A Soldier’s Christmas
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
and I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
to the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night”
“Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,
that separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”
then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue… an American flag.
“I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
I can carry the weight of killing another
or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
who stand at the front against any and all,
to insure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
to know you remember we fought and we bled
is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.
December 7th, 2000
Company F, 425th Infantry FINAL Dining Out
This will be the last F Co dining out.
F Company, 425th IN (ABN) (LRS)
FINAL Dining Out
December 11, 2010
1800 – 2400
Club Monte Carlo Banquet Center
50265 Van Dyke Ave
Shelby Twp, Mi 48317
$25.00 / Person
(OPEN BAR / Buffet Dinner)
RSVP NLT November 15, 2010
POC: SSG Robert Scaia
586-239-2634 / firstname.lastname@example.org
There are currently 20 rooms blocked off at the Hampton Inn @ $79, with Saturday evening shuttle and hot breakfast on Sunday.
Regimental Coin Order Form
The mission of the 425th Regimental Association is to perpetuate the history, lineage and honors of Co F (Ranger) 425th Infantry.
Membership in the Association is open to anyone who served in Co F (Ranger) 425th Infantry, or any successor unit.
P-38 Was More Than Just a Can Opener
From Army Times, March 31, 2008
Before the easy-to-open packaging of today’s Meals, Ready-to-Eat, a soldier’s ration came in steel cans – which were opened using the P-38 pocket can opener. While the Army has not issued P-38s for at least ten years, soldiers still carry them, and they remain on Army icon.
The Subsistence Research Laboratory of Chicago developed the P-38 in summer 1942. The Army’s K-ration came with a key opening system, but the soldiers disliked it, and their complaints prompted the Quartermaster Corps to seek an alternative. The result was a small, folding can opener.
It was first issued in 1943 as a part of a ration item known as the Hospital Five-in-One. It became the standard issue with the G-ration in June 1944 and was subsequently issued with all Army field rations.
Some World War II soldiers called the 1 ½ inch long device the “John Wayne,” since the actor demonstrated how to use it in an Army training film. Soldiers didn’t need to watch the film, though, because the instructions printed on the can opener’s pack showed how easy it was to use.
Although “Opener, Can, Hand, Folding” is its official Army nomenclature, it soon acquired the popular name P-38. Historians disagree as to which of three theories explains this moniker. One is that soldiers called it the P-38 because it could open a can faster than the P-38 Lightening fighter plane could fly. A more likely explanation is that “38” refers to the length of the can opener, which is 38 millimeters. It also is possible that “38” was the number of punches it took to open a ration can.
The P-38 was designed to be disposable; the Army assumed soldiers would throw them away after opening their rations cans and began putting a P-38 in every individual ration accessory pack.
But no smart soldiers ever discarded his P-38. Many troops hung one with their dog tags around their necks. A situation would always arise in which they wouldn’t be able to eat because they did not have a can opener.
Once the Army realized that most soldiers were saving the device, it started placing fewer of them in each case of C-rations.
Although soldiers kept the P-38 to open their rations, the device proved to be an invaluable field tool. According to an article published by then Major Renita Foster published in the Pentagon’s pentagram newspaper in 1986, the P-38 could clean muddy boots, tighten screws, strip wires, trim threads on uniforms, and sharpen pencils.
The P-38 disappeared as an issue item when the Army went to the MRE in the mid-1980s, but soldiers who had them kept them. Some soldiers still carry the P-38 – especially on the key rings. The P-38 remains for many a symbol of army life.
for more information on the P-38 check out Georgia-Outfitters online catalog
Company F Redeployment Homecoming
From Fox news Detroit – More than 100 Michigan soldiers are back at home tonight.
The happy reunion at Selfridge Air National Guard Base marked the end of the soldiers 12 month tour of duty in Iraq.
The 150 members of Company F, 425th Infantry left Michigan in May of 2009.
After some training in Fort Lewis, Washington, the soldiers arrived in Iraq where they provided security during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Today, nearly 850 Michigan Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are deployed in support of the global war on terrorism.
Fox 2’s Simon Shaykhet was at Selfridge on Saturday for the special welcome home ceremony that came with a surprise.
Click on this link for the Fox News Detroit video. 425th Regimental Membership Form
67th Anniversary of D-Day
Today marks the 67th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. While many brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen died on that day, let us remember those brave men of the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions. It was on this day that many brave Rangers gave what Abraham Lincoln called, “the last full measure of devotion.” John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” These Rangers put their lives on the line, and many gave the last full measure of devotion for their friends and comrades, their unit and their country.
It was in January of 1944, when GEN Omar Bradley gave LTC James Rudder, commander of the 2nd Ranger Bn the mission of capturing Pointe-du-Hoc. Bradley finished by saying, “It is the most dangerous mission of D-Day. LTC Rudder, replied, My Rangers can do the job.”
The Provisional Ranger Force (2nd and 5th Ranger Bn), under the overall command of LTC Rudder was divided into two elements. Task Force A (Companies D, E, and F, 2nd Ranger Bn, under LTC Rudder) and Task Force B (Companies A and B, 2nd Ranger Bn and the 5th Ranger Bn, under the command of LTC Max Schneider).
The plan was for Task Force A to assault the cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc, and once successful send a message to Task Force B to follow on as the second wave. If Task Force B did not receive the signal by 0700 they were to land after the 29th Infantry Division on Omaha Beach and move overland to Pointe-du-Hoc to reinforce the 2nd Bn.
The 2nd Bn ran into more opposition than expected and took longer to take the cliffs and consolidate their position. By the time the signal was sent to Task Force B, LTC Schneider has already shifted the force to land on Omaha Beach. This meant LTC Rudder and Task Focre A had to “hold until relieved” with a bare minimum force.
Task Force B landed in the middle of “Bloody Omaha” where assault waves of soldiers were stacking up against the seawall and the tide was coming in. It was during this point in the assault when BG Norman Cota, Assistant Division Commander of the 29th Infantry Division said to the troops on the beach, “Don’t die on the beaches, die up on the bluff if you have to die, but get off the beaches or you’re sure to die” Cota turned to LTC Schneider, telling him, “I’m expecting the Rangers to lead the way.” That was the beginning of the motto, “Rangers lead the way!”
Decades after the formation of the 1st Ranger Battalion in Scotland, Rangers continue to lead the way in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Company F’s first deployment to Iraq
Company pre-deployment photo at Fort Bliss, TX
Members of the 14th Cavalry Squadron and Co F patrol the town of Tal-Afar
Veterans’ Day – 2010
“At countless funerals and memorial services for those who lost their lives in the service of our country, I hear the question, ‘Why is such a good young person taken from us in the prime of life?’ Plato, the Greek philosopher, apparently sought to resolve the issue by observing, ‘Only the dead have seen the end of war.’ I prefer to take my solace in the words of Jesus to the Apostle John: ‘Father, I will that those you have given me, be with me where I am.’ … Those now in uniform deserve our thanks, for no nation has ever had a better military force than the one we have today. And no accolade to those presently in our country’s service is greater than honoring the veterans who preceded them on Memorial Day.” –Oliver North, LTC (ret) USMC
LTC North’s comment this year should remind us of the comments of President Abraham Lincoln on the first Memorial Day at Gettysburg in 1863:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
President Abraham Lincoln, November 1863
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a veteran!
Regimental Association Coin
SSG Basil Zaviski has designed a new coin for the Association and the Coin Committee would like your feedback.
Here is the front of the coin
Here is the back of the coin
Please add your comments to this post or email the Association at Adjutant@425regiment.org
Co F Commander’s Deployment Update
I hope this note finds you and your families well. We are still plugging away over here, trying to do a good job every day and taking care of each other. We have been talking about the 6 month mark coming up in a few days, and we had a chance to pull the whole company in for two days this past weekend ahead of the 6 month milestone. We met with the key leaders first, and discussed some housekeeping items as well as some transitions that the company will be involved in as we move to a new higher HQ this month (same location, different bosses). We reserved the movie theater and watched a combination of video and slideshow with training and mission footage and photos from March 2009 until the end of October. We put out some general information and had a Q & A session with the guys. On Sunday, everyone played some softball and the HQ section put on a cookout complete with some decent-tasting ‘near beer’ for the guys. That will likely be the last time we all get together and take a break for a while since we’ll continue to be busy with missions.
The mission set we’ve been doing since we became “Battlespace Owners” on August 25th has kept everyone extremely busy. The LRS platoons rotate in and out of sector and provide security in the area and focus on finding and detaining locals who are up to no good. The operational tempo eased up a bit towards the beginning of October, but everyone is still busy with the various types of missions we are tasked with. In addition to the security-related missions the guys do, it is very common for LRS platoons as well as the headquarters element to sit down with local village leaders, drink chai with them, and discuss any concerns they have about their particular village’s situation. Today we had one element in sector doing security-related tasks, and another element went to a village to distribute 50 bags of food as part of a humanitarian assistance (HA) drop. We’re working to initiate reconstruction projects, starting with the renovation of a girls’ school, the renovation of a health clinic, and the installation of street lights in the market area of a city we work in frequently.
One of the main focuses in Iraq over the next few months will be setting the conditions for a successful election on January 16th, 2010. Because the area we’re in is called a “disputed area” in terms of Kurd / Arab tensions, the work we’re doing is important in the bigger picture of enabling Iraqi’s to pull off the election in January.
The majority of the guys I talk to tell me they know the deal about morale during a deployment, and they tell me things are “fine.” But, most guys will tend to give an overly positive response when talking to me as opposed to their buddy at the gym. We joked around last month about how we should “enjoy October” because you don’t know what’s waiting for us after that. Here’s what I see in terms of how the guys are doing: Some think we’re too busy, some don’t think we’re busy enough. We have the same cross-section of issues and concerns that any deployed unit faces. We invited some external folks to come in and do a survey for us in order to get an accurate read on how the unit is doing in terms of morale and welfare. 33% of the guys said their morale was “medium”, 27% said it was “high”, and 12.6% said it was “very high”. (I think the 12.6% must be going on leave this month!) Personally, I’d tell you that “medium” is a good day in a combat zone.
When asked how confident they were that the “unit can perform its mission”, 45% said “agree” and 44% said “strongly agree.”
Everyone gets annoyed about having to do surveys, but it’s important for the chain of command to keep their finger on the pulse of the morale and welfare within the unit. It’s the same type of thing with the FRG back home…being plugged in and knowing how families are doing helps out a lot.
We’ve been able to pull off some pretty cool training with rotary wing assets (helicopters) everywhere we’ve gone since May. We’ve recently conducted joint training exercises with Iraqi Army Commando’s focusing on air assault missions and other tactical tasks. All of the platoons and sections have been proactive in “sharpening the saw” by going to the range to fire their weapons, conducting training on the various communications packages we use, or just doing rehearsals before they go out on a mission. It gives me a lot of confidence to see that leaders at all levels of this organization take training seriously and understand that keeping our skills honed even while deployed is a critical task.
Even though news outlets have reported that troop levels will be drastically reduced over the coming months, the lines at the gym and the chow hall keep getting longer and longer! November is another transition for everyone on this base. Our higher headquarters will be leaving, and we’ll be working for the 3-73 CAV from the 82nd Airborne. In the meantime, there are a lot more people on the base while these units conduct their battle handoff tasks. We’ve had to consolidate living spaces temporarily, as well.
The rainy season is here, which means lots of mud on the base, and more challenges when working outside the wire for days at a time. As always, though, the guys continue to rise to the occasion and exceed expectations.
On November 9th, we hit the 6 month milestone (184 days) from when we went on “title 10” orders or active duty. The leadership team will start working on the redeployment planning and preparation on a weekly basis at that point. I don’t have any specific information about exactly when we’ll be headed home, but this “halfway point” is when we start digging into a lot of those details. As soon as we have information to put out about an estimated return timeframe, we’ll send it out.
Redeployment planning will be a ton of work, but I don’t think anyone will complain about working on this project!
I want to thank each and every one of you reading this for the sacrifices you make every day. Our Soldiers’ strength comes from the strength of our families, no question about it. As I hear about the challenges many of you face every day, whether it’s the struggle to get the kids ready and dropped off in the morning, or the never-ending balancing act of juggling priorities that you manage while we’re gone. I know how hard it is for me to get two girls dressed in something that resembles a matching outfit and get them somewhere on time…I give you all a ton of credit and respect for handling all of those things and so much more every day. The sacrifices we make to serve our country are echoed and amplified in all of our homes on a daily basis. When we say we couldn’t do it without you, we really mean it. So, thank you. Thank you for the courage and strength you demonstrate every day of this deployment. Thank you for the care packages and the thoughts and prayers. And most of all, thank you for the love, dedication, and commitment you have for these Soldiers. Our gratitude is deep and heartfelt.
Thank you to everyone who has been able to help out with the FRG. I was very thankful last year when Tammy agreed to lead our FRG for this deployment. The professionalism and genuine commitment to our families’ well being is evidenced in everything she does. The team of volunteers has really come through for us. I appreciate everyone’s work to plan the mid-tour briefs. The lines of communication and support network have remained consistently reliable and effective.
I hope you and your loved ones have a great November!
CPT Brian Genz
Photos of Deployment.
I’ve been delinquent in posting all of the pictures sent from Co F while they are deployed to operation Iraqi Freedom but here is an update.
We hope things are going well back home for you. This morning was probably the coolest we have seen the temperature since being here. It still felt a little cool at 9am. All the men are still keeping busy and doing very well. Below are some more pictures. There are some of us out in the villages where there is a never ending supply of kids! As soon as the trucks stop they come running. They all know how to say the things they want in english! “Football”(soccer ball), “pencil”, “chocolate”, and “you give me”. If any of you want to send things for the kids we’ll make sure it gets out to them.
SPC Spencer is now SGT Spencer
Time is ticking by and some days it’s hard to believe we’re closing in on the halfway point.
The men are doing a great job and are impressing those around them with their professionalism and can-do attitude. Weather here has turned to rain the last few days. Our compound has a lake in the middle of it that the guys are joking about putting fish in and buying some fishing poles! After the rain we received about a month ago we were spoiled with beautiful sunny days up until now. Many of us to include myself have been waking up to water in our CHUs because of leaky roofs. KBR has busy trying to fix all the leaks by re-sealing roofs. Our leave program is still on schedule and the men are enjoying their time at home with family and friends. I see them refreshed when they return and it’s good to see. Just a reminder to please be flexible because flights sometimes change and it’s very hard say exactly when they will get home. And, know that CPT Genz and I are doing everything we can to ensure everyone gets the opportunity to go.
This weekend most of the company was able to take a little break. We had a softball game and a cook out today.
Take care everyone and I hope you enjoy the pictures.
SGM Bryan Merkel
DD 214 is Now Online!
It’s official; DD-214’s are NOW Online.
The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has provided the following website for veterans to gain access to their DD-214’s
This may be particularly helpful when a veteran needs a copy of his DD-214 for employment purposes. NPRC is working to make it easier for veterans with computers and Internet access to obtain copies of documents from their military files.
Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former military members may now use a new online military personnel records system to request documents.
Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180, which can be downloaded from the online web site.
Because the requester will be asked to supply all information essential for NPRC to process the request, delays that normally occur when NPRC has to ask veterans for additional information will be minimized. The new web-based application was designed to provide better service on these requests by eliminating the records centers mailroom and processing time.
Please pass this information on to former military personnel you may know and their dependents.
_________________________________________________End of 2010 Posts