Monday, February 26, 2007

A hero...

Well I’m up here in Maser e Sharif for a few days covering a couple of NATO events. That got cancelled and now I’m sitting up here in a blizzard freezing my bottom off wishing I was back at Phoenix!! But I wanted to make sure I updated everyone about all the stuff going on a couple days before I left.

Saturday we had a big HA drop at a Kindergarten in Polacharkee. We handed out over 200 bags of clothes and shoes and 150 backpacks filled with school supplies. So far all the shoe money I have collected has been spent on shoes and we have bought over 400 pairs and when I get back I plan on buying about 300 to 400 more!!! I’m so happy everyone has helped out so much and I appreciate it SO SO much, thank you. Also some of the money has been used to buy medical supplies for our MedCaps. We spend about 600-700 dollars every time we have a MedCap and that is all from donations from large companies or individuals back in Oklahoma. But since we have been doing so well with the Afghan Children’s Fund we started using some of that money since we were running very low on funds for the MedCaps. I just want you all to know what the donations are being used for and that they are being used for a wonderful cause.

I will put pictures up from the HA drop as soon as I get back to Phoenix in a few days. They are on my computer back there, but the pictures of Sgt. Hughie I took the night before we left for MEZ. Anyway school starts up in a little under a month over here after their winter break. So I wanted to put out the word that school supplies will be needed soon. Any and every type is perfect, pens, paper, crayons, scissors, pencils. Anything is useful so send what you can. I know A LOT of people have sent all kinds of things over here for the people of Afghanistan so I know some of yall are tapped out. But send what you can because every kid over here needs a pen. We plan on having a big school supply drop within the next few weeks so I will make sure you all see pictures of how wonderful it is. So for those of you who don’t know the address here it is and I hope I get as much support as I did with all the winter clothes and shoes!!!

Michael Larkin
Camp Phoenix, AF
APO, AE 09320


We had Sgt Hughie’s memorial service on Saturday the 24th. I think that was one of the toughest things I’ve sat through since I lost one of my close friends in High School. Like I said in my other blog I didn’t know Sgt Hughie as well as his friends in his Company but I had met him and had a few conversations with him. But I took it hard; all I could think about was his wife and son. How they will never see him again and how Cooper will grow up only knowing his father as a hero and not ever remembering who he was as a Dad. I thought about Buddy’s mom and what she must be going through losing her son. I grew up a big Mommas boy and I know my mom would be devastated if she lost me. I feel so bad for his family, I feel bad for every family who has lost a soldier, but Sgt. Hughie was one of our guys an Oklahoma boy who was trying to do everything he could to save a fallen Afghan soldier and in the process he lost his life trying to save someone else’s. Losing Sgt. Hughie this way is a little more difficult than a car wreck or some accident. We never want to stand there and see his boots resting under his dog tags that are draped over a rifle that will never be used by that soldier again.

This is a tough life to live and a very tough career. We know what were doing when we sign that dotted line but we never know just what it will bring until we have nights like the 19th and 24th. I did tear up and choke up a few times I’m not going to try and be a tough guy or anything like that. It was hard to see our Commanders and Sergeants get choked up and cry. That’s the last thing those guys ever want to do is bury a soldier. I don’t want to have to see that again and I hope we get through this mission and back home to all of our families without another fallen hero.

I’m not sure if you have ever been to a Military Funeral or Memorial. But at the end of the ceremony one the Sergeants or Officers will call out the Fallen Soldiers name along with others from his squad or platoon. It’s called the last roll call… It went like this and its one of the hardest things to listen to. First Sergeant Robert Maxwell called the names of Sgt. Hughie’s fellow soldiers as they shouted, "Here First Sergeant." 1SG then called out "Sgt. Hughie." Silence. "Sgt. Buddy Hughie." Silence. "Sgt. Buddy James Hughie." Silence. The Bugler then plays taps and I always flinch at the 21 gun salute.

Sergeant Buddy Hughie 19FEB2007

The sadest military song!!! Played at Sgt. Hughies Memorial Ceremony..

If I Die Before You Wake
Dustin Evans

Back home now I know you're probably sleepin' Over here it's the middle of the day I finally found the time to write a letter Sittin' here a half a world away
I heard about all them folks protestin' As if I really want this war But that don't stop me from believin' There's just some things worth fightin' for

CHORUS And if I die before you wake, I pray the world will take A good look at what God's given us That we could only understand, everything is in his hands All we need is a little faith and trust I want you to know it ain't too high a price to pay If I die before you wake

Tell everybody that I miss them And I can't wait to get back home But until then I'll serve my country And be proud to wear this uniform

CHORUS No it ain't too high a price to pay If I die before you wake

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

A few days!

Im gone up north to Maseresharif (MEZ) for a few days I will post about Sgt Hughies memorial on the 24th and I will also post about our big HA Drop for a Kindergarten as soon as I have the chance. Keep checking back and I will update as soon as I have the time..

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

One of our own...

Well I’m sure most of you have heard or read about the 1-180th losing one of our own… Sergeant Buddy Hughie of Poteau was killed Monday when his squad was ambushed while patrolling here in Afghanistan. I knew Hughie just because both of us had been in the Battalion for so long and when you have been in the 1-180th for awhile you know everyone. Hughie was a great guy and always had a smile on his face or a kind word to say about anyone. I had the pleasure of riding out on a convoy a few months back with Hughie when we dropped him off out east in Nuristan. Hughie had lots of friends and the Battalion is taking it pretty hard. This was our first soldier lost in over 50 years I mean we haven’t lost a soldier in Combat since the Korean War.

This definitely opened my eyes to a whole new world we’re in. I know War is all around us here but this is the first person I’ve known that has died in a War. Along with that Hughie left behind a wife and a 4 month old baby boy. That really hit home and really made me think about my beautiful wife and daughter. No one wants to leave their family alone and missing them. Hughie definitely didn’t want that for his family, I mean who would. We have a mission to do over here and I want to finish it out and go home to my family and hopefully never walk away from them again. I’m not scared of the War nor do I want to runaway home. I do however hope that the people, who took Hughie’s life, will find their own God and realize the pain they have caused so many...

Here is my news release…

A tragic day for the 1st of the 180th in Afghanistan, as they morn the loss of one of their own. For the first time in over 50 years the 180th lost a soldier in combat. Sergeant Buddy James Huey of Poteau was tragically killed in an ambush around on Monday in the Eastern Province of Nuristan.

Sgt. Buddy Hughie, 25, and his unit were conducting a mission with the Afghan National Army (ANA) and other US Forces in the country's Nuristan Province when the group came under an enemy ambush by Anti Coalition Forces (Taliban). Along with Hughie, 3 ANA soldiers also lost their life in the ambush.

Sergeant Hughie’s body left Afghanistan early Tuesday morning from Bagram, Afghanistan. As for the soldiers of the 180th they will be having their own Memorial Ceremony on Friday to honor their friend and fellow soldier.

"Sgt. Buddy Hughie was a great American," said Lt. Col. Bobby Yandell, commander of the 1st Battalion, 180th Infantry. "Sgt. Hughie was one of those soldiers that you did not have to worry about; he always did the right thing. We mourn his loss, but celebrate the life of a great soldier."

This was Hughie’s second deployment to Afghanistan. His first deployment was in 2002-2003. Hughie left behind his wife and a 4 month old son.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Hughie family and I hope that our Country will do anything and everything they can for Mrs. Hughie and their son. I hope that this week will soon be over and this will be the last Soldier we have to lay to rest…

Friday, February 16, 2007

First Purple Heart In Over 50 Years!

Private 1st Class David Anderson, of Edmond, recently received the prestigious Purple Heart Medal for wounds suffered in combat after he was wounded in a firefight in eastern Afghanistan. Anderson is currently deployed with the 1st Battalion, 180th Infantry as part of a security force for the Afghan National Army training mission.

Anderson and several other members of his rifle company were engaged in a fire fight with Anti-Coalition Forces when he was struck in the back of the head by an RPG fragment. Anderson and most of his company have been supporting the Tenth Mountain Division and several other Coalition Forces in the Peshwan River Valley and along the eastern border of Afghanistan.

Anderson said that he was honored to be the first member of the 180th to receive the Purple Heart in over 50 years. "I didn't do much and I'm getting this medal that heroes have gotten, it's great getting this, but I had to get injured in the process." Anderson received the medal during a Combat Infantry Badge presentation ceremony held by Company C commander Capt. Kevin Roland and 1st Sgt. Robert Williams. Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Bobby Yandell pinned Anderson as his peers looked on. "I'm honored to present one of our Soldiers with this award and I just hope I don't have to do it again, and I'm glad Private 1st Class Anderson is here to receive it." Yandell said in front of the Company. Anderson is actually a member of Company A, 1/180th headquartered in Edmond. He was attached to Company C after the unit deployed to Afghanistan last March.

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, who has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded under any of the following circumstances: In any action against an enemy of the United States; In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged: While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party; As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces; As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force; after March 28, 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack; and, after March 28, 1973, as a result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.

Cpl Larkin


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Fuzz!

First off I’m sorry I didn’t post yesterday, we had a mission last till about 2:00pm and then we got back to camp the power was out. No power no Internet. So anyway just wanted to let all of you guys know that so I didn’t have any disappointed fans!! LOL

Well on Sunday we had our 10th Med Cap for the Police Officers and the family members of Afghan Police Dept. 9 here in Kabul. We also took out a lot of clothing and shoes but that turned out to be a little disappointing. I guess this was possibly one of our worst ones. We had WAY to many (military) people there that we like to call “strap hangers” they go somewhere just to be there, they serve no real purpose besides getting in the way. So as far as the clothing and shoes, well that went good but I only gave away maybe 20 pairs of shoes because that is all the kids we really saw at the Police Department. From what Ricky told me it’s somewhat Afghan Culture to not bring your wife or family around where you work. So for most of the Policemen they didn’t bring any of their family and we saw very little kids and women. A few of the medics were a little discouraged because we treated the Afghan National Police (ANP) instead of a village. The deal is that most of these ANP make $15.00 a month starting out and the Chief makes just $80.00. So these guys do a huge public service and they make little to no money and have sometimes 7-10 family members they will support on that 15 dollars. There are a lot of ANP who are possibly corrupt but isn’t that true in the States as well. So if these guys can get the things they need and don’t use their small pay check on medicine and clothes than maybe they will not take bribes or steal from villagers. There are officers in big cities making double in hour what the ANP make in a month. And those guys are getting bribes or letting crimes slide buy. So tell me who are the real crooks?

We are however planning a big clothing drop for a small kindergarten in a couple weeks so I plan on giving away lots of clothes for these kids. There will also be another big Med Cap soon and hopefully some more kids will be out to get some shoes that all of you wonderful Americans have bought for them. So in the next few weeks we are trying to get rid of all of our clothes and supplies we have. Like I said in my last Blog I keep getting boxes and boxes from everyone supporting my Quest!! It’s great to see the support from everyone and see how everyone wants to help out a poor country and help a guy they have never met before. Thank you all so much for everything!!

We are also planning a big Vet Cap, we plan on taking out a few Army Veterinarians and us them and a few Afghan Vets to treat the local Afghan animals. Goats, sheep, cows, chickens and hopefully some camels (might be pretty cool) so that should be an interesting show for most of us Okies. If anyone has suggestions or anything we may want to add for this Vet Cap let me know I’m always open to suggestions. Well thanks again for everything everyone is doing for me and I hope you all keep everything coming!! Enjoy!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Update! Stay tuned

First off I will update my Blog tomorrow and let you all know how the MED CAP went on Sunday and how much of the clothes went out. But for right now I just want to let everyone know how great everyone has been!!

So far since I put the info on my Blog I have received over 20 boxes of clothes and shoes. I went to pick up mail today and had about 12 boxes just for me. The mail handlers where a little upset but hey who cares about them right!! LOL Most of the boxes were from Peggy Durden who (thanks to the people of Collinsville) donated a huge chunk of money for the Afghan Children Fund. I have also received boxes from Cynthia Heeren in Oregon. So I just wanted to say thanks SO SO much for all the support so far and I hope to see more coming soon. I’ve received tons of email almost everyday from people wanting to donate something. So again thanks so much everyone and don’t forget to check the Blog tomorrow for an update and some pics!!