Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Day 224 - The Heart of America

As more than 2,000 soldiers from the Mississippi Army National Guard fanned out through their hurricane-ravaged state yesterday, conducting search-and-rescue operations and handing out ice and generators, several thousand of their comrades were unavailable for disaster relief and unable to communicate with their families. Another soldier from the 155th was killed near Iskandariyah Tuesday by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). All communications at 155th military installations are suspended until family members of the fallen soldier are notified.

Near Baghdad, reports estimate between 700-1000 religious pilgrims crossing a bridge (video) were killed in a stampede ignited by someone yelling ‘suicide bomber!’

While we may not be able to prevent hurricanes, there are safety measures you can take to avoid being injured, smothered or trampled to death when a crowd panics. (Clothing tip #3 on this web site: Leave behind dangerous accessories like spikes and chains. OK. Will do.)

Here at home, military family chat rooms are busy. Wives and mothers in areas not so directly affected by Katrina (new video) offer advice and aid to those who need help most. Finding enough gasoline to make the trek south to check on stranded families and animals is a big topic this morning. Family Readiness Group leaders are posting web sites where to find help.
Observation: Last week, Pat Robertson took a huge hit from Christian supporters for his statements implying the U.S. should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Anybody else hearing “Shoot the looters!” the last few days?

Regrettably, reports like these feed the soul of those who hate America. Our prayer is that a show of overwhelming support by the rest of the country for victims of Katrina will send a clear message the real heart of America beats with love.