Monday, May 31, 2010

Mettle of Honor: Part I Heroes of the 3rd LAR Co. D 2nd Platoon 2006

A mother of sons sees them as heroes from their babyhood. We want our boys to grow to be men, to be brave, sincere, faithful, to have the strength of will to overcome fear and win the day. A mother of sons also prays over their cradles that there will be no war when they come of age, that they will never have need to exercise the valor that is in them.

When Ethan went to war, the whole thing became a-political for me. If I had my own opinion before, it vaporized when he told me he'd enlisted. I don't understand how people think they can "support the troops" without supporting the cause they serve, and that includes supporting the fearsome things they have to do and suffer and cause in order to protect the country and way of life that allows people to choose an opinon and freely protest.

I couldn't watch the news without obsessive worry so I had to just not watch it. Ethan said there were websites for the families where photos were posted but when I looked, I couldn't find them back then. I trusted President Bush, and I trusted in God.

I didn't know what to pray while he was there. It was war - so many terrible possibilities existed that I couldn't bear to think of for even long enough to pray about. I found myself praying he and all those with him would come home with mind, spirit and soul intact.

Ethan served two tours in Iraq with the Marines 3rd LAR, Company D, 2nd Platoon, including one extended tour, and he came home safely.

On the second, in 2006, they were wrapping up, only weeks from coming home with no losses, when events caught up with them and Delta Company's hurt started: with two IED attacks, six Marines and their Navy corpsman were killed, and three Marines were critically burned.

I started out to write separate stories, a small tribute of remembrance, of each of Ethan's friends who was killed in action in Iraq:
Sgt. Christian B. Williams
Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus
Cpl. Adam A. Galvez
Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield
Lance Cpl. Jason Hanson
Lance Cpl. Shane P. Harris
Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman
Seaman Chadwick T. Kenyon

When I read the stories of these men, trying to find as many published accounts with their names as possible to help me know them, it seemed each young man's story dovetailed into the next, they were all so interconnected with each other. The events that affected one affected others.

I've never been in the military. I couldn't imagine Iraq. But in my heart was a houseful of boys and their friends, all now grown into American men.

There in Iraq, they were living out of their vehicles together, roaming the countryside together, dedicated to the same cause, employed within the same mileau: working, playing, eating, sleeping was all shared.

And then I realized that every event and every Marine in the platoon was as significant as the other because they were a true unit. I've been trying for days to know how to say it and the closest I can get is that they all survived every day, day after day, because of each other. Each did their utmost to mitigate danger to the others.

All the roads were always mined, snipers were always hiding within a stone's throw, insurgents always smiling within a group of allies. It could have happened any day - every day, to any of them - to each of them - to all of them.

Every day was heroic, every day some kind of unbelievable valor from one after another prevented disaster. Most of the time it was just part of the routine: one more mine disarmed and forgotten. Sometimes somebody made a joke just as they all realized everyone was ok, and it got turned into funny-after-the-fact stories. They were just doing their job: in a team of heroes everyone comes to work.

While some boys their age spent 2006 making cool protest posters in frat houses at elite universities and cementing their futures as unelected political advisors to the White House, these men were Marines lodging an effective prohibition against totalitarianism, against slavery, against cruel and unusual punishments, against theocracy, against religious persecution, against kidnapping, against abuse of women and children.

Those who gave their lives gave them not once but every single day. Each of them and each of their brothers gave their lives every dusty deadly freezing boiling intense tedious extreme exhausted hour of every single day they spent in the desolation that remains of cursed Babylon before the terrible day when their lives were taken from them.

The Marines whose wounds of body or spirit will forever declare their personal mettle of Honor shouldered the burdens of potential injury every single day before the attacks that cost them dearly, in faithful love for their comrades, their families, and their America. You are not named here, your stories are your own to tell or not as you see fit. But we remember you, and are grateful.

These youthful men who returned home also give the coming years of their far horizons: they are witness and example to the sacrifices American heroes willingly made to bring liberty to lost and pitiable lands suffering under the yoke of dead history and the darkness of brutal tradition.

This is a brief history, in 5 posts, compiled for Memorial Day from official published accounts (original sources linked, and direct quoted material in italics - please alert me immediately if any have been missed), of some of the sacrifices made by the heroes of the Marines 3rd LAR, Company D, 2nd Platoon, during their tour of Iraq from March through September 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Links to the series of all 5 posts:
Part I Introduction
Part II Body Armor Saves Lives
Part III Greater Love Has No Man: 4 killed by Bomb
Part IV The Whole Universe: 3 killed by IED, 1 killed by IED
Part V Appendix: Links to articles about these men & the 2nd Platoon

Marines Ethan Duncan Arguello Midland TX

Mettle of Honor: Part II Heroes of the 3rd LAR Co. D 2nd Platoon 2006

As they rounded out their second deployment, Company D was seeing some results of Operation Iraqi Freedom, although the situation was still one of constant danger. They hadn't lost a man yet, when Cpl Graham Paulsgrove profiled the platoon and their operations on July 7 2006. The highly mobile unit went where they were needed, living out of their vehicles for weeks, nomads patrolling the barren countryside and accumulating reconnaisance intelligence, endlessly walking the roadsides scouting for buried IED mines, making the roads and villages safe for the populace and assisting in raids against insurgents.

Chadwick T. Kenyon was "Doc Kenyon". He was one of the two hospital corpsmen assigned to the Wolfpack's 2nd Platoon. He treated their wounds and they stood watch over him while he aided their fellows. Ethan said Chad never was willing to wait for the shooting to stop: if a man went down, Doc was there in a flash. Every minute mattered to him.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Mata Jr., 26, was the senior Corpsman who travelled with the platoon, and the man who trained Kenyon. Ethan says Mata's knowledge of Marine history and tradition is encyclopedic. The company considers them both honorary Marines and they are deeply respected.

Personal armor has come a long way. It is heavy, hot in the 110 degree heat, and cumbersome. Shortly before 3rd LAR's deployment, it became mandatory to wear and there was initially some grumbling. But not for long, as attested by the three men in the company who took direct hits and were saved by their armor.

May 14, 2006, a sniper hit Lance Cpl. Robert F. Dean in the thigh while the company was patrolling near Gharmah. Cpl. Graham A. Paulsgrove reported:

We had an area cordoned off and the scouts were out searching the area,” recalled Cpl. Dustin R. Nelson, Dean’s vehicle commander. “I reached down to give him some water. As he popped out of his hatch to take it from me, I heard a crack.”

“The bullet would have hit his femoral bone, and possibly gone through and hit his femoral artery,” said HN Chad T. Kenyon, 20, the corpsman who treated Dean after the incident. “If that happened, he could have bled to death within a few minutes. It would have been a sticky situation, but the plates did their job and stopped the bullet.

This was one of those times when Doc Kenyon interpreted a gunshot as a "Go" signal to begin running toward the weapon's target. Ethan caught it on camera once everyone was safely under cover: his picture of Kenyon examining Dean (above) was taken a few minutes after Chad had braved sniper fire to get to the downed Marine.

They make it harder to get in and out of the vehicle, but without them, I would probably be in bad shape,” said Dean, 20, [from Spring, Texas], about his side SAPI plates. “It was a good thing that they made all of us wear them.

On June 12, 2006, Pfc. Jason Hanson was leading a patrol searching for roadside bombs in Habbanyiah when a 7.62 mm sniper round slammed squarely into his chest, knocking him down. Cpl Paulsgrove recorded the events:

“I saw [Hanson] on the ground, ran up to him and rolled him over,” said Seaman Chad T. Kenyon, one of the company’s Navy corpsmen and a 20-year-old from Tucson, Ariz. “I saw that the round had gone through the front of his flak, so I opened up his flak and saw no bleeding.

"Then he looked up at me and said, ‘I’m fine, Doc.’”

The round definitely would have hit him in the diaphragm, which is a muscle that assists in breathing,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Mata Jr., 26, the company’s senior corpsman from Hialeah, Fla. “It’s not a good day when that happens because he probably wouldn’t have lived.”

The bruise and soreness from impact was proof of the value of the hot and uncomfortable kevlar covered ceramic. “I’m happy to carry the extra weight,” said Hanson, grinning slightly.

Sgt. Joshua S. Adams was also saved from serious injury by his armor. Cpl. Paulsgrove interviewed him July 7,2006:

We were blocking off a road and one car pulled up from a side street, and the guy in the back of vehicle started moving around to face us, and as I was telling Sgt. Adams, he got hit,” said Lance Cpl. Kyle V. Lyons, 25, the gunner on Adam’s vehicle from Houston. “He dropped down and then said he was fine.”

“My gunner took over while I assessed my wounds and pulled some shrapnel out of my arm, then we chased down the car,” said Adams. “The round went into my SAPI but when it hit, the round shattered and some of it went into my wrist.”

"The vehicle was chased down and the two men were eventually detained. As for the rounds which struck Adams, they could have proven fatal if he had not worn his body armor, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Mata Jr., 26, the company’s senior corpsmen from Hialeah, Fla.

“The round would have hit him in the liver, causing massive internal damage - it could have been bad,” said Mata Jr. “The SAPI plates did their job.”

Much of the Dragoons' time was occupied with the tedious and tense job of walking the roadsides meticulously searching the endless dirt for slight signs of disturbance that might indicate a buried mine or IED.

Ethan tells me that Cpl. Paul Kozlowski was an agressive volunteer when it came to disarming these bombs. He says when they found a mine, Kozlowski would jump down immediately and begin digging it out with his hands.

Cpl Paulsgrove recorded their success in Gharmah in mid-May 2006:

Cpl. Paul Kozlowski, a combat engineer attached to 3rd LAR Bn., said Marines “basically sweep off the road,” clearing the route and “keeping a lookout for anything unusual”

“It’s a big team effort,” said Kozlowski, from Bowie, Md.

So far their efforts thwarted the insurgents. [The] platoon uncovered five IEDs in the [first two weeks of May], none of which caused any harm to the men seeking out the bombs.

They then moved on and spent the first 2 weeks of June assisting the 3rd Batallion/5th Regiment by securing the streets of Habbaniyah in the 120 degree heat. "The unit was busy in their area up until the time they were replaced. On their last day of operations, they found five IEDs."

They weren’t always lucky. Shortly after coming from the far western reaches of Iraq to assist Marines with Regimental Combat Team 5, one vehicle was hit by the very type of weapon they’re seeking to root out.

“It was a real eye opener,” said Cpl. Joseph E. Sherwood, a 29-year-old team leader from Orlando, Fla. “We lost our gunner for four days due to a concussion, but it could have been a lot worse.”

In the end, it would get worse, much worse, when the enemy had a run of deadly luck, but the Dragoons didn't know that in May.


Links to the series of all 5 posts:
Part I Introduction
Part II Body Armor Saves Lives
Part III Greater Love Has No Man: 4 killed by Bomb
Part IV The Whole Universe: 3 killed by IED, 1 killed by IED
Part V Apprendix: Links to articles about these men & the 2nd Platoon

Marine Ethan Duncan Arguello Midland Texas

Mettle of Honor: Part III Heroes of the 3rd LAR Co. D 2nd Platoon 2006

On July 29th 2006 in Rawah, the platoon was at their base-of-the-moment, a joint Iraqi/US vehicle checkpoint, and those off duty were taking a brief respite in their quarters. Iraqi Police guarding the gate let a loaded gasoline truck into the compound.

LCpl Tony Butterfield and Cpl. Phillip Baucus had been around long enough that their internal radar went off. Suspicious of the truck, they ordered it to stop. When the driver ignored them, Butterfield and Baucus went into action. The two Marines used everything they had to stop a fuel truck rigged with explosives, and they succeeded in forcing a stop 15 feet from the barracks.

The suicide bomber detonated the truck but Lance Cpl Butterfield and Cpl Baucus had prevented him from driving it straight through the walls of the barracks, which would have killed everyone inside as well as those around it.

Lance Corporal Anthony E. Butterfield, 19, from Clovis, California, and Corporal Phillip E. Baucus, 28, from Wolf Creek, Montana were killed in the explosion, giving their lives to save their comrades.

When the blast occurred, it collapsed the walls of the fortified barracks and the roof came crashing down on the men inside: Lance Cpl (then PFC) Jason Hason, 21, of Forks, Washington; Sgt. Christian B. Williams, 27, from Winterhaven, Fla., and on his third enlistment with the Marines, Lance Cpl Joseph T. Hand, 20, from Kansas City MO, and Cpl. Adam A. Galvez, 21, from Salt Lake City.

The suicide bomber was not alone, and a firefight broke out after the blast.

Corporal Galvez was knocked out and when he came to, Lance Cpl. Albert D. Garcia, Jr. was working to lift the rubble off of him.

Staff Sgt. Jim Goodwin reported:

Galvez told Garcia that he believed his ankle was broken, but when Garcia went to get help, Galvez freed himself from the rubble, ignored his pain, and tried to help others injured from the blast, according to Garcia.

“He grabbed his weapon, hobbled around, he helped me dig the rest of the Marines out,” said Garcia. “Even after help got there, Doc Kenyon had to force Cpl. Galvez to get (medically evacuated) on the vehicle.

Despite frantically digging out the trapped men as quickly as possible, they were unable to save two of those inside: Sgt Christian B. Williams and Cpl Jason Hanson, who were killed by the falling roof.

The 3rd LAR held a memorial service for the four Marines on Aug 10, 2006.

Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield left behind a last letter for his family to read should he not make it back home. Friends in his hometown said "Butterfield was popular, but kind to those who weren't." He was remembered by Pfc. Gary M. Cassen as:

Outgoing, enthusiastic, loving, caring, honest, thoughtful, courteous, honorable, sensible and humorous.” Butterfield ... had this big vision about getting off the bus, jumping over a fence, running through a crowd pushing people over, and running straight into his mom’s arms,” said Cassen during the ceremony.

"Butterfield had a list of goals he wanted to achieve before leaving the service, which included teaching junior Marines about the LAV (Light Armored Vehicle), run a near-perfect physical fitness test, become a martial arts instructor, and take as many correspondence courses as
possible, according to Cassen. Cassen [closed with]: “We love you buddy, and we’ll miss you.”

Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus was serving his second tour of Iraq (his first was in 2004) when he was killed. He and his wife, who met in the 6th grade, would have celebrated their first anniversary on August 19, 2006.

"[Cpl. Benjamin T. Bosse remembered ] Baucus as a good friend and loving husband, who did a “damn good job” when it came to teaching junior Marines the in’s and out’s of the Marine Corps.

"Baucus’ teachings to his subordinate Marines still shows today, as those very same Marines “are still alive,” said Bosse. “He knew what hard work was…not only on the job, but off the job,”

“It didn’t matter who you were, whether you needed a place to go on Thanksgiving or you just needed to get off base, he was the guy who’d get you off (base), because he saw Marines as ’24-7,’” said Bosse. “He was always willing to go the extra mile.”

Sgt Christian B Williams had enlisted for his third term of service after only a few months of civilian life following the end of his second term. He was engaged to be married to a young woman who graduated Marine Boot Camp in April 2006. The son of a Navy man, Williams' mother said "He was Marine to the bones". He served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and five in Iraq.

A quiet man, he had been with the platoon only a short time and had already earned respect from his brothers in arms.

" Cpl Bosse was Williams’ “gunner” on a light armored vehicle. [He remembered Williams as a friend and Marine.]

"Williams often volunteered to stand the dreaded “turret watch,” which required Marines to stand guard duty behind one of the machine guns mounted to the eight-wheeled light armored vehicle. He did so to give junior Marines a break from the duty.

“He’d actually jump up in there and stand two hours, three hours, four hours, it didn’t matter,” said Bosse. “He kept to himself, but he was a Marine, and he was a friend. He... had a good heart.”

Lance Cpl Jason Hanson (then PFC, he was posthumously awarded the rank of Lance Corporal) was unscathed by a bullet to the chest in June thanks to his body armor. He had also survived 3 car accidents in Iraq.

Hanson's mother said "It took the whole universe coming down to stop him."

[Hanson] was remembered as a tough and hard-working Marine, who never complained about anything,” said Pfc. Travis J. Henzler.

"Henzler said he knew Hanson “a little over a year,” though it “felt like a lifetime.”

"“The only time I heard Jason complain was when he got shot in the chest, but even then he wasn’t afraid to take point and risk getting shot again,” said Henzler, speaking to the assembled crowd while the fallen’s dog tags could be heard ‘clanking’ together, caused by the light morning breeze."

Cpl Bosse said of the four Marines: “They all gave their lives for one thing – for love of their country and for the men and women back home who will never understand why we do it.”

When the memorial service was over, the platoon saddled up again and went back to work thwarting insurgents and searching for roadside mines.

Cpl. Joseph T. Hand was hospitalized briefly following the blast. “I don’t remember hearing the blast,” said Hand. “I just remember the roof collapsing and thinking about my parents and my girlfriend.”

“He found his way back to us and went on patrols even while he was still hurt,” said Cpl. Jonathan G. Almeida, 21, from Beeville Texas

Cpl. Adam A. Galvez was also injured in this attack and after he assisted with rescuing the other trapped Marines, he was medivac'ed to hospital.

While recovering in Al Asad [hospital], [Galvez] was given the chance to return to the United States. He declined and insisted on rejoining his platoon. [Galvez] returned to Rawah on August 10th, in time for the memorial service for his four friends. After taking it easy for a few days, [Galvez] requested to join his platoon. [He] returned to Delta Co. 2nd Platoon as a scout.

Ten days later, the Dragoons' luck with roadside IEDs ran out.

Mettle of Honor: Part IV Heroes of the 3rd LAR Co. D 2nd Platoon 2006

August 20, 2006: Company D, 2nd Platoon, set out in a convoy of three LAVs on a routine patrol in Rawah with their six man crews. Both Cpl Hand and Cpl Galvez had recovered from their injuries and were with their teams again: Galvez in the rear LAV and Hand in one up ahead. Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman, 21, from Bend, OR, was also in the last LAV. For Galvez, it was his first day back on full regular duty.

About 2:00 PM the [last LAV in the convoy] hit an IED that consisted of multiple artillery shells with a fuel accelerant.

The IED exploded through the bottom of the LAV, killing [Cpl Galvez], Lance Cpl Randy Newman and HN Chad Kenyon. The other three crewmen were severely injured.

Lance Cpl. Paul Torres reported:
"[The vehicle] was engulfed in flames. Not waiting for his own vehicle to stop, [Cpl. Hand] jumped out and rushed to the burning hulk to render aid to the Marines inside. He crawled up on the vehicle while it was on fire and pulled out Staff Sgt. Scott, who had sustained severe burns. It was a dangerous situation as rounds began to cook off and explosives inside the
vehicle detonated. ... Scott was able to recover from his injuries and may not be alive today if not for the quick thinking of Hand."

The other two injured Marines continue their recoveries.

And so, on August 26, 2006 in Rawah, the 3rd LAR again gathered to mourn its lost brothers.

Cpl. Adam A. Galvez' family said that the "last email received from Adam in Iraq, the day before his death, concluded with "I love America." And indeed, he did."

"[Galvez] was “always willing to go the extra mile” to help others, according to Lance Cpl. Alberto Garcia. “He was a real motivator when he came to us,” said Garcia. “He was our driver and our mechanic, but most of all he was a great friend. I think I speak for everybody – we love you, we miss you, take care, God bless,” said Garcia.

On June 21, 2007, Galvez was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps
Commendation with Combat Valor for his actions on July 29, 2006.

Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman wrote “I thank God that he gave me such a good mother,” in a letter he recently sent home from Iraq. He wrote that his father was his “best friend”. Newman had survived two previous IED attacks. He was postumously awarded a Purple Heart for injuries received in April 2006, and the Gold Star for injuries that resulted in his death.

Pfc. Christopher Grimm [remembered] Newman [as one who] put others first consistently, "often [eating] last during his service in Iraq to make sure fellow Marines had enough food."

Cpl. Benjamin T. Bosse said Newman was “from Oregon, and damn proud of it, but yet, he was even prouder to be a Marine. He wasn’t just any Marine, he was a brother to us. He joined our family,” said Bosse, who was Newman’s roommate back in the U.S. Newman was also a man with goals, said Bosse, who always had dreams of “becoming this, or becoming that.” “I remember him ... telling me, ‘You know, I may be a driver, but I’m gonna be a gunner,’” said Bosse. “And it happened – he was a gunner.

Newman's mother said ""Randy was called to be a Marine, just as Gideon was called by God to be a strong and valiant warrior - it says that in Judges 6:12. ... "So remember my son as a great and valiant warrior, not only for his country, but for something much bigger - a valiant warrior of our God, Lord Jesus Christ."

Seaman Chadwick T. Kenyon, "Doc", one of the 2nd Platoon's beloved hospital corpsmen, was remembered by Lance Cpl. Gary M. Cassen as a “person of principle, who did everything he could to the best of his abilities.”

Kenyon...was someone who would “put his life on the line for others,” said Cassen. In fact, he was “glad to do it.” “The Marine Corps and the Navy were lucky to have a person of this caliber,” said Cassen. “Chad loved his Marines as much as he loved his Navy.”

“Rounds would start going off and Chad would be in the front running and gunning,” said Cassen... “After everything had calmed down, we would be like, ‘Hey Chad, you need to stay in the vehicle until someone gets hurt.’ But he would look you dead in the eyes and say, ‘And what? Let you have all the fun?’”

"What he was really proud of was how others in his unit took him as one of their own, even though Kenyon was a Navy sailor and not a Marine, his mother said. "He was very proud to have earned their respect," [she continued] "He was a Marine to them."

2nd Platoon did not lose another man during their last month in Iraq. But for the wider group, the 3rd LAR, Company D had one more tragedy before the deployment ended.

Lance Cpl. Shane P. Harris, of I Marine Expeditionary Force was killed Sept. 3 by a pressure plate IED while conducting combat operations. His lieutenant said that Lance Cpl. Harris was the best driver and rifleman in the Corps.

Harris had been a volunteer firefighter with the Cabo-Lucero Volunteer Fire Department in San Miguel County, New Mexico. Harris was home-schooled and was an outdoor enthusiast who enjoyed hiking, hunting, fishing and skiing. In a letter home, Harris once wrote, "Mom, if I don't fight over there, then they will come fight over here, and if that happens, your grandkids would not get to grow up free like I did."

The Dragoons returned home with the 3rd LAR in September. As is the way of Marines, they have continued to honor their brothers by staying in touch with them and with the families of those who gave their lives, and keeping memories alive.

Others in the company were wounded and survived. We honor them all. Their heroism is true. Out of respect for privacy, I've omitted most stories and names of those wounded, and am referring only to information found in easily located official news reports. If you were a member of the 3rd LAR, Company D, 2nd Platoon, and wish your name and experience included, please let me know and I will be honored to post it.

At the end of the story, we want our heroes alive. We want them to ride off into the sunset with their girl and live happily ever after. That didn't happen in 2006 for everyone in Company D. This is not a movie, there is no script. But courage is never tragic, and honor is only earned in real life.

Because these men of the 3rd LAR, Company D, were willing to take those ultimate risks, they brought about happy endings we may never hear but must be assured of.  The price of liberty is always dear. It is worth the price, for all else is dross. Mothers, fathers, wife, brothers, Marines, and all who love Chad, Adam, Tony, Christian, Phillip, Jason, Randy, and Shane: we will always remember them and pray for them and for you. May your hearts have solace. We will never forget what you have given us in your brave and valorous sons.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine.

Links to the series of all 5 posts:
Part I Introduction
Part II Body Armor Saves Lives
Part III Greater Love Has No Man: 4 killed by Bomb
Part IV The Whole Universe: 3 killed by IED, 1 killed by IED
Part V Apprendix: Links to articles about these men & the 2nd Platoon

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mettle of Honor: Part V Heroes of the 3rd LAR Co. D 2nd Platoon 2006

Appendix: This post is number 5 (posted first, to read first to last.). It links articles about the Marines killed in action, and about the 2nd Platoon's 2006 deployment to Iraq.

Links to the series of all 5 posts:
Part I Introduction
Part II Body Armor Saves Lives
Part III Greater Love Has No Man: 4 killed by Bomb
Part IV The Whole Universe: 3 killed by IED, 1 killed by IED
Part V Apprendix: Links to articles about these men & the 2nd Platoon

Articles About These Marines Who Gave Their Lives For Liberty:

Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield, a 19-year-old from Clovis, CA:Legacy Guest Book
Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, a 28-year-old from Wolf Creek, Mont:

Sgt. Christian B. Williams, a 27-year-old from Winterhaven, Fla.:

Lance Cpl. Jason Hanson, a 21-year-old from Forks, Wash:

Cpl. Adam A. Galvez, a 21-year-old from Salt Lake City:

Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman, a 21-year-old from Bend, Ore.:

Seaman Chadwick T. Kenyon, a 20-year-old from Tucson, Ariz.:

Lance Cpl. Shane P. Harris, a 23-year-old from Las Vegas, New Mexico:

Articles about the 2006 deployment of the 3rd LAR, Company D, 2nd Platoon

One More Request Of The Brave: Veterans, Please Run For Office

"...there is one higher office than president and I would call that patriot."
Gary Hart

Dear Young (and Older) Veterans,

When you come home, and have completed your military service and are a civilian again for good, please run for public office. Right away.

Because, gentlemen and ladies, we still need you. We need candidates for office who are tried and true neighbors of the ordinary American. We need representatives who put the welfare of the USA and its people before political expediency and personal gain.

From our first president, George Washington, to our local governors and mayors, America has always relied on her Brave to guide her safely through the calms as well as the storms.

We need people who will read bills themselves instead of taking the word of the lobbyists who wrote them. Who will debate bills honestly on the floor of Congress instead of rubber stamping the trade-off deals their aides made in the back rooms. Who will insist that voting on bills happen in Congress and not be polled in advance.

We need people who still have the capacity to notice and say out loud "That's not right!" when they get to Congress and discover the hidden suppuration and game playing and elitism and favoritism.

We need Americans who commit to equally and fairly serve all the citizens of all colors of our land. We need citizens who, no matter where they were born or what their ancestry, pledge allegiance to only one government and one country: the United States of America. We need citizens who are not swayed by the influence of wealth or investment, who do not make decisions based on "talking points".

We need you.

Throw your hat in the ring for State Representative, or for Congress. Run for school board, or county commission or city council. Your political party has local offices that need strong leadership and integrity in one local party will empower others and spread throughout the state.

Don't listen to anyone who says there are already too many people running or that the insiders have it locked up or that you don't have "experience". Don't pay any attention to those that claim only money will win the race: you know better, you've seen what sheer dedication to winning freedom can do. Pick an office that needs the powerful hand of integrity and just do it.

Be yourself. You don't have to make promises or exaggerate. Just meet people. Tell your story. Listen to their stories and concerns. Ask them questions. Ask their name and write it down - people will be glad you want to remember them.

Be cheap. Run a lean campaign. Buy boxes of business cards, give stacks of them to supporters and leave a few in every public place you can get away with. Buy locally. Wear a name tag constantly.

Be yourself. Follow the law and be ethical. Find and follow the regulations about how your military service can be used and pictured in your campaign.

Be yourself. Enlist the VFW and the American Legion and the DAV and the Gold Star Mothers and AmBucs and every other patriotic Veterans or business organization to campaign for you by talking about you throughout their day and leaving your business cards everywhere they go.

Fax press releases about every event you attend and every issue you comment on to every newspaper, weekly, shopper, radio station, school, college, bingo hall, and community center in not only your constituent counties but in all surrounding ones as well.

No matter what church you belong to, go visit a different congregation every Sunday and Sabbath. Wear your name tag. Be honest, and be yourself.

Put signs on your cars and drive friendly. Take the long route whereever you go.

Genially annoy the crap out of everyone you know who's eligible to support you and everyone they know until they all have linked to your facebook page in every email and put your signs in their yards and your bumper stickers on their cars and signed up for specific dates to go door to door with you, a member of your family or one of your veteran supporters.

You do not have to win. It is your candidacy that matters.

Seeing you stand up, and hearing what you have to say will start other people like you thinking and it will encourage them to take the first step. If you can do it, they will feel maybe they can too. And then you'll have won back American liberty in your town or your state no matter what happens in the election.

But do remember that running for office is kind of like hitting home runs: it usually takes a couple of strike outs before you knock it out of the park.

We need you.

Please, stand up - or roll up - as a candidate - now. As soon as you get out of the service and it's legal for you to do so without ethics issues. You can be in politics and still go to school, still start a family, still work toward your dream career (most politicians still have to either be millionaires or work for a living).

But if you wait until you've made your fortune you might get sidetracked.

Worse, there's a chance you'll get used to making little compromises in the wrong things. Little compromises that reward hesitation and erode self-trust.

Run for office while you are still be able to hear the confident voice of your soul that sent you into battle prepared to defend the Most Exceptional Country that has ever been or ever will be.

Run for office and make use of the strength of will that brought you out conditioned to captain your part of the Most Exceptional Country that ever was, and prepared to guarantee it always will be.

So don't hesitate. Be yourself. Bring your bravery to bear on the government of these United States, our towns and schools.

Bring your clear-eyed humility to face down the scandalmongers without being deterred or delayed in your objective.

Bring your respect for the traditions and memories earned by those who went ahead, and your commitment to preserve "these truths" for those who will follow after.

Bring your understanding that sometimes failure is essential because capitulation is far far worse. And that falling down is just a signal to get up again. And again. And again.

Bring your confidence in a bright future for all hard-working Americans.

Bring your capacity for decisive action, your willingness to accept risk for the greater good, your visceral comprehension of what real discipline and honor are and how they are lived.

You are another Greatest Generation, and America needs you still.

Start now while you know what it is all worth.

Bring your true self.

How awesome would that be? A government of Americans who are all tried and true, who stayed true.

All it takes to make that happen is you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Marine Lt. Alan Kroboth's POW Experience, and Pat Conroy's Man In The Mirror Realization

While I struggle to write a fitting Memorial Day post for the sacrifices and valor of the Marines 3rd LAR, Delta Company, White Platoon, there are stories of other wars in other places where American citizens took up arms for the cause of Liberty and saved our world, by doing their part when the time came.

People deserve to be free in their own countries. They should not have to come to the USA for those unalienable rights with which they are endowed by their Creator, but should be given whatever help we can offer that they obtain a government in their own land that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.

This was true in The Great War, it was true in World War II, it was true in the Korean War, it was true in the Vietnam War, it was true in Desert Storm, it is true in Iraq and Afghanistan. For citizens of a country that since its founding has continually championed individual liberty, the idea of abandoning others to their fate is intolerable.

In each of these, some in America marched against US involvement in the conflict. The shouting can obscure the ugly details and shocking conditions that led to war. Examples of these conditions are often found in how prisoners and prisoners of war are treated.

Opposition may arise from an unrealistic but sincere wish that diplomacy can prevent totalitarianism, a protective reaction from mothers, a way of rebelling for youth, an eagerness to follow a fashionable trend.

Pat Conroy discovered it can also arise from plain, unrecognized cowardice.

The son of a much decorated Marine, Colonel Donald Conroy, Pat Conroy is a writer whose novels set in the South Carolina low country, such as The Water is Wide and The Great Santini, have been made into acclaimed movies. His parents groomed him for a life of military service, although his temperament was not suited to this discipline, and he rebelled. He joined the Peace Corps instead of the Marines. He helped organize an anti-war protest. His acts of rebellion were sincere, small, and harmless - it was his talent for building a story around them to support his own point of view that led to his fame.

Some years ago, he interviewed former classmates from The Citadel in preparation for his book "My Losing Season". One of those was Marine Lt. Alan Kroboth, who in 1972 was shot down in Vietnam and spent the next 9 months as a prisoner of war. Conrad shares Kroboth's true, unvarnished story in his essay "An Honest Confession of an American Coward":

"....When Al awoke, he couldn't move. A Viet Cong soldier held an AK-47 to his head. His back and his neck were broken, and he had shattered his left scapula in the fall. When he was well enough to get to his feet (he still can't recall how much time had passed), two armed Viet Cong led Al from the jungles of South Vietnam to a prison in Hanoi.

"The journey took three months. Al Kroboth walked barefooted through the most impassable terrain in Vietnam, and he did it sometimes in the dead of night. He bathed when it rained, and he slept in bomb craters with his two Viet Cong captors.

"As they moved farther north, infections began to erupt on his body, and his legs were covered with leeches picked up while crossing the rice paddies.

"...In the meantime, Al and his captors had finally arrived in the North, and the Viet Cong traded him to North Vietnamese soldiers for the final leg of the trip to Hanoi.

"Many times when they stopped to rest for the night, the local villagers tried to kill him. His captors wired his hands behind his back at night, so he trained himself to sleep in the center of huts when the villagers began sticking knives and bayonets into the thin walls.

"Following the U.S. air raids, old women would come into the huts to excrete on him and yank out hunks of his hair.

"After the nightmare journey of his walk north, Al was relieved when his guards finally delivered him to the POW camp in Hanoi and the cell door locked behind him.

"It was at the camp that Al began to die. He threw up every meal he ate and before long was misidentified as the oldest American soldier in the prison because his appearance was so gaunt and skeletal. But the extraordinary camaraderie among fellow prisoners that sprang up in all the POW camps caught fire in Al, and did so in time to save his life.

"When he told me about the C-141 landing in Hanoi to pick up the prisoners, Al said he felt no emotion, none at all, until he saw the giant American flag painted on the plane's tail. I stopped writing as Al wept over the memory of that flag on that plane, on that morning, during that time in the life of America.

"It was that same long night, after listening to Al's story, that I began to make judgments about how I had conducted myself during the Vietnam War. "

The interview caused Conrad to reappraise his long-held assumptions about his own self. He blurts out "I now revere words like democracy, freedom, the right to vote, and the grandeur of the extraordinary vision of the founding fathers. "

The essay is well-represented on the net. it is not long, and if you have only time to read one thing today, it would be well to read it all.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"So, Hamlet, How Long Hast Thou Been a Grave-maker?" Dan Akroyd meets Nick Arguello

So I was thinking whether to blog about Nick's handshake with Dan Akroyd at Twin Liquors in Austin, and then Instapundit went and blogged about Ontario banning Akroyd's Crystal Head Vodka. Heh. What a great excuse to make Shakespeare puns...

From the Globe and Mail article: (italicized items added - they are lines from "Hamlet")

"Are you afraid of this vodka? ..."

Is not parchment made of sheepskins?

"Crystal Head Vodka’s distinctive bottle shape looks remarkably life-like, a curiosity you’d expect to see in a droll chiropractor’s office. Or maybe that should be remarkably death-like, because that’s the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s interpretation."

...why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks?

"In a stark departure from every other state and province on the continent, one of the world’s hottest new vodka brands has been banned from Ontario stores."

 How absolut the knave is!

"“I like it, it kind of makes the product more appealing in my view,” Mr. Aykroyd told [Reporter Beppi Crosariol] over the phone last week from Texas."

 Go, get thee to Yaughan: fetch me a stoup of liquor.

"...from Texas..." where Akroyd was busy signing the Hamlet-esque portrait of Nick contemplating a bottle of the stuff!

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy!

Here's a video of the Twin Liquors event, fun for Akroyd fans as well as Austinites.  And the full text of this passage from Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" can be found here. It's pretty funny reading!


Can Southern Engineering Clean Up The Oil? Update #2 On the Gulf Oil Spill and Naturally Occuring Oil Seeps

I've made a new update to one of posts getting a lot of recent traffic. Mother Nature herself releases a lot of oil into the ocean every year. Maybe these Louisiana men have figured out how natural techniques can clean it up fast AND salvage all that oil instead of wasting it. Go see!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pentecost at Azusa Street: "The "color line" was washed away in the blood of Jesus"

Lord, take my lips and speak through them; take my mind and think through it; take my heart and set it on fire.
- W. H. Aitken

Today, May 23 2010, is Pentecost, the Coming of the Holy Spirit: 10 days after Jesus' Ascension, when the Disciples were waiting, as Jesus had told them, for "something" to happen. Suddenly, the room they were in was filled with "a sound like the rushing wind" and "they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other [languages] as the Spirit enabled them."

That was the first outpouring, which has continued at different times and places ever since, and will continue until Jesus comes again. This is the story of one such occasion.

A hundred years ago, on April 9, 1906, William J Seymour opened the Apostolic Faith Mission in a converted stable in Los Angeles, California, to preach renewal through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The events over the next several years, known as The Azusa Street Revival, fostered the charismatic Pentecostal movement that continues to bear fruit in half a billion practicing Christians worldwide.

Three services a day, seven days a week for more than three years relied on the Holy Spirit for their order and events. Anyone moved could speak, singing was spontaneous, unaccompanied. People of all colors, nationalities, and denominations flocked by the tens of thousands and were healed, saved, and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and praising God continually.

According to Wikipedia,
An observer at one of the services wrote these words:
"No instruments of music are used. None are needed. No choir- the angels have been heard
by some in the spirit. No collections are taken. No bills have been posted to advertise the
meetings. No church organization is back of it. All who are in touch with God realize
as soon
as they enter the meetings that the Holy Ghost is the leader."

William J. Seymour was a black man from Louisiana, and from the beginning people of English-American, Irish-American, German-American, Swiss-American, Spanish-American, Chinese-American, Mexican-American, Jewish-American, Scots-American and African-American descent all participated in Azusa street services without regard for any differences.

The official website for Azusa Street remembrance tells us:

"In 1906 when there were more lynchings of black men then in any other year of
history, Seymour led an interracial worship service. At Azusa Street there were
preferences for age, gender, or race. One worshipper [Frank Bartleman] said, "The
blood of
Jesus washed the color line away." "

This, too, reflected the original Pentecost, where people from many nations heard the Gospel together, and reflects the teaching of the Apostle Paul: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Seymour's ministry here was not long - the outpouring lasted only three years, and the congregation began disintegrating a few years thereafter. Seymour himself died of a heart attack in 1922.

By the end of that three years, the revival had spread to 50 other countries and it never stopped. Missionaries went forth by the dozens, carrying the Fire of Pentecost to every corner of the earth.

As an expression of faith - a revival - rather than a denomination, Azusa Street influenced dozens of organized congregations, and led to the formation of the Assemblies of God, the United Pentecostal Church, the Church of God in Christ, the Pentecostal Church of God, as well as the Charismatic movements in the Catholic and Mainstream Protestant churches.

God moved throughout the world at the turn of the last century. Other revivals occuring independently in the same era included the Welsh Revival of 1904 and The Pyongyang Great Revival of Korea (1907).

Pentecostal practice, particularly that which grew out of the Azusa Street Revival, is the fastest growing form of Christian worship today, with an estimated 600 million Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians worldwide.

The Lord always works and is active in our world. Today the Chinese House Church movement increases exponentially through the power of the Holy Spirit despite ongoing persecution, including arrest and imprisonment. Charismatic Christianity grows by leaps and bounds in Korea, India, Indonesia, African nations, Mexico, South American nations. Christianity is outlawed and heavily persecuted in countries under Moslem rule, and in Communist countries, and God upholds the faithful still to spread the Gospel in spite of dungeon, fire and sword.

The fire of the Holy Spirit sits as surely on these Christians today as it did on the people of Azusa Street a hundred years ago. Out of the third world and the global South come Christians who are passionate missionaries, bravely undertaking the Great Commission to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel" as fearlessly - and as successfully - as the early Christians of the Holy Land, as the medieval Christians of Ireland, Egypt, Persia and the Byzantine Empire, as the old world Christians of Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia, as the new world Christians of America, Australia and Canada.

It is likely we will look back years from now, and be able to pinpoint times and places in which Pentecost was renewed for this new generation.

William J. Seymour, the son of freed slaves, walked humbly with God and man. In a dirt-floored stable, he preached Jesus in a voice the Holy Spirit carried to the four winds, his life's work is still saving souls the whole world over.

Following is a portion of the New Testament scripture for Pentecost: the Book of Acts (the Acts of the Apostles), Chapter 2.

" When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues [languages] as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. ...

Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine.

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.' ...

"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."

(Photo of from Wikipedia, stated to be in the public domain in the USA, pictures Seymour in front row, second from right, his wife Jenny in back row, third from left, among other leaders in the Azusa Street congregation )

For Further reading, good articles about William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival can be found at these websites:

William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival

What We All Owe William J. Seymour


The Assemblies of God Beliefs Statement

Open Doors - Reliable information about persecution of Christianity worldwide

Friday, May 21, 2010

"The National Interest Comes First, Last, and Always" Barbara Jordan's Congressional Testimony on Illegal Immigration

"It is reason and not passion which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision. " Barbara Jordan

"My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminuation, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution. " Barbara Jordan

The esteemable Ms. Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) would have been a heroine in any color. When she spoke, strong men willingly heard her voice. They say she carried a copy of the constitution in her purse. Her focus on using her talents to their fullest imbued her political career with integrity that enobled all Americans. Serving in the Texas Senate from 1966 through 1973, then elected to the US House of Representatives in 1972, 74 and 76, Barbara Jordan retired from elected service in 1979, returning to Texas to teach political ethics.

Her final contributions to American liberty came in her chairmanship of the United States Commission on Immigration, which issued the most significant report on the subject to date. Her deliberate and honest testimony before Congress in 1995 outlined the Commission's recommendations for Immigration Reform - which only 15 years ago still meant stopping illegal entry, and removing incentives by preserving jobs exclusively for citizens and foreign persons, approved to work, who came into the US through lawful channels.

In her February 1995 testimony, she called for rationality and the primacy of the best interests of the American citizens, who live under a common rule of law, in considering immigration policy:

"First, we set forth principles. We are a nation of immigrants committed to the rule of law. The Commission believes that legal immigration has strengthened the country and that it continues to do so. We as a Commission denounce the hostility that seems to be developing toward all immigrants.

"To make sense about the national interest in immigration, it is necessary to make distinctions between those who obey the law, and those who violate it. Therefore, we disagree, also, with those who label our efforts to control illegal immigration as somehow inherently anti-immigrant. Unlawful immigration is unacceptable."

She was blunt:

"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave. "

And she was practical:

"A border crossing fee, properly applied, would benefit the border towns immensely. It would be a kind of NAFTA fund, used along both borders, to ensure that legal crossings are convenient and secure. It is to fund the future prosperity of border towns like El Paso, Laredo, Nogales, and San Diego that depend so much on cross-border trade."

She concluded her testimony by praising the truly bipartisan Commission that developed these recommendations, and asking for time to develop consensus in a matter where it is essential that

" ....the national interest comes first, last, and always. ... I, for one, wish that we would do away with all the hyphenation and just be Americans, together."

She spoke with similar candor and intellectual consistency a month later, in March 1995, when she again reported to Congress on the recommendations for effectively

Barbara Jordan accomplished much of her life's work while suffering from multiple sclerosis, and from leukemia. When she passed away in 1996 from complications of these illnesses, the United States lost one of our great citizens, and one of the greatest voices of reason and sanity in the modern age.

As a model of honest dedication to elected service, as a champion of the Constitution and Americanization, as a clear-thinking, clear-speaking human being, Barbara Jordan was what she wanted for our country: unhyphenated.


The full archives of the work of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (1990-1997) can be found on the University of Texas, Lyndon B Johnston School of Public Affairs, website.

Illegal immigration: A jobs issue for those here legally - Dave Gorak May 1, 2010

As immigration rates rise, blacks' prosperity drops - Frank Morris April 18 2007


"Her Voice Stirred the Nation"

Barbara Jordan's Ideals

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"...that has nothing to do with our press conference."

So. Raul Grijalva wants to do away with the real estate metes and bounds called "borders", and wants to replace legitimate property rights of actual borders with "subject matter Maginot Lines"

US Representative Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who has called for a boycott of his own fellow citizens and the people he was elected to serve in Arizona for the State's desire to live under the rule of law, got together with some other people in April and called a press conference to "denounce" SB 1070 , Arizona's new law aka US Immigration Law.

When's Edwin Mora interviewed him, Grijalva became angry, refused to answer, walked away and called Mora names when asked about his stance on border security to prevent illegal drug trafficking:

Transcript of interview with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D.-Ariz.): Last year, The Justice Department reported that last year 19 percent of young adults age 12-17 used illicit drugs, much of which came through--

Rep. Grijalva: What does this have to do with our press conference today? Well, I just want to know. Are you committed to sealing the border against the influx of illegal drugs?

Rep. Grijalva: I-- [walks away] that has nothing to do with our press conference. Well it’s about the border sir.

Rep. Grijalva: That’s punkish.

The reporter was respectful, civil, and sincere in asking legitimate questions of the Democrat Congressman in an appropriate setting. Read the entire article and watch the video at the CNSNews site.

Meanwhile, in the August primary and the November elections, the citizens that Grijalva wants to punish for trying to be law abiding will have an opportunity to elect someone else to stand in their place in Washington. His time is up in November.

Ruth McClung, Republican candidate for House of Representatives Arizona District 7, is a young conservative physicist who is described by Margarita Zavala as "a conservative Republican that a Democrat can vote for". Check her out on her website, Facebook, and Twitter, and see what you think. She also has a good itinerary of upcoming events if you are in the area.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Well-Earned Degree: Graduation and Celebration!

Our daughter-in-love Sandy earned her Bachelors degree from Dallas Baptist University this past week. She's the first in her family to graduate from college. She's not the first to fearlessly tackle new things, though - she gets her gumption from her mother!

She decided last Spring to go back to school. So, starting in May 2009, and taking intensive classes, by August she had completed 18 out of the 60 hours she still needed, while also volunteering and working a job, took a semester of Art in a week, and held an International Trade Center Internship that really made an impression on her.

When the Fall semester wrapped up in December, she was on the Deans List with 5 A's and a B, and had only 8 more classes to take for her degree. By taking them as "mini-semesters" and cramming 3 months work into 2 weeks, she finished 4 of those by Feb 1st.

This is a career change for Sandy and she's focusing on Global Business for her Masters. She's been accepted to a Masters program and her next round of classes kicks off in June.

We are so proud of her. If she engages the Masters Programs with the passion she applied to this one, I guess we could expect to attend that graduation around Halloween! ;-) Seriously though, she does intend to complete it by 2012, and then to go for her doctorate in Political ... political... shoot, need to ask her again - I've forgot what she has planned.

Congratulations are also earned by her husband Devin, her children and family, whose happy support helped her achieve this.

The ceremony was great. Texas State Representative Phil King gave the commencement address - one of the most useful such speeches I've ever heard, with practical life advice and comfortable humor.

King represents the 61st district ( Parker and Wise counties). He and his wife live in Weatherford, Tx, where he has a law practice with the firm of Eggleston Flowers & King, LLP.

He is a member of the new coalition of elected officials pledged to put "people before party": The Independent Conservatives of Texas.


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