Love Poem.........For my husband.

by Matthew Arnold (1822 1888)

Come to me in my dreams, and then

By day I shall be well again.
For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Come, as thou cam'st a thousand times,

A messenger from radiant climes,
And smile on thy new world, and be
As kind to others as to me.

Or, as thou never cam'st in sooth,

Come now, and let me dream it truth.
And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say My love! why sufferest thou?

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again.
For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.


Hard decisions.....

So I have made a super hard decision. I have decided to have a pretty significant surgical procedure done while my husband is deployed......yeah I know what was I thinking?

I'm not dying or anything like that......and I'm not having a baby...lol, but I have decided to go under the knife.....it would be one thing if it were a plastic procedure but, nope, not that either.....this is something I actually have to have done, much to my chagrin. If I don't have it done, I run the risk of having long term affects that I do not want to face later on in life and so off to the hospital I go.....in 5 days. Yeah, I know, WHAT WAS I THINKING........okay so here is what I was thinking.....

If I have this done....recovery at a minimum is MONTHS......so I figured I will be somewhat healed by the time my husband returns....I won't have him to nurse me back to health but I feel fortunate to have my deployment wife to do that for me.......my sister is going to come help too (only way I can get her here....drastic measures for a visit, I know :D) I was thinking I have let this War force me to prolong this surgery for too many years and thus my condition is much worse now then it was years ago and had I had it fixed then, maybe it would not be as bad now.......and now there is the chance if I wait any longer it may make me no longer able to have it at all..... .....and so hi ho, hi ho it's to the hospital I go.....did I mention that I go in 5 days? UGH.......so I am not sure how my kids are going to deal with this.....they are pretty freaked about it too....

My oldest is.....well the mother hen.....the "don't worry mom, we will be fine, you go get this done and everything will be fine", but I can hear the uncertainty in her words and see it in her eyes......her sister, my middle child, she refuses to acknowledge the fact that I am going to be gone and so she just avoids the topic and my youngest, Dennis......he just kind of looks at me and asks....."Mom, can I come and stay with you?" To that I have to tell him that I would not be much fun and he would be happier at home, but he can come and visit me if he wants......

I know this is hard for them, each is trying in their own way to come to terms with the fact that I am going to be gone for a while.....hell I'm trying to come to terms with it......I have been as honest with each of them as I can about what I am having done and the risks involved......the older two know more then my son.....they can understand it......so I know it plays harder on them, on me.......but we all know that God will wrap his arms around us as we undertake this hurdle we must jump and He will continue to be with us as we continue to work through the recovery period......

My husband on the other hand, I know is very concerned......he is 7000 miles away and to know what I am going through all by myself......well it has to be very hard on him. Unless there is a complication he will continue to Soldier on and since I trust my surgeon 150%, there will be no reason for my husband to even think about coming home. I can and will do this alone, his soldiers need him there more then I do.......there are just some things I can and will do alone........and this will be one of them God Willing........

I know that after my surgery my posts may be either frequent or very infrequent, depending.......they may be upbeat or filled with pain and the struggles as I work toward recovery.....I can not predict anything at this point.....I can pray that God helps me find the courage to endure what I must and that I am able to recover fully and quickly and that my family is able to deal with my ravings as I do.........

So please if you could, please keep This Soldier's Wife and her family in your prayers over the next week or so, it will be a very trying time for us.......


Entire Story Taken From Blackfive - OPERATION PUPPY LOVE

Please read this story....it is a wonderful piece, with permission.....

[Editor Note: While a bit lengthy, the entire tale of Operation Puppy Love is published with no Jump. These men and the efforts of Blake, Tom, and others need to be told. Feel free to forward, print, post, publish - Blackfive]

Operation Puppy Love - Prologue

Meet a few heroes. The men of 1st Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas, were on patrol in Iraq on May 18, 2007.


First up is Staff Sergeant Christopher Moore who was born 14 June 1978 and raised in Bakersfield, California. He played high school baseball and won a scholarship as a center fielder. After graduating high school, however, Christopher chose to serve his country and enlisted in the Army in May of 1997. During his career SSG Moore served for three years with the 101st Airborne Division, four years with the 82nd Airborne Division, two years with the III Armored Corps and finally a year with the 1st Cavalry Division. He deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom II and later mobilized for the hurricane Katrina relief efforts in Louisiana. SSG Moore arrived to Alpha company in March of 2005 and has served with the "Annihilators" in a variety of positions including Bradley Fighting Vehicle section leader, dismount squad leader, company master driver and company retention NCO. In October of 2006 SSG Moore deployed with Alpha company and the 1-5 CAV "Black Knights" to Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. His former wife is Kindell Michelle Moore of Nolanville, TX and they have three children - Ashlyn, 9, Kailyn, 7 and Taylor 4. SSG Moore talks about his little girls all of the time, non-stop. Chris Moore also spent his last weekend on leave before deploying as a volunteer - painting the house of an elderly woman.


Next is Sergeant Jean Medlin was born 26 July 1979 in Alabama. Jean graduated from Hewitt Trussville High School. In October of 1998, Jean enlisted with the Marine Corps and served with honor for several years as an United States Marine. While in the Marine Corps, SGT Medlin served overseas in Kosovo as a member of the NATO peacekeeping forces. After a brief hiatus as a civilian, SGT Medlin enlisted with the Army in January of 2006 and was assigned to A CO 1-5 CAV 1CD. Upon joining Alpha Company SGT Medlin immediately began training with the "Annihilators" as a team leader. In October of 2006 SGT Medlin deployed with Alpha Company and the 1-5 CAV "Black Knights" to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. SGT Medlin loves, LOVES, his family and Alabama football.


Third is SPC David Behrle who was born 06 March 1987 and raised in Tipton, Iowa. He played football at Tipton High School. After graduating from high school David joined the Army in June of 2005. Upon completion of basic training at Ft. Benning, GA SPC Behrle was assigned to A CO 1-5 CAV 1CD. He arrived to Alpha Company in October of 2005 and immediately began training as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle Driver with the "Annihilators". SPC Behrle deployed with Alpha Company and the 1-5 CAV "Black Knight" battalion to Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08 in October of 2006. SPC Behrle, when not in Iraq, loves to find the biggest meal available on a menu and then consume said meal - with a coke.


This is Specialist Joseph Gilmore who was born 8th of August 1980 in Plant City, Florida. SPC Joseph Gilmore joined the Army as a Combat Medic on the 23rd of August, 2005. Joseph attended Basic Training at Fort Benning, GA and AIT at Fort Sam Houston, TX. In April 2006, Joseph was assigned to Headquarter and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, Black Knights. Joseph served as a Line Company Medic for FSC, E co, A Co, and the Scout Platoon. Specialist Gilmore and his wife, Evangeline, have three children - Victoria, Vanessa, and Joseph.


Say hello to PFC Travis Haslip who was born on 21 March 1987 in Pontiac Michigan, and raised in Tennessee. After high school Travis joined the Army in December of 2005. Upon completion of basic training at Ft. Benning, GA PFC Haslip was assigned to A CO 1-5 CAV 1CD. He arrived to Alpha Company in June of 2006 and immediately began training with the "Annihilators" in preparation for deployment to Iraq. In October of 2006 PFC Haslip deployed with Alpha Company and the 1-5 CAV "Black Knights" to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. SPC Haslip overcomes and adapts to anything. He, Varela (below), and another soldier dug a trench between their rooms so they could hook up their X-Boxes. During Christmas 2006, it was very muddy and they built a mud "snow" man out of gravel, mud, and candy to celebrate the holiday without snow.


PFC Alexander Varela was born 29 January 1988 and raised in California. Alexander is an avid paintball competitor and turned his passion into commitment. He enlisted in the Army in April of 2006 and upon completion of basic training was assigned to A CO 1-5 CAV. PFC Varela arrived to Alpha company in August of 2006 and immediately began training with the "Annihilators" in preparation for deployment to Iraq. In October 2006 PFC Varela deployed to Iraq with Alpha company and the 1-5 CAV "Black Knights" for Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. PFC Varela loves photography and is always playing with the new puppies that had been born at FOB Hawk.

To know more about the character of the men in the squad, you should know about one of their patrols in Ameriyah, Iraq. From an official report:

    ...SSG Christopher Moore noticed local nationals hurrying towards his security position. He alerted the patrol leader. Lieutenant Hickey moved to his position and dismounted. An Iraqi man, Mohammed, was running towards the American patrol holding a small bloody child in his arms. A 7.62 round had fallen out of the sky and struck her right temple. The round had passed along the side of her face and buried itself in her neck. She was blue and her eyes were cloudy.

    Without any hesitation the soldiers of First Platoon rushed Mohammed, his wife, and the toddler’s grandmother into the back of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. In less than two minutes the medic SPC Elliot Sibille began rendering medical aid to the child and evacuation. SGT Jason Caudle aided the BFV with immediate support and the two vehicles rushed to Riva Ridge. The Soldiers of First Platoon executed their duties flawlessly. PFC Alexander Varela the Bradley Driver and SPC Andrew Tarasar the M1114 driver merit special recognition for managing the distance to Riva Ridge in three minutes through traffic and serpentine traffic control points. In no more than five minutes the evacuation was complete.

    The patrol then evacuated the little girl and her family to the CSH in the International Zone where the bullet was surgically removed. The platoon showed maturity and comprehension of the company’s inherent mission to engage the Iraqi citizens in a positive manner. The Soldiers spent the time at the CSH speaking to Mohammed and assuring him that the US would do whatever it could to help his little girl. SSG Moore personally sat with Mohammed and spoke with him not as a soldier but father to father, one of his daughters in the States is also three years old.

    The platoon followed up with the family three days later. The father, Mohammed came onto the street in order to meet and thank the patrol. Mohammed had tears in his eyes and expressed his thanks to the platoon. He said that he and his family would pray for their safety. 1LT Hickey spoke to Mohammed and told him that all his soldiers were worried about his daughter and hoped that she was well.

    Mohammed’s mother came into the street holding the little girl. The father introduced her as Saadeya smiled, took her into his arms, and said, “I know you are happy she is safe, but I am much happier than you.” Mohammed quickly explained that he was not questioning the happiness of the platoon, but was overjoyed to be able to enjoy a healthy daughter, thanks to the quick reactions of the Soldiers of First Platoon, Alpha Company 1-5 CAV.

Staff Sergeant Moore was positively heartened by saving the little girl. He felt, especially since he had three daughters, that he made a difference in another family's life.

While on the base, the soldiers had trained a dog to help with protection of the base. The dog had puppies and the combat soldiers couldn't help but take care of them, as well. The dogs at COP Annihilator were special to Private First Class Alejandro "Alex" Varela; and, to the dogs, Alex and the soldiers of Alpha Company, were special as well. Adopted as a force protection dog, one female would walk with the soldiers as they moved out on foot to observation posts, almost as if she were wanting to be sure that they made it safely. This dog, and others, helped lift the spirits of Alex and other soldiers, as well as improving their security.

SGT Medlin and PFC Varela with puppy

A few weeks later, on May 19th, 2007, all six men were killed in Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle while on patrol.

Operation Puppy Love - Bringing DJ Home

In going through his possessions, Alex Valera's mother, Rinda Pope of Orangevale, CA, was struck by the photographs of her son with the dogs. She began efforts to get one of the dogs, but was not having any success. Lt. Tom Hickey, Alex's platoon leader, found out about her efforts from another soldier, Specialist Matthew Alford, and began working to get her something much more tangible than a letter or medal: one of the dogs that he had enjoyed so much.

1LT Tom Hickey, Platoon Leader

While it wasn't possible to send the official force protection dog, that dog, BP for Bradley Position, had recently had puppies. Now old enough to travel, DJ as she is known, needed a sponsor to escort her back on a civilian flight. The platoon's efforts led them to contact Gryphon Airlines.

To whom it may concern,
I am a platoon leader for an infantry battalion. On May 19th of this year six of my soldiers were killed during combat operations. One of those soldiers, Alex, enjoyed playing with the dogs on one of our FOBs. His mother found many photos of the animals in his personal effects. She has been trying for some time to get a contractor to bring one of the dogs back to the states. We adopted one of the dogs for force protection at our company outpost. The dog had a puppy. I would like very much to transport the dog back to the states for Alex's mother. The biggest hurdle is getting the dog out of Baghdad. Is there any help your airline can provide? I am sorry to say that my unit will be returning to the states very soon. I only recently found out about Alex's mom and her goals and want to help in any way I can.
Very respectfully,
LT Tom

The result of that contact was a partnership between Gryphon Airlines, BlackFive, Soldiers' Angels, and Prudent Publishing (parent company of The Gallery Collection) to escort DJ to the U.S. C. Blake Powers, who posts at BlackFive as Laughing Wolf and was embedding in Iraq over Christmas, will be DJ's escort to the US. This was made possible by the support of Prudent Publishing. All embeds from Blackfive also serve as representatives of Soldiers' Angels, and Soldiers' Angels purchased an airline approved travel kennel and necessary supplies. The PetSmart in Lafayette, IN, also contributed some chew toys to the effort.

DJ the puppy

DJ is named for another platoon member, Travis Dowd, in a bit of teasing humor. DJ was the only puppy to survive in her litter, and as a result ate rather well. So well, in fact that she got very large -- too large for her feet. His platoon mates like to kid the well-developed Dowd, so they started calling the puppy Dowd Junior, or DJ for short. She is a typical puppy who chases her own tail, is well into the chewing phase of teething, and in good health. The platoon has been working on housebreaking her, and on spoiling her as much as possible, even though no toe, sock, or boot is safe from DJ.

DJ is scheduled to arrive in Washington DC on January 3, 2008, where she will be handed over to Pat Jarrett upon clearing Customs and entry. DJ will be driven to California by a dog rescue group that will give DJ to Rinda Pope.

Private First Class Alejandro "Alex" Varela (l) and Specialist Matthew Alford (r) play with two puppies while stationed in Iraq.

In Memoriam:

Staff Sgt. Christopher Moore, 28, of Alpaugh, Calif.
Sgt. Jean P. Medlin, 27, of Pelham, Ala.
Spc. David W. Behrle, 20, of Tipton, Iowa.
Spc. Joseph A. Gilmore, 26, of Webster, Fla.
Pfc. Travis F. Haslip, 20, of Ooltewah, Tenn.
Pfc. Alexander R. Varela, 19, of Fernley, Nev.

1st Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Godspeed, we'll never forget you.

Our BlackFiveTV version with some of the surviving squad members talking about their brothers and DJ is below:

January 02, 2008 • PermalinkComments (2)TrackBack (0)
Categories and Tags: Fallen But Never Forgotten, Someone You Should Know


I have about finished the chore of taking down the decorations from Christmas......I have one remaining tree left.....but I sit here looking at it and kind of feel a bit sad thinking about taking it down......I love Christmas and when it's over, I'm sad.......the house looks drab and unfestive with all of the decor put away.......but it has to come down......and then there is the other reasons I don't want to take this last and final tree down...... I no longer have the box it goes in, so I have to put it in two separate boxes and that is a pain, it does not fit well in them and it also has an extra set of lights on it. It is a prelit tree I bought in Europe and when one part went out I just weaved this extra set in because I'm too lazy to cut out the set that is burned out and too cheap to buy a new tree ......I am quite sure that they will fall off the tree when I take it down......it is ALSO the tree that has all the hand made ornaments on it......so they have to be wrapped up individually and it takes FOREVER to put them away......and so I procrastinate in just doing it. Until recently it used to be the only tree I put up but now I put up two main trees and a bunch of little ones.....this one is in the family room and so it sits as the last remaining remnant of the holiday.

Dennis and I even went outside and have taken everything down already, which to some people would not be such a huge thing, except if you go back and read this post, you would know that we are definitely related to Clark Griswald and that in doing this it required a trip up on the roof and many zip ties to keep everything from tangling up for next years installation of the light fiasco (on our new house). At least the de-lighting of the house did not end with anyone falling off the roof of the house, although Dennis tried his best to attempt it on multiple occasions. Including taking the box off the house that had all the lights in it and the rooftop river dance he did over his sister's room to wake her and her friend up that almost bought him a oneway trip down as well......I thought I'd have heart failure before we were done.

He then chose to jump down off roof via the fence wall instead of using the ladder which threw me into the 20 minute lecture on how dangerous that was......we stood there mother and son, he on the ground me on the roof with my hands on my hips at a stand off before I just turned around and walked away........he will be lucky to make it to a double digit age at this rate, either he will kill himself with his antics or his mother will take him out.

In the midst of all of the de-Christmasing outside my husband calls and after speaking to both the girls and myself he asked to speak to Dennis, so I call to him and low and behold he has scaled the huge magnolia tree on the far end of our yard....and instead of using the branches to descend, he simply lets go and drops through the branches, giving me a heart attack.....coming out of the trees yelling "I'm alright, I'm alright" like the scene from "It's a Wonderful Life"....meanwhile I'm ready to once again kill superboy........who luckily this time, has not broken anything.

So here I sit contemplating taking down the final tree knowing that it just needs to be done....one less thing hanging over my head.....if I just do it I can move on to the other 1 billion nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand other things I need to be doing.......it just never ends.

Kids need to go back to school, dammit!