To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Honoring SPC Rudolph R Hizon- Project Honor

SPC Rudolph R HizonRudolph R Hizon joined the Army in January 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan in October 2010.
U.S. Army SPC Rudolph R. Hizon was assigned to Task Force Patriot soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.  Hizon, a 22-year-old Los Angeles native assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment’s Task Force Storm out of Fort Polk, LA
U.S. Army Spc. Kevin Jones of Aurora, Ill., assigned to Company B’s TF Storm, said he will always remember Hizon’s smile.

“I will always have you in my thoughts for the rest of my days,” said Jones of Hizon. “I love you man!”

Hizon was a good friend to everyone he knew, said U.S. Army Spc. Joshua Gonzales of Olath, Kan.

“I will always think of him as the happy and cheerful person he was… and I’m going to miss him dearly,” said Gonzales. “I love you, fool.”
U.S. Army Pfc. Clayton Contrall of Piedmont, Ala., also with Company B, said Hizon always had a “huge smile” on his face – the kind of smile that made everyone around him smile, too.

“You’re a warrior and will always be in my heart,” said Contrall. “Love you fool!”

“Fool” is a term of endearment used among some of the soldiers.

Hizon’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal with star device, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and Combat Infantryman Badge.
If you knew Rudolph personally and have stories to tell of His Honor, His Valor, of his life, please contact us so we can updatehis story.
This article originates at War On Terror News- Project Honor, however if you contact me through comments or email at with stories of Rudolph I will be happy to pass them to the Editor so he may update his article. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baking For The Troops- Success

Last Wednesday, March 9th was the first gathering of Baking For The Troops. Nicole S. (whose husband is a Veteran) was nice enough to welcome us into her home.  There were a few challenges, like a power surge braking Nicole's electric oven.  It took more than one batch of cookies for us to realize it was baking at three times the required heat.  Then the oven wouldn't turn off, until unplugged from the wall.

We would not be stopped. In true Military style we adapted and over came. I took all of the cookie dough to my house to bake and package the cookies.  There are chocolate oatmeal, and good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies which are wrapped two to a package. There are approximately 100 packages or 200 cookies being mailed to some hungry military personal.

The cookies are being accompanied by letters written by Janesville Union Students, as if homemade cookies weren't enough. Here are a few pictures of the cookies being cooked. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Honoring Corporal Stephen McKee

Thank you Project Honor from War On Terror News for this posting. 
Lance Corporal Stephen McKee
Lance Corporal McKee, aged 27, came from Banbridge in County Down, Northern Ireland. In 2003 he joined 3rd Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment as a part-time soldier. When the Home Service were disbanded he decided to transfer to 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment and he joined them at Tern Hill, Shropshire, in April 2007.
Lance Corporal McKee was posted to B Company, where he served with distinction for 3 years before moving to the Machine Gun Platoon in D Company in 2010. He first deployed on Op HERRICK 8 in March 2008 and was quickly recognised as a fine soldier, trustworthy and courageous.
Lance Corporal McKee always had time for everyone. He was a family-man and showed enormous strength, particularly during a very difficult time last year when his two-day-old daughter passed away. Lance Corporal McKee had strong family connections with the regiment, with two brothers, a cousin and his father-in-law all serving in the First Battalion, and with another brother serving in the Second Battalion.
Lance Corporal McKee's loss is profound. It has affected this Battalion and the wider Regimental family most deeply. He leaves behind his wife Carley, his parents Heather and Bobby, his brothers Michael, Gareth and Robert, and his sisters Kelly and Rebecca, our thoughts are with them all at this sad time.
The wife of Lance Corporal McKee, Carley McKee, said:
"You will always be my hero and every step I take in life, I will have my two angels looking after me. You truly are the best husband, father, son and brother anyone could ask for. Till we meet again. Love you always."
Lieutenant Colonel Colin Weir, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"The death of Lance Corporal Stephen McKee has sent a wave of shock and sadness through this Battlegroup. Everyone knows the McKees. Everyone respects the McKees. The McKees are in the First Battalion and the McKees are in the Second Battalion.

"It is families like the McKees that make this Regiment what it is; they are the fibre that runs through us and what gives us our fighting spirit. It is because of families like the McKees that we are the winners in this fight.
"Stephen McKee was the finest of men; he was irrepressible, he was utterly reliable and he was a fearsome warrior. As part of the Operations Company he fought the long battle to drive the enemy out of the Nad-e'Ali Canal zone and into the desert.

"And it was into the desert that Stephen and his comrades followed, in pursuit of the enemy. When he died, he was attacking the insurgent in his bases there, harassing him, capturing his weapons and destroying his explosives.
"Not only was he the finest of Irish soldiers, he was a man with great depths of resilience. I had the privilege of spending a little while with him and his wife Carley after their baby daughter passed away unexpectedly last year.

"His parents and his brothers and sisters had closed around the grieving couple. Their strength and the unshakeable of bonds of this wonderful family were truly humbling. Please God be with them all now. Faugh A Ballagh."
Major Gregory Murphy, Officer Commanding D Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"The death of Lance Corporal Stephen McKee comes as a most profound loss. Rarely would you find someone as conscientious, generous, hard working and as professional as Stephen. I remember my first meeting with him on Salisbury Plain when he was commanding the opposing force on my Company exercise.

"The first thing that struck me was his disarming smile, the second that unflaggingly positive character of his. Regardless of his own discomfort or the adverse conditions crippling those around him, there would be Stephen with that bloody grin of his. He was a popular and endeared leader within the Company and whilst he was easy to like, he was a man that was even easier to respect.

"Lance Corporal McKee joined Machine Gun Platoon in early 2010 but has always been closely linked with the Regimental Bugles, Pipes and Drums. He was destined for greater things and had just completed his Machine Gun Section Commanders Course before deploying to Afghanistan at the end of January 2011.

"After rejoining the Company he pushed himself immediately to the front and that is where he continued to lead from. He was employed as a Patrol second-in-command and had already taken part in numerous air assault operations. On the day of his death he was taking part in a cordon and search of a small Kalay (village).

"He was determined to do the best he could, to stand shoulder to shoulder with his mates and to serve his country proudly. And this he did.

"Stephen gave his life doing the job he loved. He was a committed, brave and selfless leader that thought nought of himself and everything of those around him. He was a loving husband to Carley and a totemic man of the Regiment. The tragedy has deeply hit the men, not just of D Company, but across the Battalion. That grin of his will be hard to replace."
"Brave, selfless, stoic and good craic with it – these are just some of the accolades lauded on Lance Corporal Stephen McKee by his fellow soldiers. They are the mainstay of every Irish soldier and he was their very embodiment."
Captain Quinton Lenegan Royal Marines
Captain Quinton Lenegan Royal Marines, Machine Gun Platoon Commander, D Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"Stephen's death is a terrible and heart-felt loss. In my time with 1 R IRISH he certainly had an impact on me. From the moment he joined my Platoon I realised that Stevie was special and I was truly inspired by the motivation he displayed in all aspects of his job.

"He was a selflessly committed work and family man who faced every challenge head on and never faltered. His friendly ‘happy go lucky' attitude made him extremely popular and he was embraced by the Platoon.

"Lance Corporal McKee was a man who was destined to excel; Stephen had just passed his Machine Gun Section Commanders course and was due to play a key role in the forging of a new Fire Support Platoon.

"The excitement that he displayed when we discussed the prospects of forming a new Platoon was truly inspiring and is testament to the utter professional that he was. His commitment to the Battalion and loyalty to his brothers in arms was humbling. Stephen was not willing to rest on his laurels after his Machine Gun course but instead deployed on Op HERRICK 13 and joined his Platoon.

"Stephen joined the men he loved and has paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, his Battalion and his country. Stephen will live on in my memories and his wife Carley and his family will be in my thoughts during this turbulent time. Rest in Peace Steve."
Captain Benjamin Cox, 11 Platoon Commander, D Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"Brave, selfless, stoic and good craic with it – these are just some of the accolades lauded on Lance Corporal Stephen McKee by his fellow soldiers. They are the mainstay of every Irish soldier and he was their very embodiment. He comes from a strong line of Royal Irish stock and it showed. He consistently exceeded what was asked of him and did so in good mirth. He was truly inspiring.

"Lance Corporal McKee came to Ops Company and 11 Platoon at the end of January. He had completed his course in Brecon and was chomping at the bit to command and join his fellow Rangers on operations.

"He joined an experienced Ops Company with many an Air Assault operations to its name and settled into the pace without missing a step. From the off he added value, and that he continued to do so throughout all of this is testament to his fine character.

"The Platoon's thoughts and prayers are with Carley, Stephen's wife, and with his brothers and cousin in the Battalion: Gareth, Michael and Richie. He will be sorely missed by one and all in this close knit Battalion and his memory will live on."
"I could start by saying he was a rough-cut diamond and everyone would know what this means, but not with Stephen. He was not a rough-cut diamond or a bit of a rogue – he was genuinely a nice guy and a doting husband and as such I feel privileged to have known him."
Warrant Officer Class 2 John Brennan

Warrant Officer Class 2 John Brennan, Company Sergeant Major, D Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"I could start by saying he was a rough-cut diamond and everyone would know what this means, but not with Stephen. He was not a rough-cut diamond or a bit of a rogue – he was genuinely a nice guy and a doting husband and as such I feel privileged to have known him.

"In work he was always enthusiastic; a happy go lucky soldier with a budding career ahead of him, having just passed a Machine Gun Section Commander's course. Lance Corporal McKee will be truly missed, not just by me – he has left a huge hole within the Machine Gun Platoon and even more so throughout the whole Company, but it does not stop there – If you did not know Lance Corporal McKee you would have most certainly heard of the McKee name within the Battalion.

"It is not the first time I have served with one of the McKee family, and I feel extremely fortunate to have done so; this is a sentiment that is shared throughout the Company and the Battalion.

"I would like to mention his brothers Lance Corporal Michael McKee and Ranger Gareth McKee, of whom I had the pleasure of serving alongside on the last Operation in 2008, and his cousin Corporal Richie McKee whom I have yet to serve with.

"I feel honoured to have met Lance Corporal McKee's parents and I can see why the McKee family, through their parents, have earned themselves the reputation of being such genuine people.

"Lance Corporal McKee has made the ultimate sacrifice, however, in our memories he will live on. Our thoughts at this most difficult time are with his wife, Carley, whom he has left behind. I also extend them to his parents, Heather and Bobby and the wider McKee family. These words will bring little solace but we as a family Regiment are feeling his loss most keenly."
Lance Corporal Jason Orr, Machine Gun Platoon, D Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"I first met Stephen through his brother Michael. It didn't take me long to realise what a warm hearted and true all round good lad Stephen was. When he asked me to be part of the guard of honour at his marriage to Carley, I was delighted and proud to do it. Although, I did tell him that I was worried about whether I would fit into my Number 2 Uniform in time for the occasion.

"At the beginning of 2010 Stephen and I both moved to Machine Gun Platoon. He was the type of guy who was always there to lend a hand and the first to volunteer to help out. He never complained with his lot.

"He just knuckled down and got on with the job, but always kept an eye out for others. It was his nature that he would never see you stuck and would be right by your side when you needed him.

"Professionally he was brilliant. He loved his soldiering and was keen to continue his career. He enjoyed the challenge of the machine gun section commander's course and couldn't wait to join his mates on the front line. He hated the idea of not being able to help his mates.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Carley, his parents Heather and Bobby and his brothers and sisters Michael, Gareth, Robert, Rebecca & Kelly. I know Stephen was a big family man and loved them all dearly.

"I've lost a true friend but I know he's looking down on us now with that big loveable smile of his."
"Stevie was a true friend. I'll remember him as the quiet man but when he spoke he had me on my knees in laughter, he was an utter gentleman and I'll miss him always."
Lance Corporal Glen Crooks

Corporal William Haighton, Javelin Platoon, D Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"My thoughts are with you Carley, Richie, Michael, Gareth and the rest of the McKee family. You were a true hero and a loyal friend - reunited with your daughter, RIP mate; gone too soon!"
Lance Corporal Glen Crooks, Javelin Platoon, D Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"Stevie was a true friend. I'll remember him as the quiet man but when he spoke he had me on my knees in laughter, he was an utter gentleman and I'll miss him always. My thoughts go out to the McKee family especially Carley, and the McKee brothers."
Lance Corporal David Pepper, D Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"My thoughts are with all the McKee family through this hard time. Stevie was a good friend and we had many good times while we were in B Company together. He will be sadly missed by everyone in the Company."
Ranger Wayne McCreery, Machine Gun Platoon, D Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said:
"My thoughts are with the McKee family at this sad time in their lives. I had the privilege of being with Stephen on the whole of his last day with us. He was a true gentleman who made our time here a lot easier and when you worked with Stephen you always knew the job was being done right.

"We had many laughs together and our last few weeks here won't be the same without him. Stephen is and always will be a credit to the McKee family and we will sorely miss him. Rest in peace mate. You were a good friend and you won't be forgotten."
Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said:
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Lance Corporal Stephen McKee. The tributes of those he served alongside describe an exemplary soldier who was committed to his duty and his friends within The Royal Irish. I send my deepest condolences to his family and to those with whom he served so ably."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Interview With Words For Warriors

Words For Warriors has been selected by the BlogRadioTalk (BTR) show Support Our Troops- In Word And Deed to be interviewed on Monday, March 14th at 7pm EST or 4pm PST. We invite  everyone to come check it out!

We will be discussing different ways to bridge the gap between the community, military personnel and their family.  We will also be discussing different ways to support the military and their caregivers.  There is a forum for questions during the show, and if you miss it you can always download the episode at a later date.

I hope to see you there!

A List of 10 Misconceptions about PTSD

While reading through my favorite blogs, I came across this article that Wife [Widow] of a Wounded Marine linked to 10 Common Misconceptions about PTSD. I find it interesting an x-ray technician school would post such an article, perhaps it shows the importance PTSD is gaining?

I found the link beneficial and am sharing it here.  On a personal note, I have been diagnosed with PTSD due to trauma I experienced.  My PTSD has zero to do with the military, which is why I have not mentioned it before now.  The reason I bring this up is because of number #3 on the Misconception List, "PTSD sufferers aren't victims." I take issue with the word victim. In my personal definition a victim; is a person who has died due to a traumatic or tragic situation. A survivor; is a person who has survived a traumatic or tragic situation.  I realize some view this distinction as semantics, but it is important to me.  I also haven't met a person who has worn the uniform and freely dons the title of victim. Of course there are those who disagree with me, like I said the above is my personal definition.

I encourage you to view the list, and share the list about the 10 Common Misconceptions about PTSD.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Honoring LCpl Liam Tasker And Theo

Lance Corporal Liam Tasker and Theo
[Picture: via MOD]
Lance Corporal Tasker deployed to Afghanistan on 8 September 2010 as part of 1st Military Working Dog Regiment. Having trained as an Arms and Explosives Search dog handler, he was attached to 1st Battalion Irish Guards on 19 February 2011.
Lance Corporal Liam Richard Tasker
LCpl Liam Tasker was born on the 11 December 1984 in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. He joined the Army in 2001 and was originally a vehicle mechanic in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. His passion though, was always dogs which led to his transfer to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps in 2007.

A trainer who had a natural empathy with dogs, he was a rising star within the Dog Training group. In 2010, he was posted to 104 Military Working Dog Squadron, St Georges Barracks, North Luffenham, Rutland, part of the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment.
From the onset of his operational tour in Afghanistan, he provided strong search and clearance capability for units across Helmand Province. In a short period of time, he had significant success locating Improvised Explosive Devices, weapons and bomb making equipment. His success undoubtedly saved many lives.
Lance Corporal Tasker was an outgoing, jovial and friendly character. He was extremely popular within the Squadron. His easy going, confident approach belied a consummate professional. He always strived to be the best and within the Squadron he was one of the best and he will be sorely missed by all in the Squadron.
He can never be replaced and will always be remembered. He was a fun, friendly, talkative character who always wanted the best from his dog, his troops, and himself.
He leaves behind his mother Jane Duffy, his father Ian Tasker, his brother Ian and his two sisters, Laura and Nicola, and girlfriend Leah.
Liam's family said:
"There are three words that best describe Liam, larger than life. He lit up every room he walked into with his cheeky smile. He was the best son, grandson, brother and friend you could ever wish to meet. He died a hero doing a job he was immensely passionate about. We are so proud of him and everything he's achieved. Words can't describe how sorely he will be missed.
"Sleep well Liam you are forever in our hearts."
"It is a challenge to put into words what Lance Corporal Liam Tasker meant to those he worked with."
Lieutenant Colonel David Thorpe

Girlfriend Leah Walters said:
"LT never met anyone without touching their lives in some way. The amount of support both I and his family have received in the last day alone pays testament to this.
"I am the proudest girlfriend there could ever be and there will be an LT sized hole in my life forever. Sleep well my darling, my soul mate, my best friend."
Lieutenant Colonel David Thorpe LANCS, Commanding Officer 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, said:
"It is a challenge to put into words what Lance Corporal Liam Tasker meant to those he worked with. To his friends he was a mate who could put a smile on your face; he was that man who you wanted around and who you wanted to spend time with.
"To the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment he was a strong, reliable soldier and an expert 'Dog Man'. He genuinely loved the dogs he worked with and was always able to get the best out of them. He was one of the highly qualified Dog Trainers in Afghanistan and had spent time at our training establishment making sure that the new soldiers coming out of training had the best possible skills and experience imparted into them.
"Epitomising the hardworking, determined and ambitious nature of our very best soldiers, he wanted to go to Afghanistan. He wanted to ply his trade in the harshest of environments, to be outside of his comfort zone and he wanted to be successful. He was. The work he did in his 5 months in Afghanistan saved countless lives, of that I have no doubt. He flew the Royal Army Veterinary Corps' flag high; he led from the front and made us proud.
"Lance Corporal Tasker wanted to go far in the Army and he had all of the attributes needed to be a career soldier, with capacity to spare. His ability to command whilst maintaining his sense of humour had already marked him out as one to watch. His loss has hurt every single one of us today. He will be missed. He will not be forgotten.
"My thoughts and condolences and those of the whole Regiment go out to his family and friends."
"Lance Corporal Tasker was one of the best people I have ever known. Kind, with a good heart, he always put others before himself."
Major Caroline Emmett
Please continue to read about LCPl Liam Tasker and his life here at Project Honor from War On Terror News  

Project Honor

The writers at War On Terror News do an excellent job of bringing together world news and honoring Coalition Forces with Project Honor. Project Honor is a look at Coalition Forces who've made the ultimate sacrifice during this time of War.  It allows their memories to live on, honoring their legacy.

Feeling Project Honor important, Words For Warriors will post exerts and encourages everyone to read about the lives of those who have died for Freedom.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jason Redman, US Navy SEAL, and Wounded Warrior

Why is Lt. Jason Redman, a US Navy SEAL someone you should know?  It's not his 18 years of service, or how he was an enlisted man before becoming an officer.  It's not because he survived being shot in the face by the enemy, which shattered his face, obliterating his nose and one cheekbone.  Or how he endured "The land of stares and gawks" otherwise known as public while he recovered from his wounds.

Redman admits to, "Looking really rough," through his recovery.  He wore an eye patch, had a tracheotomy tube, along with other tubes coming out of his face, and was fitted with an external fixator or a "halo" which was attached directly to his skull by metal rods which made wearing normal clothing impossible to wear.

It is obvious the above makes him an incredible man, but what makes him an exceptional man is how he gathered all of the above experiences using them for inspiration to start a non-pfrofit called Wounded Wear to help his brother's and sister's recovering from their wounds.

Wounded Wear hands out kits containing a meadium-weight jacket, polo shirt, three T-shirts, pajama pants and a luggage roller.  Free tailoring for uniforms and clothing is also available.  Redman believes after being at war for so many years in two different countries the public should recognize the sacrifices of America's Wounded Warriors.  As a result the T-shirts say "Scarred so others may live free."  These shirts can't be bought, they are only for those who've received a purple heart.

Wounded Wear works with a foundation formed by SEAL Marcus Lettrell to raise the necessary funds to visit the wounded in facilities like Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. and the Navy hospital in Bethesda passing out clothing kits.

Redman is an active duty Warrior, a Survivor, a Husband, a Father of three, and an inspiration.  Please check out his organization at