Resolve to Win: Troop Support Christmas Project
Friday, November 14, 2008 at 04:38 PM
I am sending an update from Kuwait to ask for more support and to Thank You for the support that has already begun flowing to the Troops in Kuwait via the Red Cross and my office (the ASG –Kuwait Director of Installation Support). We truly appreciate all that you are doing with the packages and Phone Cards. A Special Thanks to Alexandra, Samantha and Katie Fitzgerald (ages 6 & 8) who sold $50 worth of lemonade to send Phone Cards to the Troops. Also, Robbie & Brittany Bergquist, two teenagers who founded “Cell Phone for Soldiers” who sent us 100 Phone Cards. Thanks to Elyse at Eagles Up and Mark at Operation Troop Aid and all the other individuals who have taken time to send their show of support. You are all incredible.
We are getting ready for Christmas over here. We have to start early when we have over 10,000 young men and women who will spend Christmas with us here, away from their families.
As many of you have heard me say many times, the thing that is most important to our Troops is that they know you “Remember Them”. Your cards, packages, letters and notes from school children make a profound positive impact on Troop Morale.
Although I am over here, the Resolve To Win Team back home has developed a great idea to connect supporters to the Troops deployed in the Middle East. They have about 800 “Resolve To Win” T-shirts and hats, which were designed to celebrate our 400 mile March to Washington and rally our Nation to develop the Resolve to Win. Well the march is over, but the Global War on Terror is NOT, and the Troops are still deployed fighting for our Nation’s interests.
The Resolve To Win Team will donate the T-shirts and hats and anyone back home can send a “Resolve to Win” T-shirt or hat to one of the Troops in the Middle East.
HOW COOL WOULD THIS BE to send a Troop a t-shirt or hat with the message that America supports them and has Resolve To Win. We will distribute the shirts and hats in the Christmas packages handed out to the Troops at Christmas time through the Red Cross and USO in Kuwait and Iraq.
Profits generated by your contributions, after shipping and expenses, will be divided between the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Foundation (which supports active duty military families back home) and the American Legacy Scholarship Fund (the American Legion Scholarship program for children of our military members).
The RTW Team back home will be adding a link to the Resolve to Win website page to enable you to send a T-shirt or hat to one of our deployed Troops. Send your name and add your personal message. We will be taking lots of photographs to post on the website at Christmas time, so you can see your contribution in action.
The t-shirts are available for $10 and hats for $5. Any contribution will be accepted, in $5 increments and your name will be added to the donor list. Let it all hang out and sent 5 or 10 shirts.
I think this is a GREAT IDEA. It is also a GREAT MESSAGE TO SEND TO THE TROOPS and a great way to send them that message.
Thank you for your continued support.
MAJ Dennis McCool
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
We are supporting America's Finest. They deserve our very best effort and continual improvement of the level of support we provide. Anything less is unacceptable.
Our ability to support our Troops is only limited by our creativity and our willingness to work.
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August 7th UPDATE from ASG Kuwait (Dennis McCool)
Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 09:40 PM
Thank you all for your words of support for Our Troops. Many of you have asked how you can help or what you might send to the Troops. For those of you who wish to send items, packages to the Troops, we welcome any and all your support, and yes it is needed and appreciated.
The two best distribution avenues in ASG Kuwait are through our Red Cross office and our USO centers in various location throughout Kuwait.
Camp Arifjan is the hub for both.
I notified Mr. Johnny Gooch, our Red Cross Director and he has compiled a good list of the most sought after items.
We are not including every items due to the extreme heat experienced in Kuwait, which will damage or liquidate most products such as soft candy, etc. Therefore, my list includes the most logical products that we have found acceptable in most cases:
The single most important for all military are the "Telephone Calling Cards". We can never have enough and always seem to be running out!.
Hard candies, (pre wrapped) or sealed
Wash cloths, soap( all types-hard and liquid-if sealed to prevent leakage)
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth wash
Various types of shampoos, conditioner
Various assortments of body washes and lotions for females
Combs and brushes of various types.
Different levels of Sun screen lotions.
Wet wipes, anti-bacterial moist wipes
Various types of anti-perspirant & Deodorants for both male & Females
Q-tips, Razors and shaving creams for Male & Females.
Reading materials such as "soft back books" and Puzzles.
I would ask you to send packages directly to the Red Cross address below and Calling Cards to me, to ensure equitable distribution around the various Camps.
Our Red Cross office address:
American Red Cross
Attn: Station Manager
APO AE 09366
My address is:
MAJ Dennis McCool
Director of Installation Support
ASG – KU DIS / DPW
APO AE 09366
I would like to add that one thing which is appreciated as much as the items you send, would be cards, letters, notes from all the supporters back home. If you send a box, put a big folded poster board with all the names of the folks in your organization, so we can hang it in the hallway. The Troops love to read them.
Thank you for your support.
Very best regards,
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Aug 3rd Resolve to Win Update from Dennis McCool
Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 09:38 PM
Just wanted to give everyone an update on how things are going here in Kuwait.
Today marks my third week and my first day off, so far. I am keeping very busy, but really enjoying my many jobs. Each day I am finding it more and more incredible that a job like this exists in today’s bureaucratic military and government. It seems that I have an incredible amount of responsibility but have an equally incredible amount of authority and resources both money and staffing support. Much of the staffing is contractor provided, but that is fine as long as they want to work and do a good job.
I did not realize until I got here and got into the jobs that my responsibilities encompass the entire country of Kuwait. I am assigned to Area Support Group – Kuwait (ASG-KU) which is the permanent US infrastructure which facilitates all the temporary OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) manpower and materiel movement.
As the DIS (Director of Installation Support) for ASG - KU, I have supervision of all Morale Welfare and recreation activities like libraries, gyms, pools, community centers, Red Cross, Education Centers, and PX (AAFES) on all the installations in Kuwait.
I am also the DPW (Director of Public Works) for all the military installation in Kuwait. All the northern camps are under supervision of the Deputy at Camp Buehring and all the camps in the south are supervised by the Deputy out of Camp Arifjan. I have signed over $800,000 in contracts for air conditioning equipment, service contracts and various electrical and maintenance equipment, just in the past 2 weeks.
Don't worry, I am trying to spend your money wisely.
If it wasn't so darn hot, I could really get into this. The temperature is in the mid 120's most of the day and hits 130 occasionally. It will stay that way until about mid September.
I am the Fire Marshall also, by virtue of being the DPW. Fortunately there are regular Fire Departments with a Chief at each station who is responsible for Fire Protection. The Fire Prevention folks work in concert with the Fire Chief and DPW. I am just the Green Suiter (Army) guy that gets pinged when there is a problem, like everytime a Dumpster catches on fire.
I am also the Director of Housing, which is a function of DPW as well, but really takes up about 50% of my time because we have many different types of quarters and many different types of orders and durations of assignments here. Generally the longer you will be here the better your housing. But that creates all kind of inquiries and animosity, an consequently a lot of phone calls to me.
We are short handed in all areas, but the people here both Military and civilian all see to want to be here and want very much to do the BEST they can. It is very inspiring to work with such a great group of people.
I feel very fortunate to be in a position to make a difference in the Quality of Life of our young men and women in the Military, who are assigned to or just pass through Kuwait.
It is an incredible challenge, but I believe I am prepared for it.
Hope everyone back home is doing well.
Still “Resolve to Win” and to continue attempting to make a difference.
Very Best Regards,
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JUNE 08 UPDATE FROM MAJ DENNIS MCCOOL:
Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 12:07 PM
I wanted to give everyone an update on what is going on with me. Many of you know that I have been talking to Army Personnel since returning from Iraq, about going back on active duty after the Resolve to Win March was completed. On 15 June I returned to active duty, assigned to US ARCEN (formerly 3rd ARMY HQ). ARCENT is the Army Headquarters responsible for the Middle East Theater of Operation, falling directly under CENTCOM which is the Joint Service Command for Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
Being assigned to ARCENT, I expected a future deployment to the Middle East since most of the organization is deployed down-range. When I arrived at ARCENT I was notified that I would be immediately deployed to Kuwait for 6 months. After the initial shock wore off, I decided that the job they have me assigned to (Director of Installation Services, Camp Arifjan) is a very good job, as Army jobs go in the Middle East. It should be a great job with a lot to do and very important for all the troops passing through Camp Arifjan. So the time should move along and I expect to have a high level of job satisfaction. I have had the last six months to recharge my batteries so now is just as good as later. It would have been nice to have known in advance so that I could have visited more family and I would not have bought a new car last month, but it is what it is.
I have spent the past two weeks frantically processing into Ft McPherson and ARCENT HQ and simultaneously processing out on Temporary Change of Station orders for Kuwait. Even though I just returned from Iraq last December, most for the preparatory training for deployment has to be re-certified very 12 months, so I am doing it all again. I am currently home for a few days getting my affairs in order for deployment, since I was not prepared for an immediate deployment when I returned to active duty.
I expect to be in Kuwait by mid July. It should only be about 125 degrees, since mid August is really the HOT time of year. J
I hope you will all follow the Resolve to Win site as I hope to provide weekly BLOGS after I am settled in at Camp Arifjan.
Also, I hope that you stay in touch. My AKO address is firstname.lastname@example.org , but remember that you can NOT send any FORWARDED EMAILS to a NIPR AKO address. I will still be able to access my civilian email at email@example.com .
Best regards to all of you,
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How did we get into this WAR in the first place??
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 11:14 AM
The Resolve to Win Campaign is NOT a Political campaign, but it is useful to re-visit the Political climate which got our Military in this war in Iraq.
There is so much Political pandering going on we all need to remain focused on HOW we got where we are in IRAQ.
Just “FOR THE RECORD”, here are "our" Politician’s views, IN THERE OWN WORDS. You definitely won’t see this video on main stream media.
The next time you hear the expression "Bush's war" remember this video. Our Troops and Military Leadership did not Lobby for this War, they were directed by Our Government, now we need to let them finish the job.
Please watch this video and pass it along to educate / remind others.
God Bless Our Troops and God Bless America,
Very Best Regards,
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Aida’s Experience on The March to Washington!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 07:42 PM
As a proud American and a non-military person I’ve always desired to show my patriotism in some way. I am so thankful for the freedoms, opportunities and liberties that we have in this Country, and I feel that we, as Americans deserve the right to hear how and what our military and our soldiers are doing in our name. I know personally that the media covers only selective efforts that are being created in Iraq and it’s infrastructure. Very little is said about the huge sacrifices that our soldiers make when they leave their homes and families. And yet, when these soldiers are asked if they would return to another tour, their answer is “yes”, despite many physical losses and handicaps. What courageous soldiers….we should be proud of them and most thankful. That is the reason I feel that Resolve To Win needs our attention and every non-military American’s awareness. Every soldier needs to be applauded, and they all need our thanks, support and the right to come home proud and holding their chins up high.
So…God sent Dennis into my life when I least expected it and before he deployed to Iraq. Because of our daily contact I immediately felt compelled to help during his duty in Baghdad, and then he surprised me with his “hair-brained” idea of marching 800 miles to Washington. Thank the Lord some reality hit him, and he shortened it to 400 miles instead. Little did I know that I had “volunteered” to help in a challenge that was far beyond my comprehension, but those that know me understand that I will do whatever it takes to get a job done. Boy, I should eat those words now!
Driving the silver pace car about 8 ft behind the marchers at an average of 3 mph for 392 miles, taking pictures, writing notes, waving to supporters, giving out water bottles and flags, grabbing jackets through the window, and a few other duties with 6 hours or less of sleep can certainly make it quite a feat. Middle of the day duties included nursing the soldiers’ feet and anticipating any and everything that was needed to help them through their excruciating day/pain, helping Donnie (a Godsend, the RV chief/guide/cook, we couldn’t do without) serve lunch and sell t-shirts/hats. Evenings included checking in hotels, shopping for food or medicinal needs, uploading pictures, deciphering my notes for the daily blog, charging all the electronic communication paraphernalia, then preparing for the next day for a total of 16 consecutive days. There just weren’t enough hours in the day…time was a rare commodity. I learned the true meaning of “multi-tasking”!
But all this labor was overcome by the wonderful moments and memories that I am so blessed to have experienced, including the fantastic people I met along the way. The most exhilarating moments were seeing the supporters waiting to salute the soldiers / marchers, the people waving out of their businesses, meeting the families of those serving in Iraq or any branch of the military, the people honking from their cars/trucks, the children waving their flags, the patriotic police escorts from every county who so diligently steered us away from traffic danger. We had families of soldiers tell us how wonderful it was to see someone remembering their loves ones, whether still alive or deceased, many who waited hours to see us arrive. And they couldn’t thank us enough for trying to bring awareness to their soldier’s plight.
Day 1 started at Dillon with a sunny day and a prayer to guide us on our mission. Our first supporters who joined Dennis, Carl and Gerry (Dennis’ son who served in Afghanistan) were Dean Strong (one of our Godsend), Ross & Dan (our expert IT guys who I thank for their patience in giving me some relief with the picture taking/uploading and who maintain our website), Bubba (showing up in the most unexpected places and moments shooting more pictures), and Bill (the Patriot Guard rider) for helping us cross over I-95 that day. Speaking of traffic, I can thank those who complained to the police that we were impeding traffic, which turned out to be a blessing since we were then escorted by every town police department all through DC. Very importantly, Dennis’ brothers, Kenny and Larry completed the first day’s walk after bringing the RV to us for the entire mission. We couldn’t have done it without the RV (and Donnie!).
The next day Marc (the 3rd retired soldier) arrived from California. That day we will always remember the young boy who rushed to give Carl his three quarters as a donation. Needless to say, it was one of those heart-touching moments. By Day 4 rain and wind came upon the marchers, and it created a huge challenge both physically and mentally. Day 5 brought Larry Hoffa and his wife, Lori, who marched and asked constantly how they could help us. Day 6 brought Carl Smith and his wife Joan. Carl, being a Vietnam Vet, felt a calling to join us till the last day and was a tremendous help in leading the marchers and doing whatever we asked him to do. We celebrated Carl Herrup’s 52nd birthday at the RV with pizza, beer and German chocolate cake. It was the 2nd year in a row that Carl celebrated a birthday without his family, since last year he was in Iraq.
On Day 7 we were greeted that evening by a big group of supporters from the Halifax School Board with cards and posters. Thank you, Pearl and mom Betty, for the delicious pecan pie, and the generous donation from VFW Post 3770, in Missouri. That evening we were hosted to a delicious dinner at Ralph’s BBQ, and wonderful supporters and patriotic friends from American Legion Post 28, especially the Joyners, Noah and Jane, his beautiful wife of 65 years, and their son, Michael. Day 8 started with more awesome supporters and marchers, like Noah Joyner, “Concrete” Bob, and Eric Cooper who marched on and off throughout. That day, as we were crossing the border of North Carolina into Virginia, we were saluted by Dwayne and Ann Ellis with their two little children, Ravin and Gavin proudly waving a 173rd Airborne flag where their older brothers were presently serving in Iraq. They had waited hours on the shoulder of the road just to see us, thank us and make a donation.
Day 9 started out sunny after two days of rain. We marched through Stony Creek where we met David McDole and HT Burgess from Rolling Thunder and American Legion Riders Post 2, Petersburg VA. They hosted our dinner and hotel rooms for the night. It looks like Donnie is planning to join these guys at a pig pickling and have some biking fun in the very near future. Day 10 found us in Colonial Heights where Dennis and I were so graciously welcomed into the home of Rick and Sue Oertel for dinner and a night’s stay. Carl H and Carl S were also hosted by Tony and April Morgan and Jeff and Ellen Constantine, members of America Legion Post 284. Day 11 started with breakfast by George at the Legion Hall in Colonial Heights. One funny incident that afternoon was when I overheard two old men wave and salute the flag carried by the marchers, and one guy says to the other “hey, what holiday is it today?” The other guy responded “I don’t know”. It wasn’t a holiday, but it was the Resolve to Win caravan of marchers and cars displaying flags and people waving and honking!
It seemed like Dennis and Carl were keeping a steady stride despite the aches, pains and blisters, until they encountered the beautiful hills of Glen Allen, VA. That’s when knee pain and shin splits surfaced for more hurtful days. Many new faces joined us like Andy Robertson, Jim Koch, Larry and Lori Hoffa, and David and Alma Gaddis. On our last day David and Alma returned and presented Dennis and Carl H with a nice picture album of the days when they marched together, and they also gave monetary donations in honor of their cousin who died in the military. Even though it was another excruciating painful day for the marchers, the evening was enjoyed with a delicious spaghetti dinner and great company at the Ladysmith Fire and Rescue Squad.
As I read my hieroglyphic notes, I had made a smiley face on Day 13. We were beginning to see more wonderful and familiar faces. Don Blosser joined the marchers, and more riders came to rumble. Lori Hoffa joined the walkers, and Col. Riley and his son Brad walked with a webcam, providing live coverage to our website. At lunchtime, we were greeted at Massaponax HS with many more supporters, especially Bob Sussan (another blessing and Godsend) and Dean Strong of Fairfax American Legion Post 177, two of the most generous and giving supporters of Resolve to Win since the recon visit with Dennis and Donnie. On this great day, we also met John and Louise Dodd whose son-in-law Capt. Lou Gomez is stationed in The Green Zone in Baghdad. The IZ/Green Zone is where Carl H and Dennis were also stationed. Lou had heard about Revolve to Win in Baghdad and told his in-laws that they had to meet the marching soldiers somewhere along the Route. We enjoyed having The Dodd’s stay with us for the next few days and through to the end. Dennis and Carl were thrilled to know that the troops in Iraq had heard about our mission and Resolve To Win March. That evening our last stop ended at the Spotsylvania American Legion Post 320 with beer, pictures and donations. We finally got to see Karen Weakly walk with Dennis. From the first recon visit with Dennis and Donnie, Karen made a plea to her manager and was instrumental in getting many of our hotels discounted with her ‘family and friends’ employee account. Dinner that night was hosted by the Golden Corral Manager in Fredericksburg, Roy Richardson, and accompanied by Don Blosser and Randy Schrader.
Day 14 began with a shuffled visit to Wal-Mart by Dennis and me. We needed to find a walking stick that would help Dennis walk, after feeling crippled by his shin splints and aching knee. We found hiking poles that became his “crutches”. To Dennis’ surprise, he was accompanied by Cornelius Christopher, aged 72, who helped carry the guidon. Ted Worley, another supporter from the beginning joined us. By now, we have been blessed abundantly by American Legion Post 177 who provided us with wonderful accommodations at The Hampton Inn in Fairfax and dinners at the Post for the last three nights. Hooah! No more packing and unpacking each night!
Day 15, Saturday, brought us hometown supporters like Mark Huling and his children Holly and Chad, who flew up from Florida to join us. We were also re-joined by Marc Breslow and his wife, Alice from California, and by Carl Herrups’ wife, Annie from Phoenix, Arizona. Needless to say, we finally got a smile from Carl H. after 14 days of marching (thank you Annie). Dennis’ family came back to walk with him on the final two days including Tina his daughter, Brother Kenny and wife Patti, and Brother Larry and wife Jean. I finally had female companionship. That evening we were invited to join Post 177’s St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance. It was also the American Legion’s anniversary, and a wonderful way to celebrate with them. And yes, Dennis danced a few despite all his pain. I think by now he was just numb. I had the pleasure to meet Bob Sussan’s special someone, Marilyn, and Dean Strong’s special wife, Suzanne. A warm and special thanks to Bob and Dean for their unwavering efforts and unending support for our mission, which they will not allow to end here
Ahhh….Finally Day 16! Rain drizzled at the start of the day which began at American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, but God cleared the skies for a beautiful sunny day. Again, Post 177 hosted us with breakfast and more members/supporters. We were joined by John and Louise Dodd who accompanied us since Day 13. Also joining the march was Chris Hill, Larry Bailey, Eric “Coop” Cooper, Ted Worley, Mark Woods, Ron Kirby, Carrie McLeroy and many others. This day will always hold a special place in my heart with the beautiful memory of seeing the magnificent and historical Lincoln Memorial almost a mile away and experiencing that exhilarating feeling of a mission accomplished. It will be a day to remember! We left our final destination with a feeling of accomplishment and headed towards Post 177 who greeted us with high cheers and strong high fives! Once again, they hosted us with a “happy hour” and dinner. Can’t thank you enough, Post 177!
Monday morning we met with Bob Sussan and Dean Strong who will help us continue spreading awareness with their approval on the next mission….Roll on Washington in September! Keep checking the website for updated information.
It would be impossible to thank each and everyone that touched my life in some way. I cannot forget to thank Dennis for putting up with some of my “tiring moments”. Thanks to Donnie for being my soundboard… RRRR, a great friend, and a wonderful cook. I salute Dennis and Carl for enduring 392 miles in 16 days with such physical pain and mental exhaustion, not to mention severe foot blisters. Dennis and Carl carried the American flag and the Resolve to Win guidon with such pride and determination.
Most importantly, I thank God for giving us the opportunity and strength to accomplish this most worthy mission with mostly beautiful weather, no illnesses, accidents or mishaps. It was truly a challenge and a rewarding experience that was perfectly carried out with such precision, ending with such a high climax, and one that will not end here. HOOAH!!!
God Bless America.
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Don Robertson's Perspective From Behind The Wheel Of The RV
Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 05:54 PM
Thanks for the opportunity to show my support for our military........
"RESOLVE TO WIN is so very important, that it does not stop here, because one thing that I learned on this march is that people need to be educated concerning our military. I don’t understand why our Country is not as patriotic as it should be. I don’t get it and that is why RESOLVE TO WIN NEEDS TO GO FORWARD.
In closing--- I want to talk about the American Legion. The American Legion is such a great organization and wants people to support our troops and the military, which we should. You guys need to find a way to bring patriotic non-military people into your post. There are a lot of us around who could make a valuable contribution. Again, thanks to everybody for the opportunity---it was great. And God Bless the United States of America.--------------"
Don Robertson---New Smyrna Beach, FL
Read the rest of "Don Robertson's Perspective From Behind The Wheel Of The RV" here.
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Our Love and Condolences to Ross "Bubba" McDowell
Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 12:46 PM
We are saddened to learn that our dear friend Ross "Bubba" McDowell lost his Father on March 17th. We want to express our condolences to Bubba and his family.
Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time. We all feel that you are part of Our Family and we share your loss.
If there is ever anything we can do to help you, please do not hesitate to let us know.
With Our Love and Prayers,
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Interview With Dennis McCool
Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 08:51 AM
Here is the Fox 35 Morning Show interview with Dennis from March 18th. Enjoy!
You can watch other video coverage of the March here.
Lots of good Fox 35 coverage here
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