There’s a new assault vehicle in town, watch out for the Marine Corp’s Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV), AKA – “The Shredder.” Cool video below!
The Breacher is a force to be reckoned with that became operational in Dec. 2009. The Marines used it to during Operation Cobra’s Anger, an operation in northern Helmand Province Afghanistan that focused on cutting off enemy supply and communications lines to the north.
That was just the beginning. Marines headed to the Marjah battle in Helmond province with Assault Breacher Vehicles. According to Brig Gen. Larry Nicholson, Marines commander in southern Afghanistan, “This may be the largest IED threat and largest minefield that NATO has ever faced.”
When an Assault Breacher hits and detonates a mine or IED, the Breacher hardly shudders!
“The Shredder” looks similar to bulldozer and tank and weighs in at 72 tons with a length of over 40 feet. It includes a plow and nearly 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms) of explosives.
This $3.75 million machine is designed to safely clear minefields and improvised explosive devises (IEDs) that the enemy has planted ahead of time. Breachers have powerful capabilities like firing rockets carrying high grade C-4 explosive up to 150 yards forward, detonating the hidden bombs at a safe distance so that troops and vehicles can pass through safely.
ABVs are operated by combat engineers. Watch out – the Breacher is coming! Watch this amazing video of the latest assault vehicle! I’ve never seen anything like it!
I was walking at the beach one day, not far from where my son lived before joining the Army. He loved being near the ocean and I was thinking of him that day. So I stopped in the store and picked up a postcard and addressed it with a quick note to let him know I was at his old stomping grounds — far from the cold, landlocked, and mountainous Afghanistan that he now calls home. Fortunately I always carry stamps so I then mailed it at the post office just a block from the beach.
A few days later, I found myself wandering another beach with a friend. I was drawn again to the postcards and got one with a beautiful ocean scene, scribbled a quick greeting to my son, and dropped it in the mailbox nearby.
I repeated this several more times, even mailing one on my way to work one day. I didn’t hear anything about the postcards from my son. A few weeks went by and I asked during an Internet chat one day if he got a postcard from me.
He responded, “Yes! I love getting all the postcards. I hang them on the wall! Thank you!”
I then enlisted the help of a few friends around the country. I asked each person if they could just pick up a postcard from their city the next time they were out and mail it to my son with a brief note about the weather or anything happening that day. They agreed.
Postcards cost 30 – 50 cents and are a quick, easy way to let my deployed soldier son know I am thinking of him at a given moment in time. It’s different then a care package. It’s a little slice of home that brightens my son’s day from a 1/2 world away.
Next time you are out and about, pick up a postcard and send it your deployed son or daughter. I am sure they will appreciate a little slice of home!
As my oldest son gets ready to head back to Afghanistan after 15 days of R&R, I think one of the things many people forget is that military families include parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents and extended family members.
These are OUR children, our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, brothers & sisters. Most of us don’t have access to the base support that spouses do and yet, we go through many of the same emotions.
Young siblings of soldiers go through the same feelings and emotions about saying good-bye to their big brothers & sisters in the same way that children of soldiers do, yet there is no one else close-by for these young kids to relate to.
My daughter is nine years old, her big brothers are both deployed and I know she misses them terribly, and goes through the same questions and range of emotions that perhaps even she doesn’t understand.
My parents and in-laws, while connected on my sons’ units Facebook pages, don’t understand the Army ‘lingo’ or how things work. As much as they try, I don’t expect them to, and they look to me for direction.
Two years ago, I attended the ROTC military ball with my younger son and I was amazed at the number of families who had never been exposed to the military before. They seemed so lost. They didn’t understand the Army language or how things worked.
While a lot has changed in the last 20 years, as a former Army spouse, I did understand the lingo and somewhat how things work.
So, what about us?
What about the rest of us that make up a military family? Those of us that are scattered around the country and in some cases, in other countries?
I have some ideas on this, which may require your input, but in the meantime:
1. See if there is a Blue Star Families chapter in your area or closeby.
2. If your son/daughter’s unit has a Facebook fan page, make sure to become a fan.
3. If your son/daughter is a single soldier, find out who the FRG unit leader is and request your son/daughter to be put on the notification list for updates and emails.
4. Become a fan of the Army Mom Strong Facebook fan page
While I don’t think it’s the Army’s responsibility to take care of us financially, in the same way that spouses and children of soldiers are taken care of, I do think a much better job can be done to keep parents and family members of soldiers in the loop.
After all, they are our children.
Air Force FitFamily is a web based goal incentive program. Families have the opportunity to set goals and monitor their progress. If you have young children, or grandchildren, take a look at this program. You can help create good habits for kids early in life.
FitFamily is open to all active duty, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, DoD and civilian families.
Air Force FitFamily encourages the ABCs of family Health and Fitness. You can try them with your family and see the difference small steps can make!
FitFamily stresses that it is never too early—or late—to teach children to make healthy lifestyle choices. With childhood obesity on the rise, it’s more important than ever for parents to make exercise and good nutrition part of everyday family life.
How can you get your little couch potatoes off the sofa and on the road to good health? The answer may be as easy as ABC. Start with these baby steps, get the kids involved in the choices, and make healthy eating and movement part of the entire family’s routine:
- “A” is for Activities
- “B” is for Building Habits
- “C” is for Counting Progress
- “D” is for Day Trips
- “E” is for Eating Healthy
- “F” is for Fun
From walking and raking leaves to hiking and cooking healthy meals, FitFamily participants are doing all kinds of fun activites to stay active—together!
There are many helpful resources available on the Web site to help you and your family stay fit and healthy! You can also enter competitions and register to win prizes.
Visit FitFamily: http://www.usaffitfamily.com/
Starting April 17th, 2010, Iraq war veteran Troy Yocum will hike daily for 16 months to spread the word that help is needed. His plan is to drum up support in various ways with a great team backing him up!
Troy will be hiking though 37 major U.S. cities and hundreds of small towns with his loyal dog Emmie (Emerson Elaine Eskridge the Superdog) at his side. They will hike through 20 baseball stadiums and be joined by support groups throughout the journey. Troy’s hike will also be streamed live on the Internet – through DrumHike.com, and pinpoint his location in real time on Google Earth. Stay tuned for the book, a film, and events organized by his team and volunteers around the nation.
Why is Troy doing this? Troy is responding to the needs of our nation’s warrior citizens. In the last 6 years over 19,000 Military families have applied for assistance and nearly 50% of those soldiers have been helped. By spreading awareness he hopes to save the homes and lives of his fellow brothers and sisters in arms. “They have fought for us, and now I will fight for them. If I reach the goal of $5 million then many families will be helped.”
Every Military Mom has a heartwarming story to share about strength, sadness, and love when their son or daughter joins the Military and especially when deployed.
Patti Correa, Published Author and Military Mom is seeking stories from Moms. It’s time to tell the mother’s side. This new book will feature stories from mothers of servicemembers coping with their sons and daughters serving this great country.
For more information contact Patti Correa at email@example.com.
Patti Correa is the author of “From a Pebble to a Rock“, where she compiled stories of military wives, mothers, and daughters from all walks of life. How do they do it? is a question often asked as we see wives, mothers, and daughters of military men go day by day faced with loneliness, more responsibility, and uncertainty that come with separation. Follow Patti as women on the home front tell their true-life, heartwarming stories of love, weakness, and strength during times of separation. These stories of survival will show you the love they have for their husbands, dads, sons, and uncles and their perseverance to keep the families together.
I want to first thank Army Mom Strong for the opportunity to be a contributor and guest blogger here. I am very excited to be reaching out to all of you this way!
I am a 2 Blue Star mom. Yikes! What are they trying to do to me? It’s enough to have one deployed, but two? I also have a younger child at home, in elementary school, and I run my own business, so my life is pretty crazy sometimes.
I am also a former Army spouse, although back then, we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, blogs or even the Internet. It was the 1980’s and I have to say, I am very thankful for today’s technology.
Both of my sons are Airborne paratroopers, which is why I chose “Airborne Mom” as my name here. I remember the first time I had to tell MY mom that her grandsons were jumping out of airplanes… that was not a fun day.
My house can’t be missed when you come up the street. US flag, Army flag, 2 Blue Star flag, and two big yellow ribbons tied around our trees in the front… it’s the only one in the neighborhood.
As a mom of two deployed soldiers, I get asked a lot, “My goodness, you have TWO in the Army and TWO that are deployed at the same time? How do you do it?
Now, THAT’s a good question! Most days are good, some days are not so good, and others.. well, there are those days that I just cry on a whim.
And that’s why I’m here.
I know I’m not the only Army mom with two deployed soldiers. My hope is that I can help offer some insight, support, perhaps a shoulder.. for those of you who are out there in the same situation.
Hang in there, Army Moms!
You’re the Valentine beyond each dream
The glow of your heart’s a true sunbeam
Your loving care reaches from afar
When I awake you’re my morning star
These words that I use so want to say
What you mean to me each night, each day
As you serve our country with heartfelt pride
I pray that God will stay near your side
Your loyalty brings a smile to me
And I know your love shines constantly
To those who march with you, they are grand
I send each some love from their homeland
There’s one more thing that I have to write
To keep in your heart both day and night
Please know that my love is so very true
My Brave Valentine, Oh Yes! That’s You!
©2010 Roger J. Robicheau
About 200 churches are part of this interdenominational prayer ministry, called Pray FAST (Pray For A Soldier Team). Local congregation participate by praying for soldiers deployed from Fort Hood to Iraq and Afghanistan. Each “prayer warrior” is assigned three soldiers to pray for by name.
FAST coordinator, Cecil Wolfe goes through proper channels to ask all soldiers deployed from Fort Hood if they want someone to pray for them. If the soldiers do want prayer, they each fill out a card with information and prayer requests. This information is sent to their prayer warriors.
The desire for prayer amongst deploying soldiers from Fort Hood has spread, with as many as 85 percent requesting a prayer partner.
More churches are needed to provide prayer warriors because approximately 2,800 soldiers are still waiting for prayer partners.
In addition to volunteers, Pray FAST also needs donations of Christian literature and pocket-sized Bibles for deployed soldiers.
Churches wishing to participate in Pray FAST should select a point person to e-mail Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org. The point person should be competent in using the Microsoft Excel computer program and will work with Wolfe to match each prayer warrior with soldiers. Pray FAST is geared to churches, he noted, to avoid being overwhelmed by e-mails from individuals.
“It’s critical to start getting names as soon as possible so that I can fulfill the requirements of soldiers,” Wolfe said.
Since Priority Mail® supplies are the packaging of choice for families and friends preparing care packages for service members overseas, the post office has created a “Mili-kit” based on the items most frequently requested by the military. This kit is available for free to military families.
The contents of the kit change from time to time. Right now, each kit contains:
- 2 large priority mail flat-rate boxes
- 2 medium priority mail flat-rate boxes
- 2 medium shirt box priority mail flat-rate boxes
- 6 priority mail labels
- 1 roll priority mail tape (yay!)
- 6 customs forms and envelopes.
Request your FREE Military Care package kit by calling 1-800-610-8734. Select your language (1 is English, 2 is Spanish). Select option 1 (it states it is for Express Mail®, Priority Mail or Global Express Guaranteed® products).
When you reach a live agent, request CAREKIT04, the “Military Kit. Allow 7-10 days for delivery. You can request up to 4 kits.
You will also be issued a customer ID number to make it easier for you to reorder supplies next time.
YOU CANNOT ORDER THIS KIT ONLINE – This Military kit is only available via the phone number.
Mail sent to APO and FPO addresses overseas require special customs forms. All mail addressed to military post offices overseas is subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding content, preparation and handling.
The cost to mail the large flat-rate box to APO/FPO is $12.50.