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Sailor In Iraq Witnesses Son’s Birth Via Satellite May 7, 2008

Filed under: War In Iraq — gervmaine @ 12:08 pm

A father half way around the world serving his country in Iraq was able to witnesses his son being born in Jacksonville, Florida thanks to the help of modern technology.


Navy Corpsman Jason Maris was right by his wife Meredith’s side to witness the life-altering moment thanks to the help of a satellite.


After careful inspection of all 10 fingers and toes, the only word Jason Maris could think of to describe his little boy — “beautiful.”

A day later, while Meredith Maris, her daughter 2-year-old Avery and 1-day-old Aiden were at Baptist Medical Center, her husband was also there in the form of a satellite image on a TV screen.


The image was made possible through the Freedom Calls Foundation — a service that allows soldiers in the war zone to participate in family milestones.


In the case of the Maris family, that milestone was the Monday birth of Aiden.


“It was very emotional, but it was just great having him there, you know. It’s so much easier for him to see it in his own eyes than to recap it all,” Meredith Maris said.


She told Channel 4 it was difficult not having her husband at the hospital in person, but said it was his voice and support on the other end of the monitor that got her through the birth.


“He’s always calming for me. So, it was nice for him to be there,” Meredith Maris said.


Jason Maris said he would have rather been here in person, but called the camera and TV screen the next best thing.


“I talk to my wife everyday, but seeing her in person makes things a lot easier,” Jason Maris said.


Not only was the satellite feed an opportunity for Jason Maris to see his son for the first time, but he also used the opportunity to spend time talking with his daughter.


Jason Maris is expected to return home to his family this fall. In the meantime, Meredith Maris said she plans on staying busy and returning to work and hanging out with friends and family.


Soldier Accidentally Calls Home During Firefight May 5, 2008

Filed under: War In Iraq — gervmaine @ 3:12 pm

An Oregon couple received a frightening phone call from their son in Afghanistan when he inadvertently called home during battle.


Stephen Phillips and other soldiers in his Army MP company were battling insurgents when his phone was pressed against his Humvee. It redialed and called his parents in the small Oregon town of Otis.

Sandie Petee, Phillips’ mother, and her husband, Jeff Petee, weren’t home at the time of the call. They returned home to find a three-minute voice mail on their answering machine.

“His friend died a year ago in Iraq and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, this may be the last time I hear my son’s voice on the phone,'” Petee said.


They heard shooting, swearing and shouted pleads for more ammunition on the phone call from their son.


“They were pinned down and apparently his barrel was overheating,” said Jeff Petee. “It’s something a parent really doesn’t want to hear. It’s a heck of a message to get from your son in Afghanistan.”


The three-minute call ended abruptly.


“You could hear him saying stuff like, he needs more ammo, or he needs another barrel,” said John Petee, Phillips’ brother. “At the end, you could hear a guy saying ‘Incoming! RPG!’ And then it cut off.”


As soon as the voice mail stopped playing, the Petees began trying to reach their son in Afghanistan. The family figured out Petee had tried to call home earlier that day, but he didn’t leave a message and the phone later redialed during battle.


They eventually reached their son.


“I finally got a hold of him,” Sandie Petee said. “He was embarrassed, he said, ‘Don’t let Grandma hear it.'”


Stephen Phillips is scheduled to return home next month, when his tour is complete, his mother said.


Merlin’s Miracles Founder Dies After Beating the Odds May 3, 2008

Filed under: Miscellaneous News,War In Iraq — gervmaine @ 8:44 pm
Tags: ,

‘Miracle Marine’ dies after beating odds


Nov. 15, 1985 – Apr. 11, 2008            

Marine Sgt. Merlin German, seen in May 2007, died last month of complications after surgery.

(CNN) — A Marine who survived being burned over more than 95 percent of his body in Iraq and established a charity to help burned children has died, the military has announced.

Marine Sgt. Merlin German, seen in May 2007, died last month of complications after surgery.

Sgt. Merlin German was 22.

He was severely wounded February 21, 2005, en route to Camp Ramadi when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb.

He was not expected to survive, but he was transported to Germany and then to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, which has the U.S. military’s top burns unit.

He spent nine months in intensive care and underwent more than 100 operations.

German moved out of the hospital into his own home after 17 months of treatment.

He founded Merlin’s Miracles, a charity that aims “to assist burned children and their families to take vacations, trips, outings or anything the families needed to make life a little easier,” according to its Web site.

German died April 11 at Brooke Army Medical Center of complications after surgery.
“He beat all odds and then on top of that continued to serve as an inspiration and motivator for others,” said Dr. Evan Renz, a critical-care surgeon who treated German.

“It is very difficult to describe the sense of loss. He endeared himself to all he came in contact with. It’s really impossible to describe, except to say: Imagine the loss of dear family or friend.”

Renz remembers being impressed with German from the start.

“This young man was clearly showing us signs he was going to fight through this from the very first minute,” he said.

“There was consensus he was going to be a someone who would probably break some of the previous expectations about survivability. If someone was going to survive, he was going to be that individual.”