Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Our Old Man is a Corporal!!!


We're so PROUD of you!!!

Happy Halloween!!

Pictures of the Old Man in Iraq

Yay!! I finally got him to send me some more pictures!
He's growing a classic 80s 'stache and my gosh, does he look just like older man Hancock!!!

A letter to the families from the Chaplain

Dear Families, former members, and friends of 1/6,

Just two days ago I saw the mail truck come into Hurricane Point full of mail. Now most of us when we think of a mail truck, we think of something the size of an undersized milk truck. Well, the mail truck here is a 7 ton with a trailer attached to it. Both of these were full of packages to the top when they arrived at our location. I mention this to say thank you for your steadfast support of these outstanding young men. I cannot tell you how much your packages and letters mean to them. Yes, they get email and phone calls, but they value most that which they can hold.

As most of you know by now we have taken some casualties. We hate this part of our callings. We value every Marine’s life and presence on this team. So when we loose one due to injuries or death, it is like a part of us has been ripped out. I also know even greater is the pain for the families to whom these Marines are connected to. While I know God intends for no one to loose life or limb as a result of anger or conflict, he is with us in these hard times. As we hear in the book of Matthew, “Come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me. I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” I hear these words of Jesus, assuring us that we are not alone.

On a brighter note, the holidays are coming quickly upon us, so be sure to get any large mail out to us by November 20th (with a note that says “do not open until Christmas”). Then packages and cards are sure to get here. Stay connected to each other, keep busy, and keep the good news of the home front coming out to us.

We miss you very, very much. We long to be with you, but for now, we are doing our part to protect our home land, and offer freedom to the good people of Iraq.

Chaplain Jamie

The cutest lady ever!

Grandma Hill wanted me to send her love! She misses you Old Man!

I had to brag a little bit. She is the cutest thing. She won 1st prize for the 'Prettiest Hat' at a Tea Party she went to. Here's the article they wrote with her picture...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Great thought for the day

This is from my aunt Carol and uncle Don...

If God brings you to it,
he will bring you through it!

Love you Old Man!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The five blessings

I found this on Families.org.

A wonderful way to pray for a Marine is by the “five blessings”. Think of the word BLESS and it will help you cover his or her life with prayer.

The B stands for BODY. For example, you might pray for physical protection, safety and health.

The L stands for LABOR, pray for them to do their job well, with skill and wisdom.

The E stands for EMOTIONAL, pray for their emotional health.

The S stands for SOCIAL, pray for their marriage, the parent-child relationship (deployments are hard on marriages & with parents away for months; the children can feel distant or abandoned) Pray for God to fill the gaps of the love needed with His love while the husband or parent is away.

And the last S stands for SPIRITUAL, pray for them to know God, put their trust in God and experience His unfailing love for them even in the great difficulties they face in a war zone. Pray for spiritual renewal for our troops, for peace in Iraq and Afghanistan and for all of the men and women in the service to come home safely to their families.


A few days ago I asked the Old Man what he wants for Christmas and for all of you who he can't call quite as often, this is how our conversation really went...

"...a few movies and a psp. I just want to come home to everyone. I also have to take into consideration I have to bring everything back on my back! remember the GIANT sea bag? hahaha I just want everyone to have a wonderful holiday season and make room for me next year!
ps. If anything a holiday motomail will do just fine!"
(Just an FYI-if you would like to send stuff, the last day for Christmas mail is Nov 11)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This is from mom and dad Hill..

Love you!!!


So a few days ago I asked the Old Man what he wants for Christmas and for all of you who he can't call quite as often, this is how our conversation really went...

"...a few movies and a psp. I just want to come home to everyone. I also have to take into consideration I have to bring everything back on my back! remember the GIANT sea bag? hahaha On a serious note i just want everyone to have a wonderful holiday season and make room for me next year!
ps. If anything a holiday motomail will do just fine!"

This is why we love him...

I dug up this old picture and was going to put it in the collage on the side showing him in the Corps, but it was so good I thought it was worthy of it's own post...
until he yells at me to take it off that is! :)

He's such a joker! hahaha

Progress in Iraq...

Iraqi Army assumes responsibility of Northern Ramadi

RELEASE No. 20061024-02
Oct. 24, 2006

RAMADI, Iraq – The Iraqi Army assumed responsibility of an area in northern Ramadi today. The 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade of the 7th Iraqi Army Division, commanded by Colonel Kareem, officially assumed battle space at 11 a.m. today at a ceremony on forward operating base Blue Diamond.

“We will serve with honor,” Colonel Kareem reminded his Soldiers. “We have been given the great responsibility of being in charge of this area.”

Task Force 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment has been partnered with 3-1-7 IA for the past five months and has witnessed the unit’s development. “This is a big step,” said Lt.Col. Daniel Walrath, Commander Task Force 1-6, “[They] are increasing their battle space by three fold [and] will develop concepts and plans of operation for northern Ramadi.”

Task Force 1-6 will continue to provide the Iraqi battalion support, but are confident about their progress. Colonel Kareem reinforced to the Iraqi Soldiers that they will continue to learn from their Coalition partners and make Ramadi a safer place.

The battalion recently proved their capabilities during a validation operation which resulted in the capture of four anti-Iraqi forces. The occasion marks the second battalion in two weeks Ramadi to assume battlespace and is an important step in the continuing development of the Iraqi Army and represents the future security of Iraq.

For the article online click here

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #2

Thirteen things my husband gained from the Corps

1. He can't stand in lines
2. He CAN stay in one place for more than two hours (from his Parade Boy days!)
3. He picked up saying things when we're having serious relationship talks like, 'in due time', 'at the present moment' and 'say again'
4. He has an incredible ability to eat a cheeseburger in two bites when challenged (although I think he may have always had the ability, now he just doesn't have the time)
5. He can do a mean twirl with his rifle
6. He gained a liking for PBR beer - the backwoods, $4.00/6 pack kind of beer that he claims is good cause it won 1 award in like 1897
7. His chest gets all big when we're in a bar if there's a loud noise or someone bumps into him (a habit he gained from the days he had that second job at the dance club)
8. He thinks it's hysterical to run around in underwear, an undershirt, and whichever cover he has 'at the present moment'...
9. He has to arrive at an airport no less than three hours early...even if the airport isn't quite open yet
10. He felt it was necessary to create a super, mega awesome football player on Madden that he named Hancock and gave him gray hair during one of his many workless days at the Barracks
11. He has no mercy when showing me new defense moves-even though I have wood floors (yes this made it in two lists. I'm a bit bitter..)
12. He can say that he's been a part of amazing things like Reagan's funeral, the Inaguration, the opening of the WWII Memorial, and so many other events
13. Most importantly, he rightfully earned respect, honor, friendships, and pride of his family, friends and peers
This one gets a bonus for the week...
14. me! :) nah, just kidding. But, it was the Corps who brought the Old Man to DC!
Ok, this one gets another bonus for the week...
15. I almost forgot!!! (I thought of this after and HAD to repost!)
THE HANCOCK SHUFFLE!! It's hilarious! He does this shuffle thing with his hands everytime he gets super excited and it's just the funniest thing EVER! It's so great that we even named it! :)

Amy's Husband

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Welcome to Thursday Thirteen! Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

An update on the Old Man

The Old Man called today! He's doing pretty good. He was asking about everyone of course. He said it's getting pretty cold over there and asked for some hot chocolate, instant coffee, and any movies...

It was cute cause he was telling me about how he's reading Flags of our Fathers. He said there are a few pages describing how all the Marines used to tease one of the Marines who was in the Iwo photo about being such an old man. The Marine was a little quiet, took care of the other guys, went to bed early, read the paper and did all these other old man things for a 20 year old... Then he's like, "It's about me!" hahaha And yea, it really is.

Then we were laughing at a motomail he got from one of us (I'm not gonna say who-it'll tell me if you're actually reading these things!:). Apparently there were a few typos or mis-prints when the letter was downloaded cause every other word was either a curse word or more specifically, the even worse word for a 'fleuzy'! hahaha He said it was hilarious reading it cause the typos were all just coincidences and there were a ton!

Anyway, he's starting to buy the heck outta Amazon.com again and is watching a ton of movies which is a good sign that he's trying to relax every time he gets a chance. (which isn't all that often) There may even be sign of a promotion in sight, but I'll keep you posted...

We miss you Old Man!!!!!!

We all love you honey!

The composition of a Marine

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #1

Thirteen Reasons why I'm Officially a Marine Corps Wife

1. I have an entire room dedicated to shipping/packing supplies and am on a first name basis with the post office staff
2. I sing cadences in the shower '...Mama and daddy were lying in bed!...'
3. When I park really far and have to carry tons of groceries and my arms want to fall off, I keep walking really fast telling myself to pretend I'm doing timed PT
4. I'm no longer grossed out by the fifteen pairs of dirty, horribly smelly cammies that used to lay around the apartment
5. I used to hate bumper stickers and now I have a million Marine Corps stickers on my new car (OK, not a million, but a lot...don't want to stress out the Old Man! :)
6. I've been the practice dummy a hundred times for all the Old Man's 'cool' self defense moves. Even though he's three times my size so a tiny pinch from him is enough to lay me out...
7. I can recognize someone in the service and figure out which branch
8. I understand all the funny abbreviations like the 'Poo Report' (although I'm not sure how to spell them yet)
9. My wardrobe consists of two weeks worth of different Marine Corps T shirts
10. I get excited to go to the Commissary and I recognize that I should really shop at SAMS Club or Costco to get enough food to feed my husband when he's hungry
11. I know the drill for the shipping and customs forms and have thus learned that writing things like 'inflatable' instead of 'blow up toys' is far more effective
12. I use the springs that hold down my husbands uniform pants as cat toys
13. I'm willing to wait by the phone all day and all night for the ten minute phone call I get every two days from my husband...

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Christie
2. Amy
3. Chelle
4. Vaccines
5. Sparky

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Welcome to Thursday Thirteen! Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Music video-He's Coming Home

This video's a doosey. It's about the Army, but I wanted to share anyway.
Be sure to stop the playlist on the side of the page before you start the video and grab your kleenex!


Go team Marines!

The families near Lejeune were doing a donation drive to make sure that every Marine in 1/6 gets something for the holidays. They called it, "Operation 1/6 Holiday." Turns out that an officer's wife donated everything to fill all 1200 stockings, which is awesome, but I decided to do the drive here at work anyway and see what kind of turn out I get. To make a long story short, I've gotten an overwhelming response and received a very touching phone call today from an employee downtown that I wanted to share...

He was explaining how wonderful the donation drive is and how much he supports the Marines overseas. He told me about how much he admires everyone who signed up to serve for our country and how he follows what's going on in the news and prays for them often..

I asked him if he was ever in the service, assuming that he was from how highly he was speaking of the military and he said:

"No. It's like the military is my 'team'. I have no favorite sports teams and I don't keep track of stats. I follow what's going on with the war, because my team is our military servicemembers. It's because of them that we even have the privilage of saying what we want to and choosing sides on our own and that's the greatest team there is!"

Monday, October 16, 2006

An update on the Old Man

The Old Man called yesterday! He's doing OK. He's totally homesick....(keep sending him stuff!) Said things are tough since they're working real hard and it's hard to find time to ever relax, but he's still truckin'. He also mentioned that it's frustrating since progress is pretty slow over there. It sounds like being in his situation has made him thankful for what he has back home.
His morale sounds good, which is great and he's settling into his work routine. We didn't talk for too long, but we did get a chance to say a lot of I love you's. :)
The Old Man said to tell everyone he said hello and he misses everyone a lot.
Keep praying! A month and a half down so far!

20 ways to maintain a healthy level of insanity during a deployment...

The Old Man likes this one..

1. At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See If They Slow Down.
2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.
3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it “IN”.
5. Put decaf in the coffeemaker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
6. In the memo field of all your checks, write "For Smuggling Diamonds"
7. Finish all your sentences with "In Accordance With the Prophecy."
8. Don't use any punctuation
9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
10. Order Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
11. Specify that your drive-through order is "To Go."
12. Sing Along At The Opera
13. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme
14. Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day.
15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.
16. Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, "Rock Bottom".
17. When the money comes out the ATM, scream "I Won!, I Won!"
18. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling, "Run for your lives, they're loose!!"
19. Tell your children over dinner. "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."
20. To make sure you keep your insanity, share this with someone and watch them laugh!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Happy 3 Month Anniversary!!!

Three months ago I made the best decision in my life.
I married my hero!
I love you so much Old Man! Happy 3 month anniversary!

Letter from the company Commanding Officer

To the Family and Friends of H&S Company,

Greetings from sunny Iraq!! Thus far our deployment has gone well. We arrived without incident and received a solid turnover from the outgoing battalion. Your sons and husbands are currently all over the battalion’s area of responsibility, living in Palaces, trailers, and old Iraqi mansions. It’s not home, but we have made the best of it.

I have heard many Marines mention the extraordinary support they are receiving from those back in the States. Whether in the form of letters, e-mails, or care packages; all of your correspondence has been greatly appreciated. I ask that all of you be patient with the slow replies you receive, many of the Marines do not have access to the internet or an outgoing mailbox on a daily basis. However; keep sending the mail!! Your support and well wishes keep us motivated and are a constant reminder of why we are here.

Your Marines are working hard and already making a difference here in Iraq. Their work load is immense, but they are tireless. They are making the area we are in a safer place for Marines and Iraqi alike. I am incredibly proud of their effort and immediate impact. H&S Marines are living true to the words of President Ronald Reagan “People go through life wondering if they have made a difference, Marines don’t have that problem.” Thank you for your continued support and God Bless.


Capt Sean Dynan

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Inspiration and support for all of us little ladies!

When God made the woman he knew she had to be special. He made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort.

God gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children. He gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining. He gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly.

God gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart. He gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.

And finally, God gave her a tear to shed. This is hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed."

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart - the place where love resides.

Pictures of the Old Man in Iraq

He sent me pictures last night from his new camera!

We love and miss you Old Man!! Take care of each other!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A story from AC

The ol’man and ol’ lady have already heard this story, but I thought I would share it with the rest of you.

Several weeks ago, I attend a national conference. Most of you know that I work in the field of Brain Injury Rehabilitation. I chose to attend a session which was led by a Brig. General, stationed at the Pentagon, who is head of Medical Affairs for the Veterans Administration. During her presentation she was expressing such pride for our troops and was filled with such compassion that, hard as I could, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. The room was filled with professional colleagues so I tried not to let anyone see the tears. At one point, the General looked me straight in the eyes and nodded her head. After her presentation, I was trying to exit out the back of the room and get to a ladies room. To my surprise, the General was waiting for me at the rear exit. She pulled me aside and asked me my story. I told her about the Old Man. She told me everything would be OK and then wrote her direct line phone number and her e-mail address on a piece of paper for me. She told me that if the Old Man needed anything I was to contact her immediately. I felt, at that moment, that a guardian angel had swept into our lives.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An update on the Old Man

The Old Man called today!! He sounded really good! He just got off of a long, eventful shift so he was exhausted, but it was so nice to hear from him! He's getting homesick...I can hear it. Nevertheless, he's staying stronger than I ever could, still thinking of everyone often, and buying the crap out of Amazon.com! We didn't talk too long cause we had a bad connection, but he did say to tell everyone he misses them and he's doing OK.

Keep counting down the days!!

A letter to the families from the Chaplain

Dear Family and friends of 1/6,

Well as most of you know we have made it to our destination. I have yet to make it around to the all the posts, but from what I have seen and heard your loved ones are off to a great start. Their faces show true excitement for the tasks that lay ahead. I know most of you by now have received phone calls, and emails from those to whom you are connected. I ask you to help us with our mission as the communications become more regular. The way you can do that is by sharing as positive a picture of the home front as possible. I am not asking you to be dishonest, but tell us the stuff that makes us smile and sends us the message that you are ok. This helps keep the focus on the mission and not thinking about things at home that may be beyond our control.

I have a piece of great news for you Roman Catholics. We have a fantastic Navy priest name Cdr. Dennis Rocheford who has an incredible history with the marines, both as a war fighter and as a chaplain. He is as excited to be near the 1/6 as we are to have him here. Soon, we will get him out to the troops for confession and services.

As for all the religious ministries for1/6, we are working hard to open the lines of communication between myself and those who were trained as religious lay leaders. Bibles and devotionals are already making their way to the posts with more to follow. Evening devotions are taking place each evening to cover the troops with prayers. We will have a Roman Catholic service and Protestant service here at the main base. I say all this to encourage those of you who value faith as an important part of your life. We will provide as many channels as possible for these guys to practice and grow in their faith.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers; the guys are off to a great start. The smiles on their faces tell me they are proud of what they are doing.

Thanks for holding down the home front for us. We love and miss you all.

Chaplain Jamie Stall-Ryan

Saturday, October 07, 2006

You think you know the Corps?

Try out these quick quizzes and find out! Leave a comment and say how well you did.

I got a hundred! Does it count that I tried it three times? :)

Marine Corps History

Quote by President Ronald Reagan...

"Marines become big brothers to Iraqi children"

This isn't the Old Man's unit, but I thought it was a nice story. He told me once that gaining trust from the Iraqi citizens and the Iraqi army has been their biggest battle so far...

Marine Corps News
Sept. 23, 2006
By Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis, 1st Marine Division

HUSAYBA, Iraq - Navy Seaman Samuel L. Blanco, a hospital corpsman snuggles with Iraqi children during a combat patrol Sept. 23. He and the Marines of Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment paused the patrol to spend time with the kids. Blanco is a 25-year-old from Justin, Texas and serves under Regimental Combat Team 5 and will be conducting operations in the Habbaniyah area for seven months.

HUSAYBA, Iraq (Sept. 23, 2006) -- Marines with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment paused a combat patrol through a neighborhood here to spend time with local Iraqi children Sept. 22.

“They’ll grow up, see Americans and say, ‘I remember this one guy that was nice to me, so I’ll be nice to them,’” said Navy Seaman Samuel L. Blanco, a hospital corpsman with Weapons Company.

Blanco said it shows a different side of them.

“We got all that gear on, so I’m sure were intimidating,” he said. “It shows them that were human and not machines.”

As soon as the Marines put boots on the ground, kids were eager to meet them.

“Even though we were patrolling, they wanted to play and talk to us,” said Pfc. Ryan L. Ward, a mortarman with Weapons Company.

The Marines kept moving, but some kids still tried to join the patrol. They were particularly drawn to the Marines’ corpsman.

“They always like him a lot,” said Lance Cpl. Matthew M. Woody, a 19-year-old from Indianapolis, Ind., who is a mortarman with Weapons Company.

Woody thinks it is Blanco’s calm demeanor.

The kids greeted Blanco with open arms, hugging and snuggling the surprised sailor. Blanco said the experience was unique.

“Usually they’re stand-offish,” he said. “That was the first time they were like all over me. That time made me feel like they trusted me.”

Even the parents were surprised. Even they couldn’t help but to crack a smile. Many of the Marines were convinced that both parties left with a different perception of each other.

“I think it’s good that they finally have someone to talk to and take care of their needs as a father figure,” Woody said.

Blanco thinks interaction with the kids is one of the most important things Marines and sailors do in Iraq.

“It’s gratifying,” he said. “I got a nephew back home about their age, and I know if their current situation was reversed I’d want somebody to show compassion towards me.”

Ward agreed.

“In the long run it’ll slow insurgency because they’ll see that were trying to help,” he said.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Jar Cake's

These things are amazing!!! They're the only sure fire way to send him cakes and baked goods that will last the ridiculously long delivery time.

They're easy too! Pick up some Mason Jars and put some box cake mix in them and bake them with the lid off just like they're a glass pan. You can get creative and cook breads, brownies, muffins, just about anything. The thing that makes them last so long is that after you take them out of the oven and you put the lid on the jar (immediately) the heat seals them up. Just listen for the pop. They will keep for up to 3 or 4 weeks. Put them in the freezer before you send them and they might keep even longer!

I found some recipes but really, you can bake whatever your specialty is!

Visit Recipe Gold Mine and the site will tell you a little more about them. But, if all else fails, Google it!

An update on the Old Man

The Old Man gave me a call yesterday afternoon. He sounded really good-of course he's overworked and overtired, but he was excited to finally have a break longer than 5 hours. He said work is keeping him really busy and it's making the time fly by. (thank God!) It's cooling down over there which is nice. In other words, start sending him chocolate! :)

They had another round of package delivery yesterday so he finally got AC's birthday present. (which he loves by the way!) He's going to start sending pictures over soon for me to put on here.

The Old Man misses everyone a lot and he can't wait to come home!!

Keep sending over Motomail and packages! He loves that!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shipping deadline for Christmas is November 12 !!!

I'm putting together a list of things the Old Man would like. (Keep checking and I'll have it done soon-the coding for this takes a while..) Shipping rates are standard U.S. postal rates. You can fill up a flat rate box with anything you can stuff in there then send and insure it for less than $10 bucks! Letters are the normal $.29 cents so if you can't get a package together you can send him a card! Drop me an email if you want his mailing address!!!

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [a]2 I will say [b] of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge-10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

The Youngest Marine

Be sure to stop the playlist on the side of the page before you play the video!

Operation Homecoming

On September 12, 2006, the much-anticipated literary anthology Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families, was published by Random House. Drawn from the acclaimed National Endowment for the Arts program and edited by the best-selling author Andrew Carroll, the anthology includes nearly 100 letters, poems, stories, and memoirs of service and sacrifice on the front lines and at home.
In 2004, the NEA created Operation Homecoming to help U.S. troops and their families write about their wartime experiences. Through this program, some of America's most distinguished writers conducted workshops at military installations and contributed to educational resources to help the troops and their families share their stories. In addition to those works published in the anthology, all of the writing submitted by the troops will be preserved in an open, national government archive.

For more information, please visit: Operation Homecoming

Operation Homecoming - a message to you from the author

This is my story about when I went to meet the author..
I went to the Smithsonian's National Book Festival last weekend. Normally, I may not have went to something like this, but the author of "Operation Homecoming" was doing a signing and lecture on his new book. I really wanted him to sign a book that we were giving as a birthday gift. The book was created by the National Endowment of the Arts and it's a collaboration of writings from authors, troops, and their families to show the emotional side of war and focus on the effects that the war has on families/friends supporting the troops.

I had to work that morning so after that I went out to go buy a few copies of the book before I got there. Of course I was sporting my USMC shirt and my yellow ribbon pin that I wear everyday so the booklady was drilling me about the who's and the what's behind my shirt. I kept it simple but on my way out of the bookstore I got all excited cause I caught a glimpse of some Playboy cards. Although I realized maybe I shouldn't have had quite the happy reaction being that I was in the only bookstore in Dupont Circle. (not that there's anything wrong with that!) My husband told me he's been playing a lot of Texas Hold Em so I bought him a few packs to make the game a little more interesting.. After that I ran out the door, kind of embarrassed after buying those cards and avoiding the cashier asking me to go get MAI TAI's (the Old Man's favorite thing to yell!) and ran to the train cause I was running late for the signing.

I had to wait around for quite a while cause I missed the author the first time around, but I guess it was kind of for a reason. I got around to the side of the lecture tent to hopefully catch him before he left, but that meant that I was basically standing there facing everyone in the audience. His lecture was amazing. He read a few excerpts from the book and cracked a few jokes, but by the end of the lecture we all couldn't help but be in tears...

The author was explaining that the book basically had two points. The first was to tell the stories of the troops in Iraq and the other was to tell how the families were feeling and coping back home. Prior to now, there really wasn't anything ever published like this. Everything has always been so political and censored.

He said how impressed he was by the bond that the troops have and the sense of camaraderie across the board, despite all the jokes and digs they make at each other stateside. (the Old Man is the king of all that…Aren't Ready for Marines Yet (ARMY) or the Puddle Pirates..some of 'em are kind of funny..) He said that the one recurring theme he found in all the thousands of writings from the troops was that in the end, all the guys over in Iraq always had each other's back. All of them were far more concerned with each other than themselves. That's just amazing to me.

The other thing he was talking about was how surprisingly emotional it was for him to hear from and meet the thousands of families of the troops overseas. He said that after meeting with so many families with nearly all the same worries and nightmares, there was a certain aura around family member who had a loved one serving during wartime. He was thanking us all over and over again for our support and our strength. As he was sharing some of the stories, I couldn't help but get all vaclempt. (but being in the front of everyone I kinda missed a lot..I had to do the whole 'Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day' thing to try to stop me from balling! haha) He read a poem written by a wife whose husband was deployed. It was short and cute, talking about the little things she missed. In it, she wrote a verse about how bad he used to snore but one day she recorded it so she could sometimes play it when he was gone. Then when the author met her after her husband returned, he asked her if she still missed his snoring. To which she replied, "Hell no!"

Afterwards, he hung out for a little bit behind the tent and I went over there to get him to sign my stuff, but all of a sudden I got really nervous. Partly because I was worried that when I tried to pull my books out of my huge bag, I didn't want the Playboy cards to fling out, but partly because after hearing him talk, he was like a guardian angel and I was nearly speechless. I just thought it was the greatest thing to see how genuine and concerned he is about things on the homefront and everyone over there in Iraq. I was trying so hard to think of what to say without sounding like an idiot and make sure I thanked him for being a part of this project and I wanted to tell him about my husband and I didn't want my cards to fling on his lap, but I went over there anyway.

I guess he could see I was a little shaken cause he immediately stood up and gave me a huge hug and told me that everything was going to be OK. He told me to tell my husband and our families thank you for his service and that he has the utmost respect for us all and that everything was going to be OK…

I didn't say one word that whole time. I just stood there, trying so hard not to cry. Then yanked out my books to get his autograph, said thank you and walked away…with my Playboy cards sitting safely on the bottom of my bag…

For all of you who know Old Man Hancock so well...

This is a funny one. It's a quote by General W.J. Thompson, Jr. with the U.S. Army...

Definition of a Marine
Marines come in all sizes, weights, states of sobriety, misery, and
confusion. A Marine is sly as a fox, has the nerve of a dope addict,
the stories of an old sailor, the sincerity of a liar, and the
appetite of a horse. A Marine is unreliable, irrisistable and
indestructible. A Marine is a magical creature, you can lock him out
of your house, but not your heart. You can take him off your mailing
list but not off your mind.

Marines are found everywhere; in bars, behind bars, in battle, in
love, on leave and in debt. No one can write so seldom and yet think
so much of you. No one else can get so much enjoyment out of a
letter, civilian clothes, or a six pack of beer.

A Marine is lazy with a deck of cards, a millionaire without a cent,
brave without a grain of sense. He is the protector of America, with
the latest copy of Playboy in his pocket. When he wants something,
it's usually a three day pass, a five dollar bill or a standby home.
Girls love them, mothers tolerate them, The United States support
them, and somehow they manage to live together. No woman can tame
him, no man can beat him.

He likes girls, females, women, ladies, and members of the opposite
sex. He dislikes answering letters, wearing his uniforms, his
superiors, getting up for reveille, Marine Corps chow, basic training,
and the week before payday.

You might as well give in. He is your long distance lover, your
bright eyed good for nothing bundle of worry. Even all your shattered
dreams become insignificant when he comes home to you and greets you
with those innocently spoken words "Hi."

General W. J. Thompson, Jr.
1956 U.S. Army

Angels Around Your Bed

Bob Bennett is a strong supporter of our troops overseas. He has written several award winning songs about his son who was stationed in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps.

Please visit his website: Bob Bennett

I recorded and sent this one over to the Old Man...it's perfect. I'm sure we all can relate!

Oh, tonight I'm so far away from you
How I wish I could suddenly be there
To tell you "I love you"
Like a hundred times before
To hold you and to stroke your hair
But I'm in another time zone altogether
Where sleep is not easily found
And a split-second prayer escapes into the air
And I pray as you lay your body down...
There'll be angels around your bed, little darlin'
Angels around your bed
You'll be safe from harm at the dying of the day
With angels around your bed

Oh, absence makes my heart grow fonder
When you're out of sight, I'm out of my mind
If you could see everything around you, I wonder
Would you be surprised to find...
There are angels around your bed, little darlin'?
Angels around your bed
Laughing and singing, joyful as you're sleeping
Angels around your bed
Angels around your bed, little darlin'
Angels around your bed

Surely the Lord can spare a few extra
Angels around your bed

Stay safe sweetie!! We're so proud of you and we're praying for you everyday!!!