Day of the Deployed October 26

Soldiers’ Angels 4th Annual Day of the Deployed is upon us.

Americans are encouraged to reaffirm their patriotism and allegiance to our flag and country, and to honor our brave men and women in uniform who are selflessly putting their lives on the line to protect and preserve our way of life. How? Think big, think small, but just…think. Ideas are under my signature line.

Then put those thinking muscles in motion and do something that day in their honor. Join us in celebrating our deployed heroes and their families on October 26, 2009.

Do you want to help honor our deployed heroes and their families on Oct 26– DAY OF THE DEPLOYED? Email or to get a Day of the Deployed Kit. Time is ticking— learn how to help. SUBJECT LINE: DoD Kit


“Oregon Troops Learning to ‘just do things better’

An update from the Oregonian-

Oregon troops learning to ‘just do things better’

Posted by Julie Sullivan, The Oregonian August 21, 2009 20:11PM


Col. Dan Hokanson, commander of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, spoke to The Oregonian at midnight Friday from his office in southern Iraq:

Suicide bombers struck the Finance and Foreign ministries in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 95 people and wounding at least 600.

How did that affect the brigade?

We were fortunate that no American soldiers were in that immediate area.

Randy L. Rasmussen/The OregonianThe 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team is setting up its headquarters and working with other Guard units on convoy security in southern Iraq, said commander Col. Dan Hokanson..

I feel so bad for the Iraqi people. It is a dynamic environment here, and we are working very closely with the Iraq army and police trying to help them be successful in securing their own country. Our success will be measured by whether it’s secure enough for us to leave.


What’s happened since arriving last month?

A week ago, we took over the (convoy security mission) for the whole southern and western part of the country. Geographically, it’s just a huge area. Since we arrived, our team has taken a warehouse and built our brigade headquarters, they went straight into cross-training with Texas.

Now we’re working with the other brigade here, from the Mississippi National Guard, to combine resources and share tactics and techniques about what’s been learned about the enemy, how to run convoys and just do things better. With a large number of troops leaving, we’re working on becoming more efficient so we can do as much with a lot fewer forces.

The brigade’s first casualty, Spc. Jeremy Pierce, lost a leg and a foot July 12 when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

There’s good news there. From the start Adj. Gen. (Raymond) Rees and I wanted every single soldier to go through combat lifesaving, which is usually only mandated for 10 to 20 percent of a unit. I made it mandatory for everyone, and 90 percent of folks have completed that, and we continue to train folks who showed up late.

The two soldiers in the vehicle with Jeremy clearly saved his life because they knew what to do. The ER doc told me that they did the tourniquets just the way they were supposed to, they saved his life. That alone made up for 3,000 soldiers we sent through that program.


“He has no personal effects”

A must read Blog post from ” My position on the Way”

“He has no personal effects. The only things that came with him from downrange[to Germany] were an envelope with a couple of [military challenge] coins and his Soldiers’ Angels backpack.”

That, in and of itself is a powerful statement.

About 10 last night, a friend of mine from college called to tell my Mrs. her husband (also another friend from college) was wounded in Iraq. His leg was badly injured, and he was in Germany, but would be transported to WRAMC soon.

The Mrs., who has walked many miles in those shoes.

Then I did something that I absolutely hate having to do: I shot a red-star cluster (a flare we use in the army that shoots a rocket up to about 250 feet and then shoots a shower of bright red sparks. In training, it is used to alert everyone on the battlefield that a serious real-world injury has happened, and mark the location for pickup.

In war, it is used to tell the helicopter where to land to pick up the casualties.

My figurative red star was fired out into the community of milbloggers and more importantly, Soldier’s Angels. Between the time I found out (actually before) a Soldier’s Angel in Germanywas present, holding his hand, making sure he was comforted and taken care of, contacting his spouse, who was back in the states trying to wrangle arrangements for their two kids. (Sound familiar so far?) and the time I woke up this morning, SA-stateside had energized their wounded team, making sure that he (and the other critically wounded patients flying in today) would have someone waiting on them.

They’d contacted his spouse again, making sure that anything she needed was also getting taken care of. Did she need someone to watch the kids? The dog? Did she need someone to run errands so she could take a nap? Was there anything at all she needed? Not to mention getting her information–gleaned from thousands of patients and families Soldiers Angels has cared for–to help her ask and answer the questions she had yet to think of. Other Angels were securing a beach head for her–making sure she was taken care of logistically at Walter Reed. Everything they could possibly do to pave the way, allow her to focus on her soldier, is being taken care of. (How many of you know there is a dunkin’ donuts and a subway in the lobby at WRAMC, or would even think that she might want some gift cards for them?) SA already purchased them!

As a leader, one of the scariest places to be is when you don’t know what it is that you don’t know. You can’t be sure if you’ve planned for the most likely possibilities if the battlefield is too uncertain, or if you are entering an area that you never dreamed you’d be entering. You are planning in a vacuum of information, on unfamiliar terrain, and have no idea what you need to do to make progress. Soldiers Angels tries to fill that information void–to help those spouses figure out what they need to do, to prioritize what needs to be done, to provide that much-needed information and prioritization to a spouse who is on an emotional precipice. Moreover, they make sure that no soldier goes unloved–whether it’s holding hands in the ICU in Germany, or in Walter Reed, or Brooke Amy Medical Center, or Bethesda, or Balboa, or anywhere a wounded soldier finds himself.

Read more here >MY POSITION ON THE WAY

Living Legends Team – Angels of Comfort

Soldiers’ Angel Cynthia is a part of theLiving Legends team, which provides condolences and comfort to families of the fallen through letters, cards, and very special gifts of comfort and remembrance.  Cynthia is personally responsible for contacting families and offering them a tree or wreath in memory of their loved one.  She also makes sure any young children involved receive a Patches teddy bear, which is specially crafted to help them express their emotions amid the tragedy of losing a parent.

Angels of Comfort

The last two months have seen a high rate of casualties, especially in Afghanistan, and the Living Legends team has been very busy.  Cynthia recently shared with the rest of the team:

…After talking with family after family the last few days, I thought it was time to make sure each and every one of you understands how very important you are and what a special thing it is you are doing. Mother after mother, wife after wife, father after father, and husband after husband have told me how much those cards mean to them.

Not once in the two years I have been doing this have I ever had to explain Soldiers Angels to any of our families–each and every person knew, and the appreciation is so enormous. One Grandfather told me this weekend that we have done so much for them that they hated to impose anymore by taking a tree. I’m told over and over how amazed they are that people all over the country–people they don’t know–would be so kind, go to such trouble for them.

Each of you, when you send a card, is a wonderful ambassador for Soldiers Angels and you make my job at little easier. Some families have told me that at especially rough times, they go back to their box of Angel cards and read them again for comfort. It doesn’t matter that none of us have the perfect words–when I call, I certainly don’t because there simply are none–but the fact that you reach out to them means so much, they are so grateful that people care; you just can’t imagine.

So, if ever you feel that your one card doesn’t matter, that you can’t possibly say anything that will make a difference, don’t you dare stop! You are a lifeline to so many, and those cards and letters will carry into the future. Sadly, many of our heroes have children they never met or who are too young to remember who Mom or Dad was.  Your cards are being kept to give to those children and hopefully your words will help these children fill that empty place with the understanding that Mom or Dad was very special–so special, so appreciated, that people from all over the States wrote to say so.

So, thank you again.  I, too, appreciate the caring and thoughtful way you pave the road for me. The bios [on each fallen hero, researched and assembled by Living Legend team members] are so helpful to me because I can read each one, and when I talk to one of our families I know something about them, which makes me a little more like a long-lost friend that a stranger. Plus, I see the photos and sometimes it helps me know what to say. I know putting those bios together is not an easy job, reading them isn’t easy either and you know what?–It really shouldn’t be.

Soldiers’ Angels proudly gives its most respectful salute to the amazing Angels of the Living Legends team.  They willingly step into the most painful of situations, honoring America’s heroes and comforting their grieving families during the most difficult time. They are truly Angels of a most special breed.

Portraits of Love

Volunteering to Help Send a Piece of Home to Soldiers Abroad

The PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA) along with Soldiers’ Angels, a grassroots volunteer organization, revealed  the Portraits of Love Project, a volunteer effort aimed at sending family portraits to soldiers around the globe this holiday season.

Designed to help bring a piece of home to soldiers around the world, the project is utilizing the talents of over 150 volunteer photographers across the country who are opening their studios this September, to offer free family portraits to military family members who have a soldier deployed overseas. The portraits will be uploaded to a website,, and a print will be sent, free of charge, directly to the soldier in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever they are deployed around the world. The goal of the project is to send 10,000 free family portraits during the month of September.

 “This project is the photo industry’s way of giving back to our soldiers, and thanking them for the sacrifices they have made for our country,” said Jerry Grossman, the president of the PMDA who has spearheaded the effort. “Our industry is uniquely qualified to bring an important piece of home to our soldiers, and we’re pleased to be able to organize this effort.”

“It’s incredible how motivating a simple family photograph can be to a soldier who is far from home,” said Sergeant First Class Toby Nunn, who has served two tours in Iraq and has worked with Soldiers Angels on a number of projects. “This volunteer effort is one more way that we can help our soldiers cope with their situation,” he said.

As part of this project, Ken Hubbard of Tamron USA, Inc. joins more pro photographers to take professional family portraits of soldier’s families at Fort Hood this September. Military family members on or near Fort Hood can contact the base directly for scheduling information.

About PMDA

Founded in 1939, the PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA) has promoted the photo industry for over 70 years with an emphasis on photo imaging manufacturers and distributors. PMDA provides an open forum for its members to exchange ideas and learn new technologies and business trends, in addition to administering programs that promote photography to the general public. The member companies of PMDA have a box seat on the changing product and business developments of the photo industry and a unique opportunity to network with other industry principals and managers in the receptions preceding each meeting and special event. PMDA has also teamed up with the Photo Marketing Association to create the Photographic Information Council (PIC) to promote photography to the general public. PIC’s website ( provides great photo tips and techniques, celebrity photographers, contests, new product releases and projects. See PMDA’s site,, for more information.

Soldiers’ Angels Needs Your Cookie Recipes!

Dear Angels, Warriors, Celebrities, Sponsors, and Friends…

The first Soldiers’ Angels cook book, Angel Delightsthe Cookie cook book, has been a best seller and fund raiser for Soldiers’ Angels, so it is time for SECOND EDITION.
Please send recipe submissions in the following catagories:

Bar Cookies
Drop Cookies
Roll-and-Cut Cookies
Pressed and Molded Cookies
Brownies and Blondies
Refrigerator and Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Miscellaneous and Unusual Cookies

Celebrity recipes are wanted — Soldiers’ Angels  must receive the recipe directly from the celebrity ( or to the Angel submitting the recipe however, Soldiers’ Angels cannot accept recipes that are copied from celebrity Web sites and emailed over from Angels.
We are also collecting recipes for our Meals Ready to Go/Eating on a Budget cookbook that will roll out shortly after the 2nd Cookie cookbook.  We especially encourage our Warriors to get involved with this cookbook– what do you eat- that is fulfulling when you are on limited time/supplies?
If you have any inspirational quotes, poems, stories to share- please send them along as well.. (please limit to 3 paragraphs if possible for editing purposes) for strategic placement in the cookbooks- we may need to edit and space is limited, so not all submissions will be included, but we will file away for a future project.

Maximum of 10 recipes per person.

Please email MaryAnn for the template ( The deadline is August 31, 2009 so we can get the book published in time for holiday gift giving. (Please do not wait for the deadline– get your recipes in now.)

Thank you and we look forward to another successful cookie book. To purchase the first edition, please head over to our Angels Store- All proceeds from the Angels Store go directly back into supporting our heroes.

Kind regards,


“All Gave Some” shared by Veteran Brian Cairns

Thank you for your Service Brian, and thank you for sharing this special message…….



An 18 year old postpones a college education so that an Iraqi child might go to school in safety and freedom.

A Doctor and a Dentist gave time away from their private practices in order to bind wounds and give smiles to Afghan villagers who have never had health care.

A veteran police officer forgoes the benefit of a comfortable retirement so that a faraway land might have competent and capable security forces.

A newlywed sacrifices time with an adored husband or wife so that another married couple will not endure the separation of deployment.

A “Biker” who spends extra time on the road to ensure that military funerals are not dishonored by those who think that there is nothing worth fighting for… or think that it’s “patriotic” to protest in front of grieving families.


An American Medic takes a fatal wound while rescuing a wounded Afghan soldier who could not make it to safety.

A medical teams’ vehicle is destroyed by a roadside bomb while returning from a humanitarian visit to an ont of the way village.

A platoon sergeant that will not leave his position until all his soldiers are out of danger…


After thirty years of military service I have seen and heard of many examples of giving and giving all. The examples I’ve shared above are real life. Like it or not, we are a nation at war.

I served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am grateful to the Patriot Riders who were there when I left, and who were there when I came home. I am grateful and proud of my wife who kept me in her heart and prayers – and who stood up to antiwar protesters for my honor and the nobility of my mission. I am deeply indebted to the Vietnam veterans who have done so much to see to it that me and my “band of brothers” received the “welcome home” that they never received when they returned home. Most of all, I thank God for His protection which brought me through two combat tours without a scratch and never having to fire my weapon in self defense.


Brian Cairns