Why We Serve: Army Improves Life for Soldier, Family

By Sgt. Sara Moore,

USA American Forces Press Service  

Jan. 25, 2008 – Joining the Army more than four years ago helped Sgt. Dominic Garza achieve some of his personal goals and improve life for his new family. Before Garza joined the Army, he didn’t have a high school diploma, was working two jobs, and he and his wife had just welcomed a new daughter into the world.

He knew it was time for a change, he said, and all it took was a little convincing from his aunt, who had recently joined the Army.  “I figured it was time to do something quick and something that I know provides structure and gives me focus back into the key aspects of life,” Garza said.  

Garza is now touring the country as part of the Defense Department’s “Why We Serve” outreach program. The program, now in its sixth iteration, takes servicemembers who have recently deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and sends them to various community, business and veterans groups to tell their stories.  

Garza’s aunt helped convince him that the military didn’t live up to many of its negative stereotypes, he said, and once he decided to join, he had new motivation for getting his high school diploma. He already had a General Educational Development credential, or GED, which would have allowed him to join the military, but he said he felt he needed to get his diploma. “It was just a personal goal of mine to get a high school diploma before I joined the Army,” he said.  

Garza got his diploma and joined the Army in 2003 as a motor transport/heavy wheeled-vehicle operator. Almost five years later and after two deployments, he said he couldn’t have made a better decision.  “There’s been a lot of ups and downs, but I look around me and I see my family is well taken care of, way better than if I would have kept those two jobs. They’re living a lot better than that,” Garza, who now has a son as well, said.  “Not only have I grown through the Army values and I’m comfortable with the atmosphere, I actually look forward to going to work and being mentors to all the soldiers that are younger than me,” he continued. “I have no regrets at all. I also know that this is just the beginning for me. There’s a lot more I have to learn, and there’s a lot more things to see out there and a lot more experiences to be involved with.”  

Garza’s most recent deployment was to Camp Anaconda, in Balad, Iraq. His unit’s mission was to escort and provide security for logistics convoys transporting supplies between military bases. He and his fellow soldiers would sometimes spend up to 24 hours on the road, he said, so they developed strong ties with each other and learned a lot about the country.  

Garza recalled an incident when he was driving a truck containing 7,500 gallons of fuel, and a truck driven by an Iraqi came straight toward him without slowing or moving to the side of the road. Right away, Garza perceived this truck as a threat, and was forced to try to slow down his truck and swerve to the side of the road to avoid a collision, he said.

 Despite his best efforts, he wasn’t able to stop fast enough. He hit a car in front of him, and the truck clipped his fuel tank, causing fuel to spill into the street. Luckily, the convoy he was in had a wrecker truck to contain the fuel spill and a security team to secure the area, he said.  “After that, I realized that we had our stuff together,” Garza said. “We had people out there trained to the top of the line. We were pretty confident on the job that we were doing.”  

Later in his deployment, Garza volunteered to be a gunner for a .50-caliber machine gun, providing security for convoys. He said it was great to have a new experience, and he was able to learn a lot, especially when escorting Iraqi supply convoys.  “A lot of those guys, they had a lot of respect for us. They knew what we were out to do, which was to make sure they got from one place to another safely,” he said.  

Through the Why We Serve program, Garza said, he hopes to tell audiences about his experiences in the military and to convey to them that America’s military members are glad to serve.  “Everybody that’s in the military, they joined for a reason,” he said. “They volunteered their services. Everybody has a personal little reason why they joined.”  Garza said he plans on staying in the military and is aiming to become sergeant major of the Army one day. He knows his family is comfortable in the military lifestyle, he said, and he wants to make sure that continues.  

“I see that my family’s happy, so I’m not going to do anything to disturb that,” he said. “I’m going to continue on doing what I have to do as a provider for my family.”

Face of Defense: Soldier Cooks up Morale in Afghanistan

By Spc. Nathan W. Hutchison,

USA Special to American Forces Press Service  

Jan. 25, 2008 – Soldiers on the front lines are used to meals, ready to eat — high-energy, high-calorie packaged meals with little emphasis on taste.  Army Spc. Dairo Orozco, of the 82nd Airborne Division’s Company F, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, is the cook for paratroopers here, and his skills bring an extra touch to the MREs and unitized group ration meals the soldiers eat.  “A (UGR) is just precooked stuff you put in boiling water for about 45 minutes to an hour, and presto,” said Orozco, a 25-year-old Queens, N.Y., native. “You just set it and forget it.”  

Orozco, called “Roscoe” by the soldiers, arrived at this firebase in the south of Afghanistan’s Ghazni province in November.  “I was selected to come out here to do the big Thanksgiving Day meal, because the brigade commander and command sergeant major were coming out,” Orozco said. “I never got replaced, so I did the same for Christmas and just stuck around.”  

Even though it’s not hard to please a platoon of paratroopers used to dining on MREs, Orozco has culinary arts in his blood. “My father and uncle are chefs,” Orozco explained. “My father is the food production manager at Gate Gourmet, an airline catering company, and my uncle is an executive chef at Intercontinental Hotels.”  While Orozco doesn’t have the facilities and resources to create gourmet meals, the soldiers at Nawa appreciated his efforts during the holidays.  “Christmas dinner was great,” said Army 1st Lt. Mordechai D. Sorkin, 3rd Platoon leader, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. “He’s pretty creative; (he) makes do with minimal resources and makes some pretty good stuff.”  

With a UGR as the canvas for a culinary masterpiece, it’s usually difficult for Orozco to constantly rise to the challenge, the Army cook said.  “Pizza-baked spaghetti is the No. 1 product right now, but not by choice,” Orozco said. “One of the better UGR meals is the buffalo chicken and lemon chicken, but most of our food stock consists of pizza bake.”  

Orozco said pizza-bake spaghetti, a meal consisting of meat chunks, noodles and pizza sauce, tops the soldiers’ list of worst entrees, but added that he tries to make the meals as enjoyable as possible.  “Roscoe puts a lot more effort into the food than just dropping it in the water, so we’re not really eating the same thing every time,” said Army Spc. Jeremy A. Clark, 4th Platoon, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. “He’s done the best he can with what we have.”  

Luckily for the paratroopers in Nawa, Orozco has enough knowledge about the local food and spices to make a meal from scratch.  “Probably about once a week he goes out to get local food and cook it up,” Clark said. “He’s a real good cook, and I think it helps out a lot with the guys’ morale.”  Orozco said he originally joined the Army for culinary arts, but the service dropped that military occupational speciality and changed everyone in it to food operations specialists.  “The Army hasn’t been exactly what I was expecting, but it has made me more mature,” Orozco said. “I may not have learned much more about culinary arts than I already knew, but I know I’ll make better decisions once I get out because of my training.”  

(Army Spc. Nathan W. Hutchison serves with 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

Undercover Angel

January 25, 2008 (San Dimas, CA) The January 16, 2008 program of Conversations with Cops at the Watering Hole features an interview with former police officer Lisa Lockwood – the author of Undercover Angel. 

Program Date: January 30, 2008

Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific

Topic: Undercover Angel

Guest: Lisa Lockwood 

Listen Live: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement 

About the Guest 

Lisa Lockwood is a former Chicago area police officer.  During her law enforcement career she worked as a police officer, undercover detective and SWAT team member.  Lisa Lockwood is the author of Undercover Angel.  According to the book description, “Lisa Lockwood endured childhood poverty and an abusive marriage to become a soldier in Desert Storm, a police officer, undercover narcotics detective and the first female SWAT team member. A former beauty pageant contestant, Lisa had to suppress her obvious femininity in order to conquer the “Boys Club” of law enforcement, but her beguiling beauty would become her best asset as an undercover narcotics detective. It was in the gritty world of drug rings, Mafia members and child molesters that she rediscovered the power of her femininity and learned to use her disarming sexuality as a professional asset in ensnaring criminals. 

Lisa’s journey was fraught with inner conflict as she struggled to balance her dangerous profession with a desire to be a complete woman, worthy of genuine love. Undercover Angel is Lisa Lockwood’s illuminating story of perseverance and unstoppable drive, that took her deep into the heart of a violent world and left her in a place of happiness, self-confidence and inner peace.”  

 About the Watering Hole 

The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.  During the first half-hour of the show, the host, a nationally recognized expert on law enforcement, interviews a subject matter expert on the topic.  

 About the Host 

Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement 

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole.


 Program Contact Information 

Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA



Diamonds, fiction and promotions

January 25, 2008 (San Dimas, CA) Police-Writers.com is a website that lists state and local police officers who have written books.  The website added three police officers: Kelly Ross; Bill DiMonda; and, Mark Adamson. 

Constable Kelly Ross is a 19 year member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who specializes in investigating the criminal use of diamonds and jewelry; and he coordinates the Diamond Program, Customs and Excise Unit, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  Kelly Ross is also a jeweler and gemologist and has testified in court as an expert on the criminal use of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry.  Kelly Ross is the author of The Fifth “C”: The Criminal Use of Diamonds. 

According to the book description of The Fifth “C”: The Criminal Use of Diamonds, “it exposes why criminals are so drawn to diamonds, how diamonds are used in criminal activity, and why it is difficult to stop this criminal activity. The foundations that diamond values are based on are the Carat, Colour, Clarity and Cut of a diamond. The value of diamonds is also being re-defined by criminals who have sought out diamonds and like commodities in North America for decades. For criminals, diamonds are seen as instruments to facilitate criminal activity and in this age of money tracking and anti-money laundering legislation, they are also used as a hedge against inflation and the authorities. In the world of criminals who profit from diamonds, the Fifth C is Crime.” 

Bill DiMonda is a former member of the Nassau County Police Department (New York) and a retired member of the King County Police Department (Washington).   As an officer in the Nassau County Police Department he walked a foot beat and drove a district patrol car in the Seventh Precinct. As a member of the King County Police he worked as a Patrolman, a Plainclothes Investigator in the Pro Active Unit and a Detective in Homicide and Robbery.

Bill DiMonda is the author of Street Crazy. According to the description of Street Crazy, “At thirty-eight, Johnny Hardy is not your run-of-the-mill, two-bit punk down on his luck. He is one of the “new breed” of criminals who relentlessly prowl our urban streets in constant search of a helpless victim, a survivor, driven solely by his desire to be free. Word on the street where Johnny made his living is that he’s crazy. Not crazy in the way you and I, or even Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, define it. It is more appropriate to label Hardy as “street crazy.” For this reason he has become one of the most respected and feared figures in the criminal element of the Northwest.” 

Captain Mark Adamson (ret.) retired after a lengthy career with the Bayonne Police Department.  Mark Adamson is the author of four books: The Secrets You Must Know to SCORE HIGH on Your Next Promotional Exam; Attorney General Guidelines Quizzer; The Law Enforcement Manual; and, The New Jersey 2C Quizzer. 

According to the book description of The Secrets You Must Know to SCORE HIGH on Your Next Promotional Exam, “Have you ever wondered why certain individuals consistently do well on promotional examinations while others always seem to miss the mark? I am sure you have heard all the excuses. They are just smart, they had “inside information,” they have more education, they have a “hook” or they are just natural born test takers. The truth is there is no such thing as a natural born test taker. Candidates who have a history of scoring high on promotional exams have learned the secrets of preparation and test taking. By reading this book, you too will learn the secrets you must know to score high on your next promotional exam.”  

Police-Writers.com now hosts 835 police officers (representing 380 police departments) and their 1765 law enforcement books in 32 categories, there are also listings of United States federal law enforcement employees turned authors, international police officers who have written books and civilian police personnel who have written books.

Soldier Missing from Korean War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Pfc. Billy M. MacLeod, U.S. Army, of Cheboygan, Mich. He was buried Saturday in Cheboygan.

Representatives from the Army met with MacLeod’s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.

MacLeod was a member of Company B, 32nd Infantry Regiment, then making up part of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, operating along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. From Nov. 27-Dec. 1, 1950, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces overran the U.S. positions, forcing their southward withdrawal. Regimental records compiled after the battle indicate that MacLeod was killed in action on Nov. 28, 1950.   

Between 2002 and 2005, three joint U.S.-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated an area with two mass graves on the eastern shore of the Chosin Reservoir. They were believed to be burial sites of U.S. soldiers from the 31st RCT. The teams found human remains and other material evidence. Analysis of the remains subsequently led to the identifications of eight individuals, including MacLeod.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of MacLeod’s remains. 

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

Face of Defense: Sailor Helps in Saving Life

By Petty Officer 2nd Class R.J. Stratchko, USN Special to American Forces Press Service  Jan. 24, 2008 – A sailor stationed on board the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry was recognized Jan. 17 for helping save the life of a local Gabonese woman. Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronald Saucedo, a storekeeper, received the award from Gabonese Chief of Naval Forces Capt. Paul Biving Nziengu and U.S. Navy Capt. John Nowell, commander of Africa Partnership Station.

Saucedo was on liberty at Sogara Beach on Jan. 14 with three other Africa Partnership Station sailors when they witnessed four men carrying someone from the water.  “As we walked up to the crowd of people on the beach, they saw my dog tags and said, ‘U.S. Marines, U.S. Marines,'” he said. Saucedo immediately administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  

“I checked her pulse and airway,” he said. “Then I tilted her head back, and somebody volunteered to do mouth-to-mouth while I did chest compressions. Shortly after, the water gushed out of her nose, and she came to. As soon as she started regaining consciousness, we made sure she was OK, and then tried to get additional medical help.”  

Saucedo described the whole experience as scary but credited his reaction to the training he received in the U.S. Navy.  “I was afraid when I began chest compressions, but my training just kicked in,” he said.  The basic life-saving training that Saucedo received is the same training that Africa Partnership Station is teaching maritime professionals from West and Central African countries.  

Saucedo said he believes anyone who happens upon such a situation needs to do something about it. “Always try to do your best, even if you are not the one giving CPR,” he said. “Do something to help; don’t just walk by.”  “Petty Officer Saucedo’s actions exemplify what APS is all about, building trust with the African people so that we can strengthen collaborative partnerships,” Nowell said.  

(Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class R.J. Stratchko serves with Africa Partnership Station Public Affairs.)

New Thriller by Real Life Cop James O. Born January 24, 2008 (San Dimas, CA) James O. Born’s new book, Burn Zone, is to be released in mid-February.  James O. Born is a Special Agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He has been involved in investigations in such areas as organized crime, violent crimes, economic crimes, drug cartels, and police corruption.

Before working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Born joined the U.S. Marshals service in early 1986 as a deputy marshal.  One year later, he transferred to the Drug Enforcement Administration. In four years with DEA, he was assigned to the West Palm Beach field office, and traveled within the United States and Panama. He spent a great deal of time in Miami during the height of the drug wars. His investigations at DEA generally focused on cocaine smuggling from Colombia. In addition, he worked undercover in a number of situations, in one case volunteering to assist the ATF as an undercover agent in the Ku Klux Klan during an explosives investigation. 

According to the description of Burn Zone, “It was supposed to be a low-level bust for ATF agent Alex Duarte, with the hope that he could work it up the ladder to someone important. He just didn’t know how important. In New Orleans to check out a mysterious Panamanian named Ortiz who likes to trade guns illegally and import marijuana by the truckload, Duarte suddenly finds himself in the middle of something bigger than he has ever known. Because guns and drugs are bad enough – but there are other things that are much, much worse. A shadowy colonel who is not what he seems…a white supremacist intent on becoming “the man who changed America”…an attractive FBI agent with a lot of pull and a lot of secrets…Duarte knows he’s in deep with these characters. He just hopes it’s not over his head.” James O. Born’s previous novels have earned considerable praise: 

  • “Field of Fire jumps Born into the ranks of the major thriller writers,” says W.E.B. Griffin.
  • “Field Of Fire is a whiz-bang, nonstop thriller, told with the voice of absolute authority.  Jim Born never lets the action flag!” Tess Gerritsen.
  • “Field of Fire is impossible to put down.”  Mystery Scene Magazine.
  • “Jim Born raises the bar for the police procedural thriller.”–Joseph Wambaugh.
  • “Jim Born is the real thing: a South Florida lawman with an authentic sound that puts  you at the scene. Walking Money is a winner.”  -Elmore Leonard
  • “Top thrill-work . . .”- Kirkus Review, 3/05
  • “Putting 17 years of service with various law enforcement agencies to excellent use, Born delivers a riveting, serpentine tale. . . . This is a terrific debut” – Publisher’s Weekly

James has taken his new book on tour and will be available to sign copies at:

  •  2/15–Murder on the Beach, Delray Beach  7 PM
  • 2/16 – Circle Books, Sarasota,  1 PM
  • 2/16 – Haslam’s Books, St Petersburg  4:30 PM
  • 2/17 – Barnes &Nobles, Ft. Myers   1 PM
  • 2/17 – Borders, Naples   4 PM
  • 2/19 – Books & Books, Coral Gables  8 PM
  • 2/20 – Borders, Boca Raton   7 PM
  • 2/22 – South Carolina Book Festival  3 days
  • 2/25 – Coffee Buy the Book, Roswell, GA 7:00
  • 2/26 – Bayou Books/ Library, Niceville, FL 6:00
  • 2/27 – Citrus County Library, Beverly Hills, FL
  • 2/27 – The Muse, Deland, 6 PM
  • 3/1   – Sleuthfest, Ft Lauderdale TBA
  • 3/5  – Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach 7
  • 3/8    Low Country Writers, Charleston S.C.
  • 3/8 –  Barnes & Nobles, Charleston, SC 7PM
  •  3/12 – SW Florida Museum fundraiser Evening
  • 3/14 – SW Florida Book Festival TBA
  • 3/18 –Barnes & Noble, Wellington  7PM
  • 3/19 – Barnes & Noble, Plantation  7 PM
  • 3/22 – Hooked on Books, Islamorada  3 PM
  • 3/26 – Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ 7 PM
  • 3/27 – Murder By The Book, Houston, TX
  • 3/28 – Virginia Festival of Books, 4 PM
  • 4/4   – Vero Beach Literacy Foundation
  • 4/5   – Naples Press Club conference
  • 4/22 – Florida Library Association 

Contact information for the speaking our: www.jamesborn.comspeakingjamesborn@comcast.net 

Agent: Meg Ruley (212) 593-4330  mruley@janerotrosen.com

Publicist: Yamil Anglada  (212) 366-2574, G.P. Putnam’s Sons  Yamil.Anglada@us.penguingroup.com 

Police-Writers.com now hosts 833 police officers (representing 379 police departments) and their 1759 law enforcement books in 32 categories, there are also listings of United States federal law enforcement employees turned authors, international police officers who have written books and civilian police personnel who have written books.