Support our troops

10 Aug

Some of you have inquired already about it, and yes, the 11th Annual Remembrance of 9-11 is coming soon.

Please tell your friends, neighbors and community about this great event designed to help military families.

For more information keep coming back for more info.

You’re invited to the 11th Annual Remembrance of the 9-11-2001 Attack on Freedom

10 Aug

  • Sunday, 9-9-12  Mitchell Park, San Luis Obispo, CA | Corner of Osos and Pismo Streets by Grace Church 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • BBQ – FREE to military in uniform, others $10 


    Honor Guard: Vandenberg Air Force Base

    Speakers: Servicemen from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, SLO Fire Department



    Items to bring for troops and their families: 

    • Individually packaged food, instant oatmeal, breakfast bars, granola, peanuts, corn nuts, drink mix for water bottles, dry cereal in boxes, Vienna sausage, granola bars, oysters, sardines, candy, microwave popcorn, chili, spaghetti

    • Travel size toiletries, first aid kits, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth wash, sun screen, Q-Tips

    • Entertainment, DVDs, paperbacks, puzzle books, playing cards

    • Cash to help ship the items  | OR BRING ITEMS TO: 1103 JOHNSON AVE, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA 93401 


    Veterans Administration Medical Services – David Leece, M.D. and Mark Donaldson, M.D.

    Military Parents of Central Coast – Janice Somers, Director

    Care Packages to Soldiers – Si Tenenberg, Director

    Welcome Home Troops – Robert & Cheryl Tolan, Directors

    Facility – Burke Construction, Steve Burke, President

Contact: Matt Kokkonen 805/541-1881


Profits go to supporting soldiers and the families of deployed troops. 9-11 American Thunder is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization

Latest news

9 Sep

We are very pleased to have Charlie Hines, San Luis Obispo Fire Chief, as the lead-off speaker for the 10th anniversary remembrance of the 9-11-2001 attack. The annual BBQ and Rally for the Troops will be held this Sunday, September 11, 2011 at Mitchell Park, downtown San Luis Obispo, California at 1 pm. Firemen were the first responders in NY when the terrorists flew the hijacked commercial jets into the Twin Towers. Other jets crashed into the Pentagon and Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania.

Other speakers to follow include military veterans Hazel McNutt from WWll, John Stillwell from the Cold War, Dale Christensen from Vietnam, with concluding remarks by US Marine Corps Major Brian Anderson stationed at Vandenberg AF Base.

Penny Malley will sing the National Anthem and patriotic songs. In addition, Monte Mills will introduce Amaya Rose Dempsey, age12, who will sing and play a medley of music on the fiddle. She is a most accomplished young local musician.

We invite you to bring individually packaged food, toiletries, and other items that can be shipped to the troops.

See you Sunday at the BBQ. By the way, the Tri-Tip is barbequed by Bill Clowdus from Central Coast BBQ and Catering. It is really good.

If you have any question feel free to contact us either by email or phone at 805-541-1880.

Widow accepts Afghanistan mission after 9/11 twist of fate

21 Aug

Widow accepts Afghanistan mission after 9/11 twist of fate

Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland and Sgt. Maj. Debra Strickland

Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland was less than a month from retirement when he went to work on Sept. 11, 2001. He already had his retirement speech stored on his office computer. But it was a speech he would never give. He died that day when terrorists crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
“We had a middle-aged love story,” his wife, Sgt. Maj. Debra Strickland, says. It was a second marriage for him and a first for her — and an extremely happy one, she says, based on friendship, compatibility, and a shared love of the Army. “It had to do with knowing the whole is more important than the individual,” Debra, now 56, says. His death left an “empty space” that the past 10 years have not filled.

“You don’t move on. You adjust your life,” she says. “I have not adjusted my heart to his loss.” But Debra says she has reached a point where she’s calm.

Her husband’s job – serving as the senior enlisted officer advising the Army deputy chief of staff for personnel — “was about making soldiers look knowledgeable and good,” she says. Hers – as the command sergeant major for the Army’s Installation Management Command — “was about correcting things.”

Their conflicting missions initially led to some contentious interactions at the Pentagon, Debra laughs, with her investigating alleged mismanagement and Larry standing up for the personnel.

At the suggestion of a female friend and supervisor, however, Debra eventually accepted – with reservations — Larry’s invitation to try to ease their differences over a round of bowling.

That was followed by more bowling and four years of dating, and they were married on Oct. 6, 1995, in Occoquan State Park, outside of Washington, D.C. She was 36, he was 42.

“Larry had yet to pack up his office, there were so many gifts that I would not let him bring home,” Debra laments. “It was such a mistake. Tons of wonderful photos and everything in the office, was moved to the new section [of the Pentagon that was struck], not a month before.”

Also lost: the speech for his retirement ceremony. Debra says she had so eagerly waited to hear what he would say about her in the speech.

“I knew he was going to say something … important for me to hear,” Debra says. “I spent more energy trying to resurrect it. …. I wanted to know what he was going to say.”

Debra Strickland

When some of Larry’s friends realized Debra was so distraught about the speech, they “flew in, and started telling me stories,” Debra says, about how happy he had been with her.
On Sept. 11, Debra was working not far from the Pentagon at Ft. Belvoir, Va. “We were doing access control exercises on the day he died, looking at what to do if we need to close the gates, practicing that” sort of thing, Debra says, remembering with a break in her voice: “It was a gorgeous day.”

In shock after Larry was killed, Debra thought she would retire immediately from active duty, but colleagues and commanders encouraged her not to make a sudden change.

“I am not clear how it happened, but I stayed on,” Debra says, serving eight more years active duty before making two tours in Afghanistan.

She says the three years after Sept. 11 —and the constant reminders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the Pentagon as the nation entered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — were a nightmarish blur. “The imagery, the conferences…. It was an exercise in Groundhog Day. For three years. I prayed every day.”

The agony eased after three years, she says, but it still didn’t get easy.

Her two tours in Kabul were “the most fulfilling experience I ever had, in all my years. I got to serve with the soldiers, with what I associated with the work my husband did before his death,” Debra says.

Debra finally retired last year after serving 35 years. Recently, she has been helping her mother in Florida deal with a health crisis and is finally getting a chance to consider what she will do next do in her career. Debra also serves on the board of advisors to the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Fund.

Debra says the country and its elected leaders have lost sight of their sense of national focus in the 10 years since 9/11, and she urges a restoration of balance and accountability.

“Someone needs to hold the process accountable,” she says.

But Debra has not lost her sense of optimism and hope in the past 10 years.

“I certainly believe we can get the nation back on track, and we can do it fast,” Debra says. “We need to cooperate. When things are so hopeless and are so desperate for so many people, we need to find common ground.” And the tone of her voice makes it clear she believes we can.

Larry Strickland’s parents, Lee and Olga Strickland, of Puget Sound, Washington State, died in 2008, eight months apart. Besides his wife Debra, he is also survived by his younger sister Donna Marie, by his three grown children: Julia, Matthew and Chris, and three grandchildren: Brendan, Sammy and Levi.

(from Yahoo)
Share your 9/11 memories with us on Twitter – #911remembered

18 Aug

You’re invited to the 10th Anniversary remembrance of the 9-11-2001

9-11 AMERICAN THUNDER Annual BBQ and Rally Sunday 9-11-2011

For more information click here.

What do you think?

15 Aug

We remember the SEALS…

8 Aug

CBS News)

The deaths of 22 Navy SEALs in Afghanistan was a staggering loss of life for the special operations unit.

Former SEAL Howard Wasdin, author of “SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper,” called the loss of life a “staggering blow” to the elite team, though he would not specify numbers “because it gives out capability.”

On “The Early Show,” he called it a “terrible loss,” adding, “You never quit training. You train as a SEAL and then, once you get to this team, you continue training just like every other team. It’s a never-ending process and a commitment most people can’t even comprehend.”

Fallen troops bodies’ on way home after crash

When asked if the loss of these soldiers hurts the mission in Afghanistan, Wasdin said he doesn’t know the particulars of the situation because he’s not part of the team anymore. However, he added, “When you have this many elite forces go down, it’s got to hurt and it’s got to hurt for a long time.”

“It takes a long time to train up a member of this group,” he said. “It takes way more money and time to train one member of this group than it does an astronaut. So you know, it’s going to be felt for a long time.”

Wasdin said that, when he received the news  over the weekend, “all-too-real” memories came back to him.

“I found myself Saturday feeling the same way I did during the infamous Black Hawk Down battle, where I lost good friends, and I’d like to say to the American people (that), when we stand up and are happy for the guys when everything goes well, we’ve got to be willing to stand behind them when things go terribly wrong, and I hope America does that.”

The former SEAL also had a word for Washington, saying, “(To be a SEAL), you have to have a dedication, a commitment, a love of country, a love of God and country, and you have to be willing to go out on a daily basis and put your life on the line. I mean, I’m appalled when I look at our country right now, I see the news on the weekend and we got our politicians pointing the fingers about who’s to blame for our credit rating, and in the meantime, you’ve got the best and the brightest out there giving their lives, sacrificing themselves on a daily basis. And my words to our administration, our leaders need to take a play from the playbook of the Navy SEALS, be a team and quit all the infighting.”

For more information on how to help the families affected, go to the Special Operations Warriors Foundation.


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