January 2009


08 Jan 2009 06:09 pm

I discovered this today. My niece is a friend of Sarah, the sister of Ist LT. Tom Martin, who was killed in Iraq October 14, 2007. Sarah, her family and friends have created a book in memory of Tom from the journals he kept from West Point through his Iraq deployment and from his blog. Just reading about it brought tears to my eyes. Tom was a member of the class of 2005 at West Point. He was one of those young Americans who gladly joined the ranks of men and women to defend our country and he did it the hard way. He enlisted.

A little about Tom

First Lieutenant Thomas Martin died during combat operations October 14, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq.

Tom was born October 10, 1980, in Huron, South Dakota. He left South Dakota as a very young boy, went to school for a short time in San Marcos, Texas, and then graduated from high school in Cabot, Arkansas in 1998. That same year he enlisted in the United States Army completing Basic Training and AIT as a Field Artilleryman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma (GREEN). In 2000, after an assignment to Camp Stanley in Korea, Tom was accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy. After attending the United States Military Preparatory School, Tom entered West Point in the fall of 2001 (TO GREY). As a West Point Cadet, Tom started on the Rugby team, was a member of the Military Tactics Team, and earned his Parachutist Badge by graduating from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Tom majored in Military Science and graduated with his class in May 2005. He was commissioned as an Armor Officer (TO GOLD) and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Tom volunteered for Ranger School and graduated earning his Ranger tab in May 2006. He reported to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Richardson, Alaska in June 2006. Upon arrival, Tom was assigned as the Sniper Platoon Leader in Crusader Troop and deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2006.

1LT Martin was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart Medal posthumously. His previous awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Army Overseas Ribbon w/numeral 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab.

As a youth, Tom was active in his church, community, 4-H, high school band, theater, the Boy Scouts of America, and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

First Lieutenant Martin was interred in West Point National Cemetery, West Point, New York.

He will forever be remembered as a man with undaunted determination who was fiercely dedicated to his men, his mission, and his country.

Tom Martin will never be forgotten.

Go check out the book.

May God continue to comfort the family and friends of 1st. Lt. Tom Martin.

07 Jan 2009 10:23 pm

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Some days are like that.

Wonder if it’s like that with Democrats? Does Obama feel a deep and sinking dread when he hears Nancy Pelosi’s name?

Is that why he seems so gloomy?

Does the President Elect believe Harry Reid’s claim that he is his own man and won’t be Obama’s yes man?

And while we are on the subject of the little undertaker of the senate, how many days will it take before Harry Reid tears down that wall and allows the deserving Mr. Burris to take his seat?

03 Jan 2009 09:59 pm

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An old and worn but much loved edition of the great game we play every year.

Last night we hosted the famous, annual Fletcher Family Football Tournament. The football tournament has been a tradition for as long as I can remember but my husband and I have been hosts to it for the past eight or nine years. I have never won or even come close to winning and that tradition still holds. My youngest brother, Guy has also never won but he has come close to winning and that tradition still holds. My sister, Lucy has come close to winning before and last night she gave me a thumping that still makes my head hurt today. She beat me 23-0.

I may need to explain to my readers that this football tournament involves a board game that my Dad designed, developed and published in the fifties. It is copywrited and was quite a popular selling game locally but when Daddy contacted Parker Brothers back in the fifties they said thanks but no thanks to him.

That’s okay because our family and friends have kept this incredibly fun and addictive game our own carefully held secret, gathering together every year around Christmas, with my brother Bobby or my Dad drawing up a tournament bracket, and all the participants drawing numbers to decide where we will fall within the tournament bracket and to whom we will play.

No one wants to play my mother. She is called by one Champion The Intimidator. She will doom any player from the start of the tournament because she mysteriously calls plays that are never expected or logical and it always tricks the unassuming, unexpecting player. No one knows her playbook and no one can analyze it. Mother’s moving laterally when she should be line-plunging and she’s passing when she should be end-running. She beats her opponent so badly they don’t know whether they were coming in or they were just leaving and she puts them out of the single elimination tournament as easily as if she were saying, “Please pass the butter”.

The same sort of aura surrounds my father, who all the grandchildren call “Pappy.”

Last night “Pappy” played some great games, making it into the semi-finals, knocking off my sister, Lucy in a very closely fought contest. He held my son, Drew to a 10-10 tie. In the sudden death contest that went four quarters long, Pappy drove sixty yards down the field, scoring a touchdown, and winning by six.

Then he had to face Kate, my daughter, who had just come off a big win, beating former champion, Dorinda, my sister-in-law, winner in 2004 who in turn had just knocked off Gary Fletcher, my cousin, perennial winner in 2005 and 2007 and according to my Dad’s records a champ back in the sixties and seventies.

Even though Kate is the mother of an eleven month old son who will be a year old in three weeks and who is as rambuctious as the day is long, she helped me get the whole wing-ding ready, helping me to vacuum, prepare the food and even make a last minute run to Sams Club to get even more food but she still had the psychic energy that was required of a tough steely eyed competitor on and off the field to call the right plays and carry them out.

Kate beat my Dad. Not only that, she beat him in the very last few seconds of the game. That was some game.

But the story is not over. There is one player I have not yet mentioned, the eventual winner of the night. It was not my daughter, Kate. I haven’t yet mentioned my brother, Bobby Fletcher Jr., one of the biggest winning champs in Fletcher tournament history. He is the organizer of the tournament, having taken the mantle from his namesake, our Dad, the old man, Bobby E. Fletcher Sr.

Bobby, AKA, the Sargeant Major, was having a great night, beating all who had the unlucky draw of playing him.

The Sargeant Major had a great night, that is, until he played Mike, my son-in-law, husband of Kate, father of Noah, champion in the making. In Mike, the Sargeant Major met his match and fell to defeat, 14-7. Mike had beaten four other opponents before facing the Sargeant Major and after he put him away found himself in the finals facing his own wife, Kate, who tried to put some major psych-out on him but, unfortunately for Kate, Mike wasn’t having any of it.

Nothing doing. Mike wasn’t fazed in the least.

His defensive and offensive teams were finely tuned and well rested although this was Mike’s sixth and final game of the night. By the time Mike was playing Kate in the finals it was near the witching hour of midnight.

From the first kickoff it became evident that Mike’s team was dominating in punt returns, passing and rushing. He completely stuffed any attempts of Kate’s offense to take the field, much less make any first downs, defeating a tired Kate, 24-6 which was a crushing humiliation for her. Her team was simply beaten by a superior team, the best team of the year.

Mike now joins that exclusive pantheon of champions, one which I and two of my siblings have never been able to join, no matter how hard we have tried all of these years. There is always next year I suppose but there are those whose records have demonstrated potential and a great win/lose ratio that places them in a different category than the rest of us. Mike and Kate were edging up there the past few seasons and it was only a matter of time for them.

It was Mike’s time this season.

Congratulations Mike!

The biggest psych-out of the night? Both Kate and Mike wore their University of Oklahoma sweatshirts which was appropriate since both are graduates of O.U. Boomer Sooner!

01 Jan 2009 12:03 am

So Happy New Year everyone, even though it’s not yet the New Year for everyone in flyover country.

Well, I guess that’s a little uncalled for but I just saw Bill and Hillary Clinton dancing on television. Was that for real?

So please forgive the crankiness but the last time our country was treated to a glimpse of the Clintons dancing we had to endure that tacky Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment and Clinton kept the United States government busy dealing with his personal peccadilloes while bin Laden and company were spinning their evil webs of terror.

It’s bad enough that Obama keeps baring his chest out in Hawaii while multiple rockets are being fired into Israel every day. The president elect declined to comment on whether he supports the Israeli pushback against Hamas but quickly put out a statement condemning Gov. Blagojevich’s appointment of former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

Hmm. Midwestern Democrat peace is more important to Obama than mideast peace?

Anyway, we always have a nice New Years Eve celebration here that could compete nicely with all the folderol that goes on in Times Square.

We drove up to Rogers, Arkansas today to see the sights. We bought some books at the keen, Barnes and Noble. Then we ate Zydeco Chicken at Copelands.

We took Minnie the dog outside for a walk.

We watched LSU stomp Georgia Tech.

Boy! Howdy! It’s 2009! Well, it is for those of us in the Central Standard Time Zone. It’s probably not yet the witching hour for California or Hawaii or for Alaska or for Gov. Sarah Palin. (I hope it’s a really Happy New Year for Gov. Sarah Palin.)

We toasted to the New Year. We had already used our Champagne for mimosas on Christmas morning so we used diet coke. It sufficed and I think it was an appropriate and sober way to approach 2009.

I’m hearing a lot of firecrackers outside! Inside the city limits! Will the police be called? Not by me!

As for 2008, while it was a horrible year for many in our country (and for some of our dear friends personally) for us there were some happy and wonderful things that did occur.

January, 2008 brought us our wonderful grandson, Noah.

March, 2008 we survived a bad hailstorm which hit our area and left some of our family members with damage to cars, houses and roofs. It gave us all a big scare and reminded us of our powerlessness when it comes to weather events. I consider this a good thing because we survived an assault by nature and now it’s merely a distant memory.

December, 2008, our daughter completed her lawschool studies and is studying to take the bar exam in February.

We ended 2008 still employed, still healthy and enjoying the blessings of freedom.

Things to look forward to in 2009?

The birth of our first granddaughter in March. What more do we need?

Happy New Year to all.

And yes, I wish a Happy, New Year to all on the East Coast.

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