From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Rain is Coming To The Ranch

I love Nora Jones song, Come Away With Me, and when it rains, I miss my husband so much.

Photo of the rain coming toward the house from the back pasture.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ten Second Up Lift, Rocket Would Watch It Over and Over

Ten second goat vacation!  Adorable 

Open Letter Concerning the Children Involvred in the Camp Pendleton "Attempted Adultery" Case

I know, I just continue to beat this to death, but you have to understand, from where I sit, no one is supporting this family.  These three Marines, who have experienced failure of leadership, had the right to expect it, (leadership.)  The UCMJ, and how the military is run, gives extreme latitude to commanders to handle all kinds of situations.  That is done on the premise that no one who isn't experienced, wise, and honorable will make it to a command position. Unfortunately, that premise is completely untrue.  

I am once again of course, talking about the situation at Camp Pendleton, where a female Marine has been accused of lying, by at first trying to deny what happened, and then alleging rape due to her being so intoxicated she was not able to consent to sex.  She admits now she went to a motel with another Marine, and had sex with the male Marine who was serving in the same building that she did.  That Marine said he didn't know she was married, and she didn't look too drunk to him.  Evidence of a bar tab that indicated that the 4'10" female could be nothing but indeed completely intoxicated, didn't seem to move the judge.  

The male Marine was charged with nothing,
as he claimed he didn't know she was married,
and she didn't look, "too drunk" to him... R...I...G...H...T...
There is just to much in this case to argue all of it at once.  What complete failure of command skills is demonstrated in this whole thing!           

The thing is, she is married to a Marine.  When she told him after he kept arguing with her because of her attitude and depression for about a month after the incident, he went straight to her unit and reported it. 

 As a side note, that contact was the exact point of the initial and complete failure of judgment, you know who you are, but I doubt you will ever be held accountable in light of how things are going now.  That is how the chain of command is designed, so that the least level of command is utilized to solve problems, ensure every person serving is protected and cared for, due to the fact that military life is extremely demanding, not only to the person serving, but to their entire family as well. 

I have knowledge what-so-ever about any person serving at Camp Pendleton, no dog in the fight because of any personal knowledge of any individual involved in this situation, and therefore no personal biases involving people I previously have know.  My conclusions are drawn without the biases of acquaintanceship, professional relationship, friendship, kinship, or gossip from others with such relationships. They are drawn from my knowledge of UCMJ, having watched a great deal of 
commanders at command, including the good, the bad, and the ugly, and to having watched many, many, members of the military in service to this country, to each individual holding citizenship in this country, and to the people of the world at large.  They have my complete devotion and support as long as they serve.

I have blogged about how this will affect the number of sexual assaults reported at Camp Pendleton in such a way as to empower predators, not just at Camp Pendleton, but everywhere in the militaryAs I have said, you won't be able to convince any unbiased, thinking person that this little incident is going to encourage reporting.  I am so resisting writing Duh...


I have blogged about the very apparent different standards any given individual can expect from the UCMJ, and how justice can be contrived and contorted for any whim or reason conceivable, by any number of people involved in the process along the way.  I have all but screamed, "why didn't that first person receiving this report understand that he was dealing with three individuals who have borne the battle of the last almost twelve years of their lives in the Global War on Terror, and act in the wisdom and experience of that knowledge?"  I have wondered in print why this individual, (I know they have been trained to recognize these things, ) did not act from the place of respect and understanding of all it has cost this military family, and require privately, marriage and individual counseling.  Both of the Marines have been deployed to the Middle East, and drinking too much, marital problems, and engaging in risky behavior as well as periods of depression are hallmarks of PTSD, any NCO should easily recognize and deal with the situation, in that experience, wisdom, and honor I previously mentioned.  Then no one would have to endure my maternal lectures, but he or she didn't, and I hope they never sleep again. 

The point of focus I want to make today is concerning the eight year old and twelve year old children of this military couple, and what I am certain the actions of their parents and this command has brought upon them.  Their parents I believe are due sympathy and understanding, not to mention help from us all.  Their command I wish to see crucified.  If you are not military, if you have not spent extensive time around those who have been to this war, you will read these words clueless.  Please, hear me, this family has sacrificed and suffered for us all.  This family deserves our help and support.  These two children were born during the War on Terror to a military family, we owe them consideration. This family deserves justice, not being manipulated by puffed up, self serving, and failed command.  I do not believe that the DoD has the will or the understanding of the situation to do the right thing.  You should write and call every Congressional Representative and every Senator your own personal conscious demands, and demand a congressional inquiry, demand the verdict be reversed, and demand the removal from command of all those demonstrating profound failure in judgment.  I fully recognize, some of you will not be moved at all, but then there are plenty of good Americans everywhere, and that is why we remain the greatest country the world has ever known.  So read what I wrote in tribute to military children everywhere the world over, wherever they may be serving and sacrificing.  April is the month of the Military Child.  Our governmental leadership should prove that is not just a token sentiment.

Family Day, 1st BCTG, 75th Division Army Reserves, they won the push up contest!

The next part of this blog is a repeat of something I wrote way back, and it is re-posted in dedication to an eight year old, and a twelve year old I do not know, but personally hold in great regard and admiration.  It is in part, upon their behalf, I am making my own requests to Congress and the Senate to intervene in this situation, and to remove, in order that they cause no more harm to those serving, and the mission of the United States Military, those in command whose failure to show judgment has inflicted great harm to the military, and to their families.  Semper Fi never meant more. 
In April of 2009, on the way to a VFW meeting right before my husband, COL (R.) Randy LeCompte, deployed for war, our grand-son, Tristen, who was then six asked from the back seat, "Nana, how are we going to keep Papa Randy safe when he goes to war?"  I told him we would pray for him that God would keep him safe, because there was nothing that he and I could do, we are just human beings.  I told him we could pray that God would send angels to protect him.  I firmly believe that the earnest prayers of that little boy and others have been what has kept my husband safe for the past three years.

My daughter who served for eight years in the United States Army, married a Soldier.  After 9/11 she left the Arm,y worried that she and her husband might both be deployed at the same time.  She now works in the civilian sector of the Army.  Her husband returned from his fifth overseas deployment back in November.  They are both serving in Germany at this time.  Samantha and Gabby are my two grand-daughters who were born into this military family and have never known anything but the life of military kids. There are thousands of "military kids," and the people of our country, and other countries, should see to it that they do not stand in need of anything while their parent is absent at war.

One of the most defining moments of this conflict for me occurred when Samantha was about four or five and riding in the backseat of the car with her cousin Madie as we went to Walmart for things we needed to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  She was sitting quietly in the backseat, and asked a question that brought home to me the price of war for children who come from military families.  She asked, "Nana, does the enemy have families too?"  I knew I had to answer in honesty, and I replied," probably some of them do".  Then she asked a question I had no answer for.  She went on to ask, "Nana, if my daddy kills their daddy, who will take care of them?"

  Samantha playing the Army Song at a school program, Ft. Hood, Killeen, Texas

 I have wept many times, for many reasons, as I have thought again of those questions from such a small child.  I have thought of our own countries' children, the children of Coalition forces from countries around the world, the children from  Iraq and Afghanistan, and yes, the children of the enemy.  What a price these innocents have paid over the last ten plus years.

It isn't just the small children of military families that bear the burden of war.  Who more than a young teen needs their father or mother?  The older a child grows, I think the more acutely an absent parent is missed.  The award ceremonies where there is someone glaringly absent from the audience, the basketball games, the broken hearts, and the lectures that should sternly be given, fall to only one parent.  A phone call lecture just isn't the same. Nor is the congratulations offered over the phone, the same as that hug in person that says, "What a job well done!"  The suit picture of prom sent in an email doesn't feel the same as the kidding and smiling faces of proud parents as a young man leaves for prom.  There are pictures with mother, but not with father.  

There are even grown children who sacrifice holidays, birthdays, and the ability to call a parent on their cell phone for advice, or just to express their love, while a parent serves.  As with every age child of those in military service, some have had a parent return from war never to be the same again due to injuries sustained.   Some see their parent for the last time in a flag draped coffin.  Their sacrifice unnoticed or forgotten by most of the people that it was made for. 

Then there are the babies... infants born while a parent is at war.  I can't imagine labor and delivery without the father of the child I was bringing into the world at my side, but there are women in this country, and in the countries of all those who make up the Coalition Forces who have done just that.  I can vividly imagine however, the thoughts going through that woman's mind, and the state of her heart.  I wrote two poems about these babies who change everyday, who say their first words, take their first steps, cry through cutting their first teeth, and grow each day without the loving gaze of a proud father.  

 Rock Gently the Cradle Lullaby 

Rock gently the cradle of the Soldier’s baby where he sleeps.

Make certain he has no need that you have resources to meet.

Who would not with his life his son or daughter defend,

If an enemy stood in plain sight ready to make that child’s life end?

Somewhere across great oceans a Soldier tonight,

Stands for his country ready to fight.

Keeping watch to protect not only the son he left behind,

He keeps watch too for your son and mine.

For each of us, our children hold fast our hearts,

In order for them to grow up in liberty, someone to war must depart.

Remember the sacrifices of those left behind and take care should they weep.

Rock gently the cradle of the Soldier’s baby where he sleeps. 

I Came Home to My Daughter

There she lay, so warm, pink, soft, and sweet.
When first we finally did meet.

I saw so much of her mother there in her eyes,
The stamp of my own features on her countenance threatened to make me cry.

Wonder at the first sight of my darling daughter,
Swept my soul, and I knew my life she would forever alter.

Feelings too tender for the battlefield,
In that moment caused all my vigilance briefly to yield.

Then I realized more clearly than ever before,
I was called to war because of an evil good people everywhere deplore.

My newborn child and all the children of the world,
Need those of us in service, the flag of liberty to unfurl.

In my daughter’s face I saw the hope of our world and our nation,
Waiting for her contributions, which true peace will hasten.

I knew that in a land far away, where long I had stood the wall,
Children were seeing first hand our intent in the service of us all.

As they watch, I know they too will learn,
Their own hearts for peace and liberty will come to yearn.

In this the power of the enemy will disappear,
The truth of all our brotherhood will finally do away with all fear.

So though my heart longs to stay,
I will again return to the war zone in just a few short days.

In my mind, images of her gentle beauty,
Will give me strength and bring complete commitment to my sacred duty.

Talking by phone with my grand-children is always precious time to me.  I miss them more than I can describe.  Gabby in particular has such a devotion for the ministry we conduct at our little place called Soldier's Heart Ranch.  We didn't know when we first purchased the property and christened it Soldier's Heart Ranch that during the Revolutionary and the Civil War, Soldiers who suffered from symptoms of PTSD, (post traumatic stress disorder) were said to be suffering from Soldier's Heart.  We had, by accident, selected a name that would reflect the cause we would publicly dedicate our home to Memorial Day, 2012.  A statistic of war that you won't find just everywhere, for the statistics are managed so that they do not appear all together, but must be assembled to get the true picture, haunts my mind everyday, and prompts me to dedicate my life to serving families of the military.  In 2010, 462 men and women gave up their lives in combat, 468 took their own lives.  Many of those Soldiers had children too.

Our grand-daughters, whose family is stationed in Germany, will not be able to attend this dedication ceremony, and Gabby is probably the ranch's biggest fan.  When she calls me, (almost daily) all she wants to talk about is what is going on at the ranch.  Today when she called she wanted to write a poem about the ranch and "military kids."  So I helped her with making her words rhyme, and here are the results.  Read the words of a seven year old child who does not understand well the meaning of war, but none the less, has sacrificed for her country.  Someone's father or mother must go, for many of our military are women, and surely without the defense made by these men and women, none of our children will know liberty.

 Gabby's Poem  
Sometimes even a Soldier needs a quiet place to rest,
When he has worked hard and given his best.

Their children at home offer prayers to God above.
Asking Him to send His protection on wings like a dove.

God hears and answers their sweet prayers.
When their petitions are lifted for the fathers who dare.

To face evil enemies who against our country make war.
Freedom and liberty are what they are standing for.

They ask the Heavenly Father their mom or dad to defend,
As the struggle goes on to make the fighting end. 

In this photo you just have to note that Gabby insisted this day on wearing Papa Randy's boots... all day long.

Being in a military family involves many sacrifices.  The rewards can be equally fulfilling as well.  That happens if the one serving makes the time and effort to not only live a life of sacrifice and service before their children, but in that service they carefully communicate the importance of honor and devotion to sacred duty.  The other parent must also support and be committed to service.  That must be evidenced by both parents lives and all they say and do, as the reason they serve.  There is a special set of skills, a special identity, and the knowledge of how to live with purpose "above the common man," as General Douglas  MacArthur stated in his most famous speech, that is the reward that comes to the children of those who truly serve God and country.  They are empowered by the ideals lived before them, rather than being disadvantaged by the sacrifices required.  May God richly bless the children of those who serve, and may His mercy be with all the children who live with the reality of war.

Samantha, Gabby, Brian, and Rebecca, thank you for your many sacrifices for our country.  Brian and Becky, your father and I commend you personally.  You are both persons of courage who have been through much. Thank you, and we publicly acknowledge all you have given.  Samantha and Gabby, Papa Randy and Nana have watched all you have sacrificed too, you have both done well.  We love you, are proud of you, and hope to see you all soon.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Now This is a Snake Story!

Introducing Leftie, my new "grand-rabbit," and boy is his story interesting.  Leftie is about two week old now, and his name is Leftie because his left eye hasn't opened yet.  That's probably because when the snake had him in his mouth he injured his eye...

Leftie had just been born when my daughter Meredith heard the screaming of the little fella from the tree.  Rabbits do not make sounds, that I am aware of, except when they are in dire straights, and then it is a high pitched tiny scream.  Well Meredith thought her cat was being trying to contribute to the household again by bringing various protein products to the porch as offerings to be cooked up by her.  He has brought mice, rats, etc., and left them as presents for her.  She really isn't ever impressed by these gifts, and she recognized the sound she was hearing, and felt it was probably a cottontail, and she ran to rescue whatever is in such distress from the cat.

Cottontails are small rabbits, even when grown, and when she realized the distress was coming from a tree she looked up just as the baby bunny fell from the tree.  A brown snake had the rabbit in its mouth, and she caught a glimpse of the snake before the rabbit fell on her.  She caught the tiny animal and knew he was just freshly born because the umbilical cord was still attached.

Meredith has always been such a gentle person, and very loving.  Her name means "gift from the water."   She had a near drowning incident at age 14, and that name given at birth gained such special meaning.  Always having been "gifted" with animals, Merrie, as we call her, rounded up what she would need to "save" the newborn.  

Goat milk is the favored nutrition source for a baby rabbit when no mother rabbit is available, and she purchased a doll bottle as well.  Right away she figured out Leftie didn't even have a large enough mouth for this bottle, and she had to squeeze a drop on her finger and allow the tiny little baby to suck it off.  I thought when she first told me about the rabbit that it probably wouldn't make it.  When she sent me the photo above after a couple of weeks, I was delighted she had worked her magic again.  Another good sign is today when she had him out in the grass, he began nibbling at some.  She has had several successes over the years.  I think Leftie has made it long enough that he is going to survive, ... as long as he stays away from snakes.  I always make it a point to stay away from snakes myself.



Friday, April 26, 2013

Open Letter to the Marine Convicted of "Attempted Adultery"

I am experiencing so much emotion about this incident.  The incident at Camp Pendleton in California where a female Marine married to a Marine Warrant Officer has been convicted of "attempted adultery," and punished.  There are other posts here, and there are many links in those posts to the details. My emotion is probably due to the fact that very recently I have looked into sad eyes.  They are the sad eyes of women, and a few men, who have been sexually assaulted in the military, and failed to receive justice, in fact all that could have been done to protect them in the first place was not done.  Probably too, because I have watched so many others abused by military power concerning all kinds of things.  I have watched them betrayed by the organizations they have pledged their lives and fortunes to in service to this country.  They are our defenders, and while as in any organization of mankind, there are those without honor, most are the best among us, possessed of the will to lay down their lives for the rest of us.  Possessed of the will to face danger that has the capability of maiming them for life, protecting the rest of us.  Something deep in me cries out when I stand where I can make no other realization than they are not receiving fair treatment, that they are being deliberately harmed by those in charge, and I realize the system is designed to allow that.

Never does "justice for all," prevail, not even in our civilian court system.  However, by far the chances of an individual to receive justice in the military are miniscule.  Always that is governed by whatever commander is in charge of the proceedings.  If the commander demands and expects justice, it will prevail, if not, it won't. There have been recent cases of commanders overturning convictions of sexual assault after the perpetrator has been tried by jury and found guilty.  Now these commanders are not lawyers, have no expertise, not even attended the proceedings, and it is just their opinion the verdict is wrong.  How can any individual expect to be treated fairly, when built into the system there are such opportunities for denial of justice?

This is important America, we need the few, the proud, the Marines.  Around the world, and hidden among our own, are individuals, groups, organization, and nations who seek the destruction of our democracy, the loss of our individual liberties, and to rule over us as they please.  They hate us.  They will bomb, maim, kidnap, drag

through the streets of Benghazi the tortured bodies of our citizens, and they will kill us, especially those who resist their efforts, and I will resist.  The few, the proud, the Marines, stand between you and me and these people, groups, organizations, and nations.  They are our defenders.  They have the skills, the will, and the devotion to sacred duty required to defend us all.  They will give their
bodies, their lives, the fortunes for us all.  We need them, when justice of the type that took place at Camp Pendleton yesterday takes place, those of honor among them, who far outnumber the rest, take a hard second look at service.   Those leaders who would stand in honorable command become discouraged, disheartened, and disillusioned.  Those within their ranks who understand and embrace abuse of power are heartened, encouraged, and gun ho to participate.  The few, the proud, become less.  There are such people in every organization of mankind, it is our responsibility to determine what kind of people prevail.  We do have a voice in how our sons and daughters will serve in the military.  We do have a voice in whether they can expect honor in every judgment.  We do have a say so in whether Military Sexual Trauma will be encouraged or discouraged.
  Never forget, there are people, organizations, and nations out there who seek our destruction, and by far the people who enlist in the military are the best among us.  The best among us have had a hard last 12 years.  This involves a family of two Marines who have stood in the gap for us all.  They have two children, old enough to suffer from this.  How do you suppose that oldest child feels about this situation that I promise you no amount of love in the world can hide this from him or her. Both of these Marines have deployed to the Middle East in service to this country.  They are both now terrified to speak out to defend themselves in any way. What do you think command could  arrange for them if they did speak out, probably the same thing it does when any woman speaks out about sexual assault?  Probably consequences on the order of the kind they have already received.  Camp Pendleton's record speaks for itself.  Remember the road rage on national television, the Marines screaming kicking the car as the brother of a wounded female Marine sat calmly ignoring him.  That happened at Camp Pendleton.  Research that Marine's punishment, nothing as severe as the female Marine in this case received, and I think it was just for him. PTSD is real, and it is real mean... and the DoD numbers on that are 700,000, and those folks tend to have bouts of drinking heavy, and engaging in risky behavior.  A real commander would have arranged mandatory marital counseling, and concentrated on much more significant problems such as reducing sexual assault at Camp Pendleton, and I'm not talking about all the pretty little programs... Leadership, called command climate is what is needed.  It is the prevailing leadership decisions, that every action by a commander creates.  If he or she laughs at the military's requirement of a family support plan of action, those he commands will not have an effective family support plan of action.  If he or she stresses awards, awards will be handed out like candy. If he or she thinks connections within the civilian community are important, those connections will be courted at all costs.  If he or she believes safety for their troops is paramount, safety will be stressed, and NCO's will be held strictly accountable for all safety protocolIf he or she curses frequently,tells crass jokes, cursing and crass jokes will be heard all through the unit.  If a commander insults women or men, acts in inappropriate ways toward members of the opposite sex, demeans or insults, that will be what happens all through the unit.  If squared away, traditional discipline is practiced by the commander, those ideals will prevail through the entire unit.  If he or she is courageous, honest, fair, selfless in their service, devoted to the mission first, and the welfare of those serving under them next, that will much more likely be how the members of that unit behave.  Leadership is everything in the military, everything.

There is something you can do.  Support our troops, contact your Senators and Congressional representation, call for a congressional hearing concerning the conviction of a female Marine for "attempted adultery," call for a reversal of the conviction, call for an investigation of the third Marine who "did not know she was married," and to whom "she didn't look too drunk to consent to me."  I believe the honor taught by the Marine Corp, actively at work in that Marine, would have dictated a different action than a one night stand.  It probably won't work, corruption is deeply rooted in our military leadership at this point in history, and they are very, very, powerful people.  The incestuous general board selection process makes that possible.  Sure, they are finally throwing a few under the bus... but it is the top brass making the selections of who the sacrificial lambs shall be. They are the top of that incestuous process.  It will take attrition...

The older I get, the more focused I become on significant living.  I only have so much life energy and resources.  I want the things I do with the days and hours of my life to matter. When the Lord calls me to that country where my eternal citizenship belongs, I want to say I spent my life in activities that mattered to that Eternal Kingdom I call home.  Defending these two Marines, who hit a rocky patch of ground in a marriage that had to have faced such challenges in the last almost twelve years, is spending my life on significant things.  They have two children.  I love being around children, they are fresher from God's hand, and bear that stamp upon them.  This couple has two children, I believe I read their ages to be 8 and 12.  I am beginning to cry at this point, and I am pausing to lift them in prayer.  I have a pretty good idea how difficult this is, and will be for them.  I have a pretty good idea what it will do to their lives, the scar it will leave.

Mistakes in judgment were made by these two Marines, as I said, life has been challenging.  Deployment has been challenging for Randy and I, and we didn't have small children.  We were old, and wise, and Randy is such a remarkable man and leader, not just of men and women who serve under him, but of his family and me as well.  I could not have made the last four years without his wisdom, his leading, and his love.  We have survived, been made stronger, our love refined like gold by fire.  I read gloating remarks predicting the break up of this family in the media online.  May God withdraw His mercy and grace from those making such comments, they are evil hearted, and deserve His wrath and judgment.

Far more important are the mistakes in judgment made by command at Camp Pendleton.  How any reasonable person could think that in light of the record Camp Pendleton has of the second highest number of reported sexual assaults of any installation in the country, the court martial of a female Marine alleging rape for adultery is a good move, is beyond me.  How any resonable person could think that this action would encourage the reporting of sexual assault, make the outcries of those who are sexually assaulted more easily proven, is just barely in double digit IQ.  Much more easily believed by the reasonable person, is that this action was designed to discourage the reporting of sexual assault at Camp Pendleton, and providing the payoff of the commander of lower reported sexual assaults at Camp Pendleton the next time the DoD releases statistics, thereby enhancing a commander's own personal career.  That is the exact conclusion I, and many, many others have drawn, making me question the judgment of the commander further in his assumption that this would go by generally unnoticed by you and I.   

I am going to defend this couple and their two children. I have made phone calls to Senators and Congressional leaders all over this country calling for a congressional hearing concerning this incident.  I have pointed out the behavior of General (R) David Patraeus, and what discipline the DoD has dealt out to him, and if you know him, please urge him to speak out on behalf of this Marine, her husband, and her children, it would be a honorable thing to do.  I have written emails, I have written blogs, made facebook entries, begged for support for this family.  I hope they will contact me, and if you know them personally, I hope you will point them to these blogs.  I hope they know what regard I hold them in.  There is an open invitation for them here at Soldier's Heart Ranch.  It is a good place to stand down, rest, and regroup, and our hospitality and support is available to them.  They are the few, the proud, the Marines.