JUNE 2012


1June67: Operation Bluefield begins. entire 1/4th Cav involved.
1June68: Operation Toan Thang II begins. RVN
2June66: Operation El Peso II begins. RVN
6June44: D-Day. Operation Overlord, Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. Entire 1ID cited.
8June66: Battle of Ap Tau O,aka. Benchmark 69, A Troop.
9June67: Operation Bluefield Ends. entire 1/4th Cav involved.
11June66: Battle of Loc Ninh Plantation/Hill 150-Hill 177.
12June67: Operation Lam Son begins.
14June1775: US Army founded.
23June1965: Division advance party (2nd Bde) lands at Qui Nhon, RVN.
30June1966: Battle of Srok Dong. 1/4th Cav cited.


The month of June 1966 speaks loud of the bravery and committment of the Quarterhorse Troopers in Vietnam. The BRO sent the 1/4th Cav troops and thier troopers out to draw the fire of the VC and NVA and each time, there was "one hellofa Fight". The plan was for the QH to draw fire and then the Division would send in backup to "save the day". Unfortunately, as was often the case, this didn't happen in Vietnam. I've heard it said several times that during the summer months of 1966, the QH killing rate accounted for 70% of the BRO's announced kills. This is one of those things that will start "one hellofa fight" depending on which club your in. I can only suggest that we sip our beer and let our record speak for itself. Take this first accounting of the Battle of Ap Tau O, aka. Benchmark 69 fought by A Troop who put up "one hellofa battle" outnumbered by a regiment of VC and NVA. I need to mention also, that D Troop (Air) was present at these battles, supporting us from the air. So anytime you see an artillery man from the BRO or an Air Force Jockey, shake their hand and or buy them a beer. Honestly, if it hadn't been for these gentlemen many of us would'nt be here and the casualtie count would have been much different.

Battle of Ap Tau O, aka. Benchmark 69

Story from Army Times

The name "Benchmark 69" may not prickle the skin of the average american as would "The Battle of Britain" or "Heartbreak Ridge", but that name will be well remembered by those familiar with the area to which it refers. The devastation wrought on that desolate strech of jungle road by Alpha Trp., 1st Sqdn, 4th Cav, 1st Inf Div, will go into the annals of that regiment and join names like The Battle of Nashville, Defeat of the Mores, Normandy and Utah Beach.
After having received a mission from MG W.E. DePuy, Big Red One commander, Alpha Trp moved north of it's base camp at Phu Loi to reinforce other 1st Div elements deep in War Zone "C". Driving rapidly up the desolate road to secure a threatened town, the troopers warily scanned the roadsides as civilization disappeared and the jungle closed in.
Suddenly a mine exploded against the lead tank but did not damage it seriously. When the next mine detonated, the jungle belched and the fight was on. Growing more bitter by the second, the battle was fought at point blank range for four hours.
SSG Charles Norris, blown out of his tank into a ditch, reached for an automatic rifle. It's Viet Cong owner was not ready to give it up, though. Norris was not a big man, and his scorched hands and arms weren't strong enough to hold the rifle, but he still needed it. He struggled with the VC for a weapon, and the Viet Cong, shocked by the sergeant's determination, ran into the jungle frantically clutching his rifle.
SFC Eugene F. Blair, a platoon sergeant, seventeen years an infantry, was never crazy about tanks: "it's the man on the ground who wins the battle," he said. But on his first tank ride he was coordinating fire of his platoon when one of his armored personnel carriers broke down. (Bill: See previous story). He moved his tank back to assist the isolated APC that was being overrun by the VC. He didn't know how to load a tank gun, but he learned fast: "I learned how to flip the hot brass out of the tank in a hurry." He didn't throw one far enough, though, and it wedged in the turret ring, locking the tank cannon in one direction. With the 90mm shotgun immobolized, the VC fire became more intense. Blair disregarded it, climbed out of the tank, removed the casing and dove back inside, each devastating blast of canister cut a swarth through the attackers, but the waves kept coming.
Even the constant airstrikes a few hundred yards away didn't seem to help as the ammunition dwindled, so the fighters were asked to come in closer. But 50 meters still wasn't close enough. So, the planes zeroed in at 10 meters. Flight after flight of fighters bore down and strafed and scattered CBUs, and, of course, some of them hit the road, the tank, the APC, but not the crews. And then it grew quiet for a few minutes. Not totally, because they still had to kill snipers, repair the APC and rejoin the troop which was still heavily engaged. In fact, the lull ceased when two men ran onto the road ahead of them and set up a tripod, followed by two more who set up a 75mm recoilless rifle on it. Blair and his crew zeroed the 90mm tank gun in on the VC position and blew it to pieces.
A lot of other VC vanished in pieces, too, and some wished they had. SGT Wayne T. Lura, scout section leader, appreciates suffering, even among the VC. Lura has inflicted some pain on the Viet Cong himself, but was shocked to see them pull blood-soaked bandages off their dead to put on their freshly wounded. "I don't know how they kept it up in the face of our machine guns and air strikes and that canister. You can't imagine how that eats them up".
By contrast, the young sergeant said the troop's medics "were tremendous. We've got this one goofy-looking hillbilly kid who was wounded in the back twice, but he kept going, running at full gallop from track to track, patching people up and just not worrying about himself." Asked if he thought the odds against him at the time were to great, Lura said he "just didn't think about it then, you just keep working. Sometimes it got kind of bad when they were in real close all around us, but LT David C. Kinkead, 2d Plt leader, and the troop commander CPT Ralph M. Sturgis, never once raised their voices, and you could see they were in the thick of it, too. Their track took three hits and they remained just as calm."
The CO's track indeed took three hits. The first, a 75mm hole-in the left front, wounded the driver, in the leg. Later as Sturgis, ducked to switch frequencies, a blast splashed shrapnel across the hatch where he'd been standing a second before. Kinkead and 1st PSG Richard L. Lanham each experianced this type of narrow miss a little later.
SGT Thomas N. Saporito pulled the driver out, and while others treated him, Saporito jockeyed the track around to prevent the VC mortars from zeroing in. Between moves he fired his granade launcher from the driver's seat. He was never idle, fortunately, because when one mortar round did hit the track two feet from the driver's hatch, he was down reloading and was not hurt. However, his ears did a little. A former commercial pilot, Saporito suffered a mild heart attack last year and was worried about passing a flight physical in the future. "But if it didn't give out then, I'm not worried about a thing". Because of the dense jungle on both sides of the road, Sturgis had little room to maneuver, but he had his men keep moving back and forth to prevent recoilles rifles and mortars from zeroing in. "This was something we learned from previous battles that nobody's going to forget. " Coordinating the dozens of flight sorties, the artillery and armed helicopter strikes, evacuation of wounded, and reinforcing isolated elements or those where combat was predominantly hand-to-hand kept the captain under pressure. He gave orders prsonally and by radio for more than eight hours without raising his voice.
"You'd swear he was talking about farming or football or something," said one NCO, "just as calm as you please, and you know CPT Sturgis was as scared as the rest of us." Besides the three direct hits on his track, there were gouges from shrapnel and bullets all over it.
Lura's faith in his unit was reinforced by the spontaneous actions he witnessed. PFC Joseph D. Rossi had interupted his spotwelding job in Chicago to join the Army as a scout driver a year ago. He became a track commander with no preparation when a direct hit killed tow NCO'S and three men in his track. He and PFC Edward l. Guilliams evacuated the wounded and continued to fight the VC by themselves. "This kind of thing happened in several places."
Everyone seems to do just the right thing, with or without orders, but it was reassuring to hear how cool the commanders were.
Lura went on to praise the morale effect of the continuous air support, the extensive resupply that evening, and the ground reinforcements who arrived later. "It really made us feel we weren't alone.
LT Ronald A. Copes, troop executive officer, is a genial, mild-mannered person....whic is fortunate because he is six feet, three inches tall and weighs 240. His pleasant disposition deserted him entirely when a VC threw a 75mm casing packed with TNT at him. He three it back at the VC and put four bullet holes in him before the casing exploded and finished the job. Copes was then seen firing automatic rifles frontier-style, passing the empthy ones to his observer to reload, and firing the next one. This occured as he was leading a reinforcing column to the troop.
The battle ended with the VC on the run and Alpha Trp continuing it's mission. The VC's 272d REGT losses were estimated at between 200 and 250 dead, countless wounded, and numberious weapons captured or destroyed.
"This was the first time that a VC regiment, making a determined and sustained effort to ambush a unit, was routed and defeated," said the III CTZ Commander LTG Tri, at III Corps HQ as he presented the Cross of Gallentry with Palm to CPT Sturgis and to Alpha Trp, 1st Sqdn, 4th Cav, 1st Inf Div.


Battle of SROK DONG, 30 June 1966

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rank and Organization

Sergeant, U.S. Army, Troop C, First Squadron, Fourth Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division

Place and Date

Republic of Vietnam, 30 June 1966

Entered Service at

Ashland, Kentucky


27 August 1939, Blackford, Ohio



Rank and Organization

Sergeant, U.S. Army, Troop C, First Squadron, Fourth Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division

Place and Date

Republic of Vietnam, 30 June 1966

Entered Service at

Ashland, Kentucky


27 August 1939, Blackford, Ohio


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Troops B and C, while conducting a Reconnaissance mission along a road were suddenly attacked by a Viet Cong regiment, supported by mortars, recoilless rifles and machine guns, from concealed positions astride the road. Sgt. Long abandoned the relative safety of his armored personnel carrier and braved a withering hail of enemy fire to carry wounded men to evacuation helicopters. As the platoon fought its way forward to resupply advanced elements, Sgt. Long repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire at point blank range to provide the needed supplies. While assaulting the Viet Cong position, Sgt. Long inspired his comrades by fearlessly standing unprotected to repel the enemy with rifle fire and grenades as they attempted to mount his carrier. When the enemy threatened to overrun a disabled carrier nearby, Sgt. Long again disregarded his own safety to help the severely wounded crew to safety. As he was handing arms to the less seriously wounded and reorganizing them to press the attack, an enemy grenade was hurled onto the carrier deck. Immediately recognizing the imminent danger, he instinctively shouted a warning to the crew and pushed to safety 1 man who had not heard his warning over the roar of battle. Realizing that these actions would not fully protect the exposed crewmen from the deadly explosion, he threw himself over the grenade to absorb the blast and thereby saved the lives of 8 of his comrades at the expense of his life. Throughout the battle, Sgt. Long's extraordinary heroism, courage and supreme devotion to his men were in the finest tradition of the military service, and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

Donald R. Long's actions took place during the summer campaigns of 1966. This was some of the heaviest fighting Quarterhorse was to see in Vietnam. In addition, one of the gymnasiums on Fort Riley, Kansas, was dedicated to Sergeant Long.

Don Long's Brother's and Sister's Accepting his posthumus Medal Of Honor



Subject: Smith Hall Memorialization -- Fort Benning, Ga (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Ladies and Gentlemen,
My name is LTC Andy Koloski, I am the commander of 5th Squadron, 15th
Cavalry Regiment.  As I'm sure you are already aware, our C Troop operations
facility has been named in honor of PFC Avery Smith.  We are beginning the
process of planning a memorialization ceremony to dedicate the building.  We
are currently only in the initial stages but were trying to determine a good
date for the ceremony.  When we reviewed PFC Smith's biography we thought
that a ceremony on 8 June 2012 might be appropriate, honoring him on the
46th anniversary of his death.  Before setting a date and moving forward, I
wanted to check with his family to ensure their availability to travel to
Fort Benning for the ceremony.  If this date meets your convenience, we will
proceed with planning.  Please let me know at your earliest possible
convenience.  Thank you.

Very Respectfully,

LTC Koloski

Andrew W. Koloski
Commander, 5-15 Cavalry
706-626-4106 (o)
706-676-2314 (b)
Jun 8, 2012 is a go for the decication of the building for Avery Smith.

As of this date, I have no conformation of a ceremony at Ft. Benning, Ga honoring SGT Don Long, C Troop, Medal of Honor 29 Jun 66, for whom also there is a building at Ft. Benning which will be named after him. I will send out any information I receive when I receive it to those of you who would like to attend this ceremony. BB


Please let me know by email or phone call that you are attending. Thanks, Bill Baty.

HHT-1/4TH Tom Witter A TRP-1/4TH

Bill Baty - Treasurer Bob Corbin - Vice President and wife Dan Thompson Jim Lerdahl B TRP-1/4TH


Alan Benoit Ron Brauer D TRP-1/4TH (includes C/16th)


We have a new trooper on board. Tom Reed, not to be mistaken with the Tom Reed of A Troop Fame.

C Trp, 2nd Plt, 66-67

Tom was a 2 year man and 11B at first but was put on an APC as a driver when he arrived at C Troop which was up at An Loc at that time. After they deployed to Phu Loi he ended up on a tank where he stayed working his way up to Gunner. Tom lives with his family up in West Virginia in a little town called Berea. He and his wife live on a 68 acre plot and enjoy riding their 4wheelers thru the hills and beyond. If you remember Tom and would like to talk with him, Call me or shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you his tele number.


my new email is:


But I can still receive it on old one. I had rather use our new email. Thanks, Retired SSG Norman Brown ***************************************

my new email is:


Thanks, Ron Brauer ***************************************

scashion@charter.net wrote:

I have got a new email, after monday May the 28th I will not have charter. my new email will be



my new email is:


Gary Chenett


Changes Coming as the Army Expands Use of Early Discharge Authority of Regular Army Enlisted Members

Congress recently amended legislation that expands the services' authority to separate Regular Army enlisted members from three months to one year prior to their scheduled date of separation, referred to as Expiration Term of Service (ETS). The Army announced today that it plans to begin using this authority in June 2012 in a very targeted manner to address readiness in deploying formations by stabilizing enlisted soldiers at least six months prior to deployment.
The Army's Enlisted Involuntary Early Separation Program is directed towards the small percentage of soldiers in deploying units who remain in the unit's rear detachment due to insufficient time remaining before ETS to complete the deployment. The Army will not immediately increase the period of early separation to one year, rather it will implement this change in a phased manner based on scheduled unit deployment dates.
Soldiers assigned to deploying units whose scheduled separation date precludes them from deploying with their unit will be given the opportunity to reenlist or extend. Soldiers with more than three years of active service, but less than six years of total service that elect not to reenlist or extend will be subject to involuntary early separation. Additionally, commanders have the discretion to retain a soldier for operational necessity or compassionate reasons.
The Army has incorporated measures to ensure soldiers who elect not to reenlist or extend their period of enlistment complete all transition requirements prior to separation including taking advantage of the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) and other transition programs. Commanders will afford soldiers sufficient time, but not less than 90 days, to focus on transition activities to ensure soldiers and their families are prepared for the transition from active service.
The Army G-1 and Army Human Resources Command will send commanders and soldiers specific implementation guidance. For more information, soldiers should contact their unit career counselor.


Arraignment Ends as Legal Teams Gird for Long 9/11 Trial
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, May 6, 2012 - Defense and prosecution teams said today they expect the trial of five alleged 9/11 co-conspirators to take many months or years, while family members of those killed Sept. 11, 2001, said they're glad the trial is in the military's hands.
Yesterday's roughly 13-hour arraignment here of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak bin Attash, Ramzi bin al Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi was the first chapter of what attorneys on both sides describe as an epically complicated trial to come.
Army Col. James Pohl, the judge in the case, yesterday set the first motions hearing for June 12. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor, said he expects "hundreds of motions" during the proceedings.
"For so many determined people involved in this trial, the pursuit of justice is worth every moment spent," he said.
Martin noted many of the motions the defense team has filed and likely will file involve classification issues. The motions process in which either side can file, the other side responds, and finally the judge rules serves to "tee up" a common approach to contested issues, the general said.
Martins acknowledged government investigations have concluded defendants were tortured during the early stages of their confinement. That greatly complicates the case, he said, but doesn't lessen the trial's importance. Torture is deplorable and shameful, he said. "The remedy is not to just dismiss all charges; it's harder than that," he added.
Martins said the government's case will not include any evidence resulting from torture. He added he doesn't agree with defense attorneys' contention that classification rules prevent them from discussing their clients' mistreatment or torture with them.
"They can talk to their clients about anything," the chief prosecutor said. What attorneys can't do, he said, is provide their clients with information that involves "sources and methods": locations of detention facilities; identities of cooperating governments; identities of anyone involved in the capture, transfer, detention or interrogation of detainees; interrogation techniques applied to individual detainees unless that information has been declassified; and conditions of confinement.
"If, in those five categories, there's material that relates to source and method that can still protect people from terrorist attacks, ... then that's going to be classified, and we're going to work to protect it," he said. Typically, that sort of information would be discussed in closed court, he said.
Defense attorneys have a "healthy skepticism" about the level of transparency possible in the case, Martins noted.
"What we're trying to do is put the question of the fate of these individuals their guilt or innocence ... and the appropriate sentence to a panel of 12 jury men and women," he said.
Defense attorneys differed in the views they shared with reporters today on yesterday's arraignment.
James Harrington is "learned counsel" for Shibh, which means he is experienced in death penalty cases. Under military commissions rules, each defendant in a capital case is assigned a learned counsel.
While the arraignment was very long, Harrington said, "I could say it went smoother than some people had anticipated. ... Things are set to progress."
Defense teams' jobs are to defend their clients, regardless of public opinion or the sympathy the attorneys feel for 9/11 victims' families, he added. "The defendants are entitled to a fair trial," he said. "It's our obligation to try and get them a fair trial."
Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, learned counsel for Hawsawi, said yesterday's proceedings were "terrible." "We had some measure of hope" that legal issues raised by defense attorneys would be heard, Ruiz said. "They were not."
He said that after the arraignment yesterday, he discussed the likely duration of the coming hearings and eventual trial with a colleague. Ruiz recounted what he told his coworker: "I said, 'I didn't believe you when you said I might retire from here.' And then I said, 'I may never have another legal job.'"
He added he hopes the second trial for the accused the first was suspended, and the military commission process changed doesn't repeat the mistakes of the earlier proceedings.
"What is important to understand is that the reason this process has to drag on ... is because proceedings under the previous rules tried to cut corners constitutionally ... and procedurally," Ruiz said.
While attorneys on both sides predict a hard grind ahead, several family members of 9/11 victims who attended the arraignment said they are glad the proceedings happen here.
Mary Henwood and her sister, Tara Henwood-Butzbaugh, attended the proceedings in memory of their brother, John Henwood, who was 35 when he was killed in the World Trade Center's Tower 1.
"He was murdered that day. He was terrorized, and he was murdered," she said. To the question of whether military commissions are appropriate to the case, she replied, "Absolutely."
Henwood said she has met with the prosecution and has seen the trial facilities here. "I feel very comfortable that this is finally happening," she said.
Cliff and Christina Russell came here in honor of Cliff's brother, Stephen, a New York City firefighter who died in Tower 1.
"I'm comfortable with it being a capital case], ... I'm comfortable with it being military, and I'm comfortable with it being here, as opposed to being in a federal courthouse," he said.
Russell added he came to see the proceedings not out of a desire for vengeance, but for "some kind of psychological satisfaction.
Eddie Bracken came to Cuba to pay tribute to his sister, Lucy Fishman, who died in Tower 2. Bracken said a fair and just trial for the accused will show the world what America is based on.
"Do I respect the people that are defending them? Yes," he said. "It's about our justice system and how we uphold it."
On the location, Bracken said, "I'd rather have it here. This is the safest place in the world."
Bracken offered a comment he'd direct to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta if he were here: "Your people are doing a great job."
Martins said the reading of the charges in yesterday's arraignment provided a "stirring reminder" of the crimes that occurred Sept. 11, 2001.
He emphasized that as in any U.S. court proceeding, charges in the 9/11 case are only allegations. "The accused are presumed innocent, unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," Martins said.


The House armed services subcommittee on military personnel has declined to give the Obama administration new authority it sought to phase in higher TRICARE fees on military retirees over the next four years and to peg future TRICARE fee hikes to medical inflation nationwide. But in marking up its version of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill, the subcommittee did not adopt discreet language, as it has in the past years, that would block any TRICARE fee increases.
It also did not include language, as it has previously, that would prohibit the Department of Defense from using existing authority to raise co-payments on prescription drugs for dependents and retirees who use neighborhood pharmacies or the TRICARE mail order pharmacy program. Another sign that the issue of higher TRICARE fees is not settled for this year comes from Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), ranking Republican on the armed services' subcommittee on military personnel. A day before the House panel marked up its portion of its defense bill, and stayed silent on raising medical out-of-pocket costs for retirees, Graham predicted a compromise on health fee hikes between the two chambers by Sept. 30 "Between now and the end of the fiscal year, I hope we can convince the House to accept some adjustments in premiums for TRICARE, because it's just unsustainable right now," Graham told me in a phone interview.
So far House Republicans oppose the Defense Department's "balanced" approach for slicing $487 billion from defense budgets over the next decade, a figure agreed to in the Budget Control Act enacted last year.
About 10 percent of those cuts must occur to personnel accounts, defense leaders argue, primarily by raising out-of-pockets costs on military retirees through higher enrollment fees, deductibles and co-payments. Without higher fees, national security is at greater risk, they contend.
"If Congress rejects all of the modest changes we've proposed in TRICARE fees and co-pays for retirees, than almost $13 billion in savings over the next five years will have to be found in other areas such as readiness, or we could be forced to further reduce our troop strength, " Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Pentagon reporters this month. But Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a speech Wednesday the panel will "seek to eliminate the military health care fees proposed by the administration."
Ignoring that retirees are targeted for most of the fee hikes, McKeon added: "Our forces on the front lines shouldn't have to worry about caring for their families' health back home." The House subcommittee mark not only ignores administration plans to raise TRICARE fees, it also proposes new benefits -- 180-days of TRICARE Standard and TRICARE dental coverage to members of the drilling reserve who are involuntarily separated during the force drawdown now underway.
It also expresses "the sense of Congress" that military members and their families make extraordinary sacrifices over their careers, which should be viewed as a "significant pre-paid premium for their health care" in retirement. This, of course, would serve as a caution against any straight-line comparison of military benefits to what civilian workers receive. Graham, however, was blunt in arguing that retirees must be required to pay higher fees to make their TRICARE benefit "sustainable" and to ensure that weapon modernization and force structure aren't cut more deeply than planned to satisfy reduced targets that Congress agreed to last year.
"TRICARE premiums have to be adjusted," Graham said. "There have been no meaningful premium adjustments since 1995. And when the [TRICARE] program was first introduced, beneficiaries were providing 24 percent of the cost. Now they are down to 10. That's unsustainable." Graham doesn't endorse every feature for controlling personnel costs proposed in the administration's budget request. For example, he opposes capping active duty pay raises, starting in 2015. He also won't back tying future TRICARE fee hikes to medical inflation, although he agrees with defense officials that increases tied to retiree cost-of-living adjustments, which Congress voted for last year, isn't adequate either. "Somewhere between a COLA-adjustment increase and medical inflation is where we need to be, " Graham said.
He does support higher pharmacy co-pays to encourage more cost-efficient choices on filling prescriptions, and favors a tiered system of TRICARE fees "based on your income and retired rank, sort of a means test."
Graham knows some military associations oppose a tiered approach. But as an Air Force Reserve lawyer who will be eligible for TRICARE when he reaches age 60, Graham said tiered fees simply would be fairer.
"When I get my retirement and am TRICARE-eligible, clearly based on my income level I can afford a different premium versus someone who is retired as an E-7 or E-8," Graham said. Graham was asked if he was sympathetic to the view that imposing an annual enrollment fee on elderly beneficiaries using TRICARE for Life would break faith with a generation promised free lifetime military health care.
"I don't believe anybody was promised free lifetime medical care. That's a popular myth, "Graham said. "I think we have an obligation to the retired force to be generous and to be compassionate to help recruiting and retention. But, you know, there was never any contract with anybody that, for the rest of your life, you will get free medical care. That's not part of the deal and was never part of the deal."
Retirees do have a valid argument that the health system should become more efficient before TRICARE fees are raised sharply, he said. But that shouldn't be an excuse to delay reasonable fee increases now.
It's time Congress got honest with the American people, Graham said, including military retirees, Medicare beneficiaries and Social Security recipients. All of them, he said, "are going to have to accept change to get us out of this big [debt] hole that we're in."
With 2012 being an election year, Graham doesn't predict passage of major TRICARE fee increases. But allowing retirees to continue to pay only 10 percent toward health costs "is just not sustainable," he concluded.


Jury Awards $485,000 Against Catholic Community Services for Military Discrimination
SEATTLE, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — A federal jury today in Seattle awarded $485,000 to Washington National Guard Sergeant Grace Campbell and found that her employer had engaged in willful discrimination and harassment based on her military service. In 2008, Sergeant Campbell’s civilian employer Catholic Community Services fired her from her position of ten years when it learned that she was set to deploy for active service in Iraq. After her termination, Sergeant Campbell served in Iraq from October 2008 to August 2009, returning home to the Everett area without civilian work.
Catholic Community Services’ hostile treatment of Campbell began in 2006 after she returned from active duty at the U.S. Mexican border. During Campbell’s activation, her position with CCS was left unstaffed. Campbell’s manager and her co-workers resented Campbell’s absence and the increased workload. Upon her return, Campbell’s manager and co-workers began a systematic campaign of harassment and discrimination that included threats by Campbell’s manager to fire Campbell if it was learned that she had volunteered for duty.
Campbell complained repeatedly to multiple levels of management at Catholic Community Services about the discrimination, but it continued unchecked. In an effort to find relief, Campbell made a complaint to the Employer Support for Guard and Reserve (ESGR), the Department of Defense national committee tasked with providing support to the Guard and Reserve in their civilian employment. In December of 2006, a retired Naval Reserve Commander with ESGR met with Campbell’s managers in an attempt to resolve the problems Campbell was facing at work. Despite ESGR’s involvement, the hostile treatment of Campbell continued on into 2007 and 2008.
In February 2008, Campbell told CCS co-workers that she was preparing to deploy to Iraq later that year with the Washington National Guard 81st Brigade. On March 20, 2008, Catholic Community Services fired Campbell.
Campbell’s attorneys James W. Beck and Andrea H. McNeely, Partners at Gordon Thomas Honeywell, are pleased with the verdict. “This was a situation which never should have occurred,” said Beck. “Sergeant Campbell told her employer about the ongoing discrimination on at least three occasions, but there was never any formal investigation or decisive action to stop the treatment.” The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) prohibits harassment, discrimination, and retaliation against Guard members related to their service. “This is a vindication of the rights of Grace Campbell and those like her who make sacrifices in their civilian lives to serve their country,” said McNeely. “Moreover,” said Beck, “when the time came at trial for CCS to produce a key document that it claimed was central to its reason for terminating Campbell, the company had destroyed the document.” After a two year job search, Campbell is now employed as a receptionist with the Department of Social and Health Services in Seattle.
Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP is a full-service law firm with offices in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, representing clients in various areas of practice and industries.


Army wants to start replacing M113s in 2015
By Paul McLeary - Staff writer

The Army is looking to begin production of its Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle between fiscal 2015 and 2017, the service told contractors April 24.
The Army made its presentation during an AMPV industry day in Michigan to update vendors on the effort to replace 3,800 Vietnam-era M113 Armored Personnel Carriers in heavy brigade combat teams. The Army is looking for 3,014 vehicles, while a replacement for echelons above brigade will be decided later and requirements may change, officials said.
The vehicle’s average unit manufacturing cost should be $1 million to $1.7 million. That number has dropped since February, when the service’s ground combat systems chief, Scott Davis, told reporters that the Army was looking at $2.4 million, although he said at the time that the Army expected that number to fall.
The AMPV family should have an off-road mobility comparable to M1/M2 Abrams tanks, according to briefing slides, while also offering protection comparable to combat vehicles “against ... direct fire, indirect fire and underbelly threat.” The general purpose vehicle should be designed to carry two crew members and six passengers.
The AMPV has five planned variants: general purpose, mortar carrier, mission command, medical evacuation and medical treatment.
The vehicles will be required to operate on the Army’s developmental communications network. The vehicle is scheduled to be deployed to up to eight brigade combat teams later this year.
An analysis of alternatives should be complete by June, with a request for proposals due between the first and third quarters of fiscal 2013, according to information presented at the industry day.
As part of the analysis of alternatives, the Army is considering several current and modified vehicles such as the Bradley; upgraded M113; mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle; and the Stryker, as well as “new start developmental vehicles.” Those would include the Ground Combat Vehicle or the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
BAE Systems and General Dynamics have signaled their interest in the program, with BAE offering its fleet of Bradley variants, and General Dynamics saying its double V-hulled Stryker would fit the bill. Navistar Defense has also said it is interested in the program, possibly in partnership with another company.
The desire to field a nondevelopmental solution was made clear in the industry day briefing slides, which emphasized system commonality both across the AMPV fleet and “with other fielded Army systems.” The Army also said the forthcoming request for proposals is “not a mission equipment package development program,” and that industry should “leverage existing M113 MEP where possible.”
Concern is brewing about the program among some members of Congress. On April 15, Reps. Todd Platts, R-Pa., and Mark Critz, D-Pa., wrote a letter to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to “express our concern about the impending break in the combat vehicle production base and to propose a program acceleration that may help to partially mitigate this unacceptable situation.”
They represent York, home to the BAE Systems plant that makes the Bradley.
The letter was also signed by Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas. The congressmen said “the AMPV program is virtually an off-the-shelf program for which our existing combat vehicle manufacturers have had working prototypes for as long as three years. We strongly believe that an accelerated acquisition, such as was used to acquire the very successful Interim Armored Vehicle, is ideally suited for the AMPV program.”
The Army plans to hold another industry day in August or September, with a pre-solicitation conference after that.


Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits may be transferred with re-enlistment
Story by: Parker Rome

Education benefits provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill may be transferred by service members to their Family members.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which was introduced Aug. 1, 2009, provides up to 36 months of education benefits, including tuition, books, supplies and housing.
Service members are eligible for the full benefit after three years of active-duty service, with benefits pro-rated before that.
"Once they're fully eligible, and if they want to use their benefits when they get out of the service, they can receive a monthly housing allowance equivalent to an E-5 with dependents, based on the basic housing allowance standards, up to $1,000 a year in books and equipment and up to a certain amount in tuition," said Ruth Greiner, specialist, Education Services.
Service members who wish to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to their spouse or dependent children must have a minimum of six years of active-duty service and commit to an additional four-year service obligation at the time of the transfer.
"That's where a lot of people are misunderstanding," Greiner said. "They forget about that additional agreement."
The spouse can begin using the benefits at the time of the transfer, but will not be eligible for the monthly housing allowance while the Soldier is on active duty. Dependent children may receive the full benefits and may start using the benefits after the service member has completed 10 years of active duty service.
"(Service members) have to be on active duty or under Title 32 orders in order to transfer the benefits," Greiner said. "Once they get off of active duty, they can no longer transfer the benefits. That goes in conjunction with (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) because your dependents are all on DEERS at that time."
Service members, who have spent more than six years serving on active-duty status, must still commit to at least four years to transfer the benefits.
"The thing about the transfer is that it is not set in stone," Greiner said. "If they have any inkling that they're going to want to transfer, go ahead and process the transfer because you can always revoke; they can always modify in the future."
Service members who are considering transferring the benefits to multiple Family members are encouraged to submit the request for every potential Family member at the time of the transfer.
"If you're not quite sure if your second child is going to use it, we always recommend to at least put one month in there, because if they put one month in there, they're eligible, and they can modify it at a later date," Greiner said. "If they don't put that child in there, and they leave the service, then that child can never get any of the benefits."


Army Infantry is considering a new Squad Machine Gun

Army infantry officials say the squad machine gun developed under the Lightweight Small Arms Technologies program has matured enough to become a serious contender to replace the venerable M249 squad automatic weapon. It’s nearly half the weight of the M249, and its “cased-telescoped” ammunition is significantly lighter than standard linked ammo, according to Col. Daniel Barnett, director the Soldier Requirements Division at Fort Benning, Ga.
“It’s actually progressed pretty well; I have fired it a couple of times,” Barnett said. The current version of LSAT, developed by AAI Corporation with government funding, weighs 9.4 pounds compared to the M249 squad automatic weapon, which weighs in at roughly 17 pounds.
LSAT’s cased-telescoped 5.56mm ammunition that relies on a plastic case rather than a brass one to hold the propellant and the projectile, like a conventional shotgun shell. It weighs 37 percent less than standard belted 5.56mm.
Small Arms experts don’t argue that LSAT is extremely impressive, but they doubt big Army anywhere near ready to dump brass-cased ammo. Huge stockpiles of ammunition and shrinking defense budgets will likely convince the top brass to shelve the program until the next war.
Benning officials recently told Military.com that it’s time for the Army to decide if it wants to send LSAT down range for an operational assessment. Aside from the current LMG version, the materials and some of the technology LSAT uses could spin off into other small arms programs, Barnett said: “It has a lot of potential.”
The Army has come a long way in its effort to lighten the soldier’s combat load, but it seems like that effort is at a stand still until it finds a way to make bullets, mortar rounds and other munitions significantly lighter.
So what do you think? Is it time to really think about dumping brass-cased ammo or is LSAT just another “leap-ahead technology” that’s destined to fail?


A few General Officer appointments for your information! BB.

MG Stuart M. Dyer, U.S. Army Reserve, commander, 335th Signal Command (Theater), East Point, Ga., to chief integration officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6, Washington, D.C.

MG Mark W. Perrin to deputy director, Signals Intelligence Directorate, National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Md. He most recently served as director, J-2, U.S. Forces-Iraq, Operation New Dawn, Iraq.

MG Steven W. Smith, U.S. Army Reserve, chief integration officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6, Washington, D.C., to deputy commander, 335th Signal Command (Theater Operational Command Post) (Forward), Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

MG Luis R. Visot, U.S. Army Reserve, commanding general, 377th Theater Support Command, New Orleans, La., to deputy commanding general-operations, U.S. Army Reserve Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.

MG Glenn J. Lesniak, U.S. Army Reserve, commanding general, 88th Regional Support Command, Fort McCoy, Wis., to deputy commanding general-support, U.S. Army Reserve Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.

MG Bennet S. Sacolick, commanding general, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, N.C., to director, force management and development, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

BG Thomas E. Ayres, commanding general/commandant, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Va., to commanding general, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency/chief judge, U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals, Fort Belvoir, Va.

BG Norvell V. Coots, special assistant to the surgeon general, Falls Church, Va., to surgeon general, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan/medical advisor, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.

BG Flora D. Darpino, commanding general, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency/chief judge, U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals, Fort Belvoir, Va., to commanding general/commandant, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Va.

BG Steven W. Duff, Army National Guard, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., to chief of staff, Kosovo Force, Pristina, Kosovo.

BG Kaffia Jones, U.S. Army Reserve, commander, 505th Signal Brigade, Las Vegas, Nev., to deputy commander, 335th Signal Command (Theater), East Point, Ga.

BG Timothy P. McGuire, deputy chief, legislative liaison, Office of the Secretary of the Army, Washington, D.C., to deputy commanding general, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

BG Kevin L. McNeely, Army National Guard, director, strategic plans and policy (J-5), National Guard Bureau, Washington, D.C., to director, European Partnership Task Force, U.S. European Command, Germany.

BG Mark R. Quantock, chief, CJ-2, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, to deputy director for trans-regional policy, J-5, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

BG Nadja Y. West, commanding general, Europe Regional Medical Command/command surgeon, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany, to assistant surgeon general for force sustainment, Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army, Falls Church, Va.

BG Brig. Gen. Robert M. Dyess Jr., who has been selected for the rank of major general, director, Requirements Integration Directorate, Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, Va., to director, force development, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

BG Christopher K. Haas, commander, Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, to commanding general, U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.

BG Sean P. Mulholland, deputy director of operations, J-3, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., to commander, Special Operations Command South, U.S. Southern Command, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla.

BG Edward M. Reeder Jr., commanding general, U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., to commanding general, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, N.C.

COL Roger L. Cloutier Jr., who has been selected for the rank of brigadier general, deputy commander (maneuver), 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Ga., to executive officer to the supreme allied commander, Europe, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Belgium.

COL Peggy C. Combs, who has been selected for the rank of brigadier general, deputy commander, U.S. Army Cadet Command, Fort Knox, Ky., to commandant, U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

COL Michael D. Lundy, who has been selected for the rank of brigadier general, deputy commander (support), 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas, to deputy commander, Combined Arms Center for Training, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

COL John M. Cho, who has been nominated for the rank of brigadier general, commander, 30th Medical Command, Germany, to assistant surgeon general for force management, Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army, Falls Church, Va.

COL Jeffrey B. Clark, who has been nominated for the rank of brigadier general, commander, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, to commander, Europe Regional Medical Command/command surgeon, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.


'Flags In' Tradition Honors Fallen Warfighters for Memorial Day
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., May 25, 2012 - More than 1,200 soldiers with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, gathered at Arlington National Cemetery here yesterday to place miniature American flags on each of its gravesites and niches for the annual "Flags In" ritual that's been performed just before each Memorial Day for 64 years.
The Old Guard, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, is the Army's ceremonial unit and has honored Americans buried at the cemetery with the Flags In commemoration every year since 1948.
The regiment's troops placed the flags on nearly 260,000 gravesites and 22,000 niches, in addition to more than 14,000 graves at the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., an Army cemetery for residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington.
Old Guard sentinels also placed four flags at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The Old Guard's commander, Army Col. Dave Anders, was with his troops as they placed the flags, which are uniformly centered and situated one boot-length back from the headstone.
Anders placed flags in Arlington's Section 60, where some 12,000 service members who'd served in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried, in addition to many warfighters from World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars.
"I started in the rows of soldiers I served with and knew personally," Anders said, motioning toward a flag he'd just placed on the grave of a soldier he served with twice -- first, at Fort Benning, Ga., and later, in Afghanistan, in 2007. Anders said his father, and his great uncle who died in combat during World War II, also are buried at Arlington.
"This is like a family cemetery," he said. "It's a sad place but very [comforting]."
Yesterday marked Army Pvt. Krieg Bates' first time participating in the Flags In commemoration, at his first duty station.
"My family has a proud history of military service," Bates said solemnly. "It's an honor to come here today for those who sacrificed so much."
Old Guard soldiers feel honored by the rituals they perform, Anders said.
"We're the only unit that does it, and we are very proud of that," the colonel said.
Large groups of Old Guard soldiers carried rucksacks filled with 200 to 300 of the small flags, carefully placing them one-by-one along the long rows of white headstones.
Yesterday, Anders estimated the cemetery would have flags placed on every gravesite by 6:30 or 7 p.m.


Thanks to Tony Moscicki for this very excellant message.BB


FILE - This undated file photo, issued by the British Crown Office, shows Abdel... (AP Photo/Crown Copyright, File)

Libyan convicted in Lockerbie bombing dies at 60
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer who was the only person ever convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, died at home in Tripoli Sunday, nearly three years after he was released from a Scottish prison to the outrage of the relatives of the attack's 270 victims. He was 60.
Scotland released al-Megrahi on Aug. 20, 2009, on compassionate grounds to let him return home to die after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. At the time, doctors predicted he had only three months to live.
Anger over the release was further stoked by the hero's welcome he received on his arrival in Libya — and by subsequent allegations that London had sought his release to preserve business interests in the oil-rich North African nation, strongly denied by the British and Scottish governments.
Al-Megrahi insisted he was innocent, but he kept a strict silence after his release, living in the family villa surrounded by high walls in a posh Tripoli neighborhood, mostly bedridden or taking a few steps with a cane. Libyan authorities sealed him off from public access. When the one-year anniversary of his release passed, some who visited him said al-Megrahi bitterly mused that the world was rooting for him to die.
His son, Khaled al-Megrahi, confirmed that he died in Tripoli in a telephone interview but hung up before giving more details.
Saad Nasser al-Megrahi, a relative and a member of the ruling National Transitional Council, said al-Megrahi's health had seriously deteriorated in recent days and he died of cancer-related complications.
Al-Megrahi passed away at his Tripoli home on Sunday morning, according to another NTC member, Moussa al-Kouni.
To the end, al-Megrahi insisted he had nothing to do with the bombing, which killed 270 people, most of them Americans.
"I am an innocent man," al-Megrahi said in his last interview, published in several British papers in December. "I am about to die and I ask now to be left in peace with my family."

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

Darn! I could of had that much money if I hadn't joined the Army....Thanks to Ron Brauer for this one. BB

A balding, white haired man from Naples, Florida, walked into a jewelry store this past Friday evening with a beautiful much younger gal at his side.
He told the jeweler he was looking for a special ring for his girlfriend. The jeweler looked through his stock and brought out a $5,000 ring.
The man said, "No, I'd like to see something more special."
At that statement, the jeweler went to his special stock and brought another ring over. "Here's a stunning ring at only $40,000" the jeweler said. The lady's eyes sparkled and her whole body trembled with excitement. The old man seeing this said, "We'll take it."
The jeweler asked how payment would be made and the man stated, "by check. I know you need to make sure my check is good, so I'll write it now and you can call the bank Monday to verify the funds and I'll pick the ring up Monday afternoon."
On Monday morning, the jeweler angrily phoned the old man and said "There's no money in that account!"
"I know," said the old man, "but let me tell you about MY GREAT WEEKEND!"
See......Not All Seniors Are Senile


Thanks to Tony Mocicki for the fantasy. BB

The two old coots were both only a year short of retirement from the assembly line, but one Monday morning that didn't keep Joe from boasting to Manny about his sexual endurance. "Three times," gasped Manny admiringly. "How'd you do it?" "It was easy. " Joe looked down modestly. "I made love to my wife, and then I rolled over and took a ten-minute nap. When I woke up again, I made love to her again and took another ten-minute nap. And then I put it to her again. Can you believe it! I woke up this morning feeling like a bull, I'll tell you." "I gotta try it," said Manny. "Lorraine won't believe it's happening." So that night he made love to his wife, took a ten-minute nap, made love to her again, took another nap, woke up and made love to her a third time, then rolled over and fell sound asleep. He woke up feeling like a million bucks, pulled on his clothes, and ran to the factory, where he found his boss waiting outside for him. "What's up, Boss?" he asked. "I've been working for you for twenty years and never been late once. You aren't going to hold these twenty minutes against me now, are you?" "What twenty minutes?" growled the boss. "Where were you on Tuesday and Wednesday?"


I think you troopers are getting your jokes from the same place. Thanks to Charles Murowski for this one. BB

A couple was on their honeymoon, lying in bed, about 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?"
"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 are done, the husband gets up and walks to the telephone.
"What are you doing?" asks the wife.
The husband says, "I'm hungry, I was going to call room service and get something to eat."
"Tiger wouldn't do that."
"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 a second time.
When they finish, he gets up and goes over to the phone. "Now what are you doing?" she asks.
The husband says, "I'm still hungry so I was going to get room service to get something to eat."
"Tiger wouldn't do that."
"Oh yeah? What would Tiger do?"
"He'd come back to bed and do it again."
The guy slams down the phone, goes back to bed, and makes love one more 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 the par is for this damn hole."


He oughta paint them green before the match! Got this one from Wayne Paddack. BB



Maybe next week we'll learn the rest of the Story from Smokey Guillespi . BB

The Gorilla and the Redneck

A small zoo in Georgia obtained a very rare species of gorilla.
Within a few weeks the gorilla, a female, became very difficult to handle. Upon examination, the veterinarian determined the problem. The gorilla was in heat. To make matters worse, there was no male gorilla available.
Thinking about their problem, the Zoo Keeper thought of Billy Bob Skidmore, a redneck part-time worker responsible for cleaning the animal cages. Billy Bob , like most rednecks, had little sense but possessed ample ability to satisfy a female of any species.
The Zoo Keeper thought they might have a solution. Billy Bob was approached with a proposition. Would he be willing to mate with the gorilla for $500.00?
Billy Bob showed some interest, but said he would have to think the matter over carefully. The following day, he announced that he would accept their offer, but only under five conditions:
"First", Billy Bob said, "I ain't gonna kiss her on the lips." The Keeper quickly agreed to this condition.
"Second", he said, "She gotta wear a 'Dale Earnhardt Forever' T-Shirt." The keeper again readily agreed to this condition.
"Third", he said, "you cain't never tell no one about this." The keeper again readily agreed to this condition.
"Fourth", Billy Bob said, "I want all the children raised Southern Baptist." Once again it was agreed.
"And last," Billy Bob said, "I'll need another week to come up with the $500.00.


Here's one from Dave Snavely. BB


A nun, badly needing to use to the restroom, walked into a local Hooters. The place was hopping with music and loud conversation and every once in a while 'the lights would turn off.'
Each time the lights would go out, the place would erupt into cheers.
However, when the revelers saw the nun, the room went dead silent. She walked up to the bartender, and asked, 'May I please use the restroom?
The bartender replied, 'OK, but I should warn you that there is a statue of a naked man in there wearing only a fig leaf.'
'Well, in that case, I'll just look the other way,' said the nun. So the bartender showed the nun to the back of the restaurant.
After a few minutes, she came back out, and the whole place stopped just long enough to give the nun a loud round of applause.
She went to the bartender and said, 'Sir, I don't understand. Why did they applaud for me just because I went to the restroom?'
'Well, now they know you're one of us,' said the bartender, 'Would you like a drink?'
'No thank you, but, I still don't understand,' said the puzzled nun. 'You see,' laughed the bartender, 'every time someone lifts the fig leaf on that statue, the lights go out. Now, how about that drink?


I didn't know Dan Thompson was a Golfer. BB

Two women were playing golf. One teed off and watched in horror as her ball headed directly toward a foursome of men playing the next hole. The ball hit one of the men.
He immediately clasped his hands together at his groin, fell to the ground and proceeded to roll around in agony.
The woman rushed down to the man, and immediately began to apologize.
“Please allow me to help. I'm a physical therapist and I know I could relieve your pain if you'd allow me," she told him.
"Oh, no, I'll be all right. I'll be fine in a few minutes", the man replied.
He was in obvious agony, lying in the fetal position, still clasping his hands together at his groin. At her persistence, however, he finally allowed her to help.
She gently took his hands away and laid them to the side, loosened his pants and put her hands inside. She administered tender and artful massage for several long moments and asked, "How does that feel?"
He replied, "It feels great .....but my thumb still hurts like hell!"


There will be a test for all Students in tomorrows class. Sent in by Ron Brauer. BB

A professor at the Auburn University was giving a lecture on Paranormal Studies.
To get a feel for his audience, he asks, 'How many people here believe in ghosts?'
About 90 students raise their hands.
Well, that's a good start. Out of those who believe in ghosts, do any of you think you have seen a ghost?'
About 40 students raise their hands.
That's really good. I'm really glad you take this seriously. Has anyone here ever talked to a ghost?'
About 15 students raise their hand.
Has anyone here ever touched a ghost?'
Three students raise their hands.
That's fantastic. Now let me ask you one question further...Have any of you ever made love to a ghost?'
Way in the back, Ahmed raises his hand.
The professor takes off his glasses and says 'Son, all the years I've been giving this lecture, no one has ever claimed to have made love to a ghost. You've got to come up here and tell us about your experience.'
The Middle Eastern student replied with a nod and a grin, and began to make his way up to the podium.
When he reached the front of the room, the professor asks, 'So, Ahmed, tell us what it's like to have sex with a ghost?'
Ahmed replied, "Oh, from back there I thought you said "Goat."


I think that's my grandmama on the end.Thanks to Lynn Anderson for this one. BB

If you were around in 1919 and came upon the following poster...

I mean, seriously ... wouldn't you just keep drinking?


Here are some side busters sent in by John Conley . BB

Inscriptions on some tombstones, very interesting

Old Cemeteries

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Harry Edsel Smith of  Albany , New York : 
Born 1903--Died 1942. 
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the 
car was on the way down. It was. 
In a Thurmont,  Maryland , cemetery: 
Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up and no 
place to go. 
On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in 
East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia : 
Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102.. Only The 
Good Die Young.. 
In a  London , England cemetery: 
Here lies Ann Mann, Who lived an old maid 
but died an old Mann. Dec. 8, 1767 
In a Ribbesford,  England , cemetery: 
Anna Wallace 
The children of Israel wanted bread, And 
the Lord sent them manna.. Clark Wallace 
wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna. 
In a Ruidoso,  New Mexico , cemetery: 
Here lies Johnny Yeast.... Pardon him 
for not rising.. 
In a Uniontown,  Pennsylvania , cemetery: 
Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake. 
Stepped on the gas instead of the brake. 
In a Silver City , Nevada , cemetery: 
Here lays The Kid. 
We planted him raw. 
He was quick on the trigger 
But slow on the draw. 
A lawyer's epitaph in  England : 
Sir John Strange. 
Here lies an honest lawyer, 
and that is Strange. 
John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne, 
England , cemetery: 
Reader, if cash thou art in want of any, 
Dig 6 feet deep and thou wilt find a Penny. 
In a cemetery in  Hartscombe , England : 
On the 22nd of June, Jonathan Fiddle went 
out of tune. 
Anna Hopewell's grave in Enosburg Falls , 
Vermont : 
Here lies the body of our Anna, 
Done to death by a banana. 
It wasn't the fruit that laid her low, 
But the skin of the thing that made her go. 
On a grave from the 1880s in  Nantucket , 
Massachusetts : 
Under the sod and under the trees, 
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.. 
He is not here, there's only the pod. 
Pease shelled out and went to God. 
In a cemetery in  England : 
Remember man, as you walk by, 
As you are now, so once was I 
As I am now, so shall you be.. 
Remember this and follow me. 
To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone: 
To follow you I'll not consent. 
Until I know which way you went. 


There's a lesson here somewhere. This one came from Bob Corbin. BB

After being married for 40 years, I took a careful look at my wife one day and said, "Forty years ago we had a cheap house, a junk car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 23-year-old girl.
Now ..... I have a $500,000.00 home, a $35,000.00 car, a nice big bed and a large screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 63-year-old woman. It seems to me that you're not holding up your side of things."
My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 23-year-old girl and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap house, driving a junk car, sleeping on a sofa bed and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.
Aren't older women great? They really know how to solve an old guy's problems.


Contributed by: Edmund Hayes, MD

A Nasal Path to Migraine Relief
Roughly 30 million Americans suffer from migraines, and as you might expect, there's a large pharmaceutical market to prevent or stop these debilitating headaches. Drugs such as Imitrex and Verapamil employ different pharmacological modes of action, reducing migraines by adjusting neurotransmitter levels, blocking ion channels, or simulating the body's natural painkillers. There's also a less pharmaceutical migraine treatment strategy, recommended by many headache specialists, that follows the old adage: "Active Body, Active Mind." One recent study even found that 40 minutes of exercise three times a week can be as effective at preventing migraines as popular anti-migraine medications.
Still, prescribing exercise or environmental enrichment (keeping the mind busy through activities such as reading, crossword puzzles, exercise, or socialization) can strike some doctors and patients as frustratingly vague. Understanding the biological mechanism that makes these activities protective against migraines could help convince doctors and patients of their utility, while also giving researchers the opportunity to translate the factors associated with environmental enrichment into highly effective treatments. In the laboratory of Richard Kraig, William D. Mabie Professor in the Neurosciences at University of Chicago Medicine, that very effort is underway.
"We are interested in environmental enrichment as a way to stop cognitive decline from aging, injury after stroke, Parkinson's disease, and cell death after seizures.
With our new work, we apply this search for how the brain protects itself against disease to include migraines," Kraig said. "The 'why' of it has sometimes been left in the realm of holistic medicine, with little scientific support. So establishing the hard science makes it more credible to the psychologists, physiologists, physiatrists, because here's the chemistry."


The Terrifying Cost of a New Drug
Matthew Herper at Forbes has a very interesting column, building on some data from Bernard Munos (whose work on drug development will be familiar to readers of this blog). What he and his colleague Scott DeCarlo have done is conceptually simple: they've gone back over the last 15 years of financial statements from a bunch of major drug companies, and they've looked at how many drugs each company has gotten approved.
Over that long a span, things should even out a bit. There will be some spending which won't show up in the count, that took place on drugs that got approved during the earlier part that span, but (on the back end) there's spending on drugs in there that haven't made it to market yet, too. What do the numbers look like? Hideous. Appalling. Unsustainable.
AstraZeneca, for example, got 5 drugs on the market during this time span, the worst performance on this list, and thus spent spent nearly $12 billion dollars per drug. No wonder they're in the shape they're in. GSK, Sanofi, Roche, and Pfizer all spent in the range of $8 billion per approved drug. Amgen did things the cheapest by this measure, 9 drugs approved at about 3.7 billion per drug.


Antidepressant-Suicide Link In Youths Absent In New Analysis
In 2004, concerns about antidepressant drugs increasing suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young patients prompted the FDA to issue a rare "black box warning." Now, a new analysis of clinical trial data finds that treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine did not increase - or decrease - suicidality in children compared to placebo treatment. An analysis built on data from 41 trials and more than 9,000 patients also found that two different popular antidepressant drugs were effective at reducing suicidal behavior and depressive symptoms in adult and geriatric patients. The findings are published online Feb. 6 in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry. The failure to replicate the link between antidepressants and suicide should reassure doctors about prescribing these drugs to depressed patients, said first author Robert Gibbons, PhD, professor of medicine, health studies, and psychiatry at the University of Chicago Medicine. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Three 'Targeted' Cancer Drugs Raise Risk Of Fatal Side Effects
Treatment with three relatively new "targeted" cancer drugs has been linked to a slightly elevated chance of fatal side effects, according to a new analysis led by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. They added that the risk remains low, but should be taken into account by physicians and patients.
The incidence of fatal complications was 1.5 percent in patients who received any of the three drugs, which block the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) tyrosine kinase receptors in cancer cells, according to the study published February 6 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. This is compared to a 0.7 percent incidence in patients given standard treatments or placebos.
The study looked at three drugs: sorafenib (Nexavar), sunitinib (Sutent), and pazopanib (Votrient). Sorafenib is approved to treat kidney and liver cancer, sunitinib to treat kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), and pazopanib to treat kidney cancer.


Rapid Bone Loss As Possible Side Effect Of Anti-Obesity Drug Now In Clinical Trials
An endocrine hormone used in clinical trials as an anti-obesity and anti-diabetes drug causes significant and rapid bone loss in mice, raising concerns about its safe use, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have shown.
UT Southwestern researchers (from left) Drs. Yihong Wan, Wei Wei and David Mangelsdorf have found in mice that a hormone used as an anti-obesity drug causes significant bone loss.
The hormone, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), promotes bone loss by enhancing the activity of a protein that stimulates fat cells but inhibits bone cells, researchers report in a study available online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This hormone is a very potent regulator of bone mass," said Dr. Yihong Wan, assistant professor of pharmacology and senior author of the study. "When we oversupply FGF21 in mice, it results in substantial bone loss."


Study of HIV-Infected Youth: Antiretroviral Therapy not Associated with Severity of Psychiatric Disorders
A study of more than 300 children and adolescents with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) revealed no association between specific antiretroviral therapy and the severity of psychiatric disorders. In "Human Immunodeficiency Virus Disease Severity, Psychiatric Symptoms, and Functional Outcomes in Perinatally Infected Youth," Principal Investigator Sharon Nachman, M.D., of Stony Brook School of Medicine, and colleagues detail this finding and others in the Online First edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adult Medicine.
Children living with HIV often develop psychiatric and behavioral disorders. A major concern for health professionals is if the severity of HIV illness or use of specific antiretroviral therapy regimens put these children at an increased risk for mental health problems.
"Our study indicates that specific antiretroviral therapy and severity of HIV infection in children and adolescents are not necessarily associated with the level of mental health problems experienced by these patients, which counters the conventional thinking about the relationship between HIV and the development of psychiatric disorders," says Dr. Nachman, Associate Dean for Research, and Professor of Pediatrics at Stony Brook School of Medicine.


Zinc Linked To Breast Cancer
New research by Cardiff scientists with colleagues at King's College London has identified the switch which releases zinc into cells, with important implications for a number of diseases.
Zinc has long been known to play a vital part in human health. Too much zinc, or too little, can cause cell death. A growing body of evidence links zinc to disease states including neurodegeneration, inflammation, diabetes and cancer.
Zinc levels in cells are controlled by protein molecules called zinc transporters. These move zinc in and out of the cell to ensure correct levels are maintained. Until now, scientists have not understood how the transporters release the zinc.
The new study, including Dr Kathryn Taylor at the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Dr Peter Kille at the School of Biosciences, has identified a switch known as CK2. This is a protein which opens one transporter, called ZIP7, and allows the zinc to flow.


After traffic stop, Ohio woman gives birth in car
A woman's speeding got her a warning from an Ohio state trooper but wasn't enough to keep her grandchild from being born in her car.
Donna Richmond got pulled over on Tuesday morning as she was trying to rush her daughter to a Columbus hospital. She tells WBNS-TV ( http://bit.ly/wQiroM) that the State Highway Patrol officer told her she was going 90 mph. That's when daughter Debbie Richmond says she screamed from the front passenger seat, "I'm in labor!"
The trooper let them go with the warning. But the delay from the traffic stop kept them from reaching the hospital in time, so Debbie Richmond gave birth to a daughter in her mother's Hyundai.
The father, Randall Altman, says he was in the back seat "freaking out."


How Erectile Dysfunction Might Save Your Life
Just the other day, I saw a 52 year old man in my office for what I thought was a routine prostate issue. I walked in the exam room, introduced myself and immediately knew his prostate was fine. His eye contact was non-existent. He was nervous and his handshake was clammy and brief. I see these patients everyday. Their prostates are just fine. It's their love life that's the issue. This patient came in because of erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is a disease just like diabetes or hypertension or coronary artery disease. And just like these traditional diseases, ED can have a profound impact on a patients life both physically and emotionally. Ten years ago it was commonly thought that ED affected 30 million men in the United States. Now, with the burgeoning baby boomer population, estimates are closer to 50 million. And over the next ten years that number will continue to increase. But the question remains for both patients and doctors: is ED really a big deal? If you ask the majority of these 50 million men I think the answer would be a resounding yes.
But what about the doctors? Well, you might be surprised to discover that most doctors would now agree with the patients and that's a huge change in attitude. This is the result of important basic science research that has flooded the peer-reviewed medical journals from the Journal of Urology to the New England Journal of Medicine. Doctors have discovered that ED can be an important sign of other potentially life threatening diseases, such as coronary artery disease, and that discussing and treating a patient's ED might just save their life. In my practice, I typically address ED in every male patient over the age of 40. These are usually simple questions that allows a patient to feel comfortable with this important issue. If nothing else, it strengthens my relationship with my patients and lets them know they can discuss any of their health concerns.


Drug Halts Organ Damage In Inflammatory Genetic Disorder
A new study shows that Kineret (anakinra), a medication approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, is effective in stopping the progression of organ damage in people with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID). This rare and debilitating genetic disorder causes persistent inflammation and ongoing tissue damage. The research was performed by scientists at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
NOMID affects numerous organs and body systems, including the skin, joints, eyes, and central nervous system. The first sign of the disease is often a rash that develops within the first weeks of life. Other problems, including fever, meningitis, joint damage, vision and hearing loss, and mental retardation, can follow. Kineret, one of a relatively new class of drugs known as biologic response modifiers or biologics, blocks the activity of interleukin-1 (IL-1), a protein made by cells of the immune system. IL-1 is overproduced in NOMID and a number of other diseases, leading to damaging inflammation. Previous work by the same NIAMS group showed that blocking IL-1 was effective in relieving symptoms of NOMID. However, this is the first study to show that Kineret works over the long-term and, at higher doses, can also control damage that often results in vision and hearing loss, and brain lesions.
"Inflammation prolonged over many years will eventually cause irreversible damage and loss of function," said lead author Dr. Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky of the NIAMS Translational Autoinflammatory Disease Section.


Molecular Secrets of Ancient Chinese Herbal Remedy Revealed
For roughly two thousand years, Chinese herbalists have treated Malaria using a root extract, commonly known as Chang Shan, from a type of hydrangea that grows in Tibet and Nepal. More recent studies suggest that halofuginone, a compound derived from this extract's bioactive ingredient, could be used to treat many autoimmune disorders as well. Now, researchers from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine have discovered the molecular secrets behind this herbal extract's power.
It turns out that halofuginone (HF) triggers a stress-response pathway that blocks the development of a harmful class of immune cells, called Th17 cells, which have been implicated in many autoimmune disorders.
"HF prevents the autoimmune response without dampening immunity altogether," said Malcolm Whitman, a professor of developmental biology at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and senior author on the new study. "This compound could inspire novel therapeutic approaches to a variety of autoimmune disorders."


Can Viagra Treat Childhood Lymphatic Disorder?
A surprising potential therapy for severe, hard-to-treat malformations of the lymphatic system is now being studied at the Stanford School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital: researchers have a study under way on the benefits of Viagra, a drug best known for treating erectile dysfunction though it has other uses as well, for treating this lymphatic condition.
The malformations, called lymphangiomas, are overgrowths of the one-way lymph channels that return extra fluid from our tissues to the bloodstream. Rarely, in infants and children, these channels grow abnormally large and cause deformity or death. (The overgrowth may choke off a child's airway or interfere with other aspects of heart and lung function.) Lymphangiomas are hard to treat, since the overgrown vessels are often too tangled into vital organs to remove surgically. And the deformity tends to grow with the child, worsening over time.
Physicians at Packard Children's discovered, essentially by accident, that a common drug - sildenafil, a.k.a. Viagra - appears to shrink the overgrown vessels. They gave sildenafil to a child with a severe lymphangioma to treat another condition, pulmonary hypertension, and noticed that the lymph malformation shrank significantly. Unfortunately, the child's underlying condition was so severe that she later died; however, two subsequent patients have done well on the medication.


Thinking Outside the Black Box on Antidepressants
In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration placed their equivalent of a scarlet letter on the antidepressant fluoxetine. Acting on the compiled results of several clinical trials, the FDA affixed its foreboding "black box warning" on to the drug best known as Prozac, preaching caution about increased suicide risk in children and young adults who take the medication. The decision made headlines around the world, leading to similar warnings in other countries and widespread decreases in the amount of prescriptions issued for the drugs to both pediatric and adult patients.
The FDA's decision, voted on by a 23-member scientific advisory panel, was not unanimous, passing 15-8. One of the panel's dissenters was Robert Gibbons, a health statistician then at UIC who later joined the University of Chicago Medicine in 2010. Gibbons thought that the studies used by the FDA, based largely upon retrospective data and adverse event reports, left too much room for alternative explanations.
"I didn't find the data compelling," Gibbons said. "For example, kids randomized to drugs would have more side effects, more contact with their doctor, and would have more opportunity to talk about suicidal thoughts."


Will Anti-Arrhythmic Drug Beat Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in the United States. This form of heart attack kills 325,000 people every year, representing one death every two minutes. Almost all SCA victims die before they even reach a hospital. To identify a drug that paramedics can use in the field, UC San Diego Health System has opened a clinical trial to evaluate two medications to help restore the heart beat.
"Only five percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive their heart attack," said Daniel Davis, MD, UC San Diego Director of Resuscitation Science in the Department of Emergency Medicine. "For more than 30 years we've been looking for an anti-arrhythmic drug to treat ventricular tachycardia, or what we call shockable rhythm, but we have not found a drug that consistently improves patient outcomes. This clinical trial will help us determine if either the drugs amiodarone or lidocaine may help prevent death."
This NIH-funded clinical trial consists of three study arms to compare lidocaine, amiodarone and a placebo. The primary objective is to determine if survival is improved with a new formulation of amiodarone and to determine if amiodarone or lidocaine is more effective. The drugs are delivered by injection.


Antibiotics Ineffective For Most Sinus Infections
Antibiotics that doctors typically prescribe for sinus infections do not reduce symptoms any better than an inactive placebo, according to investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
"Patients don't get better faster or have fewer symptoms when they get antibiotics," says Jay F. Piccirillo, MD, professor of otolaryngology and the study's senior author. "Our results show that antibiotics aren't necessary for a basic sinus infection - most people get better on their own."
The study appears Feb. 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Believe it or not
Man with two hearts survives double heart attack
Doctors managed to save the life of a 71-year-old man with two hearts who suffered dueling heart attacks. "We haven't ever seen anything similar to this case before," Dr. Giacomo Mugnai said in an interview with MSNBC.
At first, doctors thought they had a typical case of cardiac arrest until they examined the patient more closely and noticed his unusual medical condition. It turns out that the man actually wasn't born with two hearts. His second heart arrived after an earlier medical procedure on his original heart.
The procedure, a heterotopic transplant, is done to pair a new, healthy organ with a diseased one.
"We see this in cardiac patients or kidney patients, sometimes," Dr. Rade Vukmir, professor of emergency medicine at Temple University and a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians, told MSNBC. "Surgeons might leave a kidney in place if it's too much trouble to take out, or if there is hope for recovery of a kidney, or a heart, after a period of time" of being helped by the new organ.
The report first appeared in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, describing how the transplant team managed to merge the patient's new heart with his original, diseased organ. Of course, there's an inherent risk that if the transplant goes too well.
"You can develop two independent heart rhythms, especially in a scenario where one heart gets a little better," Vukmir said. Which is apparently exactly what happened to the Italian patient. After being admitted to the hospital, doctors administered drug therapy in an attempt to correct his dysrhythmia, only to have the medicine shut down both of his hearts.
Doctors then were able to successfully use a defibrillator to revive both hearts simultaneously. He's now reportedly doing well with his two functioning hearts.


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Even if you have a relatively new machine, it doesn't take long for corrupted files to build up and "clog the valves." Pretty soon your shiny new Dell or HP State of the Art is sputtering like it's 10 years old and on PC Life Support. On top of this, the Virus Death Squads come along and bring your computer to a screeching halt. Virus writers love to target weakened computers. So what's a person to do? That's where FastPCSecrets comes in.
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TRICARE Announces New Contractor
Week of May 07, 2012

As of May 1, 2012, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Inc. (MetLife) is the new TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) contractor. Beneficiaries purchasing TDP will see expanded dental benefits beginning May 1 with lower monthly premium rates than last year. More details about premiums costs can be found on the MetLife TDP website at mybenefits.metlife.com/tricare. TDP information is available by calling 1-855-638-8371 in the U.S., 1-855-638-8372 outside the United States or online through the MetLife TDP website at mybenefits.metlife.com/tricare. The website has more information about costs, coverage details and finding a provider. For more information about TRICARE's dental programs, visit the TRICARE Dental webpage at www.tricare.mil/dental.


Military ID Card (Retiree): Under a new initiative, ID card customers can schedule an individual appointment and circumvent the waiting line. Walk-in customers at ID card facilities can experience wait times of two hours or more during periods of peak demand. Now, civil servants and contractors are now filling customer service roles previously handled by active-duty personnel at Personnel Support Detachments (PSD) and Customer Service Detachment (CSD) Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) sites throughout the United States, Hawaii and Guam. An emphasis on prompt service and customer satisfaction is the focus of this new n initiative. The vast majority of patrons who arrive at a scheduled appointment with proper documentation are in and out in less than 20 minutes. “With a little bit of planning you can save a lot of time,” said Chuck Sexton, assistant program manager for this initiative with Commander, Navy Installations Command. “DEERS and RAPIDS customers with scheduled appointments normally are seen within minutes of their allotted time. And, making an appointment is fast and easy via the online appointment scheduler located at: https://rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 Having all the necessary documents is key to a successful visit to the ID card office. At a minimum, a valid state- or federal-government-issued picture ID is required and additional documents are often necessary to fulfill certain requests. A listing of required documents can be found on the appointment scheduler website or by calling the local office for clarification. Local office phone numbers are listed on the scheduler website. Customer service hours are between 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. local except the Navy Exchanges in Norfolk, Va., and Oak Harbor, Wash., which are open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Patuxent River, Md., Pass & ID with operations between 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekend hours vary by location. For further information such as locating the nearest ID card facility and additional details relating to benefits and eligibility, such as FAQs, go to: http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/SUP-PORT/PAYPERS/ID_CARDS.
[Source: Shift Colors Spring 2012 ++]


Stolen Valor Update: Under fire for embellishing his service in the Navy during the Vietnam War, Mayor John Spodofora has decided he will not seek re-election this year, according to the local Republican Club. In an email to club members late Friday night, the club’s screening committee said it was notified 22 MAR by Spodofora that he had withdrawn his request for the club’s endorsement in the November election. During a Township Council meeting Spodofora admitted he was never in Vietnam despite previously stating he could not reveal what he did in the war because he was a spy or “a spook.” He also said on his campaign website that he was awarded the “Vietnam War Medal of Valor,” which does not exist, and called himself a “Vietnam veteran.” The “Medal of Valor” was awarded to Spodofora by a hunting club in Tucson, Ariz. The admission came amid a controversy which erupted when Republican Club President Martha Kremer started looking into Spodofora’s stated service record a couple of months ago. Kremer’s late husband, Kirk, served in the Army’s 173rd Airborne in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. Before the dispute over his military records surfaced, Spodofora was expected to receive the Republican endorsement to run for re-election without opposition for the nomination. Because the club by-laws require that a candidate be screened, or interviewed, before being voted on for an endorsement and only Spodofora was screened to run for mayor, the committee plans to propose that the rule be suspended at the next club meeting y. The committee will recommend that a motion be adopted that would allow anyone to be nominated from the floor to run for the office of mayor, according to the email. “This notice is to let you know there is currently no candidate for mayor for the Stafford Township Republican Club at this time and we will have to select one next Monday since the state petition deadline is the following Monday, April 2,” the email reads. April 2 is the deadline for candidates to file petitions to run in the June 5 primary election. “We discussed many options, complications and alternate proposals but believe this option is the most democratic way to proceed,” the email says. “It, of course, is only our recommendation. This email is to notify the club of this recent turn of events.”
[Source: Asbury Park Press Erik Larsen article 22 Mar 2012 ++]


National Museum of the U.S. Army Update 01: The foundation leading the charge to build the National Museum of the U.S. Army is well under way with its fundraising efforts, with organizers planning to begin construction next year. Artist renderings of the estimated $300 million project were recently made public by the Army Historical Foundation on its website. It depicts a half dozen images of the proposed museum, which is scheduled to open in 2015.
The foundation is spearheading the primary fundraising effort, led by retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Creighton W. Abrams Jr. The Army Corps of Engineers will guide the construction project, according to The Army Historical Foundation. The fundraising drive has already topped $60 million in donations and pledges from individuals, veterans' service organizations, various foundations and corporations, according to a foundation press release.
[Source: The Army Historical Foundation


Veterans' Court Update: Veterans whose lives have collided with the criminal justice system are increasingly turning up in veterans courts across the nation. There are now more than 90 courts across the U.S., including nine in California, tailored to veterans willing to work to repair their lives. One of the first such courts was in Orange County, where veterans who meet the judge's criteria, including maintaining steady employment and staying clean and sober, can have their charges dropped or reduced. The weekly sessions at Orange County's Combat Veterans Court provide a one-stop service, bringing together representatives from the district attorney's office and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Justice Outreach program, along with probation officers and volunteer mentors. Each veteran is carefully evaluated by a team before being accepted into the program. It took three arrests and the threat of prison to get Shaughn Whittington to the court. He slumped in a black suit, blue shirt and black tie, bracing for a claustrophobic courtroom, a stern judge. No need. Here, defendants are called participants. People applaud. Judge Wendy Lindley hands out gift cards. “It looks more like a support group instead of a courtroom,” said Whittington, 27, who was arrested twice on drug charges and once on suspicion of assault. “It's that Marine Corps mentality. You look at it like it's a joke.”
Lindley's court stands apart nationally. It is designed exclusively for combat veterans. As a longtime Superior Court judge, she has seen what the residue of combat stress can do. “We are dealing with people whose mental and physical health is very compromised,” she said. “We owe them, each one of them, the highest level of care.” She designed her court to be especially sensitive to war's psychic wounds, which are difficult to understand, let alone heal. Participation is voluntary; only murder cases are ineligible. The program is capped at 50 to ensure individualized treatment. What began with five participants is now fully booked. From 2010 to 2011, the number of people referred to the program jumped 41%. As with other veterans courts, if a judge's criteria are met, charges can be dropped or reduced. Those in Lindey's program share more than battlefield experience. All had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, often with additional war-related complications, such as traumatic brain injury. She hadn't been looking for these conditions as a requirement. Paul Freese, vice president of the Public Counsel Law Center, calls Lindley's court the “gold standard. This is by far the model we want people to emulate,” he said. “Individuals don't have to go from place to place to place to get the services that they need.”
Los Angeles County launched a veterans court in 2010 and accepts only veterans facing felony charges, not misdemeanors. It expects its first graduates 27 MAR. “If these guys don't get help, I think they're going to deteriorate,” said Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan, who oversees about 75 veterans in the L.A. County program. As for Whittington's case, the story is familiar. Deployed as a mortar man in the Iraq invasion, he returned to civilian life in 2005. The transition was fitful at best. He was diagnosed with PTSD and, later, traumatic brain injury. There are scraps of war memories, like bullets whistling past him, inches from his head. There was a recurring nightmare from the battlefield. He was angry, depressed. Fearing he might hurt his then-wife, he started sleeping in a different bed. Vices took hold. He started popping narcotic pain relievers and smoking meth. Then he found himself in Lindley's court. “You start coming out of a coma, pretty much,” said Whittington, who checked into an in-patient treatment center during Phase 1. “You start realizing all the damage you did to the people around you.”
[Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/03/courts-help-veterans-in-orange -county-and-around-the-nation.html Mar 2012 ++


Referral Bonus Update: In 2005 the Pentagon came up with a new way to recruit men and women into the National Guard and Reserve. They created the Recruiting Assistance Program which gave bounties of up to $2,000 for each new enlistee that a soldier or civilian - called recruiting assistants - got to sign up. (Military recruiters were not qualified for this program.) Last month Secretary of the Army John McHugh cancelled the program after receiving an internal audit finding that numerous army recruiters had been providing enlistees to the recruiting assistants and splitting the bounties. The audit found that over $92 million in bounties were “potentially fraudulent.” That would be more than 25% of the $339 million paid out in the program. Secretary McHugh ordered that a probe of the system be commenced. At the present time the investigation involves 1,706 recruiters and hundreds of “recruiting assistants” who collected the bounties and split them with the Army recruiters. It is alleged that many of the recruiters and the “Assistant recruiters” actually shared banking accounts. This could turn into a serious criminal scandal.
[Source: TREA News for the Enlisted 16 Mar 2012 ++]


Saving Money: Twenty percent of Americans get fewer than six hours a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Those folks are probably spending a large part of what researchers say the sleep industry rakes in: $23 billion a year. Some of that money goes to things everybody needs occasionally – like a new quality mattress (every 10 years) and pillows (one or two years). But a lot goes to sleeping medication, which can be an expensive and ultimately ineffective solution. So what’s more effective and cheaper than sleeping pills? Changing your habits. Here’s how…
1. Get comfy. Dr. A room that’s dark, a temperature you like, blankets and pillows that feel nice. The sound of a fan or the A/C helps some people (including me) sleep better too. When you’re uncomfortable in bed, that’s often all you can think about.
2. Ditch distractions. Minimize stimuli – things that keep your attention – in the bedroom. No TVs, no computers, no radios, no smartphones – not even books. The idea is to make your bedroom the place where the only thing you do (with perhaps one exception) is sleep. If you want to read or watch TV at night, do it elsewhere. When you get sleepy, go in your room and shut your eyes.
3. Schedule sleep. The Sleep Foundation says snoozing should be on your to-do list like everything else. If you get into bed thinking about work (instead of how soft and warm those blankets are), you may have trouble. A consistent sleep schedule (including weekends) also helps your body know when to rest.
4. Create a wind-down routine. Get into the habit of making the hour before bedtime relaxing. Whether it’s a long hot bath, listening to a soothing playlist, or reading a novel with a glass of milk (caffeine or food before bed are bad), do something that transitions you into rest mode.
5. Use your bed as intended. According to The Sleep Foundation, beds are for only two things: sex and sleep. If you work on the laptop or tablet or do anything else from bed, even during the daytime, your body may become more geared for those other activities instead of sleep.
6. Get healthy. Incorporating exercise into your daily schedule can help you sleep better – not only are you wearing yourself out in a healthy way, but it helps fight a vicious cycle. Being overweight puts you at higher risk of conditions like sleep apnea, which make it harder to breathe in bed and thus harder to stay asleep. And people who don’t get enough sleep are often too tired and poorly motivated to exercise properly, so the problem perpetuates itself. Smoking also contributes to the problem.
7. Find professional help. If none of this advice works for you, try visiting a sleep expert. SleepCenters.org can help you find a doctor in your area recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The trip won’t be as cheap as the rest of this advice, but you can’t put a price on quality sleep.

Bottom line - Pills are the most expensive way to get a good night’s rest, and they’re the worst way. Sleep experts can help you save money – and while a mattress stuffed with cash probably won’t help you rest better, their advice will.
[Source: MoneyTalksNews Brandon Ballenger article 7 Oct 2011 ++]


Notes of Interest:
• Vietnam Vet Children. The Birth Defect Research for Children has put out a call for additional data on Vietnam veterans' children with birth defects to increase the research on the linkage between Agent Orange and birth defects in Vietnam veterans’ children. Those who have been affected are requested to participate by joining the National Birth Defect registry on the Birth Research website http://www.birthdefects.org/registry/.
• e-Afterburner. The February edition of the Air Force Retiree newsletter, the e-Afterburner, is now available via the Air Force retiree services website http://www.retirees.af.mil/afterburner/.
• Jury Duty Scam. The phone rings, you pick it up, and the caller identifies himself as an officer of the court. He says you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say you never received a notice. To clear it up, the caller says he'll need some information for “verification purposes”-your birth date, social security number, maybe even a credit card number. This is when you should hang up the phone. It's a scam.
• USS Dan Diego. The CO of the USS San Diego, CDR Jon Haydel, became the fifth commanding officer fired this year; four of the firings involved allegations of improper conduct. Last year, 23 commanding officers were relieved, nearly reaching the recent high-water mark of 26 in 2003.
• Reserve benefits. If you’re in the Guard or Reserve, to find information on your eligibility for benefits like health care, the GI Bill, home loans, and more check out http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/benefits_chap08.asp.
• Health topics. VA’s “A to Z Index” http://www.va.gov/health/topics/ provides Veterans and their caregivers with need-to-know information on a variety of services and health topics. VA captured the most popular topics and compiled them in one place to help you quickly retrieve information.
• IU. If you are unable to work because of your service-connected disability you may be eligible for Individual Unemployability. This program allows the VA to pay certain Veterans compensation at the 100 percent rate, even if VA has rated their service-connected disabilities less than 100 percent. Veterans must provide medical evidence that shows their disability prevents them from working. Learn more about the program at
• MOH. Korean War veteran William Charette, a 79 year old Medal of Honor recipient, has died. With Charette's death, there are now 81 living recipients of the Medal of Honor.
• Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai said 22 MAR the West will subsidize Afghan security forces by more than $4 billion a year for 10 years after U.S.-led troops leave in 2014.
• GI Bill. Some veterans have experienced delays in receiving their Post 9/11 GI Bill educational benefits for the spring term. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has added additional staff and resources to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. Veterans should also remember that students using their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits must ask their school officials to complete an enrollment certification, which the school official will send to VA.
[Source: Various 15-31 Mar 2012 ++]


Panetta: Pakistan's Jailing of Doctor 'Unhelpful' to U.S. Relations
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2012 - Pakistan's jailing of a doctor who helped the United States find and kill Osama bin Laden a year ago is undermining efforts by both countries to improve relations, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in an interview that aired today.
"It is so difficult to understand and so disturbing that they would sentence this doctor to 33 years for helping in the search for the most notorious terrorist in our times," Panetta said in a May 25 taping of ABC's "This Week" program. "This doctor was not working against Pakistan. He was working against al-Qaeda and I hope that, ultimately, Pakistan understands that because what they have done here, I think, does not help in the effort to try to re-establish a relationship between the United States and Pakistan."
Last week, a court in northwestern Pakistan convicted Dr. Shakil Afridi of treason and sentenced him to 33 years in prison. In January, Panetta confirmed publically that Afridi helped the U.S gain access to bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by providing "very helpful" information. In the interview that aired today, he made clear the Pakistani court's decision could undermine months of efforts to get relations back on track.
"What they did with this doctor doesn't help in the effort to try to do that," he said.
Several key events, including the secret U.S mission to kill bin Laden last May as well as NATO's accidental killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan/Pakistan border in November, have severely tested U.S.-Pakistani relations. Six months after Pakistan closed overland NATO supply lines in response to the border incident, Panetta confirmed both countries are still working on terms for re-opening the ground routes. There have been multiple reports that Pakistan is demanding a steep increase in the fees it will collect from vehicles crossing the border.
"They're negotiating what that price ought to be," the secretary said. "We're not about to get gouged in the price. We want a fair price."
Panetta said the United States and Pakistan remain allies in the fight against terrorism but acknowledged the relationship has strengths and weaknesses. "This has been one of the most complicated relationships that we've had working with Pakistan. We have to continue to work at it. It is important. This is a country that has nuclear weapons. This is a country that still is critical in that region of the world. It's an up and down relationship."
Panetta's interview with ABC came just days after nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers aimed at freezing Tehran's uranium enrichment program ended without apparent progress. Panetta was asked whether the U.S. has a plan ready to strike Iran's nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to curb what the West suspects is an Iranian covert nuclear weapons program.
"We are prepared for any contingency in that part of the world," he said. "But our hope is that these matters can be resolved diplomatically."


Thanks to Ron Brauer for sending this one in!.

GOD'S "PHONE" NUMBER Hello God, I called tonight To talk a little while I need a friend who'll listen To my anxiety and trial. You see, I can't quite make it Through a day just on my own... I need your love to guide me, So I'll never feel alone. I want to ask you please to keep, My family safe and sound. Come and fill their lives with confidence For whatever fate they're bound. Give me faith, dear God, to face Each hour throughout the day, And not to worry over things I can't change in any way. I thank you God, for being home And listening to my call, For giving me such good advice When I stumble and fall.. !!!!!!! Your number, God, is the only one That answers every time. I never get a busy signal, Never had to pay a dime. So thank you, God, for listening To my troubles and my sorrow. Good night, God, I love You, too, And I'll call again tomorrow! P.S. Please bless all my friends and family also.

Thats all the news for this week. Next newsletter
will be out around the end of next month. Thanks, Ole' Bill

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