WELCOME TO OLE' BILL'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

SEPTEMBER 2011


THIS MONTH IN QUARTERHORSE HISTORY

2Sep03: 1st Brigade Combat Team main body begins deployment to Iraq.
10Sep06: 2nd Brigade Combat Team closes in Kuwait for its second deployment to Iraq.
11Sep01: Terrorists attack World Trade Center in NY City and The Pentagon in Washington DC.
11Sep01: TF Centurion (1-34 AR) in Kuwait-intrinsic Action TF.
11Sep03: 1st Bde CBT Team Closes Kuwait. Attached to 82nd Abn Div.
12Sep44: BRO Division crosses German Border.
13Sep68: MG Keith L. Ware, CG,BRO, KIA near Loc Ninh.
15Sep65: 1/4th Cav and BRO depart Ft. Riley enroute to Vietnam.
17Sep11: POW/MIA Recognition Day.
26Sep04: 1st Briade Combat Team returns to Ft. Riley from Iraq.
27Sep55: BRO "Gyroscopes" to Ft. Riley, KS.
29Sep67: Operation Shenandoah II Begins. Entire 1/4th involved.


QUARTERHORSE HISTORY

THE TRIP - From Ft. Riley to Vietnam - Pre AP Bau Bang I

As told by Bill Baty


A Troop, 1/4th Cavalry - Mar 65 to Oct 65

They put us through something akin to Ranger Training at Ft. Riley during the months leading up to deployment. Booby Traps, Escape and Evasion, Live firing on the ranges, Patrolling, Geneva Convention, First Aid, and Individual and Crew served weapons training. We spent most of our time in the field. Around August 65 they brought us back into garrison and we prepared our TOE for Shipping. We cleaned everything several times then carefully wrapped it in sticky stuff. One night at the NCO club on Cavalry Hill I won a double barrel 12 gauge Shotgun and I stuck it in the tube of my 4.2 mortar before we wrapped it. I lost track of it at the battle of Ap Bau Bang. Finally in late August they gave us leave to take our POV's home and say our farewells to family and friends. When we returned to Riley we stood numerous inspections with emphasis on personal equipment serviceability and accountability. Had a couple parades and then boarded the Train for a fantastic ride from Ft. Riley to Oakland, CA.

19 year old SGT Bill Baty taken at Camp Funston, Ft. Riley, KA just prior to Shipping out to RVN

The day before we arrived an announcement was made that we could expect protestors trying to stop the train when we neared the terminal so we were eagerly hoping to see our first blood. The protestors must have been forewarned that we weren't going to stop even if they were lying on the tracks cause they didn't show. All went well as we loading onto the USNS Sultan and got assigned our bunks and compartments. After that there really wasn't much to do except go up on deck and take in the sights. Sorta like going on a nice cruise compliments of the Army and Navy. We left the terminal and cruised by Alcatraz, San Francisco (I left my heart, in), The Golden Gate Bridge and into what had to be some of roughest damn water on earth. There was aft to stern puke. In the stairwells, latrines, on deck....everywhere, even the mess hall. The Navy probably still tells stories about those tough Army GI's who nearly didn't make it to Vietnam thanks to the sweet smell of salt water. How rough was it??? Well I tell you, at one point in time the ship's Captain ordered everyone inside except for the swabs and they battened the hatches behind us. I'd always heard that you don't have to worry on a ship unless you heard the propellers slapping water. I remember lying there for two days and nights listening to the props as they left the water and then mercifully began churning again.
Prior to entering the Army, I worked in a rendering factory so I considered myself as having a cast iron stomach. I did fine until one day about two weeks into our journey. I was the projectionist for Troop A and while on board ship our training continued. It was a hot muggy day and on tap for that day's training was a "First Aid" training film. I went into the projection room and got the film rolling and it had the most realistic scenes I had ever seen. Spurting blood, exposed broken bones, gushing eye and mouth wounds. And the ship rocked, and it got hotter and hotter in that little room. I almost lost it. I made my way to the deck and fresh air real quick.
After two weeks the seas calmed and it began to feel like a vacation cruise again. We enjoyed watching the porpoises, jelly fish, flying fish, playing cards and reading dirty books. Who knows where they came from but it seemed like everyone had one. We customarily met up on deck everyday to exchange porno books for one we hadn't seen. This was very upsetting to the Chaplain and it finally came to a head one day when he got on the ships intercom and chastised everyone for their choice of reading material. He ended by saying, "Just read them, read them until your sick of them and want to throw them over the side of the ship". I felt a little guilty after his talk and gave all my books away. A few days later I got bored and started asking my circle of friends for some reading material. Not a one of them would give me anything and I didn't have a single thing to trade.
Fortunately for me, we arrived at Subic Bay, Philippines about this time and were given passes to go ashore provided we stayed on the base. I enjoyed one night of freedom spent entirely at the Chiefs Club with friends. My Mortar Section crews consisted of all three mortar platoons and they really did a great job of sticking together. One of them was a recent newly wed and his young bride was in her 8th month of pregnancy. He took quite a bit of ribbing from his fellow mortar men but it was always good natured. On our first night of freedom in two weeks, they settled in at the post Bowling Alley and drank enough beer for everyone on the ship. Everything went well until in walks this beautiful young lady who must have been 7-8 months along. Out of respect for Mac, no one said anything but there was a group of Marines in the bowling alley who, according to my entire section, verbalized the poor women, so Mac went to her rescue closely followed by my entire section. I'm told they wrecked the place. The Shore Patrol apprehended most of my people except Bobby Givens who didn't stop running until he reached the open sea. He then stole a boat and paddled across Subic Bay landing near a small village. Thinking he was in Vietnam already, he proceeded to single handedly assault the village until the local authorities arrived and bundled him up. All my people were placed under ship arrest and I immediately went to the top of the duty roster for CP duty which lasted for the remainder of our stay at Subic Bay.
We left the Philippines and headed across the South China Sea for Vietnam. The adrenaline started flowing and everyone was on edge. I'm not quite sure what was done to make the Ships Captain mad, but one day he got on the intercom and read us the law. Something about the Captain of a ship at sea was next to God in authority and pretty much convinced us that if our attitudes didn’t improve he would have us all thrown overboard, or words to that effect.

Our first view of Vietnam pulling into Vung Tau...Getting ready for the trip to Bein Hoa AB
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Upon our arrival we were loaded with personal gear onto Landing craft and taken ashore, just like in the movies, at Vung Tau. Then loaded onto waiting trucks and moved to Bein Hoa where we were reunited with our TOE. We had the privilege spending the next several nights in a Vietnamese Cemetery while we unpacked and cleaned our equipment. It was in this cemetery that I was introduced to the largest scorpion I have ever seen. It was jet black and bigger than your hand. Evil looking thing. When everything was ready we did our first Vietnam convoy from Bein Hoa to Lai Khe.

(Lai Khe from the air)........................(Lai Khe from the air)

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Upon arrival we spent the next week digging in.

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Lai Khe - The way we found it in 1965.......PVT Neeldner volunteered to fill all the sandbags!!

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Kampfert doing a small job for 1SG Pepe.......Consolidated A Trp Mortar Positions


The engineers came over with their bulldozers and dug out large holes to park our APC's in. We set up tents among the rubber trees, surrounded them with sand bags and were finally introduced to cobras, monsoons and our constant enemy, the communist ants (Reds). All three mortar sections were placed together at south end of the runway and we did daily fire missions and established new registration points. We began to slowly settling into our new way of life. Remember "Hot and Dry or Hot and wet" weather.

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Ukn, Warne, Dempsey and Pullen.......A Trp Billeting area


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1SG Pepe and OR personnel clean weapons.......SSG Noelder wondering where Kampfert is?


Personal hygiene was a top priority. We took baths in everyway from helmet liners to digging holes in the ground, then lining them with our ponchos and filing the hole with water. The rains became a favorite time. You jump outside with a bar of soap and in a few minutes you'd be squeky clean. At night when most sane people were sleeping, we were up enjoying live fire demonstrations, (sure relieved the stress). Our favorite target was the old water tower which sat almost directly out from our position. All the APC's along that perimeter used the tower for target practice. I always hoped it would fall while we were firing but it withstood many .50 caliber and M-14 attacks before it finally fell. (after I was gone). When we weren't busy firing at shadows we had great times on guard duty. One of our Infantry Squad leaders was a Samolian named SSG Joe Kekepi.


Cavalry Scout Extraordaneer!

He was a Korean War veteran with a Silver Star so all we young NCO's listened and hung onto his every word. Some of his more popular teachings were:
1. When posting a young troop on guard, and your not sure if he will stay awake, hand him a hand granade and pull the pin out. Tell him you'll put the pin back in when you return.
2. Same scenario, tell him in a serious tone, that you'll be attempting to sneak up on him while he's on guard, and if your successful, you'll cut his throat and claim the VC did it.
3. Use every weapon at your disposal. When SSG Kekepi ran out of ammo during a fire fight, he would commandeer the driver's seat of his APC and run the enemy down using his vehicle as a weapon.
4. When in a fire fight using his .50 caliber, you could hear him anywhere on the battle field screaming "yahoo" at the top of his lungs. He said this unsettled the enemy giving him the advantage of firing first.
Our favorite mentor of course was First Sergeant Michael Pepe. 1SG Pepe was "Cavalry" clean through. He ate nails for breakfast and washed them down with gasoline. He spit them out at anything that got in his way during the day. It was quietly spoken in back rooms and places of loneliness that 1SG Pepe should have been retired with the last horse from active duty. Back at Riley 1SG Pepe's office was adjacent to the orderly room and the CO's office was off to one side with a doorway into 1SG's office and another door that had been built for Officers to use to see the CO. Although we rarely had any extra time we used to hang around the orderly room in hopes that some officer would enter the orderly room and attempt to access the CO's office by going thru 1SG Pepe's office. Everyone feared confrontation with 1SG Pepe but all who knew him respected him because while he was strict and verbally gruff, he was fair. On more than one occasion he passed on some of his valuable knowledge and wisdom to this young and eager NCO and I can recall him literally lifting me up by my shirt to get his point across on at least on one ocassion. We finally located Mike Pepe down Florida Way where he and his wife enjoy thier retirement. He was one of the first Command Sergant Majors when that rank was approved for the Army. After retirement he worked for Ross Peroe as his Security manager until he finally retired for good. We hope to see him at one of our reunions some day.
We made it through the first 30 days without a single casualty except for LT. Snaverly who was stung by two scorpions hiding in his fatigue shirt when he put it on one morning and was in the Brigade hospital for awhile. Another of our Lts. didn't last long with the Cavalry. He was there one day, and then he was observed at the "water hole" showing some troops how he used to catch fish back home, except instead of dynamite he used a hand granade. We never saw him again....

(Mess Kit washing machine)

Life was mostly digging in deeper and learning to live with the weather and red ants. We left the comforts of Lai Khe several times participating in operations like Hopscotch, Viper and Hump, and while we were fortunate enough to be casualty free, other units weren't. The body bags became a common sight lying along the airfield. It was a sight no one ever got used to. Somebody up above was looking out for us because in early Nov 65 we received a shipment of metal plates which when assembled, protected the TC on three sides. Problem is, they didn’t send along the mounting devices for these wonderful shields. So we assembled them and "placed" them into position facing forward. A few APC's did get theirs welded on by the motor pool. The shields at least provided some protection from incoming but restricted the rotation of the .50 caliber machine guns. We were also told to fill sand bags and cover the floor of our APC's with them which would soften any land mines we ran across. Then we were told to fill sand bags and place them around the top edge of our APC's so that when we exposed ourselves we would have a sand bag between us and the enemy. Now the M-14 was a fine weapon, as long as it was clean. Lessons learned: A bullet ripping into a sand bag throws sand all over the place. One grain of sand in the right place and an M-14's only use is as a baseball bat.
Other Lessons Learned to late:
never discard unused mortar round charges onto the floor of the APC during a battle. It makes a hell of a fire when/if ignited. Throw them outside.
Mortar firing tables were designed with distance in mind. They didn't make any provisions for close in firing. We learned soon after arrival in country that we needed to elevate the mortar tube almost vertical using sandbags or empty ammo boxes in order to fire "close in illumination, WP and HE" fire missions."

A Troop lining up at Lai Khe to go out on mission from Lai Khe, Nov 65

In early Nov 1965 A Troop left Lai Khe on a road clearing task force made up of differet elements of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. About 5 miles north of Lai Khe, we pulled off Highway 13 in a logger NDP. The next morning as Alpha Six pulled back onto the road a mine was detonated blowing up harmlessly but barely missing his APC. CPT Hubbard was a fine Officer and he had seen that we all were trained well, but that day he did a foolish thing. He exited his vehicle and picking up the wires that had been attached to the mine, he began following them into the underbrush alongside the road. When he came to a point where grass had overgrown the wire, he yanked on it setting off a personnel mine which severely wounded him. He became our first WIA and was air-evac'd out. lLT Garcia, the XO, became Acting Commander of A Troop. We continued our road clearing operation. We soon learned another valuable Lesson:
Never ride on top of an APC unless you prefer a sniper bullet to dying of heat exhaustion. We lost PFC Benjamin Costello, Infantry Squad, that day as he became our first KIA.


The seemingly peaceful hamlet of Ap Bau Bang, 11 Nov 65

About mid-day on 11 Nov 65, we arrived at the hamlet of Ap Bau Bang where we provided mounted guard duty for task force personnel performing "Civic Action" duties. Our medics administered to anyone who needed medical aid and we passed out c-rations and chewing gum mostly to children. There was a noticeable absence of men in the village but we had been briefed that the VC had forcibly recruited most of the able bodied men from that area into their ranks. Little did we know that they were nearby and waiting for the opportunity to launch an attack. Sometime prior to midnight a couple mortar rounds were sent into our perimeter, The first battle of Ap Bau Bang was about to begin and the lives of all A Troopers would be changed forever.


REUNION 2011 NEWS

I just received a list of attendees from the 2011 reunion in buffalo, NY. Thanks to everyone who attended and special thanks to Bob Corbin and anyone else who pitched in and worked to make this another successful reunion for the Quarterhorse Cav. I'm thankful we did'nt lose anyone over Niagera Falls we are looking forward to next year in Memphis, TN where rumor has it that a very special Guest will be visiting us. It's much to early to reviel who this is but he ask me to send all of you a "bigga bigga hunka love", so nows the time to start planning!! BB

Anyone with photos please send them to me via snail mail or e-mail. If you send them e-mail and you have a little time on your hands, please reduce them in size to 480X480 Pixel.

Attendees:

Terry Valentine
Richard Guerine
Alan Benoit
Jim Keech
Paul V. Miller
Charles Brigance
Nels Christenson
Bob and Linda Corbin
Joe and Barbara Dabney
Jerry and Linda Friday
Terry Emprey
Ronald Davidson
James (Jim)Smith
Bob and Bonny Coad
Mrs. Elke Kamfert, (Widow of William Kampfert)
If we missed anyone, please let me know. BB

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The following is unofficial because I haven't seen the minutes for this years meeting yet, but the following board officers were elected for the 2011/2012 period:

John Conley: President
Bob Corbin: Vice President
Joe Dabney: Secretary
Bill Baty: Treasuer


OPEN THE PRAYER DOORS

Danny Horn has had a difficult time of late recovering from triple heart bypass. This week he had to return to the hospital for a stint to be implaced. Please remember him in your prayers. BB

On August 22, 2011 I went to lancaster 20 miles up the road to Hanger Prosthetics, I have not been in the best of health since the triple bypass, but not sick, I was at hanger getting for a appointment of about one hr. had pain in my left arm on the way up took a pain pill, didn't help, while I was waiting on repair to my prosthetics I took another pain pill, didn't help, Thank God Hanger got done with the work they were doing on my prosthetics. I thanked them and walked out the door, I knew I could not make it home to Logan, and if I did I would go to hocking valley Hospital in Logan, Ohio, The Good Part is I was one Block from the Fairfield medical center and 1/2 block from my heart doctors. It was not a hard choice, I went to FMC. The triple bypass didn't work all the way and they had to put a stent, in my heart, I'm lucky that I have good doctors and the Hospital and staff is Great, well I got home on friday the 26. and I'm doing ok. and I do take care of my self, and as we all know some one is looking out for us, and to be that close when it happens! The sad part I made the mistake of blowing off the arm pain, because I didn't want to hollow Wolf! I will not do this again. I do miss all my brothers in Stockport Ohio, and I do follow the light.


TROOPER CONTACTS

Tom Heckman sent this info in. BB

I just received my American Legion Mag. today and I found a reference to our unit. Can you be of some help?
Troop C, 1st of the 4th Cav. (Li Khe-Aw Khe), Vietnam, 1969-1970)
Rich Garling, mpalme6@excite.com
Tom Heckman

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I have just received a very nice letter from the daughter of one of our troopers who was KIA during tet in Apr 68 while assigned with B Troop. She is still looking for anyone who served with her father to share information. Anyone who know SSG Dyer or served with him please tap me for info on how to contact Sharon. BB

August 24, 2011
Dear Quarter Horse
My name is Sharon Dyer Cashion. My Dad was Staff Sergeant (E6) Willford Leon Dyer.
Dad was a career soldier. He joined the Army in 1952 and served in the Korean War.
He was then a Drill Sergeant at Ft. Bliss, TX in 1967 and then he went to Vietnam
and was assigned to the Quarter Horse Jan 24, 1968 and was KIA April 1968. I have
getting news letters from the Quarter Horse. You do a great job. I would like to
become a member of the quarterhorse. You do such a good job as to teaching me about
the Vietnam War. Thank you all so much.
Sincerely
Sharon Cashion<


TROOPER PHOTOS

Danny Slaughter sent in this photo of A Troop training in the Mohavi Desert in California in March of 65. Can anyone ID any of the Troopers? BB

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and while we're at it, Danny also sent in this photo of an A Trooper's Draft Card.
This card along with several zippo lighters were advertised for sale on E-bay and indicated the indiv was a member of A Troop, 1/4th Cavalry. Does anyone recognize this troopers name or can anyone shed some light on him? Thanks, BB

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The following news article was submitted by John Conley who was CSM (Then First Sergeant) Escobedo's Troop Commander. BB

Berlin to Baghdad: Escobedo’s career spanned two wars

By Marty Finley
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 8:59 am (Updated: July 12, 3:53 pm)
Natividad Escobedo has often been compared to a Tasmanian devil.

Natividad Escobedo stands in front of a shadow box containing his many awards earned while serving in the Army. He served in both the Korean War and Vietnam War.
On the walls of his Radcliff home, the heavily decorated war veteran has tokens from his military past, humorous artistic renderings commemorating snapshots of his service.
One illustration is the hairy, frantic Looney Tunes character Taz, which a comrade gave to him because of the nickname.
Much like his cartoon namesake, Escobedo is a small bundle of energy. Housed within his frame is a deep-seated love and respect for soldiers and a near encyclopedic knowledge of the military harvested during a 30-year military career and the 18-year civil service career that followed.
But it all started with Korea, where Escobedo was a young private “stark green and scared to death” entering a formidable terrain with a determined enemy.
The weather didn’t help matters. Frigid, subzero temperatures met soldiers during the winter Escobedo spent in Korea, equipped with nothing but summer gear, struggling to stay warm. Escobedo said he and his peers would huddle on the ground and bundle up in what protective layers they could find while they slept. During the day, they employed other warming techniques. “We jumped up and down in a foxhole,” he said with a smile. Escobedo, a native of California, lost a portion of his nose to the cold and saw many men succumb to frostbite or hypothermia. “It was bad,” he said. But Escobedo also expressed gratitude in surviving the ordeal. “I was fortunate by the grace of God,” he said.
Medical advancements still were in transition stages and men who were not fatally wounded were unlikely to receive intensive medical care, a condition which had changed considerably by the time Escobedo was serving multiple tours in Vietnam. Escobedo himself was wounded several times, receiving numerous Purple Hearts while serving in the two wars. In one instance, he said, he took shrapnel to the head. To extricate it, medics informed Escobedo they would need to shave half of the hair off of his head. But Escobedo vehemently protested the idea, forcibly removing the piece of shrapnel himself. While some expected this could jeopardize the Purple Heart, Escobedo shrugged it off. “I already have four,” he said while recounting the story.
During Korea, a need for sergeants was in demand, placing young soldiers on the fast track to promotion based on their performance. This benefited Escobedo, who was promoted to sergeant first class within months of joining the military. But the promotion would come with great expectations. Failure to perform the duties assigned could lead one to lose rank, he said. Escobedo never faced this dilemma, climbing the ladder throughout his military career. He retired from active service in 1981 as the first Hispanic command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Armor School and Center at Fort Knox. Escobedo still is invited to speak about his experiences and expressed great pride in his accomplishments. “You lead by example,” he said, adding he could size up the quality of a battalion within a half hour by observing how its members carry themselves. Escobedo also embraced the bearing of a leader, defying his small stature.
He entered the Korean War with a 26-inch waist and was assigned a radio that weighed 44 pounds — the first of many challenges. Escobedo also never stood any taller than 5-foot-5, a sharp difference from the large soldiers he commanded. “I would be looking at their belt buckle,” he said with a laugh. But his energy and tenacity earned him respect and a reputation as a hard-nosed motivator. He would be called upon to aid in improving units during his service. “I raised hell,” he said.

Footnote: by John Conley regarding CSM Escobedo and the first time the "Box Formation" was used. BB

Bill,
Mims sent me the info. He was a great 1st Sergeant. He was originally in the S-3 and Major Kelly didn't want to turn him loose. The XO, Barney Forbes, caused him to come to A Troop. He was a Platoon Sergeant of Barney Forbes when he was a Captain in Germany many years before that. He swore him to secrecy on that relationship and I didn't learn about it until a few years ago. CSM Escobedo worked for Barney Forbes' boss prior to that.
He was a great soldier. The troops loved him and he really had my back with all of that admin stuff. I was free to spend my time on motivation and trying to outfox Charlie. I was fortunate in both "B" Troop and "A" Troop to have great NCOs and 1st SGTs.
Incidentally, one of the newsletters said that I came from "B" Troop to "A" Troop. That's not actually accurate. My tour ended after the first 8 days of the 1st Tet Offensive and I went home. From the Stars & Stripes I saw that my Head Medic, who was supposed to go home a couple weeks after I did, was MIA along with another man. I figured there must be some real big problems, perhaps the counter attack we were concerned with, and headed for Washington the next day. They gave me orders and I went right back.
Not having a job for me, they made me the Adjutant. Then CPT Shirley left country on April 14th, CPT Serio was given "A" Troop, although he had no experience. Three days later he was KIA and I took over "A" Troop. The rest is history. I was always close to "B" Troop and the two Troops worked together a lot. It's odd, but I never told the "A" Troopers that I had any jungle experience. Joe told me that everyone thought I was from the Headquarters and inexperienced, and had a goofy formation that was dreamt up by noncombatants. I drilled the Officers and NCOs in it by drawing in the dirt with a stick and told them that from the intelligence map, they better get everyone tuned in to it by sun-up.
I was so proud of them when we made contact and I commanded "Turn left and form a Box to the left." And it came down like clockwork. The entire troop, the 2 attack platoons and the Headquarters Platoon and Reserve Platoon, all executed the move with perfect precision. That was my first opportunity to get a good look at the Troop's discipline. When that happened, I knew we had Charlie by the ass. No one else knew it yet, but I did. We were into the attack with absolutely no hesitation. It was like we had been rehearsing it for a long time.
Four hours later, a Troop that was demoralized from losing a very experienced CPT and another that didn't last long enough to become combat wise, was on top of the world and they were really excited. I'm still excited about it and so very proud of them.
And in that 4 hours, I had threatened LTC Tyree and GEN Westmoreland to quit talking on my frequency or I would shoot them down, we were gassed with SOVIET or Chinese tear gas 7 times, brought in several air strikes to the front and lot of artillery on the flanks, employed the Reserve Platoon at the critical point, executed an effective pass-through with "B" Troop and resupplied our basic load of ammo and refueled in the jungle, while "B" Troop moved the fight forward. And executed a second flawless troop pass-through with "B" Troop to continue "A" Troop's assault, until we overran the NVA basecamp. I believe we had a half dozen troopers with minor wounds, but never lost a track to enemy fire. I believe we found 34 or 37 bodies in the basecamp, but we didn't uncover any of the crushed foxholes to search further. And we proved we could take the fight to Charlie anywhere in the deep jungle. I had a lot to be thankful for that night. I had a hell of a fine team for the next 5 months. Get well, Bill..
John

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Another personnal account of the battle of Long Bihn. BB

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Battle of Long Bihn Village

My Experience as TC A-63

Febuary 6, 1968 we were out on recon by force in the area of Saigon. I remember crossing a bridge, it was high over the Saigon river, you could see for miles. As we were crossing, a huge explosion occurred miles upstream.and we could feel the shock wave. It was later rumored that it was a barge of 4.2 mortar rounds going off. We preceeded to go down the road to a village called Long Bihn. At the edge of the village, the Captain halted us and with the zippo track disappeared behind the village.. Very soon, a gun battle started and the Captain called A63 to come around and join him. When we arrived, I saw one VC with a lot of bullet holes in him and another hogtied with Rebel Jones, TC of zippo, guarding him. A63 patched up the wounded VC load him up and went back to the front of the village. Soon, a blue chopper came in and took them away.
The whole unit then started down the road in front of the village, the tank was in the lead followed by the rest of the platoons A-CAV'S. The Captain's track was on the right flank in an open field followed by zippo and A63 behind them. The lead tank was almost to palm trees that split the village. About that time I saw a black object flying through the air and looked like it was heading straight for me. The round landed right at the rear wheel of the zippo track, but did not break track. The zippo TC and driver jumped off the track and headed up hill. I believe they thought that the RPG had actually struck the track. Now a track with 200 gallons of napalm under 2000 pounds of air pressure sitting under you, I would have done the same thing.
Immediately after, the tank exploded and blew LT Chaffin and his loader off the tank and the driver was caught inside. The whole unit went out into the open area and up a hill. There, formed a line and started pouring fire into the palm tree area. When A63 got to the top of the hill, SP4 Gubba jumped off the 50-cal and ran down to zippo and drove her up to the hill. Meanwhile the two medics braved the fire and ran down the hill to the wounded troopers. They were less than 100 yards from the enemy, but were protected by the burm of the road. This left me alone on A63 so I jumped on the 50-cal and started firing. Short time later, the driver of the tank stumbled out of the tank and walked over to where the others were pinned down,. he was severly burned over all of his body. Captain Shirly called me and instructed A63 to go down and pull them out. SP-4 Gubba had not returned to the track at that time and could not wait. I proceeded to get there as fast as I could but had to decide how to place the track to protect the troopers once I arrived. I decided to place the track sideways to the enemy to ensure cover. I had to swing right real hard and that caused my M-79 to fly off the track on the enemy side. I dropped the ramp and in the mean timed jumped out of the track to get my 79. My CVC helmet ran out of slack and the breakaway devise did not function. That left me hanging in mid air with my arm trying to reach the breakaway. Meanwhile, I could hear AK-47 rounds hitting the track and flying over my head. Soon I broke free and threw the 79 in the drivers hatch and dove head first into the same hatch. By then everyone was loaded and we flew back up the hill where we had the three wounded flown out.
The Captain had us start the assualt and we ended up almost on top of them. However the palm grove was very dense so we could not penetrate it. Air support was called in and dropped some bombs. Our next attack occurred from the right flank, I believe one of the A-CAV's threw a track in the attack. Again, they could not get into the middle of the enemy position. After withdrawing, we proceeded back to base camp.
I Believe if we would have had some infantry with us, the result would have been another matter. I am only aware of three wounded being flown out with one dieing soon after. I know we lost one tank and I never knew what happened to other track..This was the last time I saw Long Bihn village.

Jim Lerdahl
Jul 67 to Jul 68 A Troop


FIDDLER'S GREEN

Soldier Missing from Vietnam War Identified
Tue, 02 Aug 2011 13:30:00 -0500

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Chief Warrant Officer George A. Howes, of Knox, Ind., will be buried Aug. 5 in Arlington National Cemetery. On Jan. 10, 1970, Howes and three aircrew members were returning to their base at Chu Lai, South Vietnam aboard a UH-1C Huey helicopter. Due to bad weather, their helicopter went down over Quang Nam Province, Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.). A search was initiated for the crew, but no sign of the helicopter or crew was spotted.
In 1989, the S.R.V. gave to U.S. specialists 25 boxes that reportedly contained the remains of U.S. servicemen related to this incident. Later that year, additional remains and a military identification tag from one of the other missing servicemen were obtained from a Vietnamese refugee.
Between 1993 and 1999, joint U.S./S.R.V. teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted three investigations in Ho Chi Minh City and two investigations in Quang Nam-Da Nang Province (formerly Quang Nam Province). A Vietnamese citizen in Ho Chi Minh City turned over a military identification tag bearing Howes' name and told the team he knew where the remains of as many as nine American servicemen were buried. He agreed to lead the team to the burial site. In 1994, the team excavated the site and recovered a metal box and several bags containing human remains. In 2006, the remains of three of the four men were identified and buried. No remains could be attributed to Howes given the technology of the time. In 2008, given advances in DNA technology, the remains were reanalyzed.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Howes' sister and brother—in the identification of the remains.

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Soldier Missing in Action from WWII Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being buried with full military honors.
Army Pfc. William F. Stehlin of Dayton, Ky., will be buried on Aug. 11 in Arlington National Cemetery. On Nov. 20, 1944, Stehlin, as part of the 333rd Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, went missing near Süggerath while his unit conducted a largely successful offensive to capture towns in Western Germany. In 1951, after an extensive search, his remains were determined unrecoverable by U.S. Army Graves Registration personnel.
In 2009, a German citizen digging in a wooded area near Süggerath, discovered a grave with the remains of two individuals, military-related equipment and identification tags.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command laboratory also used dental comparisons in the identification of the remains. The other individual, Pfc. Edward L. O'Toole, was identified and buried on July 15 in San Bruno, Calif.
Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.


ACTIVE DUTY NEWS

Army Announces Nine Month Deployment Period
The Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced today a change in the length of future unit operational deployments from 12 months to nine months. This change will be fully implemented by April 2012, and applies to division-level-and-below units. This policy will not affect personnel or units currently deployed or deploying prior to Jan. 1, 2012. The deployment period for high demand and low density units and individual deployers will remain one year.
The reduced deployment length will improve soldier and family quality of life while continuing to meet operational requirements and is an important step in sustaining the all-volunteer-force. This policy change is consistent with secretary of defense policies for utilization of the total force. Implementation of this change is based on the projected demand for Army forces, and is contingent on global security conditions and combatant commander requirements.

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'Doomsday Mechanism' Would Devastate Budget, Panetta Says
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
MONTEREY, Calif., Aug. 23, 2011 - Citing the myriad threats facing the United States, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today that one of the biggest challenges to U.S. national defense is the so-called "doomsday mechanism" that will trigger across-the-board budget cuts if Congress doesn't make the decisions necessary to avert it.
Speaking to a standing-room-only audience at the Navy Postgraduate School's King Hall here, Panetta told the students and faculty the across-the-board reductions could take another $500 billion to $600 billion from the defense budget.
"It will be devastating to the defense budget, resulting in a hollowed force, weakened U.S. defenses and an inability to meet U.S. alliance obligations," he said. "It will break faith with troops and their families."

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Combined Force Kills Taliban Leader
From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release
KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 5, 2011 - A combined Afghan and coalition force yesterday killed a Taliban leader and one suspected insurgent during a security operation in the Baraki Barak district of Logar province, military officials reported.
Sheen Abdul Rahman was a Taliban leader who directed more than 70 fighters to conduct roadside bomb, landmine and other attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
Afghan members of the combined force located Rahman, who was armed with an AK-47 rifle and chest rack. Rahman was engaged and killed when he presented a threat to the force.
While searching a building, the security force encountered a suspected insurgent who was armed with a pistol. The security force fired at the individual, killing him.

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Iraq Drawdown on Track, Transcom Official Says
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2011 - From pens to Bradley fighting vehicles, 1.7 million pieces of military equipment have been moved out of Iraq so far, as the Dec. 31 deadline for U.S. forces to be out of Iraq approaches, a U.S. Transportation Command official said this week.
Workers load a shipping container from the Military Sealift Command ship MV Virginian onto a flatbed truck in Kuwait as part of the drawdown of forces in Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shannon Gregory "The mission is looking good," said Air Force Maj. John Rozsnyai, who heads up Transcom's joint planning team for the effort. The drawdown from Iraq, which began Sept. 1 after combat operations ceased, now stands at nearly 60 percent complete for U.S. military equipment, officials said. Transcom has five months to bring home the remaining troops and the last 1 million pieces of military equipment. Rozsnyai told American Forces Press Service in an Aug. 1 telephone interview that he had just returned from a "tabletop" organizing meeting in Kuwait. "Everything we're seeing is tracking well," he said.
The bulk of equipment is returning to the United States, Rozsnyai said, and the Army claims 90 percent of the load. U.S. Central Command officials decide whether equipment goes back to the United States, to the Iraqis for their forces, or is sent to Afghanistan to help the war effort there, he explained. Meanwhile, he added, the possibility that the Iraqi government may ask for some U.S. forces to remain in Iraq beyond this year affects decisions about the equipment that has yet to be brought out. "Part of the equipment uncertainty is whether the Iraqi government will want the United States to stay longer," Rozsnyai said. "Requirements for equipment are being balanced between [Afghanistan and Iraq]," he added. After destinations are decided, Transcom officials begin the mammoth task of moving troops and equipment. Iraq's terrain and infrastructure are more favorable for this type of effort than Afghanistan's rough and rocky landscape, the major said. "It's easy to get a convoy to Kuwait [or] Jordan," he said. "The processes we have in Iraq are working well." Still, minor modifications would make the roads better for transporting equipment, he said, to provide "wiggle room" if it's needed in November and December. Other improvements are in the works to make Transcom's job easier, Rozsnyai said.
"We're working on improving lines of communication, and a service route for critical, sensitive cargo, to give us another option out there," he said. But not everything has been moving out of Iraq over land, Rozsnyai said. When it became apparent last summer that one seaport had a high capacity, he explained, Transcom planners saw it as an opportunity. "That port's capacity will give us a really good handle on airlift capacity and our requirements with the commercial industry," he said. Commercial air and sea carriers work with Transcom officials to assist in the moves, Rozsnyai said. For example, he said, a commercial ship returning from taking a load of cargo to the Middle East can stop in Kuwait, fill up with U.S. military cargo, and continue on to the United States. It's more cost-effective to use a ship already on an established route than to pull a military ship out of dry dock and prepare it to make the trips, he explained.

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Leaders Offer Condolences in Wake of Helicopter Crash
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2011 - Senior U.S. leaders have extended condolences to the families of American and Afghan forces lost in an International Security Assistance Force helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan earlier today. Recovery operations are under way, ISAF Joint Command officials said in a statement today, noting that reports indicate there was enemy activity in the area. The crash reportedly involved numerous casualties, but ISAF officials have yet to release further information.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the Americans who were lost earlier today in Afghanistan," President Barack Obama said today in a statement. "Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families," the president continued, "including all who have served in Afghanistan. "We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country," the president added.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta also offered his condolences in a statement today.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of many outstanding Americans in uniform and of their Afghan counterparts earlier today in Afghanistan," he said. "Their courage was exemplary, as was their determination to make this a safer world for their countries and for their fellow citizens. "We will stay the course to complete that mission, for which they and all who have served and lost their lives in Afghanistan have made the ultimate sacrifice," he continued. "They and their families are in my thoughts, in my prayers and in my heart."
The United States will draw inspiration from the lives of those who were lost, Obama said, and continue the work of securing the country and standing up for the values they embodied. "At this difficult hour, the president added, "all Americans are united in support of our men and women in uniform who serve so that we can live in freedom and security."

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No Changes to Military Retirement Anytime Soon, Officials Say
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2011 - The military retirement isn't going to change any time soon, Defense Department officials said.
"There's no immediate plan to affect retirement," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told service members at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, July 31. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said any changes to military retirement should be studied carefully and should be "grandfathered" so the military doesn't break faith with those in the service.
Pentagon officials are reviewing all areas of the defense budget, and the goal of the review is to "inform the decisions and strategies that we have to make," Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Aug. 4. "So that's going to be key to what decisions we make and what areas we look to for savings," the secretary added.
In support of the department's efficiency initiatives, a small group of Defense Business Board members was tasked to develop alternative plans to the current military retirement system. The group briefed its findings and draft recommendations to the full board during their July 21 quarterly meeting. The full board approved the recommendations, and the group will issue a final report by the end of this month. The Defense Business Board provides DOD's senior leaders independent advice and recommendations "on effective strategies for the implementation of best business practices on matters of interest to the Department of Defense," according to Pentagon officials.
Meanwhile, a Pentagon spokeswoman said, officials are reviewing the board's recommendations. "Any recommendation to change the military retirement system must be approached with thoughtful analysis, to include considerations of impacts to recruiting and retention," Eileen Lainez said. "While the military retirement system, as with all other compensation, is a fair subject of review for effectiveness and efficiency, no changes to the current retirement system have been approved, and no changes will be made without careful consideration for both the current force and the future force."

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Fort Riley News during August 2011. BB

‘Big Red One’ welcomes new deputy CGs
Story by: Mollie Miller
1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs
The command team that will lead Soldiers with the 1st Infantry Division through the global missions that await them in the coming years is now complete.
Maj. Gen. William Mayville, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general, officially welcomed Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie and Brig. Gen. Paul Funk to the "Big Red One" Family during a Victory Honors ceremony Aug. 15 at the 1st Inf. Div. headquarters.
MacWillie will serve as the division's deputy commanding general for support, and Funk will serve as the division's deputy commanding general for maneuver. "Today we welcome two great (Soldiers) to our team," Mayville said as he addressed the Soldiers, Families and friends of the Big Red One who had gathered for the ceremony. "We look forward to (their) leadership, mentorship and seasoned insights."
The experience the two new generals have already begun to share with their Big Red One Family is gleaned from long Family traditions of service. MacWillie is a fifth generation Soldier, and Funk served with his father and his father-in-law during deserts Storm and Shield. "(Soldiering) is the Family business" for Funk and MacWillie, Mayville said.
MacWillie is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has served in various positions throughout the Army including as commander of the 4th Aviation Brigade and deputy chief of staff for the 1st Cavalry Division. A master aviator, MacWillie most recently served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, Fort Hood, Texas. "Sherri and I are very proud to be here and be a part of this great team," he said.
Funk is a graduate of Montana State University and has served in a variety of positions throughout the Army including as commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and chief of staff of III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas. An armor officer, Funk most recently served as the deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth. "Beth and I are immensely proud to become members of this extraordinary team," Funk said. "Had I known how wonderful Fort Riley and the (Central) Flint Hills Region were, I would have gotten here a lot earlier."
Although their current assignments mark the first time MacWillie and Funk have worn the Big Red One patch, both men have strong ties to Kansas and Fort Riley and said they are looking forward to doing whatever they can to make the 1st Inf. Div. the best in the Army. "I'm humbled to be a member of this storied division," MacWillie said. "I will work hard every day to make a difference for our Soldiers and their Families."

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The barber shop in the Camp Funston Exchange will close effective Aug. 20.

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General Officer News

Army Brig. Gen. Lynn A. Collyar has been nominated for appointment to the rank of major general. Collyar is currently serving as director, logistics operations, Defense Logistics Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va.

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New Aircraft Introduced to the World by China. Thanks to Lynn Anderson for this article. BB

THIS COULD BE TWICE AS FAST AS ANYTHING WE HAVE, PLUS THE STABILITY OF A CATAMARAN TYPE HULL WILL GREATLY REDUCE THE PITCHING, YAWING AND SWAYING COMMON TO OUT PRESENT DESIGNS.
ALSO LOOK AT THAT EXTRA ''PARKING AND READINESS'' STATION BETWEEN BOTH HULL STRUCTURES.. AND OF COURSE THE LAUNCHING AND LANDING CAPABILITIES FROM THE UTILIZATION OF TWIN FLIGHT DECKS AT ONCE.
These aircraft carriers look formidable and of ultra modern design.
There are reports the 1st Chinese aircraft carrier is under construction and could enter service around 2015 or earlier.
It won’t be long before we see the real thing. Defense analysts are waiting; watching anxiously.


TROOPERS CORNER - SOUND OFF!!

Here is a complex one sent in by Smokey Guillespie .BB


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

This comes in from Lynn Anderson. BB

When I bought my Blackberry, I thought about the 30-year business I ran with 1800 employees, all without a cell phone that plays music, takes videos, pictures and communicates with Facebook and Twitter. I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so my seven kids, their spouses, 13 grandkids and 2 great grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space. That was before one of my grandkids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting world. My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag. The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue tooth [it's red] phone I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife and everyone in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me. I had to take my hearing aid out to use it, and I got a little loud. I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say, "Re-calc-u-lating." You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then if I made a right turn instead. Well, it was not a good relationship. When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me. To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for 4 years, but I still haven't figured out how I can lose three phones all at once and have to run around digging under chair cushions and checking bathrooms and the dirty laundry baskets when the phone rings. The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden "Paper or Plastic?" every time I check out just knocks me for a loop. I bought some of those cloth reusable bags to avoid looking confused, but I never remember to take them in with me. Now I toss it back to them. When they ask me, "Paper or Plastic?" I just say, "Doesn't matter to me. I am bi-sacksual." Then it's their turn to stare at me with a blank look. I was recently asked if I tweet. I answered, No, but I do toot a lot." P.S. I know some of you who read this are not over 50. I sent it to you to allow you to forward it to those who are. Us senior citizens don't need anymore gadgets. The TV remote and the garage door remote are about all we can handle.

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Here's a good one from Alan Bonit.BB

Seniors Texting Hand Book

NOT that you'all ARE Seniors... Just funny...

TEXTING FOR SENIORS
Since more and more Seniors are texting and tweeting there appears to be a need for a STC, (Senior Texting Code). If you qualify for Senior Discounts this is the code for you:. Please pass this on to your CHILDREN and Grandchildren so they can understand your texts


ATD: At The Doctor's
BFF: Best Friend Farted
BTW: Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered By Medicare 
CGU: Can't get up 
CGIP: Can't get IT up
CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
DWI: Driving While Incontinent
FWB: Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW: Forgot Where I Was
FYI: Found Your Insulin
GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA: Got Heartburn Again
HGBM: Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL: Living On Lipitor
LWO: Lawrence Welk's On
OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas. 
PIMP: Pooped in my pants
ROFL... CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing... And Can't Get Up
SGGP: Sorry, Gotta Go Poop
TTYL: Talk To You Louder
WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?
WTFA: Wet The Furniture Again
WTP: Where's The Prunes?
WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil
GLKI (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In)

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Bob Corbin is sending you some good information here.BB

$20.00

On their wedding night, the young bride approached her new husband and asked for $20.00 for their first lovemaking encounter. In his highly aroused state, her husband readily agreed.
This scenario was repeated each time they made love for more than 30 years, with him thinking that it was a cute way for her to afford new clothes and other incidentals that she needed.
Arriving home around noon one day, she was surprised to find her husband in a very drunken state. During the next few minutes, he explained that his employer was going through a process of corporate downsizing, and he had been let go. It was unlikely that, at the age of 59, he'd be able to find another position that paid anywhere near what he'd been earning, and therefore, they were financially ruined.
Calmly, his wife handed him a bank book which showed more than thirty years of steady deposits and interest totalling nearly $1 million. Then she showed him certificates of deposits issued by the bank which were worth over $2 million, and informed him that they were one of the largest depositors in the bank. She explained that for more than three decades she had 'charged' him for sex, these holdings had multiplied and these were the results of her savings and investments.
Faced with evidence of cash and investments worth over $3 million, her husband was so astounded he could barely speak, but finally he found his voice and blurted out, 'If I'd had any idea what you were doing, I would have given you all my business!'
That's when she shot him. You know, sometimes, men just don't know when to keep their mouths shut ...

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Sounds like Danny Horn has been out and about.BB

TWO OLD MEN WHO ARE CLOSE TO THEIR LAST DAYS DECIDE TO HAVE A LAST NIGHT ON THE TOWN. AFTER A FEW DRINKS, THEY END UP AT THE LOCAL BROTHEL. THE MADAM TAKES ONE LOOK AT THE TWO OLD GEEZERS AND WHISPERS TO HER MANAGER, 'GO UP TO THE FIRST TWO BEDROOMS AND PUT AN INFLATED DOLL IN EACH BED. THESE TWO ARE SO OLD AND DRUNK; I'M NOT WASTING TWO OF MY GIRLS ON THEM. THEY WON'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.'
THE MANAGER DOES AS HE IS TOLD AND THE TWO OLD MEN GO UPSTAIRS AND TAKE CARE OF THEIR BUSINESS.
AS THEY ARE WALKING HOME THE FIRST MAN SAYS, YOU KNOW, I THINK MY GIRL WAS DEAD!' 'DEAD?' SAYS HIS FRIEND, 'WHY DO YOU SAY THAT?' 'WELL, SHE NEVER MOVED OR MADE A SOUND ALL THE TIME I WAS LOVING HER..' HIS FRIEND SAYS, 'COULD BE WORSE, I THINK MINE WAS A WITCH.' 'A WITCH??. . WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?' 'WELL, I WAS MAKING LOVE TO HER, KISSING HER ON THE NECK, AND I GAVE HER A LITTLE BITE, THEN SHE FARTED AND FLEW OUT THE WINDOW... TOOK MY TEETH WITH HER!'

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Thanks to Decoy for sending this one to us.BB

PHONE REPAIR
Lawrence, Kansas - December 12, 2008

A Kansas farm wife called the local phone company to report her telephone failed to ring when her friends called - and that on the few occasions, when it did ring, her dog always moaned right before the phone rang.
The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog or senile lady. He climbed a telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed the subscriber's house.

The phone didn't ring right away, but then the dog moaned and the telephone began to ring.

Climbing down from the pole, the telephone repairman found:

1 . The dog was tied to the telephone system's ground wire with a steel chain and collar.
>2. The wire connection to the ground rod was loose.
3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the number was called.
4.. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning and then urinate.
5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to ring.

Which demonstrates that some problems CAN be fixed by

pissing and moaning.

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Dan Thompson watches Porn Movies...BB

movies on the screens of Gas pumps

Breaking News:

CNN reports: Beginning in early 2011 Gas stations will start
Showing PORN movies on the screens of the pumps so that
You can watch someone else get screwed the same time that You do.: !!

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This one is from Tom Heckman for all you ex-marines.BB

An Army Ranger was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana and he wanted a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking.
After becoming very frustrated with the "no haggle" attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the Ranger shouted, "maybe I'll just go out and get my own alligator so I can get a pair of shoes made at a reasonable price!"
The vendor said, "By all means, be my guest. Maybe you'll run into the two Marines who were in here earlier, saying the same thing."
So the Ranger headed into the bayou that same day and a few hours later came upon two men standing waist deep in the water. He thought, "those must be the two Marines the guy in town was talking about." Just then, the Ranger saw a tremendously long gator swimming rapidly underwater towards one of the Marines.
Just as the gator was about to attack, the Marine grabbed its neck with both hands and strangled it to death with very little effort. Then both Marines dragged it on shore and flipped it on its back. Laying nearby were several more of the creatures. One of the Marines then exclaimed, "Damn, this one doesn't have any shoes either!"

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BLOND JOKE! thanks to Lynn Anderson.BB

Blonde deodorant ...

I got this new deodorant today.

The instructions said remove cap and push up bottom..

I can barely walk, but whenever I fart, the room smells awesome!!

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I'm not sure where Gary Taylor for this one, but it's a keeper.BB

Frog Loan

A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack.
'Miss Whack, I'd like to get a $30,000 loan to take a holiday.'
Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name. The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger, and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager.
Patty explains that he will need to secure the loan with some collateral.
The frog says, 'Sure. I have this,' and produces a tiny porcelain elephant, about an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.
Very confused, Patty explains that she'll have to consult with the bank manager and disappears into a back office.
She finds the manager and says, 'There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow $30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral.'
She holds up the tiny pink elephant. 'I mean, what in the world is this?'

(you're gonna love this)

The bank manager looks back at her and says...

'It's a knickknack, Patty Whack. Give the frog a loan, His old man's a Rolling Stone.'

(You're singing it, aren't you? Yeah, I know you are........)

Never take life too seriously! Come on now, you grinned, I know you did!!!

Have a fantastic day!!

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Now we're in trouble. Heres another "Blond" joke. This one from Harold Greenfield. BB

Blonde’s CHRISTMAS STAMPS

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Gentleman, Jeff Kramer has it all figuared out!.BB

Real Women

A real woman is a man's best friend. She will never stand him up and never let him down. She will reassure him when he feels insecure and comfort him after a bad day. She will inspire him to do things he never thought he could do; to live without fear and forget regret. She will enable him to express his deepest emotions, and give in to his most intimate desires. She will make sure he always feels as though he's the most handsome man in the room and will enable him to be the most confident, sexy, seductive and invincible... No wait... Sorry. I'm thinking of whiskey. It's whiskey that does all that. Never mind.


TROOPER'S SOUND OFF

Heroes of the Vietnam Generation
By James Webb

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60s generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of "The Greatest Generation" that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.
Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is fond of writing columns praising the Navy service of his father while castigating his own baby boomer generation for its alleged softness and lack of struggle. William Bennett gave a startling condescending speech at the Naval Academy a few years ago comparing the heroism of the "D-Day Generation" to the drugs-and-sex nihilism of the "Woodstock Generation." And Steven Spielberg, in promoting his film "Saving Private Ryan," was careful to justify his portrayals of soldiers in action based on the supposedly unique nature of World War II.
An irony is at work here. Lest we forget, the World War II generation now being lionized also brought us the Vietnam War, a conflict which today';s most conspicuous voices by and large opposed, and in which few of them served. The "best and brightest" of the Vietnam age group once made headlines by castigating their parents for bringing about the war in which they would not fight, which has become the war they refuse to remember. Pundits back then invented a term for this animus: the "generation gap." Long, plaintive articles and even books were written examining its manifestations. Campus leaders, who claimed precocious wisdom through the magical process of reading a few controversial books, urged fellow baby boomers not to trust anyone over 30. Their elders who had survived the Depression and fought the largest war in history were looked down upon as shallow, materialistic, and out of touch.
Those of us who grew up, on the other side of the picket line from that era's counter-culture can't help but feel a little leery of this sudden gush of appreciation for our elders from the leading lights of the old counter-culture. Then and now, the national conversation has proceeded from the dubious assumption that those who came of age during Vietnam are a unified generation in the same sense as their parents were, and thus are capable of being spoken for through these fickle elites. In truth, the "Vietnam generation" is a misnomer. Those who came of age during that war are permanently divided by different reactions to a whole range of counter-cultural agendas, and nothing divides them more deeply than the personal ramifications of the war itself. The sizable portion of the Vietnam age group who declined to support the counter-cultural agenda, and especially the men and women who opted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, are quite different from their peers who for decades have claimed to speak for them. In fact, they are much like the World War II generation itself. For them, Woodstock was a side show, college protestors were spoiled brats who would have benefited from having to work a few jobs in order to pay their tuition, and Vietnam represented not an intellectual exercise in draft avoidance, or protest marches but a battlefield that was just as brutal as those their fathers faced in World War II and Korea.
Few who served during Vietnam ever complained of a generation gap. The men who fought World War II were their heroes and role models. They honored their father's service by emulating it, and largely agreed with their father's wisdom in attempting to stop Communism's reach in Southeast Asia.
The most accurate poll of their attitudes (Harris, 1980) showed that 91 percent were glad they'd served their country, 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service, and 89 percent agreed with the statement that "our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win." And most importantly, the castigation they received upon returning home was not from the World War II generation, but from the very elites in their age group who supposedly spoke for them.
Nine million men served in the military during Vietnam War, three million of whom went to the Vietnam Theater. Contrary to popular mythology, two-thirds of these were volunteers, and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers. While some attention has been paid recently to the plight of our prisoners of war, most of whom were pilots; there has been little recognition of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground. Dropped onto the enemy's terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America's citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompletely on a tactical level should consider Hanoi's recent admission that 1.4 million of its soldiers died on the battlefield, compared to 58,000 total U.S. dead.
Those who believe that it was a "dirty little war" where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that is was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought; five times as many dead as World War I, three times as many dead as in Korea, and more total killed and wounded than in all of World War II.
Significantly, these sacrifices were being made at a time the United States was deeply divided over our effort in Vietnam. The baby-boom generation had cracked apart along class lines as America's young men were making difficult, life-or-death choices about serving. The better academic institutions became focal points for vitriolic protest against the war, with few of their graduates going into the military. Harvard College, which had lost 691 alumni in World War II, lost a total of 12 men in Vietnam from the classes of 1962 through 1972 combined. Those classes at Princeton lost six, at MIT two. The media turned ever more hostile. And frequently the reward for a young man's having gone through the trauma of combat was to be greeted by his peers with studied indifference of outright hostility.
What is a hero? My heroes are the young men who faced the issues of war and possible death, and then weighed those concerns against obligations to their country. Citizen-soldiers who interrupted their personal and professional lives at their most formative stage, in the timeless phrase of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, "not for fame of reward, not for place or for rank, but in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it." Who suffered loneliness, disease, and wounds with an often-contagious elan. And who deserve a far better place in history than that now offered them by the so-called spokesman of our so-called generation.
Mr. Brokaw, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Spielberg, meet my Marines. 1969 was an odd year to be in Vietnam. Second only to 1968 in terms of American casualties, it was the year made famous by Hamburger Hill, as well as the gut-wrenching Life cover story showing pictures of 242 Americans who had been killed in one average week of fighting. Back home, it was the year of Woodstock, and of numerous anti-war rallies that culminated in the Moratorium march on Washington. The My Lai massacre hit the papers and was seized upon the anti-war movement as the emblematic moment of the war. Lyndon Johnson left Washington in utter humiliation.
Richard Nixon entered the scene, destined for an even worse fate. In the An Hoa Basin southwest of Danang, the Fifth Marine Regiment was in its third year of continuous comb at operations. Combat is an unpredictable and inexact environment, but we were well led. As a rifle platoon and company commander, I served under a succession of three regimental commanders who had cut their teeth in World War II, and four different battalion commanders, three of whom had seen combat in Korea. The company commanders were typically captains on their second combat tour in Vietnam, or young first lieutenants like myself who were given companies after many months of "bush time" as platoon commanders in the Basin's tough and unforgiving environs.
The Basin was one of the most heavily contested areas in Vietnam, its torn, cratered earth offering every sort of wartime possibility. In the mountains just to the west, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the North Vietnamese Army operated an infantry division from an area called Base Area 112. In the valleys of the Basin, main-force Viet Cong battalions whose ranks were 80 percent North Vietnamese Army regulars moved against the Americans every day. Local Viet Cong units sniped and harassed. Ridgelines and paddy dikes were laced with sophisticated booby traps of every size, from a hand grenade to a 250-pound bomb. The villages sat in the rice paddies and tree lines like individual fortresses, crisscrossed with the trenches and spider holes, their homes sporting bunkers capable of surviving direct hits from large-caliber artillery shells. The Viet Cong infrastructure was intricate and permeating. Except for the old and the very young, villagers who did not side with the Communists had either been killed or driven out to the government controlled enclaves near Danang.
In the rifle companies, we spent the endless months patrolling ridgelines and villages and mountains, far away from any notion of tents, barbed wire, hot food, or electricity. Luxuries were limited to what would fit inside one';s pack, which after a few "humps" usually boiled down to letter-writing material, towel, soap, toothbrush, poncho liner, and a small transistor radio.
We moved through the boiling heat with 60 pounds of weapons and gear, causing a typical Marine to drop 20 percent of his body weight while in the bush. When we stopped we dug chest-deep fighting holes and slit trenches for toilets. We slept on the ground under makeshift poncho hootches, and when it rained we usually took our hootches down because wet ponchos shined under illumination flares, making great targets. Sleep itself was fitful, never more than an hour or two at a stretch for months at a time as we mixed daytime patrolling with night-time ambushes, listening posts, foxhole duty, and radio watches. Ringworm, hookworm, malaria, and dysentery were common, as was trench foot when the monsoons came. Respite was rotating back to the mud-filled regimental combat base at An Hoa for four or five days, where rocket and mortar attacks were frequent and our troops manned defensive bunkers at night. Which makes it kind of hard to get excited about tales of Woodstock, or camping at the Vineyard during summer break.
We had been told while training that Marine officers in the rifle companies had an 85 percent probability of being killed or wounded, and the experience of "Dying Delta," as our company was known, bore that out. Of the officers in the bush when I arrived, our company commander was wounded, the weapons platoon commander wounded, the first platoon commander was killed, the second platoon commander was wounded twice, and I, commanding the third platoons fared no better. Two of my original three-squad leaders were killed, and the third shot in the stomach. My platoon sergeant was severely wounded, as was my right guide. By the time I left, my platoon I had gone through six radio operators, five of them casualties.
These figures were hardly unique; in fact, they were typical. Many other units; for instance, those who fought the hill battles around Khe Sanh, or were with the famed Walking Dead of the Ninth Marine Regiment, or were in the battle of Hue City or at Dai Do, had it far worse.
When I remember those days and the very young men who spent them with me, I am continually amazed, for these were mostly recent civilians barely out of high school, called up from the cities and the farms to do their year in hell and he return. Visions haunt me every day, not of the nightmares of war but of the steady consistency with which my Marines faced their responsibilities, and of how uncomplaining most of them were in the face of constant danger. The salty, battle-hardened 20-year-olds teaching green 19-year-olds the intricate lessons of the hostile battlefield. The unerring skill of the young squad leaders as we moved through unfamiliar villages and weed-choked trails in the black of night. The quick certainty when a fellow Marine was wounded and needed help. Their willingness to risk their lives to save other Marines in peril. To this day it stuns me that their own countrymen have so completely missed the story of their service, lost in the bitter confusion of the war itself.
Like every military unit throughout history we had occasional laggards, cowards, and complainers. But in the aggregate, these Marines were the finest people I have ever been around. It has been my privilege to keep up with many of them over the years since we all came home. One finds in them very little bitterness about the war in which they fought. The most common regret, almost to a man, is that they were not able to do more for each other and for the people they came to help.
It would be redundant to say that I would trust my life to these men. Because I already have, in more ways than I can ever recount. I am alive today because of their quiet, unaffected heroism. Such valor epitomizes the conduct of Americans at war from the first days of our existence. That the boomer elites can canonize this sort of conduct in our fathers'; generation while ignoring it in our own is more than simple oversight. It is a conscious, continuing travesty.
Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star medals for heroism as a Marine in Vietnam. His novels include The Emperor's General and Fields of Fire.

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Thanks to Tom Heckman for sending this one our way. BB

Santa Barbara Beach

The first picture and the last picture are taken at the beach in Santa Barbara right next to the pier. There is a veterans group that started putting a cross and candle for every death in Iraq and Afghanistan . The amazing thing is that they only do it on the weekends. They put up this graveyard and take it down every weekend Guys sleep in the sand next to it and keep watch over it at night so nobody messes with it. Every cross has the name, rank and D.O.B. and D.O.D. on it. So many young volunteers. So many 30 to 40 year olds as well. Amazing!

Did you know that the ACLU has filed a suit to have all military cross-shaped headstones removed?

and another suit to end prayer from the military completely. They're making great progress.

The Navy Chaplains can no longer mention Jesus' name in prayer thanks to the ACLU.


AGENT ORANGE NEWS

Agent Orange Korea Update 04: The joint U.S.-South Korea investigation into claims that Agent Orange was buried at Camp Carroll, between Daegu and Gumi, reported 23 JUN that it has done a lot of work over the past month but turned up no traces of the deadly defoliant that was used as a weapon in the Vietnam War. The investigation was prompted by an American veteran named Steve House, who told a Phoenix TV station in mid- May that he buried canisters of Agent Orange at Camp Carroll in 1978. The allegation, which is at the center of a veterans benefit dispute in the U.S., has raised concerns about environmental damage in South Korea and stirred activists who are eager for the U.S. to reduce its military presence in the country.
In a statement 23 JUN the U.S. 8th Army said the task force has interviewed 26 people with direct or indirect knowledge of chemical burial and recovery at Camp Carroll and has plans to interview at least 30 more. It deployed ground-penetrating radar to search for barrels of buried chemicals at sites identified by Mr. House but has turned up nothing so far. Documents show that chemicals were buried at Camp Carroll in 1978 but then removed the following year. The list of chemicals did not include Agent Orange, however. The radar mapping of the camp will continue through next month. Water samples taken in JUN by the Korean government at Camp Carroll showed trace amounts of dioxins .at measurements not harmful to humans and below background levels in the surrounding community,. the statement said.
Last week, the U.S. and Vietnam began joint work on cleaning up environmental damage from Agent Orange at a former U.S. military base in central Vietnam. It‘s the first time the two countries have worked together to clean up contamination from the war they fought in the 1960s and early 1970s. The U.S. sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange over South Vietnam during the war to destroy the jungle that fighters used for cover.
[Source: WSJ Evan Ramstad article 23 Jun 2011 ++]


MEDICAL TIPS

Dual Medications For Depression Increases Costs, Side Effects With No Benefit To Patients
Taking two medications for depression does not hasten recovery from the condition that affects 19 million Americans each year, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in a national study.
"Clinicians should not rush to prescribe combinations of antidepressant medications as first-line treatment for patients with major depressive disorder," said Dr. Madhukar H. Trivedi, professor of psychiatry and chief of the division of mood disorders at UT Southwestern and principal investigator of the study, which is available online today and is scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
"The clinical implications are very clear - the extra cost and burden of two medications is not worthwhile as a first treatment step," he said.
In the Combining Medication to Enhance Depression Outcomes, or CO-MED, study, researchers at 15 sites across the country studied 665 patients ages 18 to 75 with major depressive disorder. Three treatment groups were formed and prescribed antidepressant medications already approved by the Food and Drug Administration. One group received escitalopram (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI) and a placebo; the second group received the same SSRI paired with bupropion (a non-tricyclic antidepressant); and a third group took different antidepressants: venlafaxine (a tetracyclic antidepressant) and mirtazapine (a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor). The study was conducted from March 2008 through February 2009.

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Fox Chase Researchers Find that Aspirin Reduces the Risk of Cancer Recurrence in Some Prostate Cancer Patients
Some studies have shown that blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin, can reduce biochemical failure--cancer recurrence that is detected by a rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level--the risk of metastasis and even death in localized prostate cancer. These studies, although very telling, have all emphasized the need for more data. Now, with researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center having concluded the largest study on this topic, and there is substantial data suggesting that aspirin improves outcomes in prostate cancer patients who have received radiotherapy.
A team led by Mark Buyyounouski, MD, MS, a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase, examined a database of over 2000 prostate cancer patients who underwent radiotherapy at Fox Chase between 1989 and 2006 and found that aspirin use lowers the risk of cancer recurrence. The scientists will present their findings on Sunday, May 1 at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Radium Society.
The team found that the 761 men who took aspirin at or after the time of radiotherapy were less likely to experience biochemical failure--as indicated by the levels of PSA--than were the 1380 men who didn't take the drug.

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Low Vitamin D in Kids May Play a Role in Anemia
Pediatricians from Johns Hopkins Children's Center and elsewhere have discovered a link between low levels of vitamin D and anemia in children. The findings, presented on May 1 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Denver, Colo., show that vitamin D deficiency may play an important role in anemia.
Anemia, which occurs when the body has too few oxygen-carrying red blood cells, is diagnosed and tracked by measuring hemoglobin levels. Symptoms of mild anemia include fatigue, lightheadedness and low energy. Severe and prolonged anemia can damage vital organs by depriving them of oxygen.
To examine the relationship between hemoglobin and vitamin D, the researchers looked at data from the blood samples of more than 9,400 children, 2 to 18 years of age. The lower the vitamin D levels, the lower the hemoglobin and the higher the risk for anemia, the researchers found. Children with levels below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of blood had a 50-percent higher risk for anemia than children with levels 20 ng/ml and above. For each 1 ng/ml increase in vitamin D, anemia risk dropped by 3 percent.

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Short Antibiotic Courses Safer for Breathing-Tube Infections in Children
Short courses of antibiotics appear just as effective as longer ones - and a great deal safer - in treating respiratory infections that might cause pneumonia in children on temporary breathing devices, according to a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study published online May 3 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
In the study's analysis of 150 children treated with antibiotics for respiratory infections while on a ventilator, longer antibiotic courses did not only fail to confer extra protection against full-blown pneumonia when compared with shorter therapy, but also considerably increased a child's risk for developing drug-resistant infections within a month.
To rein in the spread of bacterial drug resistance, the researchers advise clinicians to carefully evaluate the need for antibiotics in the first place and to use antibiotics for the shortest time needed to achieve clinical effect.

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Drug-Resistance Fears For Deadly Fungal Disease
Deadly human fungal infections caused by certain strains of Aspergillus fungi appear to be developing resistance to current drug treatments at an alarming rate, say scientists.
University of Manchester researchers, working with colleagues in Newark, USA, have developed a new test that can not only better diagnose Aspergillus infection, but can also spot signs of antifungal resistance to azoles - the class of drugs used to treat patients with aspergillosis.
Using the new test, which uses direct molecular detection rather than culturing the fungus in a Petri dish, the team found that 55% of aspergillosis patients had telltale signs known as 'markers' that indicated they had developed resistance to azoles. The findings compare to resistance rates of 28% carried out by the team just two years ago using traditional culturing methods.
Furthermore, the study - published in the prestigious US journal Clinical Infectious Diseases - discovered azole-resistance markers in three-quarters of the small number of aspergillosis patients (eight) whom had never been treated with an azole, suggesting widespread dissemination of resistance.
Omalizumab Effective In Treating Inadequately Controlled Allergic Asthma
Patients with severe allergic asthma that is inadequately controlled with the standard of care had improved symptoms and decreased flare-ups with injections of an antibody drug called omalizumab, according to experts at Baylor College of Medicine in a paper that appears in the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. "Many patients suffering from asthma who are being treated with the recommended inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists continue to have asthma symptoms," said Dr. Nicola Hanania, associate professor of medicine-pulmonary at BCM and first author of the paper.
Hanania and his colleagues sought to find out whether adding omalizumab injections would improve asthma control in patients with allergic asthma, which is asthma that is triggered by allergies.

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TB Discovery Paves The Way For Drugs That Prevent Lung Destruction
Scientists have identified a key enzyme responsible for destroying lung tissue in tuberculosis (TB), they report today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Drugs that inhibit this enzyme are already available, meaning that the finding could lead quickly to new treatments.
TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The infection destroys patients' lung tissue, causing them to cough up the bacteria, which then spread through the air and can be inhaled by others. The mechanism behind this lung damage is poorly understood, and no treatments currently used prevent it from occurring. Patients require at least six months of antibiotic treatment, but drug-resistant strains of the bacterium are becoming increasingly common.
The new research shows that in patients with TB, there is an increase in levels of an enzyme called MMP-1 in their lungs. When the researchers infected human immune cells with TB in the lab, they found that the cells greatly increased production of this enzyme. Read more..... [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?

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New Class Of Cancer Drugs Could Work In Colon Cancers With Genetic Mutation
A class of drugs that shows promise in breast and ovarian cancers with BRCA gene mutations could potentially benefit colorectal cancer patients with a different genetic mutation, a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds. Working in cell lines from colorectal cancer patients, researchers found that a new class of drugs called PARP inhibitors worked against tumors with mutations in the MRE11 gene.
About 15 percent of all colorectal cancers have what's called microsatellite instability, a type of error in the DNA. About 82 percent of those tumors have the MRE11 gene mutation.

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Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Reduce Effectiveness Of SSRI Antidepressants
Scientists at Rockefeller University have shown that anti-inflammatory drugs, which include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen, reduce the effectiveness of the most widely used class of antidepressant medications, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, often prescribed for depression and obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders. The discovery, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may explain why many depressed patients taking SSRIs do not respond to antidepressant treatment and suggests that this lack of effectiveness may be preventable.
In the recent study, investigators in Rockefeller's Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research treated mice with antidepressants in the presence or absence of anti-inflammatory drugs. They then examined how the mice behaved in tasks that are sensitive to antidepressant treatment. The behavioral responses to antidepressants were inhibited by anti-inflammatory and analgesic treatments. They then confirmed these effects in a human population, finding that depressed individuals who reported anti-inflammatory drug use were much less likely to have their symptoms relieved by an antidepressant than depressed patients who reported no anti-inflammatory drug use. The effect was dramatic: in the absence of any anti-inflammatory or analgesic use, 54 percent of patients responded to the antidepressant, whereas success rates dropped to approximately 40 percent for those who reported using anti-inflammatory agents.
"The mechanism underlying these effects is not yet clear. Nevertheless, our results may have profound implications for patients, given the very high treatment resistance rates for depressed individuals taking SSRIs," says Jennifer Warner-Schmidt, a research associate in Paul Greengard's Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at Rockefeller.

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Cholesterol Drugs May Improve Blood Flow After Stroke
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found evidence that statins, which are drugs used to lower cholesterol, may help restore blood flow after a stroke. In the MRI on the right, areas where blood flow have been restored hours after treatment are outlined in white.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins may help clot-busting drugs treat strokes, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The research involved 31 patients with ischemic stroke, a disorder when a clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain. In 12 patients who were already taking statins to control their cholesterol, blood flow returned to the blocked areas of the brain more completely and quickly.
"We've known that patients on statins have better stroke outcomes, but the data in this study suggest a new reason why: Statins may help improve blood flow to brain regions at risk of dying during ischemic stroke," says senior author Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, director of the cerebrovascular disease section in the Department of Neurology. "If that turns out to be the case, we may want to consider adding statins to the clot-busting drugs we normally give to acute stroke patients." The results appear online in the journal Stroke.

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New Drug Target for Kidney Disease
Two discoveries at UC Santa Barbara point to potential new drug therapies for patients with kidney disease. The findings are published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Over 600,000 people in the U.S., and 12 million worldwide, are affected by the inherited kidney disease known as autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease, or ADPKD. The disease is characterized by the proliferation of cysts that eventually debilitate the kidneys, causing kidney failure in half of all patients by the time they reach age 50.
Currently, no treatment exists to prevent or slow cyst formation, and most ADPKD patients require kidney transplants or lifelong dialysis for survival, explained Thomas Weimbs, director of the laboratory where the discoveries were made. Weimbs is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and the Neuroscience Research Institute at UCSB.

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Studies of Mutated Protein in Lou Gehrig's Disease Reveal New Paths for Drug Discovery
Several genes have been linked to ALS, with one of the most recent called FUS. Two new studies in PLoS Biology, one from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the other from colleagues at Brandeis University, both examined FUS biology in yeast and found that defects in RNA biology may be central to how FUS contributes to ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. These findings point to new targets for developing drugs.
Proteins aggregate to form insoluble clumps in the brain and spinal cord of ALS patients. In some instances of ALS, the clumping protein is FUS, while in other cases it is another protein called TDP-43. FUS and TDP-43 are both RNA-binding proteins with similar features. For example, both proteins contain a region that is remarkably similar to the type of section that enables some proteins to form prions in yeast. Prions are rogue infectious proteins that cause mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Despite these similarities it was not clear if TDP-43 and FUS both contribute to ALS in similar or different ways.
In 2009, two groups found mutations in the FUS gene in some ALS patients. In the same year, co-senior author Aaron Gitler, PhD, assistant professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, used a yeast model to study FUS and to determine what effect those mutations were having on its function. Meanwhile, co-senior author James Shorter, PhD, assistant professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, purified the FUS protein and studied the properties that made it readily form clumps. Gitler and Shorter had previously teamed up to study TDP-43 in yeast cells and pure protein assays. "This is an exciting time. The picture is really coming together for the molecular players in ALS" says Gitler.

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National Trial Shows Equal Efficacy of Two Medications Used to Treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that damages the retina and can destroy central vision, affects approximately 1.6 million Americans. For the past five years, there has been active debate over treatment options for AMD patients because ophthalmologists have not had accurate data regarding the true efficacy of the most commonly used medication. Now a new national study designed and analyzed by Penn Medicine's Center for Preventive Ophthalmology and Biostatistics, has determined that two medications commonly used to treat AMD, Avastin® (bevacizumab), a drug approved for some cancers that is also commonly used "off-label" to AMD, and Lucentis ® (ranibizumab), an FDA approved drug for the treatment of AMD, are equally effective in treating this potentially debilitating disease. These results, from the Comparison of AMD Treatments Trials (CATT) study, were published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"The CATT study, funded by the National Eye Institute, is a multi-centered randomized clinical trial designed to evaluate the relative safety and efficacy of two drugs used to treat neovascular AMD," said Maureen G. Maguire, PhD, the study's corresponding author and director, Center for Preventive Ophthalmology and Biostatistics (CPOB) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "The results from this study show for the first time that both drugs are equally as effective in treating AMD." Change in visual acuity served as the primary outcome measure for CATT. Thus far, visual acuity improvement was virtually identical (within one letter difference on an eye chart) for either drug when given monthly. In addition, no difference was found in the percentage of patients who had an important gain or loss in visual function. Also, when each drug was given on an as needed or pro re nata (PRN) schedule, there also was no difference (within one letter) between drugs. PRN dosing required four to five fewer injections per year than monthly treatment. Visual gains were about two letters less with PRN than with monthly treatment but overall visual results were still excellent.

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Are Plavix and PPI Medicines Safe Together? The Surrogate Marker Strikes Again!
When the medical press seizes a story, it can become an obsession. Any physician who is reading any journal is aware of the reported interaction between clopidrogel (Plavix) and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs, including Prilosec and her cousins. PPI medicines are not exotic elixirs known only to medical professionals. They are known to any person with a working TV set or who still reads a newspaper, since ads for these drugs are omnipresent. Just google 'purple pill' and begin your entrance into the PPI Chamber of Advertising.
PPI medicines are highly effective for peptic ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux, although I suspect that most patients on these medications do not have any true indication for them. (Disclosure: I've pulled the PPI trigger too quickly on many patients who do clearly require acid blocking medicines.) PPI medicines are prescribed to hospitalized patients almost by reflex, and are often administered by the intravenous route, even when patients can swallow pills adequately.
Medical studies in 2009 reported that PPI medications appeared to make Plavix less effective. Since thousands of patients are on both of these medicines, this drug interaction could affect a large cohort of patients. Plavix serves to keep coronary stents open and to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Clearly, any force that could diminish Plavix's potency could have serious ramifications for patients. But, is it really true?

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Believe it or not

Check out the world's most advanced ... toilet?
Kitchen and bath company Kohler has come out with a new toilet that it touts will set "a new standard of excellence in the bathroom." (Because that's what we're all striving for in the bathroom, right?)
The "Numi" has a luxury car-worthy list of amenities, among them: a motion-activated lid and seat, deodorizer, feet warming, music and "advanced bidet functionality."
(Don't ask.) Oh, and if you forget to flush before you leave the bathroom, there's a REMOTE CONTROL.
Not included: The engineering team required to fix it when it breaks.


COMPUTER TIPS

Quick Date & Time Insert (All Windows Versions)
This is a very handy method of inserting the date and time (based on the Windows calendar) into a text document. This only works in Notepad, not in Microsoft Word or Wordpad.
Here's how you insert the date and time into a Notepad .txt file:

1) Click Start > Run
2) Type "notepad" without the quotes and press Enter 3) Push F5 on your keyboard to paste the date

This easy shortcut can come in very handy, especially if you're recording any kind of time-sensitive observations or making logs.


DA.VA, and Veteran News

Flag Presentation Update
In Ohio a retired Army lieutenant colonel is in a skirmish with his homeowners' association (HOA) over the 14-foot flagpole he installed in his front yard. Other veterans are siding with 77-year-old Fred Quigley, who served in Vietnam. An American Legion post held a flag-raising ceremony 22 JUN at Quigley's home in Macedonia, 15 miles southeast of Cleveland. Neighborhood developer Joseph Migliorini says Quigley is breaking a homeowners' association rule that doesn't allow flagpoles but says flags may be flown from a holder on the front of a home. He contends "it wouldn't look good" if all the residents put flagpoles in their small front yards. He's offering to install flagpoles at the development's entrances. Quigley maintains his flagpole is a matter of free speech.

A similar altercation occurred in Richmond Virginia in DEC 2009 when the Sussex Square HOA threatened to take a 90-year old MOH holder (Col. Van T. Barfoot) to court if he did not remove his flag. Upon learning of the controversy Democratic Senators Warner and Webb agreed that his service entitled him to display the flag in any manner he wanted and championed the vet‘s cause. Ultimately, the HOA agreed to stop their legal action against Van T. Barfoot. The retired Army Colonel is now free to fly the Flag in his front yard.
>br> [Source: Akron Beacon Journal Ed Suba Jr. article 23 Jun 2011 ++]

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Depression Update
According to the VA‘s National Registry for Depression, 11% of Veterans aged 65 years and older have a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, a rate more than twice that found in the general population of adults aged 65 and older.Damn!, I wonder why that is???? The actual rate of depression among older Veterans may be even higher, since not all Veterans with depression receive a diagnosis from their health care provider. Recognizing and diagnosing depression in late life can be challenging, according to Dr. Rebecca Crabb, a postdoctoral fellow in clinical psychology at the VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) in Palo Alto. .Physical, mental and cognitive health are all closely linked in late life,. she notes. .Older adults don‘t necessarily experience sadness when they are depressed. Instead, an older person may report problems with their memory or unexplained pain or fatigue. Other signs are anxiety, hopelessness, helplessness, and irritability.. One of the most serious consequences of depression is suicide. Although younger Veterans (age 18-44) with depression are at the greatest risk of suicide, Veterans 65 and older are also at high risk compared to middle-aged (45-64) Veterans. Other serious consequences include increased risk for medical problems, cognitive decline and dementia, and mortality. Depression and dementia in older adults can look similar.

Depression in late life may be brought on by losses or serious challenges such as the death of a spouse, family member, or pet, medical problems, disability, or even retirement. A Veteran who has worked all his or her life may have trouble coping with the lack of .something to do. every day, may experience financial strain, or become isolated from others. Various medical conditions such as diabetes and stroke can have effects on blood flow to the brain, and can make older Veterans particularly vulnerable to developing depression. There also appears to be a genetic component: an older person who has been depressed in the past, or who has a family member who has been depressed, is more likely to develop depression. Recent research shows that nearly 40% of Veterans age 60 and over in treatment for depression have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. .We are only beginning to understand how previous traumatic experiences, in the military or otherwise, affect mental health in later life, but it is clear that it is important to ask older Veterans about trauma,. Dr. Crabb notes.
Dementia, another severe health problem that can occur in late life, appears to influence depression and vice versa. Dr. Crabb points out that depression can be a psychological reaction to dementia. .Older Veterans get frustrated with their memory problems. It can also be hard to adjust to having to stop doing valued activities, like driving.. There are also physiological connections between depression and dementia. Parkinson‘s Disease or the after effects of a stroke, for example, can affect brain tissue and blood flow to the brain in ways that may cause both depression and dementia. According to Dr. Crabb, .In their early stages, depression and dementia in older adults can look similar. Many older Veterans with depression complain of memory difficulties. This is why it‘s so important to get a thorough assessment from your health care provider if you are experiencing changes in either your mood or your memory..
Says Dr. Crabb, .We have to look at what works for treatment of late-late depression. Generally, the same antidepressant medications that are effective in younger adults are effective in older adults. They may be less effective for older Veterans who also have cognitive impairment. .The same applies to psychotherapy, which is also effective for older adults. We use present and past focused exercises to help older Veterans with depression regain a sense of hope, purpose, and meaning. Veterans are supported in solving problems and getting re-engaged in meaningful activities, whether that means volunteering, physical exercise, or spending time with loved ones. We use life review exercises to encourage Veterans to reminiscence about life experiences and discuss how they have overcome past challenges. This helps them to .mobilize. some of their life-long strengths.. Often, adaptations are necessary to effectively treat late life depression in the context of dementia or cognitive impairment.
As Dr. Crabb explains, .Caregivers should be involved whenever possible. It helps to increase the Veteran‘s involvement in pleasant activities that utilize their strengths and to give them manageable responsibilities, for example, tending to specific tasks in the home or garden.. Although late-life depression is a common and treatable problem, Dr. Crabb said many older Veterans are reluctant to seek care. One study showed that up to two-thirds of older Veterans discontinue antidepressant medications. There is the stigma of seeking help for a mental health problem and the belief that they should be able to handle the problem on their own. .Older Veterans are used to solving their own problems and can find it hard to accept help. It‘s important for them to feel that their health care provider respects their life experience.. Dr. Crabb points out that the VA has been working hard to help make depression treatment more accessible and acceptable for older Veterans. For example, Primary Care Behavioral Health teams allow Veterans to receive assessment and short-term treatment for depression without having to leave the primary care setting. .Getting a check up on your mood is just another part of staying healthy. Many times, older Veterans prefer to get treatment for depression in primary care rather than a mental health clinic and the VA has listened to that..
Late life depression can have devastating consequences and is an important and common health problem for older Veterans. Veterans or family members who recognize any of the symptoms in this story should see their VA health provider. They can also call the Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 for confidential help. The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring VA responders, many who are Veterans themselves. Each responder understands the unique Veteran experience and is trained to handle any crisis. Veterans who are having thoughts of suicide should press 1 to be transferred to the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline. Further information on late life depression is available at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml and http://nihseniorhealth.gov/depression/toc.html.
[Source: Veterans Today article 24 Jun 2011 ]

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King Veteran Memorial:
In North Carolina the City of King embarked upon the construction of a veterans memorial in 2003. The memorial is located in Central Park between the amphitheater and the newly constructed north parking lot off Kirby Road. The memorial is a five sided structure with a reflecting pool and fountains surrounded by a tile pavers walkway with the veterans names listed. The final cost for the memorial was $290,000 and it was completed 10 NOV 04. The memorial has a number of flags flying from it. Until recently, one of those flags was a Christian flag -- a white flag with a Latin cross inside a blue canton. A dispute over flags at the memorial began a year ago when a veteran of the Afghanistan war complained to the city about a Christian flag at the memorial. He said it violated the First Amendment and the doctrine of separation of church and state. In their letters to the City Council, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union urged the council to remove the Christian flag. Flying the Christian flag violates the First Amendment right to freedom from government imposition of religion, the groups said.

In AUG 2010 the city council voted unanimously to keep the Christian flag anyway. A second vote was taken in September and they followed the advice of the city attorney to remove the flag. He had informed them that the Christian flag was unconstitutional and that they would have to pay a lot of money to defend themselves against a lawsuit that they would inevitably lose. After the council voted to remove the flag in September 2010, thousands of people rallied on the behalf of the flag and criticized the city for taking it down. Subsequently, the council approved a policy to address the concerns of two factions in the city — those who wanted a Christian flag flown at the memorial, and those who did not. Under the policy, the city holds a lottery each year to select 52 veterans to be honored, one for each week of the year. The lottery winners could pick any flag they want to fly at the memorial as long as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the flag's symbols. Federal veterans affairs officials have sanctioned the symbols of the Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish and atheist flags, among many others.
Steven Hewett, who won rights to the weeks of June 27, Sept. 5, Nov. 11 and Nov. 28 to honor himself and three brothers who also are veterans, said in his original application that he intended to fly the Christian flag at the monument, which has been the focus of controversy over whether religious symbols should mark the memorial. Then he said he planned to fly a Muslim flag the week of Sept. 5, which would include Sunday, Sept, 11, the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Pennsylvania terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000. He then said in a statement 23 JUN that he will fly no flag during the four weeks. Hewett later backed off and said he would fly a Buddhist flag on Monday, then would fly a Jewish flag, an atheist flag and a Muslim flag in later weeks. "By doing so, I honor the service of all veterans," Hewett said. "Speaking with other individuals and veterans who are (of) the same opinion as I, we believe no religious symbols should fly over the Veteran's Memorial." In a statement, Hewett said: "It was my intent to honor veterans with symbols from three of the four major religions and one of non- belief; however, in doing so, I would not be honoring veterans of all faiths and traditions. I have brought attention to the fact that veterans are comprised of many religions, faiths and beliefs."
Many King residents have opposed Hewett's plans. Hewett's decision to fly no flags at the memorial still violates the city's policy, which states that residents requesting a flag to honor a family member who is a veteran must pick a flag that represents the veteran's faith tradition. The city Council is considering asking for a court injunction to prevent the city from allowing Hewett to fly no flag.
[Source: Winston-Salem Journal John hinton article 24 Jun 2011 ++]

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The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were established in 1775, in concurrence with the American Revolution. The War Department, headed by the Secretary of War, was established in 1789, and was the precursor to what is now the Department of Defense. This was followed by the founding of a separate Department of the Navy in 1798. The decision to unify the two Executive Departments of War & Navy, based on the experiences of World War II, led to the creation of the National Military Establishment led by a Secretary of Defense, as provided in the National Security Act of 1947. The War Department was renamed to Department of the Army, the title of Secretary was changed to Secretary of the Army, and a separate Department of the Air Force under the Secretary of the Air Force was created. In 1949, an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947 further consolidated the national defense structure in order to reduce interservice rivalry by making the Secretaries of Army, Navy and Air Force inferior and subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. In addition, the National Military Establishment was then renamed to Department of Defense.

The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generically known as a Defence Minister. Under the direction of the President, the Secretary of Defense has per federal law (10 U.S.C. § 113) authority, direction and control over the Department of Defense, and is further designated by statute as the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense. The Secretary of Defense is in the chain of command for all Department of Defense forces; i.e. Army, Navy, Air Force & Marine Corps; for both operational and administrative purposes. Only the Secretary of Defense (and the President) can authorize the transfer of forces from one Combatant Command to another. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the Secretary of Defense, and to the President, but the Chairman is not in the chain of command. The Secretary of Defense is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and is a member of the Cabinet and the National Security Council. An individual may not be appointed as Secretary of Defense within seven years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular component of an armed force. Secretary of Defense is a Level I position of the Executive Schedule and thus earns a salary of $199,700 per year. The longest-serving Secretary of Defense is the late Robert McNamara, who served for a total of 2,595 days. The shortest-serving Secretary of Defense was William Perry Clements, Jr. who served for a total of 39 days. [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Secretary_of_Defense Jun 2011 ++]

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Military Retirement System Update
Once again, the military retirement system is coming under the scrutiny of budgeters and deficit reduction task forces. This time the assault comes from various fronts – from outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and incoming Secretary Leon Panetta to Vice President Joe Biden.

Earlier this year Gates stated, "Everything is on the table" for budget cuts. Panetta used the same line during his recent nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, urging more significant, program-specific changes rather than an across-the-board, salami-slice budget cutting approach. Tasked by President Obama with finding over $400 billion dollars in savings over the next 10-12 years , Gates has become a bit more specific on where some of the savings may be achieved – specifically the military retirement system. Gates has criticized the "one-size-fits-all" 20-year retirement structure and has directed the Defense Science Board to establish a working group to develop alternative options. In his final hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee last week, he noted, "70-80% of the force does not stay until retirement but leave with nothing," endorsing an early vesting system.

Even more ominous, multiple media reports have indicated military retirement cutbacks could be in play in ongoing deficit-reduction talks between administration and congressional leaders, headed by Vice President Joe Biden. Most current proposals are based on recommendations of the 2009 10th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC), which included:

. Converting to a civilianized 401(k)-style system under which full retired pay wouldn‘t be paid until age 57- 60
. Authorizing the services to make variable annual retirement contributions depending on changing retention and skill requirements
. Vesting retirement benefits after 10 years of service

The last major revision to the military retirement system was in 1986 when Congress passed the so-called REDUX system as part of an earlier budget-cutting drill. REDUX entailed far smaller cuts than the QRMC envisions. Under that plan, post-1986 entrants were to receive 40% of high-three-year average basic pay (vs. 50%) at 20 years of service. In contrast to the advocacy of current Defense leaders, then-Secretary Caspar Weinberger warned Congress that REDUX cuts would cause serious future readiness problems by undermining retention. He was proven right. A little over a decade later, Congress had to repeal REDUX when the Joint Chiefs of Staff complained it was hurting career retention. And that was in peacetime. Think what you will about the 20-year retirement system, the Military Officers Association of America believes it's the primary reason retention hasn't imploded over the last 10 years of unprecedented strains on career servicemembers and their families. The problem with proposals to cut overall military retirement costs while also implementing an expensive new 10-year vesting plan is that there's only one place for that money to come from – the pockets of those who stay for a full career.

If you tried to build a plan to slash career retention, it‘s hard to conceive a better way than taking lots of money from people who serve a career in order to pay more to people who separate early. Imagine the impact if the QRMC proposals were in effect in today's wartime environment. A 10-year soldier facing a fourth or fifth combat deployment would have a choice between (a) taking the vested military retirement and leaving to pursue a civilian career or (b) having to serve decades longer (with who knows how many more deployments) before being eligible for military retired pay at age 57-60. What do you think would happen to retention then? Especially knowing the services let very few people serve that long – but force nearly all out of uniform between their early 40s and early 50s. Advocates for these initiatives seek to sugar-coat them by saying they wouldn't affect anyone now serving, but would only apply to new entrants. That also was true of the REDUX system, and we know how that turned out. The only thing grandfathering the current force does is let retirement-cutting leaders evade responsibility for their ill- advised actions – by deferring the inevitable retention disaster for a decade and dumping it on their successors. MOAA believes it's essential to avoid repeating past mistakes that traded temporary budget relief for major national security risks.
[Source: MOAA Leg Up 24 Jun 2011 ++]

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Military Funeral Disorderly Conduct Update
The New York Saratoga County Board of Supervisors on 21 JUN unanimously approved legislation that makes it illegal to protest within 500 feet of a military funeral or funeral-related event, like wakes, burials or other memorial services. The law covers the duration of the funeral or funeral-related event, as well as the preceding two hours and following two hours. Any person who knowingly violates the law can face misdemeanor charges punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year of imprisonment. The board said these demonstrations .prevent family members from mourning their loved ones in peace, and cause such family members to frequently suffer emotional distress.. It might not prevent protesters from showing up, but it will provide grieving families with a buffer zone if they do. The county law does not cover demonstrations held at cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Administration, like Gerald B.H. Solomon- Saratoga National Cemetery, because national cemeteries are governed by federal law. Prior to the law‘s approval a member of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church told The Saratogian the law wouldn‘t prevent church members from coming to Saratoga to picket funerals. Though it has been picketing various events every day for 20 years, Westboro has become infamous for its controversial sign-laden demonstrations at military funerals.
[Source. The Saratogian Michael Cignoli article 21 Jun 2011 ++]

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Tricare User Fees Update
The House Armed Services Committee intends to include a provision in the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (H.R.1540) that would increase TRICARE Prime fees 13 percent, more than double the rate of health care inflation, and tie future fee increases to an annual inflation index. However, after hearing the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs repeatedly claim that the rising cost of TRICARE was .crippling. our nation‘s national security, the Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees (USDR) organization learned that the HASC intends to transfer $330 million of .under-executed. TRICARE funds to fund 22 programs, specifically requested by members of Congress for medical research through the Defense Department. Now, if these congressionally directed medical research programs fell within the Pentagon‘s traditional research of battlefield medicine and/or related military research, perhaps their use might have merit. However, that is FALSE!. Many of the projects have absolutely no connection to the military and duplicate research areas already covered under general health projects funded through the National Institutes of Health.
How these under-executed. funds are used does not negate the fact that DoD told us TRICARE was breaking its back. The actual fact is that TRICARE never spent the money it was allocated. Despite the fact that TRICARE is spending less than appropriated, certain leaders in Congress have agreed with the Department of Defense to increase TRICARE Prime fees 13 percent next year. The payment of these increased fees will cost military retirees between the age of 38 and 64 approximately $200 million over the next five years or about $45 million a year. USDR is requesting that the military community urge their legislators to work to defeat the proposed increase and hold the line on TRICARE Prime fees and on uniformed services earned benefits. Those who have served a career in the uniformed services should not be first in line for budget reduction. Their benefits have been earned and earned the hard way, defending freedom often in harm's way and in great distances from home. There are many lower priority programs that should be first in line for cuts or elimination. Military retirees and their families should not be the first in line for reductions. Nobody discounts the financial situation the nation faces but waste not earned benefits should be cut. Certainly the defense budget is not sacred but neither is the remainder of the federal budget.
Our country asked a great deal from our former service members who were tasked to secure the blessings of freedom and protect our nation's interests. These courageous men and women kept their end of the bargain and now it is time to keep ours. Everyone can do their part by clicking on http://capwiz.com/usdr/home, select .Issues and Legislation., click .Legislative Alerts and Updates. and then .HASC Leaders Could Allow Higher TRICARE Fees.. This will open a preformatted editable message that can be sent t your legislator via an automatic email system to request he/she right thing when H.R.1540 comes to the floor for House consideration.
[Source: USDR Action alert 23 Jun 2011 ++]

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Wouldn't you love to see this done in every state!! BB

Florida Vet Legislation Update 02: Gov. Rick Scott has signed a number of veteran-related bills following the end of the 2011 Florida legislative session. Among the bills signed were:

. A Florida Veterans Hall of Fame will be established in the state Capitol.
. Gold Star parents will be honored with free lifetime entrance to Florida‘s 160 State Parks.
. Special recreational areas will be established in state forests for service-disabled veterans.
. A person‘s status as a veteran may be displayed on a Florida driver license or ID card for a small fee and proof of veteran status with a DD Form 214 military discharge document.

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Arlington National Cemetery Update
The Executive Director (ED) of the Army National Cemeteries Program has established a call center in order to immediately address family member concerns regarding burial discrepancies at Arlington National Cemetery. Families with questions or concerns regarding their loved ones buried at Arlington National Cemetery should call (703) 607-8199. The call center will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. To 5 p.m. (ET). In addition, a toll-free phone number has been established to ease the burden for people who may be calling long distance to make funeral arrangements at Arlington National Cemetery. The new toll-free number is 1 (877) 907-8585. For more information on funeral arrangements and eligibility, visit the Arlington, National Cemetery website http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.
In a related issue Army criminal investigators are investigating the discovery of 69 boxes of burial records from Arlington National Cemetery found in a commercial storage facility. The criminal investigation was revealed at a Capitol Hill hearing on 23 JUN. Kathryn Condon, an Arlington official, has told a congressional panel that cemetery officials called Army investigators to report the records had been discovered earlier this month. She says personally identifying details were in the records, but there's not a security risk because the individuals are deceased. Lasr year, an Army inspector general report found widespread problems in how Arlington was managed, including at least 200 discrepancies between burial maps and grave sites. Condon was brought in after other Arlington leaders were pushed out.
[Source: Military.com & AP articles 20 & 23 Jun 2011 ++]

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National Museum of the U.S. Army:
The Army announced 17 JUN that the North Post of Fort Belvoir, Va., will be the site of the National Museum of the U.S. Army (NMUSA), scheduled to open in June 2013. Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh approved the decision this week, which also marked the Army's 236th birthday. "In presenting the Army's storied 236-year history, this long-overdue facility will offer the American people a unique opportunity to connect with our soldiers and better understand and appreciate their many and glorious stories," McHugh said. "Now that a site for the Army's museum has been determined, the development of the museum's master plan can be finalized," said Judson Bennett, executive director of the NMUSA project office at Fort Belvoir. Building of the museum will be funded privately through the Army Historical Foundation, a non- profit organization dedicated to preserving the Army's heritage. Initial construction will include a multi-story, main museum building with exhibit halls, theater, Veterans' Hall, food service and retail areas, administrative areas, an experiential learning center and a lobby with visitor reception area. The Army is currently the only service without a centralized museum. The Navy Museum is located at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C.; the Marine Corps Museum is located at the Marine Base Quantico in Prince William County, Va.; and the Air Force Museum is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
[Source: U.S. Department of Defense Daily Digest Bulletin 18 Jun 2011 ++]

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Stolen Valor Update
The owner of a metro construction company was indicted on 16 JUN for allegedly defrauding a federal program that sets aside federal contracts for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. Warren K. Parker, 69, of Blue Springs, is alleged to have obtained over $6 million in federal contracts by falsely claiming to have a service-connected disability. The contracts were awarded to Parker's Silver Star Construction, LLC, under the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Program. The indictment alleges that in documents submitted to the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs in support of Silver Star Construction, LLC in connection with contracts under the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Program, he falsely claimed to have reached the rank of major in the U.S. Army, completed three tours in Vietnam, to have been awarded three Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, four Bronze Stars with Valor, eleven Air Medals with Valor (claiming 300 hours of combat air time), three Purple Heart Medals, a Presidential Citation, a U.S. Army Citation, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Vietnam Service Medal with (79) Battle Stars and to have been Awarded over (32) Citations for Heroism. According to federal records, Parker served five years in the Missouri National Guard, never left the state of Missouri on active duty and was honorably discharged in 1968 as a Senior Engineer Equipment Mechanic with the rank of Specialist E-5.The only decoration he received was an expert shooting badge. Warren K. Parker was never classified as a service-disabled veteran by the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs VA or the Department of Defense.
Warren Parker is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, four counts of major program fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, and two counts of making false statements. Parker's company, Silver Star Construction, LLC, was incorporated in Missouri, with offices in Blue Springs, Mo., and Stilwell, Kan. The indictment alleges that Silver Star Construction acted as an illegal pass-through company for Phoenix Building Group, Inc., which was incorporated in Kansas, with Thomas J. Whitehead as a majority owner.
Also charged in the indictment are Mary K. Parker, 66, Blue Springs, Mo, Parker's wife, who is charged with one count of conspiracy, four counts of major program fraud, eight counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; Michael J. Parker, 37, Blue Springs, Mo., Parker's son, who is charged with one count of conspiracy, four counts of major program fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of making false statements; Thomas J. Whitehead, 59, Leawood, Kan. who claimed he worked for Silver Star Construction and who is the majority owner of Phoenix Building Group, Inc., is charged with one count of conspiracy, four counts of major program fraud, eight counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; and Silver Star Construction, LLC, the company, also is a defendant in the criminal indictment.
Prosecutors are seeking to get $6.8 million back from the defendants and have frozen bank accounts and moved to take property. Prosecutors say that, if convicted, the crimes carry the following penalties: Conspiracy to defraud the government:

. A maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Program fraud:
. A maximum penalty of 10 years on each count and a fine up to twice the loss to the government program.
. Wire fraud: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
. Conspiracy to commit Money laundering; A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.
. False statements to government agents: A maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
[Source: Fox 4 News Kansas City story 16 Jun 2011 ++]

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08/27/2011 05:17 PM CDT
Walter Reed Closes, Legacy Lives On, Commander Says
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2011 - An ambulance carrying the last inpatient from Walter Reed Army Medical
Center here slowly made its way out of the Georgia Avenue gate this morning, pausing briefly for
the crowd of flag-waving troop supporters and shouts of "Thank you for your service! We love you!"

One of the last patients leaves Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Aug. 27, 2011,
for the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., marking the end of an era before the two
flagship hospital merge. DOD photo by Sebastian J. Sciotti Jr.

As the ambulance turned north on Georgia Avenue toward the National Naval Medical Center in
Bethesda, Md., the once-bustling Walter Reed hospital fell silent. This early morning move of inpatients -- one to an ambulance -- marked the end of an era for Walter Reed and its 102 years of Army medicine that has saved hundreds of thousands of military lives. mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. The Army and Navy complex on the grounds of
Bethesda will be renamed the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

"It's been 102 years for Walter Reed, but the legacy lives on," Army Col. Norvell "Van" Coots, Walter
Reed commander, told reporters this morning at the hospital. "The name lives on, and it's a new
beginning for our health care system."

Earlier expectations were to move 150 inpatients this weekend, Coots said, but the number was reduced
to 50, and gradually became 18 this morning after eight were moved to Bethesda yesterday. Walter
Reed's staff also was able to discharge and relocate many other patients who wanted to be hospitalized
closer to their homes.
With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the East Coast today, the move was made a day earlier than planned.

As the Red Cross flag came down from the front of the hospital this afternoon, it signaled the final
closing of the iconic medical center. "The Red Cross flag is the symbol of health and healing, and symbolizes the end of physical patient
care at Walter Reed," Coots said. Walter Reed has been the Army's flagship of military medicine since 1909, and cared for soldiers during
World War I and World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, and the decade-long wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan.

A small post, Walter Reed had no room to expand and accommodate more wounded warriors, Coots said in a
press conference earlier this summer. The medical center straddles a couple of neighborhood blocks
between Georgia Avenue and 16th Street.

The Walter Reed garrison and installation will remain open until Sept. 15, Coots said. When the U.S.
flag comes down that day, he added, the installation and the garrison will close for good.

Sometime afterward, Walter Reed will become the property of the District of Columbia government, and
the State Department is expected to take over the hospital building.

Looking forward to a new beginning, Coots said today was emotional as he walked the wards early this
morning, stopping in to check on each of the remaining 18 patients.

"There's still an energy you can feel in those halls," he said. "It's an energy that's left behind from
the hundreds of thousands of patients we've treated in these 102 years, and the tens of thousands of
staff members.

"We take Walter Reed with us," Coots added. "And we leave a piece of it here."


WEEKLY INSPIRATION

My odometer rolled over to 67 in May. The body is half shot, the tires are almost bald, but the motor is still running. bb

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good. 2. When in doubt, just take the next small step. 3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. 4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch. 5. Pay off your credit cards every month. 6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. 7. Cry with someone. It 's more healing than crying alone. 8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it. 9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck. 10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile. 11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present. 12. It's OK to let your children see you cry. 13. Don't compare your life to others. You have n o idea what their journey is all about. 14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it. 15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks. 16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind. 17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.* 18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. 19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood... But the second one is up to you and no one else. 20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer. 21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special. 22. Over prepare, then go with the flow. 23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple. 24. The most important sex organ is the brain. 25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. 26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?' 27. Always choose life. 28. Forgive everyone everything. 29. What other people think of you is none of your business. 30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time. 31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does. 33. Believe in miracles. 34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do. 35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now. 36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young. 37. Your children get only one childhood. 38. All that truly matters in the end isthat you loved. 39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere. 40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back. 41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. 42. The best is yet to come. 43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. 44. Yield. 45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift." Remember that I will always share my spoon with you! Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves.


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

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