Friday, December 26, 2008

Santa Rides a Chinook to Eastern Afghanistan

A US Army Apache helicopter flies past snow covered mountains during a re-supply mission in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province December 23, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong (AFGHANISTAN)

A U.S. Army Chinook helicopter prepares to drop supplies during a resupply mission in eastern Afghanistan December 25, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong (AFGHANISTAN)

U.S. Army soldiers with 6-4 Cavalry keep watch from a lookout tower at Observation Post Hatchet near the Pakistan border in eastern Afghanistan December 25, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong (AFGHANISTAN)

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Lemuel Leach with the 6-4 Cavalry stands next to boxes of Christmas mail at the Observation Post Hatchet near the Pakistan border in eastern Afghanistan December 25, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong (AFGHANISTAN)

US Army personnel hold candles during a Christmas Eve church service on Forward Operating Base Bostick in eastern Afghanistan December 24, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong (AFGHANISTAN)

Soldiers with the US Army's 6-4 Cavalry stand around a bonfire and sing Christmas carols at Forward Operating Base Bostick, near the Pakistan border, December 25, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong (AFGHANISTAN)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tree Lighting Ceremony at FOB Fenty

Col. John Spiszer, commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, takes a moment to talk with the crowd before lighting the Christmas tree.

Tree Lighting Ceremony

By Combined Joint Task Force-101

JALALABAD AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, conducted a tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 22 at the dining facility at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan.

The ceremony was led by Col. John Spiszer, Task Force Duke commander, and hosted by Lt. Col. Bradley White, 201st Brigade Support Battalion commander.

“You are doing something important for yourself and for the Afghan people,” Spiszer said as he addressed Soldiers in attendance. “Take this time to think about the ones out on the frontline.”

The lighting ceremony not only afforded service members the opportunity to remember their fellow comrades spread throughout the country of Afghanistan, but to reflect on their family and friends back home as well.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mail arriving at COP Lowell

I will be able get you a detailed list later, just wanted to say thank you for everything you are sending to us. These pictures are not even ¼ of what we received.

Frank Hooker


Monday, December 8, 2008

Servicemembers prove themselves in ambush

Dec 08, 2008

BY 2nd Lt. Zack Moss

Lt. Col. James Markert, commander of 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, receives a Bronze Star Medal for Valor and a Purple Heart Nov. 27, 2008, for his actions during an attack on their convoy in northeastern Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. James Markert, commander of 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, and Sgt. 1st. Class Jody Thompson, 6-4 CAV, stand ready to receive their awards from Col. John Spiszer, commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. They both received awards for acts of heroism in times of combat.

Our Fallen Comrade in Arms, Capt. Robert Yllescas

Our Fallen Comrade in Arms, Capt. Robert Yllescas
Story by Sgt. Charles Brice
Posted on 12.08.2008 at 02:00AM

By Sgt. Charles Brice3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

“Tip of the Spear” is an area well known to Bravo Troop “Blackfoot”, 6th Squadron, 4th Calvary Regiment in the Kamdesh District of the Nuristan province. The troops of 6-4 CAV have been in the area since 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, took over the area of operation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom IX.

“Capt. Robert Jose Yllescas watched over the Soldiers and the locals of Keating District,” Lt. Col. James Markert commander of 6-4 CAV, Task Force Raider, said. “He cared for those who were in need of help and security. Bringing what is so far apart and putting them closer together.”

During his time in service, Yllescas served under 1st Armored Division as both tank platoon leader and executive officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom I 2003 and returned and served again as a Military Transition Team Detachment commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom IV 2006.

“Yllescas was an extraordinary person to be around,” Markert said. “He brought that ‘lead from the front’ mentality into the work he was doing.”

After serving two deployments with 1st Armored Division, Yllescas was assigned to 6-4 CAV. He took command of Blackfoot Troop, who is now in support of Operation Enduring Freedom ending his career, when an improvised explosive device exploded near his unit during a foot patrol in the Kamdesh Valley. He later passed in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, leaving behind a wife, Dena Yllescas and two little girls, Julia and Eva, from Osceola, Neb.

“Capt. Yllescas distinguished himself as the commander of Blackfoot Troop; putting his Soldiers first is how he works,” Markert said. “He proved to be a good solid man and a loving husband and father and a strong, courageous leader.”

Blackfoot Troop was chosen to serve in an area that was notorious for enemy attacks. Every Soldier knew the risk it would take in order to complete their missions daily. Yllescas pushed the belief that Keating can someday become a wonderful place where all can meet in peace.

“Capt. Yllescas immediately garnered the respect of his Troops,” 1st Lt. Joseph T. Mazzochi Blackfoot Troop, 6-4 CAV, TF Raider, said. “He was more of a visionary than a leader, because we are sitting here in his honor and respecting his wishes as our mentor and friend.”

“When Blackfoot Troop arrived at Combat Outpost Keating, they had very little to work with in bridging the gap between them and the locals,” 1st Lt. Ronald Briley Marine Embedded Training Team 7-3, said. “Yllescas brought together the Soldiers of Black Troop to build a building and dedicate it to the area, so we can all come together as a symbol of unity.”

“The building dedicated to the people of the Keating District will not just serve the purpose that we are here for today, but will be put to use amongst the relationship we will gain over the time here,” Briley said. “This was Capt. Yllescas’ vision for us all, to step forward and bring the people together.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

6-4 Families just keep the support coming

Today, I received an email from a 6-4 CAV B Troop wife.

"I was just emailing you to let you know that there are about a 100 fleece blankets on their way over to the troops. They were donated and sent by Ministry to the Armed Forces of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in Saint Louis, Missouri. They also got a few other donations of things but as far as what else I am not quite sure as I was out of town when the rest was sent out. "

The families keep the support flowing to their warriors.

We as Americans owe so much to the valiant warriors on the home front. They are our silent, sometimes unnoticed heroes. Their loved ones are away from them, and they carry the burden of their absence. Still, they get up every day, carry on with the life they have planned with their deployed warrior, and just keep spreading the word about the deployed warriors needs.

Thank you for reminding us there are so many families out there, and reassuring us there are more Americans doing their part for these deployed warriors.

Please know there are so many Americans helping to physically support your loved ones, and even more praying for all of you.

We will never forget. It is our duty as citizens. We owe all of you a debt that can never fully be repaid. You have all earned our enduring gratitude.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Today our hearts are heavy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Funeral Information
I just got word that Rob will be flown to Nebraska on Saturday. We will have a wake for the public on Sunday Dec 7th from 1-3pm in the Osceola Downtown City Auditorium. The funeral will be at 10am on Monday December 8th also at the Osceola Downtown City Auditorium. The address for this will be below. Also, I've got myself a PO Box while I'm at my parents for mail to be sent to me so you don't have to email me for the address. It is posted on the side of the blog. Again, thank you so much for all the support and prayers you've shown for Rob and our family.

Osceola Downtown City Auditorium
361 Central StOsceola, NE

Change of Address
Dena Yllescas
Osceola, NE 68651-0096

The blog has received emails asking for an update on the Marine who was injured with Cpt Yllescas. His wife has emailed that "He is almost completely recovered from his injuries and only has a headache here or there. . . He will be home VERY soon."

Today our hearts are heavy.

Rob is with God now.