he gave K-9 Josh a treat today.  He chuckled and replied, "Yes, several".

I am grateful to the Madison Police Department for all of the support they have given to Mike and especially for honoring Josh's memory this way.

Mike didn't have any photos to share with me tonight but said he thinks he will have some in the next few days. Once I get them I will post them here.

UPDATE:  I received more photos from Mike Brennan.  In the three photos below from left to right:  Madison, WI police officer and K-9 handler Officer Teresa McKenzie, K-9 Josh, Officer Mike Brennan (SGT Josh Brennan's father)

In this link the Madison Police Department announces the addition of its two new K-9s as well as the retirement of one K-9 team.

New Places - New Friends

I have a wonderful "day" job.  I get to roam around the country working with amazing people and, at times, meeting some of their family members.  This project is no exception.  Meet Connie.  She does walk softly.  Heck, she even talks softly.  BUT....she carries a REALLY BIG stick.  I just hope she doesn't have a need to use it - ON ME!

Sandy's husband is a Vietnam Veteran.  I get to meet him tomorrow night when they take me to dinner at "The Chicken Place".  Legendary, I'm told.

And then there's the new man in my life - Parker:

Who REEEEEEEEEEALLY loves Ranch dip - on ANYTHING!

Parker didn't warm up to me so fast.  As a matter of fact when I hopped into the back seat with him last night to go to dinner he gave me that sideways look of "who the heck is THIS crazy lady?" then refused to look at me.  But by the time he and his parents dropped me off after dinner we were best buddies and exchanging high fives and down lows.  Sorry all you ROCK paratroopers.  Parker's my man for now.

Task Force Mountain Warrior Has Left The Valley - The Korengal Valley


DAMN THAT VALLEY! (My note - not from the article)

ISAF Units Realign in Eastern Afghanistan


For Immediate Release

KABUL, Afghanistan (April 14) - International Security Assistance Forces continued their realignment with more populated areas in accordance with the ISAF counterinsurgency strategy. Forces repositioned out of the isolated Korengal Valley in Kunar Province today. These deliberate moves began in March.

"This repositioning, in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces, responds to the requirements of the new population-centric counterinsurgency strategy," said Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, ISAF Joint Command commander.

"The move does not prevent forces from rapidly responding, as necessary, to crises there in Korengal and in other parts of the region, as well," said Rodriguez.

"Repositioning forces from the Korengal valley to more populated areas will allow us to have greater flexibility," said U.S. Army Col. Randy George, Task Force Mountain Warrior commander. "The area was once very operationally important, but appropriate to the new strategy, we are focusing our efforts on population centers. We're still able to conduct operations there, even without a base, like we do in other remote valleys."

Coalition forces, in cooperation with their Afghan partners, continue to work with local leaders and local government officials to set the conditions for success in Afghanistan

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Four Soldiers of 4th BDE, 4th ID, 3-61 CAV (Task Force Mountain Warrior) Awarded Silver Stars

From CJTF-82
Photos and story by Photo by U.S. Army PFC Beth Raney, Task Force Mountain Warrior Public Affairs

On April 9, 2010 GEN Stanley McChrystal awarded Silver Stars to four Soldiers of 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, 3-61 Cavalry, Task Force Mountain Warrior.  The awards ceremony took place at FOB Fenty.

CPT Christopher B Cordova

CPT Cordova was recognized for displaying mental endurance and technical competence in treating and evacuating 16 U.S. and Afghan National Security Forces casualties and an additional 27 “walking wounded” during a violent engagement with enemy forces last October.
1LT Andrew L Bundermann 

1LT Bundermann orchestrated the defense of COP Keating, preventing it from falling into the hands of a Taliban force of more than 400 fighters.
SFC Jonathan G Hill

SFC Hill exemplified the skill and bravery of a Cavalry Scout while leading his platoon in the platoon leader’s absence during the battle of COP Keating. Hill led and directed his platoon while exposing himself to a heavy barrage of enemy fire, and organized multiple efforts to recover fallen Soldiers under effective, accurate fire.

SGT Thomas C Rasmussen

SGT Rasmussen volunteered to assault the ammunition supply point and establish a stronghold at COP Keating after it was overrun by more than 400 insurgent fighters. He was a critical member of the assault team that pushed to a battle position and recovered two American Heroes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Remembering Dad; The Milbloggies; Incredible Friends

Yesterday was a roller coaster of emotion from one end of the spectrum to the other.  April 7, 2008 I had spent a few hours of the day at Walter Reed Army hospital with, among others, Yankeemom, her daughter and ConcreteBob.  The four of us had left WRAMC and driving over to Virginia to check into a hotel for them might with plans of attending some events in DC the following day.  After we checked into the hotel we drove a short distance to a restaurant.  As we were walking from the car to the front door my phone rang.  It was an uncle I rarely hear from.  He was calling ot tell me that my father had died.  Even today when I reflect on that call is seems so surreal.

I am thankful that I was with such dear friends who took great care of me along with many others.  ConcreteBob took me back to the hotel.  I called a friend of mine who works for Delta Air Lines.  She got my information and made all of my flight changes and called me back.  It was too late in the day to get a flight home so I had to stay the night.  But she got me on the first flight out the next morning.

I called Uncle Jimbo and cried my eyes out.  I think I probably called him several times.  The word began to get around and my phone beeped with text after text.  I remember one of the first texts coming from CJ.  The texts, calls and emails came pouring in.  I'll never be able to thank eveyone enough for their kind words and support.

The next morning ConcreteBob had me at the airport first thing and I flew home.  After I got home the support and love from fellow troop supporters, Wounded Warriors and their families, deployed military personnel, bloggers and other friends around the nation continued to pour in.  I will never be able to thank everyone for helping me through those days as they did.

I found it to be so appropriate that yesterday was the final day of voting for the 4th Annual Milbloggie Awards.  Awards given to military related blogs in various categories.  My blog was nominated for best U S Military Supporter and the voting was intense and we didn't end up on top but it doesn't matter.  Everyone (and there are so many of you) who has been a part of the various troop support projects that I have written about on this blog is a winner.  That's really all that matters.  I was incredibly touched by the support, private messages, emails, texts and calls from all of you.  I'm equally grateful to all of you who kept getting the word out and recruiting people to vote.  Some of the stories still have me chuckling - like the LTC's wife who walked a MAJ step by step through the voting process.  THAT'S dedication to the cause.

Thank you all for your contributions to this blog, to the many support projects for our beloved deployed, wounded, Veterans and military family members.  Thank you for your encouragement, hours of listening when I needed to vent, always stepping up when there was a need, getting the word out ASAP when necessary and for just being such great Americans.

Several of you have written to me about how my dad would be proud.  Yes, he would be.  He would be proud of me and he would be proud of each one of you.

I also want to thank JP and Andi at  They, along with other volunteers, spend hundreds of hours each year maintaining the site, preparing for and executing both the Milbloggie Awards and the Milblog Conference.  And they do one hell of a job.

The VA Mortgage Center You Served Blog is airing live coverage of the Milblog Conference so click on the link (especially Saturday) to "attend" the panel discussions and view other great events planned for this year.

Monday, April 5, 2010

HE'S HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN - Safe and Sound. Answered Prayers

No day during a deployment is an easy or happy one.  But Christmas Day 2009 my niece received an email declaring that her husband, Jared, and his unit were being EXTENDED in Afghanistan.  Merry (well you know) Christmas.

But God answers prayers.  Jared's plane landed a few minutes ago.  He's home!  Nothing more to say except I am SO proud of both of you and I love you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much.  See you in about a month and cannot wait!

Welcome Home Corpsman!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

From Cow Pastures To Kosovo is a Finalist in the Milbloggie Awards and Needs Your Vote to Win

From Cow Pastures to Kosovo is a finalist, along with four other blogs, in the U S Military Supporter category for the 4th Annual Milbloggies Award.  Voting for the winner began at midnight last night (3 April 2010) and ends at midnight eastern time Wednesday 7 April 2010.  

The Milbloggie Awards also recognize blogs in the following categories:

U.S. Military Parent
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Army
U.S. Navy
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Military Veteran
U.S. Military Spouse
Foreign National Military
U.S. Reporter

This blog may be considered my blog because I am the author but the reality is this blog has remained on line due to literally hundreds of great American citizens and military personnel & their families.  I may write the posts but I do so only because of 1) what our brave warriors do, 2) the hundreds of people who come together as a team to support our deployed, the wounded and our military families and 3) to honor and ALWAYS remember those who have given their lives for our nation.

I've never considered this "my" blog but "ours".  The other finalists are some great ladies and some stiff comptetition.  If you are so inclined please
  • Go to
  • Towards the top right of the screen either sign in or register if you have not already
  • Once you are registered, sign in
  • Click on "Standings" down in the text
  • Click on "U S Military Supporter" at the bottom of the list
  • Vote
You can only vote once.

After you have voted for U S Military Supporter you can refresh your page and vote in one of the other categories.  I have some very dear and special friends in several of the other categories so please take the time to check those out as well.

I am thankful to be a part of the Milblog (Military bloggers) community but even more thankful for all of the amazing friends I have met through troop support and for the legions of great Americans who continue to step forward to join in as a team to support our deployed and wounded.

Together we have done so much to make a difference.  Here are a few links to remind all of you what you have done that I have been allowed to share through this blog:

173rd, 2-503 OEF VIII A recap of huge amounts of support from so many, Carhartt's donation of 5000 pairs of wool hiking socks and 750 pairs of thermal underwear, Operation Love Boxes For Our Troops sends a TON of care packages, E A Harrold Elementary School Valentine's Day card and hot cocoa project, Lakeland Elementary school sends over $6000 worth of socks, Bolton, MA Brownie Scouts send over 1000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, Rolling Thunder MS Chap #2 and First Tennessee Bank send cards and cocoa

6-4 CAV - COP Keating,  Winter Warmth from Arkansas, Starbucks Scoops for Troops700 lbs of coffee sent to 6-4 Cav Welcome Home Party

AT&T Pioneer and Delta Airlines send cards to troops in Afghanistan

The links above are just a snipet of the support so many have come together to accomplish and I have had the privilege to be a part of. 

So...go vote.  Share this with others so they can vote.  Regardless of whether this blog is the "winner" of the 4th Annual Milbloggie award you are all winners every day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

FINALLY! The 2-503 Throws/Afghans Are Available For Sale!

Some of you are aware that we've been "advertising" the upcoming sale of 173rd, 2-503 throws/afghans.  Well....we're finally ready to take orders.

Please go to the 173rd, 2-503 Fund Raising website to order either or both of the following.  More details over there but here are photos of the two options

Design #1

Design #2