Happy Memorial Day

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In amongst the hot dogs and volleyball, please take a few moments today to remember why we all have the day off.

Special thanks to my daughter, SPC Jean Brayton; my son-in-law, SPC Andrew Brayton; and my nephew-in-law, Sgt. Fred Sherrick.  All of your family is proud of what you do.

Vet Visit

W vs BO – The Marines Speak

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The video below shows the enormous difference in how our troops view the two Commanders-in-Chief that they’ve served under during the past several months.  Pay particular attention to the newscaster’s comments at the very end of the video … “tepid” indeed!

Thanks to MoK for the link to this video!

H/T to Dummie Funnies

Get Out of Jail … Free

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mrmonopoly.gifI received this in my email this morning.  I tried checking it on snopes.com and about.com, but neither site had anything to either confirm or deny it’s authenticity.  It sounds entirely plausible; I’m hoping it’s true!

WWII Monopoly

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape. Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of ‘safe houses’ where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks — they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.

Someone in MI-5 (similar to America’s OSS ) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It’s durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the UK Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, ‘games and pastimes’ was a category of item qualified for insertion into ‘CARE packages’, dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.

Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were regional system). When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece. As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington’s also managed to add:

  • A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass
  • A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together
  • Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of  Monopoly money!

British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a ‘rigged’ Monopoly set — by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square.

Of  the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war. The story wasn’t de-classified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington’s, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public ceremony.
~~~
It’s always nice when you can play that ‘Get Out of Jail’ Free’ card!

Taxes

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i1040ez-page-001I’ve already filed my taxes, and received and spent my refund (such as it was).  My daughter asked me a question yesterday about HER taxes, and I have no clue where to go for the answer.

She and her husband were married in Jan. 08.  They were in a combat zone (Iraq) for the first 10 months of the year, so they are not required to pay tax on any of that income.  They were in Germany for the last 2 months; all of that income is taxable.

Since they haven’t lived stateside since they were married, or announced any decision on where they plan to live when they do, neither of them has changed their ‘legal’ state of residence – Jean’s being NC and Andrew’s being TX.  Texas has no state income tax; North Carolina most definitely DOES.  Before they were married, Jean was required to file a North Carolina return.

Her question is:  Can they file a joint tax return, or since they legally reside in different states, do they have to file separately?

If anyone knows, or can point me in the right direction, I’d really appreciate it!

Prayer Request

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My niece’s husband (is ‘nephew-in-law’ a valid relationship?) left Fort Hood, TX yesterday with his unit to begin his third tour in Iraq.  He leaves a four-year-old son and a pregnant wife behind to await his return.  He’s a good guy.  I’ve known him since he was in high school (before he even met my niece) and I’ve seen him grow in the Army in ways he’s probably not even aware of.  He loves his men and he’ll do what he has to do ensure their safety.  Any prayers you can send up for Sgt. Fred and his unit will be appreciated.

End of Tour

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As I mentioned, Jean and Andrew are back in Germany now, having completed a 15-month tour in Iraq.  Their unit held an End-Of-Tour Awards ceremony today.

Jean was awarded an ARCOM (Army Commendation – Awarded for “distinguishing oneself by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service.”).

Andrew was awarded an AAM (Army Achievement Medal – Awarded forMeritorious service or achievement in either combat or noncombat based on sustained performance or specific achievement of a superlative nature but which does not warrant a Commendation Medal or higher.“).

Jean sent me the pictures below – click to enlarge:

Maverick Company assembled for awards

Maverick Company assembled for awards

Jean receives the Army Commendation

Jean receives the Army Commendation

Jean pins Andrew with Army Achievement Medal

Jean pins Andrew with Army Achievement Medal

Congratulations Kiss - wife to husband

Congratulations Kiss - wife to husband

Veteran’s Day

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To all the Veterans who are being honored today, add me to those who appreciate your service and sacrifice.

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