April 14, 2008

After surviving attack, GI ponders future

Gaylene Ramos wrote about the latest word from her son, Phillip, who is serving in Baghdad and training Iraqi police.

"Received an IM from Phillip to let me know that their base had been attacked, several vehicles destroyed, and many wounded. At that time he didn't know an exact count, but wanted us to know he was (OK).

"Yahoo news release listed 1 dead and 14 wounded. In Baghdad's Green Zone, they lost 2 and had 17 wounded. Thank you all for keeping them in prayer, and asking for updates on them."

After the attack, Phillip Ramos also wrote about a common quandary among soldiers because of the military personnel crunch.

"Well I have found myself in a dilemma. ... Once I get back to Ft. Lewis ... I have to stay there til July 2009. ... but if my unit ... comes under orders for deployment again around that time I can't get back out.

"SO, I really don't want to stay with this unit and my option is to re-enlist to get out of it. SO I have checked into trying to re-enlist to go to JAPAN ... in hopes that once I get there I won't have to worry about deploying. IF I do this though I will have to re-enlist for 4 yrs. ... I am still thinking this over ... ."

How did mom respond?

"What is a mother (or) father supposed to do or say when confronted with this dilemma? You bite your tongue to keep from saying the wrong thing. You tell them to think long and hard about it. You tell them to pray about it and ask God for his wisdom to help in the decision. But most of all you say, 'We will support YOU in whatever you decide to do.' "

The California National Guard's 184th Infantry Battalion will have a Family Readiness Day on May 10 to help prepare for the unit's deployments to Iraq and Kosovo. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Kansas Avenue armory.

Lt. Col. Dirk Levy said the event is designed to help volunteers and families within the unit with all matters, not just deployment. Where to get help on military pay, medical coverage or issues relating to managing a home alone will be among the topics.

"We want to make sure soldiers know their families are taken care of, that they have a place to turn," Levy said.

Women who served in the armed forces will have a luncheon devoted just to them.

"We want to honor all women veterans," said Ruby Brawley, commander of Modesto's American Legion post.

She said the lunch, which is free for female veterans, will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 3 at the Legion hall at 1001 S. Santa Cruz Ave. in Modesto.

Transportation can be arranged and Brawley asked all of the servicewomen to bring pictures of themselves during active duty.

For more information, call Brawley at 549-2867.

Veterans who served aboard the USS Columbus from 1944 to 1976 are looking for their shipmates for a reunion Oct. 1-4 at the Holiday Inn in North Dayton, Ohio.

Contact Allen R. Hope, 3828 Hobson Road, Fort Wayne, Ind. 46815-4505.

Hope's phone number, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. PDT, is 260-486-2221. E-mail Hope at hope4391@comcast.net.

There are several Web sites and links designed for GIs and their families and friends. Here are a few:





Bee staff writer Roger W. Hoskins may be reached at rhoskins@modbee.com or 578-2311.

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