Vol. 17, No. 24, December 13, 2004


This Reveille Home Page | The Friday Program: An Eyewitness Report From Iraq | Giving Tree Wrap-Up | Fellowship Opportunity at Rock Bottom | We Get Emails | Friday Potpourri | Student of the Month: Dan Blaugh | New Members Inducted: Giner & Allen | Sergeant At Arms On the Road Again | Web Fun


One of the morning’s great events: the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club’s annual Holiday Breakfast. A roomful of energy-packed kids waiting to see Santa and pick up a gift. An even larger roomful of parents watching all this commotion with beaming smiles. A buffet breakfast that’s out of this world. Holiday songs and entertainment. Don’t miss the annual Christmas Breakfast this Friday, December 17, at 7:00 a.m. at the Glendale Country Club. Remember, guests and members are to park in the upper parking lot. See you there!


At the end of the Christmas Breakfast, the BBRC’s calendar year operations will come to a close. There are no more meetings scheduled in December, because of the coming Christmas and New Year holidays. Meetings resume on January 7th with an off-site meeting at Sammamish High School. (Glendale is closed through January 13).

With the end of the quarter comes a new billing period, the 3rd, which begins January 1. For those who have not yet covered your obligations from the 2nd Quarter, the Treasurer would appreciate a remittance prior to January 1. Mail your check to BBRC, PO Box 3003, Bellevue WA 98009-3003. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Friday Program:
An Eyewitness Report From Iraq

Ozmer2The War in Iraq came closer to home Friday when Army Captain Tymm Ozmer reported for duty at the BBRC. Holding jobs in the Washington National Guard for 17 years, Captain Ozmer was recently in charge of the Guard’s Distant Learning Project, which gives soldiers stationed in the far corners of Washington additional training closer to home. He first joined the Guard in Yakima and received the first direct commission from an enlisted rank to captain four years ago. His regular duty station was Olympia.

Captain Ozmer returned from Iraq in September, having sustained severe injuries when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb device. He was commanding a reconnaissance platoon when the bomb struck. One of the soldiers in Ozmer’s vehicle was killed, and the other four, including himself, injured. His injuries required surgery on his spine.

Captain Ozmer told his audience that when considering our country’s deployment to Iraq, “Maintain skepticism about what you hear and read. The media is hyping the negative. Do research, look up facts for yourself. Find the true story of what’s going on there.”

The Captain said the Washington National Guard has sent troops overseas for the first time since the Korean War. In this Middle Eastern hotspot, “10% of Iraqis are supportive, while another 10% are exactly opposite — they oppose the goals of the Coalition Forces. The other 80% of Iraqis are on the fence.”

Iraq is a country made up of several tribes. Local communities often carry more weight than nationalism. “The Iraqi National Guard is being trained up to sustain defense of the country. Syria and Iran are behind the instability of the insurgency. Iraqis have very different standards of living. In the villages away from the population center, people live in mud huts and may not have utilities.”

Captain Tymm’s unit was stationed at an airfield next to the Tigris River, east of Baghdad.

“Iraq’s infrastructure was probably as bad as any country in the world. Once Saddam was overthrown, the US troops were instructed not to engage the populace while they went about rioting and tearing everything up.”

The captain said “25% of industry is functioning now. Clean water is not available. Raw sewage often runs down streets. Extended families live in the same house. There may be four or five generations living in one house.”

Ozmer3What amazed the captain most was the work of the Iraqi engineers ­ bringing water to areas around major rivers. “There’s lots of farmland under cultivation. The country is greener than most people think, since the irrigation systems have expanded farmland zones.”

The unit’s job was to train the Iraqi Guard. One of the problems is the lack of nationalism. Individual Iraqis maintain their connection with their tribal community. Thus, trying to form a National Guard is a challenge. The plight of women in Iraq is truly tragic Their status is much like livestock. The country inspires and breaks your heart at the same time.

When asked about the incident that sent him home, Captain Ozmer said, “We were on patrol west of the airfield. We ran over a stack of four anti-tank mines. The blast produced a crater 6 feet deep and 14 feet wide. Our gunner was killed. Our vehicle was completely destroyed. Captain Ozmer had surgery four months ago, where they fused his spine to repair his injuries.

In response to a question about equipment, the captain said that “soldiers have the newest equipment, depending on where they’re assigned.” His audience gave him a standing ovation for his service to his country.

Thanks to Jim Gordon for his introduction. As a token of his presentation, Captain Ozmer was awarded a certificate indicating 1220 pounds of food has been donated in his name to area food banks, courtesy of Rotary First Harvest and the BBRC.







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