After action report

Roamy here. I mentioned last Saturday that retired Marine Corps General Jim Jones was the guest speaker at a fundraiser hosted by the Semper Fi Community Task Force. The task force sponsors “Heroes Week”, where, for a week around Veterans Day, 60 or so wounded warriors will be, and I quote, “treated like rock stars”. They will take part in the Veterans Day Parade, the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, a fishing tournament, and other free activities.

It was nice to see even in tough economic times, the number of people who showed up for this.

Prior to Gen. Jones’ speech, the local news anchor asked all veterans to stand for applause, then the wives. They also recognized with what turned into a standing ovation, the Marine Reserve unit Kilo Battery, just returned from Operation Rawhide in Afghanistan.

Steve Johnson, a local news anchor, welcomes everyone.

I was treated to a barnburner version of the national anthem, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. Lt. Gen. Frank Libutti woke up anyone who was sleepy after the good meal with a resounding “OOOO-RAHHH!!!” then introduced Gen. Jones.

Gen. Jim Jones (ret.)

Jones’ talk centered on national security concerns, which was appropriate considering he was National Security Advisor from January 2009 to October 2010. He spoke of economic concerns and “not being able to do things in our own interest” due to red tape.  He had several zingers, including a joke about the economy being so bad in California that even the earthquakes were moving east. My favorite was a sign he said he saw on the 14th Street bridge in DC, “Welcome to Washington, a work-free drug place.” He mentioned the recent free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. He seemed more concerned with the mounting debt problem and energy reliance on other countries than the threat of another 9/11-type attack, saying that the stovepipes between the national security organizations are truly gone. Overall, it was a good speech, except when he waxed philosophical about Rep. John Murtha, but that’s my personal grudge against the porkmeister.

Joe Bongiovanni, chairman of the Semper Fi Community Task Force, says his concluding remarks.

It was good to see the level of support from a number of businesses in the Huntsville area. As one small business owner put it, “All of our work goes to support the warfighter, we should support them in this, too.”

One of the communications people asked me who I was representing, and I said, “A military blog.”  Turns out they had heard of Blackfive but not Bring the HEAT.  It was fun playing the reporter instead of an engineer.  I apologize for the poor quality photos, but I didn’t want to disrupt the proceedings with a flash or moving around too much.

Oh, and XBrad?  There was chocolate pudding.