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by Ed Frawley, father of Jeff Frawley

I have to be careful that I don't get on a rant when I am faced with anti-war, anti soldier pacifists. I find them so disturbing.

I get so upset with the news media saying that only 23% or 28% of the American public consider this war or the threat from Muslims Extremists is important.

I would like to point to two incidents that hit very close to my home in the last 7 days.

My son went into the military with 3 of his best friends right out of high school. They enlisted at the end of the 11th grade and left 4 days after graduation. They all felt strongly about 9-11.

All 4 have done tours in Iraq. My son, Jeff, and one other of the 4 are 14 months into a second 15 month tour in Afghanistan.  They have seen more than any 22 year old young man should have to see. Most other kids their age (4 years out of high school) will either be graduating from college or 4 years into a career of some sort.  

Jeff’s friend who is in the 82nd Airborne with him had his room mate die in his arms from an IED while in Iraq. Anther soldier in his unit also lost a room mate in Iraq. When they re-deployed back to Ft Bragg (after Iraq) they asked to room together, which they did for 2 years. Then 14 months ago they shipped out to Afghanistan together. During those 2 years they became best friends. They had plans to vacation together when they got home.

While Jeff and his high school buddy are in the 82nd Airborne they are in different battalions and in different places Afghanistan, But still not all that far apart in the mountains on the Pakistan border.

Last Monday a suicide bomber drove a truck bomb through compound gaits and into the building where the Americans were staying. In fact he drove it right into the building where the American lived. Two killed and 15 wounded.

Jeff's friend survived because he was on a guard tower that night. He helped fight off the attack that followed. His room mate did not survive and was killed. Jeff's friend flew in the helicopter that took the bodies of his two friends back the Bagrham Air Force base. Two days later he sent me an email that basically said “Ed it was really really bad. I am luck to have survived”

We didn't hear about this on the news.

This past Sunday (March 8th 2008) Sgt Gabriel Guzman in Jeff's company died while on a combat patrol when his vehicle hit an IED one other soldier was injured.

So we have three families who had been so very excited because they were within weeks of having their sons, husbands and/or fathers finish their 15 month deployment.  In the last 7 days these 3 families got the worst knock on their door of their lives and now they are planning funerals.

I cannot bring myself to believe the media. In fact I think they have their head in their ass most of the time. I refuse to believe that 75% of Americans don't consider this war serious business. I have a hard time believing that so many people who flew American flags at their homes and on their cars after 9-11 have forgotten how dangerous Muslim extremists are.

How many suicide bombers need to slip through the cracks and make it to America before this country would go into a melt down? Would you guess the number to be 5 or 10? Hell Jeff was within 200 yards of 6 or 7 suicide bombers while in Baghdad that killed over 60 people. (no Americans – but does that matter?)

If 10 suicide bombers hit America it would make the current economic housing crisis look like a stole through the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

And to those naive individuals who think that pulling out is going to make these fanatics forget how much they hate us – I say “NUTS” !!!

If the Americans leave Iraq I wonder if Barack Obama thinks these extremists are going to go off and buy homes in the suburbs of Baghdad. Does he think that these suicide bombers are going to take off their suicide vests and hang them in the closet? Or is Bin Laudin is going to buy a house in the country and thank Mohamed that it’s over?

I hate this war.

I hate what it does to families who loose soldiers.

I hate getting up every morning and looking to see if there is a military car sitting in my drive way.

I hate going 8 weeks without a phone call, an email, or a letter from my son because he is so far out there that there is no way to make contact or because he gives his very few satellite phone minutes to the young married solders that are with him.

I hate my cell phone because it has not been more than 5 feet from my body for the last 13 months. One time I had not talked to Jeff in 3 weeks.  Three weeks is about the time frame when the stress starts to get bad. Well I had forgot my phone on my desk up stairs when it started to ring – I ran like hell got to it just as Jeff was about to hang up. That never happened again.

I hate having to wake up from a dead sleep when the phone rings at 3 am and have it be Jeff. I am overjoyed that it’s him and mad that my head doesn’t work because I just woke up and we only get a 7 minute satellite phone call. So I scribble notes as best I can while I talk so in the morning I don’t forget what we talked about. I then treasure those notes for weeks.

I hate having to keep a running check list on my desk about the thinks to tell Jeff the next time he calls. There are times I stair at that list for weeks and just keep adding to the list.

Yesterday I got a 2 minute call. It has been almost 3 weeks. The satellite connection was so bad we never completed once sentence back and forth. But I was able to hear his voice and his laugh as he got mad about how bad the connection was. But in those two minutes I knew he was alive and he was ok – and I heard him LAUGH.

I hate the fact that twice my son went 8 weeks without a shower because they did not have showers at the firebase his platoon was at. It was too far out there. Can the average American imagine 8 weeks without a shower? I think not.

I hate the phone calls that start out “Mr Frawley this is the Army calling to let you know there has been a death in your sons unit – your son is OK.  I am sorry we don’t have any further details.” 

The first one of those calls makes the hair stand straight up on your neck but after you hang up you realize if it had been your son you would have got the knock on the door.

I hate feeling guilty about feeling lucky that it was another soldier who died and not my son. I feel guilty it is another soldiers family that got a knock on the door only to find a military Chaplin standing there in his dress uniform.

The instant this happens they hoped it was a bad dream, a wrong address, or maybe there son was just wounded and not killed. But this is not the case and now they are planning funerals.

I hate hearing Barack Obama talk about change and pulling out. The only change we will find if we pull out of Iraq will be that we will have another 9-11 and the next one is going to be bad. Do those who are against this war (aka Barack Obama) think these people will be satisfied by only killing a few Americans: or only be satisfied by only attacking us one or two more times? Will they give up their ambition to kill Americans if we pull out? Please how naive is Obama ? He insults our common sense with his naive statements. He insults my son. He insults every American soldier who has fought in this war.

It doesn't matter if the reasons we got in this war were correct or not correct - what matters now is that we are there and the Muslim Extremists are concentrating on fighting us there and not here.

My sons Company has built a lot of schools in 14 months. They hired a Afghan to be the general contractor to help build the schools. The soldiers are proud when little girls who have never seen a school come to the schools they help build. The Taliban killed the general contractor and cut his head off. the stuck in on a stake outside the American compound.

What will Obama do about people who can do these kinds of things? Does he think he can CHANGE them? Mr Obama please tell us how ?

More than anything I hate the thought that this next presidential election could put someone in the white house who doesn’t have the balls to deal with these Muslim extremists.

What I believe is that there are more silent Americans out there with the common sense to see the forest for the trees. There are more silent Americans put there that will do what's right for our country. This is not a democrat or republican issue. This is not a black Vs white issue. This is not about a housing crisis it is an American issue that's concerned with the security of our nation.

So this is the end of my rant, it's not the end for me or my family or the end for every military family. My rant goes on tomorrow and the next day and next week, for as long as my son and his soldiers are in harms way.

If you have a friend who just doesn’t seem to get it – send them my words. Because these are not my words, they are how every military family gets through a deployment.

If you are reading this and you are an American you could say rather him than me, or rather them than my family or you can do something for the security of your country. You can make sure we elect a president that will take the security of our country as seriously as these young men do.

Northern Calif paratrooper died after explosion in Afghanistan

The Associated Press
Article Launched: 03/12/2008 09:23:27 AM PDT

FORT BRAGG, N.C.—A paratrooper from Northern California has died from injuries he suffered during an explosion in Afghanistan, Army officials said Wednesday.

Sgt. Gabriel Guzman, 25, of Hornbrook, Calif. died Saturday after his vehicle patrol was hit by an improvised explosive device near Gholam Haydar Kala, according to a statement from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.

Guzman was a forward observer in the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne. He had been previously served a year in Iraq.

Members of his unit said Guzman was generous and dedicated.

"On a mission this past year while conducting a mountain clearance operation, Sergeant Guzman willingly gave the platoon RTO (radio telephone operator) his last bit of water knowing that we still had more than four kilometers to move," 1st Sgt. Derek Gondek, C Company First Sergeant, said in a statement.

"That is just the type of man that he was, his utmost concern was always his paratroopers."

Guzman joined the Army in July 2003 and arrived at Fort Bragg in 2004 after completing artillery training in Fort Sill, Okla. and the basic airborne training in Fort Benning, Ga. His decorations and awards include the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

Guzman is survived by his daughter, Angela Haley, of Bay Point, Calif.; his father, Reynaldo Guzman; his mother, Shelley Tucker, of Mount Shasta, Calif.; and his sister,


Taliban attack NATO-Afghan base, casualties
3. March 2008, 12:10

Reuters - Taliban insurgents assaulted a compound used by NATO and Afghan forces on Monday in a gun and truck bomb attack that caused several casualties, an official from southeast Khost province said.

Three NATO soldiers were wounded, a spokesman for the U.S. military said. An Afghan working as a laborer in the base was killed and several others were wounded, a hospital doctor said.

Assailants opened fire on soldiers manning the compound, then drove a bomb-laden truck inside before detonating the explosives, the Afghan provincial official said.

The attack occurred in Sabri district close to the border with Pakistan, Sabri's district chief, Lutfullah Babakarkheil, told Reuters.

"I know two rooms have been destroyed and there are some casualties," he said.

A spokesman for the Taliban, which leads the insurgency against the government and foreign troops, said members of the group had carried out the attack. The spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, was speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location.

The base was used by U.S.-led coalition and Afghan security forces, said Major Christine Nelson-Chung, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military in the province.

"As of right now we are not tracking any killed ... we believe it was a rocket attack," she said.

Residents reported hearing several explosions at the base.

Several NATO helicopters were also seen rushing towards the site, witnesses said, adding they saw a number of casualties being taken out from the base in vehicles.

Rapp returns to Sonora

Published: March 14, 2008


The Union Democrat

Ted Rapp, the father of Sgt. Bobby Rapp, caressed the flag-draped casket of his son on an airfield tarmac Thursday morning as though comforting him one last time.

It was among several tender moments for friends and family members who went to Modesto's City-County Airport at 11:20 a.m. to receive Rapp's body.

Rapp's mother, Jennifer, said only, "it was a really hard day."

Rapp, 22, of the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army, was killed on March 3 at approximately 4:15 p.m. when a suicide bomber drove a vehicle wired with explosives into the gates of an Afghan government building he was guarding in the Sabari District of Afghanistan.

Thursday, the early morning rain had subsided as the door to the small aircraft carrying Rapp clicked open, lowering the door in slow motion. Tears began falling and cries and gasps could be heard among those close to him.

The soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division, as well as other military personnel, and the Veterans Riders Group of Sonora, honored Rapp by saluting his flag-draped casket on the tarmac.

As a family, Rapp's father, mother and brother, Patrick, all approached his casket to greet him.

Six pallbearers from Rapp's division then carried his body to the hearse standing by for his journey to Terzich & Wilson Funeral Home in Sonora.

Several agencies were on hand to escort the hearse back to Sonora, including the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office, Sonora Police Department, California Highway Patrol and the Veterans Riders Group of Sonora.

"I felt like it was an important thing for me to do," Danny Gattoni, 24, a Marine Corps veteran who did three tours in Iraq, and was riding with the veterans motorcycle group, said. "He died for my freedom — all of our freedom."

Bombings in Afghanistan kill 5
4. March 2008, 15:28

By FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press Writer
A suicide car bomber attacked a government building Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan, killing a policeman a day after a similar blast left four people — including two NATO soldiers — dead.

The car bomber tried to hit a government building in the Tani district of eastern Khost province, but Afghan guards opened fire toward the car, said Khost Gov. Arsallah Jamal.

A policeman was killed and five other people, including an Afghan soldier, were wounded in the explosion that followed, said district police chief Guldat Hamim.

The attack came a day after another bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into the gates of another government building in the Yaqoubi district of Khost province on Monday, causing a part of the building to collapse and trapping soldiers inside, officials said.

Four people — two NATO soldiers and two Afghan civilians — were killed in that attack and 19 other people, including 15 soldiers, were wounded, officials said.

Initially, NATO officials said four soldiers were wounded in the explosion, but later Tuesday revised that figure.

"Because of the damages, it took the recovery team an extended time to assess the number of people affected by the explosion," a statement from NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

NATO did not disclose the soldiers' nationalities. However, the majority of international forces in Khost province are American.

Militants regularly use suicide and roadside attacks in their fight against Afghan and foreign troops in the country.

Last year was the deadliest in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. More than 6,500 people — mostly militants — were killed in insurgency-related violence, according to an Associated Press count.

Letters from Americans

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I have just been sent your "rant" by a friend and will send it along as soon as I am done with this email.

I have been in your shoes, only it wasn't my child, it was my husband. He has been deployed many times, and like you, I hated to be away from my phone. Once I missed a call and cried like a baby. If that had been the last time he had a chance to call, I don't know what it would have done to me. My daughter is now in the Air Force, but has not been deployed yet.
I'm not looking forward to that phone call.

I wholeheartedly agree that Obama has no clue what he is talking about when it comes to the war and the military. Perhaps if he had a loved one killed or injured by one of these extremists his view would be different, not that I would wish that on anyone. America seems to have a short term memory. If it's not on our doorstep, we pretend it's not there. Well, anyone connected to the military in any way, doesn't have that luxury. We live with the threat every day and realize how deadly serious it is. It is very sad, but I believe anti-war people will not see the light until America suffers another terrorist attack, and I have no illusions about that.

You are so right about the media and their so called "coverage" of the war.
Yes, war is a very nasty business, but our troops have also done enormous amounts of good over there. The quality of life for those in the affected regions has been an enormous improvement. Unfortunately, the media only wants to report the sensationalized events and that usually involves explosives.

I want you to know that I pray for your son and all our military personnel
every day. I am so proud of all of them! I believe it takes a special
kind of person to serve our great country-that includes families too. No one can really know what it is like unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. My heart and my support go with all who wear America's uniform.

One more thing. My husband is now retired from the Army, but works as a civilian on Ft. Bragg. When your son returns, I would consider it an honor to invite Jeff into our home for a home-cooked meal. It's not a lot to offer, but it's the least I could do. Please pass on the invitation and give him my heartfelt thanks for his service.

Take care and God bless,

Connie Bryan


Hello Ed,

I received your e-mail from a friend who is a former Marine, like my husband. We have no idea what you are going thru as it's totally different when it's your child going to war, instead of your husband (VN disabled vet) or your father (a lifer), but I feel for you.

Please tell your son that a majority of the American public may be silent, but does support him and his comrades. The problem is the media who cares not to publish the pro-military, pro-American thoughts of citizens, but rather the liberal leanings of the media and Hollywood types.

There are many of us out there supporting our men and women in combat or in harm's way. I know this because of friends who are former Marine brats, like myself who are now "baby boomers", who support the military, President Bush and young men like your son. We pray for them, send packages and letters to them and e-mail others to voice our support and concern. He would be amazed at the number of e-mails that are sent not only to people in "our address books", but also to our senators and congressmen supporting him and the other members of the Armed Forces.

Also, I believe there is no way the American public can elect someone like Obama or "Hellery", as all should realize that it would be the beginning of the end of America as we know it. Take care and please tell your son that we pray for his safety and to stay out of harm's way by being careful.

Sincerely, KC

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