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You hoped for change? Well you're going to get it good and hard.
In the middle of a war. It has started.
The Obama administration has asked the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon's budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent -- about $55 billion -- a senior U.S. defense official tells FOX News.
Last year's defense budget was $512 billion. Service chiefs and planners will be spending the weekend "burning the midnight oil" looking at ways to cut the budget -- looking especially at weapons programs, the defense official said.
Some overall budget figures are expected to be announced Monday.
The Army is talking about Preventing Sexual Assault... and at Some Soldier's Mom I'm talking about Sexual Assault in the Military.
...there have been over 1,800 convictions for sexual assaults since 9/11/01 -- but, as she rightfully notes, that would be just the tip of the iceberg because as statistics prove, sexual assault is probably the most under reported crime in the world.In fact, it is estimated that only about 26% of sexual assaults in the military are reported... and less than 8% go to a courts martial... At a VA hospital in California, 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military... Twenty-nine percent say they were raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and downward spirals many of their lives have taken since...
Sexual assault changes the victims, and in this case -- victimized by the people charged with protecting her -- didn't just change this woman's life, it damaged it -- forever. She says that if she had to do it all over again, she would never have reported her rape... she thinks she would have gotten a better deal if she had killed the guys! Fortunately, she has now gone to the VA and registered with their military sexual assault counselor and is now receiving counseling while her case in investigated.
You can read the whole thing at Some Soldier's Mom
From the Military Officers Association of America:
Fallen on Hard Times? VA May Help With Health Care
The VA offers an assortment of programs that can relieve health care costs or provide care at no cost to veterans who are struggling financially because of a job loss or decreased income.
Veterans whose previous income was ruled too high for VA health care may be able to enter the VA system based on hardship if their current year's income is projected to fall below federal income thresholds. The fall must be caused by job loss, separation from service, or some other financial setback.
Veterans determined eligible because of hardship can avoid copayments applied to higher-income veterans. Qualifying veterans may be eligible for enrollment and receive health care at no cost.
"With the downturn in the economy, VA recognizes that many veterans will feel the effects," says VA Secretary Dr. James B. Peake. "Therefore, it is important that eligible veterans learn of the many ways VA has to help them afford the health care they have earned."
Also eligible for no-cost VA care are most veterans who recently returned from a combat zone. These veterans are entitled to five years of free VA care. The five-year "clock" begins with their discharge from the military, not their departure from a combat zone.
Enrollment coordinators at each VA medical center across the country can provide veterans with information about these programs. Veterans also may contact the VA's Health Benefits Service Center at (877) 222-VETS (8387), or visit the VA’s Health Care Eligibility and Enrollment Web site at www.va.gov/healtheligibility.
x-posted at Some Soldier's Mom
A long time friend to my home blog, Skippy-san of FarEastCynic, is hard at work on some cheap therapy - he is building up a new blog about DOD personnel policy that will be called The Personnel Roster. Knowing Skippy, this will be about as hard and as sharp as they come.
Right now he is trying to sweep up some Army personnel sites for reference. If you can help him with the Green machine, drop him a line via comments here.
UPDATE: It is up and running. Nice start out of the gates.
Would you like to see one of the world's largest privately-owned collections of military vehicles, including 70+ operational tanks? The National Museum of Americans in Wartime (NMAW) is inviting interested MilBlog Conference attendees to experience vintage military vehicles (World War I forward) up close, on display and in demonstration.
The folks over at The National Museum of Americans in Wartime have organized an optional field trip for MilBlog Conference attendees. The trip is not part of the official conference, but attendees are invited. Anyone interested in attending will spend a couple of hours at a vintage Tank Farm 9:00-11:00 AM, Sunday, April 26. Below is a preview of the experience:
If you can join us or have questions, please click here to RSVP
Andi has more here
Yes we'll be playing with tanks after the conference but the conference isn't just a bunch of milbloggers gathering to score "cheap hits", we actually do have engaging and meaningful and professional exchanges, apparently enough to peak the interest of the President who invited a few of us to the White House for some engaing conversation in an hour long conference. First time in history a President has met with MilBloggers.
Over at the US Naval Institute Blog - Vice Admiral John C. Harvey, Jr. says he's not entirely on board for that whole “milblog” program
...With respect to your comment concerning participation in the blogosphere and the upcoming milbloggers conference, let me speak pretty plainly - most of the blogs I’ve dropped in on and read on a regular basis leave me pretty cold. Too many seem to be interested in scoring cheap, and anonymous, hits vice engaging in meaningful and professional exchanges. There is also a general lack of reverence for facts and an excess of emotion that, for me, really reduces the value of the blog. Incorrect/inaccurate data and lots of hype may be entertaining for some, but just doesn’t work for me.
Guess we won't see him at the conference. I assume this blog stuff is pretty new to him, and he needs a bit of encouragement so I'd like to invite him to at least come to the MilBlog conference, maybe then he can make a better assumption on our critical thinking abilities.
SWJ, Jules Crittenden and Lex have some added thoughts.
Recognize these world record holders? Most people won't.
Their record can only be matched, never exceeded.
What they did explained here
Yep a fine speech - but from the cheap seats a lost opportunity, methinks. Thousands dead and wounded - right now in wars we are waging right now - probably have earned a shout-out.
...they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.The war(s) only got this,
We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.Terror only once. No terrorists or terrorism. Zip - nada - zippo.
We're at war - the nation is doing sump'n.
As everyone knows, times are tough right now. Every industry that makes up the backbone of our country seems to be getting some bailout money.
However, last time we checked, MilBloggers were not on the list! The employees of VA Mortgage Center.com have decided to bypass the government and directly fund the MilBlog Bailout of 2009.
We love reading what every soldier, veteran, friend, and family member has to say and blogs are a great way to facilitate that communciation.
Through this program, we are offering to pay your blog hosting bill for one year. Our employees have decided to do this because the MilBlogging community has done so much for us. So many of you have been gracious enough to give us publicity, inspire us, and participate in our community at YouServed.com.
In addition, many of you have given us the privilege of helping you finance the home of your dreams through the VA Loan Program.
To qualify for this program, you must currently run a military blog and be able to send us a copy of your hosting invoice. This is only for MilBloggers and categorization as such is at our discretion.
We will send you a check for your hosting costs for the last year or current term, up to $150. If you host on a free service such as Blogger.com or Wordpress.com then we will reimburse you for a new hosting account and new domain registration if you would like to move your blog over to its own domain.
To sign up, simply fill out the form at the bottom of page here.
In two hours, we'll have a new Commander-In-Chief. The first change of power since September 11, 2001.
I'll never forget this moment:
And I know several milbloggers will never forget this hour, either. Not many people get an audience with the President of the United States.
I was trying to come up with some words here. I can't. A blogger with nothing to say. Imagine that....
Update: Ripped from Mudville:
This "ice house" was the prototype for a ship? Why, yes, it was.
As explained here.
It is becoming increasingly clear that a small group of radicalized feathered foes are hell-bent on destroying our way of life.
Minutes after departing La Guardia Airport, what the crew of US Airways Flight 1549 faced Thursday afternoon, at 3,200 feet over the central Bronx, was a really quick decision.
The plane had suffered “a double bird strike,” one of the pilots told an air traffic controller at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control.
Teterboro, in New Jersey, the controller replied, and instructed the pilot to fly south along the Hudson River, then swing back to the north to land there.
Instead, the pilot told the controller that they would ditch the plane in the river. They then cleared the George Washington Bridge by about 900 feet, according to controllers, and at a point near the end of West 48th Street in Midtown Manhattan, the plane slid into the river’s smooth, gray waters.
Captain Sullenberger, known as Sully, flew the F-4 for the United States Air Force for seven years in the 1970s after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy. He joined USAir, as it was called at the time, in 1980 and became a “check airman,” training and evaluating new pilots or those changing to new aircraft or moving up to captain. He also was an accident investigator for the union, the Air Line Pilots Association.
US Airways pilots can drill for water landings in a simulator, but no one knows how realistic that is. “You’re landing on a big blue screen,” said one US Airways A320 pilot, referring to the flat-panel computer screens in the simulator.
“Better to land at an airport where there’s actual crash-fire-rescue,” said the pilot, who requested anonymity because he did not have his airline’s permission to speak. But the pilot and other experts said the crew appeared to have done a good job.
Ditching can be tricky. The first step is to extend the slats and the flaps, the movable surfaces on the front and back edges of the wings that allow the plane to fly more slowly and to descend to just over the water’s surface.
Another step is to hit the “ditching button,” which seals the openings in the plane. One is the intake, where the engines grab air to pressurize and force it into the cabin, essential to high-altitude flight. Another is the valve at the back that lets air out.
When the plane is flying low enough, it will generate its own cushion of air, a phenomenon called “ground effect,” that lets it fly even more slowly.
“The whole point is to get the airplane slow, to minimize the damage and the forces on the airplane,” said John Cox, a safety consultant who flew the A320 for US Airways and USAir for six years. Mr. Cox said that he knew Captain Sullenberger and that he was “a seriously good aviator.”
While the plane slows, the crew has to be careful not to let it stall, which happens when the wind is flowing over the wings too slowly to generate enough lift. Mr. Cox said the plane would probably have touched down at 100 to 120 knots, roughly 115 to 140 miles per hour.
Timeline can be found hereAll done!
In case you missed this:
J.R. Martinez was featured in the Daily News
You can find his blog here
Via Patti's Email:
Greetings Angels I wanted to share this with as many of you as I can and also wanted to thank those that sent Christmas cards and well wishes via email. It was great to be home this Christmas and to be able to see my older brother again, last time we saw each other it was over a cup of coffee in Iraq. The family and I are doing well.
As many of you know I not only serve in the military but I also do all I can to take care of my brothers and sisters especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan that are severely wounded.
JR Martinez is a very good friend of mine and we met while we were doing events to increase public awareness of the wounded coming home. He is an awesome young man that I greatly admire and would do anything in the world for him. My daughter fell in love with him the first time she met him and they too keep contact.
OK I will get to the point, JR is now on the soap opera All My Children. Please check out his guest appearance on the TV show the View www.youtube.com/watch?v=skRsfp2nfYI
I just want you to see the difference each one of you makes in the lives of our troops.
"There are some concerns by some people, based on the nature of our hierarchical organization, who feel this is inappropriate -- going around the chain of command," Major General Michael Oates, the commander of the Army's Task Force Mountain, tells Danger Room. "It is not in fact going around the chain of command; it allows us to connect to the chain of command in ways we have not been able to experience before."
The general's blog posts are simple -- questions, mostly, designed to be conversation starters. A quick query, on "what need to be changed," led to an improvement in mental health care at Ft. Drum, New York, where is unit is based. Another on "tour lengths in Iraq" sparked a fevered, 40-comment debate with soldiers and family members taking Oates to task in ways that would be unimaginable face-to-face. "Honestly no one really cares what we think," one commenter wrote. "Asking this question is a futile attempt at appearing to be concerned with the welfare of soldiers and their families," sighed another.
Oates doesn't seem bothered by the push-back. "I enjoy the open engagement with my soldiers. I'm interested in hearing their thoughts. And I have no problem with challenging them in an honest open fashion. I think this medium allows that," he says.
Ironically, Oates had to wait until he got over to Iraq to start his social media push; a lumbering military bureaucracy kept him from blogging, while his troops were stationed at Ft. Drum. "We did not get anywhere with it while we were in the United States because the rules, procedures, policies, and regulations are extremely inhibiting to doing that sort of thing."
In many ways it's emblematic of the Army's uncomfortable, uneven relationship with these new ways of publishing. Some generals see the sites as a security risk -- who knows what a blogger might say? Other senior officers are extending a wavering toe into the blogosphere, with stilted, irregular posts. Army public affairs holds private roundtables with top bloggers. At the same time, service secrecy regulations, read literally, make it next-to-impossible for average soldiers to blog.
The general shrugs the interactions off as no big deal. "Fundamentally what I'm doing is not new. What I'm doing is communicating with my soldiers. What's new is the medium in which we're communicating."
Full story here
To all those who donated in the past to Valour-IT, this is what your donations have given.
(click on image for story)
...there's a man:
Fadhila Hanoosh Khalif is an unlikely candidate for public office. To start, the mother of five has absolutely no interest in the position she's running for. "I don't want to be a candidate. He forced it on me," she says, scowling at her husband, Sheikh Hamid al-Hais, who heads one of the largest tribal-based political parties in Iraq's desert Anbar province. "I don't even know what number I am on the list. Ask him." She flicks her hand in his direction.You have to get a beer or two in her, but privately Hillary Clinton says the same thing.
If one wants to fashion a peace there are only three methods -
Annihilation, Assimilation or Accommodation.
Annihilation is an easy enough concept to understand...in a conflict between US and THEM...just wipe THEM out.
Assimilation is more humane but takes quite a bit longer...the way to get rid of THEM is to make them US. This involves young men and woman fraternizing and eventually making something called a 'baby'. As the baby shares the gene pool of both US and THEM, THEM becomes US.
Accommodation isn't really a way to get rid of THEM...as such it can only be considered a 'temporary' peace. During accommodation either assimilation begins to occur or as history would more frequently tell us...US and THEM are merely taking a break in preparation for the next round of conflict. There is always going to be loud mouth demagogues trying to drum up a war between us and them.
As various people point to statistics on attacks and talk of things like drawdown we should keep in mind that without intermarriage there will be no lasting peace. The one statistic that seems to be missing is war brides.
I fear that it is do to the fact there aren't any.
I want the ending of this story to be true. That's just one reason I don't think it is.
The canister full of cash was parachuted onto the Sirius Star - observed by the U.S. Navy who provided these images - and the two-month ordeal of the 25 crew, including two Britons, was finally over.Other reasons I question the veracity of the report: the only claim that they were drowned in "weather ...so terrible that it blew the boat over" is from "an associate of the gang".
However things went badly wrong for the pirates soon after the drop - they squabbled over how to split the money and then a wave washed off their getaway boat and drowned five of them.
The canister full of cash was parachuted onto the Sirius Star - observed by the U.S. Navy who provided these images - and the two-month ordeal of the 25 crew, including two Britons, was finally over.
However things went badly wrong for the pirates soon after the drop - they squabbled over how to split the money and then a wave washed off their getaway boat and drowned five of them.
The pirates originally wanted more than £16 million to release the boat and its £65 million load of oil. Eventually they accepted the offer of $3million (around £2million).
But as they made off they continued to row about the payout.
'Two of them swam and survived. One is still missing.
The weather was so terrible that it blew the boat over, then sank it.
We got five dead bodies and we are still searching for the missing one. The waves were disastrous,' said Farah Osman, an associate of the gang.
It is not known what happened to the money or those who survived.
And this picture...
...shows a fairly laminar surface, with no storms on the horizon.
Not saying that's conclusive, mind you, (f'rinstance, weather can change...) just that it raises doubt.
More - conflicting accounts:
Abukar Haji, uncle of one of the dead pirates, blamed the naval surveillance for the accident that killed his pirate nephew Saturday.If it's any consolation, I suppose it's possible they didn't drown and instead were eaten by sharks. If anyone knows Mr Nure or Mr Haji, please pass that on.
"The boat the pirates were traveling in capsized because it was running at high speed because the pirates were afraid of an attack from the warships patrolling around," he said.
"There has been human and monetary loss but what makes us feel sad is that we don't still have the dead bodies of our relatives. Four are still missing and one washed up on the shore."
Pirate Daud Nure said three of the eight passengers had managed to swim to shore after the boat overturned in rough seas. He was not part of the pirate operation but knew those involved.
"Here in Haradhere the news is grim, relatives are looking for their dead," he said.
I kid. Still, all the evidence that they are dead comes from statements of friends, neighbors, and relatives. You'd think the Navy could confirm...
And more - Time cites the source of the death reports:
According to the account by the Somali-based news site Somaliweyn Media Center, the pirates had been "singing in colorful tone, and exchanging some ridiculous words" while motoring back to shore in bad weather, when one of their skiffs capsized. Five pirates are believed to have drowned, and four survived but lost their booty. The body of one pirate washed up with a bag containing more than $150,000 in cash — a fortune by Somali standards. The pirates' grim end even resulted in some small-scale redistribution of wealth: "Pastoralists traveling along the shore have slowly collected dollars floating on the surface of the sea, and some brought by the ebb tide to shore," read the account on the Somaliweyn site.
The last of the Nimitz class aircraft carriers is the only carrier to be named for a carrier pilot.
The Army apologizes for the "Dear John Doe" letters.
Missed the opportunity to embark aboard the USS Kearsarge during Operation
Continuing Promise last year? Embedded with the Kearsarge and want to do it
again? Here are two more opportunities, one is just around the corner, and
the other is a few months away.
In mid-January, Africa Partnership Station (APS) aboard USS Nashville will
depart for a five-month deployment to the Gulf of Guinea. There will be
opportunities to meet the ship in several of the ports in the Gulf of
Guinea. Consider embarking aboard USS Nashville in Rota, Spain or Dakar,
Senegal in late January/early February timeframe. APS Nashville will also
visit Ghana, Gabon, Cameroon, and Nigeria. The time in between major
deployments is covered by mobile training team visits, maritime patrol
aircraft exercises and port visits by individual naval vessels.
APS is an international initiative developed by United States Naval Forces
Europe, which aims to work cooperatively with U.S. and international
partners to improve maritime safety and security in Western Africa as part
of U.S. Africa Command's Theater Security Cooperation program.
If you are interested in embarking, or would like additional information
about the deployment or APS, please contact Lt. Patrick Foughty, public
affairs officer for this initiative. He can be reached at (see below)
or via e-mail at patrick.foughty(at)eu.navy.mil. (Where possible, please
include me on your correspondence, as we'll be helping coordinate blogger
participation in this mission.)
Embark Opportunity #2: Operation Continuing Promise 2009 aboard USNS
In early April, consider embarking aboard Military Sealift Command's
hospital ship USNS Comfort. Operation Continuing Promise 2009 is a
four-month deployment which will be visiting such countries as Dominican
Republic, Haiti, El Salavador, and Panama. If you are interested in
embarking aboard USNS Comfort, please let me know.
The purpose of the Continuing Promise 2009 mission is to demonstrate U.S.
commitment and support to Latin America and the Caribbean region by
providing medical services and humanitarian assistance.
To learn more about USNS Comfort's last mission in 2007, visit United States
Southern Command's Web site
LT Jennifer Cragg
New Media Directorate
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Defense
601 North Fairfax Street, Suite 311
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2007
If anyone is interested, we have LT Cragg's and Lt. Foughty,contact information, just email us a greyhawk(at)mudvillegazette(dot)com.
We all know Gary Sinise's dedication to the troops... and we thank him.
With the help of the USO, my brother-in-law Jack, and my friend Jonathan Flora who used a handheld camera, you will see what happened on a seven day trip I took to Iraq last summer which will air this Saturday night on the FOX News Channel. It was my fourth trip there with the USO. My goal, as always, was to cover as many miles as possible and to take pictures, sign autographs and shake hands with as many troops as I could in the time I had. Stops included bases in Kuwait and in Iraq — Al Asad, Al Qaim, Ramadi, Habbaniyah, TQ airbase and Baghdad.It was the first time I have let a camera follow me around on one of these trips.
A veteran who has been out of the military for 15 years and recently received his AARP card was stunned when he received notice he will be deployed to Iraq. The last time Paul Bandel, 50, saw combat was in the early 1990s during the Gulf War. “(I was) kind of shocked, not understanding what I was getting into,” said Bandel.
In 1993, Bandel took the option of leaving the Army without retirement and never thought he would be called back to action. “Here he’s 50 years old, getting his AARP card, and here he’s being redeployed with all these 18-year-olds,” said Paul’s wife, Linda Bandel. “I can understand, say, ‘Here, we have this assignment for you stateside. Go do your training,’” said Paul Bandel. “But, ‘Hey, here’s a gun, go back to the desert.’” Involuntary recall allows the military, regardless of age or how long someone has been out of service, to order vets back into active duty. “Anger’s not the word. I was more concerned about the financial impact it’s going to do. My pay’s probably cut in half,” said Paul Bandel.
This is open for comments. What say you?
Almost one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of the National Guard and Reserve.... and the military services share these citizen soldiers with their civilian employers, many of whom provide significant support to their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Those employers should be recognized for their support.
NOMINATION SEASON OPENS FOR
2009 SECRETARY OF DEFENSE EMPLOYER SUPPORT FREEDOM AWARD
National Guard and Reserve members and families encouraged to nominate supportive employers
– Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency, has opened the nomination season for the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. National Guard and Reserve members and their families are eligible and encouraged to nominate employers who have gone above and beyond in their support of military employees. Nominations will be accepted at www.FreedomAward.mil from November 3, 2008 to January 19, 2009. ARLINGTON, Va.
So go. Nominate.
Posted at 1757Z
January 01, 2009
Happy 2009!![Soldier's Mom]
Sometimes, it's so sad you just have to laugh...
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