Friday, August 28, 2009

World War II veteran can finally open up about horrific battle- "Death was all over the place"

John Landry, 85, in the kitchen of his Thetford Township home, Landry fought for the NAVY in WWII as a top turret gunner and as a ground soldier in the battle of Okinawa in Japan. Landry has never talked about his experiences during the battle of Okinawa until recently, when he decided he wanted to tell his story "I didn't talk about the war because I didn't want people to hear about it, " Landry said.

This is very inspiring to me. How often do we see these old guys in Walmart and Sears and many other places barly getting along. We, and I forget that they were young strong men at one time, and the stories they must have to tell. I am very pround of our past heros, but for them we may not be here. I found this on Facebook, and wanted to share it with all of you.

THETFORD TWP., Michigan -- He wasn't even supposed to be there.

John Landry never spoke about the island, the scattered bodies, the smell of death -- but six decades later, nightmares of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II woke him up from his sleep soaked in sweat.

"They were things I could never talk about, but it's time I told it like it was," said Landry, 85, whose buried memories began haunting him after he saw scenes of the Iraq war on television.

"I don't want to leave this world and take it with me."

The most gruesome chapter of the veteran's life happened in the Battle of Okinawa -- the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific theater of the war.

It was a small mistake that landed him there.

If only he hadn't broken the U.S. Navy's dress code.

After getting in a scuffle because he was wearing his Navy cap the wrong way one day, Landry faced a choice: Get shipped to the Pacific or face military jail and a possible dishonorable discharge.

"I could've spent the rest of my career in San Diego drinking iced drinks," the blue-gray-eyed vet mused, sitting in his Thetford Township home near medals that include two Purple Hearts.

Instead, the upstate New York native who had returned to the U.S. after flying 32 air missions in England, returned to a war he thought he was finished fighting.

It was 1944 and the then-18-year-old top turret gunner was perched at a bar in San Diego where he was to spend the rest of his service teaching gunnery. That's when someone behind him brusquely pushed down his hat.

A teenage Landry, who had had a couple of drinks, sharply swung his body around, knocking the shore patrolman who had corrected Landry's hat position to match West Coast Navy codes.

"The next thing I knew I was in a patrol wagon being sent to the brig (the Navy jail)," Landry recalled.

Facing a severe charge of assaulting a shore patrolman, Landry went back to war to clear his record.

"I would have been court-martialed," said Landry, who stayed three days in the military jail. "I couldn't disgrace my family like that."

So he found himself on a cargo ship among a group of other sailors "who had also gotten into some trouble."

And that's how the Navy first class petty officer ended up on Okinawa Island in southwestern Japan in 1945, fighting in one of the fiercest battles of the war.

"The things that went on on that island are things you never forget," Landry said. "Death was all over the place."

Except for a long time, Landry did manage to push down those memories.

Only recently have the long-blocked scenes started to come back to life.

He can suddenly see mothers clutching babies and leaping off cliffs into the water. He can see the natives fleeing into caves engulfed by fire minutes later from grenades.

"What got me was these people were trying to get away from us, and it was their island," he said. "I hadn't seen the destruction we were doing from the air. Now I'm on land and I'm seeing the bodies, the kids. I could smell burning flesh, which is something if you ever got near it, you never forget."

The ferocity of fighting in the 82-day-long bitter battle from March to June 1945 caused among the highest casualties of any WWII engagement, earning it the nickname "Typhoon of Steel."

Hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed or wounded or attempted suicide.

Had he followed the rules, his last war memory would have stayed in Europe.

He would have continued to tell his family the only part he has always told -- about the roughly eight months he spent performing air missions for the British Coastal Command.

And how he served in the same squadron as Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. -- President John F. Kennedy's brother who died in a plane crash. How he ate dinner next to and walked the town with the sociable pilot.

"I was very proud to have known him, whether his brother was president or not," Landry said.

But about five years ago, Landry was reminded of the untold stories when he was combing his hair and a sliver of what he believes was shrapnel from Okinawa fell from his head.

"He'd tell us about his flying days, but he never talked about Okinawa," said his wife, Patricia. "I think he wants to get it out in the open. The World War II veterans are dying off, and their stories are getting lost."

Landry, who spent much of civilian life as a construction heavy equipment operator, joined the Navy "because I liked the navy-blue suit" and was drawn to romantic sailor tales.

The father of five sons said Okinawa scenes have started coming back in bits and pieces, many times through nightmares.

"I'm lost and I can't get to where I want to be," he said of his dreams. "I think it's because I don't want to do what I have to do. I don't want to wake up in a foxhole or in the dirt."

He has finally began sharing with his family the details he had intentionally forgotten.

"I've been through what I've been through, and I changed because of it. I just want them to hear it," he said. "But I'm so lucky. I've got my mind, a beautiful wife and a beautiful life. I wouldn't change anything."

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Blog

Times have been getting pretty hectic at work lately, and I have not been able to get on line at all. When I get home, I am so tired that all I do is have a couple of beers relax for a little while eat supper and go to bed. I do get to visit some of my friends at times, and I hope this will get better soon. I guess it is a good thing though that we are doing so well at work. Anyhow don't be offended because I haven't visited lately.. I feel pretty good tonight so I took an hour to pay my respects to some. I am now going to bed now and it is only 2030 hours. My best to all of venture onto my little part of the blogdom.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Hero

Sgt. 1st Class Donald Johnson
Sgt. 1st Class Donald Johnson
U.S. Army

Sgt. 1st Class Donald Johnson, the electronic warfare officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, talks with local Iraqi kids while on a patrol.

Photo courtesy of United States Army
Taken by Pfc. Evan Loyd

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Infant cut in men's battle over biscuits

This has got to be some of most messed stuff I have ever heard of. These folks need to be put away, just for being stupid.

DALLAS -- A 6-month-old girl was cut with a butcher knife during a melee early Thursday between a grandfather and grandson over who ate some sausage biscuits.

Walter Reed Booker, the child's great-grandfather, was in the Dallas County jail facing charges of injury to a child and aggravated assault. Booker, 52 and a convicted felon, was held in lieu of bail totaling $40,000.

Police responded to a report of a domestic disturbance about 1:15 a.m. at Booker's home in the 2200 block of Dathe Street, south of Fair Park.

Tory Kirk, Booker's grandson and the infant's father, told police he and the child's mother had arrived home and placed the infant on the bed to go to sleep.

Kirk then went into the kitchen to get something to eat and "discovered that somebody had eaten all of the sausage biscuits that he had purchased earlier."

He asked the child's mother whether she had eaten them. She said she hadn't. He then asked Booker whether he'd eaten them, causing him to become enraged.

Kirk and Booker began fighting before Kirk retreated to the bedroom and shut the door.

"Booker, now armed with what was described as a butcher knife, kicked the door open and went after complainant Kirk in an attempt to stab him," the report said.

Booker lunged at Kirk, who was on the bed, but Kirk evaded him. The infant suffered a cut on her arm.

Kirk and the child's mother were uninjured.

Booker has been convicted in Dallas County of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and felony DWI.

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Pasadena police officer fatally shot by suspect in trailer park

This is a damn shame.

PASADENA, Texas—A Pasadena police officer was fatally shot in the line of duty at a trailer park Friday morning.

It happened around 6: 30 a.m. near the intersection of Shaver and Queens.

Pasadena officer shot

Raw aerials from the scene
August 21, 2009 View larger E-mail Clip More Video Pasadena police said the officer was responding to a disturbance call, talking to the suspect’s mother on the front porch of the trailer when the suspect’s wife, who was inside the home, shouted, “He’s got a gun!”

Within seconds, the suspect came out and shot the officer in the head.

The suspect was also shot in the head, though police said it’s unclear if the slain officer or his backup pulled the trigger.

The mortally wounded officer was airlifted to Memorial Hermann, where he died just after 7 a.m.

Police said the officer was 29 years old and had a wife and young kids. He’d been an officer with the Pasadena Police Department for four years, and before that he was a dispatcher.

Police said the suspect was airlifted to Memorial Hermann, where he remained in critical condition.

Investigators don’t believe the suspect and his wife lived in the trailer park, and they said the suspect may have mental health issues.

Both the suspect’s wife and mother were cooperating with police.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Hero

Pfc. Tavonte Johnson
Pfc. Tavonte Johnson
U.S. Marine Corps

Pfc. Tavonte Johnson, a field radio operator with Headquarters Company, 7th Marine Regiment, provides security after a simulated attack by a suicide bomber on Aug. 8, as part of 7th Marine Regiment�s pre-deployment training exercise.

Photo courtesy of United States Marine Corps

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Man carrying assault weapon attends Obama protest

This is kinda spooky.

PHOENIX (AP) -- About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday - the latest incident in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.

Gun-rights advocates say they're exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protest, while those who argue for more gun control say it could be a disaster waiting to happen.

Phoenix police said the gun-toters at Monday's event, including the man carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder, didn't need permits. No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested.

The man with the rifle declined to be identified but told The Arizona Republic that he was carrying the assault weapon because he could. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms," he said.

Phoenix police Detective J. Oliver, who monitored the man at the downtown protest, said police also wanted to make sure no one decided to harm him.

"Just by his presence and people seeing the rifle and people knowing the president was in town, it sparked a lot of emotions," Oliver said. "We were keeping peace on both ends."

Last week, during Obama's health care town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., a man carrying a sign reading "It is time to water the tree of liberty" stood outside with a pistol strapped to his leg.

"It's a political statement," he told The Boston Globe. "If you don't use your rights, then you lose your rights."

Police asked the man to move away from school property, but he was not arrested.

Fred Solop, a Northern Arizona University political scientist, said the incidents in New Hampshire and Arizona could signal the beginning of a disturbing trend.

"When you start to bring guns to political rallies, it does layer on another level of concern and significance," Solop said. "It actually becomes quite scary for many people. It creates a chilling effect in the ability of our society to carry on honest communication."

He said he's never heard of someone bringing an assault weapon near a presidential event. "The larger the gun, the more menacing the situation," he said.

Phoenix was Obama's last stop on a four-day tour of western states, including Montana and Colorado.

Authorities in Montana said they received no reports of anyone carrying firearms during Obama's health care town hall near Bozeman on Friday. About 1,000 people both for and against Obama converged at a protest area near the Gallatin Field Airport hangar where the event took place. One person accused of disorderly conduct was detained and released, according to the Gallatin Airport Authority.

Heather Benjamin of Denver's Mesa County sheriff's department, the lead agency during Obama's visit there, said no one was arrested.

Arizona is an "open-carry" state, which means anyone legally allowed to have a firearm can carry it in public as long as it's visible. Only someone carrying a concealed weapon is required to have a permit.

Paul Helmke, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said people should not be allowed to bring guns to events where Obama is.

"To me, this is craziness," he said. "When you bring a loaded gun, particularly a loaded assault rifle, to any political event, but particularly to one where the president is appearing, you're just making the situation dangerous for everyone."

He said people who bring guns to presidential events are distracting the Secret Service and law enforcement from protecting the president. "The more guns we see at more events like this, there's more potential for something tragic happening," he said.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said armed demonstrators in open-carry states such as Arizona and New Hampshire have little impact on security plans for the president.

"In both cases, the subject was not entering our site or otherwise attempting to," Donovan said. "They were in a designated public viewing area. The main thing to know is that they would not have been allowed inside with a weapon."

Representatives of the National Rifle Association did not return calls for comment.

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Make-A-Wish grants Texas boy's 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' dream

I think this is a wonderful story and wanted to share.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas granted its 4,000th wish to a young boy who has dreamed of sitting in the hot seat on "Who Want to Be a Millionaire."

"I got to go up there on the stage and sit in the hot seat," said Austin Webb, who was born partially blind and suffers from a tumor in the very spot where his nervous system comes together.

"The doctor says eventually something will happen," said Frances Webb, Austin's mother. "He can't give us a date, but because of the location and the size of it, something will happen one day. We just don't know the severity of it."

A still image showed Webb throw his hands in the air as he met host Regis Philbin.

"He was in heaven, complete heaven," Webb said. "He couldn't get Regis to ask him a question fast enough."

Then came the big moment, the million-dollar question.

"Who drives the number 14 Old Spice race car?" Austin said while remembering the last question. "And guess what the answer was? Tony Stewart ... It was right from the top of my brain. I didn't have to use any of the lifelines or anything like that."

"This moment was about him and just him," Webb said.

Austin proudly displayed the $1-million check.

"I love [the Make-A-Wish Foundation]," he said. "They helped make this dream true."

Austin said he plans on buying a nice car and a 12-story mansion with the money.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Fort Campbell Welcomes Home Vietnam Vets

Many of us remember how it was when we returned home, and will never forget how we were treated. I see men sometimes wearing the Viet Nam Vet hat, and I never fail to go up to them and shake their hand, thank them for there service and welcome them home.

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Tears filled the eyes of some Vietnam veterans who were warmly greeted with cheers from their family and friends Sunday in an re-enactment of their original return from the war, when they were often met with angry demonstrators and harsh headlines.

The ceremony was a first for the 101st Airborne Division and the Army, said Maj. Patrick Seiber, an Army spokesman based at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

"Our hope is that other units and other posts will follow our lead in having this type of ceremony," he said.

Mickey Leighton, a 72-year-old Army veteran from Naples, Fla., said listening to the applause and praise from the community was very emotional.

Leighton, who started his military career at Fort Campbell in 1956, served two tours in Vietnam including the Tet Offensive. He returned in 1972 in the midst of angry anti-war protests that often placed blame on the individual soldiers.

"We were treated very shabbily," he said. "In some cases they would throw eggs at us, they would throw empty beer bottles at us and they would call us baby-killers."

He said many soldiers would immediately change clothes because they didn't want to wear their uniforms in public in the late 1960s and early '70s while traveling home after returning from war.

"Never in the history of the military have I known of any division or any military installation providing a specific welcome home for Vietnam veterans," Leighton said. "This is very touching."

In contrast, Fort Campbell soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are welcomed back with a ceremony after every deployment, with many completing three or four tours since the wars began.

Army leaders and the community around Fort Campbell collaborated for the Vietnam ceremony, Seiber said. The 101st Airborne Division Association, a group for former soldiers from the division, helped to organize and get the word out.

"I can't think of a better community to do this in than the Fort Campbell community," Seiber said.

Although many veterans had ties to Fort Campbell, the ceremonies included those from almost all the services. Many wore pieces of their old uniforms such as pins, awards and ribbons. Relatives filled the bleachers holding up signs that read "Welcome Home" and "Thank you for your service."

Gene Jones, 67, of Louisville, went to war in 1964 and 1965 with the 101st Airborne. He spent two years in the hospital recovering after he lost his leg in the fighting.

"The American public didn't support the war," he said. "I was there because I thought I was doing the right thing," he said.

"Evidently I was doing the right thing because of the turnout like this. We were long due," he said of the ceremony. "It brings tears to your eyes."

Seiber said he expected more than 1,500 veterans to participate during multiple ceremonies.

Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, said the time had come to do the right thing.

"We realize that many of you did not receive the honorable homecoming you deserved as American heroes," Campbell said. "We wanted to make sure that another day doesn't go by when you did not have a proper welcome home."

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Pools and Their Problems.

I have been having fits with my pool for the past month or so. The water was so clowdy I couldn't see more than a foot or so under the surface. I brushed it, shocked it with massive amounts of chlorine and still no help. I had my water tested and everything balanced as it should. I had gotten to the point where I was ready to drain 26,000 gallons of water out into the street. I did some google searches and found out about using liquid bleach. I made a trip to wallyworld and bought 8 gallons. I put it in the pool, and the next day the water began to clear. Well to cut this story short, my pool is now back as it should be. I now add one gallon every few days and it is looking good. I had been buying 25 lbs of shock for around $65.00 which would last for about a month, well those days are over. Bleach is $1.50 per gallon and works much better. Actually I had gotten to the point that I was thinking about turning it into a fish pond, and I may still.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yang takes down Tiger at PGA Championship

I like Tiger, but I am glad to see this young man make history.

CHASKA, Minn. — In a year of spoilers at the majors, Y.E. Yang was the biggest of all.

He toppled the mighty Tiger Woods.

Yang became the first Asian-born player to win a major Sunday with a stunning performance in the PGA Championship, memorable as much for his clutch shots as the player he beat.

Woods was 14-0 when he went into the final round of a major atop the leaderboard. He had not lost any tournament around the world in nine years when leading by two shots.

None of that mattered to Yang, a 37-year-old South Korean who hit the shots everyone expected from Woods. Leading by one on the final hole, Yang slayed golf’s giant with a hybrid 3-iron that cleared the bunker and settled 12 feet from the cup.

Yang made the birdie putt and shouted with joy as he pumped his fist. That gave him a 2-under 70, and a three-shot victory when Woods missed yet another short par putt and shot 75.

“I tried to master the art of controlling my emotions throughout the small wins I had in my career,” Yang said through his agent, Michael Yim. “I think it turned out quite well today.”

His victory is massive for Asia, the fastest-growing market in golf. Perhaps even more significant is that the way he stood up to Woods, the world’s No. 1 player whose heritage is half-Asian through his Thai-born mother.

Yang and K.J. Choi are the only PGA Tour players who learned golf in South Korea before coming to America. South Koreans have had far more success on the LPGA Tour, with seven players combining to win 11 majors.

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Immigration Song - Bring us your poor...

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My new AARP Card

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Obama Official Linked to Racially Charged Bo

Looks like the chickens are comming home to roost. And the truth will set you free. Shit I say.

A racially charged activist group called “Color of Change” founded by Van Jones, a special advisor to the Obama Administration, is trying to silence popular radio and Fox News personality Glenn Beck by calling for a boycott of Beck’s TV advertisers.

On July 28th, Beck made a comment on the Fox & Friends morning show about Obama’s reaction to the arrest of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. During the discussion of “Professor-Gate,” Beck connected the President’s past association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright to Obama’s comment that Cambridge police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, acted stupidly. Though Beck acknowledged most of the Obama administration is in fact white, he concluded that the President’s world experience made him a “racist.”

Now “Color of Change” has bullied at least five of Beck’s big advertisers -- SC Johnson, Progressive Insurance, Geico, Procter & Gamble and Nexus Lexis -- to pull their ads from Beck’s national cable program. Jones, the founder of “Color of Change,” was named Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality -- a key administrative post -- this past March.
Putting tax-payer dollars to dubious use, the not-for-profit organization has hired well-heeled Hollywood publicist Ken Sunshine to further instigate the boycott.

For a related story go to

For the Hollywood connection to the Beck boycott, click here.

UPDATE: HUMAN EVENTS has learned that SC Johnson’s Consumer Relations Center is disputing any withdraw of advertisements from Glenn Beck’s program claiming there is “potentially misleading information on the web,” issuing this statement to inquiring consumers:

“SC Johnson has not pulled or cancelled advertising for the Glenn Beck show, as we never directed our advertising to this particular program. In general, our goal is to provide good, informative ads and we select those programs and/or networks that make the most sense given our consumer base.”

Reports also claim that addition companies; Mens Wearhouse, Sargento, and State Farm Insurance will be excluding their ads from any rotation during Becks time slot. HUMAN EVENTS contacted Mens Wearhouse, Sargento, and State Farm to confirm these reports, our calls have not yet been returned.

A FOX News spokesman has confirmed that although advertisers have moved their spots from Beck’s time slot they have not been lost from the network as a whole so there has been no lost revenue.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Clerk armed and ready for robbers, kills one

By Jeremy Desel / 11 News
I get the impression that most folks in Houston are fed up with the assholes and it's time to defend what is yours. More power to them all.

HOUSTON—Life can change in a second. It can also end. Cell phone store owner, Javid Iqbal saw both on Wednesday afternoon, in just 17 seconds.

11 News Video

11 News video
August 14, 2009 View larger E-mail Clip More Video “It is a part of my life that I will have to remember all of the time,” Iqbal recalls.

It was amazingly fast. Security video released to 11 News showed Iqbal behind the elevated counter, when the would-be robbers rush the store.

Two men with bandanas covering their faces, the leader gun in hand, vaulted over the case.

But in the five seconds that it took, Iqbal was already around the corner in the back, gun in hand.

“I see that guy come in the back pointing a gun. I just started shooting,” Iqbal says.

The two men were just inches apart, arms and guns extended. Iqbal fired three times, hitting 34-year-old Bryan Thorn.

Both robbers tried to flee after shots were fired, the second (still unidentified) man made it out, but Thorn did not. He collapsed dead in the doorway.

Iqbal said he could only think about the three most important people in his life, “I was thinking about my family; my little girl, my wife, my father,” he said.

All of them were within six feet of the shooting in the back of the store.

“My little three-year-old girl was in the store playing on the computer. The first thing wasn’t mine. I have to save my family,” Iqbal said, recalling the 17 seconds he will never forget.

This isn’t the first time. This store’s prior owner back in 2005 was also the victim of multiple robberies. One of those resulted in a shootout, which was also captured on video.

Not long after that, the owner-who was held up by three men and was not hurt- would sell this store to Iqbal.

Iqbal went on to do great business; but not all for profit, sometimes it came at a price. In all he’s been robbed four times, but no suspects were ever caught.

That is why his wife forced him to buy a gun and learn how to use it.

“Four robberies? Now I am not going to go through that again. All this happens. I have to take a stand somewhere,” Iqbal says.

The store is now open again after the shooting. His customers are standing with him.

“What if a stray bullet would have hit their daughter or hit his wife? Oh I’m sorry? For $20? Come on man,” said Carl English, who was in to pay his cell bill.

The store is still open, but Iqbal doesn’t know how long that will remain. He is now looking for a new, safer location.

Iqbal said that being robbed four times in a little over a year is all that his family can take. They are planning to move on soon.

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Man kills in-laws, commits suicide

By Sherry Williams / 11 News

HOUSTON—A West Harris County woman lost three family members in a gruesome murder early Saturday morning. Police believe her husband was responsible for the killings.

11 News

Police said around 2:30 a.m., 24-year-old Mayria Renteria reported that her estranged husband, Tomas Carreon, had shot her parents and younger brother.

When police arrived, they found Robert and Marina Schaerer and 14-year-old Salvador Renteria, Jr. dead inside their home located at 19430 Tree Orchard.

According to authorities, Renteria was also inside the home at the time, but was not shot.

A neighbor said the gunfire woke his mother up.

"She told me that she heard a shot and then she heard two other shots," said neighbor Tony Osorio.

Police said Carreon fled the scene on foot.

A wrecker driver spotted Carreon walking down Clay Road with a gun in his hand. The wrecker driver then flagged down a deputy and pointed him out.

The deputy followed the suspect to a KinderCare daycare center. Carreon ran behind the building and shot himself in the head.

It is unclear why the 29-year-old killed his wife’s family.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

4-year-old to get 911 hero award

There has been nothing to post lately except bad news, which I am even tired of reading. I found this Good News Story today and thought it was worth a read.

By Bronwyn Turner / Daily News Correspondent

SANTA FE — Kindergartner Joshua Rudolph will get a “911 Hero” award for how he calmly handled his grandfather’s accident and got him help.Robert Rudolph, 66, is out of the hospital and recovering from a gash in his thigh, the result of a lawn-mowing accident that could have been fatal if his 4-year-old grandson had not called 911.

Photo by Jennifer Reynolds

Kindergartner Joshua Rudolph

“Can we get, can we get a rescue people to come out here ’cause my Paw Paw’s (hurt) bad,” kindergartner Joshua Rudolph told the 911 operator Saturday, according to the phone transcript. Joshua made the call on his mother’s flip-style cell phone after he saw his grandfather wave a bloody hand for help.

Rudolph, a former diesel mechanic, was carefully guiding his riding lawn mower along a fence line when a timber-sized sign post jutting into his path, but out of his vision, caught him and pinned him. A heart patient on blood thinners, Rudolph was bleeding severely and trapped in his seat.

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“I saw Josh was looking at where I was at, and it was too far away to holler,” said Rudolph, speaking from a chair in the shaded patio beside his home Wednesday morning. “So I held my hand up, and blood was dripping down it.”

Rudolph was among a crew of six adults working on a large lawn assignment in rural Santa Fe as part of the family business, called “The Motley Crew.” Their motto is “Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.”

His daughter, Bobbie Smith, owner of the business, was working with a weed-eater on one side of the home. Her sister, Angela McCoy, was working with Raymond Sauceda, T.J. McCoy and Maggie Montegut on other assignments — all at a distance from Rudolph and all involving loud power lawn care tools.

Josh was assigned to stay on the patio and be ready to pick up trash. He earns a small allowance and an occasional ice cream cone when working with the family.

Smith, who had worked as a contract laborer for area plants, started the lawn care, handyman and cleaning business three months ago as a project to help her survive the recession. She was careful to teach her son the logistics of 911 calls.

“I told him Paw Paw has heart trouble so if I’m not around, he could take care of it,” she said.

Josh was quick to follow the drill when he saw his grandfather’s wave for help.

He called 911, asking for help, while running the phone to his mother.

“911’s on the phone,” he told her as he handed her the phone.

While paramedics were en route, Smith and her crew were able to free Rudolph and lay him down on the ground, applying pressure to the bleeding wound.

Rudolph lost four cups of blood but could have lost far more if Josh had not sounded the alarm.

“If it weren’t for him, I’m sure I’d be dead right now,” Rudolph said. “He’s my hero.”

The Galveston County Emergency Communication District plans to give Joshua a “911 Hero Award” in recognition of his coolheaded response.

“He did good,” Executive Director Bobby Wright said. “He recognized things were not right with his grandfather and he needed help.”

Joshua’s story illustrates a lesson Wright has taught throughout his 20 years with the district. Don’t hesitate to call in an emergency.

“If you think you need to call 911, just do it,” he said.


Details to note

•The Galveston County Emergency Communication District, located in Dickinson, posts educational information on its Web site, For information, call 409-935-3911.

•They advise instructing children to describe the emergency to 911 dispatchers, so ambulances or fire crews can be sent out right away if neededand to give a location, if possible.

This story is available through KHOU, Ch. 11's partnership with The Galveston County Daily News.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Hero

Yeoman 1st Class Timothy Gilbert
Yeoman 1st Class Timothy Gilbert
U.S. Navy

Yeoman 1st Class Timothy Gilbert, assigned to Headquarters Company of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB 74), donates blood during a blood drive for his six-year-old daughter at the Naval Construction Battalion Center base chapel. Gilbert's daughter has been diagnosed with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor and is receiving chemotherapy at Tulane Childrens Hospital.

You can read more about Yeoman Gilbert and his daughter, Timia, here.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan G. Wilber courtesy of United States Navy.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Friday, August 7, 2009

My Wife Got Home Yesterday

Well she finally made it home. It has been two months. Sandra arrived via Manila, Singapore, Moscow and Houston. The flight was on time and me and my kids were there waiting at 1:00 pm. She brought lots of presents for us all, and it was like Xmas in August. I got a lot of nice shirts, which I needed. Sandra managed to cook us a great meal before we all turned in aroud 1:30 am.. I slept in today, and didn't get up until 10:30. Lots of yard work to do today, but the temps are right around 100, and It's a bit hot right now, so it will have to be put off until this afternoon.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday Hero (On Thursday)

I am on vacation an forgot to post this yesterday, so he can be a hero on Thursday this week.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy P. Tamburello
Lance Cpl. Jeremy P. Tamburello
19 years old from Denver, Colorado
1st Light Armor Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
November 8, 2005

His parents didn't want him to enlist, but it was his passion for helping people that led L/Cpl. Jeremy Tamburello to the military. "He was a very noble, very compassionate, very brave man" said L/Cpl. Tamburello's father, Kevin. "He knew that he was going to have to go to Iraq and he knew that he might die, but he went anyway."

L/Cpl. Tamburello was killed by an IED while conducting combat operations near Rutbah, Iraq.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Bullet Magnet’ is back in the fight in Afghanistan

By Dianna Cahn, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Staff Sgt. Brandon Camacho, 22, shows off his 10th Mountain Division patch that was pierced by a bullet in a near miss in April. A month later, the squad leader with the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment,was shot in the same arm, earning him a fourth Purple Heart for combat wounds.

Staff Sgt. Brandon Camacho, 22, right, assesses the situation during a firefight in the village of Sheshquela on July 20. The squad leader with the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment returned to his unit just a day earlier after receiving his fourth Purple Heart for being shot in the arm in May.

Camacho holds his weapon at the spot where his squad got into a firefight in the village of Sheshquela on July 20.

Staff Sgt. Brandon Camacho (right), 22, receives a warm welcome from 1st Lt. Scott Davis when he returns to his unit on Friday after being shot in May, his fourth time wounded in combat. LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Staff Sgt. Brandon Camacho was in a "pissing contest" with the enemy. He shot one guy, then another popped up.

He threw a grenade, but it bounced off the man and exploded in a ditch.

As the squad leader then zigzagged through a field, he felt someone tug at his shirt sleeve. Hours later, after the firefight, he’d discover that a bullet had whizzed right through it, narrowly missing his bicep. It tore a hole through his 10th Mountain Division patch and through a pack of cigarettes in his arm pocket, destroying all but one.

"So I pulled it out and had myself a cigarette," Camacho says, holding the patch over his arm. Then he lifts the patch to expose a scar. It’s not from that bullet in April, but from another one a month later, earning the 22-year-old his fourth Purple Heart for wounds in a war he just won’t quit.

Struck by shrapnel during heavy mortar bombardment in Iraq in 2003, Camacho has since been grazed by one bullet, hit in the shoulder with a tracer round and finally, in June, shot in the arm. His men call him "The Bullet Magnet" and joke that since all his injuries have been on his left side, if they just stand to his right, they’ll be fine.

The most Purple Hearts received by one person is eight, according to various sources, but receiving four remains a rare occurrence.

A soldier’s soldier with a penchant for military history, Camacho has risen from private to staff sergeant with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s Company B, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, through three deployments and four combat wounds. He’s been shot, mortared, came within seconds of being struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. He’s watched colleagues die.

“He’s the most experienced guy I know,” said Sgt. Daniel Hernandez, 23, of Odessa, Texas, who is in Camacho’s squad. “He can take any bad situation and use it in our favor. If we could fight this war and pick a dream team, I’d pick him.”

Camacho dreams of digging his toes in the sand and sipping a drink by the ocean in his native Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory. And while he toys with the idea of getting out next year, he’s still in awe of the U.S. Army.

“I remember when I was a private. I’d look at my squad leader and think, ‘Look at him. He’s a staff sergeant. No one can touch these guys.’ Now I think, ‘God, I am the same,’ ” he says.

He recites the names of the men who didn’t make it: Maj. Douglas Sloan, the company commander with a great sense of humor they used to call “Lunch Box” because he was always looking for snacks, killed by a bomb in Wygal Valley, Afghanistan, on Oct. 31, 2006; Pfc. Alex Oceguera, who was killed with Sloan in the blast; Sgt. Russell Durgin, who died on June 13, 2006, in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, when his unit took small-arms fire; and Sgt. Brandon Adams, Camacho’s first roommate at Fort Drum, who taught him how to clean his boots and was killed in Iraq. Adams died of injuries sustained Feb. 16, 2004, when a grenade exploded as he was clearing a house in Fallujah.

“You meet the best people in the world in the Army,” Camacho says.

His first combat wound came in 2003, when his Army base near Fallujah came under mortar fire. Shrapnel was screaming into flesh and lit the tents on fire.

While Camacho was running to the bunker, a shard of burning metal struck just above his left knee, and a rocket hit the structure. He headed for another bunker but fell. Sgt. Ryan Haskins, who is deployed with him again now in Afghanistan, picked him up and pulled him to safety.

It was a singed flesh wound and Camacho was back in his unit two weeks later.

The son of a Saipan-born father and a American-born mother, and grandson of a U.S. Navy World War II veteran, Camacho grew up understanding what it is to be an American in a bigger world. His uncle is a command sergeant major with the 101st Airborne Division.

He was born in Saipan but moved to the States as a teen, joining the Army at 18, straight out of high school. It was shortly after 9/11, and he knew he’d be going to war.

He knows he’s fighting “on the right side of this war,” and takes his responsibility for his men seriously.

His uncle yelled at him for being the guy on point.

“He said I shouldn’t be doing that anymore,” Camacho says.

He smiles.

“They tell me I need to go back to basic training and practice IMT (individual movement technique) a lot more,” he says. “A lot of people say I am unlucky. But I think I am pretty damn lucky.”

He notes wryly that everyone in his platoon who has gotten hit has been in his squad. But even they trust Camacho to lead them through battle.

“The way he trained us back in Drum, I don’t want to be with no one else,” said Spc. Devin Johnson, of Chester, S.C., who was hit with bullet fragments in both legs in May when insurgents fired at the turret of a truck where he was gunning. “If something happens, we know what to do.”

Camacho’s second and third Purple Hearts came during his next deployment in Afghanistan’s northeastern Nuristan province. He had just come off a tough year back home. His father suffered a stroke and his grandfather died.

In July 2006, a bullet grazed his fingers as he pulled himself over a rock while chasing the enemy. He was hit again in April 2007, this time with a tracer round, after their deployment got extended beyond March. Both times, he finished the fight before realizing he was wounded. And both times, he was back to work within weeks.

Finally, in June 2007, Camacho went home, two more Purple Hearts in hand.

When it came time to redeploy this year, Camacho was assigned a recruiting job, which would have kept him out of harm’s way.

But the soldier was having none of it. He was thrilled when a captain intervened to get him back to the front lines.

Last May, Camacho, now a squad leader, and his men were chasing insurgents through tall grass in Afghanistan’s Logar province when a gunman jumped up and sprayed gunfire. Camacho reached back to get a magazine and felt like he’d been hit in the shoulder with a baseball bat. He was bleeding heavily. His arm froze up. But he kept firing until he got too dizzy and stumbled out to mounted units in trucks.
Camacho got his fourth Purple Heart and a two-week leave to go back home.
When he returned in July, the men greeted him warmly.
The next day, 1st Lt. Scott Davis, Camacho’s platoon leader, was talking to villagers at a girls school in the province’s Charkh District when shots rang out. Camacho was already at the forward position, where his men were returning fire from behind an orchard wall.
When the exchange was over, the men slid down behind the wall, smoking cigarettes as the adrenaline subsided.
“Welcome back, Sergeant,” one of the men called to Camacho.
“Right back in the game, huh, Sergeant?” said another.
Then Hernandez chimed in.
“‘The Bullet Magnet’ is back!”

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Officer fatally shoots suspect at Kingwood apartment complex

This is really getting close to home. It's about a mile from my house. I know the officer didn't want to use deadly force, but you do what you must.

Updated: 08.02.09

Authorities said an officer-involved shooting that left one man dead in the parking lot of the Woodland Hills Apartments in Kingwood late Saturday evening was a case of self-defense on the officer’s part.

According to Houston Police Department spokesman Victor Senties, HPD Officer Ryan Gardner, who is assigned to the HPD Northeast Division and has been with the department for seven years, was finishing his rounds of the apartment community around 10 p.m. as he was working an extra job as a courtesy officer at the apartment complex when he observed a man and a woman arguing in front of one of the apartment buildings.

“[Gardner] approached the male and gave him commands to ‘Come here, come here!’” Senties said. “The suspect ignored the commands [and] at some point the officer and the suspect got into a physical struggle. The suspect managed to get the officer’s Taser out from his holster, points it at the officer and tells him, ‘You’re dead.’ At this point the officer, fearing for his safety, takes out his service weapon and fires an undetermined amount of time.”

Gardner was officially off-duty, according to Senties, but the extra job was approved by the department and Gardner was in uniform.

Witnesses at the scene said they heard several gunshots.

“I was sitting in the parking lot in my car and I heard four or five shots,” said Kerry Robinson, who was visiting a cousin who lives at the apartment complex. “I ducked down and, next thing I know, someone was dead.”

Christina Miller, who also heard the gunshots, said she was shocked and appalled to learn that the man she had chatted with at the apartment community’s pool only a couple of hours earlier had been fatally shot.

“I just met the guy at the pool and he introduced me to his children,” Miller said. “He left about 30 minutes before [my friend and I] did and I heard at least six or seven gunshots go off.”

Other witnesses said they had just spoken with Gardner, who police said lives on the premises, when he reminded them the pool closes at 10 p.m. and asked them to leave the pool area.

Although police did not release the suspect’s identity, Miller said the man was a resident at the complex and was shot in front of his own apartment. Miller also said that the victim told her during their poolside conversation that he was in his mid-30s and a wrecker driver by trade.

At least two dozen tow truck drivers showed up at the scene to find out if in fact the victim was one of their own. Police did not immediately confirm the victim’s occupation or his place of residence.

Senties said Gardner would be placed on three days of administrative duties.

“I want to reiterate that that’s not a punishment; it’s just a way for the officer to decompress and get back into the routine of things,” Senties said. “It’s a very traumatic situation whenever an officer has to discharge [his] weapon. The last thing they want is for an encounter with a suspect to turn out this way.”

Senties said the woman involved in the argument with the suspect was not harmed in the shooting. He added that the two knew each other but the exact nature of their relationship was not known at the time.

The case remains under investigation by the HPD homicide and internal affairs divisions, as well as the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

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