August Monthly Newsletter

Happy 225th Birthday to the United States Coast Guard!
Semper Paratus

U.S. Coast Guard Day honors the military branch that protects our waters and shorelines.On August 4, 1790, the Revenue Cutter Service was created by the U.S. Congress. Congress authorized the construction of ten cutters. These ships were built to enforce U.S. tariff laws. The Revenue Cutter Service was the predecessor the modern-day U.S. Coast Guard.

We thought it would be fun to honor Coast Guard Day by highlighting some of the more notable “Coasties” who have served this nation though the Coast Guard.


Caesar Romero

Broadway and Hollywood star Caesar Romero was born in New York City, in 1907 the son of an Italian-American Father, and a Cuban immigrant mother.

Romero already had several major Hollywood movies under his belt, such as the1934 classic “The Thin Man” and “Week- End In Havana” opposite Carmen Miranda in 1941 among many other notable films.

In 1942 Romero enlisted in the United States Coast Guard serving aboard the USS Cavalier an assault transport vessel that saw action in the Pacific Theater. Romero rose to the rank of a Chief Boatswain Mate during his time in the service and received an honorable discharge at the end of the war. Romero went on to work in dozens of more films and television shows.

Romero is remembered for his iconic portrayal as the Joker in the 1960’s Batman television series. Romero passed away at 86 on January 2, 1994.


Rudy Vallee

Musician and actor Rudy Vallee grew up in Westbrook, Maine. Vallee graduated from Yale where he performed with the Yale Collegians. As a member of the Yale Collegians he became known for using a megaphone to project his voice. After graduating Yale, Vallee worked in the heyday of radio and was famous for the catch phrase “Heigh-Ho everybody, this is Rudy Vallee speaking.” The band was an instant success and was soon picked up to play on WABC Radio. Although Vallee continued to work in radio, he also began working in Hollywood and did his first film “Vagabond Lover” in 1929.

In 1941 he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard as a band director in the 11th district band. Vallee rose to the rank of Lieutenant and led the 40 piece band to great success.

Following his service in the Coast Guard Valle went back to his roots in film and television starring in such hits as “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” and like his fellow Coastie Romero, also worked on the TV hit Batman.


Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer is considered one of the greatest male golfers of all time with an impressive four Masters championships as well as the U.S. Open and the British Open titles, and two Senior open championships among his many achievements.

Palmer, who has played golf since the age of three attended Wake Forest on a golf scholarship but left after the death of a close friend and enlisted in the Coast Guard for three years where he served as a Yeoman but still competed in golf as a member of the Coast Guard. After completing his service he returned to Wake Forest and professional golf.

Palmer is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and a recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004 he competed in the last of his 50 consecutive appearances in The Masters event.

Palmer is a recipient of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.


Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey continues to be one of the most recognizable and popular professional boxers of all time. Dempsey held the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship title from 1919 until 1926 and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

During World War II Dempsey served as lieutenant in the Coast Guard Reserve.  As a member of the Coast Gard he served  as “Director of Physical Education.”  And made many personal appearances at fights, camps, hospitals and War Bond drives.

In 1945 he was on the attack transport USS Arthur Middleton for the invasion of Okinawa.  In July of 1945 he was assigned to the Commander, 11th Naval District for assignment to Military Morale Duty.  He was released from active duty in September 1945.

These are just a few of the many notable celebrities who have served in the United States Coast Guard.

 


MAF JOINS COALITION OF GROUPS FOR
RALLY AGAINST IRAN DEAL IN LAS VEGAS


On Tuesday August 18th MAF joined a large coalition of groups for a rally against Obama’s Iran Deal in Las Vegas, Nevada at the district offices of Senator Harry Reid.
Some of you might remember that this is not the first time we have protested Harry Reid. In fact, we’ve protested Reid at this exact same office location! Back in May of 2007 we organized a huge protest outside of Reid’s office calling him and Nancy Pelosi out for their insistence that The Surge was failing and that we should pull troops out of Iraq immediately. We called Reid and Pelosi the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” and we even hired some professional animal handlers to bring a pair of chimps to the protest holding some white flags, representing Reid and Pelosi wanting to surrender and abandon our mission in Iraq.Tuesdays rally was about the importance of opposing Obama’s nuclear deal, which gives Iran a clear path to develop a bomb, and gives Iran access to over $100 billion in assets that they are free to use to fund their various terrorist surrogates operating throughout the Middle East.

 We were joined by local activist Danny Tarkanian (above)
and famous businessman/author Wayne Allyn Root (below).
Reid is one of the undecided Senators, and it is critical we push him to oppose Obama’s nuclear agreement. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, another Democrat, has already announced he will oppose the Iran Deal, and there are several other undecided Senators like Chris Coons of Delaware who we have to pressure. Getting Harry Reid to oppose the deal could be the critical vote. Tuesday’s rally sent a message to all Senators that real patriotic Americans want them to oppose Obama’s Iran deal!

 


MAF is Proud to Honor those Killed in the Chattanooga Terrorist Attack

On July 16, 2016 shots rang out at the Chattanooga Armed Forces Recruitment Center as radicalized Islamist  Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire from behind the wheel of a rented silver Mustang convertible where he discharged approximately 25-30 rounds, wounding a U.S. Marine before escaping the scene  Abdulazeez then drove roughly seven miles to the U.S. Naval Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway in Chattanooga where Abdulazeez rammed through a security gate, drove to one of the centers buildings, charged inside and fatally wounded  2nd Class Logistics Spc. Randall Smith who died on July 18 from his injuries. After shooting Smith, Abdulazeez exited the back of the building and entered a motor pool area where he began firing his weapon killing four more marines in the fenced motor pool area including  Lcpl. Squire “Skip” Wells, GySgt. Thomas Sullivan, Ssgt. David Wyatt, and Sgt. Carson Holmquist before reentering the building where Abdulazeez was gunned down by responding police officers.
In addition to those killed, a marine recruiter and a responding police officer were both shot with non-life threatening injuries.Lt. Cmdr Tomothy White (USN), who was not injured in the attack discharged his personal weapon in an attempt to engage the gunman which allowed a group of unarmed service members to escape over a fence. White will not be charged for firing his weapon although there was initial speculation that he could face charges. It is believed at least one of the service members killed in the attack also fired at the terrorist.After five days of mounting criticism President Obama bowed to public pressure and ordered flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of those slain.Please take a moment to pray for the heroes of the Chatanooga Shooting2nd Class Petty Officer Randall Smith, United States Navy

Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, USMC

Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, USMC

Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, USMC

Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, USMC

An ongoing FBI investigation will determine the classification of the shooting, which will determine if these five will be eligible to be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

CALLING ALL TROOPS
Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, just copy this link  [ http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ ] Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.

MAF’s Monthly Smiles Club Keeps the Smiles Coming Year-Round

Want an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long?  Join the Move America Forward Monthly Smiles Club. Simply provide us with your monthly budget, and a little information from you and we do the rest. That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face.

We can also set up programs that send packages out for all the different holidays through the year. We have members who send out packages for Easter, Forth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and others who send out packages every other month or even quarterly. We’re here to help with whatever you or your company, group or organization wants to do to support the troops. There’s no obligation, and  you can stop sending packages at any time.

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

 


I believe it is important to share the stories of our services members, which is why I reached out to WWII Navy veteran, John “Jack” Ehrbar.  As our population of surviving WWII veterans rapidly shrinks, I am hoping to share some of their first- hand accounts of life in the service during WWII while they are still with to share their stories.

Jack’s Story

“The Army was after me and I said ‘No Way!’ My father had to sign for me, because you had to be twenty-one to be drafted and I was only twenty at the time.”  So on September 29, 1942 Jack enlisted in the United States Navy.

“So I was off to Great Lakes for four weeks of boot, what they call boot camp, then I came home for a nine day leave and after that went back to Great Lakes for sixteen months of radio school. Morse code, typing, I really learned to type in the Navy. I mean they really gave it to you for a month… I got to the point I could type 50 words a minute in Morse code.”

After completing of his training Jack was a 3rd class radioman. Jack must have impressed his Navy instructors since he was asked to stay on as an instructor following his training, and was promoted to a 2nd Class radioman. Jack remained as an instructor at Great Lakes until spring of 1944.


Jack’s first official Navy portrait postcard sent to his mother from Great Lakes

Jack was then sent to Galveston, Texas where he reported to an LCI – Landing Craft Infantry with orders to Bora Bora via the Panama Canal.  Jack’s vessel was the group flagship in a four ship contingent where Jack had charge of the radio shack.

After a brief liberty on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal it took 19 days to reach Bora Bora. The LCI’s had no names, just hull numbers and after all these years Jack could rattle off the hull numbers for all four LCI’s in his group, LCI-976, 977, 978 and 979.  Jack was the radioman aboard LCI-978. The small group had no escort ships save the dolphins that swan along the side of the vessel.

The group was making ready to shove of in Bora Bora but could not locate one of its crew members, Jack recounted seeing the tardy crew member walking up carrying a bucket of dirt. Jack asked him “Now what the hell are you doing with that?” to which the crew member replied “I’ll be damned if I’ll go 19 days without seeing land again!” Jack chuckled, shook his head and muttered, “Screwball.”

After a refueling stop in Bora Bora  they were off to New Guinea but by then the Japanese were no longer in control. Jack remembers checking out the remains of an old Japanese Zero in the jungle and slurping water out of a crystal clear stream before returning to the ship. From there it was off to an island south of the Philippians in preparation for the invasion of the Philippians.

Jack recounted in preparation for an operation, they would clean up and just make everything look good first. They would change the sheets on their bunks which had no mattresses, just a ledge, but better than a net hammock according to Jack. They had just picked up some Army men in preparation of the operation and some of the Army officers came down to their staff area, where Jack and the other staff bunked looking for quarters, and Jack told them “Sorry Sir, but you will have to go to the other side of the hold, none of these are for you.”, to which the Army officer replied “Those enlisted men have got it better than we do!”

So the LCI put the Army members ashore on the island and then they ended up in the Leyte Gulf two days after the invasion, and McArthur was already ashore so they were ordered to pick up twenty of cases of Canadian Club from a destroyer to offload to McArthur and the officers who were now onshore! Number one order: “Make sure we didn’t take anything!”

“Believe it or not, we would have been sitting ducks if the Japanese hadn’t turned back, it just looked like a mountain of gunfire from the Japanese planes that were flying over. But the Japanese turned back because they were really going to be intercepted anyway. So they turned back.  There was one guy in our sister ship who did get killed from a Japanese plane bullet and afterward I saw a couple of the Japanese bodies floating in the Leyte Gulf.”

After everything was pretty secure they went to one of the nearby islands where they could get booze brought in from Australia. As Jack put it “We hadn’t had a good drink in a long time, we had this homemade stuff the cook made, not very good; grapefruit juice and whatever, so anyway we all decided we needed a drink and you could get booze from Australia and we had money. In any event we paid $75.00 for 2 liters of booze, three of us .It was expensive; almost a month salary, but we didn’t give a crap. So we went ashore while the tide was out and the ramps to the beach were ok, and the three of us went down and walked a short distance. So we drank both of them and got drunk as a skunk. Chad Orm was one buddy and Dalton Neal was the other guy, he was the yeoman. Of course we passed out on the beach and when we woke up at 2:00 a.m. the tide was in and the ramps were covered in water, so we’re supposed to get back to the ship and Dalton Neal says ‘Watch this, I’ll run right up that ramp” and of course he missed it by about three feet and ended up in the water.”


Jack (far left) with his shipmates off Cebu Island, April 1945

So we were still in the Philippians when the war ended in August of 1945, so then we went to Formosa, they call it Taiwan now, where we didn’t go ashore and then we took some Chinese troops to Shanghai, we went to Shanghai twice.”

Jack did have a girl back in Chicago who he wanted to marry, but when he got home he received a “Dear John” letter. In Jack’s absence she married her high school sweetheart. “Do you know what she said to me? ‘You’ll probably marry the girl next door’, almost, almost” Jack laughed as he recalled.

Jack ended up marrying Ruth, his sweetheart and nearly the girl next door with whom he raised three great children, Corrine, Mark and Mary Lynne. Jack and Ruth were married for 45 happy years filled with love, and laughter and countless wonderful meals from Ruth who was an excellent cook and baker, her family still talks about her homemade pecan tassies and fruit kolachkis with near reverence. Ruth passed away in 1993 leaving a big hole in the family but so many wonderful memories.

Several years later Jack did remarry and once again he chose a woman who lived very close by, sadly Colette, his second also passed away several years ago. It seems his long ago Chicago sweetheart knew her Jack pretty darned well.

Jack Ehrbar is in his mid 90’s now and still lives in his own home with his son Mark. He’s a dapper gent with eyes the color of faded denim that sparkle behind his glasses denoting his quick wit  and fantastic memory and I am so happy I was able to share his stories with you here today.

I hope you enjoy reading my column and I would love to hear your thoughts and stories as well. If you have served or have family members who have served I would encourage you to allow me to share your own story so I can help tell all the wonderful stories about our brave troops that deserve to be heard.

I hope I gave you something to smile about, so pour yourself a nice cup of coffee, or in my case a tall icy glass of sweet tea, count your blessing and have a great day!

Lisa

I would love to hear from you, even on our darkest days we all have blessings and I would love to share yours. Contact at lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org and use the subject line Count Your Blessings.

We Had a Packing Party!

We had local volunteers in the MAF Headquarters working hard to prepare another 800+ care packages for our troops on the front lines. The packages have been boxed up and will soon be headed for deserving troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. As you know, there are still over 10,000 American troops deployed across two fronts in the war on terror.

Hundreds of boxes were packed, labeled, and made ready to ship! Supporters local to the Sacramento area came in to lend a hand, but if you live somewhere else around the country, you can still help by making a donation! We need more generous donors to sponsor these boxes so we can ship them off to Afghanistan and Iraq! Click here to donate now!

TWEETS FOR TROOPATHON!



Did you Know?


August 2, 1990
The Iraqi army invaded Kuwait and annexed by Iraq which claimed that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq. This resulted in Desert Shield, the massive Allied military buildup, and later  Desert Storm.

August 6, 1945American B-29 bomber Enola Gay  drops the first Atomic Bomb over the Japanses city of Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m.

August 9, 1945U.S. B-29 drops second Atomic bomb over Nagasaki, Japan around noon causing massive destruction and casualities.


August 9, 1974
President Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency as a result of the Watergate scandal thus becoming  the only U.S. President ever to resign.


August 14, 1945
Japan’s Emperor Hirohito accepted Allied surrender terms with the exception that the Japanese Emperor’s sovereignty would be maintained. Known as V-J Day in commemoration of Japan’s surrender.


August 18, 1920
With the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution women were granted the right to vote.

August 21, 1959Hawaii is admitted as the 50th state following a proclamation signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

August 24-25, 1814During the War of 1812, Washington, D.C., was invaded by British forces that burned the Capitol, the White House and most other public buildings along with a number of private homes.

August 28, 1963Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his now-famous I Have a Dream speech at the March on Washington civil right rally in Washington, D.C.

May Newsletter 2015


Watch your emails for the Date of our Annual Troopathon 8 Live Event!


We are excited for our upcoming Troopathon 8 Live coming this summer, we will share the date once we have confirmed. Please join us as we broadcast live over the internet for packed with great guest speakers sharing their stories and offering support to the brave men and women serving far from home as we remember and honor their sacrifices.

Troopathon 8 Live will kicked off with returning host Melanie Morgan and her co-hosts. We’re still in the process of lining up this year’s guests, but you can be sure there will be some great names past year’s guest list which included Oscar nominee Gary Sinise, Bill Whittle, Dennis Miller, legendary Coach K of Duke University and syndicated radio host Roger Hedgecock, and radio host and best-selling author S.E. Cupp.

We will be sending out emails, posting on Facebook, and Tweeting to keep you posted as we line up this year’s  exciting guest list, so if you haven’t already, add us on Facebook and Twitter now. And as always, thank you for standing behind our troops and offering them the support they deserve!

 

Hats Off to You Super Mom!

Many of our Deployed Mom’s celebrated Mother’s Day  with only the hopes of an email, card from home or for the lucky ones a chance to chat with their families via the internet as they serve far from home this year.  Of course, they accept this separation dutifully as part of their commitment to our nation, and they do so proudly. But let’s all make certain that those serving in part to protect their children and everyone else’s are looked after too!

If you missed out on the chance to send a package to one of our dedicated deployed moms, why not take a moment to send your thanks now with our new Beat the Heat care packages?    They’re not just for moms either, any of our troops would welcome al the heat busting goodies, including sunscreen, lip balm, Ohh Ahhs alcohol free wipes and more designed to keep out soldiers cool as temperatures rise!

To all our supporters who did take the time to send a Mother’s Day package we say thank you for supporting our troops!

Our Troops Truly Appreciated your EggCeptional Easter Support!

Thanks to your generous support, Move America Forward was able to send over $25,000 of packages to our troops. Time away from loved ones and friends is always difficult especially during a holiday. Spending Easter away from family and loved ones was just a little bit easier this year for grateful troops knowing that there were people like our supporters thinking about them!

So thank you to supporters like Lucia U. , David W., Howard U., Brenda D. and Diana C. among many others who stepped up to make sure our troops received Easter care packages!

THANK YOU HIGHLIGHT
“Nothing like the comforts and tastes of home!”

We are always thrilled to hear from the soldiers who receive packages though Move America Forward.  Sometimes we receive cards or letters back and sometimes we hear from the soldier directly via email.

This thank you note was an email from a unit of soldiers who received a whole group of support packages to share.

As you can see, they really special receiving the packages and if you haven’t heard back directly from a soldier you have supported, who knows, your package just may have been among this special shipment!



Memorial Day: Fly your Flag to Honor those who Gave All!

Monday, May 25th, 2015 is Memorial Day. It is seen as a great opportunity for a long weekend of barbecues and a chance to catch a baseball game or hang out with friends, but we at MAF know that Memorial Day means so much more.

Memorial Day was established as an occasion to honor and celebrate Union Soldiers, who died in service to our country during the Civil War. After the end of World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to include all American men and women who died serving their country in any military action or war.

Originally called Decoration Day and celebrated on May 30th traditionally, the current name of Memorial Day came into use following WWII and with the passage of the 1968 Uniform Holidays Bill Memorial Day was officially moved to the last Monday in May.

As our way of honoring those who gave all, we are also asking all of our supporters to fly their flags proudly on Memorial Day, and for those who have flag poles to remember to fly your flag at half mast.

Please take a moment out of your day to remember those who sacrificed their lives in service to the United States of America.
Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, just copy this link  [ http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ ] Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you

Our Monthly Smiles Club Keeps Morale High Year Round!

Here’s an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long – join the Move America Forward Monthly Smiles Club. Simply provide us with your monthly budget, and a little information from you and we do the rest. That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face.

We can also set up programs that send packages out for all the different holidays through the year. We have members who send out packages for Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and others who send out packages every other month or even quarterly. We’re here to help with whatever you or your company, group or organization wants to do to support the troops. There’s no obligation, and you can stop sending packages at any time.

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

 


 


U.S. Army Medic Spc. John M. Dawson,
killed in Afghanistan on Apr. 8,2015. (DoD)

Spc. John M. Dawson, 22, of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, died April 8, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was attacked by small arms fire while he was on an escort mission according to a statement issued by the Department of Defense.

Dawson was assigned to 1st Squadron, 33 Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, deployed out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Dawson, an Army medic, who enlisted about a year after high school  in 2012 was shot  in an apparent insider attack by an Afghani soldier  in Jalalabad, a city about 90 miles east of Kabul.

Dawson is the first soldier killed since December, 2014, the longest period of time without a causality since the September 11, 2001 attacks. His awards include the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge and the Air Assault Badge.

Dawson is survived by his parents, Rhonda Dawson and Michael Dawson, both of Whitinsville, Mass. His funeral was held on Monday, April 20, in Upton, Mass.

 

TROOP TWEETS


If you don’t have a Facebook or haven’t had the time to check in with us lately, we thought we’d share a few of our recent posts:



 


I believe it is important to share the stories of our services members, which is why I reached out to one of our Twitter followers, Cy Wagner, with whom I had exchanged a few notes and photos regarding our dad’s time in service during WWll as both our fathers had served with the legendary First Marine Division and both had survived some of the bloodiest battles of WWll including Guadalcanal and Peleliu.

After a few exchanges I approached Cy about sharing his dad’s story with you all here in my column. Although Cy’s Dad, Lester is gone now, I am happy to have a forum to share some of Lester’s story and in doing so shine light on the sacrifices made by this remarkable man during his rather extraordinary life.

 

Lester’s Story

Lester Dale Wagner was one of 15 children born to Grover Wagner the mayor of Carey, Ohio a sleepy village in Wyandot County knows for its limestone quarries and close knit families. Even being one of eight children, my mind boggles at the idea of raising fifteen children… fifteen children!

Cy said his mom Kate was “one tough but loving lady” and I can only imagine his grandmother must have been equally so to have raised such a gigantic brood!

Like many men of Lester’s generation, when his country called, Lester did not hesitate in joining the fight to protect his home, his family and his way of life. Lester, as well as his brothers served during WWII. According to Cy, “I know we had an Uncle Woody or Woodrow who served in the Army Air Corps and Eugene who served in the Navy.”

Lester left behind a young wife, who, in his absence, gave birth to their son she named Larry and whom she raised for four lonely years without a complaint before Lester would return home and finally meet his son.  “She is the last of a breed of women who stayed home raised kids- never drove- back then the doctor would come to the house. She really hung in there while dad was away.” Said Cy with clear admiration for him mom.

Half a world away in the Solomon Islands, Lester’s missions with the tough-as-nails 1st Marine Division took him into the Battle of Guadalcanal then on to Bougainville to help the Allies wrestle control of the island from the Japanese forces.   As a member of a tank crew, Lester fought in some of the most brutal conditions in the stifling heat of the Pacific Theater. In one day alone during the Bougainville campaign, Lester and his incredibly brave tank crew knocked out over 120 Japanese pillboxes at and 10 pillboxes more at Cape Gloucester.

Lester moved on to Peleliu where the 1st Marine Division was nearly decimated by the brutal fight they encountered with the Japanese troops as the U.S. troops attempted to take a strategically located air field on this tiny coral island. The U.S. command had estimated they could take the island in a four day fight; however, the Japanese had heavily fortified the island, digging tunnels and hideouts which led to a two month bloody campaign with the highest casualty rate of the Pacific Campaign during WWII.

Although Lester and his tank crew fought bravely, they were not to be spared from the devastation. According to Cy, “My father would be severely wounded and the only surviving crew member from an artillery round that hit them while fighting on Bloody Nose Ridge on the island of Peleliu.”.

Lester, injured and fighting for his life was transported to a Navy hospital ship with devastating injuries to his legs.  While onboard Lester was awarded a Purple Heart. “The wounds he sustained caused him to have one short leg and he had to have special shoes to compensate.”

The injury led to Lester’s discharge for medical reasons where he was lucky enough to return home to Kate and his young son Larry but not before spending a year recuperating in a VA hospital.

Lester and his wife Kate were both quietly proud of the sacrifices they, and many of their great generation made to save the world from tyranny.

I am honored that I was able to share the heroic story of Sgt. Lester Dale Wagner, U.S. Marine and his family with you.  Special thanks to Lester’s son Cy Wagner for taking the time to share it with me and with all of you who are reading this.

I hope you enjoy reading my column and I would love to hear your thoughts and stories as well. If you have served or have family members who have served I would encourage you to allow me to share your own story so I can help tell all the wonderful stories about our brave troops that deserve to be heard.

I hope I gave you something to smile about, so pour yourself a nice cup of coffee, or in my case a tall icy glass of sweet tea, count your blessing and have a great day!

Lisa

I would love to hear from you, even on our darkest days we all have blessings and I would love to share yours. Contact at lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org and use the subject line Count Your Blessings.

 

Did You Know?

May 2, 2011U.S. Special Operations Forces kill Osama bin Laden during a raid on his compound in Pakistan. The raid ended a decade-long manhunt for the terrorist leader of al-Qaeda which was behind the September 11, 2001 attacks.


May 7, 1915
Germany torpedoes the British ocean liner Lusitania off the coast of Ireland, with 1,100 lives lost, including 114 Americans on board.  The U.S. had previously remained neutral; however, the public outcry hastened America’s involvement in World War I.

May 8, 1942The Battle of the Coral Sea began, marking Japan’s first defeat during World War ll. The battle ushered in a new era of naval warfare as this was the first time two opposing naval forces fought engaging aircraft alone without the ships sighting each other.

May 11, 1969The Battle of “Hamburger Hill” began during the Viet Nam War. After U.S. troops engaged in a 10-day siege marked by bloody hand-to-hand combat with the North Vietnamese and finally taking the hill, American military leaders soon abandoned the position which was quickly retaken by the North Vietnamese.


May 14, 1942
During World War II, an Act of Congress allowed women to enlist for noncombat duties in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), the Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES), Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), and Semper Paratus Always Ready Service (SPARS), the Women’s Reserve of the Marine Corp.

May 20, 1862President  Lincoln signed the Homestead Act  opening up the West to settlement to “homesteaders” who could acquire up to 160 acres by living on the land and cultivating it for five years, paying just $1.25 per acre.

May 24, 1844“What hath God wrought?” with this simple statement telegraph inventor Samuel Morse  ushered in the dawn of the wireless communication era as he sent the first official telegraph message from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore.

MAF Sends Extra-Special Gift to the Biggest 49ers Fan in Uniform

Earlier this year, Move America Forward sent an extra-special care package to a very dedicated football fan serving on the front lines. Inside this care package was a one-of-a-kind 49ers football and today we received confirmation that this timeless piece of pro-troop NFL memorabilia made it into the hands of this deserving troop!

 

 Good Morning Sir/Ma’am!My friend and I here in the middle east sent you a request for a care package a few months back and I am emailing the pictures back to you of the wonderful gift I received!

I truly appreciate the care package that was sent.  It is organizations like yours that make this strenuous and stressful time away from family and loved ones a lot easier and I can’t thank you enough. Your gift will be cherished for generations.

Go NINERS!!!

Sincerely,
TSgt Shawn S.
F-16 EFS Munitions Specialist

 

We are very glad to help troops deployed overseas, especially with such an extra-special gift like this. But don’t forget there are still tens of thousands more troops still serving overseas and they need our help too!

 


IRAN SAYS THEY WILL PROTECT “AID SHIP” TO YEMEN

Weeks ago there was a showdown with Iran after the US sent our aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to the Gulf of Aden to monitor incoming traffic to war-torn Yemen. One convoy of up to 9 Iranian ships that seemed bound for Yemen turned around and went back to Iran once the US fleet was in their path. We don’t know what those ships contained but clearly they did not want the US to know what was in those vessels.

Now Iran is saying they plan to send a new fleet to Yemen with humanitarian aid and that they will escort this fleet with Iranian warships to protect them from possible US intervention.

These ships are purported to contain 2,500 tons of aid supplies, but we should be highly suspicious of that claim. A tactic that Iran has used before, claiming to be noble humanitarians sending aid, but secretly mixing guns and bombs into the supplies to help arm the insurgency.

Don’t forget last year when Israelis Defense Forces raided a fleet of ships headed for the Gaza strip, supposedly to deliver “humanitarian aid”. What the IDF found aboard those ships were bulletproof vests, knives and ranged weapons hidden under a few boxes of medical supplies.

Due to their past behavior we have every reason to suspect that Iran will try again with this new fleet, to smuggle weapons to the Houthis. We hope that the US works with Saudi Arabia to blockade this fleet until every box is inspected to make sure Iran is not doing it again!

Yemen remains in chaos with half the country under the control of the Houthis, a group of militant Islamic extremist rebels who ousted the government and are fighting to for control of the rest of Yemen. Since the Houthis are supported by Iran, it has long been suspected that the Iranians are providing military and financial aid to the rebels who have been killing with as much ruthlessness as ISIS in Iraq/Syria.

 

April Newsletter 2015 Edition

MAF Happy to be Invited to Attend Ribbon Cutting of New Veterans Service Center

Scott Raab, Move America Forward’s Outreach Director jumped at the invitation to be present to honor our Veterans at the Grand Opening of the new Veterans Service Center on March 25, 2015 at the new Mather, California location.

According to Scott, “Any opportunity to shine the light on our military veterans is a true honor, just being there to shake a hand or offer a willing ear for one of our brave veterans just makes my day!”

 



Every week the Post Office delivers another batch of Thank You notes from soldiers who’ve received packages through Move America Forward. Since some soldiers aren’t always able to send a thank you, we thought you’d enjoy reading some of their notes.

A thank you we received from TF Thunder while they were deployed:

Thank you very much for the items you sent us. We cannot be more grateful for people like you and your unwavering support for deployed Soldiers..I greatly appreciate your prayers and your thoughtfulness!

Respectfully,

1LT Susan. A.
TF THUNDER
Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Army Wife and Mom Shares a Note with MAF

I am an Army Wife and Army Mom. My husband and my son are both currently serving in Afghanistan. The everyday struggle in keeping our family emotionally healthy & stable is a constant struggle. The boys appreciate everything they receive. It brightens up their day, and it reminds them they are appreciated and not forgotten.

Regards
Mrs. Eaton



Unit Commander Says Care Packages Were Like Christmas

As you can see from attached photo, we received 17 more care packages. I’m sorry we don’t have any photos of the opening of boxes (which felt a little like Christmas) but we had a terrible photographer. Oh, wait, it was me! Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate folks thinking of us – there’s nothing like the comforts and tastes of home!

Best Regards

Doreen
Task Force Shafafiyat
CSTC-HQ ISAF

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Troop Tweets

A Big Easter Thank You!

Thanks to your support our troops received hundreds of Easter care packages. This year was a very successful Easter programs thanks to you!  It’s nice to know while we were all here at home celebrating with family and loved ones, thanks to the generous support of Move America Forward donors, many of our troops received a little taste of home.

Although we did not reach our ultimate goal by Easter Sunday, we did get very close. Overall we raised about $21,772 with a final goal of $25,000.

Thanks to you, our troops will still enjoy the hundreds of care packages we have sent and will be sending thanks to your donations. When you are on a six, nine, or even twelve month deployment, a care package from a total stranger back home means the world to you. We’ve received many letters from troops who told us that sometimes these care packages are the only mail they receive all year. They make an immense impact!


Although Easter is now behind us, the troops always appreciate a package from home complete with a personal note from you. Why not take the time to send a package now if you have not done so recently.

We’d also like to take a moment to thank all of our volunteers who helped us pack up all those Easter package! We just couldn’t do this without you!

 

Congrats to Troopathon Alumni Coach K for Leading Duke to  his 5th Championship!

You can view Coach K’s Pro-Troop message here!

Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, just copy this link  [ http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ ] Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you

Way to Go!!

Sponsors and family members have sent over 300 tons of goodies to our American soldiers through Move America Forward since we began our care package program over 10 years ago!


Sending a package? Don’t miss the opportunity to include your own personal message to go with your package! Whether it’s “We’ve got your back” or “Kick some backside” your troop will love reading the personal message you include with your package!

On Behalf of our K9 Troops and Their Soldier Partners MAF send a Great Big Thank You to Stone Ridge Veterinary Hospital!

The team at Stone Ridge Veterinary Hospital in Rochester, New York reached out to us  through staff member Deirdre Santos-Kaukeinen, LVT, to do a special K9 troop support package. We were so excited to work with them and help them reach our deployed K9’s and their handlers.

Thanks to Stone Ridge, in additional to all the regular goodies our troops enjoy receiving,  we were able to send out special K9 care packages on their behalf which  included Paracord survival dog collars, dog bandanas, Ruffwear collapsible water bowls and food sacks, and a few first aid kits as well.

According to Deidre, “Every year we participate in a Teamwork project; this year the theme is giving back to the community. The staff from our hospital in Rochester, NY identified showing appreciation to our active military as what they wanted to do. We also loved the idea of supported our troops and military canines at the same time.”


We were able to coordinate with Deidre to include their specialty items and to put together some great packages for our troops both two and four legged!

If you belong to a group that would like to do something special, we’d love to hear from you. Move America Forward tries our best to accommodate special company requests like these. If you need more info or have questions about doing your own program, contact Lisa Baron, our Director of Troop Support at Lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org.

 

 


I have been asked to contribute a new feature to our Monthly Newsletter. So I thought I would begin my very first one by telling you just a little bit about me. Many of you may know me through Monthly Smiles, and our Corporate Giving program. You may have spoken to me once or twice on the phone, or in the case of long-time supporters like Lucia U., Bud L., Larry M., Nancy H., or Tom D. to name a few, we may have spoken too many times to count over the years. Whether our acquaintance is brief or has deepened over the years to include chats about our children and spouses, I feel the impact of your staggering generosity and support of our troops each and every day. It humbles me and acts as a source of inspiration when I need a little boost.

I have always felt a calling to ensure our troops are honored and remembered. Perhaps it’s the fact that I was born on Veteran’s Day but more likely it is due to growing up listening to my father’s stories about his time as a Marine with the legendary First Marine Division during WWII.


Eugene J. Durk, USMC

Having fought and survived the grueling battles on Guadalcanal, Peleliu, and Okinawa my dad was a living reminder of the sacrifices made by most American men of his generation. Tucked reverently in my dad’s steamer trunk alongside his uniforms and mementos lies a tear stained letter written to my father in 1945 from his sister June informing him of the death of her husband Richard at Luzon in the Philippians. Although the tears shed on this letter dried nearly 70 years ago, this silent testament is a stark reminder that many more were not as fortunate as my father who returned whole and intact and went on to spend 61 years married to the love of his life, my mother Joan, and to raise eight children who were lucky enough to call him dad.

I was fortunate enough to marry my husband Michael, the son of an Army Veteran in 1990. At the time I met him he was a plank owning member of the 110 ft. U. S. Coast Guard Island Class Cutter Attu.  My husband spent nearly 25 years on active duty as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard. As a Caribbean Ninja as the crew called itself,  the Attu crew served on the front line on the war on drugs and had one of the best drug interdiction records in the Caribbean at that time.


Michael J. Baron, USCG (Retired)

During his time on  active duty as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Mike served in many vital roles from pollution and hazardous material response to drug interdiction and law enforcement and I am proud of his service to our country.

So, I am honored that I will have a forum to address more of our supporters through our monthly newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading my column and I would love to hear your thoughts and stories as well. If you have served or have family members who have served I would encourage you to allow me to share a story from you from time to time. 

We love our service men and women; after all, it is why we do what we do every day. I encourage you to share your pictures and stories with me, so I can help tell all the wonderful stories about our brave troops that deserve to be heard.

I hope I gave you something to smile about, so pour yourself a nice cup of coffee, or in my case a tall icy glass of sweet tea, count your blessing and have a great day!

Lisa

I would love to hear from you, even on our darkest days we all have blessings and I would love to share yours. Contact at lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org and use the subject line Count Your Blessings.

 



Not long after Liberals literally lost their minds over Tom Cotton’s open letter and the 47 Republican Senators who signed onto it. Now a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives, which including many Democrats (at least 120) who previously attacked Cotton, has done pretty much the same thing.
Washington (CNN) A veto-proof, bipartisan majority of House lawmakers have signed an open letter to President Barack Obama warning him that any nuclear deal with Iran will effectively require congressional approval for implementation.A group of bipartisan senators have penned a bill mandating that any deal be reviewed and approved by Congress, but the House letter notes that lawmakers have another way to halt an agreement – by refusing to roll back sanctions.”Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation. In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief,” they write.The letter, which was signed by 367 members of the House and released Monday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, follows a similar one, issued to Iran’s leaders and signed by 47 Republican senators, warning that any deal with Iran could be rolled back by a future president.

That letter sparked fierce criticism from Democrats, who said it was inappropriate meddling in delicate diplomatic talks and meant to undermine negotiations, and even some Republicans expressed reservations over the tactic.

CNN March 23, 2015

Though some might say this letter is different because X, Y, Z, they are not any different. The spirit is the same in both – a statement of fact that President Obama must seek the approval of Congress or his deal with Iran will never see the light of day.Democrats jumped all over Cotton for his letter, but their recognition of the truth now just proves that they were going after him because they saw an opportunity to score some political points. They were successful in getting the media machine to attack Cotton for his leadership on the Iran issue, but underneath the politics, many Democrats knew Cotton was right and that’s why they signed onto this new letter.

The issue of Congressional authority is even more pertinent now that Obama claims the Iranians have come to agreement. But just as soon as the administration announced breakthrough progress, cracks began to appear. For example, the Obama administration CLAIMS that Iran agreed to restrict enrichment to the first generation IR-1 Centrifuges which yield low concentrations of Uranium, but the Iranians claim they never agreed to such terms and would continue using IR-8 centrifuges that produce 20 times as much enriched Uranium. Obama also claimed that Iran agreed to completely end all research and development for the 10 years of the agreement, essentially extending their breakout period for as long. However, the Iranians immediately denied such claims and said they would continue researching for the 10 years of the agreement, ensuring that once the 10 years is up, they would very likely be in an advanced enough position to rapidly begin producing a bomb.

Clearly it looks like despite claims that an agreement was made, both sides differ entirely on what that agreement was, and negotiations likely broke down in the end. Both sides wanted to save face and buy more time. It seems we can’t trust either side, Obama, or the Iranians to tell the truth. MAF remains committed that Congress MUST have oversight over these murky negotiations where we can’t tell fact from fiction.

Drop in Monthly Support, We Could Sure use Your Help!

Monthly Smiles is a vital part of successfully supporting our troops during their deployments. Support has dropped out creating a hole in our Monthly Smiles Program which compromises our ability of fulfilling all the package requests we receive. We hate to say no to our troops or leave them empty handed, that’s where you come in.

If you would consider joining – or in some cases rejoining our Monthly Smiles Program we would love to have you.

Simply reply to this email with your budget in $25.00 increments and we will contact you to get you started up.

Our waiting soldiers would just love receiving one of our special packages stuffed full of goodies like beef jerky, gourmet coffee from Rogers Family Company and much more in your name.

Thank you for consideration and your support of our troops!

March Monthly Newsletter

Peeps are Back for Easter

What’s an Easter care package without the sugary fluff of brightly colored marshmallow Peeps? Easter is full of traditions and one tradition we here at MAF like to carry on is our commitment to making sure our seasonal Easter packages for our troops contain Peeps to remind our troops that a long distance hug from home isn’t really that far away after all.  Of course we will still send all the other great treats soldiers crave like, Rogers Family gourmet coffee, beef jerky, Oreo cookies, Gatorade, lip balm, Ohh-Ahhs field towels, deodorant and more.


We know nothing lifts a lonely soldier’s spirits like a letter from home, that’s why when you send an Easter package though Move America Forward your personal message of support will be included with our treats. Most of our deployed soldiers are used to spending holidays away from loved ones but let’s make sure they know we are thinking about them and sending our love today. Peeps are only available for a limited time, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to include this iconic Easter classic in your troop support package.


Use Amazon Smile to Do Your Shopping AND Support the Troops at the Same Time!

Move America Forward is now partnering with Amazon.com and participating their Amazon Smile Non-Profit Program, where Amazon donates a portion of whatever you order to MAF so we can send even more support packages to our troops!

How does Amazon Smile Work?

It’s simple: All you have to do is use the link below to select Move America Forward as the charity you would like to support and a small portion of what you buy is donated. No extra cost to you, just extra support for our brave defenders for buying the things you normally would. It’s a WIN-WIN!!

CLICK HERE TO SET UP AMAZON SMILE

Millions of Americans already use Amazon to purchase clothes, books and movies to tech gadgets, or almost anything you can think of. Chances are, if you’ve ever bought anything on-line, you have probably used Amazon.com at least once or twice.

Now with Amazon Smile, you can support Move America Forward at no cost to you, simply by buying the same things you would have bought anyway.

Prices are the same, shipping is the same, nothing changes except Amazon donates .05% of your purchase to MAF on your behalf!

Special Thanks to Greenwood Elementary in Toledo, Ohio, and Sacred Heart, St. Ignatius and Presentation Schools from Sacramento for the Valentine’s Day Cards!


Greenwood Elementary in Toledo, Ohio was one of several schools to make Valentine’s Cards for our Troops

For the past several years Move America has reached out to schools both locally and across the country asking for students to make home-made Valentine’s Day Cards to be included in our troop support packages.  Thanks to the dedication of teachers like 1st Grade Teacher Patti Imrie and her Principal Mrs. Lane from St. Ignatius, students enthusiastically participated in creating one of a kind cards for our troops to enjoy. The students at St. Ignatius have participated for several years in a row.

According to 3rd Grade Teacher, Rannae Hansen of Greenwood Elementary in Toledo, Ohio who participated for the first time this year, “I have a total of 71 third grade boys and girls. The students’ backgrounds vary greatly from homeless to higher middle class. In general, our kids face a variety of challenges, however, even through their struggles they are a great group of kids with big hearts.”

According to Mrs. Hansen, “They absolutely loved making these Valentine’s cards. Many students wanted to make additional cards but Mother Nature had other plans (snow storms) which many students wrote about in their letters.” Mrs. Hansen went on to add “One of my students has a parent currently serving in the Army Reserves and another student’s father was a Marine.”

When we reached out to Presentation School, they didn’t hesitate to pitch right in again as they had in the past.  Carrie Donohue coordinated everything smoothly on her end and in no time at all we had beautiful cards from the students at Presentation to include in our troop care packages.

And as always we were able to count on the great students and staff at Sacred Heart School to contribute adorable homemade cards for the troops. We love doing this coordinated effort with the schools, it allows people of all ages to reach out to our troops and show them they are loved and supported during their long and often difficult deployments away from family and loved one.

Our Monthly Smiles Club Keeps Morale High Year Round!

Here’s an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long – join the Move America Forward Monthly Smiles Club. Simply provide us with your monthly budget, and a little information from you and we do the rest. That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face.

We can also set up programs that send packages out for all the different holidays through the year. We have members who send out packages for Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and others who send out packages every other month or even quarterly. We’re here to help with whatever you or your company, group or organization wants to do to support the troops. There’s no obligation, and you can stop sending packages at any time.

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

Thanks from Our Troops

We are occasionally asked if the troops really need and appreciate the support package, well here’s the proof!

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our
Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.
Troop Tweets


Share MAF with a Friend
The more soldiers that register, the more we need to reach out to individuals, groups and organizations who’d like to show their support. If you know an individual, company or organization who’d like to support our troops, would you please pass this newsletter along, or copy this link and e-mail it.

 

Thank you for Helping us Answer the Call!
We asked you to help is support three special units; the 831st Transportation Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Battalion, and the Special Missions Wing SOAG.

Thanks to you we met our goal and were able to ship out all the packages we had earmarked for this drive. These supplies will be a nice luxury to the troops who receive them, but words can’t express how meaningful and impactful your messages of comfort, support, encouragement and love will be!



20150318_unflag

“Major nations hold talks on ending U.N. sanctions on Iran – officials” – On Reuters, By Louis Charbonneau
Major world powers have begun talks about a United Nations Security Council resolution to lift U.N. sanctions on Iran if a nuclear agreement is struck with Tehran, a step that could make it harder for the U.S. Congress to undo a deal, Western officials said. The talks between Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – the five permanent members of the Security Council – plus Germany and Iran, are taking place ahead of difficult negotiations that resume next week over constricting Iran’s nuclear ability. Some eight U.N. resolutions – four of them imposing sanctions – ban Iran from uranium enrichment and other sensitive atomic work and bar it from buying and selling atomic technology and anything linked to ballistic missiles. There is also a U.N. arms embargo.
20150318_iran

Rumor has it that President Obama instigated this latest move by the UN security council as an attempt to circumvent a Congress after Tom Cotton’s now famous letter reminding him that Congress must ratify his treaty. Congress is highly suspicious of Obama’s ability to deliver a strong deal with the Iranians. Going to the United Nations is a disturbing move from Obama, showing that Obama is willing use other countries to put pressure on the US instead of the other way round. Luckily, former ambassador John Bolton was quick to assure us that the UN doesn’t have the real power to stop any US or Israeli moves against Iran, if we needed to.
“A U.N. Vote Is Irrelevant to the Iran Deal” – The Wall Street Journal, by John BoltonFirst, even the U.N. will require Iran to comply with any commitments made to the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany. Bureaucracy-loving diplomats and Secretariat personnel will probably create a council committee to monitor Iran’s performance, but neither the U.S. nor any other U.N. member must accept the committee’s judgment that Iran is in compliance when it has contrary information. Washington can act on what it knows, whether or not it discloses the extent of its knowledge.

20150318_bolton


Taking it a step further, Bolton also pointed out that the US always has the option of pulling our funding from the UN, which gets about a quarter of its funding from the US. Doing so would cripple the UN financially, but as MAF has pointed out the corruption and uselessness of the UN in the past, we would also suggest to the next US President to consider pulling out of the UN altogether, especially if they don’t have our backs in stopping Iran from getting nukes.
The General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and other U.N. bodies would doubtless be summoned by Iran and its allies to pass resolutions critical of U.S. or Israeli behavior. Let them. There are few better scenarios imaginable for provoking a far-reaching debate about the U.S. role in the U.N. One could start with the most basic issue: eliminating all funding through “assessed” (meaning essentially mandatory) contributions, and moving all U.N. agencies to voluntary funding. We still firmly believe that the US would be just fine without participation in the United Nations  – John Bolton

February Monthly Newsletter 2015



Chris Kyle April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013 

Debbie Remembers
Chris Kyle

Two years have passed since that dreadful day I was told the awful news and a nation mourned as we learned Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in American history had been murdered in Texas. The release of the movie based on his experiences in Iraq,  American  Sniper starring Bradley Cooper as Chris has brought back many poignant memories for me. Bradley looks and acts so much like Chris in so many ways that it was somewhat unsettling to watch his portrayal on film.

Chris had become just like a son to me, after my son Marc’s death. Chris was actually with Marc when he died and another piece of my heart was sliced away when I received the call that Chris was gone. lt’s a good thing God gave me a big heart.

I picked up my copy of American Sniper that Chris gave to me to find some of his quotes to use in this article, as I opened the book I re-read his note that he signed to me and I would like to share his words with you.


Our world is blessed to have so many selfless brave warriors. I now have two men in whose memories I carry on to honor them. Marc’s last letter home challenged us to do more random acts of kindness, “pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life.” Chris’ motto was “to serve those who served us.”

We can follow their example, honoring and remembering them by combining their two mottos and doing random acts of kindness for our troops and the families of the fallen as our act of service.

Marc and Chris we’ve got your watch and are carrying on as you would have us to. You are deeply loved and deeply missed!

Forever Grateful,
Debbie Lee

We Love our Troops!

Take time to share your love with one of our thousands of deployed troops this Valentine’s Day. To make our Valentine’s package even more special MAF will include yummy and fun Valentine’s candy conversation hearts and extra special home-made Valentine’s cards provided by some caring school children and church groups from all over the country.

Of course, our troop support packages will include all our regular great treats like Oreo cookies, premium beef jerky, Jelly Belly jelly beans, Rogers Family Company premium coffee and  HOO-AHHS field towels and much more. Everyone loves to get a reminder on Valentine’s Day that they are loved and part of a bigger family. Let’s take the time to give some of that love to our troops!

It’s easy to do and our Valentine’s packages start at a super affordable $24.99

Monthly Smiles Club Needs You!

Set up to schedule a monthly troop support package now and we will remember to send a package out through our Monthly Smiles Club for you each month. Our Monthly Smiles Club provides an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long! Simply provide us with your monthly budget, and a little information from you and we will contact you directly to go over your request. That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face. Our Director of Troop Support, Lisa Baron personally oversees our Monthly Smiles program and she will make sure that your monthly package contains a personal message from you to the troops with every package we ship out on your behalf.

We can also set up programs that send packages out for all the different holidays through the year. We have members who send out packages for Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and others who send out packages every other month or even quarterly. We’re here to help with whatever you or your company, group or organization wants to do to support the troops. There’s no obligation, and you can stop sending packages at any time. Plus Monthly Smiles donations are always 100% tax deductible!

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

“Mail is such an awesome feeling.”

Registering a Soldier is Easy

Registering a soldier to receive support packages is easy. If you have the address of someone deployed on active military duty, click here for our Military Sign-Up Center or copy this link (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/) and e-mail it to them so they can sign-up themselves. Once signed up they will be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring fellow Americans.

Tweets for Troops

 

MAF is Proud to Honor Sgt. Morris and Spc. Martin


Sgt. Ramon Morris, 37


Spc Wyatt Martin, 22

 

Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Morris and Spc. Wyatt Martin were killed while serving in support of Operation Enduring on December 12, 2014 in the Parwan Province of Afganistan near Kabul when the vehicle they were riding in was ambushed in a deadly roadside attack killing Morris, 37 of New York and Spc. Wyatt Martin 22 of Mesa, Arizona. Both soldiers were combat engineers assigned to the 2nd squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division deployed out of Fort Hood, Texas.

Sgt. Morris was on his fifth deployment, according to the Defense Department.

Morris, whose home of record is listed as New York City enlisted in the Army in February 1996.

Morris’ deployments include a one year assignment in Korea as well as four deployments between 2002 and 2009 to Iraq and his final tour in Afghanistan where he was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from June to December this year.

Morris was a highly decorated hero with awards including a Bronze Star Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, six Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medals, Afghan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge and the Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver Wheeled Vehicle.

Morris was laid to rest in New York and leaves behind a fiancé and 3-year old daughter, Ariana.

Spc. Martin was serving his first deployment. He served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from June to December 2014, according to a Pentagon report.

Martin’s awards and decorations include an Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

Spc. Martin was a graduated of Skyline High School in Mesa, Arizona and had planned on attending Michigan State University upon completion of his service with the hopes of becoming a fish and game officer. Spc. Martin is survived by his parents Brian and Julie, as well as sisters Katie and Beth, Martin was laid to rest on Christmas Eve in his hometown of Mesa, Arizona.

The death of these two brave soldiers is a stark reminder that our troops are still serving and risking their lives in service to our nation.

 

 

Did You Know…?

February 1, 1861 Following a state convention vote, Texas becomes the seventh state to secede from the Union. Texas governor Sam Houston, a strong supporter of the Union objected but the vote passed 166-8 in favor of secession.


February 3rd, 1943  – During WWII, the troop ship USAT Dorchester was torpedoed in the north Atlantic on its way to Greenland with 900 souls aboard. In the chaos of the explosion, which knocked out all electric power and lighting on the Dorchester, the Four Chaplains acted to calm the troops and pass out life vests as the Dorchester began sinking. When they ran out of life vests for the troops, each of the Four Chaplains, knowing death was certain, took off his life vest and put it on a soldier without one.


February 9, 1943
U.S. troops captured Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands after six months of brutal fighting during WWII in the Pacific.

February 15, 1898U.S. Battleship Maine explodes at anchor in Havana, Cuba and quickly sinks resulting in 260 crew casualties. The incident leads to a declaration of war against Spain on April 25, 1898, amid cries of “Remember the Maine!”


February 23, 1836
The battle of the Alamo begins with Mexican troops estimated in the thousands under General Santa Anna laying siege to the Alamo leading to a 13-day blood battle against the vastly outnumbered Texans with troops numbering only about 200 men. Casualties included pioneer legends Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie.

February 27, 1950The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, limiting the president to two terms or a maximum of ten years in office.


MAF January 2015 Newsletter


A Look Back At 2014!
It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone, as we say goodbye to 2014 and ring in a new year, we are so thankful to have called you all friends and supporters.  Your unwavering devotion to our troops is an inspiration to us and makes our mission of troop support possible. So as we move into our 11th year of troop support, we are glad to have you, our partners in support at our side.

We wanted to share some of the highlights of the last 12 months. It’s a great way to remind you, our supporters, of all the wonderful things we were able to do for our troops thanks to your donations and support.

Without your involvement, none of these things would have been possible, so thank you for helping make each of our achievements in 2014 possible.

January  — MAF spreads the word about the movie adaptation of Marcus Luttrell’s book Lone Survivor. This is a movie that we wanted to see succeed, as Marcus Luttrell is a personal friend of MAF spokeswoman Debbie Lee, and because this Navy SEAL’s amazing Afghanistan war story is a powerful one that Americans need to know about.

With that in mind MAF came up with a unique offer that would not only help the troops but help Lone Survivor at the box office. We offered a pair of free movie tickets to donors who made a Large Care Package donation for our troops on the front lines. Hundreds of troops were able to receive care packages as well as hundreds of moviegoers who got to enjoy a real American hero’s tragic but inspiring tale.

February — MAF joins American Legionnaires, veterans, patriots, and strong supporters of our military on February 3, 2014 to celebrate and commemorate the service and selfless sacrifice of Four Chaplains who gave everything. A plaque was established in their honor at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, San Diego, on the 71st annual “Four Chaplains Day”.

During WWII, the troop ship USAT Dorchester was torpedoed in the north Atlantic on its way to Greenland with 900 souls aboard. In the chaos of the explosion, which knocked out all electric power and lighting on the Dorchester, the Four Chaplains acted to calm the troops and pass out life vests as the Dorchester began sinking. When they ran out of life vests for the troops, each of the Four Chaplains, knowing death was certain, took off his life vest and put it on a soldier without one.

Their selfless heroism of service and sacrifice led Congress to award each a Purple Heart and Distinguished Service Cross in 1944, and an unprecedented Congressional Medal of Valor in 1961. By a unanimous Act of Congress in 1988, February 3rd was declared to be observed annually as “Four Chaplains Day.”

March — Move America Forward celebrated our 10 year anniversary by making a special shipment of 2,000 care packages and unveiling a special 10th Anniversary Logo to commemorate an entire decade of supporting the troops and their missions in the war on terror.


MAF continues that same mission by sending thousands of care packages to the troops every year and continuing to advocate for our troops every time we can.

April – Moving ahead to Easter season, we concentrated on sending the most iconic Easter treats to our men and women on the front lines. Easter favorites like Jelly Beans and Marshmallow Peeps adorned the Easter Care packages we offered.

Thanks to your support, we fulfilled our goal and sent 1,000 care packages to the front lines for Easter

May — At the beginning of May we learned that House leadership was finally forming a Joint Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi terror attacks of 2012. MAF had been calling for this type of thing since February, complete with a petition on our web page that tens of thousands of you signed, but we were happy to see action finally being taken by our leaders in Washington and we welcomed the new Joint Select Committee.

We also supported the selection of Trey Gowdy, a tough and accomplished litigator, to lead the investigation.

We applauded Congressman Gowdy when he took Ambassador Susan Rice to task for her stubborn and arrogant refusal to admit lying to the American people on national TV immediately after the attacks. We also called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify before the committee, but Clinton refused to do so.

Here is a short excerpt from our Petition asking Hillary to testify on Benghazi:

Former Secretary Clinton is the most important witness to this investigation – we want to know the facts that Hillary knows on Benghazi! Please take this petition as an expression of your constituents to see former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testify before the House Select Committee – it’s time we got the facts from Clinton herself!

Signed, a concerned American patriot

June —  June 25th we held our 7th annual Troopathon fundraiser to send care packages to our troops for the summer.

This was one of our most exciting Troopathons ever thanks to an in-studio visit from famed actors and troop supporters Gary Sinise and Robert Davi.

We were also lucky to have Lacey Castleberry who helped distribute MAF care packages to troops while she was working as a private contractor in Afghanistan.


John Ondrasik and Gary Graham both gave awesome in-studio performances.

One of our most successful Troopathons, we raised $350,000 for the troops.

July —  It was just about the time that the VA Care Scandal was unfolding. The shameful situation of veterans waiting for months or even years to get care from the VA along with years of mismanagement started coming to light. The VA system under Obama’s administration was failing our veterans. MAF put out a press release calling for the resignation of Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Eric Shinseki. He announced his resignation the next day.

“The number of veterans that were denied medical care they needed is simply inexcusable. These stunning revelations call into question the accuracy of information provided to Congress on Veterans Health Affairs’ wait time performance. President Obama cannot delay to take all necessary steps to incorporate a new management team effectively immediately. Additionally, Present Obama must remove Secretary Eric Shinseki immediately from his post to restore some confidence in the Department.” said MAF’s Scott Raab.

August —  MAF helped a rally organized by California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly to support of Marine Andrew Tahmooressi jailed by Mexican authorities for months without due process. Andrew Tahmooressi served two combat tours in Afghanistan with the US Marine Corps before he was honorably discharged in 2012 and returned to the US. On March 31, 2014, he was on his way to meet some friends in the town of San Ysidro, California, a town very close to the Mexican border. He made one unlucky wrong turn and found himself on a one way road into Mexico with no way of turning around or getting off the highway.

After accidentally crossing the border, he informed Mexican border agents that he had loaded firearms in his vehicle and just wanted to turn around. Instead of being allowed to simply turn back, he was arrested and held for 8 hours before being charged with possession of illegal weapons (Mexico has very strict gun control laws).

Ever since, it had been a battle to try to bring Sgt. Tahmooressi home. California Governor Jerry Brown and President Obama seemingly did nothing to help negotiate or secure his freedom. Americans were frustrated with the lack of action and this rally was a display of that. After being held in Mexico for 214 days, he was finally released on November 1st.

September —  On the anniversary of  September 11th MAF was honored to be invited to assist John Vinson and his family to help them put up a huge memorial flag display to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

John Vinson says that when he woke up September 11th, 2001, and heard about what had happened in New York City, he was confused, afraid, frustrated and angry. He channeled his anger by picking up an American flag and going to a freeway overpass and simply waving it proudly and defiantly at the enemy, for all the passing motorists to see. Those that passed by and saw him waving the colors honked and cheered and encouraged him.

Over the years John has continued to fly the flag every 9/11, except today he has well over 3,000 flags to fly and he’s moved from the freeway overpass to a field in view of a busy street in West Sacramento. But his idea is the same as ever, to fly the flag (now a collection of flags laid out as a memorial to the fallen) in defiance of those who would try to destroy our freedom. Today there are 340 flags on display plus 2,977 flags that represent each of the victims who perished on 9/11.

October  — With Halloween just around the corner, Move America Forward volunteers had plenty to do shipping out special Halloween packages to troops including “Thunder Troopers” from the 3d U.S. Cavalry Regiment.  Even though our troops can’t be here to celebrate with their own kids, and raid their Halloween candy stash, they can still get a little treat from all of us back home who haven’t forgotten their service.

November — This year over 24,000 American troops spent Thanksgiving in Afghanistan, fighting for our freedoms. We wanted to THANK our troops and PRAY FOR THEM as we prepared to sit around the table with our loved ones to say grace and eat a bountiful feast. We asked you to help us bring Thanksgiving to our troops on the front lines.

Since no Thanksgiving turkey day is complete without a turkey, we included premium Turkey Jerky made from 100% white meat turkey breast, Winter-themed Oreo cookies with red creme filling, hot chocolate and festive candy corn to remind our troops of a home-made Thanksgiving meal. Thanks to your donations we were able to send hundreds of these Thanksgiving Meal care packages to troops on the front lines. For some, it might be the only mail they received all year long.

December — For the first time ever, MAF partnered with KSRO Newstalk 1350 for Thanksgiving and Christmas to encourage local Santa Rosa residents to drop off care package supplies at the Sonoma County Veterans Memorial for MAF to come pick up and send to Afghanistan.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department as well as dozens of local business joined in. Sheriff’s Deputies and civilian staff all brought items to donate, along with local businesses Brezeale Automotive, Ken Bauer DDS, and Auto Life Center whose employees also contributed. Thanks to KSRO 1350, our first ever local donation drive was a success!

In December we had Local Cub Scouts from Pack 788 join MAF at our headquarters for a care package party. The Scouts came in and worked for over two hours, packing up over 400 boxes of Christmas care packages bound for troops on the front lines.

We put together this awesome video for your enjoyment, showing off all the great work done by these cub scouts.

Then with just a few days left until Christmas, MAF sent out those care packages in a big shipment of over 750. The local news came by to see us loading up hundreds of boxes into the Post Office trucks and interviewed MAF staff about the packages.

For Christmas this year MAF included iconic Christmas items like a Christmas stocking filled with candy canes and other Christmas candy, hot chocolate, Winter themed Oreo cookies, and Peppermint “Christmas in a Cup” Coffee From Rogers Family Company.

Help us start strong in 2015 and together we will continue to do great things for our troops!




Registering a Soldier is Easy

Registering a soldier to receive support packages is easy. If you have the address of someone deployed on active military duty, click here for our Military Sign-Up Center or copy this link (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/) and e-mail it to them so they can sign-up themselves. Once signed up they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring fellow Americans.

Companies Who Stepped up to the Plate

Companies are often eager to support our troops through our Corporate Sponsorship Support Program. By raising funds doing everything from selling dress down days to holding bake sales and even holding silent auctions, hundreds of corporate support packages have reached our troops! Thanks to Corporate Sponsors like Stag Arms, The Schwartz Foundation, and Somerset Hills Shopping Center, Inc., and many more many troops have received packages with special letters from their corporate partners. If your company would like more information on how you can send support packages through Move America Forward, contact lisabaron@MoveAmericaForward.org, and Lisa will be happy to help you put your own corporate program together.

 


Christmas Support a Big Success Thanks to You!!
We asked you to help make sure our troops would receive packages during the holiday’s which are always a tough time for our troops to be  away from family and loved ones. We at Move America Forward offer our sincerest THANK YOU to all the people, companies, groups and organizations who stepped up to send Thanksgiving and Christmas packages and messages of support. You loving and visible support made it a little easier for our troops during this year when other concerns often push their needs into the background. Thanks to your generosity and support, the holidays were brighter for thousands of American soldiers.
If you sent a package and have not yet received a thank you, please be patient. Sometimes it’s very hard or even impossible for a soldier to drop a note in the mail, as much as you would all love to hear back from the soldier you have sponsored.

Start the New Year out with a Smile


The Christmas season can be so hectic that sometimes we just don’t quite get around to checking everything off our “To Do” list.  If you intended on sending a care package to our troops for Christmas and just never got around to it, why not take the time to start of the New Year with a gift to our hard-working troops?

 


 

December found me in New York to attend the premier of American Sniper. The movie is based on the bestselling book written by the late Chris Kyle. Chris was a Navy SEAL who is the most lethal sniper in American history. Chris was on SEAL Team Three, Charlie platoon with my son, Marc. Chris was with Marc when he died on August 2, 2006 and he became like a son to me. Chris was tragically murdered Feb 2, 2013 at a shooting range in Texas.

I knew it would be extremely difficult to watch as Marc was also one of the main characters in the movie. Bradley Cooper does an amazing job studying Chris, learning his Texas drawl and gaining 40 pounds of muscle to mimic Chris’ stature. When Bradley met with the family before they started shooting the film, he wanted to get in the character and asked about things personal to Chris that he maybe carried or wore. Chris wore a black memorial bracelet with Marc’s name on it and Bradley asked if he could get one so he could wear it. I sent Bradley Marc’s memorial bracelet, Marc’s challenge coin that Chris carried in his pocket everyday and had on him when he died. I also sent Marc’s memorial patch that his teammates had made and wore the rest of his deployment in Marc’s memory.

To my surprise a few weeks after I sent the package I received 2 dozen white roses from Bradley Cooper. I was shocked. The flowers arrived as I was headed out the door for San Diego to visit Marc’s grave for his birthday. When the florist made the delivery and before I opened the card, I guessed that it was from one of my “adopted boys.” So you can imagine the shock when I read the card. That was something Chris would have done, maybe Bradley does have the heart to play Chris.


Me with Chris Kyle when his book came out in 2012

Me with Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper

There were certain parts of the movie that I had a flash back, Bradley looked or sounded so much like Chris. The movie does a great job of letting Americans know the struggles of combat, the impact it has on the families left home after multiple deployments, and the reentry back into a civilian life. It also deals with the physical and emotional toll that over a decade of war has on our Vets and the need to support them.

They took great liberties of expression in how they portrayed Marc. Luke Grimes who plays Marc was hired 2 days before they began filming. The character of Marc is all fictional other than he does get killed in combat.

While American Sniper was the most emotional movie I have ever watched because of my relationship and loss to the characters in the movie. Just remember it is not a documentary, it is “based” on the book.

I do recommend that everyone read the book and see the movie.

 

Hey Kids! We Need You!

We know our troops miss their kids while they are a world away serving on behalf of us all. We want to make sure our troops will have a smile on their face and in their hearts when they open a package including beautiful homemade Valentine’s from school children. We are inviting school children from across the nation to send us their Valentine’s Cards to be included in our special Valentine’s packages for our troops.
Our goal is to have every state in the nation represented in our special Valentine’s Care Packages for the troops, which include our regular care package goodies plus some extra special Valentine’s goodies to let the troops know there is lots of love coming their way.

If your child’s school would like to participate, email our Director of Troop Support, Lisa Baron LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org

Let’s share our love with our troops this Valentine’s Day!

Weber Grill Donates Spirit Grill to a Deserving Troop

Thanks to Weber Grill for their generous donation of the Weber Spirit Grill! When the Weber E-310 Spirit grill donated by Weber for one lucky recipient, Senior Airman Christina Vinson arrived at our offices, our own MAF team of Scott Raab and Shawn Callahan jumped in eagerly to assemble it right on the spot. Christina is a Senior Airman in the USAF and was thrilled by her new Weber Grill. Happy Grilling to Airman Vinson, we are so excited to hear you are enjoying your new grill and looking forward to some down time in which to enjoy it!



Our Hearts go out to the Victims of Paris Terror Attacks

We offered prayers and condolences for the families of the victims of the senseless terror attack in Paris. In the wake of these attacks, we must remain defiant and committed to our ideals of freedom of thought and expression.

MAF responded quickly and decisively on the day of the attack stating, “Today’s terror attacks were a painful reminder that these terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, or any group that aligns with a radical Islamist ideology are dangerous and cannot be negotiated with.” said Danny Gonzalez, Director of Communications. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of today’s attack and their families. Their loss and the sacrifice they made in the name of freedom will be known the world over.” said Gonzalez.

“As former President George W. Bush said after 9/11 ‘Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward.’ Just as in Madrid in 2004, London on 7/7, 2005, in Benghazi, and in many other cities around the world. We know that the employees of Charlie Hebdo said they would rather die on their feet than live on their knees, having their thoughts and rights to free speech dictated by men with guns who murder innocents and commit atrocities because of a cartoon depiction of Muhammad. We cannot allow our freedoms to be held hostage by men with guns and a radical ideology.”

“Shame on anyone who looks at these events and says we should have been more sensitive, or that we must limit what we say about Islam or those who profess to follow its teachings. Shame on those who warn others not to speak their mind, or say what they believe, for fear of retribution from the terrorists.” said Gonzalez. “The world must come together to hunt down these extremists and bring them to justice, but not to condemn individuals for speaking out against the radicals who commit crimes in the name of Islam.” said Gonzalez.

MAF Partners with See’s Candy for Soldiers
Can you help with the additional postage needed to send candy to troops on the front lines?

Our friends over at See’s for Soldiers, a local group here in Sacramento helped us get tons of See’s Candy donated. We thought you might like to learn a little more about this wonderful local group and see some of the pictures of us picking up the candy!

See’s for Soldiers works with a coalition of local retail shops and philanthropist clubs like the Kiwanis Club and the Soroptimists Club. They sell the candy at their local club locations throughout the area and establish retail locations where the public can come in, purchase See’s candy to be donated for the troops overseas.

See’s Candy produces a variety of high quality confections with a huge variety of milk and dark chocolates, truffles, nut clusters, butterscotch, brittles, fudges, toffees, pops and more. See’s connoisseur-quality candy is especially sought for special occasions like Christmas gifts.

For the 3rd year in a row, See’s for Soldiers has made a large donation of candy to MAF so that we might ship the hundreds of boxes to our contacts on the front lines of Afghanistan.

Here are some great photos of us picking up the Candy at the Army National Guard center.


Here is the problem we are facing: with so many extra boxes, we don’t have the money for postage to ship the much needed supplies and care packages to our troops! It costs only $13.80 for just postage, so for only $27.60 you can sponsor TWO packages instead of one!

Tweets for Troops






Please note: For those taking part in our American Sniper offer, your tax deductible gift to Move America Forward will be the amount of your donation minus the cost of the movie tickets ($25). So if you donate $100, the amount you can deduct on your federal income tax is $75. If you donate 250, the amount that you can deduct is $225.

December 2014 Newsletter

Our Group Gift Department Makes it Easy

Our Group Gift department makes it easy for any size company or group to support our troops – all you have to do is let us know your budget and we’ll do all the work. We offer you a variety of options for packages to fit your budget. We will even include a customized message from your company, group or organization in every package.

Imagine opening up your mail one day and reading this:

Of course, sometimes soldiers just aren’t in a position to send a thank you when they receive a package, but we know how much they appreciate it. We’ve even been contacted by soldiers who’ve safely returned stateside asking us to put them in touch with the person who sent them a package, so they could tell them personally what it meant to them, and how badly they felt they couldn’t send a thank you at the time. To contact group gift, email LisaBaron@MoveAmerica.org with your questions, and she’ll be glad to help out.

 We are shipping Holiday Care Packages Now!

Our MAF volunteers, staff, supporters and maybe even an elf or two are all pitching in to make sure every package ordered gets in the mail by Christmas. Santa want you to know they’d really appreciate it if you don’t wait until the very last minute to order. And just a reminder to all you procrastinators: packages sent to the military must go by USPS Priority Mail, so we’re not able to offer an overnight delivery option like UPS or FEDEX. But if you do miss the deadline, don’t worry…MAF is sending Holiday Care Packages all the way until December 31st, and even if it shows up after December 25th, the troops are going to be more than willing to celebrate Christmas when it arrives. So if you haven’t had time yet, take a moment to remember our brave men and women serving far from home.
Christmas Cheer Meant to Share!
Want to bring a smile to a group of our deployed troops?  We offer several packages that are meant to be shared by two, four or more soldiers. Just click on our Happy Holidays Shop to see what’s special for the holidays, and check out our gifts designed to be shared.

MAF Makes Your Christmas Shopping Easy!
MAF is making it easy to send a gift to a soldier in the name of family, friends or co-workers. It’s just like making a donation to any other charity in a friend’s honor.  If you just want to send a package or two, or  to send packages in the names of each of your many clients, customers or everyone on your holiday list, we’ll be happy to do all the work for you.

All you have to do is give us your budget and your list, and we’ll do the rest. We’ll even supply you with a letter you can print out or email letting your list of friends know a gift has been sent in their name by you to a deployed service member.  It’s one gift that’s sure to produce smiles all around. Just contact LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org and paste Gift in NAME in the subject line.

Gift of Monthly Smiles!

MAF even makes it easy to give year round. You can give someone a Membership in the Monthly Smiles Club and we’ll send a soldier a package in their name every month all year long. So long after the Christmas decorations are put away, your holiday gift will still be reminding your recipient of you – and reminding a soldier far from home that someone still cares about them.

We can work with your budget to send packages and to include a personal support message. We’ll even prepare a special letter for the person you’re giving the gift to. Then every month both you and the person who received your gift will get a notification from us letting you both know that a package went out. No need to pay up front; we’ll simply charge your credit card each month when your package ships.

What a great gift for a special client, friend or family member or group or employees  If you’d like to find out more, just complete our Monthly Smiles email form and in the area for messages, tell us you want to know more about giving a membership in the Monthly Smiles Club.


 

 



I had the privilege of attending the Stars and Stripes Film Festival around Veterans Day this year. For three days I watched back-to-back movies about our Veterans and the battles that were waged for our freedoms.
I have always been drawn to the movies of war that remind us of the bravery and courage displayed and the sacrifices made for you and I and the values we hold so dear. Both of my sons served in the military, my oldest Kristofer in the Marines and Marc as a Navy SEAL. I remember someone questioning them why our family was so patriotic and why they chose to serve. I remember Marc’s reply a little jokingly “It was all of the war movies Mom made us watch.”We started the film festival with Act of Valor. I had seen the movie twice before so knew what to expect. I had met with Bandito Brothers when they were beginning to write the script and had shared Marc’s heroic story. They had told me Marc would be part of the movie. I knew it wasn’t going to be based on a story in the Middle East, or be a play-by-play of what he did. There are just pieces in the movie, when one of the SEALs stands out by himself to defend his buddies, the funeral scene that is just feet from Marc’s grave. It is a little more general, character qualities that we see in so many of our troops who serve so courageous and selflessly.The end of the movie lists the names of all of our fallen SEALs and of course it is emotional to see my sons name along with so many other brave warriors listed there. As a Mother of a fallen hero, I can tell you that it is so bizarre to see your child’s name on a headstone, granite wall, in a book or movie, but when we have heroes who sacrifice greatly their stories need to be told.The next three days we watched movies about Korea, Iwo Jima, World War II and Viet Nam. You could watch the progression as the movies would depict the actual scenes with reality. After each movie we had someone from that conflict do a Q&A. To be in the presence of so many brave warriors, and be reminded of the deep cost so many families have made for the freedoms we take for granted was overwhelming to say the least.Watching Saving Private Ryan where they drive up the long road to the farm house to notify the Mother that four of her five sons had been killed in combat was almost too much for me. I knew as that car drove up that dusty road exactly what that Mother was feeling. There are no words that could describe to someone who hasn’t experienced those words, “I’m sorry to notify you your son has been killed in action.” I have only lost one son in combat; I can’t even begin to imagine the pain that Mother felt losing four?

Then to watch Black Hawk Down and the graphic reality and consequences of war was about all I could take. I was emotionally drained everyday of the festival. I’m not a big movie person and that probably was more movies in those three days than I have watched in the last three years. I do think it is so important for those movies to be made and for us to be reminded of the cost of freedom.

I remember as I watched one of the movies that it had been over 50 years since these battles and these heroes’ stories are still being told. I was washed with emotion at that point knowing that the movie American Sniper is about to be released. If you haven’t read the book American Sniper it is a must read that the movie is based on. Chris Kyle was the most lethal sniper in American history.

Chris was with Marc when he died and after Marc’s death he became like a son to me. Chris was tragically murdered in Texas almost two years ago. Marc is one of the main characters in the upcoming American Sniper movie, and this one will share Marc’s heroic actions the day he died and his funeral.

The reality that others will be watching American Sniper 50 years from now and knowing the character of Chris Kyle, my son and their teammates brought bittersweet emotions. American Sniper will be released Christmas Day in certain markets and Jan 16th across the country. Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle and Luke Grimes plays Marc. Just like Lone Survivor was based on the book, these are not documentary’s, but I believe that they have worked hard to show the character and tell the stories of these brave SEALs.


Marc was re-deployed to Heaven and this will be the 9th Christmas without him, yet he is still impacting lives around the world.  It’s not just Marc though, so many of our brave warriors have stood out in the line of fire defending you and I and our freedoms. We must never forget the sacrifices each one of our Veterans have made.

As we celebrate the birth of a Savior who was born to sacrifice his life on a cross for you and I, don’t forget our Veterans, their families and our families of the fallen who have sacrificed greatly!

John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” There are only two that would lay down their lives for you. Jesus Christ and our Veterans.

I live my life honoring them both!


As 2014 draws to a close, we at MAF want to take a moment to solemnly remember all the brave members of our armed services who gave their lives in service to our great nation. To the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and best friends who bravely gave their all, your light will shine bright in our hearts today and every day.

Name Branch
Lacey, William K. U.S. Army
Hess, Jacob M. U.S. Marine
McAdams, Andrew L. U. S. Army NG
Scobie, Drew M. U. S. Army NG
Lee, Daniel Tyler U. S. Army
Sipple, Andrew H. U. S. Army
Balli, Edward U. S. Army
Landis, Chris A. U. S. Army
Gray, Joshua A. U. S. Army
Pelham, John A. U. S. Army
Skelt, Roberto C. U. S. Army
Torian, Aaron C. U. S. Marine
Poirier, David L. U.S. Air Force
Erickson, Caleb L. U.S. Marine
Chaffin III, James E. U. S. Army
Danyluk, Kerry M. G. U. S. Army
Chandler, Christian J. U. S. Army
Farrell II, Shawn M. U. S. Army
Rasmussen, Deric M. U. S. Army
Barreras, Martin R U. S. Army
Perkins, Adrian M. U. S. Army
Wykstra, Jacob H. U. S. Army
Jones, Jason B. U. S. Army
Walker, Matthew H. U. S. Army
Hurne, Terry J. U. S. Army
Clouse, Justin R. U. S. Army
McDonald, Jason A. U. S. Marine
Studenmund, Scott R. U. S. Army
Toppen, Aaron S. U. S. Army
Helton, Justin R. U. S. Army
Wolff, Adam F. U. S. Marine
Stewart, David H. U. S. Marine
Garabrant, Brandon J. ISAF
Spitzer, Thomas Z. U. S. Marine
Hamilton, Jr., Don A. U. S. Army
Williams, Keith M. U. S. Army
Prange, Benjamin G. U. S. Army
Gass Jr., Girard D. U. S. Army
Greene, Harold J. U. S. Army
Hairston, Samuel C. U. S. Army
Leggett, Matthew I. U. S. Army
Mulalley, Chris W. U. S. Army
Arsenault, Brian K. U. S. Army
Strong, Charles C. U. S. Marine
Donahue, Mchael J. U. S. Army
Weathers, Andrew T. U. S. Army
Walker, Jonathan D. U. S. Army
Kalafut, Christopher E. U.S. Navy
Cathcart, Michael A. U. S. Army
Riley, Joseph W. U. S. Army
Turner, Wardell B. U. S. Army

*as reported through 11/24/2014

 

 

 



Tweets for the Troops


Merry Christmas, My Friend

‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.

And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.

I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.

Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.

And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,

and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.

But half asleep he rolled over,
and in a voice clean and pure,
said “Carry on, Santa,
it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight

Written by Corporal James M. Schmidt

 

November Monthly Newsletter 2014 Edition

Veterans Day is
November 11, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, is Veteran’s Day.  We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have served our great nation. To all of our Veterans, we say “Thank You!” Your sacrifice and service has kept us safe at home.  Please take the time to thank your friends, co-workers or loved ones this year who have served our country.  In honor of America’s brave veterans, please take the time to fly your flag.
If you are a veteran, check out some of these discounts available to Veterans.http://www.military.com/veterans-day/veterans-day-military-discounts.html
We’d like to offer you the opportunity to send out a special troop support package in honor of your loved one who has served.Simply enter your order and in the message area please enter your message to our troops and let them know in whose honor your are sending your package.

Freedom for Jailed Marine Andrew Tahmooressi!
Mexican Judge Orders Marine Released

We were pleased to see that a Mexican judge has finally decided to release the American Marine Andrew Tahmooressi who has been unfairly held in a Tijuana jail for the last 7 months. He flew back to his home in Miami, FL on November 1, 2014. We are so happy to have this American Marine back home. He, like all of our men and women in uniform, are our heroes.

We just wanted to share a few pictures with you from the big rally to support Andrew Tahmooressi that MAF helped to organize back in August! It was a great event with an estimated 150 – 200 attendees. We had reporters from all across Northern California and as far away as Los Angeles. With the signs, chants, and press coverage, we sent a strong message to President Obama, Governor Brown, and Mexican President Nieto. Now, our prayers have finally been answered.


As a Marine, Andrew served two combat tours in Afghanistan before being honorably discharged in 2012. On March 31, 2014, he was on his way to meet some friends in the town of San Ysidro, California, a town very close to the Mexican border. He made one unlucky wrong turn and found himself on a one way road into Mexico with no way of turning around or getting off the highway.

After accidentally crossing the border, he informed Mexican border agents that he had loaded firearms in his vehicle and just wanted to turn around. Instead of being allowed to simply turn back, he was arrested and held for 8 hours before being charged with possession of illegal weapons (Mexico has very strict gun control laws). It took 7 months for Andrew to finally be released.

Despite repeated calls for help, neither Governor Jerry Brown nor President Obama did anything to bring our Marine home. The President, as Commander-In-Chief never lobbied hard against the Mexican Government to get Tahmooressi back, it appears the Mexican government decided to release Andrew by their own volition, three days before America’s elections. We are so happy to have Andrew home, but imagine the months of suffering that this young man had to go through that could have been avoided if Obama had been willing to fight for his freedom!

We Give Thanks!

Thanksgiving is a day when many of us count our blessings, and take a moment to remember family and friends who can’t be with us to share the day. At Move America Forward we’re thankful to each and every one of you who send packages and messages of support to our deployed to let them know they’re not forgotten.

We’d like to make sure as many soldiers as possible get a taste of the holidays, so we’ve put together some special Thanksgiving treats in our packages that range from hot apple cider mix, to festive multi-colored candy that’s sure to bring a real taste of home. Of course our packages are packed with plenty of our regular treats like beef jerky, nutritious trail mix, candies, cookies, Rogers Family coffee and lots more. And every Thanksgiving care package includes a special personalized message to our troops at no extra charge.

 



“It was like an early Christmas in the shop”



The leaves are beginning to fall from the trees and we are experiencing the crisp cool temperatures that November brings. Along with that we have two holidays that we celebrate this month, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. No matter our circumstances we all have so much we can be thankful for!

Among the top of my list for things I am thankful for are our Veterans who have served and sacrificed. Our warriors who through the ages, in numerous wars and conflicts, wearing different uniforms have selflessly given for the freedoms we enjoy every day. This month I would like to highlight those who have served in my family and honor them and the uniforms they proudly wore.

My oldest son Sgt. Kristofer Lee, served in the Marines from Aug 2000-December 2005. He was the Communication Specialist for his unit and was also the martial arts green belt instructor.

My son-in-law Christopher served in the Army as a Lieutenant from 2001-2003 and was deployed to Iraq.

My youngest son Marc was in the Navy from 2001-2006. He was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq 8-2-06 and was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart and numerous other awards.

My brother Jim is a Master Sergeant in the Air Force for 30 years and has deployed to the combat zone over 10 times.

Our family has represented every branch of the military and proudly wore the different uniforms of each branch. I’m looking at Marc’s uniforms hanging on the wall next to me as I type this. A hero, my son, my mighty warrior once wore each one of those uniforms.

He wore some during BUDs, some while jumping out of an airplane with a parachute strapped on, others for formal events with ribbons and his Trident perfectly placed. Yet others saw the sands of Iraq in heavy combat and felt the warm blood drench the cloth as Marc gasped for his last breathe of air as he defended his teammates and our freedoms.

The fabric of these uniforms isn’t anything special, what made it special was the one who filled it. They filled it with courage, determination, love, humor, commitment, perseverance, selflessness and hope. Each one of our Vets who served through the ages have also displayed those same characteristics.

As a nation we owe it to each and every one of those who proudly wore the uniform a depth of gratitude and respect. We owe it to our fallen heroes to never forget their sacrifice. We must live our lives daily showing our Veterans that we understand and are grateful for all they have given for us.

As a nation we come together on Veterans Day to corporately recognize, honor and thank everyone who has served. I hope that it’s not just Veterans Day that you remember and support our Vets. I choose to do it 365 days of the year as I do recognize the price they paid for my freedoms.

Marc’s last letter home talked about how we could change our world by doing more random acts of kindness.

He ended that letter with a challenge:

“To my family and friends, pass on the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life.” I would challenge you on Veterans Day to accept Marc’s challenge and fill your day with random acts of kindness for those who have served.

If you have served please know that from the depth of my heart I send my love, respect, gratitude and support!!!! You are an American hero!

HOLIDAY DUO

Turkey, pumpkin pie, football, family, parties, shopping, worship services, and decorating! Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner!  This is such a busy and fun filled time for many Americans here at home, but it’s also a special time to remember our troops serving in harm’s way that won’t have a chance to celebrate these special days with their friends and loved ones. As part of your Holiday Traditions why not include remembering our service members with a special package from home.

Move America Forward is happy to offer a special Holiday Duo promotion that will automatically send a package from you next month in  December along with your special note of thanks to celebrate these special holidays.

Our Thanksgiving packages will be packed with our regular treats but will also include special holiday treats like candy corn, special holiday edition coffee and hot cider.  To add a touch from home and our Christmas package will have extra treats like soft peppermints, a fleecy red and white Christmas stocking and hot chocolate as well.

Just contact Lisa Baron at LisaBaron@moveamericaforward.org  and let her know you are interested in the Holiday Duo and she will get all the info from you she needs to make this happen

Signing Up a soldier for a Support Package is Easy

If you have the address of someone deployed on active military duty click here to sign them up to receive a care package. Or copy this link:

http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/

and e-mail it to them so they can register themselves.


Before you know it you will be asking yourself where another year has gone. Let MAF make it easier to remember our troops. If your company, group, school, club or organization would like to send soldiers holiday packages, now’s the time to get in touch with our Group Gift Coordinator and get your program underway. There’s still time for us to put together a custom program for you that could include sponsoring a group or unit, sending packages to soldiers from your home state, or supporting members of a particular branch of the service. We want to be able to do everything possible to make your program special, so if you’re even thinking about “We should really do something to support the troops” this holiday season, send an email to LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org

Did you know?


November 4, 1979 –  Iran Hostage Crisis begins as  Iranian  student militants  overrun the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, Iran, taking  52 Americans hostage who were held captive for 444 days. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have not resumed.

November 6, 1860Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th U.S. President of the United States. Lincoln was the first Republican President elected to office.

November 10, 1775Happy 239th Birthday United States Marine Corps!

November 11, 1919 First Proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson as Armistice Day and officially changed by congress in 1954 to Veterans Day.

November 13, 1942 Five members of the Sullivan family  — Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George — serving in the US Navy aboard the USS Juneau lost their lives during or shortly following  a Japanese torpedo attack in the waters off Guadalcanal during World War II.  Due to the Deaths of the Sullivan brothers, the U.S. Navy no longer allows close relatives from serving on the same ship.


November 19, 1863President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address during ceremonies dedicating the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Battlefield as a National Cemetery. Lincoln’s speech clocking in at just under two minutes is now considered one of the greatest speeches in American history.

November 20, 1945The Nuremberg War Crime Trials began with 24 former of Nazi leaders charged a variety of crimes including crimes against humanity.


November 22, 1963President John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was assassinated while travelling with his motorcade in Dallas, Texas. The President was pronounced dead at 1:00 PM CST at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. At 2:38 p.m., Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States aboard Air Force One.

November 26, 1789 Although traced backed to the Pilgrims in New England.  President George Washington declared that there be a Thanksgiving Day, a day of prayer and public thanksgiving in gratitude for the successful establishment of the new American republic.


All Donations are Tax Deductible
Please make all checks payable
to “Move America Forward”
Donations by Check Can be Sent To:
ATTN: Scott Raab
Move America Forward
8795 Folsom Blvd. Suite 103
Sacramento, CA 95826

Special Thanks to Our Wonderful Sponsors!
Weber Grill, Jelly Belly, Rogers Family Company, Stag Arms, Breitbart Media, Paradies Family Co.

 

October Monthly Newsletter

 

MAF is Proud to Honor Hero

September 28, 2014 was Gold Star Mother’s Day, a day our nation proudly express’s our love, sorrow, and reverence towards Gold Star Mothers and their families. Move America Forward has had the honor to work directly with so many amazing Gold Star families over the years, we thought it would be a great time to share some of these courageous stories.

Today we bring you the story of Matthew J. Holley, a combat medic in the 101st Airborne whose parents John and Stacey Holley fought for all military families to make sure all of our fallen warriors return home with the honor and respect they deserve.

John Holley was one of the Gold Star Parents we were able to take with us to Iraq in 2006. A trip he credits with helping him honor his son and move forward in his life. We have had the pleasure of working with John and Stacey Holley ever since and are so grateful for all they have done for other military families. Please take the time to read the story below and learn about their son.

On a cool autumn afternoon in November 2005 the world seemingly ended for John and Stacey Holley.  With the ringing of the doorbell and the appearance of uniformed military strangers on the porch of their North Idaho home, their quiet lives were shattered by the news that their son and only child SPC. Matthew J. Holley had been killed along with three other soldiers by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Taji, Iraq. He was a Combat Medic with the 101st Airborne Division out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

When Matthew made the decision to become a soldier he was following in the footsteps of four generations of family members before him, including both John and Stacey.  He was driven by a few valued lessons in life that he was raised on. The first to know and respect “that to whom much is given much is expected” and second that whenever the opportunity availed itself “to take his eyes off of himself and to put them on to others.”

 

Etched on SPC Matthew Holley’s gravestone are the following words, “To Serve a Cause Greater Then Myself”.  Profound words spoken by a profound young man to his mother and father for his reason to join the United States Army and become a Medic. Matthew’s zest for life was to apply those valued lessons handed down to him and in doing so share a little of that freedom so many in our nation take for granted, or a little of that free spirit we all have.

Like so many who feel called to serve our nation, Matthew loved the Red, White and Blue.  He loved the freedom it exudes and offers anyone who lives in the United States of America.  As many in our generation, most will always remember that fateful Tuesday in 2001 when the towers fell.  Matthew was just one week short of his 17th birthday, but as his mother reflects back, she believes that day was as much a catalyst for his decision to serve our nation as any.  It was on that day that he saw the cause for freedom and all he had been raised to believe in challenged, and he expressed that “if there was one thing worse than dying, it was being alive and not being free.”

Even in the midst of their grief, John and Stacey knew that they were not the only parents who would face such a crisis.  They were not the only American family destined to hear the ringing of a doorbell, or to learn the news of a loved one’s ultimate sacrifice from the lips of complete strangers.

 

Unbeknownst to them John and Stacey’s sorrow would quickly turn to horror when they discovered that Matthew’s casket would return to San Diego’s Lindbergh Field as common freight. 

There would be no honor guard to welcome their fallen hero back to his hometown.

Instead, Matthew Holley’s remains would be carted around by forklifts and baggage handlers, like a crate of auto parts. Determined to welcome their son home with honors befitting his sacrifice to our nation, the Holley’s embarked on a quest to challenge the law, and to begin a journey of healing that would touch the lives of Gold Star families across our nation.

In 2011 the Holley’s released their co-authored book, Medals, Flags and Memories.  In the book they share the story of their struggle in the weeks and months following Matthew’s death, as they fought to enact the law known today as “The Holley Provision” or as some have come to refer to them as “Angel Flights.”  John and Stacey chose not to write simply a memoir of grief and loss.

Rather their desire was to share a journal of personal transformation, a guidebook for anyone who finds themselves struggling in the storm of their lives.  It’s a journey of faith, love, and ultimate perseverance.  But beyond all of these things, it’s an unmistakable demonstration of the American ideal in action.

Today each fallen heroes casket is met by honor guards in white gloves and crisp uniforms, instead of baggage handlers with forklifts.  The legislation, was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2006, and enacted by the Pentagon in January 2007.

 

Faced with the entrenched bureaucracy of our government, the Holley’s proved that an ordinary family can tip the scales of American justice.  And, in an age where many people feel alienated and powerless, the Holley’s have shown how ordinary citizens can impact the change in federal law, and transform the world we live in.

In a sense, one world ended for John and Stacey Holley in November 2005, when Matthew died to preserve the American dream. But another world opened up, as the Holley’s discovered the power of prayer, determination and belief in the values that our great country was founded on. John and Stacey have honored Matthew’s death by reminding us that his sacrifice and the sacrifice of all those who serve our great nation is not in vain or without the honor due. That the American dream is still very much alive and well, and it is within the grasp of each citizen who dares to reach out and claim it.

 

Copies of Medal’s Flags and Memories can be
purchased online through www.amazon.com


 

LLTB may be an acronym that people post on FB pages; it stands for Long Live the Brotherhood. Most Americans will never experience or be able to comprehend the depth of love and bond that exists with those brothers in arms.

My son Marc tried to explain that to me before he died. I could comprehend that you get really close to them as you train for combat and then deploy to the combat zone. He told me they were like brothers to him. I reminded him I didn’t birth them so they really couldn’t be brothers.

The week Marc died we had 5 of them in our home and I saw how much they loved Marc and that they were hurting just as much as we were. It was at that moment that the light went on and my eyes were opened to that unique bond and relationship that these young men shared and that they were Marc’s brothers. Since those were Marc’s brothers I knew I had adopted/inherited a bunch of new sons.

The ultimate proof of that bond, that love, was that the day Marc died he gave his life for them, giving the gift of life to his brothers.

I have been blessed for this past 8 years to develop a mutual love and relationship with “my boys,” some amazing men. The week Marc died they started calling me MommaLee, and it is a name I cherish

It’s been fun to watch them marry and attend the dress rehearsals and weddings, just like family, or to visit them for vacations, and attend change of command, promotion or retirement ceremonies. There have been many family dinners and gatherings on my trips to San Diego.

Next came the exciting phone calls and birth announcements. “Hey MommaLee we’re pregnant!” Invites to baby showers, phone calls moments after the little bundle arrives, and the first pictures sent via text. I feel a little like the fairy tale of the old woman in the shoe, she has so many children she didn’t know what to do? I have 9 biological grandchildren, and over 30 “adopted grandkids.”

This past week I was able to meet another one of the little girls God has blessed me with and hold her and play with her. Children are such a gift from the LORD.

On Sept 2nd I received another one of those texts letting me know that Leif, another one of “my boys” was in the hospital with his wife Jenna and that her water had broke and that “the big day had arrived.”

I was so excited, this was the first baby for Leif and Jenna, and they chose not to know the sex before the little bundle arrived.  I received texts throughout the day keeping me posted of her progress. They had to induce and still the progress was slow. I continued to pray and anxiously waited for the next text or phone call. I chuckled at one of the texts that came close to the end of the day in true Navy SEAL fashion “Making some movement towards extract.”

Finally at 2:23 am ET I received this text.

Tears began to trickle down my cheek, what an honor that they would name their little boy after “my little boy,” who grew all too quickly to become a Navy SEAL who would give the gift of life to Leif and so many other teammates; a hero who would defend us and sacrifice everything for our freedoms in America.

After I put the phone back on my nightstand I put my head back on my pillow and tried to balance my mixed emotions. I was so excited for the new life, and honored that they named him after Marc, knowing that Marc’s sacrifice allowed Leif to become a Father. Again the tears flowed wishing Marc was here to share this moment and so many others of life.

I thought back to his wise words that ended his last letter home, to my family and friends, pass on the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life.” This is exactly what Marc was talking about, and on Sept 3rd in the wee hours of the morning we were able to experience another precious gift of human life.

May we never take for granted the precious gifts we are given!

Congratulations to Jenna Lee and Leif Babin with your precious new gift of Brian Marc Babin. I am deeply touched by the love and support of the “Brotherhood.” LLTB!


Rally for Marine Andrew Tahmooressi Sends a Message to CA Governor Brown, President Obama and Mexican President Nieto

We just wanted to share a few pictures with you from the big rally we had on August 26, 2014 to support Andrew Tahmooressi!  It was a great event with an estimated 150 – 200 attendees. We had reporters from all across Northern California and as far away as Los Angeles. With the signs, chants, and press coverage, we are sent a strong message to President Obama, Governor Brown, and Mexican President Nieto.



Great job everyone who showed up and thank you for taking time out of your day to stand up for Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi!

 

We are SCARING Up Some

FOR OUR TROOPS!


As the air begins to take on a bite of Fall and the leaves turn to gold and red here at home our thoughts turn to childhood fun like legions of little ghosts and goblins hitting the streets to Trick or Treat.

We wanted to bring a small bit of that celebration to our troops serving so far away. So starting in October, our packages will include yummy colorful candy corn, pumpkin spiced coffee, special orange cream filled Oreo cookies as a reminder to our troops that even though they can’t be here to celebrate with their own kids, and raid their Halloween candy stash, they can still get a little treat from the folks back home who haven’t forgotten their service.

 

Soldiers often see a nice bump in packages during the Christmas season, but that is still two months away and some of these brave men and women never see packages from home. Why don’t you take a moment to send a package now, and we will include the candy corn along with our regular goodies like gourmet Rogers Family coffee, beef jerky and soldier friendly field towels from Ohh Ahhs and many other treats and necessary items.





Thanks from
Force Guardians!


It’s October already!  So Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  This is such a busy and fun filled time for many Americans here at home, but it’s also a special time to remember our troops serving in harm’s way that won’t have a chance to celebrate these special days with their friends and loved ones.

Move America Forward is happy to offers a special Holiday Trio promotion that gives you the chance to have a automatically send a package from  you each month for October, November and December along with your special note of thanks to celebrate these special holidays.

Our Halloween and Thanksgiving packages will be packed with our regular treats but will also include special holiday treats like candy corn to add a touch from home and our Christmas package will have extra treats like soft peppermints, a fleecy red and white Christmas stocking and hot chocolate as well.

Just click here to contact Lisa Baron, our Director of our Troop Support, and she will get your information and set you up for this special 3 month promotion. It’s easy to set up and Lisa will take care of everything for you so you don’t have to worry about finding the time to order packages for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Did You Know…?


October 1, 1946
The International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany sentenced a dozen high-ranking Nazi war criminals to death including Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and chief of the German air force

October 3, 1863President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation designating the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.


October 8, 1918
During World War I, U.S. Sergeant Alvin York single-handedly took out a German machine-gun battalion, killing over a dozen and capturing 132. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre.


October 13, 1775
The United States Navy was born after the Second Continental Congress authorized the acquisition of a fleet of ships.

October 17-25, 1944The Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, took place off the Philippine Islands, during World War II in the Pacific. The battle involved 216 U.S. warships and 64 Japanese ships and resulted in the destruction of the Japanese Navy including the Japanese Battleship Musashi, one of the largest ever built.


October 23, 1983
A truck loaded with explosives was driven into the U.S. and French headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon by terrorists, exploding it and killing 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French paratroopers.

October 24, 1945The United Nations was founded.

Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, copy this link and e-mail it to your soldier so they can sign up themselves. (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/)  Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you

Monthly Smiles Needs YOU!

Life can get tough, and sometimes for budget or other reasons even as simple as having your credit card expire we have experienced a drop off in our Monthly Smiles Program.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas still months away we at Move America Forward are seeing a spike in package requests from our soldiers. We are trying our very best to leave none of these troops empty handed.  That is why we are asking for help in considering our Monthly Smiles program.

Monthly Smiles is a vital part of successfully supporting our troops during their deployments.  Support has dropped off creating a hole in our Monthly Smiles Program which compromises our ability of fulfilling all the package requests we receive. We hate to say no to our troops or leave them empty handed, that’s where you come in.

If you would consider joining our monthly smiles program we would love to have you and we make it so easy to get a regularly scheduled 100% tax deductible Monthly Smiles Package out on your behalf, including a personal message from you. Just fill out the Monthly Smiles Form and we will contact you regarding payment method and budget.
If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

Check Out Our Moving Tribute for September 11, 2001

 

September Monthly Newsletter 2014

 

MAF is Proud to Honor Major General Harold Greene


Major General Harold J. Greene of Falls Church, Va., a two-star Army general was killed during an insider attack on August 5, 2014 at a military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan where he was making a routine visit. Greene is the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to be killed on foreign soil since Vietnam.

Greene was killed when an Afghan soldier opened fire killing Greene and injuring at least fourteen others in the ambush.

Greene, a career soldier of 34 years had been in deployed to Afghanistan since January, serving as deputy commander of a support command called the Combined Security Transition Command, in Kabul.

General Greene was laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington on August 14, 2014.

September 11, 2001 — a day that forever changed America and the history of the world. Every adult can tell you where they were the moment that they heard we were attacked and our innocence was stripped from us. Terrorists had plotted for years to destroy us, the infidel, and that morning they attacked America.

I still get a sick feeling in my gut as I remember watching the news and seeing the planes flown into the towers in New York.  Numb and in a state of shock I watched as people wrenching from the extreme temperatures of the fire and explosions, knowing death was imminent, chose to jump from 80 floors up.

America watched as buildings crumpled to the ground and smoke and pollutants surrounded the cities hiding the death and mass casualties. America watched people running for their lives filled with panic and fear. America watched as brave First Responders, Fireman, Policeman, Paramedics and Volunteers ran into the chaos, danger and destruction trying to find someone who needed help.

In the hours and days that followed, as a nation, we watched as families tried to find their loved ones and prayed for those who had lost loved ones. We wondered if there were more attacks being planned against our homeland.  We tried to process what had happened and figure out our defense.

My oldest son was serving in the Marines, my daughter’s husband was in the Army and Marc was a Navy SEAL, and my brother was in the Air force. I could see the handwriting on the wall and knew I would have family members deployed. I knew that as a nation we had tried every other alternative and that our last resort would be to deploy our military. If we didn’t we would just be sending an invitation that we were weak and that the radical terrorists could inflict more death and damage on America.

As Americans we have the finest and bravest men and women who stood up and said we will stand in the gap for the innocent lives that were stolen from us that morning of 9-11. Our troops chose to defend their honor and show their families and our country that we will never forget and will bring justice and defend and protect America and her freedoms.

We will never forget 9-11 and those innocent lives that the terrorist had targeted that day to be killed. We will never forget our defenders both in public service and military service who came together in the midst of one of the greatest tragedies in America. We will never forget our fallen warriors like my son Marc Alan Lee who proudly wore the military uniform with pride and died in Iraq and Afghanistan defending each and every one of those who the enemy so violently killed on 9-11.

Yet we will also not forget that as a nation Americans came together and stood strong, tall, united and showed the world that we were not a people to be messed with.  We fell to our knees and recognized that we are resilient and strong because we are “One nation under God.” Yes, we are a Christian nation and we recognized that our strength comes from God and we prayed for comfort, peace and strength.

Today we remember and wrap our arms around each family who has lost a loved one on 9-11 or the battlefields of Iraq or Afghanistan. We will never forget and will keep you in our hearts and prayers.

Remembering

Debbie Lee


We Will Never Forget

September 11, 2001 – Terrorists Attack the United States
September 11, 2012 – Terrorists Attack U.S. Consulate in Benghazi


September 11, 2001. Thirteen years have passed since the September day that will forever change our nation.  We at MAF honor the brave men, women and children who lost their lives that fateful September morning in 2001.  We remember the heroics of countless NYPD fire and police units who responded without thought to their own safety and the incredible sacrifices of those aboard flight 93 who through their selfless sacrifice saved countless lives. Although the Twin Towers no longer grace the New York Skyline, the Pentagon remains, its beige stone facing bearing the scars of the terrorists attack.

September 11, 2012. Terrorists once again attacked the U.S. on the grounds of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Although first reported as an unorganized local protest surrounding a movie, it soon became clear this was a directed and organized strike which needlessly cost the lives U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, former SEALs Glen Doherty  and Ty Woods  along with  foreign service worker Sean Smith. Although we still wait for those responsible for the attacks to be held fully accountable, we nonetheless need to honor those who died.

Take time to honor these heroes and their sacrifices by flying your flag in remembrance of these great American heroes and our dedicated troops who help protect our freedoms each and every day.

Send a package today  and Move America Forward will include your personal message of support to our troops.




Top Pro-Troop Tweets of the Month!

TROOPS LOVE GETTING COFFEE IN THE CARE PACKAGES


Active Duty U.S. Marines Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez wrote about the history of the Marine Corps secret weapon that’s been helping Marines fight America’s wars since the first days of the revolution: Coffee!
It’s true, one of the most appreciated items in Move America Forward’s care packages is the locally roasted gourmet coffee provided by the Rogers Family Coffee Company especially for the troops on the front lines.We have a wide variety of Rogers Family coffee in our warehouse in many different flavors and roasts such as French Roast, Espresso Roast, Hazelnut, Southern Pecan, Breakfast Blend, Irish Creme, Colombian, and the 100% organic Rainforest blend. Rogers coffee is a very important part of our care packages!
We hear over and over again from troops that receiving a care package got them through some of their toughest times on deployment. A message of support and love reminded them that they are in our hearts. Click here to send a care package and give our troops the best gift anyone can get while deployed; love, care, and support!MAF Join Successful Rally for Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi!
We just wanted to share these pictures with you from the big rally held in Sacramento to support Andrew Tahmooressi! It was a great event with an estimated 150 – 200 attendees. We had reporters from all across Northern California and as far away as Los Angeles. With the signs, chants, and press coverage, we are sending a strong message to President Obama, Governor Brown, and Mexican President Nieto.

Andrew Tahmooressi served two combat tours in Afghanistan with the US Marine Corps before he was honorably discharged in 2012 and returned to the US. On March 31, 2014, he was on his way to meet some friends in the town of San Ysidro, California, a town very close to the Mexican border. He made one unlucky wrong turn and found himself on a one way road into Mexico with no way of turning around or getting off the highway.

After accidentally crossing the border, he informed Mexican border agents that he had loaded firearms in his vehicle and just wanted to turn around. Instead of being allowed to simply turn back, he was arrested and held for 8 hours before being charged with possession of illegal weapons under Mexico’s strict gun laws. Ever since, it has been a battle to try to bring Sgt. Tahmooressi home. He’s been held in Mexico for over 5 months with no release date in sight.

President Obama has done nothing to bring our Marine home. He hasn’t asked or negotiated with Nieto. Obama is willing to negotiate with the Taliban to free 5 Terrorists at GITMO, but he won’t lift a finger to negotiate with Mexico to get our Marine home. It’s shameful. Not only that, but considering that Mexico lives under the safety umbrella that the United States provides for North America via the sacrifice and courage of military men and women like Andrew, this is no way for the Mexican government to treat an American hero!

Now that we’ve had a chance to sort through all the pictures from the rally, we’ve got some great photos to show you of the results! Great job everyone who showed up and thank you for taking time out of your day to stand up for Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi!

Did You Know…?

 

September 1, 1939 – German army under Hitler invaded Poland starting World War II in Europe.

September 1, 1983Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down by the USSR en route from New York to Korea killing all 269 passengers and crew  after reportedly straying 100 miles off course over a Soviet military installation.

September 2, 1945 – President Truman declared V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) to commemorate the Japanese surrender to the Allies during WWII

September 4, 1886 – With the surrender of Apache leader Geronimo at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, the last major U.S.-Indian war came to an end.

September 11, 2001 – Marks the worst Terrorist attack in U.S. history.  American Airlines Flight 11 carrying 92 people and United Airlines Flight 175 carrying 65 people were diverted by the Jihadist hijackers to New York City where they were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The impact and fires led to the collapse of the towers, killing 2,752 persons including hundreds of rescue workers.

United Airlines Flight 93, which had departed Newark for San Francisco, and American Airlines Flight 77, which had departed Dulles (Virginia) for Los Angeles, were also hijacked. Flight 77 with 64 people on board was diverted to Washington, D.C., where it was used to attack the Pentagon, killing everyone on board and 125 inside the Pentagon.  Flight 93 with 44 people on board was also diverted toward Washington but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to overpower the terrorists on board.

September 11, 2012 – Terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate Compound in Benghazi, Libya killing U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, as well as two former Navy SEALS and a Foreign Service worker. Ten others on the ground were injured.  The attacks led to the resignation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

September 14, 1901 – President William McKinley died from gangrene caused by an infected bullet wounds suffered during an assassination attempt in Buffalo, New York. Eight days prior. McKinley was the last president to serve in the Civil War.

September 15, 1916 -During the Allied offensive at the  at the Battle of the Somme, tanks were used in combat for the first time in history.

September 16, 1620 – The Mayflower ship departed from England carrying Puritans seeking religious freedom in America with 102 passengers and a small crew.


September 17, 1787
– Delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, voted unanimously to approve the proposed U.S. Constitution.

September 18, 1947 – The U.S. Air Force was established as a separate military service.

September 22, 1776 – 21- year old Patriot Nathan Hale was publicly hanged  by the British without a trial after he was caught spying on British troops in New York. Hale is famous for his last words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

September 25, 1789 – The first U.S. Congress proposed 12 Amendments to the Constitution, ten of which, comprising the Bill of Rights, were ratified.

September 29, 1789 – Congress establishes the United States Army, consisting of 1,000 enlisted men and officers.

Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, copy this link ( http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ ) and e-mail it to your soldier so they can sign up themselves. Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.

MAF’s Monthly Smiles Club Keeps the Smiles Coming Year-Round

Want an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long?  Join the Move America Forward Monthly Smiles Club. Simply provide us with your monthly budget, and a little information from you and we do the rest. That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face.

We can also set up programs that send packages out for all the different holidays through the year. We have members who send out packages for Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and others who send out packages every other month or even quarterly. We’re here to help with whatever you or your company, group or organization wants to do to support the troops. There’s no obligation, and you can stop sending packages at any time.

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.