America in Uniform

When military parents leave their children, many communication resources are available to keep them in contact. However, many find that keeping in touch can’t compare to the real, physical touch of parent at home.

Operation Hug-A-Hero is trying to change that. The organization makes soft, stuffed dolls with an image of a parental hero screened onto it, giving children a touchable connection that is huggable as it is accessible.

KAAL reports that Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Southeast Minnesota, a military support group, volunteered to help Operation Hug-A-Hero make toy companions for kids coping while their parents are serving.

Read the full story at Huffington

By ‘Doc Hutch’

As a Corpsman in green and not navy blue,
I offer this poem from a Doc’s point of view.
We’ve been honored by stories, poems and such
By Marines we have served with and respected so much.
They speak of our honor, bravery and skill,
And the cry, “Corpsman up!” still gives me a chill.
When a Marine goes down, what will it be?
A trache? Tie off bleeders? Start an IV?
Only one thing is certain as we rush to the scene,
Our ass will be covered by our brothers in green.
You see we’re adopted, “Sons of the Corps.”
No more “Anchors away” – “Semper Fi” evermore!
It’s true when you’re wounded, your life’s in our hands,
And we’ll treat and protect you to the very last man.
For you are our point man, our cover, our shield,
And we count on your skills all our days in the field.
Many a grunt laid his life on the line
To make sure Doc got to the wound in time.
So, my brothers, I thank you, as all us Docs should.
It’s YOU who make us Corpsmen look good!


KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Less than six months ago, U.S. Army Pfc. William A. Swaray’s drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga., gathered soon-to-be infantry men in a small room.

The drill sergeant wanted the young soldiers to watch the movie “Restrepo.”

“He said, ‘OK, this is what you guys have gotten in to, so watch it and see,'” said Swaray, now assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Fear, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, TF Bronco.

“When we watched the movie, some of us became afraid,” Swaray said. “We started to see reality from that day on.”

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Now, Swaray, a native of Monrovia, Liberia, is living at an observation post outside of Combat Outpost Monti in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. The reality is he is not far from where the documentary ‘Restrepo’ took place.

Not only is he a few miles from the Pech River Valley, but his team leader is U.S. Army Sgt. Misha Pemble-Belkin.

“Surprisingly, when I came to this unit, the very guy that was in the movie is in the same platoon and my team leader,” Swaray said. “I remember him in the movie shooting the MK-19 (automatic grenade launcher), and I remember him when he was being interviewed by the reporter. He’s like a hero, man.”

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Here’s an e-mail from a lawyer friend of mine.  He gave me permission to publish it for all of our America In Uniform supporters.

To all:

In the performance of my menial job, I am required to examine Abstracts of Title to different properties in North Louisiana to determine the mineral and lease ownership of said lands.  This afternoon I was examining a succession proceeding of a man who had acquired a piece of property in Sabine Parish.  I discovered the attached letter filed for posterity in his succession proceeding at the courthouse.

Sgt. John Emanus died on June 6, 1944 (that is otherwise known as D-Day) while serving in the 82nd Airborne Division which had jumped into Normandy on the early morning hours of this historic day.  The letter is written by the then Commanding General of the 82 Airborne Division, General Matthew Ridgway, one of our nation’s most able and courageous commanders in both WW II and the Korean War.  I found the short, concise letter of General Ridgway to Sgt. Emanus’s father to more accurately reflect what being a combat soldier is all about more than any other explanation I have ever read.