MARCH 2012


1Mar91: 1/4th Cav Secures Safwan Airfield for Peace Negotiations and provides the tent (See Below).
2Mar1855: 1/4th Cav Constituted.
2Mar66: Operation Rolling Stone ends.
3Mar66: Operation Utah Beach begins.
3Mar03: 1-63rd Armor deploys to Iraq as TF 1-63 AR.
5Mar66: Battle of Lo Ke. 1st RVN MOH to 2LT Robert J. Hibbs, 28th Inf. 6Mar66: Operation Utah Beach ends.
7Mar66: Operation Silver City begins.
7Mar03: 1st Bde, BRO to Korea for Operation Foal Eagle
9Mar45: Capture of Bonn, Germany. End of resistance west of the Rhine.
15Mar45: BRO assaults conducts first attack east of Rhine.
15Mar97: TF 1-77 AR arrives in Bosina.
15Mar04: TF Danger assumes responsibility in Iraq.
16Mar04: BRO relieves 4th ID at FOB Danger, Tikrit, Iraq.
17Mar43: BRO attacks Gafsa, Tunisia.
18Mar67: Operation Junction City begins. Entire 1/4th Cav involved.
19Mar03: Operation Iraqi Freedom begins.
20Mar67: Battle of Ap Bau Bang II. (Operation Junction city). (C Trp involved. Any Stories? BB)
20Mar04: 1st Bde Combat Team attached to 1st Marine division.(Iraq)
21Mar43: Battle of El Guetiar. Division attacks as concentrated whole for the first time in WWII.
23Mar99: BATO air attacks on Milosevic's troops in Kosovo, Yugoslavia begin.
25Mar10: National "Medal Of Honor" Day.
27Mar45: BRO breaks out of Rhine Bridgehead.
27Mar03: TF 1-63 deploys to Iraq in support of 173rd Avn Bde.
30Mar66: Operation Abilene begins.
31Mar67: Battle of Ap Gu (Operation Junction City).
31Mar99: Three 1/4th Cav Troopers ambushed and captured by Serbian Forces.
1Apr00: 1/4th Cav Association of Veterans is formed and approved.


Compiled by Gary Skidmore Duty First! Magazine In 1990, the Squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia, as part of Operation Desert Shield. This led to the Squadron's spearhead of the division assault into Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In the VII Corps sector the 1st Infantry Division was given the mission of breaching the enemy's defensive line. In turn the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry was ordered to lead the Big Red One. 1-4th Cavalry had arrived in Saudi Arabia without its tanks, which had been in storage while the squadron served as the Opposing Force in 1st Division maneuvers in Germany and was short tank-qualified personnel. The 1st Squadron quickly integrating new replacements just out of training and readied newly issued tanks for A and B Troops. On schedule, the 1st Squadron with its 2 armored cavalry troops and 2 air cavalry troops lunched the VII Corps attack destroying over 27 Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles in the initial attack. The Big Red One soon had destroyed some 10 miles of enemy defenses and had created a breach in the Iraqi lines for the VII Corps to pour through. Swinging east the Corps with the 1st Infantry Division on the south passed through the cavalry screen and attacked the Iraqi forces. By 27 February 1991, the 1st Infantry Division had destroyed 2 armored divisions. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry then set up blocking positions on the Al Basrah -Kuwait City highway preventing Iraqi forces from escaping from Kuwait. Following all of this,the 1/4 Cav located and set up the tent where the peace treaty was nogatiated. The Squadron received a Valorous Unit Award for its actions during Desert Storm. A cease-fire was declared at 0800 hours on 28 February 1991, ending the conflict.

1st Squadron, 4th Armored Cavalry Regiment

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

PO 202-10
21 Jul 2010

1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry 14 Mar 07 – 3 Apr 08

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

PO 232-14 30 May 08

Announcement is made of the following award:
Award: Valorous Unit Award
Period of service: 12 March 2004 to 30 September 2004
Authority: AR 600-8-22, paragraph 7-14

Reason: For extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. During the period 12 March 2004 to 30 September 2004, the 1st
Squadron, 4th Cavalry displayed extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy while in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in
and around Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq.
The unit was instrumental in intensive and successful offensive operations in the cities of Samara, Ad Duluyaiah, Ad Dawr, and Baquaba.
The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry's outstanding performance of duty is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects
distinct credit upon the unit and the United States Army.

Format: 320
Chief, Military Awards Branch


Thanks to Dan Thompson for this forward. Bill

After all these years Tony Cascio has reunited with his ¼ Cavalry buddies. His email is below.
Tony Cascio


Still can be reached thru FB but to send Private Mail please use this address from now on.

Replace alanjb49@yahoo.com with Trooper_6771@yahoo.com

Hope everyone has a Good day Keep Smileing and dont miss a day!


Family Matters Blog: NBC Show Seeks Military 'Unsung Heroes'
By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2012 - A new NBC show that rewards selfless people for their good deeds is seeking service members, veterans and their families to spotlight in some upcoming episodes.
The show gives people an opportunity to pay a deserving hometown hero back "for always paying it forward," an NBC news release said.
"The network and producers really want some military stories as no one is more deserving than those who serve our country," Jackie Topacio, the show's casting producer, said.
The show will involve someone -- whether a friend, spouse, family member or even an acquaintance -- surprising a deserving person with "the ultimate gift." The recipient can be someone who always puts others first, deserves a lucky break, is underappreciated, saved someone's life, or has made a difference in other people's lives.
If you know someone special who deserves more than life has delivered, we want to help you surprise him or her with a moment they'll never forget," the release said.
You can apply to be on this show by sending an email to submit4castingjt@gmail.com. You should include your name, contact information, occupation, current photos of yourself and the person you want to surprise, and an explanation of why your friend or loved one deserves a special moment. And, apply soon. Producers are hoping to cast people in the next couple of weeks.
Also, since this show involves a surprise, producers are asking people to keep their participation a secret.


Army Brigadier General Dies in Afghanistan
Fort Hood Public Affairs Office

FORT HOOD, Texas, Feb. 5, 2012 - Army Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner died of apparent natural causes Feb. 3 in Kabul, Afghanistan, officials here announced today.

Army Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner, who commanded the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) in Afghanistan, died of apparent natural causes Feb. 3 in Kabul. International Security Assistance Force photo Hildner, 49, listed his home of record as Fairfax, Va. He was born in New Haven, Conn. He took command of 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Aug. 19, 2010.
"We are truly saddened by the loss of Brigadier General Hildner," said Army Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general. "This is a tragic loss for the Army, III Corps and for our Central Texas community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his Family and friends. The command will remain focused on assisting the Family through this difficult time."

A 1984 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Hildner began his career as an armor officer with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was reassigned in 1988 to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Federal Republic of Germany. He served as the regimental training officer and subsequently commanded a ground cavalry troop.

During his company command, Hildner's troop deployed with the regiment as part of the U.S. VII Corps' attack into Kuwait and Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, as well as conducting the last U.S. patrol along the East-West German border before its reunification.

Returning to Fort Hood from Germany, the general served in several assignments, to include 2nd Armored Division comptroller and aide-de-camp to the 4th Infantry Division's commanding general.

Hildner transited to the Quartermaster Corps and attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 1997. He later served in a variety of staff positions, to include battalion executive officer of the 296th Forward Support Battalion, Supply and Services chief for I Corps Logistics at Fort Lewis, Wash., and logistician for Joint Task Force 6, a Department of Defense counterdrug task force.

In 2003, Hildner assumed command of the 13th Corps Support Command's Special Troops Battalion at Fort Hood. During nearly three years in command, the battalion conducted two operational deployments. The first came in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a combat sustainment support battalion, providing general logistical support to units located around Joint Base Balad, as well as the Abu Gharib prison complex.

The battalion's second deployment came in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as Logistical Task Force Lone Star, providing both military and humanitarian support operations.

From July 2007 to July 2009, Hildner commanded the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade at Fort Lee, Va., training more than 20,000 soldiers annually for deployment in support of contingency operations across the globe.

In 2009, he was the Combined Arms Support Command's director of training and doctrine.

Hildner departed Fort Hood in December 2011 for Afghanistan to support the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.

"The unfortunate and untimely death of Brigadier General Hildner was a shock to our unit and Families," said Army Col. Knowles Atchison, 13th ESC rear commander. "Both forward-deployed elements and we at home station are deeply saddened by this loss. We will all pull together through this difficult period and care for one another."

Hildner's awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, U.S. Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star, Southwest Asia Medal with 2 bronze stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War of Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, the Combat Action Badge and the Parachutist Badge.


Panetta Announces Combat Forces to Leave Afghanistan Next Year
Posted on February 1, 2012 at 8:22pm by Tiffany Gabbay Print

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta laid out the administration’s most explicit portrayal of the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan, saying Wednesday that U.S. and other international forces in Afghanistan expect to end their combat role in 2013 and continue a training and advisory role with Afghan forces through 2014.

Panetta’s remarks to reporters traveling with him to a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels showed how the foreign military role in Afghanistan is expected to evolve from the current high-intensity fight against the Taliban to a support role with Afghans fully in the lead. The timeline fits neatly into the U.S. political calendar, enabling President Barack Obama to declare on the campaign trail this year that in addition to bringing all U.S. troops home from Iraq and beginning a troop drawdown in Afghanistan, he also has a target period for ending the U.S. combat role there.

It also serves to possibly bridge an apparent gap between France and the rest of the NATO partners of the U.S. on defining the end game in Afghanistan.

All NATO members in November 2010 endorsed a plan to keep forces in Afghanistan until the end of 2014. But France this week appeared to throw that plan into doubt when President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at his side and seemingly in agreement, that NATO end its mission in 2013 – one year earlier than planned.

Sarkozy also said, however, that France would provide support for the training of Afghan forces beyond 2013, so his approach might not be entirely different from the one Panetta outlined in which allied troops shed their combat role in the second half of 2013 but remain through 2014 to train, advise and assist.

Panetta said he hoped to hear more from the French delegation at the NATO talks Thursday and Friday.

Panetta called 2013 a critical year for the Afghanistan mission that has dragged on for more than a decade with little sign that the Taliban will be decisively defeated. He noted that NATO and the Afghan government intend to begin a final phase of handing off sections of the country to Afghan security control in mid-2013.

“Hopefully by the mid to latter part of 2013 we’ll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advise and assist role,” he said. He added that this “doesn‘t mean we’re not going to be combat-ready,” but rather that the U.S. and other international forces will no longer be in “the formal combat role we’re in now.”

Panetta said the administration wants to make sure that the Afghan forces, after foreign troops depart, are “sufficient and sustainable,” but noted that will require continuing financial support not only from the United States but also from allies and many other countries.

“One of the things we’ll be discussing (in Brussels) is what the size of that (Afghan) force should be, but a lot of that will be dependent on the funds that are going to be put on the table in order to sustain that force,” he said. “That’s one of the things, frankly, I’m going to be pushing at this (meeting).”


Special Operations Forces Rescue Hostages in Somalia
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2012 - Special operations forces rescued an American woman and Danish man who had been held captive in Somalia for three months, President Barack Obama announced early this morning.

Both are well and are in a secure location, and there were no American casualties in the operation.

Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted were working as part of a Danish demining group when Somali criminals kidnapped them near Galcayo, Somalia, on Oct. 25, according to a statement from Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. Galcayo is near the border with Ethiopia. There was no word where the two were held.

"This successful hostage rescue, undertaken in a hostile environment, is a testament to the superb skills of courageous service members who risked their lives to save others," Panetta said in the statement. "I applaud their efforts, and I am pleased that Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted were not harmed during the operation."

The president said he had spoken with Buchanan's father and told him that all Americans are thankful that his daughter is safe and will soon be home.

"The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice," Obama said in his statement. "This is yet another message to the world that the United States of America will stand strongly against any threats to our people."

Panetta stressed the rescue was a team effort and required close coordination between the Defense Department and the FBI. "They are heroes and continue to inspire all of us by their bravery and service to our nation," Panetta wrote.

The Danish Demining Group trains local people to defuse and render safe landmines and other ordnance left in the wake of war. In addition to Somalia, the group is working in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Liberia, South Sudan and Uganda.

At the beginning of the president's State of the Union address last night, TV cameras caught Obama shaking Panetta's hand and saying "Good job." No one knew then what he was talking about.

During his address, Obama lauded service members' commitment and ability to work together. The rescue operation is another example of that.

"As commander in chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts," the president said in his statement.


Agencies Create Database to Protect Troops, Quell Swindlers
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2012 - Their presence outside military bases has become all too familiar businesses peddling cars, electronics and other items with undisclosed conditions or sky-high interest rates that quickly become a financial nightmare for service members.

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced as one of its first orders of business that it is partnering with the Federal Trade Commission to put a stop to such scams.

The bureau, which was created to consolidate financial regulators and protect consumers, has created a national database to share between state and federal law enforcement with information about companies that target military members for consumer and financial fraud.

Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general whom President Barack Obama appointed as director of the bureau earlier this month, said coordination among law enforcement agencies and their input is critical to prosecuting scam artists who prey on service members and their families.

The database dubbed ROAM for Repeat Offenders Against the Military is accessible only by law enforcement, and is an extension of the FTC's Military Sentinel Network, a public website where people can report scams against service members, Cordray said.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who attended today's announcement, came up with the idea for the database after filing a lawsuit in 2010 against Rome Finance Co. of Concord, Calif for defrauding nearly a thousand soldiers at Fort Drum, N.Y., as well as service members in at least five other states. The company agreed to repay $3.5 million to the Fort Drum soldiers and restore their consumer credit ratings in a legal agreement reached in August.

Schneiderman called the case "one of the most egregious things I've seen in my time" in which the company's retailer, SmartBuy, sold laptop computers at highly inflated prices to service members. Under the scam, he said, service members were forced to use the company's financing plan, which was paid directly from their military paychecks with interest rates that eventually hit 19 percent. Some soldiers ended up paying more than $7,000 for a computer worth no more than $2,000, he said.

The Fort Drum soldiers were particularly vulnerable, Schneiderman said, because the base was "an extremely active jumping-off point" for deployments to Iraq, with soldiers busy and distracted by their jobs and relocations.

Few are more familiar with the situation than Holly Petraeus, the bureau's assistant director of service member affairs and wife of retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, CIA director and former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"As someone who has lived in military communities my entire life, I've seen firsthand" how some companies prey on military members, Petraeus said. "I continue to hear stories of service members being ripped off by businesses who see them as easy targets to a quick profit," she said, adding that some compare the predatory nature of sales people who set up outside military bases to bears at a trout stream.

Service members are a favorite prey, she said, because "they have a guaranteed paycheck, and they're not going to quit or get laid off." And, she added, a military base sometimes is the largest employer in the area.

Too often, Petraeus said, when a business is shut down at a base in one state, it simply moves to another something the national database is designed to prevent.

Among the latest scams, Petraeus said, is one in which people claim they can help elderly veterans with their applications to receive the Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance benefit, which can pay as much as $2,000 per month. In soliciting their services, the scammers gain access to the veterans' financial records, she said.

The FTC received more than 17,000 complaints of military targeted financial scams last year, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill said, precipitating months of meetings at military installations around the country to hear complaints and collaborate with the services on financial training.

Service members are a particularly vulnerable group of consumers, Brill said, due to their young age, independence and lack of financial experience.

The database "is about being effective, efficient and responsive" in prosecuting scam artists, she said.

Petraeus urged service members to protect themselves by understanding what the total price of a product with interest not just the monthly payment will be before buying, and to consult financial and legal guidance on base.

"They have great legal services available to them," she added.


Face of Defense: New Soldier Prepares for Deployment
By Army Sgt. Tracy R. Weeden
101st Combat Aviation Brigade

New soldiers of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade's Task Force Shadow prepared for the unknown at the Joint Readiness Training Center here during January.

A Company D, 5th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade soldier prepares for a convoy to a downed aircraft recovery mission at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., Jan 18, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tracy R. Weeden Veteran soldiers have confidence in their abilities to operate and survive a deployment, because they have done it before, while the new soldiers do not.
Army Pvt. Larry Corwin, a native of Midland, Mich., recently enlisted and has no deployment experience. He enlisted last year to become a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter maintainer, and joined Company D, 6th Battalion, 101st CAB at Fort Campbell, Ky. He is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan with Task Force Shadow.

Corwin said he wanted to be a soldier since he was a boy, and he joined the Army at age 23.

"Our new soldiers want to know that they are trained for the mission they will see while deployed," said Army Lt. Col. Joel Aoki, battalion commander. "This is a premier training venue to allow soldiers to conduct task force operations and put them in situations that allow them to operate outside their normal duties, solving problems and allowing them to succeed."

While the Army is careful to limit the time soldiers spend away from home due to frequent deployments, Task Force Shadow is taking advantage of this training opportunity for the benefit of every soldier.

"As a unit, we are concerned with managing the amount of time we are away from home station, which limits our time in the field," Aoki said. "However, we focus on training based on our operational requirements."

Corwin had the opportunity to experience deployment-style missions, preparing him and fellow untried soldiers for their upcoming deployment. He was able to participate in downed aircraft recovery missions, where helicopter maintainers venture into hostile territory to return sensitive items, equipment and aircraft to safe ground.

Corwin said he enjoyed his experience at JRTC, where he was able to gain the confidence of his leaders and trust in himself to overcome any fears he had before.

"I am really looking forward to this deployment," he said. "I feel more prepared than before coming here."

Corwin said he always has been fascinated with mechanics, working on cars and automobiles, and that's why he chose to work on helicopters when he joined the Army.

While he works on helicopters on a daily basis, he added, he never had the opportunity to ride in one until he came here for deployment training.


Odierno: Army Will Become More Capable Through Drawdown
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2012 - The Army will become more capable through its planned drawdown of 80,000 soldiers and at least eight brigade combat teams, its chief of staff said today.

Gen. Raymond T. Odierno told reporters during a Pentagon news briefing that he is comfortable with the cut in end strength because it reflects changing national security needs, and will be spread over six years.

"An Army of 490,000 in 2017 will be fundamentally different and more capable than the Army of 482,000 that we had in 2001," he said, noting that today's troops are combat-seasoned from 10 years of war.

The drop from the current 570,000 soldiers is planned as part of the Defense Department's long-term budget process, and in coordination with President Barack Obama's 10-year military strategy released earlier this month. After five years of growing the Army to meet combat needs in Iraq and Afghanistan, Odierno said "the time is strategically right" to reduce end strength, especially since the strategy does not call for planning for large-scale ground wars.

"This will be done in a responsible and controlled manner," he told reporters. "[Army] Secretary [John] McHugh and I are committed to walking down this hill at the ready, rather than running our nation's Army off a cliff."

Odierno called the process leading up to the strategy and budget proposal "unprecedented" in its collaboration with the services. The Army's No. 1 priority of fighting and winning wars is "non-negotiable," he said, "but that's not the only role of the Army," which provides a range of capabilities to joint forces.

Under the proposed budget, the Army would increase its investment in special operations, cyber and aviation, while maintaining its reliance on a fully operational reserve, Odierno said. It will maintain readiness across its entire force to avoid "tiered readiness," he said.

The Army will prioritize its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to seven of the world's 10 largest armies, the general said, and continue to focus on the Middle East, while maintaining only a "small footprint" in Latin America and Africa.

At the same time, the Army will pull two heavy brigade combat teams out of Europe -- one in 2013, and the other in 2014 -- as part of a drawdown of at least eight brigade combat teams, Odierno said. The two European-based teams will be replaced with rotating training units, which likely will be battalions and companies, he said.

The change "will benefit all of us," allowing for a better diversification of forces for NATO training, he said. "I really see this as a model for how we'll do things in the future."

A focus of the new military strategy is to maintain and build international partnerships for military collaboration, but, Odierno noted, "I still think we're going to have plenty of capacity to lead with boots on the ground."

The Army will save money by eliminating redundancies and trimming its headquarters budget, the general said. Also, Pentagon leaders will discuss with Congress the possibility of two more rounds of the Base Realignment and Closure process, he said, although the Army likely would be less affected because it has undergone heavy BRAC closures already.

The Army must curtail the rate of growth in personnel costs, Odierno said, but is not planning for pay cuts. And, most troop reductions will be done through attrition, he said.

Odierno, who previously headed U.S. Joint Forces Command, rejected suggestions that the Army is being looked at disproportionately for budget savings. "This is not about winners and losers," he said, "it's about coming up with the right joint force."


Intelligence Leaders Urge Congress to Act on Cyber Laws
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2012: The threat to U.S. based computer networks is one of the country's most pressing security problems, and Congress needs to act on it soon, the director of national intelligence told a congressional panel today.

James R. Clapper Jr. said he and all of the U.S. intelligence leadership agree the United States is in a type of cyber Cold War, losing some $300 billion annually to cyber-based corporate espionage, and sustaining daily intrusions against public systems controlling everything from major defense weapons systems and public air traffic to electricity and banking.

Clapper was joined by CIA Director David H. Petraeus, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr. and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller for a House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats. He urged lawmakers to pass a bill that forces intelligence sharing between the government and the private sector, such as the Defense Industrial Base pilot program that then-Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III launched last year.

"It's clear from all that we've said and I hope predications about mass attacks don't become a self-fulfilling prophesy but we all recognize we need to do something," he said.

Clapper also urged Congress to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which he called crucial to intelligence gathering. It expires this year.

The director said he foresees a cyber environment in which technologies continue to be fielded before effective security can be put in place. Among the greatest challenges in cyber security, he added, are knowing the perpetrator of a cyber attack in real time and capabilities gaps in the cyber supply chain the entire set of key actors involved in the cyber infrastructure.

Mueller noted that the National Cyber Task Force includes 20 U.S. agencies, "so when a major intrusion happens, we're all at the table." The "breaking down of stovepipes" and sharing information in cyber security "is as important now as it was before 9/11," he added.

The FBI director told the panel that 47 states have different reporting requirements for cyber attacks, and the private sector doesn't have to report them at all. "If they're not reported, we can't prevent the next one from happening," he said.

Mueller said the cyber threat is growing and is important to address. "I do believe cyber threats will equal or surpass the threat from terrorism in the near future," he said.

Clapper agreed. "We all recognize this as a profound threat to this country, to its future, to its economy, to its very being," he said. "We all recognize it, and we are committed to doing our best in defending the country."


U.S., Canada Expand Joint Planning, Operational Options
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2012 - Agreements signed last week in the Canadian capital of Ottawa set up a roadmap for U.S. and Canadian officials to work together in the event of a natural disaster or attack, the director of strategy, policy and plans at the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command said this week.

Army Maj. Gen. Fran Mahon said the agreements allow the two countries' militaries to work more closely together and to plan for support to civilian agencies.

U.S. Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., commander of NORAD and Northcom, and Lt. Gen. Walter Semianiw of the Canadian army, commander of Canada Command, signed the documents Jan. 25.

One is a combined defense plan that lays down a planning framework for defense cooperation following a natural or man-made disaster or attack. The military leaders also signed a continuation of the civil assistance plan that allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.

"We have a long-standing relationship with Canada," Mahon said in an interview. "We've been partners for more than 70 years in a very close sense. The agreements really enhance our relationship and improve the process of coordinating our combined military resources in a time of crisis or emergency."

While the civil assistance plan provides a framework for the military forces of each nation to support those of another nation, the general said, it's really about providing military assistance to civilian authorities. This will facilitate cooperation on man-made or natural disasters or the response to large-scale planned events, he explained.

"The initial civil assistance program was approved in February 2008, and since then, Canada Command and Northern Command have worked together to provide support for each other in short-notice events and planning for major events," Mahon said. "It really recognizes the role of each nation's lead federal agency for emergency preparedness. In the United States, that is the Department of Homeland Security, and in Canada, it is the Department of Public Safety."

The civil defense plan looks at the combined defense of Canada and the United States, Mahon said. "It facilitates our planning and operations for bilateral defense effort and provides guidance leading to interoperability, and thus [promotes] better integration at the operational level," he added.

The operations under the plan could occur in multiple domains and could be executed when there is a common perceived threat or when one or both nations come under attack.

The United States and Canada cooperated on the Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010 and during hurricane season, Mahon noted.

"We've captured some of the lessons learned from the Games and from other experiences and put it in the plan," Mahon said. "Now for the next event, whether it be a crisis or a planned event, we'll have a bit smoother execution."

Sharing information between the United States and Canada should be even easier than in the past, the general said, and both sides understand how to work within each other's bureaucracies.

Northern Command and Canada Command will exercise through the year to "roll these new documents into play," Mahon said. "We will undoubtedly learn more from these exercises, and again, we will work on smoothing the rough spots."


Counter-IED Strategic Plan Released
02/14/2012 04:00 PM CST
February 14, 2012

The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) released its 2012-2016 counter-improvised explosive device (IED) strategic plan intended to provide the framework to coordinate the Defense Department's counter-IED efforts.

The JIEDDO is tasked to lead DoD's actions to rapidly provide counter-IED capabilities in support of the combatant commanders and to enable the defeat of the IED as a weapon of strategic influence.

The strategy, looking at the next five years, attempts to capture the lessons learned during the previous ten years since operations began in Afghanistan and Iraq. The plan outlines five principal goals: rapidly identify, validate and prioritize immediate and future counter-IED requirements; provide operations and intelligence fusion; rapidly seek, develop and acquire counter-IED solutions; lead DoD counter-IED training; and build a joint, interagency, intergovernmental and international community of action.

At its core, the plan highlights five enduring capabilities needed to ensure DoD stays ahead of the ever-evolving IED threat. Those enduring capabilities include rapid acquisition and fielding, operations-intelligence-formation fusion, training, weapons technical intelligence and a whole-of-government approach to the IED threat.

Additionally, the strategy also identifies future research and development capability gaps for 2012: pre-detonation, counter threat network, detection, counter-device, homemade explosives, information integration and visualization, and weapons technical intelligence. These identified areas are designed to accelerate the most promising counter-IED solutions to combat the IED challenge.

The JIEDDO's Counter-IED Strategic Plan for 2012-2016 is available at https://www.jieddo.dod.mil . For more information, contact the JIEDDO Strategic Communications Division at 703-601-4345.


DOD Identifies Unit for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation
The Department of Defense today identified one Army brigade combat team to deploy as part of the upcoming rotation of forces operating in Afghanistan. The scheduled late Spring 2012 rotation involves more than 4,000 soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
DoD will continue to announce major deployments as they are approved. For information on this unit, contact Maj. Alain M. Polynice, 2nd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, at 253-477-2280.


Senior Enlisted Leaders Cite Troops' Top Concerns

By C. Todd Lopez
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2012 - The senior enlisted advisors for the four military services met on Capitol Hill yesterday to discuss with lawmakers the top issues on service members' minds.

It turns out that for many, it's the same as what's on lawmakers' minds: the budget.

"I was asked questions, beginning in April, all the way to September -- 'What do you mean the Army can't pay me?'" said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, relaying the words of soldiers who had been concerned about the "continuing resolution" last year. Without an approved Defense Appropriations Act, some soldiers mistakenly believed that they might not get paid.

Chandler joined Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West, Sgt. Maj. Of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy at a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies.

Budget concerns still weigh on service members' minds as lawmakers try to find a way to balance the federal budget. Lawmakers who were part of the "super committee" last year were looking to find $1.2 trillion in savings within the budget, and were unable to reach a compromise. Now, as much as half of that amount could automatically be cut from the Defense Department through "sequestration," and service members are concerned what that will mean for them.

"It's a very eye-opening experience," Chandler said. "I think the concerns raised in media about the impact of the election year and whether or not there will be an appropriations and authorization bill signed, is on people's minds. The last thing we want to have is for some soldier, sailor, airman or Marine deployed in harm's way, being concerned about whether or not they are going to be paid. That's something we don't need these young people to be concerned about."

Barrett said that when he had talked to Marines about the effects of a continuing resolution, some of those Marines had considered visiting "the snakes" to make ends meet -- a term Barrett said they use to refer to the "predatory loan industry" prominent outside military installations. "They are still finding a way to put 400 percent on top of a loan for you to pay it back," he said.

Service members also are concerned about their retirements, with rumors of changes being considered as part of budget-trimming efforts. The senior enlisted advisors said retirement is not something that should be on the minds of a young people in uniform.

"It is a distractor," Roy said. "We have young airmen focused on retirement. I don't need young airmen focused on retirement. I need young airmen focused on upgrade training. I need young airmen focused on mission. I don't need them to be worried on their retirement and compensation.

"That is the No. 1 thing I hear from airmen and from families," he added. "There is uncertainty out there and we are trying to keep focus on the mission."

Across the world's oceans, America's sailors are worried about their futures in the military as well, West said.

"They're talking about the retirements. They are talking about the future of the force, with the budget cuts, with all the personnel," he said. "We've had to make some tough choices. With our folks, it's no different. The budget cuts as of late -- some folks will tell you, personnel didn't join the Navy for the retirement. Maybe they didn't initially. But once they get in and see the contributions they make to the nation, they start thinking about some of that."

Impact on Retention

Service members who want to stay in uniform also are going to find it harder to do so. The Army and the Marine Corps, for instance, are cutting personnel. That means, for both services, fewer fresh faces coming in the front door, older service members possibly retiring before they expected to retire, and service members in the middle of their careers finding it tougher to meet the standards to re-enlist.

"They want to know who we are going to go fight next," said Barrett. "They want to know about advancements in full-spectrum battle equipment, [and] they want to know what they need to do to stay in the corps."

The senior enlisted advisor told lawmakers what Marines ask him about most when he visits them. To the last question, he answers, "You'd better bring your 'A game' every single day."

Retention, the sergeant major said, is going well -- the service is meeting its goals. But, he said now "the best get to stay. We get to be choosey -- very choosey."

The Marine Corps is operating on a "tiered rating" system, he explained, with tier I through tier IV.

"We're only keeping tier I and tier II," and that, he said, means having the best fitness scores, performing well in the martial arts program, having education in order, and shooting well on the range.

Inside the larger of the two ground forces, the Army, "the privilege to serve will become more difficult," Chandler noted. Standards will increase, he said. And to draw down the force, the Army will use multiple tools -- including fewer new recruits, tougher retentions standards and early retirements.

For those who will leave, he said, the Army will "have an orderly transition plan starting a year before they leave the service." That, the sergeant major said, will make sure both soldiers and their families are ready, and are able to leave the Army "with dignity and respect."

Civilian Life

What a service member will do after military life is also a concern. Chandler said there are "tremendous concerns" among soldiers leaving the service given the state of the economy and the job market. The Army and its sister services are working to make the transition smooth for service members.

"That is a major focus for me personally and the rest of the Army this year is to really refine our transition assistance program with the help of [the Veterans Affairs and Labor departments], and to put our kids in the best place we can to make sure they have a dignified transition out of the service and back into the rest of American society," Chandler said.

The Marine Corps is developing a program where Marines, from the moment they enter the corps, are prepared for an eventual return to civilian life -- as either college students, vocational students, entrepreneurs or an employee at a job.

"You're going to be kind of taught along the way, well, which path do you want to take when it comes time for you to leave," Barrett said. "So from the second you join to the time you want to leave, you're being educated on what pathway that you want to take, so when it comes time to leave you are better prepared."


A few General Officer appointments for your information! BB.

Army Lt. Gen. Dennis L. Via, for appointment to the grade of general and for assignment as commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Via is currently serving as the deputy commanding general/chief of staff, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Army Lt. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, for reappointment to the grade of lieutenant general and assignment as director, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C. Scaparrotti is currently serving as commanding general, I Corps and Joint Base Lewis McChord and commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command/deputy commander, U.S. Forces - Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. Maj. Gen. Patricia E. McQuistion for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general and for assignment as deputy commanding general/chief of staff, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. McQuistion is currently serving as commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Ill. Maj. Gen. Lynn A. Collyar, director, logistics operations, Defense Logistics Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va., to commanding general, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Maj. Gen. Michael J. Lally III, director, operations and plans, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., to assistant deputy chief of staff, G-4, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C. Maj. Gen. Kurt J. Stein, commanding general, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, Warren, Mich., to commanding general, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commanding general, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, to commanding general, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, Warren, Mich. Maj. Gen. Larry D. Wyche, deputy chief of staff for logistics and operations, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., to commanding general, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and the Sustainment Center of Excellence, Fort Lee, Va. Maj. Gen. Raymond P. Palumbo for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as deputy under secretary of defense (intelligence) for joint and coalition warfighter support, Washington, D.C. Palumbo is currently serving as commanding general, U.S. Army Alaska/deputy commander, U.S. Alaskan Command, Fort Richardson, Alaska. Brig. Gen. Gustave F. Perna, who has been selected for the rank of major general, commanding general, joint munitions lethality, Life Cycle Management Command/Joint Munitions Command, Rock Island, Ill., to deputy chief of staff for logistics and operations, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Brig. Gen. Edward F. Dorman III, military assistant to the commander, International Security Assistance Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, to director for logistics operations, readiness, force integration and strategy, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C. Brig. Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, director for logistics operations, readiness, force integration and strategy, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., to commanding general, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Therese M. O'Brien, commander (troop program unit), 300th Military Police Brigade (Interment and Resettlement), Inkster, Mich., to commanding general (troop program unit), 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Los Angeles, Calif. Brig. Gen. Kevin G. O'Connell, director for logistics, engineering and security assistance, J-4, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii, to commanding general, joint munitions lethality, Life Cycle Management Command/Joint Munitions Command, Rock Island, Ill. Brig. Gen. Stephen M. Twitty, deputy commanding general (operations), 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas, to deputy chief of staff, communications, International Security Assistance Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. Brig. Gen. John F. Wharton, deputy chief of staff, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., to commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Ill. Brig. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, commander, Defense Logistics Agency, Land and Maritime, Columbus, Ohio, to deputy chief of staff, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Craig A. Bugno has been nominated for appointment to the rank of major general and for assignment as commanding general (troop program unit), 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support), Salt Lake City, Utah. Col. Duane A. Gamble, who has been selected for the rank of brigadier general, director for strategy and integration, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., to deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Ill Army Reserve Col. Mary E. Link has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general and for assignment as the assistant surgeon general for force management, mobilization, readiness and reserve affairs, Office of the Surgeon General (Individual Mobilization Augmentee), Washington, D.C./deputy commander, Army Reserve Medical Command (Troop Program Unit), Pinellas Park, Fla. Link is currently serving as deputy surgeon, clinical operations, Office of the Chief, Army Reserve, Fort Belvoir, Va.


GROUCHYLVL@PTD.NET(Bob Rex, A Trooper, 65-66)



Think maybe Dan has traded in his Easy Rider Equipment for a Horse!.BB


Ron Brauer sends in this amazing story.BB

Deer hunting in Florida


Here's some computer education from Dave Snavely.BB

Guess What This Is?

Hint: picture was taken in 1956... It's a hard disk drive back in 1956... with 5 MB of storage. In September 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first 'SUPER' computer with a hard disk drive (HDD). The HDD weighed over a ton and stored a 'whopping' 5 MB of data. Do you appreciate your 8 GB memory stick, costing about $10 weighing about 1 ounce, a little more now?


Thanks to Howard Greenfield for this one.BB

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check payable to "The United States of America" for an amount "up to and including his life." That is honor, there are too many people in this country who no longer understand this. "God Bless Our Veterans"


A real nice find from Jeff Kramer.BB


Here's an extremly good article sent in by John Conley.BB

My right foot is healed and I can put my full weight on it. The next one should be okay on March 14th. Then I have to start working out to get rid of the fat I've acquired sitting in this wheel chair for the past 3 months.


This is an article well worth reading. Johns Hopkins Update - This is an extremely good article. Everyone should read it. AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY ('TRY', BEING THE KEY WORD) TO ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHNS HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY . Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins: 1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size. 2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person's lifetime. 3. When the person's immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors. 4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, but also to environmental, food and lifestyle factors. 5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet to eat more adequately and healthy, 4-5 times/day and by including supplements will strengthen the immune system. 6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc. 7.. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs. 8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction. 9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications. 10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites. 11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply. *CANCER CELLS FEED ON: a. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses, but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color Better alternative is Bragg's aminos or sea salt. b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk cancer cells are being starved. c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little other meat, like chicken. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer. d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including be an sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).. e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer fighting properties. Water-best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it. 12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines becomes putrefied and leads to more toxic buildup. 13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells. 14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the bodies own killer cells to destroy cancer cells.. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body's normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells. 15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life. 16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells. 1. No plastic containers in micro. 2. No water bottles in freezer. 3. No plastic wrap in microwave.. Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in its newsletters.. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well. Dioxin chemicals cause cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently, Dr Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital , was on a TV program to explain thishealth hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc. He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper The dioxin problem is one of the reasons. Please share this with your whole email list................... Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead. This is an article that should be sent to anyone important in your life.


DOD Announces Charges Sworn Against Detainee Majid Shoukat Khan

The Defense Department announced today that military commission charges have been sworn against Majid Shoukat Khan, a Pakistani national who lived in the United States from 1996 to early 2002 before returning to Pakistan.

The charges allege that Khan joined with members of al Qaeda in Pakistan to plan and prepare attacks against diverse targets in the United States, Indonesia, and elsewhere after Sept. 11, 2001. Specifically, they allege that Khan:

Used a fraudulently obtained travel document to travel from his residence in Baltimore, Md., to Karachi, Pakistan, in January of 2002;
Conspired with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed regarding a plot to blow-up underground gasoline storage tanks at gas stations in the United States and other domestic plots;
At Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's direction, recorded a "martyr video," donned an explosive vest, and sat in a mosque waiting for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to arrive so that Khan could assassinate him, an attempt that was foiled when Musharraf never arrived;
Traveled in March of 2002 from Karachi to Baltimore, where he performed tasks for al Qaeda and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, including purchasing a laptop computer for al Qaeda and contacting a military recruiter to obtain materials regarding the United States military, which he intended to give to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed;
Upon returning to Pakistan in August 2002, worked directly for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ali Abdul al-Aziz Ali, and other al Qaeda associates, all of whom were evading capture by United States and Pakistani authorities;
At the direction of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ali Abdul al-Aziz Ali, traveled with his wife in December of 2002 from Pakistan to Bangkok, Thailand, where he evaded notice by posing as a tourist;
While in Bangkok, delivered $50,000 in al Qaeda funds to a southeast Asia-based al Qaeda affiliate, which in turn delivered the money to the allied terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which used the funding to detonate a bomb in August of 2003 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing eleven people, wounding at least eighty-one others, and severely damaging the hotel.

Based on these allegations and others outlined in the charge sheet, Khan is charged with conspiracy, murder and attempted murder in violation of the law of war, providing material support for terrorism, and spying.

In accordance with the Military Commissions Act of 2009, Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins has forwarded the sworn charges to Convening Authority Bruce MacDonald with a recommendation that the charges be referred to military commission for trial. By separate action, Martins today also detailed Courtney Sullivan of the Justice Department as trial counsel in the case and Army Lt. Col. Michael Hosang and Navy Lt. Nathaniel Gross as assistant trial counsel. Martins has not recommended that any of the charges be referred to a military commission empowered to adjudge the death penalty, and therefore the maximum allowable penalty for the charged offenses is life imprisonment.

The convening authority will make an independent determination as to whether to refer some, all, or none of the charges to trial by military commission. If the convening authority decides to refer the case to trial, he will designate the commission panel members who function as jurors. The chief trial judge of the Military Commissions Trial Judiciary would also detail a military judge to the case.

The charges are only allegations that the accused has committed offenses under the Military Commissions Act, and the accused is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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

Thanks to Lynn Anderson for sending this one in. BB

Check your shampoo bottle label. I don't know WHY I didn't figure this out sooner.It's the shampoo I use in the shower! When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body and (duh!) printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning: FOR EXTRA VOLUME AND BODY ---No wonder I have been gaining weight! Well! I have gotten rid of that shampoo and I am going to start using Dawn dish soap instead. Their label reads, DISSOLVES FAT THAT IS OTHERWISE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE. Problem solved.


Alan Benoit has some hints some of us might appreciate. BB

Lovemaking Tips For Seniors

1. Wear your glasses to make sure your partner is actually in the bed.

2. Set timer for 3 minutes, in case you doze off in the middle.

3. Set the mood with lighting. (Turn them ALL OFF!)

4. Make sure you put 911 on your speed dial before you begin.

5. Write partner's name on your hand in case you can't remember.

6. Use extra Polygrip so your teeth don't end up under the bed.

7. Have Tylenol ready in case you actually complete the act.

8. Make all the noise you want .... the neighbors are deaf, too.

9. If it works, call everyone you know with the good news!!

10. Don't even think about trying it twice.


Here's one from Pamala Blackwell. BB


"stop and smell the flowers"?
See how many "bouquets" you end up with!

Happiness keeps You Sweet,

Trials keep You Strong,

Sorrows keep You Human,

Failures keep You Humble,

Success keeps You Glowing,

But Only God keeps You Going!

You are so special!

Today is "buddy day "


Bill Bowker's got himself a new ride. BB

I Think They're Heading to Walmart. The cowbell adds a nice touch.


Ron Brauer has made a mistake! My girl was young, beautiful, nothing like this girl....Must be a mistake. BB

The girls we left behind!


John Conley has some good input here so take heed everyone. BB

Men Are Just Happier People -- What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack. You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work, more pay. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress $5000 Tux rental-$100. People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, He or she can still be your friend. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.. Everything on your face stays its original color.. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck. You can play with toys all your life. One wallet and one pair of shoes -- one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.. You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives On December 24 in 25 minutes. No wonder men are happier. Send this to the women who can handle it And to the men who will enjoy reading it. Men Are Just Happier People NICKNAMES ·If Sheila, Candy and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Sheila, Candy and Sarah. ·If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Bubba and Wildman. EATING OUT ·When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.. ·When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators. MONEY ·A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs. ·A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale. BATHROOMS ·A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel. ·The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items. ARGUMENTS ·A woman has the last word in any argument. ·Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument. FUTURE ·A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband. ·A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife. MARRIAGE ·A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't. ·A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does. DRESSING UP ·A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail. ·A man will dress up for weddings and funerals. NATURAL ·Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.. ·Women somehow deteriorate during the night. OFFSPRING ·Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams. ·A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house. THOUGHT FOR THE DAY A married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing!


Thanks to Bob Corbin for this one. BB


Look everybody! Fred Currier has bought a new Camper. BB


Danny Horn has come up with a new theory concerning man's best friend. BB

Why Some Men Have a Dog And No Wife:


1. The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you. 2. Dogs don't notice if you call them by another dog's name. 3. Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor. 4. A dog's parents never visit. 5. Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across. 6. Dogs find you amusing when you're drunk.. 7. Dogs like to go hunting and fishing. 8. A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, "If I died, would you get another dog?" 9. If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away. 10. A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert. 11. If a dog smells another dog on you, they don't get mad. They just think it's interesting. And last, but not least: 12. If a dog leaves, it won't take half of your stuff. To test this theory: Lock your wife and your dog in the garage for an hour. Then open it and see who's happy to see you.


Here is another of Rob Ferguson's jokes he sent in. Rob hit this one on the head! . BB

Two alligators from Florida were sitting at the side of the swamp near Washington, DC. The smaller one turned to the bigger one and said, "I can't understand how you kin be so much bigger 'n me. We're the same age, we was the same size as kids. I just don't get it."
"Well," said the big 'gator, What you been eatin' boy?"
"Politicians, same as you," replied the small 'gator.
"Hmm. Well, where do y'all catch 'em?"
"Down at the other side of the swamp near the parkin' lot by the capitol."
"Same here. Hmm. How do you catch 'em?"
"Well, I crawls up under one of them Lexus's and wait fer one to unlock the car door.
Then I jump out, grab 'em on the leg, shake the shit out of 'em, and eat 'em!"
"Ah!" says the big alligator, "I think I see your problem. You ain't gettin' any real nourishment. See, by the time you get done shakin' the shit out of a Politician, there ain't nothin' left but an asshole and a briefcase.


Smokey Gillespie says, get those tax returns in folks! BB

Subject: The IRS and Grandpa

The IRS decides to audit Grandpa, and summons him to the IRS office. The IRS auditor
was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney.
The auditor said, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment,
Which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds that
I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Grandpa. 'How about a demonstration?'
The auditor thinks for a moment and said, 'Okay. Go ahead.'
Grandpa says, 'I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.'
The auditor thinks a moment and says, 'It's a bet.'
Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it.. The auditor's jaw drops.
Grandpa says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.'
Now the auditor can tell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet.
Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye.
The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's
attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.
'Want to go double or nothing?' Grandpa asks 'I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I
can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side,
and never get a drop anywhere in between.'
The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's
no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again. Grandpa stands
beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the
stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the
auditor's desk.
The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win.
But Grandpa's own attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.
'Are you okay?' the auditor asks.
'Not really,' says the attorney. 'This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been summoned for
an audit, he bet me twenty-five thousand dollars that he could come in here and pee all over

your desk and that you'd be happy about it!'
Don't Mess with Old People!!


Contributed by: Edmund Hayes, MD

Solving The Mystery Of An Old Diabetes Drug That May Reduce Cancer Risk
In 2005, news first broke that researchers in Scotland found unexpectedly low rates of cancer among diabetics taking metformin, a drug commonly prescribed to patients with Type II diabetes. Many follow-up studies reported similar findings, some suggesting as much as a 50-per-cent reduction in risk.
How could this anti-diabetic drug reduce the risk of developing cancer and what were the mechanisms involved?
In a paper published today in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, researchers from McGill University and the University of Montreal reported an unexpected finding: they learned that exposure to metformin reduces the cellular mutation rate and the accumulation of DNA damage. It is well known that such mutations are directly involved in carcinogenesis, but lowering cancer risk by inhibiting the mutation rate has never been shown to be feasible.
"It is remarkable that metformin, an inexpensive, off-patent, safe and widely used drug, has several biological actions that may result in reduced cancer risk - these latest findings suggest that it reduces mutation rate in somatic cells, providing an additional mechanism by which it could prevent cancer, explained Dr. Michael Pollak, professor in McGill's Departments of Medicine and Oncology, researcher at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital and the study's director.


How Drugs Get Those Tongue-Twisting Generic Names
Oseltamivir. Esomeprazole. Trastuzumab. Where do drugs get those odd-sounding generic names? The answers are in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, which explains the logic behind the tongue-twisters.
C&EN Associate Editor Carmen Drahl explains that until 1961 there was no standard for assigning drugs generic names, which are different from brand names like Tamiflu (oseltamivir), Nexium (esomeprazole) and Herceptin (trastuzumab). That's when three medical organizations created the U.S. Adopted Names (USAN) Council to assign simplified alternatives to the unwieldy proper names the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry gives to molecules. For instance, under USAN's guidance, "cis-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide" becomes "zucapsaicin." The council recommends generic names to an international agency of the World Health Organization. The tongue-twisting words the USAN Council creates are products of "stems" that describe a drug's characteristics, which Drahl likens to the Latin and Greek roots of many English words.


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


Sex is Safe for Most Heart Patients
Heart patients may be nervous or anxious about having sex, but most of them can do so safely - and they shouldn't be afraid to bring up the topic with their doctor. So says the American Heart Association in its first scientific statement on sexual activity and cardiovascular disease, published online by Circulation.
"It's reasonably safe for most people with stable disease to engage in sexual activity," says Glenn Levine, a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and lead author of the statement.


Edible Microchips Can Tell Your Physician If You're Actually Taking Your Medications
In the UK, "smart pills" or pills with edible microchips embedded in them, are expected to be released to the public in a few months. These intelligent pills, currently being developed by Proteus Biomedical, have many benefits.
The microchip, which is capable of transmitting physiological data, looks like a small black speck of sand and is composed of materials that are nontoxic.
This means the smart pills can remind patients of upcoming medication doses and even report back to their doctor when they have taken it. The system captures exactly what medications have been taken.


Researchers Refine Nanoparticles For More Accurate Delivery Of Cancer Drugs
A new class of nanoparticles, synthesized by a UC Davis research team to prevent premature drug release, holds promise for greater accuracy and effectiveness in delivering cancer drugs to tumors. The work is published in the current issue of Angewandte Chemie, a leading international chemistry journal.
In their paper, featured on the inside back cover of the journal, Kit Lam, professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and his team report on the synthesis of a novel class of micelles called dual-responsive boronate cross-linked micelles (BCMs) , which produce physicochemical changes in response to specific triggers.
A micelle is an aggregate of surfactant molecules dispersed in water-based liquid such as saline. Micelles are nano-sized, measuring about 25-50 nanometers (one nanometer is one billionth of a meter), and can function as nanocarriers for drug delivery.


Lithium Remains Best For Bipolar
Doctors should feel more confident in recommending lithium for people with bipolar disorder, say Oxford University researchers who have reviewed the evidence on possible side-effects of the drug.
Lithium is the most effective long-term therapy for bipolar disorder, but its use has decreased. This is partly due to concerns about the drug's safety, such as its possible effect on kidney function.
Since many patients who might benefit from lithium may be missing out because of these uncertainties, the Oxford team led by Professor John Geddes of the Department of Psychiatry set out to gather better information about lithium's side-effects. They assessed almost 400 articles investigating the possible adverse effects of lithium and make a number of recommendations to guide lithium treatment in the future. The results are published in the Lancet medical journal.


Google Knows More About Certain Diseases Than Physicians Ever Will
Professor Gunter Dueck, is a calm and eloquent german mathematician who's also the CTO of IBM Germany. He studied mathematics and philosophy and eventually turned out to be a great writer and speaker. Unfortunately he only does so in German, which is why it doesn't make much sense to post a video of him here.
In a recent talk he gave (German only), he talks about whether a connected and information-based world is a nightmare or a dream come true. Near the end of the talk he picks up the topic of what a connected society, what the Internet and what ubiquitious information means for certain jobs, in particular for contractors or service providers like lawyers and doctors:
You are more and more disapointed by professionals who live off their knowledge, whom you've always trusted and whose expertise you've considered to be untouchable. Now the Internet gives everyone and extremely powerful tool to research even the most complex medical knowledge. Be it Map-Kinases or the different types of leukemia. It is simply amazing (and to some of us, slightly discomforting) that such highly specific knowledge which was only able to be acquired going through several years of med school is now freely available to everybody. And it changes things.


Fake Drugs Top List of Items Seized by US Customs that Threaten Consumer Safety
Counterfeit pharmaceuticals made up the largest portion of seized items in the Consumer Safety and Technology category, at 28% when ranked by domestic value, as reported by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The report "Intellectual Property Rights: Fiscal Year 2011 Seizure Statistics," prepared by the CBP Office of International Trade, indicates that "The domestic value of counterfeit pharmaceutical seizures in FY 2011 rose by more than $11 million, an increase of almost 200%." Pharmaceuticals were the third largest category among all seized fake commodities in 2011, with consumer electronics and footwear making up the majority of seized counterfeits.
Counterfeit pharmaceuticals were a target of enforcement efforts by CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2011, as noted in the report.


Acid Reflux Drug Does Not Improve Asthma in Children
Asthma and gastroesophageal reflux (GER) are both common illnesses in children. GER in children often occurs without the typical symptoms of heartburn, and physicians frequently prescribe the acid reflux drug lansoprazole to supplement the standard inhaled steroid treatment for children with uncontrolled asthma regardless of GER symptoms. However, a randomized clinic trial conducted by the American Lung Association's Asthma Clinical Group found that the addition of lansoprazole does not improve asthma symptoms or the control of asthma in children and may increase the risk for upper respiratory infections and other adverse events. Results of the study appear in the January 25 issue of JAMA.
Lansoprazole belongs to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that reduce acid in the stomach. Use of these drugs, including for the treatment of asthma symptoms, has risen dramatically in children over the last decade.


Anti-Malaria Drug Synthesized With the Help of Oxygen and Light
The most effective anti-malaria drug can now be produced inexpensively and in large quantities. This means that it will be possible to provide medication for the 225 million malaria patients in developing countries at an affordable price. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and the Freie Universität Berlin have developed a very simple process for the synthesis of artemisinin, the active ingredient that pharmaceutical companies could only obtain from plants up to now. The chemists use a waste product from current artemisinin production as their starting substance. This substance can also be produced biotechnologically in yeast, which the scientists convert into the active ingredient using a simple yet very ingenious method.
There is an effective treatment against malaria, but it is not accessible to all of the more than 200 million people worldwide who are affected by the disease. Millions, especially in the developing world, cannot afford the combination drug preparation, which consists mainly of artemisinin. Moreover, the price for the medication varies, as this substance is isolated from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua) which grows mainly in China and Vietnam, and varies seasonally in its availability. To make the drug affordable for at least some patients in developing countries, the Clinton Foundation, for example, subsidises its cost to the tune of several million dollars per year. Nevertheless, over one million people die of malaria each year because they do not have access to effective drugs.


Low Vitamin D Levels Linked To Depression
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists working with the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. It is believed to be the largest such investigation ever undertaken.
Low levels of vitamin D already are associated with a cavalcade of health woes from cardiovascular diseases to neurological ailments. This new study - published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings - helps clarify a debate that erupted after smaller studies produced conflicting results about the relationship between vitamin D and depression. Major depressive disorder affects nearly one in 10 adults in the U.S.
"Our findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients - and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels - might be useful," said Dr. E. Sherwood Brown, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study, done in conjunction with The Cooper Institute in Dallas. "But we don't have enough information yet to recommend going out and taking supplements."


Believe it or not
Researchers find cancer in ancient Egyptian mummy A professor from American University in Cairo says discovery of prostate cancer in a 2,200-year-old mummy indicates the disease was caused by genetics, not environment. The genetics-environment question is key to understanding cancer.
AUC professor Salima Ikram, a member of the team that studied the mummy in Portugal for two years, said Sunday the mummy was of a man who died in his forties. She said this was the second oldest known case of prostate cancer.
"Living conditions in ancient times were very different; there were no pollutants or modified foods, which leads us to believe that the disease is not necessarily only linked to industrial factors," she said.
A statement from AUC says the oldest known case came from a 2,700 year-old skeleton of a king in Russia.


Tip #70: Adding a Special Character
(Works with all Windows versions)

There are probably one or two special characters that you use regularly (for example, ® and ©). It can be a real time-waster to open your Character Map every time you want to insert one of these symbols. So don't!

Open the Character Map by clicking Start, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Accessories. Click System Tools, and then click Character Map. Click the © symbol. Notice that the bottom-right corner of the Character Map shows the keyboard shortcut used to insert the special character. Write it down for later use.

When you want to insert that character, here's the trick: Position the cursor where you want to insert the special character, then with NUM LOCK key on, hold down the ALT key and use the number pad keys to type the character value. Nifty, eh?


1 July 12, 2010

New Regulations on PTSD Claims
Quick Facts: This new rule is for Veterans of any era.
The new rule will apply to claims: o received by VA on or after July 13, 2010;

o received before July 13, 2010 but not yet decided by a VA regional office;

o appealed to the Board of Veterans' Appeals on or after July 13, 2010;

o appealed to the Board before July 13, 2010, but not yet decided by the Board; and

o pending before VA on or after July 13, 2010, because the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

vacated a Board decision and remanded for re-adjudication.


“Stressor Determinations for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder”

1. What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition resulting from exposure to direct or indirect
threat of death, serious injury or a physical threat. The events that can cause PTSD are called
"stressors” and may include natural disasters, accidents or deliberate man-made events/disasters,
including war. Symptoms of PTSD can include recurrent thoughts of a traumatic event, reduced
involvement in work or outside interests, emotional numbing, hyper-alertness, anxiety and
irritability. The disorder can be more severe and longer lasting when the stress is human initiated
action (example: war, rape, terrorism).

2. What does this final regulation do?
This final regulation liberalizes the evidentiary standard for Veterans claiming service connection
for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Under current regulations governing PTSD claims, unless
the Veteran is a combat Veteran, VA adjudicators are typically required to undertake extensive record
development to corroborate whether a Veteran actually experienced the claimed in-service stressor. This
final rulemaking will simplify and improve the PTSD claims adjudication process by eliminating this
time-consuming requirement where the claimed stressor is related to “fear of hostile military or
terrorist activity,” is consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of their service, and a VA
psychiatrist or psychologist, or contract psychiatrist or psychologist confirms that the claimed
stressor is adequate to support a diagnosis of PTSD.

3. What types of claims for VA benefits does the final regulation affect?
The final regulation will benefit Veterans, regardless of their period of service. It applies to claims
for PTSD service connection filed on or after the final regulation’s effective date, and to those claims
that are considered on the merits at a VA Regional Office or the Board of Veterans’ Appeals on or after
the effective date of the rule.

> 4. Why is this final regulation necessary?
The final regulation is necessary to make VA’s adjudication of PTSD claims both more timely and
consistent with the current medical science.

5. How does this final regulation help Veterans?
The final regulation will simplify and streamline the processing of PTSD claims, which will result in
Veterans receiving more timely decisions. A Veteran will be able to establish the occurrence of an
in-service stressor through his or her own testimony, provided that: (1) the Veteran is diagnosed with
PTSD; (2) a VA psychiatrist or psychologist, or a psychiatrist or psychologist with whom VA has contracted
confirms that the claimed stressor is adequate to support a PTSD diagnosis; (3) the Veteran's symptoms are
related to the claimed stressor; and (4) the claimed stressor is consistent with the places, types, and
circumstances of the Veteran’s service and the record provides no clear and convincing evidence to the
contrary. This will eliminate the requirement for VA to search for records, to verify stressor accounts,
which is often a very involved and protracted process. As a result, the time required to adjudicate a PTSD
compensation claim in accordance with the law will be significantly reduced.
6. How does VA plan to monitor the need for examiners in various regions of the country, and how does VA
plan to respond if is determined that more examiners are needed in a particular region?

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has written in to the FY11-13 Operating Plan the need for
additional staff to support doing adequate, timely exams. VHA proposes: “A8. Increase mental health field

staff to address the increase in C&P examinations and develop monitoring system to ensure clinical delivery
of mental health services does not decrease in VHA.“ Specifically, VHA has requested 125 clinicians for FY11
with additional 63 staff in FY12 if the need exists. If the Operating Plan and the proposed budget are
approved, VA proposes asking the Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) to develop plans for
distributing the funds in order to ensure adequate coverage at sites based on number of claims being processed;
the VISNs are well positioned to determine these regional needs.

7. How does the regulatory revision affect PTSD service connection claims where an in-service diagnosis of
PTSD has been rendered? service. Rather, under another VA rule, 38 CFR § 3.304(f)(1), if a Veteran is diagnosed with posttraumatic
stress disorder during service and the claimed stressor is related to that service, in the absence of clear
and convincing evidence to the contrary, and provided that the claimed stressor is consistent with the
circumstances, conditions, or hardships of the Veteran's service, the Veteran's lay testimony alone may
establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor.

8. Is the new regulation applicable only if the Veteran's statements relate to combat or POW service? No. The rule states that the stressor must be related to a “fear of hostile military or terrorist activity,”
and the claimed stressor must be “consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the veteran’s service.”

9. What circumstances will still require stressor verification through DoD’s Joint Services Records Research
Center (JSRRC) , VBA’s Compensation &Pension Service (C&P Service), or other entity if a Veteran claims that his
or her stressor is related to a fear of hostile or terrorist activity? The regulatory revision will greatly
lessen the need for undertaking development to verify Veterans’ accounts of in-service stressors. Now, stressor
development may only need to be conducted if a review of the available record, such as the Veteran’s service
personnel and/or treatment records, is inadequate to determine that the claimed stressor is “consistent with
the places, types and circumstances of the veteran’s service.” In such circumstances, the Veterans Service
Representative (VSR) will determine on a case-by-case basis what development should be undertaken. However, it is anticipated that in the overwhelming majority of cases adjudicated under the new version of
3.304(f), a simple review of the Veteran’s service treatment and/or personnel records will be sufficient to
determine if the claimed stressor is consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the Veteran’s
service. We also believe that, in some cases, a Veteran’s separation document, DD-Form 214, alone may enable an
adjudicator to make such a determination.

10. As the regulatory revision seems to require an enhanced role for the examining VA mental health
professional, whose role is it to determine whether the claimed stressor is consistent with the Veteran’s
VA adjudicators, not the examining psychiatrist or psychologist, will decide whether the claimed
stressor is consistent with the Veteran’s service.

11. Is a Veteran's testimony about “fear of hostile military or terrorist activity” alone sufficient to
establish a stressor?
Yes, if the other requirements of the regulation are satisfied, i.e., a VA psychiatrist or psychologist confirms
that the claimed stressor is adequate to support a PTSD diagnosis and that the Veteran's symptoms are related to
the claimed stressor, and the stressor is consistent with the “places, types, and circumstances of the Veteran’s

12. Are the stressors accepted as adequate for establishing service connection under new 3.304(f)(3) limited to
those specifically identified in the new regulation?
No. The examples given in the revised regulation do not represent an exclusive list in view of the use of the
modifying phrase “such as” that precedes the listed examples. Any event or circumstance that involves actual or
threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of the Veteran or others, would qualify
as a stressor under new 3.304(f)(3).

13. How will the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) work with Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) on the new
VHA was actively involved in discussion with VBA of the new regulation and fully supports the new regulation. The
new regulation will provide fair evaluation for Veterans whose military records have been damaged or destroyed, or
for whom no definitive reports of combat action appeared in their military records, even though they can report
such actions and it is reasonable to believe that these occurred, given the time and place of service. This will be
especially beneficial to women Veterans, whose records do not specify that they had combat assignments, even though
their roles in the military placed them at risk of hostile military or terrorist activity. This means that more
Veterans will become eligible for VA care and thus be able to receive VA care for mental illness related to their
military service, as well as receiving full holistic health care.VHA will work actively with VBA on implementing
the regulation. VHA staff’s main role is as clinicians conducting C&P interviews to establish diagnoses and obtain
other information to be used by VBA raters to determine the outcome of claims. The new regulation will not change
the diagnostic elements of the C&P interview, but may change what additional data are collected for use by VBA raters.


Army Looks to Ensure Consistent PTSD Diagnosis
By Rob McIlvaine
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2012 - The Army is investigating how post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed to ensure consistency at all hospitals, the service's surgeon general told Congress yesterday.
Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho and the surgeons general from the Air Force and Navy testified at a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee.
Honcho addressed concerns over closure of the intensive outpatient center at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., reportedly because the staff concluded too often that patents suffered from PTSD. She said she has launched an investigation to look into the variance of behavioral health diagnoses at Madigan, and to investigate why the intensive outpatient center was closed, whether undo command influence contributed to the closure, and whether patients were negatively affected.
A forensic psychiatrist there who screened patients for PTSD and allegedly made inappropriate remarks was removed administratively from clinical duties until the investigation is finished, Horoho said.
The center's capabilities have not gone away, Horoho said, explaining that they have been merged into other behavioral health programs at Madigan.
"Having said that, we are going to investigate to make sure that's actually true and that we're providing the best care to our service members," she said. She denied that the Army is pressing medical personnel to ensure soldiers return to duty.
"Absolutely, the Army is not putting pressure on any of our clinicians," she said.
Horoho said she has asked the Army's inspector general to evaluate and investigate the situation at Madigan, noting a variance there that involved patients going through the Integrative Disability Evaluation System who had their records screened without face-to-face diagnosis.
When the disability evaluator was unsure of whether the patient suffered from PTSD, she explained, he would refer the case to forensic psychiatry, and the diagnosis would then be made using administrative data without a patient encounter.
That's not the way PTSD diagnoses are made across Army medicine, Horocho said, and she wants to ensure no Madigan patients were put at a disadvantage.
"Our commitment," she told the subcommittee, "is to ensure we optimize the delivery of health services to ensure our medical support to each of our services while reducing redundancy by maintaining unity of effort and focusing on health."
The recent merger of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., was another topic at the hearing.
Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. (Dr.) Matthew L. Nathan, who commanded the former Navy facility at Bethesda and then the consolidated Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, thanked the subcommittee members for their support and pledged continued high-quality care as budget constraints loom.
"I recognize that we are in somewhat unchartered waters, as we say in the Navy, as we look for new footing and a new landscape to find a governance structure that will accommodate these efficiencies and these transparencies and at the same time preserve the amazing combat warfighter support that has been evident over this last decade, resulting in the greatest survival rates and the lowest disease nonbattle injury rate in military history," Nathan said.


Veterans File for Class Certification in Chemical, Biological Weapons Testing Case
San Francisco, Calif. 2/9/12 — On behalf of two non-profits, Vietnam Veterans of America and Swords to Plowshares, and eight individual disabled veterans, Morrison & Foerster today filed a petition for class certification in a more than two-year battle with the U.S. military over secret testing of chemical and biological weapons on its own soldiers. The plaintiffs, who are seeking certification of a class of veterans and their survivors, included more than 1,000 pages of supporting documents filed under seal. The last two years have seen titanic discovery battles in which the defendants have resisted production of documents and sought to limit depositions. Trial is set for early 2013.
This lawsuit does not seek monetary damages. Rather, the plaintiffs seek:

1. To overturn the so-called Feres doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court decision that, in effect, insulates the government from liability under the Federal Torts Claims Act for any claims brought by service personnel — a claim that was dismissed by the court early in the case.
2. For the defendants to notify the test participants of the substances they received, the doses, the method of administration (e.g., inhalation, injections, spinal injections, dermal), and the known health effects.
3. To provide health care for veterans who have suffered diseases or other conditions related to their participation in the tests. Despite explicit regulations and instructions from Congress, the suit alleges that defendants have long resisted any efforts to notify or provide health care to the surviving test participants, arguing that none of them can prove that they have experienced any adverse health effects associated with the tests.

The research programs at issue, concentrated at the Army's facilities at the Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick, Maryland, allegedly tested more than 400 different chemical and biological substances during five decades in locations throughout the U.S. and abroad, and involved an estimated 100,000 active duty military personnel. The substances tested ranged from drugs or chemicals such as LSD, mescaline, BZ, amphetamines, mustard gas, sarin, CS (riot control agent), and a THC analog called "red oil," to biological substances such as anthrax, botulism, plague, tularemia, Q fever, as well as crop destruction agents such as dioxin, used in Agent Orange. Plaintiffs allege that none of the "volunteers" for the program provided informed consent, that some experiments were conducted on unwitting participants, and that the testing program involved multiple violations of the Nuremberg Law.
The plaintiffs also contend that the defendants failed to conduct medical surveillance or follow-up of the test subjects, and that defendants have refused to collect information regarding patterns of disease amongst the exposed veterans. The few existing studies or reports indicate that the so-called "test vets" experience a disproportionate incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder and a variety of other diseases and ailments associated with the test substances such as cancers.
Discovery and investigation in the case have shown that the Department of Veterans Affairs actively participated in the human research program, using veterans as test subjects. Yet plaintiffs contend, that same DVA is tasked with deciding veterans’ disability claims. DVA outreach reports show that it has denied between 97% and 99% of all disability or death claims arising out of the exposures. Plaintiffs claim that the DVA is biased against granting claims due to its self-interest in the issues. The claims process has also been complicated by Department of Defense claims that it cannot find records to substantiate most of the veterans’ participation in the tests, causing DVA to summarily deny those claims.
Discovery has also revealed that the CIA secretly retained a cache of 12 magnetic storage tapes, which contain information accumulated for over a decade, including a detailed database of Edgewood studies and participants, as well as a compendium of thousands of files and reports from research conducted at the Edgewood Arsenal and other sites. The defendants have resisted production of the contents of these tapes, which were placed in secure storage at Langley in 1972, arguing most recently that the DOD and CIA lack the capacity to read the files stored on the magnetic tapes. Plaintiffs have filed a series of motions seeking to force production of the documents in the CIA cache, a process that is still ongoing. Plaintiffs have also filed a series of motions challenging defendants’ claims that key documents are “state secrets” or covered by the “deliberative process” privilege. See www.edgewoodtestvets.org for more information.
Michael Blecker, Executive Director of Swords to Plowshares, said, "Swords is proud to be a part of this case and to see it reach the stage where it can hopefully benefit tens of thousands of disabled veterans."
Rick Weidman, Executive Director for Policy and Government Affairs, of Vietnam Veterans of America, added, "What VVA is all about is to ensure that we leave no veterans behind. The chem/bio veterans were used by the government many years ago and were discharged and abandoned. It is a national disgrace that must be made right."

For further information, please contact the following plaintiff representatives: Vietnam Veterans of America, 301-996-8557 (Rick Weidman, rweidman@vva.org); Swords to Plowshares: Veterans Rights Organization, 415-655-7240 (Michael Blecker, mblecker@stp-sf.org); or lead counsel for plaintiffs, Gordon P. Erspamer, 415-268-6411, GErspamer@mofo.com.
Morrison & Foerster is handling the case pro bono.


Money Saved at Misdiagnosed Vets’ Expense
3The Vietnam Veterans of America says the Pentagon has “systematically and wrongfully discharged” more than 22,000 veterans since 2001 “on the basis of so-called ‘personality disorder’” – rather than post-traumatic stress disorder – to deny them medical care and save the Pentagon $12.5 billion in medical and disability payments.
“The military classifies PD [personality disorder] as a condition pre-existing military service,” the four plaintiff chapters of the Vietnam Veterans of America say in their federal complaint against the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.
“Veterans discharged from the military on the basis of a PD diagnosis are not entitled to receive service-connected disability benefits or VA health care.
“By its own admission, DoD dismissed 22,656 service members on the basis of PD between fiscal years 2001 and 2007; 3,372 of these discharged service members had served in combat or imminent danger zones in support of OCO [overseas contingency operation - Pentagonspeak for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan]. Approximately 2,800 of the service members whom DoD had dismissed on the basis of PD had deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.


New Treatment Can Help Veterans With Obstructive Sleep Apnea

BELMONT, Calif., Jan. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — United States military veterans now have the option to use Provent Sleep Apnea Therapy, a small, non-invasive nasal device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Ventus Medical, maker of Provent Therapy, today announced the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has granted a multi-year, Federal Supply Schedule contract that would expand access to Provent Therapy among veterans.
It’s estimated more than four million U.S. veterans suffer from OSA, with a 61 percent increase of diagnoses between 2008 and 2010. Experts attribute that to an enhanced awareness of OSA, and exposure to dust and sand in Afghanistan and Iraq which may compromise respiratory health. People with OSA stop breathing multiple times each hour during sleep, often for ten seconds or longer. They frequently don’t recognize the symptoms, but their bed partner complains of loud snoring and long pauses in breathing.
“OSA is a chronic condition creating a significant burden on the Veterans Healthcare System. While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a safe and effective treatment, a substantial percentage of veterans don’t accept or adhere to this treatment,” said Richard B. Berry, M.D., Professor of Medicine at University of Florida. “There is a great need for access to new, clinically-proven therapies – particularly easy-to-use treatments – for the increasing number of veterans with obstructive sleep apnea.”
One of them is retired Air Force fighter pilot Colonel Win Reither, who is married with five children. Despite being slim and fit, he was diagnosed with OSA in late spring 2011. After completing a sleep test that documented mild to moderate sleep apnea, he was prescribed a pressurized CPAP mask to wear during sleep.
“I tried the CPAP device and it reminded me of the oxygen mask I wore in F-102 fighters,” said Reither from his home in Virginia. “I didn’t mind a bulky mask in the jet, but sleeping with one was a nightmare. All those tubes and the pump chugging away at night weren’t for me. My doctor offered Provent as an alternative and I’ve been sleeping great ever since.”
OSA is associated with serious medical conditions including high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, stroke and diabetes, as well as an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to sleep deprivation. People with moderate to severe OSA are almost five times as likely to suffer from heart disease, and have up to 10 times as many motor vehicle accidents compared with people who don’t have OSA.
“Leading sleep centers estimate that one in five veterans experience sleep apnea, a rate of OSA that is four times higher than in the general U.S. population,” said Peter Wyles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ventus Medical, and former U.S. Marine. “We’re pleased to offer a clinically-proven solution to the millions of veterans who have served our country, but currently go untreated with this serious condition.”

About Provent Sleep Apnea Therapy

Provent Therapy is a proprietary medical device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The device is proven clinically effective in a series of published studies. It is easy to use, non-invasive and disposable treatment that works across mild, moderate and severe OSA. Provent Therapy utilizes nasal expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) to keep a patient’s airway open during. It incorporates a novel MicroValve design that is placed over the nostrils and secured with hypoallergenic adhesive. During inhalation, the valve opens allowing nearly unobstructed airflow. During exhalation, the valve closes, limiting airflow through small openings, which increases expiratory pressure and keeps the airway open, preventing disruption in breathing. Provent Therapy is FDA cleared, has CE marking and has been accepted onto the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). For more information, please visit www.proventtherapy.com


Gulf War Presumptive Disease
Veterans of the Persian Gulf War with undiagnosed illnesses have an additional five years to qualify for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Not all the wounds of war are fully understood, said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. When there is uncertainty about the connection between a medical problem and military service, Veterans are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. A recent change in VA regulations affects Veterans of the conflict in Southwest Asia. Many have attributed a range of undiagnosed or poorly understood medical problems to their military services. Chemical weapons, environmental hazards and vaccinations are among the possible causes. At issue is the eligibility of Veterans to claim VA disability compensation based upon those undiagnosed illnesses, and the ability of survivors to qualify for VA‘s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. Under long-standing VA rules, any undiagnosed illnesses used to establish eligibility for VA benefits must become apparent by Dec. 31, 2011. The new change pushes the date back to Dec. 31, 2016. Veterans or survivors who believe they qualify for these benefits should contact VA at 1-800-827-1000. Further information about undiagnosed illnesses is available online at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar and http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/oefoif/index.asp.
[Source: Army News Service 29 Dec 2011 ++]


Stolen Valor Update
Fermijon Marrero's pile of lies has come crashing down around him as media outlets from around the New York area have picked up the story after Talk of the Sound reported that the man honored as Grand Marshall of the 2011 Memorial Day Parade was not a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army or a Vietnam POW. In fact, Marrero is an outright fraud, discharged from the Army in 1976 as a private after 9 months of service. He never saw combat or served overseas, spending his entire time in the service stationed as bases in the United States. Talk of the Sound's based its reporting on information published on John Lilyea's This Ain't Hell Blog and research done by Mary and Chuck Schantag of the POW Network site after the Daily New Rochelle reported that Marrero claimed to have been a Vietnam POW. The POW Network specializes in outing phony claims on POW status.
The Journal News and others are now reporting on Marrero's fraud. When Channel 2 News reporter Catherine Brown pressed Marrero he grabbed her microphone and shouted that he left the Army in 1987 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and that the Brigadier General was his title in the Cadets. That claim is also false. On 22 DEC Colonel Joseph Land, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Cadet Corps categorically denied Fermijon Marrero was ever associated with the Army Cadets Corps or that his rank of Brigadier General was an honorary rank as a member of the cadets or that Marrero. "There is only one Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Cadet Corps, my boss", Land told Talk of the Sound. "I don't think he will appreciate Marrero sitting in his chair." Land went further stating that although Marrero had contacted him several months ago, Marrero was never associated in any way with the U.S. Army Cadets.
The matter began to come to ahead after the Daily New Rochelle reported Marrero's tall tales of eating maggots and being locked up in a tiger cage as a Vietnam POW before escaping. Refer to http://www.thedailynewrochelle.com/neighbors/former-army-general-will-soon-move-new-rochelle.The POW Network team suspected the story was false, researched Marrero and labeled him a "phony" on their web site. The Daily New Rochelle ran a new story on Marrero being a fraud but has yet to correct or clarify the original story.
[Source: Robert Cox blog 23 Dec 2011 ++]


Hotel Guest Phone Scam:
Many people will be traveling to see family and friends in the next few weeks. Scammers know this too, and may try to trick you into divulging your credit card information by posing as hotel employees. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning holiday travelers to beware of a telephone phishing scam designed to steal credit card numbers. A hotel guest in the Memphis area alerted the BBB of the Mid-South to the scam. However, BBBs around the nation have received similar calls. Since travel and hotel stays tend to increase over the holidays, the scammers may be ramping up their efforts during the holiday season. How the Scam Works: A hotel guest receives a phone call in the wee hours of the morning. The caller claims to be a hotel employee who needs to get your credit card number because:

1. The hotel encountered a problem processing your credit card and they need to verify your number.
2. The hotel's computer system has crashed and they need to get your credit card information again.
3. The hotel's system has crashed and your credit card information is needed for an audit to be conducted shortly.

The crooks are counting on catching you while you are sleeping, so you aren't thinking clearly. And they might even offer you a discount on the room for the inconvenience. The callers are very convincing. According to one hotel guest, the caller sounded very professional. However, hotels generally handle any questions about billing at the front desk, not over the phone. And they certainly wouldn't be calling you in the middle of the night. The BBB Tips to protect yourself from being victimized are:
Never give your credit card or banking information over the phone to someone you don't know.
If you're staying at a hotel and get a call from someone claiming to be a hotel employee, hang up the phone and call the front desk yourself. Better yet, go down to the front desk. Chances are the call didn't come from the hotel.
Remind friends and family not to provide credit card information over the phone during a hotel stay.
[Source: BBB Press Release 20 Dec 2011 ++]


Gulf War Syndrome Update
Congress has approved dedicating $10 million to research the mysterious Gulf War illness, ending concerns from veterans groups that the money would disappear because of budget problems. It was not the 25 million that Dr Stephen Hauser (IOM-NAS chair of Gulf War and Health Committee and Professor and Chair of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, Calif -School of Medicine) had advocated was needed but it is better than what was projected. It maintained what Representative Kucinick (D-OH) had gotten through the House Defense Appropriations Bill with an amendment back before August. It at least maintains the program for 2012. The Omnibus spending bill passed by the Senate on 17 DEC and signed by President Obama includes the money for specific research into the series of ailments suffered by veterans of the Persian Gulf War.
Originally, money for the research would have to come from a larger pot of money that could have been spent on other work besides studying Gulf War illness. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) led House efforts to restore the money. He told USA TODAY that sick veterans had called from their beds to ask members of Congress to approve the funding. "When one out of three who served is affected, and when some veterans maladies are turning into long-term health problems like ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease), and when researchers are getting closer every single year to finding a treatment with this program, there is an urgency," Kucinich said. "It's comparatively little money that is doing an extraordinary amount of good and is the best hope we have for them." About one in four Gulf War veterans have developed chronic headaches, widespread pain, memory and concentration problems, persistent fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, skin abnormalities and mood disturbances, said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who also pushed for the funding.
The possibility of cuts came just as researchers in the peer reviewed Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program had begun making progress on possible treatments. The research is different because it is not directed by the departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. For years, Veterans Affairs focused its research on the mental health issues of Gulf War veterans, rather than assuming a physical cause, and the Defense Department stopped funding research on Gulf War research several years ago. Recent research suggests the cause may be the bug sprays, anti-nerve-agent pills and sarin gas troops were exposed to, and treatments targeting that possibility have shown promise. One study funded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program showed that coenzyme Q10 appeared to relieve some Gulf veterans symptoms. "It's reassuring to see that members of Congress of both parties remain strongly committed to finding treatments for Gulf War illness, as the Institute of Medicine says can still likely be done with the right research," said Jim Binns, chairman of the federal Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses.
[Source: USA Today News Kelly Kennedy article 18 Dec 2011 ++]


Vitamin Supplements
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics has updated its review on appropriate use of vitamin supplements. The following summarizes their conclusion on the benefits and risks of taking vitamins:

VITAMIN E — Vitamin E in food, which is mostly gamma-tocopherol, acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin E in supplements is mostly alpha-tocopherol, which may block the antioxidant activity of gamma-tocopherol and may have a pro-oxidant effect in vivo. High doses of vitamin E may interfere with vitamin K metabolism and platelet function.

Effect on Mortality A meta-analysis of 26 clinical trials including 105,065 subjects found that supplementation with vitamin E alone or in combination with beta-carotene and vitamin A was associated with an increased risk of death.
Pregnancy A meta-analysis of 9 trials involving 19,810 pregnant women found that vitamin E and C supplementation was associated with an increased risk of gestational hypertension and premature rupture of membranes. A randomized, double-blind trial in 10,154 pregnant women found that 400 IU of vitamin E and 1000 mg of vitamin C started at any time between weeks 9-16 of gestation did not decrease the risk of preeclampsia.
Stroke A meta-analysis of 13 randomized, controlled trials in 166,282 patients found that supplementation with vitamin E at any dose was not beneficial in preventing any type of stroke. Another meta-analysis of 9 trials in 118,765 patients found that vitamin E increased the risk of hemorrhagic stroke by 22% and reduced the risk of ischemic stroke by 10%.
Cardiovascular Events and Cancer Three randomized trials, one in 14,641 men and two in 39,876 and 8171 women found that supplementation with vitamin E did not reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events or cancer. A randomized, controlled trial in 35,533 men found that after 7 years (5.5 years on supplements and 1.5 off supplements), men taking vitamin E alone (400 IU/day) had a statistically significant 17% increase in the risk of prostate cancer, compared to those taking a placebo.

VITAMIN A AND BETA-CAROTENE Vitamin A and beta-carotene, a potent source of vitamin A, are antioxidants, but may also have pro-oxidant effects in vivo. Multivitamin preparations usually contain 1000 to 10,000 IU (0.6 to 6 mg) of beta-carotene; betacarotene supplements usually contain 12-15 mg.

Cancer A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 18,314 smokers, former smokers and workers exposed to asbestos found that 30 mg/day of a beta-carotene supplement plus 25,000 IU/day of vitamin A for an average of 4 years increased the incidence of lung cancer. A placebo-controlled trial in Finnish smokers found that 20 mg/day of a beta-carotene supplement significantly increased the risk of lung cancer. A prospective study that analyzed serum vitamin A levels in 29,104 men found that higher serum vitamin A concentrations were associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

VITAMIN D Many elderly people, especially those with dark skin, have inadequate amounts of vitamin D because of limited exposure to sunlight, decreased synthesis of vitamin D in the skin, and decreased absorption and activation of the vitamin. The latest US recommendations for the minimum daily requirement of vitamin D (vitamin D3 is preferred), based on amounts that have slowed the rate of bone loss, are 600 IU for males and females 1-70 years old, and 800 IU for men and women over 70. Persons infrequently exposed to the sun may need 800-1000 IU of vitamin D daily, and many experts now recommend 800 IU or more for all postmenopausal women. Elderly

people who do not expose themselves to sunlight will need to take supplements to achieve adequate serum levels of vitamin D.

Fractures Some experts have suggested that serum levels of 25-OH vitamin D =30 ng/mL may be desirable in older adults to help prevent fractures and falls. A meta-analysis of 7 randomized, controlled trials in men and women =60 years old indicated that a minimum of 700 IU/d of vitamin D3 , with or without calcium supplementation, could decrease the risk of nonvertebral fractures. Another meta-analysis in men and women =50 years old reported that use of calcium alone or calcium plus vitamin D reduced fractures of all types, especially with calcium doses =1200 mg/d and vitamin D doses 800 IU/d.

A double-blind trial in 2256 women 70 years old at high risk for fracture found that a single 500,000-IU dose of vitamin D3 taken once a year for 3-5 years increased the risk of fractures and falls, compared to placebo.

VITAMIN C Dietary levels of about 300-400 mg/day of vitamin C maintain body pools of the vitamin. One 8-oz glass of orange juice contains about 100 mg of vitamin C.

Cancer Vitamin C 500 mg/day plus 400 IU of vitamin E every other day for a mean follow-up period of 8 years in men = 50 years old failed to reduce the risk of cancer, compared to placebo.20 Similar findings have been reported in women.

Cardiovascular Disease The Physicians‘ Health Study II found no beneficial effect of vitamin C supplementation (in combination with vitamin E) on the primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Upper Respiratory Infection A meta-analysis of 30 trials involving 11,350 subjects showed that prophylactic use of 200 mg/day of vitamin C did not significantly reduce the risk of developing a cold or the severity of cold symptoms.

Toxicity High doses of vitamin C (more than 1 gram) are poorly absorbed, cause diarrhea, and could increase urinary oxalate excretion to a level that might cause kidney stones in people with pre-existing hyperoxaluria.

VITAMIN B12 Vitamin B12 deficiency, diagnosed by elevated serum concentrations of methylmalonic acid with or without elevated serum homocysteine and low serum B12 concentrations, is common in older patients. Atrophic gastritis, which affects 10-30% of older people, results in inability to absorb vitamin B12 from food, with absorption of crystalline vitamin B12 usually left intact. Vitamin B12 can be taken orally or sublingually, injected IM once monthly, or sprayed intranasally.

FOLATE The standard US diet provides 50-500 mcg of absorbable folate per day, but the bioavailability of folate in mixed diets varies. Folic acid in supplements is about twice as bioavailable as folate in food. All enriched cereal grains sold in the US contain 140 mcg of folic acid per 100 g of grain; estimates suggest that this fortification increases folic intake by about 215-240 mcg/day. Even this amount, however, may be inadequate for prevention of neural tube defects, which occur early in pregnancy before most women know that they are pregnant.

Neural Tube Defects Supplementing the diet of women of child-bearing age with 400 mcg of folic acid per day, the amount contained in most multivitamin preparations, has decreased the incidence of neural tube defects in their offspring.

Toxicity High doses of folic acid can mask vitamin B12 deficiency, permitting progression of neurologic disease.

VITAMIN B6 Cardiovascular Disease A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 5422 women with, or at risk for, cardiovascular disease found that a combination of 2.5 mg of folic acid, 50 mg of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and 1 mg of vitamin B12 for 5 years reduced homocysteine levels, but did not reduce the risk of

stroke.24 Other trials have also failed to demonstrate that vitamin B6 supplementation, in addition to folate and vitamin B12, reduces the risk of stroke or any other cardiovascular event.

Cancer A meta-analysis of 12 studies found that vitamin B6 supplementation reduced the risk of colorectal cancer, but 2 randomized, double-blind trials found no association between vitamin B6 supplementation alone and a reduction in the risk of any cancer.

MULTIVITAMINS A study in 38,772 women (mean age 61.6 years) found that self-reported use of at least one supplement containing either multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc or copper was associated with an increased mortality rate.

BARIATRIC SURGERY A study in 58 patients who underwent bariatric surgery found that serum levels of vitamin B12, vitamin C and beta-carotene remained low even with supplementation.30 Bariatric surgery patients are also at risk for deficiencies in folate and vitamins B1, A, D and K.

CONCLUSION In healthy people living in developed countries and eating a normal diet, the benefit of taking vitamin supplements is well established only to ensure an adequate intake of folic acid in young women and of vitamins D and B12 in the elderly. There is no good reason to take vitamins A, C or E routinely. No one should take high-dose beta-carotene supplements. Long-term consumption of any biologically active substance should not be assumed to be free from risk.
[Source: Medical Letter 53:101-103, 2011 ++]


Compensation & Pensions
The following is written from a C&P (Compensation and Pension) examiner‘s perspective relating to psychiatric exams to assist veterans in navigating the VA system. It is also a good guideline for all VA exams. A little common sense and clarity of thinking will go a long ways towards getting you what you are entitled:

1) Be on time or a little early.
2) Be polite. Yelling at the examiner for the injustices you perceive will do nothing but alienate him/her.
3) Curse at your risk. You can get your point across much better with proper English than you can with outlandish language.
4) Keep in mind that your examiner is the person that is going to judge you. It's his/her job and that is why you are there. To be adjudicated fairly how would you like to be remembered? A skuzzy stereotypical veteran or a troubled one who is doing the best he/she can.
5) Do not talk about alcohol or drug related issues. You are not there to be assessed for those problems. You are there to be assessed for your psychiatric functioning as today relates to your service history. If the examiner asks about alcohol or drugs, politely remind them that you are not there for those issues (assuming you've ever had them,) but for how impaired you are in your daily functioning. It's best to avoid even talking about them.
6) Don't waste your time relating how badly you believe you've been mistreated. The examiner only has a short time to figure out how impaired you are and they need the facts. In coherent, concise, sentences, and not rambling rants that end nowhere.
7) Answer the questions to the best of your ability. If you don't know say so.
8) Be honest. Don't embellish your stories with fanciful tales. Just the facts please. Be able to document everything you tell the examiner. You may run into someone who checks stories out. If possible have letters from people you served with, unit diary copies of incidents that occurred during your time and space, and letters from family members. Family member letters usually don't add a lot of weight to your case because families are there to support you and examiners understands that.
9) When responding to examiners you need to pick the worst moment of time relating to that question. You need to be rated for the worst times you have had. As an example, pick a really bad day you have experienced and relate all of your answers to that day. Such as, the day you could not sleep, was anxious and startled easily, was grouchy to your wife and friends, you felt like your heart was coming out of your chest, and nothing went right for you. That day should have been in the last 30-90 days. If it was a year ago you may not need to be having this exam.
10) Remember when you are asked, How are you doing today? to report how you REALLY are doing and not how you'd like to be doing. Most veterans want to be doing MUCH better than they really are. It's like they know they can be doing better, and have done better, but their pride does not want to let anyone know how badly they really are doing
11) Ask if it would be okay to have your husband/wife in the room with you during the exam. Husbands and wives can tell the truth much better than the veteran. Ask your spouse how well you've done in the past ten days versus your own opinion of how you've been doing. Quite a dramatic difference if you are truthful!
The questions you are being asked are on a script in front of the examiner. After examiners do this for a while they get a sense of what is in front of them. It's not too difficult to determine when someone is flat out lying and when they are struggling with memory. Examiners can be scammed but the scammers often pay a price. It's a Federal criminal act to lie in order to gain monetary compensation. And the odds are you will be prosecuted. It simply isn't worth it. Examiners are generally good people trying to do a very difficult job. Make it easy for them.
[Source: Mountain Home AFB Counselor Steve A. Neff, MSW Dec 2011 ++]


Thanks to Dan Thompson for this weeks inspiration. BB

Cancer is a strange cell. You can go along for years in remission and then one day it pops its head up again. If you ever have it you will never be free of it. Pray for the day there will be a permanent cure. A SMALL REQUEST...

Dear God, I pray that You will guide someone to find a cure for cancer in 2012. In Jesus Name, Amen

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

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