Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Flying WASPs - Real Feminists 

Today's Wall Street Journal tells the story of WWII's Unsung Women Pilots, The Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs). These pilots were real trailblazers, a group of 1,102 female civilians who flew military aircraft under the direction of the US Army Air Forces. From 1942-1944 the WASP ferried aircraft from factories to air bases throughout the United States. One of these great women, Betty (Wall) Strohfus, lives near Faribault, MN.

These feisty fliers contributed much to our air training, safety and defense during WWII yet went unrecognized by the military; they were considered civil servants and were unceremoniously deactivated in December of 1944.

Finally, those grandmothers and great-grandmothers will be recognized for their work. They will meet in Washington, DC to proudly take their place in history among the unsung heroes of WWII on March 10 when they will receive the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony that will be held at the US Capitol.

An added bonus: I have heard Betty speak - she is just riveting. The stories will have you holding your sides - her delivery is fantastic. You will be able to hear her stories at the CD 2 Reagan Dinner to be held May 14, in Lakeville, MN. Details will be forthcoming.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Those who knew "live free or die" 

I finally got around to finishing the Imprimis for April, which was the much-heralded Mark Steyn address "Live Free or Die." �Steyn lives in New Hampshire and the phrase appears on our license plates. �"Our" is a tenuous connection; I left the state in 1979. �But many years later on a visit I drove Mrs. S up to the Bennington Battle Monument, which was the site of General John Stark's great defeat of the Hessians attempting to resupply Burgoyne in Saratoga in 1775. �Stark, who is New Hampshire's greatest military leader and author of the title of Steyn's talk, said to his troops before the battle,�"There are your enemies, the Red Coats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!"

Many widows (and some widowers) awake this morning to Memorial Day, whose spouses fallen understood the rest of Stark's more famous motto -- given late in his life from his Derry home -- "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils." It is a very basic reaction to force, to coercion. It was well understood by these students in the picture above (thanks to Gateway Pundit) that the option of living under the heel of government is so unacceptable that life itself is a worthy offering in trade for freedom. Steyn writes of a European author:
Mr. Oscar van den Boogaard ... was reflecting on the accelerating Islamification of the Continent and concluding that the jig was up for the Europe he loved. �I am not a warrior, but who is?� he shrugged. �I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.�
Today we honor not just those who learned how to fight unlike Mr. van den Boogaard but those who knew that there were worse options than the sword, and give thanks to those families who balance their honor and their loss.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Real Respect for USWar Fatalities 

One of the greatest, taken-for-granted, aspects of a free society, is the ability to think "outside the box." We just assume that we can as in "How" (can we do ____ better)? or "Why" (do we do ____ this way)? two of the most defining words in the English language.

A recent example, in the Star Tribune, is that of Eric Besvold, a worker on the baggage ramp for NWA in Minneapolis. What he saw bothered him - soldier caskets were treated like other baggage. "Why do we do this? There has to be a better way. This just isn't right." After working up the ranks within the airlines during the summer of 2006, Eric was able to order a special cart to be used only for transporting deceased soldiers. He decorated it with magnetic military emblems and American flags.

Besvold is a 3rd-generation Navy man who served in Kuwait in 2005 and has taught nearly 50 fellow ramp employees the correct procedures for honoring military dead. The process is documented so all steps are properly performed. All soldier remains are treated with respect.

In addition, all military escorts are offered free soda, coffee and food in the Worldperks Club when they have to wait for subsequent flights.

"This was a very easy thing for us to support," said Bill Lentsch, senior VP of flight operations. "These soldiers fought for our country and deserve our respect."

Mr. Besvold epitomizes what Americans do: See a problem or situation that appears wrong, study it, then do something about it. Thank you, Eric!

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yellow Ribbon City, Farmington, MN 

MN has a number of soldiers serving overseas, including members of the MN National Guard. Since 73% of active duty members and their families live off base within civilian communities, Governor Tim Pawlenty gave a local branch of the MN National Guard a directive to ensure ongoing support for service members and their families, across all military branches.

Today, Farmington was honored as Minnesota's first Yellow Ribbon City because of their efforts supporting its military men and women and their families. Farmington established the first "Warrior to Citizen" program, in the nation. Their goals are:
1 - Organize support for families of deployed soldiers
2 - Educate the community about soldiers before, during and after deployment
3 - Recognized all service members and families within the community
The event at the Farmington American Legion celebrated and thanked those who made the program possible. Minnesota's Nation Guard, Adjutant General, Larry Shellito spoke as did Congressman John Kline of MN's 2nd Congressional District. Annette Kuyper, the driving force behind the success achieved in Farmington, was recognized.

Why is support needed? For every 200 of us, there is one active US soldier. Often, people don't know anyone with a soldier in the family because many soldier families are integral parts of their communities. But when their family member is deployed overseas, support is needed: in general and in reaction to the often rude, inaccurate, and nasty press coverage.

The Yellow Ribbon programs, including this initiative by Congressman Kline to provide support for soldiers returning stateside from deployment across the USA, make a difference in the lives of our soldiers and their families. We owe all of them a debt of gratitude for standing up for what is right, protecting our freedoms, and that of our posterity.

(If interested in starting a "Warrior to Citizen" program, please contact AnnetteKuyper @

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Weak Leftist Democrats Do Not Understand 

The leftist Democrats in the US, with their counterparts in Europe, have lost sight of strength, courage, "can-do" attitudes, and the FACT that we, Americans are a group of people united (well, initially, anyway) in a belief that most people can do more than they think they can do.

We are the people who came here because we were of the wrong tribe, religion, ancestry, belief system, etc. We got here because we survived whatever it took to get here (recall the original Indians who crossed the Bering Sea from Asia - we don't know why they came but they came here for a reason and populated a continent - though not to the extent recent "historians" claim) and most of us (or our ancestors) took advantage of the freedoms defined by our Founders.

This Navy seal's attitude says it all: I am not a victim (as leftist Democrats would like us to believe), I am more than a survivor - I will come back. You can take your negative attitude and put a sock in it.

If we can get back to the "can-do" mindset of previous generations, we can do whatever we believe in, without the government controlling us. It's time more of us take up this attitude and, as the old Nike commercial said, "Just Do It!"

Update: Commenter Emily properly takes me to task for misspelling "sight" as "site" in my original post. I plead guilty, as described in the excerpt below from this poem, which has become known as the "Ode to the Spelling Checker."
I have a spelling checker,
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea...

Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know fault's with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.


Monday, November 24, 2008

A Marine Hero in Afghanistan 

From a report in the Marine Corps News on November 18, 2008:
FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan � In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it...

�The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,� said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. �Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our �humvees� was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.�

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

�The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they�re given the opportunity to fight,� the sniper said. �A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.�

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn�t miss any shots, despite the enemies� rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

�I was in my own little world,� the young corporal said. �I wasn�t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.�

After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies� spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

�I didn�t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies� lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,� the corporal said. �It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.�
(Noted by Michael Ledeen at NRO.)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vets for Freedom - Let Them Win 

Vets for Freedom is a non-partisan organisation established to support vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They have done a superb job keeping the positive efforts of our soldiers in the public eye (far better than our so-called mainstream media). We are fighting a belief system that wants all of us gone - these guys get it.

Now they have released a video with the comments of three Iraqi vets. (My friend, David, is the one with the mustache.) Please take a minute to view the video here. It is so very important that our soldiers who are the ones who really protect our freedom, be heard, acknowledged, appreciated and thanked. Feel free to spread the word far and wide.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Military Fundraiser 

MN's Military Appreciate Fund (MMAF) is a state-wide fundraising initiative by the citizens of Minnesota for the Minnesota military personnel and their families. The group focuses on support for families affected by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

This Saturday, June 21, is the 4th annual MMAF 5K walk/run. Leading the event this year will be the family of PFC Ed Herrgott, the first Minnesotan killed in Iraq. You can participate in this walk/run by downloading the entry form here. Sign up your friends and relatives, take a walk, and contribute extra support to the families of our best and brightest. Added bonus: participants get free tickets to the Twins game at 1:00 PM on Saturday.

Weather should be great! If you've wanted to help our military, this is an excellent way to let our soldiers' families know they are special and we appreciate their sacrifices so the rest of us can continue to live in the freest nation ever envisioned.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

D-Day - We must Remember 

Today, June 6, is the 64th anniversary of D-Day, the day on which the Invasion of Normandy began. The purpose of this massive military effort was to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation in World War II.

Too often today, in our schools, this successful effort to free millions of people from the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler and his German machine, is ignored and the focus morphs to a guilt trip. The idea no longer discussed is where would we be today if the German/Japanese Axis had won? We would be speaking German or Japanese. Open schools for all - no. Racial advances - no. Concepts of free thought, ideas, real choice would not exist. Neither the Nazis nor the Japanese (who at the time believed their emperor was a direct descendant of the gods) would have tolerated what we today take for granted. If you question this, check here, here, here, and here for the real atrocities conducted in Nazi concentration camps and Japanese prisoner of war camps.

Freedom is not free. When free nations are attacked from within or without, there are times they must fight back. Those who oppose fighting at all costs are usually people who have never lacked freedom. They have no clue as to how ruthless and dogmatic dictators can get; how barbaric some societies still are. Though WWII was a war that would hopefully end all wars, the military defeat of the Axis powers, coupled with their unconditional surrender, did not take into account societies outside the two major fighting groups: Germany, Japan (with help from some Arab nations), and Italy versus the Brits, Americans (with help from the French resistance, Canada and Australia).

This omission resulted in the western thinking of today: peace at any cost; a naive belief that the UN, dominated by dictators who could care less about freedom and choice, actually want to help people; a blindness to existing societies that discriminate against women, dark-skinned peoples, and still rule via military thuggery. A culture of pacifism, which has always existed, gets far more press today. "If only..." my view of the world could be forced on all others, all would be fine. Ignored is the fact that there are people who will never agree with my "if only..." view.

The WWII soldiers fought to keep freedom. Without this ability to live where one can create, think, and express ideas without fear for life, progress comes to a grinding halt. Humans will revert to their most basic state - fighting.

We who are the children of the greatest generation, the group that saved the world from dominance by the Germans and Japanese, must remember the D-Day Invasion - it led to the longest period of peace and prosperity for so many hundreds of millions of people ever.

Thank you, WWII vets, especially D-Day veterans and families.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Iraq Numbers - Very Good 

Thanks to the plans of Generals Petraeus and General Odierno, and the execution of these plans by the US Military, deaths in Iraq have plummeted since December 2006. Go here to see the charts. (HT Powerline.)

It is extremely unfortunate that the MSM refuses to tell Americans and the rest of the world the whole story. Their bias and agenda driven behavior may well backfire and we will be in a far worse place that today. The Iraqis get it, the American Military gets it, people honestly concerned about freedom get it. Why won't the Dems? They don't want to get it, they want power. Remember this when you vote this fall.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Remembering our Vets 

Please view the You Tube video about Wreaths-Across-America at my friend Chad's site. H/T Michelle Malkin, too. Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreaths in Maine began laying wreaths at Arlington Cemetery in 1992, his way of remembering those who have died so we may enjoy the fruits of freedom. The project, now called Wreaths-across-America has grown to laying wreaths at over 200 national and state cemeteries across the USA. Yesterday, at the Fort Snelling Cemetery in Bloomington, MN, a wreath laying ceremony occurred.

Next year, I will get in front of this project so more of us can participate and contribute.

Thank you to all the veterans and those who laid the wreaths. We must always remember the real heroes of our freedoms - those who fight and those who lost their lives so we can live as peacefully as we do and extend this peace to others for whom safety like ours is only a dream.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Overwhelming the editorialist 

Newspapers around the country are running editorials about 9/11. I am leaving on a trip this afternoon, which in part was scheduled as my little way of letting whomever is watching know that fear does not grip me on this or any other day. 9/11 does not overwhelm me.

But that sentiment doesn't seem to be shared by the editorial board of the St. Cloud Times. Their 9/11 tribute, which says the country was "changed forever" by the event, then continues:

Yet six years later, 9/11 often seems like a distant memory. Has America really forgotten? Have we healed? Or are we a nation in denial?

From our perspective, 9/11 isn't so much forgotten or ignored. Rather, it's simply overwhelmed. Ours is a nation facing too many disasters � natural and otherwise.

Look no farther than the borders of our own state.

Not even 26 days ago, massive floods destroyed life as countless southeastern Minnesotans knew it.

Six weeks ago tomorrow, the Interstate Highway 35W bridge in Minneapolis inexplicably collapsed � another seemingly unfathomable event.
I'll spare you the rest: it descends into conflating 9/11 with the Rocori shootings, the attack on the Red Lake Indian reservation, and the requisite Bush-bashing (suggesting they have done nothing to stop terrorism, despite evidence to the contrary.) I fully expect the last; the rest of the page includes the requisite "why haven't we caught bin Laden?" breast-beating, as if taking out that one person would stop it all. That's a failure of understanding; we can argue about this; when bin Laden is cold and dead and another train explodes somewhere with an idiot leaving behind an Allahu Akbar note, one of us will be right and one of us will either admit they were wrong or find another excuse.

But the flooding? That makes it harder to remember 9/11?

A natural disaster is an act of God. (Or maybe not -- the Katrina conspiracy theorists still have a market into which they sell tripe.)

This... is not a natural disaster.

This ... is a natural disaster.

Perhaps the problem is that one of these pictures you will see in a newspaper. (UPDATE: I found the Times' 9-11 essay with a few pictures ... on page 8A.)

The other, you won't.

Perhaps the editorialist is confused because she or he doesn't show the 9/11 images in the newspaper. She or he has no problem showing the others. Or, as Andy puts it (thanks to him for the links to the 9/11 images used in this post), "6 years is a heck of a long time for Americans, but our enemy thinks generationally. They don�t base their goals on election cycles. We need to remember that."

Who is overwhelmed? These people?

... or these...

What may be overwhelmed, dear editorialist, is your moral compass.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

New York Times, one-sided views 

This article printed in the New York Times (NYT) on August 19th was written by seven US soldiers who will be coming back to the USA shortly. The article is not optimistic about Iraq's future - not because the US military has failed but because the Iraqi people are simply too divided. Of course this NYT article plays right into the defeatist mentality of the main stream press and particularly that of the NYT.

But there is another point of view, from a group who really knows what is happening in Iraq. Problem is, they cannot get their op-ed in the New York Times because the NYT refuses to publish anything that even suggests the NYT just might be wrong. To read their thoughtful analysis, go here.

We hear from numerous sources, including other soldiers on the ground that the surge is working. Why? We are doing what we should have done years ago - when you send in a military, let the military do its job and clamp down on all aspects of an enemy. Only when you have the control do you move on to other options like setting up governing units, etc. We forget - Germany and Japan, after being defeated, were not able to hold elections for 10 years and we still have troops stationed in both countries today. Yet to hear the mantra of the New York Times and the left, we are to get out of Iraq now and let the cards fall where they may. Too many on the left ignore the millions of southeast Asians who were murdered, reeducated, or harmed in many ways when our Congress after listening to the defeatist attitude of the western press bailed out on the Vietnamese government in 1973. Our enemies know us well - get our press to do their dirty work, add the Democrats to the equation and they win.

This time, we have other ways of getting out the word. Our press owes it to the free world to do their job. Unfortunately, too many of the defeatists leftist organizations like the NYT, simply want to lose and leave.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Iraq, the Real Story 

Vets for Freedom, a non-partisan organization of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, will launch its MN chapter on Thursday, August 2. The MN chair, David Thule, a recently returned Iraq veteran from Owatonna, MN will serve as MN's chairman.

Thule had this to say, "Veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan can provide a view point that no pundit, paid protester or poll company can compete with (honestly). We (vets) know the joy on children's faces when we drive by, the exhilaration of a successful project completed, and the exhaustion of keeping watch in our humvees through early morning."

Vets for Freedom produced a "Thank You" ad with several Iraq veterans. This ad will run in the Mpls-St. Paul, Duluth and Rochester markets.

Vets for Freedom founder, Iraqi vet Pete Hegseth, said, "...we want to set the record straight and ensure that General Petraeus has the resources, time and support he needs to complete the mission." The ad can be viewed at Vets for Freedom at 6:00 PM beginning Wed., August 1.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Singing until they come home 

The local paper has run a Monday insert of local-interest stories, and the lead this morning is of a mother and daughter making a CD of music for the son-in-law and husband that serves in Balad. I've been blessed to have been on stage with Patty McLaird, a woman of great spirit and a delightful voice. I am glad to hear from the story that she is better:

Wagner eventually finished mixing the CD when McLaird was in the hospital, and the pair has sent about 250 copies to military personnel serving overseas. McLaird and Wagner did not name the CD, but they refer to it as �The Servicemen�s Project.�

There are 16 tracks on the CD, including seven with vocals and two poems with music in the background. The rest are instrumentals. McLaird sings, plays guitar and wrote some of the tracks. Wagner plays guitar, violin, mandolin, harmonica, sings and wrote some of the tracks. Her brother, Lucas McLaird, an Army veteran, plays piano on the CD.

Wagner, 24, was married seven months to Ryan, 26, before he was sent to Iraq. Ryan Wagner is a full-time employee of the National Guard and is currently stationed as a helicopter flight engineer in Balad, Iraq.

She had a tough time with his deployment and decided to do something about it.

�Summer said it pretty well when she said, �You�ve got two choices � you can cry and worry all the time or have faith and do something about it,�� said Patty McLaird, who works for the St. Cloud school district as a paraprofessional for the deaf and hard of hearing. �She said we have to try and be positive for the men we come in contact with.�

There's a sample and information on how to get the CD to a serviceman in the article. If you have someone still there, give it a thought, and a prayer for Ryan.


Monday, June 25, 2007


A man returns to his bride. Well done, good and noble servant. We pray for a very quiet few months for you both to reacquaint yourselves with each and other and your new lives.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Fort Snelling Memorial Day Service 

As stated in an earlier post, we attended the Memorial Day Service at Fort Snelling in MN. The crowd was larger than last year and the day, again, memorable.

Three people spoke: Senator Amy Klobuchar, Governor Tim Pawlenty, and Rear Admiral John Crowley, Jr. The admiral spoke of his Coast Guard service and what it means to be a shipmate. His talk was informative and showed the pride he has in the Coast Guard and related military maritime service people.

Senator Klobuchar
thanked the vets and noted the reason for the day then proceeded to talk about herself, her political views, and getting the soldiers home. It was obvious someone wrote her speech, which by itself is fine. However, she either is a poor speaker or believed very little of what she said, minus getting our guys home. I have heard her speak before - much better than today. Her key point was that she supported the troops but not the mission. That's like saying I support Amy but not her office as a US Senator nor her role in government. The left does not understand what we are fighting and why, what we have to lose.

On the other hand, Governor Pawlenty thanked the vets, their families, those who gave their lives in past and present wars. He talked about freedom and sacrifice. He spoke of heroics performed by current and prior service people. His entire talk was about the honorees of the day: members of the United States Military Branches. One more key point - freedom is one generation removed from loss of freedom. He got a solid, sustained round of applause.

Personally, I hope all were able to attend a ceremony or at least set aside some time to honor our military. Truly, it is the best ever in every measure: intelligence, talent, skill, empathy, humanitarian behavior. We are one of the very few nations that understand why it is important to fight for freedom. Along with the Brits, Aussies and Canadians (though less as of late), we realize that free societies do more for more people than any other form of governmental structure devised.

Thank you, US soldiers!


Friday, May 04, 2007

Meet Another REAL American Hero 

Where do we find these guys? They are amongst us - sometimes we recognize them, sometimes we do not. But, thank goodness, they are here.

Who? The brave men and women of the US Armed Forces.

This Sunday, May 6, from 3-9 PM, sponsors are hosting a fundraiser for John Kriesel at O'Gara's Bar in St. Paul, MN. Included in the admission ($20 ahead of time, $25 at the door) are entertainment greats: Martin Vellar, GB Leighton and Uncle Chunk. In addition, there will be a silent auction.

Come on over, show your support for our troops and their families - see you Sunday!