Saturday, October 6, 2012

Amber Alert: 10 Year Old Missing From Westminster

Police in Westminster, Colorado have been joined by the FBI in issuing an amber alert for Jessica Ridgeway.

The ten year old disappeared Friday morning, on the way to school. She normally meets a friend at a park, less than a quarter of a mile from her house, on the way to school, but never made it there.

At least one hundred civilians helped search for her, Friday afternoon, when the alert first went out. Over Friday night, fifty trained personnel and search and rescue dogs combed the area, looking for her, but nothing was found.

More than two hundred joined authorities, on Saturday, as the search continued. Divers are preparing to search nearby bodies of water, on Sunday.

Jessica is described as being four foot ten inches, eighty pounds, blonde with blue eyes. When last seen Friday morning, just after eight, she was wearing pink and purple glasses, blue jeans, a black puffy jacket with pink lining, and black boots with pom-poms on them.

Anyone with information should call the Westminster Police at 303-658-4360. 

Terrorist Facilitators Extradicted To New York City

BBC reports that extradition proceedings for Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other suspected Al Qaeda facilitators have completed their appeals in the UK. The five are headed to New York and are set to stand for initial arraignment in a US federal court in Connecticut within twenty-four hours.

The first pretrial hearing for Abu Hamza is set to take place in approximately three weeks, though it may be years before al-Masri faces trial on eleven counts of criminal activities to support terrorism against the US. In the meantime, Abu Hamza and his four coconspirators will be held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. The US mainstream media has spent too much time spinning Obama's campaign talking points instead of properly informing New Yorkers and gauging their reactions to news that five terrorists will be housed there instead of Camp Xray at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Abu Hamza and others are suspected of running US based websites used to fund Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Ansar al-Sunna, among others. Ansar al-Sunna is the Al Qaeda allied terror group that conducted suicide bombings in Iraq to include the 2004 bombing of a coalition dining facility on Forward Operating Base Marez. Al-Masri also openly called for violence against the US and her allies and facilitated hostage-taking operations to support Al Qaeda.

The pursuit and extradition of Abu Hamza began in 2003 after UK Law Enforcement personnel raided his mosque in Finsbury Park over weapons allegations. the mosque was closed, but al-Masri continued to incite violence, facilitate weapons smuggling, and conduct hostage taking activities until his arrest in 2006. The US indicted Abu Hamza in 2004.

During their initial arraignment, two of the five reportedly entered "not guilty" pleas.

Original article at Mental Aikido.

Blue to Gold: USMC Sgt Camella M. Steedley

USMC Sgt Camella M. Steedley, thiry-one, of San Diego, CA, died October 3, in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
The Pentagon released the name Thursday of a thirty-one year old Camp Pendleton-based Marine killed in combat this week in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Camella M. Steedley of San Diego died October 3 supporting combat operations in Helmand Province on Wednesday, according to the Department of Defense. Her cause of death is under investigation, military officials said.

Steedley was assigned to the Combat Logistics Regiment 17, a logistics battalion of the US Marines based out of Camp Pendleton.

She enlisted in December 2011.  Sher was an air operations clerk for CLR-17.  It's not clear how Sgt. Steedley died and what led the military to investigate. Fox 5 News contacted the 1st Marine Logistics group and was told "she died while supporting combat operations".

The unit released the following statement:
The United States Marine Corps mourns the loss of one its own.  The Marines and sailors of 1st Marine Logistics Group mourn the loss of Sgt. Camella M.Steedley. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family.

Blue to Gold: ARMY Sgt 1st Class Daniel T Metcalfe

ARMY Sgt 1st Class Daniel T Metcalfe, twenty-nine, of Liverpool, New York, died September 29, in Sayyid Abad, Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel T. Metcalfe, twenty-nine, of Liverpool, N.Y., died Sep. 29, 2012, in Afghanistan, and was the two thousandth war death in Operation Enduring Freedom's Afghanistan campaign. His death is under investigation by the U.S. military.  Metcalfe died in Sayyid Abad, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his unit was attacked with small arms fire.

First Sgt. Daniel Metcalfe was a prankster who matured when he joined the Army. He smiled easily, loved to make others laugh and, his family said, was distinguished by devotion: to his wife, his four kids, his country. Metcalfe was killed in combat Saturday, becoming the two thousandth American soldier to die in the eleven year old war in Afghanistan.

"He was a kind of natural-born leader, charismatic," his father, Tom Metcalfe, told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle this week. "Everybody just liked him, and he could lead anybody anywhere, practically, not always in a good way when he was younger."

A memorial service for the twenty-nine year old Metcalfe was Thursday near the Rochester suburb of Penfield, where he had attended high school. Metcalfe's wife, Vesna, flew in from Italy, where the couple lived with their children Alexis, six, Edward, three, and Ethan, eleven months, according to Metcalfe's aunt, Dottie Nerges. He also had a twelve year old daughter from a previous relationship, she said. "When he went into the Army, he really found his calling, and it gave him so much responsibility. He just flourished in the service," Nerges said after the memorial service.

Metcalfe was killed by small arms fire Saturday on foot patrol when insurgents attacked a checkpoint set up by US forces, according to provincial government officials. The Americans thought they were under mortar attack from their allies at a nearby Afghan army checkpoint and fired on it. The Afghan soldiers returned fire. An Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman told The Associated Press that the shooting broke out as a result of a "misunderstanding".

The toll in Afghanistan has climbed steadily in recent months with attacks by Afghan army and police, supposed allies, that have killed fifty American and other NATO troops so far this year. Four more U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan since Metcalfe was killed in the eleven year old conflict.

Metcalfe was an eleven year veteran who had been deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan before returning to Fort Benning in Georgia to become a drill instructor. He moved to Italy in 2011 and in July went back to Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team for his fourth combat tour.

"He was a dedicated father, loved his country. He died saving the men that he served with, and we are so very, very proud of him," Nerges said. The military lists his hometown as Liverpool, near Syracuse. Nerges said he will be cremated and his ashes will go back to Italy with his wife.

Blue to Gold: ARMY Sgt. Donna R. Johnson

ARMY Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, twenty-nine, of Raeford, North Carolina, died October 1, in Khost, Afghanistan.

The Johnson family of Raeford has a long, proud tradition of military service that dates back to the Revolutionary War. Over the years, they’ve learned to share the difficulty of deployments and the joy of a safe return. But not this time.

Donna Johnson, twenty-nine, a staff sergeant in the North Carolina Army National Guard, when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest. Johnson was one of three North Carolina National Guard soldiers killed in the attack. Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, twenty-three, of Maysville and Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, twenty-five, of Wilmington, were also killed in the October 1 attack, according to the Department of Defense.

Rene Johnson recounted the moment the family was informed of her sister's death. "There's two military people waiting here to speak to you and your father," she said. "That's when I automatically knew something was wrong."

Rene Johnson said she and her baby sister were very close, and they last spoke on September 18.  "She called me from Afghanistan to wish me a happy birthday," she said. "I didn’t get a chance to tell her that [I love her] because I’m thinking she’s coming back."

Rene Johnson said her sister loved cars, motorcycles, Carolina Basketball, and her partner of several years, who also serves in the military. They had been together for years, before the military's Don't Ask, Don’t Tell policy was repealed. Johnson's family says she shouldn't be judged by her sexual orientation. "She is a soldier," Rene Johnson said. "She went over there to fight, not because she was gay or lesbian."

Johnson joined the guard in August 2006 and previously served in Iraq from 2007 to 2008. Her awards and decorations included the Combat Action Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal and Army Commendation Medal. Hardison, who joined the Guard in 2006 and was also an Iraq veteran, earned the Combat Action Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal with a campaign star and the Army Commendation Medal.

"We are still grieving for these soldiers, their families and their unit members still carrying on with their mission," Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Lusk, adjutant general of North National Guard, said in a statement. "They were the embodiment of citizen soldiers who put everything on hold to go in harm’s way for all of us. They will be remembered and sorely missed."

A total of fourteen people were killed in the attack by a Taliban suicide bomber, who rammed a motorcycle packed with explosives into a joint US and Afghan patrol. The Associated Press reported Monday that the bomber struck shortly after the troops got out of their vehicles to walk through a market area in Khost, in the eastern part of the country.

The bodies of all three soldiers were flown Tuesday to the military’s mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, where family members awaited their arrival. "I never say goodbye," Rene Johnson said. "I always say, I'll see you later."

Blue to Gold: ARMY Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison

ARMY Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, twenty-three, died October 1, in Khost, Afghanistan.
Hardison, who was married, entered the military in May 2006 and deployed to Iraq in 2009. He was assigned to 514th Military Police Company, 60th Troop Command, Winterville, NC; died October 1 in Khost, Afghanistan, of injuries caused by a suicide bomber. 

Hardison was one of three North Carolina National Guard soldiers killed in the attack. Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, twenty-five, of Wilmington, and Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, twenty-nine, of Raeford, were also killed in the October 1 attack, according to the Department of Defense.

The three soldiers, all of whom were deployed with the 514th Military Police Co., 60th Troop Command out of Winterville, died from injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while they were on dismounted patrol. Three other soldiers were injured in the attack, according to the North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs Office.

The unit left North Carolina for Fort Bliss, Texas in June and deployed to Afghanistan in early August.

Blue to Gold: ARMY Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV

ARMY Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, twenty-five, of Wilmington, NC, died October 1, in Khost, Afghanistan.

Holly Butler fell in love with her future husband when they were seniors at Topsail High School. The two married in 2008. On Monday, Holly Butler's husband of just shy of four years, Thomas J. Butler IV, twenty-five, was killed while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Khost City, Afghanistan.

Butler was one of three North Carolina National Guard soldiers killed in the attack. Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, twenty-three, of Maysville and Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, twenty-nine, of Raeford, were also killed in the October 1 attack, according to the Department of Defense.

The three soldiers, all of whom were deployed with the 514th Military Police Co., 60th Troop Command out of Winterville, died from injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while they were on dismounted patrol. Three other soldiers were injured in the attack, according to the North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs Office.

On Friday, Holly Butler released a statement about her husband, calling him "the most proud and devoted husband and father, and a loving brother and son. He was the truest friend and would do anything he could for anyone. He is not only our hero, but a hero for this country he so bravely and proudly served."

The following is Holly Butler’s statement, provided by the public affairs office of the North Carolina National Guard:

Family was very important to T.J.  His mother, Leslie, and father, Thomas, beam with pride when talking about their son.  He enjoyed spending time with his younger brother and strived to be the best role model for Adam.  

T.J. and I first met in 2006 towards the end of his senior year at Topsail High School, and we were married in November of 2008.  He was such a true blessing in my life and I have always said what a dream it was to be able to marry my best friend.  T.J. is and always will be the love of my life and my soul mate.

After high school, T.J. set his eyes on his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer, serving and protecting our family and all those in the community where he would work.  He attended Cape Fear Community College and joined the Army National Guard in hopes that this would pave the way to his future career.

T.J. loved to play every kind of sport. Whether he was fishing, golfing, playing basketball or bowling, he was just happy to be playing something. He strived to become the best at everything he did. He especially loved bowling, and this was something we enjoyed doing together, as well as with our family and friends. T.J. bowled several 300 games and an 809 series.

While T.J. was passionate about reaching his goals and his dream career, nothing was more important to T.J. than our family. More than anything he wanted to provide for us and give my son and me a good life. Anyone who knew T.J. knew that he was proud to serve his country and was so very thankful for the opportunities being in the service had given us. T.J. truly enjoyed life and was a joy to all who knew him.  He always had a smile on his face and wanted to make the most of every minute he had with me and with our son.   

There are not words to express how greatly T.J. will be missed. T.J. will forever be with us, and our son will always know what a brave hero his father was, how he gave everything to whatever he put himself into, and how deeply he loved us.  

The family and I would like to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers that have been conveyed to us.