GI Special:



Print it out (color best).  Pass it on.







Celeste Zappala, center, and her son Dante Zappala, right, protest the war in Iraq, as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld spoke at a luncheon for the World Affairs Council, Wednesday, May 25, 2005, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph, Jr.)




“DEMAND Answers”

“Put A Stop To Mail Tampering By The Military”


I have been waiting for several important documents pertaining to medical records, for 4 months now, he has sent and re-sent these and yet they never make it.


Seems like Uncle Sam is keeping even Mail from getting home, never mind the soldiers!


From:  KB

To: GI Special

Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 11:41 PM

Subject: Mail


Does the Army control everything a soldier says and does?


Why does this include writing home?


It seems to me that even letters home are censored by the Military.


My Husband has been in Iraq for 6 months now and he has sent about 20 letters home, funny thing is, I have only received about 6 letters from him not including the birthday cards he sent our children.


It seems like cards are okay and take about 10 days to arrive to their destination.  Letters or anything personal don't ever make it.


I have been waiting for several important documents pertaining to medical records, for 4 months now, he has sent and re-sent these and yet they never make it.


Seems like Uncle Sam is keeping even Mail from getting home, never mind the soldiers!


Why does the government see fit to tamper with personal letters that our soldiers take the time to write?  (Lord knows they haven't much spare time.)


I'm lucky, I get to speak to my soldier almost daily via Computers.


But what about those in the field?


Their loved ones back home are lucky to be able to get anything even once in a great while.


Is there something the government doesn't want us to know?  Like that our soldiers are okay?


Why is it that a birthday card makes it through without any problems, yet a personal letter never again sees the light of day once it leaves a soldiers’ hands?


I think the envelope is being pushed a bit too far, if you ask me.


Hey, but what do I know?


I am just a simple US Citizen with rights.......


Hey hold on... as a citizen of the USA doesn't that make us THEIR bosses?


We need to put a stop to mail tampering by the military and DEMAND answers.


Why is it punishable here to tamper with mail but the Military can do what they want?


They answer to all US Citizens.


Our rights are being infringed upon by having our mail tampered with.


Someone needs to do something and let the powers that be that we draw the line at withholding mail.


Time to get ANGRY AMERICA.  Let them know that this is NOT okay with you.


I have no intention of stopping until our voices are heard!


[There are few things more foul, disgusting, unforgivable, and more deserving of condign punishment than interference with soldiers’ mail to and from home.  You want something that sums up everything rotten about the people who run the government, the Pentagon, and this whole Imperial war, here it is.  Truly, these people are the scum of the earth.  T]


What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Send to contact@militaryproject.org.  Name, I.D., withheld on request.  Replies confidential.






Two OH-58 Kiowas Hit By Ground Fire:

Two Soldiers Dead




An American helicopter crashed Thursday north of Baghdad after coming under small arms fire at Baqubah at about 10:50 p.m. May 26, the U.S. military said. 


Two U.S. soldiers were killed.


"Two Task Force Liberty soldiers were killed when their helicopter crashed near Baquba on May 26," the statement said.


An announcement said that two Task Force Liberty helicopters were hit by ground fire.


It said one, an OH-58 Kiowa, landed safely at nearby base after sustaining damage.







CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – A Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed May 25 by enemy small-arms fire Hadithah during Operation New Market.



Soldier From Michigan Killed


5.26.05 Associated Press, COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP, Mich.


Another soldier from Michigan has died in Iraq.


The mother of Army Sergeant Charles Drier says he was killed Tuesday in an explosion.


The 28-year-old Drier was from Tuscola County in the Thumb.  He was due to return to Michigan on leave in July to give his mother away in her wedding.


Drier was a 1995 graduate of Unionville-Sebewaing Area High School.


Drier is the 52nd member of the U-S armed forces with known Michigan ties to die in Iraq.





A U.S. Army Humvee burns after a car bomb attack in Baghdad May 24, 2005.  Photo by Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters



Marine Who Was Trinity Grad Dies


May 26, 2005 By Paul Wilson, The Courier-Journal


Marine Sgt. David Neil Wimberg, a Louisville native and Trinity High School graduate, died in Iraq yesterday, a family spokesman said last night.


Wimberg, 24, was in the infantry and began a seven-month tour in Iraq in February, according to information from the family relayed through Zimmerman.  Wimberg joined the Marines after graduating from Trinity High School in 1999.


After graduating from high school, Wimberg spent four years in the Marines, including being stationed in Okinawa for two years, Zimmerman said.  He returned home last year but soon signed on with a Columbus, Ohio, reserve unit, which subsequently was activated.


Just a few days ago, Wimberg's unit was hit.  After the attack, Wimberg sent an e-mail to his family to tell them he was all right.


"Try not to worry about me," Wimberg wrote in the e-mail, a copy of which Zimmerman provided. "I am doing good over here.  I do not regret coming back into the Marines. …"


Graham learned of Wimberg's death about 30 minutes before he planned to send his friend an e-mail last night.


"His brother called me about four days ago with a way to e-mail him," Graham said. "A group of his friends and I were ready to e-mail him. I got the call maybe half an hour before I was going to write him."


Twenty-two Kentuckians have died in Iraq since combat began in 2003, according to icasualties.org, a Web site that tracks military fatalities and injuries in Iraq.



Bomb Kills Hoopeston Grad




HOOPESTON – Memorial Day will have a more solemn tone in Hoopeston, where the community is grieving over the death of a 20-year-old Hoopeston Area High School graduate who was killed in Iraq on Monday.


The family of Army Pvt. Jeff Wallace was informed Tuesday morning that he was killed when his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq.  His parents are Brian and Leona Wallace of Hoopeston and Tammy and Tracy Grabinski of Hoopeston.


Wallace, who joined the Army after he graduated from high school, had been deployed to Iraq in January, said his sister, Michelle Weber, 21, of Hoopeston.


Mr. Wallace and his wife, Sara Wallace, were married just before he left for Iraq, and he was supposed to come home on leave in September for the birth of their child.


"He was a very happy person. He had a big heart," said Weber, who explained that the family tried to talk him out of enlisting.  "But he definitely wanted to go. I just think he wanted to do something for himself, make a career for himself, and he thought it would be a good opportunity."


The news shocked many in the Hoopeston community, including some of Mr. Wallace's closest friends.


Robert Wallace, who's a childhood friend, not a relative, was awakened Tuesday morning by a call from a friend who told him of the death.


"It shocked me pretty bad.  I couldn't believe it," he said.  The two of them grew up together, played youth football together for several years, played high school football and eventually graduated together.


Robert Wallace said his friend was a truly nice person, who was never mean to anyone, loved to play linebacker for the defense on the football team and liked heavy metal music.


Dan Reed, one of Mr. Wallace's teachers at Hoopeston Area High, said the school and community has had a significant percentage of its residents serve in the military in Iraq. But this is the first casualty the community has suffered since the Vietnam War, when two of Reed's own Hoopeston High classmates were killed.



Van Buren Soldier Killed Escorting High-Ranking Iraqi Official:

"He Had His Whole Life Planned And Now It's No More To Be”


May 26, 2005 By Aaron Sadler, Times Record 


A newly wed Van Buren soldier was killed in Iraq on Tuesday when a car bomb exploded near the vehicle he was driving, family members said.  Spc. Dustin Fisher's parents received word of his death from military officials Wednesday.


Fisher, 22, married his wife, Alicia, just days before his deployment early this year.


"He was just really happy," said his mother, Brenda Fisher.  "He was so happy to be married and have a wife."


His father, Waldo Fisher, said his son was part of a team escorting a high-ranking Iraqi official.


Waldo Fisher, a civics teacher at Darby Junior High School, is the president of the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America.  Seasoned at helping others who grieve, he said he is unsure how he will cope.  "Right now, I'm not sure that anything I've done since my 35 years I've served in Vietnam is going to help me at all," he said.


Fisher was based at Fort Stewart, Ga.  Brenda Fisher said her daughter-in-law, who is 19, had just moved into an on-base apartment for the couple.


The soldier met Alicia Fisher while stationed at Fort Stewart.


He was eager to return home for a two-week leave in late June, his mother said.


Fisher joined the Army two years ago.  Waldo Fisher said his son thought the Army would help him "grow up."


Brenda Fisher said Fisher had plans to re-enlist in the Army or become a firefighter.


"He had his whole life planned and now it's no more to be," she said.


Waldo Fisher learned of his son's death from officers who came to Darby on Wednesday afternoon.  He had been bothered all morning by radio news reports about the bombing.


"I had a real bad feeling in my stomach, but I put it aside until I went to my principal's office and saw the two military people," he said.  "I knew what they were there for."


His mother called Fisher happy and fun, and Fisher's best friend, Justin Smith, said the soldier and his pink truck were the talk of the town.


"He loved the truck and we always just referred to it as ‘The Pinkmobile,'" Smith said. "It was funny. He'd always try to get the girls and say ‘You want to come take a ride in my pink truck?'"


Smith went to school, played sports and even shared a high school job with Fisher.  They worked at the Great American Cookie Co. at Central Mall.


Smith said the 2001 Van Buren High School graduate used the oddly colored Chevrolet S-10 as a way to flirt with girls.


Fisher followed his father and his brother, Shane, into military service.


"He was proud to be a soldier," Brenda Fisher said.


Added Smith:  "He just kind of came to a point in his life where he wanted to make something of himself.  He decided to go to the Army."


His last visit to the area was Christmas, when he brought his future wife to meet the family.  He was ordered to deploy to Iraq days later.


Smith said an e-mail he received from his best friend last week indicated Fisher missed the United States and was excited to reunite with his new bride.


"He said things were going all right and he missed us," Smith said. "I remember the last thing he put on his e-mail was, ‘I love ya, man.'"



“Mom I’m Ready To Come Out Of This Place”

“It's Not The Way His Mother Imagined, But Her Son Is Coming Home”



5.26.05 Eagan, Campbell County (WVLT)


As we first reported at noon on Thursday, another East Tennessee serviceman has died in the line of duty.


33-year-old Barton Siler from Campbell County died Wednesday in Iraq when the Humvee he was riding in flipped over.  


Siler was part of the 278th in Jacksboro Tennessee, but spent his entire life in the close community of Eagan, on the Kentucky--Tennessee state line.


Volunteer TV's Stacy McCloud spent the morning with Siler’s family.


Siler's family says he was the only serviceman from his community of Eagan fighting in Iraq and is the first to die from his unit in Jacksboro.


"It's just not real.  It's not real," says Ann Allen, Barton's mother.


Thirty-three year old Barton Siler had only been in Iraq six months and his family was anxiously awaiting his trip home on leave.


"He was due home the last of May or early June,” says Ann.


It's not the way his mother imagined, but her son is coming home.


"The last conversation I had with him he said ‘mom I’m ready to come out of this place’, so he's out.   It hurts and it's gonna hurt it's going to, you know,” Ann says.



Local Soldier Shot In Face By Sniper


May 31, 2005 BY JOHN RICHARDS, Staff writer, observer


Sherri Pattison and her family on Wednesday evening made their way to Washington, D.C., to meet her son Michael, who was arriving from Germany after being shot in the face by an Iraqi sniper.


Army National Guard Spc. Michael Pattison, 21, of Washington, and his unit on May 19 were securing the roof of a government office building in Baji, about 30 miles north of Baghdad, when he was wounded.


"He never lost consciousness," his mother said.  "He just started screaming, 'I'm hit! I'm hit!  I'm hit!'"


Other members of the 103rd Armored Scouts carried Pattison to safety.  He was transported to the Army field hospital at Camp Balad about 70 miles north of Baghdad where he underwent emergency surgery.


Shortly before 11 p.m. May 19, Sherri Pattison and her husband, Ken, received a phone call, only to learn their eldest son, a 2001 graduate of Trinity High School, had been shot.


"They said, 'Your son has been seriously injured.  He's in surgery.  He was hit by a sniper,'" she said.


It was not until the next morning that she learned her son would live.


"I had to wait until 7 a.m. the next day to find out if he survived or had a face," she said. "It was the longest eight hours of my life."


A single sniper's bullet entered Pattison's right cheek, hit his jawbone and exited through the right side of his neck.


"The bullet just took out a piece of his jawbone," she said, adding that the muscle in the right side of his face will be able to compensate.


The rest of the Pattison family – Kayla, 15, Kendra, 13, and Kenny, 10 – is looking forward to seeing him at home soon.


Pattison joined the Army National Guard while in 11th grade.  He is due to be discharged in September 2006.


His mother said he was thinking about re-enlisting but hopes he will change his mind, given recent events.



Baghdad Mercenary Convoy Attacked;

SUV Burned


5.25.05 Middle East Online & Reuters & BBC


On Thursday morning, a joint convoy of SUV cars generally used by security contractors and US Humvees was hit by a homemade bomb near Shaab stadium in the southeast of Baghdad.   Police said two people were wounded in the blast, but their nationalities were not known.


One vehicle caught fire.


"American soldiers sealed off the area and we don't know if there were dead.  The soldiers left behind a burnt-out SUV," said the interior ministry source.


Reuters Television pictures showed a white sport utility vehicle with a badly damaged front that had been blown off the road, although the bulk of the vehicle remained in tact.



Hill EOD Tech Wounded;

Robot Dead


05/26/05 by Shad West, Hilltop Time staff


Senior Airman Brad Kline, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the 775th Civil Engineering Squadron, was slightly wounded in Iraq earlier this month when an Iraqi insurgent detonated an explosive device that blew up a car.


When wounded, Airman Kline's EOD team was responding to a report of an IED, or improvised explosive device, in a vehicle near a small village, said Captain Sean Haglund, commander of the 775th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight.


Haglund said the team decided to send their pack-bot, or robot, downrange to find the device, get pictures and disarm it.  When the robot looked inside the car, an insurgent triggered the device and blew the car up.


"Airman Kline was treated by a medic and was able to return quickly to duty," the captain said.  "Our robot was not so lucky." 


"A projectile from the explosion hit my M9 and sent it flying from my holster," Airman Kline said. "If the projectile that hit me had gone a little to the left, I would probably be missing my hamstring."


Instead he only suffered a small cut on his leg.  His M-9, however, ended up with a hole in the lower receiver, and his holster now has a decent size gouge in it.  The team was able to find the fragment or projectile that cut him because material from his holster was stuck on it.  Airman Kline downplays the event, by joking "maybe Berretta will feel bad for me and give me a brand new gun."


And as for the robot, he says "Our brave little Johnny 5 did not survive his trip.  I am told that he is going to receive a Purple Heart and a Medal of Honor for his selfless, heroic actions in the face of overwhelming danger."



US Soldiers Open Fire On Baghdad Bus: Three Dead


26 May 2005 FOCUS News Agency


Baghdad.  Three civilian Iraqis travelling in a minibus were killed, shot dead by US forces, AFP reported, citing officials.


"American forces opened fire on a minibus in the Dura district, in southern Baghdad, killing three people and wounding four others," said a defence ministry source.


US military spokesman Lieutenant Jamie Davis confirmed the incident but could not say at what time the bus shooting occurred.  "The details are sketchy and we don't know who was involved," Davis said.


Bus driver Abbas Abbas said US troops opened fire after he pulled over to get out of their way.





Mutlek said "The families of the innocent people who have been detained will seek revenge."




BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers poured through Baghdad on Monday, detaining suspected insurgents in house-to-house searches and finding $6 million in $100 bills, the preferred currency for paying insurgent hit men and bomb-makers.


At least 285 suspected insurgents had been detained since Sunday.  Bystanders were also apparently caught up in the dragnet, however.


Some Iraqis said that while Operation Squeeze Play took some insurgents off the streets, it angered moderate Iraqis while giving insurgents a friendlier environment in which to carry out attacks.


Raad Mutlek, a Sunni Muslim, was sitting in a candy shop in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib neighborhood Monday.  He was filling in for the shop's owner, his cousin, who was detained the day before.


"They came here and detained people randomly," Mutlek said. "The families of the innocent people who have been detained will seek revenge."


Mutlek's brother, Yass, who had been listening to the conversation, stood and walked out to stretch his legs.  An Apache helicopter was circling overhead. A moment later, he hustled back in.


"Look," he said, nodding toward the street, "the Americans are coming back."


He paused and then hurried off, looking for a safe place.


One Shi'ite politician warned that the raids could lead to more problems.


"We have advised" the Americans "that these random attacks on people and houses gives the insurgents a bigger base," said Hadi al Ameri, an Iraqi lawmaker and commander of the Shi'ite Muslim Badr Brigade.


The Brigade was the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a prominent party in Iraq's new government.



Those “Foreign Fighters” Vanish Again!


May 26, 2005 By Antonio Castaneda, Associated Press


HADITHA, Iraq — U.S. forces carried out an airstrike Thursday against an insurgent target as American forces tightened their grip over this Euphrates River town.


About 1,000 U.S. forces have taken over Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, and spent much of the day conducting door-to-door house raids in their hunt for more insurgents.


“I am surprised that there are no foreign fighters (found in Haditha),” Lt. Col. Lionel Urquhart, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, said.  [Either this is another idiot Lt. Col. or he’s being viciously sarcastic.]









US Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Johnson, right, of Union City Tenn. holds a puppy while other enlisted men from the First Infantry Division, Second Battalion, 34 Armor Regiment, Headhunter Company unload weapons from a truck at Forward Operating Base Gabe near Baqouba.



Insurgents Regrouped And Refocused, Analysts Say:

"I Don't Think We Have A Viable Exit Strategy"


A senior British official said the repeated "spikes and lulls" between attacks, especially after the election, did not necessarily mean U.S. anti-insurgent military operations were successful.


Rather, the lulls appear to have resulted from deliberate decisions by the insurgents to slow their activities in order to prepare explosives, train and map out their plans for new rounds of attacks.


May. 26, 2005 BY TOD ROBBERSON, The Dallas Morning News


Iraq's insurgents, described earlier this year by U.S. officials as a dwindling force, have resisted military efforts to halt their attacks according to diplomatic and academic experts.


The specialists, including one with extensive experience in Iraq, suggested that Washington misinterpreted a lull in attacks after January's national elections as a sign that the Iraqi insurgency was dying out or relaxing its effort to force a foreign military retreat.


A senior British official said the repeated "spikes and lulls" between attacks, especially after the election, did not necessarily mean U.S. anti-insurgent military operations were successful.


Rather, the lulls appear to have resulted from deliberate decisions by the insurgents to slow their activities in order to prepare explosives, train and map out their plans for new rounds of attacks.  [That’s what effective professional commanders do.  Duh.]


The experts said the insurgents have shown patience as they regrouped, devised new strategies and repeatedly demonstrated an ability to thwart U.S.-led efforts to stabilize Iraq.


The persistent campaign of attacks has demoralized the population while proving the insurgents can withstand repeated military offensives designed to defang them.


A total of 14 Americans have been reported killed since Sunday, while about 60 Iraqis have died in shootings, car bombings and suicide attacks launched by the insurgents around the country.


Having previously used small-scale attacks to hit numerous targets each day, the insurgents now are focusing their efforts on one or two big attacks designed to inflict maximum casualties - and garner maximum world news coverage.


The lull following the election "made it appear as if they had packed up and gone home," said the official, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.  But after a few weeks, "they produced another surge."  This pattern will continue, he said, because they are determined "to prove that they're back, they're still in business."


Toby Dodge, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the insurgents have exposed how vulnerable Iraqi police and army troops would be if U.S.-led multinational forces withdrew.  As a result, U.S. and British troops, who form the largest foreign contingents, should expect to remain in Iraq indefinitely.


"I don't think we have a viable exit strategy," Dodge said.  [Yeah, you do.  Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit.  There it is.  Done it before (Vietnam), do it again.]


The IISS annual Strategic Survey, a security report issued Tuesday that focuses on international security concerns, indicated that Iraqi forces are nowhere near ready to assume the counter-insurgency role dominated by the United States.


"The magnitude of the task it (Iraq) faces is indicated by the fact that 155,000 U.S. troops failed to impose order during two years of occupation," the survey said.


As U.S. forces reduced street patrols and redeployed to more secure bases outside urban areas, "the insurgents sought more accessible targets, which the nascent institutions and personnel of the new Iraqi state provided."


Between June and February, the insurgents killed an estimated 1,342 Iraqi soldiers and police, 115 of whom died in a single attack.



Telling the truth - about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington - is the first reason for Traveling Soldier.  But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance - whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces.  Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces.  If you like what you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers.  http://www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)






“There's Got To Be Two Or Three Hundred Of Them Going Around Like That, With Their Legs Gone, With Part Of Their Faces Gone"

IHS Grad Recovering From Two Lower-Leg Amputations:

Dad And Step-Dad Have Heart Attacks


05/26/05 By Robert Morris, Palatka Daily News, Palatka, FL


An Interlachen High School graduate is recovering from two lower-leg amputations at a Washington D.C. hospital following an attack on his Humvee while he was patrolling in Baghdad earlier this month.


Army Cpl. Todd Michael Bishop, who turned 20 on Saturday, was injured about three weeks ago when a roadside bomb went off near his vehicle, killing one soldier and injuring Bishop and two others.  After several days recovering in a military hospital in Germany, he arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on May 8, where he remains with family members.


Bishop, a member of the 1-64th Armored Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga., arrived in the Middle East in late January and was stationed at Camp Cuervo in Baghdad. 


On May 3, he was on a standard four-man Humvee patrol in southwest Baghdad when the driver approached a road the military calls Route Pluto, Bishop said Wednesday in a telephone interview from his hospital room. Just as the soldiers turned onto Route Pluto, a makeshift landmine on the side of the road exploded.


"There was no fighting, just a lot of screaming.  Everything was moving so fast.  It felt like time had stopped when it happened," Bishop said, his voice thick with sedatives. "Everyone was gone.  There was not a person in sight for miles."


Bishop said he heard screams from his driver and one other soldier, but not from Staff Sgt. William J. Brooks, 30, of Birmingham, Ala.


"I look down and I see a hole right through (Brooks') head," Bishop said.


When Bishop tried to step down from the gunner's turret, his leg buckled underneath him.


"It hit me in the knee. It took pretty much everything that has to do with the knee," Bishop said.


The three surviving soldiers were eventually rescued and Bishop's mother, Susan Stillwell, was notified of her son's injury the next day.  When Bishop was flown from Germany to Washington, the Army flew Stillwell from her Interlachen home to meet him on May 8, Mother's Day.


"I was determined to see him for Mother's Day," Stillwell said after Bishop began to doze off and passed her the phone. "That was my Mother's Day present."


Bishop's left leg from the knee down and his right ankle were both badly damaged, Stillwell said.  While he still had feeling and blood flow, doctors told Bishop "that there was not too much they could do.  They can't repair the whole joint, or all the muscle tendons," Stillwell said, so Bishop chose amputation on sections of both legs.


The stress of Bishop's injuries has been difficult to bear for several family members.  Delbert Stillwell, Bishop's stepfather of 15 years, began having pacemaker trouble after a few days, and Susan Stillwell said after Delbert was treated, doctors advised him to return home.


"It was just overwhelming for me," Delbert Stillwell said by telephone from his Interlachen home. "It's not just my son. There's got to be two or three hundred of them going around like that, with their legs gone, with part of their faces gone."


When Bishop's birth father arrived shortly afterward, he also began having chest pains, Susan Stillwell said.  He had an operation to insert 12 stints and was put in a recovery room on the fifth floor, one floor above his son. 


Bishop's younger family members have fared better.  He has three brothers, two of whom drove up to see him, and his ex-wife brought his 2-year-old daughter Natalie Marie to see him as well.


Susan Stillwell has remained in Washington with her son, often sleeping in the hospital instead of her hotel room.  Her coworkers in the juvenile division of the Putnam County Courthouse have been very supportive, she said, some of whom drove to her house the same day she was notified of her son's injuries to comfort her. 


Others collected donations to fly Bishop's family members that the Army would not pay for.


Doctors have told Bishop not to expect more surgery, his mother said, unless his wounds at the amputation sites become infected.  On his birthday Saturday, Bishop got into a wheelchair and went outside, in what Stillwell said doctors called a remarkably short time after his operation.


Though Bishop maintains a positive attitude, Stillwell said, the doctors have "no idea" when he can return home.



139,000 U.S. Troops Vs. 22 Million Iraqis;

Rotation Under Way


May 26, FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, DoD News Briefing - Operational Update, U.S. Department of Defense, News Transcript


Army Brigadier General Carter Ham, Deputy Director Regional Operations, J-3


Q:  Sir, a couple of force-level questions on Iraq.  What are the current numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq today, roughly?


GEN. HAM:  About 139,000 U.S.


GEN. HAM:  Well, in the near term, it is going to increase a bit, because we're in the -- we're starting now the next rotation.


So that -- so during that transitional period, the numbers of boots on the ground will increase somewhat while those -- while the replacement forces are in and they're doing their transitions.


Q:  General, I just want to ask you a follow-up question on your reference to the rotation that's sort of ongoing.  As I understand it, it's not a finite period of time; it's sort of a rolling thing.  But what time frame were you referring to -- there would be a slight increase?  And how much of an increase were you talking about?


GEN. HAM:  Well, that the transition of forces does occur over a period of months.


The first -- the first rotation is now underway, with the replacement brigade largely on the ground in Iraq, and so both the replacement brigade and the current brigade are there.


And then that sequence will continue over a period of the next several months.  So it'll be through the end of summer, to be sure, and --



Soldier ‘Lucky To Be Alive’ After Hit

Meita Tuiolosega examines the stitches on the left leg of her husband, Spc. Nicholas Tuiolosega, a member of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, who was injured in Iraq on April 21 near Logistical Support Area Anaconda.  (GREGG K. KAKESAKO)


May 26, 2005 By Gregg K. Kakesako, The Honolulu Star-Bulletin


A year ago, Spc. Nicholas Tuiolosega, who had been in the Army Reserve for nearly seven years, was working at the airport in American Samoa.


On April 21 he became the first member of the 100th Battalion's Charlie Company to be wounded in Iraq when his convoy ran over what he now believes was a land mine "outside the wire" surrounding Logistical Support Area Anaconda northwest of Baghdad.


"I am lucky to be alive," said Tuiolosega, 29.  "I never expected to be hit by an IED (improvised explosive device)."


The Army reservist, who arrived in Iraq in late February as a member of the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Brigade Combat Team, said his life was probably saved because his Humvee had been "up-armored" with reinforced doors and windshield.


Tuiolosega was driving the third Humvee in a convoy of four vehicles about 8 p.m. in a remote agricultural area a mile from the 100th's base camp.


"We had just dropped off my patrol leader," Tuiolosega said, "and were driving up a berm overlooking the main road."


"I was turning. ... That's when it blew. ... At first I thought I had hit the vehicle in front of me.  I smelled smoke.  I did what I was taught: turned off the engine and stayed in the vehicle."


At that point Tuiolosega said his "feet felt like they were on fire."


He later found out that what exploded right under his side of the Humvee was probably a land mine.


Tuiolosega described the sound of the explosion as "more like a cherry bomb -- pop. ... It took of the bottom floor, tore off the whole engine and bent the steering wheel rod."


He was immediately medevaced to the Army hospital in Germany where he spent a week before being sent to Tripler Army Medical Center.


The explosion only injured Tuiolosega, who suffered a broken left leg and a fracture to his left index and baby fingers.  Two other soldiers riding in the Humvee with him escaped injury.


Tuiolosega said he had driven almost daily on the road where the incident occurred.


"We warned ahead of time.  They call it IED Alley but nothing happened until then."


The Army said Tuiolosega, father of three children, will probably spend the rest of his tour at Tripler undergoing rehabilitation and physical therapy.


"I miss the guys," said Tuiolosega said.  "I think they are going to miss me since I am the one who is always smiling and usually can make them laugh."


He also was the unofficial cook for his headquarters section who could whip up snacks of rice and New Zealand corn beef or rice and wahoo (ono) for his soldiers.


"I usually warm up a can of corn beef in a coffee maker and then mix it with rice," he said with a smile.



Seriously Injured Soldier Returns:

“I Just Wish All My Buddies….Can Get Home Soon”


May 25, 2005 Elissa Burnell, News Channel 11


Specialist Tony Lambert received a warm welcome from family and friends...returning to Greene County after 2 months of intense physical therapy.


The group was small...but loud. Welcoming home injured Army Specialist Tony Lambert.. Who has spent the last 2 months in a string of Army hospitals.


Lambert suffered severe head injuries, and broken bones in both legs and his spine. Mostly confined to a wheelchair...his wife says he has taken a few hesitant steps with a cane.


Says wife Renita, "we're going to help him get better.  Get him walking good and get his shoulder going and get more strength...from there I don't know."


"I'm honored to be back home again and I just wish all my buddies and stuff still in Iraq can get home soon and hopefully get home safe," said Spc. Lambert.


His wife...so overcome with confusion and worry when we first talked to her in March...is now beaming, just happy to have her husband back at home.  And after stops at hospitals in Washington, D.C. and Tampa, Florida... happy to share him with a community.. Welcoming him with open arms.


"Oh man, it's just a joyous feeling that he's come this far and he's able to come home. Thank God that he's alive," adds Renita.


Spc. Lambert still has no memory of the March 20th attack that left him and 2 others injured.. and took the life of Sgt. Paul Thomason of Jefferson City.



More Pentagon Bullshit:

Wounded Soldier’s Mother Gets

No Information About Her Son


May 25, 2005 Ellis Eskew, Media General


In Walker County.... The mother of a wounded soldier in Iraq speaks out about the hard time she has had finding out about her son's condition.


Gail Carpenter's son, Specialist Shannon Cassell is in Iraq with the Third Infantry Division.


On May 13th his humvee was blown up by a suicide car bomber.  It killed one of his friends and left him with shrapnel in his leg and part of his hearing gone.


Gail Carpenter\Mother "he told me the thing he remembers was it picking up the humvee and throwing it and he remembers seeing sand, sky, sand, sky as it was rolling and said when it stopped rolling he found a hole to get out of."


Gail Carpenter says she knows Shannon is at a hospital in Germany, but did not find out about the incident until her son called two days later.


She says all she has gotten from the military are vague emails informing her that her son is wounded.



Army Recruiting Commander Says He Is Utterly Clueless Why Enlistments In The Toilet


May 20, 2005 U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, Army Recruiting Commander Briefing


Major General Michael D. Rochelle, U.S. Army Recruiting Commander.


Q:  Could you explain why you think that parents and young people don't have a propensity to join?


GEN. ROCHELLE:  I don't have a lot of research to answer that question, merely Department of Defense-level research that does tell us -- and it's a quarterly research -- biannually, excuse me, that does tell us that parents are less inclined today than they were immediately after September 11th to recommend.


Q:  But if you don't have reasons, you can't address that.  Knowing that they are less inclined is one thing, but knowing why they are less inclined allows you to address the problem.  [Duh.]


GEN. ROCHELLE:  Well, if we attempt to address every problem, I think it would simply water down our message.   [Stand clear, here comes the relentless wave of total bullshit:]


What we are attempting to do is focus on the value of service.  And the secretary of the Army has launched a campaign -- (pause) -- a call to duty campaign.  I was going to say call to service, but it's in fact call to duty campaign, which elevates service to a whole different level -- elevates it to the level of patriotism; elevates it to the level of service to country, service to nation.



37 Recruiters Gone AWOL


May 26, 2005 Robert Novak (Creators Syndicate)


Retired Army Lt. Col. Charles Krohn's message goes on to say that "the recruiting problem is an unintended consequence of a prolonged war in Iraq, especially given the failure to find WMD [weapons of mass destruction]." He therefore calls for a "national consensus to address the root causes" of the recruiting problem -- that is, the war in Iraq.


But the focus at the Defense Department has been on the excesses of desperate recruiters, 37 of whom reflected their frustration in trying to meet quotas by going AWOL over the last two and one-half years.



Joshua Despain Doesn’t Regret Walking Away From War:

“Guys In The Military Can’t Talk About It”


His older sister, Amanda Despain, a Campbellsville homemaker and mother of two, said: “I was kind of happy that he did it.  For one, he’s my only brother and I didn’t want to see anything happen to him.  For two, I don’t agree with our boys going over there getting killed for the reason that they told us that turned out not to be true.”


May 26, 2005 By Larry Muhammad, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In March 2004, the Army had 318,533 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. That same year, it also had a smaller number on its books: 2,479 deserters.


Joshua Despain was one of them.


Despain is home now, tending bar near Campbellsville, Ky., and living in the aftermath of his biggest decision.


At one time, he was just another soldier.  Despain spent about a year in the Army with Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne, part of it in Iraq.


Between October 2003 and April 2004, he was stationed at Habbaniyah Air Base, in a town that continues to be a hotbed of resistance in the perilous Sunni Triangle. He fueled tanks and helicopters, pulled guard duty and manned a .50-caliber machine gun on convoys.


Despain didn’t turn tail under fire, and his record includes several decorations.  But while he was home on leave over Memorial Day weekend a year ago, and anticipating redeployment, Despain decided he wanted out.


“When I went AWOL, my father, actually everybody I knew, said, ‘Go back.  You’re making a big mistake,’ ” said Despain, who is 23.  “They were not really unsupportive, but more concerned about me getting into trouble.


”In my mind, it was better trying to get out instead of waiting until deployment and saying I had problems. ... Part of it was fear of being killed.  Being on a base where we were mortared three or four times a week, and you never knew when a mortar could hit.  Living in constant fear took its toll.“


Fort Bragg classified Despain a deserter on July 2, 2004, and he surrendered himself to the North Carolina base on Aug. 27 to face the consequences, telling commanders he was psychologically unfit for military life.  On Oct. 19, 2004, he was given an other-than-honorable discharge.


His older sister, Amanda Despain, a Campbellsville homemaker and mother of two, said: “I was kind of happy that he did it.  For one, he’s my only brother and I didn’t want to see anything happen to him.  For two, I don’t agree with our boys going over there getting killed for the reason that they told us that turned out not to be true.”


Despain said: “I was actually very happy with the way things went.  They didn’t threaten court-martial. ... I guess they figured, people who don’t want to be in that much, just let them out.”


He didn’t have any anti-war feelings when he went to basic a week after the war started. “I was pretty neutral, didn’t know what to think, basically just needed a job,” he said.  “Going over there, I wasn’t against the war.”


Once home, he developed an interest in peace activism, and traveled to Washington with other members of Iraq Veterans Against the War in January to protest the Bush inauguration.


“I felt like I kind of owed it to the American people to tell them what’s really going on and help give the troops a voice,” Despain said.  “Guys in the military can’t talk about it, but I have the option to speak out.


“And for people who condemn me, I fought for my country, for something I didn’t believe in, and I can’t think of anything more patriotic than that.”



Convicted Soldiers’ Dad Gets It Right:

Commanding Officers Are “A Bunch Of Cockroaches”


May 26, 2005 Associated Press, DUGSPUR, Va.


The father of Spc. Sabrina Harman, convicted for her role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, said the former pizza shop manager was a scapegoat for her military superiors.


“Somebody had to take the fall.  Why not make it the pizzamaker?” Tom Harman said of his 27-year-old daughter.


“It’s like shining a light on a bunch of cockroaches,” he told The Roanoke Times of his daughter’s superiors.  “They all ran.”  [Of course.  That’s what cowards do.  And there’s no bigger coward than a senior officer afraid of doing harm to his career.]


After a military trial at Fort Hood, Texas, Harman was sentenced last week to six months for her high-profile role in the prison scandal.


Do you have a friend or relative in the service?  Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.  Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services.  Send requests to address up top.






“Hey, the border’s that way.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

US soldiers search two young men in the Dora district of southern Baghdad. (AFP/Ali al-Saadi)



Three POWs Escape From Abu Ghraib:

Clueless Lt. Col. Doesn’t Know If Others Have Gotten Away


May 26, 2005 (Reuters)


Three prisoners escaped from the notorious Abu Ghraib jail outside Baghdad on Thursday, sneaking through two holes in the perimeter fence before dawn, the U.S. military said.


"At approximately 5:50 a.m. (0150 GMT/0150 BST), during a normal headcount, U.S. forces discovered that three detainees were missing," the army said in a statement.


"The quick-reaction force and all available guards responded and conducted a comprehensive search of the interior and exterior perimeter of Abu Ghraib," it said, but the escapees could not be found.


Around 3,400 prisoners are held at Abu Ghraib.


U.S. Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Rudisill, spokesman for detainee operations in Iraq, would not say how many U.S. soldiers were charged with guarding the prison, but said he believed the security was adequate despite the escape.


"We have sufficient security.  We're conducting an investigation to find out how this happened," he said.  [They cut a fucking hole in the fucking fence and walked away, that’s how.  This is not advanced astrophysics here.  There has to be a special secret training academy where brains are removed and Lt. Col.s are issued.]


He said he didn't know if it was the first escape from Abu Ghraib.



Resistance Infiltrates Intelligence Service


5.26.05 BBC


It is also hoped that mobile checkpoints will stop bombers getting to the markets and the busy streets, where many people have been killed.


A former adviser to the Interior Ministry told the BBC it could have an impact, but the key to stopping the insurgents was good intelligence, including knowing where the bombers were based and their ultimate objectives.


Divided loyalties within the intelligence services were making the job even more difficult, he added.



Assorted Resistance Action:


5.26.05 Aljazeera & The Associated Press & BBC & icWales & (KUNA) & Middle East Online & Reuters


In Baghdad, five people, including three police officers, were killed today by a car bomb targeting an Iraqi security patrol in northern Baghdad's popular Shula district.  Four policemen and two civilians were wounded in the attack.


In Baghdad, a translator working for the American military and three other occupation workers were killed when fighters in a speeding car fired automatic weapons at a group of people walking to work.


Insurgents shot dead a senior official in Iraq's ministry of industry and minerals in an ambush in Baghdad on Thursday, police said.


Police said Thamer Ghaidan, a director general at the ministry, was killed in a drive-by shooting as he was shopping in a market in central Baghdad.


Fakhri Al-Amri, a leading member of the Islamic Dawa [pro-occupation] Party, headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, was assassinated on Thursday after militants stormed the house of his brother in Al-Qadisiya, Baghdad, where he was spending the night.  [Expert intelligence work.]


Iraqi police sources said the militants stormed the house at 5:00 am this morning and locked all those present in a single room, killing only Al-Amri, who was candidate for a high-ranking Interior Ministry position, by slitting his throat.


Al-Amri had come from Najaf on a visit to Baghdad.


In the western Ghazaliyah district, four policemen were wounded when resistance fighters opened fire on the residence of an undersecretary to the interior ministry, Hiqmat Mussa Salman, who was not at home at the time.


In another district of southern Baghdad, Moussa Salum, a deputy dean at Baghdad's Mustansiriya University, was killed as he was going to work, police and doctors said. Three of his bodyguards were also killed.









Rumsfeld Attacks Bush In Speech To Ft. Bragg Troops


May 26, 2005 By Emery P. Dalesio. Associated Press


FORT BRAGG, N.C. — In a pep talk to thousands of paratroopers…….Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said “Like Hitler in his bunker, this violent extremist, failing to advance his political objectives, now appears committed to destroying everything and everyone around him.”


About 12,000 of the 82nd’s 15,000 soldiers stood behind regimental and company flags as Rumsfeld reviewed the troops in a Humvee stripped down to a rolling platform. 


[Perfect.  Now ship the soldier-killing piece of shit off to Ramadi in his “stripped down” Humvee so he can see what it felt like when he sent troops to their deaths in exactly the same kind of unprotected vehicles.  And let’s not forget the lies this traitor told.  He told the press that up-armored Humvees were being produced as fast as possible, when the Pentagon knew that contracts for more armored Humvees had never been approved and the factory that built them had unused capacity sitting idle.  The factory owner complained about it.]


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