WELCOME TO OLE' BILL'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

Sept 2012


REUNION NEWS

A GREAT TIME WAS HAD BY ALL!!
Our CP was a bit small but as usual, we managed to get thru the problems and enjoy ourselves.
We had 32 Troopers in attendance. This included 7 troopers who were in attendance at a reunion their first time. In addition we had 14 distaff who really brightened up our CP. Thank you for coming Ladies! Following are the names of the Newbies:

Johnnie Kinney, A Troop, Dec 65- Jun 66.
Ron Brauer, C Troop, Sep 65 - Aug 66.
Sharon & Gregg Cashion, Sharon's Father SSG Willard Dyer who served with B Troop and was KIA early on during Tet 68
Jason Lederfine, C Troop, Jan 03 - Jan 06.
Lane Losee, A Troop, Dec 65 - Dec 66.
Jim Harkness, A Troop, Jan 68 - Aug 68.
Charlie Oweed, C Troop, Jan 66 - Dec 66.

During our Annual Meeting we discussed our future. I don't think any of us want to see our 1/4th Cav Association eventually fold, so we all need to consider two things. Please pay your dues, and we are going to investigate during the coming year, the possibility of having our own reunions. We all need work to gether to try and find more of our troopers. Please consider, at a minimum, each of us contacting someone we served with and encourageing them to come to the reunions. Also, we would like some suggestions as to where you would like to have our reunions at. I for one would like to return to Ft. Riley and would love to see Ft. Meade, SD where the 1/4th Cav was billeted during the Indian Wars. There is a 4th Cavalry Museum located on the post that might be able to accomodate us with a meeting hall. We should all keep in mind that we need to start recruiting the present day quarterhorse troopers so that we can have some young blood to repace we old farts on down the line. Please keep these things in mind as you go about your dailey routine and devote a little time for what I've mentioned. Bill Baty, "Prepared and Loyal"!


I'm sorry to have to report....

Just before leaving for the reunion I received word that Rose MacDonald had passed away. She was the mother of Robert Smith, C Troop, who served on Lt. Joe Birindelli's ACAV and was an honorary trooper of our Association. Her other son, Jerry MacDonald is also an Honorary Trooper of the 1/4th Cav and a veteran of Vietnam himself. We have seen he and his family quite often at our reunions. Mrs. Rose Macdonald was laid to rest on July 16, 2012. <**************************

We also sadly report that Pete Morones and Family lost their son, Pete Morones Jr. on August 16th. Pete Jr. was laid to rest on Aug 25th. Our heart felt prayers go out to both these families for their loss and we Pray for God's comforter in thier midst during this period of devestation.


SOME 2012 REUNION PHOTOS TO SHARE WITH YOU

The following photos are shared from Bob Corbin, Alan Benoit and Dan Thompson. Thanks fellows!. BB

"16 of the finest"

It's good to see these two together again...

BC and Johnny Kenny - a first timer

The Main Man - Elvis is still in the building, took on all new comers and put
them to shame!!

A BIGGA BIGGA HUNK OF LOVE BABY!!

Can anyone see Bob? Someone said he was suppose to display his chemmes!

The Esquilins and their granddaughter.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Dabney.

Mr. and Mrs. Lane Losseev - Also Newbees.

The Corbins, The Christensons and the Dabneys.

The Listls and The Sheppards

Sie Moore, Jerry Friday and Terry Emphrey

This came from Dan Thompson collection of Photos

This group of troopers and ladies are at the "Soul Food Resturant" located not far from the Hotel.

Jack Tinsley and Tom Witter are up to something?

Wayne Witwicki, Ron and Mrs. Brauer (Newbees).

There were so many Elvis's we had to have a contest to narrow them down, Our main man, Bob
corbin won the contest and now the unofficial Elvis until someone takes his crown. Atta-boy Bob!

Elke Kamfert, Charles Brigance and Paul Miller enjoying the Grand Buffet.

Jim Smith and the photographer for the BRO Society capture the sights.


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.

....

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.

....

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


....

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."


TROOPERS SIGN-IN

Thanks to Dan Thompson for refering the following troopers to us.BB

Pat Hopkins


Home: Chapman, KS
Served with A Troop, 66-67, 1st Platoon. Driver of A16, Platoon Sgt was Julian Couch.
Pat's second tour was 60-70 with 2/34 Armor. Pat retired as 1SG in 1985.

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

Justo Leal

Justo served with A Troop as TC on A22 and remembers Dan, Burl,LT Hammons and Doc Determan. His home town is Tivoli, TX. **********************

name: Pat Hopkins
email: grey_wolf59@sbcglobal.net
Home Page: 2681 queen dr
City: Chapman
State: KS
Country: Dickinson
comments: My first tour in vietnam was with A troop 1966 -67 1st platoon I drove A15 Platoon
Sgt. Julian Couch tank my second tour was with 2/34 armor 1969 -1970 I retired 1/SG 1985


FIDDLER'S GREEN

We acknowledge our brothers who are found in Vietnam regardless of their unit. It wasn't their choice to lay in a dirty stinking jungle 40 plus years before being found, identified and finally returned to thier loved ones. Our Government isn't doing much except providing them with a burial and a tombstone. So Whenever I can obtain the information of their return to their home soil, I will post it on our Newsletter and hopefully some or all of us will pause for a moment and say a blessing for these brave men who spent so long a time in an alien world before being found and brought home. God, please bless them one and all! BB.

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were recently identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Army Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown of La Habra, Calif., Sgt. 1st Class Donald M. Shue of Kannapolis, N.C., and Sgt. 1st Class Gunther H. Wald of Palisades Park, N.J., will be buried as a group on Aug. 30, in a single casket representing the three soldiers, in Arlington National Cemetery. Brown and Shue were each individually buried on Sept. 26, 2011, at Arlington and May 1 in Kannapolis, N.C.
On Nov. 3, 1969, the menand six Vietnamese soldiers were part of a Special Forces reconnaissance patrol operating in Quang Tri Province, near the Vietnam-Laos border. The patrol was ambushed by enemy forces and all three Americans were wounded. Brown was reported to have suffered a gunshot wound to his side. Due to heavy enemy presence and poor weather conditions, the search-and-rescue team was not able to reach the site until eight days later. At that time, they found military equipment belonging to Shue, but no other signs of the men. Between 1993 and 2010, joint United States/Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted multiple interviews on nine different occasions in Quang Tri Province. Additionally, the S.R.V. teams unilaterally investigated this case, but were unable to develop new leads. Among those interviewed by the joint teams were former Vietnamese militiamen who claimed in 1969 they ambushed three Americans in the area near the Laos-Vietnam border. In 2007, a Vietnamese citizen led investigators to human remains that he had discovered and buried near the site of the ambush. In 2008, a military identification tag for Brown was turned over to the U.S. Government from a U.S. citizen with ties to Vietnam. Finally, in April 2010, joint teams excavated a hilltop area near Huong Lap Village, recovering additional human remains, military equipment, another military identification tag for Brown, and a "Zippo" lighter bearing the name "Donald M. Shue" and the date "1969." Scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence, along with mitochondrial DNA-which matched that of some of the soldiers' family members-in the identification of the remains. For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, call 703- 699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling of Phoenix, Ariz., and Maj. Aado Kommendant of Lakewood, N.J., will be buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 8, the 46th anniversary of the crash that took their lives. Walling was individually buried on June 15, at Arlington National Cemetery.
On Aug. 8, 1966, Walling and Kommendant were the crew of an F-4C aircraft that crashed while on a close air support mission over Song Be Province, Vietnam. Other Americans in the area reported seeing the aircraft crash and no parachutes being deployed. Search and rescue efforts were not successful in the days following the crash.
In 1992, a joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team investigated the crash site and interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who had recovered aircraft pieces from the site. In 1994, a joint U.S.- S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered a metal identification tag bearing Walling's name, and other military equipment. In 2010, the site was excavated again, and additional evidence was recovered, including human remains.
Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence, along with forensic identification tools including mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.

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Airman 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, has been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John E. Hogan, of West Plains, Mo., will be buried Aug. 24, in Arlington National Cemetery. On Sept. 13, 1944, Hogan and eight other crew members were on a B-17G Flying Fortress that crashed near Neustädt-on-Werra, Germany. Only one of the crewmen is known to have successfully parachuted out of the aircraft before in crashed. The remaining eight crewmen were buried by German forces in a cemetery in Neustädt.
Following the war, U.S. Army Graves Registration personnel attempted to recover the remains of the eight men, but were only able to move the remains of one man to a U.S. military cemetery in Holland. In 1953, with access to eastern Germany restricted by the Soviet Union, the remains of the seven unaccounted for crewmen were declared non-recoverable.
In 1991, a German national who was digging a grave in the cemetery in Neustädt, discovered a metal U.S. military identification tag and notified officials. Due to German burial law, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) wasn't granted access to the site until 2007 and excavated the location in 2008. The team recovered human remains and additional metal identification tags from three of the crewmembers.
Scientists from JPAC used forensic identification tools, circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA which matched that of Hogan's cousin in the identification of his remains.
At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted for from the conflict.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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Burial at Sea
by Lt Col George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes.
Some were significant; most were trivial...War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has
endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there,Vietnam was my war.

Now 42 years have passed and thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia, Laos and the
panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of
the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:
*The smell of Nuc Mam.
*The heat, dust, and humidity.
*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.
*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.
*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.
*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.
*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.
*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.
*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.
It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam. Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.
A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5'9", I now weighed 128 pounds - 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.
I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the name plate on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket."
Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I replied "18 months this time." Jolly breathed, you must be a slow learner Colonel." I smiled.
Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office." Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He's been in this job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm worried about him." I nodded.
Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I responded, "Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.
I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable. Finally, I said, "Walt, what's the hell's wrong?" He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months... Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want, I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps."
Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.
Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain.
MY FIRST NOTIFICATION
My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:
*Name, rank, and serial number.
*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.
*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.
*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.
*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.
The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles away... I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store/ service station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.
Three people were in the store.. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The Store owner walked up and addressed them by name, "Hello John. Good morning Mrs. Cooper."
I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin's name was John Cooper!
I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper of(address.)
The father looked at me - I was in uniform - and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me. Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.
The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The store owner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.
I returned the store owner to his business. He thanked me and said, "Mister, I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his hand and said; "Neither would I."
I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.
My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.
THE FUNERALS
Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.
When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, "All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On behalf of a grateful nation...." I didn't think the nation was grateful, so I didn't say that.
Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you have this terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.
ANOTHER NOTIFICATION
Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"
I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house.. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.
The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.
ANOTHER NOTIFICATION
One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one, Colonel." I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.
The father of this casualty was alongshore man. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman's Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father's schedule.
The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't call him. I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye Sir," and then explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."
I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless. I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She smiled pleasantly and responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?" I said, "I'm sorry. It's important. I need to see him now."
She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for you."
A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, "Jesus Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"
Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth... I never could do that? and held an imaginary phone to his ear.
Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got it." and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.
Jolly, "Where?"
Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam..."
He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father's door. He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, "Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?"
I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.
He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). "I've gone through my boy's papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that happen?" I said, "Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will."
My wife who had been listening said, "Can you do that?" I told her, "I have no idea. But I'm going to break my ass trying."
I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, "General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?" General Bowser said,"George, you be there tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.
I was and the Admiral did. He said coldly, "How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel." I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, "Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?" The Chief of Staff responded with a name.
The Admiral called the ship, "Captain, you're going to do a burial at sea. You'll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed..."
He hung up, looked at me, and said, "The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me. You don't have to sic Al Bowser on my ass." I responded, "Aye Aye, Sir" and got the h-ll out of his office.
I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship's crew for four days. Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, "These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?"
All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, "Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out."
They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and said, "It's simple; we cut four 12" holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the casket. We can handle that, no sweat."
The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.
The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played "Eternal Father Strong to Save." The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.
The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever....
The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, "General, get me out of here. I can't take this anymore." I was transferred two weeks later.
I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering. I was used up.
Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, "Well Done, Colonel. Well Done."
I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!
A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America for an amount of up to and including their life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it. Fly Our Flag With Respect And Pride.


TROOPERS DATA CHANGES

This is my new email address.

jfriday@carolina.rr.com

, maybe now I will get the news letter. thank you, Jerry.
Jerry, Please let me know if you don't get the newsletter and I will fix it!!! Bill

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I am changing my e mail address to the one below. I will be closing this one out soon.
Please send an e mail to the below address & save THAT new address in your contacts.
New e-mail=

esteban32696@gmail.com


Thanks


ACTIVE DUTY NEWS

Capital One to Pay $12M in Mil Case
Jul 27, 2012
Associated Press| by Pete Yost

WASHINGTON -- Capital One has agreed to pay $12 million to resolve allegations the bank violated special consumer protections in federal law for members of the military, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
The government says Capital One wrongfully foreclosed on some homes and improperly repossessed some cars. In addition, the government says the bank obtained wrongful court judgments against some service members and improperly denied interest rate relief on some credit card and car loans.
In a settlement under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Capital One will pay $7 million in damages, including at least $125,000 to each servicemember whose home was unlawfully foreclosed upon and at least $10,000 to each service member whose vehicle was unlawfully repossessed.
Capital One will provide a $5 million fund to compensate servicemembers denied appropriate benefits on credit card accounts, auto and consumer loans.
The government says Capital One engaged in the practices from July 2006 to November 2011. The government began looking into Capital One following a claim by a servicemember who said he failed to receive the required interest rate reduction on his Capital One credit card account. That complaint was relayed to Justice by the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.
One of the nation's 10 largest banks by deposits, Capital One serves banking customers through branches primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The settlement, still subject to court approval, was filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va. Capital One is headquartered in McLean, Va.

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

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FORT HOOD, Texas - An Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood will be forcibly shaved if he doesn't remove his beard himself, a judge said Wednesday.
Maj. Nidal Hasan appeared in court Wednesday sporting a beard as he did during a court appearance last month. The beard violates Army regulations, but Hasan said it is an expression of his Muslim faith.
The judge, Col. Gregory Gross, held Hasan in contempt of court for keeping the beard and fined him $1,000.
Fort Hood spokesman Chris Haug said Gross gave Hasan the choice to shave on his own or be forcibly shaved sometime before his court-martial begins Aug. 20.
Hasan again refused to shave and watched the rest of the day's hearing outside the courtroom.
Hasan, 41, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 massacre, the worst shooting incident on a U.S. military post. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
Until last month, he had been clean-shaven every time he attended court.
But since Hasan grew a beard, he and one of his attorneys have watched the pretrial hearings on closed-circuit television in a trailer near the courthouse. He refuses to shave, and Gross has indicated that Hasan might have to watch the court-martial from the trailer as well.
But on Wednesday, Gross said he wanted Hasan in the courtroom to prevent a possible appeal on the issue if Hasan is convicted.
Hasan's defense attorneys argued that he had not shaved in observance of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. Ramadan is expected to end just before the court-martial starts.
Also Wednesday, Gross said he would review a copy of a new FBI report on the shootings. The report, made public last week, includes emails Hasan sent to Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic cleric killed in Yemen last year by a drone strike.
The emails range from rambling messages about supporting terrorists and U.S. soldiers killing comrades in the name of Islam to questions about whether al-Awlaki could help him find a suitable wife. The emails attracted the attention of FBI and anti-terrorism task force agents in December 2008.
But authorities did not pursue a case against Hasan, according to the report, due to a series of gaps and miscommunication errors.

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


As private sector salaries flattened over the last decade, military pay climbed steadily, enough so that by 2009 pay and allowances for enlisted members exceeded the pay of 90 percent of private sector workers of similar age and education level.
That's one of the more significant findings of the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation report released last week, given its potential to impact compensation decisions by the Department of Defense and Congress as they struggle to control military personnel costs.
The military pay advantage, which had been a worrisome gap in 1999, is larger now than it has ever been, said QRMC director Thomas Bush.
"I believe it is, and there is a chart in our report that illustrates that. [It] shows where we are, which is probably the highest point that we have been" compared with civilian pay, Bush said.
The military gained its lead with annual raises from 2000 to 2010 that exceeded private sector wage growth and some extra increases in housing allowances to eliminate average out-of-pocket rental costs. Meanwhile, civilian pay growth stalled as markets collapsed and jobs disappeared.
Officer pay by 2009 exceeded salaries of 83 percent of civilian peers of similar age with bachelor and masters degrees. Enlisted are compared to workers with high school diplomas, some college or associate's degrees.
To make its pay comparisons, the QRMC used Regular Military Compensation, which combines basic pay with Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) plus the federal tax advantage on the tax-free allowances.
By 2009, the report says, average RMC for enlisted exceeded the median wage for civilians in each comparison group -- high school diploma, some college and two-year degrees. Average RMC was $50,747 or "about $21,800 more than the median earnings for civilians from the combined comparison groups."
For officers, average RMC was $94,735 in 2009. That was "88 percent higher than earnings of civilians with bachelor's degrees, and 47 percent higher than earnings of those with graduate-level degrees," the report says.
Neil Singer, a former senior analyst at the Congressional Budget Office who advised a recent commission on military pay issues as it studied ways to address the nation's debt crisis, said he supports the QRMC's call to target more money to individual skills by expanding use of special and incentive pays and also giving more recognition to members who serve in combat.
An obvious way to pay for that, Singer said, is to freeze across-the-board raises until RMC "comparability" with private sector wages is restored to levels endorsed by earlier QRMCs. The 1.7 percent across-the-board raise planned for January, for example, would cost more than $1 billion. That money should be used instead as pay incentives for Special Forces, linguists, and other high-demand skills high-highlighted by the QRMC, and also to expand benefits for those who see combat, wounded warriors, their families and caregivers.
In 2002, the 9th QRMC concluded that keeping RMC at the 70th percentile of private sector wages would sustain a volunteer force. The 11th QRMC didn't do the work to "revalidate" that benchmark, said director Bush, "so I am reluctant to say the 70th is the right percentile…[It] would be appropriate to validate that over several QRMCs so we'll know we're in the right ballpark."
The 11th QRMC also isn't calling for a military pay freeze.
"We have given the department facts they can use to balance competing interests," Bush explained.
Excluded from its pay comparisons with civilian workers are other elements of compensation that would make the military advantage appear wider. The military pays no FICA payroll tax on BAH and BAS, for example. Also, active duty receive free health care for themselves and family members if enrolled in TRICARE Prime, while health insurance costs for civilian workers have increased steadily over the decade.
If health benefits were compared, says the report, the take-home pay advantage over civilians would grow by $3000 and $7000 per year for enlisted, depending on family size, and by $2000 to $4800 for officers. The officer advantage is smaller because more of their peers in the private sector have employer health coverage
Marine Staff Sgt. Andrew Gallagher, 29, doesn't believe pay comparisons using only age and education level, even with associate's degree earners tossed in the mix, is fair to career enlisted.
Gallagher will pass the 12-year mark in the Corps this November. He has served three tours in Iraq, the second shortened by wounds suffered in an IED attack. His total pay, before taxes and including BAH and BAS, is about $58,000 a year at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
"I believe the amount and levels of training an individual receives over a career in the military far exceeds an associate's degree level of training," Gallagher said. He notes that his own career has been peppered with six-to-eight-week training periods, attending classes and receiving more training for 12-to-16 hours a day versus perhaps only four hours each day at a college.
His extra training included an Infantry Squad Leaders Course, an Infantry Unit Leaders Course, Small Arms Weapons Instructor qualification, correspondence courses in war fighting and advance war fighting, and recruiter school which he compares to management-level sales training.
Gallagher said he wouldn't be surprised to see the pay comparisons lead to smaller raises for a while. If someone wants to claim he is overpaid, the staff sergeant concedes, well he might be. Because even if his pay were frozen for the rest of his career, he told me, he'd still stay a Marine.
"They will have to pull me away, kicking and screaming," said the married father of two. "The Marine Corps has allowed me to provide for my family…I appreciate that. I know they're not going to cut my pay. As long as they don't do something crazy like that, they could pay me the same amount forever."
And if he were still on recruiting duty, he'd tout that 90th percentile on pay -- not to prospective recruits but to their parents. If recruits are swayed by it, Gallagher said, the Corps probably doesn't want them.
If this dosen't piss you off, nothing will. BB

'Stolen Valor Act' Shot Down by High Court
Jun 28, 2012

Military.com| by Bryant Jord


A Texas man who helped lead the charge for Congress to pass a law against so-called military "fakers" said he was disappointed the Supreme Court had struck it down Thursday.
B.G. "Jug" Burkett, a Vietnam veteran and co-author of 1998's "Stolen Valor," told Military.com he thought the court might toss out the portion of the act making it a crime to "verbally" claim being awarded medals and decorations, but not the entire law.
"I'm disappointed. You've got people out there that can claim the highest decorations in the land and there's no way to legally stop them from doing so," he said.
Burkett's view is widely shared by veterans' organizations.
"The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is greatly disappointed in today's Supreme Court decision that overturns the Stolen Valor Act of 2005," VFW Commander in Chief Richard Denoyer said in a statement released shortly after the court's announcement.
In a ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court determined that the act was too broad for seeking to "control and suppress all false statements on this one subject in almost limitless times and settings without regard to whether the lie was made for the purpose of material gain."
For the court to decide that lying about military service and decorations was a criminal offense would essentially endorse the government compiling "a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable. That governmental power has no clear limiting principle," he wrote.
The ruling did not come as a surprise to retired Master Sgt. Jeff Hinton, who also exposes phony vets and troops who exaggerate their combat experience.


"I expected no less from bureaucrats, politicians and lawyers," said Hinton, a former Green Beret who operates the website Professionalsoldiers.com. "As always the United States military will protect its own. We will continue to uphold the honor and integrity of our veterans service ourselves."
Likewise, Denoyer said: "Despite the ruling, the VFW will continue to challenge far-fetched stories, and to publicize these false heroes to the broadest extent possible as a deterrent to others."
Burkett has spent years doing just that on his own website, StolenValor.com. Along with a team that includes three former Navy SEALs, he routinely exposes and publishes stories about people who claim to be war heroes or have earned ranks or decorations they didn't.
Additionally, Burkett investigates reports of phony veterans who have been able to get into the Department of Veterans Affairs system and draw benefits. He said he turns those reports over to the VA for further investigation and prosecution.
Burkett was an investment counselor in Dallas when he began looking into questionable claims being made by men about service in Vietnam, where he had served with the Army's 199th Light Infantry Brigade. He found cases of phony veterans spinning stories of heroism and even atrocities.
Along with Texas Monthly writer Glenna Whitley, he authored "Stolen Valor," which in 2005 then-Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., borrowed as the title for legislation making it illegal to impersonate servicemembers and falsely claim awards. The law made it a federal misdemeanor to misrepresent yourself as a recipient of a military medal or decoration. The crime was punishable by up to six months in jail for all but the Medal of Honor, which carried jail time of up to a year.
"I'm hoping Congress will re-craft a new [Stolen Valor] law to make it even stronger," Burkett said. "I can't imagine you can't craft a law that makes impersonating a servicemember a felony. They do it for police officers. Why not the military?"

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Dempsey: Afghans Share Concern Over Insider Attacks
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2012 - Afghan leaders are just as concerned as coalition authorities are about insider attacks, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said today after meetings here.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this is the first time in his dozens of trips to the region that Afghans have exhibited this same level of concern.
"I am reassured that the Afghan military and civilian leaders understand how important this moment is,"he said.
This year has seen 32 incidents of Afghan soldiers and police turning weapons on coalition personnel, said Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz of the German air force, a NATO spokesman. The alliance is taking precautions and will continue to study the situation, he said.
Dempsey said his meeting with Gen. Sher Muhammad Karimi, Afghanistan's defense chief, showed him the Afghans recognize the problem.
"In the past, it's been us pushing on them to make sure they do more,"Dempsey said at Kabul Air Base. "This time, without prompting, when I met General Karimi, he started with a conversation about insider attacks ? and, importantly, insider attacks not just against us, but insider attacks against the Afghans, too." In addition to meeting with Karimi, Dempsey met with Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command; Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force; and Army Lt. Gen. James Terry, the commander of ISAF Joint Command.
Dempsey also discussed the nascent anti-Taliban movement in Afghanistan's Ghazni province and other areas in the country.
A senior NATO intelligence official told reporters residents of Ghazni's Andar district protested against the local Taliban closing schools and attacking village leaders. In April, they banded together and forced the Taliban out. The movement has since spread, and residents have spontaneously banded against the Taliban in 26 other areas of the country.
Dempsey called the movement "a very positive step, and one that should be encouraged."
The chairman said he does not want to overstate the importance of the movement, because it is somewhat isolated. But it indicates the Taliban's message is being rejected, he added.
Dempsey said the Taliban started the fighting season with three objectives: discrediting Afghanistan's central government, impeding the development of the national security forces, and recapturing lost territory.
"In every one of those objectives they've failed," he said. "We have given a real opportunity for the Afghan government to establish its governance by allowing the security environment to show progress and, therefore, hope."

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Army to Recommend MultiCam for Entire Force
Jun 28, 2012
Military.com| by Matthew Cox

After years of testing, Army uniform officials are planning to recommend that MultiCam should replace today's pixilated design as the official camouflage pattern the service issues to all soldiers, Military.com has learned.
Made by Crye Precision LLC of Brooklyn, N.Y., MultiCam is the pattern that outperformed the service's Universal Camouflage Pattern, or UCP, to become the Army's pattern for soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. UCP was nonetheless adopted in 2004, but came under congressional scrutiny when soldiers complained about its poor performance in Afghanistan.
Army uniform experts and scientists have been evaluating a handful of patterns that emerged from the service's exhaustive Phase IV camouflage improvement effort.
Program Executive Office Soldier would not comment on future camouflage recommendations.
"The Phase IV patterns are undergoing field trials and the data from those trials will be taken to Army senior leadership for review," said PEO Soldier spokeswoman Debi Dawson in a June 28 "media alert." "This will be followed by a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the Army will adopt a new camouflage pattern."
But officials running the camouflage effort are now looking at two options to recommend to the service's senior leadership this fall.
One option would be to make MultiCam the Army's official camouflage pattern, sources tell Military.com.
The second option would be to make MultiCam the service's pattern for garrison and general deployment use, but also to have a family of approved camouflage patterns that could be issued for specific areas of the world.
Earlier this week, UCP came under fire again in a story by The Daily, an online news site, which quoted several Army scientists from Natick Soldier Systems Center, Mass, alleging that the Army selected UCP long before testing was complete.
It was the first time Natick officials have publically pointed the finger at PEO Soldier and Army leaders, charging that UCP cost taxpayers billions in uniforms and matching body armor, backpacks and other equipment.
Congressional officials said they were surprised to see Natick scientists quoted directly questioning the Army's decision to adopt the pattern.
"This is the first time I have seen or heard that," said one staffer in the office of Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin. "Obviously, we are very concerned about this."
But criticism of the UCP is nothing new. In fact, two Natick studies, one completed in 2009 and the other in 2006, showed that MultiCam outperformed UCP in multiple environments.
Then in June 2009, Pennsylvania's Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who was then chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, got involved in camouflage issue. Murtha pushed the service to look for a better camouflage pattern after receiving complaints from sergeants about the UCP's poor performance in the war zone. Murtha died in 2010, but his directive prompted the Army to launch a multi phase camouflage effort. Many patterns were evaluated in Afghanistan, but MultiCam was the clear winner for the country's multiterrain environment.
Earlier this year, the Army awarded contracts to four vendors to make camouflage patterned material for uniforms and equipment as a result of Phase IV of the service's camouflage improvement effort.
In addition to Crye Precision, ADS, Inc., teamed with Hyperstealth Inc, of Virginia Beach, Va; Brookwood Companies, Inc of New York; and Kryptek, Inc of Fairbanks, Alaska were chosen.
In March, the Army decided to drop the fifth finalist which was a government pattern developed at Natick. The pattern was too similar to one of the industry submissions, which scored higher in the initial evaluation, uniform officials said.
Natick officials would not release details of its pattern, but experts say it was likely from the Scorpion effort, a pattern developed by Crye Precision that was very similar to MultiCam. So far Crye officials have refused to reveal details about the pattern selected for Army evaluation.
Each finalist submitted a family of camouflage patterns for desert, woodland, and transitional along with a single coordinated pattern for individual equipment such as body armor and load-bearing gear so soldiers wouldn't have to change their kit from one environment to the next.
It's still unclear whether soldier body armor and other equipment will be produced and fielded in a specific camouflage pattern or a solid color such as "coyote brown," a color that the Marine Corps adopted for all of its individual equipment

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541st CSSB return from yearlong deployment
Story by: Sgt. 1st Class Manuel Torres-Cortes
1ST SUST. BDE. PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Family and friends cheer for the Soldiers with the 541st CSSB Aug. 11 at a welcome home ceremony. The Soldiers returned to Fort Riley following a yearlong deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation New Dawn. Photo by: Sgt 1st Class Manuel Torres-Cortes, 1ST SUST BDE.
First Infantry Division Families and friends gathered Aug. 11 to welcome home Soldiers with the 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade from their yearlong deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation New Dawn.
"We are glad to have you back," said Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie, senior commander, Fort Riley. "You've accomplished a very difficult and important mission, and now is the time to reintegrate back home to your Families."
Since deploying to Kuwait late last year, Soldiers with the 541st CSSB have been responsible for overseeing the return and transfer of billions of dollars of Army equipment from the Iraqi theater of operations as part of the Responsible Drawdown of Forces phase of Operation New Dawn.
"Our purpose was to successfully account for and coordinate the movement of all equipment throughout the area of operations, with forces postured to support any follow-on mission," said Lt Col William J. Cain Jr., commander, 541st CSSB, 1st Sust. Bde. "We've established excellent conditions for success during the Responsible Drawdown of Forces phase of Operation New Dawn."
During their year away, the "Pacesetter" Soldiers were responsible for bringing $28 billion dollars worth of Army property out of Iraq and tracking more than 334,000 pieces of equipment.
Now that the Soldiers are home, the mission is still not complete.
"Your focus is to reintegrate back home, to your unit and your Families," said Col. Brian Tempest, commander, 1st Sust. Bde. "Enjoy the time you have with your Families."
Pvt 1st Class Franciso Herrara, transportation management specialist, 541st CSSB, said he felt like he made his mark in the history books as a member of the unit.
"The greatest accomplishment was bringing home all the Soldiers from Iraq and Kuwait and ensuring their theater provided equipment was accounted for," he said. "Closing the Iraq combat zone was like being a part of history, which was a huge honor for me."

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Brigade Combat Teams To Deploy:

1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.>br> 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

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Ham Welcomes Regionally Aligned Brigade Focused on Africa
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

THEBEPHATSHWA AIR BASE, Botswana, Aug. 21, 2012 - The commander of U.S. Africa Command said he welcomes the arrival next spring of an Army brigade to support U.S. engagement on the African continent.
Army Gen. Carter Ham at closing ceremonies for exercise Southern Accord in Botswana, Aug. 16, 2012. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lausanne Morgan
Army Gen. Carter F. Ham was referring to the arrival of the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team from Fort Riley, Kan. The unit will become the main force provider for security cooperation and partnership-building missions in Africa.
The "Dagger Brigade" will also become the first Army unit to be regionally aligned with a specific unified combatant command. Under the new arrangement, brigades will be on deck for their mission for a full year to perform security cooperation when needed, but not operational or regular warfare missions, Army officials said.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno called the plan "a new model for building partnerships" that enhances ongoing Army security cooperation missions while developing soldiers' familiarity with a region where they may operate.
"The most important thing that this does for us in Africa Command is, it provides us predictability," Ham said during an interview here with Soldiers Radio and Television Service correspondent Gail McCabe at the conclusion of exercise Southern Accord.
"Because of the levels of forces, particularly Army and Marine forces that have been committed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last couple of years, it has been difficult to get the forces that are necessary for exercises or military-to-military engagements, for training, with any degree of predictability," Ham said.
With no troops directly assigned to it for Africa, Africom has relied heavily since its standup in 2007 on its service components: U.S. Army Africa, based in Vicenza, Italy; U.S. Air Forces Africa, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and U.S. Marine Forces Africa and Special Operations Command Africa, both based in Stuttgart, Germany. As a result, many of its engagements have been conducted by reserve-component forces.
Ham said that won't change with the arrival of an active Army brigade, tentatively set for March. "We will continue to rely very, very heavily on the National Guard and reserve component from all the services," he said.
In the past, the Army Africa Command was limited by what forces the service had available to support requirements in Africa, an arrangement Ham called "unsatisfying."
Ham said the regionally aligned brigade concept opens the door to a whole range of opportunities. It essentially says to Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahue, commander of U.S. Army Africa, "Here is a brigade that I am going to make available to you to use however you see being necessary for ... about a year," Ham said. That, he added, empowers Donahue to be able to say, "Yes, I will provide this force," when asked, whether the requirement is for engineers, intelligence, signal or logistics specialists or other experts.
While welcoming the availability of additional forces, Ham underscored that the United States will continue to maintain a "light footprint" on the continent.
"We don't need big forces. We don't want big forces in Africa," he said. "We want tailored forces for specific purposes, for specific periods of time, to partner with our African counterparts. And that seems to work pretty effectively."
Ham told reporters here he looks forward to seeing more of these tailored engagements in Africa as U.S. operations draw down in Afghanistan.
"We are hopeful we will see, in the coming years, greater availability of American forces to participate in training exercises across the continent," he said. "More availability of forces will enable us to partner with more African countries in the years to come."

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Marines Disciplined for Taliban Desecration
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2012 - Three Marines received nonjudicial punishment today for their roles in the desecration of enemy corpses in Afghanistan, the Marine Corps Combat Development Command announced.
A video posted online in January showed Marines urinating on deceased Taliban on or about July 27, 2011, during a counterinsurgency operation in Afghanistan's Helmand province. The video went viral.
The three Marines pleaded guilty in nonjudicial punishment for their parts in the incident as part of an agreement, officials said. Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, determined the punishments.
Because nonjudicial punishment is an administrative matter, the Marines' names are not being released, officials said. All three noncommissioned officers were members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines or attached units.
One NCO pleaded guilty to violating a lawful general order "by wrongfully posing for an unofficial photograph with human casualties," according to a Marine Corps Combat Development Command statement. The Marine also pleaded guilty to urinating on a deceased Taliban soldier.
Another NCO also pleaded guilty to wrongfully posing for an unofficial photograph with human casualties, and "wrongfully video recording" the incident in an action that "was prejudicial to good order and discipline."
A staff NCO pleaded guilty to violating a lawful general order by failing to report the mistreatment of human casualties by other Marines, and making a false statement to investigators.
Officials said more disciplinary actions against other Marines will be announced later.
Nonjudicial punishment may include reduction in rank, restriction to a military base, extra duties, forfeiture of pay, a reprimand, or a combination of these measures. It becomes a permanent part of the Marine's record with the potential to affect re-enlistment eligibility and promotion.


TROOPERS CORNER - SOUND OFF!!

My apologies for the size of the following article but I feel it is important enough that everyone should read it. If you are not interested in what they are doing with the Armed forces, just skip over this section.BB

CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Andrew Feickert Specialist in Military Ground Forces Charles A. Henning Specialist in Military Manpower Policy April 20, 2012 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R42493 Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service Summary On January 26, 2012, senior DOD leadership unveiled a new defense strategy based on a review of potential future security challenges, current defense strategy, and budgetary constraints. This new strategy envisions a smaller, leaner Army that is agile, flexible, rapidly deployable, and technologically advanced. This strategy will rebalance the Army’s global posture and presence, emphasizing where potential problems are likely to arise, such as the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. As part of the Administration’s proposal, two heavy brigade combat teams (HBCTs) in Europe will be eliminated out of a total of eight BCTs that will be cut from Active Army force structure. The Army has stated that it may cut more than eight BCTs. Army endstrength will go from 570K in 2010 to 490K during the Future Year Defense Plan (FYDP) period. As part of this reduction, the Army would no longer be sized to conduct large-scale, protracted stability operations but would continue to be a full-spectrum force capable of addressing a wide range of national security challenges. The Army National Guard and Army Reserves were not targeted for significant cuts. Army leadership stated the impending decrease in Active Duty Army force structure would place an even greater reliance on the National Guard and Reserves. There will likely be a human dimension of the Army’s drawdown. Troops have received an unprecedented level of support from the American public, and those soldiers leaving the service—voluntarily and perhaps involuntarily—might have strong personal feelings about leaving the Army and their comrades after multiple deployments to combat zones. The Army drawdown will likely be achieved in large degree by controlling accessions (i.e., the number of people allowed to join the Army). If limiting accessions is not enough to achieve the desired endstrength targets, the Army can employ a variety of involuntary and voluntary drawdown tools authorized by Congress, such as Selective Early Retirement Boards (SERBs) and Reduction-in- Force (RIF). Voluntary tools that the Army might use include the Voluntary Retirement Incentive, the Voluntary Separation Incentive, Special Separation Bonuses, Temporary Early Retirement Authority, the Voluntary Early Release/Retirement Program, and Early Outs. The Administration’s proposals to drawdown and restructure the Army have a number of strategic implications. These implications include the capability to conduct stability and counterinsurgency operations, the ability to fight two simultaneous wars, shifting strategic emphasis to the Asia- Pacific region, and how the Army will maintain presence in the Middle East. Other related concerns include reducing Army presence in Europe and the Army’s role in the rest of the world. Until the Army provides detailed plans on how many units will be cut, how remaining units will be structured, and where they will be based, it is difficult to determine the impact on Army weapon systems under development and the overall budgetary implications of the Army’s plan. Potential issues for Congress include the strategic risk posed by a smaller and restructured Army; the “health” of the Army given the impending downsizing; where the force will be based; the role of the National Guard and Reserves; and should the enrollment at the service academies (West Point) be reduced to pre-9/11 levels. This report will be updated as circumstances warrant. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service Contents Importance to Congress ............................................................................1 The Administration’s Decision to Drawdown and Restructure the Army ................................1 Background.........................................................................................2 January 6, 2011, News Briefing with Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman Admiral Mullen ....................................................................................2 January 26, 2012, Administration Major Budget Decision Briefing....................................2 President’s FY2013 Budget Request .................................................................4 Brief History of Past Army Drawdowns...............................................................4 Post-World War II..................................................................................4 Post-Vietnam ......................................................................................5 Post Cold War/Desert Storm.........................................................................7 The Current Drawdown and Restructuring.............................................................8 Proposal to Reduce Endstrength.....................................................................8 Units to be Eliminated.............................................................................8 Units to Be Realigned and Restructured.............................................................9 Changes in Unit Basing.............................................................................10 Impact on the National Guard and Reserve...........................................................10 Force Reduction and Force-Shaping Programs ........................................................11 The Human Dimension of a Force Drawdown............................................................11 Accessions ........................................................................................12 Officer Accessions.................................................................................13 Title 10 Drawdown Authorities—Involuntary..........................................................13 Selective Early Retirement Boards (SERB)...........................................................13 Reduction-in-Force (RIF)...........................................................................13 Title 10 Drawdown Authorities—Voluntary............................................................14 Voluntary Retirement Incentive.....................................................................14 Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) ..............................................................14 Special Separation Bonus (SSB) ....................................................................14 Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA)....................................................... 15 Voluntary Early Release/Retirement Program (VEERP) ................................................15 “Early Outs” ......................................................................................15 Other Personnel Tools with Drawdown Implications...................................................16 Enlisted Retention Control Points .................................................................16 Officer Promotion Non-selection ...................................................................16 Strategic Implications ............................................................................17 Stability and Counterinsurgency Operations ....................................................... 17 Fighting Two Simultaneous Wars.....................................................................18 Asia/Pacific Shift and Strategic Emphasis .........................................................19 Middle East....................................................................................... 20 Reduced Force Structure in Europe..................................................................21 Rest of the World and “Small Footprint Operations” ................................................22 Potential Impact on Major Army Weapon Systems Programs.............................................23 Potential Budgetary Implications...................................................................24 Potential Issues for Congress......................................................................24 Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service Strategic Risk.....................................................................................24 Health of the Force ...............................................................................25 Basing the Force.................................................................................. 26 National Guard and Reserves .......................................................................27 Service Academies..................................................................................28 Tables Table 1. Army Retention Control Points (RCP).......................................................16 Table 2. Promotion Timing and Opportunity..........................................................17 Contacts Author Contact Information.........................................................................28 Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 1 Importance to Congress The Administration’s proposal to reduce the size of the Army as well as restructure units and headquarters has national security implications that Congress will need to consider as part of its oversight and authorizations and appropriations role. In terms of size of the force, Congress sets the endstrength for both the Active and Reserve components of the Army. Congress also authorizes and appropriates funds needed for Army restructuring, training exercises, equipment, basing, and infrastructure, as well as the various manpower management tools the Army could use to drawdown the force. Administration decisions about the structure of the Army can have a significant impact on Army bases in a Member’s district or state that can also have economic ramifications for communities around or near affected bases. The Administration’s downsizing and restructuring proposals also can have a significant impact on local and state defense-related industries. Lastly, soldiers who might be affected by the Administration’s decisions constitute a unique element of Members’ constituencies. The Administration’s Decision to Drawdown and Restructure the Army Most experts would agree that the Administration’s decision to reduce the size of the Army was an outgrowth of its decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011 and the stated intent of handing over security responsibilities for Afghanistan to the Afghan government and Afghan National Army by the end of 2014. The United States has routinely drawn down forces upon the completion of a major conflict, eschewing a “large standing army” during peacetime— although it can be argued that in a post-9/11 world, that “peacetime” is a somewhat subjective term. For the purposes of this report, the potential impact on the Army if sequestration of the defense budget is enacted under the provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) will not be examined. Although the Administration has provided Congress with the potential impact of sequestration on the Army and the other Services, most agree the size and scope of the defense budget cuts under P.L. 112-25 would require significant reduction and restructuring of the Services, which is currently beyond the scope of this report. Also beyond the scope of this report are U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, which, although part of the Army, fall under the control of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).1 1 For information on U.S. Army Special Operations Forces and U.S. Special Operations Command, see CRS Report RS21048, U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress, by Andrew Feickert. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 2 Background January 6, 2011, News Briefing with Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman Admiral Mullen2 On January 6, 2011, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen held a news briefing “announcing a number of decisions and measures that mark the next major step in this department’s reform agenda.” These decisions and measures, largely taken in response to fiscal pressures, involved a variety of cross-Service actions, including consolidating and eliminating headquarters and organizations, modifying or eliminating weapon systems programs, and force reductions. Army force structure-specific actions included reduce Active Army endstrength by 27,000 troops starting in 2015, and an acknowledgement that there was “excess” force structure in Europe but no action would be taken until 2015 or without consultation with allies. Secretary Gates noted the Army was also in the process of divesting itself of an additional 22,000 troops who were temporarily authorized in 2010 and this temporary endstrength would be eliminated by 2013. Combined with the 27,000 Active permanent endstrength reductions that will start in 2015, this represents a reduction of 49,000 Active Duty troops from FY2011 levels. January 26, 2012, Administration Major Budget Decision Briefing3 On January 26, 2012, senior DOD leaders unveiled a new defense strategy, based on a review of the current defense strategy and budgetary constraints. This new strategy envisions a smaller, leaner military that is agile, flexible, rapidly deployable, and technologically advanced; rebalancing global posture and presence, emphasizing where potential problems are likely to arise, such as Asia-Pacific and the Middle East; maintaining presence elsewhere in the world (Europe, Africa, and Latin America), using innovative partnerships, strengthening key alliances, and developing new partnerships; being able to quickly confront and defeat aggression from any adversary anytime, anyplace; and 2 Information from this section is taken from U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, “DOD News Briefing with Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen from the Pentagon,” January 6, 2011. 3 Information in this section is taken from U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, “Major Budget Decisions Briefing from the Pentagon,” presented by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey, January 26, 2012; U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, “Major Budget Decisions Briefing from the Pentagon,” presented by Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., January 26, 2012; and U.S. Department of Defense Publication, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, January 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 3 protect and prioritize key investments in technology and new capabilities as well as the capacity to grow, adapt, mobilize and surge when needed. During this briefing, the following Army force structure decisions were highlighted: Asia-Pacific/Middle East: Sustain Army structure in the Pacific; Europe and Global Partners: Adjust Our Posture in Europe: Eliminate two forward-stationed Army heavy brigades; Maintain NATO Article 5 commitments4 and ensure interoperability with allied forces by allocating a U.S.-based brigade to NATO Response Force;5 and Rotate U.S.-based Army units to Europe for training and exercises. Forces No Longer Sized for Long-Term Stability Operations: Reduce Active Army endstrength. Army will go from about 570K in 2010 to 490K in the Future Year Defense Plan (FYDP); and Preserve expertise in security force assistance and counterinsurgency. Protecting the Potential for Future Adjustments: Retain a slightly more senior force in the Active Army to allow growth if needed; Preserve Army organizational structure and training force to allow growth if needed; and Retain a Ready and Capable Reserve Component; Reduce Army National Guard endstrength slightly; Sustain increased readiness prior to mobilization; and Maintain key combat-support and combat service-support capabilities. In addition to force structure and endstrength decisions, the Administration also made the following specific commitments: 4 According to NATO, http://www.nato.int/terrorism/five.htm, Article 5 of the Washington Treaty is the basis of a fundamental principle of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It provides that if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked. This is the principle of collective defense. 5 According to NATO, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_49755.htm, The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime, and special forces components that the Alliance can deploy quickly to wherever it is needed. It is comprised of three parts: a command and control element from the NATO Command Structure; the Immediate Response Force, a joint force of about 13,000 high-readiness troops provided by Allies; and a Response Forces Pool, which can supplement the Immediate Response Force when necessary. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 4 A significant land force presence would be maintained in Korea as well as an operationally responsive peacetime presence in the Middle East; In light of repositioning of forces overseas and eliminating force structure, the President would ask Congress to authorize the use of the base realignment and closure (BRAC) process; The new strategic guidelines will require the Army to return to full-spectrum training, develop a versatile mix of capabilities, formations, and equipment to succeed on land, including environments where access will be contested; and Align a brigade combat team (BCT) with each geographic combatant command. President’s FY2013 Budget Request6 On February 13, 2012, DOD publically released the President’s FY2013 DOD Budget Request. On the whole, the FY2013 budget request did not provide additional details on how the Army would reduce Active Duty endstrength and how many and which BCTs and other supporting units and headquarters would be eliminated. The FY2013 Budget Request did, however, reaffirm the Army’s 490,000 Active endstrength, the elimination of a minimum of eight BCTs, and a commitment to study brigade structure. Brief History of Past Army Drawdowns Post-World War II7 During World War II, the Army determined what its reasonable post-war strength should be and developed plans for a peaceful demobilization. Initially, the Army established a post-war goal of an Active and Reserve structure capable of mobilizing 4 million troops within a year of the outbreak of a future war. Later, the Army set the strength of the active ground and air forces at 1.5 million (the Army Air Corps did not become the U.S. Air Force until July 26, 1947, with the enactment of the National Security Act of 1947, P.L. 80- 235). The vast majority of servicemembers in the Army during World War II were draftees. The Army’s demobilization plans provided for the release of troops on an individual basis based on points. Soldiers received point credits for length of service, combat participation and awards, time spent overseas, and parenthood. Also factoring into the Army’s plans was the availability of shipping to bring overseas troops to the United States, as well as the capacity to process the discharged soldiers. However, pressure for faster demobilization from the public, Congress, and the troops themselves affected the Army’s plan for an orderly process. The Army responded by easing eligibility requirements and released half of its 8 million troops by the end of 1945. In early 1946, the Army slowed its return of troops from overseas to meet its constabulatory requirements in Germany and 6 Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, “Overview: United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request,” February 2012. 7 Information in this section, unless otherwise noted, is taken from Chapter 7: American Military History, Volume II, from Army Center for Military History website, http://www.history.army.mil/books/AMH-V2/AMH%20V2/ chapter7.htm, accessed February 3, 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 5 Japan, which elicited another public outcry to speed up demobilization. Public opposition diminished after the Army more than halved its remaining strength during the first six months of 1946. President Truman was determined to balance the national budget, which also affected the Army’s manpower. The Administration’s dollar ceiling for FY1947 led to a new maximum Army strength of just over 1 million. In order to reach this new level, the Army stopped draft calls and released all post-war draftees along with any other troops eligible for demobilization. By June of 1947, the Army consisted of 684,000 ground troops and 306,000 airmen. Although considered large for a peacetime Army by American standards, the loss of many capable maintenance specialists resulted in widespread deterioration of equipment. Active Army units were understrength, had many barely trained replacements, and were considered “shadows of the efficient organizations they had been at the end of the war.”8 This post-war reduction saw the Army go from 8 million soldiers and 89 divisions in 1945 to 591,000 men and 10 divisions by 1950—a 93% reduction in manpower over five years. Half of the Army’s 10 divisions were deployed overseas, with Far Eastern Command controlling four infantry divisions on occupation duty in Japan and the European Command controlling one infantry division in Germany. The remaining five divisions (two airborne, two infantry, and one armored division) were stationed in the United States and constituted a general reserve to meet emergencies. All 10 divisions had undergone organizational changes, largely based on wartime experience. Despite this reorganization, 9 out of 10 divisions were well below their authorized strength, with most infantry regiments having only two of their three authorized battalions, for example. Also, most units lacked their organic armored units and lacked their wartime complement of weapons. Whatever weapons and equipment these units had were described as “worn-out leftovers from World War II.”9 The low personnel and equipment readiness levels in 1950 became apparent during the initially weak U.S. military response when the Korean War broke out in June of that year. Post-Vietnam10 During the 1960s, DOD had shaped and sized the armed forces to fight two and a half wars simultaneously. The two major theater wars, or MTWs, were a war Europe, one in Asia, and a “half war”—a small-scale contingency operation. The force to fight this two-and-a-half-war construct numbered over 950,000 through the middle of the 1960s, and at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968, the Army grew to over 1,570,000 men and women. The conscripted Army of the Vietnam War had a disproportionate representation of lower-income and non-collegeeducated soldiers in its ranks, with many middle and upper class men able to qualify for student deferments by attending college. This perceived unfairness of the draft and the protracted nature of the Vietnam War was credited with helping to bring about the All-Volunteer Force. 8 Ibid., p. 201. 9 Ibid., p. 213. 10 Information in this section, unless otherwise noted, is taken from Chapter 12: American Military History, Volume II, from Army Center for Military History website, http://www.history.army.mil/books/AMH-V2/AMH%20V2/ chapter12.htm, accessed February 7, 2012 and Gary L. Thompson, Major. U.S. Army, “Army Downsizing Following World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and a Comparison to Recent Army Downsizing,” Thesis for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS, 2002. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 6 In 1970, in anticipation of a drawdown in Vietnam, the Army instituted a reduction in force— known as a RIF—with the intent of getting rid of low-performing soldiers that had accumulated during Vietnam. The process was applied unevenly and, although the Army eliminated some “deadwood,” a significant number of good soldiers were released and many substandard soldiers remained on active duty.11 1973 was a pivotal year for the U.S. Army as direct involvement in Vietnam’s ground war ended and the transition to an all-volunteer Army began. Many believed the Army was a weakened institution and military and political leaders were blamed by many for the poor conduct and outcome of the war. Because of the unpopular nature of the war, many returning soldiers faced a hostile or indifferent public reception. Noted one historian, “[T]he Army that left Vietnam and returned to America and its garrisons in Germany and Korea in the 1970s was at low ebb on morale, discipline, and military effectiveness.” The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam in 1973 also ushered in an era of decreased defense budgets. In 1973, in light of budgetary constraints, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger formally instituted the Total Force. These budget reductions translated into a smaller Army and the Army’s endstrength declined from its Vietnam War high of 1.57 million in FY1968 to 785,000 in FY1974. By 1974, the Army fielded 13 Active Duty divisions. Chief of Staff of the Army General Creighton Abrams believed that a 13 division Active Duty Army was insufficient to meet the United States’ global requirements. Furthermore, the Army’s Director of Manpower and Forces noted the Army’s 13 divisions constituted the smallest force since prior to the Korean War and, in reality, the Army could field only 12 divisions, and only 4 of those divisions were rated as “combat ready.” General Abrams obtained the Secretary of Defense’s approval to increase the Army’s active divisions to 16 without an increase in Army Active Duty endstrength, which stood at 765,000. This was achieved, in part, by shifting soldiers from Army headquarters and instructional units to Army divisions, assigning reserve component “round-out” brigades to late-deploying Active Duty divisions, and moving combat support and combat service support units to the Reserve Component. There were a number of perceived problems associated with the Total Force. Filling the Army’s three new Active Duty divisions from capped endstrength severely taxed the Army’s already thin manpower pool. The relationship between the Active Duty and Reserve Components was considered by many as poor, with Active Duty commanders typically viewing their Reserve Component counterparts as “weekend warriors” and doubting the combat readiness of reserve forces. The heavy reliance on reserve forces for combat support and service support also meant active forces would have a difficult time operating in the early days of a major conflict until reserve forces could be mobilized and trained up to standard. While some viewed the heavy reliance on reserve forces as problematic, General Abrams believed increased reliance on the reserves would be beneficial in obtaining American public support in the event of a major conflict 11 Gary L. Thompson, Major. U.S. Army, “Army Downsizing Following World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and a Comparison to Recent Army Downsizing,” Thesis for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS, 2002, p. 46. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 7 and avoid the kind of public dissonance associated with Vietnam. Issues related to limited Army endstrength versus requirements, poor recruit quality, budgetary constraints, and lack of public support in the mid-to-late 1970s led senior Army leadership to characterize the Army as being a “hollow force.”12 Post Cold War/Desert Storm 13 The “hollow force” of the mid-1970s and early 1980s recovered due in part to the arguments of senior DOD leaders, congressional action, and the defense build-up under the Reagan Administration. In 1987, the Active Army consisted of 780,815 personnel comprising 18 divisions, with 2 of the 18 divisions still forming and not yet at 100% strength. In late 1989, the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union began to unravel. The demise of the Soviet Union led the United States and its allies to pursue a “peace dividend,” whereby defense budgets and manpower would be drastically reduced in order to decrease taxes and divert resources to other uses. In the end, a 535,000 soldier Active Duty force—a more than 30% cut—was agreed to, constituting the smallest Army since 1939. The late 1980s saw a fundamental rethinking of U.S. defense policy and Army force structure. A 1987 Army force structure review examining the declining Soviet threat recommended a smaller force structure of 15 divisions and 640,000 soldiers. This force level and structure was referred to as the “BASE Force.” Under this scenario, Chief of Staff of the Army Carl Vuono argued that decreasing force structure by more than 35,000 soldiers per year would jeopardize readiness. Many believed in order to achieve any meaningful savings, the Army would need to be smaller than General Vuono’s 640,000 soldier Army. Iraq’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait suspended downsizing debates. At the conclusion of the “100 Hour War” to liberate Kuwait, many saw it as a validation of a more technologically focused approach toward warfare, and the policy debates about reducing the size of the Army were renewed. In 1993, the Clinton Administration announced it would pursue defense budget reductions of at least $88 billion from FY1994-FY1997. As part of this effort, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin initiated a Bottom Up Review intended to modify force structure based on current and projected threats to national security. The review recommended placing added emphasis on U.S. air power and a reduction of Army endstrength to 495,000 soldiers while retaining the ability to fight two MTWs simultaneously. In March 1994, the Bottom Up Review recommendations were implemented and Active Army endstrength reductions to 495,000 soldiers began and 2 of 12 divisions were eliminated. 12 The term “hollow force” was used initially in the mid-to-late 1970s and subsequently in the 1990s to characterize military forces that appear mission-ready but, upon examination, suffer from shortages of personnel, equipment, and maintenance or from deficiencies in training. For a more detailed examination of hollow forces see CRS Report R42334, A Historical Perspective on “Hollow Forces,” by Andrew Feickert and Stephen Daggett. 13 Information in this section, unless otherwise noted, is taken from Chapter 13: American Military History, Volume II, from Army Center for Military History website, http://www.history.army.mil/books/AMH-V2/PDF/Chapter13.pdf, accessed February 9, 2012 and Gary L. Thompson, Major. U.S. Army, “Army Downsizing Following World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and a Comparison to Recent Army Downsizing,” Thesis for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS, 2002. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 8 The Current Drawdown and Restructuring Proposal to Reduce Endstrength14 As of January 27, 2012, Army Chief of Staff General Odierno noted that 90,000 soldiers were deployed in support of operations and another 96,000 soldiers forward-stationed overseas in nearly 150 countries. DOD announced that the Army would reduce the size of the Active Army starting in 2012 from a post-9/11 peak in 2010 of about 570,000 soldiers to 490,000 soldiers by the end of 2017. DOD plans for only marginal reductions in the Army National Guard and none in the Army Reserve. Army leadership stated endstrength reductions would “follow a drawdown ramp that allows us to take care of soldiers and families while maintaining a ready and capable force.”15 Army leaders noted that the 490,000-strong Army would have the following advantages over the 482,000-strong Army of 2001: a combat-seasoned force; increased investments in special operations forces and the cyber domain; drastically improved command and control capabilities, which significantly enhance mission command; modularized brigade combat teams (BCTs); increased aviation assets; an operational National Guard and Reserve affording increased depth and capacity; and lessons learned over 10 years of combat.16 Units to be Eliminated17 During the January 27, 2012, briefing, DOD and Army leaders stated they planned to remove at least eight BCTs from existing structure and the future organizing construct of the Army was under review. Army leaders also stated two heavy BCTs (HBCTs) would be removed from Europe and these two HBCTs would not be restationed in the United States but instead eliminated from Army force structure. On February 16, 2012, the Army issued an information paper to Congress18 that provided additional details. According to the paper: 14 Information in this section is taken from DOD White Paper “Defense Budget Priorities and Choices,” January 2012 and transcripts of Army Chief of Staff Raymond T. Odierno Army Briefing on the FY-13 Budget Request, January 27, 2012. 15 Transcripts of Army Chief of Staff Raymond T. Odierno Army Briefing on the FY-13 Budget Request, January 27, 2012. 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. 18 Army Information Paper, “Subject: Army Force Structure in Europe,” February 16, 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 9 The Army’s V Corps Headquarters will not return to Europe upon the completion of its deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom in late FY2013. The long-term future and location of the V Corps Headquarters will be addressed as part of the Total Army Analysis (TAA) process in which overall force structure and endstrength issues are evaluated. Two HBCTs will be inactivated (the 170th BCT in FY2013 and the 172nd BCT in FY2014). Additional Army enabler forces, potentially in the range of 2,500 soldiers, could be reduced from Europe as part of the TAA process.19 Press reports suggest that the Army might cut more than eight BCTs Army-wide.20 These additional cuts would most likely result from a reorganization of the BCT’s structure, which is presently being studied by the Army staff. It was also reported that it is highly likely than the Army will cut more HBCTs, as DOD has issued strategic guidance calling for a leaner and more rapidly deployable force. As already noted, the 170th HBCT stationed in Baumholder, Germany, and the 172nd BCT stationed in Grafenwoehr, Germany, will be eliminated. In terms of cuts to forces in the Pacific, the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Raymond T. Odierno reportedly stated Army forces in the Pacific would remain at current levels, with plans to keep Stryker, infantry, and aviation units—about 10,300 soldiers—at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.21 Units to Be Realigned and Restructured22 In terms of realigning and restructuring the Active Army, DOD and the Army announced in January 2012 that active forces would no longer be sized to conduct large and protracted stability operations; Army force structure would be sustained in the Pacific, and a persistent presence would be maintained in the Middle East; Army forces will rotate through Europe and other regions on a more frequent basis; a U.S.-based heavy brigade would be allocated to the NATO Response Force; a brigade combat team (BCT) would be aligned with each geographic combatant command and provide them with cultural and language training to support engagement operations; and 19 Ibid. 20 Information in this section is taken from Sebastian Sprenger, “Odierno: Army May Cut More Than Eight Brigade Combat Teams,” InsideDefense.com, January 27, 2012; Michelle Tan and Richard Sandza, “European Pullout: Plan to Move 2 BCTs and Up to 10,000 Soldiers Could Start in October,” Army Times, January 23, 2012; and Michelle Tan, “Reduction to Include 8 BCTs,” Army Times, February 6, 2012. 21 William Cole, “Army Won’t Shrink Force Level in Pacific Region, General Says,” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 18, 2102. 22 Information in this section is taken from DOD White Paper “Defense Budget Priorities and Choices,” January 2012 and transcripts of Army Chief of Staff Raymond T. Odierno Army Briefing on the FY-13 Budget Request, January 27, 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 10 BCTs and enabling units would be examined for optimum design, which could lead to further BCT reductions if the Army decides to increase the capability of BCTs. In all cases, little detail was provided, and many believe the Army is developing detailed plans as to how these realignments and restructurings will be accomplished. As all of these actions will have significant security and budgetary implications, it seems logical that the Army not draw out these studies and decisions, and make its plans known to Congress in a timely basis so strategic and funding decisions can be made. Press reports offer additional details on how BCTS might be restructured.23 Prior to the 2003 decision to restructure the Army to a modular force, all combat brigades had three maneuver battalions (infantry, armor, or mechanized infantry). Under modularity, only Stryker battalions have three maneuver battalions, and infantry BCTs (IBCTs) and heavy BCTs (HBCTs) have only two, based on a contested belief at the time that additional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) units added to the BCT could substitute for the third maneuver battalion. Reportedly, Army leaders returning from Iraq and Afghanistan over the past few years have lobbied to add back the third maneuver battalion to IBCTs and HBCTs, as they argued that this added battalion would enable more successful combat, patrol, and site-security operations. In order to add this third battalion, it is likely it would be taken from existing BCTs and these BCTs, after their two maneuver battalions are reassigned, would be eliminated from Army force structure. Changes in Unit Basing24 On January 27, 2012, Secretary of Defense Panetta indicated that he would ask Congress to authorize a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process whereby bases in the United States can be realigned or closed. If Congress approves BRAC, it is likely some Army bases could be realigned or closed, which could require some Army units to move to other new or existing bases. With the reliance on an increased use of rotational forces under the Administration’s new strategic guidelines, it is likely a number of smaller bases—some permanent but many temporary—might need to be established to accommodate these rotational forces. In terms of the two HBCTs eliminated from Europe, it is not known what will happen to the Army bases at Baumholder and Grafenwoehr. Impact on the National Guard and Reserve25 As previously noted, under the new strategic guidance DOD intends to 23 Sebastian Sprenger, “Odierno: Army May Cut More Than Eight Brigade Combat Teams,” InsideDefense.com, January 27, 2012. 24 Information in this section is taken from U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, “Major Budget Decisions Briefing from the Pentagon,” presented by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey, January 26, 2012; U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, “Major Budget Decisions Briefing from the Pentagon,” presented by Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., January 26, 2012; and U.S. Department of Defense Publication, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, January 2012. 25 Ibid. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 11 retain a ready and capable reserve component: reduce National Guard endstrength slightly; sustain increased readiness prior to mobilization; and maintain key combat-support and combat service-support capabilities. As with previous pronouncements, no specifics were provided as to reductions in Reserve Component endstrength and how readiness and support capabilities will be maintained. Chief of Staff of the Army, General Raymond T. Odierno, reportedly stated the Pentagon’s decision to cut the active force by 80,000 soldiers will place greater reliance on the National Guard and Reserves, “particularly if the United States gets into two major long-term combat operations at the same time.”26 The report further notes that the United States will now be required to keep its reserve forces at a higher state of readiness than it did before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. General Odierno suggests if the Army had to fight two large, simultaneous, long-term wars, the United States would rely more heavily on allies and request a large-scale mobilization of the reserves. The reserves would also be used to “buy time to increase the size of the active component” and because of the requirement for higher readiness, a new readiness model would need to be developed to keep the National Guard and Reserves at a higher state of readiness.27 Force Reduction and Force-Shaping Programs Historically, military drawdowns have been rather blunt instruments of national policy. As noted in the earlier descriptions of the drawdowns at the conclusion of World War II and Vietnam, the focus was primarily on immediate reductions in accessions and separating/discharging others as soon as possible. The rapid and poorly planned demobilization of Army forces in the past had a deleterious impact on morale, terminated many aspiring military careers, and released significant numbers of military personnel with limited transition assistance. The recent post-Cold War drawdown was substantially different. Congress still determined the endstrength levels but provided a number of voluntary and involuntary tools to shape each year group of the force—officer, warrant officer, and enlisted. Voluntary separations were emphasized, and some of the tools had robust financial incentives. Few skills were exempt from consideration, and every soldier was vulnerable for separation at some point during nearly a decade of drawdown. It was also the first time that resources were focused on transition assistance and stressed the importance of working with military alumni, even after their separation. The Human Dimension of a Force Drawdown For the past decade, U.S. military forces have been engaged in combat operations on two fronts— Iraq and Afghanistan. The deployments to these austere environments have been long—typically 26 Information in this section is taken from Lolita C. Baldor, “Army Chief Sees Greater Role for Guard and Reserves,” Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, January 27, 2012. 27 Transcripts of Army Chief of Staff Raymond T. Odierno Army Briefing on the FY-13 Budget Request, January 27, 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 12 7 to 12 months for ground forces, sometimes involuntarily extended to support surge operations and requiring the use of “Stop Loss” policies.28 Deployments have also been frequent, sometimes with less than a year between rotations resulting in reduced “dwell time” for both active and reserve component personnel. These conflicts have often been very stressful for service members, spouses, and families as indicated by higher than normal divorce and suicide rates.29 Throughout this period, support from the American public and political leaders has been consistent. Many now refer to our service members as “America’s Heroes” and honor the wounded as “Wounded Warriors.” They return home to welcome ceremonies, spontaneous outbreaks of applause in airports and even those who may disagree with the war effort have been generally supportive of military personnel. Soon the services will begin to transition from high-tempo combat operations to a more stable training and garrison environment, while simultaneously downsizing and reshaping the force. Those with multiple combat tours may feel that they have lost a common cause. Those with pride in the units that they fought with may now see those units eliminated or friends separated from the service either voluntarily or involuntarily. Those who have experienced a military focused on fighting insurgency on multiple fronts over the past decade will see a shift of emphasis to training for full-spectrum operations and individual professional development. The collective effect of these changes will inevitably result in a temporary degradation of individual morale and unit effectiveness. The key for leaders at all levels will be to refocus and minimize these potentially negative impacts. However, reducing accessions has its own implications. Accessions It is assumed that the post-Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) drawdown will focus primarily on reduced accessions, because a reduction in accessions significantly reduces the need for other voluntary and involuntary force shaping actions and their inherent negative implications. The military acquires or procures new personnel annually—enlisted, warrant officer, and officer—through the enlisted recruiting process and officer accession programs. The number to be recruited or accessed is based on the congressionally established endstrength, which is published annually in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). With a known endstrength, the Services can then project losses for the coming year, compare this to the endstrength target, and determine the number to be recruited and trained. During the years of OIF/OEF, the Army generally recruited approximately 75,000 to 80,000 enlisted soldiers a year, initially to sustain an endstrength of 482,000 and, later, to incrementally grow the force to its eventual target strength of 562,000. As announced in the FY2013 President’s Budget,30 the Army will be required to draw down to an endstrength of 490,000 by FY2017, a reduction of 72,000.31 With five years to accomplish, it appears that the accessions program could 28 For a complete description of the Stop Loss program, see CRS Report R40121, U.S. Military Stop Loss Program: Key Questions and Answers. 29 Military Review, “Saving Military Families,” by Captain (Navy) Gene Thomas Gomulka, January-February 2010. 30 Department of Defense, “Overview: Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request,” Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), February 2012. 31 The FY2013 Budget also announced a drawdown for the Marine Corps from its current strength of 202,100 to (continued...) Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 13 absorb a reduction of nearly 15,000 per year and still sustain the force over time, ensure the right mix of training and experience, and allow for reasonable promotion expectations. Officer Accessions In 2008, Congress authorized an increased enrollment at the U.S. Military Academy,32 from 4,000 to 4,400, and the Army greatly expanded its Officer Candidate School (OCS) program at Fort Benning, GA, while also increasing the size of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. West Point and ROTC have four-year timelines associated with their programs, but the duration of the OCS program is measured in weeks rather than years. Therefore, to reduce officer accessions, OCS can be quickly ramped down with any additional decrements coming from the ROTC program and potentially reverting the service academies to their previous cap of 4,000 students. Title 10 Drawdown Authorities33—Involuntary Several authorities in Title 10 result in involuntary separation. They were used sparingly during the post-Cold War drawdown and always preceded by the offer of voluntary incentives. These involuntary tools include the following: Selective Early Retirement Boards (SERB)34 Selective Early Retirement is the involuntary retirement of senior officers who are (1) serving lieutenant colonels or commanders (Navy) who have been twice non-selected for promotion to colonel or captain (Navy) or (2) are serving colonels or captains (Navy) who have at least four years in grade and have not been selected for promotion. If not selected for SERB, an officer cannot be considered for another five years. Those selected must be retired not later than the first day of the seventh month after the Secretary concerned approves the recommendation for retirement. While considered involuntary, those selected will receive retired pay and remain eligible for military healthcare and the other benefits associated with military retirement. Reduction-in-Force (RIF)35 Reduction-in-Force is the second involuntary program available for downsizing the officer cohorts. While SERB is focused on those with 20 or more years of service, RIF is directed at those with more than 6 but less than 20 years of service. While the post-Cold War drawdown (...continued) 182,100, also by FY2017. 32 Section 540, P.L. 110-417, October 14, 2008. Congress expanded each of the service academy programs—U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy from 4,000 to 4,400 as determined for any year as of the day before the last day of the academic year. 33 For a detailed discussion of each drawdown authority, see David McCormick’s “The Downsized Warrior: America’s Army in Transition,” 1998. 34 Section 638, Title 10. 35 Section 647, Title 10. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 14 emphasized voluntary separations and retirements, RIF was available (but used sparingly) if the voluntary programs did not generate adequate volunteers. Title 10 Drawdown Authorities—Voluntary36 The drawdown tools available during the post-Cold War drawdown are still available to force planners, with several of them recently reinstated by the FY2012 NDAA. These programs were used extensively during the post-Cold War drawdown of the 1990s. While these tools are available to all of the services, the following descriptions will focus on Army programs for the drawdown. They include the following: Voluntary Retirement Incentive37 The Voluntary Retirement Incentive is the one incentive that was not available during the post- Cold War drawdown; it was introduced in the FY2012 NDAA. This program targets retirementeligible servicemembers with between 20 and 29 years of service. The amount of the incentive is determined by the Service Secretary but may not exceed the member’s annual basic pay. In exchange for the payment, the servicemember agrees to retire. The program is capped at no more than 675 officers, and the program expires on December 31, 2018. Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI)38 The Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) is an incentive that is paid annually for twice the number of years the individual served on active duty. Servicemembers must have served between 6 and 20 years and additional eligibility criteria are established by the Service Secretary. The formula for determining the annual annuity is 2.5% times monthly basic pay at the time of separation, times 12, times the number of years of service. The original authority for this incentive was the National Defense Authorization Act for 1992/1993,39 which terminated the program on December 31, 2001. The VSI program was reinstated by the FY2012 NDAA40 for the period December 31, 2011, through December 31, 2018. Special Separation Bonus (SSB)41 The Special Separation Bonus (SSB) is a voluntary separation incentive available to any eligible member of the Armed Forces. SSB is a lump sum payment equal to 15% times years of service (YOS) and 12 times monthly basic pay. To be eligible, members must have served for more than 6 years but for less than 20. Other requirements may be established by the Service Secretary. The 36 Calculating the actual value of any of these voluntary programs requires individual calculations best done by a finance and accounting professional. 37 Section 504, P.L. 112-81, December 31, 2011. 38 Section 1175, Title 10. 39 P.L. 102-190, December 5, 1991. 40 Section 504, P.L. 112-81, December 31, 2011. 41 Section 1174a, Title 10. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 15 original authority for the SSB program also expired on December 31, 2001, but was reinstated by the FY2012 NDAA42 for the period December 31, 2011, through December 31, 2018. VSI and SSB were complementary programs that were both offered to eligible populations. The primary difference was that VSI was an annuity program, while SSB represents a lump sum payment. Those who volunteer for VSI or SSB do not receive retirement benefits such as a lifelong annuity and retiree health care benefits, although they may later qualify for retirement through reserve service. Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA)43 The Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) provided an opportunity for eligible officers, warrant officers, and enlisted personnel to retire prior to completion of 20 years of service. Those in selected grades and skills could voluntarily retire with as few as 15 years of service. TERA retirees have their retired pay reduced for every year less than 20. However, as a retiree, they remain eligible for retired pay, military healthcare, commissary and exchange privileges, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities. The original TERA program expired on September 1, 2002, but has been reauthorized by the FY2012 NDAA. The current program began on December 31, 2011, and extends through December 31, 2018. Voluntary Early Release/Retirement Program (VEERP)44 This voluntary program targeted the most junior and the most senior ends of the officer spectrum, with the incentive being a reduction in service obligation. Junior officers (lieutenants and captains) were permitted to resign prior to fulfilling their active duty obligation (five years for U.S. Military Academy graduates, four years for most ROTC scholarship graduates, and three years for Officer Candidate School graduates). Senior officers (lieutenant colonels and colonels) were permitted to retire at their present rank, waiving one year of the existing retirement eligibility criteria (normally three years). For example, a colonel could retire as a colonel but with only two years in grade, rather than the usual three years. This authority was originally included in the FY1991 NDAA. “Early Outs”45 Service Secretaries have the authority to discharge enlisted service members up to three months prior to the end of their term of enlistment. The FY2012 NDAA46 expanded the three-month standard to one year with no loss of benefits for the members taking advantage of this opportunity. However, members are not entitled to pay and allowances for the period not served. There is no termination date associated with this authority. 42 Section 504, P.L. 112-81, December 31, 2011. 43 Section 1293, Title 10 (note). 44 Section 647, Title 10. 45 Section 1171, Title 10. 46 Section 525, P.L. 112-81, December 31, 2011. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 16 Other Personnel Tools with Drawdown Implications Enlisted Retention Control Points The military expects that individual performance will result in the periodic promotion of enlisted personnel as their military experience increases and as their individual responsibility within the organization grows. Those who do not progress in a timely manner may be separated prior to the end of their term of service. This policy is implemented through a series of retention control points that dictate how long a servicemember may remain at the current rank/grade before being promoted. Those who fail promotion in a timely manner can be separated prior to their normal term of service. These retention control points can be adjusted over time and can aid in force shaping by separating those with less potential. The current and previous Army retention control points are shown in Table 1. Table 1. Army Retention Control Points (RCP) “Shaping the enlisted force through tenure” Rank Previous RCP Current RCP (as of June 1, 2011) Private and Private First Class 8 years 5 years Specialist 10 years 8 years Promotable Specialist 15 years 12 years Sergeants 15 years 13 years Promotable Sergeants 20 years 15 years Staff Sergeants 23 years 20 years Notes: The previous RCP allowed a Sergeant (E-5) to remain on active duty until retirement eligibility at 20 years of service. With the recent tightening of these standards, a Sergeant must separate at 13 years and only the Staff Sergeant (E-6) may remain until 20 years. Officer Promotion Non-selection The military’s officer management system is an “up or out” system—officers who fail to promote after being twice considered for the next higher grade may be involuntarily separated. To support the officer manpower requirements during the decade of OIF and OEF, many non-selected officers were selectively continued in their current grade. In addition, the OIF/OEF period was one of unusually high promotion selection rates (opportunity) and reduced time-in-grade (timing) before promotion consideration. With the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and the gradual drawdown of forces in Afghanistan, the services are again enforcing the standards for promotion and retention. The promotion timing and opportunity standards established by DOD are shown in Table 2. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 17 Table 2. Promotion Timing and Opportunity To Grade Opportunity Timing Major/Lieutenant Commander 80 percent 10 years +/- 1 year Lieutenant Colonel/Commander 70 percent 16 years +/- 1 year Colonel/Captain 50 percent 22 year +/- 1 year Source: DOD Instruction 1320.13, July 22, 2009. Notes: Major, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel apply to the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Lieutenant Commander, Commander and Captain apply to the Navy. Most recently, the Air Force involuntarily separated 157 majors who had been twice non-selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.47 These officers received separation pay and other transition benefits and may be eligible to transfer to the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve but their Active Duty careers have ended. Strategic Implications Reducing the size, structure, and number of units in the Active Army has strategic implications for U.S. national security. These implications will be examined in the context of how they apply to the new January 2012 strategic guidelines. Stability48 and Counterinsurgency49 Operations Under the new strategic guidelines, DOD states that one of the primary missions of the U.S. Armed Forces is to: Conduct Stability and Counterinsurgency Operations. In the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States will emphasize non-military means and military-tomilitary cooperation to address instability and reduce the demand for significant U.S. force commitments to stability operations. U.S. forces will nevertheless be ready to conduct limited counterinsurgency and other stability operations if required, operating alongside coalition forces wherever possible. Accordingly, U.S. forces will retain and continue to refine the lessons learned, expertise, and specialized capabilities that have been developed over the past ten years of counterinsurgency and stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, U.S. forces will no longer be sized to conduct large-scale, prolonged stability operations.50 47 The Wall Street Journal, “Air Force Is Following Congress’s Mandate, as It Must,” January 6, 2012. 48 DOD defines stability operations (DOD Instruction 3000.05) as an overarching term encompassing various military missions, tasks, and activities conducted outside the United States in coordination with other instruments of national power to maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment, provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief. 49 DOD defines (Joint Publication 3-24) counterinsurgency as comprehensive civilian and military efforts taken to defeat an insurgency and to address any core grievances. Counterinsurgency is also called COIN. 50 U.S. Department of Defense Publication, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, January 2012. p. 6. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 18 This statement has implications for the Army. First and foremost, the Army will still be required to conduct limited counterinsurgency and stability operations. It is unclear in this context, however, if limited means “scale or duration” or if limited also refers to “level of effort or expected outcome” of these types of operations. Furthermore, it is not known how this deemphasis of stability operations under the new strategic guidelines “squares” with DOD Instruction: 3000.05, Stability Operations, dated September 2009, which stipulates: Stability operations are a core U.S. military mission that the Department of Defense shall be prepared to conduct with proficiency equivalent to combat operations. The Department of Defense shall be prepared to: (1) Conduct stability operations activities throughout all phases of conflict and across the range of military operations, including in combat and non-combat environments. The magnitude of stability operations missions may range from small-scale, short-duration to large-scale, long-duration.51 Another implication has to do with DOD’s pronouncement that “U.S. forces will no longer be sized to conduct large-scale, prolonged stability operations.” It can be argued, however, the Army did not “size” itself to “conduct large-scale, prolonged stability operations” in the past because during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army had sufficient units to commit to stability operations and combat operations alike. Instead, the Army was sized to meet its self-imposed rotational model, whereby units were deployed, on average, for a year to Iraq or Afghanistan and then rotated back to their home station. While the Army’s one-year rotation policy was considered necessary to sustain its forces under these circumstances, if events warrant the Army maintains it can deploy all forces until the conflict ends (as it did in World War II where units were deployed to Europe and the Pacific until war’s end). In this sense, the Army was not sized to conduct largescale, prolonged stability operations but instead was sized to meet what it considered a forcereadiness model centered around a one-year deployment into a combat theater of operations. Therefore, for future sizing endeavors, the duration of deployment might serve as a critical variable in determining force size. Fighting Two Simultaneous Wars Another primary mission under the new strategic guidelines is to: Deter and Defeat Aggression. ... As a nation with important interests in multiple regions, our forces must be capable of deterring and defeating aggression by an opportunistic adversary in one region even when our forces are committed to a large-scale operation elsewhere. Our planning envisages forces that are able to fully deny a capable state’s aggressive objectives in one region by conducting a combined arms campaign across all domains – land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace. ... Even when U.S. forces are committed to a large-scale operation in one region, they will be capable of denying the objectives of – or imposing unacceptable costs on – an opportunistic aggressor in a second region. ... Our ground forces will be responsive and capitalize on balanced lift, presence, and prepositioning to maintain the agility needed to remain prepared for the several areas in which such conflicts could occur.52 51 DOD Instruction 3000.05, Stability Operations, September 2009, p. 2. 52 U.S. Department of Defense Publication, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, January 2012. p. 4. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 19 This statement effectively releases the Army from the responsibility of sizing and equipping itself to fight the “two simultaneous major theater wars (MTW)” construct that has played a major factor in the size and structure of the Army since 1993. From a geo-strategic standpoint, some have argued that the two MTW construct was unrealistic and put unnecessary stress on the force, while others suggest that by abandoning the ability to fight two MTWs simultaneously, the United States could be inviting potential aggressors to challenge us if we become engaged in a major conflict, knowing the best we can do is “deter” their aspirations. While specifics on how this will directly affect the Army in terms of size and structure have not been made public, there are some potential implications. If the Army continues to be deployed and committed to a wide range of world-wide operations as many expect, a smaller Active Army would need to be (1) more responsive (i.e., deployable) and (2) more capable than the current force if it is to “remain prepared for the several areas in which such conflicts could occur.” In terms of responsiveness, the sea and air lift capabilities of the Navy and Air Force play an important role in deploying the Army but also of importance is how the Army is structured (i.e., heavy versus light forces). One means of “lightening” the Army could be to reduce the number of HBCTs either by eliminating them outright or placing them in the Reserves. A possible risk associated with this course of action is an “opportunistic aggressor” that might have mechanized or armored forces of its own, requiring the United States to counter with heavy forces. In terms of increased capability, with fewer forces to draw on, units sent could be required to “punch above their weight” and face numerically and “heavier” enemy forces. One solution to this dilemma could be the course of action currently under consideration—adding a third maneuver battalion and support units to IBCTs and HBCTs. Another possible solution could be technological enhancement, which could prove difficult under current and future budgetary constraints. Another implication is an increased reliance on the National Guard and Reserves. Under this scenario, some Guard and Reserve units would likely need to be just as deployable and as ready as their active-duty counterparts, which could prove difficult, given the nature of these forces. To achieve this level of deployability and readiness, increased budgetary resources could be required, as well as possible modifications to the existing National Guard/Reserves manning, training, and equipment construct and governing legal authorities. One potential solution to increasing reserve deployability could be to establish a “corps” of reservists who would be willing to commit to a higher level of peacetime training and readiness so they could deploy on the same timeline expected of active forces. Should these changes prove to be too costly or difficult, increased reliance on the Guard and Reserves could constitute an element of increased risk. Asia/Pacific Shift and Strategic Emphasis As previously noted, the new strategic guidelines call for sustained Army structure in the Pacific, and the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Odierno, has stated there would be minimal changes to U.S. Army force structure in the region.53 In response to the strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific region, the Navy (and Marine Corps) and the Air Force unveiled the Air-Sea Battle concept to address this predominately maritime domain. The strategic implication for the Army in this case is, What is the Army’s role in a strategy that emphasizes naval and air presence to extend U.S. influence? 53 Army Chief of Staff Raymond T. Odierno Army Briefing on the FY-13 Budget Request, January 27, 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 20 General Odierno reportedly envisions the Army playing an important role in the Asia-Pacific region.54 Noting that the Asia-Pacific region is home to 7 of the 10 largest armies in the world, General Odierno reportedly stated that the Army would “actively seek new opportunities for expanding current international training opportunities.”55 General Odierno also emphasized how the presence of the U.S. Army in the region—about 25,800 soldiers in South Korea; 23,000 in Hawaii; 2,700 in Japan; and 13,000 in Alaska—serves as a deterrent to potential aggressors and also provides forces that can be deployed elsewhere within the region. In terms of force structure, as previously noted, the Army does not foresee any cuts to Army units in Hawaii, Japan, or South Korea. In addition, three Stryker BCTs are stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington that are assigned to U.S. Pacific Command56 and under the operational control of U.S. Army Pacific, but it is not known if these units will be reassigned to different missions. Deterrence and response aside, the Army reportedly plans to step up training exercises in the region in an effort to strengthen its presence and influence.57 In addition to Pacific-based units, the Army reportedly is considering including the XVIII Airborne Corps at Ft. Bragg, NC; the I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA; and the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, KY, in upcoming exercises. The U.S. Army Pacific is reportedly working with the 101st Airborne Division on the possibility of participating in Yudh Abhyas, a bilateral exercise with India. The United States and India would take turns hosting the exercise, with the United States hosting the exercise in 2013. The U.S. Army Pacific is also reportedly working with Australia and New Zealand, perhaps to conduct a battalion-sized event with the New Zealand Army and a brigadesized exercise with the Australian Army. In addition to working with these armies, the United States also hopes to leverage its relationships with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand in order to increase partnership opportunities with the three nations. Middle East The new strategic guidelines commit the United States to maintaining an “operationally responsive peacetime presence in the Middle East.”58 It can be argued a “peacetime presence” could prove difficult with what some describe as a “civil war” occurring in Syria and persistent threats by Iran to close the straights of Hormuz or to launch a strike on Israel should they attack Iranian nuclear facilities. In light of these regional security threats as well as the potential for further conflict in the region, the current strategic guidelines for the Middle East and the Army’s role appear to be vague and possibly inadequate. 54 Information in this section is taken from William Cole, “Army Won’t Shrink Force Level in Pacific Region, General Says,” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 18, 2012; Phil Stewart, “U.S. Army Chief at Ease with Smaller Force, Eyes Asia,” Reuters.com, January 25, 2012; Daniel Wasserbly, “U.S. Army Chief Says Ground Forces Will Play Vital-Role in Asia-Pacific Strategy,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, February 1, 2012; and Michelle Tan, “Shifting Westward: Army Looks to Expand Slate of Exercises with Pacific Allies,” Army Times, February 20, 2012. 55 Wasserbly. 56 For additional information on U.S. Pacific Command, see CRS Report R42077, The Unified Command Plan and Combatant Commands: Background and Issues for Congress, by Andrew Feickert. 57 Michelle Tan, “Shifting Westward: Army Looks to Expand Slate of Exercises with Pacific Allies,” Army Times, February 20, 2012. 58 Information in this section is taken from U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, “Major Budget Decisions Briefing from the Pentagon,” presented by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey, January 26, 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 21 While little has been said by DOD or Army leadership about force posture and missions in the region, the press reports the Army has about 15,000 soldiers deployed to Kuwait, ostensibly to maintain a combat-ready presence in the region.59 As of January 2012, two BCTs and a combat aviation brigade, along with various support units, were in Kuwait, but it was not known if these units or like units would be kept in country for the long term. In the past, Kuwait was used as a staging area, but some now believe Kuwait should serve as a base for a more operational U.S. military presence. Reports suggest discussions are underway with the Kuwaiti government to determine how many, what kinds, and for how long U.S. forces can remain in Kuwait. If a longterm U.S. presence is approved, U.S. forces are expected to use training ranges in Kuwait for training U.S. forces, as well as to conduct exercises and partnering with regional forces. Should the Kuwaiti government not approve a larger and more sustained U.S. military presence, the United States could be required to find a different location in the region for forward-deployed Army forces. If this proves to be too difficult, U.S. ground presence in the region could instead be relegated to Marine forces afloat. Reduced Force Structure in Europe The new strategic guidelines call for the elimination of two HBCTs from Europe, maintaining NATO Article V commitments by allocating a U.S.-based brigade to the NATO Response Force, and rotating U.S.-based Army units to Europe for training and exercises.60 The primary strategic implication is that a permanent U.S. presence in the region will be significantly reduced. Given the nature of the role of the Army in Europe, reduced presence might be considered by some as a strategically acceptable risk. Others, however, believe any further drawdown of U.S. forces could have a detrimental impact on regional security. The remaining two BCTs—the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, and the 173rd Airborne BCT in Vincenza, Italy—will represent the only remaining European-based power projection forces. These BCTs and supporting units are also viewed by some as being a deterrence to potential “Russian adventurism” and also serve as a form of reassurance and U.S. commitment to former Soviet-controlled states.61 These states, some of whom are NATO’s newest members, could feel “abandoned” if the United States were to remove all ground combat forces from Europe and “might well cede political ground to Moscow, and politicians overly friendly to Russia may find new voter support.”62 In terms of the power projection value of the two remaining BCTs, reports note that they are closer to the Middle East and Africa than U.S.-based units and that their support units can also support U.S. Special Operations Forces transiting Europe en route to missions elsewhere.63 It was also noted aside from these two U.S. BCTs and supporting forces, only France and Britain have “the ability to project substantial military power in defense of alliance interests,”64which some consider an important capability given the instability on the European periphery. 59 Michelle Tan, “Forces Will Act as Mobile Response Force: 15,000 in Kuwait at Least for Now,” Army Times, January 16, 2012. 60 U.S. Department of Defense Publication, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, January 2012, p. 6. 61 Bloomberg View, “Bring Two Brigades Home from Europe Isn’t U.S. Retreat,” Bloomberg.com, January 17, 2012. 62 Ibid. 63 Thom Shanker and Steven Erlanger. 64 Ibid. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 22 Senior U.S. Army leaders in Europe describe the Army’s role as being prepared to conduct fullspectrum operations, focusing on asymmetric warfare, but in particular training NATO partner and non-NATO European forces in counterinsurgency in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.65 As NATO and the United States plan to end operations in Afghanistan in 2014, it appears that the primary mission for the U.S. Army in Europe will conclude, although Army leaders contend that U.S.-based units will continue to rotate to Europe in company and battalionsized units for a few weeks or two months at a time to engage and train with our European partners to “build partner capacity.” Rest of the World and “Small Footprint Operations” The Administration’s new strategic guidelines call for using “innovative, low-cost, and small footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives, relying on exercises, rotational presence, and advisory capabilities,” particularly for Africa and Latin America.66 In association with this approach, the Army plans to align a BCT with each geographic combatant command and provide them with cultural and language training to support engagement operations. While commitments of a BCT to U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Southern Command are considered positive steps in enhancing regional engagement capabilities, others note the underlying strategic implication of the Administration’s guidelines is Africa and Latin America are relegated to a lesser level of priority, largely due to a lack of resources. While the strategic guidelines can be viewed as lacking in detail—understandable to a degree as DOD refines its strategy—the concept of “innovative, low-cost, and small footprint approaches” appears ambiguous at best. Such ambiguity appears not in keeping with the growing security challenges posed by Central and South America and Africa. These types of approaches are most commonly associated with the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) and, while the new security guidelines state SOF is to be “freed up” from many of its current commitments to undertake these kinds of missions, the limited size of SOF suggests that Army general purpose forces will also be called upon to perform in this capacity. Aside from cultural and language acumen (which can be improved by training), it can be argued there would be a degree of risk employing small (squad, platoon, or company-sized) generalpurpose Army units in this type of role. While the Army might counter that squad, platoon, and company-level operations were the norm in Iraq and Afghanistan, these operations were conducted under the strict purview of progressively higher levels of headquarters that exercised command and control and provided support to these small units. In a small footprint approach, it is assumed that a squad/platoon/company would be deployed independently in Africa or Central or South America to accomplish a wide range of objectives that might not conform with their traditional combat roles. In addition, while not denigrating Army junior officer and noncommissioned officer leadership, the political and cultural nuances of these types of “innovative small footprint” operations could prove to be highly challenging. In this regard, this type of risk 65 Thom Shanker and Steven Erlanger, “U.S. Faces New Challenge of Fewer Troops in Europe,” New York Times, January 14, 2012, and Michelle Tan and Richard Sandza, “European Pullout: Plan to Move 2 BCTs and Up to 10,000 Soldiers Could Start in October,” Army Times, January 23, 2012. 66 U.S. Department of Defense Publication, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, January 2012, p. 3. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 23 could be mitigated by augmenting Army general purpose forces with small numbers of U.S. SOF personnel to assist and advise conventional unit leadership. Potential Impact on Major Army Weapon Systems Programs Because DOD and the Army have yet to determine how many Active BCTs, headquarters, and supporting units will be cut and how BCTs and headquarters and other supporting units will be organized, it is difficult to assess the impact of these changes on major Army weapon systems programs. In the Army’s FY2013 Budget Request, priorities for investment in ground systems are noted as67 The Network;68 Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV);69 Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV);70 Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle;71 and Paladin Integrated Management Program.72 In addition to the aforementioned systems in various stages of development, the Army plans to continue modernizing its M-1 Abrams tanks, M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and the Stryker fighting vehicle.73 All of these systems are employed in the BCTs, with the GCV, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Paladin, M-1 Abrams, and M-2 Bradley exclusive to the HBCTs. With the necessity of HBCTs being questioned and the strategic shift toward the Asia-Pacific region, it is possible the Army’s 16 Active HBCTs could be cut further than the 2 HBCTs that are being eliminated from Europe. 67 Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller), FY2013 President’s Budget Highlights, February, 2012, p. 18. 68 According to the Army, “the Network will enable soldiers to access key information anytime, anyplace; share information to facilitate fire and maneuver, and survive in close combat; provide collaboration capability to aid in seizing and controlling key terrain; employ lethal and non-lethal capabilities, coupled with sensors, to effectively engage targets at extended ranges; distinguish among friend, enemy, neutral and noncombatant; and integrate indirect fires.” http://www.bctmod.army.mil/, accessed March 29, 2012 69 For additional information on the GCV, see CRS Report R41597, The Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, by Andrew Feickert. 70 For additional information on the JLTV, see CRS Report RS22942, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): Background and Issues for Congress, by Andrew Feickert. 71 The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle is intended to replace Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers that are still in use with Army forces. 72 The Paladin is a 155mm indirect fires weapon, and, according to the Army, “The M109A6 Paladin Integrated Management Program is designed to maintain this fleet, and upgrade 600 Paladin systems to the latest configuration. The new PIM M109A6 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) howitzer enhances the combat-proven M109A6 Paladin Self-propelled howitzer’s reliability, maintainability, performance, responsiveness and lethality and provides increased commonality with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) of the Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT).” 73 Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller), FY2013 President’s Budget Highlights, February, 2012, p. 18. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 24 These reductions could have a major impact on both systems in development, such as the GCV, and those legacy systems being modernized, such as the M-1 Abrams. Potential Budgetary Implications The Administration’s plan to reduce Active Army endstrength and reorganize, restructure, and restation units is intended, in part, to respond to current and anticipated defense budget cuts. Projected cost savings from fewer soldiers, fewer units, less equipment, and perhaps fewer Army bases have not been made public, but General Odierno reportedly stated that Army program terminations over the next five years are expected to save $4.7 billion dollars.74 When asked earlier about the potential savings from cutting eight or more BCTs, General Odierno reportedly suggested that these cuts were expected to save “substantial amounts of money” but declined to provide a precise figure “due to the very complex nature of the arithmetic involved.”75 These statements seem to suggest that the Army does have estimates for overall projected cost savings but these figures have not been made public. While these changes will likely generate cost savings over time, there are costs associated with reducing manpower, eliminating and restructuring units, and possibly re-stationing units. Furthermore, as part of the Army’s role in the Administration’s new Asia-Pacific/Middle Eastcentric strategy, there might also be costs associated with the increased rotation of forces and increased engagement opportunities with allies and potential allies and other strategy-driven actions. When trying to assess the overall budgetary implications of the drawdown, restructuring brigades, and the Army’s role under the new strategic guidelines, it is equally important that the costs associated with these endeavors are included in discussions on anticipated cost savings resulting from these actions. Potential Issues for Congress There are a number of potential issues for Congress concerning reducing the size of the Active Army and potentially restructuring various Army formations and headquarters. These issues are further influenced by the Administration’s decision to strategically reorient the United States to the Asia-Pacific and Mid-East regions. Potential issues include, but are not limited to the following: Strategic Risk In his February 15, 2012, testimony to the House Armed Services Committee on the FY2013 DOD Budget, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey noted: The last, and perhaps most critical issue, is risk. This budget and the strategy it supports allow us to apply decisive force simultaneously across a range of missions and activities 74 Sebastian Sprenger, Tony Bertuca, and Jen Judson, “Army Expects $4.7 Billion in Savings from Axed Programs,” InsideDefense.com, February 13, 2012. 75 Sebastian Sprenger, “Odierno: Army May Cut More than Eight Brigade Combat Teams,” InsideDefense.com, January 27, 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 25 around the globe. They mitigate many risks, but they accept some as well, as all strategies must. The primary risks lie not in what we can do, but in how much we can do and how fast we can do it. The risks are in time and capacity. We have fully considered these risks, and I am convinced we can properly manage them by ensuring we keep the force in balance, investing in new capabilities, and preserving a strong reserve component. We can also compensate through other means, such as effective diplomacy and strong partnerships. I believe that these risks are acceptable and that we will face greater risk if we do not change from our previous approaches.76 Chairman Dempsey’s comments indicate risk is primarily in the areas of time (how quickly the Army can respond to a crisis) and capacity (how much can a smaller and reorganized Army accomplish). In this regard, Congress might choose to review how the Army will be reorganized to facilitate greater deployability. These changes can include both the organizational construct of BCTs, supporting units, and headquarters; how these forces are equipped; and where units are stationed to facilitate more responsive world-wide deployment. Another element of congressional review of strategic risk might also include an examination of the Army’s operational capacity. This examination could address what missions the Army can accomplish without significant augmentation, how would the Army respond to multiple operations in different regions, and how the Army would sustain a smaller deployed force for an extended period, if required. Health of the Force During a February 17, 2012, hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on the Posture of the United States Army, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh and Chief of Staff of the Army General Raymond T. Odierno testified: We must draw down wisely to avoid stifling the health of the force or breaking faith with our soldiers, civilians and families. Excessive cuts would create high risk in our ability to sustain readiness. We must avoid our historical pattern of drawing down too much or too fast and risk losing the leadership, technical skills and combat experience that cannot be easily reclaimed. We must identify and safeguard key programs in education, leader development, health care, quality of life, and retirement—programs critical to retaining our soldiers.77 While tools for force reduction are described in previous sections, there appears to be a lack of detail as to how the Army will directly address these issues. In fact, it appears that the Army and DOD are only in the early stages of examining some components of “force health,” such as “proposing a commission to review military retirement”78 and “identifying and safeguarding key programs in education, leader development, health care, quality of life, and retirement.”79 This 76 Statement of General Martin E. Dempsey, USA, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Before the House Armed Services Committee FY2013 Department of Defense Budget, February 15, 2012, p. 10. 77 Statement by The Honorable John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army and General Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff, United States Army Before the Committee on Armed Services, United States House of Representatives, Second Session, 112th Congress on the Posture of the United States Army, February 17, 2012, p. 17. 78 Statement of General Martin E. Dempsey, USA, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Before the House Armed Services Committee FY2013 Department of Defense Budget, February 15, 2012, p. 10. 79 Statement by The Honorable John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army and General Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff, United States Army Before the Committee on Armed Services, United States House of Representatives, Second Session, 112th Congress on the Posture of the United States Army, February 17, 2012, p. 17. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 26 seems to suggest the Army and DOD do not have detailed and resource-informed plans to address the “health of the Army,” which could raise concerns as the Army will begin drawing down in FY2013. This could lead a series of poorly coordinated initiatives, and it might also have significant budgetary implications as many of the programs cited—education, leader development, health care, quality of life, and retirement—could require significant budgetary outlays that have not yet been identified nor planned for. Related to the “health of the force” is the Army’s initiative to “retain a slightly more senior force in the Active Army to allow growth if needed.”80 As described, the Army intends to retain an unknown number of mid-grade officers and non-commissioned officers to form the basis of new units if the Army were required to expand rapidly. With fewer units and leadership positions available, there could be fewer opportunities for these mid-grade personnel to serve in the leadership and staff positions required for career advancement. In this case, unless the Army develops career-enhancing alternatives for these personnel, this initiative could result in an unintended “class system” in the Army mid-grade officer and non-commissioned officer ranks, which carries with it job satisfaction and morale implications for those personnel that cannot serve in career-advancing positions. It is not known if the Army has developed a career track for its additional mid-grade officers and non-commissioned officers or how it plans to “gainfully employ” these additional personnel. Congress, in its oversight capacity, might review the Army’s overall plan to address the “health of the force,” including how it intends to use and integrate additional mid-grade officers and non-commissioned officers. Basing the Force There are a number of potential basing issues that Congress might choose to examine. While the Army has yet to release any details on how many and which BCTs, supporting units, and headquarters it intends to eliminate, it is possible that most, if not all, of the major units stationed at a particular Army base could be eliminated, thereby making that base a candidate for closure or realignment under BRAC. In order to avoid this situation, the Army might decide instead to eliminate an equal number of BCTs from each Active Army division (each division currently has four associated BCTs) to address BRAC vulnerability, but this option might not be the optimal solution for configuring and employing the force. In order to gain better insight on where the Army plans to base its Active units, Congress might require the Army to provide details on how the Army will reduce and restructure the force, citing specific units, headquarters, and other Army units to be eliminated or restructured, including the timeline for these proposed changes. Another issue for examination could be how the Army intends to posture itself in response to the Asia-Pacific focused strategic guidelines. As previously noted, the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Odierno, has stated there would be minimal changes to U.S. Army force structure in the region.81 The commander of U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) Admiral Robert Willard has reportedly stated that the United States “has no desire for new bases in the region” and would pursue “a network of places close to the sea lanes of Southeast Asia where American forces can visit on rotation, avoiding the costly maintenance of bases.”82 Towards this end, the Army is 80 U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, “Major Budget Decisions Briefing from the Pentagon,” presented by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey, January 26, 2012. 81 Army Chief of Staff Raymond T. Odierno Army Briefing on the FY-13 Budget Request, January 27, 2012. 82 Paul Eckert, “U.S. Has No Desire for New Military Bases in Asia: Admiral,” Reuters.com, January 27, 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 27 reportedly examining options for pre-positioning Army equipment in the Pacific, primarily to facilitate anticipated multi-lateral training in the region.83 While these statements seemingly suggest a degree of “status quo” in terms of the Army in the Pacific, it is not known how the Army will address the challenges of this new strategy with current forces operating from their current bases in and around the region. In order to gain a greater understanding, Congress might opt to examine how the Army plans to posture itself in and around the Asia-Pacific region. If DOD does not pursue new bases, does the Army plan to bolster its presence in Hawaii or South Korea or perhaps in Alaska or Joint Base Lewis-McCord, in Washington? Does the Army envision increasing or changing its presence in Japan or Guam, or perhaps establishing some sort of presence in Australia? If the Army does not plan to expand its permanent presence in and around the region, Congress might wish to examine the Army’s plans to rotate forces throughout the region and whether such a transitory presence is more effective and cost-efficient than relying on Army units assigned to the region. National Guard and Reserves As previously noted, the DOD plans to “retain a ready and capable Reserve Component” by means of slightly reducing Army/National Guard endstrength, sustaining increased readiness prior to mobilization, and maintaining key combat-support and combat service-support capabilities. Furthermore, the Chief of Staff of the Army has suggested that cutting the active force by 80,000 soldiers will place greater reliance on the National Guard and Reserves, “particularly if the United States gets into two major long-term combat operations at the same time.”84 This reliance will require reserve forces to be kept at a higher state of readiness than it did before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because of the requirement for higher readiness, a new readiness model will need to be developed to keep the National Guard and Reserves at a higher state of readiness. This enhanced reliance on the National Guard and Reserves raises a number of potential concerns that Congress might chose to examine. Some of these issues include the following: If Active BCTs are restructured (i.e., adding a third maneuver battalion to IBCTs and HBCTs), will National Guard BCTs also be restructured? What force structure changes, if any, would be required in the Army National Guard and Reserves? What constitutes a “higher state of readiness” for the National Guard and Reserves? Does this mean they must be ready to deploy at short notice like their Active Duty counterparts or that they must be manned, equipped, and trained in the same manner as Active forces? Will this “higher state of readiness” apply to 83 Carlo Munoz, “Army Shifting Combat Stockpiles to Pacific: Army Chief Odierno,” AOL Defense, February 17, 2012, and Jim Garamone, “Odierno Fleshes Out Pacific Strategy, Afghan Advisory Mission,” American Forces Press Service, February 21, 2012. 84 Information in this section is taken from Lolita C. Baldor, “Army Chief Sees Greater Role for Guard and Reserves,” Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, January 27, 2012. Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service 28 all Army Guard and Reserve units or just some? If it is just the latter, what percentage of Reserve force structure will be maintained at this “higher state of readiness?” In order to facilitate this “higher state of readiness” will National Guard and Reserves need to be relocated to other bases—perhaps Active Army bases—for training and deployment purposes? Will legal authorities covering the National Guard and Reserves need to be modified to facilitate greater levels of readiness? Will members of the Guard and Reserve and their employers be able to accept these extended duty requirements? Is there an overall “price tag” associated with changes in the National Guard and Reserves that will be required for this enhanced readiness standard? What is the role, if any, of the newest member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the Chief of the National Guard Bureau—in developing a new readiness construct for the National Guard and Reserves? Service Academies As previously noted, the officer requirements for OIF/OEF resulted in Congress increasing the cadet population at all three service academies from 4,000 to 4,400. With all of the Services being reduced to approximately their pre-9/11 levels, is there still a requirement for increased enrollment at the Service Academies or should these also be reduced to their pre-9/11 levels? Author Contact Information Andrew Feickert Specialist in Military Ground Forces afeickert@crs.loc.gov, 7-7673 Charles A. Henning Specialist in Military Manpower Policy chenning@crs.loc.gov, 7-8866


KNOW YOUR ENEMY!!

Al-Qaida in Iraq Threatens US Attacks
Jul 26, 2012
UPI

The militant group al-Qaida in Iraq is threatening to launch an attack on the United States, security officials said.
The group said in a message this week marking the start of Ramadan it intended to strike at the "heart" of the United States.
"You will soon witness how attacks will resound in the heart of your land, because our war with you has now started," said a man that identified himself as Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the pseudonym used by the head of the group.
This particular branch of al-Qaida, which has primarily focused on attacking U.S. forces in Iraq, as well as Iraq's Shiite-led government, has become stronger in the last year with the help of cash from wealthy benefactors and now appears to be plotting attacks on U.S. soil, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
"You can say pretty categorically that al-Qaida in Iraq appears to be strengthening from where it was two years ago," Seth Jones, author of "Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al-Qaida since 9/11," was quoted as saying.
Several associates of the group have been arrested in the U.S. and Canada in the last two years, highlighting the potential threat, Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Wednesday during a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who serves on the House committee, said there is "a heightened sense of concern for law enforcement and intelligence agencies," the Times reported.


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DOD Announces Charges Sworn Against Al Darbi

The Department of Defense announced today that the Office of the Chief Prosecutor for Military Commissions has sworn charges against Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi, a Saudi Arabian national.
The charges sworn today allege that the accused committed offenses triable under the Military Commissions Act of 2009, 10 U.S.C. §§ 948a, et seq, including: (1) Conspiracy to Commit Multiple Offenses Triable by Military Commission; (2) Aiding and Abetting the Offense of Attacking Civilian Objects; (3) Aiding and Abetting the Offense of Hazarding a Vessel; (4) Aiding and Abetting the Offense of Terrorism; (5) Multiple Specifications of Attempt; and (6) Aiding the Enemy. The charges are merely accusations, and the accused is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum sentence for these charges is confinement for life.
These sworn charges allege that al Darbi joined a terrorist conspiracy with al Qaeda by the year 1997. In furtherance of this conspiracy, al Darbi is alleged to have attended the Khalden training camp in Afghanistan, to have received personal permission from Usama bin Laden to train at al Qaeda's Jihad Wahl training camp, and to have worked as a weapons instructor at al Qaeda's al Farouq training camp, both in Afghanistan. From approximately 2000 through 2002, al Darbi is also alleged to have committed multiple overt acts in support of a plot to bomb civilian oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and off the coast of Yemen. These alleged acts included: receiving large amounts of money from al Qaeda; purchasing GPS devices and other equipment; purchasing a boat intended to be the attack vessel; registering this boat under the name of an unwitting participant; applying for travel documents that allowed potential attack operatives to travel from Yemen to the UAE; training these potential attack operatives; and sailing the boat he purchased towards Yemen in order to meet with these attack operatives.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, al Darbi is alleged to have aided and abetted the completed terrorist attack against the French oil tanker, the MV Limburg, which severely injured multiple civilians and caused a large oil spill in the Gulf of Aden in 2002.
The Regulation for Trial by Military Commission requires that the chief prosecutor notify the legal advisor to the Convening Authority and the chief defense counsel for Military Commissions within 24 hours of swearing charges. The accused must also be notified of the charges sworn against him as soon as practicable. The chief prosecutor will not immediately forward the charges to the Convening Authority for action in this case. Once the chief prosecutor does so, the Convening Authority makes an independent determination as to whether to refer some, all, or none of the charges for trial by military commission. If the Convening Authority decides to refer the case to trial, he will designate commission panel members (jurors). The chief trial judge of the Military Commissions Trial Judiciary then assigns a military judge to the case.
The Chief Prosecutor, Brigadier General Mark Martins, said upon the swearing of charges, "Mr. al Darbi's alleged crimes are serious violations of the law of war that were committed to terrorize and wreak havoc on the world economy. We will be prepared to proceed toward his trial by reformed military commission if the Convening Authority refers charges."


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

Lynn Anderson hangs around golf courses a lot. BB

A young woman had been taking golf lessons.
She had just started playing her first round of golf when she suffered a bee sting.
Her pain was so intense that she decided to return to the clubhouse for help and to complain.
Her golf pro saw her come into the clubhouse and asked, 'Why are you back in so early? What's wrong?'
'I was stung by a bee,' she said.
'Where,' he asked.
'Between the first and second hole,' she replied.
He nodded knowingly and said, 'Your stance is too wide.'

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Here's one from Ron Brauer.BB

A woman was having a daytime affair while her husband was at work. One rainy day she was in bed with her boyfriend when, to her horror, she heard her husband's car pull into the driveway. 'Oh my God - Hurry! Grab your clothes and jump out the window. My husband's home early!' 'I can't jump out the window. It's raining out there!'

'If my husband catches us in here, he'll kill us both!' she replied. 'He's got a hot temper and a gun, so the rain is the least of your problems!' So the boyfriend scoots out of bed, grabs his clothes and jumps out the window! As he ran down the street in the pouring rain, he quickly discovered he had run right into the middle of the town's annual marathon, so he started running along beside the others, about 300 of them.

Being naked, with his clothes tucked under his arm, he tried to blend in as best he could. After a little while a small group of runners who had been watching him with some curiosity, jogged closer. Do you always run in the nude?' one asked.

'Oh yes!' he replied, gasping in air. 'It feels so wonderfully free!' Another runner moved a long side. 'Do you always run carrying your clothes with you under your arm?' 'Oh, yes' our friend answered breathlessly. 'That way I can get dressed right at the end of the run and get in my car to go home!'
Then a third runner cast his eyes a little lower and asked, 'Do you always wear a condom when you run?'
'Nope..just when it's raining.'

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John Conley sends you this little enjoyable game. BB

Subj: Alzheimer's color test
Count how many times you do it before getting 100%
Color Test
These are the things we're supposed to do to remove the cholesterol around our brain and try to slow up Alzheimer's Disease.. It took me 3 times before I could finally tell this brain of mine to concentrate.
A great test, do it until you get 100%! Bet you can't get 100% on the first try! But I'm rootin' for ya...
This is pretty neat! See how you do with the colors! Have fun! It takes an average of 5 tries to get to 100%. Follow the directions! It's harder than it seems, as it should be! A brain waker-upper for today!

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Check out this wisdom sent in by Corkey Varney. BB

THE HAIRCUT
Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.
One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, 'I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week.'The florist was pleased and left the shop.
When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.
Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill , the barber again replied, 'I can not accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The Congressman was very happy and left the shop.
The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut. And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.
BOTH POLITICIANS AND DIAPERS NEED TO BE CHANGED OFTEN AND FOR THE SAME REASON!

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.I hear tell that John is nearly ready to take his exam to become a Tour Guide. BB

My Travels
I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.
I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.
I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I
have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.
I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical
activity anymore.
I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.
I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.
Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.
One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenaline flowing and
pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!
And, sometimes I think I am in Vincible, but life shows me I am not!
I have been in Deepdoodoo many times; the older I get, the easier it is to get there.

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.Here's some good insight from Dan Thompson. BB

An Old Cowboy's Advice,BR. Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies, because it messes up their heads.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word. Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached. Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
Don't judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

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Gary Taylor has been working on his BBQ Sauce. BB

New Standard Operating Procedures released today please learn...


BBQ RULES
We are about to enter the BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh 
your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity . 
When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put 
into motion:

Routine...
(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along 
with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man 
who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone 
where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities 
can take place without the interference of the woman.
Here comes the important part:
(5) THE MAN PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL.
More routine...
(6) The woman goes inside to organise the plates and cutlery.
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He 
thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips the meat
Important again:
(8) THE MAN TAKES THE MEAT OFF THE GRILL AND HANDS IT TO THE WOMAN.

More routine...
(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, 
sauces, and brings them to the table.
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
And most important of all:
(11) Everyone PRAISES the MANandTHANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed ' her night off ', and, upon 
seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some 
women.

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Tired of those ole blond jokes? Dave Snavely found one that an upgrade! BB

Once upon a time, a blonde became so sick of hearing blonde jokes that she had her hair cut and dyed brown.
A few days later, as she was out driving around the countryside, she stopped
her car to let a flock of sheep pass.
Admiring the cute wooly creatures, she said to the shepherd, "If I can guess
how many sheep you have, can I take one?"
The shepherd, always the gentleman, said, "Sure!"

The blonde thought for a moment and, for no discernible reason, said, "352."

This being the correct number, the shepherd was, understandably, totally
amazed, and exclaimed, "You're right! O.K., I'll keep to my end of the deal.

Take your pick of my flock."
The blonde carefully considered the entire flock and finally picked the one
that was by far cuter and more playful than any of the others.
When she was done, the shepherd turned to her and said, "O.K., now I have a
proposition for you. If I can guess your true hair color, can I have my dog back?"

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.WARNING! Be careful of this ploy sent in by Smokey Guillespie. BB

Four friends spend weeks planning the perfect girls getaway trip-shopping, casinos, massages, facials.
Two days before the group is to leave Mary's husband puts his foot down and tells her she isn't going.
Mary's friends are very upset that she can't go, but what can they do.
Two days later the three get to the hotel only to find Mary sitting in the bar drinking a glass of wine.

"Wow, how long you been here and how did you talk your husband into letting you go?"
"Well, I've been here since last night....Yesterday evening I was sitting on the couch and my husband
came up behind me and put his hands over my eyes and said 'Guess who'?"
I pulled his hands off to find all he was wearing was his birthday suit. He took my hand and led me to
our bedroom. The room was scented with perfume, had two dozen candles and rose petals all over....
On the bed, he had handcuffs and ropes! He told me to tie and cuff him to the bed, so I did. And then
he said, "Now, you can do whatever you want."

So here I am.

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Here's a good one from Wayne Paddack. BB

A RUSSIAN AND BOUDREAUX, A COONASS WRESTLER FROM THIBODEAUX
LOUISIANA, WERE SET TO SQUARE OFF FOR THE OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL.

BEFORE THE FINAL MATCH, BOUDREAUX'S TRAINER CAME TO HIM AND SAID,
"NOW, DON'T FORGET ALL THE RESEARCH WE'VE DONE ON THIS RUSSIAN.
HE'S NEVER LOST A MATCH BECAUSE OF THIS 'PRETZEL' HOLD HE HAS. WHATEVER
YOU DO, DO NOT LET HIM GET YOU IN THAT HOLD! IF HE DOES, YOU'RE FINISHED";
BOUDREAUX NODDED IN ACKNOWLEDGMENT. AS THE MATCH STARTED, BOUDREAUX THE COONASS AND THE RUSSIAN CIRCLED EACH
OTHER SEVERAL TIMES, LOOKING FOR AN OPENING. ALL OF A SUDDEN, THE RUSSIAN LUNGED FORWARD, GRABBING BOUDREAUX
AND WRAPPING HIM UP IN THE DREADED PRETZEL HOLD. A SIGH OF DISAPPOINTMENT AROSE FROM THE CROWD AND THE TRAINER
BURIED HIS FACE IN HIS HANDS, FOR HE KNEW ALL WAS LOST. HE COULDN'T WATCH THE INEVITABLE HAPPEN. SUDDENLY, THERE WAS A
SCREAM, THEN A CHEER FROM THE CROWD AND THE TRAINER RAISED HIS EYES
JUST IN TIME TO WATCH THE RUSSIAN GO FLYING UP IN THE AIR. HIS BACK HIT THE MAT WITH A THUD AND BOUDREAUX COLLAPSED ON TOP OF HIM
MAKING THE PIN AND WINNING THE MATCH. THE TRAINER WAS ASTOUNDED. WHEN HE FINALLY GOT HIS WRESTLER ALONE, HE
ASKED, " BOUDREAUX HOW DID YOU EVER GET OUT OF THAT HOLD? NO ONE HAS EVER
DONE IT BEFORE?!" THEN BOUDREAUX ANSWERED "WELL, I WAS READY TO GIVE UP WHEN HE GOT ME IN THAT
HOLD BUT AT THE LAST MOMENT, I OPENED MY EYES AND SAW THIS PAIR OF TESTICLES RIGHT
IN FRONT OF MY FACE. I HAD NOTHING TO LOSE, SO WITH MY LAST OUNCE OF STRENGTH I
STRETCHED OUT MY NECK AND BIT THOSE BABIES JUST AS HARD AS I COULD." SO THE TRAINER EXCLAIMED, "THAT'S WHAT FINISHED HIM OFF!" "NOT REALLY. YOU'D BE AMAZED HOW STRONG YOU GET WHEN YOU BITE YOUR OWN NUTS."


ORDER OF THE SILVER ROSE

Welcome Home and God Bless From The Order of The Silver Rose;

I am writing because I need your help for a final donation.

The amount of the donation you offer does not matter. Any amount will help. Let me explain the details of This Mission. I am hoping that one last time we can pull together.

I was told that I just beat this my Fourth Cancer. I was diagnosed a year ago last April with Terminal Stage 3c lung cancer, my second terminal Lung cancer since 1993. (The others were Terminal brain cancer in 1986, Terminal Lung removal of my left lung in 1992 and Prostate cancer in 2008. On top of the 100% comp I am receiving for the cancers and other sicknesses and war wounds. I am also 100% for severe PTSD combat illness due to my service in The Nam 1967/68.

Bottom line is I am getting my 100% total but we all know the importance of yearly full physicals with Cat Scans that with it and the grace of God is the only reason I have survived I believe. This as I have harped on all of you could save your life also. See it works, lol, But sure scared the hell outta me again.

This last lung cancer really hit me hard. (I had one lung removed so this one had to be treated in my body or the party was over, and after over 18 months I am finally starting to regain my health. This second lung cancer which required over 40 Radiation Treatments and 6 Chemo's and above all God's Blessing to kill the cancers was not a cake walk........

This is why I write, it's not about me! It's about THEM Again! I live near Flint, MIch and in Grand Blanc Township, Mich; population about 35,000.(that's about 60 miles North of Detroit) Can you believe that this City does not have or never has had a Veterans Memorial, or any Veterans Parades or Memorials even though we have three Veterans Posts in this town that are built on the precept that all donations collected go to selling cheap beer, to anyone who enters their clubs. They allow anyone to enter as long as you have the jingle in your pocket to pay for booze, Thus there went any hope of a Veterans Memorial...................years ago. It's time to change that and that's why I come to you today.

The City was gifted $275,000.00 Four years ago, money for a Veterans Memorial but somehow it got lost. (In a Politico's pocket) So again the chance of a Memorial hit the ditch again.

My Proposal for your consideration!
I need donations small...large...anything to help me build a Agent Orange Memorial just like the 14 we have all over America now. I am in
The process of building this Memorial now mostly is using my personal funds.
I have spent to date my personal funds to erect a 20 foot double flagpole in my yard which is on a corner lot.....that cost over $550.00.
With the 5 Flags I fly from it. It's easily accessible to anyone........
I also have purchased two figurines of Veterans that are each 2 feet tall, each holding a American Flag and saluting the large 20 Flag pole
that is lit 24/7 with Solar lights. And the entire Memorial will be lit up by these lights.

My wife Eileen and I have built a garden around this Memorial, that my best friend purchased for us along with 2 more Memorials Honoring
Veterans. My best friend purchased them for us.
I will be happy to send anyone a picture that's interested and anyone making a donation to the following Memorial will be guaranteed they
will receive a Photograph when I have this completed.

We now just lack our standard 3 by 4 ft Memorial Plaque that will say basically "this Memorial is in Memory of All Veterans who have died of AO related cancers and sicknesses since the war ended.

It will be built of heavy Oak with a Redwood Plaque 3 ft X 4 ft piece of wood inlaid into it with the words on it written and engraved in white lettering. The wood will be all treated and is guaranteed to last for several decades. It's Gorgeous, You will be very proud when I send you the pictures of it and the Memorial when we have it completed within the next 4 to 6 weeks.

There will also be a sign placed on my property that will say Welcome to all that want to offer Honors to these Fallen Heroes, With a Memorial Wreath Year Round on display year round along with the Flags. We are going to encourage people to visit the Memorial at all times hopefully leaving flowers and memoirs..........Especially during Veterans Holidays, contrary to what this Town does and ignores these Heroes.

I need your donations, The most this will cost is totally is only $500.00 or so.....So we are not talking the thousands that we spent on other Memorials.

The next lowest quote I received was $1,100.00 and that was a rip off. We don't need to spend that much money as a group, Eileen and I have invested almost a $1,000.00 but the latest cancer bills took my extra money away. (I used Medicare and not the butchers at the VA. The investment I believe saved my life by staying away from the VA).

We only need to spend this small amount of money. Unfortunately without your help I will not be able to complete this. Please consider offering whatever you can afford.

All of my four cancer treatments have almost diminished my life savings and I have put all I can into this Memorial, this is why I ask for your support.......

Now I need your Donations to finish up The Silver Rose Mission in my home town that we started in 1997. Can I depend on your help????

I need it very badly..........No amount is to small. Please for the first time I have come to all of you asking for your donations to Honor Michigan Veterans

You can mail them Making all checks payable to>br> Gary J. Chenett
9168 Ann Maria Blvd.
Grand Blanc, Michigan 48439
810-344-9240

Thanks for your time and hopefully considerations helping me complete the Mission we all started almost 25 years ago. Remember because of your hard work over these past years we were able to raise almost $300,000.00 and bring Honors and Memories to over 6,000 Vietnam Veterans or their families for the ultimate sacrifices these Heroes made for our Freedoms. We can do this......Together.............again before it comes my time to leave. This Agent Orange Memorial and Legacy needs to be left in this City....


MEDICAL NEWS

Contributed by: Edmund Hayes, MD

Fighting Infections: Old Drug Reveals New Tricks
In an article published online this month by the journal PNAS, a group of U.S. and Swiss researchers led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) presented the first clinical assessment of how this drug fights infections in people. The drug, called interferon, is a biotechnology product based on a protein the body naturally produces to fight infections.
While purified interferon was given to people with HIV/AIDS in the early days of the epidemic because it alleviated many of the symptoms of the disease, its mode of action was always something of a black box.
"Nobody knew how it worked," said Satish K. Pillai, PhD, lead investigator and assistant professor of Medicine at UCSF and the UCSF-affiliated San Francisco VA Medical Center.

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Drug Offers Relief For Symptoms Of Myelofibrosis
People with a blood cancer - myelofibrosis - can benefit from a drug called ruxolitinib, according to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial that included patients and researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The results of the multi-site phase-3 trial, which are published in the March 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, led the Food and Drug Administration to approve the drug in November as treatment for people with intermediate or advanced cases of the disease.
Ruxolitinib is marketed as Jakafi by Incyte Corp., which funded the trial, known as COMFORT-1. Investigators at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., led the study. The Stanford arm of the trial was managed by Jason Gotlib, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine. More than 300 patients at 89 clinical sites participated in the trial.

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Study Reveals How Anesthetic Isoflurane Induces Alzheimer's-Like Changes In Mammalian Brains
The association of the inhaled anesthetic isoflurane with Alzheimer's-disease-like changes in mammalian brains may by caused by the drug's effects on mitochondria, the structures in which most cellular energy is produced. In a study that will appear in Annals of Neurology and has received early online release, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report that administration of isoflurane impaired the performance of mice on a standard test of learning and memory - a result not seen when another anesthetic, desflurane, was administered. They also found evidence that the two drugs have significantly different effects on mitochondrial function.
"These are the first results indicating that isoflurane, but not desflurane, may induce neuronal cell death and impair learning and memory by damaging mitochondria," says Yiying (Laura) Zhang, MD, a research fellow in the MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine and the study's lead author. "This work needs to be confirmed in human studies, but it's looking like desflurane may be a better anesthetic to use for patients susceptible to cognitive dysfunction, such as Alzheimer's patients."
Previous studies have suggested that undergoing surgery and general anesthesia may increase the risk of Alzheimer's, and it is well known that a small but significant number of surgical patients experience a transient form of cognitive dysfunction in the postoperative period. In 2008, members of the same MGH research team showed that isoflurane induced Alzheimer's-like changes - increasing activation of enzymes involved with cell death and generation of the A-beta plaques characteristic of the disease - in the brains of mice. The current study was designed to explore the underlying mechanism and behavioral consequences of isoflurane-induced brain cell death and to compare isoflurane's effects with those of desflurane, another common anesthetic that has not been associated with neuronal damage.

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New Drug, Vemurafenib, Doubles Survival Of Metastatic Melanoma Patients
A report published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the 50 percent of metastatic melanoma patients with a specific genetic mutation benefit from the drug Vemurafenib - increasing median survival from about 6 months to 15.9 months. In patients who responded, the drug stopped cancer progression for a median 6.7 months.
"For melanoma patients with a BRAF V600 mutation, this drug is a breakthrough. Not a cure, but a major breakthrough," says Karl Lewis, MD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and one of the study's authors.
Lewis notes that until about 18 months ago, no drug existed for metastatic melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer - that was proven to extend survival past that of patients who chose not to treat the disease. The CU Cancer Center is a leading treatment center for metastatic melanoma, and has been instrumental in enrolling patients in trials of this new category of melanoma drugs - BRAF inhibitors.

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Scientists Pinpoint How Vitamin D May Help Clear Amyloid Plaques Found In Alzheimer's
A team of academic researchers has identified the intracellular mechanisms regulated by vitamin D3 that may help the body clear the brain of amyloid beta, the main component of plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Published in the March 6 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, the early findings show that vitamin D3 may activate key genes and cellular signaling networks to help stimulate the immune system to clear the amyloid-beta protein.
Previous laboratory work by the team demonstrated that specific types of immune cells in Alzheimer's patients may respond to therapy with vitamin D3 and curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric spice, by stimulating the innate immune system to clear amyloid beta. But the researchers didn't know how it worked.

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Blood Pressure Drug Effective for Treating PTSD-Related Nightmares
Mayo Clinic researchers this week will announce the use of the blood pressure drug prazosin as an effective treatment to curb post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-related nightmares.
In a presentation during the 20th European Congress of Psychiatry in Prague, Mayo Clinic psychiatrists will present a systematic literature review of prazosin in the treatment of nightmares. Researchers investigated 12 prazosin studies, four of which were randomized controlled trials.
"The studies showed the drug was well-tolerated and can take effect rapidly, within days to weeks, and some patients reported a return of nightmares when the course of prazosin was stopped," says Simon Kung, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and principal investigator of the study.

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Drug Helps Purge Hidden Hiv Virus
A team of researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have successfully flushed latent HIV infection from hiding, with a drug used to treat certain types of lymphoma.
Tackling latent HIV in the immune system is critical to finding a cure for AIDS. The results were presented today at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, Washington.
While current antiretroviral therapies can very effectively control virus levels, they can never fully eliminate the virus from the cells and tissues it has infected.
Tackling latent HIV in the immune system is critical to finding a cure for AIDS. The results were presented today at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, Washington.
While current antiretroviral therapies can very effectively control virus levels, they can never fully eliminate the virus from the cells and tissues it has infected.

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I'm sorry fellows...It don't get any better.. Vet Gun Control Update 04: Key Senate lawmakers are once again pushing legislation to stop veterans judged unable to handle their own finances from being barred from owning firearms. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) would require that veterans first are found to be a danger to themselves or others before losing their Second Amendment rights. Today, a veteran deemed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be incapable of handling his own finances is included on the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS – which means he cannot own a firearm, nor can anyone else in the household, Burr said. "There are veterans, spouses, family members who are deprived of their Second Amendment rights … based on an arbitrary decision by somebody at VA because they can't handle their own personal finances," Burr said 27 JUN at a committee hearing. "These people are labeled as dangerous when it may be a physical disability that may not allow them to handle their personal finances." VA estimates that about 127,000 veterans have been put on the list because the department determined they couldn't handle their personal finances. A similar bill has already passed the House of Representatives. In the Senate, the "Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act" has been filed at least three times before, going as far back as 2007. The version filed in 2009 was opposed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which argued that it could cause guns to wind up in the hands of unsafe people. The Brady Campaign had criticized Burr's legislation "in light of the Fort Hood shootings." Attorneys for the accused attacker, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, claim he is mentally ill. Burr's bill died in committee. Burr, Webb and others backing the bill say no veteran should lose his or her gun rights without an order by a judge, magistrate or other judicial authority competent to make the call on whether the person is dangerous. At the 27 JUN hearing, VA officials said that is not a determination made by department officials who assess a veteran's ability to look after his finances. Tom Murphy, director of the Veterans Benefits Administration's compensation service, said those who make the call on veterans are trained only to assess how well they're able to handle finances. Richard Hipolit, assistant general counsel for the VA, said, "Our determination is just whether [someone] can handle financial affairs, and that automatically triggers the requirement to refer their names" to the NICS list.
[Source: Military.com| Bryant Jordan article 27 Jun 2012 ++]

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Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Update 05: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an Obama administration appeal aimed at preserving a 29-foot Christian cross at a veterans’ memorial on federal land in San Diego, California. The justices, without comment, left intact a federal appeals court decision that the display of the cross is an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The federal government took over the site from the city in 2006 under a law Congress passed during a court fight over the cross that began in 1989. The appeals court ruling “called for the government to tear down a cross that has stood without incident for 58 years as a highly

venerated memorial to the nation’s fallen service members,” the Obama administration said in its appeal to the high court. Those challenging the display, a Vietnam veteran and the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, said the cross was “erected for an avowedly religious purpose and used for religious ceremonies for decades.” Lower courts haven’t completed consideration of the case. A San Francisco-based appeals court returned the case to a federal judge to consider a remedy. The appellate panel said it is leaving open the issue of whether the memorial could be modified to comply with the Constitution or whether any cross could be displayed there.
[Source: Bloomberg News Laurie Asseo article 25 Jun 2012 ++]

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South Dakota Drivers License: South Dakota’s Departments of Public Safety and Veterans Affairs remind military veterans that a new law taking effect July 1 allows them to have a veteran designation on their state- issued driver license. The 2012 Legislature passed the law, which gives honorably discharged veterans the option of adding the word “Veteran’’ to the front of their South Dakota driver license. Including that designation on the driver license will make it easier for those who have served in the military to verify their veteran status. “South Dakota is home to over 74,000 veterans who have protected and served our great nation. The launch of this new ‘veteran’ identification will provide a convenient identification for veterans,” said Steve Harding, Deputy Secretary for the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs. “This initiative is a perfect example of state agencies working together to assist those who have served and sacrificed for our nation.”
Veterans who wish to add the designation to their driver license or non-driver ID card may visit any South Dakota driver license office. They will need to present their DD-214, which shows their honorable discharge status from active duty or present a certificate signed by a county or tribal veterans service officer verifying their status. Veterans should also remember that the fee for a duplicate license is $10 and the fee for a license renewal is $20. Cindy Gerber, Director of the South Dakota Driver Licensing Program, reminds veterans that they will need to provide the other documents required of any applicant for a South Dakota driver license. Those documents may be viewed at http://dps.sd.gov/licensing/driver_licensing/obtain_a_license.aspx. Veterans who have questions about the documents or the process may call her office at 1(800) 952-3696 or (605) 773-6883. Harding encourages veterans who need assistance with obtaining their DD214 or who have questions regarding their benefits to contact their respective county/tribal veterans service officer or call the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs (605) 773- 3269.
[Source: SD Dept of Public Safety news release 25 Jun 2012 ++]

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[Source: The Hill Pete Kasperowicz article 26 un 2012 ++]

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Craigslist.org Scam: An increasing amount of scammers are using the names of legitimate businesses and organizations to lure in job seekers. In one recent example, scammers posted a help wanted ad on Craigslist.org for an opportunity at the real, Virginia-based "Association of Corporate Travel Executives." When job hunters responded to the ad, imposters sent them checks to deposit. Consumers were told keep a portion of the check as their pay and to wire the rest to a third party via Western Union. Of course, the checks never cleared, and victims were out the money. In another variation, scammers stole the name of BBB Accredited, Ohio-based business FBN Construction LLC. Scammers sent emails to local consumers promoting a job opportunity there and encouraging applicants to fill out an online form on a fake website. The form asked for personal information, opening job seekers up to identity theft.
[Source: BBB Scam alert 27 Jun 2012 ++]

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TRICARE Scam: TRICARE Program Integrity has become aware of a Lottery Sweepstakes Scam in which fraudulent checks bearing the TRICARE name are being utilized. Individuals are contacted via mail with a letter informing them that they are “winners” of a USA Lottery Sweepstakes for $250,000. Accompanying the letter is a fraudulent check bearing the TRICARE name. The instructions on the letter inform the “winner” that the attached check is a portion of the winnings provided to help pay taxes, insurance, handling, and shipping fees. The “winner” is also instructed to return a portion of the funds from the cashed check. Individuals receiving this letter and check should be aware that individuals may be trying to gain access to their bank accounts, or other personal information. Individuals who cash the check may be putting themselves at financial risk. Once the bank determines the check is fraudulent, the individual who cashed the check could be held responsible for returning funds back to the bank. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive this Lottery Sweepstakes Scam letter and check are encouraged to report it to their Managed Care Support Contractor Program Integrity Office (i.e. Health Net, Humana Military, TriWest, Express Scripts, or WPS). Reports can also be made to TRICARE Program Integrity by emailing the TRICARE FRAUDLINE at FRAUDLINE@tma.osd.mil or by fax (303) 676-3981. [Source:
http://www.tricare.mil/fraud/News/Document/Lottery%20Sweepstakes%20Scam.pdf 11 Jun 2012 ++]


COMPUTER TIPS

Customize Sticky Notes
(Works with Windows Vista and Windows 7)

Almost everyone knows what sticky notes are - the yellow notes you stick to walls, computer screens, and sometimes even someone's back. There's a digital version you can use which makes things neater and probably saves a few trees. Much like a real note, you can even format your Sticky Notes by selecting text and using a variety of different keyboard shortcuts. But first, if you've never used Sticky Notes, here's how to access it on your computer.
In Windows 7, you can access Sticky Notes by clicking the Windows Start button at the bottom left of your screen, clicking All Programs, Accessories and then you should see Sticky Notes.
The Sticky Notes application in Windows Vista is actually implemented as a gadget for the Windows Sidebar, so to add it you'll want to right-click anywhere on the sidebar or on the tray icon and choose "Add Gadgets", then select the Notes icon on the menu, and drag it over to the sidebar. Notes will sit in the Sidebar or you can drag them to the desktop where they will be larger and easier to read and edit if needed.
Here's the shortcutes you can use to format your text:
Bold: CTRL+B
Italics: CTRL+I
Underline: CTRL+U
Strikethrough: CTRL+T
Increase size of text: CTRL+SHIFT+>
Decrease size of text: CTRL+SHIFT+<
Bullet List: CTRL+SHIFT+L
Numbered List: CTRL+SHIFT+L (do this twice)
Alphabetical List: CTRL+SHIFT+L (do this three times)


DA-VA-RETIREE NEWS

and the Crap goes on.....!We Veterans are nearing the moment when we will lose ALL OUR RIGHTS! wHATS NEXT! wHY SHOULD I EXPOSE MYSELF TO HARM JUST TO SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE IN COURT TRYING TO KEEP MY COMBAT OBTAINED MONIES OUT OF THE HANDS AND LAWYERS WHO MAKE A LIFETIME DURING THEIR BEST TO COME UP WITH WAYS TO TAKEN WHAT IS LAWFULLY MINE AWAY FROM ME. lETS SENT THEM lAWYERS TO COMBAT AND LET THEM EARN THEIR OWN COMPENSATION!! Bb!! USFSPA & Divorce Update 21: Marshall Willick, a divorce lawyer based in Las Vegas who specializes in representing the ex-spouses of military retirees in divorces, has filed a lawsuit in the Clark County District Court (NV) against several disabled military veterans and organizations. Willick named 11 defendants and ten "Doe" (unknown) defendants. The first two defendants, and apparent primary targets, were Vietnam combat disabled combat veterans along with the veteran service organizations they are affiliated with (i.e. Operation Firing for Effect, Inc. and Veterans For Veteran Connection, Inc.) and the Veterans Today Military & Foreign Journal. In the lawsuit, Willick complains of e-mails and website postings alleging false information about himself and the Willick Law Firm. The defendants and attorney Willick have been engaged in an on-going political debate over the rights of states to order certain payments in a divorce settlement directly from veteran's disability compensation, which the dependents allege are in violation of federal law. Specifically 38 USC 5301 and 10 USC 1408, as well as the 1989 Supreme Court decision of Mansell v. Mansell.

At the heart of the public debate is Willick’s claim that VA disability compensation awarded to combat disabled veterans belongs to the veteran's entire family, including ex-spouses. He also claims VA disability compensation is income, and in a divorce the ex-spouse is entitled to a significant portion of that income as alimony. According to Willick, sorting out how much of a veteran's disability compensation is awarded to an ex-spouse is what divorce courts are for. He also claims that combat military service is no more dangerous than the work of zoo keepers and construction workers. According to the two dependents, Willick's law suit is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to silence those who disagree with him from publicly criticizing him and his attempts to strip combat disabled veterans of their earned disability compensation. Both veterans consider his law suit to be an attack on their 1st Amendment rights of free speech and believe that his law suit was filed in retaliation for formal complaints they filed against him with the Nevada State Bar in January of this year.

Lawyers advising the defendants have reviewed Willick's law suit and feel this suit is a classic SLAPP (Strategic Litigation against Public Participation) suit - a type of aggressive law designed to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. Although many states have outlawed such suits and allow for defendants to have such suits quickly adjudicated and be reimbursed for their costs, the legislation in Nevada is weak on this subject, providing only limited protection (NRS 41.635 to 41.670). Defendants allege it appears Willick would prefer to bring an action against disabled veterans instead of addressing the issues with the group in a meaningful dialogue. One of his causes of action is defamation, meaning that he will be alleging that there were false statements of fact that harmed his reputation. Ultimately, it seems the issues he proffers will have their day in court. [Source: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/06/10/las- vegas-divorce-attorney-sues-disabled-veterans/ 10 Jun 2012 ++] http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Marshals-bar-picture-213x320.jp Attorney Marshal Willick


WEEKLY INSPIRATION

Healing for God's Glory
Father, I'm praying for (name one or more) and others in my circle of family 
and friends in need of Your healing touch...

For these who are sick, have medical conditions, or have suffered accidents, 
I ask You to look upon them with Your mercy and compassion. I know our days 
are numbered and sometimes You have a different plan, but You have taught us 
that sometimes we don't have what's needed because we haven't asked, and so I 
ask for healing. May Your Spirit help me when I don't know what to ask, and 
above all, may Your will be done. 

Heal those with the personal faith to be healed, and those whose friends who 
have the faith to ask on their behalf. 

If any are ill as a consequence of sin, I ask You to be merciful, to forgive 
and heal—as You healed the paralyzed man whose friends lowered him through the 
roof. Sometimes sickness or a condition may be caused by an evil spirit; if that 
is the case, set them free. At times disease comes as discipline; where that is 
true, I ask that in Your love and mercy, You grant repentance and healing. 
Sometimes an illness is meant to bring You glory; may it be so for these I'm 

praying for. 

In Jesus' name, Amen. 


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

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