Lancers Squeak by the Jaguars
Special teams come up big in 13-6 victory.
By David Hardt
Clover Park High School, Lakewood.- On a over cast morning the Lancers would take the field against the a very strong and determined Jaguars team. The game started with the lancers making mistakes. Lancers opened the game with a 3-minute, 2-play, 50 yard rush by Xzavier Weston. Unfortunately, Weston stopped short of the in zone, spiked the ball and then walked away. Fortunately, the ball was recovered quickly and on the next play the Lancer scored taking the early lead. The lancers found them selves marching backwards instead of forwards a lot in this game. It didn’t take long for Coach SSG Rush to start making adjustments, however, even with adjustment penalties still continued to pile up. By half time the Lancers had 35 yard in penalties; fortunately the lancers still maintained a small lead.
Jaguars struck back when the Lancers quarter back Rakeem Huey fumbled at mid field having the Jaguars run back for a long TD. The Lancers came off the field with heads hanging low. The coaching staff made a point of encouraging the kids not to give up. With in moments the lancer seemed to find that spark that they had earlier in the game.
The game changing moment came in the 2nd quarter when Jonathan Rush returned a 70 yard kick return. In the forth quarter the Lancers defensive stopped the jaguars from moving down the field. The lancer had one lance chance to score in the last 50 seconds of the game, but came an inch short.
Coach SSG “We did ok, a win is a win. If Jonathan didn't score on that KR we'd have been in a pinch, but still would've won I'm sure. I just hate being behind.
Fort Lewis release - The 508th Military Police Battalion headquarters and
one of its subordinate companies will case their colors on Friday, Sept.
5, at 3 p.m., in preparation for the units' upcoming deployment to Iraq.
About 150 Soldiers from the 508th MP Battalion's Headquarters and
Headquarters Company and the 67th Military Police Company will deploy to
Camp Taji, later this month, where both units will support the Theater
Internment Facility, in support of Task Force Military Police-North.
The Headquarters and Headquarters Co. will provide command and control
operations for the Theater Internment Facility at Camp Taji, Iraq. They
will manage the detainment facility, providing for meals, billeting, and
other life support for the detainee population.
The 67th Military Police Co. will support the Iraqi Correctional
Officers program by training new corrections officers and integrating
them into the Theater Interment Facility operations.
When I was in my first years of college, I was always the one student who had no problem with a stimulating educational environment. Years later with two turbulent deployments behind me and some serious mental health misshappenings, I find myself struggling in the college environment.
I walk in the class, and there sitting in front of me is a room full of eager to learn adults. The only seat available is on the far side of the room. I huff and make my way to the seat. As the class starts, everything is OK. But all of a sudden, like being hit over the head, I find myself feeling suffocated, claustrophobic and distressed. Something in me tells me, “Get out now.” This is the same feeling that I often fought off while patrolling the unpredictable, small alleys of Iraq. The noises in the room, such as students rocking in their chairs, crumpling paper, sneezing, scribbling on their notepads, and the student next to me hitting my foot and then accidentally hitting her chair against my chair make my hands start to sweat and my thoughts race. I lean into my chair with my head down, and I try to focus on my professor. My heart seems to be racing. “What is going on?” I start writing on my pad of paper what I am feeling, but after a couple of seconds, all of the noises and irritations pick up. It is like someone is scratching his fingernails across the board.
In the past, every college class I have been in has had only a handful of people and they were spread out, making the educational environment conducive for me. I managed to suck it up and make it through that class, but only after writing 15 complete pages of thoughts. I went back and read the paper, because I don’t even really remember what I was writing at that moment. What I read made it clear that my demons definitely are surfacing more and more each day. I believe the reason for this is because I spend a lot of time with my psychologist bringing my deep issues to the table. I believe that when you rattle the cage and start getting the emotion out all these things triggers or disturbance rise to the surface.
I often receive e-mails from soldiers struggling with PTSD. Many of the stories they share with me are similar to the one above. One young man, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is still in his unit and is scared his chain of command will see him as weak, said, “I just got back from deployment, and I feel like I don’t belong here. People don’t understand me, and when I act out they think I am being disrespectful. That’s not the case. I just can’t get these emotions under control. I hate how I am; I just can’t turn off that switch.”
Some of you may be wondering what that switch is while others, namely combat troopers, know that terminology rather well. For some, this switch can be the hardest thing to turn off, and for several others, by the point that switch is actually turned off they are on a plane being deployed back to a combat zone. The switch is what I call the survivability button.
A common phrase you hear in basic is “stay alert stay alive.” At the time, this phrase might mean nothing to a recruit, but when on the ground staying alert is how you keep not just yourself alive but also your comrades.
A month ago I received an e-mail from a soldier named Williams who expressed to me that he felt guilty as hell for not having been able to stop a disgruntled Iraqi from running by him and stabbing his best friend. He wrote: “David, after my best friend was stabbed something flipped in my head and I haven’t been able to turn off this aggressiveness, protective and sometimes this revenge feeling. S***, I go to the AM PM and when I look at those people, I just want to freaking act out. I know you talked about this switch in an online yahoo interview, and I just want to turn this switch off, before it is too late, how do you do it?”
Some men drive fast when they get home, because they are used to driving in their vehicles on the roads of Iraq. They know that there they are the law. Some men come home and find themselves in fights, thinking that since they made it back from Iraq they have somehow developed this invincibility. Some men will go out and buy so many guns you would think that they’re mobilizing their own army. Some of the biggest things some of us deal with are anger, disappoint and even betrayal. When men come home sometimes the relationships with those they have been to war with start to find a distance. The switch for survivability has many levels. Some are easy to identify; others often are misunderstood by those around.
As I go through school, I will have to learn to deal with these things and find proper resolution. I plan on asking the college: “How do you accommodate those with PTSD — especially with many of the classes being in small rooms with a lot of people, thus causing psychological anxiety?” As a reporter you are not to supposed to assume anything, but it is a good bet that they will recommend an online class. I will soon find out in this investigation if academia is ready to handle the men who come back with war issues.
Fort Lewis release – The 4th Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment will return
from a 15-month deployment to Iraq on Tuesday, Aug. 26. About 270
Soldiers from the unit will be reunited with their families, at a
ceremony currently scheduled for approximately 12:30 p.m. Tuesday
afternoon in hangar 3063 at Gray Army Airfield.
The unit deployed with more than 600 soldiers in support of Operation
Iraqi Freedom in May 2007 and was stationed in Northern Iraq in the
Ninawah Province as Task Force Redcatcher. The remaining 4-6 Air Cavalry
Soldiers arrive home throughout August and September.
TF Redcatcher's mission was to fly their UH-58 Kiowa Warriors and UH-60
Blackhawks to provide air attack and logistical support operations in
support of Operation Phantom Strike and Operation Phantom Phoenix.
Operating out of four forward operating bases (FOB) and one contingency
operating base (COB), the "Air" Cav troops were able to find, fix and
destroy insurgent forces and protect Coalition Forces in an area that
encompassed all of Multi National Division - North's area of operations.
Task Force Redcatcher's combat operations resulted in 135 enemy killed
in action and 56 enemy wounded in action. The efforts of the task force
Soldiers created dynamic changes throughout the Ninawah Province and
MND-N by protecting coalition forces, Iraqi Security Forces, and the
Iraqi Government, allowing them to promote peace, security and
The sound of my phone ringing in the kitchen awakens me out of a dead sleep. I crawl over my wife and make my way to the kitchen. As I pick up the phone, I mumble to myself, “This better not be my mom calling me at 2 in the morning.”
It just so happened that the day before I had accidentally set my alarm clock for the wrong time, instead of 2 p.m. I hit a.m. I turned it off and made my way back to bed.
I crawled back into bed, pulled the covers over my head and was just heading back into sleep world when the lights came on. My wife threw the covers back and said, “My water just broke.” I sprung up like a target on a range and replied, “Are you kidding me?” My wife got out of bed and made her way to the bathroom; I looked at the bed and sure enough. As my wife moved around getting ready, I made my way to the room where our hospital bags were ready to go. I called labor and deliver and told them that we were en route to Madigan. After a short time, Alicia calmly completed what she needed to, and we made our way to the car. The weather had dramatically changed overnight, making for lightning and a little thunder. Besides that, the only condition to face was my wife possibly having a baby in the car. As I drove to the hospital, I was paying close attention to Alicia. As I was doing that I managed to hit a short yellow light that I thought I had made, but the big flash from the camera told me otherwise, so I should be getting a nice bill from the city for going through a short yellow. I laughed and mumbled, “Go figure, don’t have to pay for the baby to be born, but somehow I found a way to give my money away.”
We arrived at the hospital in what felt like five minutes. We made our way around to the emergency room. Since there were medical personnel at the door, I dropped her off at the front, and they immediately put Alicia in a wheelchair and rolled her up to labor and delivery. Meanwhile I parked the car and got her bags. As the doors opened to the emergency room, I noticed a male and female in the lobby; both were wearing scrubs. I walked over to them and asked, “Did they transport her upstairs already?” They nicely pointed in the direction of the doors. As I was just about to turn around, I happened to notice what the two were standing by. There two feet from me was a stretcher with something that signaled to me a memory. I asked the male in scrubs, “Is that a … ?” But before I could finish, he quietly said, “Yes, it is.” The blue blankets covered the outline of a body. For a moment there I found myself back in the experiences of deployment. I remember often conducting operations where we would go out and pick up a dead Iraqi, usually an IP, shop owner or a high value target’s family member. I always volunteered to take pictures of the bodies and help put the bodies in the black body bags; it was my way of making the experience more personal. Later on in the tour I found myself digging dead bodies out of holes as well as facing many scenes that were undesirable. Some men are affected by what they see in battle; others, like me, process it and scramble it so that when that memory comes up it is just fuzzy. However, on this night the fuzziness was completely clear. The one thing that made it even more mind-numbing was that the ever so familiar smell of death returned to my nostrils. I made my way up to labor and delivery. As I made my way up, I think one of the doctors in the emergency room said something as I was walking by, but I had my head down and wasn’t paying attention. I just wasn’t there at the moment. As soon as I made it up to labor and delivery, all of those thoughts disappeared. I was now finding myself getting excited about the little girl who was going to be coming into this world.
3 a.m. As we settled in the room, I started getting my camera and video camera set up. After some time, I noticed that Alicia was already having terrible contractions. Some of the contractions were so terrible that they made me sick to my stomach. The one thing any man hates is to see the person he loves suffering. You want to do something to rescue her, but in reality the only thing I could do in this situation was hold her hand, wipe the sweat off her face and forehead, and tell her she was doing great. I ended up having war wounds from the delivery — scratches and even a bite.
5 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
By 3 p.m. Alicia had gotten to a point where I was getting nervous. She was in terrible pain and seemingly losing the fight, often using words that indicated she wasn’t going to be able to deal with the pain. I asked her over and over if she wanted medicine, but she didn’t budge. She was completely focused on delivering Madison naturally. I walked out of the room from time to time because just hearing her made me want to go get help. I made a decision to go get a doctor and have him bring in some medicine. I kept telling her that it would be better, but she just rejected it. I requested that the epidural staff come. This was where my wife showed her resilience in doing what she had planned to do. I think she was so tired and loopy she didn’t know who was in the room or who was planning to do what. After 20 minutes of negotiations with my wife I think she snapped to it and decided that it was time to show that she was going to do it her way. She said confidently, “I am going to push.” The room went silent. I looked at the epidural folks and shrugged my shoulders, and they immediately left. The strength and focus that came across her face was unbelievable. Over the months my wife had been working with midwives, and their insights were great encouragement to go without pain medicine. Not many women have the pain tolerance, but she did. The midwife Ms. Smith was absolutely amazing. She gave my wife detailed instruction, making sure that Alicia had support every step of the way. She even used a little comedy to lighten the mood. As the clock hit 3:30 p.m., Alicia went to a place where no man will ever be, nor will ever understand.
Ms. Smith told Alicia that she could see Madison’s head and that she needed to use all of her contractions and not waste them. On the screen next to the bed was a monitor that showed the contractions and Madison’s heart rate. At first I just saw it as a screen and lines, but after three hours that screen was my daughter and my wife working together. If they had asked me to run that machine I could have. I looked at my cell phone to see what time it was. It was 3:55 p.m., and my wife was now in it and focused. I was bent over whispering in her ear, telling her that this was the time she had been waiting for and that all she had to do was dig deep and push. I requested a mirror so Alicia could see the baby coming out to give her more motivation. Then there was a moment that I will never forget. The clock read 4:05 p.m., and the look on Alicia’s face went from pain and agony to a look of utter love and motherhood. Madison came into this world head first. She was a little shy and not too excited. But after a minute, the beautiful sound of life, the sound of my daughter crying echoed in the room. To see my daughter lying in her mother’s hands, knowing that this child would be the pride of our life was amazing. The time came for me to hold Madison; it was amazing. As I held her, I looked at her and realized how great God has been to me and my wife. Being to war and facing death is something that makes holding Madison even more incredible. It didn’t slip my mind to know how lucky I was to be there for the birth and not be deployed, which unfortunately happens with so many men when they become fathers. My wife and I agree that our life is complete. My wife faced the challenge and joined the few who have gone through delivery without pain medicine. Awhile ago Alicia told me that her pain tolerance was really low; after this, anything that she deals with will not compare.
Our stay in the recovery room lasted two days, and while there we were educated by the medical staff about everything we needed to know. The only negative thing that occurred was my wife was feeling overwhelmed and one of the ladies who was helping Alicia was not a native speaker of English, making things very difficult. At first I let it go, but after some other things occurred that were just not acceptable, I politely asked that we have someone who spoke better English. In my mind this was the time when my wife needed to leave with confidence, not confusion. The head nurse made the arrangements, and things returned to fabulous professional care.
One other thing that stuck out to me on this adventure was that while in recovery we were visited by my squad leader and his wife. They brought a gift basket. I couldn’t believe it; someone in the Army actually took time to swing by and see how everything was going. I was truly impressed. I also received a call from my old unit, but not to say congratulations. Rather, I was asked some questions about if I was in the Warrior Transition Battalion and if I was going to my appointments. I answered the questions respectfully and then ended the conversation with, “Oh, by the way, my kid was born.” Never in a million years would I have thought that I would serve with a company four plus years and do two tours with them and then be out of the loop that fast. Granted, they are training and getting ready for combat, so that is absolutely fine. I wasn’t the only one from the unit who was up there having a kid, so it balanced out.
We made our way home, starting our new life with our bundle of joy, Madison Nichole Hardt. She weighs 6.9 pounds, is 20 inches and has red hair. If there is one thing I can advise new dads about the birth process: Try not to use the words “suck it up” or some lame infantry terms. Leave that for your boys at work. Also, if you see something you don’t like with your care, step up and get it fixed. I want to say thank you to the midwives and all of the doctors who helped with the delivery. Your professionalism and knowledge were brilliant. Let the grand times begin.
Ever since my wife and I got married, we have diligently spent time making sure that every penny we spend is allocated properly so that we don’t end up in the red at the end of the month. Every month we religiously sit down and go over the bills. From there we start breaking things down. This month we will be blessed with the birth of our child. It will undoubtedly be the start of many months of further budgeting as diapers and other baby items become necessary.
In October I will have severed five years in the military, and during those years the only time I was financially stable was while I was deployed. When you come back from your tour there is a certain reflex that tells you: “You deserve something.” Usually the impulse leads to buying cars or electronic devices, getting geared up. Some men even spend money getting back into the dating world. Just like anything, there is recourse for every splurge — responsible or not — you make finically. In my case, certain situations while deployed had me coming back to what I call “a cold, empty vault.” On both of the tours I have been on there have always been sad stories of spouses taking a service member for all they had, leaving nothing but debt, which in turn led to anger that sometimes overflowed when the service member returned. It is no secret that when soldiers come back domestic abuse can occur. Money is a big issue along with spouses being unfaithful.
This week I decided to talk to some other service members and military spouses to see how their families manage financially.
One service member’s wife, speaking anonymously, said, “I don’t like it when he goes on tour, but in reality, him being gone helps the family out immensely.” Another married soldier, speaking anonymously, said, “I hate living from check to check, adding to not being home, always out in the field. The ridiculous stresses of the job often make me wonder if this is all worth it.” One soldier, who wanted to be referred to only as Jake, said, “I live in the barracks, and even though I am good about saving money, I am always finding myself eating meals ready to eat or pawning something of value just to stay afloat.”
I didn’t request a spending report from these individuals, so I can’t say if they’re good stewards of their money. I just wanted off the cuff answers. Sometimes you can get a complainer, and sometimes you can get a dead honest answer; it’s just the way it goes when doing a report of any kind
To report fairly, I made my way to the other side of the pay scale. A senior enlisted, soldier who wanted to be referred to as Mike, said, “There is no reason why soldiers should be eating MREs or pawning things to stay afloat. The job of a leader is not just to make a soldier combat effective, but also teach life skills such as money management. OK, granted, when we are deployed the pay is better, helping out at home. But let’s look at the big picture. You didn’t join the military to be rich; you joined to serve your country, and sacrifice comes in many ways. The military offers many things you won’t get in the real job market. If you take (into consideration) the benefits you receive, you’re really not doing so bad.”
Taking into play both sides of the pay scale, there are financial woes among men in the ranks. Over the years, the government has helped service members with raises, and there should be more in the future.
The other day I talked to a financial advisor. I gave him our financial records, and from there he gave me some answers and solutions to making life better. He held nothing back, pointing out that having a house off post that tops my BAH is one of my biggest issues. He said that married soldiers as well single soldiers who have come to his office all have seemingly the same issues; they just can’t keep up with the ever-changing economics, such as the rise in gas and food and, for some, rent prices as well as mortgages. His advice to soldiers is pay close attention to your spending. The rule: “How much you spend matters much more than how much you earn, and in your case as a service member more than not, you’re staying on a tight path. I have seen men coming in saying that if their car broke down the payments just to fix the car would have their family not eating. Saving just twenty-five bucks a week can add up over time. You just must be disciplined and always be thinking ahead.”
He finished by saying that from the reports he has read government officials are trying to get things changed for soldiers, but he thinks the war really is a prime factor. The military is just living in the red.
One of the things I am most proud of is owning a house. Living off post makes me feel like I am still a part of the civilian world. Over the last few months I have refinanced my home and started fixing things up, trying to push the value up. The only problem with upgrading a house on a strict budget is you may start something and finishing it could take awhile simply because you can allocate only a certain amount to the project. Living on a military salary is very interesting. You learn quickly that every day you must live by the rule.
This article is not really to complain about how little service members make or how some families struggle paycheck to paycheck. Rather, it’s a reality check about the facts of life and, for me, having a child and learning how I am going to provide. Some people say, “Don’t have a child until you are financially ready.” But will you ever be totally financially ready? Probably not. I look back and remember when I was young, living in an apartment that was $350 a month and there was really no ceiling on my how much I could make in my job. The reality of the situation is if you bite off more than you can chew you’re going to pay for it in the long run. My wife and I live from one day to another. Doing this we have really learned a lot from each other and have become more of a team.
There are a lot of pros and cons with military pay, and there is no price you can put on a life, but in contrast to the real world, things are not that terribly bad.
Baby diapers, baby food and about a zillion other things will be on my family’s expenditure list rather than pizza, burgers and my beloved Diet Coke. My child doesn’t have a choice into which family she is being born; however, I have a choice to go the extra mile to see that she never goes without. I have failed many things in life, but failing my daughter is not an option.
The Army notified Metro Parks today that it will be providing a rock
band to perform in place of the Army First Corps Band which was
scheduled to play this Saturday evening, August 9 at Thea's Park. The
Corps concert band is needed to play on the base as part of a welcome
home for troops arriving this weekend.
"Although a lot of people were looking forward to the Army First Corps
Band performance, I'm know our residents will be understanding of the
reason for the change in line up as we all celebrate the return of the
troops", Lori Crace commented after receiving the news. "While the music
style will be very different from the Corps concert band, we appreciate
that other talented Army members will be taking the stage and rocking
the waterfront this weekend."
Both the concert and the Comcast Outdoor Cinema feature of "The
Waterhorse: Legend of the Deep" can be viewed from land or shore during
the 2nd Annual Float In Movie. A log boom will be available to boaters
who want to enjoy the entertainment from the Foss Waterway.
FORT LEWIS release – “Athletes Helping Kids” will conduct a four-hour youth football clinic at Fort Lewis Saturday, Aug. 9.
Former Seattle Seahawk Ricky Ellis and eight other NFL players will work-out and interact through non-contact football drills with participants ages 9-17, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Youth Services athletics fields.
The Foundation for Athletes Helping Kids has conducted similar football clinics at Forts Monroe, Bragg, and Richardson, and at Schofield Barracks in recent years. The clinics give youth athletes a chance to meet their role models- professional athletes- on common turf. The athletes hope that by sharing their sport, they will connect with participants and serve as positive examples for young people seeking to achieve their own goals in life.
More than 50 retired NFL players are members of the organization.
In addition to Ellis, other former NFL players who will be coaching at the Fort Lewis clinic include:
Napoleon McCallum Los Angeles Raiders
Cephus Witherspoon New Orleans Saints
Rich Umphrey New York Giants
Hal Smith Los Angeles Raiders
Kirk Dodge Denver Broncos
Charles Mincy Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bill Shine New York Jets
Donald Jones New York Jets
The day before the clinic, the players will tour the installation, meet with Soldiers at their units, and visit with wounded warriors assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion.