Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wall Street Journal: Happy Hanukkah to Marines and Marines Still Deployed on Christmas

The Wall Street Journal had two poignant stories this week about Marines.

The first one, on December 20th, titled "Happy Hanukkah, Marines! Jewish Leathernecks Light the Way," by William McGurn begins:
When Jews begin their Hanukkah celebrations this week, they will commemorate a 2,200-year old revolt led by Judah Maccabee against a Greek empire attempting to crush the Jewish faith. For some, the holiday holds an added resonance, linking their military service to one of the greatest Jewish warriors of all time.

These are the Jews of the United States Marine Corps.

In the popular mind, a Jewish Marine may sound exotic. In fact, Jews have their own chapters in the history of the Corps. In his book "Semper Chai!" Howard J. Leavitt explains the compatibility with a refreshing lack of nuance: "[M]any Jews were—and are—Marines, and the basic and lofty precepts and spiritual underpinnings of the United States, the U.S. Marine Corps and Judaism are one and the same, without any differences or conflict."
The second article, on December 24th, titled "Military Families Soldier On: Christmas Homecomings From Iraq Touch a Nerve for Kin of Troops in Afghanistan," by Tamara Audi begins:
This Christmas, Donna Jones is doing her best to avoid heartwarming scenes of military homecomings. It's not easy: Thousands of troops are reuniting with their families in a blur of on-camera kisses, and she works on a military base.

"There are all these holiday homecomings, and I'm happy that people get to see their loved ones. I just can't watch," Mrs. Jones said. "It hurts when the situation is: Your Marine isn't coming home."

Mrs. Jones's husband, Marine Maj. William Jones, is still deployed in Afghanistan—along with 91,000 other U.S. troops.

Thousands of service members have come home from Iraq, with the last U.S. troops exiting from the country in mid-December. But tens of thousands are still deployed elsewhere, many on the front lines in Afghanistan.

That means many families are facing a holiday season with a loved one still in a combat zone. As the nation celebrates the holiday homecomings, some fear these family members are being forgotten in the frenzy.
The second article also includes these statistics:
2.3 million -- Combined total of U.S. service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan

164,000 -- Peak number of troops based in Iraq, reached in 2007

91,000 -- Troops remaining in Afghanistan
The one thing we back home can do is grant the wish of a military spouse reported in the second article:

We can acknowledge this holiday season that U.S. troops -- men and women -- are still in harm's way serving our country. And we can be grateful for their service and sacrifice as well as the service and sacrifice of their families.

Read the entire "Happy Hanukkah, Marines!" story now.

Read the entire "Military Families Soldier On" story now.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Vet.efactor.com Helps Unemployed Vets



See vet.efactor.com for discounts for vets.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Veterans: Why Suffer From PTSD?

The following is a guest post from Christel B. D'Agostino, MSW, LCSW-R, CtH, a war trauma survivor who created her own Universal Vibrational Therapy TM. This therapy became the foundation for her method to heal the post-traumatic stress symptoms of present and past emotional trauma and is available on CD. See www.healingptsdtrauma.com and www.theuniversalvibrationaltherapy.com


Veterans, why would you suffer from PTSD while it is within your power to heal your post-combat stress for good?

It is time to reclaim your personal power. Hold on to the notion that healing your war trauma can be an empowering yet gentle experience.

I am a war trauma survivor. I know what I'm talking about. I have an intimate knowledge of the workings of a traumatized mind where heart and soul remain largely detached. Fleeting images of horrific scenes had been populating my mind with unfailing reliability.

Decades later, I came to realize that I had suppressed most traumatic events. I had been out of touch with the murderous rage locked up inside my body.

It took me years of professional training and exploring my own psyche to get to the point where I grasped what I was after: the healing of my war trauma.

It could not be accomplished through conventional therapies that I tried, like cognitive behavioral therapy, though I am grateful for the experience.

While growing up, war movies had been my own exposure therapy. I had learned that desensitization worked only for a particular movie but not for others.

However, I had become an expert in resilience. My camouflage worked like a charm while underneath a war of its own had been brewing.

At one point I became aware that the adrenaline rush of stressful situations made me feel fully alive. When I remembered my father's heart attacks in his early years, I realized that I needed to reduce my own stress level.

It led me to explore alternate healing techniques like transcendental meditation. I experienced that it reduced my stress level for the day. I needed more.

At some point I started to write about my war trauma. In an outburst of hate I accused my national family of having stolen not only my own but also the childhood of all other traumatized children.

After sitting court over the perpetrators and finding them guilty, I felt like a load had been lifted off my shoulders. I continued writing, and experienced a renewed onslaught of dark energies which were seemingly out to overpower me.

Initially I believed that these energies belonged to me. Then I reached the point where I realized that my thoughts and words had attracted harmful energies. They were not mine.

This realization turned out to become one of the cornerstones of my Universal Vibrational Therapy TM that I used to heal me. I have been trauma free for about 20 years now. So can you.

"Where there is a will, there is a way." I was holding on to this saying for many years. It would reinforce my determination not to give up.

While I was writing this article for you, veterans, I remembered these words. I want to encourage you to revive your hope and your determination to heal your post-combat stress. If you want me to, I'll show you the way.

I have already created the method. All you have to do is to follow it and allow yourself to be healed.

What is the obstacle? Afraid to relive horrific events? No need with my method. The Universal Vibrations gently transmute your toxic war energies and any other intrusive energies.

Are you depressed, not wanting to confront your inner rage, feeling guilty, ashamed, feeling afraid what you might discover about yourself? Have you lost faith in God?

My method is gentle. You do not need to relive your emotional trauma and invisible wounds. They will be transmuted through the Universal Vibrational Therapy TM. Your soul will be healed too.

Give yourself a chance. Own yourself again, enrich your life, follow your visions and dreams.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fighter Pilot MIA in Korea


(This is the second guest post from Jim Escalle about his uncle, Second Lieutenant Jimmy L. Escalle. The picture above is the cover of the book that Jim has written about his uncle.)

My uncle, Second Lieutenant Jimmy L. Escalle, dreamed of becoming a pilot since he was five years old. Too young to fly during World War II, his dream became a reality soon after the Korean War began.

He was born November 7, 1929, in Fresno, California, and grew up in Earlimart, a small farming community 60 miles south of Fresno.

He lived in a small, two-room house that he shared with his father, mother and younger brother, Robert, who also became an Air Force pilot. Both brothers learned an American work ethic from their father that displayed itself both on the farm and in the classroom.

Since there was no high school in Earlimart, Jim and his brother took the bus to Delano, located about seven miles south of Earlimart. During his four years at Delano High School, Jim played football and baseball. He was the second baseman on Delano’s varsity team.

In his senior year he made all-league as left end for the varsity football team, which for the first time in school history had a perfect record. The undefeated 1946 Delano High School football team outscored their opponents 238-25 for the season, a record that stands today.

On June 25, 1950, less than two weeks after Jim graduated from Bakersfield Junior College, the armed forces of communist North Korea made a surprise and unprovoked crossing of the 38th parallel to invade South Korea.

Thinking the war would not last too long, Jim made plans to attend UC Berkeley so he could continue his education. He wanted to become an aeronautical engineer.

But only one semester into his studies, he received his “greetings” from his Uncle Sam. At first, he didn’t know what he was going to do. He wanted to serve in Korea, but he didn’t want to do it on the ground, sloshing around in the mud as an infantryman.

He applied for the Aviation Cadet program with the Air Force.

While waiting for a pilot training class to become available, the deadline to report for the Army was getting closer. Like a lot of his contemporaries at the time, he signed up with the Air Force as a private. This way the Army could not touch him while he waited for a flight class.

Jim joined the Air Force in April 1951 and completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Then he was sent to Connally Air Force Base in Waco, Texas, for a couple of months until he was assigned to Pilot Training Class 52-F.

He took his basic pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, where he learned to master the North American T-6 “Texan.” It was a two-seat, dual-controlled, single-engine trainer with a powerful 600-horsepower radial engine that could produce a top speed of 210 miles per hour.

Joe B. Cunningham, Jim’s flight instructor, called Jim “a natural pilot” and said he was one of the top students.

Advanced pilot training took place at Webb Air Force Base, Texas. There Jim flew both the T-28 Trojan and T-33 Shooting Star jet trainer.

From the first day of flight training, Jim had wanted to fly jets. He studied hard and listened to every word of his instructors, and just like at Columbus, the instructors said Jim simply had an instinctive knack.

Glen Croshaw, a fellow pilot who was in advanced training with Jim, agreed with this assessment. “It was a well known fact among all the cadets in the class that Jim was an excellent pilot, better than most of the instructors.”

Croshaw believed Jim was on a mission ever since the first day he started his pilot training. He said, “Jim had one thing on his mind, and that was to strap an F-86 to his butt and go find a MiG to shoot down.”

After graduating from pilot training on September 13, 1952, Jim was assigned to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada for gunnery school. He was on what was called the “pipeline to Korea.” It was at Nellis where he first flew the F-86 Sabre.

Jim arrived in Korea at Suwon Air Base, designated by the Air Force as K-13, in February 1953. He was assigned to the 36th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 8th Fighter-Bomber Group, which was flying the F-80C Shooting Star at the time. But the unit soon made the transition to the F-86F Sabre.

Every pilot in the Air Force wanted to fly the F-86. It was the sleek, swept-wing fighter winning out over the Soviet-built MiG-15 in the skies of Korea. The 8th Group was using the Sabre as a fighter-bomber, but the pilots knew they would have the perfect weapon if drawn into air-to-air action.

It was the goal of every pilot to log 100 combat missions, which was the standard tour of duty in Korea. Jim even gave up a scheduled R&R in Japan to fly missions.

He dropped 1,000-pound bombs on tactical targets, skip-bombed dams at low altitudes, went on armed reconnaissance patrols and dive-bombed enemy troops. He also went on a few MiG Alley sweeps near the Yalu River, and on one occasion saw some MiGs.

On close-air-support missions where he would have to drop bombs or fire his guns on the front lines, a forward air control T-6 Mosquito usually would fire white phosphorus rockets called “Willie Petes” in the area to pinpoint the location of the target.

When the Chinese army broke through the front lines on June 15, 1953, Jim was in the air before dawn and did not land until long after dark. He got four missions that day, bombing targets in the daytime and strafing trucks that were moving behind the lines at night.

The flak at night was so heavy that he described tracer bullets as being “like a Fourth of July in the late evening.”

As soon as he started down for the trucks, the Chinese would open up with their antiaircraft guns from both sides of the valley.

It was very dangerous work. However, it was also the normal routine of the fighter-bomber pilot.

The pilots of the 36th FBS “Flying Fiends,” commanded by Major Robert C. Ruby, flew 121 sorties that day, setting a record that still stands.

Four days later, while flying as element leader on an armed reconnaissance mission in North Korea, Jim disappeared and was never seen or heard from again.

In a few brief months, Jim had flown over 40 combat missions and was awarded an Air Medal. He also received the Soldier’s Medal for putting his own life in danger when an accident occurred one day on the flight line.

He was well-liked by other pilots and viewed by his squadron commander as having a bright future. He was posthumously promoted to first lieutenant.

The Korean War ended in an armistice on July 27, 1953. His squadron, now designated the 36th Fighter Squadron, is still on duty at Osan Air Base, Korea.

In 1992 Delano High School’s Class of ’47 established a college scholarship in Jim Escalle’s name to honor his service to his country.

In the summer of 2004, as a permanent memorial to Jim’s contribution in the field of aviation, his name was submitted to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to be placed on the Wall of Honor.

His name can now be seen alongside other F-86 Sabre pilots who defended freedom in Korea, as well as those who defended it elsewhere.

To read more information about my upcoming book on my uncle’s life, visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/unforgottenhero. Here, you can read the book's table of contents, excerpts from two chapters, and some of the endorsements I have received. You can also see photos and videos.

Related articles can be read on my blog at http://unforgottenhero.blogspot.com

Read the first post by Jim Escalle about his uncle.

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Remembering a Korean War Fighter Pilot MIA


(This is a guest post by Jim Escalle in connection with his uncle, Second Lieutenant Jimmy L. Escalle, seen in the photo above in his F-86 Sabre.)

On June 25, 1950, the Soviet-equipped armies of North Korea crossed the 38th parallel, invading the nation of South Korea. Condemning this invasion, the United Nations requested the help of its members, including the United States, to counter this onslaught of communist aggression.

It had only been five years since the end of the bloodiest war in America’s modern history and now it was being called into another, only this time it would not be a popular war.

In fact, it was not even declared a war by President Harry S. Truman and his administration. According to him, it was only a police action.

But to those in the military who fought in Korea it was definitely a war, and one they will never forget.

Over the next three years the two sides fought to an uneasy standoff, ending the war almost where it began, on the 38th parallel.

After the armistice was finally signed and put into effect on July 27, 1953, the number of casualties reported was staggering. Approximately 34,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines had been killed, although this number is still being debated. Another 92,000 servicemen were wounded, and almost 8,000 are still unaccounted for.

Taking into account the estimated two million civilians who died, which is a conservative figure, an exceedingly high price was paid in order to retain freedom for a small Asian country that at the time most people had never thought about, or in some cases, even knew existed.

South Korea is still free today, thanks mostly to the numerous sacrifices these American heroes gave defending it, especially the brave men from all branches of the military who gave up their lives.

Some of these heroes who paid the ultimate price for freedom proudly wore the blue uniform of the United States Air Force. One of them was my uncle, Second Lieutenant Jimmy L. Escalle, a fighter pilot who disappeared just five weeks before the war ended.

I never had the privilege of knowing my uncle personally; he was listed as missing in action several years before I was born. One day, while rummaging through some old photographs in my parents’ closet, I came across a small photo of a man wearing an aviator’s cap and goggles.

I asked my mom who he was. She told me that he was my Uncle Jimmy, my dad’s older brother, who had been in the Air Force, but he had never returned from the Korean War. She told me I was named in honor of him.

That statement sparked my curiosity even brighter. I wanted to know more about my uncle’s life, especially his role with the Air Force. I also wanted to know about the Korean War, so I could understand the environment in which he fought and eventually gave his life.

Although I was just eight years old at the time, I thought that maybe someday, somehow, I would know his complete life story, because I didn’t want him, like the Korean War itself, to be forgotten.

Like most young kids interested in this kind of stuff, I had the energy and desire to do the research, even though resources at the time were limited. This enthusiasm continued into my high school years.

But as I grew older, left home, and became busy with my college activities, my zeal for finding information on my uncle began to seriously diminish. You might say the pilot light was still on, but the burner was not lit. In other words, the interest was still there, but the motivation was gone.

Other things had priority, such as studies, sports, girls, and hobbies. Not necessarily in that order of course. I still thought about Jim whenever I saw an Air National Guard jet fighter fly over my apartment, or when I saw a TV rerun of the Korean War movie "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" based on James Michener's novel of the same name. But I didn't pursue the matter with the same intensity I had when I was younger.

This was in the early 1980s when a lot of attention was given over to the national events at the time, like the Iran hostage crisis, the Mt. St. Helens eruption in Washington, and the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

That all changed in 1993, however, when the Korean War was back in the spotlight. In September of that year, I read an article printed on the front page of a local newspaper about a government report dealing with missing American servicemen.

The article stated that the U.S. government had evidence Moscow took possession of, and also held, American prisoners of war during the conflict in Korea. The article also stated that the most likely candidates for capture and turn-over to the Soviet Union were F-86 Sabre pilots, because they had knowledge of this state-of-the-art jet fighter. The pilots' knowledge was something the Soviets wanted to exploit.

Included with this article was a list of 31 missing F-86 pilots, along with six other airmen who the U.S. government thought may have, according to their circumstance of loss, survived their crashes and possibly were taken to the Soviet Union, never to return. My uncle’s name was seventh on the list.

The newspaper article on the missing F-86 Sabre pilots gave me a stronger desire to search more aggressively for information about my uncle. Before I read the article and saw the list of names, I had always thought he went down with his plane. But now, more questions were starting to pop up in my head.

Did he die when he went down? Did he bail out and get captured by the North Koreans or Chinese? Was he taken to the Soviet Union? These questions motivated me to continue trying to complete my uncle's story.

As more time went by, I finally received copies of my uncle's military personnel record. I was fortunate in this case because in 1973 a fire broke out at the St. Louis facility where these records are stored and permanently destroyed all of the Air Force personnel records starting with names beginning with the letter H. The fire didn’t affect the records from A-G.

Although it took a while to receive them, I was grateful for having them at all. I was also grateful for the help and cooperation of so many fine people over the years, both civilian and military, who assisted me in my determined effort to piece together my uncle’s life.

Jimmy L. Escalle was only 23 years old when he was listed as missing in action, but in that short time he lived an exemplary life, including being able to fulfill a childhood dream of becoming a pilot. He personified the typical spirit of most young fighter pilots who flew combat missions in Korea, and many just like him never came home after the hostilities ended.

His life story is but one example of the thousands who answered the call to serve their country at this critical time in history. Let us never forget them, or the sacrifices they made for freedom.

To read more information about my upcoming book, visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/unforgottenhero. Here you can read the book's table of contents, excerpts from two chapters, and some of the endorsements I have received. You can also see photos and videos.

Related articles can be read on my blog at: http://unforgottenhero.blogspot.com

And read the second guest post by Jim Escalle about his uncle.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Get Ebook of Novel MRS. LIEUTENANT for FREE Today in Honor of Veterans Day


As I have often said, my goal in writing the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT was to share a slice of women's social history about the wives of new Army officers in the spring of 1970 right after the Kent State shootings during the Vietnam War.

Of course, I also hoped to write a compelling and entertaining story. And with MRS. LIEUTENANT being chosen as a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist and with good reviews on Amazon, I feel I achieved my goal.

And, yes, I was a new Mrs. Lieutenant in the spring of 1970 when my husband went on active duty at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for Armor Officers Basic.

In honor of all the men and women who have served in U.S. armed forces, I would like to offer a FREE coupon code for MRS. LIEUTENANT today in honor of Veterans Day.

Go to the novel's page on Smashwords
and after clicking that you want to buy the ebook, enter the coupon code SW78N and you will get the ebook for free.

You'll be able to choose how you want to download the ebook, including the ability to read it on your computer.

I hope you'll take this opportunity get a FREE ebook copy of my novel that is supportive of our military personnel and their families.

P.S. And if you enjoy the novel, do consider posting a review on Smashwords or Amazon.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Los Angeles Synagogue Hosts Veterans Day Shabbat


Adat Shalom Synagogue, 3030 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA is hosting a special Veterans Day Shabbat service on Friday, November 11 at 7:00 p.m.

The service will honor all Jews who have served the United States of America either in the military or as a law-enforcement officer.

The Honor Guard of the Jewish War Veterans will be presenting the colors and a few members of the Adat Shalom community who served with distinction during World War II will be speaking.

Additionally, Adat Shalom is asking those who attend to bring in their own memorabilia to display for families to see.

A dessert reception will follow services. Day care will be provided.

For more information, please call Michael Raileanu, Adat Shalom Community Builder, at (310) 474-0197.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Big Gunz Clothing Gives Back to Military Families November 10-14 in Honor of Veterans Day

Here is a guest post by Jennifer Diana of Big Gunz Clothing:

In honor of Veterans Day and all the veterans who have served this great country, Big Gunz Clothing is giving back. Staring Thursday, November 10, 10% of all sales made online at BigGunzClothing.com will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Big Gunz Clothing is a military family. The father of the owner, Donnie Potter, served as well as did others. (The photo above is of Jennifer Diana's husband's Military Police unit when the unit was serving in Iraq.)

The Big Gunz team understands the importance of honoring the soldiers rather than focusing on the retail sale. The sale centers on the donations to the Wounded Warrior Project.

There are two parts of the Veterans Day sale:


1. Using coupon code WWP11 will give each customer 10% off.

2. In addition, for each sale (regardless of whether a coupon code is used), 10% of the purchase amount will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project.

This sale begins November 10th and runs through November 14th.

Big Gunz is hoping that, by offering a discount to each customer, Big Gunz customers will be motivated to help out veterans on this day of remembrance.

The Wounded Warrior Project is about honoring and empowering wounded soldiers. In addition to the discount, Big Gunz will provide an easy link from the Big Gunz site to the Wounded Warrior Project site in order for direct donations to be made to this important organization.

Read about the Wounded Warrior Project.

Big Gunz Clothing is designed for big and tall guys who are determined to look good. In developing this contemporary and good-looking line, the Big Gunz design team drew inspiration from confident, larger-than-life men and dapper sports heroes.

Big Gunz believes in the power of living large and showing off. Something Big Gunz believe soldiers would appreciate!

Visit the Big Gunz Clothing site now.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Help Operation Paperback Send Books to U.S. Troops


Here is a guest post from Andrea Hoshmand McAfee of Operation Paperback -- Recycled Reading for Our Troops:

Our service members make sacrifices every day for our country. It takes so little to let them know that we appreciate what they are doing for us.

Operation Paperback supports U.S. troops by giving them the opportunity to escape into a good book. Since 1999, our volunteers have shipped a total of 1.5 million books around the globe.

Every day we accept requests from U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who would like to receive a variety of fiction and non-fiction books throughout their time overseas.

Requests come from the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Korea or even the middle of the ocean. Any service member is entitled to receive our free shipments of books throughout their deployment.

We fulfill those requests by shipping gently used books collected by our network of 14,000+ volunteers nationwide.

These volunteers search their personal bookshelves, yard sales and used bookstores for popular genres like action/adventure, military history, fantasy and science fiction.

Then, using our website (www.operationpaperback.org), the volunteers match the genres of books they have on hand with the hundreds of open requests from troops that we have in our system.

We provide our volunteers with the shipping address and mailing instructions. The process is pretty simple, and volunteers appreciate the personal touch associated with packing and shipping books directly to troops in need.

Over 90% of the books sent through our program come from volunteers across America (the remainder are specially purchased and shipped by volunteer staff at Operation Paperback).

Some do a one-time shipment; others involve their local church, school, or work place to do large book drives, sending shipments on a monthly or seasonal basis.

In the 12 years since we started, we strive to maintain our personal, grassroots origins.

Operation Paperback began when family members of Chief Master Sergeant Rick Honeywell sent a giant care package to Kuwait that included books. The books were quickly distributed and soon others began to ask for more.

We have since grown to shipping over 20,000 books a month overseas and also providing books to wounded troops and veterans here at home.

However, the Honeywell family still plays an active role in running the Operation Paperback program, and we encourage volunteers to involve their family and local community in support of our cause.

If you’re interested in supporting Operation Paperback, there are two ways you can help: Make a monetary donation or send books directly to the troops.

By making a monetary donation you will help fund the purchase and shipment of high-demand genres and other special request books.

As a volunteer shipper, you will collect and ship your own books using the addresses that we provide.

We welcome any support that you can provide! Visit our website at www.operationpaperback.org for more information.

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Film to Feature True Story of Dog Who Helped Iraq Vet

The October 18th Daily Variety article “Waterman nabs ‘Until Tuesday’” by Dave McNary reported that Waterman Entertainment has bought the film rights to a New York times bestseller written by former Army Capt. Luis Carlos Moltalvan.
Story centers on Montalvan, who logged two tours of duty in Iraq. He was dealing with the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder until meeting Tuesday, a golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived among prisoners and at a home for troubled boys but found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being until meeting Montalvan.
Production on the film is scheduled to start next summer. And the article also quoted Tucker Waterman, exec VP of Waterman Entertainment:
"Service dogs have played a crucial role in the rehabilitation of many American soldiers, and this film will pay tribute to them as well as the soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our country."
If you want to know about a produced film featuring dogs and Marines in World War II, read about the documentary “War Dogs of the Pacific.”

And while you are on the site, check out the information about PTSD. What you learn may help someone you love.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A True Story of the Humorous Side of the Army Circa 1970-1972


Those of you who have read my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT know that the American army in the spring and summer of 1970 was a serious place. The Vietnam War pervaded the nine weeks my husband and I spent at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

When I wrote MRS. LIEUTENANT I fictionalized our experiences to more dramatically portray the seriousness.

Yet there was a humorous side to the army, which we discovered upon our arrival in Munich, Germany, in September 1970 during the drunkenness of the annual Oktoberfest. Yes, Oktoberfest starts in September in Munich.)

Here then is a true story of that humorous side, or at least the truth as I can recall it after so many years.

Read now “A True Army Story: Whistle While You (Try to) Work”
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is the Army Mandatory Retirement Age the Best Option for Our Military Situation Today?

The October 15-16 Wall Street Journal article by Michael M. Phillips titled “The Old Soldier Who Didn’t Fade Away: A 59-year-old sergeant in Afghanistan is determined to serve any way he can. His real fear? Retirement” is a fascinating story about current Staff Sergeant Don Nicholas.

Nicholas enlisted in the Marines in 1971 (after dropping out of high school) and eventually ended up on the second-to-last helicopter off the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon that fateful day of April 30, 1975.

Without going into the details of the following years when he was sometimes on active duty and sometimes not, I’m going to skip ahead to his joining the Army Reserve’s psychological branch in 2004 because “there he had a good chance of going to war.”

He first went to Afghanistan in 2005. Next tour he spent 11 months in Baghdad. This March he arrived in Kunar Province, along the Pakistan border, to serve for a year.

Now here is the part of the article that really got my attention:
On missions, the sergeant is particularly adept at chatting up the locals. In a culture in which age implies wisdom, he has an edge over a fresh-faced lieutenant. As a psy-ops soldier, he tries to persuade the Afghan elders that their interests lie with the Kabul government and the coalition forces, not the Taliban.
And this is good – this is the Army optimizing its resources to fit the mission to the most qualified personnel.

Can you understand why I was then upset when I got to this following paragraph?:
Next July, Sgt. Nicholas turns 60, and the Army will tell him that he can’t go to war anymore, one of the few things he finds truly frightening. He’s trying to get a quick commission as an officer; that would allow him to join the medical corps, which has a higher retirement age.
Now I ask: Why would the Army be willing to lose such a valuable asset – one who wants to remain in the field and use his psy-ops experience?

If the medical corps can extend its retirement age, shouldn’t the Army have the ability to extend that age for special cases – special cases of men or women whose experience and wisdom could be very valuable?

What do you think about the mandatory retirement of a soldier whose specialty is particularly valuable in Afghanistan?

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

From the Author: MRS. LIEUTENANT


While updating information about my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT via my Amazon author page, I had the opportunity to write a "From the Author" introduction. After adding this introduction on Amazon I'm also sharing it here:

The novel MRS. LIEUTENANT took 38 years to be published.

The novel’s saga started when I was a new Mrs. Lieutenant in May 1970 during the Vietnam War and right after the Kent State shootings. The experience introduced me to the world of army wives that I would never have otherwise known.

About 20 years later and after I had started the Los Angeles Chapter of the national organization Sisters in Crime, I told the story of my military spouse experience to two female movie producers. They were intrigued and optioned the story for a movie.

They eventually told me that Hollywood people did not “get” the movie concept and that I would have to first write a book. By the time I wrote the first draft of the novel the producers had moved on.

For another 20 years or so I wrote and rewrote the novel. (It had to be a novel rather than a nonfiction book to protect the people whose stories I wanted to tell.) I created fictional characters and some fictional events for a more compelling story.

Many agents and publishers over the years turned the novel down. But I felt strongly that there was a place for a novel about this slice of women’s social history at the beginning of the women’s movement in the United States.

When POD (print on demand) self-publishing became an option, I decided to self-publish MRS. LIEUTENANT. At the same time I entered it in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. When the book was named a semifinalist of this competition, I felt vindicated for my 38-year belief in sharing this story.

At the same time I stumbled into blogging and social media for book marketing. From that point on I dove into learning as much as possible about this brave new online world, and I co-founded an online marketing company with my younger daughter Yael K. Miller.

Now ebooks have opened up the self-publishing world even more – and I’m engaged in resurrecting some of my favorite unpublished stories to give them a life on the Internet.

You can see my current available books and ebooks at http://budurl.com/PZMbooks
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Combat-Induced PTSD: Affliction of the Mind and Soul


The following is a guest post from Shane Allen Weber, who is the author of Galactic Quest.

I was in the U.S. Army for a little over 10 years, and I have been to Iraq with the 1st CAV DIV on two separate occasions -- both times for more than a year. *(See notes at end of this guest post.)

What is it that causes a grown man or woman to become afraid of the littlest noise or a shadow that they see out of the corner of their eye?

What is it that causes such hate and rage that spills over into their daily lives?
It is an affliction that most warriors suffer from for centuries and we are just now beginning to understand what causes it but have no cure for -- and it is called PTSD.

I am a combat vet who like most combat vets has an affliction that affects everyday life.

Some have lived with this affliction for decades and have never asked for help or even know that they have this problem.

Is life easy for us who have no visible wounds who have deep running scars? No, it is not because no one can tell what is wrong or even if there is something wrong with you just by looking.

Most people don’t see the pain and the emotion of these soldiers who live in constant torment and that of their families.

I go to group therapy where there is a mixture of war vets as far back as the Vietnam era. These guys and gals were the hardest hit by an ungrateful nation upon their return. They were looked at as something less than human.

Not only did they have to relieve the nightmare of the jungle in their minds all the time but they also had to deal with a country who hated them and a VA that was broken and slow at best.

I have had the pleasure of meeting one of the head shrinks that worked with combat vets during the Vietnam era. He told me and some of the others about how these vets were experimented on with electroshock therapy and other painful procedures.

They were treated no better than lab rats, and then when funding ran out, these war vets were tossed to the side to fend for themselves.

I found this to be very appalling, and I was sickened with the thought of my predecessors being treated no better than trash to be thrown to the side.

There has been a great deal of improvement in the treatment of all soldiers in the modern era. The VA works faster to get the compensation to the new batch of disabled veterans due to the “War on Terror.”

The only thing that has me kind of mad is that some Vietnam vets are still waiting for this compensation for the wounds they suffered during their time at war.

There are guys in the group therapy that I currently attend that have diseases caused by exposure to Agent Orange. They have filed many claims through the VA for these conditions and have to wait a year to two years just to hear back on the decision that the medical board makes.

The worst part is the extra wait time that could be tacked on because they try and appeal the decision made by the board.

We talk about a great deal of things in our group. But we rarely ever talk about the underlying problems of our PTSD because these wounds are just too painful, and even if you do get the story out, it is going to still be there haunting you.

This is a fate most of us wish we could escape but cannot.

One of my most painful moments in the Iraq war has been immortalized on Ft. Hood. When I go on post I have to drive by the 1st CAV DIV memorial just to make sure that it is being taken care of.

I would hate for the elements or some inconsiderate person to harm this symbol of my first tour to Iraq. I still remember the day that this statue commemorates almost as if the day were just happening. It all appeared to happen in slow motion.

(The statue at the memorial represents a moment frozen forever of MPs and their medic helping to save a little boy’s life after a mortar attack. These mortars were meant for us and they ended up hitting three children and one adult.)

The emotional pain that PTSD causes for a family can be too much to bear at times. It is very common for the spouse to want to divorce or leave the person with the affliction.

If not kept in check in the family environment, PTSD could be a very dangerous thing.

I have read or heard about too many horror stories of the soldier coming home and killing his family without being aware of what was going on at the time because of the blackouts that can happen.

This blackout period is called “lost time.” To the person who is afflicted this point in time never existed. This tends to cause a great deal of legal problems for these men and women.

Some of the Vietnam vets in my group have had quite a few run ins with the law. The good thing that has come out of this is that there is a movement to try to form special courts to deal with the soldiers who have this disease.

In conclusion, PTSD is something that will affect the person who has it for the rest of his or her life. Their families will have to learn to cope with their loved one having PTSD or the family member will end up leaving the PTSD-afflicted person.

I can personally attest to this because there have been several times where my wife was ready to pick up and leave me. But once she has a little alone time she is fine and we talk about what had happened, and when necessary my wife attends my private therapy sessions.

The biggest thing to remember is that our warriors are still human even though they may act like monsters at times. We did not ask to have this problem thrust upon us, but it is what came along with the service to our country. This is the price that some pay to have served their country voluntarily.

*These statements are based off the observations and stories I have gotten from all my PTSD groups and single therapy. I left all statements generalized because of privacy to the people who spoke of these topics during these therapy sessions. No names were released and will not be release for any reason to protect the privacy of those involved.

Remember: Never take articles at face value. Always do research into whatever it maybe that you are reading about. Some information may be dated or may be different for a separate group of vets. I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read this post. I hope that it helped in some way.


Here are links to learn more about Shane Weber and his writing:


http://aboutmyselfshane.blogspot.com/


http://shaneallenweber.blogspot.com/


http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Books-By-Shane-Weber/163271153701047

booksbyshaneallenweber.weebly.com


http://twitter.com/authorGQ

And for help with PTSD:

www.insupportofourtroops.com/ptsd-info

“From the Corners of a Wounded Mind” by Theodore Knell -- http://theoknell.com/my-book/
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Help Save Our Troops

(Reprinted from www.MollieSanders.com)

In the September 12th New Yorker article “Coming Apart” by George Packer, I learned a disturbing piece of information:

A former Navy SEAL has come up with a manufacturing strategy to make “armored” vehicles much more resistant to IEDs and other attacks – BUT the former Navy SEAL cannot bid on undertaking this important mission the Pentagon has said it wants done for Humvees because BIDS ARE NOT BEING ACCEPTED.

(As Mitch and I wrote in the novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS, “IEDs are not an electronics problem. They’re an engineering problem.”)

The information on this situation is only part of Packer’s overall article, which is an essay on the American public’s attitude since 9/11.

Let me explain this “armored” vehicle situation in more detail:


Packer begins his New Yorker article with the story of former Navy SEAL Chris Berman, who was hired in 2004 by the private security company Blackwater.

Berman volunteered to go on a “food-escort detail” to Falluja, “but at the last minute his place was taken by one of his friends, Scott Helvenston.”

Helvenston and three other Blackwater security guards, riding in a Mitsubishi Pajero, were ambushed and killed on their way to Falluja. While waiting to escort Helvenston’s coffin back to the U.S., Berman began drawing designs for armoring the Pajero so that Helvenston and the other three men might have survived.

Berman opened a factory in Kuwait that successfully produced an armored vehicle for security companies working in Iraq. He closed this factory in 2008 to focus on the project he’d moved onto five years after 9/11:

His new goal was to do something about the lightly armored Humvees used by U.S. military personnel. Surviving a blast while riding in these is also a major “armored” vehicle issue.

According to Packer, “For several years, the Pentagon has had plans to rebuild Humvees used in the war, and improve their armor, instead of buying new ones.”

In 2007 Berman started the company Granite Tactical Vehicles and developed a model design to improve the armor on existing Humvees. BUT there have been no government bids on this supposed Pentagon project. This is because, according to Packer:
[T]he government kept putting off requests for bids, in part because the main Humvee manufacturer, a large corporation in Indiana called AM General, appeared to have enough clout in Congress to get the process delayed, staving off competition.
Packer goes on to say that ”the rumored date for accepting bids is now this fall.”

I’m not an engineer – I cannot say that Berman’s design is the best (although Packer says: “People who knew the business said that Berman’s design was among the best.”).

What I can say is:

Let’s get out the word about this situation to people (such as our House and Senate representatives and any friends you may have in the Pentagon) to “motivate” the Pentagon to open bids right now – and quickly choose a good design – to get much better protection for the Humvees.

If you do help spread the word, please email me at pzmiller@millermosaicllc.com with the subject HELP SAVE OUR TROOPS to tell me you helped.

I’ll email you back a free ePub copy of the novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS that you can read on a computer after downloading the free ePub-reading software from www.calibre-ebook.com

Will you help?
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Aftermath of 9/11: Need to Recognize PTSD in Deployed Troops and Others


On this day, the 10th anniversary of the horrendous attack on the U.S., it is important to also honor and commemorate the men and women of our military who have sacrificed their lives or their limbs or their minds to help protect us from terrorist attacks.

And it is because of incredible coordinated efforts between the U.S. intelligence community and the military community that, only a few months before this 10-year anniversary, the “architect” of this horror was killed in his compound in Pakistan.

But this victory – and the numerous foiled terrorist plots to date – come at a high price. And sometimes this price is not recognized until it is too late – until the person whose PTSD has been undiagnosed kills himself or herself.

PTSD can result from any personal trauma, not just military service.


People who suffered from the loss of someone in 9/11 or from watching on TV as the towers collapsed or from doing rescue work as first responders or for months afterwards may have undiagnosed PTSD.

AND THIS 10TH ANNIVERSARY WITH ALL THE TV SPECIALS AND THE ARTICLES COULD SEND PTSD SUFFERERS OVER THE EDGE.

Please be on the lookout for people displaying symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Learn about these symptoms now.

This past Tuesday I was privileged to be on a Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable that featured Major Jeff Hall and his wife Sheri.

Hall repeatedly refused to get help upon the return from his second deployment even though something was terribly wrong. But when he seriously contemplated suicide, Sheri Hall took matters into her own hands and saved her husband’s life by going to his commanding officer.

Now husband and wife are part of the Real Warriors Campaign for active duty military personnel and veterans to get help before it is too late.

The Real Warriors Campaign was launched by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). Check out this source for help now at www.realwarriors.net/

And listen to the interview with the Halls or read the transcript for the 30-minute bloggers roundtable. Learning this information may save the life of someone you love.

Book recommendation:

I highly recommend Theodore Knell’s compelling memoir of his 22 years as a British Special Forces soldier. With narrative and poetry he expresses what this sacrifice does to a person’s soul. If you do not understand why PTSD can drive people to commit suicide, this book may help you. (You can read an excerpt now.)
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

In 1939 on Sept. 1st Germany Invaded Poland

Ever since I lived in Munich, Germany, from September 1970 to May 1972 as part of the American occupying force to prevent German military aggression, the date of September 1st has been particularly meaningful to me.

It was this day in 1939 that German military forces marched into Poland, plunging much of the “civilized” world into war.

And it is the day that ultimately sealed a death decree against millions and millions and millions of people – including Jews, Gypsies, Poles, homosexuals, Communists, Socialists and pacifists as well as members of the armed forces of numerous countries.

Most Americans have seen countless movies and television shows about World War II. And I suspect there will be new movies and televisions shows about this subject for many decades to come.

It is important, in my opinion, to stop for a few moments once a year, on September 1st, the back-to-school period in America, and contemplate some of the awful events that succeeded that date as well as contemplate the incredible bravery of those people who chose right over wrong.

On this first day of September 2011 let us salute the current and former members of all our U.S. military branches and all our first responders and all the people who put their lives on the line to protect others.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stonewalling of Info for Families of Military Personnel Suicides

The recent article "Army silence and censors bring agony" by Mark Brunswick for the StarTribune (Twin Cities, Minnesota), reports:
The Army announced that its 32 suicides in July were the highest it has ever recorded since it began keeping track of monthly rates two years ago. The deaths, which included 22 active-duty soldiers and 10 from the reserves, put a damper on claims that the military was getting a handle on the problem.
Equally upsetting is this info from the article:
In an extensive report on suicide prevention last year, a Department of Defense task force found that there is no program for chaplains, first responders and casualty assistance officers on how best to work with next of kin.
The article (with accompany video) details the hurdles several families of military personnel suicides have been going through and gone through to try to find out what really happened.

Some of these stories are particularly disturbing, including about the mother who learned in the report of her son's suicide that "there was no gunpowder residue detected on his hands" and about another mother who discovered "the Army had wiped clean the hard drive of her son's laptop."

The article also mentions the military survivors group Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, which works with family members dealing with a suicide.

I recommend you read the article (and perhaps some of the related articles) and then, if you have any clout to help with this shameful situation, you do so.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Movie & TV Portrayal of U.S. Military Personnel Including Navy SEALs

(Reprinted from www.MollieSanders.com)


The August 26th Wall Street Journal article “Hollywood Tries a New Battle Plan” by John Jurgensen focuses on the upcoming fictional film “Act of Valor” from production company Bandito Brothers.

The film stars real Navy SEALs (their names will NOT be listed in the film credits) and includes real Navy SEAL exercise footage although the film is based on a fiction script by Kurt Johnstad.

Perhaps what is most interesting about the article is its explanation about the sea change in Hollywood’s attitude towards military films:
Ten years after the Sept. 11 attacks opened an ongoing chapter of U.S. military action, Hollywood's long history of depicting fighters at war is entering a new phase. The grinding wars in Afghanistan and Iraq spawned films that highlighted characters in uniform who were disillusioned with their missions and scarred in their homecomings. With the conflicted protagonists of movies such as "Green Zone" and "Stop-Loss," filmmakers tried to tap into the public's ambivalence about the conflicts, but their movies mostly sank at the box office. Now that deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq are tapering down, filmmakers are homing in on the more clear-cut job of battling terrorists. And they're finding heroes in the elite—and now famous—special-operations forces leading the hunt. Projects in the pipeline focus on the armed heroics, high-tech tactics and teamwork involved in getting the bad guys.
“Getting the bad guys” is what the novel “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” is all about.

In fact, the opening paragraph of the Journal story features a Zodiac boat, which Sanders and other submarine crew members use in the novel’s South China Sea reconnaissance mission.

And earlier in the novel in an effort to help the Coast Guard, Sanders climbs down a rope from a tightly circling helicopter onto a boat being intercepted in the port of Los Angeles.

This sounds like the description of a scene in “Act of Valor” as reported by the Journal:
[A] Bandito crew, armed with 16 cameras, shot a [Navy SEAL] squad in real time as it ran the simulated "maritime interdiction operation" in domestic waters. A boat-mounted machine gun opened fire and sailors plunged out of a helicopter on ropes to take control of a 150-foot yacht …
The Journal article also mentions that producer Jerry Bruckheimer has a deal with ABC for a pilot about Navy SEALs.

That ABC is interested in such a series does not surprise me as I have been watching the ABC fictional series “Combat Hospital” produced by Sienna Films. The show is an incredibly compelling story in Afghanistan in 2005 of the Canadian and American medical staff who struggle to save the lives of the good guys (and even the bad guys).

Along with the moral dilemma subjects dealt with, interest in the show is increased by the multicultural staff, including the U.S. Navy commander African-American male who is the head nurse!

All these fictional projects that help people understand the efforts and sacrifices of U.S. (and Canadian) military personnel are welcome, especially when such a small percentage of the American population has any direct connection with active duty military personnel or veterans.

Get an eBook of the novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS now for only $2.99 in formats for the Kindle, the Nook, Sony’s Reader, the Kobo, your computer, etc. at http://budurl.com/MollieSandersebooks


And learn more about the novel in the post: LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS Novel Released on ePub Platforms Same Day as South China Sea in the News

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Remote Control Toy Truck Saves Soldiers From IED Explosion in Afghanistan

The MSNBC post by Today.com contributor Scott Stump "He saved six soldiers’ lives — with a child’s toy" is an amazing story of a man using a "souped up" toy to help bring his deployed brother home safely.

Ernie Fessenden and hobby store owner Kevin Guy created the remote control IED-scouting toy truck from a Traxxis Stampede for Ernie's brother, Staff Sgt. Chris Fessenden.

Stump explains:
Chris had lent the model truck to a group of fellow soldiers who were going out on a patrol. They used the toy, which can go up to 30 miles per hour, to scout the area ahead of them for potential IEDs.

When the toy truck zipped out in front of the soldiers’ armored Humvee, it became enmeshed in a trip wire on the road that triggered what was estimated to be 500 pounds of explosives. The bomb exploded, but none of the soldiers was hurt.

Had they not sent the remote-control truck scooting up ahead of them, the soldiers might have approached the IED on foot — or driven the Humvee into the trip wire.
Before you read the amazing story of how Ernie and Kevin came up with the idea, donate to the new project http://truckstotroops.com/ to send more remote control IED-scouting toy trucks to deployed troops. I just donated.

(I'm additionally interested in this innovative idea because, in my new eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS, Mollie goes to Afghanistan for an up-close-and-personal look at the problem of detecting IEDs.)

Now read the incredible story of what two men did with a toy truck, ingenuity and determination.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Issue of USO’s Magazine “On Patrol” Focuses on “Invisible Wounds of War”

The Summer/Fall 2011 issue of USO’s magazine “On Patrol” features articles about the “invisible wounds of war.”

You can read the articles in the digital version of this issue. To find the contents of the issue, click on the third icon from the left on the top of your screen and then click on any of the article titles.

Once you’ve clicked on the article title, you’ll have the first page of the article on your screen. To advance the article, click on the single > to the right of the page number at the top of your screen.

I found the article “Through the Lens of Stacy Pearsall” by Elaine Sanders particularly moving because it is one woman’s story of unrecognized PTSD.

Here’s the intro blurb of the article from the magazine:
As an Air Force photographer, Stacy Pearsall served two deployments in Iraq where she recorded a visual history of what was happening around her. She went on patrols, covered school openings, and was injured twice. It took a friend to recognize her post traumatic stress and encourage her to seek help. [boldface mine]
Read Stacy Pearsall’s story now and then reach out to people you know who may be unknowingly suffering from PTSD and encourage them to get help.

If you want to know more about PTSD, read this PTSD information now.

And if you want to better understand the stresses that can cause PTSD in military personnel (PTSD can result from any trauma), read Theodore Knell’s compelling memoir “From the Corners of a Wounded Mind.”

His book is a mix of narrative and poetry, and his poetry is incredible – capturing the pain of a soldier’s experiences without hitting you over the head.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show Thanks Our Troops

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jon Thanks the Troops
www.thedailyshow.com

The above 6 1/2 minute-video is a tribute to our troops by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show after a visit to Afghanistan.

Here's a message Jon Stewart read from a young specialist from the 655th TC:
"We cooperate and we fight as hard as we can because there will perhaps be disappointment but there will be no shame."
Do share this video with others because, while humorous, this tribute is incredibly heartfelt.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Veterans: Take Advantage of Your Housing Benefits

Guest post from Jessica Thorseon, who writes for VAHomeLoans.net, which assists veterans in accessing their benefits and finding low rate mortgages.

Veterans of the US Armed Forces have some of the greatest benefits when it comes to home buying. Right now, interest rates are as low as they have ever been, and house prices are historically low as well.

These aspects make now a great time for anybody to buy a home, especially service personnel who have additional benefits that make buying a home even easier and more affordable.

Veterans of the US Armed Forces are given certain benefits that enable them to purchase a home at a lower interest rate than those who have not served.

There are a few steps involved in acquiring these loans, but the process is not much harder than it is to get a traditional home loan.

First, the interested veteran needs to receive their DD 214 certificate. This certificate certifies that the holder did indeed serve in the armed forces and was honorably discharged and entitled to receive the full benefits that are granted to veterans.

Once the DD 214 is received, the potential home buyer simply needs to start looking for a home and speaking with a lender or mortgage officer who is licensed to deal with VA loans.

As with many things, the internet is a great resource to use to find a licensed lender. VA Home Loans is a great resource that can help you find a qualified lender in your state.

Once you have found a lender, you need to choose a home. Hopefully by the time you are applying for financing you already have a few potential homes in mind. But you still have the freedom to look some more and make sure that you are buying a home that you love.

There are no special pricing benefits given to military personnel on home prices; these are determined by the banks and sellers who own them.

What if you are a veteran and already own a home?

Let’s say you purchased a home several years ago when prices were very high and interest rates were high as well. Is there anything you can do to save money?

Luckily, veterans also have benefits that allow them to refinance their homes and save money. As with a new home purchase, a veteran must first receive a copy of the DD 214 before he or she can be considered eligible for any veteran benefits.

After this certificate is received, you will be able to apply for a VA Mortgage Refinance. This is a special refinance that allows you to take advantage of the same interest rates that are given to veterans who are applying to purchase a new home.

You will be able to lower the interest rate on your current home mortgage and save thousands of dollars over the remaining life of your loan.

These benefits are great ways for eligible veterans to save money. It is not too difficult to find licensed lenders, so take your time to shop around and find a lender who can offer you the best rate.

Many will charge different closing fees or have hidden fees that can cost you more money than you think. So make sure you find somebody who fits your budget and is willing to work openly with you. Take advantage of your benefits and enjoy your new or newly refinanced home!

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

Friday, July 22, 2011

U.S. Vets: Are You Taking Care of Your Mental and Physical Health?

Here is an important guest post from U.S. Navy veteran Doug Karr:


My fellow Gulf War veterans were the first to be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This multi-symptom illness includes numerous psychological and physical complaints.

Similar to PTSD in symptoms and causes, clinical depression often affects many military veterans.

Getting help is not a sign of weakness. The government has great mental health information to help those who believe they may be affected by trauma or stress disorders.

Many veterans contract infectious or bacterial diseases such as malaria, brucellosis, West Nile virus and others. All of these diseases usually surface within a year of returning home.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, chills, fever, sweats, diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, and more. Complications from some of these diseases last for years.

Depending on where and how you served, you could have been exposed to a wide range of dangerous substances. Many of us have been exposed to toxic fumes, biological agents, chemical warfare agents, burning oil and gas, and much more.

There are many cancers that have been connected to military service. Lung cancer is one.

Another, mesothelioma, is a cancer that affects more military veterans than any other group of people.

This cancer affects the lining of the lung or the abdominal cavity. Agent Orange has been directly linked to lung cancer as well as cancer of the larynx, bronchus and trachea.

For military service men and women who have sustained concussion, it is important to ensure that the condition is fully recovered. Given that many concussions are undiagnosed, it is critical to be cautious when recovering from any head trauma.

The medical community has more recently become alert to the effects of these traumas, and word is trickling out to soldiers and veterans.

Don't let your health decline because you think nothing can be done. There are many treatments available.

I confirmed much of this information by visiting web pages of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These health and wellness pages showed me that there are many problems but also many solutions if you are willing to pay attention to your health.

You can visit the VA’s resources and you can read my veterans blog.

If you are seeking treatment, find VA resources in your local community.

For more advanced or rarer conditions, it is possible you may need to visit a separate counseling service, psychiatrist, cancer center, or hospital.

Listen to your body. Know the signs. Know when to get help!
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

USA Network Show COVERT AFFAIRS Supports Disabled Veterans

In "Half a World Away" (episode 7, season 2) of the USA Network show COVERT AFFAIRS, former Special Forces soldier Auggie (Christopher Gorham) tracks the man whose betrayal blinded Auggie and killed his Special Forces teammates.

Partway through the show the actor does a PSA about supporting disabled veterans and then asks viewers to go to CharactersUnite.com to learn more.

On the site are these statistics:
More than 600 military men and women have returned from the Iraq war as amputees

Approximately 1 in 5 veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder afflicts an estimated 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan and 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans
Visit the site to watch two brief videos by Christopher Gorham, learn where to get help if you're a veteran, and learn how you can "take action to serve America's military families."

Learn more now.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

Monday, July 18, 2011

We're Watching China


(The following is reprinted from www.MollieSanders.com)
“[The U.S. has] had a presence in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea for 50 to 60 years, even going back before World War II,” Rear Adm. Tom Carney, who is leading the naval exchange, told reporters in Danang [Vietnam], according to the Associated Press. “We have no intention of departing from that kind of activity.”
This was the conclusion of Patrick Barta’s July 16th article “U.S., Vietnam in Exercises Amid Tensions With China” in The Wall Street Journal.

The article began by announcing a series of joint naval exchanges between the U.S. and Vietnam. These exchanges have apparently been planned for some time, although they have taken on more meaning due to China’s increasing insistence on its claim to the South China Sea, including the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands, despite claims in part by several other Asian countries.

In the new eBook-only novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS (written by myself and Mitch Miller), LCDR Sanders first works with the Coast Guard in the port of Los Angeles to prevent a terrorist attack.

Then she maneuvers her way onto a submarine sent on a reconnaissance mission to the South China Sea. The sub first stops at the Paracel Islands, and when it reaches the Spratly Islands, LCRD Sanders’ life is in danger.

No, this is NOT an instant novel. The truth is that the South China Sea has been an area of concern for many years for the U.S.

The screenplay “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” (dealing with the sub mission) was a 2005 quarterfinalist of the Nicholls Fellowship competition run by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the same people who present the Oscars.)

As China’s military ambitions have grown, so has the threat to the peace in the South China Sea. In January 2007 Mitch and I attended the U.S. Naval Institute conference held in San Diego. Even then the presentations focused on the U.S. Navy’s concerns for the Pacific theater.

The growing tensions between the U.S. and China parallel in some ways the tensions between the U.S. and Japan that grew during the 1930s. And to a large extent these tensions are over the same issue – OIL!

On December 7, 1941, the U.S. was taken by surprise when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor even though the Japanese had already militarily expanded into Asia. This time the U.S. will be ready for China if that country decides to militarily expand into Asia.

China, we're watching you.

Get an eBook of this timely novel now for only $2.99 in formats for the Kindle, the Nook, Sony's Reader, the Kobo, your computer, etc. at http://budurl.com/MollieSandersebooks
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Celebrating Fourth of July: Remembering Those Who Now Serve Protecting Our Freedoms


In the July 2nd Wall Street Journal article "While My Son Serves," the article author Dave Shiflett says:"Fewer than 1% of Americans wear the uniform these days."

While Shiflett doesn't mention the source of this statistic, I'll take this as accurate.

And he goes on to say: "That, in turn, puts families of deployed soldiers in something of a world of their own."

It is important for all of us Americans to take a moment to reflect on the men and women who are serving right now in the U.S. and around the globe. And to be grateful to them and their families.

In Shiflett's article, here's the part I personally found most moving:
I remember a call from our son (via cellphone) who said he was out in the middle of the desert under a bright canopy of stars...

"You out there by yourself?" I asked.

"No, Dad. I have my machine gun."
One of the reasons I spent years writing (and rewriting) my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT was because I wanted people who had no connection to military families to better understand military life.

On social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook many people now share information about our troops. I do believe that, because of this activity on social media sites, more people are aware of the need to support our troops.

This Fourth of July, while the fireworks are busting in all their glory above our heads, let us remember the bursting "fireworks" that might be aimed at our deployed soldiers. And perhaps say a little prayer for all those serving.

You can read Shiflett's entire article now.
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.