Links
The websites listed below contain information that may be useful to families of service men and women:

Welcome Home Vets -- Welcome Home Vets helps local veterans and their families cope with the psychological aftermath of combat. We also help veterans with VA claims. The website address is welcomehomevets.org.

Wags and Warriors -- Our goal is to restore freedom an indepdence to Sacramento and Gold Countr veterans who bravely served our country -- all saving unwanted homeless shelter dogs fro euthanasia.

Support Agencies -- a comprehensive list of local , state, and federal resources that provide services to current and former armed forces personnel and their families.

Friends of Nevada County Military -- Due to a marked decline in the number troops receiving services from Friends of Nevada County Military, the organization has suspended it's primary operation of sending support packages to those deployed to combat zones. Instead, the American Legion Auxiliary, Frank Galindo Post 180, has agreed with Friends to ship support packages instead.

Anyone in Nevada County with connection to a service man or women who wishes they receive support packages may contact Julie Slater at julieslater47@yahoo.com.

Friends will maintain it's organizational and financial structures ready to resume operations should the need arise. Donations will continue to be accepted but not solicite Should the need for services not arise in the forseeable future, remaing monies will be used to fund a scholarship program for local veterans.

Friends of Nevada County Military may be contacted by US Mail at P.O. Box 2262, Nevada City, CA 95959 and by e-mail at friends@fncm.org.

Postal Guidelines--USPS rules and regulations for mailing to the middle east.

Three Gifts for Returning Servicemen and Women -- After every war or major conflict, there are always concerns about the emotional state of returning veterans, their ability to readjust to peaceful pursuits and their reintegration into American society.

Gold Star Memorial Bridge Walk - Bridges Honoring Our Fallen Heros -- By Assembly Resolution, specific bridges of Nevada County have been designated to honor fallen service personnel listed here. This annual Memorial Day event is sponsored by Friends of Nevada County Military in conjunction with the Memorial Day ceremony held at the Veterans Building in Grass Valley.

Three Gifts You Can Give Returning Veterans -That Will Last Them A Lifetime.

Contributed by USMC Col Tim Hanifen - Atlanta, GA

The combat phase of the campaign in Iraq is winding down and now the hardest job of all begins-winning the peace. Soon many of our fellow citizen-Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsman-both active and reserve will return home with their units or as individuals. All have served and participated in an extraordinary campaign of liberation that was fought in a manner that reflected not only the determination of the American people to do what was necessary but also reflective of our value to spare life whenever and wherever possible. As these veterans begin returning home and people are asking themselves what they can do to celebrate their return, honor their service and remember those that have fallen in the performance of their duty.

After every war or major conflict, there are always concerns about the emotional state of returning veterans, their ability to readjust to peaceful pursuits and their reintegration into American society. People naturally ask themselves "what can we do or what should we do?" The purpose of this message is to offer that there are three very important gifts that we personally and collectively as a society, can give to these returning veterans. They are "understanding, affirmation and support". With "understanding", I am not speaking of sympathy, empathy, consoling or emotional analysis. Rather, I offer that we, to the best of our ability, need to comprehend some of the combat truths learned and experienced by these returning servicemen and women. Their perspectives and their personal experiences will shape each of them and our society in large and small ways for years to come. Though we were not there, our comprehension and respect for their "truisms" will be part of the gift that will truly last them and us for a lifetime.

The truth every combat veteran knows, regardless of conflict, is that war is about combat, combat is about fighting, fighting is about killing and killing is a traumatic personal experience for those who fight. Killing another person even in combat, is difficult as it is fundamentally against our nature and the innate guiding moral compass within most human beings. The frequency of direct combat and the relative distance between combatants is also directly proportional to the level of combat stress experienced by the surviving veteran. Whether the serviceman or woman actually pulled the trigger, dropped a bomb or simply supported those who have, I've yet to meet any veteran who has fought and found their contribution to or the
personal act of killing another human being particularly glorious. Necessary-Yes. Glorious or pleasurable-No. In combat, the veteran must psychologically distance themselves from the humanity of their opponent during the fight. The adversary becomes a target or an objective or any number of derogatory epithets that separates "them from us". Combat becomes merely business-a job that has to be done, part of your duty and killing-a necessary result. It's a team job that needs to be done quickly, efficiently, unemotionally and at the east cost in lives to your unit, to innocents and with the most damage inflicted in the least time to your adversaries. Then you and the team move forward again to the next danger area and fight. The only sure way home is by fighting through your opponents as quickly and efficiently as possible. Along the way you quietly hope or pray that your actions will: be successful; not cause the loss of a comrade; the death of an innocent; or that you'll become one of the unlucky casualties yourself. You stay despite your fears because the team-your new family of brothers or sisters, truly needs you and you'd rather die than let them down. You live in the moment, slowly realize your own mortality and also your steadily rising desire to cling to and fight hard for every second of it. You keep your focus, your "game face" on and you don't allow yourself the luxury of "too much reflection" or a moment's "day dreaming" about home, loved ones, the future or your return. You privately fear that such a moment of inattention may be your or worse, because of you, a comrade's last.

So if I may caution, please don't walk up to a combat veteran and ask him or her if they "killed" anyone or attempt well meaning "pop" psychoanalysis. These often-made communication attempts are awkward and show a lack of understanding and comprehension of the veteran. They also reveal much about the person who attempts either one. Instead, please accept there is a deep contextual gap between you both because you were not there. This chasm is very difficult to bridge when veterans attempt to relate their personal war experiences. Actual combat veterans are the one's least likely to answer the question or discuss the details of their experiences with relative strangers. Most likely they will ignore you and feel as though they were truly "pilgrims" in a strange land instead of honored and appreciated members of our Republic. So accept and don't press. One note of personal caution for your awareness- If a combat veteran does answer or appear to openly revel in the number of adversaries they've personally slain then they either haven't or they are likely part of society's 2% sociopaths. In either case, I would recommend you beware and quietly distance yourself. Their enthusiasm and behavior are not normal for a true combat veteran. But here is what you can do. Don't ignore them or the subject. Please feel free to express your "gladness at their safe return" and ask them "how it went or what was it like?" These questions are open-ended and show both your interest and concern. They also allow the veteran to share what they can or want. In most cases, the open door will enable them to share stories of close friends, teammates or some humorous moments of which they recall. Again, just ask, accept but don't dig or press.

The second gift is "affirmation". Whether you were personally in favor of the war or against it no longer matters at this point. As a Republic and a people we debated, we decided and then we mustered the political and societal willpower to send these brave young men and women into combat in hopes of eventually creating a better peace for ourselves, for the Iraqi people and for an entire region of the world. More than anything else, the greatest gift you can personally give a returning veteran is a sincere handshake and words from you that "they did the right thing, they did what we asked them to do and that you are proud of them". We need to say these words often and the returning combat veteran truly needs these reassurances. Also please fly your flag and consider attending one or more public events wit your families as a visible sign of your support and thanks. Nothing speaks louder to a returning veteran than the physical presence of entire families. Those Americans attending these events give one of their most precious gifts-their personal time. Numbers matter. Personal and family presence silently speaks volumes of affirmation to those you wish to honor.

The third gift is "support". Immediately upon return there will be weeks of ceremonies and public praise applauding the achievements of the returning units and their veterans. But the pace of life in America is fast and it will necessarily move rapidly onward towards the next event. Here is where your support is most needed to sustain the returning veteran and you can make the most difference in their lives for years to come. Continue to fly your flag. If you are an employer, then simply do your best to hire a veteran who is leaving service or if he or she was a Guardsman or Reservist, welcome them back to a new job within the company. All reserve personnel know that the economic life of the company has continued in their absence. It has to do so in order for the company to survive and prosper. They also know it is likely their jobs have since been filled. Returning veterans are always unsure whether or not they will find or have employment upon return. As an employer, if you can't give them an equivalent job because of downsizing then extend them with your company for three to four months so they can properly job hunt. Please take a personal interest in them and their families and use your extensive list of personal and professional contacts to help them land a better job-even if it is with one of your competitors. The gratitude they will feel for you, your personal actions and your company is beyond words.

For everyone else, the greatest gift you can give to continue support will take 10 seconds of your time. In the years to come, if ever your paths cross with one of the hundreds of thousands of veterans of this or any other conflict, then simply shake their hand and tell them "thanks" and that "they did a great job!" Your words show you understand, you affirm their service and you continue to support them. Teach your children to do the same by your strong example. Though veterans may not express it, every one of them will be grateful. If this message rings true with you, then let us each give these returning veterans these three gifts that will truly last them a lifetime.

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Nevada County Bridges Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers

Bridge 17-048, at the Brunswick Road overcrossing in Nevada County, is named the "Gary Ames Miller Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1969, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220 in 1971. Lance Corporal Gary Ames Miller was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Marine Corps, LCPL Miller served our country until June 1st, 1966 in Quang Tin, South Vietnam. He was 18 years old and was not married. Gary died from small arms fire.

Bridge 17-049, at the Route 20/Route 49 separation and Empire Street, is named the "Bruce Allen Jensen, Lt. Col., USAF, Bridge". It was built in 1969, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Allan Jensen was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Air Force, LTC Jensen served our country until August 27th, 1967 in Laos. He was 38 years old and was married. Bruce died when his plane crashed into the land.

Bridge 17-050, at the Route 20/Route 174 separation in Nevada County, is named the "David E. Freestone and Harry Lee Theurkauf Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1970, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Private First Class David Edward Freestone was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army, PFC Freestone served our country until August 27th, 1969 in Binh Duong, South Vietnam. He was 20 years old and was not married. David died from small arms fire. Specialist Five Harry Lee Theurkauf was also a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army, SP5 Theurkauf served our country until June 5th, 1968 in Binh Duong, South Vietnam. He was 22 years old and was not married. Harry died from artillery fire.

Bridge 17-051, the Bank Street undercrossing in Nevada County, is named the "Kenneth W. Scurr Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1969, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Kenneth Wesley Scurr was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army Reserve, 1LT Scurr served our country until May 31st, 1969 in Pleiku, South Vietnam. He was 20 years old and was not married. Kenneth died from small arms fire. Kenneth was born on July 12th, 1948 in Grass Valley, California.

Bridge 17-052, the Bennett Street undercrossing in Nevada County, is named the "John Robert Kunkel Bridge". It was built in 1969, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Lance Corporal John Robert Kunkel was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Marine Corps, LCPL Kunkel served our country until January 3rd, 1969 in Quang Nam, South Vietnam. He was 21 years old and was not married. John died from small arms fire. John was born on April 16th, 1947 in Santa Clara, California.

Bridge 17-053, the Sacramento Street overcrossing in Nevada County, is named the "Michael Goeller Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1967, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Specialist Four Michael Dennis Goeller was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army, SP4 Goeller served our country until June 1st, 1969 in Binh Duong, South Vietnam. He was 20 years old and was married. Michael died when his helicopter crashed into the land. Michael was born on June 7th, 1948 in Nevada City, California.

Bridge 17-055, the Broad Street overcrossing in Nevada County, is named the "Ronald J. Walber Bridge". It was built in 1967, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Specialist Four Ronald James Walber was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army, SP4 Walber served our country until April 25th, 1968 in Binh Duong, South Vietnam. He was 19 years old and was not married. Ronald died from multiple fragmentation wounds. Ronald was born on June 3rd, 1948 in Nevada City, California.

Bridge 17-056, the Washington Street overcrossing in Nevada County, is named the "Philip A. Tritsh Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1967, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Private First Class Philip Alon Tritsch was casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army Selective Service, PFC Tritsch served our country until January 28th, 1969 in Kontum, South Vietnam. He was 25 years old and was not married. Philip died from small arms fire. Philip was born on June 10th, 1943 in Nevada City, California.

Bridge 17-077, the Banner Ridge Road overcrossing in Nevada County, is named the "James F. Deeble Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1967, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. First Lieutenant James Frederick Deeble was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army Reserve, 1LT Deeble served our country until April 18th, 1970 in Bing Thuy, South Vietnam. He was 23 years old and was not married. James died from multiple fragmentation wounds. James was born on July 8th, 1946 in Nevada City, California.

Bridge 17-079, the Idaho-Maryland Road undercrossing in Nevada County, is named the "Douglas A. Rix Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1969, and named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Staff Sergeant Douglas Alfred Rix was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army, SSG Rix served our country until February 28th, 1967 in Tay Ninh, South Vietnam. He was 24 years old and was married. Douglas died from multiple fragmentation wounds. Douglas was born on October 29th, 1942 in Grass Valley, California.

Bridge 17-081, the Dorsey Drive overcrossing in Nevada County, is named the "Thomas W. Crawford Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1969, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Airman First Class William Thomas Crawford was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Air Force, A1C Crawford served our country until May 16th, 1965 in Binh Hoa, South Vietnam. He was 33 years old and was married. William died from an undetermined accident.

Bridge 17-082, the Gold Flat Road undercrossing in Nevada County, is named the "John Stuart Seeley Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1967, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. Captain John Stuart Seeley was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army Reserve, CPT Seeley served our country until June 27th, 1966 in South Vietnam. He was 34 years old and was married. John died when his helicopter crashed into the land. John was born on April 10th, 1932 in Stockton, California.

Bridge 17-083, at the Mill Street undercrossing in Grass Valley in Nevada County, is named the "Ernest T. Stidham, 1st Lieutenant, Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1969, and was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 43, Chapter 220, in 1971. First Lieutenant Ernest James Stidham, casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army Reserve, 1LT Stidham served our country until December 22nd, 1968 in Tay Ninh, South Vietnam. He was 25 years old and was not married. Ernest died from small arms fire. Ernest was born on March 14th, 1943 in Carmichael, California.

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POSTAL GUIDELINES

ADDRESSING: All mail should contain complete return and destination mailing addresses to ensure the most expedient and proper delivery. For force protection purposes, a service member’s social security number, operation names, or geographic locations are not to be included in the mailing address.

CUSTOMS: Ensure personnel are aware of customs regulations to and from the area of deployment. All parcels sent to, from, or between FPO/APO addresses must have the proper customs form. All mail weighing 16 ounces or more, even when the mailer affixes their own stamps, must be presented to a postal clerk at a post office for mailing. The mailer is responsible for compliance with USPS and custom regulations regarding non-mailable and restricted items. Information from the customs form is retained at USPS and Military Post Offices (MPO’s) for 30 days.

A maximum of $200 per day per addressee for personal items, and $100 per day per addressee for gifts, may be mailed "duty free" by servicemembers. Parcels mailed with copies of "official PCS orders" attached or enclosed reflecting assignment overseas in excess of 120 days is exempt from customs charges. If orders are enclosed, the parcel must be endorsed by the accepting post office "free entry, claimed under public law 89-436, movement orders enclosed.” Returned U.S. Merchandise can be sent back to CONUS free of customs charges if properly noted on the customs form.

MAILING GUIDELINES: The following items are strictly prohibited:

Posters, pictures, paintings, books, catalogs, DVDs, videotapes, or magazines depicting nude or semi-nude people and pornographic or sexual items of any type (as determined by local area Customs).

Religious items including, but not limited to, crucifixes, instructional material, or any other items interpreted by customs as religious in nature. History has proven certain items relating to Christmas such as cards, trees, decorations, angels, etc. are subject to confiscation.

Pork or pork products.

Alcoholic beverages or any consumable item containing alcohol. This includes distillation equipment and brewing supplies.

Firearms or weapons of any type, including air guns and toy guns.

Ammunition clips/magazines

Spent or live ammunition

Fireworks

Government symbols including, but not limited to stickers and flags

Military clothing or equipment, other than for personal use

Radio and electronic items including, but not limited to, base stations, hand-held transmitters, cordless telephones, global positioning system receivers, etc

Candy cigarettes and cigarette advertisements

Chemicals, including alcohol

Any literature that is determined to be offensive to a host nation’s culture or people

Sand and/or soil are strictly prohibited from entering the United States

Mid-East Customs officials sometimes scrutinize the following items very heavily. If they contain prohibited content, the result can be fines, confiscation, and/or censorship:

Films,CDs, DVDs, Video Tapes

All printed matter, such as books, magazines, catalogs, newspapers, pictures, paintings, etc.

Weapons of any sort

Hazardous or restricted material: Hazardous material cannot be sent in the mail. Hazmat includes batteries, corrosive item aerosols, etc.

Any Service member (ASM) and Dear Abby mail programs: These programs have been discontinued until further notice, primarily due to Bio-Terrorism concerns. Deployed service members should not participate or encourage any mail from unknown sources. Any mail received from an unknown source should be treated as suspect mail and brought to the attention of postal personnel. Some organizations in CONUS recruit service members to receive Any Service member-type mailings for distribution to their unit personnel. Deployed personnel should not participate in these programs.

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