4th of July at the Mologne House

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Mrs. Rand, not in the picture, does crafts with the wives and children of the wounded at WRAMC on a frequent basis. This gives the mothers and chance to get away, talk with other women. The woman in the blue t-shirt with her daughter next to her were decorating little handbags. The guy in the red shirt is the recovering husband/father.

By: Mike "Loadhacker" Sloniker, Lt. Col., USA (Ret)

Niki Das is a widow of the Iraq war, having lost her husband in an F-15 in 2003. Niki, a member of the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, went out and sat with Brennan and his sister from Wisconsin. Brennan was a USMC enlisted engineer with 3/8 Marines in Afghanistan and lost his legs doing road clearing. He is a big farm boy and his sister was with him to assist at WRAMC. Niki Das is truly a very gifted person who realized the sister needed a break and offered her phone number to the sister, saying anytime she wanted to get away and go "shopping" just call and Niki would come get her.

I was listening to this type conversation all over that patio area of WRAMC. Folks helping the care givers.

Maj Gen Robin Rand, a big fighter pilot, would go from table to table, plop down in a chair and start talking to a grunt as if (1) HE was a grunt, and (2) he knew the kid all this life. Maj Gen Burt Field did the exact same thing.

Dave Brog was running all over the place getting people to man the food line--and then there is Old Growler carrying a food tray for a triple amputee.

These moments just come around once, and you have to pay attention to what is going on.

I have a personally earned relationship with Grunts. When I see the River Rats get in there and provide assistance to them, I KNOW what it means to the Grunt.

We are seeing trying times with these soldiers/marines.

The Vietnam Veterans of the 101st Airborne Division have been asked to come to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, for a 16 August ceremony honoring the Vietnam Vets. There is a special meaning in this. The Screaming Eagles have had 14 suicides this year since returning from Afghanistan. After seeing our old fat bald members, maybe some kid will see us and not make a long term decision on a short term problem.

My left leg and left knee are just in poor shape, however, I will drag that mess with me for these young guys. I went to the Nam twice. These kids have had 3 and 4 tours in a conventional division, since October 2001. Special Forces have a higher number of tours.

Please never forget the work of Mike "Porky" Cooper in NC and Gary Baber in San Antonio with Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC). I saw a 506th INF kid, that was badly burned, with Gary last July at BAMC. I was a forward observer with A Company 1st Bn 506th Inf for a little while in 1968. Brotherhood.

The Ranger motto is "Rangers lead the way" (RLTW). Same for the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots - RLTW


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