November 27, 2005

PFC Daniel McClenney, USMC

McQ and QandO has his second tribute to an American hero posted: PFC Daniel McClenney. I could not find his Silver Star citation online, but there is a partial transcription in this article.

In brief, PFC McClenney was part of a fire team that was ambushed in Kunar Province, Afghanistan by a much larger enemy force that was moving into position to attack a coalition firebase. PFC McClenney was wounded in the initial enemy fire, but stayed in the fight. After his team leader was killed, PFC McClenney took over radio communications, and half an hour was both fighting and calling in fire support and medical evacuation on the radio. Despite a critical abdominal wound and a broken arm, PFC McClenney fought hand to hand until he was mortally wounded. PFC McClenney's actions were instrumental in preventing the enemy from staging a large attack that would have killed many of our troops.

Thank you, PFC McClenney, for fighting so bravely for the nation. Resquiat in pacem.

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November 20, 2005

1LT Brian Chontosh

McQ of QandO has taken on a project I've been meaning to do for some time: honoring the heros in the war, by printing the citations for their medals. Since McQ is doing so, I'll link to him instead. The first honored hero is 1LT Brian Chontosh, who was awarded the Navy Cross (the only higher medal for valor is the Congressional Medal of Honor) for:

For extraordinary heroism as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 25 March 2003. While leading his platoon north on Highway I toward Ad Diwaniyah, First Lieutenant Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and automatic weapons fire. With coalition tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone. He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, First Lieutenant Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy. He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, First Lieutenant Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack. When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, First Lieutenant Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers. When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Thank you, LT Chontosh, for fighting so bravely for the nation.

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September 29, 2005

A Notable Difference

There is a notable difference between our enemy, which hides behind children in combat, and our troops, who do everything possible to save the life of a child. It's good to be on the side of the good guys.

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September 24, 2005

Mister Schmuck, the Hero

Here is the story of an American hero.

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September 8, 2005

Tribes

It is remarkably rare for someone to pen an essay, making a deliberate point, only to have clear cut evidence in favor of their point arrive within days. Here is Bill Whittle on September 5:

Only a few minutes ago, I had the delightful opportunity to read the comment of a fellow who said he wished that white, middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself could have been herded into the Superdome Concentration Camp to see how much we like it. Absent, of course, was the fundamental truth of what he plainly does not have the eyes or the imagination to see, namely, that if the Superdome had been filled with white, middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself, it would not have been a refinery of horror, but rather a citadel of hope and order and restraint and compassion.

That has nothing to do with me being white. If the blacks and Hispanics and Jews and gays that I work with and associate with were there with me, it would have been that much better. That’s because the people I associate with – my Tribe – consists not of blacks and whites and gays and Hispanics and Asians, but of individuals who do not rape, murder, or steal. My Tribe consists of people who know that sometimes bad things happen, and that these are an opportunity to show ourselves what we are made of. My people go into burning buildings. My Tribe consists of organizers and self-starters, proud and self-reliant people who do not need to be told what to do in a crisis. My Tribe is not fearless; they are something better. They are courageous. My Tribe is honorable, and decent, and kind, and inventive. My Tribe knows how to give orders, and how to follow them. My Tribe knows enough about how the world works to figure out ways to boil water, ration food, repair structures, build and maintain makeshift latrines, and care for the wounded and the dead with respect and compassion.


And here, courtesy of InstaPundit, is The Baltimore Sun on September 7:
When their homes began to sink in Katrina's floodwaters, elders in the quarter here known as Uptown gathered their neighbors to seek refuge at the Samuel J. Green Charter School, the local toughs included.

But when the thugs started vandalizing the place - wielding guns and breaking into vending machines - Vance Anthion put them out, literally tossing them into the fetid waters. Anthion stayed awake at night after that, protecting the inhabitants of the school from looters or worse.

"They know me," he said. "If a man come up in here, we take care of him."

In the week after Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast, Anthion and others created a society that defied the local gangs, the National Guard and even the flood.

Inside the school, it was quiet, cool and clean. They converted a classroom into a dining room and, when a reporter arrived Monday, were serving a lunch of spicy red beans and rice. A table nearby overflowed with supplies: canned spaghetti, paper towels, water and Gatorade, salt, hot sauce, pepper.

At its peak last Wednesday, 40 people called the second and third floors home. The bottom floor was under water. Most of those taking up residence at the school were family, friends and neighbors of the poor, forgotten niches of this community.

As the days passed, most chose to be evacuated by the Coast Guard who, they said, came every day to help ferry out the elderly and sick, and to leave water, food and clean clothes for whose who preferred to stay.

[snip]

In the week after Katrina devoured the Gulf Coast they ate, slept and bathed here, aided by the Coast Guard supplies. Men slept on the third floor, women on the second, using blankets and cots they brought from home.

It all worked out according to the plan of Allen Smith, 55, a Persian Gulf war veteran known to the group as "Sarge." Before Katrina pummeled the area, he advised neighbors to seek shelter in the school.

Sarge said he knew the school he had once attended would be safe and at least the third floor would remain dry. That's what happened when Hurricane Betsy devastated New Orleans in 1965. Sarge, who was 15 at the time, joined his family and about 200 other people who used the school for shelter.

"I just took the idea from them," said Sarge. "And it worked."

So as Katrina made its approach on New Orleans, they gathered blankets and canned food, bleach and cleaning supplies, a radio and a good supply of batteries, and began moving their stash to the school. They decided to rely on the building's supply of paper towels and toilet paper.

In the days after the storm, the Samuel J. Green school also served as their base for helping others in the neighborhood.

They waded through filthy water to bring elderly homebound neighbors bowls of soup, bread and drinks. They helped the old and the sick to the school rooftop, so the Coast Guard could pluck them to safety by helicopter - 18 people in all.


It's not about race or money or education. It's not about politics or religion or luck. The difference between mere survival - or not even that - and thriving in a place of chaos is about character and civilization and ideas. Those who have them thrive. Those who don't wait on the government, and cry at its absence and its faults, even while they are being carried on the backs of those stronger and better than themselves.

Do not get me wrong: there are a lot of innocent victims for whom I feel. I am not speaking of them. What I am speaking of is the deliberate victims, those whose only idea of help is from the outside, rather than from themselves, who dream of rescue instead of helping others even though they are not in the worst straits of those around them. There is a type of person that really wants to be ruled, and they will always be in great danger whenever they are required to govern themselves.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people who, in the face of chaos and danger and loss, simply decide that they will be human today, and will help themselves today, and will help others today. And those people we must cherish, because it is they who provide the strength of will that sustains all of us.

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September 6, 2005

Three Worlds

PBS really ticked me off tonight. On The News Hour, there was some insipid commentary about New Orleans being like Haiti, some Third World hellhole. The insipid - no, the disgusting - part was that the commentator seems to think that we should embrace this! Um, no. No, no, NO!

Here's the thing: New Orleans looks like the Third World today because we had a fucking huge great storm blow through. Last week. And in six months, New Orleans will once again look like the First World. In fact, it will be one of the small pockets of the First World that remains in America.

Let's review: the First World was Europe, the Second World was America, and the Third World was everybody else. The First World is where the Enlightenment went wrong, towards "systems" and "the perfecting of man" and utopian dreams ending in Revolutionary or Communist or Fascist or Socialist nightmares. The Second World is where the Enlightenment went right, towards individual freedom. The Third World is where the Enlightenment never touched, unless it was brought by British and American soldiers and administrators. And where it took root, those countries are now in, or running towards, the Second World. The Second World isn't just America any more: it's America and Eastern Europe (Vaclav Havel is the most American man this age, if his speeches are anything to go by), and Israel and Taiwan and Japan and Australia and some people in Britain and probably India.

Now, the First World sits mostly in opulent memory of past glory, sinking ever further into irrelevance. Protected by the Second World, saved more than once by the steel spines of America and Britain, the First World takes such boons as only its right due, as befits such a noble and perfected type. New Orleans is the American version of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, or the American version of a provincial French town. New Orleans has always been the most European - the most First World - city in America. And before too long, we of the second world will put it back that way, and in a short period of time - shorter than the life of those who survived Katrina - the First Worlders of New Orleans will once again forget the world, and once again will revel in their opulence and decadence, and once again will think themselves immune to hurricanes, that by right the rest of America should protect them from.

And the First Worlders in Europe and along America's coasts will lounge around saying that New Orleans is charming and wonderful and so sophisticated. And the Third Worlders will go on thinking that, but for a little bad luck, America would be just like them, and the First Worlders will agree, oh yes.

And the rest of us? We'll go back, because New Orleans is so charmingly unreal, and has such great pubs, and is a great circus to watch for a weekend or a week. Damned shame about the mosquitos, though.

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August 8, 2005

A Few Americans you Should Know

It is unfortunate that the media tends not to cover the heroes America has produced during this war. (Even while they wonder why no one seems to know about the heroes!) Here are some brief bits on some Americans you should know about. You Big Mouth, You! has more.

Thanks to Wizbang for the link.

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July 31, 2005

American Hero - Brian Chontosh

This site talks about Marine CPT Brian Chontosh, and his heroic actions on the drive on Baghdad in 2003. While the site focuses too much on an anti-media crusade, and too little on CPT Chontosh, the story needs to be told. The Marines tell it better. America still makes heros, we still find men like this among us. Thank all the gods that be that it is so.

(hat tip: My Pet Jawa)

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July 1, 2005

Be Careful What You Wish For

How is it that I could have grown up ignorant of the man without a country? Oh, yeah, I went to public schools.

This is a fabulous story of a man who got what he wished for, to his detriment.

(many thanks to Brian Dunn for this)

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June 17, 2005

"We are Americans, we rise above it"

The antidote to Dick (and I use that word prejudiciously, rather than because it's his name) Durbin's ranting and the Democrat partisan sycophantic support for this filth is to actually read what American soldiers write.

I know which side I'm on.

UPDATE: Let me be explicit, for those who tend to willfully misunderstand: Dick Durbin and his sycophantic partisans are not the enemy; they are spoiled bratty children who need to be sent to their room and ignored until they realize that the company of others is preferable to sulking alone.

UPDATE: By the way, if you really want to see the difference - and I don't particularly recommend it, as a tiny imagination should allow you to picture depravity - between how we treat prisoners and how the worst tyrants do, Rusty Shackleford provides. Compare the images here with the thought of a mishandled Koran, and you will see why I am so enraged at Durbin and the other Democrats who compare our actions with this - generally unfavorably.

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June 6, 2005

Sixty-One Years from Omaha and Utah

It is the task of the living to make meaningful the sacrifices of the dead.

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September 8, 2003

Memory is Precious

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

Hold on to memory 9/11. Hold on tight. Because, for some, truth is a word to be put in quotes, and reality is a meaningless non-entity. But for a moment stop, now, and listen to the voices.

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July 14, 2003

We Support You, Too

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

Here is a very moving tribute to the US military.

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May 12, 2003

The Essential Nature of America

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

I think that most non-Americans - and more than a few Americans - miss the essential nature of America, particularly in their behavior towards other nations. Here is the quick and dirty guide to understanding American foreign policy:


  • If you leave us alone, we will leave you alone. Heck, we'll even give you money if we think you need it more than we do. Mind if we send some tourists your way?
  • If you trade with us, we will trade with you. The more barriers and annoyances you put in place, the more we will do so as well, and eventually we will trade less with you for it. On the other hand, the more open you are, the more open we will be. We would just as soon eliminate tarriffs and the like: we have the income tax now and don't really need them. Please, let us open branch offices and fast food joints.
  • If you are our faithful ally, trustworthy and honest, we will shower you with every benefit we can give. We will defend you against all threats. We will send our young men and women, if necessary to die, by the millions to aid you. We will spend our blood and our treasure freely on your behalf. All that we will ask of you is a plot of land to bury our dead.
  • If you pose an existential threat to us, we are the most ruthless bastards on the face of the Earth, and we will bend you to our wills, or we will kill you. Witness, if you will, the American Civil War, the way we fought against Japan in WWII, Dresden and so forth.
  • If you interfere with our interests abroad, we will be annoyed with you, and will attempt to marginalize and contain you, even to destroy your economy and culture if necessary. I'm looking at you, Fidel Castro.
  • If you threaten us (empty or not) and act to develop means to hurt us, see the point about posing an existential threat. After September 11, we are not going to put up with that crap any more. I'm looking at you, Kim Jong-Il.
  • If you think we are a pawn to play in your regional games, and in the process decide to interfere with our attempts to maintain our security, we will work to thwart your ambitions. I'm looking at you, Jacques Chirac.
  • We are large, rich, powerful and diverse. What other nations see as major acts of war (bombing our embassies, for example), we frequently see as annoyances and part of the price for being in the world. Eventually, we will notice if you keep it up. I'm looking at what's left of you, Osama bin Laden.
  • We are not always wise, but we are always intelligent. We are always kind and generous and loyal to our friends, ruthless and implacable to our enemies, and we generally ignore those who don't fall into either of the above categories as best we can. We make mistakes, but we correct them. We are repentant, but we are not guilt-ridden. We are religious, but we are not fanatics.

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April 11, 2003

Solo-Ops

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

Here is a site for military wives, with lots of resources and information.

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April 5, 2003

American Soldier

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

A story worth reading:

"Jessica Lynch," called out an American soldier, approaching her bed. "We are United States soldiers and we're here to protect you and take you home."

Peering from behind the sheet as he removed his helmet, she looked up and said, "I'm an American soldier, too."

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April 2, 2003

Where do They Get Young Men Like This?

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

From LT Smash:


Martin Savidge of CNN, embedded with the 1st Marine battalion, was talking with 4 young Marines near his foxhole this morning live on CNN. He had been telling the story of how well the Marines had been looking out for and taking care of him since the war started. He went on to tell about the many hardships the Marines had endured since the war began and how they all look after one another.
He turned to the four and said he had cleared it with their commanders and they could use his video phone to call home.
The 19 year old Marine next to him asked Martin if he would allow his platoon sergeant to use his call to call his pregnant wife back home whom he had not been able to talk to in three months. A stunned Savidge who was visibly moved by the request shook his head and the young Marine ran off to get the sergeant.
Savidge recovered after a few seconds and turned back to the three young Marines still sitting with him and asked which one of them would like to call home first, the Marine closest to him responded with out a moments hesitation “ Sir, if is all the same to you we would like to call the parents of a buddy of ours, Lance Cpl Brian Buesing of Cedar Key, Florida who was killed on 3-23-03 near Nasiriya to see how they are doing”.
At that Martin Savidge totally broke down and was unable to speak. All he could get out before signing off was “Where do they get young men like this?”.

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April 1, 2003

Empire Building

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

Colin Powell offered this quote, as part of a long response to a question from the Archbishop of Canterbury:

We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in.

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March 31, 2003

Reasons Why I'm Proud of our Military

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

First, from this article about the battle at Hindiya

At one point, U.S. soldiers spotted an elderly woman in a black chador lying wounded in the middle of the bridge. Using his Bradley fighting vehicle for cover, company commander Capt. Chris Carter of Watkinsville, Ga., ran to center of the bridge, saw that she needed urgent help and called for an armored ambulance to take her to an aid station.

He used his M-16 rifle to provide cover while the medics put her on a stretcher. Carter then returned to the U.S. side of the bridge.


Next some pictures of soldiers caring for kids from around the warzone. (hat tip: Sgt Stryker)

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March 13, 2003

Reasons why I'm Proud of our Military

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

First, from this article about the battle at Hindiya

At one point, U.S. soldiers spotted an elderly woman in a black chador lying wounded in the middle of the bridge. Using his Bradley fighting vehicle for cover, company commander Capt. Chris Carter of Watkinsville, Ga., ran to center of the bridge, saw that she needed urgent help and called for an armored ambulance to take her to an aid station.

He used his M-16 rifle to provide cover while the medics put her on a stretcher. Carter then returned to the U.S. side of the bridge.


Next some pictures of soldiers caring for kids from around the warzone. (hat tip: Sgt Stryker)

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March 12, 2003

American Values are not Just Theoretical

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.

From Joanne Jacobs, we have another example of why the US is the greatest country on Earth:

Immediately everyone in the place rushed to her side to make sure she was all right. A few random women sat with her until the paramedics came, holding her hand and rubbing her forehead with a damp towel. . . (The paramedic/firefighters) were wearing shirts that said "Menlo Park Fire" on the back, but on the sleeves was written "FDNY." When I saw that I remembered that the Menlo Park fire department had been one of the first groups clamoring to go to New York to help the rescue effort at the World Trade Center. Then I started to cry.

When they finally wheeled the fainting woman off on a stretcher, one of the women who had happened to be sitting nearby offered to go with her to the hospital. Another two said they would drive her car home for her.

Sometimes I forget what all this is for. Sometimes I forget what Bush means when he says we're going to war to protect American freedoms and American values. But then I see something like this and it all comes back to me. I don't understand how anyone sitting in that coffee shop with me tonight and who saw what I saw could say that America is an inherently selfish country, filled with people only looking out for their own interests. In a random night that involved little destruction and no big speeches, I remembered everything I love about living here.

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