Friday, October 31, 2008

B Troop Commander, 6-4 CAV, 3-1 ID Cpt Robert Yllescas Injured in IED

Dena Yllescas has a blog to keep everyone updated on Rob's condition.

Rob and Dena have touched so many lives, and there has already been much outpouring for this family.

We all continue to surround Rob, Dena, Julia, and Eva with our prayers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Holiday Mailing Deadlines

Express 18 Dec
1st Class 11 Dec
Priority 11 Dec
Parcel post 13 Nov

Express N/A
1st Class 04 Dec
Priority 04 Dec
Parcel Post 13 Nov

Express 18 Dec
1st Class 11 Dec
Priority 11 Dec
Parcel Post 13 Nov

Express 18 Dec
1st Class 11 Dec
Priority 11 Dec
Parcel Post 13 Nov


Express 18 Dec
1st Class 11 Dec
Priority 11 Dec
Parcel Post 13 Nov

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hoping for Chocolate Cakes THIS MONTH

UpDate: The October birthday cakes were made, and enjoyed. Pictures promised.

Chaplain Ron says the renovations to the DFAC at Bostick are moving ahead, and asks that we all hope they are finished in time for him to fire up the new mixer (thanks Mary Ellen) for the chocolate cakes for the Oct birthdays.

He's bumping it up to 3 cakes this month, because of pop demand (They love his chocolate cake). I'm with them, especially the chocolate icing.

Okay, enough chocolate talk. It's cool enough we can now send some M&M's, and some other tastes of chocolate.

Speaking of which, I'm off to get a handful of M&M's. I can only take so much chocolate talk, without indulging. Imagine how much they would appreciate some good chocolate.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hanes online Thermal Underwear DEAL

I just double checked by phone with Hanes online.

For orders placed online, and shipped to an APO address:
There is no tax, and if the order is over $75, there is no shipping charges.

Hanes online:

They are listed at $9 each for top or bottom.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brian Williams NBC broadcast

In case you missed tonight's report with Brian Williams.

Warning, it may be hard to for some to watch.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Come Before Winter

Until we can load the video, check out our guys on CNN with Nic Robertson:
Reporting about getting aid to Afghanistan before winter.

MAJ Aylwand and PRT, LTC Petrovia, Col Spiszer. LTC Perez

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Improvement Key to Security for Scouts

Soldiers from 6-4 CAV, 3-1 ID, pack dirt into a barrier along the perimeter of their combat outpost in Northeastern Afghanistan. The barriers are just one of the improvements they are making to enhance their security.

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – For the Soldiers in the dangerous terrain of the mountainous Nuristan province of Afghanistan, improving their outposts is important to security and relations in the area.

The Pakistan border is a common entrance into Afghanistan for terrorists.

Building relationships with local residents helps deny the terrorists sanctuary along the Pakistan border, said Sgt. 1st Class Donald Couch, an outpost platoon sergeant from Smithville, Texas.

Units along the border patrol through villages to meet with the locals and show them they are there to help. But, where the locations of the outposts are good for interaction with villagers, they are also targets for insurgent attacks. The Soldiers who live and fight in these outposts have to constantly improve their boundries to stay safe so they can continue to help the locals in the area.

Soldiers from the 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, make any improvements that can be made to their positions, and when necessary the Soldiers improvise with building supplies.

Improvising includes using whatever construction materials are available. Ammo cans are used for steps and nearby timber is used to build walls and improve fighting positions.

The Soldiers are not only improving their situation, but are getting a sense of satisfaction from their work.

“The best thing about being on the OP is seeing the improvements and the satisfaction of knowing you made the OP better,” said Sgt. Brian Creed, squad leader from Siloam, N.C.

Couch has similar feelings about the many improvements on the Ops, and feels they have improved their ability to fight and defend.

Having a good fighting position and the ability to defend it is important, but the Soldiers need something to boost their morale as well.

“Improving Soldiers’ morale is really important, too, especially up here, because we're kind of away from everything,” Couch said. “We now have Internet and phones up here so the Soldiers have contact with home when they have time.”

The Soldiers have also made changes to assist the Afghan national security forces who fight by their side. This helps develop the OP and builds relationships.

“We've done several things for the [Afghan national army] and [Afghan security guards] as well as the locals. We've built new fighting positions for the ANA and ASG and we're currently in the process of building barracks for them as well,” Couch said. “We have a good working relationship with the Afghan national security forces and we want to keep improving that.”

The Soldiers are constantly working to improve the OP to make sure they have everything necessary to complete their mission. Improving the OP guard tower, routine patrols around the OP and fire missions are just some of the tasks Soldiers do as part of their daily routine.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Winter Comes Early

Life and nature caught me flat footed. Winter has come to Afghanistan.

TankerBabe prepared the following suggestions, and I've added a few comments.

Blackwater Gear Balaclava Carhart
Price: $5.88 Style #A161 Face Mask Regular Sizes
Price $15.00

All caps, head protectors must fit under their head gear.

Our best seller, also known as the stadium blanket. Size 50" x 60" with matching whipstitch edges will cover from head to toe. Ideal for corporate gifts and promotions. Always perfect for fundraisers, schools, and hospitals.
In-stock colors: ivory, royal, gold, orange, red, purple, silver gray, charcoal, black, hunter, burgundy and navy.
NEW by the case pricing!!!
24 Throw Blankets per case
1 to 9 cases
$5.99 per blanket 10 to 19 cases
$5.50 per blanket 20 or more cases
$4.99 per blanket
• Broken Case Pricing: Add $2 per blanket. 12 blanket minimum.

I and several other supporters have purchased fleece blankets at WalMart for less than $4.00.
They are already rolled up.
A note to be careful, as this year they have a very fluffy one, but it catches too much dirt, etc.
The ones we purchased are perfect to roll up and carry on patrols. They are the same size as the ones on line, and have a flat seam, too.

Please, please no fringe.

# A211
Men’s Heavyweight Wool Boot Sock
Black, Gray, Moss
$ 16.00

Last year I purchased "FoxRiver trekking Wick & Dry heavy weight socks" and "FoxRiver liners wick&Dry ultra light weight liners" at ACADEMY.
Almost every store manager gave me a %15 discount and one made a special order.
I sent hundreds, but Tankerbabe arranged for thousands of the carhart socks to be sent.
All were greatly appreciated.

Little Hotties Hand Warmers Adhesive Toe Warmers
Box of 40 Pairs $ 29.99 Box of 30 Pairs $39.99

Hand/foot warmers can also be purchased at WalMart, and outdoor/sporting stores. But these online are a very good price.

Hanes can be purchased at many places, be sure to send greys or dark colors.

Hanes Long-Sleeve Thermal
Henley underwear

Flat No Rub Seams’
Tops Style HWM03 $9.00

Pants Style HWM04 $9.00

Colors: Charcoal Heather
Grey Heather

An easy layer of warmth as the mercury begins to drop.
• Flat No Rub Seams for added comfort.
• Minimal shrinkage for a lasting fit
• Smooth elastic waistband
• Traditional fly front
• 28 ¾” inseam
• 65% Cotton, 35% Polyester

An update: Snacks and food seem to have been sent in abundant quantities. And all greatly appreciated.

BUT, there is a great need for personal hygiene products.

REMEMBER, this winter, resupply is not always going to be possible, so we need to get a back up supply for personal hygiene supplies. They are being fed, even if it is MRE's, but there is no PX, and not resupply of Personal hygiene products.

Baby wipes, baby wipes, baby wipes. (Cold showers, take on a whole new meaning during the winters in AFGHANISTAN)
Men's body wash (Suave has a great one), good razors and replacement blades galore, shaving cream, foot powder and more foot powder.

I hope these suggestions help you and your troopers.

Haole, out.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

6-4 CAV Bostick Fiddler's Green

6-4 Cav opened the new MWR facility on FOB Bostick this Thursday. Fiddler’s Green was assembled from lumber recycled when the floor boards of tents were recovered prior to the start of our latest barracks construction project. Recycled materials were key to the project to allow it to be built rapidly without “stealing” wood from barracks construction projects on the forward Ops.

Members of all of the organizations on FOB Bostick were present for the event, from the left Roland from KBR, Lance CPL Maltry from the USMC ETT, LTC Markert, 1LT Mayberry who runs FOB Bostick for the Squadron, SSG Baker who supervised the project for the Mayor’s Cell, and SSG Winger from our supporting EOD team.

The new facility provides access to TVs, tons of books, a great movie room, and place to play games, and a porch outside for BBQs and such. It is a significant improvement over the tent that it replaced.

Our thanks to the Soldiers who suggested it and everyone who had a hand in getting the hard work required to build it completed.

Soldier’s from 6-4 Cav check out the new MWR center named Fiddler’s Green in recognition of our Cavalry heritage.

The origin and author of "Fiddler's Green" is unknown. It was believed to have originated in the 1800's and was composed as a song sung by the soldiers of the 6th and 7th Cavalry. Its first known appearance in published form was in a 1923 Cavalry Journal.

"Fiddler's Green"
Halfway down the trail to Hell,
In a shady meadow green
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped,
Near a good old-time canteen.
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers' Green.
Marching past, straight through to Hell
The Infantry are seen.
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marines,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.
Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene.
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen.
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.
And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen,
Or in a roaring charge of fierce melee
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And go to Fiddlers' Green.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Staff Sgt. Daniel Krause, calling in adjustments to practice mortat fire, is one of four soldiers in the reconnaissance platoon who has served previous dedeployments.
Michael Gisick

Friday, October 3, 2008

Recon soldiers carve out life at Hatchet

By Michael Gisick, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, October 4, 2008

NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — A few of the soldiers in the reconnaissance platoon say they can see the image of a wolf in the rocks on the mountainside across the ravine. But Pfc. Byron Norris isn’t one of them.

"I don’t know," the 19-year-old says. "Sergeant Leach says he can see it."

"I can’t see it," Pfc. Jonathan Wilson, a baby-faced, cigar smoking Californian, chimes in from his vantage point a few feet away. "I cannot see that wolf rock."

Over the past three months, Wilson and Norris estimate that they’ve spent an average of about eight hours a day staring out from a fortified position on their mountainside, watching the other mountainside. They look for movement, change, anything that hasn’t always been part of a landscape they’ve all but memorized, wolf rocks or not.

And inevitably, in all those hours, they daydream about seeing something else on the mountainside: their enemy.

"I just want the experience, to know what it’s like," Norris says. Wilson adds that maybe it would be good to get attacked, but preferably only once.

It’s one of the great cliches of a war zone — the young soldiers hoping to see action, while the troops who have tell them it’s nothing to hope for, but say it in such a way that it sounds like they’re keeping a secret.

"Being still a wet-behind-the-ears lieutenant, I’m anxious like a lot of these guys to see what it’s all about," says 2nd Lt. Damien Kuhn, a 23-year-old West Point grad.

"I’m not," says Staff Sgt. Daniel Krause, the platoon sergeant, sitting nearby as he and Kuhn share the overlapping hours of their respective day and night shifts in the outpost’s command shack. If this were one of his two prior tours in Iraq, Krause adds, he "probably would have gotten blown up like 10 times by now."

The reconnaissance platoon, part of 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, arrived at Combat Outpost Hatchet in July. Another U.S. outpost a few miles away was attacked several times in early September. But despite Hatchet’s location a few miles from the Pakistani border, all has been quiet. With the other outpost set to close, and a nearby U.S. checkpoint turning over to the Afghans, Krause says that could change, though he thinks Hatchet would be a tough place to attack.

And it’s not going to get any easier. Besides their guard shifts, the soldiers spend hours a day improving the base, which was set up just a few months before they arrived.

They’ve filled hundreds of sandbags and dozens of Hesco barriers, sometimes using duffel bags. They’ve cleared brush, leveled ground and dug paths out of the mountain. Helicopters are their only source of supply, bringing everything from food and water to lumber and generators. Helicopter day tends to be an especially long one.

"We don’t get a lot of sleep, but I guess that’s the usual side effect of a deployment," says Spc. Brandon Koellecker, 22, of Hiawatha, Kan.

All the work has led the soldiers to jokingly refer to their outpost as "the slave camp," though some say they aren’t really joking.

At any rate, it’s certainly no Club Med. Though an engineer unit that arrived recently has built a few latrines and the beginnings of some barracks huts, most of the soldiers are still living not so much on the mountain, as in it. Dwellings go by such descriptions as "the small cave over there," "the larger cave next to the small cave" and "the cave with the blue tarp."

There is a sort of shower, but they have to hike down to the river to bring water, so most stick to baby wipes. There’s no television and little electricity, though a satellite phone allows them to call home every week or so.

"It’s an extra challenge to motivate them to do all the work when we don’t have the looming prospect of getting attacked," Kuhn says. "I mean, we know it’s there, but that sense of reality hasn’t really sunk in."

And Krause, for one, says he hopes it doesn’t have to.

"They don’t know what it’s like to get hit," he says. "They all wish for it, but they don’t really know. And they don’t really want to."

© 2008 Stars and Stripes. All Rights Reserved

Photo Gallery:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chaplain (aka Julia Child, reincarnated) reports on the September Birthday prep:

Nope that ain't no shadow on his upper lip. Does anyone have a hair net for that upper lip?

"Operation Bday Cake went off very well. We used 4 boxes of Pillsbury Plus (chocolate types) in each sheet cake. I made a Hersey frosting that used nearly an entire can of choco (not to worry-we have plenty) I think I will make a HUGE batch off Homemade Hot Chocó for the guys one of these days, all it takes is lots of milk a bit of sugar along with the choco sometimes we add a pinch of cinnamon and to spice things up, the Italians often like to add some cyan pepper. I made the boarder this time, not bad for a first try!
SFC Collins discovered that the COPs cannot bake after all, SPC Judice tried, but it flopped. So “Operation CupCake” is now back on line for all outlying areas."