WELCOME TO OLE' BILL'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

February 2012




THIS MONTH IN QUARTERHORSE HISTORY

1Feb67: Operation Wellingston begins. (RVN) 2Feb68: Battle for Tan Son Nhut AFB -Tet 68. A Trp sent in to help out. 3Feb03: 2,200 BRO Soldiers, including the 1/4th Cav, as ARFOR-t deploy to Turkey in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 6Feb07: 4th IBCT deploys to Iraq. 7Feb04: TF 1-63 AR returns to Germany. 10Feb04: TF Danger (Germany Based 1ID units deploy to Iraq. 12Feb67: Operation Rolling Stone Begins.Entire 1/4th Cav involved.(RVN) 12Feb67: Operation Wellingston ends. (RVN) 15Feb96: 1ID (-) deployed to Germany. 17Feb67: Operation Rolling Stone ends. (RVN) 18Feb43: Battle of Kasserine Pass, Tunisia. 1st Recon in battle. 21Feb66: Operation Mastiff begins. Entire 1/4th Cav involved.(RVN) 22Feb67: Operation Junction City begins. (RVN) 22Feb67: B Troop in Highway 4 Sweep Battle. 24Feb66: A Trp Battle. Ron Thompson uses 52 ton Tank for an ambulance. 24Feb91: Operation Desert Storm, ground forces attack on Iraq begins. 27Feb91: 1/4th Cav severs Kuwait-Basrah Highway. Provides Tent and Security for Iraq Surrender. 28Feb91: Cessation of Desert Storm offensive operatons.


QUARTERHORSE HISTORY

RON THOMPSON TAKES HIS M48 INTO A HOT AREA TO PICK UP WOUNDED-24 Feb 66

as reported by the Star & Stripes


DATELINE VIETNAM - TANKS GO IN AFTER WOUNDED - by: A2c Bob Cutts

PHU LOI, VIETNAM-This isn't a war of army against army, it's a war of man against man. And something as big as a 52-ton M-48 tank has a hard time fitting into that lineup.

But once in awhile, they get in their licks. Ron Thompson can tell you about it. SSG Thompson, a thin, wavy-haired Missourian with greas-stained fatigues, is a tank platoon leader with Troop A, 4th Cav., 1st Inf. Div.

The day began at dawn in a rice paddy 30 mils northwest of Saigon. Thompson and his three-man crew rode in the lead tank, followed by another tank and a string of four Armored Personnel Carriers.

The job was to secure a landing zone for an operation and it was done uneventfully by 7:30

Then orders came for the armored unit to serve as a "walking" blocking force for the infantry sweep, moving slowly down a ravine across from thick jungle.

As the metal goliaths plodded through the paddies, the morning sun and the temperature rose higher. The M48 is a pretty big tank, but most of it is metal muscle. The crew is crowded into a tiny cubicle between shells, guns, control sticks, sights and c-rations inside.

There isn't any air conditioning, and in Vietnam, it's a rare day when the temperature inside that armor plated broiler isn't over a hundred. Today wasn't at all rare.

At mid-afternoon a change in orders was radioed to the line of crawling metal beetles. "Head across that ravine into jungle and medevac wounded foot soldiers who are pinned down." Thompson led the way as the tanks and APC's picked their way across the ravine and crushed through the tangled foliage. They started meeting small squads coming out of the jungle. Two or three men helping the wounded along, put them into the APC's and pointed out more wounded deeper in the jungle. Sniper fire began bouncing off the tough metal hide of Thompson's tank. One soldier waved the column on. He said there were two dead and one wounded was pinned down in enemy fire. Thompson charged ahead, and the second behemoth charged too-right off it's track. The crew, swearing and sweating, climbed out and set to work restringing the huge track.

Thompson stopped his tank further on and climbed out. He and a medic walked the last 50 yards to the three soldiers. There was no gunfire. they carried the wounded man out, and Thompson went back alone for the dead. As he was dragging one body out. a sniper's bullet plowed throught the top of his helmet, gourging two big holes in the tin hat and knocking the tanker flat. Dazed, he picked himself up and walked back to the tank, asking soldiers along the way if he was bleeding. He wasn't.

Back at his tank, Thompson found the crew had buttoned up the turret--hand granades had been mysteriously falling out of the jungle like big green hailstones. Beating on the hatch, Thompson got the crewmen to open up, and he climbed back inside to his control seat.

Then--Wham! a hidden antitank gun slammed a shell into the turret, knocking out the gunsights and wounding the gunner with fragments. While Thompson spun the turret around, looking for the VC gunner, another round slammed in--boring a hole through the tank's 90mm gun tube. The loader tried to fit a round home, but the only thing he could jam in was a cannister of grape shot. Bullets were bouncing off the mammouth stell shell like angry buzzing bees. The APC's had opened up with 50-calibers but none of them had been hit by the VC artillery. That Red was going strictly for the tank.

As the still-active gunner peered through his vision blocks, he saw the fanning grape- shot from the tank ripping holes in the jungle. Then he saw Charley: "There they are!" he yelled. "Fire" ordered Thompson. Boom! Both guns roared at each other at the same time. The turret shook angrily as the antitank shell gouged metal out of the two-inch thick steel skin. A cloud of smoke obscured sight through the glass slits that were Thompson's windows. When it cleared, all he saw was a big, clear lane cut through the jungle. The VC were nowhere in sight. Then the firing stopped. Thompson's gunner was the only casualty. Slowly, the armored column lumbered back out of the jungle, joined by the other tank, it's track now replaced. The tanks lined up in a paddy for air medevac of the wounded, then went home

Ron Thompson had won his duel for the day.


Ron Thompson pointing out enemy damage to his tank after A Troop action in Feb 66

More damage to Ron's tank

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

THE BATTLE FOR TAN SU NUT AFB - tet 68: 2 Feb 68 As told by QH Troopers
Hello Bill, Jim Lerdahl's recollection of the battle for Tan Son Nhut are pretty darn accurate. I was in the same fight as he was (Feb 2nd, 1968) and was on his left flank. I was TC of A26 with Lt John Hammond aboard. Bob Schooley was driving A8 with First Sergeant Frank Kather when it was hit in the fuel tank. The track that had the RPG stuck in the bilge pump hole.........lucky shot for sure.........lol......was very close to us. It was a pretty good fight for sure (I'm pretty cocky saying that today, but was scared shitless back then) and we were taking lots and lots of RPG's and small arms. Lt Hammond was wounded during this action and who ever it was flying above doing C&C (A Colonel I think) put me in charge of the platoon and gave me specific instructions to stop the incoming fire from the houses and buildings and find away to get through the houses and cut off the VC. I put all three tanks on line and started spraying the area with canister rounds. We stopped the incoming fire pretty quickly and the headed out to cut off the VC. So we were the guys Jim was talking about knocking out the VC and RPG's..........

Dan Thompson

Below is First Sergeant Frank Kathers track knocked out on Feb 2nd 1968 at Tan Son Nhut

January 31st 1968 The beginning of the TET Offensive. A Troop 1st Squadron 4th Cavalry 1st Infantry Division

Click on link below and it will take you back nearly 42 years ago this month. I have one more to add.

God Bless
Prepared and Loyal
Dan Thompson

The following sent in by Jim Lerdahl.
In the battle for Tan Son Nhut, the trail party consisted of ACAVs which included: the FSG track-A-50, the radio track-A-63 and the mecanics track-A-8 in the rear. At the time the battle started we were at a road corner which turned left into a villiage. We were bunched up at the corner with the FSG's track around the corner. We were stopped at that time. All of a sudden the A-50 M60 machine gunner opened up at the second story of a bamboo building. He said later the he saw an AK-47 barrel sliding out of the second story window.

All of a sudden all hell broke loose, with RPGs flying all over the place. We had to spread out so the machanics track started backing up, A-63, A-8 and the FSG track. while backing up, RPGs were flying over our heads and into to burm just below our tracks. Once spread out we found that all the RPGs were coming from our left flank which had houses around 100 yards away.

I spotted an RPG position next to a palm tree but could not fire at it till I was finished backing up. Once stopped I used a M79 which the first shot went way over the villiage. I knew this guy was getting the range so I hurried to reload and did whatever was necessary to make my next shot better. My next shot went where he was positioned. He either moved or was hit as the fire from that position ceased.

I finally ran out of M79 ammo a got my camera going, I shot a picture of A-63 and the FSG track in front of me fighting. Very soon after A-8 was hit in the drivers builge pump hole. the A-8 occupants ran to our track. The only one wounded was the driver who had small shrapnel wounds on his face and body. Next hit was the FSG track. It was hit in the fuel tank and started on fire. The medics went over to the track and started treating the FSG and SSG Waters for burns. They were placed on the right side of the track to protect them from further fire.

Shortly a tank started going down those line of houses which contained the rpg postions and blew up house after house, that ended the fighting from the VC. The trail party consisted of four tracks with the 2 in front of A-63 knocked out. Any fire from the right flank was very light at best.

The pictures I took were presented to the 1/4 cav war room along with the Chu Hoa flag that we used on Chu Hoa day.

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

To the Troopers of Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division,

I have asked Dan Thompson to forward this to you since he has the most comprehensive e-mail list of former troopers or Troop A. Sometime in 1973 or 74 the attached I wrote for the Department of the Army for the study that was being done on Armor Operation in Vietnam.

43years ago today we had been sent into Saigon the day before to help defend the city against the attack by the Viet-Cong and the North Vietnamese Army. I don’t think any of us realized when we were suddenly attacked by US helicopters in our night defense position the day before what would happen to us for the next couple of months. The attached paper was written only to explain how we conducted our combat operations. It was not written to reflect upon the feelings and emotions that each of you felt back then. Nor was it written to express all that you have personally experienced over the past 43 years. For many I know it has been a very difficult road to travel. None of us, including myself, are the same person we were before we went to Vietnam.

But maybe by reading what you accomplished it will make you even prouder of how you served our country with bravery and distinction. And maybe if you haven’t been able to share your story with loved ones, you will be able to let them read all the danger that you faced daily. And it will help them to understand better your feelings and emotions today.

The greatest honor of my life was to command you as the Troop Commander of Troop A. You are still the greatest bunch of guys who I have ever known. I thank you each of you for your service in Vietnam. There is not a day that goes by in my life that I do not think of you and what all you accomplished.

I ask that you take a moment and remember our Troopers who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Tet Offensive: Jackie M. Morgan 6 Feb, Larry W. Darling 19 Feb, Adrian E. Sigler 19 Feb, Walter L. Brannon 31 March, and McKenly O Matlock 31 March. May God bless each and every one of you.

Prepared and Loyal, Fred Shirley, LTC(US Army-Ret)

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

ARMOR OPERATIONS IN VIETNAM

January 1968 to April 1968

Troop A, lst Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 1st US Infantry Division

INTRODUCTION

The evolution of armor's role in Vietnam from the myopia held by some that armor could not be used successfully to its dominance in many major operations throughout South Vietnam is testimony to the ingenuity and creativity of the officers and men of armor. Unquestionably, armor played a significant role in the tactical outcome of the War. For 23 months, May 1966 to April 1968, I witnessed armor's increasing role in Vietnam in my various armor assignments--Tank Troop Advisor (M41s) with the 1st RVN Cavalry Squadron, 5th RVN Infantry Division; S2, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 1st US Infantry Division; and Commander, Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry.

In October l967, I assumed command of Troop A. The Troop was organized with each platoon having three tanks (M48A3s) and seven ACAVs (without the special ACAV kits). The ACAVs were not, however, organized into the traditional cavalry sections/squads. Rather, they were employed normally as tanks. Sufficient personnel were not available to man an infantry squad, and the Troop did not have its organic mortars. All the 4.2 inch mortars during my duty with the 1st Division were consolidated under division artillery. In addition to the normal troop headquarters vehicles, the Troop was equipped with a medic track and two flame thrower tracks.

ACTIONS PRIOR TO TET

On 29 January 68, Troop A moved from the Squadron's Base Camp at Phu Loi to northwest of Tan Uyen (XT 968231) to establish a defensive position in the vicinity of XT 901265. The move was significant because the Troop had freedom of movement to reinforce a number of military installations and towns within a few hours--Binh Duong, Di an the Long Binh Supply Base, Phu Loi and even Saigon. At the time, however, no information had been received by the Troop either to future enemy actions or to how long the Troop would remain in its new location.

The following day was spent in improving the Troop's position and conducting mounted security patrols. No major operations were conducted because of the Tet Cease Fire. In mid-afternoon on the 30th two significant events took place that altered our situation. The Troop was informed that the cease fire had been lifted and ordered to encircle the village at XT 910300. Doing so without incident, the Troop, however, made no attempt to enter the village. Except for an unusual calm over the village, nothing was sighted, and the Troop returned to its defensive position. Towards nightfall information from an assistant division commander of suspected increased enemy activity during the night served to increase the alertness and attention to detail of the men. In addition, the Troop was instructed to maintain a high state of readiness throughout the night. Based upon the enemy information, no ambush patrols were established. My reasoning was that if the Troop had to move at night it might be difficult to locate and pick-up the patrols. Each platoon did, however, establish LPs and maintained two men instead of one man awake on each track which was normal procedure.

Putting the events described on 29 and 30 January into perspective and considering contingencies that the Troop had been given in December 1967, it was clear that the US anticipated increased enemy activity during the Tet time frame. Although no specifics of possible enemy activity had been given to me, never-the-less, I was able to make map reconnaissances of the entire area to select approach routes to possible enemy targets. And coupled with my familiarity of the area including Saigon (At the time of the Tet Offensive, I had spent 20 months conducting armor operations in Binh Duong and Binh Long Province and had visited Saigon as an advisor on several occasions.), prior planning was performed for a number of contingencies. The old adage of the importance of prior planning was once again to be proven true.

MOVEMENT TO SAIGON

(Note: All times are approximate.) The night of 30 January was uneventful until 0200 hours (January 31). From our position we could observe the Bien Hoa Air Base under mortar attack. Shortly after the initial observation, US attack helicopters were seen firing indiscriminate suppressive fires in our area. This was immediately reported to Squadron Headquarters, and a request was made to notify the helicopters of our existence in the area. This request was too late. Our position was soon hit by 2.75 inch rocket fire. Fortunately, no casualties were received. All personnel were in their tracks by this time (The LPs had been called in at the first sight of the helicopters.), but several claymore mine wires were severed on the tracks by the rocket fires from the helicopters. This incident was an obvious example of poor coordination between the 1st Division, Field Forces II, and the Bien Hoa Air Base Security Forces in establishing the Troop's location. Where the communication breakdown came, I do not know. But it could have been a costly mistake.

During this period, the Troop received word of Troop C's involvement in the town of Ben Cat near Lai Khe, and the Troop was alerted to move on order--destination unknown. No further enemy or friendly activity was observed in our area after about 0330 hours.

Between 0600 and 0700 hours the Troop was ordered to move towards Saigon as quickly as possible. Moving on Highway 16 would have been the quickest route to reach Tan Uyen, but the Highway was a favorite route for enemy antitank mines. Therefore, movement was cross- country until the Troop reached Tan Uyen.

One tank, however, from the 2nd Platoon did hit a small pressure detonated antitank mine (XT 934264). A cavalry troop from the 11th ACR was located just north of Tan Uyen on a Rome Plow Security Mission, and it provided security for the tank and crew while the tank was repaired. The remainder of the Troop sped towards Saigon. (The tank and crew rejoined the Troop several hours later while the Troop awaited further orders outside of Saigon.)

During the movement, the Troop had to move through several small burning roadblocks south of Tan Uyen. The lead tank in the single column formation never hesitated as it smashed through these roadblocks. Since the Troop had been placed under increased alert status some 12 hours earlier, an overwhelming sense of urgency had come over the Troop's personnel. Their personal safety was now secondary.

Several hours after our initial move, we were halted along Highway 316 and told to wait for further orders. The Squadron Commander, LTC John W. Seigle (now COL), later commented to me how amazed Division Headquarters had been at the rapidity at which the Troop had moved. Several factors worthy of mention contributed to this rapid deployment.

     1.	The sense of urgency that each man in the unit had developed.
     2.	The detailed knowledge of the area which caused us to move cross-country where we 
        suspected enemy mines and on the hard surface roads when we did not suspect mines.
     3.	Serving as both aero-scouts and as airborne commanders in their helicopters, the 
        Squadron qommander and the S3, MAJ Thomas Kelly (now LTC), greatly facilitated the 
        move--particularly in the area around the roadblocks.
     4.	The mobility of armor which I am afraid at times was neither appreciated nor 
        understood by our Division was a definite asset.
     5.	The contingency planning that the Troop had carried out prior tp the order to move.

MOVEMENT INTO SAIGON

Once in position outside of Saigon, the Troop remained static until about 1500 hours. During the interim, the Troop secured its position and an electrical power plant in the vicinity. Not until we crossed the bridge (XS 891941) leading into Saigon did the realization of what was happening in Saigon unveil itself to us.

After passing through the destruction at the eastern edge of the City without incident, the Troop proceeded towards the Tan Son Nhut Air Base (TSN). During the movement, I received the Capital Military District Advisor (CMD) radio frequency from the Squadron Commander. The flexibility of the AN/VRC 12 series of radios proved invaluable. I was able to monitor and talk on the Troop's command net, the Squadron's command net, and the CMD's command net with little difficulty. Information from CMD was sketchy.

Nearing the vicinity of TSN, the CO's helicopter was shot down by enemy fire from the vicinity of the golf course adjacent to the Base. The pilot was able to bring the helicopter down safely inside the Base. Events are somewhat confused to me now, but about the time that the CO was shot down military police were frantically trying to get me to proceed to the BOQ area where a 2 1/2 ton truck loaded with MPs had been ambushed earlier in the day by the VC. No orders were received initially from CMD to dispatch elements of the Troop, and the MPs had no knowledge of the enemy situation in the BOQ area.. I finally received orders after several requests from CMD to send a force. I dispatched my 1st Platoon commanded by LT Joe Scates. As the lead tank moved down the alley where the MPs were located, its gun tube was rendered inoperative by an antitank round. But the failure to destroy the tank prevented the enemy from delaying the Platoon in the accomplishment of its mission, and the firepower of the platoon quickly overcame the estimated platoon size enemy force. Unfortunately, upon reaching the MPs all were found dead. The Platoon was successful in recovering the remains of the MPs without casualties to the Platoon.

The Platoon returned shortly before dusk to the Air Base, but not before I had spent many anxious moments wondering about the Platoon's fate. For in the heavy built-up area, I had lost radio contact with the 1st Platoon. Loss of radio contact was to be experienced on several other occasions while operating in and around Saigon. While the 1st Platoon was performing its mission, the rest of the Troop continued on to TSN. Here my knowledge of Saigon proved invaluable. No guides were available to lead us after the CO's helicopter went down. Though all key personnel had maps of Saigon (We carried a large basic load of maps with us to include Saigon on our vehicles.), a knowledge of the city facilitated our movement. As the Troop approached the west end of TSN, all of us were shocked to see the carnage that laid before us. I am just as certain today as I was then that had it not been for the heroic actions of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry the enemy would have inflicted heavy damage to the Base and increased casualties to Base personnel. The time was approximately 1800 hours when we reached TSN, and the major fighting had ceased by this time in this area. As darkness approached, the Troop moved into the Base and established a defensive position in conjunction with the ¾ Cav at the west end of the runway.

Noteworthy to point out is that for all members of the Troop it was the first time any of them had been exposed to fighting in a large city. No longer were troopers who had been trained to fight through jungles and over dry rice paddies and clear and secure roads exposed to these environments. The concern now was not with antitank mines, so the troopers were ordered inside their armored vehicles. Enemy snipers were located in windows and on roof tops, so observation had to be directed at these critical areas. Maneuver room was severly restricted, so the Troop had to insure that areas were clear before proceeding. Recon by fire could not be used for this purpose. Instead, this was done by either small mounted or dismounted patrols moving forward of the Troop. The threat of burning buildings was also of real concern. As I think back, it is remarkable how well the troopers adapted to this new environment. The minimal casualties that the Troop received in Saigon were testimony to this fact. Even in built-up areas, the flexibility, mobility, and firepower of armor had its. place and was used effectively.

ACTIONS THE NIGHT OF 31 JANUARY

At 2100 hours the Troop was ordered to report to the Tan Son Nhut Base Defense Headquarters. The Troop was given the mission of securing a total of three BOQs and BWOQs in the vicinity of TSN. (I cannot recall the exact locations.) I was given OPCON of an infantry company from the 25th Infantry Division, and I was also supplied with a guide from the CMD Advisory Team.

The first installation was found without difficulty or incident. The 2nd Platoon under the command of LT Hammonds and one infantry platoon with the infantry company commander were left to secure the first installation. The second installation was never located. This was because the Base Defense Headquarters had the wrong location and could not obtain the correct one. The third installation, a BOQ occupied by Air Force pilots, was located, but not without incident. In reaching the BOQ, the Troop minus the 2nd Platoon and one infantry platoon came under fire by enemy troops attacking the southeastern perimeter of TSN which was occupied by RVN soldiers. The brief engagement that ensued highlighted the importance of observing roof tops when operating in built-up areas. The NCO, SSG Barge, firing the .50 cal machinegun on my command track toppled three enemy soldiers from their roof top position almost immediately after they had opened fire. From their vantage point, which gave them excellent fields of fire, they could have inflicted a considerable number of casualties if it had not been for the alertness of SSG Barge. Using the firepower and speed of our tracks, the Troop moved through the enemy positions with only several minor injuries and no damage to the tracks and proceeded without further contact to the BOQ. The BOQ was located near TSN and was sporadically coming under small arms and light mortar fire from both RVN soldiers protecting TSN and enemy troops attacking the Base. The Air Force personnel had suffered one KIA earlier in the day, and they were very apprehensive about their situation. Throughout the remainder of the night, the four platoons (two infantry and two cavalry) secured tbe BOQ with mounted and dismounted patrols through narrow alleys surrounding the BOQ. After several checks on my other force, I remained with the four platoons the remainder of the night.

Had it not been for the presence of our force it is doubtful that the Air Force personnel would have held their position. Enemy troops had been reported closing in on the BOQ prior to our arrival, but the presence alone of the Troop was sufficient to keep the enemy away. And once again I experienced communication difficulties. I had to relay through the CO, 3/4 Cav, to contact the Base Defense Headquarters.

About 0900 hours 1 Feb, the Troop and the infantry company were ordered back to the Base. Much to the relief of the Air Force personnel, we brought them back with us to the Base. As the Air Force officers moved from their BCQ to the Troop, some of them were so overcome with joy to be leaving the BOQ that in an emotional scene they ran up to and kissed the tanks and threw their arms around the crews.

After a debriefing at the Headquarters with the late MG Keith Ware, who had assumed command of the defense of Saigon for the US, the Troop moved to the northern end of the north-south runway and came OPCON to the ¾ Cav command by LTC (now COL) Glenn Otis.

The remainder of the day was spent in maintenance, resupply, and getting rest. By this time, most of the men had been awake for more than 36 hours. If I recall correctly, we received resupply of ammunition from the ¾ Cav. Parts, other supplies, and hot meals were from the 1/4 Cav and flown in by helicopters. One platoon was sent during the afternoon to the US Embassy to provide security, but no contact was made.

2 FEBRUARY 1968

The night of 1 Feb was filled with reports of possible renewed attacks on TSN, but except for an occasional sniper round nothing materialized. Before nightfall of the first, the 3/4 Cay with Troop A OPCON was given the mission of conducting a show of force operation the following day through downtown Saigon.

Shortly after daybreak on 2 Feb, the mission was changed. Along with an infantry battalion from the 25th Infantry Division, the ¾ Cav with Troop A was ordered to conduct a reconnaissance in force operation north of TSN through the village of Ap Dong (2) at XS 820990 (Enclosure 2). The plan for the operation was sound. Following tac air strikes and an artillery preparation, the infantry was to move north through the village (Enclosure 2A). Led by Troop A, the cavalry was to move north along the north-south road bordering the western edge of the village in order to provide flank security for the infantry.

The operation commenced shortly before noon. Not knowing from one minute to the next where the Troop would be sent, the entire Troop moved out on the operation. The operation proceeded slowly at first with the infantry conducting a detailed search of the village. As the infantry approached the east-west road at XS 818990, they made contact with enemy forces, probably NVA, estimated at battalion size. At about the same time, the infantry battalion commander flying in a C&C helicopter reported a large number of the enemy troops fleeing north of the road at XS 817997. LTC Otis, mounted on an ACAV, ordered my Troop north as quickly as possible from our location at XS 815990. Reacting to the order, the Troop rushed north to head-off the escaping enemy force. The lead tank from the 2nd Platoon in the Troop's single column formation came under claymore fire and small arms fire as it rounded the turn in the road (XS 817997). Blasting its way through the enemy position, the 2nd Platoon moved northeast up the road through the intersection at XS 819998 to cut off the escaping enemy force. The command group; my track, the medic and communication tracks, and flame thrower tracks; was now located in the middle of the road (xS 817997) and receiving heavy enemy antitank and small arms fire from both north and south of the road. Soon afterwards, the communication track which the Troop's First Sergeant, Frank Kather, was in was hit by an antitank round. The entire five man crew were burned with the First Sergeant being the most seriously wounded. I then moved the Troop Headquarters through the intersection and instructed the 2nd Platoon to find a route through the village in order to attack enemy troops located in houses along the road running northwest-southeast (XS 818998). No route could be found. The need for an aero-scout was apparent. Had the ¾ Cav Commander been airborne he could have scouted the area quickly and told us that no routes were available except moving directly up the road where the enemy was located in the houses, but there was no helicopter available for his use. It should be noted that LTC Otis commanded this entire battle mounted on an ACAV. The infantry battalion commander was too busy directing his engaged companies to be of much assistance. Meanwhile, enemy troops could be observed continuing to flee north. But except for the 1st Platoon which was now located astride the location formally held by the Troop Headquarters and in heavy contact, fire could not be placed on the enemy because of the many civilians also fleeing the area.

To relieve the pressure on the 1st Platoon, I ordered the 2nd Platoon to move northwest up the road. In an awesome display of armor firepower, the lead tank destroyed at least five Vietnamese stucco style constructed houses and silenced the enemy fire from this location. During this action, LT Hammonds was injured and lost his sight in one eye. With the greater part of the enemy's fire now silenced, LTC Otis ordered the Troop back down the original approach route (XS 814994) to await MEDEVAC helicopters for LT Hammonds, the First Sergeant, and three other troopers. The communication track which was already a combat loss was destroyed in place with an incendiary grenade, so that recovery personnel would not have to be exposed to enemy sniper fire that was still prevalent in the area. Medical evacuation completed, the Troop along with elements of the ¾ Cav moved east in a line formation through the village. Light contact was made. The 3d Platoon lost one tank from an antitank round, but no casualties were received. Around 1700 hours all units returned to TSN.

In reviewing this action, there are a few important points that should be highlighted.

1.	The Troop suffered no KIAs, five WIAs had to be evacuated and one M113 and one 
        M48A3 were combat losses. Enemy casualties were unconfirmed, but estimated at 
        between 30 to 40 KIAs.
 
     2.	For the greater part of the battle, little fire could be placed on enemy troops 
        to the south, because US infantry moving north were too close and could not be 
        moved back. The infantry company commander in the area had been killed and his 
        radio operator left his radio to go to the aid of his fallen commander. The 
        platoons were not contacted on the company or platoon nets. The full effect of 
        the closeness of the two friendly forces on the outcome of the battle cannot be 
        assessed, but no doubt enemy casualties would have been greater.
 
     3. The 1st Platoon, although engaged for the longest period of time, suffered 
        neither casualties nor vehicle losses primarily because of the platoon's 
        intensive organic firepower and the continuous motion back and forth of its 
        vehicles in its herringbone formation.
 
     4.	No artillery or tac air was used because of the closeness of the contact--at 
        times less than 50 meters-- and the civilians in the area. Attack helicopter 
        support was limited.
 
     5.	The limited maneuver room in a built-up area was very apparent. Quicker 
        reaction to the enemy situation w~s negated in part by narrow streets, dead-in 
        streets, and civilians fleeing the area, but still we could have maneuvered more 
        than we did.
 
     6.	For most of the men, it was their first heavy fighting experience. Without 
        exception, they all responded in the highest cavalry traditions.

3, 4 and 5 FEBRUARY

The night of 2 Feb was uneventful, and the following day was spent conducting sweeps of the area of the previous day's action. No contact was established, but numerous enemy bunkers and some equipment were found in the village of Ap Dong.

On 4 Feb the Troop moved west with the ¾ Cav from TSN and established a defensive position in the vicinity of XS 725960. This area consisted of dry rice paddies and sparse vegation-excellent terrain for armor operations. The morning of 5 Feb was spent by the Troop conducting a search of a village north of our position (XS 715975). Having the ability to speak Vietnamese, which was an invaluable asset to me, I was able to gain some enemy information concerning the withdraw of the enemy several days before through the village from a few bid villagers. The rest of the populace had been forced to support the VC's attack on Saigon and had not yet returned.

Around noon on 5 Feb the Troop was ordered back to the defensive position and instructed to move back through Saigon to the water filtration plant (Xs 944997) east of. Thu Duc. There we were to rejoin an infantry battalion from the 1st US Infantry Division. However, for the remainder of the month of February, the Troop and the infantry battalion were OPCON to either Field Forces II or CMD. No significant events were incurred during the movement and the Troop closed on the water plant just before dark.

Very little if any difficulty was experienced in operating with the 3/4 Cav, and we were made to feel a part of the 3/4 Cav by its Commander and men. No doubt, the feeling of belonging contributed to the Troop's success. All of us, however, were glad to rejoin the 1st Division. We were beginning to feel like like orphans being tossed between relatives and friends--never really knowing where we would be next and with whom and when we would be resupplied.

For the next two months the Troop operated with an infantry battalion from the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division with the mission of securing the water plant, Highway 316 and the surrounding area located generally between XS 592946 and XT 989935. Since this was the dry season, cross-country movement was good except in the vicinity of the numerous rivers and streams. Additional obstacles to armored vehicles consisted of the villages in the area. The high concentration of villages in the area also severly restricted the use of recon by fire, artillery, tac air, and attack helicopter support. Moderate vegetation throughout the area provided little concealment and the terrain provided little cover from enemy fire. The events that were to take place were noteworthy because of the night mobile operations conducted by armor and infantry in securing Highway 316. There were, however, four significant engagements that took place of which one will be discussed.

LONG BINH VILLAGE, 6 FEB 68

Initially, operations in the area consisted of reconnaissance in force operations designed to clear VC main force battalions from the area. On 6 Feb Troop A in conjunction with the infantry battalion minus to which the Troop was OPCON conducted a search of Long Binh Village (YT 008000). (This village is located about 3500 meters northeast of the Vietnamese Armor and Infantry Schools.) The previous day contact had been established in the village by a troop from the 11th ACR, but before the troop could develop the situation the troop was called to support an action elsewhere.

The sweep of the village commenced shortly before noon. Prior to the sweep, the infantry battalion established a blocking position in the southern section of the village (Enclosure 3A). When available, helicopters were to screen to the east of the village. Inundated rice paddies prohibited the use of armor to the east.

My plan was to move the 3rd Platoon commanded by LT William Chaffin through the village from north to south while the 1st and 2nd Platoons were to screen to the west. The command group, consisting of my command track, the medic track, and one flame thrower track (I cannot remember why the second flame thrower was not present.) would move between the 3rd platoon and the screening force depending on the situation.

Shortly after the operation started, helicopter gunship crews spotted three VC along the east-west trail (TY 012006). The 3rd Platoon had not yet reached this location, so I elected to try to capture the three VC with my command group less the medic track. While a few old villagers observed (the village was almost deserted), we successfully captured two of the three VC with the aid of two gunships. The third VC was KIA. The two captured VC were immediately evacuated for interrogation. We were to learn later from the infantry battalion commander about the time heavy contact was established that a VC battalion along with a VC regimental commander were located in the village. The importance of capturing the enemy and immediate evacuation was quite apparent, because when the enemy information was received the Troop had not yet sufficiently developed the situation to determine the number of enemy troops in the village. Based on this information, I was to withdraw the 3rd Platoon from the Village before additional casualties were received.

As the 3rd Platoon proceeded south in a line formation with a few dismounted troops, the platoon ran into heavy enemy antitank and small arms fire south of the same east-west trail where the two VC were captured. One tank was hit by an antitank round and within a matter of seconds it exploded. The driver was killed. In addition, Lt. Chaffin received a serious leg wound and had to be evacuated. (Within five days, the Troop lost two fine officers and an outstanding First Sergeant. Their loss was quite an adversity to overcome, because all were highly respected as combat leaders by the men, and they had extensive experience in VN. But credit must be given to the NCOs that replaced them until replacements could be received several weeks later. Their performance was outstanding and the men rallied behind them.) After LT Chaffin's injury and the enemy information was received, the 3rd Platoon withdrew from the village and the entire Troop took up positions about 300 meters west of the village. Tac air and artillery was requested, but because of heavy commitments elsewhere the support was minimal. The two jet fighters available dropped napalm and bombs, but the effect was marginal. Artillery fire support was received from a 105mm howitzer battery, but because the enemy's positions were fortified (some positions were under concrete floors of the houses) the fire was ineffective. The flame thrower would have been effective, but its crew had been wounded in the initial contact and had been evacuated.

The supporting fires completed, the Troop assaulted the village. The 3rd Platoon was involved again in the heaviest contact and lost one ACAV to enemy fire. Intensive enemy antitank and small arms fire caused the Troop to once again withdraw. Two more assaults were conducted on the village, but they too failed to dislodge the enemy from his position. At about 1700 hours and with almost all our ammunition expended, all units were withdrawn to the water plant because security of the plant, the Thu Duc District Headquarters and several other industrial plants located along Highway 316 were considered of more concern than the enemy in Long Binh Village.

The numerical results of this engagement are vague, but one man was killed and at least five or six were evacuated for injuries. One tank and one ACAV were destroyed. Enemy casualties were one KIA and two POWs confirmed. Several days later a few fresh grave sites were found in the village. The Troop, however, had been successful in preventing the battalion from conducting attacks on the US Army Long Binh Supply Base located just to the north or on Thu Duc or Saigon. The battalion was never again reported in the area while we continued to conduct operations in the area. As in all actions, there were lessons learned and problems incurred.

1.	A lack of understanding of the employment and capabilities of armor at all 
        levels of the infantry battalion chain of command was to plague the Troop's 
        operations for the entire period along Highway 316. The difficulty in 
        conducting a search of a village without infantry should be obvious. My 
        requests for at least a platoon of infantry had been denied. In future 
        operations this lack of understanding was most noticable, except for a couple 
        of exceptions, at the company commander level. The company commanders did not 
        know how to employ a combined arms team.
 
    2.  Vividly brought out in this action was the difficulty of dislodging enemy 
        troops when in fortified positions. With maneuver room almost nonexistent 
        in the village, only tac air and medium and heavy artillery could have 
        destroyed the enemy's defenses. But in this action tac air was not 
        sufficiently available and heavy or medium artillery fire was nonexistent 
        in the area.
 
    3.  Resupply was a problem in this action and it continued to be throughout the 
        two month period. The infantry neither understood the resupply problems of 
        armor; fuel, ammunition, and spare parts; nor were they able to carry out 
        our resupply of these items satisfactorily. I had to depend upon Squadron 
        Headquarters for resupply. Even though the Squadron was operating at extended 
        distances from Troop 'A's location, the Squadron supply and maintenance 
        officers overcame the problems and handled our needs with little support from 
        the infantry battalion to which we were attached.

OTHER SIGNIFICANT ACTIONS

During the next two months, several other major actions were to take place which I will only briefly mention. On 8 Feb the infantry battalion and my 2nd Platoon engaged several enemy companies located in and around a textile factory in the vicinity of XS 942981 and drove them from the area. In action against an enemy company on 19 Feb in the vicinity of XS 950995, the Troop suffered two KIAs and had one tank destroyed. In another significant action two cavalry and two attached infantry platoons engaged an enemy battalion in the village of Xon Dau Binh Thoi (XS 940960) on 30 March. This action, if intelligent reports were accurate, disrupted a planned attack on several bridges along Highway 316 leading into Saigon on the night of 30 March.

Minor contacts were to occur almost daily in an area bounded by XS 930970, XS 940990, XS 955990, and XS 950960. Typically, an infantry company would move into a sector of the area in the morning. Late in the afternoon contact would be made with an enemy platoon, and a cavalry platoon was dispatched to provide fire support for the infantry to enable the infantry to maneuver on the enemy.

ROUTE SECURITY

One of the most critical missions of the entire operation was the security of Highway 316 during the hours of darkness. Around mid- February convoys started moving again at night from Saigon to the Long Binh Supply Base. Almost immediately after the convoys started, they were ambushed by a platoon size enemy force. The convoys had several military police jeeps with three man crews for security. After these initial ambushes, the Troop was given the mission of securing the convoys. The infantry battalion's S3's plan was for a cavalry platoon to move physically with each convoy (four or five convoys a night of about 10 to 15 vehicles). This plan was in operation for a week when it became apparent that too many miles were being put on the tracks and that the enemy was not being destroyed. I recommended and the infantry battalion CO and S3 concurred in a plan that I had first tried to implement when I was a tank troop advisor to the Vietnamese along Highway 13, but to no avail.

The probable ambush area was between XS 926956 and XT 989034. To secure this area I was to receive one to three ambush patrols (six to ten men) nightly from the infantry. These patrols were to be inserted by a cavalry platoon at irregular intervals during the hours of darkness. And then at irregular intervals the cavalry platoon would conduct mounted patrols (one to three a night) over all or a portion of the Highway. A typical night's operation would begin with a cavalry platoon departing the water plant with an ambush patrol(s) to insert the patrol in its ambush location that I had selected-- usually within 100 meters of Highway 316. The ambush patrols could not be sent out during daylight hours, because of the civilians in the area. False insertions were conducted to add deception to the true location of the patrol or at times the patrol would proceed dismounted 300 to 500 meters to its ambush site. Once insertion of the patrol(s) was completed, the platoon would conduct a patrol or return to the water plant. Then at varying intervals and with a different number of patrols nightly, so as not to establish a pattern, mounted patrols were conducted. During the mounted patrols, movement was either by bounds or continuous. Extensive use was made of the Xenon searchlights using their infrared and white light capabilities. In addition, on occasions the ambush patrols would be picked up and inserted in another location. If contact was established by an ambush patrol or the cavalry platoon, the Troop's command group would proceed to the scene of contact.

After two months the enemy platoon was completely destroyed. One US infantryman was killed and no vehicles were lost. And just as important was the fact that no convoy vehicles were lost during these night mobile operations. There were several keys to the success of this operation.

       	1. Elements of the Troop operated east and west of the road daily as did the 
           infantry, so we knew the terrain well. Our knowledge of the terrain enabled 
           my platoon leaders and myself to select better ambush sites.
 
	2. The operations were so successful that both the cavalry and infantry 
           soldiers believed in them and were eager to participate. And the infantry 
           knew that if they made contact they would have armor support immediately. 
           It was not uncommon to have contact three or four times a week.
 
 	3. Several attempts were made to ambush the mounted patrols, but this proved 
           to have disastrous effects on the VC, because of the cavalry's armor 
           protection, its mobility in moving through the ambushes, and its organic 
           firepower.
 
	4. For about two weeks, I had under my OPCON a D Troop from an air cavalry 
           squadron. Once I was able to convince this troop that their wheeled vehicles 
           were not tanks the troop was employed successfully.

SUMMARY

The actions involving Troop A during the period of the Viet- Cong Tet Offensive of 1968 are only a small segment of all US Armor operations conducted during the War. However, the successful conduct of the varity of missions from jungle terrain to the streets of Saigon by Troop A is conclusive proof that armor can be used effectively in counter- insurgency operations. These events were especially satisfying to me, because for the most part I had all three of my platoons under my command. Generally speaking, in the 1st Division cavalry platoons were attached to infantry battalions leaving the troop commander with one platoon. The troop commanders in effect became platoon leaders. Such was not the case during the time frame discussed for my troop.

The success of the operations described was a direct result of emphasis being placed on things that didn't seem important to the men when the Troop would go for days without contact prior to Tet. Maintenance of vehicles and weapons to include proper head space set on the .50 cal machine gun, the use of loading plans, and the wearing of steel helmuts and flak vests are examples of what may have seemed like little things, but they paid enormous dividends in reducing casualties and equipment damage once the enemy situation changed.

The final totals of enemy killed by the Troop are not important. What is important is that the Troop played its part successfully in defending Saigon during the Tet Offensive, and in the weeks to follow continued to aid in the defense of Saigon. The Troop's actions along with the rest of the Squadron's actions in other areas of operation earned the Squadron the Valorious Unit Citation for this period. And the five Troop A troopers who gave their lives during this period will always be remembered for their ultimate sacrifice.

 
 
                                  /original signed by
                                  FREDERICK W. SHIRLEY
                                  Major, Armor

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VALUOROUS UNIT AWARD - 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry during Desert Storm

For valorous actions while conducting combat operations in the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations during the period 17 January 1991 to 3 March 1991. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry led the 1st Infantry Division’s attack across Iraq and Kuwait, cutting the Iraqi army’s escape route along the Kuwait City/Basrah Highway. The Squadron continued its rapid advance, culminating with the capture of the Safwan Airfield, Iraq. During this drive, the squadron destroyed 65 tanks, 66 Armored Personnel Carriers, 66 trucks, 91 bunkers, and captured 3,010 enemy soldiers. These valorous acts bring distinct credit to the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), and the United States Army.

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Permenant Order 288-13 15 Oct 09 Award: Meritorious Unit Commendation to the 5th Squardon, 4th Cavalry

period of service: 6 October 2008 to 28 September 2009 Authority: AR 600-8-22, paragraph 7-15 Reason: For exceptionally meritorious service. During the period 6 October 2008 to 28 September 2009, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment and its subordinate units displayed exceptionally meritorious service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit conducted decisive offensive operations against Sunni insurgents of the 1920s Revolution Brigades, the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq, the Salah Al-Din Battalion and the remnants of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The squadron's collective efforts destroyed the 1920s Revolution Brigades' RKG-3 grenade ambush platoon, operating in Ghazaliyh, and pushed the enemy completely from the city. Fighting side-by-side with the Iraqi Army, the unit additionally participated in attacks to defeat the RKG-3 ambush cells operating in Ameriyah, Yarmouk, Khadra, Jamia, and Mansour. The capture and follow-on exploitation of these key insurgents led to the defeat of improvised explosive device and assassination cells of the Salah Al-Din Battalion. The unit's professionalism and dedication went above the call of duty and contributed greatly to the success of Multi-National Division-Baghdad. Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment's outstanding performance of duty is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects distinct credit upon the unit, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

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Announcement is made of the following award:

Valorous Unit Award to the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry

Period of service: As listed above. Authority: AR 600-8-22, paragraph 7-14 Reason: For extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. During the period 14 March 2007 to 3 April 2008, Headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and its subordinate units displayed extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Rashid, Mansour,and New Baghdad Security Districts of Baghdad, Iraq. The unit fought valiantly and displayed great courage, unflagging determination, and superior espirit de corps in implementing a dynamic counterinsurgency strategy on the most dangerous and complex urban battlefields in Iraq. The unit deliberately emplaced its units in forward positions along sectarian fault lines where violent Anti - Coali tion activity was greatest. The brigade then successfully wrested control of Rashid, Mansour and New Baghdad from Al Qaeda in Iraq and Jaysh Al Mahdi insurgent forces while simultaneously toiling to improve the lives of the Iraqi people. The unit additionally provided essential services, fostered sustainable economic growth, reviving commerce, and improving local government. The brigade's combined efforts reduced violent. activities by over ninety percent and brought new hope to the people of Baghdad. Headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division's outstanding performance of duty is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects distinct credit'upon the unit, Multi-National Division-Baghdad and the United states Army.

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

Announcement is made of the following award:

PO 171-16 20Jul10

HHC 1/4th Cavalry
A Troop
B Troop
C Troop

Award: Meritorious Unit. Commendation Period .of service: 30 August 2009 to 21 July 2010 Authority: AR 600-8-22, paragraph 7-15 Reason: For exceptionally meritorious service. During the period 30 August 2009 to 21 July 2010, Headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and its subordinate units displayed. Exceptionally meritorious service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The "Dragon Brigade" demonstrated outstanding professionalism, determination and courage in conducting comprehensive stability operations in the Salah al-Din Province of Iraq. The legacy .of the unit's influence in the Salah al Din Province and effective application of the tenets of stability operations will have a positive, 1eng term and far reaching impact en the region and the entire country. Headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and its subordinate units have been recognized as the' example: to emulate for other units operating within the Operation Iraqi Freedom area of operation and has laid the ground work for a safer and more prosporous Iraq. The outstanding performance and dedication to duty exhibited by Headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and its subordinate units is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon the Dragon Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.


Trooper Photos

The following photos were taken by Trooper Sanchez from his recent
visit to Vietnam. I have more and will share them a later dates. BB

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Sanchez standing at the position of 2/2Inf, 3rd Plt at Lai Kai in 1965....................Some of our favorite refreshments

Display of US Soldier medals given to the Vietnamese Museum....................Memorial built at Ap Bau Bang

The Traffic hasn't change....................Now we can be Friends Finally!!

Rush hour in downtown Saigon....................Damn! Spider Hole

A model of a VC tunnel system....................Common VC Weapons

VC 51mm Machine Gune....................VC sovineers of the war

VC Rockets, Mortar Shells, RP Granades, Tank Ammo....................Deadly Nightmare...RPG Launchers

Pungie Bobby Trap....................Each VC Outfit had men trained to accomplish whatever the unit needed.

A display of US Munitions....................An Agent Orange Victum/center>

VC and NVA Soldiers got sprayed with AO also....................This is Highway 13 today!


TROOPER CONTACTS

Last week the wife and I went shopping down in Labelle, FL. I wore my Cav hat which is my custom and was walking down the isle at the Winn Dixie when a couple over took and passed by me. The man started looking back and me so intently that I began to wonder if my zipper was open or I had worn a pair of pants with a hole in them. Finally he stoped and when caught up with them he said "Quarter Horse huh? Turns out he was a member of D Troop "Outcast" which became C-1-6 after they pulled the QH out of Vietnam in 1970. We enjoyed a brief visit! So, I wear my QH Cav hat for two reasons. 1. To antagonize the assholes who fought to avoid service in our Army and 2. You never know who you pass by who might be drawn to your hat!!

Greg Tharker was his name and he would enjoy hearing from anyone he served with. If you would like to chat with Greg, give me a call or e-mail me for contact information. Alpha two niner out!


ACTIVE DUTY NEWS

Army to Replace 2 Brigades in Europe With Rotating Units
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, Jan. 12, 2012 - Ground forces will remain important to the U.S. defense strategy, but the employment of the forces will change, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today.
In an interview on his way to Fort Bliss, Texas, Panetta said that the Army will withdraw two brigade combat teams from Europe, while retaining a strong presence in the region via rotational units.
The change is part of a new, 10-year defense strategy announced by President Barack Obama last week that emphasizes air-sea doctrine to better allow the United States to confront more than one threat at a time, Panetta said. Still, ground forces will remain important, and soldiers and Marines will continue to deploy to Afghanistan and be on the Korean Peninsula and partnering with nations around the globe.
"We will continue to maintain our presence both in the Middle East and Asia," the secretary said. "Yes, we'll have the Navy and the Air Force, but in my experience, in any conflict you need to have the potential use of ground forces."
Panetta said he is excited about the prospect of using Army units on a rotational basis, just as Special Forces and the Marine Corps do. "Getting the Army to deploy to areas conducting exercises providing, most of all, a partnership with countries in Latin America, Africa, other countries where we can show the flag" is important, he said.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno is particularly excited about the ability to develop that rotational capability, Panetta said. "It will keep the ground forces very meaningful in the future," he said.
As the Army replaces the two brigade combat teams with rotational units, the Europeans actually will see more U.S. forces because the American forces in Europe have more often than not been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, Panetta said.
DOD officials have spoken to European leaders about the withdrawal and they understand why the change will be good for the U.S. military and NATO allies, senior defense officials traveling with the secretary said.

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DOD Identifies Units for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation The Department of Defense today identified three major units to deploy as part of the upcoming rotation of forces operating in Afghanistan. The scheduled rotation will begin in Spring 2012.
This announcement involves one division headquarters totaling approximately 1,000 personnel and two brigade combat teams totaling approximately 5,800 personnel.

Headquarters units:

• 3rd Infantry Division HQ, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Brigade Combat Teams:

• 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. (to deploy as a partial BCT).

• 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

DoD will continue to announce major deployments as they are approved. For information on the respective deployments contact 3rd Infantry Division HQ, public affairs office, 912-435-9876, and the 82d Airborne Division Rear Detachment, public affairs office, 910-432-0661.

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Defense Bill Affects Pay, Separation Bonuses, More
By Karen Parrish

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2011 - President Barack Obama today signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which increases active-duty and reserve pay by 1.6 percent and governs Defense Department activities, from procurement to military personnel policy.
Several provisions in this year's act will potentially affect active-duty and retired service members and their families.
Section 347 requires DOD to finance an independent assessment of overseas troop basing, advising retention, closure, realignment or establishment of U.S. military facilities outside the United States "in light of potential fiscal constraints on [DOD] and emerging national security requirements in coming years."
Section 402 reduces authorized Army minimum end strength from 562,000 to 547,000. The other services' authorized minimum strengths are unchanged, with 325,700 for the Navy, 202,100 for the Marine Corps and 332,800 for the Air Force.
Section 512 of the act creates a new member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which currently includes the Army and Air Force chiefs of staff, the chief of naval operations and the Marine Corps commandant. The new member will be the chief of the National Guard Bureau, who will have responsibility for "addressing matters involving non-federalized National Guard forces in support of homeland defense and civil support missions."
Section 526 extends voluntary separation pay and benefits authority, formerly set to expire Dec. 31, to the end of 2018. Section 530 converts the high-deployment allowance from mandatory to authorized. The allowance currently pays $100 a day, in addition to all other pay and allowances, to a deployed service member who has been deployed 401 days or more out of the preceding 730 days.
Section 701 limits annual Tricare enrollment fee increases for retirees and their family members to an amount equal to the percentage by which retired pay increases that year.
Section 702 sets mental health assessment requirements for service members deployed for contingency operations. The act calls for a series of assessments: one within 120 days before deployment; another during the period between 90 days after a deployment begins and 180 days after it ends; a third within a year after the deployment ends; and a fourth between 18 months and 30 months of redeployment.
The act states assessments are intended to "identify post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal tendencies, and other behavioral health conditions ... in order to determine which such members are in need of additional care and treatment for such health conditions."
Assessments are not required for service members "not subjected or exposed to operational risk factors during deployment in the contingency operation concerned," the act states.
Section 954 affirms that DOD "has the capability, and upon direction by the president may conduct offensive operations in cyberspace to defend our nation, allies and interests," subject to the law of armed conflict and the War Powers Resolution.
Signing the bill into law today, President Barack Obama acknowledging "serious reservations" about parts of the act, particularly provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.
"I have signed the act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families and vital national security programs that must be renewed," Obama said in a statement released today.
The act also contains critical initiatives to control spiraling health-care costs within the Defense Department, develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, build the security capacity of key partners, modernize the force and boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide, he noted.

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Obama Signs Defense Spending Bill Despite Reservations
By Donna Miles


WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2011 - President Barack Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act today, while acknowledging "serious reservations" about parts of the act, particularly provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.
"I have signed the act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families and vital national security programs that must be renewed," Obama said in a statement released today.
The $662 billion act also contains critical initiatives to control spiraling health-care costs within the Defense Department, develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, build the security capacity of key partners, modernize the force and boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide, he noted.
It increases active-duty and reserve pay by 1.6 percent and governs Defense Department activities from procurement to military personnel policy.
However, "the fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it," the president emphasized today.
Of particular concern are provisions he said restrict options available to counterterrorism professionals and interfere with operations that have kept the United States safe.
Obama said the act undermines efforts within the last several years to develop an effective and sustainable framework to deal with suspected terrorists. This framework, he said, "allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations."
"The results achieved are undeniable," the president said. "Our success against al-Qaida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people."
Obama said he opposes initiatives by some in Congress that could undermine these successes. Although he initially had threatened to veto the bill over language he said could hamper ongoing efforts, he later agreed to changes that were negotiated.
"Ultimately, I decided to sign this bill not only because of the critically important services it provides for our forces and their families and the national security programs it authorizes, but also because the Congress revised provisions that otherwise would have jeopardized the safety, security, and liberty of the American people," he said.
Moving forward, Obama said his administration will interpret the provisions in a way "that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which is country was founded."

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Investigating Officer Recommends Court-martial for Manning
By Donna Miles

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2012 - The investigating officer has recommended that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning face a general court-martial for charges of leaking classified documents, Military District of Washington officials announced yesterday.
Army Lt. Col. Paul Almanza issued his recommendation yesterday, concluding that reasonable grounds exist to believe that Manning committed the alleged offenses, officials said.
The 24-year-old intelligence analyst is suspected of leaking military and diplomatic documents to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks in what officials believe is the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history.
WikiLeaks, in turn, released thousands of these documents, including classified records about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, on its website last year.
Manning faces more than 20 charges alleging he introduced unauthorized software onto government computers to extract classified information, unlawfully downloaded it, improperly stored it, and transmitted the data for public release and use by the enemy.
Almanza's report concluded that the charges and specifications are in proper form for the case to move forward, officials said.
His recommendation follows eight days of pretrial proceedings during Manning's Article 32 hearing, with both prosecution and defense delivering their closing statements Dec. 22.
An Article 32 hearing, often compared to a civilian grand jury, is a pretrial hearing to determine if grounds exist for a general court-martial, the most serious of courts-martial.
The special court-martial convening authority, Army Col. Carl Coffman, will now review Almanza's report, officials said. He will determine if the charges should be handled at his level or forwarded to Army Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, the general court-martial convening authority.
If convicted of all charges, Manning would face a maximum punishment of life in prison. He also could be reduced to E-1, the lowest enlisted grade, and could face forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge, officials said.

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Pretrial Begins for Alleged Document Leaker
By Elaine Sanchez

FORT MEADE, Md., Dec. 16, 2011 - The Article 32 hearing for the soldier allegedly involved in what's considered one of the largest leaks of classified material in U.S. history got under way in a crowded military courthouse here today.
Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, is suspected of leaking military and diplomatic documents, including classified records about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, which released thousands of classified military documents on its website last year.
At the time, then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and other senior defense officials condemned the organization's actions, claiming the act put deployed service members at an increased risk.
The hearing today marked Manning's first appearance in a military court since his arrest in Iraq in May 2010. An Article 32 hearing, often likened to a civilian grand jury, is a pretrial hearing to determine if there are grounds for a general court martial, the most serious of courts martial.
The soldier, dressed in an Army combat uniform, his hair cut short and with black-rimmed glasses, sat between his civilian lawyer David E. Coombs, and his two military lawyers. The soldier was attentive throughout, eyes forward and his hands clasped or fiddling with a pen, taking notes occasionally. When asked if he understood the charges and if he was satisfied with his representation, he answered "Yes sir" each time in a soft-spoken tone.
The soldier, who turns 24 tomorrow, faces more than 20 charges and a maximum sentence of life in prison if proven guilty. The charges allege Manning introduced unauthorized software onto government computers to extract classified information, unlawfully downloaded it, improperly stored it, and transmitted the data for public release and use by the enemy.
The charge of aiding the enemy under Article 104 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice is a capital offense; however, the prosecution team has said it won't recommend the death penalty, a legal official said today.
First up today was Coombs for defense, who came out swinging. He almost immediately called for Army Reserve Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, the hearing's investigating officer, to disqualify himself from the hearing for bias or perception of bias, along with some rulings against the defense. It's the investigating officer's role to consider witnesses' testimony and evidence presented to counsel and to recommend if the case should be referred for trial to general court martial or other courts martial, or be dismissed.
Almanza serves as a reserve military judge as well as the deputy chief of the Justice Department's child exploitation and obscenity section. Coombs argued there's a conflict of interest since the Justice Department has an ongoing criminal investigation regarding this case.
The officer, Coombs continued, also allowed all of the government's 20 witnesses and only two of the defense's 38 witnesses, who were not in common with the government. He also argued the fact that the hearing is open, not closed, which can allow prejudicial information to impact the trial. Finally, Almanza is allowing unsworn statements from the prosecution to be considered, he added.
After lengthy recesses and with input from the defense, the government and his legal advisor, Almanza denied the defense's request for a recusal and for a stay, or delay, of proceedings.
Almanza said he doesn't believe that "a reasonable person knowing all the circumstances" of the case would question his impartiality, and stressed that no aspect of his civilian work is involved with or relates to Manning's case.
Almanza then called for another recess to give Manning's defense team time to file a writ, or legal document, to stay the hearing to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, located at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Turning proceedings back to the case at hand, Almanza reviewed Manning's rights with him, ensuring the soldier had a copy of the charge sheet and understood the charges preferred against him.
Almanza also discussed the possibility that classified information may be introduced into the hearing. If classified information needs to be discussed, he explained, a determination will be made to close portions of the hearing as required.
After one final recess, Almanza noted the hearing will reconvene tomorrow at 10 a.m. Manning remains in pretrial confinement.
Manning's Article 32 hearing is expected to continue for several days, possibly up to a week. When the hearing is over, Almanza will file a report recommending either a trial, or that some or all of the charges against Manning be dismissed.

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New Law Eases Airport Screening for Troops, Families
By Elaine Sanchez

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2012 - President Barack Obama signed a bill into law yesterday to streamline airport screening procedures for service members and their families traveling on official orders.
The Risk-based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act gives the Transportation Security Administration six months to develop and implement a plan to expedite screening services for service members on orders and in uniform and, "to the extent possible, any accompanying family member."

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Pretrial Proceedings Begin for Alleged USS Cole Mastermind
By Donna Miles

FORT MEADE, Md., Jan. 17, 2012 - The commander of the U.S. detention facility at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, defended the new policy that allows government officials to monitor prisoners' mail during the opening day of pretrial proceedings for the alleged mastermind in the USS Cole bombing.
Navy Rear Adm. David Woods, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, testified today in response to a motion by the defense at the military commission hearing for Abd al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed al Nashiri. Army Col. James Pohl ruled during proceedings at Guantanamo Bay that Woods should explain the policy he instituted last month.
Woods, one of the highest-level officials to testify in a military tribunal, said the new policy balances his responsibilities to facilitate attorney-client communication while also ensuring security, safety, force protection and good order at the facility.
Woods told Navy Lt. Cmdr. Stephen C. Reyes of the defense team the new policy allows members of a team that reviews detainee privileges to conduct a "plain-view review" of written communications not marked as protected attorney-client information. The review, he said, is designed to ensure this correspondence does not include physical or "information contraband" such as maps of the detention facility.
Woods disputed the defense position that the policy violates client-attorney privilege, or that reviewers must read the material in full to make a determination. He also denied that the policy restricts access between detainees and their lawyers.
One of its benefits, he said, is authorizing guards to search the plastic bins reserved for legal paperwork and correspondence in detainee living spaces. Guards reportedly have found contraband stowed in these "legal bins" in the past.
Woods acknowledged that the policy depends on the professionalism of the privileged review team, as well as their contractual commitments, to ensure their review is conducted properly and ethically. He noted that reviewers, all civilian contractors, must sign a non-disclosure agreement that bars them from sharing this information, particularly with prosecuting attorneys associated with the case.
The prosecution called the defense's request for Woods to appear before the court irrelevant to the case because Nashiri hasn't been subject to mail searches.
However, officials said Pohl's decision to call him likely was made because what happens in the Nashiri case. the first to go through a revised military commission system -- is likely to set the precedent for trials to follow. Army Col. John Head, deputy chief of staff for the convening authority, told reporters the defense's request likely is intended to institute an across-the-board process that ensures all detainees receive equal treatment.
Pohl is expected to render a decision tomorrow, the second of two days of a pretrial hearing to consider 10 motions in the case.
Nashiri, 47, is charged with "perfidy," or treachery; murder in violation of the law of war; attempted murder in violation of the law of war; terrorism; conspiracy; intentionally causing serious bodily injury; attacking civilians; attacking civilian objects; and hazarding a vessel.
The charges arise out of an attempted attack on the USS The Sullivans in January 2000 and an attack on the USS Cole in October 2000, during which 17 U.S. sailors were killed and 37 more wounded. Nashiri also is accused of involvement in an attack on the MV Limburg, a French civilian oil tanker, in October 2002 in which one crewmember was killed and about 90,000 barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Aden. If convicted, Nashiri could be sentenced to death.
Nashiri did not enter a plea during his arraignment at Guantanamo Bay in November. Although the defendant was in the room during today's proceedings albeit it out of camera view for remote viewers for most of the hearing. all the activity revolved around the prosecution and defense teams.
Pohl rejected two defense motions: one to allow Nashiri to be unrestrained during his meetings with his legal counsel, and one to establish an enclave a protected network within the larger Defense Department computer network in an effort to keep DOD from monitoring the defense counsel's computers and electronic communications.
Pohl dismissed civilian defense counsel Richard Kammen's argument that defense counsel should be able to meet with unrestrained detainees in locked-room meetings, as representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross are able to.
The current policy requires detainees to be shackled and in an unlocked room during meetings with their attorneys, enabling guards to enter the room and for attorneys to exit quickly in the event of a disturbance, the prosecution noted.
Anthony W. Mattivi, a member of the prosecution team representing the Justice Department, expressed concern that changing the current policy could put the guards at increased risk and said Woods should be the one to make any changes to the policy, not the court. "That's not his call," Mattivi said of Kammen. "It's the commander's."
Pohl agreed, ruling to keep the current policy intact.
The judge, however, left the door open for a possible request by the defense for an enclave or other security remedy for its electronic communications in the future, while acknowledging that even material in enclaves is subject to monitoring.
Kammen compared the encryption system the defense now uses to protect sensitive materials to putting them in a locked drawer in an office, then handing the government the key to the drawer and leaving the office door open. "It's the appearance of confidentiality without the substance," he told the court.
Lockhart argued that an enclave isn't necessary because encryption already ensures the maximum security possible for the documents. Pentagon computer security expert Adam Bennett, whom she called to the stand, said it's virtually impossible for government officials to access encrypted information or open documents ? including those used by the defense team without the password and encryption software needed to access it.
Both the defense and prosecution, as well as the judge, recognized that all material on DOD networks is subject to routine, noncontent-related screening to prevent viruses and cyber attacks.
In other motions considered today, Pohl granted a motion supporting more public access to court proceedings. Currently the proceedings are broadcast from the court at Guantanamo Bay via closed circuit to just three locations in the United States. Two of those sites are here at Fort Meade in a theater and training-room facility. Another, at Norfolk Naval Base, Va., is reserved for families of USS Cole victims as well as crewmembers aboard the vessel during the attack.
Pohl also moved that unofficial transcripts of the proceedings, posted online while the official transcript remains classified, may be referred to by both legal teams during the trial.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Kammen said the defense considered today "on balance, a very successful day," while acknowledging that some of the motions made could ultimately delay the trial, possibly as far out as 2015.
Kammen called military commissions "at best, a second-class system of justice" and said they are designed to be secretive and provide expedient justice at the expense of transparency and fairness. He added that the defense team today fought for things it wouldn't have had to in federal court, and accused the government of blurring the line between classified and embarrassing information.
Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions, disputed Kammen's charges, noting that the prosecution team in the commissions operates much like prosecutors in federal courts. They play no part in handling defendant's correspondence or defense attorney's emails, don't communicate with facility personnel about contacts with an accused legal materials and aren't privy to those materials, he said.
Martins said proceedings like today's are designed to ensure legal issues are resolved in a way "consistent with the fair, transparent and accountable administration of justice under the rule of law."
Despite the manpower and expense associated with the commission proceedings, Martins said the United States has a responsibility to follow them through. "Not only must we continue to pursue the truth for the surviving family members of victims who have been rendered silent, but we must also pursue it because that is what justice requires," he said. "A civilized and open society facing very real and modern security threats can demand no less."

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Obama: Future Force Will be Smaller, Agile, Ready
By Cheryl Pellerin

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2012: At a moment of national transition, the United States is reshaping defense priorities and its military force to sustain U.S. global leadership and respond to changing security and fiscal needs, President Barack Obama said this morning at the Pentagon.
Obama, the first president to address reporters in the Pentagon briefing room, joined Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to introduce a new military strategy that sets priorities for a 21st-century defense.
The United States of America is the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known,"Obama said. "In no small measure, that's because we've built the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history, and as commander in chief, I'm going to keep it that way."
Even as the tide of war recedes and U.S. forces prevail in today's missions, he added, "we have the opportunity and the responsibility to look ahead to the force we need for the future."
Looking beyond the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and long-term nation building with large military footprints, Obama said, the United States will be able to ensure its security with smaller conventional ground forces and by investing in capabilities that include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and the ability to operate in environments where adversaries try to deny access.
Yes, our military will be leaner,"he said, "but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats."
Panetta said the department would need to make a strategic shift regardless of the nation's fiscal situation.
We are at that point in history,"the secretary added. "That's the reality of the world we live in."
But he stressed that the U.S. military will remain capable across the spectrum.
We will continue to conduct a complex set of missions ranging from counterterrorism, ranging from countering weapons of mass destruction to maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent,"Panetta said, adding that the department will be "fully prepared to protect our interests, defend our homeland and support civil authorities."
The Defense Strategic Guidance document released today says the future force will be led by the world's finest, best cared for and battle-tested all-volunteer military one that will be smaller, but that also will be flexible, agile and ready.
The force will be leaner, further reducing the cost of doing business and finding efficiencies in overhead, business practices and other support activities, according to the guidance. It also will be technologically superior, the document adds, and networked across the services as well as with diplomatic, development and intelligence agencies, allies and partners. The strategy also outlines a force that will be able to regenerate and mobilize for an unpredictable future, preserving the U.S. industrial base.
As a global force, our military will never be doing only one thing," Panetta said. "It will be responsible for a range of missions and activities across the globe of varying scope, duration and strategic priority. This will place a premium on flexible and adaptable forces that can respond quickly and effectively to a variety of contingencies and potential adversaries."
With the end of U.S. military commitments in Iraq and the drawdown under way in Afghanistan, the secretary said, the Army and Marine Corps will no longer need to be sized to support the kind of large-scale, long-term stability operations that have dominated military priorities and force generation over the past decade.
Continuing investments in special operations forces, in new technologies such as ISR and unmanned systems and in space and especially cyberspace capabilities will help the force "retain and continue to refine and institutionalize the expertise and capabilities that have been gained at such great cost over the last decade," Panetta said.
Most importantly, the secretary added, "we will structure and pace reductions in the nation's ground forces in such a way that they can surge, regenerate and mobilize capabilities needed for any contingency."
Building in reversibility and the ability to quickly mobilize will be critical, he said.
That means re-examining the mix of elements in the active and reserve components,"Panetta said. "It means maintaining a strong National Guard and Reserve. It means retaining a healthy cadre of experienced noncommissioned officers and midgrade officers, and preserving the health and viability of the nation's defense industrial base."
The strategy, Dempsey said, is sound.
It ensures we remain the pre-eminent military in the world,"the chairman told reporters, "it preserves the talent of the all-volunteer force, it takes into account the lessons of the last 10 years of war, and it acknowledges the imperative of a global, networked and full spectrum joint force."
The strategy calls for innovation new ways of operating and partnering, Dempsey said, adding that it rebalances the defense focus by region and mission and makes important investments in emerging and proven capabilities such as cyber and special operations.
Fundamentally,"the chairman said, "our strategy has always been about our ability to respond to global contingencies wherever and whenever they happen. This does not change. We will always provide a range of options for our nation. We can and will always be able to do more than one thing at a time. More importantly, wherever we are confronted and in whatever sequence, we will win."
All strategies accept some risk, he acknowledged.
Because we will be somewhat smaller, these risks will be measured in time and capacity,"the general said. "However, we have to be honest we could face even greater risks if we did not change from our current approach."
The outcome is not perfect, the chairman said, but "it gives us what we need in this world and within this budget to provide the best possible defense for our nation at a time of great transitions. It prepares us for what we anticipate needing in 2020."
The nation faces a difficult fiscal situation and in many ways is at a crisis point, Panetta said.
But I believe that in every crisis there is opportunity,"he added. "Out of this crisis, we have the opportunity to end the old ways of doing business and to build a modern force for the 21st century that can win today's wars and successfully confront any enemy and respond to any threat and any challenge of the future.
Our responsibility my responsibility as secretary of defense is to protect the nation's security and to keep America safe, "he continued. "With this joint force, I am confident that we can effectively defend the United States of America.

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Defense, State Agree to Pursue Conduct Code for Outer Space
By Lisa Daniel

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2012 - The departments of Defense and State have agreed an international code of conduct should govern activities in outer space, and officials announced plans to work with the European Union to develop it.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little yesterday issued a statement saying DOD supports the concept of an international code of conduct for outer space activities.
An international code of conduct can enhance U.S. national security by encouraging responsible space behavior by reducing the risk of mishaps, misperceptions and mistrust," he said.
Little added that a European Union draft plan is a promising basis for an international code.
Little's statement followed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's announcement yesterday that the United States has decided to join with the European Union and other nations to develop a code of conduct, which she said will help maintain the long-term sustainability, safety, stability, and security of space by establishing guidelines for the responsible use of space.
Clinton's announcement came two days after a Russian spacecraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 700 miles west of Chile. The European Union issued its proposal about the same time as another space mishap the February 2009 collision between a commercial satellite and that of a Russian military satellite, according to reports.
The long-term sustainability of our space environment is at serious risk from space debris and irresponsible actors, Clinton said. "Ensuring the stability, safety and security of our space systems is of vital interest to the United States and the global community. These systems allow the free flow of information across platforms that open up our global markets, enhance weather forecasting and environmental monitoring, and enable global navigation and transportation.
Unless the international community addresses these challenges, Clinton continued, "the environment around our planet will become increasingly hazardous to human space flight and satellite systems, which would create damaging consequences for all of us.
Opponents of the European Union plan have said it would restrict U.S. military options. But Clinton said yesterday that the U.S. government has made clear to our partners that we will not enter into a code of conduct that in any way constrains our national security-related activities in space, or our ability to protect the United States and our allies.
In early 2011, then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper approved a National Security Space Strategy designed to govern congestion and competition in space, as well as contested areas of space.

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Pirate Capture Shows U.S. Commitment to Free Seas, Leaders Say
By Karen Parrish

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2012 - The U.S. Navy's Jan. 5 capture of 15 suspected pirates in the northern Arabian Sea demonstrates the Defense Department's commitment to maritime freedom of navigation, DOD's senior leaders said yesterday.
During a taped interview with Bob Schieffer for the CBS news program Face the Nation, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey noted the pirates capture represents a routine U.S. Navy mission.
At about 12:30 p.m. local time on Jan. 5, an SH-60S Seahawk from the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd, part of the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, detected a suspected pirate skiff alongside the Iranian-flagged fishing boat, Al Molai. The master of the Al Molai sent a distress call about the same time reporting pirates were holding him captive.
A visit, board, search and seizure team from the Kidd boarded the dhow, a traditional Arabian sailing vessel, and detained 15 suspected pirates who had been holding a 13-member Iranian crew hostage for several weeks. The Al Molai had been pirated and used as a "mother ship" for pirate operations throughout the Persian Gulf, members of the Iranian vessel's crew reported.
Dempsey told Schieffer U.S. sailors responded as we do to calls of distress. We protect freedom of the seas, freedom of navigation.
We recaptured the ship, took the pirates into custody, and returned the ship to Iranian control, he added.
The suspected pirates did not oppose boarding of the Iranian-flagged ship, and no injuries were reported in the incident, the chairman noted.
I think in the face of the overwhelming combat power that was presented, the pirates made the right decision and surrendered," Dempsey said.
The secretary said pirate interdiction is "what we do in that part of the world.
The action "sends an important message to the world that the United States is going to abide by international rules and international order, Panetta added.
The Stennis left the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in late December. Iran's government in recent weeks has threatened to close or restrict passage through the strait, which is key to oil and other commercial shipping routes.
Defense officials have stressed that the U.S. government does not seek confrontation with Iran, but will protect safe and secure maritime passage for ships transiting the strait.
While the Iranian government often tries to provoke us, Panetta told Schieffer, the United States, in this kind of situation, is going to respond as we should in a very humanitarian and responsible way.

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U.S. Forces Rescue Second Iranian Vessel
By Cheryl Pellerin

WASHINGTON, Jan 10, 2012 - For the second time in a week, a U.S. vessel has rescued Iranian mariners from a distressed vessel in regional waters.
A team from the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd, part of the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, rescued a 13 member Iranian crew Jan 5 from 15 suspected pirates who had been holding the crew hostage on the Iranian-flagged Al Molai for several weeks.
Several hours before dawn this morning, U.S. Coast Guard cutter Monomoy rescued six Iranian mariners from the disabled cargo dhow Ya-Hussayn in the North Arabian Gulf, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.
"This is consistent with meeting our obligations to rescue vessels in distress," he added.
Monomoy is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, which includes the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the coast off East Africa as far south as Kenya.
At about 3 a.m. local time, Coast Guard cutter Monomoy was hailed by flares and flashlights from the Ya-Hussayn, according to a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command statement.
The dhow's master requested assistance from Monomoy, indicating the engine room was flooding and the vessel was not seaworthy. The Monomoy's small boat rescued two people from the vessel and four from a life raft tied off the dhow's stern, officials said.
Aboard the Monomoy, an emergency medical technician treated an injured crew member, and the others received water, blankets and halal meals, which are prepared according to Islamic law and stored aboard U.S. Coast Guard ships for Muslim mariners in distress.
A civilian interpreter aboard Monomoy made initial contact with the Iranian Rescue Coordination Center to report Ya-Hussayn's status and to coordinate the Iranian mariners' transfer from Monomoy to shore. Civilian interpreters routinely travel on U.S. Coast Guard vessels operating in the Arabian Gulf.
The Iranian vessel's master told the Rescue Coordination Center he appreciated the help for his crew and the efforts to get them home.
"Without your help we were dead," said Ya-Hussayn's owner, Hakim Hamid-Awi. "Thank you for all that you did for us."
The Iranian mariners wished the best for the cutter's captain and crew, officials said.
At 4:30 p.m. local time, the six mariners were transferred by rigid-hull inflatable boats from Monomoy to the Iranian coast guard vessel Naji 7. Through a translator, the Naji 7's captain sent his regards and thanked the Monomoy's captain and crew members for assisting and taking care of the Iranian sailors.
"Monomoy displayed exceptional skill and professionalism during the night-time rescue at sea," said U.S. Navy Capt. Edward Cashman, commander of Task Force 55, to which the Monomoy is assigned. "Monomoy's presence in the Northern Gulf and the effective coordination of the rescue proves again the value of Coalition Maritime Security Operations."

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Services Announce Fiscal Year's First Quarter Recruiting Numbers
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2012 - All four active-duty services and four of the six reserve components
have met or exceeded their recruiting goals over the first three months of fiscal 2012, Pentagon
officials announced today.

Here are the fiscal 2012 recruiting numbers through December for the active services:
-- Army: 11,266 accessions, for 101 percent of its goal of 11,100
-- Navy: 6,689 accessions, for 100 percent of its goal of 6,689
-- Marine Corps: 5,408 accessions, for 100 percent of its goal of 5,397
-- Air Force: 7,110 accessions, for 100 percent of its goal of 7,110

Four of the six reserve components have met or exceeded their fiscal 2012 numerical accession goals
through the first quarter:

-- Army National Guard: 11,312 accessions, for 94 percent of its goal of 12,055
-- Army Reserve: 7,638 accessions, for 127 percent of its goal of 5,991
-- Navy Reserve: 1,798 accessions, for 100 percent of its goal of 1,798
-- Marine Corps Reserve: 2,346 accessions, for 110 percent of its goal of 2,126
-- Air National Guard: 1,832 accessions, for 94 percent of its goal of 1,959
-- Air Force Reserve: 2,097 accessions, for 100 percent of its goal of 2,097

All reserve components are on target to achieve their fiscal 2012 attrition goals, officials said. A few General Officer appointments for your information! BB.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced that the President has made the following nominations:
Army Maj Gen Daniel B. Allyn has been nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg, N.C. Allyn is currently serving as the commanding general, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas/commanding general, Combined Joint Task Force-1, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.

Army Col John M. Cho has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Cho is currently serving as commander, 30th Medical Command, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.

Army Col Jeffrey B. Clark has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Clark is currently serving as commander, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.

Army Col Richard C. Gross has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Gross is currently serving as staff judge advocate, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.


KNOW YOUR ENEMY!!

What You Need to Know About Islam

You cannot understand much of what is taking place in today's world without some understanding of Islam. This religion is at the heart and core of much of the unrest and violence sweeping the world today.
This was forcefully brought home to me when I recently spent two weeks in Israel.
Israel is demonized by many in the West, yet it is the only true democracy in the region and the West's only true ally. Its population is less than 2 percent of that of its 300 million Arab neighbors. Israel's size totals only about 1/6 of 1 percent that of the Arab world, yet it is constantly threatened and attacked.
Not long before I arrived, a young Israeli father was killed when Arabs threw a large rock through his car windshield, striking him in the face and killing him, with the resulting crash killing his one-year-old son who was with him.
On the evening that my wife and I left Israel, the teenage nephew of the driver who took us to the airport was in surgery for multiple stab wounds he'd received several hours earlier. He'd been talking with some children when an Arab slipped up behind him and stabbed him repeatedly. He barely survived.
Israelis live in a very dangerous neighborhood. During our visit, Syria's president threatened to unleash a missile barrage on Tel Aviv,no doubt to deflect attention from his increasingly brutal crackdowns on protesting Syrian citizens.
Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens Israel's very existence. Israel is so tiny that only two or three nuclear warheads would destroy the entire nation. And now one of Israel's worst fears is being realized, as elections in Egypt will put Islamist parties in charge of government—which means that three of the four countries with whom Israel shares borders will be openly hostile to Israel's existence.
What's at the heart of the long conflict over Israel? Many place the blame on Israel for its continued control over some of the lands it captured in the 1967 Six-Day war. However, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the charter of which calls for the liberation of "Palestine" and the destruction of Israel, was formed in 1964—three years before Israel captured those lands. The "Palestine" that they demand be "liberated" is the Israel that was founded under UN auspices in 1948!
The roots of Arab hostility run much deeper. They go back to the religion that overwhelmingly dominates the Arab world, Islam.
In Islamic theology, Islam is destined to subjugate all other peoples, cultures and beliefs. Israel has the misfortune to be on the front lines of what historian Samuel Huntington termed Islam's "bloody borders," surrounded on three sides by Muslim countries, with the Mediterranean Sea at its back and nowhere else to go.
Islamic leaders have repeatedly called for Muslims to reclaim Muslim lands "from the River to the Sea",i.e., from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, meaning no more Israel at all.
Israel is only one target of Muslim hostility. Of the dozen or so armed conflicts and civil wars currently taking place around the globe, Muslims are involved in nearly all of them—most often as they continue to try to expand Islam's "bloody borders" into new territories.
You need to understand the beliefs that drive Islam's followers. Yes, not all Muslims are violent toward non-Muslims. But enough are that it has created a clash of civilizations between Islam and the rest of the world.


TROOPERS CORNER - SOUND OFF!!

Howard Greenfield sent this one in. I always wondered why anyone joined the navy.BB

The U. S. S.. Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh waterfor her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers). However, let it be noted that according to her ship's log, "On July 27, 1798, the U.S. S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum." Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping." Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. Then she headed for the Azores , arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine. On 18 November, she set sail for England. In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships,salvaging only the rum aboard each. By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home. The U. S. S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water. GO NAVY!

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Lynn Anderson knows the answer to their question.BB

The Muslims are not happy!!!

· They are not happy in Gaza . · They are not happy in the West Bank . · They are not happy in Jerusalem .. · They are not happy in Israel . · They are not happy in Egypt . · They are not happy in Libya . · They are not happy in Algeria . · They are not happy in Tunis .. · They are not happy in Morocco . · They are not happy in Yemen . · They are not happy in Iraq . · They are not happy in Afghanistan . · They are not happy in Syria . · They are not happy in Lebanon . · They are not happy in Sudan . · They are not happy in Jordan .. · They are not happy in Iran . Where are the Muslims happy? They are happy in England . They are happy in France . They are happy in Italy . They are happy in Germany . They are happy in Sweden . They are happy in Holland . They are happy in Denmark . They are happy in Belgium . They are happy in Norway . They are happy in U.S.A. They are happy in Canada . They are happy in Romania . They are happy in Hungary . They are happy in Australia . They are happy in New Zealand . They are happy in any other country in the world that is not under a Muslim rule. And who do they blame? · Not Islam. · Not their leadership. · Not themselves. But the countries in which they are happy to live. This is so true... Democracy is really good for them: In a democracy they can live comfortably, enjoy the high quality of life which they did not build and work for, they don’t have to be productive and earn a living, they can be wild, and break the law, exploit the social services, wear Burkas and make a mockery of our Police and Courts and generally bite the hand that feeds them. The question is why do they always try to bring their failed system with them, why do they want to turn other countries into the country they left for a better life...? Muslims make up less than 3% of our population yet our Government is fixated on pandering to them... Why??

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Good heads up information from John Conley.BB

Good information for those that drive on country roads or ever get pulled over by an unmarked police car.

A MESSAGE FROM THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL STATE OF MICHIGAN: SITUATION... While driving on a rural end of the roadway on Thursday morning, I saw An infant car seat on the side of the road with a blanket draped over it. For whatever reason, I did not stop, even though I had all kinds of Thoughts running through my head. But when I got to my destination, I Called the Canton PD and they were going to check it out. But, this is What the Police advised even before they went out there to check.... "There are several things to be aware of ... Gangs and thieves are now Plotting different ways to get a person (mostly women) to stop their Vehicle and get out of the car. "There is a gang initiation reported by the local Police Department Where gangs are placing a car seat by the road...with a fake baby in It....waiting for a woman, of course, to stop and check on the abandoned Baby. "Note that the location of this car seat is usually beside a wooded or Grassy (field) area and the person -- woman -- will be dragged into the Woods, beaten and raped, and usually left for dead. If it's a man, They're usually beaten and robbed and maybe left for dead, too. DO NOT STOP FOR ANY REASON!!! DIAL 9-1-1 AND REPORT WHAT YOU SAW, BUT DON 'T EVEN SLOW DOWN. "IF YOU ARE DRIVING AT NIGHT AND EGGS ARE THROWN AT YOUR WINDSHIELD, DO NOT STOP TO CHECK THE CAR, DO NOT OPERATE THE WIPER AND DO NOT SPRAY ANY WATER BECAUSE EGGS MIXED WITH WATER BECOME MILKY AND BLOCK YOUR VISION UP TO 92.5%, AND YOU ARE THEN FORCED TO STOP BESIDE THE ROAD AND BECOME A VICTIM OF THESE CRIMINALS. THIS IS A NEW TECHNIQUE USED BY GANGS, SO PLEASE INFORM YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES. THESE ARE DESPERATE TIMES AND THESE ARE UNSAVORY INDIVIDUALS WHO WILL TAKE DESPERATE MEASURES TO GET WHAT THEY WANT." Please talk to your loved ones about this. This is a new tactic used. Please be safe. Get started NOW -- SEND THIS MESSAGE TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES TO BE CAREFUL AND AWARE OF EVERYTHING AROUND THEM SO AS NOT TO BECOME A VICTIM. WARNING # 2 Some knew about the red light on cars, but not the 112. It was about 1:00 p.m. In the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren's parents have always told her never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road,but rather to wait until they get to a gas station, etc. Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called 112 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren't, and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back up already on the way. Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes. I never knew about the 112 Cell Phone feature, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a safe place. *Speaking to a service representative at Bell Mobility confirmed that 112 was a direct link to State trooper info. So, now it's your turn to let your friends know about 112. You may want to send this to every woman (and man) you know; it may save a life. This applies to ALL 50 states

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Fred Currier started the following thread this month.BB

Monday is Tet this year. Clean your weapons, have a few extra clips on hand and post extra sentries.
Full alert.

Ted Armstrong response:
And don’t believe them if they say “Holiday Cease Fire”. Remember 1968
The operations are referred to as the Tet Offensive because there was a prior agreement to "cease fire" during the Tet festivities (Lunar New Year Celebrations), but the Viet Cong broke the agreement, and launched an attack campaign that began during the early morning hours of 30 January 1968, Tet
Ted Armstrong
Still: Prepared and Loyal

Fred responds:
I decided to go to a little Vietnamese place for lunch. I practiced all morning saying "Chuc mung nam moi". That's Happy New Year in Vietnamese. If you go for Chinese, then say "Gung Hee Fat Choi".
I greeted the owner with it and he grinned and said it back to me and shook my hand. I gave him a red envelope with some "lucky money". I did the same last year. The lucky money was old Vietnamese coins. One dated about 1340AD. Most were 1700's and 1800's. ( I used to collect Chinese coins and sometimes they would actually be Korean, or Japanese, or Vietnamese. I would buy bulk lots and then have fun identifying them. They are the old coins with a square hole in the middle and Chinese characters around them.)
He told me to be sure to come back on Monday. It will be fun--He has dragon dancers and the place gets real noisy.
He is from Hue. He has been here since about 1975. I've gone there for years.
I might go back. Hopefully it won't be as exciting as Tet68!

I decided to go to the Saigon Restaurant for supper and to see the celebration. I got there about 6PM. The place was pretty full, but I managed to get seated in the front part, between the front and side doors. The owner was literally running around the place taking orders and greeting people. He was wearing a long, almost floor length almost iridescent royal blue Vietnamese serape outfit that was covered with silver double-happiness emblems. He was wearing a matching topless crown that was a cross between a hat and a scarf. ( a blue doughnut).

There were a number of oriental guys wearing suits around the place. I saw the mayor at a table with about a dozen people.
All the waitresses wore traditional clothes. There was large pile of wrapped gifts near the door. The owner would occasionally hand something to select persons . He had his pocket full of red envelopes that he gave to the children. A waiter came around and gave red envelopes to the adults. Mine ( see attachment) had a lottery ticket for a game on Wednesday.

A waitress came by and took my order and was off to the kitchen. I waited what seemed like a long time.
Normally, a 4- minute wait is typical, but this took about 10. When it was delivered, I started to eat.
I had Bun with beef and onion and an egg roll. It is a simple dish--in a large bowl, dump a hand-full of chopped lettuce, some bean sprouts and some cilantro. Top with boiled rice noodles and then top with freshly stir-fried thin slices of beef tenderloin and onion. The egg rolls are deep fried twice, so they are good and greasy.

I had just started to eat, when the dragon dancers arrived. There were 2 two-people dragons about 8 feet long. They danced around the place between the tables. The musical accompaniment was something else. It consisted of 1 15 inch gong, a pair of cymbals and a large 40 gallon wooden barrel drum that had a skin stretched over one end. They had the volume on high. They were beating and clanging as loudly as they could. I'm certain that I could have easily heard them a half mile away, unfortunately, they were about 10 feet from me.
While this was going on, I didn't realize that the owner had propped open the side door, behind me. He began lighting whole strings of fire crackers and throwing them on the drive next to the building. This really added to the atmosphere. Finally, after about 15 minutes, the dancers left and , whew , they took the fuckin' musicians with them.
I finished my food and left. The place was still crowded, with people waiting by door for tables as they became available.
It was a good meal. The entertainment was great. While this was exciting, it wasn't nearly exciting, thank goodness, as Tet 68.
Fred

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Danny Horn sends us a good topic for discussion.BB

Policies Shift to Europe
Rights groups have aimed at prosecutions in Europe after facing state's-secrets barriers in the US
by John Glaser, January 14, 2012
While the Obama administration has stuck to its promise of immunizing Bush administration officials who condoned and conducted torture, other countries have not signed on to that sort of intransigence.
A Spanish judge in Madrid, Judge Pablo Rafael Ruz Gutierrez, decided the court would further investigate the case of four released Guantanamo captives who allege they were abused while in U.S. custody. A review of “medical data, a translation of a Human Rights Watch report, elaboration on material made public by WikiLeaks, and testimony from three senior U.S. military officers who served at Guantanamo,” reports McClatchy, will take place to determine the legality of the detainee treatment.
The Bush administration officials included in the probe are former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and two former Guantanamo commanders, retired Marine Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert and retired Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller.
And in London, the Crown Prosecution Service and Scotland Yard said Thursday announced further investigation into allegations of British involvement in the “extraordinary rendition” program during the Bush years. They will attempt to determine whether British intelligence agencies helped deliver two Libyan dissidents to former leader Moammar Gadhafi, where they were tortured.
These cases are indicative of a new tactic on the part of human rights organizations who are now pushing for justice in European courts, after having faced blocks in U.S. courts as the state’s secrets privilege was invoked. The state’s secret privilege allows the government to stop a court case in its tracks on the basis that releasing information needed for the case would compromise national security. But the legal tool is used to shield U.S. officials from judicial scrutiny.
These tools were used to block justice during the Bush administration and now are used in the Obama administration. ”There’s no accountability process,” said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. “There’re no court proceedings. There’re no truth commissions. There’s even less appetite today than there was three years ago.”

Danny Horn comments:
I AGREE THEIR IS NO PLACE FOR TORTURE, AND WITH NO WMD, THEY SHOULD BE PUT ON TRIAL, PLUD ANYONE THAT IS COVERING FOR THEM.

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This was sent to me by someone with no signature.BB

Whistleblowers and Patients Rights in U.S. Veterans Affairs Scandal
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2012
PRNewswire-USNewswire — The Employment Law Group® partner David Scher’s advocacy for whistleblowers’ rights was featured in a story by Military Times and other Gannett Government Media outlets this week. The report highlighted current court cases addressing abuses which allegedly occurred at VA Medical Centers around the U.S.
Scher represents the whistleblowers which include former physicians and other medical staffers who witnessed improper practices conducted at the VA medical facilities. The whistleblowers allege patients underwent unnecessary medical treatments – some by unlicensed physicians – and witnessed patients being held for unnecessarily long periods of time by VA employees.
“These former healthcare professionals attempted to point out the dangers patients were facing at these VA Medical facilities,” stated Scher. “How such rampant disregard for regulations and respect for patients took place is a travesty. The whistleblowers are stepping forward to protect these patients’ rights as well as their own.”
About The Employment Law Group
The Employment Law Group® law firm is one of the premier employment law firms representing individuals from all over the United States and around the world in EEOC, Sarbanes-Oxley and other whistleblower cases against the government and publicly held U.S. corporations. The firm’s attorneys have a collective 70 plus years of experience litigating on behalf of individuals against employers who disregard government wage and employment laws.

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There is tons of Vietnam information here. Thanks to Skip Bell for sending it in.BB

ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT VIETNAM AND A LOT MORE.
This is probably the one of the best search lists compiled about Vietnam. It would take months to look at everything this site offers. Feel free to pass it along to anyone you think might be interested.

Click here to be taken to the website


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

Joe West sent this one in. BB

Everyone seems to be in such a hurry to scream 'prejudice' these days................

A customer asked, "In what aisle can I find the Polish sausage?"
The clerk asks, "Are you Polish?"
The guy, clearly offended, says, "Yes I am. But let me ask you something.
If I had asked for Italian sausage, would you ask me if I was Italian?
Or if I had asked for German Bratwurst, would you ask me if I was German?
Or if I asked for a kosher hot dog would you ask me if I was Jewish?
Or if I had asked for a Taco, would you ask if I was Mexican?
Or if I asked for some Irish whiskey, would you ask if I was Irish?"
The clerk says, "No, I probably wouldn't."
The guy says, "Well then, because I asked for Polish sausage, why did you ask me if I'm Polish?"
The clerk replied, "Because you're in Home Depot."

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Heres a Golf Joke from George Villanueva. BB

A couple were on their honeymoon, lying in bed, ready to consummate their marriage, when the new bride says to the husband, "I have a confession to make, I'm not a virgin."

The husband replies, "That's no big thing in this day and age." The wife continues, "Yeah, I've been with one guy." "Oh yeah? Who was the guy?" "Tiger Woods." "Tiger Woods the golfer?" "Yeah." "Well he's rich , famous and handsome. I can see why you went to bed with him." The husband and wife then make passionate love. When they finish, the husband gets up and walks to the telephone. "What are you doing?" asks his wife. The husband says, "I'm hungry, I was going to call room service and get some food." "Tiger wouldn't do that!" she claims. "Oh yeah? What would Tiger do?" "He'd come back to bed and do it a second time." The husband puts down the phone and goes back to bed to make love with his wife a second time. When they finish, he gets up and goes over to the phone. "What are you doing?" she asks. The husband says, "I'm still hungry so I was going to call room service to get some food." "Tiger wouldn't do that," again she claims. "Oh yeah? What would Tiger do?" "He'd come back to bed and do it a third time." The guy slams down the phone and goes back to bed and makes love to his wife a third time. When they finish he's tired and beat. He drags himself over to the phone and starts to dial. The wife asks, "Are you calling room service?" "No! I'm calling Tiger Woods to find out what's par for this damn hole!"

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Heres one from John Vanerio. Watch veterans coming home from the warzone, "carefully". BB

I recently came back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Having not seen my wife for several months, I was looking forward to a night of hot passionate sex with her.

Unfortunately, she came out of the shower with a towel wrapped around her head ......and I shot her.

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Corkey Varney sent this one in and it makes a lot of sense. BB

When we get older we think differently, don't we? This letter was sent to the Principal's office after the school had sponsored a luncheon for the elderly. An elderly lady received a new radio at the lunch as a door prize and was writing to say thank you. This story is a credit to all humankind. Forward to anyone you know who might need a lift today..

Dear Kean Elementary:
God bless you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent senior citizens luncheon. I am 84 years old and live at the Sprenger Home for the Aged. All of my family has passed away. I am all alone now and it's nice to know that someone is thinking of me. God bless you for your kindness to an old forgotten lady. My roommate is 95 and has always had her own radio, but before I received one, she would never let me listen to hers, even when she was napping.

The other day her radio fell off the night stand and broke into a lot of pieces. It was awful and she was in tears. Her distress over the broken radio touched me and I knew this was God's way of answering my prayers. She asked if she could listen to mine, and I told her to kiss my ass.

Thank you for that opportunity.
Sincerely, Agnes

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This come from Dan Thompson. Really makes you think! . BB

Subject: DEA Agent

A man had just settled into his seat next to the window on the plane when another man sat down in the aisle seat and put his black Labrador Retriever in the middle seat next to the man.
The first man looks very quizzically at the dog and asks why the dog is allowed on the plane. The second man explained that he is a DEA agent and that the dog is a "sniffing dog". His name is Sniffer and he's the best there is. I'll show you once we get airborne, when I put him to work."
The plane takes off, and once it has leveled out, the agent says: "Watch this." He tells Sniffer to "search".
Sniffer jumps down, walks along the aisle, and finally sits very purposefully next to a woman for a several seconds. Sniffer then returns to its seat and puts one paw on the agent's arm.
The agent says, "Good boy", and he turns to the man and says: "That woman is in possession of marijuana, so I'm making a note of her seat number and the authorities will apprehend her when we land."
"Say, that's pretty neat" replies the first man.
Once again, the agent sends Sniffer to search the aisles. The Lab sniffs about, sits down beside a man for a few seconds, returns to its seat, and this time, he places TWO paws on the agent's arm.
The agent says, "That man is carrying cocaine, so again, I'm making a note of his seat number for the police."
"I like it!" says his seat mate.
The agent then told Sniffer to "search" again.
Sniffer walked up and down the aisles for a little while, sat down for a moment, and then came racing back to the agent, jumped into the middle seat and proceeded to poop all over the place.
The first man is really grossed out by this behavior and can't figure out how or why a well-trained dog would act like that, so he asks the agent "What's going on?"
The agent nervously replied, "He just found a bomb!"

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Hang onto yere hats Troopers, heres one from John Termini. BB

whatever happened to the blushing bride ?????!!!!!! This brings new concepts to that song " I wanna gal, just like the gal that married dear old dad "

Wedding dress of the year,

No material involved - just paint!
I thought maybe I should get married again, but then I thought, no, I think I want to become a painter.

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Dave Snavely sends us this sad, sad story. BB

A man getting along in years finds that he is unable to perform sexually. He finally goes to his doctor who tries a few things; but nothing seems to work. So the doctor refers him to an American Indian witch doctor.

The witch doctor says, "I can cure this." With that said, he throws a white powder in a flame, and there is a flash with Billowing blue smoke. Then he says, "This is powerful healing but you can only use it once a year. All you have to do is say '123,' and it shall rise for as long as you wish!"

The guy then asks, "What happens when it's over, and I don't want to continue?" The witch doctor replies: "All you or your partner has to say is 1234, and it will go down. But be warned: It will not work agan for another year."

The old gent rushes home, anxious to try out his new powers and prowess. That night he is ready to surprise his wife. He showers, shaves, and puts on his most exotic shaving lotion and cologne.

After he gets into bed and is lying next to her, he says, "123;" and suddenly he has the most gigantic stiffie ever, just as the witch doctor had promised.

His wife, who had been facing away from him, turns over and asks, What did you say 123 for?"

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If that one didn't make you cry, try this one sent in by Smokey. BB

When it's ok to use the F word

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Willie Siebert sent in a good one. BB

TAKING A WOMAN TO BED

What is the difference between girls/woman aged: 8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58. 68, and 78 ????
At 8 -- You take her to bed and tell her a story.
At 18 -- You tell her a story and take her to bed.
At 28 -- You don't need to tell her a story to take her to bed.
At 38 -- She tells you a story and takes you to bed.
At 48 -- She tells you a story to avoid going to bed.
At 58 -- You stay in bed to avoid her story.
At 68 -- If you take her to bed, that'll be a story!

At 78 -- What story??? ?What bed??? ?Who the hell are you???

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Thanks to Wayne Paddack for this BIG MISTAKE!! BB

I wonder what kind of a vase you would use to display them!

I wonder if they come in different colors!

I wonder about the fragrance!

I wonder if it would help to put those preservative packets in the water!

I wonder whether they would look better on the kitchen table or in the entry!

I wonder if they are cheaper by the dozen!

I wonder if they come in long-stemmed!

Captured at 115th and Allisonville Road in Fishers (Indianapolis). The sign is real and was up for about two hours before someone stopped and told them how to spell peonies.

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Charles Murowski knows why we love our children. BB

WHY WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN

a kindergartner told his teacher he'd found a cat but it was dead
"How'd you know the cat was dead" She asked him.
Because I pissed in it's ear and it didn't move" answered the child innocently.
"You did WHAT!!" the teacher exclaimed in surpraise.
"You know", explained the boy.
"I leaned over and went Pssst in it's ear, and it didn't move"


TROOPER INFORMATION CHANGES

Here is Mike Unger's new email. BB

michael@unger-fl.com


AGENT ORANGE NEWS

Team Concludes Agent Orange Investigation in South Korea
By Walter T. Ham IV
Eighth Army Public Affairs

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea, Dec. 30, 2011 - A joint US South Korean investigation team announced that it discovered no evidence of Agent Orange during its probe into claims that the toxic defoliant was buried on Camp Carroll.
Led by Dr. Gon Ok, Pokyong National University's chief professor, and Army COL Joseph F. Birchmeier, U.S. Forces Korea engineer, the team concluded its eight-month investigation Dec. 29 at a press conference in South Korea's Chilgok County Office. The investigation began in May following a report on KPHO TV in Phoenix where U.S. veterans claimed they buried Agent Orange on the military base in southeastern South Korea in 1978.
Birchmeier, the lead U.S. investigator, said the bilateral investigation found no evidence that Agent Orange was buried on Camp Carroll and discovered no risk to public health on the U.S. Army post.
I want you to know that we have found no definitive evidence that Agent Orange was buried or stored on Camp Carroll, Birchmeier said.
During the investigation, the team interviewed 172 former Korean civilian employees, US soldiers and worked with 32 different government agencies.
A document review revealed that all 380 barrels of Agent Orange brought into South Korea in 1968 were used by the Republic of Korea Army to reduce areas for enemy concealment inside the Korean Demilitarized Zone that same year.
The team also conducted an exhaustive geophysical survey with ground-penetrating radar, electrical resistivity and magnetometers of the area where the Agent Orange allegedly was buried. Based on the results of the geophysical survey, water and soil samples were taken to check for the compounds of Agent Orange and its specific dioxin byproducts.
All samples were tested by South Korean and U.S. scientists. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District verified the U.S. analytical results, and Seoul National University, Pohang University of Science and Technology, and Pukyong University analyzed the samples.
The investigation was conducted in consultation with the status of forces agreement environmental subcommittee, which will handle future environmental issues.
Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our people and our Korean neighbors in the surrounding communities, said Army Brig. Gen. David J. Conboy, deputy commanding general for Eighth Army. This joint investigation was thorough, scientific and complete, and I'm happy to report that there is no threat to public health and no evidence that Agent Orange was buried on the post.


MEDICAL NEWS

Cancer Screening: Dangerous or Life Saving?

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire
The Congressional Men’s Health Caucus and its Prostate Cancer Task Force held its first public briefing today to hear expert testimony regarding the United States Preventive Service Task Force’s recent draft recommendation against the use of early screening tests for prostate cancer. The Men’s Health Caucus and Prostate Task Force are headed up by Representatives Joe Baca, Jon Runyan, and Heath Shuler, who welcomed the featured speakers and spoke about their commitment to improving screening and treatment options for men with prostate cancer. The briefing was co-sponsored by the Men’s Health Network, a health care non-profit working to reach men and their families with health prevention tools, screening programs, and educational materials.
Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer for American men, one in six of whom will struggle with it during their lifetimes. This year, more than 240,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Mortality has declined nearly 40% since early detection through screening was introduced, but 33,000 men still die of prostate cancer annually. Now the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued draft recommendations which would dismantle early screening by telling health insurance policies to discontinue use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
At today’s briefing members of Congress joined an expert panel to discuss what was missing from the USPSTF’s draft recommendations. Speakers included Dr. Chiledum Ahaghotu, Chief of Urology at Howard University Hospital and Dr. Tom Berger, Executive Director of the Veterans Health Council. Representative John Barrow and Representative Tom Price, M.D., were featured speakers as well. Representatives Rodney Frelinghuysen and Gene Green rose to lend their support.
Dr. Chiledum Ahaghotu provided detailed background on the current state of prostate cancer, including treatment and screening options. He concluded by providing his views on the USPSTF’s recommendations, calling it a broad sweeping policy that doesn’t work for individual men.
“We cannot stand by and let the USPSTF’s recommendation to drop early screening happen,” warned Dr. Tom Berger, Executive Director of the Veterans Health Council. “Doing so would be a major setback for Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange. Veterans exposed to Agent Orange are twice as likely to suffer from prostate cancer as veterans who were not, and are four times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate.”
Representative Barrow spoke from his experience as a prostate cancer survivor, saying “The PSA test presents a great advantage for stopping prostate cancer and nipping it in the bud really, really early. The USPSTF recommendation discourages the screening on the theory that ignorance on the PSA is not only bliss, but actual good public policy. To abandon early screening of prostate cancer is basically to ask men to play Russian roulette with their prostate cancer odds. You know the gun has six chambers, you want to know if there’s a bullet in it.”
Representative Tom Price, a retired physician, explained that “Because of the longevity of our lives, with the technology that’s now available for screening and for treatment, we have turned prostate cancer from one of those diseases that kill into one of those that can be cured. Ensuring that early screening is available to men is of vital importance to their health. Medical decisions need to be between patients, their families and their doctors.”
“I’d like to thank the representatives who spoke today for the leadership they have shown in the fight against prostate cancer,” said Men’s Health Network Vice President Scott Williams. “Today’s briefing helps refocuses the conversation on what we can do right now to save lives. Especially for men at high risk – like African Americans and Veterans exposed to Agent Orange – this is an issue that cannot wait.”
“This year alone, prostate cancer will claim the lives of more than 33,000 men in the United States,” said Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC). “We believe this statistic is unacceptable and can be changed with better health education, detection, and preventative care. We simply cannot wait to see this devastating disease destroy even more lives before taking action—the time is now to act.”
“One out of every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in his lifetime,” said Rep. Joe Baca. “This is a serious disease that we must combat through better awareness and greater use of preventative measures. I thank Reps. Shuler and Runyan for their bipartisan leadership on this important issue. Working together, I am confident the Prostate Cancer Task Force will be a force for positive change in the health of men across the nation.”
“Prostate health is a major concern for men of all ages,” said Congressman Runyan. “Unfortunately there are too many men who are ignoring their prostate’s health and this must change. During my career in the NFL, I was very involved with charities to help with prostate cancer research and I am glad I have been able to continue this work in Congress. As a member of the Congressional Men’s Health Caucus, I am pleased to lend my support to this important cause.”
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen rose to the podium to lend his support to prostate cancer screening, saying “This is not just about the man, it’s about the family.”

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Contributed by: Edmund Hayes, MD

Too Many Americans Are Dying From Prescription Drug Overdose!
The Centers for Disease Control reports that prescription pain medication abuse, and deaths, are at an all-time high in the United States. In the November issue of Vital Signs, a publication of the CDC, prescription pain medication deaths were reported to number 3,000 in 1999, but 15,000 in 2008.
However, many in the day-to-day practice of medicine have been predicting this sort of cataclysm for years. We've all seen too many young people die from accidental overdoses related to abuse of prescription pain medications. But why is it happening? It begins with the very real, very miserable problem of chronic pain in those with legitimate illnesses and injuries. The overwhelming majority of physicians want to ease suffering, and often prescribe narcotics.

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Researchers Link Lung Disease to Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
Use of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) may influence susceptibility to or the progression of interstitial lung disease (ILD), according to a new study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).
"Based on earlier case reports of statin-associated ILD and data suggesting that smoking is associated with interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA), we hypothesized that statins would increase the risk for ILA in a population of smokers," said George R. Washko MD, MMsC, and Gary M. Hunninghake MD, MPH, of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care. "Accordingly, we evaluated the association between statin use and ILA in a large cohort of current and former smokers from the COPDGene study. In addition to the association between statin use and ILA we found in humans, we also demonstrated that statin administration aggravated lung injury and fibrosis in bleomycin-treated mice."
The study is published in the January 6, 2012 online issue of the American Thoracic

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Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Is It Ethical To Prescribe A Placebo For A Patient?
Betty was complaining at an escalating rate. She'd been in her nursing home for four years and wasn't happy. She kept coming up with new symptoms like aching, fatigue, nervous stomach, tingling, dizziness, etc. Her daughter Nancy was getting daily calls from Betty and the staff at the nursing home. Multiple trips to the doctor for diagnostic tests had ensued: blood counts, liver functions, x-rays, thyroid function, plus many others. All were coming back normal. The neurologist and theumatologist had been unable to come up with anything. Betty was getting a bit forgetful but wanted to be in charge of everything - her finances, health decisions, and daily life.
Nancy didn't know what to do. Mom was being demanding and unreasonable, wanting more medications. An antidepressant had made her sleepy and dizzy. She seemed to be sensitive to all medications yet was demanding something for symptom control, "Honey, they just aren't doing anything for me. They're doing nothing to help me. I'm not sleeping and am aching all over."
Nancy and I were on a board together and she asked me to see Mom in consultation just to review things. I saw Betty in the office. She was well groomed, talkative and demanding, "Doctor, you just have to do something. I'm suffering and no one pays any attention. I think they're all a bunch of idiots, don't you?"

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Vanderbilt Study Finds Melatonin Eases Sleep Woes In Children With Autism
Beth Malow, M.D., M.S., professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, Burry Chair in Cognitive Childhood Development and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigator. A new Vanderbilt study shows that the over-the-counter supplement melatonin is promising in helping children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and their families, sleep better.
The study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, contributes to the growing literature on supplemental melatonin for insomnia in ASD, according to lead author Beth Malow, M.D., M.S., professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, Burry Chair in Cognitive Childhood Development and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigator. Malow said the study was designed to allow researchers to identify doses at which children responded to melatonin and also how long it took to observe a response.

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ADHD Drugs Do Not Increase Heart Problems In Kids
Stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder do not increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes or sudden death, U.S. researchers said on Monday, in a finding that should reassure millions of parents whose children take the drugs. Researchers studied the medical records of more than 1 million children and young adults aged 2 to 24 who were taking or had taken stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall and found no sign of increased risk of heart problems.
"We don't see any evidence of increased risk," said Dr. William Cooper of Vanderbilt University, whose study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study in children is the first of three commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration to understand the potential heart risks of the drugs after U.S. and Canadian regulators received a number of reports in 2006 of heart attacks, strokes and sudden cardiac arrest in children taking the medications.

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Nicotine Replacement Therapies May Not Be Effective in Helping People Quit Smoking
Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) designed to help people stop smoking, specifically nicotine patches and nicotine gum, do not appear to be effective in helping smokers quit long-term, even when combined with smoking cessation counseling, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the University of Massachusetts Boston.
The study appears January 9, 2012 in an advance online edition of Tobacco Control and will appear in a later print issue.
"What this study shows is the need for the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees regulation of both medications to help smokers quit and tobacco products, to approve only medications that have been proven to be effective in helping smokers quit in the long-term and to lower nicotine in order to reduce the addictiveness of cigarettes," said co-author Gregory N. Connolly, director of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at HSPH.

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Saying A Very Special Goodbye (for all you Cat haters out there)
Estelle's lipstick was apple-red and generous. She did not limit its application to lips, but wore it in the general area of her mouth. Together with pink rouge, color stood out brightly on her pale face. She wore a threadbare dinner dress, years faded. Estelle had dressed carefully for the visit and I showed respect. I met Estelle in the winter of her life. 92 years old, she lived by herself in a proud Victorian house, not far from our office. The broad wooden porch, paint pealing, recalled gathering on hot summer nights. Leaves left from fall's passing covered the sparse lawn. Broken sun through ancient window glass cast ripples of light over empty furniture.
We had caught her illness too late to cure and her age prevented aggressive therapy. She accepted this with tears and pride. So many had already passed, she understood her time had come. Estelle had only one remaining concern. She was worried about her cat. New Malaria Vaccine May Stop Deadly Parasites In Their Tracks A new malaria vaccine with the potential to neutralise all strains of the most deadly species of malaria parasite has been developed by an Oxford University-led team. The scientists from the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford have shown that their vaccine induces an antibody response in animal models that is capable of neutralising all the strains they tested of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
The group led by Dr Simon Draper, with colleagues from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Kenyan Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, have published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

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The Crash of Air France 447: Lessons for Patient Safety
From the start of the patient safety movement, the field of commercial aviation has been our true north, and rightly so. God willing, 2011 will go down tomorrow as yet another year in which none of the 10 million trips flown by US commercial airlines ended in a fatal crash. In the galaxy of so-called "high reliability organizations," none shines as brightly as aviation.
How do the airlines achieve this miraculous record? The answer: a mix of dazzling technology, highly trained personnel, widespread standardization, rigorous use of checklists, strict work-hours regulations, and well functioning systems designed to help the cockpit crew and the industry learn from errors and near misses.
In healthcare, we've made some progress in replicating these practices. Thousands of caregivers have been schooled in aviation-style crew resource management, learning to communicate more clearly in crises and tamp down overly steep hierarchies. Many have also gone through simulation training. The use of checklists is increasingly popular. Some hospitals have standardized their ORs and hospital rooms, and new technologies are beginning to catch some errors before they happen. While no one would claim that healthcare is even close to aviation in its approach to (or results in) safety, an optimist can envision a day when it might be.

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Despite Increasing Concerns about High Health Care Costs, New Survey Finds Little
Support among Americans for Decisions That Limit Use of High-Cost Prescription Drugs
and Treatments
A new survey by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Alliance for Aging Research finds that a majority (62%) of Americans oppose decisions by the government or health insurance plans where prescription drugs or medical or surgical treatments are not paid for because the payors determine that the benefits do not justify the cost. The exception is if there's evidence that something else works equally well but costs less. A majority (64%) of Americans believe the government or health insurance plans should not pay for a more expensive prescription drug or medical or surgical treatment if it has not been shown to work better than less expensive ones. Majorities in Italy and Germany share both of these beliefs with the U.S. public. In the United Kingdom, at least a plurality shares these beliefs. "Despite a common presumption that public resistance to placing limits on the use of expensive drugs and treatments is an American phenomenon, similar attitudes also Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health.
"The results of the survey underscore the need for balance between measures to control health care costs and ensuring that Americans receive high quality health care at all stages of life, particularly for the growing aging population," said Daniel Perry, President & CEO, Alliance for Aging Research.

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Researchers Propose New Model to Design Better Flu Shots
The flu shot, typically the first line of defense against seasonal influenza, could better treat the U.S. population, thanks to University of Pittsburgh researchers.
New research that focuses on the composition and timing of the shot design was publis Engineering faculty members Oleg Prokopyev, an assistant professor, and Professor Andrew Schaefer, both in the Department of Industrial Engineering, and coauthors Osman Ozaltin and Mark Roberts, professor and chair in Pitt's Department of Health Policy and Management. Ozaltin, who is now an assistant professor of engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, did his research for the study as a Pitt graduate student in the Swanson School; he earned his Pitt PhD degree in industrial engineering earlier this year.
The exact composition of the flu shot is decided every year by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the decision is complicated.
"The flu's high rate of transmission requires frequent changes to the shot," said Prokopyev. "Different strains can also cocirculate in one season, which gives us another challenge for figuring out the composition."

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An Important Miscue In Clopidogrel Pharmacogenomics
In the December 28, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Holmes and colleagues publish what they label as a "systematic review and meta-analysis" of clopidogrel CYP2C19 genotyping, platelet function, and cardiovascular events [1]. There has been no shortage of meta-analyses of clopidogrel platelet-function testing and genotyping and their relationship with clinical outcomes.
But the current one is remarkably misleading. While it reviews data from 32 studies in over 42 000 patients, the conclusion is that "there was no significant association of genotype with cardiovascular events." This conclusion is directly contradicted by the data presented, showing a significant and highly consistent excess of stent thrombosis in patients with a loss-of-function CYP2C19 allele. The absolute increase of stent thrombosis was 14 per 1000 individuals. With over one million patients undergoing coronary stenting per year in the US, this extrapolates to over 14 000 stent-thrombosis events per year.
Stent thrombosis results in either death or heart attack. In a prior meta-analysis by Mega and colleagues who studied 9685 patients undergoing coronary stenting, the stent thrombosis hazard ratio among carriers of a loss-of-function CYP2C19 allele was 2.67 and for homozygotes it was 3.97. Beyond stent thrombosis, there was also a significant excess of death, MI, and stroke for either carriers or homozygotes. Similarly, in an analysis by Hulot and colleagues among 4905 patients who had coronary intervention, there was an odds ratio of 3.45 for stent thrombosis for individuals carrying a loss-of-function CYP2C19*2 allele.

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Silk Microneedles Deliver Controlled-Release Drugs Painlessly
Bioengineers at Tufts University School of Engineering have developed a new silk-based microneedle system able to deliver precise amounts of drugs over time and without need for refrigeration. The tiny needles can be fabricated under normal temperature and pressure and from water, so they can be loaded with sensitive biochemical compounds and maintain their activity prior to use. They are also biodegradable and biocompatible. The research paper "Fabrication of Silk Microneedles for Controlled-Release Drug Delivery" appeared in Advanced Functional Materials December 2 online in advance of print.
The Tufts researchers successfully demonstrated the ability of the silk microneedles to deliver a large-molecule, enzymatic model drug, horseradish peroxidase (HRP), at controlled rates while maintaining bioactivity. In addition, silk microneedles loaded with tetracycline were found to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, demonstrating the potential of the microneedles to prevent local infections while also delivering therapeutics.
"By adjusting the post-processing conditions of the silk protein and varying the drying time of the silk protein, we were able to precisely control the drug release rates in laboratory experiments," said Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., senior author on the paper. "The new system addresses long-standing drug delivery challenges, and we believe that the technology could also be applied to other biological storage applications."

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Vitamin Therapy Can Still Reduce Stroke
A commentary by University of Western Ontario's David Spence and Harvard School of Public Health's Dr. Meir Stampfer in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association argues vitamin therapy still has a role to play in reducing stroke.
Vitamin B therapy was once widely used to lower homocysteine levels and too much of this amino acid in the bloodstream was linked to increased risk of stroke and heart attack. But several randomized trials found lowering homocysteine levels with B vitamins did not result in a cardiovascular benefit.

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Believe it or not
Booie, the smoking chimpanzee, dies at 44
A chimpanzee that kicked a smoking habit and used sign language to beg for candy has died at a California animal refuge.
Martine Colette of the Wildlife WayStation says Booie (BOO'-ee) was being treated for a heart condition when he died Saturday at 44. The chimp had been living at the animal sanctuary near Los Angeles since 1995, after he retired from a research lab.
Colette says she turned Booie into a non-smoker but couldn't fix his sweet tooth. She says he would use his skill to panhandle by signing: "Booie see sweet in pocket." Booie's death is a serious blow to the financially troubled refuge because he was one of its best fundraisers.
Martine says he had fans around the world because of his TV appearances.


COMPUTER TIPS

Create a Shutdown Shortcut
Works with all Windows versions

Instead of having to navigate through the Start menu every time you want to shut down your computer, you can set it up so all you have to do is click a shortcut icon on your desktop. Here's how to create that aforementioned shortcut:

1. Right-click on an empty area of your Desktop.
2. In the pop-up menu, select New Shortcut.
3. Type this code "shutdown -s" (without the quotes) in the empty field.
4. If you'd like a 'Goodbye' message, add: -c "TYPE MESSAGE HERE" to the end of the code.
5. Click on Next, and then Finish.

The above code shuts down Windows as it does normally (i.e. by closing each and every program, and then shutting down). But if you want your Windows to shut down instantly, just by stopping every program, then use the code "shutdown -s -t 00" (00 is the number of seconds till shutdown, if you put 100 it will take 100 seconds) in Step 3.


DA-VA-RETIREE NEWS

For those of you who might find this subject interesting, I would like you to send me the address and information on any local/area lawyers who represent Veterans in their battles with the VA. Read more about this WebSite and others at the following address:BB

National Veterans Organization
Attorneys Who Represent Veterans

After June 20, 2007, disabled veterans are able to hire an attorney much earlier in the VA disability process. This new law will change the way veteran's disability cases are handled and by whom. It is my belief that this is one of the most important disability laws passed in recent history.

The following attorneys specialize in Veterans Law.
These are, of course, not the only attorneys that specialize in Veterans Law, just ones that we know personally!

SEAN A. KENDALL Post Office Box N BOULDER CO 80306-1876 OFFICE: (303) 449-4773 FAX: (877) 277-2119 TOLL FREE VOICEMAIL: 877-277-2119 Website: seankendalllaw.net EMAIL: sean.kendall@comcast.net SEAN KENDALL received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Colorado in 1988, and his J.D. from George Washington University, National Law Center in 1992. Kendall started working in the area of veterans law in 1990 for the National Veterans Legal Services Project as a law clerk. At the NVLSP Mr. Kendall represented veteran5 before the Board of Veterans' Appeals on behalf of Vietnam Veterans of America. Following graduation from law school Mr. Kendall continued at NVLSP as a statf attorney, working on such cases as the CVA briefing in Emphraim v. Brown, S Vet. App. 549. /n 1993 Mr. Kendall hung out his shingle, concentrating on various administrative law fields of practice. He has briefed several cases on behalf of NOVA as amicus curiae, including Austin v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 547 (1994), with Keith Snyder. He is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Colorado, U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, U.S. District Court, Colorado. KEITH D. SNYDER ATTORNEY AT LAW P.O. BOX 5 OLNEY, MARYLAND 20830 TELEPHONE: (301)774-1525 FAX: (301)774-1551 KEITH D. SNYDER received a B. S. from The American University and a certificate as a Legal Assistant from the George Washington Center for Continuing Education in 1976. He received his J.D. from the Washington College of Law, The American University, in 1983. He is a veteran of tour years in the U. S. Navy and served as a hospital corpsman between 1969 and 1972. Snyder is admitted to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia. He is a/so admitted to the Court of Veterans Appeals and the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. His practice focuses on veterans law. Before entering private practice in 1989, Snyder was a staff attorney with the Vietnam Veterans of America and the National Veterans Legal Services Project. He formerly edited the Discharge Upgrading Newsletter, the Veterans Rights Newsletter and the Veterans Law Reporter. He has written extensively about veterans benefits, including a series of self-help guides aimed at veterans, and manuals geared to advocates. In 1983 and 1985, he co-authored the VVA SERVI CE REPRESENTATIVES MANUAL; GUIDE TO VETERANS BENEFITS; in 1985, the LEGAL SERVICES PRACTICE MANUAL ON OVERPAYMENTS OF VA BENEFITS. Harper Collins published VETERANS BENEFITS: THE COMPLETE GUIDE, in February 1994. He currently serves on the Court of Veterans Appeals Rules Advisory Committee. He is a founding member of the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. KENNETH M.CARPENTER, ESQ. CARPENTER CHARTERED 1525 S.W. TOPEKA BOULEVARD P. O. BOX 2099 TOPEKA, KANSAS 66601-2099 TELEPHONE: (785)357-5251 KENNETH M. CARPENTER received a B.A. in History & Political Science and B. A. in Philosophy & Religion, Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas in June 1970. He received a J.D. from Washburn University, Law School, Topeka, Kansas in 1972; Masters in Adult & Community Counseling from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas in March 1983. Carpenter has been engaged in the private practice of law in Topeka, Kansas since 1973. Admitted to the following courts: Kansas Supreme Court, 1973; Kansas Federal District Court, 1973; 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1984; U. S. Court of FederaICIaims,l987; Federal Circuit CourtofAppeals,l989; Court of Veterans Appeals,l990;United States SupremeCourt,l990. Major areas of practice are: Veterans Disability Law, and Criminal Law. He is a founding member of the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates, and currently serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors; Chairman of the Seminar Program Committee; and Chairman of the Advocate Referral Service. Carpenter is President of Carpenter Chartered, a professional legal corporation which currently employs three full-time attorneys, one attorney who is of counsel, and twelve support staff. Carpenter Chartered began doing pro bono representation of disabled veterans in 1983. The primary focus of the firm's representation is with the psychiatrically disabled veteran, most often combat veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The firm also specializes in total disability cases and claims of clear and unmistakable error. The firm currently has an open case load of more than 400 veterans at every adjudicatory level from initial claims at the Regional office to claims at the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. THEODORE C. JARVI ATTORNEY AT LAW 1050 E. Southern Avenue, Suite G3 TEMPE AZ 85282 OFFICE: (480)838-6566 FAX: (480) 838-8810 WEBSITE: www.jarvilaw.com THEODORE C. JARVI received a degree in industrial Engineering from Arizona State University in 1966 and a J.D. from Arizona State University in 1973. Jarvi served in the United States military from 1961 to 1970, and has 23 years experience as an attorney in Arizona. He is currently Staff Judge Advocate for the Arizona National Guard, and continues his law practice in criminal defense, veterans and military law. He is a charter member of NOVA, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals, the Court of Appeals, Armed Forces; and the U. S. Supreme Court. HUGH D. COX ATTORNEY AT LAW 321 EVANS ST. MALL, SUITE 102 P.O. BOX 154 GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA27835-0154 TELEPHONE: (919)757-3977 FAX: (919)757-3420 EMAIL: hughcox@hughcox.com HUGH D. COX is a sole practitioner in Greenville, North Carolina specializing in Social Security, Workers Compensation and Veterans' Benefits. He received his B.A. in 1966 from North Carolina State University and his J.D. in 1974 from North Carolina Central University. He served as an U.S. Army officer in Military Intelligence Branch (1st/5th Special Forces and 82D Airborne Div.) from 1966-1971; was an Investigative Assistant for the District Attorney's Office from 1975-1976; a Police Attorney in Greenville NC from 1976-1978; an Assistant District Attorney for the State of North Carolina from 1978-1980; and has been in private practice from 1980 to the present. Mr. Cox also served in the U.S. Army Reserve (11th Special Forces Group) until 1987. Mr. Cox is an avid computer user and writes periodic computer articles for the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly. He serves in his second term on the NOVA Board of Directors. He loves travel with his wife, Louise, and backpacking by himself. While in Vietnam serving with the 5th Special Forces Group in 1968, he was decorated with the Bronze Star. He has been awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, and Special Forces Qualification Tab. A graduate of the Defense Language Institute in 1967, he learned to speak excellent Vietnamese before serving 30 months in Southeast Asia. His interest in veteran's benefits matured while serving as a chapter president in the Vietnam Veterans of America (V VA) in 1987. Michael R. Viterna 41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101 Northville MI 48167 OFFICE: (800) 693-4800 FAX: (866) 606-8496 EMAIL: ftbenv@aol.com Michael Viterna received a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1976; a Master degree in Health Services Administration from Central Michigan University in 1990; and a Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law in 1995. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force Reserves and in the Air National Guard. He has a total of over 29 years of military service in the medical service career field, achieving the ran of Chief Master Sergeant, with extensive experience in fitness for duty and disability issues. He has been engaged in private practice dealing with veterans law, Social Security disability and elder law matters. He has been admitted to the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals and the U.S. District Court in Michigan. Louis M. DiDonato 245 E. Liberty, Suite 250 Reno NV 89501 OFFICE: (775) 322-7877 FAX: (775) 322-9509 EMAIL: lmdatcls@aol.com Lt. Colonel, USA (Retired), US Army Infantry -- 1969 to 1988; Military Intelligence 1988 to 1991; University of N. Dakota, 1968 (BA); 1994 (JD GI Bill -- post retirement); Combat Infantry Badge; Jumpmaster; Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth KS; 1st Cav Div. (RVN '72 & Ft. Hood '83); 3rd ID, 7th ID, 101st Abn; 3rd ARVN ID; Director of Intelligence, Special Operations Command Atlantic; General Civil Practice in addition to veterans law. Joseph R. Moore 7920 Norfolk Avenue, Suite 700 Bethesda, MD 20814 OFFICE: TOLL-FREE 877-838-2889 EMAIL: jmoore@vetlawyers.com WEBSITE: www.vetlawyers.com Joe Moore worked for the Board of Veterans' Appeals for 3 years before leaving VA in 1999 to start his own practice. In 2004 he joined forces with Glenn R. Bergmann, a former litigator with VA Office of General Counsel, to create the law firm Bergmann & Moore, LLC.Bergmann & Moore has since grown to be one of the largest law firms in the country that only represents veterans and their families before and against the VA. Bergmann & Moore is located just outside Washington DC to enable easy contact with key VA personnel, but is a national law firm that represents veterans throughout the 50 states. Robert Franklin Howell OFFICE: TOLL_FREE (866) 906-9233 EMAIL: attorneyhowell@sbcglobal.net WEBSITE: www.veteransdisabilitiesbenefits.com Robert Franklin Howell has been an attorney for 30 years and has the experience you need to win your veterans disability case. While there are undoubtedly many other attorneys who also have the technical competence to represent you, Robert is a veteran who has stood in your shoes, both in service in the military and in seeking just compensation for his disabililty from the Veterans Administration. If he can accept your case, Robert will fight hard for your benefits because he has a personal and immediate understanding of what your struggle means to you and your family. Robert does all of the legal work himself, and does not delegate legal research or analysis to junior attorneys, law students, secretaries or paralegals. Robert therefore limits the number and types of cases that he accepts, so that each client can receive his personal attention and maximum effort. Jill Mitchell Heard & Smith, LLP 3737 Broadway, Suite 310 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 820-3737, (800) 584-3700 Fax (210) 820-3777 www.heardandsmith.com www.fight4veteransrights.com Jill Mitchell has been practicing law since 1991, and veterans’ law exclusively since 2000. She is accredited to represent veterans and their dependents from all over the country at all levels of the administrative and judicial process. She has been admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims since 2001, and is also licensed to practice in all courts in the state of Texas. She is the wife of an active duty combat veteran and a member of the Board of the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, Inc. (NOVA). She is an active participant in the Veterans’ Consortium Pro Bono Program, the Detroit Mercy School of Law Project SALUTE, and the University of Texas School of Law Veterans Association. She has also been a member of the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas since 2002. In 2009, after working as a sole practitioner for over eight years, she was recruited by the statewide Texas law firm of Heard & Smith, LLP to create and manage its veterans’ law section.

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This is one of those things that the VA isn't going to offer you
volunterily. You either have to ask for it, stumble onto it accidently or end up like so
many other veterans, never finding out exactly what you are intitled to as a Veteran,
combat or otherwise. At the very least, please go over the area that addresses your
percentage of disability. You might be able to live more comfortably if you do. Good
Luck!! BB

Checklist of Benefits for Disabled Veterans and Survivors

Note: Many of the listed benefits also have other eligibility requirements. Mention of
a particular benefit is to establish the basic threshold level of disability required
for eligibility (or possible eligibility) to that benefit. Each higher level of
disability also includes those benefits listed for previous levels.

Rated SC — 0% overall 1. VA fee basis outpatient medical card for SC condition(s) requiring treatment. 2. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 5 (no co-payment for healthcare; pharmacy co-payments required for NSC medications), or Priority Group 7 or 8 (co-payments required for both healthcare and pharmacy), depending on veteran’s income and net worth. 3. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—for Purple Heart recipients and former POWs, without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 4. Eligibility for VA Nursing Home care for any (NSC) condition, provided income and assets are within specified limits. 5. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH). 6. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ. 7. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 8. Possible eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. (Noncompensable (0%) disability must have been incurred in combat or have ascertainable residuals, 38 CFR § 3.357.) 9. Eligibility for 10-point preference for State of California employment. 10. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 11. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). Rated SC — 10% overall 1. VA fee basis outpatient medical card for SC condition(s) requiring treatment. 2. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 3 or Priority Group 6 (veterans with multiple 0% conditions receiving compensation at the 10% rate, 38 CFR § 3.324). No healthcare co-payments required for either group; both groups pay pharmacy co-payments for NSC medications, except for former POWs. 3. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 4. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH). 5. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ. 6. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 7. Possible eligibility for education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation (showing of marked employment handicap required). 8. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 9. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. 10. Eligibility for 15-point preference for State of California employment. 11. Home loan guaranty funding fee exemption. 12. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 13. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). 14. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Person Parking Placard. Rated SC — 20% overall 1. VA fee basis outpatient medical card for SC condition(s) requiring treatment. 2. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 3 (no healthcare co-payments required; pharmacy co-payments required for NSC medications, except for former POWs). 3. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 4. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH). 5. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ. 6. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 7. Eligibility for education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation. 8. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 9. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. 10. Eligibility for 15-point preference for State of California employment. 11. Home loan guaranty funding fee exemption. 12. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 13. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). 14. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Person Parking Placard. Rated SC — 30% overall 1. Eligibility for additional allowance for dependents—spouse, children, dependent parent(s). 2. Eligibility for additional aid and attendance allowance for disabled spouse. 3. VA fee basis outpatient medical card for SC condition(s) requiring treatment. 4. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 2 (no healthcare co-payment required; pharmacy co-payments required for NSC medications, except for former POWs). 5. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 6. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH). 7. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ; loss of a female breast; or, loss of use of one eye (blindness). 8. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 9. Eligibility for education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation. 10. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 11. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. Under certain circumstances, may be employed on a noncompetitive basis. 12. Eligibility for 15-point preference for State of California employment. 13. Home loan guaranty funding fee exemption. 14. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 15. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). 16. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Person Parking Placard. Rated SC — 40% overall 1. Eligibility for additional allowance for dependents—spouse, children, dependent parent(s). 2. Eligibility for additional aid and attendance allowance for disabled spouse. 3. VA fee basis outpatient medical card for SC condition(s) requiring treatment. 4. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 2 (no healthcare co-payment required; pharmacy co-payments required for NSC medications, except for former POWs). 5. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 6. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH). 7. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ; loss of a female breast; or, loss or loss of use of one foot or one eye. 8. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 9. Possible eligibility for one-time assistance in purchase of specially-adapted automobile. 10. Possible eligibility for Automobile Adaptive Equipment Allowance. 11. Eligibility for education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation. 12. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 13. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. Under certain circumstances, may be employed on a noncompetitive basis. 14. Eligibility for 15-point preference for State of California employment. 15. Home loan guaranty funding fee exemption. 16. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 17. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). 18. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Person Parking Placard. Rated SC — 50% overall 1. Eligibility for additional allowance for dependents—spouse, children, dependent parent(s). 2. Eligibility for additional aid and attendance allowance for disabled spouse. 3. VA fee basis outpatient medical card (all conditions requiring treatment, whether SC or not, except dental). 4. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 1 (no co-payments required). 5. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 6. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH). 7. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ; loss of a female breast; or, loss or loss of use of one foot or one eye. 8. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 9. Possible eligibility for one-time assistance in purchase of specially-adapted automobile. 10. Possible eligibility for Automobile Adaptive Equipment Allowance. 11. Eligibility for education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation. 12. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 13. California State Park pass (requires SC wartime-incurred disability) ($3.50 one-time fee). 14. Reduced fee for hunting license. 15. Reduced fee for basic sport fishing license. 16. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. Under certain circumstances, may be employed on a noncompetitive basis. 17. Eligibility for 15-point preference for State of California employment. 18. Home loan guaranty funding fee exemption. 19. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 20. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). 21. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Person Parking Placard. Rated SC — 60% overall 1. Eligibility for a rating of total disability because of individual unemployability. 2. Eligibility for additional allowance for dependents—spouse, children, dependent parent(s). 3. Eligibility for additional aid and attendance allowance for disabled spouse. 4. VA fee basis outpatient medical card (all conditions requiring treatment, whether SC or not, except dental). 5. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 1 (no co-payments required). 6. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 7. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH). 8. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ; loss of a female breast; or, loss or loss of use of one hand, one foot, or one eye. 9. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 10. Possible eligibility for one-time assistance in purchase of specially-adapted automobile. 11. Possible eligibility for Automobile Adaptive Equipment Allowance. 12. Eligibility for education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation. 13. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 14. California State Park pass (requires SC wartime-incurred disability) ($3.50 one-time fee). 15. Reduced fee for hunting license. 16. Reduced fee for basic sport fishing license. 17. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. Under certain circumstances, may be employed on a noncompetitive basis. 18. Eligibility for 15-point preference for State of California employment. 19. Home loan guaranty funding fee exemption. 20. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 21. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). 22. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Person Parking Placard. Rated SC — 70%, 80%, or 90% overall 1. Eligibility for a rating of total disability because of individual unemployability. 2. Eligibility for additional allowance for dependents—spouse, children, dependent parent(s). 3. Eligibility for additional aid and attendance allowance for disabled spouse. 4. VA fee basis outpatient medical card (all conditions requiring treatment, whether SC or not, except dental). 5. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 1 (no co-payments required). 6. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 7. Eligibility for long-term VA Nursing Home care for any condition. 8. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH). 9. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ; loss of a female breast; loss or loss of use of one hand, one foot, or one eye; or, loss of use of both buttocks (80%). 10. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 11. Possible eligibility for one-time assistance in purchase of specially-adapted automobile. 12. Possible eligibility for Automobile Adaptive Equipment Allowance. 13. Eligibility for education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation. 14. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 15. California State Park pass (requires SC wartime-incurred disability) ($3.50 one-time fee). 16. Reduced fee for hunting license. 17. Reduced fee for basic sport fishing license. 18. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. Under certain circumstances, may be employed on a noncompetitive basis. 19. Eligibility for 15-point preference for State of California employment. 20. Home loan guaranty funding fee exemption. 21. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 22. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). 23. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Person Parking Placard. Rated SC — Totally Disabled because of Individual Unemployability 1. Eligibility for additional allowance for dependents—spouse, children, dependent parent(s). 2. Eligibility for additional aid and attendance allowance for disabled spouse. 3. VA fee basis outpatient medical card (all conditions requiring treatment, whether SC or not). 4. Eligibility for any necessary dental care. 5. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 1 (no co-payments required). 6. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 7. Eligibility for long-term VA Nursing Home care for any condition. 8. Eligibility for health care coverage under CHAMPVA for spouse and children (unless they are also eligible for TRICARE). 9. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH), including up to $20,000 supplemental insurance beyond regular amount. 10. Waiver of VA life insurance premiums, if under age 65 (but not on additional amounts). 11. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ; loss of a female breast; loss or loss of use of one hand, one foot, or one eye; or, loss of use of both buttocks. 12. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 13. Possible eligibility for one-time assistance in purchase of specially-adapted automobile. 14. Possible eligibility for Automobile Adaptive Equipment Allowance. 15. Eligibility for education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation. 16. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 17. California State Park pass (requires SC wartime-incurred disability) ($3.50 one-time fee). 18. Reduced fee for hunting license. 19. Reduced fee for basic sport fishing license. 20. Home loan guaranty funding fee exemption. 21. Possible eligibility for one-time Special Adapted Housing Assistance. Individual Unemployability (continued) 22. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 23. Possible eligibility for Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI). 24. CAL-VET Home Loan Disability Insurance. 25. Eligibility for property tax exemption on principle residence. 26. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. Under certain circumstances, may be employed on a noncompetitive basis. The 10-point preference is also applicable for the spouse and/or natural mother of a permanently totally service disabled veteran. 27. Eligibility for 15-point preference for State of California employment. 28. Eligibility for Dependents’ Education Assistance for spouse and children under 38 U.S.C., Chapter 35. 29. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for spouse and children (Plan A). Requires wartime service. May not be authorized concurrently with VA education assistance under Chapter 35. 30. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). May be authorized concurrently with VA education assistance under Chapter 35. 31. Eligibility for son(s) and/or daughter(s) to compete for admission to military academies. 32. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Person Parking Placard. 33. Withdrawal from SBP program participation (military retirees) after having been rated SC, totally disabled for 10 continuous years, or, if out of service less than 10 years, having been rated SC, totally disabled for at least 5 continuous years from date of last active duty. Rated SC — 100% overall 1. Eligibility for additional allowance for dependents—spouse, children, dependent parent(s). 2. Eligibility for additional aid and attendance allowance for disabled spouse. 3. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 1 (no co-payments required). 4. VA fee basis outpatient medical card (all conditions requiring treatment, whether SC or not). 5. Eligibility for necessary dental care. 6. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 7. Eligibility for long-term VA Nursing Home care for any condition. 8. Eligibility for health care coverage under CHAMPVA for spouse and children (unless they are also eligible for TRICARE). 9. Eligibility for Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH), including up to $20,000 supplemental insurance beyond regular amount. 10. Waiver of VA life insurance premiums, if under age 65 (but not on additional amounts). 11. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of a creative organ; loss of a female breast; loss or loss of use of one hand, one foot, or one eye; loss of use of both buttocks; complete deafness in both ears; or, complete organic aphonia (loss of ability to communicate by speech). 12. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation for loss or loss of use of both eyes, both hands, or both feet, or one hand and one foot. Includes paired extremities or organs (one SC, the other NSC, 38 CFR § 3.383) and combinations of losses. 13. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation because of being permanently housebound or having one disability rated 100% plus other conditions independently ratable at 60% or more. 14. Possible eligibility for special monthly compensation because of being so helpless as to require the regular aid and attendance of another person. 15. Possible eligibility for payment of annual clothing allowance for specified SC disorders resulting in need for prosthetic appliance or use of a wheelchair, or for certain skin conditions. 16. Possible eligibility for one-time assistance in purchase of specially-adapted automobile. 17. Possible eligibility for Automobile Adaptive Equipment Allowance. 18. Eligibility for education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation. 19. Possible eligibility for one-time Special Adapted Housing Assistance. 20. Possible eligibility for one-time Special Home Adaptation Grant. 21. Possible eligibility for Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI). 22. CAL-VET Home Loan Disability Insurance. 23. Eligibility for property tax exemption on principle residence. 24. Home loan guaranty funding fee exemption. 25. Possible eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) home modification grant. 26. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 27. California State Park pass (requires SC wartime-incurred disability) ($3.50 one-time fee). 28. Reduced fee for hunting license. 29. Reduced fee for basic sport fishing license. 30. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. Under certain circumstances, may be employed on a noncompetitive basis. The 10-point preference is also applicable for the spouse and/or natural mother of a permanently totally service disabled veteran. 31. Eligibility for 15-point preference for State of California employment. The spouse of a 100% disabled veteran is eligible for 10-point preference. 32. Eligibility for Dependents’ Education Assistance for spouse and children under 38 U.S.C., Chapter 35. 33. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for spouse and children (Plan A). Requires wartime service. May not be authorized concurrently with VA education assistance under Chapter 35. 34. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). May be authorized concurrently with VA education assistance under Chapter 35. 35. Eligibility for son(s) and/or daughter(s) to compete for admission to military academies. 36. Eligibility for military identification card. 37. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Veteran license plates. 38. Eligibility for exemption from vehicle license fees. 39. Withdrawal from SBP program participation (military retirees) after having been rated SC, totally disabled for 10 continuous years, or, if out of service less than 10 years, having been rated SC, totally disabled for at least 5 continuous years from date of last active duty. Special Veterans’ Benefits In addition to the regular benefits available to all disabled veterans, there are special benefits available only to two specific groups of veterans, namely former Prisoners of War and holders of the Congressional Medal of Honor. These special benefits are over and above (and in addition to) the regular benefits to which these veterans would be entitled based on level(s) of disability alone. Former POWs: 1. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 3 (no healthcare co-payments required), unless disability rating warrants assignment to higher Priority Group 1 or 2. 2. Exemption from all pharmacy co-payments, including for NSC medications. 3. VA fee basis outpatient medical card (all conditions requiring treatment, whether SC or not). 4. Eligibility for any and all necessary dental treatment. 5. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—without regard to whether the condition producing need for such is service-connected. 6. Eligibility for exemption from vehicle license fees. 7. California State Parks pass ($3.50 one-time fee). Medal of Honor holders: 1. Entitlement to payment of special Medal of Honor pension (currently $1,027 per month, as of December 2004) in addition to any compensation for SC or other disability, or in addition to NSC disability pension. 2. Eligibility for exemption from vehicle license fees. 3. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for veteran and children (Plan D), but not for spouse or surviving spouse. May be authorized concurrently with VA education assistance under Chapter 35. Nonservice-connected Disability Pension Checklist A. Claim Requirements: 1. Minimum of 90 consecutive days of active service or was discharged because of SC disability. If veteran entered service after 1980, the service requirement is 24 continuous months or the full period for which called to active duty, whichever is less, unless discharged sooner because of hardship, reduction-in-force, or SC disability. In any event, at least one day of service must have been during a wartime period. 2. If veteran is under age 65, evidence that veteran is in receipt of any disability benefit administered by the Social Security Administration (either SSA or SSI); or, is a long-term patient in a nursing home because of disability; or, medical evidence showing the veteran is unable to work because of disability. 3. Medical evidence to show that veteran is in need of regular aid and attendance or is housebound (if applicable). 4. Report projected family income—include income from all sources, including farm and/or business. Also list deductions/exclusions—unreimbursed medical expenses, children’s wages, etc. 5. Report net worth. 6. Dependency documents—marriage certificate, birth certificate(s), death certificate(s), divorce decree(s), VA Form(s) 21-674(as applicable). If an adult child is claimed as disabled (helpless), submit appropriate medical evidence in support. B. Benefits: 1. Possible additional pension payable if housebound or if so helpless as to require the regular aid and attendance of another person (includes nursing home patients). 2. Additional pension payable if veteran served during World War I. 3. VA outpatient medical card if entitled to aid and attendance or housebound benefits, or if a World War I veteran. 4. Enrollment in VA Healthcare Priority Group 4 (no co-payments required) if entitled to aid and attendance or housebound benefits. Enrollment in Priority Group 5 (no co-payments required) if entitled to basic pension. Enrollment in Priority Group 6 (no co-payments required) if a World War I veteran. 5. Eligibility for sensorineural aids—hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses—if housebound or in need of regular aid and attendance. 6. Waiver of VA insurance premiums, if under age 65 (but not on any supplemental RH insurance). Disability Pension (continued) 7. CAL-VET Home Loan Disability Insurance. 8. Golden Access Passport for U.S. National Parks. 9. Possible eligibility for DMV Disabled Person Parking Placard. 10. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment. Service-connected Death Checklist A. Claim Requirements: 1. Disposition of veteran’s VA check (if any). 2. If veteran was a military retiree, notify service department. 3. VA Form 21-534, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension, or Accrued Benefits by a Spouse or Child, for surviving spouse and/or children. VA Form 21-535, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by Parent(s), for dependent parent(s). 4. VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Allowance. 5. Veteran’s death certificate or other appropriate proof of death. 6. Medical evidence as needed to relate veteran’s death to service or to SC disability. 7. Dependency documents, if not previously submitted (marriage certificate, birth certificate(s), death certificate(s), divorce decree(s), VA Form(s) 21-674, as applicable). If an adult child is claimed as disabled (helpless), submit appropriate medical evidence in support. 8. Medical evidence to show need for aid and attendance (surviving spouse or dependent parent) or that surviving spouse is housebound, if applicable. 9. Is surviving spouse or either dependent parent also a veteran? B. Benefits: 1. Social Security death payment. 2. Possible VA accrued benefits (if there was an unresolved claim or if there were unnegotiated checks at the time of the veteran’s death). 3. Eligibility for SC burial allowance, headstone or grave marker; U.S. flag; Presidential Memorial Certificate. 4. Life insurance payments (VA, other Government, or commercial). 5. Possible eligibility for additional allowance for surviving spouse or dependent parent on account of being so helpless as to be in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person (includes nursing home patients), or for surviving spouse on account of being housebound. 6. Certificate of Eligibility for home loan guaranty. 7. Eligibility for CAL-VET Home Loan. Service-connected death (continued) 8. Eligibility for CAL–VET Home Mortgage Insurance. 9. Eligibility for property tax exemption on principle residence. 10. Eligibility for Dependents’ Education Assistance benefits under 38 U.S.C., Chapter 35, for surviving spouse and children. 11. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for surviving spouse and children (Plan A). Requires wartime service. May not be authorized concurrently with VA education assistance under Chapter 35. 12. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B). May be authorized concurrently with education assistance under Chapter 35. 13. Eligibility for son(s) and/or daughter(s) to compete for admission to military academies. 14. Eligibility for 10-point preference for Federal Civil Service employment (surviving spouse and/or natural mother). 15. Eligibility for 10-point preference for State of California employment (surviving spouse). 16. If veteran was a military retiree, possible payments under SBP/RSFPP. 17. Eligibility for a military identification card if the veteran was a military retiree or was rated SC, 100% at time of death. 18. Eligibility for health care coverage under CHAMPVA unless there is also eligibility under TRICARE (if the veteran was a military retiree). Nonservice-connected Death Checklist A. Claim Requirements: 1. Disposition of veteran’s VA check (if any). 2. If veteran was a military retiree, notify service department. 3. If veteran was SC and rated totally disabled (100% or IU) at time of death, review for possible DIC. (Generally, requires veteran to have been rated totally disabled for 10 continuous years immediately preceding death. If out of service less than 10 years at time of death, rated totally disabled for at least 5 continuous years, from date of discharge from service to date of death. If a former POW, rated totally disabled for one year immediately preceding death.) 4. VA Form 21-534, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension, or Accrued Benefits by a Spouse or Child, for surviving spouse and/or children. 5. VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Allowance. 6. There is no minimum length of service requirement for DIC. For death pension, veteran must have had a minimum of 90 consecutive days of active service or was discharged because of SC disability. If veteran entered service after 1980, the service requirement is 24 continuous months or the full period for which called to active duty, whichever is less, unless discharged sooner because of hardship, reduction-in-force,or SC disability. In any event, at least one day of service must have been during a wartime period.Note—if veteran died while on active duty under circumstances precluding payment of DIC (i.e., willful misconduct), veteran must have served honorably for at least two years, at least one day of which was during a wartime period. 7. Veteran’s death certificate or other appropriate proof of death. 8. Dependency documents, if not previously submitted (marriage certificate, birth certificate(s), death certificate(s), divorce decree(s), VA Form(s) 21-674, as applicable). If an adult child is claimed as disabled (helpless), submit appropriate medical evidence in support. 9. Report projected family income—include income from all sources, including farm and/or business. Also list deductions/exclusions—veteran’s final expenses, unreimbursed medical expenses, children’s wages, etc. 10. Report net worth. 11. Medical evidence to show that surviving spouse is housebound or in need of regular aid and attendance, if applicable. 12. Is surviving spouse also a veteran? Nonservice-connected death (continued) B. Benefits: 1. Social Security death payment. 2. Possible VA accrued benefits (if there was an unresolved claim or if there were unnegotiated checks at the time of the veteran’s death). 3. Possible eligibility for burial and/or interment allowance; headstone or grave marker; U.S. flag; Presidential Memorial Certificate. 4. Life insurance payments (VA, other Government, or commercial). 5. Possible additional pension or DIC for surviving spouse on account of being so helpless as to be in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person (includes nursing home patients) or being housebound. 6. Eligibility for CAL–VET Home Mortgage Insurance. 7. Eligibility for property tax exemption on principle residence (if veteran was entitled to such exemption prior to death). 8. If veteran was a military retiree, possible payments under SBP/RSFPP. 9. Eligibility for a military identification card if the veteran was a military retiree or was rated SC, 100% at time of NSC death. 10. Eligibility for Dependents’ Education Assistance benefits under 38 U.S.C., Chapter 35, for surviving spouse and/or children (if veteran was rated SC, permanently totally disabled at time of NSC death). 11. Eligibility for CAL-VET College Tuition and Fee Waiver for children (Plan B) if veteran had a (rated) SC disability at time of death. 12. Eligibility for health care coverage under CHAMPVA unless there is also eligibility under TRICARE (if the veteran was a military retiree) (if veteran was rated SC, permanently totally disabled at time of NSC death). 13. Eligibility for 10-point preference for State of California employment (surviving spouse).

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And last but not least, some interestting information on PTSD. If you have neglected to look into PTSD, it's a whole new world. BB> July 12, 2010

New Regulations on PTSD Claims Quick Facts: This new rule is for Veterans of any era. The new rule will apply to claims: - received by VA on or after July 13, 2010; - received before July 13, 2010 but not yet decided by a VA regional office; - appealed to the Board of Veterans' Appeals on or after July 13, 2010; - appealed to the Board before July 13, 2010, but not yet decided by the Board; and - pending before VA on or after July 13, 2010, because the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims vacated a Board decision and remanded for re-adjudication. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS “Stressor Determinations for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” 1. What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition resulting from exposure to direct or indirect threat of death, serious injury or a physical threat. The events that can cause PTSD are called "stressors” and may include natural disasters, accidents or deliberate man-made events/disasters, including war. Symptoms of PTSD can include recurrent thoughts of a traumatic event, reduced involvement in work or outside interests, emotional numbing, hyper-alertness, anxiety and irritability. The disorder can be more severe and longer lasting when the stress is human initiated action (example: war, rape, terrorism). 2. What does this final regulation do? This final regulation liberalizes the evidentiary standard for Veterans claiming service connection for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Under current regulations governing PTSD claims, unless the Veteran is a combat Veteran, VA adjudicators are typically required to undertake extensive record development to corroborate whether a Veteran actually experienced the claimed in-service stressor. This final rulemaking will simplify and improve the PTSD claims adjudication process by eliminating this time-consuming requirement where the claimed stressor is related to “fear of hostile military or terrorist activity,” is consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of their service, and a VA psychiatrist or psychologist, or contract psychiatrist or psychologist confirms that the claimed stressor is adequate to support a diagnosis of PTSD. 3. What types of claims for VA benefits does the final regulation affect? The final regulation will benefit Veterans, regardless of their period of service. It applies to claims for PTSD service connection filed on or after the final regulation’s effective date, and to those claims that are considered on the merits at a VA Regional Office or the Board of Veterans’ Appeals on or after the effective date of the rule. 4. Why is this final regulation necessary? The final regulation is necessary to make VA’s adjudication of PTSD claims both more timely and consistent with the current medical science. 5. How does this final regulation help Veterans? The final regulation will simplify and streamline the processing of PTSD claims, which will result in Veterans receiving more timely decisions. A Veteran will be able to establish the occurrence of an in-service stressor through his or her own testimony, provided that: (1) the Veteran is diagnosed with PTSD; (2) a VA psychiatrist or psychologist, or a psychiatrist or psychologist with whom VA has contracted confirms that the claimed stressor is adequate to support a PTSD diagnosis; (3) the Veteran's symptoms are related to the claimed stressor; and (4) the claimed stressor is consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the Veteran’s service and the record provides no clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. This will eliminate the requirement for VA to search for records, to verify stressor accounts, which is often a very involved and protracted process. As a result, the time required to adjudicate a PTSD compensation claim in accordance with the law will be significantly reduced. 6. How does VA plan to monitor the need for examiners in various regions of the country, and how does VA plan to respond if is determined that more examiners are needed in a particular region? The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has written in to the FY11-13 Operating Plan the need for additional staff to support doing adequate, timely exams. VHA proposes: “A8. Increase mental health field staff to address the increase in C&P examinations and develop monitoring system to ensure clinical delivery of mental health services does not decrease in VHA.“ Specifically, VHA has requested 125 clinicians for FY11 with additional 63 staff in FY12 if the need exists. If the Operating Plan and the proposed budget are approved, VA proposes asking the Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) to develop plans for distributing the funds in order to ensure adequate coverage at sites based on number of claims being processed; the VISNs are well positioned to determine these regional needs. 7. How does the regulatory revision affect PTSD service connection claims where an in-service diagnosis of PTSD has been rendered? The new regulation does not apply to the adjudication of cases where PTSD has been initially diagnosed in service. Rather, under another VA rule, 38 CFR § 3.304(f)(1), if a Veteran is diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder during service and the claimed stressor is related to that service, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and provided that the claimed stressor is consistent with the circumstances, conditions, or hardships of the Veteran's service, the Veteran's lay testimony alone may establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor. 8. Is the new regulation applicable only if the Veteran's statements relate to combat or POW service? No. The rule states that the stressor must be related to a “fear of hostile military or terrorist activity,” and the claimed stressor must be “consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the veteran’s service.” 9. What circumstances will still require stressor verification t hrough DoD’s Joint Services Records Research Center (JSRRC) , VBA’s Compensation &Pension Service (C&P Service), or other entity if a Veteran claims that his or her stressor is related to a fear of hostile or terrorist activity? The regulatory revision will greatly lessen the need for undertaking development to verify Veterans’ accounts of in-service stressors. Now, stressor development may only need to be conducted if a review of the available record, such as the Veteran’s service personnel and/or treatment records, is inadequate to determine that the claimed stressor is “consistent with the places, types and circumstances of the veteran’s service.” In such circumstances, the Veterans Service Representative (VSR) will determine on a case-by-case basis what development should be undertaken. However, it is anticipated that in the overwhelming majority of cases adjudicated under the new version of § 3.304(f), a simple review of the Veteran’s service treatment and/or personnel records will be sufficient to determine if the claimed stressor is consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the Veteran’s service. We also believe that, in some cases, a Veteran’s separation document, DD-Form 214, alone may enable an adjudicator to make such a determination. 10. As the regulatory revision seems to require an enhanced role for the examining VA mental health professional, whose role is it to determine whether the claimed stressor is consistent with the Veteran’s service? VA adjudicators, not the examining psychiatrist or psychologist, will decide whether the claimed stressor is consistent with the Veteran’s service. 11. Is a Veteran's testimony about “fear of hostile military or terrorist activity” alone sufficient to establish a stressor? Yes, if the other requirements of the regulation are satisfied, i.e., a VA psychiatrist or psychologist confirms that the claimed stressor is adequate to support a PTSD diagnosis and that the Veteran's symptoms are related to the claimed stressor, and the stressor is consistent with the “places, types, and circumstances of the Veteran’s service.” 12. Are the stressors accepted as adequate for establishing service connection under new § 3.304(f)(3) limited to those specifically identified in the new regulation? No. The examples given in the revised regulation do not represent an exclusive list in view of the use of the modifying phrase “such as” that precedes the listed examples. Anyevent or circumstance that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of the Veteran or others, would qualify as a stressor under new § 3.304(f)(3). 13. How will the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) work with V eterans Benefits Administration (VBA) on the new regulation? VHA was actively involved in discussion with VBA of the new regulation and fully supports the new regulation. The new regulation will provide fair evaluation for Veterans whose military records have been damaged or destroyed, or for whom no definitive reports of combat action appeared in their military records, even though they can report such actions and it is reasonable to believe that these occurred, given the time and place of service. This will be especially beneficial to women Veterans, whose records do not specify that they had combat assignments, even though their roles in the military placed them at risk of hostile military or terrorist activity. This means that more Veterans will become eligible for VA care and thus be able to receive VA care for mental illness related to their military service, as well as receiving full holistic health care.VHA will work actively with VBA on implementing the regulation. VHA staff’s main role is as clinicians conducting C&P interviews to establish diagnoses and obtain other information to be used by VBA raters to determine the outcome of claims. The new regulation will not change the diagnostic elements of the C&P interview, but may change what additional data are collected for use by VBA raters.


WEEKLY INSPIRATION

Prayer for the Armed Forces Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace, strengthen them in their trials and temptations, give them courage to face the dangers which beset them, and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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RECALL NOTICE: The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been identified as "Subsequential Internal Non-morality," more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed. Some of the symptoms include: 1. Loss of direction 2. Foul vocal emissions 3. Amnesia of origin 4. Lack of peace and joy 5. Selfish or violent behavior 6. Depression or confusion 7. Fearfulness 8. Idolatry 9. Rebellion The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect. The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required. The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with: 1. Love 2. Joy 3. Peace 4. Patience 5. Kindness 6. Goodness 7. Faithfulness 8. Gentleness 9. Self control Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (BEST Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes. WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list, and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on Jesus. DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention! - GOD


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

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