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Meet Your Military: Marine Publishes Book of Poetry

[caption id="attachment_3894" align="alignleft" width="300"]MarinePublishesBook Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Laura Stanislaw has been writing poetry for five years. Her first book of poetry, titled “One Heart, True Wordsâ€Â will be published by the end of May 2010. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brian Adam Jones[/caption] MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C., – Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Laura Stanislaw looked down at her desert camouflage uniform through big, piercing blue eyes. Her slender fingers and well-manicured fingernails played with the pen on her desk as she considered a question from a visitor who wanted to know what motivates her to get out of bed every morning.
“I’m just happy,â€Â Stanislaw finally said with a shrug and a smile. The family readiness officer for Marine Aircraft Group 40 described her job as the most rewarding work she has done in the Marine Corps.Stanislaw’s work, and every other piece of her day-to-day life, has inspired her to publish a book of poetry. “One Heart, True Wordsâ€Â is slated to be published by the end of May and will feature 18 poems she has written since 2005.It all started with the poem “Passion,â€Â Stanislaw said. She was dating a man and spontaneously decided to write a poem about the relationship. She then easily transitioned into writing about everything in her life, she explained, good or bad. “I’ve been through a lot in my life,â€Â she said. “Over the years, I’ve learned to turn every negative into a positive. I’ve been sad and unhappy before. That’s no place to be. It’s unhealthy.â€Â Stanislaw’s poetry probes every aspect of her life without preference or prejudice, a feature she described as being important to the therapy the poems provide. “She is an ambitious and energetic person,â€Â said Dawn Rae, the family readiness officer for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “She seems to get great satisfaction from helping people.â€Â Stanislaw said when she was participating in an advanced course in Quantico, Va., a gunnery sergeant stood up and told a story about a friend of his who was killed by a roadside bomb. As he told his story, Stanislaw said, she could see the shrapnel wounds from the event on the Marine’s face. That event was the driving inspiration behind the poem “Sacrifice,â€Â one of her favorite poems from her book. “Life is not as perfect as a bed of roses,â€Â Stanislaw said. “There are ups and downs, positives and negatives. In the end, stick it out and turn into the person you want to be.â€Â Rae said she is a big fan of Stanislaw’s poetry and finds it absolutely inspiring. “Through her words, feelings and emotions come alive,â€Â Rae said. May 12, 2010: By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Brian Adam Jones- Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point ***SOT***


Girl Scouts Send Record-breaking Donation to Operation Gratitude

CookieGirlScoutOn Saturday, May 15th, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio (GSSGC) will pack up 70,524 boxes of Girl Scout cookie donations raised through their I CARE program. The cookies will be shipped to Operation Gratitude, a non-profit, volunteer-based corporation dedicated to sending care packages to military service people deployed overseas. "This is the largest one-time donation from one Council we have ever received!" said Carolyn Blashek from Operation Gratitude. "What an amazing effort by these girls!" She is excited at the prospect of announcing this record-breaking figure at the armory on Saturday. "The crowd is going to go wild!" said Blashek. "We are so proud of our Girl Scouts and their I CARE project this year!" said Elizabeth Locke-Thomas, Vice President of Product Sales for GSSGC. "This was our largest collection to date, with 70,524 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Given our current economy, we were stunned by the generosity of so many." CookieGirlScout2Locke-Thomas believes the "double good deed" message of the I CARE program held a strong appeal for many people. "A donation of this magnitude is truly a Council-wide project. We had thousands of cookie booths throughout our six week cookie season, and at each booth Girl Scouts were reminding people 'If you can't eat them, treat them.' When you participate in our I CARE program, you are not only supporting our future leaders in Girl Scouting, but also our men and women serving in the military. How often do you have the opportunity to do two good deeds at once? It is a powerful message, and this year the community rallied behind it in a staggeringly generous way!" The I CARE program not only supports military service people but also local food banks, women's shelters, Ronald McDonald houses and camps. Cookie buyers can choose which organization they would like to gift with their cookie donation. The entire community benefits from this program in a broad umbrella of giving. On Saturday, May 15th, approximately 52 Cadette, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts will travel by bus to the Amory in Van Nuys to deliver the boxes of cookies and package them for shipping. May 11, 2010: By GSSGC Girl Scouts ***SOT***

Meet Your Military: Soldier Escapes Death, Re-enlists

[caption id="attachment_3889" align="alignleft" width="300"]SoldierEscapesDeath Army Col. Viet Luong, commander of the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, congratulates Army Sgt. Brandon Bougades, after Bougades re-enlisted for six more years at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, May 7, 2010. Bougades escaped death when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb on the same day as his re-enlistment appointment, his 28th birthday. U.S. Army photo by Maj. S. Justin Platt[/caption] KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan, – When Army Sgt. Brandon Bougades told his re-enlistment noncommissioned officer, “Let’s get this done before something happensâ€Â during a May 6 conversation, he had no way of knowing how prophetic his statement would be.
The White Sulfur, W.Va., native -- assigned to C Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment -- had spoken with Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Waller of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, about adding another six years to his time in the Army.To make the event special, he scheduled his re-enlistment ceremony for May 7, his 28th birthday.Just hours prior to the appointed time for the ceremony, something did happen. “I told you so,â€Â Bougades would later say as Waller, from Jeffersonville, Ind., walked into a combat support hospital room on Forward Operating Base Salerno, where Bougades lay in a bed receiving treatment for his wounds. While he was on a patrol east of Camp Clark, Bougades’ vehicle struck a roadside bomb that wounded his lower extremities. He was rushed by helicopter to the Salerno hospital by helicopter. This was the third time Bougades had been wounded in combat –- something he seems to take in stride. His first comment to medical personnel wasn’t about pain, but rather was about the re-enlistment appointment he might miss. “You can ask the medics,â€Â Bougades said. “From the second I came in, I told them, ‘I got to re-enlist. I’m supposed to do that today. I still want to.’â€Â The leaders at Salerno rushed to make it happen, with Army Col. Viet Luong, commander of the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, taking the lead at the bedside ceremony. “Being here to do this is the ultimate honor for me,â€Â Luong told Bougades during the ceremony. “You know what I think of you. I’ve got 6,000 soldiers, and I could have picked you up out of a line-up because of my admiration for your leadership, and I’ve told you that before.â€Â “I love this job,â€Â Bougades said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I don’t want to be doing anything else.â€Â May 11, 2010: From a Task Force Rakkasan News Release

Sons of the Fallen Nationwide Theater Event

SonsFallen3Sons of the Fallen: A Live Movie Theater Tribute to Our Military Heroes On Tuesday, May 18, 2010 across the nation,  NCM Fathom and Conrad Ricketts, Executive Producer of "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" with the support of Schwans and Ford are partnering on a one night cinema event that takes audiences on an inspiring and compelling journey to a picturesque Rocky Mountain camp where 25 boys gather for a week of camp to honor the memories of their fathers who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this touching one night in-theater tribute to our Military and their families on Tuesday, May 18 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern / 7:00 p.m. Central / 6:00 p.m. Mountain / 8:00 p.m. Pacific (tape delayed), come and experience an evening of music by Clint Black and a LIVE fireside discussions with the boys and the celebrity camp mentors, current "The Celebrity Apprentice" contestant and former professional wrestler Bill Goldberg, actor Ryan Merriman ("Final Destination 3"), and host of "Sons of the Fallen" and former Indy Car racer Joey "T" Truscelli. SonsFallen1This event touches on the all too familiar losses that military families often suffer; this historic evening focuses on the resiliency and courage of the human spirit. Boys like these live in every community across the United States and this program will inspire the hero in all of us to make a difference. Learn More Participating Theaters.

Meet Your Military: Medical Tech Puts Skills to Work

[caption id="attachment_3899" align="alignleft" width="300"]MedicalTechPuts Air Force Master Sgt. Roberto Gutierrez listens to a patient's lungs May 1, 2010, at an air base in Southwest Asia. Gutierrez is an independent duty medical technician with the 386th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Joe Campbell[/caption] SOUTHWEST ASIA – There aren't enough physicians in the Air Force to be placed everywhere they may be needed. However, airmen in certain career fields can perform limited medical treatment in their stead.
Independent duty medical technicians like Air Force Master Sgt. Roberto Gutierrez from the 386th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron here often are attached to units in isolated locations to tend to the units' medical needs."Since there are fewer than 500 of us in the Air Force, most folks have not even heard of us," Gutierrez said. "We are usually attached to flying units or other units that deploy in remote and austere locations."As a member of a small-in-numbers career field, Gutierrez provides a variety of critical services to his unit, performing numerous jobs to support the mission. "We are physician extenders and force multipliers capable of providing different aspects of medicine with a small footprint," he said. "I have multiple jobs here; IDMTs are like a hospital in a package. I treat patients, do sick call, immunizations, dental [and] bioenvironmental duties, such as checking water quality, public health inspections of eateries and the dining hall." Deployed from Yokota Air Base, Japan, the Manila, Philippines, native said there are some aspects of being an independent duty medical technician at a deployed location that differ from his job in garrison. There, he does a lot of training; here, he puts those skills to work. "Being a part of a squadron medical element at home station, we train constantly under the supervision of our medical preceptor,â€Â he said. “We have functional area trainers who ensure we are on top of our game, so that we are proficient in all aspects of the job when it comes to medicine and environmental sanitation." A typical day in the U.S. Air Forces Central area of responsibility for Gutierrez includes following up on patients at the expeditionary medical support unit and gathering supplies. "My day starts out by visiting [expeditionary medical support] to check for any patients seen after hours, and also to pick up needed supplies," the 22-year Air Force veteran said. "We keep close tabs on our patients, especially the aircrew, to ensure they are fit-to-fly to accomplish the mission. We see a variety of medical conditions just like in EMEDs, but with the convenience [for patients] of being close to the flightline." Gutierrez said that in order to be successful, IDMTs cannot be shy or afraid to tackle differing aspects of the health care profession. Additionally, an IDMT must be able to work independently. "Most essential to successful mission accomplishment here is ensuring personnel are in the best health and condition possible," he said. "I enjoy interacting with people and being involved in their medical care. It is challenging to learn different aspects of the operations world, but I have to be in touch with patients and familiar with their jobs and duties so I may better care for them." Gutierrez said his current deployment is his best, in part, because of the quality-of-life initiatives. "I love deployments, and each one is unique,â€Â he said. “I love the fact that I bring my specialty to the fight. This deployment surely has been my best, so far. “The quality of life here is outstanding,â€Â Gutierrez continued. He and his fellow servicemembers, he said, enjoy “a great dining hall,â€Â and around-the-clock Internet access. May 6, 2010: By Air Force Capt. Joe Campbell, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing ***SOT***


Meet Your Military: Guardsman Gears Up for Warrior Games

[caption id="attachment_3884" align="alignleft" width="300"]GuardsmanGearsUp Army Spc. Shawn Porter of the Texas National Guard demonstrates the archery equipment he will use during the inaugural Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10-14, 2010. U.S. Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada[/caption] AUSTIN, Texas,– A Texas National Guard soldier receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder hopes to get a boost in his recovery by competing in the inaugural Warrior Games this week in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Army Spc. Shawn Porter will compete in the 10-meter air rifle standing/non-supported and the 30-meter recurve-bow open events.The 136th Military Police Battalion soldier deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. While recovering from surgery at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany in November, Porter was diagnosed with PTSD and transported to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where has been undergoing treatment when he’s not at the shooting range.“The intense six- to eight-hour rifle and archery training is helping me to quiet my brain,â€Â he said. “When I shoot, I can only focus on one thing, and I believe the sport has helped me therapeutically.â€Â Porter said he used to be one of those soldiers who don’t believe in PTSD. “This has been a real eye-opener for me,â€Â he said. “The PTSD did not manifest itself after I returned from Iraq, but was [was] diagnosed when I returned for surgery from Afghanistan during my second deployment.â€Â Porter said he wanted to return to Afghanistan after his surgery, but the PTSD prevented that from happening. “It is an illness, and because I am seeing my psychologist twice a week, I am making great progress,â€Â he said. “When I returned home, I could not cope with being a dad and husband, and my family deserves that I get good treatment.â€Â The sport is a healing aid, Porter said, because it has allowed his competitive nature to come to the forefront. “I am confident that I will bring back medals,â€Â he said, “and I want my fellow soldiers to know that I will be doing it for the 136th MP Battalion in Tyler, Texas.â€Â Porter is a part-time soldier. When he’s not activated for military duty, he manages an outdoor sports warehouse in civilian life. He has been training with archery coach Skip Dawson. “He has the patience and intelligence to do it,â€Â Dawson said of Porter’s ability to compete in archery events. “He is physically in very good shape, and his stance and form are very good.â€Â Competition comes naturally to Porter, who likes to hike, fish, hunt and ski. He trains every day. I can’t stand to stay home and do nothing,â€Â Porter said. “I just have to stay busy.â€Â The Warrior Games, which kick off today, feature some 200 of the most athletic wounded active-duty members and military veterans in Paralympic-style competition. The U.S. Olympic Committee is hosting the games at the Olympic Training Center. Events will include shooting, swimming, archery, track, discus, shot put, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. May 10, 2010: By Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada- Texas National Guard ***SOT***



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