Archive for February, 2007

Air Force Officers vs Blackwater

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Local Charleston Air Force officer charged in Afghanistan.

Two U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonels are facing an Article 32 investigation this week after being charged with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer. The Air Force Reserve officers involved are Lt. Col. Christopher R. Hall and Lt. Col. Gary W. Brown. The charges were filed as a result of reports related to a roadside run in with a Blackwater employee in Afghanistan back in the fall of 2006. The facts of the case are disputed and the two officers are facing charges that could result in a court-martial. A court-martial could lead to their discharge from the Air Force and possibly confinement. The news of this story out of Afghanistan has been overshadowed this week by the suicide bombing during Vice President Cheney’s visit to Afghanistan. Ironically this week’s suicide bombing is a perfect example of what can put military members and contractors into the frame of mind that can lead to a roadside stand off like this one. The charges filed against Hall and Brown are based on reports that say the incident began when the SUV driven by Lt. Col. Brown rammed an SUV driven by a Blackwater employee near the gate of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. Hall’s wife Mary Kathryn Hall and Lt. Col.Brown’s wife Stacey Brown have been very outspoken about this case. There has been little media attention given so far, but the wives are working to get the word out about their husband’s case. Mary Katheryn Hall was quoted by the Air Force Time this week as she told her husband’s point side of the story:

A dark blue SUV with darkened windows attempted to rapidly pass them on the right and squeeze in between the Air Force SUV and a taxi. But there wasn’t enough room, and the dark SUV’s left rear quarter panel struck the Air Force vehicle, both wives said.

The blue SUV then dropped to the rear, sped up and rammed the Air Force vehicle, the wives said.

The officers, concerned the dark SUV was a vehicle bomb or other attack, took evasive action, stomping on the accelerator and weaving through traffic to get away. They were concerned that firing on the other vehicle which was authorized under the rules of engagement for such an attack could trigger any explosive that may have been onboard, Hall said. Source: Air Force Times

In another news reported:

Brown’s civilian attorney, Charles Gittins of Virginia, said that the accusations are backward and that the Blackwater worker rammed the officers’ truck, then got out of his SUV and began acting strangely. In a war zone, the two officers had no choice but to pull their weapons, Gittins said. Source: The News & Observer

The Air Force Times coverage of this story yesterday went on to describe a similar incident that led to the deaths of two American soldiers just weeks before this incident with Brown and Hall.

On Sept. 8, two soldiers from the Army Reserve’s 405th Civil Affairs Battalion, Sgt. 1st Class Merideth L. Howard and Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul, were killed by a vehicle-borne IED along the same stretch of road.

On a personal note, Lt. Col. Brown is a U.S. Air Force Reserve officer from right here in Summerville, SC. He took a military leave from his job as an airline pilot a few years ago to serve his country as a C-17 pilot. He was deployed to Afghanistan in June of last year. Gary’s wife Stacey is a friend our family and my former co-worker. Gary and Stacey have been very supportive of our family since our son Caden was born even while they faced complications associated with Stacey’s pregnancy that led to the birth of twins.

I sent the following email to Lt. Col. Brown after I learned of his deployment to Afghanistan.

Gary,

You are a man of steel. I had a chance to take a civil service job recently where I would have had to spend a good amount of time in Afghanistan and Iraq. I tried to imagine what it might be like. I am sure that a man’s imagination can come close to realizing the sacrifice that you are making for your family and our country. Thank God we have you and the hundreds of thousands of others who are willing to make the sacrifice to defend our country. Stay strong and know that you and your family are in our prayers. Please do not hesitate to call on us if we can assist you and your family in any way.

Lt. Col. Brown’s wife Stacey sent me an email this week saying, “I think right now what we need most is to pray for a positive outcome…” She has stood up a web site called www.wrongedbyblackwater.com to report on this story as it develops.

Please keep these men and their families in your prayers.

Too Premature

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Is there such a phrase as “Too Premature”? If you ask some experts in the UK, then the answer is yes. A TimesOnline story reported back in November that the The Nuffield Council on Bioethics released a report titled Critical Care Decisions in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine that says:

..intensive care should not be given to babies born before 22 weeks, and that babies born between 22 and 23 weeks should not, in normal practice, be given intensive care unless parents make a specific request and doctors agree that treatment is possible and in the baby’s best interests.

If you ask Eddie and Sonja Taylor of Homestead, FL if there is such a thing as “Too Premature” then you would find that a new chapter needs to be written in this bioethics report. Their daughter Amillia was born in the fall at just under 22 weeks gestation. The exact gestation time is known because she was conceived via in vitro fertilization. Amillia was about the length of a standard ball point pen when she was born and weighed about 10 onces. You can see a picture of how small her little feet were on The Sydney Morning Herald. Now at four months of age Amillia is well over 4 pounds and will likely be going home from the hospital with little concern for her future health according to doctors at the Baptist Children’s Hospital in Miami.

God continues to show that he has a greater plan no matter what the experts say.

Chris Sligh – Rock On

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
American Idol Turned Up-side-down
Chris Sligh turned American Idol up-side-down tonight.  Chris’ performance resulted in a rare occurrence where Simon Cowell was left as the one embarrassed.  The embarrassing moment for Simon came as a result of an exchange between Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell just after Chris Sligh completed his performance.  Paula and Randy loved the performance, but Simon tried to rain on the parade as he often does.  Chris was quick on his feet and left Simon almost speechless.
Watch American Idol 6 and vote for Chris.  If you haven’t heard, Chris is a fellow Seacoaster.  Chris is a member of the worship team at Seacoast Greenville Campus.  He is a very talented and funny performer.
You can read more about Chris on his blog, band website, band myspace & fanclub sites.
H/T to Trace Pupke for the Sligh links.

Colts finish the way they started

Monday, February 5th, 2007

UPDATE: Yahoo Sports has photo of of the post game prayer.

I might just have to become a football fan if I keep seeing things like this. This is what happened in the Colts locker room after the Superbowl last night.

Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy called for quiet.
Dungy called his team over in a circle.
“Let’s finish the way we started,” he said.
They gathered around. Dungy prayed. The Colts recited “The Lord’s Prayer.” SOURCE

I did not watch the game, but I did watch the post game show and the highlights. The one GoDaddy commercial that I did see was enough to remind me why I do not watch Super Bowls anymore. The responses to the media from several players and the coach in the post game displayed a strong reliance on their faith in God.

The main reason I really had a bad taste in my mouth about this Superbowl in particular was because of a story that broke a few days ago about the NFL coming down on churches for having Super Bowl parties. Shawn Wood did great job of explaining the details of this story.

Prayer and Help Needed

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

My good friend and guest blogger Robin sent me an email today asking for help. A young man that grew up with Robin’s children is in a tough spot and could use our prayers and any help that we might be able to muster out here in the blogsphere. This young man’s wife gave birth to their son about a month ago.

Robin told me that this couple’s son was born very premature and weighed 2 lbs. at birth a month ago. Obviously the baby’s lungs were not developed and as a result not enough oxygen could get to his extremities. The doctors recently had to amputate his fingers and feet to stop gangrene from killing him, and they give him a 5% chance of survival. The parents are being housed in a Ronald McDonald House in Columbia, SC. The parents are in their early twenties and have practically no support. They have lived with the mother’s family since they were married two years ago.

Both parents spend every possible second at the hospital, but the dad knows he has to support his family. He has a high school education and is trying to find work in t he Columbia, SC area. His employment history includes fast food restaurants only.

As many of you know, my wife and I have been through many months of hospitalization with our son Caden who continues to battle some pretty big health issues at 27 months old. It was the love, time, and gifts given from others who helped us get through some of the toughest times with Caden. My friend Robin was one of the biggest supports for our family when she moved into our home for several weeks to care for our older son Riley while Caden was still in intensive care after his first open heart surgery.

I am asking all visitors and bloggers to help this young family in any way you can. A restaurant or discount store gift card would be great. If you want to donate some money or gift cards to this family then I will tell you how you can send donations directly to them if you will contact me via email.

You can email me at:

No matter what the Lord puts on your heart concerning this story, please pray for this young couple and their son.