Archive for December, 2010

If you read only one book on the military this year, Front Toward Enemy is the one to choose.

For the past two years that I have been involved with the Patriot Guard Riders’ escort of Gold Star families to Snowball Express, I have seen this young woman and her four young sons participating.  This year was different.  I wanted to contact her to let her know I had a photo of her and her sons with Santa from the American Airlines breakfast.  After a little research I found her name, and then a whole new door opened.

I discovered she had written a book which revealed the circumstances of her husband’s death, not at the hands of the enemy as so many others have, but at the hands of an American soldier.  I vaguely remembered the incident a few years back when two officers were killed by detonation of a claymore mine.  The last I had heard the case was underway and then… nothing.

Intrigued, I ordered the book to find out what happened.

A word to the wise.  Start this book in the morning on a day you are free.  A quick reader will finish it in a day or less.  Do Not start reading this book at night.  You will not be able to put it down and you will be on an emotional roller coaster throughout.

I never met Lt. Louis Allen, Barbara Allen’s husband, but I can assure you that he must have been one hell of a guy to have a woman so devoted to the pursuit of justice for him.  Ultimately that justice never came, but as you will read, it was through no lack of exertion on the part of his wife and Siobhan Esposito, the widow of Captain Phillip Esposito.

Fair warning.  This book is a gut wrenching look into the life of a Gold Star wife whose whole world has come crashing down around her only a few days after her husband arrived in Iraq.  Nothing can really prepare you for that.  Compounding that crisis is the fact that Lt. Allen was murdered by an American soldier, not a conventional enemy.

Barbara deftly chronicles her collapse into despair, the second tsunami of grief when she discovered the circumstances of Lou’s death, the genesis of her mission to seek justice for her husband, the drawn out circus of the military justice system, and the ultimate travesty of justice that ensued.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  It will leave you heart broken and filled with a formidable resolve to see justice done.

Barbara has a blog here, and a website here.

Patriot Guard Riders, American Airlines staff and volunteers from the Rockville Centre Tea Party welcomed home the happy Gold Star families from the Snowball Express 2010 outing on Monday night!

The kids were all happy and excited after their five days of rodeos, concerts, xtreme sports and gifts!

It is a pleasure to take part in this happy mission each year to bring joy to these families who so richly deserve it!

More pictures here!

Watch this outstanding video from American Airlines on the Snowball Express last year!

On a beautiful sunny December day a small group of Civil Air Patrol cadets, their officers, cemetery employees and a World War II Air Force Navigator (and POW), gathered to hold the Wreaths Across America ceremony at one of the original 14 National Cemeteries established by Congress and organized by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War,  Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.

WWII B17 Navigator and POW George W. Dennis

The Civil Air Patrol did an outstanding job with the Wreaths ceremony, then Veteran George Dennis gave an interesting and sometimes emotional talk about what Cypress Hills National Cemetery means to him, and about his military service.

For more photos and observations click ‘continue reading’

Continue Reading »

Mr and Mrs Claus were at the American Airlines terminal at JFK Airport to welcome our Gold Star families on their trip to Dallas, Texas, for the 2010 Snowball Express!

Santa also took the time to hear the Christmas wishes of the flight crew too!

The PGR escorted the families from the hotel to the airport and will greet them when they return.

More pictures here!

While we were at the airport we also had the honor to welcome home USMC LCpl Andrew McCleary from Afghanistan!

His mother and two sisters had driven down from Connecticut to meet him.  Some of our members were to escort him the the Connecticut border where he would be met by the CT PGR.

And pitched in to help!

Read the whole thing here!

The Day of Infamy when over 2,000 American servicemen lost their lives in defense of this nation.

With the Holidays fast approaching, we’d like to remind everyone to do a little something for our troops serving overseas and far away from their families and loved ones.

Visit the latest troop support operation listed to see how you can help!

Or visit our list of groups in New York State for others!