Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gunfighter Update

Family and Friends of HMLA-369,

Happy Holidays to all!

December has been a busy month for the Gunfighters. The main body of the Squadron has re-deployed from Al Taqqadum (TQ) to Al Asad (AA), Iraq. In just over two weeks from when we received the order to move, the Squadron accomplished the movement flawlessly all the while continuing to provide attack and utility helicopter support to the Ground Combat Element. The move resembled our deployment from Camp Pendleton to Iraq but more complicated. The Squadron had to maintain 100% mission capability throughout the duration of the move. The Operations Department put together a robust plan that ensured zero degradation of operational capability while the Logistics and Maintenance Departments put in long hours to ensure an efficient and safe move. Despite our new location within Iraq, our unit mailing address remains the same. All mail that was enroute to our old “home” is now with us at Al Asad.

The spirits and morale are high and all of the Marines and sailors remain highly motivated at accomplishing the mission from three different locations in Iraq. Gunfighter pilots and aircrew continue to fly like pros in professionally maintained helicopters. Our S-shop Marines are working hard at keeping the administrative side of the house on track. On Christmas, we plan to have all the Field Grade Officers and SNCOs serve food to the Gunfighters in our own expeditionary chow hall. This is a time honored tradition within the Marine Corps that allows the leadership to show their thanks and appreciation for the hard work of the Marines and sailors.

Mail is flowing and we are getting lots of packages from home. Mail and care packages are an instant morale boost for all those who receive them, particularly during the holiday season. Many companies and sponsored organizations have also sent care packages. With all this support from home, we have set up a “Walmart” as a central collection point for these packages. With the “Walmart” established, the Marines can come by as they please and stock up on toiletries, socks, hand warmers, etc… Thank you for all the care packages and keep the mail coming. Take care and have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

If there are immediate questions or concerns please feel free to call or e-mail Mrs. Barbara Greenbush who is our Remain Behind Family Readiness Officer. Her MAG-39 office phone number is (760) 725-8681. Her cell phone number is (760) 936-2994. And her e-mail is barbara.greenbush.ctr@usmc.mil.

Thank you for your support of the Gunfighters!
LtCol Zamagni
Commanding Officer

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Peterman turned 2 on December 15th. 

Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree

Patrick made me promise to put up our tree and decorate the house....I really didn't feel like it especially with Alex being sick but it looks great and helped me get in the spirit of the holidays.  

Snow cap Mountains

Sick babies are no fun!

When we got home from VA two weeks ago Alex came down with a tummy bug.  After a few days I took him to the ER (in the military thats what you have to do on the weekends)  and they gave him a popsicle. This of course, did not answer my question of what is wrong with him.  Everything that touched his mouth came right back out of both ends.  He was starving and I felt terrible for him.  He would not smile or laugh, this was driving me crazy because he is normally so silly. He started to get better around day 6 but on day 7 he got really sick again.  We luckily got an appt with our doctor and she said to stop giving him milk and try the only carbs. With my luck he was much better as soon as we got to the doctors office but I felt better having him looked at. I noticed about day 8 that he was getting two new teeth (he has 3 on top and 3 on the bottom) so that probably didn't help with the mood either. It was a long 10 days but Alex is back and super silly again (see the dancing video).  He is not doing so good at the sleeping thing now but he eats his snacks ALL day long.  Good to have you back Busters.  

Dancing Fool

Alex loves to dance!  He even dances when there is no music.  He is sooo funny.  His best buddy Joey started walked about two weeks ago and Alex has no desire to take any steps, which is fine by me because I am not ready to chase him.  Even if Alex can reach where he wants to go he will sit down, scoot over and stand back up...we all joke, Safety first =)  Enjoy the dance machine video. 

Friday, December 5, 2008



We love you and miss you soooo much.  Even though you forgot about your birthday no one here did!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Alex loved Santa

Mom, Heather and I took Alex to see Santa at the Manassas Mall and he loved him. Enjoy the pictures

Thanksgiving message from the CO

Family and Friends of HMLA-369,

Greetings again to the family and friends of HMLA-369. Happy Thanksgiving from the Gunfighters. Thanksgiving is like most other Thursdays here in Iraq except for some better food in the chow halls and more importantly connecting with our loved ones back home. The Gunfighters have been executing our mission now for 2 weeks and we are currently working out of three locations throughout western Iraq. The spirits and morale are high and all of the Marines and sailors remain highly motivated at accomplishing the mission. Our Maintenance Marines continue to fix our helicopters in a timey and professional manner and our S-shop Marines, are working hard at keeping the administrative side of the house on track. We will take time out Thursday to have some turkey and watch some football while completing our missions in support of the ground combat element. Mail is flowing and we are getting a lot of packages from home. Mail and care packages are an instant morale boost for all those who receive them, particularly during the holiday season. Support your Gunfighter. Keep the mail and care packages coming. Take care and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thank you

LtCol Zamagni

Commanding Officer


Thanksgiving in Virginia

Alex and I spent 10 awesome days in Virginia for Thanksgiving. Our flight to Dulles was great, Alex slept for 3.5 of the 4.5 hours of the flight and of course was starving when he woke up so I fed him and as the wheels touched down I had my first public embarrassing mom moment when 3 days worth of food came pouring out of Alex's mouth all over me and the plane. Luckily there were lots of women around me throwing tissues and rags at me to get cleaned up. But once I got in the car with my family I was able to relax. I didn't realize that I am as stressed as I am being alone in Cali so I loved all the help. Alex loved Heathers dog Dylan and they kept Grandma busy the whole time we were there.

Alex and I left for Hillsville on Wednesday picking India and Candice up in Richmond on the way. Its a much nicer drive when you have company.  It was a fast trip but we got a lot of pictures in those 48 hours.  It was very important to me to have Alex spend time with Brandon because he will be leaving for Iraq in March for 12 months (when did we become a military family?) Lucky for us this was the best hunting season since I met the Richardsons (yes I know I have turned into a redneck). I say its because Stu gave Patrick his (not so) good luck charm, soon as he got rid of it he killed the biggest deer of his life.  So Grandpa, Brandon, Stu and Bradley all killed deer this year then Brandon got another HUGE one Thanksgiving night!  

Its funny because last Thanksgiving we were talking about how crazy Thanksgiving 2008 will be with two babies running around...and boy were they.  Lillie and Alex are so cute together but Lillie did teach my sweet boy two bad habits.  SCREAMING and OPENING Cabinets.  We all got to talk to Patrick the night before Thanksgiving which was a great surprise.  Thanksgiving just wasn't the same without him.  

Alex had his share of mashed potatos and turkey but didn't seem as excited for his First Thanksgiving as me =)

Saturday morning I made it back to Manassas just in time to head to Osbourn (my high school) to watch them play Varina (Patrick's high school) in the state tournament.  I didn't have high hopes for OHS but we came out and crushed them in the second half and it was awesome....I can't wait to see the Richardsons and do my old OHS cheers. =) It was the perfect game to take Alex to for his first sporting event ever!!!! Go EAGLES!

The rest of the trip was spent shopping, eating, spending time with my family, taking Alex to see Santa (more in the next blog), and celebrating Heathers 28th birthday.  What an awesome trip....

When I got home I went to get Peterman from camp and he was so happy to see us.  Karen said that she is going to have to buy her husband a foot warmer for the bed because he loved having Pete there.  19 days home then we go back for Christmas!

We have so much to be thankful for at this time in our life.  To my Family and Friends words can not express how much you mean to me. 

 To the love of my life....your my hero, be safe & come home soon.     

One month down....six to go!

Well we made it to the one month mark of Patrick being gone.  It is very bittersweet because I am so excited it went by so "fast" but also devastated that it hasn't gone by faster.  But....so far so good.  I just can't say how thankful I am for the wonderful friends I have out here in California as well as our amazing families back home that support us from far away,  Alex and I are very lucky.  We are so proud of you Patrick and can't wait until you are home with us soon.  

So far in the first month I have fixed the garbage disposal all by myself, figured our the gas problem on the stove, and cooked my first turkey.  I am very proud that I have been as strong and resourceful as I have been because I was terrified to be alone.  

We have two trips to VA planned for the holidays and that should speed up the next two months of the deployment!  

Gobble Gobble