December 2010


1Dec65: Operation Bloody Hand begins, RVN.
1Dec10: Hanukkah 5Dec65: Battle of Ap Nha Mat (Binh Duong), RVN.
7Dec41: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
8Dec65: Operation Viper ends, RVN.
9Dec65: Operation Bloody Hand Ends. RVN.
9Dec65: Operation Bushmaster Ends. Rvn 10Dec65: Battle of Xa Cat Fire Base, RVN. C Trp involved. 20Dec95: End of IFOR Mandate in Bosnia.


To all of my Military Family

As Christmas approaches and the old year comes to a close, like so many my heart is filled with emotion. I am grateful for all my dear friends and family. I'm elated to have evolved from being that lonely urban cowboy into an elder soldier with such a vast extended family on this trail of life. I'm thankful to know that when I went down with serious illness, I could depend on so many to pray for my recovery. I'm saddened by an ever growing list of those on my own prayer list, who will no longer celebrate these blessed holidays with us. But, I am also thankful to see so many young faces joining our ranks to protect our freedoms. As I listen to the beautiful Christmas carols and re-watch the Christmas story, my faith is renewed that we will all, someday, be together again to celebrate Christmas in a more pleasant and joyful place. For now, I will celebrate life, and enjoy this special season with the children of all ages. For Christmas I give you all my love and my personal blessing, and ask Jesus Christ, the reason for this season, for your health, happiness, and safety during the coming new year.


And a safety message: Remember while you celebrate, that Murphy says too much booze can be harmful, so:

"Drink More Milk"


Don't forget to open my gift for you at the attachment.
(CLICK HERE: A movie your gonna love!!!



A Troop, Mar 68 to Feb 69

SGT Rock - Then****************************************************SGT Rock at 2005 reunion

MARLOW N.H./BURLINGTON, VT - Staff Sgt. Richard Alan Rock, 77, (Ret. U.S. Army), passed away at Dartmouth Medical Center on Sunday, April 4, 2010, after several years of poor health. He was born on Aug. 27, 1932, in Montpelier, the son of Robert and Mary Ellen (Jerome) Rock. He spent his youth living on Crowley Street in Burlington, until he enlisted. On Jan. 12, 1959, he married Gertrud (Gerdi) Betz in Baumholder, Germany. Mr. Rock served for 28 years in the U.S. Army and was a Viet Nam veteran. He also had tours of duty in Germany, Fort Knox and Fort Belvoir,Va. After retiring, he and his wife moved to Marlow, N.H. in 1977 and he spent the last 33 years performing community service for many area organizations. His memberships included the VFW, American Legion, DAV, Masons and Oddfellows. He leaves his wife of 51 years; cousin Richard Revilla of Brattleboro; and five "favorite" nieces, Barbara Musil of Irvine, Calif., Jerriann Foreman of Merino, Calif., Patricia Armstrong of San Antonio, Texas, Candace Koenemann of Berlin, Vt., and Kim McGarghan of Mannassas, Va. He also leaves a special grand nephew, Michael F. McGarghan, Jr. of Burlington and many other grand and great grand nieces and nephews; as well as many good friends. In accordance with Mr. Rock's wishes, there will be no services. His remains will be interred with military honors later this spring at Arlington National Cemetery.


Just got word that Harold Green has been admitted to Carbondale Memorial Hospital in Carbondale Il for Cancer. Willie Siebert will go down to see Him Soon. Will get Information on him on his time in C Troop, 1/4 Cav.
Alan Benoit


Dan Thompson was contacted by DAVID TEACHWORTH

who served with A Troop, 1st Platoon during 1967 and 68. When Dave got home he went to work for GM in Flint, MI for 30 years. He still l lives in Flint but is now retired and just getting started working with the VA for Disability. Dave would like to hear from anyone he served with and can be reached at dteachworth@power-net.net


Thanks to Smokey Guillespi for this forward. BB

Cav’s Dad

Casimir Pulaski: the Father of American Cavalry

Of all the Polish officers who took part in the American War of Independence, Casimir Pulaski was the most romantic and professionally the most prominent. He was born into the middle gentry at Warka, Poland, March 4, 1747. His family was rich and had enhanced their fortune as clients of the Czartoryski family with whose nationalist policies it was identified.
Joseph Pulaski, Casimir’s father impatient with the Russian interference precipitated an armed movement called the Confederation of Bar in 1768. At the age of fifteen, he joined his father and other members of the Polish nobility in opposing the Russian and Prussian interference of Polish political affairs. Casimir was one of the founding members and on his father’s death in 1769, carried the burden of military command. His greatest success was in the taking and holding of Jasna Gora at Czestochowa, the holist place in Poland. His brilliant defense against the Russians thrilled all of Europe. Unfortunately soon afterward he was implicated in a plot to kill the Polish King and forced into exile.
Outlawed by Russia for his actions on behalf of Polish liberty, he traveled to Paris where he met Benjamin Franklin. Franklin convinced him to support the colonies against England in the American Revolution.
In 1777, Pulaski arrived in Philadelphia where he met General Washington, Commander-in -Chief of the Continental Army. Later at Brandywine, he came to the aid of Washington’s forces and distinguished himself as a brilliant military tactician.
Acting under Washington’s orders without commission Pulaski lead the scouting party that discovered the British flanking movement and the American escape route. He then gathered all available cavalry to cover the retreat, leading a charge that surprised the British and allowed the American army to escape.

For his efforts, Congress appointed him Brigadier-General in charge of Four Horse Brigades. Then again, at the battles of Germantown and Valley Forge, Pulaski’s knowledge of warfare assisted Washington and his men.
Later in 1778, through Washington’s intervention, Congress approved the establishment of an independent Cavalry Corps and put Pulaski at its head. The Father of the American Cavalry demanded much of his men and trained them in tested cavalry tactics. He used his own personal finances, when money from Congress was scarce, in order to assure his forces of the finest equipment and personal safety.
Pulaski’s Legion became the training ground for American cavalry officers including “Light Horse” Harry Lee, the father of Robert E. Lee, and the model for Lee’s and Armand’s legions. Thirteen Polish officers served under Pulaski in the legion. The best assessment of Pulaski’s legion came from a British officer who called them simply “the best damned cavalry the rebels ever had”. In 1779 Pulaski and his legion were ordered to defend Little Egg Harbor in New Jersey and Minisink on the Delaware. They were then sent south to the besieged city of Charleston where he immediately raised morale and assisted in breaking the siege. A joint operation with the French was planed to recapture the city of Savannah. Against Pulaski’s advice the French commander ordered an assault against the strongest point of the British defense. Seeing the allied troops falter, Pulaski galloped forward to rally the men.

Historians are unsure how Pulaski died. The popular account holds that Pulaski rallied the troops in a cavalry charge upon hearing that a fellow officer was hit in the leg by a musket ball. During the charge, Pulaski was struck in the thigh by grapeshot and fell from his horse. It is said, the General’s enemies were so impressed with his courage, that they spared his life and permitted him to be carried from the battlefield.
Within days, gangrene claimed the war hero’s life. Historians continue to debate what happened to Pulaski’s body after his death. One traditional account is that Pulaski died aboard the American ship Wasp and is buried at sea. A second claim is that he was first buried at Greenwich Plantation in Georgia and later reburied under a monument in one of the downtown Savannah squares. September 27, 1996, bones were disinterred from under the Pulaski Monument in Monterey Square. To date, the bone analysis is inconclusive.

Pulaski was the romantic embodiment of the flashing saber and the trumpets calling to the charge, and that is how history has remembered him. The larger-than-life aspect of his death has often obscured his steadier, quieter, and more lasting services. It was in the drudgery of forging a disciplined American Cavalry that could shadow and report on British movements, in the long distance forage raids to feed and clothe the troops at Valley Forge, and the bitter hit and run rearguard actions that covered retreating American armies that slowed British pursuit, that gave Pulaski the title of “Father of the American Cavalry”.


Philip St. George Cooke – “The Father of the United States Cavalry” (1809-1895)
While Casimir Pulaski is called the “Father of the American Cavalry,” the man known to us today as the tactical master of the modern 19th-century mounted forces is Philip St. George Cooke. Cooke wrote a cavalry tactics manual just prior to the Civil War that became the training and fighting textbook for American troopers. Cooke’s manual would be used in conjunction with an instruction manual titled Instructions for Officers on Outpost and Patrol Duty, required reading for all cavalry officers as early as September 1861 and written by Colonel Arentschild of the British Army.
Cooke was born in Leesburg VA on June 13, 1809. He graduated from West Point in 1827 and was on frontier duty, serving in the Black Hawk War, Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and was an observer of the Crimean War.
In the 1840’s, westward expansion in the nation was rapid. Many people from the East were enticed to move westward by promises of wide-open, inexpensive land with rich farming soil. As the western population increased, so too did the country’s desire to own the land. “Manifest Destiny” was the justifying phrase coined to assert that the United States had a “divine right” to be one nation from ocean to ocean. Subsequently, the decade of the 1840’s was one of rapid territorial expansion and acquisition.
US Dragoon soldiers from various forts participated in both the westward expansion and the conflicts it created. Dragoons would see duty providing armed escorts on the Sante Fe and Oregon Trails, surveying the frontier, and maintaining contact with the various Indian tribes to keep the peace.
The US Dragoons had been charged with protecting traders on the Santa Fe trail from Indian attacks. In 1843, trouble erupted along the trail, a trade route between Missouri and Santa Fe (then part of Mexico). It wasn’t Indians, however; ill feelings existed between Texans and Mexico, and border disputes and violence broke out constantly. That year, Texas “freebooters” began attacking Mexican wagon trains along the trail. One group of those Texans murdered Antonio Chavez, a Mexican trader, while on American soil. The killers were apprehended but fear still existed and traders asked the US War Department to furnish military escorts on the trail.
Captain Philip St. George Cooke of the Dragoons led five companies of troopers along the Sante Fe trail as escorts to protect the trade. While on the trail, Cooke and his men encountered Jacob Snively, a freebooter who held a commission from Texas to raid Mexican wagons that were on Mexican soil. Two days prior, Snively and his band had attacked Mexican soldiers, killing several of them. When they met, each party was across the Arkansas river from the other. The land north of the river was United States soil, but to the south, American territory extended only to the 100th meridian. Snively claimed that he and his men were some 40 miles west of the boundary, but Cooke insisted that the freebooters were on American soil. Ordering his troopers, under Captain Terrett, to cross the river and disarm Snively’s men, the dragoons left them only a few guns for defense on their route back to Texas.
This action caused Captain Cooke to be hated by the Texans, but it was a successful expedition since it discouraged any further attacks along the trail that year.
Cooke would later become the father-in-law of a young Confederate cavalier named James Ewell Brown Stuart. During the Civil War, JEB Stuart would ride circles around Cooke and his troopers, causing the old dragoon to be relieved of his command and he would never be given mounted troops to command in battle again.
Cooke’s Cavalry tactics manual, a comprehensive work on training, development with the horse, drill, and fighting tactics, became the standard textbook for much of the United States Cavalry. It would be used heavily during and after the Civil War. In November of 1861, Cooke became a Brigadier General in the Regular service and served in the defenses of Washington, commanded a cavalry division in McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days battles, served on court-martial duty, and also commanded the District of Baton Rouge. After the Civil War, Cooke remained in the service, dying on March 20, 1895 in Detroit MI. Today he is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit MI.
Many Eastern units continued to use Poinsett’s manual during the war, while most Western units began using Cooke’s. There were also several privately-printed manuals available, some of them endorsed by well-known and respected military officers of the era, making things rather confusing when different units used different manuals. During the final year of the war, some volunteers in the East, then using Cooke’s work, were ordered to switch to Poinsett’s. Southern units used these and other manuals as well, of course, especially since many Confederate cavalry leaders had been members of the pre-war regular forces.


The Following historical Photos were provided by Bill Stanley, D Trp (Air), 1968. BB

Vietnamese Buddist Monk

ARVN Oupost on the way to Phu Chong

Vietnamese House on the way to Phu Chong

Duster on the way to Phu Chong

This should bring back some memories

ARVN Compound on the way to Phu Chong

Sun Set from Phu Loi. "Ye old SHED house in the foreground"

Building a water tank

D Troopers pulling Guard at Phu Loi

Gun Ship, UH1-A loaded for bear! 14-2.75 Rockets; 2 mini guns;
The trooper on the left's father fought on the eastern front for Germany-WWII

More Guard Duty at Phu Loi

Highway 1

Vietnamese Home on the way to Phu Chong

Village of Phu Chong

A little bit of the USA in Phu Chong

Vietnamese Bar

Vietnamese in the Village of Phu Chong

Vietnamese open air theater

Phu Chong village street

Vietnamese home in the process of being built


Vietnamese Village

ARVN Barracks

Vietnamese City


Thanks to Dave Snavely for sharing this with us. BB

The terrain in Afghanistan isn’t very friendly for U.S. troops. In the mountainous east near the Pakistan border, insurgents positioned at the peaks open fire on soldiers’ outposts in the valleys, with gravity adding to the distance Taliban bullets travel. So now Army snipers are getting new weapons to help even the odds.
Starting next year, the snipers will be outfitted with the XM2010 rifle, capable of hitting a target from a 3,937-foot distance — about three quarters of a mile. The current sniper rifle, the M-24, has a range of 2,625 feet, by contrast. “You want to give guys the capability to do those things they need to do at those ranges,” Colonel Douglas Tamilio, the Army’s weapons program manager, told USA Today.

In October, the Army’s gear-acquisitions crew announced that Remington got an open-ended contract to revamp the M-24s into longer-range XM2010s, with an eye to making 3,600 guns in all — about 1100 more of them than the Army has snipers. The XM2010’s scoping allows for snipers to see further than the M-24 does, and it’s got add-ons to stifle the heat and noise it gives off, which can tip off a sniper’s position to an enemy.

That’s not the only new gun the Army’s handing out. Last month, soldiers in Afghanistan started receiving a smart grenade launcher called the XM25. It’s not for sniper use, but it has a different approach to accuracy: its onboard computers tell a 25-mm explosive round where to go and when to explode, something the Army wants in order to hit insurgents taking positions in Afghanistan’s compounds without destroying the entire structure. The XM25 has a range of 2,300 feet, so it’s clearly not sniper-grade, even if snipers used grenade launchers. And the XM2010 isn’t even supposed to be the only new weapon that snipers will soon receive. Darpa, the Pentagon’s out-there research branch, has a project called “One Shot” that aims to deliver sniper rifles whose accuracy won’t be thrown off by high-velocity winds. Those are supposed to arrive in 2011, too. The year after that, Darpa contractor Teledyne is scheduled to deliver a prototype of a smart .50-caliber bullet that can adjust its trajectory for wind and humidity fluctuations.

Congress provided $5.6 million over the last two years to develop the XM2010, USA Today notes. And that could touch off a new round of a persistent debate in Army circles: should the Army develop a better general-purpose rifle than the M-4 and M-16 carbines currently in use? As Nathan Hodge noted in May, the M-4 performed worse in firing-range tests than three competitors. And, a provocative 2007 Army Times story reported, Delta Force soldiers use a high-accuracy rifle made by Heckler & Koch, the 416, that “combines the solid handling, accuracy and familiarity of the M4 with the famed dependability of the rugged AK47.” As you can hear us describe to Reddit, an attempt over the last decade to design a replacement for the M-4, ultimately known as the XM-8, stalled under the force of bureaucratic resistance.

Even if the XM2010 performs well in Afghanistan, that’s hardly a guarantee of any broader rifle-rethink. But better range and accuracy for sharpshooters in one of the deadliest combat environments the Army faces might get the ground service to start revisiting some of its assumptions.



Army Working on Lightweight .50 cal

November 26, 2010
Military.com|by Christian Lowe
It’s an iconic weapon whose guttural “thump-thump-thump” inspires confidence that whatever it’s shooting at is going down – in a big way. But for the first time since World War II, the Army is working on a fundamental redesign of the venerable M2 .50cal machine gun, cutting its weight in half, increasing its accuracy and making it a lot easier to shoot for Soldiers on the move.
Dubbed the XM806, the new version of the “Ma Duce” is being developed in response to the Army’s concerns about the weight and mobility of the current M2. With a greater emphasis on light infantry tactics since 9/11, officials wanted a weapon that can be as easily mounted on a Humvee as it can a hillside.
“It is designed to augment the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, but can also be used to replace the M2 in select operational locations,” the Program Executive Office for Soldier Weapons said in an email to Military.com. “The weapon is ideal for light infantry and special operations forces, as well as for vehicles demanding more lethality but lighter weight.”
Talk about taking a diet – the XM806 with its specially-designed tripod weighs a little over 60 lbs. That’s compared to the current M2 Heavy Barrel which comes in at a portly 120 lbs. But the General Dynamics-made XM806’s advantages go deeper than its waistline, Army officials say.
With recoil 60 percent less than an M2, the new lightweight .50 allows Soldiers to fire the weapon with tactical optics, making for a more accurate shot within the first few rounds.
“Safety is improved through a manual safety and a quick change barrel that eliminates the requirement for the operator to adjust headspace and timing,” Army officials added. “The reduced recoil permits the mounting of an optic for greater lethality through increased first-burst accuracy and control.”
The Army is midway through testing the new machine gun at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The service has four weapons on hand and has so far fired almost 90,000 rounds through each test weapon.
Officials say the XM806 will not replace all the Army’s M2 machine guns, but will instead be fielded to light infantry units such as the 101st Airborne, 10th Mountain and 82nd.
“There are also some discussions regarding the issue of weapons to units where a traditional heavy machine gun was impractical but long range fire is still needed, such as on tactical vehicles where weight is an issue,” Army officials added.

It is still unclear how many weapons the Army will buy, but if all goes according to plan, the service will begin fielding the bantam-weight .50cal in late 2012.
The Army also plans to field a new version of the M2 tripod that’s 30 percent lighter than the current one, which comes in at a hefty 44 pounds.


The latest about Presumtive Service Connection illness's. BB.

“Presumptions of Service Connection for Southwest Asia and Afghanistan Service” QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS September 28, 2010 1. What does this final rulemaking do? This final regulation implements a decision by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs that there is a positive association between service in Southwest Asia beginning on August 2, 1990(including Iraq), or in Afghanistan on or after September 19, 2001, and the subsequent development of certain infectious diseases. The effect of this final regulation is to establish a presumption of service connection for these diseases for qualifying service during those periods. Under VA regulations, the Southwest Asia theater of operations includes Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the airspace above these locations. 2. What types of claims for VA benefits does the final rulemaking affect? The final rule affects compensation claims filed by Veterans with service during certain time periods in Southwest Asia or in Afghanistan, for Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetii (Q fever), Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis, and West Nile virus, that are pending before VA or received on or after the rule change takes effect. Pending claims include claims on appeal or that have not yet been finally decided. 3. Why is this final rulemaking necessary? The Secretary, in accordance with The Persian Gulf War Veterans Act of 1998, has determined that there is a basis to establish a presumption of service connection at this time, based on service during certain time periods in Southwest Asia or in Afghanistan for certain time periods, for Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetii (Q fever), Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis, and West Nile virus as identified in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) October 16, 2006 report, titled “Gulf War and Health Volume 5: Infectious Diseases.” In this regard, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs determined, based upon the NAS report, that there is a positive association between service in Southwest Asia or in Afghanistan, and the subsequent development of the listed infectious diseases. 4. How does this final rulemaking help veterans? The final rule will expedite the processing of claims for service connection. A claimant will not be required to establish, with medical evidence, an actual 09/28/2010 Page 2 of 6 connection between military service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and diagnosed Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetii (Q fever), Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis, and West Nile virus. Instead, a claimant who served during certain time periods in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan, will only have to show that he or she had one of the nine diseases within a certain time after service and has a current disability as a result of that disease. What are the nine new presumptive diseases? • Brucellosis: A bacterial disease with symptoms such as profuse sweating and joint and muscle pain. The illness may be chronic and persist for years. It must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year from the date of military separation. • Campylobacter Jejuni: A disease with symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever. It must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year from the date of military separation. • Coxiella Burnetii (Q Fever): A bacterial disease with symptoms such as fever, severe headache, and gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and diarrhea. In chronic cases, the illness may cause inflammation of the heart. It must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year from the date of military separation. • Malaria: An infectious disease caused by a parasite. Symptoms include chills, fever, and sweats. It must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year from the date of military separation or at a time when standard or accepted treatises indicate that the incubation period began during a qualifying period of military service. • Mycobacterium Tuberculosis: An illness that primarily affects the lungs and causes symptoms such as chest pain, persistent cough (sometimes bloody), weight loss and fever. • Nontyphoid Salmonella: A condition characterized by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year from the date of military separation. • Shigella: A condition characterized by symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year from the date of military separation. • Visceral Leishmaniasis: A parasitic disease characterized by symptoms such as fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anemia. The condition may be fatal if left untreated. • West Nile Virus A disease spread by mosquitoes characterized by symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain or weakness, nausea, and vomiting. 09/28/2010 Page 3 of 6 Symptoms may range from mild to severe. It must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year from the date of military separation. The presumptive periods for each of the nine diseases have been determined on the basis of the NAS report and reflect the observation that six of the nine diseases ordinarily manifest within a short period of time following infection. The one-year period is also consistent with the existing presumption of service connection for tropical diseases found at 38 U.S.C. § 1112(a). The presumptive periods for the other three diseases are based on existing statutes and medical treatises. 6. What are the cost estimates for the nine new presumptives? Benefit payments are estimated to be $1.5 million during the first year, $11.5 million for five years, and $36.4 million to approximately 600 Veterans and survivors over ten years. 7. What caused VA to include these presumptions now and why did it take VA nearly 4 years from publication of the IOM report to create presumptions of service connection? The nine illnesses covered by the new presumptions are all infectious diseases and are noted in the 2006 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Gulf War and Health Volume 5: Infectious Diseases, as endemic to the Middle East/Southwest Asia area. In some cases, infection with one of these agents may lead to some of the chronic multi-symptom illnesses suffered by some troops of the Gulf Wars. At this time, VA does not believe there is a single Gulf War Illness or Syndrome. The issue is far more complex and varies with each individual service member’s environmental exposures during service in the early and ongoing Gulf Wars. However, VA has been treating and compensating Veterans for undiagnosed or chronic unexplained multi-symptom illnesses related to service in Southwest Asia and the Middle East for nearly two decades. The illnesses and diseases included under this umbrella are compiled by VA funded Gulf War research and verified by the Institutes of Medicine (IOM). After the IOM published their report on October 16, 2006, then Secretary of Veterans R. James Nicholson appointed a task force that included Under Secretaries for Health and Benefits, Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning, and the General Counsel to study the report and recommend what action he should take regarding the establishment of new presumptions. He was succeeded by Secretary James B. Peake in December 2007. The task force presented its report to Secretary Peake on January 10, 2008. After reviewing the task force report, he sent letters to Congressional leaders on January 14, 2008, informing them that he had determined that 9 infectious diseases were associated with Gulf War service and therefore presumptions of service connection were warranted. On April 2, 2009, VA published a notice in the Federal Register stating that VA was drafting regulations creating those presumptions, and that no other presumptions were warranted. On March 18, 2010, VA published a proposed rule (AN24) proposing to create those presumptions. 09/28/2010 Page 4 of 6 We received 18 public comments which we responded to in the Final Rule published September 29, 2010. 8. How do Veterans know if they have any of these presumptive diseases? The key to the new presumptions is the development of symptoms during or very shortly after service in the Middle East/Southwest Asia, usually within the same year of exposure. However, visceral leishmaniasis and Mycobacterium Tuberculosis have been granted unlimited presumption since they can develop much later. Many of the diseases share symptoms with the flu or common illnesses such as frequent fevers or skin rashes. Veterans who served in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan who suffer chronic illness since their service in the Gulf should seek treatment at a VA medical facility for diagnoses. Veterans can find their nearest medical facility at www.va.gov. 9. When will VA start processing claims for this new regulation? VA will begin processing claims when the final rule is published on September 29, 2010. 10. Will these claims be processed under the planned automated system intended to be used for the Agent Orange presumptives? No, because of the small number of anticipated claims, this change does not lend itself well to the special processes being explored for the potentially very large number of Agent Orange claims we anticipate. 11. If a veteran has multiple issues (such as heart issue, knee problem, back issue) does he/she submit all three at one time or submit for the presumption first and then submit the other issues? Veterans should file claims for all issues they believe to have been incurred in or aggravated by service at one time. If evidence supporting the presumptive disease is sufficient, it may be processed before other issues. 12. If a veteran has been denied for an issue that is now a presumption does he/she have to resubmit a claim in order to be reconsidered? And if so, from what date would compensation be paid? Yes, the veteran should resubmit his or her claim. If entitlement is established, service connection will be granted from the date of the publication of the final rule. For claims submitted more than one year after the publication of the final rule, VA may pay up to one year of retroactive benefits. Compensation, or additional compensation payable if the Veteran is already service connected for another disability, resulting from this rule will be payable from the first of the month following publication. 13. Does VA plan to do any special outreach to Southwest Asia and Afghanistan veterans, who either have or had a compensation claim related to the nine presumptives or are still on active duty? VA will work closely with Veterans Service Organizations, the Department of Defense and stakeholders to ensure that potentially affected Veterans are made aware of the rule and the benefits and services available to them and their dependents. Through the work of the GWVI-TF, VA developed a unique process to directly engage Gulf War Veterans for their ideas, questions, and concerns regarding the services and benefits they receive at the VA. The report recommends greater outreach to Veterans, and moves the outreach model from “pushing” information to Veterans towards a “pulling” model where VA “pulls” or reaches out to welcome them into the VA for health care, benefits and other services. VA will continue to strengthen its critical partnerships with Veterans Service Organizations, Non Governmental Organizations, and other Veteran advocates to help spread the word about health care and benefits for Gulf War Veterans. 14. What training did VA employees receive? On February 4, 2010, VA issued a Training Letter to its benefits employees that provided guidance on the new process for developing and adjudicating disability claims of Gulf War Veterans based on their service. Additional information on broader environmental hazard exposure was included in a second Training Letter, issued April 26, 2010. VA also initiated new clinician training for treating Gulf War Veterans that was developed collaboratively by front-line providers, Compensation & Pension examiners, social workers, and policy experts. This training will improve the care provided to Gulf War Veterans to be more patient-centered and focused on their unique health concerns. VA has held well-attended environmental exposures seminars in Portland, Oregon, and Indianapolis, Indiana, and is scheduled to expand to other locations next year. VA’s War Related Illness and Injury Study Center program is fully operational with facilities operating in three locations: Washington, DC, East Orange, NJ, and Palo Alto, CA. 15. What is the Gulf War Task Force and what is its relationship to the nine new presumptives? The decision to add the nine new presumptives predated the Gulf War Veteran Illness Task Force. The overarching responsibility of the Gulf War Veteran Illness Task Force (GWI-TF) is to regain Gulf War Veterans’ confidence in VA’s health care, benefits, and services and reconfirm VA is 100% committed to Veterans of all eras. The GWI-TF is not a static, one-time initiative but will continue to build on its work with annual reports issued every August. The focus centers on unanswered Gulf War Veterans’ health issues, improving access to benefits, ensuring cutting edge research into treatments, and to make sure Veterans’ concerns are heard and addressed. This includes continuing to solicit Veterans, experts, advocates and stakeholders to share their views to better inform the important work of the GWI-TF. 09/28/2010


Our Vice President, Joe Birindelli has been busy of late and check out what he has been doing.....!BTY, I didn't take these picutures. BB

Sitting there with his arm around my girl!!!

Now he's flirting with her!!!


Heres one sent in by Ron Brauer that didn't make it for Veteran's Day.BB


Another example of how one sided our news media has become. I doubt if many of you have heard about this.BB

Colonel Bob Howard is a native of Alabama, with his home record San Antonio, Texas. He entered military service on July 20, 1956 and was medically retired on September 30, 1992. He received a direct appointment from Master Sergeant to First Lieutenant in December 1969. His thirty six years of military service included over 33 years on airborne status. He participated in two movies concerning airborne and special operations missions, both featuring John Wayne. He made a parachute jump on the filming of The Longest Day and as an Airborne Instructor in The Green Berets. Military assignments include duty with the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions; 2d Ranger Battalion; 3d, 5th, and 6th, Special Forces Group; 5th Infantry Division; 7th Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps. He served in the Eighth United States Army and Combined Forces Command. Service in Vietnam included serving with 1/327th Airborne Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, 5th Special Forces Group, and MACV SOG. Colonel Howard commanded a Reconnaissance Company, MACV SOG in Vietnam, a separate Ranger Company at Fort Benning, Georgia, two Ranger Companies while assigned to the 2d Ranger Battalion. He was the Post Commander of Kelly Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany, Executive Officer of the 2d Ranger Battalion, and the Mountain Ranger Camp. Military Instructor duties include Airborne, Ranger, and Pathfinder at the Infantry School, Tactics at the Command and General Staff College, Special Operations and Special Forces at the Special Warfare Center. Staff assignments have included duty with AC of S, G3, XVIII, Airborne Corps, C3, J3, G3, Combined Forces Command/Eighth United States Army, Korea. Military training includes the Basic and Advanced Infantry Courses at the Infantry School; Special Forces Enlisted and Officer Courses at the Special Warfare Center and School; Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, and the National War College in Washington, D.C. Colonel Howard was a distinguished honor graduate of the Ranger Course, Pathfinder Course, and Parachute Rigger School. Received the Outstanding Infantryman's Trophy as Outstanding Infantry Officer of Class 1979-1980 at the Command and General Staff College. He graduated from the National War College, Class 1987-1988. His military service also contributed to exceptional civilian recognition for service to his nation. He received the Outstanding Youngman of America award 1970; nominated as one of ten Outstanding Youngmen in America in 1971 and 1972; inducted into Military Hall of Fame, Hoover Institute, Stanford University in 1980, inducted into Military Hall of Fame, Veterans of Foreign Wars, State of Alabama in 1973; Promoted to Colonel for Life, Alabama State Militia, State of Alabama, Governor George Wallace, 1976. AWARDS AND DECORATIONS: Congressional Medal of Honor Distinguished Service Cross Silver Star Bronze Star for Valor, 3d Oak Leaf Cluster Purple Heart, 8th Award, 7th Oak Leaf Cluster Defense Superior Service Medal Legion of Merit, 3d Oak Leaf Cluster Bronze Star for Meritorious Achievement Air Medal for Valor, 2d Oak Leaf Cluster Army Commendation Medal for Valor, 3d Oak Leaf Cluster Air Medal for Aerial Flights Army Meritorious Service Medal, 2d Oak Leaf Cluster Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Achievement, 2d Oak Leaf Cluster Joint Service Commendation Medal Joint Service Achievement Medal Army Achievement Medal Good Conduct Medal 4th Award National Defense Service Medal Armed Forces Reserve Medal PNCO Ribbon W/2 device Army Overseas Ribbon Army Service Ribbon Expeditionary Medal, 2d Oak Leaf Cluster Vietnam Service Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star Vietnam Honor Medal 2d Award Vietnamese Wound Medal Vietnamese Civil Action Medal 2d Award Army Presidential Unit Citation, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster Navy Valorous Unit Citation Army Meritorious Unit Citation Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster Republic of Korea Samil Medal Combat Infantryman's Badge Aircraft Crewman's Badge Master Parachute Badge Pathfinder Badge Air Assault Badge Expert Infantryman's Badge Vietnamese Ranger Badge Army Ranger Tab Special Forces Qualification Tab Thai Master Parachute Wings Vietnamese Master Parachute Badge French Parachutist Badge Korean Master Parachute Badge Thai Balloonist Badge EDUCATION: University of Maryland 1962-AA, Business Administration Texas Christian University 1973-BA, Police Administration Central Michigan University 1980-MA, Management and Supervision Central Michigan University 1981-MA, Public Administration SERVICE; UNIT ASSIGNMENT/ENLISTED AND OFFICER HISTORY: Commissioned from Master Sergeant to First Lieutenant in 1969 Assignments with 82d Airborne Division: Rifleman, Squad Leader, Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, and Company Commander, C Company, 1/504th Parachute Infantry Assignments with 101st Airborne Division: Squad Leader and Platoon Sergeant, 1/327th AB Inf Assignments with the 5th Infantry Division: Squad Leader and PSG, C Co 2/61st Inf Weapons Specialist, Demolition Team Leader, Charlie Company, 3d Special Forces Group Operations and Intelligence Sergeant, Headquarters Company, 6th Special Forces Group Team Leader, Weapons Specialist, B52, 5th Special Forces Group, Vietnam Team Leader and Reconnaissance Company First Sergeant, 5th SF Gp, Forward Opn Base # 2, RVN Procurement/Retention NCO, Headquarters, Special Warfare Center/School Executive Officer, Team Leader Recon CO, Cmd and Control Central, MACV SOG, Vietnam Company Commander, Reconnaissance Company, Command and Control Central, MACV SOG, Vietnam Ground Training Committee Chief, Airborne Department, Infantry School Tower Training Committee Chief, Airborne Department, Infantry School Pathfinder Committee Chief, Airborne Department, Infantry School Company Commander C Co 75th Rangers, 1/29 Infantry Company Commander A Co 2/75th Rangers Company Commander C Co 2/75th Rangers Company Commander HHC, 2/75th Rangers Officer In Charge Patrolling Committee, Mountain Ranger Division, Infantry School Executive Officer, Mountain Ranger Division, Infantry School Instructor Department of Tactics, Command and General Staff College Chief Instructor Phase One Special Forces Training, Special Warfare School Committee Chief, Officer and Enlisted SF Qual Course, Special Warfare School Chief, Joint Combined UW Task Force, Korean Special Forces, Songnam, Korea Batt CO and Headquarters Commandant VII Corps Special Troops, Stuttgart, Germany Post Commander and Moehringen/Degerloch Mil Sub Community, Kelly Barracks, Stuttgart, Ger Special Operations Commander, USFK Special Assistant Cmdg General 5th USA Cof S, Ops/Plns, LAIO, Reserve Components, 5th USA, Coalition Forces, Desert Shield/ Storm OVERSEAS WARTIME SERVICE: Vietnam Service includes service with 1/327 Inf, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne, Delta Project, B52, 5th Special Forces Group, MACV SOG, FOB # 2 and CCC. Overseas tours include France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Panama and Vietnam DISTINCTION ACHIEVED DURING MILITARY TRAINING: Distinguished Honor Graduate, Parachute Rigger Course Distinguished Honor Graduate Pathfinder Course Distinguished Honor Graduate Ranger Course Outstanding Infantryman Class 1979- 1980, Command and General Staff College Company Commander of Advanced Infantry Class 1973, Infantry Officers Advance Class, Inf Sch CIVILIAN AWARDS AND TITLES: 10 Outstanding Youngmen in America, 1971-1972 Outstanding American Citizen Award, Birmingham, Alabama -1973 Inducted into Military Hall of Fame, Hoover Institute, Stanford University - 1980 Ticker Tape Parade Honoree, Key to the City Award, New York City, NY - 1986 Outstanding Citizen Award, Dallas, Texas - 1993 Inducted into the State of Texas, War Memorial, Vietnam Section, Medal of Honor Groove, Statue Included, McAllen, Texas - 1998 FRATERNAL MEMBERSHIPS: Honorary National Aide De Camp, National Cmdr American Legion and Vets of Foreign Wars LIFE MEMBER: VFW, ALG, AMVETS, DAV, VVA, Special Operations, and Special Forces Assns, Military Order of Purple Heart, Legion of Valor, Medal of Honor Society, US Army Ranger Association (USARA) STATE OF ALABAMA TITLE: "Colonel of the Militia" ALUMNI: Texas Christian University Central Michigan University National War College Col Howard was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 2005. Col Howard was inducted into the Army Aviation Association of America Hall of Fame in 2010. After retirement from military service in 1992, Colonel Bob Howard was employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He retired in January 2006 after 52 years of government service.


Thanks to Howard Greenfield for this post.BB

The Rest of the Story

Here's a 'today' Yule story that occurred 3 weeks ago AND NOW, in time for the holidays, I bring you the best Christmas story you never heard.
It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops. "We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett. So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3.
The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it. Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them.
He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard. One car, the elegant Pennsylvania , carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D. C. for burial. "That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.
He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played. The Levin’s could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D. C. and Bethesda, Maryland . "We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."
Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea. But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:
No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.
No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op"
And no Pentagon suits onboard, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.
The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands. "I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.
Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train? The Liberty Limited.
Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D. C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.
Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game.
A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite.
And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees:
From Woolrich, stadium blankets; from Wal-Mart, digital cameras; from Nikon, field glasses; from GEAR, down jackets.
There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.
The Marines, though, declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.
Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D. C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day. "They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."
At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.
Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda . "The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."
The most poignant moment for the Levin’s was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.
"One of the guys was blind, but he said, “I can't see you, but man, you must be beautiful”, says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."
It's been three weeks, but the Levin’s and their guests are still feeling the day's love. "My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air." Maybe it was hope.
As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."
God bless the Levin’s.
And bless the troops, every one.


Thanks to Dan Thompson for this Article. Dan and SMA Tilley served together with the 1/4th Cav in 1967. BB

‘I’m not stopping serving no matter what’
Former sergeant major of the Army uses life changes to make difference

Photo by Kari Hawkins

SPEAKING ON LIFE CHANGES— Jack Tilley, the former 12th sergeant major of the Army, speaks to retirees at the 36th annual Military Retiree Appreciation Day about the life changes that have motivated him to continue to serve his nation and its military.

Staff writer

This year’s Military Retiree Appreciation Day was all about life changes -- life changes that make a positive impact, that lead to reassessments and new commitments, that make a difference in the lives of others.
Health care exhibitors including Fox Army Health Center, Huntsville Hospital and Crestwood Medical Center provided information about managing health issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Volunteer agencies like Still Serving Veterans and Army Community Service offered both services and volunteer opportunities. And program speakers urged attendees to make the most of their retirement years.
The two-day event gave retirees a glimpse of the life changes they can make in their own lives and in the lives of others.
Leading those life changes was one of the Army’s most active military retirees – Jack Tilley, who prefers to be introduced as the former – not the retired – 12th sergeant major of the Army. Tilley brought his message of life changes to the second day of the annual Military Retiree Appreciation Day event, held Oct. 2 at the Officers and Civilians Club and Oct. 3 at the Sparkman Center’s Bob Jones Auditorium and cafeteria.
His message – interspersed with personal antidotes – told of his deep faith in God, his belief that the U.S. still stands for hope, peace and equality throughout the world, and his willingness to continue in his service to the nation despite carrying the label “retired.”

“My name is Jack Tilley. I’m a retiree. I’m a Soldier. And I will never stop serving,” he told retirees in closing his presentation on Oct. 3.
But before the closing came so much more.
“I loved serving in the military. I had almost 36 years of service,” he said. “I’m here to tell you about the things that changed my life.”
Tilley, who served as the sergeant major of the Army from June 2000 until his retirement in January 2004, had a military career that included a tour in Vietnam, and stints as a tank commander, section leader, drill sergeant, platoon sergeant, senior instructor, operations sergeant and first sergeant. He has served as the command sergeant major of the Central Command; 1st Battalion, 10th Cavalry at Fort Knox, Ky.; 194th Armor Brigade, 1st Armored Division in Germany; and Space and Missile Defense Command in Arlington, Va.
As the Army’s sergeant major, Tilley served as the Army chief of staff’s personal adviser on all enlisted-related matters, particularly those affecting Soldier training and quality of life. Tilley, a Bronze Star recipient, said his career and his achievements are “about God. It is about believing. It is about life. It is about believing in all of us, in the Army, in this nation.” In retirement, his service continues.
“You’re still serving,” he said, “only in a different capacity … Spouses serve, too. Any success I’ve had in my life is because of my wife.”
Tilley’s retirement includes visits to the Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he has met some of the Soldiers who have made sacrifices in the nation’s battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has met multiple amputees and even one triple amputee Soldier.
“I’m motivated. I like to laugh and have fun,” Tilley said. “But the first Soldier I visited was a 25-year-old double amputee female. What do I say to her to motivate her, to help her?
“It turned out I didn’t have to say anything. She said to me ‘How do I get out of here? How do I get back in the fight?’ That young Soldier changed my life. It made me think of things so differently.” Visiting young Soldiers who have sacrificed so much, but who want to continue serving their nation is a life changing experience, he said. But Tilley’s life changes began before retirement. They actually started when he was very young.
“I know my mom and dad loved me and really put me on a great foundation for life,” he said. “The way they trained me – I can’t give that back.”
Another life change occurred when he joined the Army.
“The Army changed my life. You don’t know how proud I am to say I’m still serving in the Army. I believe in my Army, your Army, our Army and I will never forget the things they allowed me to do,” he said.
That Army experience included the traumatic conditions of Vietnam.
“When I got to Vietnam, I was scared to death,” Tilley recalled. “I didn’t know what to do except listen to my sergeant.
“My unit was overrun by the enemy when I was there. Half the unit was killed. I remember picking up pieces of my friends. Here it is, 40 years later, and I can’t forget about that.”
Today’s Soldiers have had similar experiences that forever change their life, he said.
“Anyone who has gone to war doesn’t want to go back to war. But they go back to war because their country calls them to war,” Tilley said.
“War changed my life. It makes me look at things so differently now. It makes me appreciate things so much more. Less than 1 percent of our population serves in the military. It’s about standing up and doing the right thing each and every day.”
His family – including two sons, one living with the symptoms of meningitis, and two granddaughters – has also changed his life. He was especially changed by his oldest son’s illness.
“He was temporarily blind and deaf, and had 20 to 30 convulsions a day,” Tilley recalled of his son’s condition at the age of 8 or 9. “They put a lumbar shunt in his spine and that took the pressure off his brain. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t know how people would react. In the military, you sort of keep things to yourself.
“But we’re altogether in this. We all help each other out. We were at Fort Lewis, Wash., and I remember thinking ‘He’s going to die. It’s not fair. I believe in life. I believe in God. I’m a Soldier. I do the things I think are right each and every day.’”
He recalled the day he went to the chaplain and prayed to God.
“All the people we have lost, all the pain they’ve gone through, and all the families and what they go through, and now it’s at my doorstep,” he said. “I prayed ‘God, let him live or let him die.’”
The next day, his son’s seizures stopped.
“What happened?” Tilley asked his audience. “My son … He changed my life. Today he is 36 with the mentality of a 14-year-old. But he is my son.”
Tilley was serving at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. He recalled office mates telling him to turn on the television to see the aftermath of the first plane attack on the World Trade Center.
“I saw the second plane hit,” he said. “I told everyone that they shouldn’t think that couldn’t happen to us. The Pentagon is a target.”
Tilley then went to a meeting outside the Pentagon. Thirty minutes later, as he was returning, an airplane struck the Pentagon.
“One hundred, seventy-four people died. Three I don’t count because they were terrorists,” he said of the Pentagon strike. “I tried to go in and save part of our family. I lost some good friends that day. I can’t forget.”
It is because of those life changes that Tilley continues to serve the military and the nation. He is still continuing his mission in wartime -- making trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, just as he did as the Army’s sergeant major. He’s going there to support Soldiers, to show them their country still cares about them, to help them deal with the terms of their deployments.
“I’m not stopping serving no matter what,” he said.
“Everything I did (in my career) was about life. It was about protecting and defending the Constitution. It was about giving. It was about doing what is right for our Army. I can’t stop now.”


The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War
by Stephen A. Bourque, John W. III Burdan
Estimated delivery 3-12 business days
Format Hardcover

Condition Brand New
The Road to Safwan is a complete history of the 1st Infantry Division's cavalry unit fighting in Operation Desert Storm. Stephen A. Bourque and John W. Burdan III served in the 1st Infantry—Bourque in Division Headquarters, Burdan as the Operations Officer of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry. Based on extensive interviews and primary sources, Bourque and Burdan provide the most in-depth coverage to date of a battalion-level unit in the 1991 war, showing how the unit deployed, went into combat, and adapted to changing circumstances. The authors describe how the officers and men moved from the routine of cold war training to leading the Big Red One in battle through the Iraqi defenses and against the Iraqi Republican Guard. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry participated in the 1st Brigade attack on G-Day, the large tank battle for Objective Norfolk, the cutting of Basra Road, and the capture of Safwan Airfield, the site where General H. Norman Schwartzkopf conducted cease-fire negotiations with the Iraqis. The squadron's activities are placed squarely within the context of both division and corps activities, which illustrates the fog of war, the chain of command, and the uncertainty of information affecting command decisions. The Road to Safwan challenges the myth that technology won the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Contrary to popular view, it was a soldier's war not much different from previous conflicts in its general nature. What was different was the quality and intensity of the unit's training, which resulted, repeatedly, in successful engagements and objectives secured. It is the story of the people, not the machines, which ultimately led this squadron to the small town of Safwan.

Publisher Description
The Road to Safwan is a complete history of the 1st Infantry Division's cavalry unit fighting in Operation Desert Storm. Stephen A. Bourque and John W. Burdan III served in the 1st Infantry—Bourque in Division Headquarters, Burdan as the Operations Officer of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry. Based on extensive interviews and primary sources, Bourque and Burdan provide the most in-depth coverage to date of a battalion-level unit in the 1991 war, showing how the unit deployed, went into combat, and adapted to changing circumstances. The authors describe how the officers and men moved from the routine of cold war training to leading the Big Red One in battle through the Iraqi defenses and against the Iraqi Republican Guard. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry participated in the 1st Brigade attack on G-Day, the large tank battle for Objective Norfolk, the cutting of Basra Road, and the capture of Safwan Airfield, the site where General H. Norman Schwartzkopf conducted cease-fire negotiations with the Iraqis. The squadron's activities are placed squarely within the context of both division and corps activities, which illustrates the fog of war, the chain of command, and the uncertainty of information affecting command decisions. The Road to Safwan challenges the myth that technology won the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Contrary to popular view, it was a soldier's war not much different from previous conflicts in its general nature. What was different was the quality and intensity of the unit's training, which resulted, repeatedly, in successful engagements and objectives secured. It is the story of the people, not the machines, which ultimately led this squadron to the small town of Safwan.


• ISBN 1574412329 • ISBN-13 9781574412321 • Title The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War • Author Stephen A. Bourque, John W. III Burdan • Format Hardcover • Year 2007 • Pages 312 • Publisher University of North Texas Press • Dimensions6.3 in. x 1.1 in. x 9.1 in

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

According to Alan Benoit, Missouri isn't a good place to be inventing things of this type.BB

Dr. Calvin Rickson, a scientist from Texas A&M University has invented a bra that keeps women's breasts from jiggling, bouncing up and down, and prevents the nipples from pushing through the fabric when cold weather sets in.

At a news conference, after announcing the invention, a large group of men took Dr. Rickson outside and beat the ever lovin' shit out of him!

Don’t screw with Nature!!


Thanks to Smokey for sharing this one with us.BB


Here's a solution to all the controversy over full-body scanners at the airports:

All we need to do is develop a booth that you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have hidden on or in your body. The explosion will be contained within the sealed booth.

This would be a win-win for everyone. There would be none of this crap about racial profiling and the device would eliminate long and expensive trials. **************************************************************

Here is one of those educational jokes sent in by Bob Corbin.BB

DID YOU KNOW THIS little Christmas story?

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure. Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more. When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where. Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree. Not a lot of people know this.


I think you will like this one from Danny Horn. BB

A Florida senior citizen drove his brand new Corvette convertible out of the dealership.

Taking off down the road, he pushed it to 80 mph, enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left. "Amazing," he thought as he flew down I-75, pushing the pedal even more.

Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a Florida State Trooper, blue lights flashing and siren blaring. He floored it to 100 mph, then 110, then 120.

Suddenly he thought, "What am I doing? I'm too old for this!" and pulled over to await the trooper's arrival.

Pulling in behind him, the trooper got out of his vehicle and walked up to the Corvette. He looked at his watch, then said, "Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a new reason for speeding--a reason I've never before heard--I'll let you go."

The old gentleman paused then said: "Three years ago, my wife ran off with a Florida State Trooper. I thought you were bringing her back."

"Have a good day, Sir," replied the trooper.


Dave Snavely risked his life for this one!.BB

Dog's life with a Senior Driver


Fred Currier sure has flown a lot!!.BB

TSA Slogans:

Grope Discounts available.

Can't see London, Can't see France, unless we see your underpants!

Only we know if Lady Gaga is really a lady.

We've handled more balls than Barney Frank.

We are now free to move about your pants.

We rub you the wrong way, so you can be on your way.

It's not a grope, It's a freedom pat.
When in doubt, we make you whip it out!
TSA: Touchin', Squeezin', Arrestin'

You were a virgin.

We handle more packages than the USPS.

The TSA isn't silly, They just want to inspect your willy.

Stroke of the hand, law of the land.

No Shirt, No Shoes, No problem.

Let our fingers do the walking.

Bend over and cough.

Reach out and touch someone.

Can you feel us now?

When we're done with you, you'll need a cigarette.


Thanks to Don Kalahar for the following.BB

A Priceless Wedding Invitation From the Mother of the Groom (The photo tells the 'Rest of the Story')

P.S. We have no idea of WHAT he sees in her !


Here's one sent in by Ole Grouchy.BB

The Veterinarian

One Sunday, in counting the money in the weekly offering, the Pastor of a small church found a pink envelope containing $1,000. It happened again the next week!

The following Sunday, he watched as the offering was collected and saw an elderly woman put the distinctive pink envelope on the plate. This went on for weeks until the pastor, overcome by curiosity, approached her

"Ma'am, I couldn't help but notice that you put $1,000 a week in the collection plate," he stated.

"Why yes," she replied, "every week my son sends me money and I give some of it to the church."

The pastor replied, "That's wonderful. But $1000 is a lot, are you sure you can afford this? How much does he send you?"

The elderly woman answered, "$10,000 a week."

The pastor was amazed. "Your son is very successful; what does he do for a living?"

"He is a veterinarian," she answered. The woman answered proudly, "In Nevada .. He has two cat houses, one in Las Vegas , and one in Reno '


Thanks to Howard Greenfield for sending this one in.BB

An elderly couple, who were both widowed, had been going out with each other for a long time.

Urged on by their friends, they decided it was finally time to get married.

Before the wedding, they went out to dinner and had a long conversation regarding how their marriage might work.

They discussed finances, living arrangements, and so on.
Finally, the old gentleman decided it was time to broach the subject of their physical relationship.

'How do you feel about sex?' he asked, rather tentatively-

'I would like it infrequently' she replied.
The old gentleman sat quietly for a moment, adjusted his glasses and leaned over towards her and whispered

'Is that one word or two?'


John Conley loves animals. He dosen't indicate whether this is his own story or not.BB

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift.The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary.
Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious, and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music, and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird, and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes, the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then, suddenly, there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arm and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up and, very softly, said "May I ask what the turkey did?"


Selective Sounds
(Works with all Windows versions)

If you want to listen to music played from your computer without hearing your computer's beeps and grunts, you can.

1. Open the volume control (double-click its icon located at the bottom right on the Taskbar) and move the slider buttons up or down to the volume you want.
2. Click the check box labeled Mute All.
3. Now close the volume control (Options > Exit), plug in your headphones to your CD-ROM drive, and insert your favorite music CD. Now you can listen to music without being bothered by the background sounds.

You can use a similar method to listen to music with the speakers. Open Volume Control and select Mute for all the check boxes except the one for the CD. This will prevent your hearing the computer sounds while you enjoy your CD.


Provided by Dr. Edmund Hayes, MD

DTC Advertising Is Annoying But Should It Be Banned?
Should the public be shielded from medical information that can mislead it? Many argue against direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, which is omnipresent in print and on the airwaves. Opponents of this practice argue that it promotes the use of expensive medications when patients ask their doctors if the "drug is right for them," the tag line that appears at the end of every ad. This phrase is the drug company's limp disclaimer that it is really the physician who will make the prescribing recommendation. Yeah, right.
Of course, DTC ads promote drug sales. Isn't that the purpose of advertising? Antagonists of this drug pushing state that resources spent on advertising should be used instead to lower drug prices for consumers. Couldn't the same argument be made about any product being advertised? Should General Motors cease and desist from spending marketing money and divert these funds instead for consumer rebates? Legal products have the right to advertise and market their wares.


FDA Significantly Restricts Access To The Diabetes Drug Avandia The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that it will significantly restrict the use of the diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) to patients with Type 2 diabetes who cannot control their diabetes on other medications. These new restrictions are in response to data that suggest an elevated risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in patients treated with Avandia.
"The FDA is taking this action today to protect patients, after a careful effort to weigh benefits and risks," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "We are seeking to strike the right balance to support clinical care."
Rosiglitazone also is available in combination with other diabetes medications, metformin under the brand name Avandamet or glimepiride under the brand name Avandaryl.


Vitamin D Protects Against Obesity-induced Endometrial Cancer Findings from an animal study suggest that obese women can reduce their increased risk of endometrial disease if they take vitamin D supplements, say researchers at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The scientists report in Cancer Prevention Research published online today that 25 percent of obese mice fed a vitamin D supplemented diet developed endometrial cancer, while 67 percent of obese mice not treated with the vitamin developed cancer. They also report that vitamin D offered no protective effects for normal weight mice; whether or not they used the vitamin, about 60 percent of these mice developed cancer.
All of the mice were genetically predisposed to develop endometrial cancer, because they were missing one of their two PTEN tumor suppressor genes, loss of which is strongly linked to development of human endometrial cancer. Obesity is also a strong known risk factor, researchers say.


High-Dose Aspirin Reduces Pain For Severe Headache And Migraine
An inexpensive, hundred-year-old therapy for pain - aspirin - is effective in high doses for the treatment of severe headache and migraine caused by drug withdrawal, according to a new study by researchers with the UCSF Headache Center. Study participants were administered aspirin through an IV and 25 percent of the time they reported a significant reduction in pain - three points on the 10-point pain scale. (A difference of three points downgrades a headache from severe to moderate, moderate to mild, or from mild to pain-free). Participants reported a more modest pain reduction about 40 percent of the time.
The findings are noteworthy because high-dose intravenous aspirin is not widely available for headache sufferers in the United States, the authors say. Aspirin also is nontoxic, non-addictive, non-sedating, has few side effects for adults, and is less expensive than drug regimens such as triptans that physicians typically prescribe to headache patients to combat severe pain.
The study was published in the September 21, 2010, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.


Study Examines HIV Treatment Response In Men And Women
A new landmark study, which demonstrated it is possible to recruit large numbers of women into a clinical trial evaluating treatments for HIV infection, found no significant gender-based differences in response to the anti-HIV drugs darunavir and ritonavir - at least among those who remained in the trial to the end.
However, women dropped out of the GRACE (Gender, Race and Clinical Experience) study at higher rates than men for reasons other than drug failure, indicating that more must be done to retain women in clinical trials that shed important light on the effectiveness of drugs in development or those on the market.
The study, published in the Sept. 21 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that nearly one-third of women dropped out, compared with less than one-fourth of the men enrolled.


New Drug Could Help Stop The Spread Of Disease During Cough
What if there was a drug that could completely eliminate airborne disease transmission that occurs when someone coughs? Researchers at the University of Alberta believe they have found a way to achieve this.
The idea behind this work came from Malcolm King and his research associate Gustavo Zayas, both who work in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at the U of A's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.
"We need a treatment to reduce the spread of airborne diseases such as influenza, particularly when a new strain appears as was the case with last year's H1N1 influenza," said King about their decision to analyze airborne infectious transmissions.


Patient Genotypes Guide Drug Therapy In New VU Program
Beginning this month, all patients undergoing cardiac catheterization at Vanderbilt University Medical Center will be tested for a genetic variation that can affect their response to a blood-thinner many of them will end up taking.
The genetic information will be placed in their electronic medical records to help their physicians choose the drug and dose that is best for them.
The goal is to reduce the risk of future complications, including strokes, heart attacks and sudden cardiac death.
Vanderbilt is the first medical center in the country to deliver this form of "decision-supported, personalized" drug therapy, said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
No one else puts genetic information into the electronic record before it is needed, he said Monday during his State of the Medical Center address.


$93,000 Cancer Drug: How Much Is A Life Worth?
Cancer patients, brace yourselves. Many new drug treatments cost nearly $100,000 a year, sparking fresh debate about how much a few months more of life is worth. The latest is Provenge, a first-of-a-kind therapy approved in April. It costs $93,000 a year and adds four months' survival, on average, for men with incurable prostate tumors. Bob Svensson is honest about why he got it: insurance paid.
"I would not spend that money," because the benefit doesn't seem worth it, says Svensson, 80, a former corporate finance officer from Bedford, Mass.
His supplemental Medicare plan is paying while the government decides whether basic Medicare will cover Provenge and for whom. The tab for taxpayers could be huge - prostate is the most common cancer in American men. Most of those who have it will be eligible for Medicare, and Provenge will be an option for many late-stage cases. A meeting to consider Medicare coverage is set for Nov. 17.


The Benefit Of A Drug Cannot Be Measured By The Law Of Averages
One of the topics that I have often thought about (especially in light of our seeming inability to develop zero-risk obesity drugs) is the problem of averages. Our entire medical philosophy of "evidence-based" medicine seems built on the "Gaussian" assumption that averages can reflect the true benefit (or risk) of a drug, when in real life (or medical practice) there is no such thing as the truly average patient.
Clearly, a drug that works in most cases may be entirely ineffective (or have rare but serious adverse effects) in a given patient. Similarly, a drug that is ineffective for most patients can potentially work miracles in a small set of individuals.
For those of you who like analogies, imagine wanting to treat every case of fever with penicillin. Yes, if you run your study during an epidemic of streptococcal infections, more people with fevers may respond than during other times. But even then you will need large numbers to cut through the "noise", as many fevers will spontaneously resolve or continue unabated unto death (which is why we need a "control" group). Chances are, we may well find that treating all fevers with penicillin is not much better that placebo and we will likely nicely demonstrate that simply taking penicillin for fever has unacceptable individual risks (including deaths from anaphylactic shock). Clearly, penicillin should not be on the market given its potential for "abuse" by anyone who has a fever.


Fish Oil Linked To Increased Risk Of Colon Cancer In Mice
Fish oil - long encouraged by doctors as a supplement to support heart and joint health, among other benefits - induced severe colitis and colon cancer in mice in research led by Michigan State University and published this month in the journal Cancer Research.
Jenifer Fenton, a food science and human nutrition researcher at MSU, led the research that supports establishing a dose limit for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil, particularly in people suffering from chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases.
"We found that mice developed deadly, late-stage colon cancer when given high doses of fish oil," she said. "More importantly, with the increased inflammation, it only took four weeks for the tumors to develop."


Vaccine Extends Survival for Patients with Deadly Brain Cancers
A new vaccine added to standard therapy appears to offer a survival advantage for patients suffering from glioblastoma (GBM), the most deadly form of brain cancer, according to a study from researchers at Duke University Medical Center and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The vaccine also knocks out a troublesome growth factor that characterizes the most aggressive form of the disease.
"About a third of all glioblastomas are fueled by a very aggressive cancer gene, called EGFRvIII; these tumors are the 'worst of the worst,'" said John Sampson, MD, PhD, the Robert H. and Gloria Wilkins Professor of Neurosurgery at Duke.
"Our study showed that the vaccine eliminated all of the cancer cells carrying this marker in all but one of our study participants," said Darell D. Bigner, MD, PhD, director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center and the senior author of the study.


Einstein Researchers Find Osteoporosis Drug May Help Women with Kidney Disease
The osteoporosis drug raloxifene may be useful in treating kidney disease in women, suggests a new study led by Michal Melamed, M.D., M.H.S., assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology & population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.
Michal Melamed, M.D.According to government statistics, an estimated 23 million American adults over age 20 suffers from chronic kidney disease-more than one out of 10. More than a half-million patients are under treatment for end-stage renal disease. New treatments are urgently needed.
In the study, published in the October 6 online edition of Kidney International, Dr. Melamed and Sharon Silbiger, M.D., professor of clinical medicine and associate chair for undergraduate medical education at Einstein, looked at data from the Multiple Outcomes of Raloxifene Evaluation (MORE) trial, a study of 7,705 post-menopausal women with osteoporosis conducted from 1994 to 1999. The women were randomly assigned to take either 60 or 120 mg of raloxifene (Evista) per day or a placebo, and were given a blood test yearly to assess kidney function.


Less than Six Hours of Shut-Eye Increases Risk of Developing Diabetes
If you need an excuse to turn in early, results of University at Buffalo research provides a good one.
A study published online ahead of print in the Annals of Epidemiology shows that people who slumber less than six hours a night during the work week were three times more likely to have elevated levels of blood sugar than those who slumber six-to-eight hours.
"This research supports growing evidence of the association of inadequate sleep with adverse health issues," says the study's first author Lisa Rafalson, PhD, a National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellow in the UB Department of Family Medicine, UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.


Dried Plum Restores Bone In Aging Mice
A diet supplemented with powdered dried plum restored bone lost by mice during the course of normal aging, in a study led by a researcher at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
"This may be the first natural product we have identified that is capable of restoring bone that's been lost due to aging," says principal investigator Bernard P. Halloran, PhD, a senior research scientist at SFVAMC and an adjunct professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
"As we age, we all lose bone, and over half of all people age 50 and older develop osteoporosis, a disease where the bone becomes weak and easily fractures," explains Halloran. "Many will suffer painful hip and spine fractures. Current medications, for the most part, can only slow the rate of bone loss. We do not have an easy-to-use drug today that can put back bone that's been already lost."


Believe it or not Doctors use lasers to remove worm from man's eye
Doctors rushed a Cedar Rapids man into a treatment room after they found a worm had taken up residence in his eye. John Matthews said he sought medical help after he noticed two spots obscuring his vision in his left eye. Several specialists tested him and he was sent to the ophthalmology department at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Doctors there did more tests before they found the worm.
The Telegraph Herald newspaper in Dubuque reported doctors shot two rounds of laser blasts into Matthews' eye to kill the worm. Matthews said he "could see it from behind, moving, trying to dodge the laser." Matthews said doctors think he got the worm either when he was in Mexico or while turkey hunting.
An Animal Planet film crew came to Iowa to tape a segment after Matthews called them and told them about his ordeal.

Believe it or not Calif. pot farmer sues landlord over stolen crop
A Southern California pot farmer is suing his landlord because his $35,000 indoor marijuana crop was stolen during a break-in. Gary Hite, who rents the 1,892-square-foot unit in a Murrieta business park, filed the Riverside County lawsuit against Hunco Way LLC claiming negligence and breach of contract. Hite's suit said he grows the marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The Superior Court suit alleges the landlord failed to fix a broken door and lock after a May 17 break-in in a neighboring unit.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported burglars entered the open unit on June 7 and smashed through the drywall to get into his marijuana warehouse space. The suit said 35 plants worth $1,000 each were stolen.
Police said Hite's pot operation was illegal and he had been cited for various code violations.

DA.VA, and Veteran News

VA Emergency Treatment Reimbursement to amend title 38, United States Code, to expand veteran eligibility for reimbursement by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for emergency treatment furnished in a non-Department facility, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] (introduced 3/6/2009) Cosponsors (2) Companion Bill S.404. Committees: House Veterans' Affairs
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 111-137


KIA Parental State Home Care. To enable State homes to furnish nursing home care to parents any of whose children died while serving in the Armed Forces. Sponsor: Rep Thornberry, Mac [TX-13] (introduced 1/26/2010) Cosponsors (30) Committees: House Veterans' Affairs; Senate Veterans' Affairs
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 111-246 [GPO: Text, PDF]


COLA 2011 Update
On 8 DEC the Democrats in both the House and Senate failed to pass bills that would grant a onetime $250 payment to Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries (including veterans.) For the second straight year the automatic method of calculating inflation was too low to provide a Cost-of-Living increase for Social Security and other federal beneficiaries. The Democratic Congressional leadership then proposed a onetime $250 payment to be paid directly from the U.S. Treasury. The Democrats said we have a faulty calculator and that many of the costs for seniors are rising. The bill‘s sponsor, Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) said: ?We have a very flawed methodology in terms of how we determine COLAs for Social Security. While [the price of] laptop computers and iPads and other communications technology may, in fact, have gone down, lowering the cost of inflation, the needs of seniors, and what they spend money on, have not gone down.? Opponents said that it would increase the National deficit and is not necessary. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) was opposed to the bill and said: While many seniors are hurting, so too are American working families. Doing an end run around the current bipartisan COLA formula without even one hearing to examine whether it‘s working or the many options for change our colleagues have offered is wrong. The House leadership brought it up, under suspension of the rules which requires a 2/3 vote. It failed 254-153. Then later in the evening the Senate vote to end debate on S.3985, the Senior Citizens Relief Act, was 53-45; failing to reach the required 60 votes. To see how your Senators voted, refer to http://capwiz.com/dav/issues/votes/?votenum=267&chamber=S&congress=1112.
[Source: TREA Washington Update 10 Dec 010 ++]


Arlington National Cemetery Update
The Army has launched the first criminal investigation into the misplacement of remains at Arlington National Cemetery after discovering the cremated remains of eight people dumped in a single grave site there. Unlike past burial problems, which could have been caused by human error, the discovery of eight urns in a single grave site marked "Unknown" is "not likely a mistake," said Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command. "It demanded an investigation to determine if there's any criminality involved in the burials." The urns were found in October, but the discovery was not announced until 2 DEC.
The investigation comes after a series of revelations that have marred the reputation of the country's most prestigious military burial ground and led to the ouster of its top two leaders. Under pressure from Congress and military brass to figure out what happened at Arlington, cemetery officials flew in a top military forensic anthropologist from Hawaii, a scientist who typically searches foreign countries for the remains of prisoners of war or missing service members. But instead of tramping through jungles in Southeast Asia or historic battlefields in Europe, the anthropologist, whose name was not released, found himself trying to solve a mystery among the meticulously spaced white headstones at Arlington. He helped determine that one set of remains in an urn was unidentifiable, officials said. That urn was reburied in the grave site marked "Unknown." So far, Army investigators have positively identified three of the dumped remains and are notifying those families. Officials are still trying to identify the other remains.
The investigation began in October after Kathryn Condon, director of the Army's National Cemeteries Program, became "aware of questionable practices," she said in a statement. Condon said eight sets of remains were buried under a headstone that read "Unknown," and cemetery records showed that only one set of remains was to be buried there. Grey would not discuss how the remains might have ended up in a single plot or what particular laws could have been violated, saying "that will be determined as we move forward with the investigation." Army regulations state that burials at national cemeteries "are considered permanent" and that absent a court order, disinterments require the approval of the top Army Memorial and Casualty Affairs official and "all close relatives of the decedent." Another law requires all graves in national cemeteries to have an appropriate marker.
The revelation comes after an Army inspector general's report, released in June, that cited widespread problems at the cemetery, including more than 200 unmarked or misidentified graves and at least four urns that had been unearthed and dumped in an area for excess dirt. One of those urns was reburied under a headstone marked "Unknown," the report says. Citing the ongoing investigation, officials would not say whether the eight sets of cremated remains found in October were in that same "Unknown" grave site. The report says that the urns could have been unearthed by accident when ground crews, unaware that someone else was buried there, went to dig a grave. Cemetery experts said it appears that the urns were merely reburied in a mass grave. "I think the likely scenario is they discovered these [remains] and rather than do due diligence and try to assess who they were, they tried to put them in an unmarked grave," said John Fitch, a senior vice president at the National Funeral Directors Association. "I think the whole notion of how the cemetery was mismanaged over this period of time certainly lends credence to the notion that there was very little responsibility for making sure everyone was buried in the right place."
The latest discovery follows a series of revelations in August, in which one grave site at Arlington was found empty, another contained the wrong remains and a third had two sets of remains, only one of which matched the headstone's name. Those problems were likely caused by human error, officials said. But the burial of eight remains in a single site "is very suspect," Grey said. Since the IG's report, cemetery officials have learned that two more urns were found in 2005 in the same dirt pile as those detailed in the report. In October, Condon spoke with a cemetery contractor who in 2005 came across two other urns that had been unearthed. Tim Langowski, of Frederick, told WTOP radio that he was clearing brush when he found the urn. When he looked inside, Langowski found a plastic bag "that had a small letter and also a picture of a girl that was a cheerleader for a hockey team," he told the station. "She was wearing a blue and white uniform." Two weeks later, a backhoe operator found yet another urn, Langowski said. The urns, he said, were turned over to "the proper authorities." A cemetery spokeswoman said those two urns are believed to be among the eight found in the single grave site in October.
[Source: Washington Post Christian Davenport article 3 Dec 2010 ++]


Medicare Reimbursement Rates 2010 Update 17: On 1 DEC Congress ?fixed? the Medicare ?Doc Fix? problem for one month by passing H.R.5712. As a result, the 1 DEC scheduled 23+% cut in physician payment rates did not go into effect. They had to pay for either by cutting spending elsewhere, borrowing the money, or increasing taxes. Raising taxes is not a consideration at all, and neither is increasing the national debt by borrowing the money. So this one month extension will be paid for by a new policy that reduces Medicare payments for multiple therapy services provided to patients in one day. In addition to redirecting the funds saved, the measure would reduce from 25 % to 20% the discount rate used under the policy to provide relief to affected therapists.
On 9 DEC, the House passed legislation allowing military families and retirees covered under Medicare and TRICARE to continue seeing their regular doctors. The Senate approved the bill the day before. The bill, the 2010 Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act, amends the Medicare physician payment formula -- which also sets payment levels for TRICARE -- to allow doctors enrolled in the programs to receive current levels of compensation through the end of 2011. If the House had failed to pass similar legislation, a 25 % cut to Medicare and TRICARE physician payments would have taken effect on 1 JAN 2011. "With a double-digit payment cut, some doctors would stop seeing Medicare and TRICARE patients," Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-IA), said in a statement on 8 DEC. Grassley is ranking member of the Finance Committee, the panel that has jurisdiction over Medicare. "This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that older Americans and military families can continue to get quality health care," he added.
To maintain the 2010 levels of compensation for Medicare and TRICARE doctors, the bill amends the current policy for overpayments of the health care affordability tax credit. Under the current policy, individuals and families who receive an overpayment are required to return a fixed amount ($250 for individuals and $400 for families) regardless of income bracket. The proposed legislation would require paybacks based on the income bracket of the recipient. "I'm encouraged that we were able to work together in a bipartisan way and protect access to care for America's 45 million Medicare beneficiaries in a fiscally responsible manner," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said in a statement. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), also applauded the Senate's vote as a bipartisan victory. "This bipartisan agreement gives peace of mind to seniors and military families in Nevada and across the nation," Reid said in a statement.
The bill, now awaiting President Obama's signature, also extends the life of a number of provisions including Transitional Medical Assistance -- allowing low-income families to keep Medicare coverage for a limited time after finding a job that makes them ineligible for coverage -- and the Special Diabetes Program, which provided funding for research on the prevention and cure of type 1 diabetes. An extension of protections for rural hospitals and doctors is included in the bill as well.
[Source: TREA Washington Update and GovExec.com Norah Swanson articles 3 & 9 Dec 2010 ++]


GI Bill Update
For-profit colleges are reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in federal higher-education aid for military personnel and veterans, a Democratic senator reported 9 DEC. The money represents a fast-growing source of revenue for an industry now scrutinized because of allegations that its students are often overloaded with debt and fail to obtain jobs whose salaries justify the tuition. The colleges reject those claims. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who issued the report and is chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said the funding trend ?raises serious questions about the share of military educational benefits that go to for-profit schools that have very poor outcomes.? Eighteen education companies examined by Harkin‘s staff were on track to receive about $175 million in Defense Department aid in 2010, up from $40 million in 2006. The companies were projected to receive $286 million this year through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Harkin said, up from $26 million in 2006. Republicans, who have often defended the industry, said all sectors of higher education – public and private – deserve closer scrutiny. Retired Army Col. Garland Williams, an associate regional vice president with the for-profit University of Phoenix, said Harkin drew the wrong conclusions. He said that if the university did not offer ?a high-quality education, I wouldn‘t be doing it.? The Education Department is considering regulations to force for-profit colleges to show that their graduates obtain ?gainful employment.? Some federal aid could be cut off for those that fail to meet proposed standards. The industry is fighting the plan.
[Source: Washington Post Nick Anderson article 10 Dec 2010 ++]


(Gr-r-r-r-r-r BB)Military Funeral Disorderly Conduct Update
A wounded veteran was charged 2 DEC with targeting members of a fundamentalist church infamous for protesting at soldiers' funerals. Ryan Newell of Marion Kansas faces five misdemeanor counts after he allegedly followed members of the Westboro Baptist Church after a protest at a Mulvane school. The 26-year-old veteran allegedly was armed with an M4 rifle, a .45-caliber Glock pistol and a .38 Smith and Wesson pistol when he was arrested in the Wichita City Hall parking garage. He is being held on a $500,000 bond. Newell, who lost both his legs in a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan, was formally charged with intentional conduct causing fear to a person or family, falsely representing himself to be a law enforcement officer, and three counts of unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon. He did not have an attorney at his court appearance via video link from the jail. His trial was tentatively set for 12 DEC and in the interim has been released so he could get treatment at the VA hospital. The family-dominated church from Topeka, Kan., is known for its protests across the nation with signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates the USA" to express their view that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God's punishment for American immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that pits the rights of a father of Marine killed in Iraq to grieve privately against the First Amendment rights of church members to say what they want.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Robert Hinshaw said one of his detectives observed a vehicle driven by Newell that appeared to be following members of the church and stopped it. Newell initially told the officer he was providing security for church members and he was allowed to go. Shortly after, the detective stopped the van carrying the Westboro members and learned they did not know Newell. The detective stopped Newell again and then released him after he told the detective he was a reserve law enforcement officer in Marion County. After returning to the courthouse, the detective found that Newell had a revoked driver's license and was not a law enforcement officer, Hinshaw said. The detective went to the city hall where the Westboro group was meeting with city police and checked the city garage. He found Newell's vehicle backed into one of the stalls and arrested him. Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps and one of the protestors at the Mulvane demonstration, said violence against church members has been escalating since September of last year, when a bicyclist slashed their tires in broad daylight while the group was demonstrating in Oklahoma. This summer a counter-protestor in Nebraska sprayed them and bystanders with pepper spray, she said. And a window of their van was broken out at a protest at a prayer vigil for a slain Great Bend teenager.
[Source Associated Press Roxana Hegeman article 2 Dec 2010 ++]


USAA Phishing Scam
Military banking and insurance company USAA is warning customers of a phishing scam: an authentic-looking email that asks for members‘ sensitive information because of the supposed release of a new ?confirmation form.? USAA members have reported receiving an email informing them of the release of a new USAA confirmation form. Readers are instructed to log on through a link and give their personal information, to include: online ID, password, name, USAA card number, expiration date, security code, pin, and/or email address. Although the email looks authentic and includes a USAA logo, it is not. USAA does not ask for any personal or account information via email, including PINs or passwords. Valid USAA websites use Extended Validation (EV) certificates which are an authentication method that turns the web address bar green, helping to confirm that you are visiting a legitimate website. With EV certificates it's more difficult for an imposter site to appear authentic. If there is a problem validating the website, the address bar will be yellow or red. If you are suspicious about any emails or websites claiming to be from USAA, they ask that you notify them immediately at abuse@usaa.com. For more tips about phishing, refer to the Federal Trade Commission‘s OnGuard Online website http://www.onguardonline.gov.
[Source: BBB Military Line 15 NOV 2010 ++]


National Veterans Golden Age Games
More than 700 "golden age" Veterans from the East Coast to the West and from the Pacific islands will travel to Hawaii to participate in the nation's largest sporting event for senior military Veterans. The 25th National Veterans Golden Age Games, a national sports and recreational competition sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Canteen Service and Help Hospitalized Veterans, will take place 26-31 MAY 2011, in Honolulu. Events at the games are open to all U.S. military Veterans age 55 or older, who are currently receiving care at a VA medical facility. Hosted by the VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System, the games will have 14 competitive events, including swimming, cycling, horseshoes, bowling, croquet and air rifles.
A leader in rehabilitation, VA offers a spectrum of health care services to military Veterans. The games have grown from 115 participants its first year to more than700 in 2010. It is the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors' competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. It is one of the most progressive and adaptive rehabilitative senior sports programs in the world. The 2011 games begin with a gala opening ceremony 2 6 MAY at Kuroda Field. Competitive events run from 27-31 MAY. The National Veterans Golden Age Games serve as a qualifying event for competition in the National Senior Games in a number of competitive events. The National Senior Olympics are a community-based member of the United States Olympic Committee and recognize senior athletes as the best athletes in their respective age groups in the United States. For more information about the National Veterans Golden Age Games and other VA national rehabilitation programs, refer to VA's web site at http://www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov .
[Source: VA News Release 30 Nov 2010 ++]


Identity Theft Update
Able to fit in an identity thief's palm or masquerade as a pen in a shirt pocket, a tiny battery powered "skimmer" is emerging as the newest threat to bank accounts. "It's almost like being pick-pocketed, but you still have your wallet," said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Ed McClees. "It's something that can be done with sleight of hand, without the person even knowing it has been done." In addition to scimmers in the hands of would-be conspirators, they also can be placed on ATMs and gas stations to capture information during a legitimate transaction. The skimmer is set up as a small hood on the real reader so the card is seen by both. A hidden camera records the PIN entry so a fraudulent card can be used at any ATM. The tiny digital devices can collect and hold information from hundreds of cards then can be easily downloaded and transferred worldwide over Internet black markets. With the holidays approaching, authorities are warning consumers to stay vigilant by regularly checking their accounts online, keeping receipts from where they shop and watching who handles their card.
Authorities estimate that dozens of store clerks and servers are arrested every year in Houston. Authorities are reluctant to quantify how often skimming happens, however, because one waiter at one restaurant can skim hundreds of numbers. There also are cases of identity theft that may have involved skimmers but cannot be traced or were not reported, investigators said. "What we catch is a fraction of what happens," McClees said. Secret Service special agent Marvin Wright said consumers generally are victimized 24 to 48 hours after the number is compromised. "That information can then be encoded on a lost, stolen or counterfeit credit card and used anywhere in the world," Wright said. Possessing a skimmer is not a crime, but having one with stolen numbers is, he said. Attorneys and other legitimate small-business owners may use skimmers every day. If used illegally, the amount of information in the memory determines the degree of the charge, ranging from misdemeanors to first-degree felonies, which can carry a maximum punishment of life in prison.
In July, four women who ate together at a Houston chain restaurant all discovered fraudulent charges on their bank accounts. When they alerted police, they recalled that their waitress took a long time with their cards. When police questioned her, the woman cooperated and said she was approached and given a gift card to skim cards at her jobs. She also worked as a cashier at a big box retailer. Police set up a sting days later in which the woman asked for another skimmer, scanned five cards that had been set up with accounts for fraud investigations and returned it to the identity thief who lived in a Houston motel. Prosecutors arrested the man for debit card abuse and forgery, accusing him of using the data to create credit cards to buy $100 gift cards. Identity thieves enlist friends, neighbors and other contacts to get more numbers, said John Brewer, chief of the Harris County District Attorney's identity theft section.
[Source: Houston Chronicle Brian Rogers article 22 Nov 2010 ++]


Veteran Legislation Status 12 DEC 2010
Congress will most likely end its lame duck session 17 DEC which will mark the end of the 111th Congress. The 112th Congress will commence 3 JAN and all bills not passed by then will die with the end of the 111th and have to be reintroduced. Support of these bills through cosponsorship by other legislators is critical if they are ever going to move through the legislative process for a floor vote to become law. A good indication on that likelihood is the number of cosponsors who have signed onto the bill. Any number of members may cosponsor a bill in the House or Senate. At http://thomas.loc.gov you can review a copy of each bill‘s content, determine its current status, the committee it has been assigned to, and if your legislator is a sponsor or cosponsor of it. To determine what bills, amendments your representative has sponsored, cosponsored, or dropped sponsorship on refer to http://thomas.loc.gov/bss/d111/sponlst.html. Grassroots lobbying is perhaps the most effective way to let your Representative and Senators know your opinion. Whether you are calling into a local or Washington, D.C. office; sending a letter or e-mail; signing a petition; or making a personal visit, Members of Congress are the most receptive and open to suggestions from their constituents. The key to increasing cosponsorship on veteran related bills and subsequent passage into law is letting legislators know of veteran‘s feelings on issues. You can reach their Washington office via the Capital Operator direct at (866) 272-6622, (800) 828-0498, or (866) 340-9281 to express your views. Otherwise, you can locate on http://thomas.loc.gov your legislator‘s phone number, mailing address, or email/website to communicate with a message or letter of your own making. Refer to http://www.thecapitol.net/FAQ/cong_schedule.html for dates that you can access your legislators on their home turf.
[Source: RAO Bulletin Attachment 28 Nov 2010 ++]


Have You Heard?
Let me get this straight. We're going to maybe have a health care plan written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, signed by a president that also hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's nearly broke. What could possibly go wrong?


"The ten most dangerous words in the English language are "Hi, I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." --- Ronald Reagan [Remarks to future Farmers of America 1988]


Thanks to Howard Greenfield for sending this in. When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite! When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits." Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides - a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!" You know, life is full of imperfect things... and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. What I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each others faults - and choosing to appreciate each others differences - is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship. That's my prayer for you today. That you will learn to take the good with the bad. A burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker! We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship! "Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket - keep it in your own." So... please pass me a biscuit, the burned one will do just fine! And please pass this along to someone who has enriched your life... I just did. Life is too short to wake up with regrets... Love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don't.


Prayer for Peace Heal my wounded heart. Grant me the courage to change my heart. Let Peace live in my heart. Fill me with compassion for those suffering in war. Help me care for those in war. Help me bring Peace to those in war. Help me stop wars. Help soldiers stop wars. Help leaders stop wars. Fill me with Peace and Justice. Help me to work for Peace with Justice. Let there be Peace with Justice among all peoples Amen

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

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