“Final Words”

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, friends and relatives, it is my
pleasure to announce this is my last weekend in Iraq. We are scheduled
to depart country on or about the — of month and I’ll be home
shortly there after. I apologize for not writing sooner, but bottom
line, when you are reliving Ground Hog Day, over and over again, it’s
hard to find something new to write about.

First of all let me make one thing perfectly clear to all, “I did not
come to Iraq for the experience.” I was volunteered to this War Zone
because of my Military Occupational Specialty as -job, I am a
Highly Trained Individual (tactically and technically) and because it
was the right thing to do. I was able to utilize my skills, my common
war fighting techniques, my years of self training and mentoring fellow
Soldiers to survive this challenge with pride; I come back with all my

I will leave this country soon knowing that I have made a huge
difference in the lives of many due to my small sacrifice. I will leave
this country with a clear conscience for the fact that I did what was
right and lived the Army Values; I fall asleep this way each night and
God willing I awake the same. The choices and decisions were not always
the most popular; they may not have benefited everyone in the way they
wanted, however, being a leader is not always the most famed position.

Was it worth it you ask?

I cannot really say if Iraq, (as a whole), is better or worse, but this
country is a lot better off without Sudam Husane. It is true, there are
still a lot of problems over here and there will continue to be problems
into the future. But considering the United States is over 200 years
old and we are still having problems, we’ve done pretty well in the 4
years we’ve been here. Considering it took 13 years to draft, rewrite
and finally sign the Constitution of the United States, I’d say this
country is on the right track.

Will having our soldiers here stop terrorist activities world wide?

Did we need to be here in the first place? Right now?

Let’s just say this… if we don’t fight for our way of life now, then
we’ll have to sit back and watch our children fight the fight when we
are old and can’t do anything about it. And most definitely, our
children will be fighting that war in some other “Third World” country
and on American soil too.

I will leave this country a better Soldier, Husband and Dad.

I will say this, for those of you that kept me company for the past
(???) months / year I wish to THANK YOU. I still have a few years left
that I will serve active duty and should I get deployed again, I welcome
your company. I trust you will remain just as faithful to all Service
Members as we are to our Country.

1SG – Steven – HOOAH !!

1SG, 525th TC MCT, LSAA

“Nothing Happens Until Something Moves”

“The Ultimate Price” by, Travis Allen Renfro

The people who fight for freedom,

Only they can comprehend.

That one solid reason,

Why our lives they still defend.

Because when they enlisted,

They took an obligatory oath.

To protect all our freedom,

And preserve our nation’s growth.

They can’t seem to realize,

The pain that they create.

Whenever they fight battles,

They can’t choose their fate.

Through all of their training,

And all that they sacrifice.

They fight the Ultimate fight,

But pay the Ultimate Price.

(Dedicated to the memory of Capt. Nathanael J. Doring and Cpl. Richard A. Bennett)

From: “Viper Times”-Semper Fidelis

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On behalf of my fellow soldiers and myself, I want to say Thank you for your care packages. Everything was much needed here in Iraq. I understand there will be another drive, so please remember our female Soldiers and if possible movies any format. That’s our MWR during off duty. We really appreciate your support.

God Bless you all




Posted in From the Troops. Comments Off on Thanks


Fellow Americans,

I thank you for your support and generosity through out our deployment. With out it this deployment would be much more difficult.

Again, thank you so very much.

Semper Fidelis



Capt. USMC

HMLA 169 S-5

Posted in From the Troops. Comments Off on Thanks


We would like to thank you for the packages you sent out to us and the other members of the 525th Transportation Detachment. We’re positive that there was something in each box that we all needed, be it a cookie, or flavor of chips that we have not had in a while, the tube of toothpaste to replace the one we squeezed the last possible bit out of or the envelopes and note cards. It is all appreciated. What we don’t use, or don’t want, (some are trying to loose a little weight, so the snacks are out 🙂 will be shared with other Soldiers that we all work with. Again, we appreciate everything you all have done for us.

“Nothing Happens ’til Something Moves”


Benefit Concert

right-click “save picture as” for the full size image.

Benefit Concert

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We received your packages of snacks and toiletries today from Operation: Love Our Troops and we are very thankful that such appreciative and kind people such as yourselves exist in our world. Our Marines here at HMLA-169 will be very thankful to put these gifts to good use. As you have written in your letter, words often fail us also. The clearest way that I can express our gratitude is to say that the reason we have chosen to be in the military is to protect those in our country who are as thoughtful and generous as yourselves. When you say thank you by sending us packages, we can only respond by saying thank you in return for being the people worthy of being defended. Your gratitude is overwhelming, and ours is in return.

On a side note, I grew up in Mastic Beach and graduated from William Floyd HS in 1993. After college upstate, I have lived in many other parts of the country. My mom and step-father still reside on Cypress Drive, not far from the High School. I have been to the post office from which these packages were mailed many times. I personally, am touched to see a reminder of my childhood, in any form. I enjoyed my time growing up in Mastic Beach and enjoy visiting family and friends as often as possible.

You wrote in your letter that your sons and daughters are here in Iraq also. If I may ask a favor, please let them know that their service is appreciated even by their fellow service-members. Sometimes, such a small gesture as that can remind us that we are working with the best and the brightest from our country. Once again, thank you very much for being who you are.

With Much Appreciation,
1stLt R.A., USMC

Posted in From the Troops, support the troops. Comments Off on Thanks


Supporters of HMLA-169,

On behalf of all of the Marines and Sailors of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support over the last 6 months. Your letters and packages have made our deployment in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM more rewarding and a bit easier, and for this I am eternally grateful.

We are approaching the point in our deployment where we should no longer be sent any mail or packages for they will most likely be returned. The day that we are passing to our Marines and Sailors is 15 September. Past this date, there is a good chance that any letter or package that gets sent will be returned, and I do not want anyone to waste money on postage, for I know that postage is a considerable expense.

I also want to take a moment to let you know that it has been my honor and privilege to have been the conduit between all of you and the Marines and Sailors of this unit. This has been an extremely rewarding experience in that I was the one who received the credit for your work in bringing a smile to the Marines’ and Sailors’ faces as they: ate a popsicle or snack; read a donated magazine or book; picked out a tube of toothpaste (this saved them a ¼ mile walk each way in the blazing sun); read one of the children’s books to their son or daughter; or received an American flag for doing a job well done.

These acts may seem rather mundane, but all of them were either something that improved our Marines’ and Sailors’ lives or reminded them of what we have back in the United States waiting for us. These are very powerful motivational items and we have you to thank!

In closing, I want you all to know that it has been my pleasure to correspond with each and every one of you. The letters, packages and emails that were sent were truly inspiring. I have had the privilege to communicate with a wide range of Americans from all across the United States and you all had one common link – undying patriotism! You should all be extremely proud of yourselves – for you have contributed to our nation’s War on Terror. In our modern times, it is not just the men and women in the military that go forward and fight the wars but the men, women and children who stand behind them that are needed to win these wars.

Semper Fidelis,

Major USMC