Spc Benjamin Tinkham - soldier in Afghanistan
is with the Ohio Army National Guard Reserves based out of St Marys.
Deployment is with the 37th IBCT as part of "Operation Enduring Freedom"
Ben lives in Willshire and graduated from Parkway in 2009.

His mom is Trisha Tinkham.

Air Combat Command Systems Office help "CARE" for Abused Children

Over the past eleven years, the men and women of the Air Combat Command (ACC) Systems Office at Wright-Patterson AFB have been strong supporters of the Dayton CARE House. CARE House is the Montgomery County advocacy  center for child victims of abuse and neglect.  Its mission is to provide a team response to child abuse through prevention, intervention, and advocacy.

The ACC Systems Office holds an annual charity golf outing to raise funds to support CARE House.  On their most recent visit to the center to drop off one such donation, they learned of the day-to-day items given to the children and plan to have a stuffed animal, toy and food drive to help support the center and uplift the children's spirits.  Please contact
SSgt Cody Sasse at (937) 255-4688 for further details.

"They have proven that they are committed, not only to serving their country but also to serving their community, said Libby Nicholson, CARE House Director. "CARE House can't thank them enough for all that they have  done, and continue to do for the center and the children it serves."

Individuals present for a recent donation to the Dayton CARE House are (from left to right): MSgt John Proniewicz, TSgt Cesar Camacho, Mr. John McKeny, MSgt David Dollin, Mrs. Libby Nicholson, Director of Dayton Care House, Rockford native: Colonel Joe Schmidt, Commander, Air Combat Command Systems Office, SSgt Cody Sasse, and Mr. Jeffrey Palumbo.



Army Reserve SGT Andrew Stahl Serving Our Country
Army Reserve Civil Affairs specialist, SGT Andrew Stahl, a member of the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, Whitehall, Ohio, has been mobilized and activated for deployment to a forward operating base in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, until October of 2010.
Stahl is a 2005 graduate of Celina High School and has served in the military for five years.
APO AE 09354
New Address for Christopher Thomas Lloyd
This is a new picture of Christopher Lloyd sent from this family.

See below for his most recent address for sending mail and other items.
His family thanks you.

Lloyd, Thomas
Taskforce Tiger 161
FOB AltimurA
P O  A E  09364




Former Rockford Resident Serving Our Country in the U. S. Army



U.S. Army Sergeant Ben Younker, Airborne 17th Cavalry, who recently made his Sergeant commission on October 1, 2009, came home in November from a tour of duty in Iraq and Egypt.  A 2000 Celina High School graduate, Ben and his sister, Cassie (Younker) Seals grew up in Rockford and still have some family in the area, where she continues to make her home. Ben married Brandi Lawson, from Celina, and has 3 sons, Kaine, 8, Bryson, 5, and Landon, 2. Ben enlisted in 2000 with the reserves and is currently on active duty. His brief visit in Celina with his family was celebrated by them, and he has now returned to the Middle East for a four month tour in Afghanistan. Following the assignment, he will be stationed at Fort Bragg, NC.  

His new address is:

SGT. Younker Benjamin
Operation Enduring Freedom
Task Force Saber APO AE 09355



Thomas Christopher Lloyd a 2008 Parkway graduate is in the Army
He would love to hear from everyone.

His new address is:
P F C Chris Lloyd     
328 Castle Dr. 
Ft. Bragg N. C. 28307       

Chris will be home November 14th through November 28th for his block leave; then in DEC. 2009 he will deploy to Afghanistan . On March 13th 2009, he married Megan Cheek also a Parkway Graduate. He is stationed at Ft. Bragg,  North Carolina and is in the 161st ESC 27th EN.BN. 

Rockford Patrolman Now Studying in Europe as Army Reservist
Army Reserve Specialist Andrew Stahl, a member of  the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, Whitehall, Ohio, is currently attending The  Partner Language Training Center, Europe (PLTCE), Garmisch, Germany.  The  Language Center is located at the George C Marshall Center for Security  Studies.

The Marshall Center is a renowned international  security and defense studies institute that promotes dialog and understanding  among the nations of North America, Europe, Eurasia, and beyond.
The 412th Civil Affairs Battalion is one of the  newest in the Army Reserves.  Soldiers of the unit perform challenging  missions such as humanitarian assistance, dislocated civilian operations, and  routinely act as a liaison with the US Embassies, and other international  organizations.  The 412th's mission is to stop or curtail expansion of  terrorism and all
that it implies throughout the world.

Specialist Stahl is attending a 10 week course and  will return home for a week in September before deploying to Iraq.
Specialist Stahl is a 2005 graduate of Celina High  School, a 2008 graduate of Vantage Police Academy, a current senior at THE Ohio State University majoring in Intelligence and Security, and a Patrolman for the Rockford Police Department.
Abbea Hoehamer Completes Basic Training for Coast Guard

Abbea Hoehamer graduated from the United States Coast Guard basic training on November 7th, 2008.  She did her basic training at Cape May, New Jersey.  She is a 2008 graduate of Parkway High School.  Abbea is the daughter of Robert Hoehamer and Marilyn Long all of Rockford. 
Abbea is stationed at Frankfort, Michigan.  She would enjoy hearing from all her friends.  Her address is:  P.O. Box 99  Frankfort, Michigan  49635.
Hoehamer Sworn into U.S. Coast Guard, Accepting Correspondence

Abbea Hoehamer was sworn into the U.S. Coast Guard on September 16th. Abbea
is a 2008 graduate of Parkway High School. She is the daughter of Robert
Hoehamer and Marilyn & Randy Long, all of Rockford. Anyone wanting to send
her a letter or card, the following is her current address:

company LIMA-180
U.S. Coast Guard TRACEN
One Munro Avenue
Cape May, NJ 08204-5083


World War II Veteran, Local Man Darrell Ralston Takes Honor Flight

Each man received and wore a T-shirt that read: If you can read this, thank a teacher; If you can read this in English, thank a Veteran!

World War II Veteran Darrell Ralston, 87, recently took a memorable air flight on Saturday, July 11, 2009, as part of the Honor Flight program that flies veterans to Washington DC for a tour of the capitol of the USA and in particular to see the World War II monument erected 63 years after the war ended.

Darrell, a former resident of Rockford and now living in Celina, was born and raised in the Rockford area on a homestead farm.

COMPLETELY FREE to veterans, the flight is unique and popular. The motto is “Veterans have paid enough already!” Outside donations come in the form of fund-raisers by any groups who feel compelled to support the $10,000 price tag per group flight.

Honor Flight was founded as a non-profit organization in Springfield, Ohio in 2005, by Earl Morse. Morse, an air force veteran, flew his veteran father to DC to see his own Viet Nam Memorial. He soon learned that many other veterans were wanting to go see their memorials as well.  A priority was set for the oldest living veterans, and now April through November sees a steady stream of groups of veterans and “guardian” volunteers who pay $250 for the privilege of accompanying their own personal veteran for the day, most in wheel chairs. Darrell is a spry 87 (he is still an avid golfer) and walked nearly the entire day, but at Arlington Cemetery he took a ride. “The gradual walkway uphill started to wear me out,” he said.

Marine Corporal Binning Stationed in South Carolina
The Shrider family wishes to share the name and address of son-in-law, Adam Binning, a graduate of Parkway High School that left for Iraq 9/26/08. Adam has been in the marines for 5 years, is married to Kelly Shrider who also graduated from Parkway High School with the class of 2003. Adam & Kelly lived in Hawaii then he was re-stationed to Beaufort SC.
Please write to:
Cpl Binning Adam M
MWSS 273
eng co he plt.
Unit 78555
Fpoae   09502-8555
Kyle Randall has returned from his 14-month deployment to Iraq. He will now be in Ft. Drum, New York, to continue his career in the U.S. Army. 10-31-2008


Robert Roehm Promoted to Sergeant....(SGT)

Robert  joined the U.S. Marines in 2006, and his parents are Roland and Teresa Roehm of Willshire. He is also the brother of  Rebekah Roehm.

Robert has a new rank as of October 2007. He has earned a promotion to sergeant!

He is still located in North Carolina, and you may write to Robert at this address:

CPL Roehm, Robert L.
VMA - 231   Airframes
PSC  Box   8066
Cherry Point, NC    28533-0066



PFC Bryttany Heitkamp Continues Training at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii

PFC Bryttany Heitkamp, daughter of Mark and Tina Heitkamp and a 2006 Parkway graduate, decided to take a break from her studies at Ball State University to serve the United States in the Army Reserves.  In early May of 2007, she left home for her basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.  While there, she learned the fundamentals of Army Warrior Training.  On July 20, she graduated in the top tier of her company and then headed for Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, to begin her Advanced Individual Training in the area of Operating Room Specialist.  On Tuesday, September 25, she graduated 4th out of 79 soldiers from her 1st phase of training.  From there, she traveled to Hawaii for her 2nd phase of training at Tripler Army Medical Center.  During this stage of training, she will have the opportunity to train in actual medical activities including surgeries, ortho work, and delivery room situations, specifically c-sections.  She will graduate from there on December 14, 2007 and then begin spring semester back at Ball State University to continue her Junior year.

Bryttany and her sister Peyton enjoy
some time together at Fort Leonard Wood
during Family Day in July.

Bryttany, Grandpa Jan Schlickman and
Grandma Bonnie Schlickman
after the graduation ceremony.

Kyle Randall  ~ Enjoys hearing from people back  home!

Kyle Randall is serving in the U. S. Army in the 10th Mountain Division.  He is currently deployed to Iraq.  He has been there since September of '07 and will finish his deployment in November of '08.  He enjoys hearing from family and friends back home. 

His address is:

Kyle Randall
Alpha Co. 1-87 IN Battalion
FOB Warrior
APO AE  09338

Women of the Rockford Legion Post Sent Packages to Our Local Men and Women in the Military

Pictured at the left are the women that helped do the care package project: Kris Black, Deb Temple, Teresa Heiser and Beth Crider.  According to Kris, the Legion Women are done until September when they will start fund raising to do Christmas boxes for our local military men and women.  "We had a good time raising the money and thanks to everyone in the community that supported us and the project. Please continue to help us by keeping us updated on the current addresses on the troops. A special thanks go out to the ladies that brought up the coffee cans. We'll use them at Christmas to pack cookies. Decided not to do that this time around. Money for mailing the packages and  items of use to our troops will be accepted again in September," said Kris.

If you are a family member of or a military person who would like to post a thank you, pictures or stories on your current station, please contact us at the Parkway Independent.  It is free, and our readers love hearing about you all.

Click Here to e-mail the PWI.

Please drop an encouraging  line to these brave men. Send servicemen addresses to editor@parkwayindependent.com

The Rockford American Legion is preparing "care" packages to go to our local servicemen and servicewomen from the Rockford, Mendon and Willshire areas. Who do you know that could use a care surprise ~ a son, a daughter, a grandchild, a wife or husband, a neighbor or friend? Please email your names and addresses of those serving to the Parkway Independent by using this address editor@parkwayindependent.com . Or contact the Rockford Legion members on Bridge Street in Rockford. And remember that they are taking up collections of items to send.


Former Rockford Resident  Flies with the JSTARS Over  Iraq
Editor's Note: This article is posted to the Air Force Website and Features Lieutenant Colonel Joe Schmidt formerly from Rockford and son of Cletus and Irene Schmidt

Soldiers team with combat aircrews to engage enemy

by Senior Airman Erik Hofmeyer
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

3/12/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- Joint combat environments don't just exist on the ground, but also exist in the sky above Iraq.

U.S. Army Soldiers serve as crewmembers on the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft. An Army deputy mission crew commander and two enlisted personnel form a team of three soldiers on the 21-person JSTARS crew to assist in finding, fixing, tracking, targeting and engaging enemy forces throughout Iraq.

"They're a vital part of the crew; we're together whether at home or deployed. We fly, fight, and win together as one joint team," said Lt. Col. Joe Schmidt, the 128th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron commander. "We rely on one another; it's a joint fight anytime, anywhere."

Joint STARS evolved from Army and Air Force programs developed to detect, locate and attack enemy armor at ranges beyond the forward area of U.S. ground forces. The aircrew uses the E-8C's radar and communications systems to provide a one-of-a-kind command and control capability focused exclusively on air to ground operations.

"E-8C aircrews use the radar, called moving target indicator, to detect what is moving on the ground. This radar data is sent via datalink to ground forces operating Joint STARS Common Ground Stations located throughout Iraq," Colonel Schmidt said. "This data is either exploited real time or used post mission by CGS personnel to provide tactical ground commanders a comprehensive and common view of the battlefield for battle management, intelligence and targeting operations.

"Meanwhile, the aircrew fuses the real-time radar data with available intelligence information to provide direct guidance and support to fighters, attack helicopters, joint terminal attack controllers, and ground maneuver units in the field," Colonel Schmidt said.

"We make sure the CGS operators get as much intelligence and data they require to do their mission and keep ground forces safe," said Army Staff Sgt. Gregg Swanson, the 128th EACCS Airborne Targeting Surveillance supervisor.

Ground forces have conducted operations using the information received from Joint STARS to successfully find numerous weapons caches, improvised explosive device emplacers, and border smuggling routes.

"I used to be on the ground in Iraq, looking at the MTI, and now I'm on the Air Force side of the house," Sergeant Swanson said. "It's helped me give better inputs and understand how I can best get ground forces the help they need."

The joint aircrew also aids in communication between the services. When things get passed between the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, some things tend to get lost in translation.

"All of us together, with all of our different information and skill sets, are able to better support ground commanders," said 1st Lt. Lawrence Brown, 128th EACCS air weapons officer. "It's a powerful mission system with the soldiers combining all of their experience and knowledge with Air Force mission crews."

Enlisted soldiers serving on Joint STARS must be NCOs who have previously served as an Army CGS operator to fly on the E-8C.

Another facet of Joint STARS is that the 128th EACCS, like all Joint STARS flying squadrons, epitomizes Total Force operations with approximately 20 percent of the unit composed of Georgia Air National Guardsmen.

The unit is one of only three operational squadrons worldwide, all stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Colonel Schmidt said.

The aircraft and its operators, maintainers, and support personnel have had a continuous presence in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility as part of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing since May 2003.

"I'm proud to say Joint STARS has now logged over 25,000 flight hours serving in either Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom," Colonel Schmidt said.

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

Click here to view the comments/letters page

Link to the Article on the Air Force Site  



Rockford Resident, Jeff Pontsler, Shares Military Packaging Information for Mailing
Rockford Resident, Jeff Pontsler, shares  his experience with USPS  packaging Information for mailing items to someone in the military. "We've tried this service ourselves: it was easy to use; the USPS customer service agent we dealt with was courteous and efficient, and we were supplied with a customer ID number to expedite the process of ordering additional supplies. (This offer includes only packing materials - senders who use these materials still have to pay the requisite postage themselves.)"

Jeff said, "The USPS (United States Postal Service)  has a program for military family members and friends to supply them with packaging materials to send packages to troops overseas. If you call 1-800-610-8734 and select option # 1, Ask them for the "Military pack" they will send you boxes, tape, packaging materials and labels. They will also give you an I.D. number so if your supply runs low, you just call them up and they'll send you more supplies. The materials take about
four to ten days to receive. I don't know if any of you have mailed any packages lately, but if you go to UPS Store etc., they will charge you.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) will supply for free, to anyone who asks, specially packaged Priority Mail supplies for shipping "care kits" to members of the U.S. military stationed overseas. Each supply kit includes
the following:

4 Priority Mail Flat-Rate "shoe box"-type shipping boxes
6 Priority Mail Flat-Rate "garment box"-type shipping boxes
10 Priority Mail labels
1 roll of Priority Mail tape
10 customs forms with envelopes

(The contents of the supply kits changes from time to time and sometimes includes other items, such as water-resistant Tyvek Priority Mail envelopes and Priority Mail address labels. Most of these items are ordinarily furnished for free to customers by the USPS.)

To obtain a free kit of shipping supplies, simply call the USPS' packing supplies order line at 1-800-610-8734, select option #1 ("Express Mail, Priority Mail or Global Express Guaranteed products"), and ask a customer
service agent for CAREKIT04 (or a "military kit"). You need supply only your name, address, and phone number, and they'll get a kit off to you that should arrive within 7-10 days.

The USPS also offers a http://www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/ page on their web site with links to guidelines for packing, addressing, and shipping items to U.S. troops.

Editor's Note:
Thanks, Jeff!
Readers - Remember that if you have someone in the military, the Parkway Independent will post their information and pictures for free.

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