For me, mind thoughts. For you well, ThomCatSpikeish. Temporarily drafted by my brothers...
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THOMCATSPIKEish
 
Friday, August 29, 2003  
C-span has been showing; Iraq War Photographer Interview & Embedded Journalists

Note: Parties for Alpha Company and H&S Company have arrived back to Camp Pendleton! Holding off posting more of Alpha Unit’s current updates at this time. My LIL Bro’s safety is of the up most importance.

8/29/2003

Thursday, August 21, 2003  
[E-mail from my MoM]
My mom, my gradmother called me tonight and said your dad received a call from LiL Bro and that he is okay. He was there in the vehicle where his fellow Marines were seriously injured. Several were LiL Bro's friends, so I am sure it effected him. Please remember these brave Marines as they receive medical treatment and pray for their speedy recovery. I know that God is watching over LiL Bro and am thankful he was not injured.
We know our loved ones will be home soon and thank God for their safe return. We must not forget those who are still serving in Iraq. We know They'd Watch Our Back if the occasion arises, so let's watch theirs and keep them in our daily prayer as if they were our sons or daughters.
Love,
MoM

8/21/2003

Wednesday, August 20, 2003  
White Platoon; Prayers, Thanksgivings & Commendations
[KV’s E-Mail]
Friends and Families of Alpha Company,

I regret to inform you that on 8/18/03 we had six Marines injured while disposing of unexploded ordinance. This ordinance was confiscated during counter insurgency operations in the Northern Babil Province of Iraq. Through their vigilance and active patrolling, White platoon apprehended nine enemy suspects with ordinance that would likely have been used against coalition forces. Their actions in locating this ordinance may have saved lives. The Marines of White platoon should be commended for the capture of this dangerous material and the Iraqis who intended to use it.

Three Marines, Sgt Bauer, Sgt Kendall and Cpl Garcia have only minor fragmentation wounds and have been released back to the company, while three others, LCpl Bergey, Cpl Whiteman, and Cpl Uribe have more serious injuries and have been evacuated back to Germany. Our prayers go out to the evacuated Marines and their families. All of which were able to call home before flying out to Germany.

The company will continue to operate in Northern Babil until relieved by the Army at the end of this month. I want to remind everyone that what your Marines have accomplished is nothing short of remarkable and you should all be incredibly proud of their actions.

Semper Fi,
Major Mark Miner

8/20/2003

Monday, August 18, 2003  
Please: keep praying for all our soldiers in Iraq, not all have have been given good news lately.
Joked about this unit's home base, Italy. Take it back as it can be an expensive plane ticket visiting their homecoming, 8 months from now. 173rd Airborne is not expected to return from Iraq to Italy until April of 2004.

Support Our Troops: your morale; not bitterness: bring them home now, woes me. Maybe reminding the government we shouldn't be out gunned, send in the Calvary, Charge! Control the situation, not police it.

8/18/2003

Saturday, August 16, 2003  
LIL Brother’s Call
September. returning flight home; Rolling Stones Magazine: July 24, 2003, page 78.
{All Unofficial}

With 911 approaching. Pray you have a safe return, hope too an event is planned honoring your duty, LIL Bro. Now that is the place to be 9/11 remembering the Victims, the bad guy’s soil showing off USA’s Might.

[KV’s E-mail]
There are currently 3 Marines in the advance party (those families have been notified) and once they arrive we should have a better idea of when the main body of Alpha Company is due to return. Many of you have emailed/called me saying that your Marine/Sailor has said he has a definite return date of September 10th. In a recent phone call from Major Miner I asked him specifically about this date. He said, "We do not have a confirmed return date at this time and all speculative dates are merely guesses at this point." Major Miner is aware that I pass on any details that I can to all of you, therefore he will not even speculate about a return date with me until he has a confirmed date. He called to tell me that a recent injury in the battalion was not an Alpha Company or H&S Company Marine. I hope to have more details on that in the future, but that is what I know for now. He also said that a small unit of Polish troops came in to assess the Area of Operation to see what they will need to take over for our unit. This sounded like a positive turn of events to me. I asked how well they communicated with the language barrier. He told me that their English was better than our Polish! I thought that was pretty funny. Then the phone call was cut off. I often tell Major Miner to please put some tin foil on his head to get better reception with the satellite phone, but as of yet, he hasn't done so. Maybe one of these days we will actually say good-bye and hang up instead of getting cut-off a couple of times in order to get the info across.
I realize that with a possible return date potentially a month or so away that we are all anxious to get started planning wonderful welcome home activities! Truly, I do not know when the return date will be and will pass on the info as soon as I know. The PWST (Peacetime Wartime Support Team) staff will also give me the information about the retrograde to pass on to all of you as soon as they are able. Please refrain from calling them and asking questions about the return process, return date, mail situation or other things that can be handled through the KVN. They are very helpful when it comes to serious family issues or problems with pay, etc. Whenever they can, they give me info to pass onto all of you that hopefully answers many of your questions. If you still have unanswered questions, you may choose to refer to the "Website" section of the newsletters. There is a wealth of information at those websites and it may be a good idea to check there first before calling the PWST staff.
Thank you to all who have been so patient during what I hope is the home stretch of this deployment. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we will soon have a definite return date.
Take Care,
4th LAR A Co. KVA

8/16/2003

Friday, August 15, 2003  
Found a fantastic MSN Group about our Devil Dogs, H & S Co They have pictures too.
8/15/2003

Monday, August 11, 2003  
Feature: Raid in Iraq's 'Indian Country'

{Late Posting; KV-Emails}
E-Mail Your Marine [further below] Talk of Return Dates, Mid or Late September: Unofficial

[KV's-Email]
Hi Everyone,
Recently I forwarded to the Alpha Company email addresses two of the press release emails that I sent to all of you. I got a short reply from Major Miner that the attachments did not come through. Since I am uncertain if he meant the email that was being forwarded or the text file that was attached to one, I'm going to stay on the safe side and advise that you send neither. All text you wish to send to your Marine/Sailor should be in a "Write email" format. You may wish to cut and paste excerpts from other sources into the email you are writing, but don't attempt to forward emails or attach documents. I've copied the previous email I sent which has the email addresses for each platoon as well as the instructions on how to use them.
Hope all is well!
Take Care,
4th LAR A Co. KVA


Instructions
"There are email addresses - one for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Platoons and one for the H&S and Weapons Platoon combined. I suggest that you ask your Marine/Sailor which platoon he is in the next time he calls if you don't already know that info. I have listed the email addresses below.

Here are the steps to follow:
1) Put the rank, first and last name and platoon of your Marine/Sailor in the subject line, for example: Re: Sgt. John Brown - Weapons Platoon

2) Emails must be text only! The bandwidth is not large enough to accommodate picture or video files. If you send large files, it could take hours to download thus preventing others emails from being read.

3) Please limit your emails to approximately 500 words. Most likely the way it will work is that a representative from each platoon will download the emails from a main computer and then bring them back to their platoon. If some people send novels, this will make it so that others won't get their short love notes through.

4) Do not post these email addresses on your website. This is meant to be a form of communication for immediate family and friends only. If too many people send emails, it will be similar to the mail system during the beginning of the conflict. Wonderfully generous well-wishers sent vast amounts of packages which actually delayed the arrival of letters from family members. Hopefully, if all goes well, this will be a faster way to communicate issues you are dealing with at home that you may wish to bring to the attention of your Marine/Sailor in less than 14 days (via snail mail).

5) Do not expect a reply from your Marine/Sailor. It is not likely that many of them will have access to a computer to send you a reply to the email, but some may. Please don't be disappointed if you do not receive an email from your man. He appreciates the sentiment from you even if he is unable to respond.


***Note there is an e-mail address for each platoon; #4 above, unable to post it***
The test here: what is your Marine’s Platoon. Let me know the Platoon; I'll e-mail you back the address.


Again, the snail mail has been pretty reliable lately. Both letters and packages have been arriving in as little as 14 days (although some take longer). Please continue to use the following address:

Rank, First Name Last Name, USMC (i.e., Sgt. John S. Brown, USMC)
Co. A, 4th LAR Bn
UIC 39860 BOX 1796
FPO AP 96426-1796

I hope these email addresses work out! I think if we all use them responsibly to send positive, cheerful and informational letters (not the usual junk, chain or joke mail) that all will benefit by having this added form of communication!
Take Care,
4th LAR A Co. KVA


Talk of Return Dates, Mid or Late September: Unofficial

Hi Friends and Families of Alpha Company,
I am passing on a command statement from Major Miner. Some Marines/Sailors have been able to access personal email accounts at a nearby Army facility during breaks in-between missions. Some may not have that capability. I spoke with Major Miner about the possibility of setting up some email accounts for each platoon for text messages only. Again, not a certainty, but I will update you more on that if I receive any new word. The email below mentions the possibility of the September return date. Major Miner has heard from several higher ranking officers that it is looking more and more hopeful for a September return date. (Disclaimer: No return date has been set as of yet and all return plans are subject to change.) He told me that 4th LAR Battalion has secured their area of operation very well and other troops would be able to take over at any time without difficulty. Once again, another email to tell you what a fantastic job your Marine/Sailor is doing!
Take Care,
4th LAR A Co. KVA



Friends and Families of Alpha Company,

I want to express my praise and thanks for all of your support over the last
six months. Family support has been our greatest combat multiplier, allowing
the Marines to focus on their missions. This has resulted in consistent and
positive performance from the Marines of Alpha Company, which has been
recognized by both the division and I MEF. You should all be very proud of
their accomplishments.

Undoubtedly, you are all eager to know when we are coming home. We have
been told that the 1st Marine Division plans to have us home by mid to late
September. There is every indication at this point that we are still on that
timeline. Unfortunately, twenty Marines from Alpha Company will be required
to stay in Kuwait for another month as our equipment is cleaned, inspected
and loaded on ship. These names will eventually be released to the KVN
through Jennifer Miner and Lt. Col. Chene.

Please understand that the Marines who stay behind do not have a choice and
are in specific billets or military specialties that are required for the
embarkation process. Most of the selections have already been made and when
your Marine calls, he should be able to inform you if he is on the rear
party list. I am going to delay sending a list of Marines until we have
final word on the numbers needed.

Operationally, we continue to provide stability in the Northern Babil
Province, just south of Baghdad. The Marines of Alpha Company conduct many
types of missions such as humanitarian, rebuilding infrastructure, law
enforcement support for local police and various combat operations from
raids to counter ambushes. They are exercising the full spectrum of their
training and capabilities. Over the last few nights our raids have been very
productive, greatly reducing the manpower and weapons used in anti coalition
activity.

We are going to continue to push hard for the next few weeks as Delta
Company joins our Task Force and increases our ability to take the fight to
the enemy. Thank you once again for your support. I'll send another update
once more information becomes available.
Semper Fi,
Major Mark Miner


Hi Everyone,

I spoke with Major Miner today and he said that not much has changed since the last command statement he issued. The mail continues to get there in approximately 14 days which is doing wonders for the morale of the men. Please continue to use this address:


Rank, First Name Last Name, USMC (i.e., Sgt. John S. Brown, USMC)
Co. A, 4th LAR Bn
UIC 39860 BOX 1796
FPO AP 96426-1796

Everyone is fine and they are getting more excited about hopefully being able to issue a return date soon. Many Marines have been calling home with statements such as, "I'll definitely be home by...(fill in the blank)." I asked Major Miner if there is any solid information on that end that would make them so certain. He said that there are no confirmed return dates at this time. However, they are still hopeful that a majority of Alpha Company will be home mid to late September (this does not include the advance party (app. 3 Marines) and rear parties (app. 18 by plane and 2 with the vehicles by ship). Again, this is not definite and is contingent upon if and when the replacement troops arrive. The individual Marines assigned to the rear and advance parties have most likely contacted their families by now, so you most likely know by now if that assignment affects the return of your Marine. These assignments are not set in stone and are subject to change.
As you know all too well by now, all of my information regarding return dates is always filled with several disclaimers. I've read many articles about the disappointment felt by the Army's 3rd ID. I truly don't want anyone to feel that we have a return date and then, if it changes, be crushed that you had made grandiose plans that must then be canceled. That is why I keep reiterating that we do not have a confirmed return date. Of course, I will keep everyone updated as to the progress, such as when they are heading to Kuwait (which will hopefully be at the beginning of September) to clean the vehicles and put them on the ship. I asked Major Miner about how long before their actual return would we have a definite return date. He said that they often give an estimated return date about a month prior, but official word of the actual return date won't come until they have a flight schedule with names. This is generally issued a week prior. I realize that is short notice for out of town families, so you may wish to look into airlines, such as US Airways and American Airlines, that may be able to accommodate military related flight situations without being outrageously expensive.

As far as what will happen once they return, here's the current plan that is subject to change (of course). They will arrive in buses on base and check in their equipment. Once they have been cleared to go, they will have approximately 4 days of leave. Then they will return to base to start the demobilization process. For most of the Marines/Sailors, this will take up to one week, give or take a couple of days. Some of them may choose to stay on active duty depending on their civilian employment situation. It is feasible that they may stay on duty up to 90 days. I've read a few articles that talk about how the Marine Corps is trying to assist with the transition process from military to civilian employment by allowing Marines to stay on active duty a while until they are able to secure employment elsewhere. This may be something your Marine/Sailor is considering. After the Marines/Sailors are demobilized it will be a while before they have another drill weekend, thus giving you time to have them all to yourselves!

But, of course, there is the USMC Birthday Ball!
I hope to have some solid details for you on this in a couple of weeks. They are still finalizing all the details, but once they do, I will most certainly pass them on. Don't worry about purchasing tickets. They are handling that over in Iraq. That leaves you (I'm talking to wives, fiancees and girlfriends here) to focus on the fun stuff - like finding a ball gown! Yes, just like our men are looking forward to the ball as a light at the end of the tunnel, you too can keep yourself busy planning for the fun stuff for when he gets home. I believe it may make the remaining time go by a little easier.
Hope this helps answer some questions.
Take Care,
4th LAR A Co. KVA


LiL Bro, how are the Poles doing? Heard you're now helping with their training. Be nice to Lithuanians.
PS, how’s Iraqi democracy working out, still Mickey Mouse, no problem since your own State crisis: if you hurry home you can watch T3 before Terminator is your Governor.

8/11/2003

Thursday, August 07, 2003  
Maybe The Replacement
The new Polish-led division will operate in a territory a quarter the size of Poland (31,000 square miles) and includes four predominantly Shiite Muslim provinces south of Baghdad now occupied by the US Marine Expeditionary Force.

8/07/2003

Wednesday, August 06, 2003  
"I have the heart of a father, and he's my son," Salem said. "Even the prophet Abraham didn't have to kill his son."
8/06/2003

 
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