WELCOME TO OLE' BILL'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

AUGUST 2011


THIS MONTH IN QUARTERHORSE HISTORY

1Aug2006 - 1st Inf Div returns to Ft. Riley
2Aug1990 - Iraq invades Kuwait
6Aug1943 - Troina, Sicily Captured
7Aug1990 - Operation Desert Shield Begins
11Aug1965- Operation Barracuda begins, first major combat of a 1st Inf div unit, 2nd Bde, in Vietnam.
13Aug1967- Operation Paul Bunyan ends
14Augto11Sep 67- 1/4th Cav pulls road security during Viet Presidential Elections
15Aug1991- 1st Inf Div (Fwd) inactivated in Germany
23Aug1999- 1st Bde, Ft. Riley units deploy to Bosina.
25Aug1966- BATTLE OF BONG TRANG, Rvn. Read below articles
28Aug1997- Mob riots, civil unrest in Brcko, Bosnia

2011 ANNUAL REUNION - BUFFALO, NEW YORK - AUGUST 17 TO AUGUST 21


FROM THE DESK OF OLE' BILL

Well my friends, I was beginning to think I might slip by without having to worry about Prostate Cancer, but...., It caught up with me. I am scheduled to start me treatments in August so as much as I would love to share some time with everybody, I'll have to sit this one out. Lord Willing, I'll be back next year for the Memphis Reunion and the following year for the Jacksonville, FL Reunion. Everyone have a great time and behave yourself. John, Jorge and Bob will be keeping an eye on you so everybody behave yourself. You've really been super over the years and I will give you all a salute for that. I need to say "Please, each and everyone of you......Have your PSA checked every six months. This dread disease has already afflicted many in our ranks and it's getting worse as we are all getting up in years. since they will no longer let us join up to dodge bullets,I pray we won't lose any of you to Prostate Cancer. OK???OK....I'm finished preaching. Everyone enjoy yourself and we'll all see each other next year in Boogie town.

NOTE! - MEMBERSHIP DUES:

Please send your membership dues to me at my Michigan address. Thanks, Bill Baty


TROOPER IN NEED OF PRAYER

ED Novak, A Troop, 65-66

To all Troopers

Got word today from ED'S wife that ED had a stroke and is in rehab,doing well.
But he needs prayers from all of us to get thru this. THANKS.
Bob Corbin


THIS MONTH IN QUARTERHORSE HISTORY

BATTLE of BONG TRANG, 26 Aug 66
as experianced by Hank Stewart

One platoon of A troop made it in to the main battle area on 26 August. We were the only platoon able to cross a river to the rear of the battle. The other platoon turned around and proceeded to a blocking position near the village of Phouc Cuong. My platoon continued on. We were ambushed about 700-800 hundred meters from where the heavy fighting had been going on. Our lead tank was hit with RPG and Platoon Sgt Richey was wounded. My driver, Roy Weakland and TC, SGT "Ski" were also wounded as were a large number of infantry we had been transporting. Sgt Robles took over as TC on my track and SP4 Schaller took over as driver. I was the machine gunner. The VC broke contact after about 20 minutes and we moved forward after the wounded wereevacuated. We encountered heavy fire in the main battle area. 2 tracks from C Troop had been knocked out by RPG and 57 recoiless. The crews were all dead. We took up forward positions and our one tank began fireing cannister into the base camp. We returned fire with .50 cal and M60s. The platoon leaders TC, Sammy Larkin was killed. Lt. Klippen shouted over the radio to "burn the piss out of those treetops". He was killed right after that. SP4 Stempel was the only crew member left alive. I left my track and went to 16 and took over the .50. Our two tracks were full of dead and wounded and we were ordered to and LZ to have them evacuated. We were supposed to return to the battle but some officer ordered us to provide perimeter security for the LZ. This was about dark and we remained there all night. The one tank from our platoon and 2 other ACAVS remained in the main battle area all night. In addition to the Air Force chopper, one of our dust-offs was also shot down as it tried to evac wounded from the main battle. This happened about 30 minutes after we arrived. Sp4 Schaller was wounded the next morning by spent 20mm cartridges from our air force. They were firing into the base camp well before they came over our positions. Thats how close we were. There was also a unit of LRRPS that first encountered the camp. They were trapped inside the base camp for the entire battle. They took several KIA and wounded. SP4 Larkin and Lt Klippen received the Silver Star posthumously. The rest of us got chicken salad sandwiches after the battle. Lt. Daley took over the platoon until a new Plt Ldr was assigned.

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Battle of SROK DONG, 30 June 1966

As related in The American Traveler by CPT George E. Creighton


On 30 June 1966, during Operation El Paso II, the 271st Viet Cong Regiment suffered a defeat when it attempted to ambush elements of the 1st Infantry Division near the villiage of Srok Dong. Elements of the Division involved in the ambush were B and C Troops, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry and the 1st Platoon of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry.

These units were to cross check point Golden Gate (at which point an armored vehicle launch bridge (AVLB) was to be put across a stream to replace a damaged bridge) and proceed north along National Highway 13, conducting a reconnaissance in force. The purpose of the troop movement was to deceive the enemy as to the actual area in which the division was planning to operate in the future on the Minh Thanh Road. B and C Trps, 1st Sqdn, 4th Cav were expected to return to Hon Quan by 1930 hours on 30 June.

On 30 June, B Trp with the 1st Plt. of C Co., 2d Bn, 18th Inf, attached and an AVLB departed Hon Quan and established a bridge crossing at 0859 hours. A Co, 2/18 Inf, remained at Hon Quan as a reaction force. C Trp was to depart Hon Quan at 0730 hrs with C Co(-); however, this column was delayed until B Trp could reorganize. At 0910 hours the column finally crossed the Golden Gate with B Trp leading and proceeding north on Highway 13 to the operational area. Upon arrival at Check Point 1, the 3d platoon, B Trp, with the platoon of infantry turned east and conducted a reconnaissance to the ford at Check Point 2. Due to the depth of the ford, the platoon retraced the route to Check Point 1, turned north on Highway 13, passed through the 1st Platoon and continued north. The order of march was 3d Plt with attached Infantry, Troop Command Group, 2d Plt and 1st Plt.

Meanwhile, C Trp with C Co(-) arrived at Check Point 1, where it turned west and proceeded to the first stream. Three mortar carriers, 10 infantrymen and the 3d plt remained at Check Point 1 and established a perimeter. The mortars were laid to the west to support the Trp(-) which, having crossed the stream now, dismounted the Infantry and deployed. At about 0938 hours when the lead personnel carrier of B Trp, moving north on Highway 13 towards Loc Ninh, reached a point midway across a rice paddy, it began to receive mortar, small arms and recoiless rifle fire and appeared to be the only one engaged.

1LT James P. Flores, B Trp Commander, could see the mortar rounds bursting from his position in the column about 800 meters to the rear of the lead vehicle. He immediately called the Squadron Commander, LTC Leonard Lewane, who was over the area in a light observation helicopter (LOH). The 3d Plt, B Trp, reported receiving heavy fire from the northeast and northwest. A pre-planned airstrike, which was currently in progress, was dirverted to the action by LTC Lewane at LT Flores' request. The Lieutenant then called the 2nd plt forward and deployed them around the 3d Plt. The 2d Plt brought it's two tanks and one from the 1st Plt forward. By this time all but one tank and an APC of the 3d plt had returned to Check Point 1 with wounded and to replenish ammunition. All platoons were now in contact on both sides of the road, with the heaviest volumn of fire coming from the west. The VC had set up the ambush in the shape of an "L" with a heavy security element crossing the road along the trail north of the rice paddy. The logs, piled at random to the west of Check Point 3, afforded good protection and some of the recoiless rifles were probably located there.

Mortars were reported by the forward air controller (FAC) in the woods north of the villiage of Stok Dong.

The ambush extended for about 2,000 meters and, except for the security element to the northwest of Check Point 3, the eastern side of the road was lightly defended. The VC appeared to be lined up all along the west side of the road with the heaviest vegetation. They were wearing a variety of Khaki, Black and Green uniforms. The VC recoiless rifles caused most of the trouble and were also the most difficult to locate. During the first 30 minutes of contact, the enemy concentrated on knocking out the tanks. All four B Trp tanks were disabled from hits.

An intermediate aid station and strongpoint had been established at Check Point 1. Due to the intensity of fire there, "Dust Off" aircraft could not land; consequently, the Squadron Operations Officer set up the landing zone (LZ) at the Golden Gate. The evacuation of wounded was supervised by medical aidman PFC Charles F. Anderson, Chicago, who accompanied the first of the injured to the rear. For more than two hours, PFC Anderson, as the only medic available, tended the wounded and prepared them for evacuation by "Dust Off" helicopters. He kept the evacuation point in operation during a mortar attack and under small arms fire. Though nearly exhausted when medical help finally arrived, Anderson continued to work until the last wounded man had been evacuated. He was later awarded the Silver Star Medal.

B Trp concentrated on laying down a heavy base of fire to the west. Airstrikes, which had been continuous since the initial contact, were being placed to the north and west. Artillery was attacking enemy targets to the east of Highway 13, while armed UH1Bs (Hueys) and CH 47s (Chinooks), nicknamed "Guns-A-Go-Go" were making firing passes north and south on the areas immediately adjacent to the road.

It appeared to Lieutenant Flores that the VC were attempting to cut him off from Check Point 1 when the 1st Plt reported receiving fire. An airstrike was immediately called in and the fire slackened at this location. The remainder of the elements at the head of the column were still receiving heavy fire from all types of weapons when Lieutenant Flores called LTC Lewane, requesting C Trp to reinforce his unit.

When the first contact was reported, CPT Stephen Slattery, C Trp Commander, ordered the infantry to mount up and prepare to move back to Check Point 1, establish a strong point and be prepared to assist B Trp. The 3d Plt had been receiving some light fire at Check Point 1 but when the other platoons arrived, the fire became more intense. Several infantrymen riding atop the APCs were hit as mortar rounds started falling into the area. CPT Slattery ordered the platoons to deploy and push out the perimeter to the north. The 3d Plt was operating northwest of the crossroads, the 1st Plt to the east and the 2d Plt to the west and southwest. The mortars had been relaid to he north. Check Point 1 was jammed with C Trp's maneuvering and vehicles returning with B Trp wounded. It continued to receive heavy small army fire, mostly from the west of the road. Mortar and recoilless rifle fire was being answered with a heavy volumn of .50 caliber fire from APCs at the road junction.

LTC Lewane ordered C Trp to push north and relieve the pressure on B Trp. The 3d Plt was finally able to push north with a tank from the 2d Plt. About 200 meters from Check Point 1, the tank was hit in the turrent, seriously injuring the Commander and loader. They were pulled from the tank and evacuated. The damage tank continued to move north and remained in the fight.

The C Trp column consisted of the 2d Plt, 1st Plt and the Troop Command. The 3d Plt, C Co(-) and the mortars remained at the crossroads. Intense fire was maintained by the APC's and the tank. The brush was so thick and close on both side of the road that grenades were just tossed over the sides of the vehicles.

About 600 meters from the location of it's first hit, the 2d Plt tank was again hit but the driver kept on going, even though the gunner was wounded and evacuated. When the C Trp column arrived at the B Trp position, Lt Flores told the troopers to go furthere north and fire to the west. The 1st and 2d Platoons moved up and deployed as best they could, since they were confined to the area immediately left and right of the road. Fire was directed east and west with the heaviest volumn to the west. LTC ordered C Trp to hold at this point until B Trp could be extracted and moved south. Artillery was firing north and east and airstrikes were being concentrated on the west, but appeared to be to far west. CPT Slattery asked LTC Lewane to move them closer and the next airstrike came in south to north with anti-personnel bombs, which landed very close to the road. With the arival of C Trp, Lt Flores pulled all the remaining B Trp elements back to Check Point 1. A Co. 2/28 Inf, had been alerted for airmobile employment in the vicinity of the landing zone south of Srok Dong at the same time that C Trp was ordered to reinforce. As the first lifts of A Co. were approaching the LZ from Hon Quan, Lt Flores pulled back. B Trp remained at Check Point 1 for about 40 minutes to rearm and get the wounded and dead back to the Golden Gate. The next 30 minutes were taken to move the 1st and 2d platoons back up the road to block; the 3d Plt handled the evacuation of the wounded. Earlier Lt. Charles D. Cole with the 3d Plt, C Trp, had been directing the movement of casualties between the forward elements and the Golden Gate. When ordered north, he loaded C Co. riflemen onto APC's and moved to the head of the column. After the infantrymen arrived, the 3d Plt deployed west of the road and the 2d Plt moved to the east. Lt. Cole's Plt ran into a VC Strongpoint. He was wounded in the chest together with several others before they could pull back.


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Battle of Bong Trang - 25 AUG 1966

As related in The American Traveler 3 Sep 1966


DIVISION KNOCKS OUT 1/2 OF PHU LOI BATTALION. 171 VC KIA in Aug 25 Action. Fight occurs in heavily Fortified Base Camps. by Lt. David L. Raney

In a full day and night of fierce fighting on August 25, the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry; 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry; 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry; and A and C Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry engaged the famed VC main-force Phu Loi Battalion, killing 171 and capturing six in thick jungle base-camp areas approximately four mile east of Lai Khe and 25 miles noth of Saigon of Highway 16. The VC casualties amounted to 50% of their battalion destroyed.

A 15 man ambush patrol set out the day before from Company C, and the Recon Platoon, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry radioed for help at 7:40am, after encountering an estimated battalion in what later proved to be heavily fortified base camps. Helicopter fire teams reacted immediately to the call for help and started firing on the enemy within ten minutes. C Troop 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry and the remainder of C Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry rushed to assist.

Diverted from a Highway 16 clearing mission, the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry and B Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry also joined the fight, encountering heavy resistance in a series of bunkers and machine gun positions. As the fight intensified, the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry was air lifted was air lifted fro Lai Khe and began an attack eastward, locating another base camp and encountering M79 grenade-launcher fire and claymore mines.



By early afternoon, the VC were apparently breaking contact and moving west. Air strikes and artillery from the 1st Battalion 5th Artillery hit the fleeing VC. At 4:30pm, an Air Force helicopter flying a rescue operation was downed by 57mm recoilless rifle fire in the center of the battle area. Troops strung out along the chopper to protect it, because of the thick jungle and heavy action, the copper could not be extracted until late the next afternoon. At dark, the three battalions had only light contact and took up positions encircling the enemy. The 2d Battalion, 28 Infantry was air lifed to a blocking position to the north. Helicopters dropped flares over the area throughout the night, preventing escape under cover of darkness. The next morning, trying desperately to break away, the VC threw out heavy small arms fire at the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, protecting the downed Air Force chopper. After being called in, two Air Force jets barely missed their targets attempting to hit the dug-in enemy only 50 meters from friendly positions. The tragic accident resulted in moderate friendly casualties and gave the VC a momentary lapse in action.

By 8:30am VC resistance had diminished considerably. Air and Artillery pounded likely avenues of escape. The infantry battalions linked up in search and clear operations. Demolition teams from the 1st Engineer Battalion began destroying the large and sophisticated tunnel and cement-bunker complex.

The results of the search operations proved the enemy was not only well dug-in but also well equipped. Found were three 60mm mortars, three rifles, one Browning automatic rifle, one pistol, three radios, miscelaneous medical supplies, pioneer tools, gas masks and uniforms. Later destroyed were 82 60mm mortar rounds, an assortment of claymore, anti- personnel and anti-tank mines, TNT, hand grenades, small-arms ammunition and one radio. Company C, 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry discovered and destroyed 600 pounds of rice. Division casualties were described as moderate to heavy in four companies. The other eight companies had light casualties.

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Battle of Bong Trang - 25 AUG 1966

As remembered by Jim Holland - 1st Infantry Division


On the night of August 24, 1966 C Co, 1st Bn, 2 Inf sent out a reinforced squad sized ambush patrol. The patrol was to set up and watch an area for the four days that we were to be involved in a road clearing mission. The patrol got lost on the way to the site and asked for permission to "coil up" (spent the night) where they were and move to their ambush site when the sun came up. When the sun came up that squad found that they had walked into a battalion sized base camp. They were surrounded by VC and fought there way into a VC bunker where they set up a defense. When they found themselves in that predicament they called back to the company for help. We initiated air and artillery strikes in support of them and at the same time asked for help from the 1/4 Cav. We received elements of C Troop, mounted on their vehicles and broke jungle to move to the assistance of the encircled squad. When we were about 400 meters from them all hell broke loose. We deployed off the cav vehicles and we all returned fire. Our fire suppressed the VC and my company commander told me to take an A Cav and a tank, mount my platoon and go get the squad. We pulled out of the perimeter and headed for our objective. When we were about 400 hundred yards out the company and the vehicles we left were hit hard. I was ordered to return. As we turned the tank threw a track. Because it would have taken to long under those conditions to repair it we had to leave it. After destroying it we headed back in to the fight.

At first it was just C Co and C Troop. Then we were reinforced by B Co 1st of the 2d. Later the 1st Bn, 26th Infantry arrived. Then the 1st of the 16th. The fight lasted from about 8:00 in the morning on the 25th until the VC completely broke contact on the 26th. If your dad was fighting on those two days he was in this donney brook somewhere.

The 2nd of the 2nd had a site at one point but I have not been able to raise it for a while. They were trying to make it a 2nd Infantry site. I will keep looking for it. If it pops up I will forward it to you. I am still in the process of gathering information on the fight and trying to contact people who were with me or their relatives. After years of searching I did find my platoon sergeants children and we have had a good dialog. SSG Anglim was killed that day along with four other men from the 1st platoon. It was a rough one. Having the cav with us gave us firepower that we would not have had without them.

There were too many brave men who died in the Battle of Bong Trang, infantry and cavalry, for it to fade away as a footnote. I have the intention of putting together personal accounts of Bong Trang in a manner which I hope will give it the attention it deserves. I would also be glad to share with anyone else who is interested.

I had only been in country a short while when that fight exploded around me. Prior to Bong Trang I remember reading one of MG DePuy's memos to the field explaining the tactics we were expected to use upon making contact. I also remember that not long after this fight there was another memo to the troops which refined the tactics he had described in the pre Bong Trang memo. I have little doubt that the lessons the division learned from Bong Trang were incorporated in the post fight directive.

Over the years I have lost the directives which Gen DePuy distributed to all of us. I would love to read them again to see if my memory is as clear as I think it is. I am also looking for after action reports that cover that day. If you could provide me with any sources I would be most appreciative.

I have a great admiration for 1/4 Cav. I came to the division reading about the fight on Highway 13 and the Minh Thanh road fight. As I have already said in my first big fight the Cav was right in there with us. In fact it was your ability to bust jungle, firepower, bravery and even your ability to resupply us and provide shelter for the wounded that allowed us to sustain the fight.

For years I have those contemporaries, that were interested, that I have four Cav stories from my time on the ground. The first story took me into the middle of the Phu Loi Battalion. In the second I was riding on an A Cav that hit a mine and threw us and road wheels all over the place. My third encounter was on another road clearing operation S of Phouc Vinh. My platoon had 1,000 meters of road to clear and secure. Two teams consisting of one tank, one bulldozer dragging a hook, and one A Cav each were travelling with us on each side of the road. When we hit the end of our sector I stopped and told the tank commander to hold up. As I was placing security I heard the vehicles start up. I grabbed my RTO and headed for the lead tank to tell him to hold where he was. As I came even with the A Cav, which was about 8 feet below me it hit a mine. The force of the explosion blew both me and my RTO out into the rice paddies on the East side of the road. The ladderite gravel hits made me feel like I had been wounded numerous times from the bottom of my helmet to the tops of my boots (as it turned out none penetrated). The explosion also picked that A Cav up and dropped it on its side up on the road bed while blowing road wheels out past my security. The fourth time nothing happened but there was no way I could convince my mind that it would play out that way. You guys could move and it kept you in the middle of the fray.

I was BG Hollingsworth's aide during the second half of that first tour and as I am sure you well knew his soft spot was the Cav.

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Battle of Bong Trang - 25 AUG 1966
As remembered by Lew Graff - 1/2th Inf Bde who later served 2 tours with the 1/4th Cav

Prior to joining "C" Troop, 1/4th Cav, I was with the 26th Inf Scout Platoon from May 1966 until Dec 1966.

We were right in the middle of that contact. The VC unit was the "Phu Loi" Bn.. It had quit a reputation as hard hitters. At that time the Scout Plt had set up a defense for the 26th Inf CP group consisting of LTC Paul Gorman, a LNO, and 2 radio operators and me filling in as needed. It was a real touch and go situation for awhile. Contact was heavy and the bullets were flying. Overall, that was probably the longest sustained contact that I experienced in Vietnam. We came in early AM on the 25th and it seemed like we were under almost constant fire for the rest of the day and most of the night. I don't remember what our casualties were but we had one radio operator, SP/4 Smith, KIA'ed and several WIA's from the Scout Platoon. I have no idea of how many casualties the rest of the battalion had.

We were pulled out, I think, late on the 26th. Was given a ride out by the, you guessed it, the "Quarterhorse." I can't remember what troop. I'll tell you, at night the sound of the track mounted 50's sure was a comfort. Old Charlie sure had to keep his head down. The presence of the "Quarterhorse" was instrumental in our winning that fight in such a comparative short time.

Col Gorman, later Gen Gorman (4 stars) was awarded the DSC for his part of the battle. He was one man that really earned that medal. He was cool and, as much as possible, had complete control. He actually acted as the battle coordinator and the force commander. As they use to say, "Hell of a good man to ride the river with."

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By Wayne Witwicki

The Summer of '69-Pay Back

Towards the end on July, Garrison was getting ready to DEROS and went back to the Aid Station. I got promoted to senior medic of A-troop and moved to Hq. Platoon. The troop moved north to the vicinity of An Loc under operational control of the 1st Air Cav and swept the rubber trees. Usually we spent the night at a FSB called Eagle I. There was also an Eagle II somewhere in the area to the west of An Loc/Loch Ninh. On the evening of the 8th, Lt. Armstrong saw NVA moving about one klick away and called in a Cobra strike. He got hit in the leg with fragments from a rocket. That's the only time I ever heard of someone shooting himself with a helicopter gunship!

On August 11th we moved through An Loc into the rubber trees to the east of Quan Loi. A surveyor must have laid out the roads through the trees. One road went straight for what seemed like two miles. I was so impressed I took a photo looking forward then another looking back, it seemed to go on a long distance.

One of the crew on my track, Dan Moore, had gone to Lai Khe on personal business, so on the night of Aug11-12 there were only three of us on Hq.63-the troop medical track. Headquarters platoon would split up at night and reinforce the three line platoons on their ambushes. This night we were with A66 and the 3rd Plt. We straddled a road in the trees, put out claymores, trip flares and RPG screens and settled down for the night. I stayed up from 8pm until midnight.

There was enemy activity at the base camp starting around 22:30. The Lima guys had a better view than where I was with the 3rd. At about 00:15 PSgt Sgt. Nolan called on the troop frequency that they had contact. The Troop CO, Cpt. Newell, asked him about an estimate of enemy strength. "Estimate enemy at five-zero to one-zero-zero" was the reply. We began picking up our claymores, trip flares and RPG screens and moved out to assist the 2nd Plt.

The 2nd Plt. had set up its ambush that night at a fork at the eastern end of that long straight road through the rubber trees. The 3rd Plt. was down a secondary road off that main road. The 1st Plt. was closer to Quan Loi screening it from a village to the south. We moved toward the 2nd Plt. at a jogging pace and began shooting up the sides of the road in case we were entering an ambush. When we got in sight of the 2nd Plt. I could hear their 50's shooting and see the flash of their tank guns. My TC told me, as we approached, that Cpt. Newell wanted me "up there." We were still two hundred yards away, but I grabbed my aid bag, jumped to the ground and ran up to A66, directly in front of my track, to confirm what he had in mind. I really didn't like the thought of being on the ground when there were NVA around. Leading our column were two tanks and the 3rd Plt. leaders' track. I wanted to be sure they knew that I was going to be on the ground running past them. With all the shooting going on I didn't want to get shot by my own men. With one hundred yards still to go, I went back down on the road. In passing the 3rd Plt tracks I made sure they knew what I was going to do. The tank TCs didn't seem overly nervous. They were just sitting out in the open behind their 50s, so I didn't anticipate any trouble up ahead. They had a better view of what I was about to enter than I did. I then continued past the 3rd Plt. vehicles and dashed the last couple of yards into the 2nd Plt.'s position.

It was like entering the eye of a hurricane. The 2nd Plt. had formed in a circle with A25 aimed down the left fork and A27 down the right (A24 was in Quan Loi getting something repaired). By the time I got there those tracks facing our approach (Sgts Ribas, Street and Claybaugh) had swung out towards my right. Where there was a lot of noise outside, inside all seemed quite calm. There were four litters on the ground behind A-26. This was the crew from A21 (my old track with the 2nd Plt.). It had taken an RPG hit in my old Jeep seat; wounding the entire crew before anyone started shooting back! I found the 2nd Plt. medic and assessed the situation. Everyone looked good for the moment but one of the crew was chewed up pretty badly on his right arm. Not life threatening, but the sooner we could get them medivaced the better. My thought was to get everyone into the tracks, back down the road and call in artillery and blow the bad guys away.

There was a lull in the shooting and I was able to go back and bring my track up and guide it in beside A21. We lowered the ramp and prepared to load the casualties. I entered A21 to see how badly damaged it was and to see if it would start. It was operational and I couldn't see any serious damage. When I went to go out the back and looked out the main hatch, I saw that A25, the tank next to A21, was firing its CS (a tear gas launcher was mounted on top of the searchlight). An RPG had struck the searchlight moments before. The cloud of gas drifted back across our position. Three of the wounded on the litters jumped up and ran. Another guy and I went in and got out the fourth. The bad guys got real close. A hand grenade exploded 10 feet from me behind the tracks. The flash and sparks startled me; I fell backwards to the ground but wasn't injured. The battle would calm down, heat up, and then quiet down again.

There were more casualties. A26 took an RPG in the trim vane wounding the driver, Sherman. Two tanks had been sent down the left fork, but RPGs hit both. The first tank, from the 3rd platoon, got hit in the turret and continued down the road, idling until it ran off the road into the trees which stopped it one hundred feet away from the rest of us. The second, A15-PSgt Goodwin's tank, caught it from both sides (by now the 1st Plt. had joined us). One RPG struck it in the left side and exploded its ammo as the driver tried to exit through the escape hatch below the driver's seat. Flames shot out through the open hatches.

When these casualties entered the 2nd Plt. position I tried to find protection for them inside operating vehicles. I put our forward observer in Lynn Claybaugh's track with Sherman there to keep an eye on him and help or get me if needed. The FO entered Lynn's track and proceeded to lie down on the ammo cans. I got his attention, telling him he wasn't hit too badly and that I didn't want him to lie down. He then pointed to a quarter-sized hole in the side of his head. I looked him in the eye and said, "Yeah, I know you're hit in the head, but it isn't bleeding, so I don't want you lying down. You are alert and understand what I'm saying." He nodded. "I'm concerned about you going into shock. I want you to sit up and stay awake. We'll get you out of here as soon as possible." He nodded and pointed to a hit in his upper right arm. I put a bandaid on it and told him, "There you go, stay awake, if you start feeling drowsy, tell Sherman and he'll get me."

While inside I heard "Hey, Doc! Look at this." Above me, Lynn pointed to two bullet holes above his head in the poncho he used like a tent. All the wounded were taken care of as best we could. What I didn't know at the time was that there was a big attack that night all over the area. Loch Ninh, An Loc, Quan Loi, Eagle I and Eagle II all got attacked and had gooks in the wire. The Dust-Offs were all busy at other places. My understanding is that what we caught the NVA on their way to Quan Loi to exploit a breech in the wire made by sappers.

While making the rounds and checking on the wounded, I found out that we were missing someone. My understanding was that someone fell off A15 and may have been lying at the side of the road. The visibility was pretty poor and I couldn't see anything resembling somebody lying on the ground. I would have gone, with cover, but I sure wasn't going to expose myself like that unless I was sure that there was someone there. There was a lot of shooting going on in both directions. During another lull in the shooting the Dust-Offs were able to land and take out our wounded. I don't recall any numbers, but would estimate that thirteen men were evaced. The FO refused to lie down on the litter. He may be the only one who ever paid attention to anything I said. I lost my TC, one of three on our crew this time.

After it began getting light out we were able to reach the 3rd Plt. tank down the road. Cpt. Newell motioned toward the driver's compartment-here was our missing person. I climbed through the tree branches to check him out. His shoulder was cold. There was no pulse in his carotid artery (none of us could find a pulse on him anywhere). I found no signs of life and informed Cpt. Newell. Someone climbed inside and pushed up from below while I grasped under his arms to lift him out of the driver's hole. As I lifted he groaned! We got a litter up on the fender, laid him on it bringing him down to the road and getting a better look at his wounds. He was semi-conscious and grasped the back of his head. In the dim light I saw that there was a hole in the back of his head I could put my fist into! How was this guy still alive? The RPG had hit the turret above him, showering him with shrapnel. Then he sat alone for several hours in that condition. Unbelievable! I was able to call in the Dust-off and get him to safety. I learned that he was evaced to Japan several days later and have never heard anything more about him other than that his nickname was "Porky."

While the rest of A-Troop moved away the 3rd Plt. stayed and assessed the damage we had done. I was finally able to get some sleep. Later in the morning we rejoined the 3rd Plt. at the battle site. There were sixteen NVA dead and numerous weapons. It was then that I learned that the driver of A15, Stanley Mensing, had died and was found under his tank. There was nothing anyone could have done for him. During the course of the next several days we uncovered numerous fresh graves of the NVA who we killed that night. The final figure was 73 according to my recollection. If we got 73 of them there must have been many more than a reinforced company of NVA. But, they came at us piecemeal, and never made a coordinated attack. One of the qualities of armored cavalry in Vietnam was that we could absorb as much fire as the bad guys could pour at us (Re: the battle of the Minh Thanh Road in 1966) and still decimate them with the 90mms and 50cals.



Late morning or early afternoon of the 12th, we moved down the right fork at the battlesite to an ARVN compound and village. The ARVNs had a casualty and Cpt. Newell directed some of us to help them. Ron Hamilton, Lt. Jack Tinsley and I proceeded down the road to the gate. All around us were craters from artillery that they must have called in on their wire. When we got half way between the Cav and the ARVNs, Jack asked if anyone thought to bring a weapon. Ron and I carried only our aid bags and Jack had only a litter, so we acted like we owned the place and casually entered the wire. Inside there were holes in the roof and walls of the main building. The entire place looked like it had been shot at and hit. What a mess!

The bad guys must have gotten tired of us and began planting more mines. We were moving down one of the roads reentering the rubber trees when there was the big cloud of dust and a BOOM! I was about the fifth ACAV in line and looked toward the front of the column. Both leading tanks were still headed around a corner, so I knew it was an ACAV. This time it was Lynn Claybaugh's turn. Fortunately, the tanks were wider than the ACAVs and their right tracks left a nice path for me to follow up to the front without having to worry about setting off any "second" mines. When I got there, Lynn staggered from the left side of the track and collapsed on the ground in front of me, passed out. He got launched out of the cupola onto the trim vane and then to the ground. Ronnie Stachura was hiding behind one of the first row of rubber trees. The medic had fragment wounds to his legs, but they were just superficial.

Several days later we located another mine at the same fork in the road. That one was in the trees, not in the road. One of the guys was slightly injured and wanted a Dust-Off. I asked if it could land at the fork, but 1st Sgt. Ponserella grabbed the front of the litter while Ron Hamilton and I took the back, and he headed us down the fork where Lynn had struck the mine only days previously. I don't think I opened my eyes until we stopped, I was sure we'd hit another mine and fully expected all four of us to get blown up. We were completely exposed, no cover at all! If we didn't draw any attention the helicopter sure would have let them know there were targets available. We had an entire Armored Cav troop right there, why not use them?

While under operational control of the 1st Cav, we were assigned a motor pool in their base camp of Quan Loi. On, or about, the 18th of August we were in that area resting, refitting and cleaning up. The cooks were preparing a meal and setting up a chow line. Mechanics were working on Hq.63, our driver was cleaning our M60 and Dan Moore and I were napping in the shadow of an adjoining ACAV when a 122mm rocket impacted near where the cooks were setting up the chow line. Two cooks were badly injured and were taken care of by our new 3rd platoon medic-Callahan-who

had only just joined us not more than a few days before. A mechanic was on the ground behind 63 with a head wound that was bleeding profusely. Jack Tinsley was there to help me with him. Ponserella ran around counting off how many were injured. Maybe he didn't like the way we accounted for all of the wounded. I was able to pinch it off, stop the flow of blood and start an IV before he was transported to an aid station down the road. My driver got hit in the shoulder blade. It didn't look too serious at the time, but he never came back to the unit; so, it must have been more of a problem than it at first appeared. Dan and I had been lying on two litters head to head. He took a piece of metal that split the skin between his big toe and index toe. He didn't come back either. He did write to me to say that they amputated his index toe. He was a surfer from California and can never hang ten again! The side of the ACAV where we were lying was covered with small hits from metal splinters, it's a good thing we were so low and that Dan's head wasn't where his foot had been. This was the third time I lost my crew, two of four.

I left Quan Loi for Lai Khe on or about the 21st of August because my R&R was coming up from August 25th until the 29th. Prefect timing. I'd just come through the hairiest two weeks of my life, so a brief vacation was welcome. Bangkok was similar to any Western city, except for the strange language on the signs and the gold covered temples that might appear around any street corner. The traffic was unbelievable! The cars raced down the streets, wildly changing lanes, almost hitting pedestrians who stood in the middle of the street crossing the road. Then around a corner is a golden domed temple unlike anything I'd ever expect to see here in the states. For my part, I rested and recreated.


FIDDLER'S GREEN

SGT Nicanor Amper IV, 36, of San Jose, California

 
died July 5 in Khowst, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his
unit with a rocket propelled grenade.
He was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, Ky.

**************************************************

Missing World War II Soldiers Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Pfc. Lawrence N. Harris, of Elkins, W.V., Cpl. Judge C. Hellums, of Paris, Miss., and Pvt. Donald D. Owens, of Cleveland, will be buried as a group, in a single casket, on July 20 in Arlington National Cemetery. In late September 1944, their unit, the 773rd Tank Battalion, was fighting its way east to France's eastern border, clearing German forces out of the Parroy Forest near Lunéville. On Oct. 9, 1944, in the final battle for control of the region, Hellums, Harris, Owens and two other soldiers were attacked by enemy fire in their M-10 Tank Destroyer. Two men survived with serious injuries but Harris, Hellums and Owens were reported to have been killed. Evidence at the time indicated the remains of the men had been destroyed in the attack and were neither recovered nor buried near the location.

In November 1946, a French soldier working in the Parroy Forest found debris associated with an M-10 vehicle and human remains, which were turned over to the American Graves Registration Command. The remains were buried as unknowns in what is now known as the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium. A year later the AGRC returned to the Parroy Forest to conduct interviews and search for additional remains. Investigators noted at that time that all remains of U.S. soldiers had reportedly been removed in the last two years and that the crew was likely buried elsewhere as unknowns.

In 2003, a French citizen exploring the Parroy Forest discovered human remains and an identification bracelet engraved with Hellums' name, from a site he had probed occasionally since 1998. The information was eventually sent to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). In April 2006, the man turned over the items to a JPAC team working in Europe. A few months later a second JPAC team returned to the site and recovered more human remains, personal effects and an identification tag for Owens.

Historians at DPMO and JPAC continued their research on the burials at the Ardennes Cemetery, and drew a correlation to those unknowns removed from the 1944 battle site. In early 2008 JPAC disinterred these remains and began their forensic review.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC used dental comparisons for the men and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA, which matched that of each soldier's relatives in the identification of their remains.

At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover, identify and bury approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 72,000 remain unaccounted-for from the conflict.

**************************************************

Air Force Pilot Missing from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Maj. Richard G. Elzinga of Shedd, Ore., will be buried on July 8 in Arlington National Cemetery. On March 26, 1970, Elzinga and his co-pilot went missing when their O-1G Birddog aircraft failed to return to base from a familiarization flight over Laos. Fifteen minutes after the last radio contact, a communication and visual search showed no sign of the men or their aircraft. Search and rescue missions continued for two days with no results.

Between 1994 and 2009, joint U.S.-Lao People's Democratic Republic teams led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, analyzed leads, interviewed villagers and surveyed possible crash site locations. During several joint field surveys, teams recovered human remains, aircraft wreckage, and crew-related equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA -- which matched that of his aunt and cousin -- in the identification of Elzinga's remains.

**************************************************

Missing Vietnam War Airman Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Darrell J. Spinler of Browns Valley, Minn., will be buried on June 18 near his hometown. On June 21, 1967, Spinler was aboard an A-1E Skyraider aircraft attacking enemy targets along the Xekong River in Laos when villagers reported hearing an explosion before his aircraft crashed. The pilot of another A-1E remained in the area for more than two hours but saw no sign of Spinler.

In 1993, a joint U.S.-Laos People's Democratic Republic team, led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed villagers who witnessed the crash. They claimed Spinler's body was on the river bank after the crash but likely washed away during the ensuing rainy season. The team surveyed the location and found wreckage consistent with Spinler's aircraft.

In 1995, the U.S. government evaluated Spinler's case and determined his remains unrecoverable based on witness statements and available evidence. Teams working in the area revisited the location in 1999 and 2003 and confirmed Spinler's remains had likely been carried away by the Xekong River. However, in 2010, JPAC conducted a full excavation of the location and recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental x-rays in the identification of Spinler's remains.

With the accounting of this airman, 1,689 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

**************************************************

Thank to both Bob Corbin and John Vanerio for the following.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010. The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties. Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E - May 25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W - continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war's beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle's open side and contained within the earth itself. The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965. There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall. 39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger. The largest age group, 8,283 were just 19 years old 3,103 were 18 years old. 12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old. 5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old. One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old. 997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam. 1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnan. 31 sets of brothers are on the Wall. Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons. 54 soldiers on the Wall attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school. 8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded. 244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall. Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons. West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall. The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home. The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam.. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths. The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred. That's 2,415 dead in a single month.


2011 REUNION

Following are the Treasurer Reports and Minutes from last years Reunion. Please take time to read them as depending on our scheduled business at our meetings we may dispense with the reading unless someone has a question or correction to be made. BB

1/4th Cavalry Association of Veterans
BUDGET SHEET  FY 2010/11

Beginning Balance as of 1 July 2010:         $ 10,682.92				

INCOME                                         $ 2020.00

EXPENSES

          TREASURY SUPPLIES:                    $ 229.16	
          BENEVOLENCE FUND:			$ 200.00     
          REUNION EXPENSES:			$ 499.43
          BANK MONTHLY DEBITS:			$ 120.00
          HISTORICAL FUND (65-68)               $  50.21
          BANK ERROR ADJUSTMENT                 $   5.00

TOTAL EXPENSES:					$1103.80

Balance as of 30 June 2011:		     $ 11,599.12 


Comments:
		Respectfully Submitted,



                               
                              
                      Bill Baty Sr., Treasurer

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MINUTES OF THE 1/4TH CAVALRY ASSOC OF VETERANS

August 27, 2010 San Antonio, TX Meeting called to order: 4:15 pm by Secretary/Treasurer Bill Baty There were 29 members in attendance. Board Members not present: President John Conley and Vice – President Joe Birindelli. Board Members present: Bill Baty – Secretary/Treasurer. Notice of this annual meeting was placed on the Association website on June 5, 20010 and several times thereafter. Bill Baty gave the opening prayer after which we had a round the room introduction of everyone in attendance and then after reading the Invocation, Bill Baty read off the names of all troopers who had died the previous year. There were 4 post Vietnam deaths followed by a toast to the departed led by “Zippo Red”, Charles Jones. Reading of the Treasury Reports and last years minutes were dispensed with and the reports were approved with no changes. There were no reports from Committee Members or Old Business. Bill Baty thanked all the members who had worked hard to make our 2010 reunion a success. New Business: John Conley, Joe Birindelli and Bill Baty were all reelected to their present positions for another year. Bill Baty vacated the position of Secretary and Jorge Esquilin was elected to fill that position. Bill Baty proposed that the Weekly Newsletter be changed to a monthly newsletter and that it be e-mailed to all troopers who are on-line and mailed to all members who are not on line. Approved John Conley proposed that we create a virtual wall for the “Quarter Horse in Vietnam” with a possibility that we include other conflicts as well. Approved Awards or Recognition: Juan Santiago, 2/2nd Infantry was made an Honorary Trooper. Juan is a member of the 2/2nd Infantry Regiment . Open Discussion Period: Bill Baty reminded everyone that Terry Valentine had copies of Bill Hoponski’s Book and Copies of the Map CD available to sell for funding for the Research Team. Bill Baty reminded everyone that Duke Snyder had copies of his new book available for sale. Motion to Adjourn: Approved Meeting adjourned at 5:00 pm Respectfully Submitted: Jorge Esquilin, Secretary


TROOPER INFO CHANGES

my new e-mail address is: miapow@roadrunner.com
Bill Stanley


ACTIVE DUTY NEWS

Fort Hood Commander Refers Hasan to Court-Martial


American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2011 - By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2011 -- Fort Hood Commander Army Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr. will refer the capital murder case against Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan to a general court-martial for trial, officials at Fort Hood, Texas, said today.

Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5, 2009, attack on troops readying to deploy to Afghanistan.

Campbell, who also commands 3rd Corps and serves as a general court-martial convening authority, made the decision after considering all matters submitted by the defense counsel as well as the recommendations of Hasan's chain of command, the Article 32 investigating officer and his own legal advisor, Fort Hood officials said.

The court-martial in the Hasan case is authorized to consider death as an authorized punishment.

An Article 32 hearing under the Uniform Code of Military Justice is similar to a civilian grand jury hearing.

After a case is referred to trial by court-martial, a military judge receives the case and eventually sets a schedule.

Hasan's arraignment likely is the first matter for a military judge to schedule. A military judge has yet to be named to the case.

At a military arraignment, the judge discusses the rights of the accused, including the right to counsel, and makes sure the accused understands his rights. A military judge usually calls on the accused through counsel to make motions for relief and enter pleas, which may be deferred to a later date.

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President Obama Awards Medal of Honor to Army Ranger
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2011 - President Barack Obama today awarded the country's highest military honor to Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry, an Army Ranger who was shot in both legs and had his hand blown off while saving his fellow soldiers during a firefight in Afghanistan.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry received the Medal of Honor at a July 12, 2011, White House ceremony for conspicuous gallantry in combat. U.S. Army photo

Petry became only the second living veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive the award, which Obama presented during a White House ceremony attended by Petry, his wife and four children, and more than a hundred of his family members, mostly from his native New Mexico.

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, Army Secretary John M. McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey also attended the ceremony, as did the members of the legendary Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, with which Petry served.

Calling Petry, 31, "a true hero," Obama recounted how the soldier was on his seventh combat deployment in Afghanistan on May 26, 2008, when he took part in a high-risk daytime operation to capture an insurgent leader in a compound in Paktia province, near the Pakistan border.

As helicopters delivered Petry and the other Rangers into the area, they were met with heavy automatic weapons fire. Petry and Sgt. Lucas Robinson were wounded as they moved to secure a back courtyard. The two found cover behind a chicken coop and were joined by Sgt. Daniel Higgins, a team leader, who was assessing their wounds when an enemy grenade injured Robinson and Higgins.

Two more Rangers, Staff Sgt. James Roberts and Spc. Christopher Gathercole, came to help just as another grenade was lobbed at the unit.

"Every human impulse would tell a person to turn away," Obama said. "Every soldier is trained to seek cover. That's what Sergeant Petry could have done." Instead, he said, Petry did something extraordinary: he picked up the grenade to throw it back.

"What compels a person to risk everything so that others might live?" the president asked. He said the "roots of Leroy's valor are all around us" in the presence of his parents, four brothers, and other family members. Obama said Petry answered the question while meeting with him before the ceremony, saying that his fellow soldiers are his brothers, and he protected them just as he would his family.

"With that selfless act, Leroy saved two of his Ranger brothers, and they are with us today," he said.

Petry, shot in both legs by assault-rifle fire, picked up the grenade to throw it back at the enemy, and it detonated, amputating his right hand. Still, Obama said, Petry "remained calm, put on his own tourniquet, and continued to lead, even telling medics how to treat his wounds."

Today, Petry has a small plaque attached to his prosthetic arm with names of the 75th Regiment's fallen, including Gathercole, who was killed in the operation for which Petry was honored. Obama paid tribute to Gathercole's family at today's ceremony.

"Leroy Petry shows us that true heroes still exist, and they are closer than you think," the president said. "There are heroes all around us. They are the millions in uniform who have served for the past 10 years." They are the force behind the force, the president added, citing Ashley Petry, who kept their family "Army strong" while her husband was deployed.

Petry, who enlisted in 1999 and also served two deployments in Iraq, could have retired with honors. Instead, Obama said, he chose to re-enlist indefinitely, and recently completed his eighth deployment in Afghanistan, despite continuing to struggle with his wounds.

"His service speaks to the very essence of America: no matter how hard the journey, no matter how steep the climb, we don't give up," the president said.

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Panetta Believes U.S. Close to Defeating al-Qaida
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 9, 2011 - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said he believes the United States "is within reach of strategically defeating al-Qaida."

Panetta, who arrived in Afghanistan this afternoon, said the United States has identified some of the key al-Qaida leadership in Pakistan, Yemen and other areas.

"If we can be successful in going after them, I think we can really undermine their ability to do any kind of planning, to be able to conduct any kind of attack on this country," the secretary said to press traveling with him. "It's within reach. Is it going to take more work? You bet it is."

He explained his reasoning saying there are between 10 to 20 key al-Qaida leaders in areas like Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and North Africa and tracking them down would mean the defeat of the terror organization.

"We have undermined their ability to conduct 9-11-type attacks," he said. "We have them on the run. Now is the moment, following what happened to [Osama] bin Laden to put maximum pressure on them, because I do believe if we continue this effort we can cripple al-Qaida as a threat.

Panetta said al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is most likely in hiding in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Area.

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Please send this to all Vietnam Veterans that you know...

A Thank You to all Vietnam Vets from a Marine in Iraq

A guy gets time to think over here and I was thinking about all the support we get from home. Sometimes it's overwhelming. We get care packages at times faster than we can use them. There are boxes and boxes of toiletries and snacks lining the center of every tent; the generosity has been amazing. So, I was pondering the question: "Why do we have so much support?"

In my opinion, it all came down to one thing: Vietnam Veterans. I think we learned a lesson, as a nation, that no matter what, you have to support the troops who are on the line, who are risking everything. We treated them so poorly back then. When they returned was even worse. The stories are nightmarish of what our returning warriors were subjected to. It is a national scar, a blemish on our country, an embarrassment to all of us.

After Vietnam , it had time to sink in. The guilt in our collective consciousness grew. It shamed us. However, we learned from our mistake. Somewhere during the late 1970's and on into the 80's, we realized that we can't treat our warriors that way. So ... Starting during the Gulf War, when the first real opportunity arose to stand up and support the troops, we did. We did it to support our friends and family going off to war. But we also did it to right the wrongs from the Vietnam era. We treat our troops of today like the heroes they were, and are, acknowledge and celebrate their sacrifice, and rejoice at their homecoming ... Instead of spitting on them.

And that support continues today for those of us in Iraq . Our country knows that it must support us and it does. The lesson was learned in Vietnam and we are all better because of it.

Everyone who has gone before is a hero. They are celebrated in my heart. I think admirably of all those who have gone before me. From those who fought to establish this country in the late 1770's to those I serve with here in Iraq . They have all sacrificed to ensure our freedom. But when I get back home, I'm going to make it a personal mission to specifically thank every Vietnam Vet I encounter for THEIR sacrifice. Because if nothing else good came from that terrible war, one thing did. It was the lesson learned on how we treat our warriors. We as a country learned from our mistake and now we treat our warriors as heroes, as we should have all along. I am the beneficiary of their sacrifice. Not only for the freedom they, like veterans from other wars, ensured, but for how well our country now treats my fellow Marines and I. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifice.

Semper Fidelis,

Major Brian P. Bresnahan United States Marine Corps

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Court Orders Halt to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Enforcement
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2011 - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the government to stop enforcing the terms of the law that prevents openly gay service members from being in the military.

The Defense Department will comply and is informing commands worldwide of the court's order, Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan said.

The court lifted a stay put in place Nov. 1. DOD and Justice Department lawyers are studying the ruling.

The stay was put in place after 9th Circuit Judge Virginia Phillips ruled the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law was unconstitutional. The case went to a three-judge panel on the Court of Appeals, which released its ruling today.

Since the court issued the stay in November, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed repeal of the 1993 law. "In the meantime, implementation of the DADT repeal voted by the Congress and signed into law by the president last December is proceeding smoothly, is well under way, and certification is just weeks away," Lapan said.

The repeal act calls for training the force and for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense to certify to the president that the conditions for repeal are met.

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Soldiers Tell Top NCO They Want MultiCam
June 21, 2011
Military.com - by Christian Lowe

Last week, the U.S. Army celebrated its 236th birthday by formally announcing that it would abandon the black beret with all but a select few uniforms. At the time, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III said the beret was the top uniform complaint from Soldiers he'd surveyed in the field.

But during an interview with military bloggers on June 20, Chandler admitted that in addition to the beret complaints, he was hearing that Soldiers wanted to do away with their current camo uniforms and adopt the pattern now being worn by their counterparts in Afghanistan.

"A lot of the Soldiers brought up that they just want to have the MultiCam, or Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage pattern, as the standard design for all uniforms," Chandler said.

The Army did a radical about-face in 2009, adopting the MultiCam pattern developed by New York-based design firm Crye Precision to replace its so-called Universal Camo Pattern for Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan. The Operation Enduring Freedom Camo Pattern, or OCP, is popular due to how it blends into the varied backgrounds across the combat zone.

Chandler's predecessor, Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston, told Military.com last summer he believed the service was right to shift away from the universal camouflage pattern adopted in 2005 to the MultiCam scheme.

"The OCP allows the Soldiers to get far closer to potential enemies before being observed," Preston said. "I believe [Soldiers] are safer" wearing the OCP.

The Army launched a follow-up program late last year to see whether MultiCam or a family of patterns designed for different climates would be a better fit Army-wide than the UCP.

The $10 million effort led by Program Executive Office Soldier will lead to a pattern for desert and arid climates, one for jungle and woodland zones and another so-called "transitional" pattern that will work in a wide range of potential combat zones. The Army will also select a fourth pattern to camouflage its tactical gear -- such as body armor covers and magazine pouches -- that can blend with all three.

Though Chandler emphasized cost savings as a factor in several uniform modification ideas, he dodged questions about the cost of fielding a family of camo patterns while the service is already buying OCP uniforms and gear for Afghanistan-bound troops and Soldiers seem to want the pattern for universal use.

"We're not going to do that," Chandler said of adopting MultiCam uniforms for all Soldiers. "We're looking at a new Army uniform through a very deliberate process with using some technology in industry to figure out a better pattern that works in more than just Afghanistan."

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Week of June 27, 2011

The Military Officers Association of America is warning that the military retirement system is facing assaults from various fronts including outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, incoming Secretary Leon Panetta, Congress, and Vice President Joe Biden. Sec. Gates testified last week that he liked the idea of an early vesting system, which would enable servicemembers to leave the military with some form of retirement savings prior to reaching 20 years of service - similar to a civilian 401K. Military retirement cutbacks will likely be one of the outcomes of the deficit-reduction talks between administration and congressional leaders, which is currently being headed by Vice President Joe Biden.

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President Obama Announces Troop Reductions, Way Forward in Afghanistan
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2011 - Thanks to the tremendous progress U.S., coalition and Afghan troops have made, the United States will draw down the number of troops in Afghanistan by 10,000 this year and 33,000 by the end of summer 2012, President Barack Obama said here tonight.

Thanks to the tremendous progress U.S., coalition and Afghan troops have made, the United States will draw down the number of troops in Afghanistan by 10,000 this year and 33,000 by the end of summer 2012, President Barack Obama said June 22, 2012. DOD screen grab

"The tide of war is receding," the president said during an address to the nation from the White House. "Fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm's way."

In a statement released by the Pentagon following the presiden'ts announcement, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the president's decision capitalizes on the security successes.

"Over the past 18 months our troops have made tremendous progress degrading the capability of the Taliban while enhancing the Afghan security forces," Gates said. "It is critical that we continue to aggressively prosecute that strategy. I support the President's decision because it provides our commanders with enough resources, time and, perhaps most importantly, flexibility to bring the surge to a successful conclusion."

When completed in September 2012, the drawdown will remove the last of the plus-up of forces in Afghanistan that Obama ordered in December 2009 during a speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

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Additional Phases Identified for Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals

The Department of Defense announced today that additional campaign stars are authorized for wear on the Iraq Campaign Medal (ICM) and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (ACM).

The campaign stars recognize a service member's participation in DoD-designated campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Service members who have qualified for the ICM and ACM may display a bronze campaign star on their medal for each designated campaign phase in which they participated. The stars will be worn on the suspension and campaign ribbon of the campaign medal.

The additional campaign phase and associated dates established for the ICM is:

• New Dawn - Sept. 1, 2010 through a date to be determined.

Six other phases, previously identified, include:
• Liberation of Iraq - March 19, 2003 to May 1, 2003.
• Transition of Iraq - May 2, 2003 to June 28, 2004.
• Iraqi Governance - June 29, 2004 to Dec. 15, 2005.
• National Resolution - Dec. 16, 2005 to Jan. 9, 2007.
• Iraqi Surge - Jan. 10, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2008.
• Iraqi Sovereignty - Jan. 1, 2009 to August 31, 2010

The additional campaign phase and associated dates established for the ACM is:
• Consolidation III - Dec. 1, 2009 through a date to be determined.

Three other phases, previously identified, include:
• Liberation of Afghanistan - Sept. 11, 2001 to Nov. 30, 2001
• Consolidation I - Dec. 1, 2001 to Sept. 30, 2006
• Consolidation II - Oct. 1, 2006 to Nov. 30, 2009

Service members should contact their respective military departments for specific implementation guidance.

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After 100 Years, Walter Reed Closing in August
July 19, 2011
Military.com - by Bryant Jordan

Just over a century after taking in its first patients, Walter Reed Army Medical Center will close its doors at the end of August and move patients, staff and health care operations to new and expanded facilities at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and DeWitt Army Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir, Va.

The moves into what will become the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital are the result of a 2005 Base Realignment Closure Commission recommendation to consolidate several medical facilities in the National Capital Region.

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Face of Defense: Recruiter Saves Life on Dallas Freeway
By Len Butler
DENTON, Texas, July 22, 2011

When Army Staff Sgt. Marcus A. Stone saw cars suddenly braking and swerving ahead of him on Interstate 35 East in Dallas, he knew something bad had just happened on the freeway he was driving on. In the minutes that followed, Stone pulled a victim from a burning vehicle.

Army recruiter Staff Sgt. Marcus A. Stone saved an injured motorist from a burning car on a Dallas-area highway. U.S. Army photo by Leonard Butler

Those actions that December day prompted Stone's commanding officer to nominate him for the Noncommissioned Officers Association of the United States of America Military Vanguard Award, presented annually to recognize acts of heroism.

Stone, 28, was driving an applicant through the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch to the Denton recruiting station when he saw the accident. Moving to the high-occupancy-vehicle lane, he got around the stopped cars and was able to see several vehicles had been involved in an accident, with one of them emitting flames and leaking gasoline.

I was in the HOV lane and I saw the [burning] car facing oncoming traffic," Stone said. "I got out of my [government car] to go see if everyone was all right, and that's when I noticed the flames underneath the car. Then I noticed the dripping fluid, and I realized that sooner or later, that car was going to blow up."

Stone said the first thing he wanted to do was get all the motorists involved away from the immediate area. Some of the motorists refused, preferring to stay with their cars or not wanting to move their cars to safety until police arrived.

"I told them, 'Look, this is what's going on over there,'" he said. "Once they realized there could be more damage to their cars if the flames got out of control, in addition to their own personal safety, they started moving."

Stone said that's when he noticed that a passenger was in the burning car. The driver had come out, but he could see that the passenger wasn't moving.

"The first thing I thought of, was why this guy was not making an effort to get out of the car," he said. "I ran back to my [car] to get the fire extinguisher, and when I turned around to go back I heard a loud 'whoosh,' and the fire had spread to engulf the front of the car as well as underneath it."

Stone ran back to the burning car and the helpless man inside. Flames kept him from going around to the passenger side of the car, so he had to reach in the car and grab the man from the driver's side.

In spite of the danger, Stone said, all he wanted to do was help the victim.

"The passenger was somewhat conscious, but it was obvious he was traumatized from the accident and had a possible head injury," Stone said. "I knew he needed to get out of that car, whether he was going to help me or not. I certainly couldn't just allow him to burn in there."

With flames all around the car, Stone grabbed the man by his arm and pulled him out. Another motorist came to Stone's aid and helped to pull the victim to safety. Almost immediately after Stone pulled the victim out of the burning vehicle, the car was engulfed in the flames. Moments later, the fire department and police arrived.

Stone learned later from the investigating police officer on the scene that the victim was in good condition at a hospital and was expected to recover.

Officer Susan Sharp, who was the investigating officer that day for the Farmers Branch Police Department, said Stone gave responders his recruiter business card and left the scene. Only after she compiled the statements from witnesses and drivers involved in the accident, who referred to Stone as "that Army guy," did she realize how crucial a role Stone played, she said.

"Had Sergeant Stone not extricated [the victim], he would have burned to death within a minute or two," Sharp said. "Stone didn't just save a life. He was the difference between a group of bystanders seeing a man rescued by one of America's heroic soldiers, versus seeing the man die a horrific death, burning right before their eyes."

Stone, an Iraq combat veteran, said his Army training played a crucial role in his actions in saving the man that day. The Iraq experience, he explained, helped in that he was much calmer because he had already had enough pressure-packed situations in Iraq.

"It just comes down to being at the right place at the right time," he said. "I'm just glad that somebody was able to continue their life, and I'm thankful that I was able to help someone in that capacity."

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French Government Honors Special Forces Soldiers
By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2011 - They are used to their deeds pass as unnoticed as their battlefield movements, but six Special Forces soldiers took the limelight here last night to receive a French military award roughly equivalent to the Silver Star.

Special Forces soldiers from the 10th Special Forces Group and the 20th Special Forces Group received the French Croix de la Valeur Militaire, roughly analagous to the Silver Star, during a private ceremony at the French ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C., July 25, 2011. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill

Five National Guard soldiers and one who serves on active duty were honored with the Croix de la Valeur Militaire – or French Cross of Military Valor -- in a private ceremony at the French ambassador's residence attended by senior leaders including Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Army chief of staff, and Army Maj. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, deputy director of the Army National Guard.

"I am deeply honored to ... pay tribute to six most outstanding American soldiers from the United States Army and the Army National Guard who distinguished themselves while fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida elements in Afghanistan," said French Ambassador François Delattre.

"Through their outstanding bravery and engagement in combat," the ambassador continued, "they fought at the risk of their own lives to assist French soldiers, their brothers in arms, who experienced a barrage of fire from the enemy."

The five National Guard soldiers supported a French regiment executing a mission in and around Afghanistan's Uzbeen Valley in 2009; the active duty soldier was recognized for similarly heroic action in the same region a year earlier.

"They were trying to get at the French operating in the valley," said Army National Guard Capt. Thomas Harper, one of the awardees. "We prevented that from happening, allowing them to conduct their mission."

Created in 1956 by the French government to reward extraordinary deeds of bravery carried out as part of security and law enforcement operations, the Croix de la Valeur Militaire is one of the most respected decorations in the French military, Delattre said.

"Your courage honors you as well as your country; your exemplary service deserves to be commended," Delattre told Army Maj. Richard Nessel of the 10th Special Forces Group, the active duty soldier among the honorees.

"You demonstrated the highest military qualities and sense of duty," Delattre told the five Army National Guard soldiers who received the award: Capt. Thomas Harper, Master Sgt. David Nuemer, Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Ahern, Staff Sgt. Casey Roberts and Sgt. Ryan Meister.

"You distinguished yourselves," the ambassador added. "Your outstanding conduct alongside French forces, ... your remarkable bravery in the face of danger in the combat zone, and your superb combatant qualities deserve to be commended."

Harper, a traditional Guard member who has been on active duty most of the last decade, was joined by his parents and sisters at the ceremony. "It's a huge honor for all of us," he said. "They're completely overwhelmed. We don't normally look for this kind of recognition. I don't think they've ever even been to one of my military school graduations."

The recognition of the Guard members reflects the Guard's contributions to the total force, Dempsey said.

"The last three award ceremonies I've been to happen to have been National Guard soldiers," he said. "We're really one Army. It's a signal that, as we go forward in a new fiscal environment, we have to maintain faith with all three components of our Army -- active, Guard and Reserve.

"It's a great credit to the young men and women who serve," Dempsey continued. "I couldn't be more proud of our Army in general -- but tonight is a night for five of these six soldiers in particular who happen to be National Guard."

The National Guard has Special Forces soldiers in 18 states. While they train and deploy just as active duty soldiers, Guard members also must balance civilian lives and careers. There are five active duty Special Forces groups, and two in the National Guard.

"We're in the right place at the wrong time," quipped Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Steven Duff, deputy commander, U.S. Army Special Forces Command. "We're everywhere. We can do whatever is necessary, and it shows that the caliber of our soldiers is just as good as anybody else.

"We are part of the operational force. Given the proper predictability in our force- generation model, we can accomplish any mission that's given," he added.

"It says a lot about our units and our dedication to duty and the training that we've undergone, as well as the maturity of our soldiers," Harper said.

"It's a great honor," said Ahern, a laser physicist in his civilian career who has spent our of the last 10 years deployed or recovering from combat-related injuries.

Ahern's parents, wife and daughter accompanied him. "They see the newspaper stories," he said. "They hear abstract descriptions of what you've done. But they don't really see it firsthand, nor do they see recognition, so this is a really good opportunity."

A full narrative of the exact events that earned the six their awards cannot be shared for operational security reasons. But it tells of men surrounded, wildly outnumbered and pinned down for hours, who fought on despite severe injuries. It tells off lifesaving buddy aid under withering, accurate fire -- and of declining medical evacuation to stay in the fight until the last man was out safely.

None of the Green Berets mentioned any of this at the ceremony. They stepped briefly into the light to accept honors. They said almost nothing of battles fought in Afghanistan and in hospitals. They shook hands with senior leaders who had come to thank them and, by extension, all those that serve alongside them. They shared the moment with parents, wives and children who rarely get to share in what they do -- and slipped back into the night as modestly and quietly as they arrived.

"We had kind of a tough fight those last few days in Afghanistan," Harper said. "We were just happy to be alive. We really didn't expect this kind of honor. It's pretty overwhelming, I'll tell you.

"We're very quiet in what we do," he continued. "We don't expect recognition. We don't look for it. This has been a little much for us today, ... but we're happy that we could be here and that the French felt they could give us this extreme honor."

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GENERAL OFFICER APPOINTMENTS

Army Lt. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti for reappointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as the commanding general, I Corps and Fort Lewis, Joint Base Lewis McChord Wash., and commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command/deputy commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. Scaparrotti is currently serving as the commanding general, I Corps and Fort Lewis, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash.

Army Maj. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland has been nominated for appointment to the rank lieutenant general and for assignment as commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C. Cleveland is currently serving as commander, Special Operations Command Central, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Army Maj. Gen. Keith C. Walker has been nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as deputy commanding general, Futures/director, Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va. Walker is currently serving as commanding general, Brigade Modernization Command, Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Bliss, Texas.

Army Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. for reappointment to the rank oflieutenant general and for assignment as chief, Office of Security Cooperation – Iraq, Operation New Dawn, Iraq. Caslen is currently serving as the commanding general, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter for reappointment to the rank oflieutenant general and for assignment as assistant chief of staff, installation management/commanding general, Installation Management Command, Washington, D.C. Ferriter is currently serving as the deputy commander for advising and training, U.S. Forces-Iraq, Operation New Dawn, Iraq.

Army Maj Gen. Joseph E. Martz for appointment to the rank oflieutenant general and for assignment as military deputy for budget, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller), Washington, D.C. Martz is currently serving as director, program analysis and evaluation, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

Army Maj Gen. David G. Perkins for appointment to the rank oflieutenant general and for assignment as commanding general, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Perkins is currently serving as commanding general, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and Fort Carson, Fort Carson, Colo.

Maj. Gen. Arthur M. Bartell, director, J-3, U.S. Forces-Iraq, Operation New Dawn, Iraq, to deputy director/chief of staff, Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va.

Maj. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo III, to director, force development, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C. Cucolo most recently served as commanding general, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Ga.

Maj. Gen. Walter L. Davis, deputy director/chief of staff, Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va., to deputy commanding general, Army North/Fifth U.S. Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Brendler, chief of staff, Defense Information Systems Agency, Fort Meade, Md., to chief, C/J-6, International Security Assistance Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced today that the President has nominated Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., U.S. Army, for appointment to the grade of general and for assignment as commander, U.S. Northern Command/commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Jacoby is currently serving as the director, Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C

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No More Retiring at 20 Years?

July 26, 2011
Stars and Stripes

A sweeping new plan to overhaul the Pentagon’s retirement system would give some benefits to all troops and phase out the 20-year cliff vesting system that has defined military careers for generations, the Military Times newspapers reported.

The plan calls for a corporate-style benefits program that would contribute money to troops’ retirement savings account rather than the promise of a future monthly pension, according to a new proposal from an influential Pentagon advisory board.

The move would save the Pentagon money -- at a time when it's being asked to cut at least $400 billion -- and benefit troops who leave with less than 20 years of service.

The yearly contributions might amount to about 16.5 percent of a member’s annual pay and would be deposited into a mandatory version of the Thrift Savings Plan, the military’s existing 401(k)-style account that now does not include government matching contributions, according to the Times.


TROOPERS CORNER - SOUND OFF!!

Officials Continue Arlington Cemetery Investigation

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2011 - The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command will continue its inquiry into any potential crimes or other improprieties committed at Arlington National Cemetery, a spokesman for CID announced yesterday.

"Secretary of the Army John McHugh stated a year ago that the Army was not done investigating problems at Arlington National Cemetery," Chris Grey, CID's chief of public affairs, said at a news conference at the cemetery here. "We are vigorously pursuing any wrongdoing, and if criminal conduct is found, the Army will take appropriate action."

The CID is investigating several allegations involving former employees and activities at Arlington National Cemetery since October 2010, Grey said.

"Army CID currently has ongoing criminal investigations into ... the burial of eight sets of cremated remains in one single location at the cemetery, improper burial reservations and possible contract fraud," he explained.

While CID is the lead agency in the investigation, Grey said the command is working with other agencies to assist with its inquiry into the operation of the national cemetery.

"We have asked for, and are currently working, a joint investigation with the FBI," he said.
Grey said the investigation does not include current administrators and workers at the national cemetery.

He also discussed efforts to identify the eight sets of cremated remains discovered during the investigation.

"CID, in coordination with ANC ... was able to identify three of the cremated remains," he said, noting that cemetery officials have notified the families.

"Two of the three sets of those remains have been reinterred at the families' request," Grey said. One set of cremated remains is still unknown, he said, and three sets were unidentifiable.

"CID is still investigating and working hard to determine the identity of one set of remaining cremated remains," he said.

Although placing multiple remains in a single grave site is improper, Grey said it was not a chargeable offense.

"Although we are very upset and concerned about the discovery of multiple urns in one grave, our discussions with an assistant U.S. attorney determined that the burial of multiple cremated remains in one grave site does not constitute a criminal violation," he explained.

The inquiry also led investigators to a storage facility in Virginia, Grey said.

"More recently, 69 boxes of records related to Arlington National Cemetery were found in a storage facility in Falls Church, Virginia," he said. "[Of those,] 68 were duplicate copies of existing records, and Army CID kept one box containing contract-related information."

CID officials do not believe the boxes are linked to any potential criminal conduct. With ongoing investigations into other allegations, Grey said the Army CID would go wherever the investigation leads the organization.

"CID, along with senior Army leadership, to include the secretary of the Army, and the new leadership here at [Arlington National Cemetery], takes these issues very seriously," he said. "[We] are fully committed to investigating all allegations and evidence ... that come to light concerning matters of our nation's most hallowed ground."

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DOD Announces Appointment of DOD Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program Director. BB.

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that Retired Army Lt. Gen. Claude M. "Mick" Kicklighter has been appointed director of DoD Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program.

Kicklighter, a Vietnam veteran with 35 years' service in the U.S. Army, served as executive director of the United States of America 50th Anniversary of World War II Commemoration Committee, and provided oversight for the writing of the plan for the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War. Most recently, he served as the director of the Center for Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, at George Mason University.

The DoD Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program is partnered with other federal agencies, veterans groups, state, local government and non-government organizations to:

Thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
Highlight the service of the armed forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the armed forces.
Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.
Highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to the military research conducted during the Vietnam War.
Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.
For more information call 877-387-9951 or visit the official website at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

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Thanks to Bob Corbin for this Update. BB

Troopers, update on Avery Smith Memorial at Ft Benning. for any that don't remember he give his life on June 8 th 1966.was awarded the DSC. will do my best to be there for this.
Bob Corbin

Original Message ----- From: "Dennis Helm" Thursday, July 21, 2011 3:54 AM
Subject: Fwd: PFC Avery Smith Memorial, Ft. Benning, GA
Jeff and Dean, I received this reply from LTC Matt Boal concerning the Memorial for Avery.
Looks like it has been approved and hopefully will happen this year. LTC Boal requested contact information for the Avery Smith Family. I will be happy to do that or you can contact him direct. I don't want to give out personal information without you consent.
Please let me know how you would like me to proceed. Regards Dennis Helm

Forwarded Message ----- From: "Matthew A LTC MIL USA TRADOC Boal"
To: "Dennis Helm",Wednesday, July 20, 2011 11:49:25 AM Subject: RE: PFC Avery Smith Memorial,
Ft. Benning, GA

Mr. Helm,

Thanks for your patience...I was on leave for several weeks and am just now catching up.

The Maneuver Center of Excellence Commanding General, MG Robert Brown, has approved the nomination for PFC Avery Smith for memorialization of BLDG 4315 at Harmony Church, Fort Benning, GA. BLDG 4315 is a Troop Operations Facility and Barracks for C Troop, 5th Squadron, 15th Cavalry Regiment. C Troop will use the building to train new 19D Cavalry Scouts for the Army.

Within the Armor School, we have about 60 new facilities that are being memorialized just like BLDG 4315. Later this fall/winter....we'll conduct a series of memorialization ceremonies to honor the Heroes that all our buildings are named for. Part of each ceremony will be a request from us to families of our Heroes to attend and participate in the ceremonies. We're just beginning the planning for these ceremonies and will notify all parties as soon as ceremony dates are confirmed.

If you have good contact info on PFC Smith's surviving family, it would extraordinarily helpful if we could get that detailed information from you so that...when the time is right...we can notify his family and invite them to the event.

Again, sorry for the delay in answering your enquiry....please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
LTC Matt Boal USAARMS Mgt Staff XO FT Benning, GA

Original Message----- From: Dennis Helm
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 2:59 AM To: Boal, Matthew A LTC MIL USA TRADOC
Subject: PFC Avery Smith Memorial, Ft. Benning, GA

Dear Sir, I was given your name as a contact person concerning PFC Avery Smith Memorial Building: The building proposed to honor PFC Smith is building 4315, a combined company operations and barracks building. Myself and the family of PFC Avery Smith would like to know what the current status is regarding this matter. I know things move slow in the Army Any update would be greatly appreciated.

Regards Dennis Helm Vietnam 68-69

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Got this from Ron Brauer and several others. This could be a make-shift photo but looks good either way. BB

It doesn't get any more patriotic than this...God Bless America ... looks as if he’s watching over our heroes!

Gives you goose bumps, that’s for sure!!!!! A picture from the Minneapolis Star/Tribune taken on a June morning at the Minneapolis National Cemetery!

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Dave Snavely can tell a good story. BB

Courage TO do GOOD....

Two Stories BOTH TRUE - and worth reading!!!!

STORY NUMBER ONE Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.
To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block..
Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.
Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.
Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done..
He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified.
Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:

"The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just
when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you
own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still."

STORY NUMBER TWO

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare.
He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank.
He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.
His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.
As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet.
The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly.
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.
Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.
Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942 , and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W..W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.

SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?

Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.

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Charles Murowski send us this touching tribute to "Brotherhood". BB

Brotherhood

Brother, life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forgive the ones who don't, just because you can. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands, those of you who served in Viet Nam know this. If it changes your life, let it. Take a few minutes to think before you act when you're mad. Forgive quickly. God never said life would be easy, He just promised it would be worth it.

Today is Band of Brothers' Day; send this to all your brothers, fathers, sons and fellow veterans you know.

Happy Brothers' Day!

I LOVE YA BROTHER!!!

To the cool men that have touched my life. Here's to you!! I was never a hero, but I am thankful I served among them.
A real Brother walks with you when the rest of the world walks on you.


WARNING!! TROOPERS JOKES - Some of these may not be pleasant for the young or weak of heart.

Here's a good starter sent in by Lyn Anderson.BB

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"What makes airport security think they can find something in my wife's purse when she can't?"

"I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes."

"If Alexander Graham Bell had a teenage daughter, he never would have invented the telephone."

"My wife and I have a system for settling arguments. We just talk and talk until she's right."

"A smart husband buys his wife very fine china so she won't trust him to wash it."

"People more violently opposed to fur rather than to leather .....because it's much easier to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs."

"Golf is a game invented by the same people who think music comes out of a bagpipe."

Home computers are the perfect thing for women who don't feel that men provide them with enough frustration.

If money won't make you happy, you won't like poverty either."

Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes - there's just too much fraternizing with the enemy

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These make a lot of sense to me too! Thanks to Wayne Paddack for this one. BB

The wisdom of Larry the Cable Guy…

1. A day without sunshine is like night. 2. On the other hand, you have different fingers. 3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot. 4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name. 5. Remember, half the people you know are below average. 6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest. 7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm. 8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap. 9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have. 10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory. 11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines. 12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.. 13. OK, so what's the speed of dark? 14. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane. 15. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now. 16. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges? 17. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines. 18. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice? 19. Why do psychics have to ask you your name? 20. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering 'What the heck happened?' 21. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off. 22. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. 23. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

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Howard Greenfield is doing some studing again.BB

WOMEN'S ASS SIZE STUDY

There is a new study about women and how they feel about their asses; the results were pretty interesting:

30% of women think their ass is too fat............

10% of women think their ass is too skinny.........

The remaining 60% say they don't care, they love him,
he's a good man, and they wouldn't trade
him for the world.

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Where do I sign up Tom? Thanks to Tom Heckman for this one. BB

Yesterday my daughter asked why I didn't do something useful with my time. She suggested I go down to the senior centre and hang out with the guys. I did this and when I got home last night I told her that I had joined a parachute club. She said "Are you nuts? You're almost 70 years old and you're going to start jumping out of airplanes?" I proudly showed her that I even got a membership card. She said to me, "You idiot, where are your glasses! This is a membership to a Prostitute Club, not a Parachute Club!" I'm in trouble again and don't know what to do! I signed up for five jumps a week! Life as a senior citizen is not getting any easier.

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I like this one from John Termini.BB

MY RECENT TRIP TO COSTCO TO BUY DOG FOOD

Yesterday I was at my local COSTCO buying a large bag of Kirkland dog food, lamb, rice, and vegetables, for my loyal Westie Tu. While in the checkout line, the woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had, an elephant? So since I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Kirkland Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Kirkland pellets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete, so it works well, and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's rear end, and a car hit us both.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard. Costco won't let me shop there anymore... Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.

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Smokey sent this one in.BB

VERY IMPORTANT TO READ FOR THOSE WHO TAKE MEDICATIONS, ESPECIALLY AS WE AGE!

MEDICINE-MIXING ALERT

Most people know not to mix certain medicines without consulting their doctors.

Some medicines cannot be mixed with certain foods... and certainly most of us know not to mix certain medicines with alcohol... although, some people think that mixing alcohol and medicine is harmless.

As a public service the AMA and Health Canada have recently published a new warning being distributed via pamphlets in pharmacies across the U.S. and Canada. Below is the cover jacket of one such pamphlet:

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I don't have a clue who sent this in, but it is a keeper! .BB

Make-up and Hair style..............$500.00
New Dress for the show............$700.00

Giant Stuffed Bear......................$300.00

Not knowing how to hold the bear with a microphone in your hand...........Priceless!

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.BB

The Black Bra (as told by a woman)

I had lunch with 2 of my unmarried friends.
One is engaged, one is a mistress, and I have been married for 20+ years.

We were chatting about our relationships and decided to amaze our men by greeting them at the door
Wearing a black bra, stiletto heels and a mask over our eyes. We agreed to meet in a few days to exchange notes..

Here's how it all went.

My engaged friend :
The other night when my boyfriend came over he found me with a black leather bodice, tall stilettos and a mask. He saw me and said, 'You are the woman of my dreams. I love you.' Then we made passionate love all night long.

The mistress:
Me too! The other night I met my lover at his office and I was wearing a raincoat, under it only the black bra, heels And Mask over my eyes. When I opened the raincoat he didn't say a word, but he started to tremble and we had wild sex all night.

Then I had to share my story:
When my husband came home I was wearing the black bra, Black stockings, stilettos and a mask over my eyes. When he came in the door and saw me he said,

"What's for dinner, Zorro?"


HERES TO YOUR HEALTH

By Edmund Hayes, MD

Experimental Drug Achieves Unprecedented Weight Loss
An investigational combination of drugs already approved to treat obesity, migraine, and epilepsy produced up to a 10 percent weight loss in obese individuals participating in a one-year clinical trial, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.
Appearing online in The Lancet today, the study found that treatment with the controlled-release combination therapy consisting of phentermine and topiramate also achieved significant reductions in blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C. Study participants also experienced improvements in cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, when taking either of two doses of the combination when compared to placebo.

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The Science And Religion Of Patient Safety: Harm, Preventable Harm, And Trigger Tools (Part I)
The patient safety world was set abuzz this week by yet another article, this one in Health Affairs, that seemed to offer additional "evidence" that hospitals are even more dangerous than we previously thought (and we already thought they weren't very safe). Using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI) "Global Trigger Tool," the study found that one in three patients admitted to three large, modern, safety-savvy hospitals suffered medical harm during their hospitalization.
While the tone of the article's press coverage was foreboding and even accusatory, I don't think the indictment is entirely accurate. "Hospital Errors May Be Far More Common Than Suspected: New tracking system uncovers 10 times as many medical mistakes," screamed one typical headline. Such headlines were misleading because the study assessed neither errors nor preventability. The fact that this distinction was too subtle for most reporters to pick up illustrates the challenges of measuring patient safety, both in terms of the appropriate measurement targets and tools.
In this blog, I'll focus on the target piece - particularly the wonky but vital matter of distinguishing harm from preventable harm. In my next post, I'll turn to the issue of measurement tools, analyzing the role of the Global Trigger Tool, institutional incident reporting systems, and other measures of safety like the AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators.

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German Doctors Advised To Give Out More Placebos
For German patients plagued with problems like chronic pain and mild depression, doctors may soon be trying something a little different: a placebo. After completing a major study on the use of placebos, the German Medical Association recently concluded the fake pills sometimes work better than real medicines and recommended that doctors give them out more often - even without explicitly telling their patients.
That is in stark contrast to guidance from American and British authorities, who say using placebos without the patient's consent is unethical. Placebo pills are often made from things like sugar, flour or dust, though doctors also use other things like vitamins, herbal supplements or drugs with very little active ingredient. According to the German group, placebos don't come with any nasty side effects and could be the last hope for patients with hard-to-treat ailments where no good medicines exist.

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Study Examines Safety Of Childhood Vaccinations
Vanderbilt investigators have found that childhood vaccinations do not harm children with urea cycle disorders, a type of inborn errors of metabolism (IEM).
"Our study is one of the first to take a group that everyone would agree is going to be medically fragile and look at vaccines in this sub-group," said Thomas Morgan, M.D., a clinical geneticist and assistant professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt. "We showed there is no association between vaccination and the illnesses these vulnerable children experience," Morgan said.

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St. John's Wort Compound: Potential Benefit Of Synthetic Hypericin For Recurrent Brain Tumors
Researchers have found that a synthetic version of hypericin, a compound naturally found in St. John's wort, may be a promising treatment for patients with recurrent malignant brain tumors. Their findings were published online on March 31, 2011 in the journal Cancer.
Malignant gliomas, tumors that arise in the brain or spine, are largely incurable cancers with a poor prognosis. An estimated 10,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with malignant gliomas, and their average one-year survival is approximately 50 percent. Laboratory studies have shown that synthetic hypericin strongly inhibits the growth of gliomas, due in part to its inhibitory effect on protein kinase C, a family of enzymes that promotes tumor proliferation.
"Because hypericin has shown dramatic results in stopping tumor growth in gliomas in the laboratory, we wanted to examine the safety and potential antitumor activity of synthetic hypericin in patients with recurrent malignant gliomas," says William T. Couldwell, MD, PhD, professor and chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine, and lead author on the study.

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Experiemental Alzheimer's Disease Drugs Might Help Patients, With Nerve Injuries
Drugs already in development to treat Alzheimer's disease may eventually be tapped for a different purpose altogether: re-growing the ends of injured nerves to relieve pain and paralysis. According to a new Johns Hopkins study, experimental compounds originally designed to combat a protein that builds up in Alzheimer's-addled brains appear to make crushed or cut nerve endings grow back significantly faster, a potential boon for those who suffer from neuropathies or traumatic injuries.
The new drugs target a protein known as "b-Site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1," or BACE1, which plays a key role in generating the amyloid protein plaques that are thought to gum up normal nerve signaling in the brain. Previous laboratory research showed that BACE1 also is involved in creating the insulation material known as myelin, which coats the projections that nerve cells extend to connect with each other, as well as generating a molecular cascade that causes these projections to degenerate when they're injured.
Based on these earlier findings, assistant professor of neurology Mohamed Farah, Ph.D., professor of neurology John Griffin, M.D., and their colleagues tried blocking the action of BACE1 to analyze the effect on injured axon projections. The researchers started their experiments with mice whose ability to make BACE1 had been genetically knocked out. After these animals' sciatic nerves were cut or crushed, the scientists closely watched what happened as the axons regenerated.

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Modern Targeted Drug Plus Old Malaria Pill Serve a 1-2 Punch in Advanced Cancer Patients
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine may have found a way to turn an adaptive cellular response into a liability for cancer cells. When normal cells are starved for food, they chew up existing proteins and membranes to stay alive. Cancer cells have corrupted that process, called autophagy, using it to survive when they run out of nutrients and to evade death after damage from chemotherapy and other sources. When the Penn investigators treated a group of patients with several different types of advanced cancers with temsirolimus, a molecularly targeted cancer drug that blocks nutrient uptake, plus hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that inhibits autophagy, they saw that tumors stopped growing in two-thirds of the patients.
"The results are very encouraging - striking, even" says senior author Ravi Amaravadi, MD, an assistant professor of Medicine at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. "Temsirolimus by itself has little effect in this patient population. Tumors laugh at it, with response percentages of just zero to 5 percent. But by combining it with hydroxychloroquine, we found that 14 out of 21 patients had stable disease after treatment, including five out of six melanoma patients."

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Should The HPV Vaccine Be Given To Boys? Beth wrote, "I plan on having my daughter vaccinated against HPV when she's the right age (which is what by the way?). Recently, some friends were saying they were planning to have their sons receive the vaccine as well because although males obviously don't get cervical cancer, they can spread HPV and put their future partners at risk. Is this true?"
Yes, men can catch HPV infections, and spread them to women. But that might not be reason enough to have your son vaccinated.
First, background: HPV (human papilloma virus) is by far the most common sexually-transmitted infection. About 50% of all men and women will be infected by at least one strain of HPV at least once in their lives; about 20 million Americans are infected (and infectious) right now, and 6 million new cases of HPV infection occur each year in the United States. There is a lot of virus going around.

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Experimental Drug Slows Ovarian Cancer Growth, Increases Survival In Mouse Mode
An experimental drug that blocks two points of a crucial cancer cell signaling pathway inhibits the growth of ovarian cancer cells and significantly increases survival in an ovarian cancer mouse model, a study at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found.
The drug, called NVP-BEZ235, also inhibits growth of ovarian cancer cells that have become resistant to the conventional treatment with platinum chemotherapy and helps to resensitize the cancer cells to the therapy. In addition, it enhances the effect of platinum chemotherapy on ovarian cancer cells that are still responding to the therapy, said the study's senior author, Dr. Oliver Dorigo, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher.
"Platinum-based chemotherapy drugs are effective in treating ovarian cancers as long as the cancer cells remain sensitive to platinum," Dorigo said. "But once the tumor becomes resistant, treating the cancer becomes very challenging. This is a significant clinical problem, since the majority of ovarian cancer patients develop resistance at some point during treatment. Breaking chemotherapy resistance is a difficult challenge, but crucial if we want to improve long-term survival for our patients."

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Peppermint Is Now Clinically Proven To Be An Effective Pain Reliever For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
University of Adelaide researchers have shown for the first time how peppermint helps to relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which affects up to 20% of the population. In a paper published this week in the international journal Pain, researchers from the University's Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory explain how peppermint activates an "anti-pain" channel in the colon, soothing inflammatory pain in the gastrointestinal tract.
Dr Stuart Brierley says while peppermint has been commonly prescribed by naturopaths for many years, there has been no clinical evidence until now to demonstrate why it is so effective in relieving pain.

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ACE Inhibitors May Increase Risk Of Recurrence In Breast Cancer Survivors
ACE inhibitors, commonly used to control high blood pressure and heart failure in women, may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence in women, according to a study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Beta blockers, on the other hand, which are used to control high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias, appear to have a protective effect, helping to prevent recurrence. When used together, beta blockers appear to help ameliorate the negative affect of ACE inhibitors, said Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and first author of the study.
Ganz characterized the results of the retrospective analysis - done using data from the Life After Cancer Epidemiology (LACE) study, which includes 1,779 Kaiser patients diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer - as "hypothesis-generating only." She underscored that the results need further corroboration in other, larger clinical data bases.

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Scientists Engineer Nanoscale Vaults To Encapsulate 'Nanodisks' For Drug Delivery
There's no question, drugs work in treating disease. But can they work better, and safer?
In recent years, researchers have grappled with the challenge of administering therapeutics in a way that boosts their effectiveness by targeting specific cells in the body while minimizing their potential damage to healthy tissue.
The development of new methods that use engineered nanomaterials to transport drugs and release them directly into cells holds great potential in this area. And while several such drug-delivery systems - including some that use dendrimers, liposomes or polyethylene glycol - have won approval for clinical use, they have been hampered by size limitations and ineffectiveness in accurately targeting tissues. Now, researchers at UCLA have developed a new and potentially far more ffective means of targeted drug delivery using nanotechnology.

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Potential Alzheimer's Drug Target Identified
As much as they devastate neurons, the pathologic amyloid-beta particles linked to Alzheimer's disease also severely disturb brain blood flow, contributing to dementia, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have found.
But there may be some good news, the scientists report in the March 7 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). They have found asingle receptor, CD36, inside affected blood vessels they say is key to the vascular damage, which suggests it could become a beneficial drug target.
The findings have "broad biological and clinical implications," says the study's lead investigator, Dr. Costantino Iadecola, the George C. Cotzias Distinguished Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College and a neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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Popular Antidepressants May Not Improve All Depression Symptoms
Even people who show a clear treatment response with antidepressant medications continue to experience symptoms like insomnia, sadness and decreased concentration, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found after analyzing data from the largest study on the treatment of depression.
"Widely used antidepressant medications, while working overall, missed these symptoms. If patients have persistent residual symptoms, these individuals have a high probability of incomplete recovery," said Dr. Shawn McClintock, assistant professor of psychiatry and lead author of the analysis available in the April print issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.
UT Southwestern researchers tracked a wide range of symptoms of depression - including sadness, suicidal thoughts, and changes in sleep patterns, appetite/weight, concentration, outlook and energy/fatigue - at the start of the trial and at the end of the antidepressant treatment course.
Dr. McClintock's research used data from the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression, or STAR*D study, the largest ever on the treatment of major depressive disorder and considered a benchmark in the field of depression research. The six-year, National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored study initially included more than 4,000 patients with major depressive disorder from clinics across the country. Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, was co-principal investigator of STAR*D and an author on this paper that analyzed data.

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Believe it or not

Ice cream seller accused of dealing drugs
A New York man has been arrested for allegedly selling illegal prescription drugs from his ice cream truck, making more than $1 million (618,238 pounds) in a year, prosecutors said.
Louis Scala sold ice cream to children from his "Lickity Split" truck and would allegedly make stops at prearranged spots where customers knew they could buy pills, according to the New York Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. Scala, 40, is accused of selling more than 40,000 prescription oxycodone pills from his ice cream truck in the borough of Staten Island borough and heading up a 30-person drug ring that included more than two dozen runners to fill fake prescriptions, prosecutors said.
Another suspect, Nancy Wilkins, is accused of using her position as an assistant at a Manhattan orthopaedic office to steal blank prescription pads and allegedly sell them for $100 a page, prosecutors said. The phony prescriptions would be filled by runners who would be paid in cash or in pills, they said.
The ring earned more than $1 million in the past year, sometimes charging up to $20 for a single pill.
"This narcotics organisation was as predatory as any I have ever seen -- in its structure and distribution practices," Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said.
"Most of the individuals recruited to fill bogus prescriptions were among society's most vulnerable -- young, financially desperate and addicted to oxycodone," she said.


COMPUTER NEWS

Move Your Personal Folder (All Windows Versions)

Personal folders can come in handy, but they may not be in a convenient place on your hard drive. Luckily, you can change the location of your own folders fairly easily. If you want to move your personal folders, have a look at this:

1. Click your username at the top right of the Start menu to open your profile.
2. Right-click Documents and choose Properties.
3. Now click Location > Move and select the new location, or even create a new one. You'll be asked if you want to move your documents - click Yes. Do not try this with the Public folder. If you do, you'll find a Location tab, but no Move button.


DA,VA, and Veteran News

Military Pay Held Hostage — the Sequel
July 12, 2011 • Terry Howell

The U.S. is about to hit the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. All indications are that Congress and the President are not even close to any deal to raise the spending limit. The impact of hitting the debt ceiling is not fully known, but one thing is for sure, military pay is once again in the cross hairs.

The Department of Treasury website reads: “If Congress fails to increase the debt limit, the government would have to stop, limit, or delay payments on a broad range of legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and many other commitments.” [You can bet VA Disability Compensation, Veterans Pension and military retirement pay are included in that list.

That pretty much says it all.

One thing is for sure, had Congress passed the Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act at least our servicemembers would not be dealing with the fear of nopayday, again. A proposition that I find disgusting, especially with our military currently fighting battles all over the Middle East.

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced the Senate version of the Ensuring Pay for our Military Act (S.721) in April of this year. Hutchison describes her bill as “simple and straightforward legislation [that] ensures that in the event of a government shutdown over budget issues, our nation’s servicemen and women would continue to receive their pay on time and in full.” Seems simple enough. Well then, why hasn’t it passed either the House (HR. 1297) or the Senate yet?

I think we all know why — brinksmanship. I wrote about this last April when they did the same thing over the budget deadline (see Military Pay Held Hostage). Military pay is once again being used as a political tool to create added urgency to the situation. A political game of chicken, whoever flinches first, looses.

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DOD Continues to Study Dust, Burn Pit Health Effects
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2011 - The Defense Department continues to be concerned that airborne dust and smoke may pose health risks to deployed service members, the department's chief of health assurance said here yesterday.

However, R. Craig Postlewaite told the Pentagon Channel, there is no evidence to suggest that service members deployed to U.S. Central Command are being disproportionately affected by environmental factors.

"DOD believes it is plausible that some individuals could be adversely affected by either the smoke or the sand and dust [in the region]," Postlewaite said. Of the millions of service members who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, only about 100 have been affected by these conditions, Postlewaite said. The department vows to give the best care to any service members ill for any cause, he added, including environmental exposures.

Health specialists will examine the service members to find out why they are affected and others are not, Postlewaite said.

"What's different about these people?" he asked. "[Did they have] more exposure? Pre-existing conditions? Genetic susceptibilities?"

Officials also will ask if their conditions could be the result of combined exposures – dust, smoke and tobacco, for example.

Postlewaite's organization oversees testing to ensure service members' health. Deployment operational health surveillance characterizes hazards present in the air, water or soil in deployed settings.

"We have collected almost 20,000 air, water and soil samples throughout [the Central Command area]," Postlewaite said. "They've been analyzed for any hazardous materials. We take that we catalogue it and archive it, and it's available for us to go back to if we need to. That said, the number of hazards we've identified in these 20,000 samples is relatively small."

The group analyzes water for organic chemicals, metals and anything else that may present health hazards, he said. "We do the same thing with the soil – particularly looking for any spills that may have occurred, any contamination from previous operations," said he added. "For the air, we analyze it for a variety of different things."

The Army studied air samples from around Iraq and Afghanistan. Its Advanced Particulate Matter Study was published in 2010.

"There were literally thousands of air samples collected for just that study from 15 different locations throughout the theater," Postlewaite said. "They were analyzed for dozens of different potential air hazards. When all the analysis was done, there were more than 6 million data points that came out of the study."

The study indicated that the sand and dust present in the theater was "not demonstrably different" form the sand and dust in desert regions of the United States, he said. "The proportions of various types of calcium and various compounds were a bit different, but there was nothing that stood out as a health hazard that affects our people," Postlewaite said.

The air in cities was affected by smog, and the samples taken at bases were able to measure pollution from burn pits, Postlewaite said. "For those installations that still happened to have burn pits at the time, those air samples tended to indicate the organic material that was burned from the fires," he said.

The burn pits were a necessity when forces first moved into Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, because accumulated garbage causes public health problems. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan had an infrastructure -- no garbage trucks, no landfills. So commanders had to burn the waste, Postlewaite said.

"At the smallest camps, it could have been a single trench in the ground or a barrel that burned once daily," he said. As the size of an installation increased, the size of the burn pit increased also. At the largest installations, acres were set aside for waste disposal.

What went into the pits were the same things that go into dumps anywhere in the United States – garbage and refuse from offices and living quarters.

"Early on in the operation, there was also a lot of construction going on, so there may have been a fair amount of wood [and] some plastic materials. We've had reports of certain things that we wouldn't condone burning today that probably were burned," Postlewaite said. "Since that time, very stringent regulations have been put into place that now severely limit what can be burned in the burn pits and what can't."

All those things that could potentially generate a hazardous emission of some sort are now eliminated from the waste stream, he said.

"We're reasonably certain that for those burn pits that continue to exist based on the materials being burned now, we don't have nearly the concerns with the health impacts that we had to begin with," Postlewaite said.

In Iraq, the burn pits were replaced by incinerators. Also, Iraq is developing the infrastructure to handle waste. A plan is in place to close all of the burn pits in Afghanistan by the end of the year, Postlewaite said.

Complaints about respiratory problems from burn pit smoke began about four years ago, he said. The department treated these allegations seriously and began investigating as soon as possible, he said.

"The reports coming out of the vet population covered a wide waterfront – skin, respiratory, cancer autoimmune conditions," he said. "You would expect with a common exposure to see a common type of illness, and we weren't seeing that."

The department did a complete risk assessment following Environmental Protection Agency protocols at the burn pit at Balad Air Base, Iraq. "We looked at that in detail and we could come up with no measureable, anticipated risk based on the exposure to the air sampling that we accomplished for the burn pit smoke samples," Postlewaite said.

Again, he added, there was nothing out of the ordinary.

Still, DOD will continue to collect medical surveillance data and will continue lab and clinical research on inhaling smoke and dust, Postlewaite said. The department will also continue to reach out to medical experts in and out of government for advice, he added.

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Negative Progress
VA Claims Backlog Update 52: The Department of Veterans Affairs again took heat from lawmakers about the slow adjudication process for veterans who are seeking disability benefits and compensation.
The failures of [VA regional] offices to process these claims in a timely manner is unacceptable," said Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), the chair of the House Veterans Affairs disability assistance and memorial affairs subcommittee, d ring a 3 JUN hearing. 'We continue to throw money and employees at this … and yet the problems are getting worse," Runyan said. As of 31 MAY, more than 800,000 disability claims are pending across the country, according to a House VA Committee press release. Of those, more than 60% have been pending for more than 125 days. That wait could increase to 230 days by next year, according to the committee.
[Source: Armed Forces News Issue 10 Jun 2011 ++]

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Arrears of Pay Update
For an example of inconsistency of laws governing different federal agencies, look no further than the way the law treats survivors of disabled veterans versus those of military retirees. A few years ago, there was a general outrage when Senate Veterans‘ Affairs Committee leaders discovered the VA hadn‘t complied with laws requiring the VA to pay survivors the VA disability compensation due for the month in which their disabled veteran spouse died. Instead, the VA persisted for years in electronically recouping the final month‘s payment from the survivor‘s checking account. You can imagine the compounded trauma grieving new survivors suffered upon learning the VA had abruptly snatched $1,000 to $2,000 or more from their checking accounts — money often needed to pay their immediate bills. Chagrined VA officials fell over themselves to apologize for not complying with the law and took quick action to do so. And now, the Senate Veterans‘ Affairs Committee is considering legislation to have the VA adjudicate any disability claim pending at the time of death, pay the survivor the amount due the veteran for the month of death, and bar the VA from taking any recoupment action for that amount.
Several years after forcing an end to recoupments against VA survivors, Congress still has done nothing to stop DoD from recouping the final month‘s military retired pay from unsuspecting survivors. DoD‘s practice is only slightly different from what the VA used to do, in that DoD (some time later) issues the survivor a pro-rated check for the number of days of the month the retiree was alive. For years The Military Coalition {TMC) have pushed to bar recoupment of the final month‘s military retired pay. But the proposal has gone nowhere, for a too-familiar reason — lack of funds and the inability of Congress to identify an acceptable cost offset. The TMC is well aware there are more inequities than can be fixed at once. And that the budget is tight and about to get much tighter. But if some serial mugger were tracking and preying on every new military survivor, the whole country would be up in arms about it. When it was the VA doing the mugging, an outraged Congress put a stop to it. But somehow it‘s OK when it‘s the Pentagon doing the mugging? Think .mugging. is too strong a word? You wouldn‘t if you were a new military survivor. Their financial loss and personal anguish are much the same whether it‘s perpetrated by an armed thief invading their homes or a Defense Finance and Accounting Service civil servant invading their checking accounts. It‘s an outrage — or ought to be — either way.
[Source: MOAA Steve Strobridge 'As I See It' article 9 Jun 2011 ++]

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Tricare Providers Update
The Department of Defense continues to applaud the growing number of medical professionals signing up to accept TRICARE, the health care plan for members of the uniformed services, retirees and their families. For 9.6 million TRICARE beneficiaries worldwide, TRICARE relies heavily on civilian providers to supplement the health care provided by military treatment facilities. Today, more than 325,000 providers across the United States are in the TRICARE network, with over 1 million providers accepting TRICARE beneficiaries. The Department of Defense (DoD) Survey of Civilian Physician Acceptance of TRICARE Standard shows that in Fiscal Year 2007, almost 93% of responding physicians in 53 areas were aware of the TRICARE program. Almost 85% of those physicians accepted new TRICARE Standard patients.
The campaign to increase the number of providers accepting TRICARE patients started several years ago, led by the TRICARE Regional Office-West and TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the TRICARE managed care support contractor serving 21 western states. Recently, Colorado‘s leadership announced the number of providers in the state increased from 4,830 to more than 7,920. Hawaii‘s leadership announced the number of providers in the state increased from 2,885 to close to 4,000. At the same time, Idaho‘s number of providers in the state increased from 2,190 to more than 3,820 and Utah‘s number of providers increased from 2,200 to more than 3,600. The most impressive numbers thus far come from South Dakota, where the number of providers in the state increased from 900 to more than 3,000. South Dakota‘s governor, Dennis Daugaard, wrote the South Dakota State Medical Association (SDSMA) to personally express his gratitude to the health care providers for stepping up when the military families of the state have needed them the most.
More than 2 million TRICARE beneficiaries use TRICARE Standard, the fee-for-service option that provides the most flexibility for patients to see any TRICARE authorized provider. TRICARE offers a large number of potential patients. It is also an industry leader in claims payment timeliness. Ninety-nine percent of clean claims are processed within 30 days. Ninety percent of claims are processed within 15 days. Choosing to accept TRICARE beneficiaries is quick and easy – whether simply accepting TRICARE, being a participating provider or joining the TRICARE network. Expanding TRICARE‘s network of providers is critical to the care of America‘s heroes and TRICARE continues to reach out to state officials, medical associations and individual physicians. If your physician is not currently signed on as a Tricare provider and you would like to see him/her become one, encourage him/her to go to http://www.tricare.mil/tma/providerinformation for more about or becoming a network, participating or certified provider.
[Source: Tricare News Release No. 11-40 10 Jun 2011 ++]

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VA HISA Grants

Veterans with service-connected disabilities or Veterans with non-service-connected disabilities may be eligible to receive assistance for a home improvement necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to the home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities. There is a Federal grant program called the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) program. On 5 MAY 2010 the President signed the Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health Service Act of 2010, increasing the amounts available under the HISA grant as follows: . Home improvement benefits up to $6,800 may be provided for a service-connected condition or for a non-service-connected condition of a Veteran rated 50 percent or more service-connected; . Home improvement benefits up to $2,000 may be provided to all other Veterans registered in the VA health care system. Examples of what HISA may pay for include: . Allowing entrance or exit from Veteran‘s home . Improving access for use of essential lavatory and sanitary facilities . Improving access to kitchen and bathroom counters . Handrails (bathrooms and stairs) . Lowered Electrical outlets and switches . Improving paths or driveways. HISA will not pay for: . Walkways to exterior buildings . Routine renovation . Spa, hot tub or jacuzzi . Exterior decking (in excess of 8 x 8 feet). In order to receive a HISA grant, the Veteran must first have a prescription from a VA or fee-basis physician for improvements and structural alterations that are necessary or appropriate for the effective and economical treatment of his/her disability. This must include: . Specific items required . The diagnosis with medical justification . The Veteran‘s name, address, SSN and phone number(s). The Veteran must also provide: . A completed Veterans Application for Assistance in Acquiring HISA . Detailed quotes from licensed contractors The process may seem complex and time consuming but with a little help from your local VA office the HISA Grant may be very beneficial to improve your quality of life. To access a PDF copy of the 18 APR 2008 VHA HISA Handbook 1173.14 refer to http://www.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1681.
[Source: Park Rapids Enterprise Gregory Remus article 4 Jun 2011 ++]

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Retiree Pay Update
Retired pay earned but not paid in the final month of your life goes to whoever is listed as your Arrears of Pay (AOP) beneficiary. Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will also contact this person for help with closing your account. You can choose anyone, from family members to friends to associates, to be your AOP beneficiary. But if you don't designate someone, it could take many months to locate your survivors, identify who is legally entitled to your pay, and then make the payment. To designate or change your Arrears of Pay (AOP) beneficiary, all you have to do is follow these simple steps:
1. Complete a Designation of Beneficiary Information form (DD 2894) which can be downloaded at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/infomgt/forms/eforms/dd2894.pdf.
2. Sign and date the form. (Unsigned and undated forms will not be processed.)
3. Mail or fax the form to: DFAS U.S. Military Retired Pay, P.O. Box 7130, London, KY 40742-7130 Fax: 800-469-6559.
You must notify DFAS of any changes in your AOP beneficiary's contact information. Otherwise all correspondence will be sent to the wrong address, further delaying closure of your account.

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial Update

In the early morning, just as the sun breaks over the Capitol dome, a small group of volunteers gathers at the black granite Vietnam Veterans Memorial, that heart- breaking slash in the earth by the Lincoln Memorial on the Mall. They quietly hook up hoses, attach nozzles and spray down the wall, removing a week‘s worth of dust, dirt and debris. Then they fill up buckets with a mild detergent, switch to soft brushes and, starting on either end of the wall, begin to scrub. Countless fingerprints, smears and tears that have accumulated since the last wash, a week ago. So many hands have touched the Wall over the past 29 years. Most of these men and women have touched it, too, and it touches them even as they work to keep it clean.
The washing of the dead, with its religious resonances, arose out of frustration. In 1998, dissatisfied with the job that the National Park Service was doing and upset that bird droppings had filled in some of the engraved names, Jan Scruggs of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund took action. He handed 37 toothbrushes to visiting vets from Wisconsin, who scrubbed the filth away. Members of the Silver Spring chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Air Force Sergeants Association at Andrews Air Force Base stepped in and began monthly cleanings. A little more than a decade ago, the vets and the Park Service began working more closely together, and the organized weekly cleanings began. They expanded to the nearby Three Servicemen statue, the Vietnam Women‘s Memorial and, on alternate weekend days, the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Each year after the cherry blossoms are past, until the first snowfall, the volunteers turn up Saturdays and Sundays at 6:30 a.m., long before tourists arrive. The work takes less than hour.
Many military veterans are among the regular volunteers, but there are also church groups, Boy Scouts, college sorority sisters, union members and a few people who visit the nation‘s capital specifically for this duty. More than 58,000 names are on the Wall. On Father‘s Day last year, sons and daughters of some of those names were among the washers. If you‘d like to volunteer to help wash the Wall, contact the National Park Service at (202) 426-6841. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund(VVMF), which was the power behind the construction of the memorial in 1982, has recently raised the money to improve the lighting, maintain the landscaping, restore the nearby Three Servicemen statue and investigate the hairline cracks in the Wall. To learn more about the VVMF and how you can assist refer to http://www.vvmf.org.
[Source: Washington Post Patricia Sullivan article 29 May 2011 ++]

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Veteran Statistics Update
If projections from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are correct, it will be several decades before Americans will have to say farewell to the last veterans of World War II and much longer for the conflicts that have occurred since.
About 2 million U.S. veterans of that conflict remain from among the more than 16 million who served between 1941 and 1945. Most World War II veterans are in their mid-80s and, as a result, their number is declining rapidly. Nationally, we are losing about 850 each day. Nevertheless, the VA estimates that about 57,000 World War veterans will be alive in 2025, the last year for which the federal agency has made a projection.
1. Of the 5.7 million men and women who were in the armed forces during the time of the Korean War, about 5 million are alive. The VA estimates that 1.8 million men and women served in Korea. 2.About 8.7 million Americans were in the armed forces during the Vietnam-War era, with 3.4 million deployed in Southeast Asia. There are 7.8 million living veterans from that period. 3.Of the 2.32 million men and women who served during the time of the first Gulf War -- Desert Storm and Desert Shield -- in 1990 and 1991, about 3 percent -- approximately 70,000 -- have died.

VA statistics on veterans of America's wars include at least two unlikely facts.
1. While the last veterans of the Civil War have been gone for more than a half-century, two of their children are still listed on benefit rolls.
2. Even more surprising, perhaps, is that the government reports that 82 parents of World War II service members are receiving benefits.
[Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Len Barcousky article 28 May 2011 ++]

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Military Records/DD-214 Update:
Kiel Wisconsin resident Don Schneider spent decades hoping, praying, and fighting to obtain his discharge records from the Department of Defense who would not acknowledge his service in the Korean War. Schneider said to reporters that he remembers it like it was yesterday. "This is Sniper Ridge over here. This is all Chinese back here," he said, referring to his photo album. Drafted out of high school, Schneider entered the war as an Army Ranger in 1952. He spent 14 months in heavy combat. "Got shot at from the time I got there until the day I left." One night during the war, the Chinese ambushed Schneider's squad Of the 12 soldiers, only Schneider and one other made it out alive. "Mortar round came in and landed right inside the pit, and all that was, pieces of bodies, they're gone." What Schneider didn't realize at the time is that his service records disappeared when the Chinese overran his unit's headquarters.

In June 1953, the Army sent him home with 100 dollars and a train ticket to Chicago. Since he had eight years of active reserve to fulfill, he didn't worry about discharge papers. "And when the eight years were up I thought, well, I should get a discharge, so I'll go down to Milwaukee to the veterans outfit down there. They said, .We don't have any records that you were in service.. OK, so that's the way it went. And on and on it went. He said, .My daughter, before she died, worked on it for almost 30 years trying to get it. She wrote to all kinds of Congressmen, you name it, senators, whatever. Thirty years she worked on it and no dice." Schneider even drove to the Veterans Administration Office in St. Louis, showing his pictures and letters he wrote to his wife. "I had written her that I was in a MASH hospital in South Korea and that didn't mean nothing." "They always said, 'Well, why don't you contact somebody you were in service with?' Well, there's only two of us out my squad that came home, the rest were killed, so there was nobody I could talk to."
Finally this spring a friend sent a registered letter to President Obama's office. In early JUN, Don Schneider, now 81 years old, received an honorable discharge, 58 years after last firing his weapon. "I tell you, it didn't really register, I think, three or four days before it really sunk in that I was discharged, that I finally got it, so it was a good feeling." Because his records were lost, Schneider was never paid for his two years of service. "I figured 13 cents an hour at that time, 24 hours a day, Uncle Sam owes me between $68-70,000 which I'm never going to see. You know that, but that's the way I got it figured." But at this point in his life he says he's going to let that one go. He's just finally happy to have his discharge papers.


[Source: ABC Green Bay WI WBAY-2 Jeff Alexander article 23 Jun 2011 ++]


WEEKLY INSPIRATION

Thanks to Gary Chenett for this weeks inspiration. BB

You guys know that I don't pass things along unless it has a sweet story and something that you can learn. I do not particularly like chain emails, but lately I have been getting some that actually are sweet and are about things that we know but do not always realize. This kind of makes you think of how your own life has gone in different directions and sometimes you ask yourself why?? Subject: Angels Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, "Things aren't always what they seem" The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him, she accused. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.. "Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied. "When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it." "Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem." Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don't turn out the way they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every out come is always to your advantage. You just might not know it until some time later... Oooo Some people ( ) come into our lives ) / and quickly go.. (_ / oooO ( ) Some people \ ( become friends \_ ) and stay awhile... leaving beautiful Oooo footprints on our ( ) hearts... ) / ( _/ oooO ( ) and we are \ ( never \_ ) quite the same because we have made a good friend!! Yesterday is history. Tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present! I think this is special...live and savor every moment... This is not a dress rehearsal! (\ /) ( \__ / ) ( \()/ ) ( / \ ) TAKE THIS LITTLE ANGEL ( / \/ \ ) AND KEEP HER CLOSE TO YOU / \ SHE IS YOUR GUARDIAN ANGEL ( ) SENT TO WATCH OVER YOU ____ THIS IS A SPECIAL GUARDIAN ANGEL... YOU MUST PASS THIS ON TO 5 PEOPLE WITHIN THE HOUR OF RECEIVING HER, IF YOU HAVE PASSED HER ON, SHE WILL WATCH OVER YOU FOREVER.... IF NOT, HER TEARS WILL FLOW Now don't delete this message, because it comes from a very special angel. Right Now - -somebody is thinking of you. -somebody is caring about you. -somebody misses you -somebody wants to talk to you. -somebody wants to be with you. -somebody hopes you aren't in trouble. -somebody is thankful for the support you have provided. -somebody wants to hold your hand. -somebody hopes everything turns out all right. -somebody wants you to be happy. -somebody wants you to find him/her. -somebody is celebrating your successes. -somebody wants to give you a gift. -somebody thinks that you ARE a gift. -somebody loves you. -somebody admires your strength. -somebody is thinking of you and smiling. -somebody wants to be your shoulder to cry on. SOMEBODY NEEDS YOU TO SEND THIS TO THEM Never take away anyone's hope. That may be all they have. AMEN


Thats all the news for this week. Check back next Saturday. Thanks, Ole' Bill


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