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  • Deployment Journal: A somber New Year

    The midnight air was icy cold here Dec. 31, 2010, as hundreds of Italian, Spanish, American and Albanian servicemembers rung in the New Year with a crisp salute and final farewell to their fallen brother.Though most around the globe celebrated the passing year and coming of the next, we were somber here. Between my Afghan deployments and time at
  • West Ham United: What's all the fuss with this 'football' stuff?

    Roaring crowds, cheers and festive singing could be heard all the way down Barking Road in Upton Park, London, Oct. 24 as I made my way to Boleyn Ground, home to the West Ham United Football Club.In a spectacle that I can only compare to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, hordes of supporters literally blanketed the streets and sang club songs together.I
  • Land of setting sun

    Anxiety grows with each hour now - soon I must head to Afghanistan.Though seeing their father and husband off to war is a seemingly dismal thought in itself, the silver lining for my family is that they got to return to Okinawa, Japan, for the duration of my deployment.Recently, we made the 25-hour journey to my mother-in-law's house in the
  • Dr. Woo's legacy of hope lives on

    With clenched fists and a heart full of anger, I read a breaking Associated Press story Saturday about a woman I worked closely with on a humanitarian initiative a few months back, who was inanely gunned down by terrorist insurgents.The attack happened after her team provided previously-unavailable eye treatment and other health care in remote
  • Feeding camels is tiresome, yet important task

    When my 3-year-old asked me why I was going to the desert in 2004, my reply was simple. I said, "Daddy has to go feed the camels," and that was enough to sustain his curiosity. My 7 and 8-year-olds didn't buy it.Despite their doubt and his bewilderment, I went forth and tried my best to help by supporting ground and air operations in Iraq in an
  • Facing the future as a family: Airman reflects on events that led to adopting sibling group

    Adopting children was something I wanted to do since I started thinking about having a family. It was also one of those things that always seemed inconvenient, daunting and too expensive. So, after the birth of our third child, my wife started to bring up the subject with increasing regularity, and at the time I kept dodging it. I didn't want to
  • Commentary -- Thoughts on 9/11 ... seven years later

    Sept. 11, 2001. It's 3:35 a.m. in Hawaii when the phone rings and my sister-in-law tells me we are at war. "What?" "Turn on your TV!" The horrors of the day fell upon me as they did for the nation and the world. It's seven years later. It's time to look again at the images of that day. Planes fly into buildings ... buildings exploding, falling ...
  • 'Do I get to meet the Queen?' - A daughter's view of overseas living

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Breane Lyga is the 15-year-old daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Brian Lyga, 352nd Operations Support Squadron at RAF Mildenhall. It was a beautiful summer evening in 2004, and Mom and Dad gathered the whole family together and told us we will be moving to RAF Mildenhall in England. I was 11 at the time, so my only thoughts of England
  • ‘So what did you get?’

    "So what did you get?" "An 11." "An 11 on your runtime? Man, that's pretty good!" "No I got an 11." That's right, I scored an 11 out of 100 on my annual PT test. That was in 2005, I had just moved from Vance Air Force Base, and I was in serious trouble. I hadn't taken things seriously at all; I'd taken bike tests and blamed my back to get me out of
  • I may not believe in God, but I believe in chaplains

    I've never really had much in the way of faith. My dog tags say "agnostic" on them. I don't attend a church, synagogue, or mosque. I live my life the best way I know how. I'm not anti-religion, far from it; I have just never felt the need to express my spirituality through worship. There's no shame in my choice. In fact, I hardly ever think about