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" May No Soldier Go Unloved "

   
 
Thursday, January 15, 2004
 
Support our troops.
It's a phrase I've heard from both sides of the political aisle. Some say it, and what they mean is, "Stop criticizing the war and get behind this cause." Others say it and mean, "This war is a bad idea and we need to bring these soldiers home."


Both sides argue they are supporting our troops, and I wouldn't dare tell them they are wrong. But I spoke to a man the other day who has found another way to support our troops. He's planning to hop on a bicycle and ride clear across the country.
His name is Daniel Forant, and at this very moment his 18-year-old son is somewhere west of Baghdad. Daniel Forant III is a local boy, born and raised in Cohoes - an Army infantryman who is a long way from home.
Like a lot of men and women in uniform, he would feel a million miles away if not for the letters and packages that arrive from the Capital District. That's where his dad comes in.
Last August, Daniel Sr. wanted to show his support for his son, so he set up a little Web site.
It had pictures and postings he could share with his friends and relatives. Pretty soon people started sharing the site, and before long, Dan had other parents asking if they could include their son or daughter on the site. Dan said yes, and not long after he changed the name of the Web site to www.supportourtroopsiniraq.com.
"We were truly amazed at how this grew," Dan said. "It started out being just about my son, but now there are over 100 servicemen and women being honored."
And it didn't stop there. When Dan heard that the troops in Iraq needed little "reminders" from home, he quickly put together a donation campaign. Before long he had more than 5,000 pounds of goods. "Personal hygiene items are the most popular," he told me. With all that sand blowing in the wind, it's all the troops can do to keep their eyes and ears clean.
Dan has received help from all over the country. There's the eighth grade class in Pontdulac, Wisconsin, which filled 22 boxes with board games and books. And let's not forget the workers at Louisville Power and Electric, who wrote 600 Christmas cards and letters for the soldiers over the holidays. And now the bike ride.
Dan Forant has this crazy idea that he can ride a bicycle from Albany to Hollywood, in an effort to raise money for our troops. If he can get people to donate just one penny for every three miles he peddles, that works out to roughly 20 bucks per pledge. His goal is to raise $50,000. My question to him: Can a 39-year-old financial marketer who only jogs three days a week get on a bike and ride more than 2,000 miles? He thinks so.
Dan will start this difficult personal journey March 1. If he can pound out 60 to 70 miles per day, he'll reach Hollywood in six weeks. What about work? Dan says he'll bring along his laptop computer and plug in where he can.
Whenever I see people doing things like this, I wonder if it's all just a publicity stunt. While Dan would love publicity, he says it's not about that. It's about one man who's proud of his son and wants to show it by making his own sacrifice.
"Imagine if we raise a lot of money and we are able to go to a family that has lost a child over there and hand them a check for $5,000. We could tell them this is from people who have not forgotten your loss."
It's thoughts like that that will drive him. One mile, one penny at a time.

John Gray's column appears every Wednesday.
The Record
 
Iraqis, U.S. authorities look to U.N.: "Iraqi leaders and U.S. authorities hope next week's meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will help resolve the impasse over a Shiite Muslim leader's objections to key parts of an American-backed political plan for Iraq."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



US demands NGOs register in Iraq in IraqWar.ru (English)



Iraqis, U.S. Authorities Look to U.N.: "Iraqi leaders and U.S. authorities hope next week's meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will help resolve the impasse over a Shiite Muslim leader's objections to key parts of an American-backed political plan for Iraq. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



U.S. Seeks Another Saddam Loyalist in Iraq: "After Saddam Hussein's capture, another member of his governing elite has taken on the title of the Pentagon's most wanted: Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Israel shuts Gaza Strip after bombing: "Israel shut down the Gaza Strip on Thursday after a female Palestinian bomber killed four Israelis at a Gaza crossing - the first time the Islamic militant group Hamas sent a woman on a suicide mission."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



U.S. seeks another Saddam loyalist in Iraq: "After Saddam Hussein's capture, another member of his governing elite has taken on the title of the Pentagon's most wanted: Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Pentagon: Suicides of U.S. Troops Rising in Iraq: "At least 21 U.S. troops havecommitted suicide in Iraq, a growing toll that represents oneof every seven American "non-hostile" deaths since the warbegan last March, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



US convoy attacked in IraqWar.ru (English)



If it ain?t George, it gotta be Osama in IraqWar.ru (English)



Officials identify instrument that closed airport in IraqWar.ru (English)



Iraq Military Suicides at 21: "The top health official in the Pentagon said there were at least 21 suicides last year among troops serving in Iraq."

In New York Times: World Special



Iraqi Team Disables Bombs With a Snip and a Prayer: "As self-rule and security are turned over to the Iraqis, some, like those in the Baghdad bomb squad, are already shouldering the burden."

In New York Times: World Special



How to Support the Troops: "published March 24, 2003; last updated January 15, 2004
First of all, please read Captain Steve's March 2003 post from the battle around An-Nasariyah , as he explains why this matters. I'll wait.
Back? Good. I'm still updating this list, validating its links and accepting new submissions. I'd also forward this thought from regular reader "Klaatu". Maybe you want to consider sending one of these:
Now, on to the various countries and organizations...
read the rest! »
"

In Command Post: Irak



Dan's Iraq Report: Jan 15/04: "Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's briefing is brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis .
TOP TOPICS
* Former Clinton NSC official Ken Pollack takes a look at what happened to Iraq's WMDs in a lengthy Atlantic Magazine article that should serve as required reading for everyone involved in both sides of the debate.
* Joe takes a look at the importance of understanding tribes when it comes to dealing with the Iraqi insurgents. In a related post, Art of Peace looks at the tribal dynamics behind the situation in Fallujah .
* The troops are still there. So is the (UPDATED) Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops . That means American, Australian, British, Canadian and Polish troops... not to mention Iraqi and Afghan children. [updated January 15, 2004]
Other Topics Today Include: Rundown of attacks and counterattacks; Ba'ath Poker updates; Saddam a POW; New use for Saddam statues; Syria to return cash; No early elections; Germans noticing progress; More tests on mortar shells; The 'shipped to Syria' issue.
Read The Rest...
"

In Command Post: Irak



F.B.I. Director Calls Attack Quite Likely: "From tomorrow's NYT :
The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, said on Wednesday that terrorists would "quite probably" strike the United States again and that Al Qaeda remained a major threat despite the lowering of the nation's threat status last week.
"Al Qaeda would very much relish another high-profile attack within the United States in which numerous U.S. citizens would be killed," Mr. Mueller told reporters at a luncheon meeting sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. "We have disrupted their capability, but there are still persons out there who have that capability."
"

In Command Post: Irak



U.S. Pilot Detained in Brazil in IraqWar.ru (English)



Go fetch me a burger in IraqWar.ru (English)



Surreal moments serving a mythological president in IraqWar.ru (English)



USA Today publishes apology in IraqWar.ru (English)



A Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 2 Iraqis at a Police Station Northeast of Baghdad: "Two other improvised bombs were found in the area after the car bomb exploded, and they were defused."

In New York Times: World Special



Kennedy Says War in Iraq Was Choice, Not Necessity: "Senator Edward M. Kennedy accused the Bush administration of marketing the war in Iraq like a "political product" to help elect Republicans."

In New York Times: World Special



Military Suicides Put at 21 in Iraq: "The top health official in the Pentagon said there were at least 21 suicides last year among troops serving in Iraq."

In New York Times: World Special



Iraqis Disable Bombs With a Snip and a Prayer: "As self-rule and security are turned over to the Iraqis, some, like those in the Baghdad bomb squad, are already shouldering the burden."

In New York Times: World Special



Gaming With an Opponent Who's 'Over There': "A collaboration between an Air Force command, Microsoft and the U.S.O. enables military personnel overseas to play video games with their families and friends at home."

In New York Times: World Special



U.S. soldiers' suicide rate is up in Iraq (15 Jan 04) in Radio Free USA



Pentagon Studies Halliburton Pricing: "The Pentagon said on Wednesday itsinspector general was looking into a pricing "irregularity"related to fuel brought into Iraq by Vice President DickCheney's old firm Halliburton (HAL.N). (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Violence rocks Iraq as UN ponders return, more doubt on Saddam-Qaeda link: "A suicide car bomb killed at least two people plus the bomber in the restive Iraqi town of Baquba as US forces tightened the net around Saddam Hussein's fugitive number two, Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Darkness and Dust... (15 Jan 04) in Radio Free USA



Circus To Iraq: The circus in the Palestinian refugee camp in Baghdad (14 Jan 04) in Radio Free USA



Gangsters operate own prisons as kidnapping soars in Iraq (15 Jan 04) in Radio Free USA



USS Boxer Heads to Iraq for Second Trip: "Families watched their sailors and Marines leave for Iraq aboard the USS Boxer on Wednesday, in some cases just a few months after the troops' last deployment. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



No Chemical Agent in Iraq Mortar Shells: "[AP]
Tests by Danish and American experts indicate there is no chemical warfare agent in mortar shells unearthed in southern Iraq, but conclusive word will only come from a lab in Idaho. Earlier examinations had indicated a blister agent was in the shells, which apparently date to the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. The U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group conducted tests on five of 36 shells found Friday and all came up negative, the Danish army said Wednesday in a statement from Copenhagen. Those results contradicted Danish and British field tests that were positive for a blister agent. "Based on the tests, the experts conclude that none of the shells contain chemical warfare agents," the Danish army statement said, adding that more studies are needed for final confirmation.
"

In Command Post: Irak



Rabbi defends blocking Israeli bulldozers: "Arik Ascherman is no stranger to the Israeli police. The American-born rabbi reckons he has been arrested at least 10 times in his battle against what he says are injustices against Palestinians."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq


Tuesday, January 13, 2004
 
Canada can bid in second round of Iraq reconstruction contracts: Bush: "In a sign of fence-mending after strains over the Iraq war, US President George W. Bush said after a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin that Canada would be able to bid on a new round of reconstruction projects in Iraq. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Bush's Iraq policy followed on from Clinton: O'Neill: "Former US treasury secretary Paul O'Neill sought to calm the storm over his comments about President George W. Bush's early policy on Iraq. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



O'Neill: I Took No Secret Papers: "The Treasury Dept. says classified documents may have been shown improperly in a 60 Minutes interview with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. O'Neill says all the papers were cleared by Treasury lawyers."

In CBS News: Iraq Crisis



U.S. Urges Private Arab Investment in Iraq: "A senior U.S. official appealedTuesday for private Gulf Arab investors to play a bigger rolein rebuilding Iraq and undertake long-term ventures there. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Canada: U.S. to Open Iraq Bids to More Countries: "The United States is shiftingits position on which countries will be allowed to bid for asecond round of major reconstruction contracts in Iraq and willallow Canadian firms to compete, a Canadian official said onTuesday. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



US Treasury investigating O'Neill after book on Bush's war plans for Iraq: "The US Treasury Department is investigating whether former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill improperly used official documents in a book in which he accuses President George W. Bush of planning to invade Iraq from his earliest days in office. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Seven Iraqis wounded in jobless protests, US helicopter down: "At least seven Iraqis were wounded when a protest against unemployment in southern Iraq turned violent, while a US helicopter crashed near Baghdad. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Shiite good will may be eroding in Iraq: "The good will of Iraq's Shiite majority, so crucial to the success of U.S. policy, may be eroding. Strong opposition by a top Shiite cleric to key parts of a U.S. political blueprint for Iraq and the spread of violent protests in Shiite areas suggest a dangerous trend."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Coalition tests Iraq shells for chemical: "An American-led group began testing 36 mortar shells unearthed last week in southern Iraq that may be filled with a liquid blister agent, Danish officials said Tuesday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



U.S. Copter Shot Down in Iraq; Crew Safe: "An Army Apache attack helicopter was shot down Tuesday, the third downed in less than two weeks, though the crew escaped unharmed. In Baghdad, U.S. troops reacting after a deadly roadside bomb shot at a car, killing its Iraqi driver and a 10-year-old boy, relatives said. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Coalition Tests Iraq Shells for Chemical: "An American-led group began testing 36 mortar shells unearthed last week in southern Iraq that may be filled with a liquid blister agent, Danish officials said Tuesday. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Shiite Good Will May Be Eroding in Iraq: "The good will of Iraq's Shiite majority, so crucial to the success of U.S. policy, may be eroding. Strong opposition by a top Shiite cleric to key parts of a U.S. political blueprint for Iraq and the spread of violent protests in Shiite areas suggest a dangerous trend. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Flooding leaves thousands homeless: "Flooding in the southeast of Iraq has destroyed at least 180 homes and forced more than 8,000 people to flee in recent weeks, according to an international NGO working in the area. Two children may have died from water-borne diseases in Al-Fuhood district as a result of the crisis."

In Electronic Iraq



Iran gov't threatens to quit in vote feud: "Iran's reformist government has threatened to resign, and other reformers accused hard-liners Tuesday of treason for disqualifying candidates in next month's parliamentary elections."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Syria envoy rejects Israeli bid for talks: "Syria's U.N. ambassador dismissed an invitation from Israel to resume peace talks, but an Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday that Syrian leader Bashar Assad has dropped a key condition for those negotiations."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Bush admits he wanted regime change before 11 September (13 Jan 04) in Radio Free USA



U.S. troops kill Iraqi civilians, kin say: "U.S. soldiers opened fire at a car in Baghdad, killing the driver and a 10-year-old boy, moments after an Army vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, relatives said Tuesday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



US helicopter crashes west of Baghdad in IraqWar.ru (English)



Coalition Forces 'Likely' Killed 4 Iraqis in IraqWar.ru (English)



Bush admits he wanted regime change before 11 September in IraqWar.ru (English)



America's leaders meet in Mexico in IraqWar.ru (English)



Russian official dismisses reports of arms deliveries to Iraq in IraqWar.ru (English)



Apache Helicopter Crashes: "A U.S. Apache crashed near Habbaniyah on Tuesday. All crew survived the crash, which was most likely caused by hostile fire.
Fox
"

In Command Post: Irak



Guerrillas May Have Downed U.S. Chopper, Military Says: "A U.S. Apache helicopter that crashedwest of Baghdad on Tuesday may have been shot down by Iraqiguerrillas, a U.S. military spokesman said. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Seven Iraqis wounded in jobless protests, US helicopter down: "At least seven Iraqis were wounded when a protest against unemployment in southern Iraq turned violent, while a US helicopter crashed near Baghdad. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Hundreds Protest Woman's Arrest in Iraq: "Chanting anti-American slogans, hundreds of people demonstrated Tuesday to protest the arrest of a young woman in Fallujah, the third Iraqi city to explode in public anger against the U.S.-led occupation in as many days. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

 
Canada can bid in second round of Iraq reconstruction contracts: Bush: "In a sign of fence-mending after strains over the Iraq war, US President George W. Bush said after a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin that Canada would be able to bid on a new round of reconstruction projects in Iraq. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Bush's Iraq policy followed on from Clinton: O'Neill: "Former US treasury secretary Paul O'Neill sought to calm the storm over his comments about President George W. Bush's early policy on Iraq. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



O'Neill: I Took No Secret Papers: "The Treasury Dept. says classified documents may have been shown improperly in a 60 Minutes interview with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. O'Neill says all the papers were cleared by Treasury lawyers."

In CBS News: Iraq Crisis



U.S. Urges Private Arab Investment in Iraq: "A senior U.S. official appealedTuesday for private Gulf Arab investors to play a bigger rolein rebuilding Iraq and undertake long-term ventures there. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Canada: U.S. to Open Iraq Bids to More Countries: "The United States is shiftingits position on which countries will be allowed to bid for asecond round of major reconstruction contracts in Iraq and willallow Canadian firms to compete, a Canadian official said onTuesday. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



US Treasury investigating O'Neill after book on Bush's war plans for Iraq: "The US Treasury Department is investigating whether former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill improperly used official documents in a book in which he accuses President George W. Bush of planning to invade Iraq from his earliest days in office. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Seven Iraqis wounded in jobless protests, US helicopter down: "At least seven Iraqis were wounded when a protest against unemployment in southern Iraq turned violent, while a US helicopter crashed near Baghdad. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Shiite good will may be eroding in Iraq: "The good will of Iraq's Shiite majority, so crucial to the success of U.S. policy, may be eroding. Strong opposition by a top Shiite cleric to key parts of a U.S. political blueprint for Iraq and the spread of violent protests in Shiite areas suggest a dangerous trend."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Coalition tests Iraq shells for chemical: "An American-led group began testing 36 mortar shells unearthed last week in southern Iraq that may be filled with a liquid blister agent, Danish officials said Tuesday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



U.S. Copter Shot Down in Iraq; Crew Safe: "An Army Apache attack helicopter was shot down Tuesday, the third downed in less than two weeks, though the crew escaped unharmed. In Baghdad, U.S. troops reacting after a deadly roadside bomb shot at a car, killing its Iraqi driver and a 10-year-old boy, relatives said. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Coalition Tests Iraq Shells for Chemical: "An American-led group began testing 36 mortar shells unearthed last week in southern Iraq that may be filled with a liquid blister agent, Danish officials said Tuesday. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Shiite Good Will May Be Eroding in Iraq: "The good will of Iraq's Shiite majority, so crucial to the success of U.S. policy, may be eroding. Strong opposition by a top Shiite cleric to key parts of a U.S. political blueprint for Iraq and the spread of violent protests in Shiite areas suggest a dangerous trend. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Flooding leaves thousands homeless: "Flooding in the southeast of Iraq has destroyed at least 180 homes and forced more than 8,000 people to flee in recent weeks, according to an international NGO working in the area. Two children may have died from water-borne diseases in Al-Fuhood district as a result of the crisis."

In Electronic Iraq



Iran gov't threatens to quit in vote feud: "Iran's reformist government has threatened to resign, and other reformers accused hard-liners Tuesday of treason for disqualifying candidates in next month's parliamentary elections."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Syria envoy rejects Israeli bid for talks: "Syria's U.N. ambassador dismissed an invitation from Israel to resume peace talks, but an Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday that Syrian leader Bashar Assad has dropped a key condition for those negotiations."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



Bush admits he wanted regime change before 11 September (13 Jan 04) in Radio Free USA



U.S. troops kill Iraqi civilians, kin say: "U.S. soldiers opened fire at a car in Baghdad, killing the driver and a 10-year-old boy, moments after an Army vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, relatives said Tuesday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq



US helicopter crashes west of Baghdad in IraqWar.ru (English)



Coalition Forces 'Likely' Killed 4 Iraqis in IraqWar.ru (English)



Bush admits he wanted regime change before 11 September in IraqWar.ru (English)



America's leaders meet in Mexico in IraqWar.ru (English)



Russian official dismisses reports of arms deliveries to Iraq in IraqWar.ru (English)



Apache Helicopter Crashes: "A U.S. Apache crashed near Habbaniyah on Tuesday. All crew survived the crash, which was most likely caused by hostile fire.
Fox
"

In Command Post: Irak



Guerrillas May Have Downed U.S. Chopper, Military Says: "A U.S. Apache helicopter that crashedwest of Baghdad on Tuesday may have been shot down by Iraqiguerrillas, a U.S. military spokesman said. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Seven Iraqis wounded in jobless protests, US helicopter down: "At least seven Iraqis were wounded when a protest against unemployment in southern Iraq turned violent, while a US helicopter crashed near Baghdad. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq



Hundreds Protest Woman's Arrest in Iraq: "Chanting anti-American slogans, hundreds of people demonstrated Tuesday to protest the arrest of a young woman in Fallujah, the third Iraqi city to explode in public anger against the U.S.-led occupation in as many days. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq


Monday, January 12, 2004
 
Help us show our troops From the East Coast to the West Coast America Supports You !!! N.Y. and California unite to Support Our Troops.



N.Y. Father of a Soldier-Son in Iraq and Founder of this website will bicycle across the U.S.A. from the Capitol of N.Y. to California to Support Our
Troops.


Track the rider's daily movements across America on this website. Read our daily-journey-diary on this website, watch live-daily video here, and see pictures of Patriotic people we meet throughout the heartland of America.

CALLING ALL AMERICANS to raise your communities and help us. We are asking for a donation of $20 from each American family, but any amount will be appreciated. Proceeds to benefit our Troops. Information on how to donate posted here soon.

This website and Soldiers Angels unite in the Freedom Ride across the U.S.A. to symbolize bringing America together, coast-to-coast, to Support Our Troops.


Soldiers Angels was formed in July of 2003 by Patti Patton-Bader, Mother of Spc Brandon Varn stationed in Iraq. Soldier's Angels mission is to provIde aid and comfort to any armed forces fighting for freedom and their families. Staff includes Susie Feaster, Ana-Marie Smith, Robin Boerner, and Peggy Baker. Soldier's Angels have to date sent over 2,000 packages to Soldiers deployed, helped the wounded at 3 major military hospitals and aided many families.

This website is created and maintained by a N.Y. Father of a Soldier-Son, SPC Daniel Forant, III, serving in Iraq. This website has shipped over 5,000 lbs. to Iraq to various soldier-units and Americans have sent countless letters. www.supportourtroopsiniraq.com

Sunday, January 11, 2004
 
Dawn Golby had a premonition Thursday morning.
“Something was wrong,” she recalled. “I just didn’t know what.”
That afternoon, after she returned from work, Golby logged onto the computer and found out that a military helicopter had crashed on a medical mission in Iraq.
“And I knew,” the 49-year-old Richland Township woman said in an exclusive interview with The Tribune-Democrat yesterday.
Her motherly fears proved to be reality: A telephone call to her daughter-in-law in Colorado verified that her son, Spc. Christopher Golby, 26, was among nine GIs killed when their helicopter was downed near Fallujah.
She screamed and threw the phone in despair.
After collecting her emotions, Mrs. Golby called her daughter-in-law, Sonya, back. She learned her 4-year-old grandson, Dylon, answered the door when the servicemen came from the nearby Army base in Fountain, Colo., to deliver the tragic news.
“My Daddy’s not coming home, is he?” Dylon asked.
By yesterday, the shock and sorrow was spreading throughout Greater Johnstown with news that Spc. Golby died in the sands of Iraq.
A U.S. military official confirmed that preliminary reports showed the medevac helicopter probably was “brought down by ground fire.” Iraqi witnesses said they saw a missile strike the second of two medevac helicopters that were flying over an area known for resistance against the U.S.-led occupation.
Family filled the comfortable home of Dawn and Ronald Golby on Fieldstone Avenue yesterday afternoon, sharing hugs, tears and prayers.
There were calls to military officials, trying to find out whether Golby’s body would be returned to Richland or Colorado. And to his commanding officer. And to the funeral home.
“It’s been quiet and stressful,” said his brother, Shane McCarty, 29, of Upstate New York.
Since finding out Thursday, Mrs. Golby said she simply stays awake at night, keeping the bad dreams at bay. She’ll see her son in the casket, or imagine him looking at her like he’s home.
“It just bothers me,” she said.
Some of the pain was eased when the Golbys talked to their son’s commanding officer in Iraq yesterday. No, he likely didn’t suffer. No, his body wasn’t mutilated. Yes, they probably could have an open casket at his viewing.
“I want to say ‘bye’ one more time,” his mother said.
Himself a military man, Mr. Golby, 50, provides reassuring strength. He found out about the crash Thursday morning, and “had a bad feeling all day.”
After all, Golby had been “so close” to getting killed before, his father said. Soldiers in tents on either side of him had been killed by snipers, and members of his unit died when another GI tossed a grenade among the ranks.
Mr. Golby said his son, a crew chief on the choppers, was on a mission to transport five injured soldiers to a hospital in Baghdad.
When another helicopter in front looked back, Golby’s chopper had exploded in a fireball, crashing to the ground at horrific speed.
Assigned to the 571st Medical Company out of Fort Carson, Colo., Golby was set to return home in March. He dreamed of becoming a helicopter pilot.
“He died doing what he loved,” his mother said.
The Golbys last spoke with their son Sunday via a Web camera. He was laughing and joking. His face was red from sunburn.
In November, they visited him for a week when Golby was on 14-day rest-and-relaxation leave.
They took him to Outback Steakhouse for his birthday, where waiters “kept giving him all this beer,” his mother said with a laugh. They went gambling, and he won a little money.
“We made every effort to be with him as much as possible when he did come home,” his father said.
Invariably, family members pointed to Golby’s engaging smile below those deep brown eyes.
“He was fun and energetic. He always had a smile,” Mrs. Golby said.
“He was a perfectionist in everything he did. He could drive you nuts.”
Golby loved skiing – he even cascaded down the Alps when he was stationed in Germany. And he enjoyed computers and cooking and was learning photography.
His brother, Shane, recalled their days growing up in the quiet neighborhood, where they would play paintball and toss a football in fields across the street where houses now stand.
“I believe God has a plan for everybody’s life,” McCarty said. “Somehow, this was his plan for Christopher.
“He’s been in Kosovo and Afghanistan, and he always came back. He was always safe, OK. You expected the same thing in Iraq.”
Golby is the second soldier from Greater Johnstown to die in Iraq. In November, a former New Florence man was among 17 soldiers killed when two Army Black Hawk helicopters collided.
U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, ranking member of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, expressed his sorrow yesterday.
“We were profoundly saddened to hear of the loss of Spc. Golby,” Murtha said in a statement. “We will always be deeply grateful for his heroic service to our nation and for the sacrifice he has made. His family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to them.”
Golby’s classmates from Richland High School, where he graduated in 1995, were stunned.
“I found out about it when I read the paper today,” Robert Ola said in a telephone interview from his home.
Ola said Golby was quiet but well-liked.
“He kept to himself, but when he was with his friends he was more outgoing,” Ola said.
Doug Klimeck, another classmate, lived up the street from Golby, but never really got to know him. “He was a friendly guy,” Klimeck said yesterday in a telephone interview from his Richland Township home.
Tom Kotch III of the 200 block of South Peninsula Drive in Central City lived on the same street as Golby when the two were youngsters.
“Chris lived only three houses up from where I lived,” Kotch said in a telephone interview. “Chris delivered the Tribune-Democrat, and whenever he was away on vacation, I picked up his route for him.”
Kotch said he and Golby attended Mount Calvary Lutheran Church together and played an occasional game of basketball.
“The thing I remembered most about Chris was that he was always trying to crack jokes and make you laugh,” Kotch recalled. “He was always having fun.
“I saw him a few years back at a Christmas Eve service at our church. We both got there late and we had to sit on folding chairs in the back. Even during the service, he was joking with me while we remembered good times.”

Staff writers Pete Bosak and Julie Benamati contributed to this report.Tribune Democrat

 

 
   
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