Army Pfc. Sheldon Hawk Eagle
Died November 15, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
Army Private First Class Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle, 21. Her nephew was quiet and loyal, a mature young man who gave every decision careful thought, says Turner, who helped raise him after his parents died. “He didn’t jump into anything,” she recalls. “He was very meticulous and organized.” Sheldon was from Grand Forks, North Dakota and was a member assigned to the, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed Nov. 15 when two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq.
Sheldon was killed from injuries suffered during combat operations in Iraq. Sheldon Hawk Eagle was a talented artist who loved to draw and paint, and a classic car buff who knew every model he saw on the road. Hawk Eagle also adored kids and talked about a career in child psychology, and looking forward to using the Post 9-11 GI Bill. Our Eagle soars with wings, today.
If you listen closely, you will hear the angels pray.
He’ll be watching from above Still sharing of his love. “Our nation owes him our utmost gratitude and earnest thanks. To his sister, grandfather, the elders and friends of his Native American Tribe. Know that your precious one loved his family and country deeply. Private First Class Hawk Eagle joins the thousands who have given, so that you and I might enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today.”
The Wings Of An Eagle
Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle of Grand Forks, North Dakota was carried to the Heart of
All that is, Paha Sapa, the Black Hills and laid to rest as
Warrior with honor, dignity and respect.
The coffin and the pall bearers were purified with
Sweet grass. Each of the twelve, wore yellow ribbons
Tied around their arms.
The Lakota people are a warrior people. It is an honor
To be a warrior and protect your land, your freedom and
Your family. Because they were here first,
They love the land more than any other race.
This Lakota Warrior made the ultimate sacrifice
For both his Nations.
For 18 hours, an overnight vigil, hundreds of Tribal
Members listened to both Christian and Lakota
Prayers and honor songs by drum groups.
There were giveaways and feasts.
At sunrise, a two hour funeral, followed by a three
Hour procession, carried Hawk Eagle’s body
One hundred and fifty miles to the Black Hills,
The heart of all there is in Lakota tradition.
Color guards from the Cheyenne River, Rosebud,
Standing Rock, Oglala and Sisseton Wahpeton
Tribes bore the flags of the Nations.
Proof of the family’s goodwill was evident,
When they began giving away jars, vases, and
Baskets of flowers that had been sent.
They handed out bouquets to the elders and then
One flower for each of the mourners to press in the
Memorial program in remembrance.
Pillows, towels, baskets bowls and household goods
Were passed out to the hundreds in attendance.
Giveaways are traditional among the nations during
Important occasions. It is the Lakota way.
Sheldon’s sister, Frankie and their relatives,
Stood to drape stack after stack of
Lakota Star quilts over friends and elders.
The Lakota have a relationship, with the Big Dipper
Constellation. In Lakota culture, it is said to help the
Deceased on their way to the spirit world.
The family completed the giveaway and faced the east.
Mitakuye Oyasin, all my relatives, began the elder.
We pray for this day, your wisdom and not our own.
We pray for one mind and one spirit.
Sheldon descends from Tshunka Witko.
Chief Crazy Horse who helped defeat
Lt. Col.George Armstrong Custer, at the
Battle of Greasy Creek (Little Big Horn).
As he was being buried, a Black Hawk helicopter flew
Over the cemetery, lingered in the snowy hills.
It flew into the heart of all that is,
And was gone.
~~Somehow, it did not seem like enough. ~~
Our Eagle soars with wings, today.
If you listen closely, you will hear the
He’ll be watching from above
Still sharing of his love.
Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Scott A. Saboe
Died November 15, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
Scott Saboe, 33, was born and raised in Willow Lake, South Dakota graduating from high school in 1989. His father, Arlo, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said he had not been told much about what happened.
Saboe was a serious, committed man who planned a military career, friends said.
“He died doing what he loved, and he was a dedicated soldier. That’s all there is to it,” said Bill Stobbs, a former teacher and football coach who now is the principal at Willow Lake.
Saboe played center on the football team and was on the basketball and track teams.
Willow Lake pulled together to support Saboe’s father, Stobbs said.
“Soon as people heard the news, there was just person after person showing up at his house,” Stobbs said.
Willow Lake farmer Curwin Bratland, a high school friend, said a group of friends recently sent a greeting card to Saboe in Iraq.
“I wrote to him, said I’m very proud of him and everything that they’ve done,” Bratland said. “I said I hope he gets back, and we’ll have a cold one together.”
Scott Saboe “was giving his all and believing what he was doing,” said Darin Michalski, a childhood friend. “That’s what makes me most proud of him, I guess. Most of us can go through our whole lives and don’t really accomplish anything and some of us only live to be 33, and we’re heroes.”
Funeral held for soldier killed in Iraq
WILLOW LAKE, S.D. — a crowd estimated at more than 600 attended the funeral Wednesday for Chief Warrant Officer 2 Scott Saboe, a Willow Lake soldier killed Nov. 15 in the crash of two Army helicopters in Iraq.
Saboe, 33, was described as soldier who served his country proudly.
Capt. John Butora of the 101st Airborne Division said Saboe was “the best and brightest pilot we had, he was always the guy we’d turn to in a pinch.”
Saboe always kept his comrades upbeat in difficult situations, Butora said.
“He leaves behind a legacy of faith, honor and service to his country,” said Maj. Gen. Kevin Campbell. “His name joins other American who gave their lives to preserve our freedom.”
The funeral will be held in the Willow Lake School gym.
The 1989 Willow Lake High School graduate was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart posthumously before being buried with full military honors.
Saboe is survived by his wife, Franceska, and 6-year-old son, Dustin, of Newton, Ala.
Seventeen soldiers were killed in the crash.
Arlo was born on November 12, 1970 at DeSmet, SD, the son of Arlo and Linda (Yexley) Saboe. He grew to adulthood in the Willow Lake community attending Willow Lake grade school and graduating from high school in 1989. While attending high school he worked for Floyd Mundhenke, even going out there for a day or so when he was home on leave from the service. On September 12, 1989 he enlisted in the United States Army taking his boot camp training at Ft. Dix, NJ. He completed AIT at Ft. Dix, NJ and was also stationed at Ft. Belvoir, VA. He also served on the base at Ramstein, Germany where he was the postmaster and also was the Post Commanders driver.
Following that he was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC in the 82nd Airborne. He was one a few survivors of the Ft. Hope, NC accident and was promoted ahead of others due to his willingness to work.
On October 22, 1994 he was united in marriage to Franceska Kabet at Raleigh, NC. They moved to Boise, Idaho where he was an Army recruiter and also so he could hunt. On May 4, 1997, a son, Dustin Scott Saboe was born, which Scott was in awe of. He also attended his little Sisters graduation from ROTC Advanced Camp at Ft. Lewis, WA in 1998. He also took her 1st Salute at Brookings, SD.
He was selected to become a warrant officer and was an honor graduate at Ft. Rucker. He chose to fly a Blackhawk because it was the most versatile. He went to Ft. Stanley, Korea, flew over the DMZ, which he volunteered for due to the ability to get many hours in the air. He wanted to be the best of the best. In early 2002, he was transferred to Ft. Campbell and became a part of the 101st Airborne Division.
In February of this year he was deployed to Operations Iraqi where he was the lead command pilot for the Blackhawks. Recently he had been selected to go to Blackhawk instructor school at Ft. Rucker.
Some of his awards, honors and other decorations he has received are the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and the Army Oversees Service Ribbon. At today’s services, he will be awarded posthumous, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Some of his fondest moments though were spent hunting and fishing and spending quality time with his Dad.
Grateful for having shared his life is his wife Franceska and son Dustin of Newton, Alabama, Father, Arlo Saboe of Willow Lake, a sister, Ann & Mike Remington and Breanna of Silver Spring, MD, Maternal Grandparents, Ernest and Helen Yexley of Bradley, Paternal Grandmother, Borghild Saboe of Bryant and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Preceding him in death was his Mother, Linda Saboe in 2000, Paternal Grandfather, Clarence Saboe in 1985 and an Uncle, Jean Saboe in 2001.
This memorial provided by: Furness Funeral Home
Sources: Associated Press, Military Times
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin — September 2013 Shipment Honoree
Died August 8, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
CASPER, Wyo. — Relatives of a Wyoming soldier who was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan remember him as a man who was intensely dedicated to the military and to his family.
The Defense Department said Thursday that 45-year-old Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, who grew up in Riverton, was killed Wednesday.
Dustin Griffin, the soldier’s nephew, told the Casper Star-Tribune he would never forget the time his uncle took him to Fort Carson in Colorado when he was 10 and let him sit in a military tank.
“He was definitely 100 percent Army,” Dustin Griffin said. “He was all about the Army. … He lived it.”
Meanwhile, Shawn Griffin described his brother — a 24-year Army veteran and father of two — as someone who loved his family even more than the military, adding that Kevin Griffin was a “very competitive, fun-loving, real adventurous-type kid” growing up.
Kevin Griffin competed on the Riverton High School wrestling team and won a state championship before attending Northwest Community College in Powell. He transferred to the University of Wyoming after two years, joined the military and continued to wrestle for the Army.
During his Army career, he served three tours in Iraq and had been deployed to Kuwait and the Balkans. Griffin was on a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan when he was killed.
“He truly believed in what he was doing, and that’s the one solace that we kind of get out of this,” Shawn Griffin said. “He was where he wanted to be.”
Wednesday’s attack also killed Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, N.Y.; Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga.; and USAID Foreign Service officer Ragaei Abdelfattah.
Griffin and Kennedy were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Carson.
Gray was an air liaison officer and flight commander for the Fort Carson-based 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, which is part of the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing headquartered at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.
Griffin remembered as father figure
The Gazette reported that Lt. Col. Scott Mueller said at the memorial service Tuesday that the Army’s culture of structure and discipline were a perfect fit for Griffin, but Griffin also would often joke with his troops.
Mueller remembered how Griffin would suggest a trip to the golf course right when his soldier evaluations were due. And Mueller smirked when Griffin then offered a shot or two of tequila.
“Griff was an inspirational leader, like a father to his troops,” Mueller said. “Kevin always had a way of keeping people focused through laughter.”
Kevin Griffin’s son, Sgt. Dane Griffin, and his nephew Spc. Derek Griffin each joined the military in his footsteps.
“He didn’t want us to go, but he was proud at the same time,” Derek Griffin said.
After the service at Fort Carson, a procession traveled from the Army post outside Colorado Springs to Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver for his burial.
Scores of people dabbed their eyes under graying skies while others wept softly during the memorial service.
“The Army in this country has lost a great soldier and a champion,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jody Heikkinen.
“Let us hold their service dear,” said Lt. Col. Keith Goode. “Let us make sure that their sacrifice is not in vain.”
The three men received a 21-gun salute before a single trumpet broke the silence.
Source: Military Times
“WOW! I have just met the most amazing group of people”. Karen Grimord, Founder and President of Landstuhl Hospital Care Group is talking about the Navy Warrior Transition Program at Sembach, Germany.
The WTP was started in 2007 and was located at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. In December, 2012 the Program moved to Sembach. The mission of the WTP is to transition Sailors from combat to more normal activities when they return to their units, home and community.
While Karen was volunteering this year at LRMC, she met the folks at the WTP and toured the Warrior Transition Program facilities at Sembach. Karen writes that during a normal ship deployment, as Sailors returned to homeport the Navy would fly social workers out when the ship approached port. The Social Workers would do a Return and Reunion briefing as the Sailors came into port. When on deployment and working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, Sailors become locked into a circle of comrades and supporting friendships. Leaving this environment and returning to their own families has the potential to bring up grief issues. This point is emphasized during the Social Workers Briefing for their return home to family and friends. The hope is that will recall the messages given them the Return and Reunion brief and use them if or when needed.
Both Navy mental health providers and Navy Chaplains have been working with returning service members since the beginning of the current conflict. Navy mental health providers realized in 2003, while working with Marines and Seabees, that when service members fly home rather than sail home, the transition provided by the ship-board experience with comrades and buddies doesn’t happen. That’s where this unique program (WTP) comes in as an important step of helping returning sailors.
The Warrior Transition Program is critical to the continued health and readiness of Sailors. WTP follows the Sailor’s completion of his or her tour and prior to their return home. Sailors travel approximately 3 days from Afghanistan to arrive at Ramstein Air Base and then to Sembach, Germany. Each Sailor is provided 3-5 days of decompression time, which helps them get prepared for their return to “normalcy”.
Karen writes about her visit with the Warrior Transition Program, “I have to admit that I have not been as impressed, or felt so in awe of such an operation/program for several years now. Not that LRMC, or other installations/facilities do not have good programs; but maybe I have come to expect it. However, the devotion, commitment and most importantly enthusiasm the staff at WTP have towards their fellow battle buddies, left me speechless. As a Navy Mom, I sat in their short briefing to the redeployed troops and was not only proud of this fine group of people, but also very comforted by the words of the skipper and his staff. This comfort translated into knowing that not only my son, but also others are being well taken care of by the Navy through this initiative.”
Karen continues, “William Butler Yeats once said, ‘A symbol is indeed the only possible expression of some invisible essence, a transparent lamp about a spiritual flame…’ This was very evident as they did their “bag drop”, gear and weapons put down and stored away at the end of their mission. I was struck deeply by a staff member who said that, ‘When they drop their bags, they leave more than their gear.’ It can be emotional for many. As for those at the WTP there is no way to express my feeling of amazement and respect. As a Navy Mom, my most sincere thank you.”
Landstuhl Hospital Care Project is committed to providing comfort and care items to service members serving so far from home. We are happy to partner with the Warrior Transition Program to aid transitioning Sailors and the team that supports them through the WTP.Reported by Donna Bolen as told by Karen Grimord.
Attached are some photos of our wounded warriors on their tour of Germany but more importantly away from the hospital and war zone. The inside of the bus is at the end when we got back to the hospital. In the morning everyone is quite and keeping to themselves. As you can see on the way back they all are talking and having some fun.
This morning started with refilling shelves at the CCC. As I was heading to lunch I walked into some troops with that “lost” look on their face. I asked them if I could help them find something. Yes, they were looking for the CCC. I told them to follow me and I went back to the CCC to help them. As we walked the hall one of them explained that they were Georgia troops. Not the Georgia north of Florida and south of Tennessee but the Georgia that is North of Turkey and South of Russia. Georgia covers a territory smaller than South Carolina and slightly larger than West Virginia, with approximately 4.5 million residents. If I understand what I have been told in the past from Georgian troops, Georgia is the largest non-Nato contributor to the Afghanistan mission. I have never met a Georgian patient that spoke English. There is a Georgian translator here to help the Georgia patients. I first introduced myself to the Georgian wheel chair patient and then to the other 3 Georgian troops. I asked the translator to explain everything to the patients. I gave a very short explanation of the CCC and then went about filling the duffel bag for the patient in the wheel chair. He had a trach in and was having some difficulties. As we moved around the CCC I noticed he had a very large round scar on his chest. When they are sitting in front of you in a hospital gown I don’t look at them as US troop, Canadian troop or Georgia troop. I look at them as someone’s son or daughter and this one had at one time a massive blast to his chest. As we moved around the CCC he was amazed at the items available for free. He was hesitate to take items but I explain that some little old grandma sent these items for him and once the interrupter told them what I said they smiled and took a pillow from Judy in Michigan and a blanket from a LHCP church group in Arizona. As they were leaving, the patient reached up to shake my hand. He had a little bit of a problem reaching out to my hand so I bent down and forward to him and told him THANK YOU and it was my pleasure to help him. I also told him (through the translator) that if he needed any more help to come back. That he did not need the translator with him that he and I would figure out what he needed. He may have been very thin and weak but he made sure he shook my hand with a firm grip.
Saturday we had a patient trip. We had approximately 17 patients. LHCP is paying for the lunch these wounded warriors eat at a local German restaurant, thanks in part to Callie in North Carolina. As they all sat down at their tables one of the chaplain staff explained to them where they were at and what the building was. It was also explained that LHCP was paying for their lunch. They were asked to show by hand how many had been to the CCC. 75% raised their hands. They were then told that 95% of the items in the CCC was donated by LHCP. As their lunch was being placed in front of them I was introduced to them. I did not stand or speak as we are not there to be in their face. We are here to have their backs. However, as each of them left the restaurant they came by to thank LHCP for their “day away” from the life at the hospital. As one of them left, he thanked me. I told him it was “our pleasure”. His battle buddy turned back around to face me and he said “ma’am you have no idea what this means to us”.
Today was a rather busy day it reminded me of the times in 2006 and 2007 when it was routine for 14 to 20 wounded to come in to the CCC for help at one time. It still amazes me after all these years that the patients are amazed at the support that is provided by us at home. I am very proud and honored to be part of LHCP. Every pillow except one that was taken today was a LHCP pillow. Approximately 50% of the quilts and fleece blankets that were taken today were made by LHCP members. Every duffel bag that is taken is due to LHCP monetary donors. 90% of the zip-up hoodies and winter jackets are again from LHCP donors.
The CCC has some items that they will just never run out of due to the quantity that has been sent here over the years such as socks, shaving cream, under shirts, just to name a few of the items. There are needs that seem to always be on their wish list and I hope that I can turn to you to help us collect these items. We are in need of toe nail clippers, black shorts in all sizes and travel size mouth wash.
I arrived in Germany about 830 am. We drove to LRMC; gave and received hugs from many that have been here for years. I was introduced to many new volunteers and staff. I helped several young men but three kind of stood out to me. The first one was a Marine who was brought in by his Marine liaison. He was being discharged as an in-patient and was moving to the out-patient barracks until he could go home. He was still very sore from his surgery so we took it slow around the different aisles to get sweat pants and shirt, boxers, socks and undershirts, a few long sleeve shirts, pillow and blanket. He was not feeling well and had to excuse himself to the rest room as I continued to put toiletry items together. When he felt better I asked him about tennis shoes and he said he would love a new pair but the pair he had on was good. They were rather worn so I asked him what size and found him a pair that put a smile on his face. It does my heart so much good to see these young men and woman come in sore, tired and worn out but leave with a smile.
The second patient came in and gave me one of the firmest handshakes I have had in a long time. His whole body was tense and everything began or ended with “Yes ma’am” or “no ma’am”. I asked him how long he had been at LRMC and where was he coming from. He told me he was a 9 Charlie patient. That means he is a mental health patient. They have a special place in my heart due to a very early LRMC trip experience with 9 Charlie patients. We can see the physical damage but the mental health problems can be harder not only for the patient but for us to understand. As a 9 Charlie patient they are not allowed all free access to every item the Clothing Closet has to offer. We started the process of filling his bag with sweats, shirts and socks. After the first couple items went into his bag and 20 or so “ma’ams”. I stopped took a couple steps toward him put out my hand and introduced myself again as “Karen”. I looked him straight in the face with a slight smile and waited for his reply he gave me his first name and I told him it was very nice to meet him. His back was half turned to his escort and I leaned in and told him that I did not wear a uniform. I was at LRMC to help and be a friend if he wanted. He smiled and from that moment on I was “Karen”. He asked for a couple of the restricted items and either I or his escort told him we were sorry but he would have to come back after he was discharged from 9 Charlie to receive those items. I asked him about new sneakers and he said he would love a new pair. When the shoes were on, his facial expression changed. The only way I can describe it is as a glow of joy. I asked him if there was anything more he could think of or that he saw that he might like. He picked out a winter jacket and was finished with his bag of joy. I told him that if there was anything else he needed to come back and see me. He said he would like that and put out his hand for me to shake. I looked down a little to see his face that was facing the floor and told him that a hand shake was such a formal gesture that as a mom would it be ok to give him a “mom hug”. He immediately leaned forward and I gave him a hug. I have to say that was the strongest hug I have received in a very long time. He held on for a good while and I could feel his shoulders and back muscles release. When we released he looked up at me and then bent down to his bag to zip it up. As he was standing up he said “I feel happy, I have not felt like this in a very long time.” Since most of the items on the Clothing Closet shelves were sent by LHCP members and donors I want to thank you for making this young man “happy” for making his face glow with joy as he left the CC.
We have just received an updated 4th quarter list of comfort and relief items needed now for our military members who become sick, injured, or wounded from service in the Middle East. These donated items are distributed to patients at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany, the largest American military hospital outside the U.S.A. As result we have updated our Items to Support LRMC page. Also below is a copy of this updated Needed Now list.
Any day now Landstuhl Hospital Care Project’s President Karen Grimord will be going to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany to volunteer to assist our wounded warriors. She has volunteered almost ever year usually for a month at a time since 2005. Here are her words about the request.
“We have received a request for small, med and large sweat pants and shirts. Quantity need of each is 600. That is a total of 3600 items. That comes with a very large price tag attached. Please pass the word that donations are tax deductible and can be mailed to Landstuhl Hospital Care Project, LHCP Treasurer, Sharon Buck, 4214 Silver Terrace Court, Phenix, AL 36867. Thank you!!”Karen Grimord Founder, President and Packer Landstuhl Hospital Care Project Awarded Independent Charities Seal of Excellence CFC #12282
- 1. Small Sweat Shirts (600)
- 2. Medium Sweat Shirts (600)
- 3. Large Sweat Shirts (600)
- 1. Small Sweat Pants (600)
- 2. Medium Sweat Pants (600)
- 3. Large Sweat Pants (600)
- 1. 2XL White T-shirts (600)
- 2. Bath Towels
- 3. Medium white T-shirts
- 1. Hoodies Small , Medium, Large, and 2XL
- 1. Long Sleeves T-shirts Medium, Large, EX-Large, and 2XL. (300)
- 1. Medium Boxers, Boxers briefs, and Regular Briefs
- 2. Large Boxers, Boxers briefs, and Regular Briefs
- 3. EX-L Boxers, Boxers briefs, and Regular Briefs
- 4. 2XL Boxers, Boxers briefs, and Regular Briefs
- 1. Small Tooth Paste
- 2. Small Mouth wash bottles
- 3. Small and big size nail clippers
- 4. Men deodorant
Instructions on how and were to send these items are on our Items to Support LRMC page
Want to help but short on time – no problem. You can send your tax deductible donation to:
4214 Silver Terrace Court
Phenix City, AL 36867
or you can make a donation using your credit card to our Donate now Click & Pledge button at the top right of this website.
And always remember the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project is a 100% volunteer organization with no paid full or part-time staff. The only paid part-time work authorized by the board is for a certified independent auditor for our annual financial statements. This is to assure all of our financial information is transparent, legally compliant and accurate.
Want to do even more? Then how about joining our LHCP Yahoo Groups and see about volunteering?
Our wounded service members are very grateful for your help. Just view the troop thanks we receive.
Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris — September 2013 Shipment Honoree
Died February 7, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
The Early Years
Jennifer Jean Harris was born on November 6, 1978, to Rosalie and Ray Harris of Swampscott, Massachusetts. As a young child she developed a determination to overcome obstacles in achieving her goals and a compassion for others. She was serious yet full of enthusiasm, and as she grew, so did her enthusiasm for life. That enthusiasm and her beautiful smile were contagious to those around her.
Her high school yearbook quote reflects her core values of hard work, excellence, compassion and service to others:
“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving individuals. To that end each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” -Marie Curie
As a senior in high school, she learned about the military academies. They intrigued her as she wanted a different college experience, different from the four-year traditional model. After visiting the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY and receiving appointments to both, she selected the Naval Academy. Her multifarious interests, her passion for serving others and her love of sailing combined to draw her to Annapolis.
The Naval Academy Years
During her senior year at Swampscott High School, Jennifer volunteered at Congressman Peter Torkildsen’s office and developed a love of politics. She went on to become a Political Science major at The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is an undergraduate college that educates and commissions officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The mission at USNA is “to develop Midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.”
On July 2, 1996, Induction Day (I-Day), Jen began her new life at the United States Naval Academy with a rigorous day of medical examinations, uniform fittings, equipment issue, completing paperwork, getting her first Plebe haircut, and being assigned to a Brigade of Midshipmen military unit – Echo Company – for Plebe Summer. Jen took her Oath of Office to become a U.S. Navy Midshipman during the evening Oath of Office Ceremony in the court yard of Bancroft Hall, thus officially becoming a Midshipman and beginning her Plebe Summer Training. Jen’s USNA Class of 2000 comprised 1,212 Midshipmen 4th Class (Freshmen), 16.5% or 200 of which were women.
During Jen’s Plebe year her Company, 9th Company, was selected to be the Color Company based on its accomplishments. As a member of the Color Company she was present at the December 1997 Army-Navy Game for President Bill Clinton’s review and she participated in his inauguration in January 1998.
For the remainder of her years at USNA, Jen was in 18th Company. Her activities at the Naval Academy included membership on two athletic teams — the USNA Power Lifting Team, and the USNA Intercollegiate (IC) Sailing Team, where she raced Lasers. She also continued her commitment to others through the community service activities of being a Religious Education instructor at The USNA Chapel and by participating in Toys for Tots, a program she started replicating the one of her hometown in Swampscott, MA.
In the Summer of 1998, as a Midshipmen 2nd Class (Junior), she was a member of a cadre of First and Second Class Midshipmen, known as Detailers, providing leadership and training for the incoming 4th Class Midshipmen, the Class of 2002. In this role she was a Squad Leader assigned to 10 Plebes for Plebe Summer making sure they were trained in the Naval Academy tradition and ensuring they were physically and mentally fit.
Jen’s leadership skills continued to develop and as a “Firstie” (Midshipmen 1st Class, a Senior), she was chosen to be a “Brigade Striper”, a much-respected position of leadership and responsibility within the Brigade of Midshipmen. The Brigade consists of 30 companies and the Midshipman Command Structure is made up of First Class Midshipmen selected for their outstanding leadership performance.
During the Class of 2000 Commissioning Week, she received a Political Science Department Award for her accomplishments and enjoyed with her family many of the Commissioning Week activities leading up to Graduation and Commissioning Ceremonies. On May 24, 2000, at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD, Jen graduated with her Class following which she was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
During her years at the Academy, Jen’s upper-class Midshipmen and role models, who were going to become Marines, impressed her. They are the reason she chose to become a United States Marine Corps Officer and pilot. Like the Marines who consider themselves “The Best of the Best,” Jen always set high standards and goals for herself and worked hard to accomplish them.
Following graduation from USNA and her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Jen went to The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia. At TBS, she spent 6 months training and developing the professional knowledge and skills necessary to effectively lead Marines under her command. After graduating from TBS, Jen reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL for Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. While there, she completed physical training and courses in engineering, air navigation, aviation physiology and water survival. After completing her training, Jen reported for primary flight training at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, TX where she was trained to fly the T-34 turbo propeller, fixed-wing aircraft.
Upon completing primary flight training, Jen was selected to fly helicopters, which brought her to Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, FL. As a member of Helicopter Training Squadron Eight (HT-8) Jen completed a rigorous program and earned her coveted Wings of Gold on September 13, 2002.
Upon completing her CH-46 training, Jen was assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron HMM-364, Purple Foxes, and immediately deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). HMM-364 is a legendary squadron. In Vietnam, they became famous for repeatedly going into harm’s way, under any conditions, in order to evacuate the wounded. That dedication continued in OIF.
During her time with HMM-364, Jen was chosen to attend The Weapons and Tactics Instructor’s Course (WTI), the Marine equivalent to Top Gun training. Jen was the first deployed female pilot in the Purple Foxes Squadron and served three tours of duty in Iraq. While she was with the Purple Foxes, she was promoted twice; first to the rank of First Lieutenant, and then to the rank of Captain.
During Jen’s first OIF tour with the Purple Foxes at the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait in 2003, her enlisted Marines affectionately dubbed her “The Dove”. While on her daily exercise runs she would hear some of the enlisted say, “There goes the dove.” She learned that they were referring to her as she ran by and was told that this was because they considered her “the prettiest and calmest thing in a war zone.”
Substantiating this image was a fellow Marine Corps pilot’s wife who said, “Jen was grace under pressure. She was gentle and peaceful, beautiful and elegant. At the same time she was strong, confidant, motivated and humbly commanded the utmost respect of all those around her. She was courageous.”
As a casualty evacuation pilot, Jen saved countless lives. According to her Commanding Officer, “Jennifer brought out the best in those around her because she was so demanding of herself, yet understanding of others. She believed in her mission as a helicopter pilot and dedicated fourteen and fifteen hour days while deployed in Iraq to ensure that every mission was well coordinated and executed as safely as possible. She watched out for the young pilots in the squadron and took them under her wing. She used to kid that she was their mother hen. She was equally protective of her peers and those senior to her. She was after all, a Purple Fox. She was always professional but managed to make things pleasant with her endearing personality.”
On February 7, 2007, on the very last flight of her third deployment, only days before coming home, and after completing a successful casualty evacuation mission, Captain Jennifer J. Harris was killed in action when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down by insurgents. That day and many days before it, the Dove flew so others could live.
The Symbol of the Purple Butterfly
The butterfly has long symbolized new life. Aztec beliefs include a belief in an afterlife where the spirit of the dead returns as butterflies. In the Aztec tradition, two addition beliefs related to Monarch Butterflies are known- they are believed to be the incarnation of fallen warriors wearing their colors of battle; they carry the soul of the fallen warrior.
While visiting Jen’s resting place on the 7th month anniversary of her passing (7 September 2007), a monarch butterfly arose from behind her headstone and encircled her loved ones, Linda and Laura, again and again, as if she were giving them hugs. Shortly after that, at a memorial service for four Service Academy women killed that year in service to their country, a maquette called “Woman Soar: Porcelain on Steel” was presented to each family with Linda accepting the Harris/Macone Maquette. The artist who created the Maquettes worked with the Aztec beliefs stated above. Her inspiration came from watching the emergence of a monarch from its jeweled jade chrysalis while she was painting a mirror at the Long Beach Veterans hospital.
The purple butterfly symbolizes Jen’s life by blending the Aztec beliefs and the family’s experiences with Jen’s squadron, HMM-364, the Purple Foxes. This symbol, the purple butterfly, has, therefore, special meaning for Jen’s family and friends.
Written by Linda Macone and Laura M. Ventimiglia
The Dove Story
Captain Jennifer J. Harris has become widely known as “The Dove”. It seems that people created their own explanations for how and where this nickname originated. According to Jen, as she told her Aunt Linda and her other family members, at the time she became aware of people referring to her as “The Dove” she was stationed at the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait in 2003. On her daily exercise runs she would hear some of the enlisted say, “There goes the dove.” She had been told that they said this because they considered her “The prettiest and calmest thing in a war zone.” Corroborating this explanation are several people who either served with Jen or had relatives served with Jen during her first deployment to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom I.
Source: Seven Stars Foundation
Marine killed in Iraq
The Associated Press
SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, a Swampscott woman and Naval Academy graduate, died when the helicopter she was piloting crashed Feb. 7 in a field northwest of Baghdad, killing all seven people on board.
Harris, 28, a graduate of Swampscott High School, was on her third tour and was scheduled to be home next week, said Jim Schultz, the town veterans’ agent.
“She was a great kid,” he said.
Harris was the second Swampscott resident to die in Iraq in the last six months and is believed to be the first woman from Massachusetts to die in the war. Army Spc. Jared Raymond, 20, of Swampscott, died when the tank he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb Sept. 19 in Taji, Iraq.
“Jennifer Harris exemplified the best of what this country has to offer,” a statement released by family spokesman Anthony Macone said. “She had a passion for life and was a compassionate human being.”
Macone declined to comment further when contacted by The Associated Press.
Harris graduated from the Naval Academy in 2000, after choosing the difficult path of training as a Marine officer, Schultz said.
“She liked to take on the challenges,” Schultz said.
The crash that killed Harris remains under investigation, with conflicting reports of what caused the transport helicopter to go down. A U.S. military statement gave no reason for the crash of the CH-46 Sea Knight, which went down near Fallujah in Anbar province, about 20 miles from Baghdad. Marine Corps officials at the Pentagon said the aircraft was in flames when it went down, but there was no sign that it involved hostile fire.
An Iraqi air force officer, however, said the helicopter was downed by an anti-aircraft missile. An al-Qaida-linked group, the Islamic State in Iraq, claimed on its Web site that it shot down the helicopter.
Marine pilot killed in Iraq buried in Swampscott
The Associated Press
SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — The first servicewoman from Massachusetts to be killed in the Iraq war was buried with full military honors Monday, less than two weeks after the helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was shot down.
Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, 28, was taken by horse-drawn hearse to a funeral service at St. John the Evangelist Church. Bagpipes played as Marines in full uniform carried her casket inside.
The eulogy was delivered by Lt. Rose Gascinski, who roomed with Harris at the Naval Academy before Harris, of Swampscott, graduated in 2000. Harris then choose the difficult path of training as a Marine officer.
Speaking before the service, Gascinski said Harris earned the nickname “Dove” at the Naval Academy for her calm demeanor in the face of adversity. Gascinski said those qualities would have served Harris well when the Marine CH-46 troop transport she was piloting went down northwest of Baghdad on Feb. 7.
“I was thinking that if I wanted anybody to be my pilot in that moment, I would want it to be her,” Gascinski said.
All seven people on board the helicopter were killed. An al-Qaida-linked Sunni group claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, and aired a video.
Harris’ body arrived home Thursday, accompanied by a Marine escort, Maj. Christopher Aaby, her fiance.
Harris, a graduate of Swampscott High School, had been on her third tour in Iraq. She was scheduled to return home the week after she was killed.
Harris was the second Swampscott resident to be killed in Iraq in the last six months. Army Spc. Jared Raymond, 20, of Swampscott, was killed when the tank he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb on Sept. 19 in Taji, Iraq.
Source: Military Times: HONOR THE FALLEN
While the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project main focus is to provide comfort and relief items for military members who become sick, injured, or wounded from service in the Middle East, we also support stateside VA hospitals and homes too. A project early this year was to make baskets for homeless veterans making a new start in their new home. The baskets included everything from towels and wash clothes to pots and pans for the kitchen. Below is the very first letter we have received from this project from Robert. These type of thank you letters will be added to our Troop Thanks pages.
Friday, August 16, 2013 Snail Mail
To: Landstuhl Hospital Care Project
I’m Robert. O. McXxxx, Jr. and I truly like to say thanks for your service to assist us, the veterans. I’m moving into an new home and everything I received is just what I needed to help me with making it a home and comfortable. Again, I am very happy that I could get your help. The basket full of goods something for every room I appreciate everything and all you do for the veterans. Pots and pans are wonderful. Thank you all so much.
Robert O. McXxxx
Army SGT Kenneth W. Harris Jr — August 2013 Shipment Honoree
Died August 20 2003 while serving in Iraq
SGT Kenneth W Harris Jr has a twin brother, Nathan Harris, who spoke with him a week prior to his passing. His brother reported that the last time they spoke he seemed to be more concerned with family back home than about himself. Nathan said “I can’t even explain it. I just talked to him last weekend. He didn’t even think about himself. He just wanted to know that everyone (at home) is OK.”
SGT Harris was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Medal. He was born June 5, 1980 and raised in the Charlotte, Tennessee community in Dickson County. Ken Harris enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves during his junior year at Dickson County High School. Upon his graduation from DCHS, SGT Harris completed his Basic Training and A.I.T with the reserves. Ken continued his education attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Ken was called to active duty February 2003 and deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this deployment SGT Harris was fatally injured on 20 AUG 2003 in Scania, Iraq.
SGT Harris was the son of Kenneth W. Harris and Marie A. Harris-Steinmetz. He was the stepson of Walter M. Steinmetz and the brother of Nathan Daniel Harris (his twin brother) and Jennifer L. Harris. SGT Harris left behind a family of aunts, uncles, and grandparents, as well as, a host of friends and co-workers who all miss him solely.
SGT Harris’s mother, Marie (a.k.a Toni), tore at this writer’s heart when she provided some words regarding her son’s passing. As the mother of this Fallen Hero, Toni wrote regarding SGT Harris biography “It (the biography) does not tell a lot about Ken’s personality, or that he gave the best hugs in the world. It does not tell how losing him has forever damaged the lives of our family. I have written testimonials from his fellow Soldiers that reflect his charismatic personality and that he was a good listener, and gave good advice. He was a Christian. He was never married and had no children. He was very handsome and the ladies loved him.”
Toni continues to honor her son’s memory and all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to have all the freedoms we have today. For the last ten years, Toni and her children host the SGT Kenneth W. Harris, Jr. “Ride for the Fallen” on the Saturday in August that is closest to the date of her son’s passing. Each year the Poker Run ride gets bigger and bigger with more riders and participants with proceeds going to charities. Toni’s tireless efforts preserving her son’s memory only proves the saying “once a mom, always a mom.” LHCP is honored to have SGT Kenneth W. Harris, Jr. as the August 2013 LHCP Honoree.
A common theme pervaded the latest Landstuhl Hospital Care Project benefit show: help. While LHCP has always been about providing the best help it can to wounded servicemen and women, a few star country music artists decided LHCP itself was worthy of a bit of their time and help. The project received a much appreciated shot in the arm Sunday, May 23, in Franklin, Tenn., at a country music benefit concert hosted by the Grace Chapel church and featuring a star-studded cast of singer/song-writers.
“The first time I saw the video of Karen [the CBS News special], my heart broke in half, and I thought, ‘whatever I can do to help her, I’m gonna do it,’” said songwriter Leslie Satcher. “I feel like it’s such a small part that I’m doing, but hopefully our small part sets a fire to people who can actually do a big part.”
With tremendous help from Songwriters Spotlight’s Korene Stevens and David Allen, the event was able to feature country music artists Satcher, Casey Beathard, Allen Shamblin and Tim Rushlow. Each performed several tracks from their award-winning songbooks, and recording group Raven Cliff made their second LHCP fundraiser appearance, crooning and harmonizing their way through a crowd-pleasing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Stevens’ husband, Even – who performed at the Franklin Theater as a part of the last LHCP benefit here – echoed Satcher’s theme of wanting to get involved from the moment he heard about Karen and the project.
“My wife and I were sitting and watching a Sunday morning news show,” he said. “We saw that video and we do a lot of benefits and thought, ‘Well that’s what we should do!’.”
The host venue, Grace Chapel, could hardly have been a more perfect setting for the country and, at times gospel, themed music of the night, with its high, barnlike ceilings and the rolling fields surrounding the low sloping red roofs warming everyone up to the mood as they rolled up Southall Road.
Once the crowded church auditorium was familiarized with the mission of LHCP and watched the CBS piece, a show of nearly two hours commenced, included some huge hits from yesterday and today.
While Satcher’s blazing guitar hands and bluesy howl highlighted hits like “When God-Fearin’ Women Get the Blues” and “Tough”, Shamblin often elected to go with a slower pace on his “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “The House That Built Me”, even getting the crowd to reminisce with him and song along on “We Were In Love.”
Sandwiching those two on either end of the stage were Beathard and former Little Texas member Rushlow.
“My heroes have always been, in this order, Jesus, my wife, my parents, and then our soldiers… People that are serving right now, people that are veterans, I just love to get with them. I get star struck around them.” said Beathard. “Anything I could do for them, I’ll do it, because that’s what they’re doing for us.”
Beathard contrasted the bombastic personality of Satcher to his left, with a self-deprecating style that complemented his relaxed style of performance on songs including “Find out Who Your Friends Are.” Rushlow performed Little Texas’ huge hit “What Might Have Been”, along with a number of cuts he’s been putting down for an upcoming album release.
By the end of the night, the audience had been taken through a healthy up-and-down of emotions, even hearing from a former soldier who was cared for and treated at Landstuhl, before the project made things a little more comfortable there.
They won’t be in a Mustang doing 80, but thanks to the efforts of a host of middle Tennesseans, a lot of boxes will be making their way across the Atlantic to Germany.
by Zeke Turrentine
Marine Capt. Warren A. Frank — July 2013 Shipment Honoree
Died November 25, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
Marine slain on mercy missionBy Eileen Kelley, Cincinnati Enquirer
An Anderson Township Marine who died in Iraq this week was killed during a humanitarian mission, his family said. Capt. Warren A. Frank, 26, died Tuesday while participating in a food distribution mission north of Baghdad. His team came under small arms fire by an attacker in an Iraqi soldier’s uniform. It was not known if the outfit was a disguise or if the Marine was slain by an Iraqi soldier. Many members of the Iraqi military have been trained by U.S. troops. Also killed in the attack was a U.S. soldier. Several service members were injured.
“Our son wanted nothing more than to make a difference in our world,” said Frank’s father, Warren R. Frank, in a statement sent to the media. “He was not a movie version soldier, but a man who looked forward to loving his children.”
If Frank was killed by an Iraqi soldier, it would be at least the second time since the 2002 U.S. invasion that a Greater Cincinnati Marine has been killed by a member of Iraq’s military. Cpl. Bryan Taylor was killed in April 2006, just weeks after arriving in Iraq. His unit had been living with the then-fledgling Iraqi Army. Taylor was refueling his Humvee when he was shot. All told, more than 4,200 U.S. service members have lost their lives in the war.
Frank grew up in Anderson Township. He is survived by his wife, Allison, and daughters Sophia Lynn and Isabella Grace. They live in Okinawa, Japan, with their mother, where Frank’s unit was based. Locally he leaves behind his father, his mother, Rebecca, and his sister Sara. Frank is a 2000 graduate of Turpin High School and a 2004 graduate of the Citadel.
The written statement from the family suggested that Frank had done at least three tours in Iraq. It also said that he looked forward to retiring from the service and planned to teach high school history and coach track. “Our deep sorrow is not in the life we had with him, but in the loss of life we always thought we would share,” wrote Frank’s father. “He was our son, our brother, devoted husband and an enthusiastic father. He is our reminder that all generations have those who comprise ‘The Greatest Generation.’”
Funeral arrangements are pending, though the elder Frank said it is likely his son will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
Birth: Mar. 4, 1982, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA Death: Nov. 25, 2008, Iraq
Marine Capt. Frank was assigned to the 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan. He was killed while participating in a food distribution mission in Biaj, located outside Mosul. His team came under small arms fire by an attacker in an Iraqi soldier’s uniform. It was not known if the outfit was a disguise or if he was slain by an Iraqi soldier.
Warren graduated in 2000 from Turpin High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and went on to graduate in 2004 from The Citadel where he majored in political science. He was on his third deployment to Iraq when he was killed. Warren was looking forward to retiring from the service so he could spend more time with his wife, Allison, and two young daughters. He planned on teaching history at a high school and coaching track. Warren was a wonderful husband, father and patriot who wanted to make a difference in the world.Burial: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA Plot: Section 60, Site 8745 Source: Find A Grave
My name is Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marc N. Shelton. I am an active duty U.S. Marine stationed at MCAS Miramar. I wear a hero bracelet bearing the names of two of the finest men in the world. The bracelet serves as a small memorial to the Marine Captain and Army Master Sergeant who both lost their lives on Nov 25th 2008.
We were ambushed by terrorists while giving out food to impoverished Iraqis in the city of Bi’aj located in the Ninewa province. I was hit several times as well as another Lieutenant Colonel. Even though injured I was very angry as I watched helplessly as one of my friends slipped away at my feet. Following the firefight and evac, the MSG passed enroute back to the COP.
Captain Warren A. Frank / USMC and Master Sergeant Anthony Davis / USA are who I wear my hero bracelet for. I will never forget them. My Family wears purple hero bracelets to represent my Purple Heart; as a small reminder of how much I love them and want to keep them and our country safe from the faces of evil.
Sincerely, Marc Shelton, CWO2/USMC
Courtesy of: Hero Bracelets
For the 8th year in a row, the American Legion Riders from the LT Warren Eaton Post 189 – Norwich New York sponsored a Benefit Poker Run to support the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project. Armed Forces Day (May 18th) 2013 was a slightly overcast but very comfortable day for a ride through the hills, valleys, and farmlands of beautiful Chenango County New York. The Legion Riders began their day with Breakfast at the Ontario Hotel and were glad to have the chance to visit with Karen and Brian Grimord before the hectic festivities started. Eager participants began arriving at the Post-Home shortly after 9 AM while the Legion Riders were setting up and preparing for registration.
The bikes started to rumble in quickly after that and our staff was busy filling out paperwork, selling various raffle tickets, providing coffee and donuts and parking bikes. We kicked off the formal portion at about 10:45 AM with a blessing and the Pledge of Allegiance. Chapter President Paul Russo introduced key group members: VP Jim Cushman; Secretary Sophie Liberatore; Treasurer Resi Fuller; Membership Chair Jerry Reyes; and Ride Captain/Sergeant at Arms/Safety Officer Bill Fowler. Also recognized were our friends from various other Legion Rider Chapters, members of the Blue Knights, members of the Leathernecks, members of the local Under my Skin group, Karen and Brian Grimord as well as Norwich Chief of Police Joe Angelino. Chief Angelino is a Combat Vet and Purple Heart recipient that actually had recovered from wounds, received in Iraq, at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
Yankee Bill Fowler provided a ride safety briefing and the ride got underway to the cheers of many from the local neighborhood that had gathered outside the Legion parking lot’s back gate. There were over 100 participants signed in and the roar of over 80 cycles through the normally quiet Norwich streets was awesome!
Our first stop was at the NYS Veterans Home in Oxford – we paused to visit with a few of the Vet Residents that came outside to greet us and then it was back on the road to our lunch stop at the Balsam Inn in East Pharsalia – delicious grilled sandwiches and some door prize giveaways. Rolling again – we make our way to the hamlet of DeRuyter and the ‘Middleton Military Memorial’ – Retired First Sergeant and Viet Nam Vet – Bill Middleton has created a beautiful and solemn place to commemorate those that served and sacrificed during that conflict…the display includes a Viet Nam era UH-1 ‘Huey’ Helicopter that was ‘in-country’ and flew on many missions. After a few group photos we saddled up again for the longest leg of the day’s ride.
Riding back roads from DeRuyter through Georgetown and Earlville, on our way to Sherburne, we passed many farms and fields – people stopped their yard work and outdoor activities to watch and wave at our parade. We were treated to a great view of some of the local Mennonite farmers working their fields with awesomely huge draw horses – that was quite a sight! We arrived safely back in ‘civilization’ and stopped at the Gilligans’ Island Ice Cream shop for some cool treats. Gilligans has been a great supporter of LHCP – setting aside ‘donation days’ for the charity when they donated a percentage of daily receipts to the cause!
Sadly – we ‘mounted up’ for the final leg of the trip and headed back to the Legion Post in Norwich. After making sure we had a good account of all the riders and making sure everyone was safe…we moved inside and people began to draw cards for their Poker Hands. As the score-sheets were being reviewed – Riders Chapter Officers began drawing tickets for a mountain of door prizes. The number of donations this year was once again amazing and well over half of the attendees went home with at least a little something! The high hand was one by a gentleman with three sevens and the low hand trophy went to a rider with a ‘9-high nothing’. Our Chapter Secretary, Sophie Liberatore, awarded her traditional “Sophie’s Choice” award for her choice out of the awesome and beautiful motorcycles that were ridden in the event. Exciting 50/50 Raffles and gift raffles were given away, to some lucky participants. Chapter President and Ms. Grimord offered some final thoughts and “thank yous” to all who made this day great – and we announced that the total donation would be well over $4,000 for the day’s efforts! Awesome Ride and Awesome Day for an Awesome Cause – the Riders would like to thank Karen and the LHCP for the work they do and thank you all for allowing us to be, but a small part, of this worthwhile effort
ByYankee Bill Fowler
Sergeant at Arms
American Legion Riders Post 189 NY
Author: Lynne Hilton,
Utilities Service Alliance
Through the combination of corporate donations and a charity casino night held at this year’s Executive Summit, $20,000 was raised for the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project. This worthy organization provides comfort and relief items for military members who become sick, injured, or wounded from service in the Middle East.
Source: USA (Utilities Service Alliance)
On Saturday, May 25 2013, a little after 3:00pm, I was standing at the top of the stairs with 3 other individuals preparing to participate in the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project’s (LHCP) Arlington National Cemetery Wreath Laying ceremony. As I wait for the Honor Guard, I reflect on the day.
It started early with breakfast at IHOP with Brian and Karen Grimord. Brian and Karen then took my husband, Paul, and me over to see a few of the monuments in Washington, DC before we headed to Arlington National Cemetery. We visited the Lincoln Memorial, where we were reminded of many events in history, then we visited the Korea Memorial, which gives you the feeling you are walking with the soldiers as they emerge from a tree line. We then, went to the Air Force Memorial which reflects the missing man formation as three spires rise into the air. We also visited the World War II Memorial, where I wished my Dad, Pop and Uncle Larry could have seen this tribute to those from past wars. One young man came up to us and wanted to know from one of our group, “Can you tell us your story?”
From the WWII Memorial, we go to the Pentagon Memorial where Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. This memorial honors both those on Flight 77 and those in the Pentagon that were killed that day. We were there to pay respects to one of our LHCP Honorees, Daniel. Each shipment of comfort and care items is shipped in Honor of a military member who has given the ultimate sacrifice. We read Daniel’s biography, laid flowers by his bench (Daniel liked blue flowers) and said a prayer. His family is unable to visit, so we paid our respects. We then had time to walk through the Memorial area.
We then go to Arlington National Cemetery. We meet our group at Section 60, one of the larger areas in the cemetery. Section 60 has the largest number of resting places for our service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The night before, at Brian and Karen’s house, we prepared bouquets of flowers for each of our Honorees. At each gravesite, one person read the biography and we were introduced to this individual and a small part of their life. It became real, it became emotional. We took the time at each Honorees gravesite to become acquainted with them through their biography and prayed for their family and their loss. We saw many friends and family of the fallen in the cemetery, where they came to spend the day with their loved ones.
Around 2:45pm, we make our way to the Tomb of the Unkown. Standing with me at the top of the stairs is Marine Corporal David Chirinos, who represents all of our wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. Standing next to David is Army Sergeant Jeremy Strader, who represents the Combat Medics and all of the medical personnel who care for the wounded and injured at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center or Combat Hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Next to me is Ruwan Arseculeratne, who represents all of the sponsors who give so freely to support LHCP. Their steadfast support allows for many good things to be done for our injured and wounded. And me, I represent all of the volunteers who have a heart for service for our military. As I look out over the Tomb and see all of the grave markers, I am reminded of the vast treasure of talent, creativity and ingenuity that our country has lost. I am also reminded of words in a poem by Archibald MacLeish, “The Young Dead Soldiers”.
The Young Dead Soldiers do not speak Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses. (Who has not heard them?) They have a silence that speaks for them at night And when the clock counts, They say We were young, We have died, Remember us. They say We have done what we could But until it is finished, it is not done. They say We have given our lives But until it is finished, no one can know what our lives gave They say Our deaths are not ours They are yours They will mean what you make them. They say Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say It is you who must say this. They say We leave you our deaths Give them their meaning Give them an end to the war and a true peace Give them a victory that ends the war and peace afterwards Give them their meaning! We were young, they say We have died Remember Us.
The Honorees we remembered this year with the Wreath Laying Ceremony are a representation of the many who have given their lives for freedom. How will we give their lives meaning? How will we remember them?
Navy Hospital man Eric D. Warren — June 2013 Shipment Honoree
Died May 26, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
LHCP’s June shipments will be made in honor of Navy Corpsman Eric D. Warren 23. Eric enlisted in the U.S. Navy, graduated from corpsman school, completed Fleet Marine Force training as a combat corpsman, and he was henceforth considered a Marine. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.Eric attended school at Dale, Grove, Shawnee, and graduated from McLoud High School in 2008. As a child, he was active in Cub Scouts, numerous little league sports, and earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Later he was active in his church youth group, football, wrestling, and drama.
Eric died May 26 of wounds received in action due to an improvised explosive device in Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
“Our nation owes him our upmost gratitude and earnest thanks. Eric was preceded in death by his great grandma and grandpa Starkey, Uncle James Burris, and his precious granny Sebena Burris. He is survived by his mother and father Donna and Marvin Warren, Jr.; his birth father, William and his wife Patti, sister Paris, brothers Chance Houston and Torn Burris; maternal grandmother Carole Nichols, maternal grandfather Senior Chief W.D. Nichols USN (Ret.) and wife Paulette, aunt Lori Nichols, uncle Darin Nichols, his wife Terra and son Kai; grandparents Yvonne and Charles Eoff, Marvin, Sr. and Libbey Warren; his aunt Michelle and husband Jeff Edmonson, his uncles Melvin Burris and Philip Burris and his wife Paula; and numerous cousins, family, and friends who all grieve his absence: know that your precious one loved his family and country deeply. HN Eric D. Warren joins the thousands who have given, so that you and I might enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today.”
SHAWNEE, OK., U.S. Navy, HN, 2ND MDIV FMF LNT, 05/26/2012, SANGIN, AFGHANISTAN
Eric Dean “Doc” Warren was born November 22, 1988. He was a resident of Shawnee, Oklahoma and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was deployed to Afghanistan in January 2012 for his third tour of duty. HM Warren was killed 4 months into the deployment. HM Warren attended school at Dale, Grove, Shawnee, and graduated from McLoud High School in 2008. As a child, he was active in Cub Scouts, little league sports, and earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Eric was also active in his church youth group, football, wrestling, and drama.
HM Warren enlisted in the U.S. Navy, graduated from corpsman school, completed Fleet Marine Force training as a combat corpsman, and he was then qualified to be a Marine.
“When he was home last time, I shook his hand and he hugged my neck and whispered in my ear ‘pray for me,’” Reverend Ron Baldridge said. “I prayed for him every day.”
Eric was a skinny kid with a mischievous streak who took pleasure in challenging his pastor and youth minister, Reverend Baldridge explained. Kevin Spurgin, youth minister at Eric’s church said HM Warren knew the possible consequences of being in one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan, but any fears he may have had were overcome by pride for the job he was doing there. There was a 60-second standing ovation for Eric during his funeral service to commemorate HM Warren’s service to his country, and the ultimate sacrifice he and his family made.
Source: Fallen Heroes Project
Featuring Hit Songwriters
On Sunday, June 23rd, Songwriters Spotlight presents a special concert featuring some of Nashville’s top songwriters/artists. This is a benefit concert with proceeds to support Landstuhl Hospital Care Project (LHCP) which provides comfort and relief items for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC,) our largest, U.S. military hospital, and other Combat support hospitals in the Middle East. The event will be held at Grace Chapel, 3279 Southall Road, Franklin, TN, 37064. General admission tickets are available in advance at Grace Chapel for $10 or can be purchased at the door. The concert begins at 6 pm and doors open at 5:30 pm.
We are so excited to have these artists and entertainers come to Williamson County for the Healing Heroes event. Their accolades comprise of; Leslie Satcher’s “Troubador” by George Strait, Allen Shamblin’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt, Casey Beathard’s “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” by Tracey Lawrence and Tim Rushlow’s “Kick A Little” with Little Texas. It’s a night of unique and intimate entertainment. This fantastic fundraiser will allow us to raise the needed funds and provide aid to our dedicated injured troops.