November 9, 2011

Lets Not Forget Our Veterans - 2011

Thank You! Freedom is not Free! Thank You!

Husband; Marine Corp. / Vietnam Veteran
Daughter; Airforce / Afghanistan & Iraq Veteran

To the many Veterans all over the word, Thank You!

July 4, 2011

God Bless America!!!

Thank you to our servicemen & women for allowing me to eat whatever I want & say whatever I want & live in peace in my home.

June 27, 2011

Blinded Leader

Reflection of deceased warriors


written by: Natalie Lopez

I sought out for a potential leader,

So far out, even a seether (potential female),

Over the seas and roughed the sands,

No one in sight, I came back to my home land.

Earned medals upon my chest,

So proud of myself when it comes time to be put to rest.

Selected to accompany my wing commander,

Perhaps there, I’ll find the one they call a leader.

Troops followed me to find this mentor,

Followed me through the dangers,

Without giving me a sarcastic lecture.

Seeking that leader to this day,

Giving up hope, nothing to say.

Where can this leader be,

I look at the mirror and finally see…it is me…

Reflection of deceased warriors said “you finally see”…

Natalie L.

March 2, 2011

"In a war without clearly defined "front lines", the enemy is everywhere!"
Security Forces Airman Lopez
I Pray for their families & their love ones.

December 12, 2010

Happy Holiday's To All Our Military Troops

Courage Keeps Us United.Happy Holiday's to all those who are serving or have ever served our country. God Bless Our Troops!

November 10, 2010


"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they

protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they

perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus, our

Lord and Savior. Amen."

July 21, 2010

Basic Training

MTI Lopez transform recruits into Airmen, and teaches them the principles and basics to lead and maintain a proper military life.
Military Training Instructors duties and responsibilities for training recruits are extensive and tough, especially when the personality are different in each individual male and female. But, MTIs are dedicated in giving recruits what they need to become successful Air Force warriors.

June 13, 2010


A person's motivation is a combination of desire and energy directed at achieving a goal. It is the cause of action. Influencing someone's motivation means getting them to want to do what you know must be done.

May 27, 2010

Thank You!!

I'm hanging this Memorial Day Wreath on my profile to honor our fallen soldiers.

March 29, 2010


On March 3rd, President Obama signed the 22nd proclamation recognizing the month of MARCH as National Woman's History Month.

During the Lackland Air Force Basic Military Training Graduation parade on March 19th,2010. Master Sgt LaTanya Dinkins (forward), 320th Training Squadon,serves as commander of troops. (center back) Senior Airman Natalie Lopez in position, is Honoring Women's History Month, all staff and flight commander also position during the parade were filled by women from the 737th Training Group.

February 24, 2010


When the time came for redeployment it felt nothing like the first time. Yes, the same feelings and emotions, being full of joy, I was elated and full of happiness for her. And was again accompanied by those other feelings.
This time I was able to see her off. It must have been 20 degrees that night, very cold. We all stood around as the troops got ready for departure. All the people stood in single file as the troops boarded, we gave all the troops hand shakes, hugs and kisses and said our farewells. I had opened up a banner that I had made my daughter that said “May God Bless you and keep you safe and return you all home safely. We love you!” Then I handed her a bag of all kinds of candies for all.
I was more content and accepted this tour a little more than the first. Maybe it was because I was able to see her off.

January 31, 2010

Our Soldiers

The Brave men and women (our children) that sacrifice so much of their lives so that we may enjoy the "Freedom" that we get to enjoy each and every day, and for that,I am proud to call them "Heros."

January 8, 2010

My Brave Valentine

Love makes such a part of what you are
More precious are you than that Renoir

You're the Valentine beyond each dream
The glow of your heart's a true sunbeam

Your loving care reaches from afar
When I awake you're my morning star

These words that I use so want to say
What you mean to me each night, each day

As you serve our country with heartfelt pride
I pray that God will stay near your side

Your loyalty brings a smile to me
And I know your love shines constantly

To those who march with you, they are grand
I send each some love from their homeland

There's one more thing that I have to write
To keep in your heart both day and night

Please know that my love is so very true
My Brave Valentine, Oh Yes! That's You!

©2010Roger J. Robicheau
Former SP5 US Army

An American War Dog

I am an American war dog
I obey orders from my brave handler

My job is to find, save, help and comfort
I try to do the best that I can

Being faithful is everything to me
Staying alert, I must always be

When my name is called out
Proudly I stand to serve with love

I so try to do what is asked of me
If I die on duty, please remember

I am an American war dog
And my brave handler is my best friend

God gave me a life to love and give
And to be there when there is need

The time may come for my duty to end
And I will proudly be a K9 Corp Veteran

It will be hard for me to stop serving
I'll want to continue, but know I cannot

Remember those like me who don't go to war
Many have duties that are so very important

I am an American war dog
And I have the best friend in the world

©2009Roger J. Robicheau
Former SP5 US Army

January 6, 2010

The Deployment and my Pain as a Mother

When the time came for my daughters deployment I went through a huge array of feelings and emotions that I was not really ready for. I had envisioned over the past months during her training that the time would come when she would be deployed, and that she was.
I was not able to see her take off that night for Afghanistan, but I still remember her standing at her apartment waving goodbye the day she was to be deploy. That night I stayed awake until the hour of her deployment and prayed to God to guide her and keep her safe. I looked out into the twinkling stars in the darkness of the sky as the tears ran down my face and in a whisper I said “Stay safe Natalie, I love you more than Life itself. Come back to me, alive.”
I knew she was ready and excited to go fight for her country, and I thought that I would be full of joy, I would be elated, relief, and full of happiness for her. Please don’t misunderstand me, I sure felt all those feelings, but, to my surprise they were accompanied by other feelings.
The anxiety, the shortness of breath, the feeling that I was missing apart of myself; the uncontrollable feeling that I couldn’t protect her; it was every mother’s nightmare.
So I prayed, and prayed that god would give them the courage the strength and the wisdom, for her and all her comrade and for each and every soldier deployed. Oh my God, I couldn’t do this alone, I thought. I was overwhelmed with feelings and emotions. I too needed help; I had to be strong for her and the rest of my family also.
I would always tell her, “stay focus, stay alert in all you do”. Remember everything she learned in book camp. Stay with a buddy.
Many months past, and we would communicate on Webcam. I would tell her if she needed to rest for her to just write and tell me. “I’m ok today”. And with that alone, I would be fine.
One night in the early part of Sept, It was about 9:00pm. There was a knock at the door. My husband answered it, I heard lots of commotion I just thought it was my other daughter with her kids, but as I approached the living room, to my surprise my Soldier Daughter stood looking at me. “I’m home mom” she said, I hugged her with full of joy, I was elated, relief, and full of happiness, that she was home.
Most of all I felt peace in my heart again.

January 1, 2010

Happy New Years / Feliz Ano Nuevo

My Soldier Daughter
Stay focus and stay safe.
May God guide you, and keep you safe.
I'm proud of you; very Proud!!
New Hopes, New Dreams and New Resolution.
Happy New Years, Natalie
Love you LOTS


Happy New Years! from our home to yours.
God Bless America and our Military troops,
deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Or where they are today ,at this moment.
Have a safe and New Years.
Love You all !!!!

December 17, 2009

Guide and Protect Them

I ask you,
During these difficult times
Hearts are heavy now, dear God
For WAR is looming there.
Our prayers are calling out to you,
Our thoughts too much to bear.
Be with our loved ones--THEY NEED YOU.
Guide them, lead them, see them through.
Bless our leader, for we know,
He asks Your blessings, and needs them so.
Protect the innocent, shield their lives,
As bombs and missiles streak the skies.
Open our hearts and fill us with grace,
Guard our loved ones in that place of war.
Guard our military soldiers wherever they are,
they need your guidance and your protection.
Bless my daughter that I am so proud of.
grant her the courage,wisdom and strength,
in the career that she has chosen,
This I say, in earnest prayer,
THANK YOU God, Father Almighty,
I know YOU'RE there.

December 9, 2009

Mother to Mother

Honor Their Service

Do you love to knit or crochet, and is your family completely outfitted with everything yarn related? Are you looking for a way to indulge your love of all things yarn and needle craft – and give to those who can really appreciate it? We found a great project for you! Hats, scarves and helmet liners for the Troops in Afghanistan and Iraqi.
Right now, there is a push to send hats, scarves and helmet liners to Afghanistan, and Iraq. It’s getting cold there already, Kabul tonight is in the 20s. In the mountains, it’s going to be colder.
There are some rules you need to follow, and these are not suggestions, these are mandatory. First - NO acrylic or rayon or other artificial yarns. It must be 100% wool. Acrylic melts when it burns. When it gets wet, it gets cold and nasty. Wool, even when wet, keeps the body warmth in. I’m told that the Cascade 220 superwash is warm, soft and washable. There are other washable wools too. Second – muted colours. tans, browns, Army green, black, deep maroon if you must, dark blue if you want to send to Airforce.

Scarves – any pattern you want, plainer the better and long enough to go around the neck once and get tucked in. A Gaiter is great too. You know how miserable it is when your neck gets cold! Make an extra one for another soldier.
So, get the needles smoking – let’s get our love ones something warm, something made with care and gratitude.

December 3, 2009

While your son or daughter is at Military Basic Training

At Basic Training your son or daughter will be involved in field drills and classroom training. Recruits learn and practice marksmanship, navigation, and survival skills, as well as leadership training and team building. The pace is fast and personal time is limited.
1. Write often. Encourage other family members and friends to write, too. And keep the tone of your letters upbeat. Your recruit will look forward to receiving mail, especially if he or she is homesick. E-mail will not be available and your son or daughter will not have a cell phone during Basic Training. Recruits spend their free time involved in tasks like uniform preparation, studying, or other types of training. Your son or daughter will need some free time to rest. Don't worry if you do not hear from your son or daughter very frequently. Keep them motivated.
2. Be assured that your young person is safe. Safety is a top priority during Basic Training, and medical care is always available to recruits. In the unlikely event of a medical emergency, the Air Force (or correct Branch) will notify the recruit's next of kin.
3. Don't send care packages or treats. Candy, tobacco products, electronic devices, and pornography are prohibited during training. Any food that arrives by mail will be confiscated.
4. Make an effort to attend graduation. Graduations are important, memorable ceremonies. Completing Basic Training is a significant achievement, and you will want to share in the pride your son or daughter feels.

I write as a parent. This includes Spouses,children, siblings, relatives, Love Ones, and etc.

After graduation of Basic Training

The daughter or son you sent to Military Basic Training will come home after graduation with some noticeable differences. You're likely to see a more focused, disciplined, and perhaps more serious person than you knew before.
The next phase of your son's or daughter's career will be training in the technical skills needed for his or her job. Ordinarily, technical training (also called specialty training or advanced individual training) begins within a few days of graduation. Your daughter or son will be transferred to the school's location for the duration of the course, which may be from 4 to 52 weeks.

November 24, 2009

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

Guest Blogger
Lisann Valentin

Many of us walk around with blinders on. We don’t want to hear about war. We don’t want to see images of war. We don’t want to speak about war. And in doing so we neglect those who fight on our behalf. We take them for granted… just as we take it for granted that as Americans we do not see war on our soil. In fact, 9/11 was the first time many saw a glimpse of the terror that is too common-place on foreign soil. Although we may “never forget,” we are so shaken-up that we don’t want to think about it.

I have no idea what soldiers go through every day to make sure we can live safely in our little bubbles. But I don’t think this “ignorance is bliss” attitude is any reflection of how we feel about our soldiers. It’s just a type of avoidance for those of us who find it too difficult to bear. I am guilty of this type of avoidance, even though my cousin is serving in the Air force, did four tours in Kuwait and is currently on tour in Iraq.

When I was a little girl in the late 80’s, three of my cousins came to live with us from Japan. They lived on a base, travelling around every four years or so, and when my aunt and uncle split, I was introduced to my cousin “Cruz.” Cruz was a little older than me and became the older brother I never had. Cruz taught me how to ride a bike and he also taught me a little rebellion… (a kid-type of rebellion, like telling me I didn’t have to finish my food if I didn’t want to). He taught me the art of torturing my little sister and informed me that it wasn’t the stork that brought her to our life. Growing up, Cruz was quite a riot! He has been a very charming and kind person. Years passed and as we got older we lost touch. I found out Cruz was in the Air force when I was in law school. He called to tell me how proud he was of me. He learned Spanish while living in Texas and met the woman who he would eventually marry, and with whom he has a daughter.

Cruz is my cousin and I love him. Yet, I have never told him how much I appreciate what he is doing for us. I never asked him what it feels like to leave his wife, little girl, sisters and parents behind. I never asked him if he is ever afraid. When I see my cousin I stick to questions about the here and now. I cannot bear to think about what he has gone through or the what-ifs of what he is facing. I don’t know that I will ever have the courage to ask those questions. But it is time to take the blinders off and tell Cruz as well as those fighting on our behalf, “THANK YOU.” Without them, without people like my cousin, we wouldn’t feel safe at home. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved

November 21, 2009

"Top Honor Graduate"

Welcome to our Top Honor Graduate for the week of November 19th,2009.
Airman Robert E. Bergendahl from the 320th TRS Flight 746.
Presenting The Top Honor Graduate Award is the Commander of BMT Col Courville, the Airman's Training Instructor Senior Airman Lopez and Superintendent CMSgt Colbert.
Congratulations and Thank You for your Service to our Great Country.
John Hancock, Honorary Commander BMTS.

November 20, 2009

"Memories in My Heart"

The children are the ones I won’t forget. The pictures on my walls are proof of living memories in my heart. The kids are brought up a certain way, different from than ours. They didn't see the camera; they looked THROUGH the camera as if they saw "rescue" in our eyes.

They see the way we act and get to know us as the people we are. All the while learning we aren't the bad guys; we’re the "rescuers."

The hardest part was when the kids knew me by name. They asked for their presence to be acknowledged by me. Every time I approached; they ran and hopped on me, asking to take them back to the States.

I saw the same kids every month. I had nicknames for the “hadjias,” and a few gave me kisses on my cheek.

When it was time to leave Iraq, somehow the children knew we were going but not the specific dates. You can see the look in their eyes and see the admiration they had for you, yet how they felt depress because they were going back to their reality.

SrA. N. Lopez
© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved

November 11, 2009

"I Salute You on Veterans Day"

In honor of this Veterans Day 2009, Soldiersparent recognizes the women and men who have, and still are bravely serving this country. So by supporting our troops, it should means being there today, tomorrow and forty years from now. It means that our government must make a serious, meaningful, long-term commitment to the women and men it asked to defend our country.
And with this, I say Thank you and God Bless.

November 9, 2009

"American Mother"

Guest Blogger
Written By: Anna M. Rodriguez
© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved

Each time it happens I wonder how she can do it, but I know she has to do it. I don’t think I could, but I do recall feeling that I wanted to do it for my family and for my country. It was on the afternoon of September 11th, the day had brought so much confusion, astonishment, worry, fear, and by the afternoon…anger! I remember commuting my child home from school that day, a thirty minute drive at the time, and feeling the American pride as motorcyclists, waving the American flag, blew past my American-made truck where I had the American flag flying proudly from my antennae for all to see as we drove down the highway. I recall hearing the fright in the voices of all the local radio disc jockeys. They had been up to their usual antics the day before, but now our country was in this numb and wide-eyed confused state of sheer shock!

For many days after the terror I contemplated the idea of joining the air force. I was angry! I was angry that this country I loved so much was no longer the same place it had been. I was angry that my Grandfather, uncles, cousins, and countless other family members and friends already fought for this beautiful country and now we are no longer feeling safe in our own homeland! I was angry that I had a beautiful child that was now a part of a country that could have catastrophic and horrendous attacks occur in our own backyard.

My father had served in the air force when he was first married and I was even born on an air force base. I have all the photos of my baby-hood posing with my dad dressed in his fatigues or dress blues. American pride was something that I was raised on. I was taught at an early age to take my voting privilege very seriously. I do and it is something that I have instilled in my children. Therefore, all of my emotions from September 11th turned into anger that made me want to fight for the love and pride of this country…my home and my family’s home!

I looked into my options and learned that many young Americans had felt the same way I did. After the uneasiness of what was to come and the amount of questions that my child had for me on a daily basis, I decided that I needed to continue to be a good and loyal citizen, but I couldn’t leave my little child. I just couldn’t have done that. I was glued to the television and watched and cried for all of the young Americans who departed from the clutches of their parents’ arms. Many of the fathers knowing all too well, from their service during the Vietnam War, the violence that awaited their children. I saw all the husbands hugging their wives so tightly each of them nearly suffocated; the daddy’s that kissed their little girls gently and gave their sons the nod as if to say, “You’re the man of the house now, son. Take care of your mom and siblings.” Then, I saw all the news footage of the women who left: married women, mothers, and single mothers. They were all leaving this country, the comforts of their homes, and…they were all leaving broken and worried hearts behind. I knew in my heart that I wanted- maybe even needed- to do something to show my appreciation for what these brave heroes are doing for all who reside in the United States. I just didn’t know what I could do.

Years passed and we are still fighting a war, and some might even say we are fighting several wars in many places. It doesn’t really matter to those who have someone “over there”. The fact is they are not here- at home- and they aren’t even in their own homeland. I have had cousins and acquaintances “fight in the war” and we’ve even prayed for them weekly at church. I’ve seen our local soldiers depart and return and I’ve seen the local news reporters outside the homes of those who did not make it back. Still, I didn’t know what my part would be.

My daughter’s junior high years were suddenly upon us and with it a new friend was made when she transferred to my daughter’s school. Laurie* was in a grade younger than my daughter, but they played on the same school basketball team and soon became fast friends! Laurie’s mom would pick her up after practices, dressed in her army fatigues. We soon talked and I learned that Sgt. Jackie*, a single mother, had five children: two high school boys, Laurie, and a seven year old son, and a two year old son. Our girls were similar in age and our babies were the same age. We live near a base therefore, we’ve met many military parents over the years, but we were not as close to any as we became to Sgt. Jackie’s family.

Shortly after the basketball season began we noticed that Sgt. Jackie had not been to games in quite some time. When I asked my daughter about it she informed us that Sgt. Jackie had been deployed to Afghanistan. She is gone for months at a time and the kids are left with friends, the youngest boy stays with his babysitter’s family. The eldest son must carpool the younger kids to school and pick them up from day cares when he is done with his high school basketball practice at the end of the day.

This is where I found the service that my family could do. We, along with another school family, have become Laurie’s second family whenever her mother is deployed. We have a place for her to sleep, stock up on her favorite foods, and my husband even stayed up well past 1:00 a.m. one Sunday night, as we’d do for our own children, to help Laurie finish a school project. We have a bag of Laurie’s clothes in our home and it is not unusual to do a load of laundry and find a sock, t-shirt, or pajamas of Laurie’s in the mix. Sgt. Jackie’s younger children became our own children and we love them as such.
Sgt. Jackie has been deployed many times over the years and can be gone for weeks to months at a time, but with no family in-state, she must rely on help from trusted friends.

Sgt. Jackie’s children are pretty tough and resilient. They are happy and make friends easily. I love the energy that Laurie brings to our home. She jokes and teases with me as I do with her and my other children. She is fully aware that this is her second home and when she is here we can often find her rummaging through the refrigerator at midnight for a snack. I bring her lunch as I do for my own and I deal with school issues on her behalf as her own mother would do if she were here…and not “over there”!

I can’t even begin to fathom the strength that Sgt. Jackie has to have in order to leave her children each time and to allow herself to fully focus on the challenges she faces. I don’t know how her children are able to cope, but they do, and they do it well. I know they miss her immensely, but they know that their mommy is a true American hero! And for that we are all very grateful and blessed!

*names have been changed

November 5, 2009

"Eyes of the World"

Guest Blogger
Written By:April Pohren,
© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved

Take a close look at the world around us. A world that knows hate, anger, greed and the desire for more. Step back from that world. Step into your heart, into your soul. Look within the eyes of the innocent youth, the suffering and shunned. This is our world to nurture and take within the gentle palms of our hands to cradle and care for, not to destroy. Every being is part of this life, this world. Not a small part, but a vital part of a whole.

With that being said, I feel that during this month of Thanksgiving, each of us should take a step back, look within ourselves and strive to be a better person, in at least one way or another. Be thankful for the greatness around us, even through hard times and upset, there are always things to be thankful for, someone to treasure and cherish. Each and every day should be a time to give thanks, to give of yourself. A smile and a kind word are often times worth all the riches in the world. The simple things in life are often the most memorable and life-altering.

Recently I caught the new Brad Paisley video for “Welcome to the Future” and was touched beyond words. Have you ever read, heard or seen something that just left you trembling and overwhelmed? This is what happened as I watched this video. The words in the first paragraph of this is what shot through my mind as I watched the mini movie. Often people get so caught up in their own lives, the hectic comings and goings, the making of more money, looking out for themselves, that the true meaning of life can get lost in the shuffle. There are so many deserving people out there that just need a little help, a friend, someone that is willing to listen. I have always been what you would call na├»ve, thinking that everyone has goodness within them (okay, I know there is evil out there, but for the most part…). You never know when just a smile will light up someone’s day and bring a spark of happiness. Strangers that you meet, friends, family, cashiers, workers, everyone deserves the time it takes for a small kind word or smile. Everyone can afford these treasures.

I am, personally, thankful for each and every person who has entered my life, is in my life now and for those who are to enter my life in the future. Each and every person makes up the building blocks to our lives and our world, no matter if it’s a pebble or a brick. Without them, things would be different in some small, or perhaps large, way. So always keep in mind that your actions may help to build up someone’s world, or create a chink that may lead to a bit of a crumbling. Yes, I know, let’s add a bit of pressure to our already stressful lives. It is so important that we each realize the powerful impact that we have on one another and to take charge of that and use it for good.

If each of us puts kindness forth, imagine stepping back and looking upon the world. Look within the eyes of those people full of hope, where hope was only an ember about to burn out. Look within the eyes of the innocent who are able to continue to remain innocent, knowing that there is goodness and kindness. Look upon those once shunned, who now know the joy of belonging. Look within your heart, knowing that you have made a difference with your small acts that are huge in scale to another person. Be thankful for every breath you take, it is a priceless gift. Feel the gift of knowing you have shared a bit of yourself to brighten another’s life, as it blankets you in a priceless warmth. Remember to always be thankful, even the things that seem small are huge in worthiness.

Written By:
April Pohren,

"Cafe of Dreams"

Brad Paisley video for “Welcome to the Future”

October 27, 2009

October the deadliest month of the war for U.S.

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
The US military provides the finest training and has the most sophisticated weapon training in the world. All airmen, marines, soldiers, and sailors know that personal sacrifice is inherent in the job of service to their country. Sometimes the sacrifice is exposure to trauma that impacts emotional and/or physical health. Sometimes the sacrifice is life itself. Spouses and families of military personnel also make huge sacrifices and suffer "collateral damage" when their loved one are suffering from the effects of trauma. Know the signs, get the help.

October 25, 2009

Mothers, Wives and Love Ones,

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
Our soldiers are deployed to countries all over the world. Without the presence of us as a family, and friends, a soldier can become lonely and feel detached from the people and places they once knew so well. It can be both frightening and boring. Many times letters and care packages from home are the very things that keep a soldier’s spirits up. Correspondence from home not only gives the soldier something to look forward to but it also helps him/her to feel connected to their home. More importantly, letters of support and thanks help a soldier to feel valued and appreciated for the sacrifices they make. Many soldiers do not have a lot of family back home to send letters and packages. Writing letters to a soldier is a great opportunity to become active in giving back. Never forget them. Never lose touch with them, support them in all they do. Some of us may not support the war but we must support our love ones at war.
I, a mother of a soldier, understand now why Basic training is mentally and physically challenging. It prepares our soldiers for what is ahead of them. Be proud of them. Thank them, be there for them.

October 20, 2009

Military Career

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
Every day, many thousands devote themselves to protecting freedoms, maintaining peace, providing relief and supporting policy around the globe.
Basic training provides these soldiers with tools that are needed to succeed.

September 4, 2009

Great Quote!

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." --Winston Churchill

August 25, 2009

SrA. Lopez brings smiles to Iraqi Children

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
At the break of dawn over the hot Iraqi desert, hundreds of Iraqis line up to visit their relatives at Camp Bucca, which hold thousands of detainees.

Before sunrise, I, Senior Airman Lopez from the 586 ESFS/VISITATION
Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron (ESFS) prepare for the visitors entering the installation.
“I will show them the respect and dignity, so that the family members are able to see how I, a soldier of the U.S. Military treated the detainees.” Says, Senior Airman Lopez
While in the TIF the detainees are fed, clothed, and they are housed in a climate controlled facility.

My duties include processing visitors to see their family members, process daily interactions with the visitors and detainees that contribute to our counterinsurgency efforts and that are making a difference in support of the strategy to build a strong and stable Iraq.

“My interaction with the Iraqi people was an experience that I would not be
able to forget,” says Senior Airmen Natalie Lopez 586th ESFS member deployed from Dyess AFB, Texas.

I feel like that I had accomplished something at the end of each day.
I would like to say that I am one of many soldiers that are showing the Iraqi people a different side of the U.S. military and what we are capable of doing. We are here to help them to rebuild their country, not to harm them.

“I am one of many, United States Security Forces that took the necessary precautions to ensure that the atmosphere was pleasant around the visitation facilities”, says Senior Airmen Lopez

While the Airmen handle the procedures and their responsibilities, we also ensure that visitors are treated with the utmost respect and courtesy during their interactions.
Many of us Airman even took the time to learn Arabic.
“I tried my best with my Arabic to speak to them, and make them feel comfortable in talking to me and making sure they had a good visit,” says Senior Airman Lopez

“It made them feel comfortable; yes, I am wearing an American uniform, and very proud of it, but I can also speak their language enough to get the job done, which is a plus for me.”

As Iraqi families visiting Camp Bucca, they are processed through the visitation
center, and they are moved into waiting rooms before meeting with
their detained relatives. During these waiting periods, the energetic Iraqi
children play soccer with the Airmen or enjoy the playground; many smiles are exchanged among the Airmen and children - a universal gesture. Not only laugh and play with the children, but also we learn from one another’s culture, and learned to respect that. We also exchanged gifts. You may be familiar with the combat bracelet made from 550 cord. I would make a few and the children and I would exchange for one of their Iraqi dollars or a toy they may want to trade. It was all in fun. Sometimes I just handed them out.

“I have volunteer my spare time to freehand a drawing and painted, that of the characters “Mulan”, and “Rosie the Riveter", in the visitation area, which all the children seem to enjoy”. Why these women murals? You may be asking yourself, it’s to show women of strength, hoping by doing this will show them that they can make a difference in their country instead of following,” says Senior Airman Lopez.

Once their waiting period ends the visitors get on a bus which takes them to meet their loved ones.
The detainees are authorized two visits per month. When the two-hour
visitation begins, Iraqi families and the detainees are allowed to interact with
each other for 2 -3 hours.

The visits conclude the same way. Additionally, we do our best
to ensure the detainees are not humiliated in front of their loved ones, nor do
their family members ever see the detainees handcuffed.
The visitation program for detainees and their families allows Airmen
at Camp Bucca to promote goodwill between U.S. military and the Iraqi
people, a step forward in rebuilding Iraq.

“I feel that I am making the Iraqi people understand that the Americans
are here to help them,” says Lopez. “They know the task will eventually be
theirs to rebuild their country”.

I, as many other Airman conducting the detainee family visitation mission at
Camp Bucca with precautionary measures, but we use respect, generosity and smiles as our weapons of choice.

“I am proud to be an American” says Senior Airman Lopez.

July 23, 2009

The MTI Code

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
The Military Training Instructors Hat that I Wear Is a symbol of Honor, Integrity, And Excellence in Military Deportment. My Job is one of the most important in the Air Force and I will spare no effort to properly prepare young men and women for military Duty.
I am dedicated to the principles of Fairness, Firmness, and Honesty in my dealing with those entrusted to my charge. I am pledged to strive for perfection and reject mediocrity both in my personal behavior and in the performance of those for whom I am responsible.
I am an Air Force Military Training Instructor!!!

May 29, 2009

Military Training Instructor School

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
Natalie is being fitted for her Smokie Hat.

May 28, 2009

Another Coin

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
Another Accomplishment Coin to be added to the collection

May 15, 2009

Speaking as a mother of a soldier

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved

I have never been to war, but I have sent a child. Twice.

My husband is a Marine, a Vietnam Veteran. My son is a Army Veteran,and My daughter is in the Air Force Security Forces, and Veteran of two Wars, Afghanistan and Iraq at the age of 23.

I received many encouraging words from moms when I mention that watching a child go to war is the most heartbreaking event a parent can endure. I spent my child's growing up years making sure she knew right from wrong and, hopefully, I have taught her life's values.

I guess the feelings are the same for those left behind when it is a wife or a husband that leaves. Yet, I can assure you that the intensity is different. It's a feeling that only mothers can identify with.

We, as parents, smile bravely as our own soldiers leave, and we tell ourselves, "Be strong, we'll find the strength." The truth is we find only distractions from our pain. We go through our daily routines, and we attempt to maintain some serenity, but life has changed for us.

I think about my daughter all day in everything I do. When I eat, I wonder what she is eating. Is she eating a hot meal or a cold meal? I shop to send items my daughter needs.

I put together a care package, and I stand in long lines at the post office to mail it. As I wait my turn, I talk about her to anyone who listens. The pictures are pulled out, and everyone wants a glimpse of one of our heroes. I pray for her safety, and all those soldiers overseas.

I learn to use computers, cell phones, webcams, and other available technology in order to stay in touch with her. I listen for my computer to make that distinct sound (a ring, ring) which announces that my daughter is online. I hear my phone make that special sound my daughter programmed into the cell phone so I would know it is she on the other end.

Standing in line, people around me smile when I explain, "It's my daughter. She's calling from Iraq." Many times, people tell me, "Thank your daughter for me."

Let the soldiers know you care. Don't hesitate to shake the hand of soldiers when you see them walking down the street, taking a subway, or riding a bus. They will feel grateful for that one small gesture -- their sacrifices noticed, their efforts rewarded.


"God Bless USA."

April 17, 2009

Military Sisters: Natalie & Jessica

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
Buddies from Military Security Forces, back in states meet up again.

April 12, 2009

LatinaLA Newsletter

Everyone read this newsletter: a piece that Natalie wrote was published

April 9, 2009


© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved

Please congratulate the following SFS Airmen on her win at the group
level and wish her luck at wing level. Keep up the good work.

Amn - SrA Natalie J. Lopez (7 SFS)

Lt Col, USAF
Commander, 7th Security Forces Squadron

March 31, 2009

SFS 1st Quarter Winner

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reservedThe competition at the NCO for the SFS 1st Quarter Winner was very intense at the Airman Level. Congratulations Amn of the Qtr-SrA Natalie J.Lopez

March 30, 2009

March 23th, 2009 in Washington DC

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
Natalie was selected from her Wing, to accompany the Colonel and Chief to Washington DC.

March 17, 2009

Friends for Life

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
What can I say about the women who at first glance appears to be as harmless as a butterfly, but once known you realize that beating inside of her lies one of the biggest, strongest, fearless but yet caring and nourishing heart you will ever encounter. Although the time spent in the presence of one another was brief, the friendship and bond we developed together is and always will be everlasting. I will forever treasure all of the conversations, laughs, and tears and hold them in the warmest place of my heart. Being deployed and away from my loving wife who at the time was with child, was one of the most difficult journeys of my life. Natalie's warming grace strengthened me and helped tame the beast within my very soul. I am so very proud and blessed to have had her as a friend, a comforter, a source of inspiration and above all else, as my sister.
I love you sis!
Your Bro,

February 26, 2009

"Latest Update"

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved
Returning from Sniper School and while on leave, Natalie recieves a call from her Senior, stating that she has been acepted for MTI (Military Training Instuctor) located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas

February 7, 2009

Lopez,Christian and Lauderdale in Iraq

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved

Lopez atop her Humvee in Afghanistan

© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved

Call to Action : Marine Lance CPL Preach

Ten days ago, on Jan. 24, the Humvee in which Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin Preach (age 21) was a gunner was hit by an improvised explosive device and he was badly injured. He was transported to a medical site in Germany for surgery. He was stabilized and transferred to Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where he remains in a medically induced coma. “He is very seriously injured,” his mother said from the Texas medical complex. “He’s lost his legs. He’s lost a hand. He’s seriously burned. He’s very burned. It’s not even day-to-day, it’s really hour-to-hour.”
Kevin cannot receive anything inside his sterile room, but his mom will read him cards and letters that are mailed to him. Cards and letters can be sent to: Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin T. Preach, 3857 Roger Brook Drive, Room 4 South, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234.

Write A Card if you can, Thanks
Let’s show Kevin how much his country honors his service and sacrifice.


Photos of Female Soldiers

Above: the Witmer sisters in Baghdad.
Two of them served in the same unit.

Above: SPC Sutter on a mounted M249 saw (squad automatic weapon) atop her Humvee. Note the Arabic lettering on her MP sleeve insignia. She also has some medical training.