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"Life is based on perception. Perception is based on opinion. Opinion is based on thought. Thought comes from the mind. Change your mind, change your life."
Airmen Arrive Home from Afghanistan
FARGO, N.D. - More than 20 Airmen with the North Dakota Air National Guard spent last night safe in their own beds after returning around 10 p.m. yesterday from Afghanistan. The Airmen, members of the Fargo-based 119th Security Forces Squadron, deployed to Bagram Airfield in March and have been providing security missions at the base.
"North Dakotans are proud of the men and women of our National Guard and of the important contributions they are making here at home and across the globe," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. "The members of the 119th Security Forces Squadron demonstrated yet again why North Dakota's Guard is the best in the nation. They completed an important mission in Afghanistan and did so with great expertise and success. We are grateful to them and their families for their selfless dedication and distinguished service."
The Airmen helped secure the busiest logistics hub in the Department of Defense, where a plane departs or lands at least once every 2 minutes - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also worked at the nation's busiest vehicle entry control point, which saw record traffic this year, and the nation's busiest pedestrian entry control point. Others helped secure the base's perimeter while additional Airmen served on a Fly-Away Security Team. Known as FASTs, the teams provide protection for air crews, planes and cargo traveling around the country.
"These Airmen had one of the most important missions in Bagram as they served as part of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron to protect the lives of 36,000 people and secure more than $3.5 billion in assets," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, who - along with Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and other Guard leaders - welcomed the Airmen as they arrived at Hector International Airport in Fargo. "More than half of this group is serving on their first enlistment in the military, but you would never know it based on the competent, experienced way they performed their mission each day."
Among those newer Guardsmen is Senior Airman Michael Bullen, who returned last night.
"We're in a hostile country and we're the sole protectors of a multimillion dollar aircraft," he said recently from Afghanistan as he described his job with the FAST. "We're really the only people protecting the crew, protecting the mission."
Seven more Airmen remain overseas with the unit but are expected home later this month.
Thank you to The Minot Moose Lodge!!
The Minot Moose Lodge organized a breakfast which was held on July 28th and it was dedicated to the North Dakota Patriot Guard. They had posters and table cards professionally printed to which they also were able to have the costs for that donated. We were told that they had the best turnout ever. I would like to thank all the people that attended the breakfast, a group of NDPG members rode up from the Bismarck area just for the breakfast which was nice to see. We especially would like to thank the management of the Minot Moose Lodge for creating and hosting the event in their facilities, the women of the Moose Lodge who donated their time and efforts, Neiss Designs for all the printing of the posters and other items and Food Services for their donation of food products. The Minot Moose Lodge had sent the NDPG a larger donation for this years 2013 Fallen Heroes Memorial and Honor Ride and this breakfast donation far exceeded our expectations. If we did not have companies, individuals, businesses and organizations such as this the NDPG would not be able to accomplish our objectives effectively.
"Freedom is not something to be secured at any one moment of time. We must struggle to preserve it every day. And freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."
------ Ronald Reagan
"The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war"
To our soldiers.....
May God bless you each and every one
For all you do for us each day
We will keep you in our hearts
And for your safety we will pray.
Since retiring from the Navy Seals, Chris Kyle, whom the Pentagon has deemed as among America’s deadliest snipers, would occasionally take fellow veterans shooting as a kind of therapy to salve battlefield scars.
Mr. Kyle, 38, author of the best-selling book “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” was with a struggling former soldier on just such an outing on Saturday, hoping that a day at a shooting range would bring some relief, said a friend, Travis Cox.
But the Texas authorities said Sunday that the troubled veteran turned on Mr. Kyle and a second man, Chad Littlefield, shooting and killing both before fleeing in a pickup truck.
“Chad and Chris had taken a veteran out to shoot to try to help him,” Mr. Cox said. “And they were killed.” The police identified the gunman as Eddie Ray Routh, 25, who had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and had suffered from mental illness. The police offered no information about a possible motive.
Mr. Routh shot the men about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Rough Creek Lodge, an exclusive shooting range near Glen Rose, Tex., about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth, Sgt. Lonny Haschel, a spokesman for the State Department of Public Safety’s Highway Patrol Division, said in a statement. Mr. Routh was arrested on Saturday night at his home in Lancaster, a suburb south of Dallas. He has been charged with two counts of capital murder, Mr. Haschel said.
Mr. Cox, the director of a foundation that Mr. Kyle created, said he did not know Mr. Routh. Mr. Kyle, he said, had devoted his life since his retirement from the military to helping fellow soldiers overcome post-traumatic stress.
In 2011, Mr. Kyle created the FITCO Cares Foundation to provide veterans with exercise equipment and counseling. He believed that exercise and the camaraderie of fellow veterans could help former soldiers ease into civilian life. “He served this country with extreme honor, but came home and was a servant leader in helping his brothers and sisters dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Mr. Cox, also a former military sniper, said by telephone. Mr. Kyle, who lived outside of Dallas, had his own difficulties adjusting after retiring from the SEALs in 2009. He was deployed in Iraq during the worst years of the insurgency, perched in or on top of bombed-out apartment buildings with his .300 Winchester Magnum.
His job was to provide “overwatch,” preventing enemy fighters from ambushing Marines as they moved through Iraqi towns.
He did not think the job would be difficult, he wrote in his book, but two weeks into the war, he found himself staring through his scope into the face of an unconventional enemy. A woman with a child had pulled a grenade from beneath her clothes as several Marines approached. He hesitated, he wrote, but then fired the shot.
“It was my duty to shoot, and I don’t regret it,” he wrote. “My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul.”
Over time, his hesitation diminished and he became better at his job. He was credited with more than 150 deaths. He became the scourge of Iraqi insurgents, who put a price on his head and were said to have called him the “Devil of Ramadi.” In his book, he describes taking out a fighter wielding a rocket launcher 2,100 yards away, a very long distance for a sniper and the longest for Mr. Kyle.
“Maybe the way I jerked the trigger to the right adjusted for the wind,” he wrote. “Maybe gravity shifted and put that bullet right where it had to be.”
“Whatever, I watched through my scope as the shot hit the Iraqi, who tumbled over the wall to the ground.”
Mr. Kyle received two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars for valor.
He would later describe his service in humble terms, preferring to talk not about the enemies killed, but the lives saved.
In an interview with The New York Times in March, Mr. Kyle said that he had hesitated to write a book about his experiences. But he was persuaded to do so after hearing that other books about SEALs were in the works.
“I wanted to tell my story as a SEAL,” he said. “This is about all the hardships that everybody has to go through to get the respect and the honor.”
But he also wanted his sense of humor to come out, he said, noting that he tried to “write in a Texas drawl.”
The book, which was published in January of last year, spent months on The New York Times best-seller list and turned Mr. Kyle into a celebrity. He appeared on talk shows like “Conan” with Conan O’Brien. He also played a role in the NBC reality program “Stars Earn Stripes,” in which celebrities were paired with elite soldiers to carry out military-style missions.
For all his success, friends and fellow veterans described Mr. Kyle as a humble warrior and down-to-earth family man who loved his wife and two children. In gatherings with other veterans, he would deflect the praise of well-wishers and play up the achievements of his comrades.
“He wasn’t the ‘American Sniper’ to all of his friends,” Mr. Cox said. “He was Chris Kyle, and he was right alongside you. He was proud to be a veteran, and he would do anything he could to serve veterans.”