Valour IT

Give Now, you must.

If you have to limit yourself to only one charitable give this year, now is the time and Soldier’s Angels is the place. Wait for the widget to appear. For some reason it is taking a good 30-60 seconds sometimes.

Project Valour IT (Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops)

Every cent raised for Project Valour-IT goes directly to the purchase and shipment of laptops for severely wounded service members. As of October 2007, Valour-IT has distributed over 1500 laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines across the country.

Originally Valour-IT provided the voice-controlled software, but now works closely with the Department of Defense Computer/electronic Accommodations Program (CAP): CAP supplies the adaptive software and Valour-IT provides the laptop. In addition, DoD caseworkers serve as Valour-IT’s “eyes and ears” at several medical centers, identifying possible laptop recipients. Wounded military personnel can also directly request a laptop through the sign-up form or through the Valour-IT/Soldiers’ Angels representatives at the following medical centers:

* Balboa Naval Hospital

* Brooke Army Medical Center

* Madigan Regional Medical Center

* National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda Naval Hospital)

* Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton

* Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital (29 Palms)

* Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Thanks to the efforts of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Valour-IT is also able to reach patients in VA hospitals who would benefit from a Valour-IT laptop.

UPDATE: Evidently there was an issue with the Chip In widget that has resulted in moving to the “thermometer” style donation component above. So, please click on the donate button and give what you can.

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Old Skills and Self Reliance

Over the past 12-18 months my subconscious has been having an influence on my activities. I am sure that my reading selections over this same time frame has been having an impact as well. As a result, I have found myself returning to an active “sheepdog” mental state, without the honed and polished skills that I use to have. Accordingly, I have found myself actively involved in martial arts and have recently begun visiting the range again (for the first time in 20 years). This mental state has even led me to the point of considering how I can safely store firearms (and sufficient ammo) in the house with three small children. While I do not consider myself crazy, I was beginning to think that maybe I was staying too far out of the mainstream. I mean, what would my suburban neighbors think of the fat man with the armory in the house (not that I really care but, the kids will as they work their way through school).

This morning I ran across this item at Threatswatch. As always someone has thought this through much more thoroughly than I have, and taken my little personal activities and put them in a much broader and more important contexts.

One sentence of the essay that really hit home for me was, “Finally, acquire some new, or practice your old, self-defense and self-reliance skills”.

The bottom line for me, my actions are a definite turn from where my head has been since I left the Marine Corps but, it is a turn in the right direction.

Gen. Pace

A lot has been written about the recent retirement of Gen. Pace from the Marine Corps, and public service. My mother actually met the General at a DAR event a couple of years ago, and was overwhelmed by his charisma, speaking skills, and abilities to influence an audience. After that event, I began to play closer attention to Gen. Pace, and the anecdotes floating around out there from folks that had direct dealings with him. I think that it is a given that my research is limited but, I have to say that I have found very little that detracts from the legend that is growing around this man. I can only hope that it is a legend that is becoming institutionalized within our Corps to bring out the best in our new Marines.

Much has been written about Gen. Pace’s September visit to Iraq, the changing of command ceremony, and the notes that were found at The Wall. I will not attempt to provide justice to those events. I do believe that they are illustrative of the values that have guided Gen. Pace, and hopefully are pervasive in our Corps.

Today, over at Threatswatch.org, Steve Schippert has a nice editorial about General Pace. Go over there and give it a read, I’ll wait…

I think his closing statements say so very much:

For General Peter Pace (USMC, Ret.), his four stars rightly belong to Lance Corporal Guido Farinaro. But the empty collars those stars once adorned surely belong to Congress. And worse off are we all for it.

For my own part I can only say to Gen. Pace, “Sir, you make me extraordinarily proud to share the title of United States Marine with you”.

Afghanistan Next?

Most of you have probably seen the scuttlebutt that The Corps is positioning to redeploy from Iraq to Afghanistan, turning over responsibility for Iraqi operations to the Army. There are a lot of great arguments that the proposed change is a “win / win” for both the organizations, and for the operations in each country.

As usual though I turn to others more eloquent than I to make the point, please read what Lex has to say here. Make sure that you read this one all the way through because the points that he makes at the end make the entire post.