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.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Marine Christmas Operations Order

I found this on facebook and thought it was soooooo super awesome I had to share.
Semper Fi and Merry Christmas!
via Harold F. Koempel

Christmas Operations Order

1. An official visit by LtGen Santa (NMI) Claus is expected at this headquarters 25 December. The following instructions will be in effect and govern the activities of all personnel during the visit.

A. Not a creature will stir without official permission. This will include indigenous mice. Special stirring permits for necessary administrative actions will be obtained through normal channels. Mice stirring permits will be obtained through the Office of the Surgeon General, Veterinary Services.

B. Personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap prior to 2200 hours, 24 December. Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, cotton, light, drowsing, with kerchief, general purpose, camouflage; and Cap, camouflage w/ear flaps. Equipment will be drawn from Supply Officer prior to 1630 hours, 24 December.

C. Personnel will utilize standard field ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. Artificially sweetened plums are authorized for those in their unit weight control program. Specifications for this item will be provided by the servicing dining facility.

D. Stockings, wool, cushion sole, will be hung by the chimney with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fire hazards caused by carelessly hung stockings. Unit safety Officers will submit stocking hanging plans to this headquarters prior to 0800 hours, 24 December, ATTN: S-4, for approval.

E. At the first sign of clatter from the lawn, all troops will spring from their racks to evaluate noise and cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw open the window sashes. S-3,OPS Plan (Saint Nick), Reference Enclosure No. 3, paragraph 6c, this headquarters, will be in effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. NCO’s will familiarize all personnel with procedures and are responsible for ensuring that no shutters are torn open nor window sashes thrown open prior to start of official clatter.

F. Prior to 2400, 24 December, all personnel will be assigned "Wondering Eye" stations. After shutters are thrown open and sashes are torn, these stations will be manned.

G. The S-4 Officer will assign one each Sleigh, miniature, M-66, and eight (8) deer, rein, tiny, for use of LtGen Claus' driver who, IAW current directives and other applicable regulations, must have a valid SF 56 properly annotated by Driver Testing; be authorized rooftop parking and be able to shout "On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, up Comet, up Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen."

2. LtGen Claus will enter quarters through standard chimneys. All units without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M-6, for use during ceremonies. Chimney simulator units will be requested on Engineer Job Order Request Form submitted to the Furniture Warehouse prior to 24 December and issued on DA Form 3161,Request for Issue or Turn-in.

3. Personnel will be rehearsed on shouting "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night." This shout will be given on termination of General Claus' visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of NCO’s.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Belated Thank You

Last year, Leslie and her family made extra Christmas cards to be sent off to our troops. I realize it's been a year since Leslie and her family sent the cards, but I never thanked them.... better late than never, right? I know Emily Post says I have up to one year to write my thank you's... whew I'm just in time.

Thank You Leslie Bobb, Leslie's children, and her mother, Mary Anne Herbel for thinking of and supporting our troops during the holidays! 
Last week I had my sixth month dental appointment and cleaning. I see the same Dental Assistant every visit. This visit when I walked in, my Dental Assistant said to me, "Before I forget, you were the one who informed me on the needs of our Wounded Warriors and because of you, I donate to them every year. So thank you."

Just goes to show you, you never know who is listening, and how serious they will take you. A simple conversation about me participating in the annual Valour-IT fundraiser has turned into education and action for an otherwise uninformed civilian. 

Who have you talked to lately? With the drawdown of Iraq, and thousands still in Afghanistan as well as other hostile Middle Eastern countries, it's not time to forget our men and women. 

Remember... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Iraq Drawdown

I have a lot of mixed feelings and questions about the Iraq drawdown. Over at War Retreat they have a post that shows information regarding Veterans who have served in Iraq, their families, and their lives now. There are even pie graphs for those who like pictures. Just remember, these are not just numbers, THESE ARE PEOPLE. People who have served multiple deployments, have PTSD, have lost a loved one to war, or a family that's lost a loved one to suicide. Check it out. Our Veterans and Active Duty need us, don't let them down.

Friday, December 16, 2011

UNBROKEN By Laura Hillenbrand ~ Book Review

When I originally bought Unbroken I had no idea what it was about. I supremely enjoyed Laura Hillenbrand's book Seabiscuit so I bought the book hoping I would enjoy it as much as I enjoyed her first book.

Unbroken showcases the life of Louis Zamperini. I'm ashamed to say I had no idea who Louis was, what his accomplishments were, or his story of survival before reading Unbroken. Unbroken is the type of survivor story that makes you think over and over again, How did he live through that? Hillenbrand sets the foundation for Louis strength in his resourceful childhood and family dynamics. Louis strength and determination help him achieve his goal of running in the 1936 Olympics as well as help him survive 47 days adrift at sea in an inflatable raft with two other survivors from his plane with no water, provisions, and sharks jumping into the inflatable raft in an attempt to eat the survivors.  After surviving the impossible, Louis and his pilot Phil reach land, only to be captured as Japanese POW.

The Japanese did not consider any Allied forces as Prisoners Of War but instead unarmed combatants, therefore they did not adhere to the Geneva Convention regarding treatment of POWs. The treatment of POW's by the Japanese was cruel to say the least. They were tortured, beaten, starved, enslaved, and were the victims of medical experiments.

The hope, teamwork, and compassion the POW's felt for each other is exposed through Hillenbrand's words. The support and love of the Veterans for each other after their release is just as present. Louis post war life and battle with PTSD is explored as well as how he recovers.

This is an amazing must read book that should be on everyones shelves. Once I started reading, I was held in its grip until the very last page. Louis, Phil who was his pilot, and all of the other POW's stories are an amazing story of survival demonstrating the Unbroken American Spirit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can PTSD Affect Your Immune System?

I recently ran across the article PTSD Invokes Sex Different Immune Responses, which was a study done back in April of 2011. The basis of the study was to determine if Men and Women who have PTSD immune systems respond differently than people who do not have PTSD. Many studies have shown that PTSD physically affects the brain, so why not the immune system?

This article suggest that immune systems in women with PTSD are affected, where as men's immune systems are not affected. The study wasn't big enough for anything more than suggesting this to be true, more research needs to be done. However, being a woman with PTSD who has developed some serious immune problems since being diagnosed, well I think this study has some weight. I guess only time will tell.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Devastation, Life, and PTSD

As I have posted here before, I have been battling PTSD for 8 years.  No, it’s not military related, as I’ve never served in the military. PTSD is not military exclusive it’s trauma exclusive. 

Christmas Eve 2010 was the first day of this dreadfully long year of 2011.  This year has throttled me with loss, death, betrayal, and lies in every aspect of my life.  Most times I feel as if I’m drowning in Jell-O wishing someone would throw me some fruit to use as a floatation device.  Having new triggers surface doesn’t do much for my sunny personality either.  I know I’m irritable, easily agitated, and withdrawn.  It doesn’t help that I’m constantly haunted, making the most mundane tasks difficult and frustrating.  Of course, I can’t let anyone know how I really feel, I’m SUPER MOM amongst many other titles.  I have responsibilities; I don’t have time for this.  Living in a secluded area means help is as close as 2 hours away.  Then there is the fact even doctors don’t know what to do with me, unless you count drugging me out of my gourd as a treatment plan. 

Who am I? I am a natural disaster.  Life as I knew it is over never to be the same.  I am now tasked with building a new life from the rubble around me, a task that seems more than a little terrifying. 

What has helped as I go through the rubble of my life deciding what pieces to keep and what pieces to throw away? Yoga.  Don’t laugh.  A reflection in Yoga The Iyengar Way by Silva, Mira and Shyan Metha says, “Emotions sway the mind from moment to moment, disturbing steadiness and peace.  Yoga opens and stabilizes your center, making the mind strong, able to withstand emotional strains.”  I have to agree, and I think the ladies over at War Retreat would agree as well.  War Retreat is an organization, which helps local yoga groups help Veterans.

Because I am so close to this topic, it is difficult to write about, so instead I am posting links to some of my favorite articles over at War Retreat.  I encourage you to bookmark War Retreat and visit them often. 

As for me, I will shower and dress, even when I don’t feel like it.  I will channel my inner Little Engine That Could as I climb mountains ahead.  I will take all of my broken pieces and I will breathe as I slowly discover the new pieces of me and how they fit together using yoga to calm my mind.