June 28, 2013

A Game of Honor – Showtime to Film Army-Navy Game Documentary

CBS Sports in conjunction with Showtime Sports have teamed up to bring you a new Army-Navy docu-drama called ‘A Game of Honor’.


The game brings you never before seen aspects of the Army-Navy football game.

If you have ever wondered what goes on in preparation for this football tradition, this epic football rivalry, then this is the show for you.

A Game of Honor is a two-hour special premieres on December 21, and follows the Army-Navy football game that takes place every year.

It’s an in depth look at how the the Army and the Navy players get ready for the game, and their quest for honor on the football field, and off – while defending America.

Read more:
CBS Sports
Showtime Sports: A Game of Honor Army v Navy

Changes at ACAP Patterned after Joint Base Lewis-McChord

The Army Career and Alumni Program is adopting a new program that will aid a soldier’s transition back into the life of a civilian. These changes were inspired by a program in place at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.


Currently, under a congressional mandate, a pre-separation briefing is required no later than 90 days before leaving active duty, with 30-40 hours of ACAP training. The new program will require the process to begin at least 12 to 18 months before a soldier leaves active duty.

An extension in the timeframe of the program will enable soldiers to take advantage of it, without interfering with their duties. Before leaving active duty, all soldiers must have a resume, regardless of their plans, and commanders will be made aware of Soldier participation.

This plan was initially developed at JBLM, due to the high unemployment rate among soldiers who leave active duty. In 2010, the Army spent $500 million supporting former Soldiers who were without a job. The cost is expected to rise to $700-800 million this year.

The counselors at JBLM realized that the soldiers needed more time for transition when deciding what to do next, whether it be re-enlisting, starting a business, or something else. With this information, the counselors could guide Soldiers to the correct resources and help them to reach their goals.

ACAP director Walter M. Herd said: “(The program) really does highlight that the Army is all about people. Whether you’re 25 or 65, everyone has a next chapter.”

Read more:
U.S. Army
ACAP – Official Website

Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Confirmed in Senate

A Change Of Responsibility ceremony will take place on September 7, 2011 in which two top members of the Army will assume new positions due to the deactivation of the position of U.S. Joint Forces Command. This position is currently held by General Raymond T. Odierno. Gen. Odierno will assume the new position of Chief of Staff of the Army, a position currently held by General Martin E. Dempsey. Gen. Demsey has been nominated for and will assume the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Services and the main adviser to the President of the United States.


President Obama said of Gen. Dempsey that over the span of his 36 year military career, he is one of the nations most respected generals. Of Gen. Odierno, Senator John McCain of Arizona said that he has been one of the finest military officers that he has had the opportunity to know. Gen. Odierno along with Gen. David Petraeus were key in implementing the surge of Iraq.

At this critical time in the United States in regard to raising the debt ceiling, Defense programs could face tough cuts if a bipartisan committee assembled to find additional cuts in the amount of $1.2 trillion fails to accomplish this. If this committee can not come up with an adequate plan to achieve this, automatic cuts would go into effect. These cuts could have a serious impact on every area of Defense programs. Both newly appointed Generals express deep concerns regarding budget cuts that would affect this particular area.

Another acknowledged event that took place during these Senate nominations was the approval of a fourth star for Army Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, who was the commanding General during a combat tour in Iraq. Lt. Gen. Jacoby was confirmed at this same time as the head of the U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. This bi-national organization between the United States and Canada is responsible for aerospace control and aerospace missions for North America.

Read more:
U.S. Army
Senate confirms two Soldiers to top military positions
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
North American Aerospace Defense Command

Fort Hood – AWOL Soldier Arrested with Explosives

An AWOL soldier is being held in custody in Killeen, Texas, allegedly having admitted to planning an attack on the Fort Hood Army base.

Quoting law enforcement documents, ABC News is reporting that the soldier, from Fort Campbell in Kentucky, told police officers that he was at the Army base to “get even.”

Fox News is reporting that a source states that 2 additional soldiers may be wanted in connection with this investigation.

Fort Hood’s press center released the following statement: “We are aware at this time that Killeen Police Department arrested a soldier yesterday. The incident leading to the arrest did not occur on Fort Hood and the soldier was not a Fort Hood based soldier.”

The soldier was arrested at Guns Galore in Killeen, after trying to make a purchase, and allegedly enquiring how to build explosives. A store employee notified police. This store is the same place that Major Nadal Hasan bought the weapons that were allegedly used in the 2009 Fort Hood shootings.

He also apparently bought an Army uniform with Fort Hood patches from a local surplus store. Explosives have been found in his motel room.

The soldier has been identified as Private First Class Nasser Jason Abdo, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, according to KXAN-TV. He returned from a tour in Afghanistan on July 4th. Last August, Abdo applied for conscientious objector status last August, in part because he is a Muslim, which was approved in the spring. He has not yet been discharged, due to the fact that he is currently facing a court-martial for allegedly having child pornography on his military computer.

On November 5th, 2009, Major Nadal Hasan, a military psychologist, shot and killed 13 people and wounded 30 more at Fort Hood. Currently, he is standing trial, and faces the death penalty.

Read more:

Fox News

USA Today

NBCDFW

Fort Hood Homepage

Fort Campbell Homepage

Walter Reed Army Hospital Closes

Walter Reed Army Medical Center lowered its distinctive maroon flag for the final time today.

After 102 years, the medical center will be moving from Washington DC to two new buildings in Maryland and Virginia. Today’s flag retirement symbolizes the end of a military unit, and is part of a weeklong series of events celebrating the hospital.

Speaking to the Washington Times, hospital spokesman Chuck Dacey said: “It’s looking back and celebrating the legacy and history, but also looking forward to the future of the newly realigned tri-service hospital.”

Since 1909, Walter Reed has treated military patients and their families, from World War I to the present day. It counts amongst its patients General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. Currently, hundreds of thousands of patients each year are treated at the center.

Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of General Eisenhower, told ABC: “Frankly, I will say that it’s with a heavy heart that Walter Reed closes. I don’t know. I know that there was a process for that decision, but we’ve lost a great, important part of history.” She remembers baking a cake for her grandfather, and bringing it to him, when he spent the final months before his death at Walter Reed.

Scheduled events include a concert on Wednesday for military families, featuring ’70s rock band the Doobie Brothers. On Friday, leadership of the medical center will be transferred from Major General Carla Hawley-Bowland to Brigadier General Joseph Caravalho Jr, at a change-of-command ceremony.

The new operations will be at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and a hospital at Fort Belvoir, Va. Even though it will cost approximately $1 billion to move, and upgrades at Bethesda will cost roughly $200 million, it is expected to save money in the long run. Walter Reed has fallen into disrepair in recent years, and it makes more sense to move to a new location, rather than update the current buildings. The new facility at Bethesda will be named the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Located on over 100 acres, Walter Reed Army Medical Center had humble beginnings, opening in 1909 with just 80 beds. It was named after Major Walter Reed, an army physician who led the team that discovered that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitos, not human contact.

In 2007, an investigation by the Washington Post revealed that Walter Reed was in terrible condition. In Building 18, an outpatient ward, they discovered patients living amongst black mold and mouse droppings. This led to questions about the level of care offered to the wounded military, and caused great embarrassment to the Bush administration.

Today, it treats over 770,000 outpatients annually, with inpatient facilities for about 150. It treats service members, military retirees and their families. A major part of Walter Reed’s mission since opening, has been rehabilitation services for the wounded, including amputee care.

Most of the moving will take place in August, and in September, the old campus will be handed over to the District of Columbia and the State Department. Of the many buildings located on the site, certain ones will be deemed national historic landmarks, and therefore preserved. Others will likely be torn down. The city hopes to develop part of the site for retail and other uses.

Read more:

NY Times

Washington Times

ABC12.com

Wikipedia

Walter Reed Army Medical Center – Official Website

Medal of Honor Awarded to Leroy Arthur Petry

“On Tuesday July 12th, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry was awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House.

Since Vietnam, the nation’s highest military honor has only been awarded to two soldiers who have survived combat; Sgt Petry, and Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who received the Medal of Honor last fall. Both are veterans of Afghanistan.

Sgt. Petry serves in the 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, WA. During his career, he has been deployed eight times, twice to Iraq and six times to Afghanistan.

On May 26th, 2008, Sgt. Petry was involved in a high-risk daytime mission in the Patkia province of eastern Afghanistan. The Rangers were looking for insurgents and a top al-Qaeda leader.

While clearing a building, Petry was shot in both legs. Bleeding badly, he and another solider took cover. An insurgent grenade exploded nearby wounding fellow soldiers, with a second grenade landing a few feet away. As Petry picked up the grenade to throw it, it exploded, taking his hand. Due to his courage, two fellow comrades were saved. Petry applied his own tourniquet and continued to issue orders, helping his unit to fight and win the battle.

“”This 28-year-old man with his whole like ahead of him, this husband and father of four, did something extraordinary,”" said President Obama. “”He lunged forward, toward the live grenade. He picked it up. He cocked his arm to throw it back.”"

Talking to the Stars and Stripes, Petry said, “”You’d hear stories about guys jumping on grenades. I thought about it and I said if there was any time you could visually see a grenade, you should have time to react to it, kick it, throw it, do what you can. I didn’t feel any pain. It was odd. When I sat back up and saw my hand I grabbed where my wrist was, and it was completely gone. I was waiting for the Hollywood squirt, blood to go flying in the air, but that didn’t happen. Then I went back to military training and applied the tourniquet that I had.”"

In attendance at the White House were fellow Rangers, Petry’s wife and children, his parents and other family and friends. Family of Sp. Christopher Gathercole, who died in the raid, were also at the Medal of Honor ceremony.

President Obama met privately with Sgt. Petry in the Oval Office prior to the ceremony, and commented on his prosthetic limb, which has a small plaque attached with the names of his fallen comrades from the 75th Regiment.

“”They are, quite literally, part of him, just as they will always be part of America,”" said President Obama.

Since its creation in 1861, the Medal of Honor has been awarded to more than 3,400 of America’s bravest Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.”

Learn more, click here:

Seattle Times

Medal of Honor Citations

U.S. Department of Defense Official Website – Medal of Honor

Leroy Petry

Sergeant First Class Leroy A. Petry – Madal of Honor Recipient for the United States Army

Army Modernization Plan

“The Army News Service reported July 5 on the Army’s Modernization Plan 2012, spelling out the branch’s budget request for 2012. The Army laid out how the budget fits into current conflicts as well as the Army’s long term plans, aiming to achieve their strategic objectives within the changing battlefield realities of the 21st century.

Army Modernization Plan

Brig. General Edward P. Donnelly, the Army’s director for Joint and Futures Development, laid out three priorities for the Army going forward: networking the force, protecting and empowering soldiers, and defeating and deterring hybrid threats.

Donnelly stressed that the Army expects future enemies will not be able to compete with the Army symmetrically — in traditional head-to-head conflicts — and the Army will need to be able to deal with asymmetrical threats, like localized terrorist attacks and guerrilla warfare tactics.

Donnelly defined hybrid threats as enemies using well understood technologies in unconventional ways, such as cellphones used as bomb detonating devices.

According to the Army website, the goal of the Army’s Modernization Plan 2012 is to develop an affordable and flexible plan, providing the best equipment and training to succeed in both today’s operations and into the future.

In related news, the Washington Post reported July 6 on proposed spending cuts introduced in the House targeting money set aside for military bands in 2012. The overall budget for military bands was $320 million in 2011. Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, wants that figure cut to $200 million. She noted that as cuts are being made domestically to health care and education, including music education in schools, military band spending has been rising.

Opposition was voiced by Rep. John Carter, a Texas Republican, who called the reductions a threat to the morale of the armed forces. In a joint letter with Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat from Texas, he said that military bands “”uphold pride and morale through music at funerals, welcome-home celebrations, concerts, ceremonies and other esprit-de-corps events.

The military is the United States’ largest employer of musicians with approximately 4,000 musicians on active duty, along with a large number in the National Guard and Army Reserve. The Army has 32 active bands, the Air Force has 24 while the Navy and Marines have 14 each. The National Guard and Army Reserve have 51 and 17 bands, respectively.”

Find out more, visit:

Army.mil – Official Army Website

Will the House drum up support to cut spending on military bands? – Washington Post

The Army’s Next Big Fight – Slate Magazine

To Cut Budget, Concentrate on Growth, History Shows: Echoes – Bloomberg

What effect will US military cuts have on Pakistan? – BBC

Army Corps of Engineers Criticized for Flood Response

“The Associated Press is reporting that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has sent a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers, criticizing its handling of the now-flooded Missouri River.

Army Corps of Engineers Criticized for Flood Response

The letter, dated June 28th, questioned the amount of water that they let out of the Missouri River Reservoirs, implying that it may not have been enough. Another issue was a lack of communication with farmers as the flooding got worse. “”This news was delivered via the mass media with little, if any, outreach to those impacted,”" Vilsack wrote.

In response, the Army Corps stated that flows were adjusted according to the huge snowmelt upstream, but record rain in the spring was not expected.

Six counties in Iowa have been declared disaster areas – Woodbury, Harrison, Monona, Pottawattamie, Fremont and Mills. The farmers in these counties will be able to apply for federal aid. Aid may also be given to farmers in surrounding counties.

Although Vilsack is the most recent politician to question how the situation was handled, he isn’t the first. Members of Congress, particularly the Iowa delegation, have been particularly vocal.

Governor Terry Branstad, who also criticized the Army Corps, has reached out to the Governors of Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska to join him in putting together an organization of downstream states. He believes that the upstream interests are being prioritized, resulting in downstream problems such as flood damage.

In his letter, Vilsack wrote “”I am hopeful that subsequent to this disaster, the Corps will embark on a thorough evaluation of the decision-making leading up to and during the flooding to identify pitfalls and lessons learned. It would be helpful to engage the public in this process.”" While Vilsack didn’t judge the damn operations, he noted that the farmers were taken by surprise by the flooding due to no forewarning.

Army Corps spokeswoman Jasmine Chopra stated that more water than usual was released from the Missouri River dams during the fall and winter. “”The Corps fully intends to conduct a full-scale assessment of this year’s flood to determine the effects and learn where adjustment might be warranted in the future,”" said Chopra.

The Corps will be reviewing its operation, while Congress will have its own hearings. A bipartisan group of 14 senators from the Missouri River states has also requested a hearing on the Corps’ handling of the situation.

In total, more than 560,000 acres of land have been flooded, spanning seven states. 440,000 of these acres are farmland. The worst hit state is Iowa, with about one third of the flooded land, 158,000 acres of which are farmland.”

Additional resource links:

Des Moines Register

Agriculture Secretary Questions Corps On Missouri Flooding

ACU, Army Combat Uniform, Velcro, Beret, Patrol Cap

“The official U.S. Army website reported in June on recent changes made to the Army combat uniform (ACU). With input from soldiers in the field and through social networking sites like Facebook, the Army hopes these changes reflect what soldiers wanted to see.

ACU, Army Combat Uniform, Velcro, Beret, Patrol Cap

The top complaint about the ACU from soldiers was the wool beret worn worn with the uniform, according to Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III. Chandler was tasked with gathering input from thousands of soldiers by Army Chief of Staff Martin E. Dempsey.

“”The soldiers didn’t like the fact that the beret was hot,”" said Chandler. “”And they didn’t like to carry two pieces of headgear to do different functions during the day.”"

The wool beret was the standard headgear for the ACU, but for certain jobs, like mechanical work, soldiers were forced to carry the beret along with their work patrol cap. These new policies will prevent that, although the beret has not been discontinued entirly. It remains the the official headgear for the Army Service Uniform.

In addition to pleasing many soldiers, the new headgear policy is expected to save the Army $6.5 million over the life-cycle if the ACU. Previously, the Army issued each soldier two berets, but with the new policy they will only be issued one.

The second change, reflecting soldier complaints, allows soldiers to sew on insignias, name tapes and badges to the uniform. Previously, these were fastened by Velcro but soldiers had difficulty lining up some of the badges to the Army’s exacting standards. Velcro will still be a part of the uniform but soldiers now have the option of sewing some of their accoutrements over the Velcro.

The current ACU was first introduced in 2008, replacing the old Battle Dress Uniform. Updates over the old uniform included a change in the location of the uniform’s pockets, a different cut of fabric and a new digital camouflage design.”

For more information, click here:

Army Changes Combat Uniform

Wikipedia Entry for Army Service Uniform

Army Ditching Fatigues for Formal Uniform at Pentagon

U.S. Army Official Site

Army Bans Toe Shoes

“There’s something afoot in the U.S. Army. A ban has been issued on wearing toe shoes while training — you know, those shoe gloves. The official name is Vibram FiveFingers. They have separate compartments for each toe and are soft and flexible and comfy. Feels like going barefoot with protection. Kind of like a condom for the foot.

Army Bans Toe Shoes

Seems that the big brass find them, uh, ugly. While there has been some outcry in defense of the banned footwear, it isn’t likely they’ll be reinstated any time soon. According to the official decision, “”Only those shoes that accomodate all five toes in one compartment are authorized for wear.”"

If you suspect one of your Army buddies is privately using the glove shoes while training, but you’re not SURE, it’s probably a good idea not to ask and CERTAINLY don’t tell.|”