November 2012


4Nov04: TF 2-2 commences Operation Phantom Fury in Samarra, Iraq.

5Nov66:  Operation Attleboro begins.RVN
8Nov66:  Battle of Ap Cha Do. RVN
8Nov04:  Operation New Dawn. Fallujah,Iraq.
9Nov89:  Fall of the Berlin Wall. End of the Cold War.
10Nov90: BRO deployment to Desert Shield announced.
10Nov96: BRO takes command of Task Force Eagle in Bosnia, Tuzia Base.
11Nov18: WWI Hostilities End. Veterans Day.
12Nov65: Battle of Ap Bau Bang on Hwy 13. A Trp earns first Valorus Unit Award in RVN.
14Nov65: Operation Bush Master begins.RVN
19Nov67: Operation Shenandoah II ends.RVN
20Nov65: Battle of Trung Loi.RVN 
24Nov69: Battle of Trapezoid IV. Last major battle in RVN.



12 Nov 1965

Opening Guns

The rubber forest on the Lai Khe plantation was mature. The dense, deep canopy cooled the red earth sixty feet below, and the men of the 3rd Brigade were grateful for that. Now, as October passed into November, the yellow blast of the midday sun was truly debilitating, but the green of the forest made it bearable. The wet furnace of the southwest monsoon would soon give way to the northeast flow that would bring dry air from the northern Asian plains. The days would still be hot, the nights more comfortable. The soldiers did not yet use blankets for sleeping; light ground-sheets were just right.
The Lai Khe plantation covered the gently rolling terrain north to the fortified hamlet of Bau Bang, about two kilometers from the command post, by the Soui Ba Lang, a paddy-lined stream that crossed Hwy 13 at that point. Just short of the bridge and on the east side of the highway, slept the hamlet of Ap Ben Cau, once home to a few rubber workers but now abandonded.
Another three kilometers north was the small settlementcalled Ap Ben Dong So. Here the old railroad bed approached the highway from the southeast and the little yellow station still stood sadly alongside. From here to Bau Bang, two more kilometers north, the rubber trees grew close to the highway only on the west side, while the railroad bed advanced through brushland paralleling the highway on the east. Bau Bang straddled the highway, and the narrow ribbon of pocked asphalt cut a wide breach in the earthen wall that surrounded the hamlet.
Four months after its violent but inconclusive engagement with the 272d Viet Cong Regiment at Bau Bang, the 5th ARVN Division was still unable to secure, with any confidence, passage between Lai Khe and Chon Thanh. Its successive failures throughout its zone during the spring and summer and the punishment it absorbed at the hands of the Viet cong main force, doubtless softened whatever starch was in the original fabric. The relative absence of aggressiveness by the ARVN divisions was not so much a consequence of timidity as it was a recognition by their commanders that the resources for successful forays into enemy territory were not available. The indispensable resources were enough helicopters to carry battalions into enemy zones, capitalizing on shock, concentration of mass, surprise, and the firepower necessary to over come ambush. Lacking this mobility and firepower, ARVN expeditions usually used trucks as far as practical, then the infantry continued on foot. Almost inevitably this technique invited ambush with disastrous results. The ARVN infantry lack the firepower to neutralize the enemy’s advantages of surprise, shock, and concentrated, pre-planned fires. There were no fighters-bombers on call, usually no artillery in range, and few if any armored vehicles in the column. Furthermore, Viet Cong agents had little difficulty penetrating ARVN headquarters; there was ample evidence that planned operations were regularly compromised.
The Third Brigade was settle and ready to go. General Westmoreland wanted to give it some field experience as soon as possible in order to build its confidence in its ability to deal with the enemy main force.
MACV intelligence analysts believed that all three regiments of the 9th Viet Cong Division were near Bau Bang. The Phu Loi Battalion was also in the vicinity, probably east of Hwy 13.
When General Thuan’s request for assistance in securing the move of his 7th Regiment on Hwy 13 reached headquarters MACV, it was a made-to-orfer mission for the 3d Brigade at Lai Khe. The brigade commander Colonel William D. Brodbeck, on of the several seasoned combat infantry leaders in the 1st Division, selected the 2d Battalion of the 2d Infantry for the task. The 2d Battalion was let by LTC George Shuffer, the only black battalion commander then in the division.
Highway 13, someone called it Thunder Road and the name stuck. It seemed to draw steel, a magnet for fire and destruction. The 2d Battalion of the 2d Infantry, with Troop A of the 1st Squadron of the 4th Cavalry attached, and with Battry C of the 2d Field Artillery Battalion, 33d Artilery in sport, would soon find out what the name meant.
The 2d Battalion was assigned responsibility for securing the road from the brigade perimeter at Ap Ben Cau north to Bau Long Pond, just south of Ap Bau Long. The distance to be covered was about 13 kilometers. Because 105mm howitzers could range onlya little past Bau Bang from positons at Lai Khe, Battery C of the 2d Battalion, 33d Artillery (reduced from six to four cannons for this mission), would march with the column and select a firing position from which it could cover the entire area of operations of the task force. This meant, of course, that the infantry would have to provide security for the artillery battery position.
The 2d Battalion task force moved out of the brigade perimeter on the warm morning of November 10th. The lead elements reached Bau Long pard without incident. The brigade and battalion civil affairs teams distributed 950 pounds of rice, 100 pounds of beans, boxes of milk, clothing and CARE packages to the villagers of Ben Dong So and Bau Bang. The brigade’s medical team treated minor ailments in both villages.
The first night in the field passed without enemy cotact. Colonel Shuffer and his command group bivouacked with Company A in a clearing just north of Bau Bang. By four o’clock in the afternoon of te 11th, the last ARVN unit cleared the task force area. Colonel Shuffer ordered Companies B and C to move into their night defensive positions: one was north of Bau Bang, the other south. He ordered Company A and the Cavalry troop into a defensive position on the southern edge of Bau Bang to provide security for C Battery there. Also in the perimeter were battalion’s reconnaissance platoon and the task force command group.
LTC Shuffer chose this position because it was close to the center of his area of operations and, in the no unlikely event that the Viet Cong had reconnoitered his position the night before, the new position would frustrate any plans the enemy might have for an attack this night. The battery could fire in support of the other two companies from here, and except for the berm around Bau Bang that rose fifteen feet or so above the terrain to his north, he had good observation and field of fire in all directions. This small force of fewer than 350 men occupied a perimeter 900 meter from east to west; 600 meters from north to south. The hard-baked ground was an old peanut field overgrown with waist-high brush. As they moved into their positons, the howitzers and personnel carriers beat down most of the vegetation and covered everything with a fine gray dust
The C Battery commander laid on platoon of two howitzers so that its primary direction of fire was west. The other platoon was laid pointing north. The guns at Lai Khe could handle missions south of the Position. The four 105’s went into position just north of the center of the perimeter, behind two rifle platoons of Company A that manned the forward edge.
Three mortar carriers (M-106’s) of Troop A were positioned on the left of the howitzer battery. Their hatches were open to permit firing the 4.2-inch mortars from the carriers. The 18 armored personnel Carriers of Troop A covered the southern approaches in a line that curved on each flank to tie in with the infantry platoons. Behind the carriers, in the center of the line, was Company A’s first platoon. In the center of the perimeter was LTC Shuffer with his command group and reconnaissance platoon. The eastern edge of the perimeter was 200 meters from highway 13. The jungle on the west was at least 500 meters distant, and the rubber trees and jungle on the south were 300 meters from the line of cavalry. It was a good perimeter with barbed-wire all around. Individual fox holes were dug by everyone, but darkness fell before these hasty fortification could be improved with greater depth and overhead cover. The artilleymen constructed earthen wall in front of their howitzers.
The company A mortar platoon, 81mm, registered its defensive concentrations and its barrage, as did Troop A’s 4.2 inch mortars. No barrages were assigned to te artillery, but a few concentrations had been registered by Battery C and Lai Khe artillery.
The only thing that worried Shuffer was that earthan wall, the berm around Bau Bang, only 150 meters from his forward foxholes.


Nguyan Khac Minh had an abscess on the inside of his right ankle. It had started three days ago with an insect bite. Then it became infected. Tiger Balm did not help and now there was a red line approaching the underside of his knee. The throbbing was persistent, almost unbearable.
Minh saw the Americans for the first time just south of Bau Bang. They were making clouds of dust with their “tanks” on the old, shattered and cratered asphalt of Hwy 13. (Minh thought they were tanks, and he counted 21 as they filed past.) Now and then he could see the tall Americans walking through the rubber on the west of the road. Minh limped into Bau Bang to see that many women, children, and old men, amny of them friends of his, had gathered near the center of the compound. Something unusual was happening. Three American trucks were in the midst of the crowd. One had a red cross on a white background painted on it’s side. Minh drew closer.
There, beside the market, beneath a sheet-metal roof, were a table and a few chairs and six or seven big Americans. They were obviously medical people, for they were treating the villagers who came forward. The Americans had cases of pills, bandages and bright instruments. Minh’s let hurt so badly, Minh hobbled forward.
The doctor was quick and kind. The pain was sharp when the lance entered the pustule, but it was brief and the yellow mass discharged swiftly under the pressure of the surgeon’s fingers. The relief was wonderful. Then there was an injection of some wonderful American cure and a small box of tablets. The Vietnamese interpreter with the Americans, a young man from Saigon, explained how and when Minh should take the pills.
With a bandage covering the wound, Minh expressed his genuine gratitude and left the market of Bau Bang, walking slowly on the trail toward Ap Nha Mat, nine kilometers west through the jungle of the Long Nguyen Secret Zone.
Nguyen Khac Minh was not the only Viet Cong agent who reported to the advance headquarters of the “Cong Truong 9) that afternoon. Several others had seen the American force on Hwy 13. The main elements were centered on Bau Bang. Here was a beautiful opportunity to show how the combat-seasoned soldiers of the 9th Division could destroy the best the Americans could put in the field, “tanks” included.
The division cadre discussed the situation. The reconnaissance party returned late in the afternoon of the 11th with the news that there were no tanks, but there were 21 armored personnel carriers, four 105 howitzers (their muzzles pointing north), and about 150 soldiers in the clearing on the northern edge of Bau Bang.
The plan, discussed, completed, and put in motion, was no departure from previous successful operations. Just at sunset, six soldiers from the 273d Viet Cong Regiment entered Bau Bang through a secret tunnel on the west edge of the hamlet. The squad was escorting two political cadre, one from the 9th Division and one from the regiment, who met with the Bau Bang Viet Cong hamlet chief and his staff in a small house near the market. They explained that the Cong Truong would bring some weapons and the soldiers into the hamlet that night. There would be a brief battle in the morning as the “peoples’ soldiers” annulated the Americans. No people should leave the village but all should sleep in ther shelters and tunnels that night. Each house had a deep pit under the floor, and each pit opened into a tunnel that would provide protection from any enemy bombardment. The village chief reported that the Americans had moved from north of the hamlet to the peanut field on the south. The 9th Division cadre departed immediately upon hearing this news. He and the squad of riflemen hurried back along the familiar trail to Nha Mat, covering the five miles in under an hour. The attack plan would have to be changed now that the Americans had moved south of Bau Bang. Fortunately, none of the force had begun to move east out of Hha Mat.
A brief radio message was sent to the Phu Loi Battalion commander, alerting him to a change in the plan. A liaison agent was then dispatched to meet the Phu Loi Battalion east of Highway 13 at Bau Bang. He carried with him a sketch and orders detailing the changes in the attack plan.
The mortars and recoilless rifles were moved after dark into familiar positions at Bau Bang. Firing data for the mortars was already available; ranges and deflections were known. Even so, some check-rounds were needed. Two rounds from the base 60mm mortar were fired just after 10 o’clock. Then they were ready. The recoilless rifles were placed on the reverse slope of the berm that surrounded the village, on the southern edge facing the American position.
One battalion of infantry from the 273d Regiment quietly moved into Bau Bang. Another, the Phu Loi Battalion from Ben Cat, infiltrated stealthily into the brush on the east side of highway 13. It took up positions behing the old railroad bed. The third battalion, part of the 271st Regiment, following a guide from the reconnaissance company, was delayed reaching it’s position in the rubber southwest of the Americans. It’s reconnaissance party was ambushed by an American Patrol just almost daylight. A detour was required, and the battalion was not in position until almost daylight.
LTC Shuffer had passed the order that stand-to would be at 0600 hours. In order to be ready, the men on watch began waking the sleeping troopers at 0500. The drivers performed their before-operation checks and started the engines on the personnel carriers. The night ambush patrols returned to the perimeter; the patrol from the southwest sector reported with more details about its brief midnight fire-fight. The men were looking forward to a hot breakfast. It was being prepared in Lai Khe and would arrive on the company mess trucks shortly after six. The task force would resume its sweep of Hwy 13 as soon as breakfast was over.


It was five minutes past six in the morning. Platoon Leaders were meeting with their Platoon Sergeants discussing the plans for the day’s operations when the first volley of mortar rounds fell inside the perimeter, belching black smoke. In the clouds of gray dust that followed, infantrymen scrambled for their foxholes; the Cavalrymen to their armored sanctuaries to man the machine guns. The cannoneers ran to the guns and prepared for the first fire-mission of the day. LTC Shuffer told his radio operator to call brigade and tell them that the battalion was under attack. Among other things, that call cancelled breakfast. He radioed for reports from B and C Companies. Nothing going on in either sector.
The mortar bombardment continued for ten minutes. It was all 60mm, between 50 and 60 rounds in all, and the only casualties were two wounded cavalry troopers. Immediately the Viet Cong infantry assault began in the southwest sector. From fifty meters beyond the wire, under the covering fire of another volley of mortar shells, machine guns and rifle fire, the battalion of the 271st Regiment charged forward out of the thicket of bruch and young trees. The cavalry troopers responded with their .50 caliber machine guns, their m-60’s, rifles and grenade launchers. Then to the obvious dismay of the Viet Cong, the cavalrymen on the south side of the perimeter charged the advancing enemy over the wire with a sweeping assault and a storm of machine gun fire, roaring engines and crushing tracks. The cavalrymen then wheeled and returned to it’s positin within the perimeter without a loss. But during this action one of the mortar carriers sustained a direct hit. The round detonated inside the carrier, setting off the ammunition load and killing or wounding the entire crew. By this time all officers of Troop A were seriously wounded and unable to continue in the battle.
By the time the Viet Cong commander ordered his decimated battalion to withdraw, the 105mm howitzer concentration called for by LTC Shuffer had begun to fall in the rubber to the rear of the retreating battalion. Pulling back was not easy. Nearly every able soldier was dragging or helping another wounded, dead or dying comrade.
While the Viet Cong companies and platoons were making their tortuous withdrawal from the machine gun beaten zone, here came another line of armored personnel carriers, guns blazing, engines roaring. The American cavalry platoons pressed the counterattack to the edge of the rubber forest. Three Viet Cong mortar crews had no chance to escape the fire or to recover their weapons. The cavalry run over the mortars, grinding them into the dust of the peanut field. An enemy infantryman ran forward out of the trees. He aimed his flame thrower at an armored personnel carrier but was killed by a machine gunner on the vehicle before he could light his torch.
It was not yet seven o’clock. But to the troopers and infantrymen it seemed that the attack had lasted all day. Heavy fire from mortars, recoilless rifles and machine guns continued to pour into the perimeter from inside of Bau Bang and from behind the berm.
LTC Shuffer was in constant radio contact with his brigade commander, Colonel Brodbeck. The brigade was responding to all requests for artillery support. By 6:45 a forward air controller (FAC) arrived overhead with a flight of A1H Skyraiders. LTC Shuffer asked them to put their load on the woods north of Bau Bang. He couldn’t ask them to strike Bau Bang itself because it was a populated area, therefore designated a “no fire zone”. The bombs and 20mm cannon fire in the woods had no effect on the incoming ordance LTC Shuffer was receiving from Bau Bang. He was in the midst of his request to COL Brodbeck for permission to fire into Bau Bang when the next Viet Cong assault began.
The Phu Loi battalion charged across Hwy 13 from the jungle and brush behind the old railroad bed. It was met by concentrated fire from the right flank of Company A and the heavy machine guns of the Cavalry APC’s on the west end of Troop A’s Line. The assault withered, staggered and died in the middle of the road. As the shaken Viet Cong dragged their wounded back to defilade behind the railroad embankment, the 155’s and 105’s from the Lai Khe batteries began raining high-explosive on the Phu Loi Battalion’s assembly area. Casualties mounted rapidly as the battalion commander ordered a withdrawal eastward away from this storm of fire and flying steel.
Meanwhile LTC Brodbeck relayed and reinforced COL Shuffer’s request to hit Bau Bang. He called General Seaman at Di An. The 2d Battalion task force was suffering many casualties from fire out of Bau Bang and from the earthen wall surrounding it. It had beaten off three strong infantry assaults but was still dangerously vulnerable to destruction by attrition. It had no way to silence the mortars in Bau Bang or the recoilless rifles firing from position-defilade behink the berm. The artillery battery and Mortar Carriers of the cavalry were firing into the berm with little observed effect on the enemy gunners.
Relayed through COL Brodbeck, LTC Shuffer received General Seaman’s approval to strike Bau Bang just as the enemy infantry, the battalion of the 273d regiment, swarmed over the berm and charged the front of the two platoons Company A, four howitzers and Cavalry Mortar Carriers. It was quickly obvious that this was the main attack. Violent and costly as they were, the first three attacks were probes compared to this one, although the 9th Division Commander probably would have reinforced the success of any one of them. But they had challenged the strength and mobility of the American position and had not broken through anywhere; they had not even reached the barbed-wire barrier.
Covered by the fire of their machine guns, recoilless rifles and mortars, the 273d reached the concertina in front of the American infantry. Here they were stopped by the Machine guns of the cavalry and infantry, and by the devastating fire of the 105mm howitzers. The gunners of Battery C set the projectiles for two-second delay. Then they lowered the muzzles to fire into the ground just a few yards in front of the battery. The shells would hit and skip like flat stones across a still pond and, when they were above the attacking enemy infantry, explode in dark red and black clouds and jagged shards of steel.
The violence and volume of the American fire forced the enemy to withdraw. But not before one squad had worked its way through the barbed-wire and up to the number one howitzer (on the left of the battery). The Viet Cong squad lobbed a grenade into the midst of the crew serving the connon, killing two and wounding all the rest. But this courageous enemy squad died there too.
Now it was 0730, and another flight of bombers was overhead, ready to be directed to its targets by the FAC. These were A4 Skyhawks from a US Navy carrier. LTC Shuffer told the FAC to hit the berm. He wanted most of all to silence the recoilless rifles and heavy machine guns that were firing from that position. The flight of A4’s did it’s job, and it was quickly followed by two more flights of skyraiders with 500-pound bombs, napalm, and followed by two more flights of skyraiders with 500-pound bombs, napalm, and CBU*(Grenade sized bomblets, a devastating anti-personnel munition) that they expended on the berm. Meanwhile, Battery C continued the fire with more high explosives into the berm and, now that permission had been granted, with rounds timed to burst over the mortar positions in Bau Bang.
A brief quiet descended over the smoke, dust, and mournful murmers of the battlefield. Helicopters for medical evacuation, call “dust-off,” settled into the center of the perimeter. The “dust-off” departed quickly with the wounded that had been gathered near the command group.
It appeared for awhile that the enemy was through for the day. Many of his soldiers lay dead or dying in front of the American positions. But he was not finished. At 0900 he attacked again over the berm. Battery C responded with 65 more rounds of 105, timed to burst over the attacking ranks. Another flight of fighter-bombers appeared overhead. These were F-100’s carrying napalm, which they placed directly on the attacking formation. After this devastating bomb-run the left-over napalm canisters were tossed onto the mortar batteries in Bau Bang.
The nine-o’clock assault failed as decisively as had the earlier ones. The mortars in Bau Bang were silenced, as were the heavy weapons on the berm. Desultory enemy rifle fire continued for an hour or so, probably designed to cover his withdrawal. By noon all was quiet.
The tenacity, courage, dedication, and teamwork shown by the artillerymen in this particular battle were remarkable, even for soldiers who are trained, indeed indoctrinated, to believe that service of the howitzer comes above all other considerations. The cannoneers of C Battery stood and sweated out there in that peanut field by Bau Bang and fired 300 rounds of high explosive during the morning. It is likely that without them the enemy assault over the berm would have carried to the center of the perimeter.
The mortar men of Company A also did yeoman duty. They fired 225 high explosive 81mm shells in close-in defensive fires during the battle. That works out to 76 rounds per tube, a prodigious effort!
During the after mop up, B and C companies sweep the battle area to include around Bau Bang. They counted 198 Viet Cong dead around the perimeter and in the village. Because of the Viet Cong practice of recovering all dead and wounded soldiers possible, the enemy’s losses must have been substantially greater. He also lost numerous rifles, machine guns, light and medium mortars, light and heavy recoilless rifles, a radio, and a flame thrower.
The Americans lost 20 Soldiers killed in action, 103 wounded in Action (every third man had been wounded or killed). Five armored vehicles were destroyed (all three mortar carriers); three more were damaged badly enough to be withdrawn from service for repairs. The Vietnamese interpreter with the battalion, who had helped the hospital team in Bau Bang was also dead, and Bau Bang itself was completely destroyed, a lifeless ruin. It’s villagers had crawled out of their holes and bunkers and disappeared before the smoke, dust and confusion of the battle.


What You Need to Know About Islam Jihad

You cannot understand much of what is taking place in today's world
without some understanding of Islam. This religion is at the heart and
core of much of the unrest and violence sweeping the world today.

This was forcefully brought home to me when I recently spent two weeks
in Israel.

Israel is demonized by many in the West, yet it is the only true democracy
in the region and the West's only true ally. Its population is less than 2
percent of that of its 300 million Arab neighbors. Israel's size totals only
about 1/6 of 1 percent that of the Arab world, yet it is constantly threatened
and attacked.

Not long before I arrived, a young Israeli father was killed when Arabs threw
a large rock through his car windshield, striking him in the face and killing
him, with the resulting crash killing his one-year-old son who was with him. On the evening that my wife and I left Israel, the teenage nephew of the driver
who took us to the airport was in surgery for multiple stab wounds he'd received
several hours earlier. He'd been talking with some children when an Arab slipped
up behind him and stabbed him repeatedly. He barely survived.

Israelis live in a very dangerous neighborhood. During our visit, Syria's
president threatened to unleash a missile barrage on Tel Aviv—no doubt to deflect
attention from his increasingly brutal crackdowns on protesting Syrian citizens.

Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens Israel's very existence. Israel is so
tiny that only two or three nuclear warheads would destroy the entire nation. And
now one of Israel's worst fears is being realized, as elections in Egypt will put
Islamist parties in charge of government—which means that three of the four
countries with whom Israel shares borders will be openly hostile to Israel's

What's at the heart of the long conflict over Israel? Many place the blame on
Israel for its continued control over some of the lands it captured in the 1967
Six-Day war. However, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the charter of
which calls for the liberation of "Palestine" and the destruction of Israel, was
formed in 1964—three years before Israel captured those lands. The "Palestine" that
they demand be "liberated" is the Israel that was founded under UN auspices in 1948!

The roots of Arab hostility run much deeper. They go back to the religion that
overwhelmingly dominates the Arab world—Islam.

In Islamic theology, Islam is destined to subjugate all other peoples, cultures and
beliefs. Israel has the misfortune to be on the front lines of what historian Samuel
Huntington termed Islam's "bloody borders," surrounded on three sides by Muslim
countries, with the Mediterranean Sea at its back and nowhere else to go.

Islamic leaders have repeatedly called for Muslims to reclaim Muslim lands "from the
River to the Sea"—i.e., from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, meaning no
more Israel at all.

Israel is only one target of Muslim hostility. Of the dozen or so armed conflicts and
civil wars currently taking place around the globe, Muslims are involved in nearly
all of them—most often as they continue to try to expand Islam's "bloody borders"
into new territories.

You need to understand the beliefs that drive Islam's followers. Yes, not all Muslims
are violent toward non-Muslims. But enough are that it has created a clash of
civilizations between Islam and the rest of the world. This issue of The Good News
will give you the information you need to make sense of it all.

Warm regards,

Scott Ashley

Managing Editor

The Good News


Steve Lindsay , C Trp '69-'70. new email=



DOD Identifies Units for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation
The Department of Defense today identified two major units to deploy as part of the upcoming rotation of forces operating in Afghanistan. The scheduled rotation involves one armored brigade combat team with roughly 1,390 personnel -- and one combat aviation brigade with roughly 1,700 personnel to rotate in winter 2012. The deploying units include:

Brigade Combat Team:

4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Combat Aviation Brigade:

1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Bliss, Texas.
TRICARE Rates May Increase Again
Week of October 15, 2012
This October retirees saw TRICARE Prime enrollment fees increased to $269.28 per year for individuals and $538.56 per year for retirees with families. However, retirees should be aware that TRICARE is warning that these enrollment fees may increase again when Congress passes the final FY 2013 budget. For this reason TRICARE is recommending that retirees pay either monthly (through automatic deduction/charge) or quarterly due to the chance that the non-refundable enrollment fees may increase again before the end of the fiscal year.
Self-Service Family ID Cards
Week of October 15, 2012
The Defense Manpower Data recently launched its RAPIDS -- Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System -- self-service portal to allow servicemembers and reservists with the Defense Department's common access card (CAC) to apply for family IDs or retirement cards or update dependents' statuses online. Now, CAC holders can visit the RAPIDS website, call up the listing of their dependents, and fill out and digitally sign Form No. 1172-2 for their family members to receive an ID card. That family member then can go alone to the closest DMDC office to pick up the card. About 300 of the service centers now accept appointments. For more information, visit the Military.com website.
2012 is nearly over, and CareerCast has published a fresh evaluation of what it sees as the top 10 jobs in the country — as well as the worst 10. Evaluating each job using five components (Physical Demands, Work Environment, Income, Stress and Hiring Outlook) they came up with these picks for the top 10 and worst 10 jobs of this moment.
For more details, which includes evauations of 200 jobs visit the CareerCast website. Have experience at one of these jobs, or disagree with these evaluations? Sound off in the comments section below — we’re sure their pick for third worst job will raise some eyebrows…

10 Top Jobs of 2012:

1. Software Engineer (Average income: $88,000): Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or other device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks.

2. Actuary ($88,000): Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk that an event will occur and to help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk.

3. Human Resources Manager ($99,000): These managers plan, direct and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees.

4. Dental Hygienist ($68,000): Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health.

5. Financial Planner ($104,000): Personal financial advisors give financial advice to clients. They help with investments, taxes, and insurance decisions.

6. Audiologist ($67,137.00): Audiologists diagnose and treat a patient’s hearing and balance problems using advanced technology and procedures.

7. Occupational Therapist ($72,000): Occupational therapists treat patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.

8. Online Advertising Manager ($87,000): Advertising, promotions, and marketing
managers plan programs to generate interest in a product or service. They work with
art directors, sales agents, and financial staff members.

9. Computer Systems Analyst ($78,000): Computer systems analysts study an organization’s
current computer systems and procedures and make recommendations to management to help
the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and
information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.

10. Mathematician ($99,000): Mathematicians use high-level mathematics and technology
to develop new mathematical principles, understand relationships between existing
principles, and solve real-world problems.

Worst 10 Jobs:

1. Lumberjack ($32,000)
2. Dairy Farmer ($33,000)
3. Enlisted Soldier ($36,000)
4. Oil Rig Worker ($32,000)
5. Reporter ($35,000)
6. Waiter ($18,000)
7. Meter Reader ($35,000)
8. Dishwasher ($18,000)
9. Butcher ($29,000)
10. Broadcaster ($27,000)

Read more: http://jobsforveterans.military.com/1181/best-and-worst-jobs-2012/#ixzz2AofJVePi ************************************************************************* ‘Pale Riders’ Recognize Soldiers for Valor and Courage While Deployed

FORT RILEY, Kan.-Sergeant 1st Class James Rogers, platoon sergeant, A Troop, 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, salutes Lt. Col. Michael Katona after receiving his ribbons during an awards ceremony at the Marshall Airfield Hangar, Jan. 25, 2012. Rogers received two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star Medal and an Army Accommodation Medal with Valor for his courage and wounds received while the ‘Pale Riders’ were deployed to Afghanistan. (Photo by Sgt. Kandi Huggins, 1st HBCT PAO) Rodgers.jpg

Story by: Sgt. Kandi Huggins

FORT RILEY, Kan.— The 'Pale Riders' 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, conducted an awards ceremony, honoring their troops for acts of valor and courage while deployed to Afghanistan, at the Marshall Airfield Hangar, January 25.
Lt. Col. Michael Katona and Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Cook, command team for the Pale Riders, honored 70 of their Soldiers with Purple Hearts, Bronze Star Medals and Army Accommodation Medals with valor, during the ceremony.
"Today is about the Pale Rider Soldiers, their incredible individual valorous actions and their leadership," said Katona. "It's also about wounds received from direct combat with the enemy in Afghanistan, the combat everyone in this Squadron was involved in on a daily basis."
The Pale Riders deployed to Afghanistan, late February 2011, to what Katona described as a 'tough, dismounted fight.'
"Because of persistence, valor, courage and individual motivation and discipline, we came together as a team, defeating dismounted explosive devices, maneuvering through thousands of canals and fighting an entrenched Taliban force," said Katona.
Sergeant 1st Class James Rogers, platoon sergeant, 2nd platoon, A Troop, 4th Squadron, 4th
Cav. Reg., said the battalion occupied the Zharay District in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, providing security for the locals and integrating the Afghan Army and Police into their mission, in order to help the country build it's infrastructures build its forces.
"We occupied eight tactical infrastructures," said Rogers, a Stockton, Calif., native. "We spread our squad's footprint in order to cover more ground and create more Shuras (town hall, meeting place for village elders) for the people."
Although the achievements of the battalion remain impressive, it was not one that came without a price.
"We will always remember the Soldiers killed in action and the 144 living Purple Heart recipients," said Katona. "They gave their lives for the freedom of both Afghans and Americans."
"All of the Soldiers did excellent jobs in accomplishing their mission while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom," said Rogers. "It was fabulous for the Soldiers to be recognized during the awards ceremony as we honor those standing in formation, those present in the audience and those who did not return with us. None of our sacrifices will be forgotten."


This is the first part of a series which I will be printing for you in following months. The reshaping of the Army will per the guidlines in this pamphlet over the next several years. Many veterans don't like this idea and I'd be interested in hearing your opinions while this is being printed. Send me your thoughts and I will include them each month at the end of that month's entry. Thanks, Ole' Bill.

Army Drawdown and Restructuring

Andrew Feickert
Specialist in Military Ground Forces
Charles A. Henning
Specialist in Military Manpower Policy
April 20, 2012


On January 26, 2012, senior DOD leadership unveiled a new defense strategy based on a review of potential future security challenges, current defense strategy, and budgetary constraints. This new strategy envisions a smaller, leaner Army that is agile, flexible, rapidly deployable, and technologically advanced. This strategy will rebalance the Army’s global posture and presence, emphasizing where potential problems are likely to arise, such as the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.
As part of the Administration’s proposal, two heavy brigade combat teams (HBCTs) in Europe will be eliminated out of a total of eight BCTs that will be cut from Active Army force structure. The Army has stated that it may cut more than eight BCTs. Army endstrength will go from 570K in 2010 to 490K during the Future Year Defense Plan (FYDP) period. As part of this reduction, the Army would no longer be sized to conduct large-scale, protracted stability operations but would continue to be a full-spectrum force capable of addressing a wide range of national security challenges. The Army National Guard and Army Reserves were not targeted for significant cuts. Army leadership stated the impending decrease in Active Duty Army force structure would place an even greater reliance on the National Guard and Reserves.
There will likely be a human dimension of the Army’s drawdown. Troops have received an unprecedented level of support from the American public, and those soldiers leaving the service—voluntarily and perhaps involuntarily—might have strong personal feelings about leaving the Army and their comrades after multiple deployments to combat zones. The Army drawdown will likely be achieved in large degree by controlling accessions (i.e., the number of people allowed to join the Army). If limiting accessions is not enough to achieve the desired endstrength targets, the Army can employ a variety of involuntary and voluntary drawdown tools authorized by Congress, such as Selective Early Retirement Boards (SERBs) and Reduction-in- Force (RIF). Voluntary tools that the Army might use include the Voluntary Retirement Incentive, the Voluntary Separation Incentive, Special Separation Bonuses, Temporary Early Retirement Authority, the Voluntary Early Release/Retirement Program, and Early Outs.
The Administration’s proposals to drawdown and restructure the Army have a number of strategic implications. These implications include the capability to conduct stability and counterinsurgency operations, the ability to fight two simultaneous wars, shifting strategic emphasis to the Asia- Pacific region, and how the Army will maintain presence in the Middle East. Other related concerns include reducing Army presence in Europe and the Army’s role in the rest of the world.
Until the Army provides detailed plans on how many units will be cut, how remaining units will be structured, and where they will be based, it is difficult to determine the impact on Army weapon systems under development and the overall budgetary implications of the Army’s plan.
Potential issues for Congress include the strategic risk posed by a smaller and restructured Army; the “health” of the Army given the impending downsizing; where the force will be based; the role of the National Guard and Reserves; and should the enrollment at the service academies (West Point) be reduced to pre-9/11 levels. This report will be updated as circumstances warrant.



Importance to Congress ................................................................1
The Administration’s Decision to Drawdown and Restructure the Army .........................1
January 6, 2011, News Briefing with Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman Admiral Mullen .2
January 26, 2012, Administration Major Budget Decision Briefing.............................2
President’s FY2013 Budget Request ..........................................................4
Brief History of Past Army Drawdowns........................................................4
Post-World War II...........................................................................4
Post-Vietnam ...............................................................................5
Post Cold War/Desert Storm..................................................................7
The Current Drawdown and Restructuring......................................................8
Proposal to Reduce Endstrength..............................................................8
Units to be Eliminated......................................................................8
Units to Be Realigned and Restructured......................................................9
Changes in Unit Basing.....................................................................10
Impact on the National Guard and Reserve...................................................10
Force Reduction and Force-Shaping Programs ................................................11
The Human Dimension of a Force Drawdown....................................................11
Accessions ................................................................................12
Officer Accessions.........................................................................13
Title 10 Drawdown Authorities—Involuntary..................................................13
Selective Early Retirement Boards (SERB)...................................................13
Reduction-in-Force (RIF)...................................................................13
Title 10 Drawdown Authorities—Voluntary....................................................14
Voluntary Retirement Incentive.............................................................14
Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) ......................................................14
Special Separation Bonus (SSB) ............................................................14
Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA)................................................15
Voluntary Early Release/Retirement Program (VEERP) ........................................15
“Early Outs” ..............................................................................15
Other Personnel Tools with Drawdown Implications...........................................16
Enlisted Retention Control Points .........................................................16
Officer Promotion Non-selection ...........................................................16
Strategic Implications ....................................................................17
Stability and Counterinsurgency Operations ................................................17
Fighting Two Simultaneous Wars.............................................................18
Asia/Pacific Shift and Strategic Emphasis .................................................19
Middle East................................................................................20
Reduced Force Structure in Europe..........................................................21
Rest of the World and “Small Footprint Operations” ........................................22
Potential Impact on Major Army Weapon Systems Programs.....................................23
Potential Budgetary Implications...........................................................24
Potential Issues for Congress..............................................................24
Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress........................24
Congressional Research Service.............................................................24
Strategic Risk.............................................................................24
Health of the Force .......................................................................25
Basing the Force...........................................................................26
National Guard and Reserves ...............................................................27
Service Academies..........................................................................28

Table 1. Army Retention Control Points (RCP)...............................................16 Table 2. Promotion Timing and Opportunity..................................................17


Importance to Congress

The Administration’s proposal to reduce the size of the Army as well as restructure units and headquarters has national security implications that Congress will need to consider as part of its oversight and authorizations and appropriations role. In terms of size of the force, Congress sets the endstrength for both the Active and Reserve components of the Army. Congress also authorizes and appropriates funds needed for Army restructuring, training exercises, equipment, basing, and infrastructure, as well as the various manpower management tools the Army could use to drawdown the force. Administration decisions about the structure of the Army can have a significant impact on Army bases in a Member’s district or state that can also have economic ramifications for communities around or near affected bases. The Administration’s downsizing and restructuring proposals also can have a significant impact on local and state defense-related industries. Lastly, soldiers who might be affected by the Administration’s decisions constitute a unique element of Members’ constituencies.

The Administration’s Decision to Drawdown and Restructure the Army
Most experts would agree that the Administration’s decision to reduce the size of the Army was an outgrowth of its decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011 and the stated intent of handing over security responsibilities for Afghanistan to the Afghan government and Afghan National Army by the end of 2014. The United States has routinely drawn down forces upon the completion of a major conflict, eschewing a “large standing army” during peacetime— although it can be argued that in a post-9/11 world, that “peacetime” is a somewhat subjective term.
For the purposes of this report, the potential impact on the Army if sequestration of the defense budget is enacted under the provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) will not be examined. Although the Administration has provided Congress with the potential impact of sequestration on the Army and the other Services, most agree the size and scope of the defense budget cuts under P.L. 112-25 would require significant reduction and restructuring of the Services, which is currently beyond the scope of this report. Also beyond the scope of this report are U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, which, although part of the Army, fall under the control of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).1
1 For information on U.S. Army Special Operations Forces and U.S. Special Operations Command, see CRS
Report, RS21048, U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress,
by Andrew Feickert.


H-mmmmmm!1.9%........That will amount to around $14.00 give or take a dollar or two. Crap!! That's not even enough for us to pay our annual dues for the Quarter Horse Assn of Veterans!! I think we should all write our congress person and insist that we get at least $25.00 to pay our annual dues!! It will be interesting to see and hear how much they give themselves for a raise!!

The House of Representatives passed the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2012 (H.R. 4114). Although this is seen by many as a formality, passing the COLA is often pushed to the end of the year. According to House Committee on Veterans' Affairs press release, taking care of this now ensures that Vets will be given the benefits they were promised without any last minute "political tug-of-war." If signed into law, H.R. 4114 would increase the annual cost-of-living rate for veterans, which goes into effect on December 1, 2012. It is estimated that this year's COLA will be approximately 1.9 percent. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.



The 2013 cost-of-living adjustment for military retired pay, SBP annuities, Social Security checks, and VA disability and survivor benefits will be 1.7 percent. The COLA will go into effect on December 1, 2012. The January check will be the first to reflect the increase. Retirees who left the military in 2012 and those who took the REDUX retirement package will not see the full 1.7 percent increase next year.


Thanks to Danny Horn for passing this information on to us. BB

Are You A Gun Owner?

When I had my gangrene gallbladder taken out and spent 10 days in the hospital for what should have been an overnight stay the insurance company kicked me out. I had home nurse visits for two weeks and was asked if I had guns in the house. I respond that if I did I would not tell them. So the below has some merit. FYI, I am passing this along... There are comments from two other people I have also been asked if we keep guns in the house. The nurse just kinda slipped it in along with all the other regular questions. I told her I refused to answer because it was against the law to ask.
Everyone, whether you have guns or not, should give a neutral answer so they have no idea who does and who doesn't. My doctor asked me if I had guns in my house and also if any were loaded. I, of course, answered yes to both questions. Then he asked why I kept a loaded gun close to my bed. I answered that my son, who is a certified gun instructor and also works for Homeland Security, advised me that an unloaded, locked up gun is no protection against criminal attack.
The Government now requires these questions be asked of people on Medicare, and probably everyone else.
Just passing this along for your information: I had to visit a doctor other than my regular doctor when my doctor was on vacation.. One of the questions on the form I had to fill out was: Do you have any guns in your house?? My answer was None of your damn business!!
So it is out there! It is either an insurance issue or government intervention. Either way, it is out there and the second the government gets into your medical records, it will become a major issue and will ultimately result in lock and load!!
Please pass this on to all the other retired guys and gun owners... Thanks, from a Vietnam Vet and retired Police Officer: I had a doctor's appointment at the local VA clinic yesterday and found out something very interesting that I would like to pass along. While going through triage before seeing the doctor, I was asked at the end of the exam, three questions:
1. Did I feel stressed? 2. Did I feel threatened? 3. Did I feel like doing harm to someone?
The nurse then informed me that if I had answered yes to any of the questions I would have lost my concealed carry permit as it would have gone into my medical records and the VA would have reported it to Homeland Security.
Looks like they are going after the vets first. Other gun people like retired law enforcement will probably be next. Then when they go after the civilians, what argument will they have?
Be forewarned and be aware. Whether you are a gun owner, veteran or not, YOU'VE BEEN WARNED ! If you know veterans and gun owners, please pass this on to them. Be very cautious about what you say and to whom. Are You A Gun Owner


Gary Chenett send this one in.

New Long Distance Kill Shot Record (8,120 Feet / 2,706.67 Yards)

Here is something that has been in the news the last few days. A British Army soldier by the name of Corporal Craig Harrison, of the Household Cavalry, set a new record for the longest shot in combat. Twice. Cpl. Harrison fired two shots at Taliban machine gunners in Afghanistan . They were confirmed via GPS to be 8,120 feet from Cpl. Harrison's position. That is 1.54 miles. More than a mile and a half. To make it even more astounding, the range was almost 3,000 feet beyond what is considered the effective range of the weapon. At that range the bullet takes around 3 seconds to reach the target.

The previous record was set in 2002 for a sniper kill at 7,972ft. That shot was made by Canadian Corporal Rob Furlong, of Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry, who was using a .50BMG McMillan TAC-50 rifle.

Harrison accomplished this feat with the above pictured weapon, a L115A3 rifle. The weapon is manufactured by Accuracy International in Britain and is chambered in the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge. This is significant because the previous two shots that held the world record were with weapons chambered for the .50BMG. The .338 is a cartridge designed for accuracy and power beyond the range of the older 7.62mm rifles. It has a much flatter trajectory, which makes the complex trigonometry problem of finding the right arc to lob the bullet onto the target much easier. It is one of several other "lighter" rifle rounds like the .300 Win Mag., .416 Barrett, and .408 CheyTac that have been designed with extreme long range shooting in mind. Of especial importance is the velocity past 1000 meters, the shape of its trajectory and how long the cartridges stay supersonic.
The Accuracy International Arctic Warfare .338 is a bolt action, detachable magazine-fed, precision rifle. The rifle is about 15 pounds, unloaded and without optics. It can mount a variety of telescopic sights, laser designators, and night vision or thermal sights. In British service, it usually mounts a S&B 5-25x56mm day scope. The extra-large objective lens size of 56mm gathers a lot of light, making shots possible in the dawn, dusk, or into the shadows. The L115A3 can also mount a suppressor, helping to reduce the report flash and dust from the powerful rifle. The barrel is free floated for increased accuracy and is fluted for strength and cooling without excessive weight.
You don't get all that performance cheap though. News reports put the rifle at around $25,000. But if you put it in the right hands and it can hit a sized target from 4500 feet. More importantly, even at extreme range, the bullet retains its power, hitting with more force than a .44 Magnum at 25 feet.
It was just unlucky for the Taliban that conditions were so good and we could see them so clearly. We saw two insurgents running through its courtyard, one in a black dishdasha, and one in green. They came forward carrying a PKM machine gun, set it up and opened fire on the commanders wagon. The first round hit a machine gunner in the stomach and killed him outright. He went straight down and didnt move. The second insurgent grabbed the weapon and turned as my second shot hit him in the side. He went down, too. They were both dead."
Cpl. Harrison had a memorable tour of duty, making the two impossible shots, having a bullet deflect off his helmet, and surviving an IED blast that broke both of his arms. He is reportedly healing well, and has returned to duty.

Corporal Harrison



The following photos are shared by Ronald Brauer. BB

What pilots see when landing in Bellevue, Nebraska

A farmer does this with his tractor. He uses GPS to get the letters readable.
He has done this every fall for several years now.
Here's the view from the flight pattern into OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE Bellevue , NE., just south of Omaha .
This is what our servicemen see when landing at Offutt AFB.
Hat tip to the Bellevue farmer who made it happen!

Imagine how this must feel to all those servicemen seeing it for the first time.
It tells them that we do care and that we do support them.



General VoNguyen Giap.

General Giap was a brilliant, highly respected leader of the North Vietnam military. The following quote is from his memoirs currently found in the Vietnam war memorial in Hanoi:

"What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi . You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battle of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!"
General Giap has published his memoirs and confirmed what most Americans knew. The Vietnam war was not lost in Vietnam — it was lost at home. The same slippery slope, sponsored by the U.S. media, is currently underway. It exposes the enormous power of a Biased Media to cut out the heart and will of the American public.

A truism worthy of note: . .. . Do not fear the enemy, for they can take only your life.
Fear the media, for they will distort your grasp of reality and destroy your honor.



The New Killer Drug Every Parent Should Know About

2C-I or Witnesses described the 17-year-old boy as "shaking, growling, foaming at the mouth." According to police reports, Elijah Stai was at a McDonald's with his friend when he began to feel ill. Soon after, he "started to smash his head against the ground" and began acting "possessed," according to a witness. Two hours later, he had stopped breathing.
The Grand Forks, North Dakota teenager's fatal overdose has been blamed on a drug called 2C-I. The night before Stai's overdose, another area teen, Christian Bjerk, 18, was found face down on a sidewalk. His death was also linked to the drug.
2C-I--known by its eerie street name "Smiles"--has become a serious problem in the Grand Forks area, according to local police. Overdoses of the drug have also be reported in Indiana and Minnesota. But if the internet is any indication, Smiles is on the rise all over the country.
"At the moment I am completely and fully submerged, if you can't tell by my eyes, in a psychedelic world known as 2C-I," one young man with a scruffy chin beard and dilated pupils effuses on a video posted in October of 2011. He's one of dozens of users providing Youtube "reports" of their experiences on the synthetic drug.
Smile's effects have been called a combination of MDMA and LSD, only far more potent. Users have reported a speedy charge along with intense visual and aural hallucinations that can last anywhere from hours to days.
"At first I'd think something was extremely beautiful and then it look really strange," another user says in a recorded online account."I looked at my girlfriend's face for a minute and it was pitch black…the black started dripping out of her eye."
Because the drug is relatively new-it first surfaced around 2003 in European party scenes and only recently made its way to the states- the most readily accessible information about 2C-I comes from user accounts, many of which detail frightening experiences.
On an internet forum one user describes the high as a "roller coaster ride through hell," while another warns "do not drive on this drug," after recounting his own failed attempt on the roadway.
Over the past few years, synthetic drugs like K-2, Spice and Bath Salts, have become increasing popular with teenagers and young adults because of their accessibility. Their ingredients are relatively easy to obtain and order online and until recently, they weren't classified as illegal substances. But as they come under legal scrutiny, one by one, they've triggered a domino effect of newer, altered, and more potent versions.
"I think [the drugs] just keep changing to try to circumvent the law," Lindsay Wold, a detective with the Grand Forks police department, told Yahoo Shine. "Anytime we try to figure something out, it changes." Since July, her department has launched an awareness campaign in an effort to crack down on the Smile's growing popularity with teens and young adults in the area. While reports of overdoses have spiked, Wold says it's difficult to measure it's growth in numbers.
"The unfortunate thing is if kids who are overdosing on 2C-I go in to the hospital with a physical problem, a lot of times they can't test for it so it doesn't show up as a drug overdose," she says.
The fact that 2C-I is untraceable in tests makes it more of a challenge for doctors to treat. It also contributes to drug's growing popularity among high school and college-age kids.
"Synthetic drugs don't generally show up on drug tests and that's made it popular with young adults, as well as people entering the military, college athletes, or anyone who gets tested for drugs," Barbara Carreno, a spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Agency, tells Shine.
2C-I may be undetected in drug tests, but it's effects are evident in emergency rooms.
According to James Mowry, the director of Indiana's Poison Control Center, 2-CI overdoses--on the rise in the state- and have been known to cause seizures, kidney failure, and fatally high blood pressure.
"They do something that is called 'uncoupling." Mowry told an Indianapolis news station this month. "Basically, their muscles get to the point they cannot uncontract, so they sort of get rigid and then your temperature goes up really high and if you don't treat them really aggressively, those people usually end up dying."
As more overdoses surface, officials are taking aggressive measures to clamp down on the problem. In July, the DEA announced Operation Log Jam, the first nationwide coordinated US Law enforcement strike specifically targeting designer synthetic drugs. That same month, 2C-I was classified as a Schedule 1 subtance, making possession and distribution of the drug illegal. Those caught distributing even a small amount are facing serious criminal charges. Stai's friend, who allegedly obtained the drug that caused his overdose, has been charged with third degree murder.
While the drug's potential for overdose is apparent, the specific cases of fatalities are confounding. According to one site designed as a "fact sheet" for users, the dosage of the drug, which also comes as a liquid or a pill, is difficult to measure in powder form. When users snort the drug they could end up taking more than they realize, prompting an overdose. But in the case of Stai, the powder wasn't snorted, but melted into a chocolate bar and eaten.
Some speculate those "hobby chemists" making the drug, using powders shipped from China, acetone and plant-based materials, are to blame for concocting particularly strong or toxic batches.
"Anybody with a little money to front can import chemicals, mix, and sell it," says Carreno. "Many of these types of drugs were originally designed for research, and designed to be used on animals, not people." In fact, 2C-I was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin, a psychopharmacologist and scientific researcher. He also discovered the chemical make-up of 2C-E, closely-related psychadelic formula blamed for the death of a Minnesota teenager and the overdose of 11 others, last year.
Because of his research, Shulgin has become an unintentional icon of the synthetic drug movement, and his formulas have been reprinted, and reduced to plain language, on drug-related web forums.
"Drugs used to take longer to get around but now with the internet they can spread by word of mouth online," says Carreno. If drugs like Smile are able to spread virally, like an internet meme, they're outdated with the same speed. Already, a newer, re-booted version of the drug is cropping up on the other side of the planet, and by early accounts it's more frightening than the original.
The new drug called 25b-Nbome, is a derivative of 2C-I, that's sold in tab form. This past month, it's linked to multiple overdoses seen in young people in Perth, Australia. Most notable was a young man who died after fatally slamming his body into trees and power line poles while high on the drug.
"Overdose on these drugs is a reality... and can obviously result in dire consequences," a Perth police department official warned.
It isn't obvious to everyone. "I can't recommend for anyone to go out and use this legally," says one 2C-I user in a Youtube video that's gotten 12,000 views, "but why not?"


VA health researchers tighten ties with U-M

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Research to improve the health of the nation’s veterans, and all Americans, will soon get a boost when a large team of researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Ann Arbor Healthcare System moves to the University of Michigan campus.
The move will bring a total of 150 VA health researchers closer to their U-M colleagues, making it easier for all of them to study health issues that affect veterans and non-veterans alike, and to test new ideas for improving care in heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder and more.
The signing of a lease for 24,600 square feet of space at U-M’s North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) strengthens VA’s already strong ties with U-M.
Patients who receive their healthcare at the VA Ann Arbor medical center have access to over 700 VA doctors who are also faculty at the U-M Medical School. More space for patient care will be created at the VA medical center as researchers move to their new U-M location.
Almost all of the core researchers in the group that is moving — the Ann Arbor VA Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR) — have joint faculty appointments at the U-M Medical School or School of Nursing.
Many of the VA researchers are key members of the new U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI), which includes more than 400 researchers from U-M and beyond. The newly leased space is in the institute’s building at NCRC.
“We’ve always worked closely with U-M, but this move will accelerate the pace of research, for the benefit of veterans and patients everywhere,” says Eve Kerr, M.D., MPH, director of the VA CCMR and a professor of internal medicine at U-M. “From improving treatment of chronic conditions to preventing suicides and enhancing hospital care, all of us are eager to make an impact on care through research.”
“With the addition of the VA team, we’re closer to our goal of creating a campus and an institute that weave university and non-university research together,” says David Canter, executive director of NCRC. “I look forward to helping IHPI grow into a national powerhouse of research on health care delivery, quality and policy.”
The VA CCMR is supported by more than $18 million in competitively awarded VA and other research funding, and is one of only 14 Centers of Excellence funded through the VA Health Services Research and Development Service in the nation.
Its researchers mine huge pools of information about VA care nationwide to look for new opportunities to improve veterans’ health care, and to study the impact of changes to care. CCMR investigators pursue research that will yield practical solutions to the most common and costly clinical management challenges in order to have the largest possible impact on veterans’ health and healthcare.
The center includes the Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center, which has made important discoveries related to suicidal thinking and suicide among veterans, and the Diabetes Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, which studies a disease that is at epidemic levels among both veterans and non-veterans.
The move also includes researchers in several programs already jointly run by U-M and VA, including the Patient Safety Enhancement Program, the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, and the Program on Quality Improvement for Complex Chronic Conditions.
The extensive ties between U-M and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System stretch back decades, and have helped attract numerous physician-researchers to Ann Arbor.
U-M and VA also work together to train the next generation of health care providers and researchers. U-M medical residents and other aspiring health professionals receive clinical training at VA Ann Arbor medical center, and there are VA-funded research fellowships for new M.D. and Ph.D. graduates, including through U-M’s Robert Wood Johnson / VA Clinical Scholars Program.
SOURCE University of Michigan Health System

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

Very important news sent in by Jeff Kramer!! BB

Thought you should know that the book, “Understanding Women” is now out in paperback.


I just wanted all you blond ladies to know that Tony Moscicki sent this in!

A blonde hurried into the emergency room late one night with the tip of her index finger shot off.
"How did this happen?" the emergency room doctor asked her.
"Well, I was trying to commit suicide," the blonde replied.
"What?" sputtered the doctor. "You tried to commit suicide by shooting off your finger?"
"No, silly" the blonde said. "First I put the gun to my chest, and then I thought, 'I just paid
$6,000.00 for these implants. I'm not shooting myself in the chest."
"So then?" asked the doctor.
"Then I put the gun in my mouth, and I thought, "I just paid $3, 000.00 to get my teeth straightened.
I'm not shooting myself in the mouth."
"So then?"
"Then I put the gun to my ear, and I thought: "This is going to make a loud noise. So I put my finger in my other ear before I pulled the trigger."


Charles Murawski sent this one in. BB

After living in the remote wilderness of Kentucky all his life, an
old hillbilly decided it was time to visit the big city. In one of
the stores he picks up a mirror and looks in it . Not ever having seen
one before, he remarked at the image staring back at him, "How
about that! Here's a picture of my daddy." He bought the mirror
thinking it was a picture of his daddy, but on the way home he
remembered his wife didn't like his father. So he hung it in the barn and every morning before leaving for the fields, he would go there and look at it. His wife began to get suspicious of these many trips to the barn. One day after her husband left, she searched the barn and found the mirror. As she looked in the glass, she fumed, "So that's the ugly bitch he's runnin' around with."


I like this one from Wayne Paddack. BB



Heres a good one sent in by Smokey Guillespie. BB

The Ostrich !

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders. The man says,"A hamburger, fries and a coke,"and turns to the ostrich,"What's yours?" "I'll have the same," says the ostrich.
A short time later the waitress returns with the order. "That will be $9.40 please" The man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment. The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke." The ostrich says, "I'll have the same." Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change'. This becomes routine until the two enter again. "The usual?" Asks the waitress.
"No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad," says the man. "Same," says the ostrich. Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62." Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table. The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, Sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?"
"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."
"That's brilliant!" says the waitress."Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"
"That's right..whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there "says the man.
The waitress asks,"What's with the ostrich?"
The man sighs, pauses and answers, "My second wish was for a tall chick with a big ass and long legs who agrees with everything I say.."


Dave Snavely sends out the first Christmas Joke of 2012! BB

Three good ole red neck boys died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.
'In honor of this holy season' Saint Peter said, 'You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.'
The cowboy from Texas fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. 'It represents a candle', he said.
'You may pass through the pearly gates' Saint Peter said.
The logger from Minnesota reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, 'They're bells.'
Saint Peter said 'You may pass through the pearly gates'.
The old Missouri farmer started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.
St. Peter looked at the man with a 'raised eyebrow' and asked, 'And just what do those symbolize?'
The red neck replied, 'These are Carols.'
And So The Christmas Season


Here's a lesson from John Termini. BB

Drinking and Driving

I would like to share an experience with you about drinking and driving.
As you well know, some of us have been lucky not to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from the various social sessions over the years.
A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends and had a few too many beers and then topped it off with a margarita. Not a good idea.
Knowing full well I was at least slightly over the limit, I did something I've never done before: I took a taxi home.
Sure enough I passed a police road block but because it was a taxi, they waved it past.
I arrived home safely without incident, which was a real surprise.
I have never driven a taxi before and am not sure where I got it.


Here's some good advice sent in by Dan Thompson. BB

An Old Cowboy's Advice

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies, because it messes up their heads.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain 't never gonna happen anyway.
Don't judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with,
watches you from the mirror every mornin'.


John Vanerio didn't always enjoy his Army tour but he sure went to a lot of places!

My Travels

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. 
You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I 
have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity 

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.

I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenaline flowing and pumps up 
the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

And, sometimes I think I am in Vincible, but life shows me I am not!

I have been in Deepdoodoo many times; the older I get, the easier it is to get there.


Corky Varney is out studying women again! BB

Three women: one engaged, one married, and one a mistress, are chatting

about their relationships and decide to amaze their men....that night 
all three will wear a leather bodice S&M style, stilettos and mask over 
their eyes. 

After a few days they meet again... 

The engaged girlfriend said: 'The other night, when my boyfriend came 
home, he found me in the leather bodice, 4' stilettos and mask. He said, 
'You are the woman of my life, I love you...then we made love all night 

The mistress stated: 'Oh Yes! The other night we met in the office. I 
was wearing the leather bodice, mega stilettos, mask over my eyes and a 
raincoat. When I opened the raincoat, he didn' say a word. We just had 
wild sex all night.' 

The married one then said: 'The other night I sent the kids to stay at 
my mothers for the night, I got myself ready, leather bodice, super 
stilettos and mask over my eyes. My husband came in from work, grabbed 
the TV controller, a beer, and said, 'Hey Batman, what's for dinner?'


Joe West wants to share his photo and personal advice to you. BB A COWBOY TOMBSTONE: Here are the Five Rules for Men to Follow for a Happy Life that Russell J. Larsen had inscribed on
his headstone in Logan, Utah. He died not knowing that he would win the "Coolest Headstone" contest.

1. It's important to have a woman who helps at home, cooks from time to time, cleans up, and has a job.
2. It's important to have a woman who can make you laugh.
3. It's important to have a woman who you can trust, and doesn't lie to you.
4. It's important to have a woman who is good in bed, and likes to be with you.
5. It's very, very important that these four women do not know each other or you could end up dead like me.


Change the Windows Desktop Icons Size
(Works with Windows Vista and Windows 7)

Some people like big icons, some people like small icons. It's a personal choice. I'll show you a quick and easy way to make the Windows desktop icons smaller or larger.

1. Go to your desktop and minimize any programs running.
2. Hold the CTRL key and move your mouse scroller forward and backward and the size of your desktop icons will change.

Another way to change your icons to Windows-predetermined sizes is to right-click on your desktop, select "View" and then choose Large Icons, Medium Icons, or Small Icons.


Information contributed by Dr. Edmund Hayes

Interactions Between Certain HIV Or Hepatitis C Drugs And Cholesterol-Lowering Statin Drugs Can Increase The Risk Of Muscle Injury
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing updated recommendations concerning drug-drug interactions between drugs for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) known as protease inhibitors and certain cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. Protease inhibitors and statins taken together may raise the blood levels of statins and increase the risk for muscle injury (myopathy). The most serious form of myopathy, called rhabdomyolysis, can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney failure, which can be fatal.
"Facts about statins and protease inhibitors" The labels for both the HIV protease inhibitors and the affected statins have been updated to contain consistent information about the drug-drug interactions. These labels also have been updated to include dosing recommendations for those statins that may safely be co-administered with HIV or HCV protease inhibitors (see Statin Dose Limitations below).
Healthcare professionals should refer to the current drug labels for protease inhibitors and statins for the latest recommendations on prescribing these drugs. Patients should contact their healthcare professional if they have any questions or concerns about taking protease inhibitors and statins.


Scientists Discover Multitude Of Drug Side Effects, Interactions Using New Computer Algorithm
A week ago, you started a new prescription medication for acne. Today, you feel dizzy and short of breath and have difficulty concentrating. Your symptoms are not listed in the package insert as possible side effects of the drug, but why else would you be feeling so odd?
Unfortunately, there's no easy answer. Clinical trials are designed to show that a drug is safe and effective. But even the largest trials can't identify irksome or even dangerous side effects experienced by only a tiny proportion of those people taking the drug. They also aren't designed to study how drugs interact with one another in the human body - a consideration that becomes increasingly important as people age and their medicine cabinets begin to overflow.
Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have devised a computer algorithm that enabled them to swiftly sift through millions of reports to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by patients and their physicians and identify "true" drug side effects. The method also worked to identify previously unsuspected interactions between pairs of drugs, most notably that antidepressants called SSRIs interact with a common blood pressure medication to significantly increase the risk of a potentially deadly heart condition.


Discovery Provides Blueprint for New Drugs That Can Inhibit Hepatitis C Virus
Chemists at the University of California, San Diego have produced the first high resolution structure of a molecule that when attached to the genetic material of the hepatitis C virus prevents it from reproducing.
Crystals of the molecule were produced so its structure could be determined. Hepatitis C is a chronic infectious disease that affects some 170 million people worldwide and causes chronic liver disease and liver cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis C now kills more Americans each year than HIV.
The structure of the molecule, which was published in a paper in this week's early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a detailed blueprint for the design of drugs that can inhibit the replication of the hepatitis C virus, which proliferates by hijacking the cellular machinery in humans to manufacture duplicate viral particles.


Ibuprofen Decreases Likelihood Of Altitude Sickness
"A really nasty hangover" is how Grant Lipman, MD, describes the feeling of acute mountain sickness, and for good reason: Symptoms can include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and poor appetite.
More than 25 percent of the millions of Americans who travel to high elevations each year, often to hike, camp or ski, will suffer from this condition, also known as altitude illness. But a new study led by Lipman, an emergency medicine physician at Stanford Hospital & Clinics and a clinical assistant professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has found that a widely available, over-the-counter drug may help.
Ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory medication often used as a painkiller, was found to significantly reduce the incidence of altitude sickness in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 86 men and women, according to the study, published online March 20 in Annals of Emergency Medicine.


Pain Relievers Could be Spiking Your Blood Pressure
Diseases such as kidney failure and endocrine tumors are among the suspects causing high blood pressure - but could the common pain relievers in your medicine cabinet be the culprit?
According to Prof. Ehud Grossman of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sheba Medical Center, many common over-the-counter and prescription medications are underlying causes of hypertension, which is a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and aneurisms. The chemical components of the drugs can raise blood pressure or interfere with anti-hypertensive medications, he explains. And while many medications can cause this drug-induced hypertension, both patients and doctors remain dangerously uninformed.
His recent research was published in the American Journal of Medicine.


Morphine's Bad Influence on the Microbiome
Painkillers are an important tool in the hospital. After major surgery, relieving a patient's pain using morphine and other opiates helps their recovery and quality of life while the body heals. But these drugs are not without their side effects and risks, from the potential for dependence to symptoms such as nausea, constipation, and itching. More recently, researchers have found that morphine may have more serious consequences, such as promoting tumor growth. A new study, conducted by surgeons from the University of Chicago Medicine, adds another warning to the list, revealing the bad influence of morphine upon normally harmless bacteria living in the human gut.
As discussed last week, the bacterial species Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a frequent inhabitant of the human body, usually colonizing the intestinal lining under peaceful conditions. But when that comfortable environment is disrupted by illness or surgery, what John Alverdy, professor of surgery at University of Chicago Medicine, calls "molecular diplomacy" can break down, causing the bacteria to turn violent and attack its host. Alverdy's laboratory has studied various causes of this hostility, focusing primarily on the native biological signals that are thrown out of whack after the traumatic experience of surgery. But in a paper published last month in Annals of Surgery, Alverdy's group found for the first time that a substance used to treat the after-effects of a procedure could also trigger P. aeruginosa virulence.
"Morphine is nothing we ever factored in," Alverdy said. "The other triggers are endogenous signals, while morphine is both exogenous and endogenous. You make morphine-like substances from your body tissues, but we also give a boatload of them, clinically, and that's the biggest difference."


Drug Makes Leukemia More Vulnerable To Chemo
Doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that a new drug makes chemotherapy more effective in treating acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. Instead of attacking these cells directly, the drug helps drive them out of the bone marrow and into the bloodstream, where they are more vulnerable to chemotherapy.
"We're usually very good at clearing these leukemia cells from the blood," says Geoffrey L. Uy, MD, assistant professor of medicine and co-first author on the study published in the journal Blood. "But it's much harder to clear these cancerous cells from the bone marrow."
This combined phase 1 and 2 clinical trial included 52 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who had relapsed or whose AML was resistant to the standard chemotherapy regimen. In the phase 2 portion with 46 patients, all received the investigational drug, and 46 percent achieved complete remission, meaning no evidence of cancer could be found in the blood or bone marrow after treatment.


Gary Chenett sent this in. Seems to me the VA is missing an opportunity to put some unemployed people to work here. BB

Files stacked atop filing cabinets at the VA's Winston-Salem office.

Veterans routinely complain about how much paperwork they have to generate to apply for VA benefits. They may have a point: the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general reported Thursday that paper had piled so high at the VA’s regional office in Winston-Salem, N.C., that it “appeared to have the potential to compromise the integrity of the building.” Noted the IG: The volume of folders and inadequate storage seems to indicate the VARO [VA Regional Office] has exceeded the capacity to store files. This over-storage creates an unsafe environment for the employees, overexposes many claims folders to risk of fire/water damage, inadvertent loss and possible misplacement, as well as impedes VARO productivity by reducing access to many folders in a timely manner. We observed files st! ored approximately two feet high and two rows deep on top of file cabinets. File cabinets were placed so closely together that file drawers could not be opened completely. We estimated that approximately 37,000 claims folders were stored on top of file cabinets. We also observed files stored on the floor and stacked, as space permitted, in boxes along walls. The attached photos provide illustrations of the excessive and unsafe file storage at this VARO. The excess weight of the stored files has the potential to compromise the structural integrity of the sixth floor of the facility. We noticed floors bowing under the excess weight to the extent that the tops of file cabinets were noticeably unlevel throughout the storage area. We asked the responsible Property Manager within the General Services Administration (GSA) for a copy of the most recent inspection report and load bearing study of the building. The Property Manager could not locate any evidence of a load bearing study, but thought that such a study was conducted a pproximately 10 years ago. He said that he would coordinate with GSA’s Civil Engineering office to determine whether a new study might be conducted. Additionally, the Property Manager provided us with a copy of a GSA fire inspection report, dated May 8, 2012. In the report, the Regional Fire Protection Engineer expressed concerns about “floor stack loading” on the sixth floor of the building, stating that it constituted “an extreme fire load and a possible structural overloading concern.” The excessive file storage and building integrity issues observed pose unnecessary risks to the safety of VA em! ployees working in the building. VARO safety meetings, quarterly VARO safety inspections, and an annual workplace evaluation conducted by the VISN 6 Safety Manager all disclosed concerns with boxes of files blocking exits, files stacked too close to overhead sprinklers, and files falling from the tops of file cabinets onto employees. In 2011, one employee experienced a minor shoulder i njury when claims folders fell on him from the top of a filing cabinet. Narrow aisles due to file cabinet placement may also impede employees from exiting file storage areas in case of emergency or crisis situations. Egress may be especially hampered when staff use ladders or file carts to store claims folders in the crowded space… GSA conducted a load bearing study of the 6th floor. On Wednesday June 13, 2012, the Regional Office was notified that the estimated load on the 6th floor was 164 psf, which exceeded the capacity of 125 psf for the floor.


Congressman Seeks Vet Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

June 28, 2012 | Terry Howell 

According to an AP report, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) wants benefits for same-sex spouses of veterans 
and service members. Smith says spouses of service members should not be barred from receiving 
benefits because they are in same-sex marriages.
Rep. Smith, the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, is planning to introduce 
legislation to make the DoD and VA recognize all state (including common wealths, territories 
and the District of Columbia) sanctioned marriages. Same-sex marriages are now legal in 
Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the Washington DC.

The AP story reports that Smith’s bill would change the definition of spouse in the U.S. code to 
include same-sex marriages.

Read more: http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2012/06/congressman-seeks-vet-benefits-for-same-sex-spouses/#ixzz2B5bQo7tiMilitaryAdvantage.Military.com


'Stolen Valor Act' Shot Down by High Court

Jun 28, 2012

Military.com| by Bryant Jordan
A Texas man who helped lead the charge for Congress to pass a law against so-called military 
"fakers" said he was disappointed the Supreme Court had struck it down Thursday.

B.G. "Jug" Burkett, a Vietnam veteran and co-author of 1998's "Stolen Valor," told Military.com 

he thought the court might toss out the portion of the act making it a crime to "verbally" claim 
being awarded medals and decorations, but not the entire law.

"I'm disappointed. You've got people out there that can claim the highest decorations in the 
land and there's no way to legally stop them from doing so," he said.

Burkett's view is widely shared by veterans' organizations.

"The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is greatly disappointed in today's Supreme Court decision 
that overturns the Stolen Valor Act of 2005," VFW Commander in Chief Richard Denoyer said in a 
statement released shortly after the court's announcement.

In a ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court determined that the act was too broad for 
seeking to "control and suppress all false statements on this one subject in almost limitless times 
and settings without regard to whether the lie was made for the purpose of material gain."

For the court to decide that lying about military service and decorations was a criminal offense 
would essentially endorse the government compiling "a list of subjects about which false statements 
are punishable.  That governmental power has no clear limiting principle," he wrote.

The ruling did not come as a surprise to retired Master Sgt. Jeff Hinton, who also exposes phony 
vets and troops who exaggerate their combat experience.
"I expected no less from bureaucrats, politicians and lawyers," said Hinton, a former Green Beret 
who operates the website Professionalsoldiers.com. "As always the United States military will 
protect its own. We will continue to uphold the honor and integrity of our veterans service 

Likewise, Denoyer said: "Despite the ruling, the VFW will continue to challenge far-fetched stories, 
and to publicize these false heroes to the broadest extent possible as a deterrent to others."

Burkett has spent years doing just that on his own website, StolenValor.com.  Along with a team 
that includes three former Navy SEALs, he routinely exposes and publishes stories about people who 
claim to be war heroes or have earned ranks or decorations they didn't.

Additionally, Burkett investigates reports of phony veterans who have been able to get into the 
Department of Veterans Affairs system and draw benefits. He said he turns those reports over to 
the VA for further investigation and prosecution.

Burkett was an investment counselor in Dallas when he began looking into questionable claims being 
made by men about service in Vietnam, where he had served with the Army's 199th Light Infantry 
Brigade. He found cases of phony veterans spinning stories of heroism and even atrocities.

Along with Texas Monthly writer Glenna Whitley, he authored "Stolen Valor," which in 2005 then-Rep. 
John Salazar, D-Colo., borrowed as the title for legislation making it illegal to impersonate 
servicemembers and falsely claim awards. The law made it a federal misdemeanor to misrepresent 
yourself as a recipient of a military medal or decoration. The crime was punishable by up to six 
months in jail for all but the Medal of Honor, which carried jail time of up to a year.

"I'm hoping Congress will re-craft a new [Stolen Valor] law to make it even stronger," Burkett 
said. "I can't imagine you can't craft a law that makes impersonating a servicemember a felony. 
They do it for police officers. Why not the military?"


MilPay Higher Than Ever Compared to Civilians

Tom Philpott | June 28, 2012Military Pay Higher Than Ever Compared to Civilian Wages

As private sector salaries flattened over the last decade, military pay climbed steadily, enough 
so that by 2009 pay and allowances for enlisted members exceeded the pay of 90 percent of private 
sector workers of similar age and education level.

That's one of the more significant findings of the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation 
report released last week, given its potential to impact compensation decisions by the Department of 
Defense and Congress as they struggle to control military personnel costs.

The military pay advantage, which had been a worrisome gap in 1999, is larger now than it has ever 
been, said QRMC director Thomas Bush.

"I believe it is, and there is a chart in our report that illustrates that. [It] shows where we are, 
which is probably the highest point that we have been" compared with civilian pay, Bush said.

The military gained its lead with annual raises from 2000 to 2010 that exceeded private sector wage 
growth and some extra increases in housing allowances to eliminate average out-of-pocket rental costs.  
Meanwhile, civilian pay growth stalled as markets collapsed and jobs disappeared.

Officer pay by 2009 exceeded salaries of 83 percent of civilian peers of similar age with bachelor 
and masters degrees.  Enlisted are compared to workers with high school diplomas, some college or 
associate's degrees.

To make its pay comparisons, the QRMC used Regular Military Compensation, which combines basic pay 
with Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) plus the federal tax 
advantage on the tax-free allowances.

By 2009, the report says, average RMC for enlisted exceeded the median wage for civilians in each 
comparison group -- high school diploma, some college and two-year degrees.  Average RMC was $50,747 
or "about $21,800 more than the median earnings for civilians from the combined comparison groups."

For officers, average RMC was $94,735 in 2009.  That was "88 percent higher than earnings of civilians 
with bachelor's degrees, and 47 percent higher than earnings of those with graduate-level degrees," the 
report says.

Neil Singer, a former senior analyst at the Congressional Budget Office who advised a recent commission 
on military pay issues as it studied ways to address the nation's debt crisis, said he supports the 
QRMC's call to target more money to individual skills by expanding use of special and incentive pays and 
also giving more recognition to members who serve in combat. 

An obvious way to pay for that, Singer said, is to freeze across-the-board raises until RMC "comparability" 
with private sector wages is restored to levels endorsed by earlier QRMCs.  The 1.7 percent 
across-the-board raise planned for January, for example, would cost more than $1 billion. That money 
should be used instead as pay incentives for Special Forces, linguists, and other high-demand skills 
high-highlighted by the QRMC, and also to expand benefits for those who see combat, wounded warriors, 
their families and caregivers.

In 2002, the 9th QRMC concluded that keeping RMC at the 70th percentile of private sector wages would 
sustain a volunteer force.  The 11th QRMC didn't do the work to "revalidate" that benchmark, said 
director Bush, "so I am reluctant to say the 70th is the right percentile…[It] would be appropriate to 
validate that over several QRMCs so we'll know we're in the right ballpark."

The 11th QRMC also isn't calling for a military pay freeze.

"We have given the department facts they can use to balance competing interests," Bush explained.  

Excluded from its pay comparisons with civilian workers are other elements of compensation that would make 
the military advantage appear wider.  The military pays no FICA payroll tax on BAH and BAS, for example.  
Also, active duty receive free health care for themselves and family members if enrolled in TRICARE Prime, 
while health insurance costs for civilian workers have increased steadily over the decade.

 If health benefits were compared, says the report, the take-home pay advantage over civilians would grow 
by $3000 and $7000 per year for enlisted, depending on family size, and by $2000 to $4800 for officers.  
The officer advantage is smaller because more of their peers in the private sector have employer health 

Marine Staff Sgt. Andrew Gallagher, 29, doesn't believe pay comparisons using only age and education level,
even with associate's degree earners tossed in the mix, is fair to career enlisted.

Gallagher will pass the 12-year mark in the Corps this November.  He has served three tours in Iraq, the 
second shortened by wounds suffered in an IED attack.  His total pay, before taxes and including BAH and 
BAS, is about $58,000 a year at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

"I believe the amount and levels of training an individual receives over a career in the military far 
exceeds an associate's degree level of training," Gallagher said.  He notes that his own career has been 
peppered with six-to-eight-week training periods, attending classes and receiving more training for 
12-to-16 hours a day versus perhaps only four hours each day at a college.

His extra training included an Infantry Squad Leaders Course, an Infantry Unit Leaders Course, Small Arms 
Weapons Instructor qualification, correspondence courses in war fighting and advance war fighting, and 
recruiter school which he compares to management-level sales training.

Gallagher said he wouldn't be surprised to see the pay comparisons lead to smaller raises for a while.  If 
someone wants to claim he is overpaid, the staff sergeant concedes, well he might be.  Because even if his 
pay were frozen for the rest of his career, he told me, he'd still stay a Marine.

"They will have to pull me away, kicking and screaming," said the married father of two.  "The Marine Corps 
has allowed me to provide for my family…I appreciate that.  I know they're not going to cut my pay.  As 
long as they don't do something crazy like that, they could pay me the same amount forever."

And if he were still on recruiting duty, he'd tout that 90th percentile on pay -- not to prospective recruits 
but to their parents.  If recruits are swayed by it, Gallagher said, the Corps probably doesn't want them.


New Promising Treatment for Parkinson's

Week of July 02, 2012

Patients with Parkinson's disease who undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) -- a treatment in which a 
pacemaker-like device sends pulses to electrodes implanted in the brain -- can expect stable improvement 
in muscle symptoms for at least three years, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs study. An 
abstract of the study is available in the June 12, 2012 edition of the journal Neurology. Previous results 
from the study appeared in 2009 in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in the New England 
Journal of Medicine in 2010. The new report is based on 36 months of follow-up on 159 patients from the 
original group. It extends the previous findings: DBS produced marked improvements in motor 
(movement-related) function. The gains lasted over three years and did not differ by brain site. VA cares 
for some 40,000 Veterans with the condition.


VA Completing Agent Orange Claims

Week of July 02, 2012

The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that nearly all of the 230,000 disability claims 
related to Agent Orange presumptions have been completed. Over $3.6 billion has been paid to Vietnam 
veterans and their survivors as a result of Agent Orange exposure. For more information, read VA's 
VAntage Point Blog. VA has established its Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System website 
at www.fastrack.va.gov to assist veterans in filing claims for the three new conditions related to 
the effects of Agent Orange exposure. It guides Veterans through automated, program-assisted menus 
to capture the information and medical evidence needed for faster claims decision.


Most of you probably know or have heard of Gary Chenett, B Troop 67-68. He has

spent much of his time since leaving the Army helping other GI's with their VA problems and also 
ram-roding the "Silver Rose effort" for many years.  Currently he is enjoying a recovery from 
cancer for the fourth time.  To make a long story short, Gary missed his calling.  He should have 
been a Veteran's Service Officer. As it is, he has accumulated a lot of experience helping others 
and when his health is good, he even enjoys working with veterans having problems with the VA.  I'm 
throwing this out there for all of you to ponder. If you need advice regarding your efforts to get 
the VA to acknowledge your Combat and Agent Orange disabilities, get hold of Gary.  He's in-house 
and presently available. You can reach him via e-mail at: Gary Chenett Email Contact


The Greatest Parent

It seems, Dear God, that my children are growing too quickly up and away from me. I don't know what to say to them anymore. They are no longer the little children I used to know. Help me to learn to trust their judgment, and to entrust their safety to You, The Greatest Parent of all. Amen

Thats all the news for now. Check back next Month. Thanks, Ole' Bill

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