Archive for the 'Valour-IT' Category

It’s Time for A Make Over (of the blog)

September 27th, 2015 by xformed

With the recent return to the posting section here, it reminded me how the structure of the blog has been in need of some effort to catch up on the changes of time and WordPress, but, importantly as well, just the maintenance of the information presented here for viability as sources.

I spent about an hour a few nights ago working my way down the blogroll links. It evoked some interesting thoughts.

– Some of the blogs are gone. As I pondered that, the recollections of the resaon for interaction and the content of those sites came back, some in more detail that others, and many I found as a result of work with the Soldier’s Angels projects, particularly of note being the Project ValOUR IT that provided laptops with voice activated software to our injured troops.

– Some blogs have had their domains purchased by others and now, while the link is live, it’s nothing related to the one I linked to some many years ago.

– Some blogs are present, but, the last entries are years ago, some have the last post indicating the posting had come to an end and this was a digital goodbye, while others are frozen in time.

– And the rest are still there, some plugging along, still posting new items, but the tenor has changed with the World and history’s diffrences from the time when we were very actively engaged in a large sacle effort to combat an enemy with conventional and special forces.

On one hand, we have come to believe, what is posted on the net, stays on the net and never dies. That’s true and false, depending on whether a site stays active. Be it Facebook, or a personally owned and managed blog, if it even drops it’s registartion, the content, unlike that of a hard copy document, is gone. Unless someone has diligently copied the full text/media to their site, then the link gets “broken” and that snippet of detail so linked is gone.

I’ll caveat this with the site of, where, if they have crawled a site, you may be able to find that old info you seek. I just went ant looked, for the remembrance of it all, for the well read, well written, pretty much my favorite blog of all time, Neptunus Lex. It’s long since been off the air, and thankfully not hijacked for the purposes of leeching off his massive daily traffic and backlinks. The link posted is to the snapshot taken by the recording process on the day after Capt Lex had “died with is boots on.” March 6th, 2012, an afternoon “hop” to train our future warriors in the air got enmeshed in the bad weather and he died trying to land his F-21 in high winds and pretty much no visibility. Even as recently as a few weeks ago, I told someone who’s grandson wants to fly that it was a shame Lex’s blog wasn’t still there, for it, even without his personal advice to a specific request, was a massive archive of career guidance. So, the prior comment on it all going away isn’t completely true, but it can be if the “Way Back Machine” didn’t get around to your site as frequently as needed to make your content immortal. I have noted that when using the site for some business work. Certainly the well traveled sites will be there.

In the scanning of the links that were active, I gleaned some information, one bit being Maj Chuck Zigenfuss, the man who was the inspiration and first ValOUR IT user retired from the Army in January of this year. He was one of those exceptional leaders I met along the way in the MilBlogging world, and I suspect he was that to his troops and his commanders. His work, along with Beth’s has provided over 6000 laptops to those in need, and still does today.

SteelJaw Scribe sill presents news from his world and provides analysis of the geo-political side, too. Cdr Salamander’s site is probably the most active MilBlog going. One of the leaders in the Milblogging world, GreyHawk, who’s site was the Mudville Gazette, is one of those sites that has been taken over. Matt Burden of Black Five is still there, and some basic posts are being done.

Enough of the reminiscing. I will be cleaning up the no longer useful links/sidebar entires to begin, then I will go hunting a more up-to-date theme. For those who have been at this across the versions of WordPress 1.x to the 4 series, know this isn’t just a few clicks of effort. On top of that, I need some housekeeping in the main content world, to clean up little glitches that have occured as I moved the main data table forward. For over 1300 posts, there will be some detail work needed.

Anyhow, blogs are not forever (sort of), so I’ll make my final point: It’s it’s worth hanging on to, pull it out and ant least create a book out of it, even if it’s just a big Word document to be passed along.

Category: Blogging, Charities, History, Military, Stream of Consciousness, Valour-IT | Comments Off on It’s Time for A Make Over (of the blog)

Will you help with the 2012 Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT Fundraising Work (7/4-9/3/2012)

July 3rd, 2012 by xformed

If you need no introduction to this wonderful project, and want to just get on with getting your blog/website participating, the signup link is here.


This year, while there is a reduction in military action, there still are men and women in the field, who are at risk of being injured. There are those, of course, presently in the military medical system who have injuries that can be circumvented or need therapy that can be provided by technology.

Beginning this Independence Day in 2012, Soldier’s Angels will begin the annual fundraising efforts to provide funding for laptops with voice recognition software, Wiis and GPS units to be provide at no cost to military members or care facilities to help these men and women get back closer to normalcy in their lives, after serving their country and us.

Know these things about the annual fundraising:

  • All the donated funds go to the equipment, or the delivery to the people/facilities. You don’t often come across a charity project that devotes the funds right to the “end users.”
  • While the 4 “service teams” are listed for the donations, all the money goes to one account, and is spent to provide to those in need, regardless of their service affiliation. The teams are merely a ways for the supporters to have a little friendly competition among themselves to satisfy their fix for a little old school interservice rivalry.

The VALOur-IT (Voice Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops) project was an accidental program, begun in 2005, when a blogger was injured by an IED in Iraq. From there, this project of all volunteer help, has provided over 6000 laptops to those who cannot use their hands or have vision issues. For years, they have all been brand new units, set up with Dragon Naturally Speaking software.

Please consider helping out in some (or all) of the following ways:

  • Join the list of sites/blogs and get it to your readership
  • Get the link to Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT donation page and send it to your email list
  • Lobby your workplace to allow you to post/pass out a flyer with this information to the employees
  • See if your employer has matching funds for donations to this project and get that word out to your co-workers
  • Present this information to your social networks, the digital ones, and the real ones, too!
  • Post the information in local coffee shops/restaurants and other places with community bulletin boards (check with the management first, which is another opportunity to discuss this project with those who are not aware of the work)

Thank you for reading this and considering taking this information viral! The people who have benefited for the donations over the last 7 years have been given a precious gift and are grateful for the equipment the has helped them get back into life!

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Technology, Valour-IT | 2 Comments »

It’s VALOur-IT Time Again!

July 1st, 2011 by xformed

The fund drive will run from today through the 14th of July. Don’t know what VALOur-IT is? Click the link.

The reader’s digest version: For those wounded with sight or mobility issues keeping them from using a computer like most people do, Soldier’s Angels has a project to provide new laptop computers with Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software to them. Their to keep, to help them get re-connected with family and friends and battle buddies, and for the future, it’s good work skill development.

So…spread the word, beat the bushes, spam your email list, beg at the local Starbucks for help for this wonderful program that has provided now in excess of 6000+ laptops!

Donate to Soldier’s Angels Project Valour-IT

Soldier's Angels Team Navy

Chip in…it’s well worth the money and it is changed/has changed lives.

Category: Air Force, Army, Blogging, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | Comments Off on It’s VALOur-IT Time Again!

VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Final Numbers: BZ!

November 16th, 2010 by xformed

For those without a Naval background, “BZ” is signal flag code for “Well Done.”

It’s been over for a few days, but the final totals, minus some that will trickle in via the mail for the VALOur-IT was:


Amazing. The beginning goal was $60K. The Army sprinted out of the blocks and blew throught their $15K “fair share” and had to bump the goal to keep it easy to see. They pushed their meter to $25K, and then the Marines, outflaked them and everybody else…..The Jarheads powered through the muck and went north of $30K to an amazed audience. Of course a nod from Michelle Malkin didn’t hurt at all, now did it?

Thanks to one and all for spreading the word on this wonderful, life changing project, that puts wounded soldiers, sailors. airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines back into the world via technology.

See you next year, but, donations for this, and the many other projects of Soldier’s Angels are gracefully accepted all year long.

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Technology, Valour-IT | Comments Off on VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Final Numbers: BZ!

Project VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Begins

October 28th, 2010 by xformed

learn more

My favorite time of the year begins today, and goes until Veteran’s Day, 11/11/10.

Project VALOur-IT was an accidental collusion of two minds, some one offering help from Soldier’s Angels and the rest is history. The story is well told across the now 6 years, and over 5000 laptops, the very large majority of them new, with Dragon Naturally Speaking are in the hands of those wounded so they are limited by sight or typing disabilities.

The laptops are theirs to keep.

The funds are used only for the purchase of the laptops, and now Wiis and GPS units, and the transportation to the delivery points (usually the major US Military Medical facilities). All other costs for this project are borne by volunteers. It’s a charity project where, down to the final penny, it’s put to work for the purpose of the project. I like it for that reason, but I like it more because it provides some normality back to those who have suffered for the defense of the Nation, and for those in other lands.

for the last 5 years, a large band of bloggers have taken to the net to let people know this project exists and to request your donations. Not only are they active duty/retired/former military members, but supporters, family members, and any one else who jumps in to pass the word on to everyone they know.

On the donate page linked to the button above, you can also get the code to put a button like this, or the alternative style, to post on your site/blog/etc.

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Maritime Matters, Military, Navy, Supporting the Troops, Technology, Valour-IT | Comments Off on Project VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Begins

Brain Injury Awareness Month: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

March 5th, 2010 by xformed

This CT scan is an example of Subdural haemorr...
Image via Wikipedia

Via backchannel, a request to highlight the “signature” wound of the current war: Traumatic Brain Injury.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month for the Brain Injury Association of America.  Pass the Word, please, as you can and know this is a very probable issue with our injured Vets.

For those who have long supported the Soldier’s Angels Voice Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops (VALOur-IT), this is one of the things the program has been addressing, along with the coputer contact with the world, by providing GPS Units for those wounded service members who are getting out and about. The reason: TBI has an associated symptom of loss of short term memory, and the GPS Units help remind the driver where they were headed.  (Note:  You don’t have to wait until this November to donate to VALOur-IT…SA will be happy to accept donations all year long…even today to help this great cause)

Below is the article Chelsea asked if I could post to help get attention to the cause:

Traumatic Brain Injuries in the Military

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is becoming a common wound of modern warfare. It has even been coined the “signature wound” of the War on Terror. While TBI is becoming more prevalent in wartime activity, many service men and women continue to go undiagnosed. Institutions, like the US Department of Veterans Affairs, are working to make quick and accurate diagnoses in order to prescribe appropriate and effective treatment.

TBI is caused by forced trauma to the head, either by being shaken or hit. The severity of a TBI varies from case to case, but symptoms range from mild concussions to a debilitating state. The majority of TBI’s acquired by military personnel are classified as mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI). Initial symptoms of MTBI consist of loss of consciousness, disorientation, loss of memory, headache, and temporary loss of hearing and vision. They are often partnered with anxiety, irritability, difficulties processing information, limited concentration amongst other problems experienced down the road. While MTBI is most common amongst the men and women of the armed forces, more severe cases of TBI are happening much more frequently and often require the victim to attended specialty rehabilitative nursing centers, like CareMeridian.

The most common cause of a TBI in the military is due to blasts. There are three degrees of blast injuries where a TBI is common; Primary (due to blast itself), Secondary (due to objects being propelled by a blast) and Tertiary (due to a collision with a third party object). According to the Veterans Health Initiative, active male members of the military from the ages 18-24 are hospitalized with a TBI at a rate of 231 per 100,000 and females 150 per 100,000. Based on military force projections this would mean that 4,141 military personnel are hospitalized on average each year with a TBI, and these numbers often rise during wartimes.

The best prevention for veterans to avert the long-term effects of a brain injury is to recognize the symptoms of a TBI. Once the symptoms are identified an individual should take basic precautionary measures in order to begin the healing and recovery process until a more specific diagnosis can be made.

Service men and women give so much to protect this country and they deserve to come home to a happy and healthy life. Creating awareness about TBI will help ensure their long term health. By helping our veterans, their friends and their families recognize the early warning signs of a TBI, treatment can be sought as early as possible.

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Category: Air Force, Army, Biology, Blogging, Charities, Coast Guard, Education, Jointness, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Science, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | 5 Comments »

Technology Tuesday

November 3rd, 2009 by xformed

Technology.   Someone commented on a blog elsewhere a few weeks back most of mankind’s greatest accomplishments were driven as a function of the need to conduct warfare. I’ll have to go along with that. While going to the moon has had a vast array of technological advancements, it was to help improve our missile/rocket technology and the abilty to function on the “high ground” That being said, there is technology developments, more like a “fusion” of hardware and software to help our wounded warriors. Laptops and Dragon Naturally Speaking. Life changing, capability restoring. Project VALOur-IT running on raw volunteer power and passion. Join up…serve the cause. Change a life. Invest in a future citizen out of uniform.

Just when you’d thought you’d read enough about VALOur-IT, Jeff Bacon a noted naval cartoonist, has done his duty to help promote the fund raising campaign.

Not only has Jeff jumped in, he connected with Steven Pastis, creator of “Pearls Before Swine” (an excellent cartoon strip, I might add) to jointly promote helping our wounded warriors.

Here is the first frame

YOu have to go to Jeff’s post to see the rest of the story.

And…if you still haven’t been convinced to contribute…please reconsider and chip in a few bucks, and send the information to your friends, family and co-workers.

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Leadership, Marines, Military, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Technology Tuesday, Valour-IT | 1 Comment »

Monday Maritime Matters

November 2nd, 2009 by xformed

Today, after a bit of a hiatus, another “regular” post.

First note of interest: In case you’re not aware already, the annual fund raising drive for the Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT project has been underway since the 26th of Oct, but…the good news, it runs through 11/11. In other words, you can still contribute!

If you’re in the mood (even a little bit helps), the widget to the upper right of the blog page here (the thermometer looking dodad) is clickable and will get you to the right place to chip in a few bucks.

Now, on to some meat for the day in Naval History: 42 years (and three days….just found this) ago, one then LCDR Charles B. Hunter, USN, flying with VA-196 off the USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64) and his BN performed a mission that earned now RADM Hunter, USN (Ret) a Navy Cross. Here is the citation:

Hunter, Charles Bryan

Commander, U.S. Navy
Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED NINETY SIX (VA-196), U.S.S. Constellation (CVA-64)
Date of Action: 30 October 1967

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander [then Lieutenant Commander] Charles Bryan Hunter (NSN: 0-584531), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism on 30 October 1967 as a pilot in Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED NINETY-SIX (VA-196), embarked in U.S.S. CONSTELLATION (CVA-64). Exercising exceptional professional skill and sound judgment, Commander Hunter, planned and executed an extremely dangerous, single-plane, night, radar bombing attack on the strategically located and heavily defended Hanoi railroad ferry slip in North Vietnam. Although the entire Hanoi defensive effort was concentrated upon his lone bomber, he flawlessly piloted his aircraft to the target area and commenced his attack. Seconds before bomb release, six enemy surface-to-air missiles were observed to be tracking on his plane. Undaunted by this threat to his personal safety, Commander Hunter took swift and effective action to avoid the missiles and then proceeded to complete his attack, releasing all weapons in the target area with extreme accuracy. After release, he guided his plane through the intense anti-aircraft-artillery fire and four additional missiles which were fired at his aircraft. In spite of this intense enemy opposition, Commander Hunter completed his mission and was directly responsible for dealing a significant blow to the North Vietnamese logistics efforts. His indomitable perseverance and conspicuous gallantry were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

He’s a humble man, just one of the guys at the table.  I’ll be having breakfast with him this coming Saturday morning, along with several other vets of some significance from WWII on.

Category: Charities, History, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy, Valour-IT | Comments Off on Monday Maritime Matters

2009 VALOur-IT: Out of the starting blocks!

October 26th, 2009 by xformed

This post will remain at the top of the posts through 11/11/2009, when the drive ends. Look below for new posts.

It begins today, the drive to make a difference for those who have suffered in defense of the nation, and defense of others around the world.

From a practical need for a blogger and a blog reader sprang a project that has now aided over 4000 wounded warriors in getting some normalcy into their lives. The project blog is here.

Even a few bucks adds up. Times are lean, but consider the “leaness” for those who will never recover what they have lost in the service.

Thanks for helping out.

If you have no preference for a service team to donate to, please drop your funds under the Navy, but know they still go into the same pot at the end of the day.

Category: Air Force, Army, Blogging, Charities, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Military, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | Comments Off on 2009 VALOur-IT: Out of the starting blocks!

10/25/1944: The Last Great Naval Battle

October 25th, 2009 by xformed

I have posted many times about not only this specific day, but 10/25 in military history.

Let’s begin with my post the day the “Small Boys” put on full rudder, flank speed and headed into the midst of 4 Japanese battleships, 21 cruisers and many destroyers, including IJNS YAMATO, carrying the largest naval guns put to sea in all of history: 18.1″, at the Battle Off Samar. The largest US Naval guns there to oppose the Japanese force were 5″/38 caliber guns, firing a 54 lb projectile against massive steel plated ships. Lopsided as it was, the American sailors and their aviators overhead attacked back like they could win the day, and they did.

The best book I have read on this topic is appropriately named “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors” by James Hornfischer. Not only was it an excellent book, which brought many first person accounts to light, it is a well written report of the battle that day at the tactical and strategic levels.

I had the honor of spending an afternoon with Richard Rhode, who had been a Radioman aboard USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS (DE-413) a few years ago.

I had the honor of serving aboard a ship named for GM2 Paul Henry Carr, USN, the Mount Captain for MT 52 aboard the “Sammie B” that day. He died, fighting to the end, and he did give his last full measure.

Beyond the Battle Off Samar, I have found Oct 25th is a day across history of several significant battles, all connected to well known stories of heroism.

Please click on the links to my prior postings and read of a day when sailors did their duty and men rose to a challenge against odds that were impossible, and became a part of the history of the US Navy, the US Armed Forces and the spirit of those who serve the cause of freedom.

And don’t forget the heroes of today, who have also sacrified for us, as the sailors did on 10/25/1944 and please consider supporting the Soaldier’s Angels Project VALOur-IT. Details on how to donate, beginning 10/26/2009 are here. You can donate to the project through the widegt in the upper left of this blog, too (the one that looks like a big thermometer

Category: Charities, History, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy, Valour-IT | 2 Comments »

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