Tag Archives: Support Our Troops

What does freedom mean to you?

Starting last week, we asked our friends and fans on Facebook to answer the question, what does freedom mean to you? The list has grown to hundreds of responses, with more being added—log in to our Facebook page to see what people are saying, and to add your own comments!

In honor of Wednesday’s July 4th holiday marking the anniversary of our nation’s independence, Concerned Veterans for America has prepared the following web video that deals with the same question

A Memorial Day of Service

As we grill burgers, smoke brisket and otherwise enjoy a day of relaxation, take a moment and remember those that volunteered themselves to protect this great nation.

They are not mercenaries – the paycheck isn’t the reason the volunteered or why they fight. They are performing their duties as ordered and are appreciated, by “a grateful nation.”

Make this Memorial Day and every day one of service for you. Remember them, honor them, salute them and if you are given the opportunity … thank them – eye to eye.

In Remembrance of Sgt. Garvey

Every Memorial Day is one that I remember with certain emotion.  When I joined the United States Army, I was 21 years old.  My recruiter picked me up from my house around 4:30am in the morning. He hauled me off to the Military Entrance Processing Station(MEPS).  That day, changed my life forever.  It was September 11th 2001,  I was upstairs in the building filling out paperwork, the room was filled with many other recruits for every branch.  All of a sudden we heard military personnel running around saying that the twin towers were just attacked, now I was thinking that this was just a joke to try and scare us, to see who would actually complete their recruitment paperwork.  So, upon finishing my paperwork, I walked downstairs, I looked at the big screen TV, and there were the two towers, on fire, smoke billowing from them.  My reaction was to call my mother, I told her; “Looks like I’m going to war,”  she had not even heard the news yet.  As the military staff rushed around to finish signing everyone up and close down the station, I soon realized that I was the only one to take the Oath that day.  Even the woman who swore me in, said something along the same lines.  I took the Oath, and was rushed out of the building.  The paperwork I had signed, was for the delayed entry program.  October soon rolled around, Again, I was hauled off to the Atlanta airport, then flown to Fort Benning , GA.  My life had changed for ever.

After six months or so of infantry school training, I was assigned to Fort Campbell, KY, 101st Airborne Division.  Upon my arrival, there was one soldier, Justin Garvey, soon became my mentor and friend.  He taught me how to shine my boots, press my uniform and the more refined details of how to be a soldier.  He was kind enough to take me under his wing and take care of me right after basic training.  This man, helped shaped my military life.  Along with sharing lessons about boot shining, we would share a beer after work sometimes, a little brew to unwind after the work day.

Thinking I would be going to Afghanistan soon after my arrival to Fort Campbell, which I was mistaken.  I had missed the last deployment to the combat zone by a few weeks I believe.  I tried to transfer to 2nd battalion, however, they only took a few, I was not able to make that shipment.  Even though I had no idea, what combat was like, I felt the need that I must do more for my country, just being there was not enough.

Months later, the rest of the unit would return home from Afghanistan, I felt like I had not done enough, being back home in the “rear with the gear” was not something I wanted to be known for, even though it was out of my control.  I was just a private.  Over the next 2 years, I would create a bond with my platoon and fellow soldiers that cannot be quantified with words.  The brotherhood, that you create among men through days and nights of training, and one day combat is something that can never be taken from you.

Over the course of those two years, I also continued to hold a strong friendship with now, Sergeant Garvey.  We were not in the same company, so it was difficult to hang out at during the work day, however he lived down the street from me, so I would be able to stop over after work and when I had free time to visit for a beer or two.  He was a true friend and mentor to me.  He eventually got married, to a woman who I only met a few times, and seemed to be a wonderful woman.  They would end up purchasing the house that I used to visit him in.  The reason, that my visits slowed down was due to the fact of the Iraq war.  We were training for this conflict without really knowing we were going to actually be deployed, even though we had speculation.

I believe we finally deployed from Fort Campbell, KY on February 28th 2003.  We would sit in Kuwait for for a few weeks, until the call to cross the border would come.  We drove from Kuwait to our position in Iraq,  that took 3 days or so.  That is when I realized how useless the U.N really was.  As we drove across the border of Kuwait and Iraq, we passed a U.N building with soldiers standing outside, just watching the real soldiers go to war.  Why our country even works with the U.N, I will never know.

Sergeant Garvey and I were still in separate companies, I never got to say goodbye to him, I never got to thank him for everything that he taught me, I will never get to tell him, how he is still a huge part of my life to this day.  One day, leaving the fort that our battalion was staying in, he and Sergeant Jordan were leaving in a Humvee.  We did not have armored Humvees at this time.  The RPG that struck their Humvee, would not have been stopped by the armor anyways.  It destroyed the vehicle, Sergeant Garvey from what I understand and Sergeant Jordan, were both killed instantly.  We had sandbags to covered on the bottom of our vehicles to protect us from IEDs.

I would only learn of my buddies death by radio, when we were told of the attack, his name was told to me as Gerbey, or something along those lines.  I asked if it was him, at the time I was told it was not.  Later on, I would be on guard, and unable to attend the memorial for him.  I never got to say goodbye.  Today, a day of pride, a sad of sorrow, a day for Heroes.  Years later, I still feel the pain of his death, I cannot imagine what his family feels on this day.  My hope is that maybe, they will read this and know that he made a wonderful impact on my life.  I have two tattoos on my body, so that way people ask, what they are for.  I have a Japanese tattoo for Pride on the left side of my neck, which then leads people to ask what it means,  I tell them, Pride in my country, Pride in the United States Army, then I can tell them about my friend and mentor Sergeant Justin Garvey.  I just hope that I live up to his sacrifice, he gave his life, just as many other men and women of the military have since the birth of this nation.  I hope I live up to that standard they set forth by my actions.  I hope that I continue to serve my nation, that is worthy of that sacrifice.

For many years, I woke up each and every day wishing and wondering why I had not died myself.  Sometimes I still wonder, not as often, but I know that God has other plans for me, or things would be different.  To all our men and women who have given the highest price this nation will ever know.  I thank you, May God Bless you and your family.  Thank you Justin for everything that you have done for me, Thank you for your sacrifice.  I hope that my actions continue to honor your life as soldier.  May God Bless America.

When A Soldier Comes Home

I cannot take credit for this post, as it came to me in an email, and I felt it was too good not to pass on to as many people as possible. It most certainly puts things in perspective.

May God bless, protect and keep our soldiers and their families. Without their sacrifices, we would not know the freedoms we know today. May we never forget that they hold the freedom we take for granted every day in their very hands!

When A Soldier Comes Home

When a soldier comes home, he finds it hard…

 

 

 

 

 

…to listen to his son whine about being bored.

 

 

 

 

 

… to keep a straight face when people complain about potholes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to be tolerant of people who complain about the hassles of getting ready for work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to be understanding when a co-worker complains about a bad night’s sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to be silent when people pray to God for a new car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to control his panic when his wife tells him he needs to drive slower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to be compassionate when a businessman expresses a fear of flying.

 

 

 

 

 

… to keep from laughing when anxious parents say they’re afraid to send their kids off to summer camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to keep from ridiculing someone who complains about hot weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to control his frustration when a colleague gripes about his coffee being cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to remain calm when his daughter complains about having to walk the dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to be civil to people who complain about their jobs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to just walk away when someone says they only get two weeks of vacation a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… to be forgiving when someone says how hard it is to have a new baby in the house.

 

The only thing harder than being a Soldier…

 

 

 

 

 

Is loving one.

 

 

 

"Operation Freedom Foam" Heartwarming Story of American Generosity

 

 

What a wonderful, heartwarming story of just how generous Americans truly are. Special thanks go to Lafayette, Indiana’s Dog and Suds restaurant which is famous for it’s Root Beer. It all started when a U.S.Marine, Jordan Fletcher who is stationed in Afghanistan posted on his Facebook page that he had a craving for some Dog and Suds root beer: "Anyway I can pay for a few of those and get them sent out to me in Afghanistan? there are still people who haven’t tried this root beer and its Blasphemy!" People noticed and the results were 54 cases of 20-ounce bottles, some 1296 bottles of Root Beer to share with his buddies in Afghanistan.

 Out thoughts and prayer go out to all our troops overseas, we hope you enjoy your Dog and Suds Root Beer, and may you all come home safe and sound to your families soon.

The original order is set to arrive in Lafayette next Friday, and Fletcher’s family will be among those on hand to get it ready for it’s trip to Afghanistan. Special thanks to Fox59 Local News for bringing this wonderful story to our attention. 

 

GI Jobs Magazine Gives Military Friendly School Award

SAINT JOSEPH, Mo., Aug. 22, 2011 — “G.I. Jobs,” the premier magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has awarded American College of Technology the designation of  Military Friendly School. A nationally accredited distance learning provider, American College of Technology offers 12 online associates degrees as well as certifications in IT, business, criminal justice and healthcare information technology.

ACOT was added to the publication’s Military Friendly Schools list after a rigorous screening process by the G.I. Jobs Military Friendly Schools®  team. The team found that the college offered numerous advantages to military students who opted for its distance courses. “We were considered the top tier of Military Friendly Schools out of several hundred or thousand that applied,” said Lute Atieh, ACOT’s director of operations and technology.

Among the financial support resources that resulted in the Military Friendly School title is ACOT’s registration with GoArmyEd, allowing military students to apply for the Department of Defense’s Tuition Assistance program. The college also offers Veterans Affairs education benefits and is also involved in the Service Members Opportunities Colleges (SOC(R)) program, so military students can make the most of their transfer credits. ACOT also provides military scholarships for active and non-active duty military students as well as their spouses and dependents.

“In addition to financial support, we offer our courses at half the cost of the national average,” said Atieh. “Many colleges and universities charge $350 – $550 per credit hour in addition to other charges. ACOT charges only $249 per semester credit hour, totaling $14,940 for any associate degree program. Students are charged $125 per course to cover cost of books, software and shipping. We guarantee that there are no hidden fees and that students’ costs will not go up while they are enrolled.”

Courses start every six weeks, and all courses are offered online three times a week. Instructors are specialists in their field, and the college keeps its instructor-to-student ratio low so that each student receives personal attention.

Audio and video streaming technology allows students to complete their degree or certification wherever they have Internet access, anywhere in the world. Students can use voice and video conferencing to participate in live, interactive lectures at set times. Classes are also available via mobile phone, so the distance learning provider can serve students who are literally on the go. ACOT also offers the option of accessing recorded lectures at whatever times are most convenient.

“Competition for military and veteran students is intense among tertiary institutions, and ACOT is extremely proud to have won the status of Military Friendly School,” said Atieh. “We are also very proud that military students already count for more than 75 percent of our student population, and we are committed to helping them achieve their career goals.”

Media Contact:

Lute Atieh
Director of Operations & Technology
American College of Technology
800-908-9329

Celebrating The Life Of An Iraq War Hero

Sergeant James Hackemer- photo courtesy of www.dailymail.co.uk

There is a song that that hit the charts in 1982 that became quite popular during that time, titled “War is Hell (On the Homefront Too)” . It was written by Curly Putman, Bucky Jones and Dan Wilson, and was recorded by T.G. Sheppard in 1982.

The song does not necessarily depict the life of the war hero this article is about, but the title, which is the chorus of the song, could depict the tragic way his life ended. However, from all reported accounts, this young man would not have said that.

Sergeant James Hackemer’s life ended yesterday when he fell from a roller coaster at a theme park in Syracuse, New York. Seartgeant Hackemer was enjoying an outing at the theme park with his daughters, sisters and other members of the family. His nephew was on the ride with him when the tragedy occurred.

Sergeant Hackemer’s mother, Nancy Hackemer, said:
‘It’s going to help a little bit that he was happy. We shouldn’t have had him for these last three years and four months. After he was hit by the IED, he died once in the field and once on the operating table.’

When discussing the theme park ride, Mrs. Hackemer said:

‘He was assisted on to the ride. He was doing what he wanted to do.’

Mrs. Hackemer also said that the family members are planning a ‘Celebration of Life’ for Sergeant Hackemer.

Reading his mother’s last statement really hit home for me. She did not say the family was planning a funeral for this young hero. She said they are planning a “Celebration of Life”.

I did not personally know this young hero who sacrificed his time and service for my freedoms, but I am saddened that his life ended while he was having a fun outing with his family and friends. He made it through the war- yes, with many adversities along the way, but he made it home alive, only to die while having fun. So as I sit, lamenting this young man’s life with a chorus about war being hell on the home front too, I can imagine that he would prefer we sing something along the lines of, “Life’s A Dance”.

It is quite obvious that this young hero did not allow his great loss to stop him from getting out in the world and having fun. In fact, he died… having fun.

I think we could all take a hint from Sergeant Hackemer life, and death. He is a hero in many ways. Yes, he was a brave soldier that fought for our freedoms. But he lived his life to the fullest until the day he died. He never allowed his adversities to hold him back.

May you rest in peace, Sergeant Hackemer. This nation needs many more people with your tenacity. Thank you for your service. It was not in vain!