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October 30, 2006

Project Valour IT: The Few, The Loud, The Marines!

Marines, lovers of Marines, and those who wish they could be Marines (IOW, the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard), listen up! It's time to do what the Marine Corps does best: shake, rattle, roll and make some noise:

flag4.jpgFrom October 30th until November 10th (a day rich with significance for many reasons, not the least of which is that on that day in 1775 the United States Marine Corps was founded by the Continental Congress) [Ed. Note: I am now informed the campaign will continue until Nov. 11th] we here at VC will carry the battle colors for the Project Valour IT Marine Corps fundraising team, which for the cool kids on the block is the ONLY team you want to be on. Do NOT be fooled by snake oil salesmen who seduce you with sleazy slogans like "An Army of Fun"... or "Sailor's Wife...it's the toughest job in the Navy", or "My friends used to wonder/Why I joined the Air Force..." :D

All you need to know about why you want to be on the Marine team is here: this is what America is fighting for. We're just better-looking, durnitall!

What is Project Valour IT all about, you might ask?

It's simple: grateful Americans, providing laptops with voice-activated software for severely wounded troops. The story behind this project is a moving one:

Project Valour-IT began when Captain Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss was wounded by an IED while serving as commander of a tank company in Iraq in June 2005.

During his deployment he kept a blog. Captivating writing, insightful stories of his experiences, and his self-deprecating humor won him many loyal readers. After he was wounded, his wife continued his blog, keeping his readers informed of his condition.

As he began to recover, CPT Ziegenfuss wanted to return to writing his blog, but serious hand injuries hampered his typing. When a loyal and generous reader gave him a copy of the Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred software, other readers began to realize how important such software could be to CPT Ziegenfuss' fellow wounded soldiers and started cast about for a way to get it to them.

A fellow who writes under the pseudonym FbL contacted Captain Ziegenfuss and the two realized they shared a vision of creating libraries of laptops with voice-controlled software that could be brought to the bedsides of wounded soldiers whose injuries prevented them from operating a standard computer. FbL contacted Soldiers' Angels, who offered to help develop the project, and Project Valour-IT was born.

In sharing their thoughts, CPT Ziegenfuss and FbL found that memories of their respective fathers were a motivating factor in their work with the project. Both continue their association with this project in memory of the great men in their lives whose fine examples taught them lasting lessons of courage and generosity.

Fathers have a lasting impact on us. Mothers teach, nurture, and sustain us, but fathers are our first bridge to the outside world. They are the ones who challenge us, who take the training wheels off and show us how fast we can go, and what the rules of the road are. They don't let us rest on our laurels - they constantly prod us out of our comfort zone. They inspire us to reach deep down inside and find things we never knew we had in us: to compete with others instead of folding, to try just a bit harder, not to give up when the going gets tough. They encourage us when our confidence is flagging.

Like Capt. Ziegenfuss' father and Fbl's, my father in law served in Vietnam. And like them, he was exposed to Agent Orange while serving in the brown water Navy. And he was taken from us too young. We will never know whether that was what caused his death, and it does not matter. He would be the last one to want to blame the nation he served; that would be a betrayal of everything he lived for. He could so easily not have come back at all. But this year's Project Valour IT drive will wind up just before the anniversary of his passing.

And so the first of my donations to Project Valour IT was made in his memory. I miss him still, though it has been over fifteen years. He was a lovely man, and I hope he will forgive me for not supporting the Navy team. But his son is a Marine and that must be my first loyalty now. Over the next ten or so days I'll be giving you lots of reasons to support the Marine team, or more importantly, to support Project Valour IT.

If you're a blogger, you can sign up and join a team here. You will get button code so your readers can make a donation (see below) that will be credited to your team.

I am also making a blogroll for Marine team members, and will send you the code upon request (e- me if you want to display it! Some people have enough blogrolls on their sites so I don't want to burden those folks who don't want it, but this is another way to raise your 'status' in the ecosystem if you aspire to Flappy Mammary status or higher).

If you wish to donate, you can use the button below or the one in my sidebar, or send a check (with MARINES in all caps on it!) to:

Soldiers' Angels
1150 N Loop 1604 W, Suite 108-493
San Antonio, TX 78248

Other ways to promote:

* Blog and email your friends about Valour-IT and the competition
* Tell your friends, family and neighbors about Valour-IT
* Challenge your co-workers or employer to match donations
* Consider involving clubs, churches, or charitable organizations you are involved with. Maybe your church would designate all or part of a Sunday collection. How about Scouts?
* Post flyers around your neighborhood
* If you have any contacts in the media (local or national newspapers, radio, TV, PLEASE spread the word! Point them to the Project Valour IT site, not VC, though!

And remember, though in the next few weeks we'll be having a lot of good-natured interservice rivalry fun in the interests of raising some money in a good cause, at the end of the day what really matters is not which team you support, but that you find it in your hearts to
support a worthwhile cause. Because our wounded vets have given more in the service of our country than most of us will ever be able to repay.

Project Valour IT offers a way for us to tell them we have not forgotten their sacrifices, and that is truly priceless. In many, many ways what we are trying to do is reconnect them to the world; remind them that they are NOT alone. That they still have something to contribute, that they are still a vital part of this nation, and that even though they may have lost parts of themselves that they can never recover, though they may temporarily be feeling hopeless, helpless, even alone, they aren't.

Someone remembers. Someone still cares. And when they get out of the hospital, America will find a way for them to rejoin the community and be useful again. For a wounded vet facing traumatic and painful injuries, that knowledge alone is beyond price.

Please dig deep. You cannot know the value of the hope your small contributions can bring to those who have already given so much on our behalf.

Thank you.

With love and gratitude,


Marine Team Blogroll:

Update: For all you MALES out there who have been giving me max crap the text in my photo being BACKWARDS (how do you know it wasn't taken in a LAKE? or a MIRROR? HMMMM???? How do you know the photographer wasn't DYSLEXIC???? Or just an ARMY GUY?) I have reversed it so that it looks stupid again and is on the WRONG SIDE OF THE PAGE.

I hope you are happy now that the harmony of my post has been COMPLETELY DESTROYED.

/flouncing away and taking the trivet with her

Posted by Cassandra at October 30, 2006 05:07 AM


I volunteer with an organization that works with wounded/injured Marines.
One of my cases needed and received a laptop from Valour IT.
Not only do they provide the laptop with voice activated software but they bring it to the servicemember, teach him/her how to use it, tweak it to work for a particular injury and offer tech support as needed.

A very worthwhile organization with lots of caring individuals who help to improve quality of life for those wounded servicemembers who don't have use of their hands.

Bwahahahaha at "the Few and the Loud"...ain't that the truth.

Posted by: Carrie at October 30, 2006 08:50 AM

One of my favorite Marine jokes was always, "How do you keep a Marine in the shower for a week (other than throwing in a nekkid gal and a bar of soap?)"

Easy. Hand him a bottle of shampoo that says, "Lather. Rinse. Repeat".

[drum roll]

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 08:57 AM

FYI, the few, the loud is what I used to mutter every morning as we woke at zero dark thirty to the sound of:

a) a company of Marines running by our quarters, merrily singing away as they PT'd IN THE FRICKING DARK WHEN NORMAL PEOPLE WERE STILL TRYING TO SLEEP ON SUNDAY MORNING...

B) the lovely sound of gunfire from the rifle range, again usually at some unGodly hour

c) the unusual sensation of having your entire house shake and rattle as several jets or helos fly over your house at suspiciously low altitude, often when you are out sunbathing in your new bikini. This is otherwise known as "the Sound of Freedom".

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 09:01 AM

Oh yeah...been there and done that out on Topsail Island...Artillery ranges. What a joy.

I was on Onslow beach one day with some girlfriends when the MEU did an amphibious landing...

Some days, I like Marines less than others...

don't even get me started on "tick check".

Posted by: Carrie at October 30, 2006 09:12 AM


Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 09:14 AM

John Noonan asked me to help out with Valour-IT. So, I donated two of my books, "Marines in the Garden of Eden" and "The Gulf War Chronicles" for auction on ebay. I will personally inscribe and autograph these books for the winner of the auction.

I am happy to be involved in this great cause, even though I ended up on the Air Force Team. Watch for the ebay posting in a couple days.

Richard S.Lowry

Posted by: Richard Lowry at October 30, 2006 09:28 AM

Thanks so much Richard! We have a copy of Marines in the Garden of Eden here at home - great book, if you're looking for a good read.

Please do pony up. Every little bit helps. The totals on the Project Valour IT page are (I think) wrong but the ones on the donation buttons are correct. Help us stay ahead - we are at a disadvantage because of sheer numbers so we need every little donation we can muster. PLEASE spread the word. We can do it with your help, but the only way we can win is by teamwork, which is the way the Marines have ALWAYS done things.

We are team players. We don't have to be the all-stars or the heavy hitters, but if everyone contributes just a little bit, we can push this over the top. You matter.

Please help.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 09:43 AM

Cassandra, that's a beautiful post. :)

Team members, check with your employers to see if they offer matching funds. Tax status and further info about the way Soldiers' Angels conducts itself as a charity an be found at http://soldiersangels.org/valour/irsinfo.html

Posted by: FbL at October 30, 2006 10:07 AM

Hey, Cassie, yer dog piddled on the couch...

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at October 30, 2006 10:09 AM

Bite me, laddie. Bite me.

You may have the numbers, but I'm betting in the end that my readers won't let me down.

I know we're the underdog.

*sigh* But we're going to give you big bullies a run for your money anyway. On your guard.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 10:18 AM

Big bullies who wear BERETS!!!!

Posted by: Carrie at October 30, 2006 10:26 AM

Berets -- isn't that something little girls wear in their hair with their pig tails?

*giggle giggle, snork!*

Posted by: Sly2017 at October 30, 2006 10:37 AM

Something tells me the next two weeks are going to be *fun* ladies...

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 10:41 AM

I don't get anywhere near the hits that you get here, but I did my small part with my 15 hit a day blog. Thanks for the heads-up.

Posted by: Daveg at October 30, 2006 11:14 AM

Thanks so much, Dave. I can remember when I only got a few hits a day. When Fbl asked me to do this, I really didn't think I was the best person. Though one or two popular bloggers have been very kind to us, for the most part we really aren't even on the radar scope of the "big bloggers" - they don't even know who I am and I can't get them to answer my emails, even when it's something important, like this.

So I trust to friendship. Which, after all, is a pretty good place to be. I can live with that.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 11:18 AM

Well here I sit. I can't blog from work. Some say I can't blog when I blog (ba dum dummmmmm chingggggggggg).

And I am in the 15 hits a day range too. Mine is a small backwater family blog. But I will post this later today when I can. And kick in on the fund too.

Semper Fi
jim b

Posted by: jim b at October 30, 2006 11:45 AM

Good grief! Such goings on! John in a petticoat,
Marines wearing pink, and never mind the sound of troops cursing as they slip and slide on vicious cobblestoned streets in the winter, not to mention Bradleys wreaking havoc with the Hummels.

All in good fun, and we're all in this togedder.
I am not asking for a group hug. We don't need no stinking group hug!

Fuzzy's comment has Given Me An Idea. No, I need to talk to the Engineer, so just wait, y'all.

*bends down and gets John's flounce out of the door.*

Posted by: Cricket at October 30, 2006 11:52 AM

Well, Cass, my retired Navy husband said it was OK to support the Marines: "After all, the Navy has the Supply Corps, the Dental Corps... the Marine Corps..!"

Don't worry, I swatted him one BIG TIME!!! LOLOL

My God bless all our brave Marines - all of our Armed Forces - and bring them home victorious, safe, and soon! May the BEST service (the Marines, d'uh!) win!

-- Kat

Posted by: Kat at October 30, 2006 02:10 PM

Kat, you can give your husband a big ole kiss from me, and Carrie, and all of us :)

Navy men are the best! My Dad is a Navy man, and my father in law was too, so you'll never get any argument out of my when it comes to salution the United States Navy.

Seriously, tell him thanks, with all my heart.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 02:18 PM

Heh. I wore a black beret back long before they gave them to all the gurls.

And I know who planted the seed to get you to be the Gyrene leader...


Bullies, eh? You ain't *seen* bullying... yet. I'm just warming up on Noonan.

Posted by: John of Argghhh!~ at October 30, 2006 03:22 PM

I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid, Army boy.

You just wanted us to lose, putting a durned woman in charge. Bully. We're already behind of all you moneybags.


Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 03:44 PM

Hi Cassandra, I love your post about this. I have signed on at the link you provided. Marines all the way!

Please add my blog to your blogroll. I am doing a post about it right now. Thank you so much.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 30, 2006 03:45 PM

Arrrgggghhh! You WERE on there, Wild Thing! I'm so sorry - the last one keeps dropping off! I have had to re-add Linda, Lawhawk, Flopping Aces (now with 3 P's - have to fix that).

That is driving me NUTS!

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 03:55 PM

Cass, it is a conspiracy I tell you from that hot pink lettering. haha

I am so sorry it is messing with you on staying put. Thank you for doing all this for us, you made it very easy with the codes.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 30, 2006 04:37 PM

Before my husband was a Marine, he was a midshipman.
Go Navy!!!! (well not literally but hugs and kisses to the two of you!!)
Thank you, Kat and your sweet Navy husband too!!!

Posted by: Carrie at October 30, 2006 04:44 PM

Hey Cassandra, I left a message for those *other guys* over at my blog.

Think they'll be angry? ;-)

Posted by: MaryAnn at October 30, 2006 05:37 PM

... my pleasure to have joined the team, ma'am.... I will begin posting about the challenge tomorrow....

Posted by: Eric at October 30, 2006 06:09 PM

Dear Ms Cassandra,

Whats a matta foe you? Why photo of US MALINE "salrooting" wiff left hand? Medals all ass brackwards! Writing look like Korean.
Ruv You Looooong Time & Semper Fly!
Great Reader of
Norf Koleeah
"Land of da morning missile launch"

(Attention to detail- US Army NCO Academy-Bad Tolz)

Posted by: JihadGene at October 30, 2006 06:11 PM


Men. No one ever said they paid attention to the important things in life...

/hand to forehead

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 06:50 PM

(Attention to detail- US Army NCO Academy-Bad Tolz)

Posted by: JihadGene at October 30, 2006 06:11 PM

JG, You brought back a lot of memories with that comment. Honor Grad of my class Aug-81.

Beautiful Country There-a-bouts.

Posted by: unkawill at October 30, 2006 07:00 PM

He's still a man.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2006 07:10 PM

Think redirecting to the wrong team leaders is slick?

Try listing a Jarhead (two actually) as part of the Zoomie team. It's not enough they get all the 007 gadgets to play with (in air conditioning), that foul John Noonan interpretted my response of "I don't know how a Jarhead can possibly be on Team AF" as "Yep, he must be on my team." Crafty little gadget-master.

Rest assured, Cass, I reminded him that it's Semper Fi, not Semper Fly. That said, we included all service buttons in our post with a dose of 'guidance.' Any subsequent posts will display markedly less benevolence.


Posted by: Steve Schippert at October 31, 2006 01:05 AM

All this love just warms my heart...gets me right here, ya know? To see the big kids
in the AF, Army and Navy getting along so well
with Uncle Sam's Misguided Children.
*dissolves in tears*

Posted by: Cricket at October 31, 2006 02:54 AM

Oh dear... now the Army wommyn are gettin' mouthy. What to do, what to do... :D

Posted by: Cassandra at October 31, 2006 06:18 AM

Oh, the Army chick cried...

she must be delicate or somethin'

Posted by: Carrie at October 31, 2006 08:24 AM

Heh. I love this sort of sibling rivalry. When it comes to perps who want to take our freedoms and mess with America, it is and will always be US against our enemies.

My son's early am class has a Jarhead Lad and he and my son have a somewhat friendly rivalry going, but the poor Zoomie lad is caught in the middle. I am printing out some flyers from John for him to take tomorrow, as the teacher is a retired Zoomie NCO and one of the Neatest People On The Planet.

Heh. We'll make and exceed the goal.

US Forces rock.

Posted by: Cricket at October 31, 2006 10:32 AM

Oh, and since I did cry, it wasn't due to delicacy, but because the other services
are providing that adult role model the USMC
seems to need.

I am so touched...

Posted by: Cricket at October 31, 2006 10:36 AM

throws marshmallows at Cricket while
singing,"I don't want to grow up, I'm a Toys R Us kid."

Posted by: Carrie at October 31, 2006 11:52 AM

Oooh! Marshmallows!
*catches them and adds them to hot chocolate*

Yep, I confess. I am a wimp.

Hot chocolate?

Posted by: Cricket at October 31, 2006 12:17 PM


FWIW, I love the rivalry too.
My dad was an Army Air Corps brat, I was an Air Force brat. My cousin was an Air Force brat who enlisted in the Army but got into the MESEPs program and attended West Point.
Husband attended the Naval Academy and then, of course, joined the Corps.

You should be at my house for Army-Navy...

Posted by: Carrie at October 31, 2006 12:21 PM

THAT would be fun. Watching the True Believers
in the stands and the guys duking it out on the gridiron.

Posted by: Cricket at October 31, 2006 02:04 PM

I'd like to join the Marine team...is there a post where we can get the code for the paypal donation block?

Posted by: JimK at October 31, 2006 02:39 PM

Yes - it's here, Jim.

I'm sorry - I had to go to Crystal City this morning for a brief and I was in a mad rush. I meant to do a better post this morning. I apologize. It looks like you figured it out, but in case anyone else needs to know:

Go here to sign up:


And here is the post with the original information:


I'll be updating soon. Real life just interfered.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 31, 2006 06:59 PM

How dare you have a life??? :)

Posted by: Carrie at November 1, 2006 09:35 AM

Real life? Lissen, iffen the Marines wanted you to have a life, they would have issued you one.

*running really fast and taking the marshmallows with her*

Posted by: Cricket at November 1, 2006 12:04 PM

I seem to dismember having a life several years ago. I wonder where it went?

[looking around]

Posted by: Cassandra at November 1, 2006 06:21 PM

I know I'm awfully late joining in, but add me to the Marine team!

Posted by: Politics of a Patriot at November 7, 2006 02:05 PM

Oops, now I see how to sign up. I'm a bit slow... -__-'

Posted by: Politics of a Patriot at November 7, 2006 02:07 PM

You're not late at all - we need all the help we can get. Thanks so much for signing on :) And welcome.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 7, 2006 02:07 PM

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