Sunday, November 30, 2008

www.LetsSayThanks. com
Something cool that Xerox is doing If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks. com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currentlyserving in Iraq . You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to amember of the armed services. How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! This is a great site. Please send a card. It is FREE and it only takes a second.

A motorcade of Russia’s diplomats had a traffic accident in Iraq through the fault of U.S. military, spokesmen of the RF Foreign Ministry told RBC news agency.

Three armored cars of the RF embassy were heading for the international airport when a column of five armored troop carriers of the United States set to overtaking them.

“All of a sudden, the lead armored carrier maneuvered violently, overtook two of three cars of Russia’s motorcade, came abreast of the leading car and hit it to push away from the road. The embassy’s car was heavily damaged, lost control, moved by 180 degree, nearly turning over,” representatives of the RF Foreign Ministry said.

Without any agitation, the U.S. armored carriers proceeded in the previous direction, aiming guns at the diplomats, said representatives of the RF Foreign Ministry.

According to diplomats, Russia emphasizes the intended nature of the accident and demands to probe into it and punish the guilty. The RF embassies in Bagdad and Washington made the respective statements already.

Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, center, announces a tax exemption for Cold War-era veterans, which allows them to get the same tax exemption as veterans who served during wartime. He was joined at the press conference by, left to right, Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove); Legislator Judy Bosworth (D-Great Neck); Legislator Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn); Legislator David Denenberg (D-Merrick); Legislator David Mejias (D-Farmingdale); Presiding Officer Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove); Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach); and Legislator Roger Corbin (D-Westbury).

Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi announced that Cold War-era veterans in Nassau County are eligible for a property tax exemption of up to 15 percent. Veterans who served more than a year in service from Sept. 2, 1945, to Dec. 26, 1991 may apply for the exemption, which allows Cold War veterans to get the same tax exemption as veterans who served during wartime. It applies to the veterans' un-remarried spouses. Disabled veterans get an additional exemption.

"Although the guns were silent, the threat and potential for national disaster was real. Veterans who served during the Cold War preserved the peace by sacrificing years of their lives to service and being ready to defend us with their lives," said County Executive Suozzi. "It is important that we get the word out to all veterans that whether they served during a time of war or a time of cold war, Nassau County has extended the Veterans Real Tax Exemption. We are grateful to all of our veterans for putting their lives on the line to protect us."

Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg (D-Merrick) sponsored the legislation locally. He said, "I believe that we can never thank our veterans enough for their service. Providing tax relief is the least government can do for those who gave so much to their country. This law provides that the men and women who served during the cold war will be treated as serving during war-time for purposes of this veteran's tax exemption. Having grown up in the late 1960s and 1970s, I remember the anxiety and fears of that war and the battles within that war; in the end it was a 46-year war that the US won because of the valiant service of the men and women of our armed forces." Legislator Denenberg is vice-chair of the Veterans Committee.

Legislator and Vietnam War veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps Dennis Dunne (R-Levittown) said, "As a veteran myself, I am so thankful to all of the men and women who served this country during the prime of their lives and prepared to die for this nation. Providing this exemption is one way to exhibit the county's gratitude towards our veterans."

Legislator Dave Mejias (D-Farmingdale) said, "I have a lot of veterans in my district who took an oath to put their lives on the line for this country. This is the least we can do for them."

The Cold War exemption of 15 percent adopted by the Legislature applies to county taxes but not school or special district taxes and is limited to 10 years. Veterans with a service-connected disability can increase the value of the exemption by one half of their disability rating.

Each individual County municipality has the option of deciding whether to grant the Cold War exemption to their veterans. The Cold War is defined as Sept. 2, 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991. Veterans who served during the Korean or Vietnam Wars or who received an expeditionary medal for operations in Lebanon, Grenada or Panama during specified times of conflict are eligible for the Alternative Veterans Exemption. No veteran can receive both a Cold War and a war time tax exemption. The Cold War exemption of 15 percent adopted by the Legislature applies to county taxes but not school or special district taxes and is limited to 10 years. Veterans with a service-connected disability can increase the value of the exemption by one half of their disability rating.

Veterans may contact the Veterans Service Agency at 572-8452 or the Nassau County Assessor's Office at 571-1500 for an application.
Save Ewa Field Update


We have come up with some Sunday, December 7
Ewa Field battlefield Commemoration Posters.
See the attached artwork. You can see more here:

Let us know which one you think best represents
the Commemoration of this long lost and forgotten
December 7 battlesite, still marked with strafing
and cannon fire from attacking Imperial Japanese
Navy aircraft.

We feel it is important to Commemorate the actual
battlefield as it is in very dire danger of being bulldozed.
Already, there has been intentional damage done
to the previously untouched Pool battlesite by
Navy land developers using a tractor. The site was
run over from four directions and the pool area
badly chipped and cracked. The historic December 7
concrete ramp was also badly trashed and broken glass
spread around by these same Navy land developers
doing what they called an "Environmental Survey".

It has been our hope that the actual December 7
battlesite would be visited for the first time in over
60 years by an official US Marine Corps Honor
Guard, Rifle Salute and Chaplin to honor the Marines
and Civilians killed on or near the battlesite on
Sunday, December 7, 1941.

John Bond
Save Ewa Field

Friday, November 28, 2008

By Julian E. Barnes
November 28, 2008
Reporting from Washington -- Senior military leaders took the exceptional step of briefing President Bush this week on a severe and widespread electronic attack on Defense Department computers that may have originated in Russia -- an incursion that posed unusual concern among commanders and raised potential implications for national security.

Defense officials would not describe the extent of damage inflicted on military networks. But they said that the attack struck hard at networks within U.S. Central Command, the headquarters that oversees U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and affected computers in combat zones. The attack also penetrated at least one highly protected classified network.

Military computers are regularly beset by outside hackers, computer viruses and worms. But defense officials said the most recent attack involved an intrusive piece of malicious software, or "malware," apparently designed specifically to target military networks.

"This one was significant; this one got our attention," said one defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity when discussing internal assessments.

Although officials are withholding many details, the attack underscores the increasing danger and potential significance of computer warfare, which defense experts say could one day be used by combatants to undermine even a militarily superior adversary.

Bush was briefed on the threat by Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen also briefed Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

Military electronics experts have not pinpointed the source or motive of the attack and could not say whether the destructive program was created by an individual hacker or whether the Russian government may have had some involvement. Defense experts may never be able to answer such questions, officials said.

The defense official said the military also had not learned whether the software's designers may have been specifically targeting computers used by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, suspicions of Russian involvement come at an especially delicate time because of sagging relations between Washington and Moscow and growing tension over U.S. plans to develop a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. The two governments also have traded charges of regional meddling after U.S. support for democratic elections in former Soviet states and recent Russian overtures in Latin America.

U.S. officials have worried in recent years about the possibility of cyber-attacks from other countries, especially China and Russia, whether sponsored by governments of those countries or launched by individual computer experts.

An electronic attack from Russia shut down government computers in Estonia in 2007. And officials believe that a series of electronic attacks were launched against Georgia at the same time that hostilities erupted between Moscow and Tbilisi last summer. Russia has denied official involvement in the Georgia attacks.

The first indication that the Pentagon was dealing with a computer problem came last week, when officials banned the use of external computer flash drives. At the time, officials did not indicate the extent of the attack or the fact that it may have targeted defense systems or posed national security concerns.

The invasive software, known as agent.btz, has circulated among nongovernmental U.S. computers for months. But only recently has it affected the Pentagon's networks. It is not clear whether the version responsible for the cyber-intrusion of classified networks is the same as the one affecting other computer systems.

The malware is able to spread to any flash drive plugged into an infected computer. The risk of spreading the malware to other networks prompted the military to ban the drives.

Defense officials acknowledged that the worldwide ban on external drives was a drastic move. Flash drives are used constantly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many officers keep them loaded with crucial information on lanyards around their necks.

Banning their use made sharing information in the war theaters more difficult and reflected the severity of the intrusion and the threat from agent.btz, a second official said.

Officials would not describe the exact threat from agent.btz, or say whether it could shut down computers or steal information. Some computer experts have reported that agent.btz can allow an attacker to take control of a computer remotely and to take files and other information from it.

In response to the attack, the U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the military's cyberspace defenses, has raised the security level for its so-called information operations condition, or "INFOCON," initiating enhanced security measures on military networks.

The growing possibility of future electronic conflicts has touched off debates among U.S. defense experts over how to train and utilize American computer warfare specialists. Some have advocated creating offensive capabilities, allowing the U.S. to develop the ability to intrude into the networks of other countries.

But most top leaders believe the U.S. emphasis in cyberspace should be on improving defenses and gathering intelligence, particularly about potential threats.

On Tuesday, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff, received a specialized briefing about the malware attack. Officers from the Air Force Network Operations Center at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana outlined their efforts to halt the spread of the malware and to protect military computers from further attack.

Schwartz, praising those efforts, said that the attack and the military's response were being closely monitored by senior military leaders.

The offending program has been cleansed from a number of military networks. But officials said they did not believe they had removed every bit of infection from all Defense Department computers.

"There are lots of people working hard to remove the threat and put in preventive measures to protect the grid," said the defense official. "We have taken a number of corrective measures, but I would be overstating it if I said we were through this."

Barnes is a writer in our Washington bureau.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

VA removes leaders of New York regional office

BY MARTIN C. EVANS martin.evans@
November 23, 2008

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has reassigned the director of its New York regional office after finding that employees there misdated hundreds of claims to make it appear they were being processed on time.

Without referring by name to the New York director, Patricia Amberg-Blyskal, VA spokeswoman Alison Aikele said last week that the director and five other top managers were ousted after investigators discovered a pattern of deception in the handling of claims at the regional headquarters at 245 W. Houston St. in Manhattan.

"It was systematically enough of a problem that we removed the leadership," Aikele said.

The shake-up at the New York regional office, which serves 800,000 vets living in eastern New York State, came as veterans organizations and members of Congress have criticized the federal agency for mishandling, losing or destroying the benefits claims of veterans.

"The reports of date changing and document shredding at the N.Y. regional VA office are unacceptable and insulting to those who served our country," said Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) in a prepared statement.

A summary of an investigation by the VA obtained by Newsday showed that of 20 claims examined by VA investigators at the New York office during a July visit, 16 had been marked with apparently phony dates to suggest their processing had begun within the required seven days of their arrival.

A wider audit in August showed that 56.4 percent of claims carried incorrect intake dates, according to the summary, which was dated Nov. 10. According to the summary, several employees told VA investigators that their supervisor had instructed them to enter incorrect dates, and that the practice was widely known.

VA investigators also found that the New York office has ignored "significant amounts" of its mail, officials said. An Oct. 6 visit by investigators, for example, turned up 700 pieces of mail that had not been acted upon. Aikele also said investigators recovered at least five documents related to claims that had been improperly placed in shredder bins.

On Friday, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) wrote to Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peak, asking to be apprised of the situation in the New York Regional Office.

Amberg-Blyskal did not reply to a reporter's requests for an interview.

The summary said "the director and assistant director were initially placed on administrative leave but now have been detailed to other work sites to complete assigned projects." Four other managers were placed on administrative leave, according to the summary.

Last week, two veterans organizations filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., seeking to force the VA to handle benefits claims more quickly, saying veterans often wait a year before their applications are processed, and as long as four years for appeals.

Joe's Note: The two Vet organizations that filed the lawsuit last week were the VVA and the Veterans of Modern Warfare.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A must read website about the true story of the real great escape the film was basesd on.

The following research had been provided by Rob Davisprepared and completed: F. Fedorowicztranslated: A. Strukowskaused with permission, Rob Davis 3/30/2002

Allied aircrew shot down during World War II were incarcerated after interrogation in Air Force Prisoner of War camps run by the Luftwaffe, called Stalag Luft, short for Stammlager Luft or Permanent Camps for Airmen. Stalag Luft III was situated in Sagan, 100 miles south-east of Berlin, now called Zagan, in Upper Silesia, Poland.

It was opened in 1942 with the first prisoners arriving in April of that year, and was just one of a network of Air Force only PoW camps. The Germans treated captured Fleet Air Arm aircrew as Air Force and put them all together. There is no obvious reason for the occasional presence of a non-airman in the camps, although one possibility is that the captors would be able to spot "important" non-Air Force uniformed prisoners more readily.

Despite being an officers-only camp, it was not referred to as Oflag (Offizier Lager) like some other officer-only camps. The Luftwaffe seemed to have their own nomenclature


INHERITANCE- Feature Documentary
Cinematographer Harris Done shoots an interview with Monika Hertwig, Amon Goeth's daughter, at the former site of the Plaszow Concentration Camp.

© 2006 Allentown Productions, Inc.
Photo by Don Holtz

The National WWII Museum is hosting a special premiere of Inheritance on December 1st in New York City. A documentary by director James Moll - whose work has won Emmy Awards © as well as an Academy Award © -Inheritance picks up where the iconic film Schindler’s List left off. In association with the Museum of Jewish Heritage, The National WWII Museum is proud not only to offer a preview of this important new film, but also the chance to meet the two women at the center of this powerful story. Connecting the public to the participants, and thereby creating a chance to experience history, fulfills the educational mission of The National WWII Museum.

December 1st, 2008
The Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Place - Battery Park City
New York, New York

Tickets are limited. Advance reservations
are strongly recommended.
Please contact Jessica Skelly for reservations
by November 24th, 2008.
1-877-813-3329 Ext. 334
Jessica.Skelly@ nationalww2museu

The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as the country’s official museum of the Second World War, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women fought on the battlefront and the Home Front.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Congressional report just released this week has concluded that one out of four U.S. soldiers who served in the 1991 war against Iraq suffered serious, long-lasting, or even permanent neurotoxic damage from exposure to drugs and chemicals.

That means 175,000 American GI's out of the 697,000 deployed to the Gulf in 1990-91 were permanently injured in the so-called `bloodless' war that was hailed as a great military triumph.

Until the 20th century, sickness caused by diseases like typhoid and small pox, filthy conditions, cold, and stress usually killed far more soldiers in wartime than combat operations. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the ratio was often five or eight to one. The advent of antibiotics in the 20th century and proper sanitation ended this heavy toll on soldiers in the field.

The U.S. government strongly denied for the past 17 years that there was any such thing as "Gulf War Illness' in spite of mounting medical evidence and angry claims by ailing veterans. Now, Washington has finally admitted "Gulf War Illness" is indeed a specific condition that includes memory loss, lack of concentration, severe headaches, fatigue, and pains in different parts of the body, digestive and respiratory problems and skin eruptions.

The government study also concludes that 'Gulf War Illness' was primarily caused by an anti-nerve gas medication, pyridostigmine bromide, give to all troops in the Gulf Theater, and use of powerful pesticides and insect-repellents like highly concentrated DEET.

Other long-suspect agents, like anthrax vaccines, and exposure of 100,000 U.S. troops to Iraqi poison gas dumps blown up by the U.S. Army, may also have played a role. The study found no link to another suspected culprit, depleted uranium. That is another scandal waiting to be revealed.

A quarter of a million permanently disabled or semi-disabled American veterans from what was supposed to have been a jolly little war in the Gulf is a horrifying figure, both in terms of human suffering and the costs of veteran's care. But this shocking report should also make us reflect on the true costs of supposedly 'low-cost' foreign military adventures.

President George H.W. Bush ordered an unnecessary war against Saddam's occupation of Kuwait. The Iraqi leader, hitherto a close U.S. ally in the joint war against Iran, had rashly invaded Kuwait in a rage after being insulted by the Kuwaiti Crown Prince. As a U.S.-led coalition massed against him in Saudi Arabia, Saddam desperately sought a face-saving way out of the trap.

Shortly before the U.S. attack began, Saddam agreed to a French-Russian deal to withdraw his troops. But President Bush was determined to cut Saddam down to size by destroying most of his armed forces. 'Our' SOB had become too big for his britches.

So Bush Sr. ignored pleas from Paris and Moscow and launched his devastating attack on the doomed, totally outgunned Iraqi Army. Just enough Iraqi Republican Guard troops were allowed to escape from the Kuwait pocket to ensure that a gelded Saddam stayed in power and Iraq's pro-Iranian Shias did not take over.

The U.S. lost a paltry 358 dead and 776 wounded. Over 20,000 Iraqis died. Not since British troops had mowed down some 22,000 sword-wielding Dervishes at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 had a Western army so dramatically shown its lethal technological might over the armed mobs that passed for Third World armies.

But what seemed like a bloodless triumph produced a long chain of unintended consequences. Iraq was placed under Draconian U.S. sanctions that, according to the UN, caused the death of 500,000 civilians, mostly children. The leading cause of death was water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid that spread after Iraq's water purification stations and sewage treatment facilities were targeted and destroyed by the U.S. bombing. After the war, Washington turned down Iraq's pleas for chlorine to purify contaminated water.

No one knows how many Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the 2003 invasion ordered by President George W. Bush. Estimates run from 100,000 to one million. But it is likely that some, or even many, of the 160,000 US troops garrisoned in Iraq have contracted other serious illness in that nation's exceptionally unhealthy environment. Iraq's swamps, rivers, filthy cities, searing heat and clouds of dust are an ideal breeding ground for insects, rats, and all sorts of gastric, eye, and skin disorders.

Once again, while US casualties in Iraq appear relatively low -- around 4,100 dead and 35,000 wounded -- the real health costs of garrisoning Iraq will, as in the case of the First Gulf War, not be known for years. Many wounded US troops have suffered grave head wounds from roadside bombs. The splendid victory of the First Gulf War does not look so cheery when the true number of American casualties is computed: 358 dead and 175,776 wounded. Injuries from toxic agents are often worse and more persistent than those from shells and bullets. A 25% casualty rate in any battle is considered extremely high.

These casualties could have been avoided had President George H.W. Bush chosen diplomacy over vaunting his machismo as a war leader. He did the same thing in tiny Panama after pipsqueak dictator Manuel Noriega mocked the U.S. president. An equally swaggering Bush Jr. chose to plunge the U.S. into the growing morass in Afghanistan and a $1 trillion war in Iraq that is one of the great disasters of American history.

So far, we do not even have a grasp on the sicknesses and mental problems that U.S. troops in Afghanistan are encountering. But if the Soviet occupation is any historic guide, the Red Army's troops suffered widespread physical and mental ailments during their ten-year occupation that many continue to experience to this day. The Afghan occupation also infected Soviet troops with addiction to heroin, a scourge they brought home with them after the war's end.

These are things president-elect Barack Obama should ponder as he considers expanding what he called a "good war" in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:35pm EST
By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A report released on Monday concluded that Gulf War syndrome is a legitimate illness suffered by more than 175,000 U.S. war veterans who were exposed to chemical toxins in the 1991 Gulf War.

The congressionally mandated report could help veterans who have battled the government for treatment of a wide range of unexplained neurological illnesses, from brain cancer to multiple sclerosis.

The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses concluded that Gulf War illness is a physical condition distinct from the mental "shell shock" suffered by veterans in other wars. Some earlier studies had concluded it was not a distinct illness.

"Scientific evidence leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans," said the committee, which has been looking into the problem since 2002.

The committee, composed of independent scientists and veterans, said Congress should boost funding for research on Gulf War veterans' health to at least $60 million per year.

"This is a national obligation, made especially urgent by the many years that Gulf War veterans have waited for answers and assistance," the committee said.

Gulf War illness affects at least one-fourth of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1991 effort to drive Iraq out of Kuwait, or between 175,000 and 210,000 veterans in all, the report found. Few have seen their symptoms improve over the past 17 years, the report said.

Symptoms include persistent headaches, widespread pain, cognitive difficulties, unexplained fatigue, skin rashes, chronic diarrhea and digestive and respiratory problems.


Many Gulf War veterans suffering these symptoms say they were met with skepticism when seeking treatment.

"Today's report brings to a close one of the darkest chapters of the 1991 Gulf War, and that is the legacy of Gulf War illness. For those who ever doubted that Gulf War veterans are ill, this report is definitive and exhaustive," said Anthony Hardie, a Gulf War veteran from Madison, Wisconsin.

Hardie was a 23-year-old sergeant at the time of the conflict. Today he works in Wisconsin's Veterans Affairs Department and suffers a host of ailments, including respiratory problems, fatigue and chronic widespread pain.

"The truth will prevail," said Adrian Atizado, assistant legislative director of the Disabled American Veterans, an advocacy group that represents 1.4 million veterans from the various conflicts in which the United States has fought.

"One can argue with merit that the federal government did hold back progress in allowing Gulf War veterans to seek health care and financial benefits," he said. "We hope now there will be a greater emphasis on finding effective treatments."

The panel found two possible causes: a drug given to troops to protect against nerve gas, known as pyridostigmine bromide, and pesticides that were used heavily during the war.

The panel said other possible causes could not be ruled out, including extensive exposure to smoke from oil-well fires and low-level exposure to sarin gas when captured Iraqi stocks were destroyed.

The U.S. government has spent roughly $440 million on Gulf War health research since 1994, but spending has declined in recent years and often is not focused on improving veterans' health, the committee said.

(Additional reporting by Ross Colvin)

Week of November 17, 2008

Two veterans groups, the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Veterans of Modern Warfare, are suing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) over what they call "unacceptable delays" in veteran's claims. The lawsuit demands that the VA provide an initial decision on every veteran's claim for disability benefits within 90 days and resolve appeals within 180 days, and seeks relief to provide a lifeline of interim benefits if the VA delays last beyond the limit. For more information, visit the Veterans of Modern Warfare website and the Vietnam Veterans of America website.

November 13, 2008
Tactical Lifeby Eric R. Poole

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated how critically important snipers are to a fight marked by urban canyons and high-mountain caves. Problem is, those highly-trained sharpshooters are in short supply, and the need for accurate, long-range fire has outpaced the services' ability to field one-shot killers.

So both the Army and Marine Corps began a program to seed infantry squads with so-called "designated marksmen" -- call them "snipers-lite."

The growing need to equip these new marksmen with accurized rifles prompted the Army to reconsider the role of the venerable M-14 rifle for the war on terror. Back in Desert Storm, armorers from the 10th Special Forces group took M-14s equipped with a match barrels and fitted a gas piston on them for optimal performance, re-designating it the M-25. They replaced the stock with a McMillan M1A fiberglass one, developed a scope mount and added a Bausch & Lomb 10x40mm fixed-power optic or a Leupold Mark 4.

The revamped M-14 provides the Army squad designated marksman with on-command direct fire support for his squad, a fire team or his platoon. The heavier-caliber sharpshooters provide cover when machine guns displace, counter-sniper fire in urban areas, and they help in overtaking valuable real estate.

Infrared targeting lasers such as the AN/PEQ-2 and PAQ-4C make the DM's job more like 24-hour shift work. Now that suppressors for the M-14-series of rifles are available, the night-vision capabilities coupled with sound mitigation makes the Soldier's ability to own the night even more secure.

Taking the M-14 modifications a step further, Crane Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center teamed up with Sage International to create an M-14/M1A package that is dubbed the "Enhanced Battle Rifle."

Using the M-14 barrel, receiver and trigger groups, the EBR chassis adds a retractable stock, a cheek piece that's adjustable for height and a floated Picatinny quad-rail fore-end made of high-strength aluminum. The EBR also adds a pistol grip for additional control and ergonomic sling points.

But the new rifle is heavier than the M-16 or M-4 which weighs nearly seven pounds, with each 30-round magazine adding another pound. The basic M-14, however, weighs nearly 10 pounds with an addition of almost two pounds for every 20 rounds of 7.62 the EBR fires.

A soldier's wisdom varies from one to another but many don't care about the weight. The confidence in the effective range and terminal ballistics of the M-14's 7.62mm round brings the argument back to the Vietnam-era rifle.

The EBR feels a little heavy at the fore end, but this helps the rifle address criticism that it is uncontrollable when firing on full-auto. The additional weight -- and the fact that the stock is in line and parallel with the barrel -- helps reduce muzzle climb.

The EBR chassis comes with a Picatinny rail that replaces the stripper-clip guide, helping Soldiers mount high-powered scopes that can extend the rifle's range. Unique to the EBR is an extended rail just forward of the receiver. For the followers of the Jeff Cooper doctrine on scout rifles, red dot optics work well in making this rifle an effective close quarter battle scout rifle. Regardless of scope height, the shooter can obtain proper cheek weld by adjusting the EBR's stock.

As the Army and Marines Corps continue to develop a semi-auto designated marksman rifle, many within the tactical community feel that the resurrection of the M-14 is just a stopgap. But praise from troops using the M-14's variants and moves made by the Navy suggest otherwise. In 2004, the Navy signed a contract to upgrade nearly 3,000 of their M-14s with the Sage EBR chassis.

What will remain, in any case, is the designated marksman. The smallest infantry unit includes a team leader, two riflemen and a gunner. One of these riflemen will be expected to fill the role of the designated marksman, using optics to distinguish combatants from non-combatants and minimizing collateral risk with precision fire in urban areas.

The book on small unit tactics has evolved to defeat a new kind of enemy, and the old standby Springfield Armory M-14 has evolved right along with it.

Monday, November 17, 2008


The Military Salute Project has released the UNITED STATES FLAG MANUAL, a 45-page comprehensive summary of the Flag Code, public laws, Executive Orders, Presidential proclamations, DoD directives and military protocol regarding our flag.

Topics covered include the history of the U.S. Flag, regulations for its use, the order of precedence, illustrated guidelines for display, positioning of flag patches and pins, displaying the flag on vehicles, how to fold the flag, half-staff information, and military salute protocol.

Other subjects include information about the POW/MIA flag, the Blue Star flag, and the flags of the states and territories. The manual is free and can be viewed online or downloaded in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF formats for printing on one side of a page or as a book on both sides of mirrored pages.

For more information ...

Jeff Seeber, Director
Military Salute Project – Woodbury, MN
http://militarysalute. proboards45. com

This story is taken from Sacbee / Living Here
Published Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008

Merry Lee Croslin doesn't remember her uncle William S. Meyer.

Long before she was born, he disappeared when the Navy spy plane carrying him and nine other crew members was shot down Nov. 6, 1951, near Vladivostok, Siberia.

"One of my mother's biggest fears when I was growing up was that her brother had somehow survived and was in a Soviet gulag," says Croslin, who's now 51.

The event made national headlines during the tense early years of the Cold War. It haunted the lives of her late grandmother, mother and aunt. And it resonates in Croslin's life even now.

It resonates as well with a retired Nevada City nurse named Melody Raglin, who was only 15 months old when her father – Bill Meyer's crew mate and friend Erwin Doyle Raglin – disappeared in the same incident.

If the Cold War is a conflict largely forgotten by a country now at war in Afghanistan and Iraq, its casualties are the forgotten veterans.

But their families haven't forgotten. They're troubled by decades of unanswered questions, by fears and frustrations that cloud their search for information. They want answers.

Melody Raglin can hardly talk about her father without crying.

"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to know what happened," says Raglin, 58. "My mother would say, 'The Russians shot him down, and no trace was ever found.' "

Her mother never remarried, she says, because what if Doyle came home one day?

Croslin, who lives in midtown Sacramento, recently returned from a three-day conference for families of those who went missing during the Korean War and Cold War. Raglin is a veteran of nine such meetings, run by the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office in Washington, D.C.

She joined Croslin the other day to go through an old suitcase filled with Bill Meyer's effects. His Navy dress blues. The Air Medal and other service awards. An album filled with photos of people unfamiliar to Croslin's family. Bits and pieces of a life interrupted in 1951, when Meyer was 27.

On Veterans Day, they honor the memory of men they never knew.

Incident during tense times
The Navy's telegram mentioned only the unexplained disappearance of the P2V Neptune plane in the Sea of Japan during a weather reconnaissance mission.

"Weather reconnaissance was a common cover story in those days," says Frank Tims, a founding member of the American Cold War Veterans. "To send military aircraft into someone's airspace can be construed as an act of war."

Consider the political landscape in 1951. The Soviet Union occupied Eastern Europe and threatened to expand into Western Europe, still devastated by World War II. A year earlier, American forces launched into war in Korea to halt the spread of communism there. As Tims says, the American public feared that the Soviet Union wanted to wage war against the United States.

Within a few weeks of the Neptune's disappearance, American newspapers reported the incident as the shoot-down of a U.S. spy plane by Soviet fighters.

The crew's families had no idea. The government never told them, says Pat Dickinson, a West Virginia woman whose 20-year-old brother, Jack Lively, was the plane's youngest crew member.

She was 14, and she remembers seeing her father on the porch, crying and holding his head in his hands, when she ran down the hill from school for lunch. Unlike Bill Meyer and Doyle Raglin, who served in the Navy during World War II, her brother had enlisted only a year earlier.

The day he left for boot camp was the last day his family ever saw him.

The entire crew was declared legally dead on Nov. 7, 1952.

Forty years later, after then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin confirmed that American POWs could still be alive in camps in the former Soviet Union, Dickinson decided to track down surviving family members of the other crewmen – strangers united by their common loss.

Through her efforts, military forensics experts were able to collect DNA samples from each man's next of kin in case evidence turns up.

"I've done 15 years of research to resolve the fate of Jack and his fellow crewmen," says Dickinson, 71, from her home in West Virginia. "I can personally confirm that the wall of secrecy is very discouraging.

"Sometimes, you wait for years to get a reply, and then it's totally redacted. I recently got a packet that was totally blank except for the cover page. I find this insulting."

Federal law requires the release of all requested information to the primary next of kin, except for anything that might reveal intelligence-gathering sources or methods, explains Larry Greer, a spokesman for the DMPO.

"It sounds like the sources and methods are being struck out," he says.

What information could remain a security risk after 57 years? The plane's technology has long been obsolete. And the idea that a source – a spy from the 1950s – could be compromised today sounds improbable.

Current diplomatic strains with Russia may play a part, suggests Tims.

"They may be trying to get the Russian archives open again," he says. "There may be a POW from the 1970s still alive after all these years. I know it's hard on the families. It's repugnant to me to say it, but there might be reasons."

Seven years ago, according to Dickinson and Melody Raglin, the date to declassify information about the case was reset from 2001 to 2026.

Drips, drabs, disappointments
So the families wait.

At the most recent meeting for families of missing personnel, Croslin learned that an elderly Vladivostok man claimed several years ago to have been in the hospital in late 1951 along with four wounded Americans. One of the Americans was in his mid-20s, with blue eyes and fair hair.

"I read that and thought, 'Wow, is that my uncle?' " she says.

Military researchers have discounted the Russian's testimony, citing discrepancies in dates, and Croslin returned from Washington disappointed that leads have dwindled.

Raglin puts the situation more bluntly.

"(Defense representatives) say, 'It's one of our highest national priorities to find out what happened,' " she says. "That gives you hope when you're new. But after all these years, I wonder, 'How can you even look me in the eye?' "

Why not just let the past go? Croslin wants to honor the grief her mother and grandmother endured, and Raglin longs for connection with the father she never knew.

And Dickinson says: "This is my brother. I feel that he and the crew were abandoned. I don't think a country that sends service personnel on these missions should ever abandon them."


Call the Bee's Anita Creamer, (916) 321-1136.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I am moving!!!!!! Signing off til Wed. 1700 EST I will be incommunicado until then I am gone temporarily but the Blog will be here enjoy the Archives until then. Thanks Sean
VA Announces Expansion Of Disability Evaluation System Pilot
All Military Services Now Taking Part

WASHINGTON (Nov. 7, 2008) -- Wounded service members leaving the
military will have easier, quicker access to their veterans benefits due
to the expansion of a pilot program that will offer streamlined
disability evaluations that will reach 19 military installations,
representing all military departments.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the expansion of
the Disability Evaluation System (DES) pilot which started in the
National Capitol Region in coordination with Departments of Defense
(DoD). The pilot is a test of a new process that eliminates
duplicative, time-consuming and often confusing elements of the two
current disability processes of the departments.

"Providing Service members going through the disability process with
comprehensive information about their benefits from both departments and
delivering their VA benefits as fast as possible is our goal. This
single evaluation will help us do just that," Tom Pamperin, deputy
director of VA's Compensation and Pension Service, said. "The program
expansion will allow wounded warriors a smoother and more efficient
transition to getting services from the VA."

The initial phase of the expansion started on Oct 1, with Fort Meade,
Md. and Fort Belvoir, Va. The remaining 17 installations will begin
upon completion of site preparations and personnel orientation and
training, during an 8-month period from November 2008 to May 2009.

"The decision to expand the pilot was based upon a favorable review that
focused on whether the pilot met its timeliness, effectiveness,
transparency, and customer and stakeholder satisfaction objectives,"
said Sam Retherford, director, officer and enlisted personnel
management, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and
Readiness. "This expansion extends beyond the national capital region,
so that more diverse data from other geographic areas can be evaluated,
prior to rendering a final decision on worldwide implementation."

The remaining installations to begin the program are: Army: Fort Carson,
Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Richardson, Alaska; Fort
Wainwright, Alaska; Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas; and Fort Polk,
La. Navy: Naval Medical Center (NMC) San Diego and Camp Pendleton,
Calif.; NMC Bremerton, Wash.; NMC Jacksonville, Fla.; and Camp Lejeune,
N.C. Air Force: Vance Air Force Base, Okla.; Nellis Air Force Base,
Nev.; MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.; Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.;
and Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

In November 2007 VA and DoD implemented the pilot test for disability
cases originating at the three major military treatment facilities in
the national capitol region. To date, over 700 service members have
participated in the pilot over the last ten months.

The single disability examination pilot is focused on recommendations
from the reports of the Task Force on Returning Global War on Terrorism
Heroes, the Independent Review Group, the President's Commission on Care
for America's Returning Wounded Warriors (the Dole/Shalala Commission),
and the Commission on Veterans' Disability Benefits.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Nation Salutes Those Who Serve on Veterans Day
Peake: VA Honors All Generations of Veterans

WASHINGTON (Nov. 5, 2008) - During Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Secretary of
Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake calls on Americans to recognize the
nation's 23.4 million living veterans and the generations before them
who fought to protect freedom and democracy.

"While our foremost thoughts are with those in distant war zones today,
Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to pay their respects to
all who answered the nation's call to military service," said Peake.
"Participation in Veterans Day can be as simple as putting out the porch
flag or reminding youngsters of the story of a relative who served in
the military."

As part of the national Veterans Day observance, Peake will join White
House and military officials and leaders of the major veterans
organizations at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in
Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m.

From stirring parades and ceremonies to military exhibits and tributes
to distinguished veterans, major national observances also are scheduled
at 33 sites in 20 states, serving as models for communities to follow in
planning their own observances.

A guide to these major activities is included on VA's Veterans Day Web
page at under "Regional Observances."
The page includes a variety of resources, including a teacher's guide, a
poster gallery and links to information about the Arlington National
Cemetery ceremony.

Other commemorative activities range from sports events, restaurants
offering discounts to military members and individual veterans wearing
their military medals in public during the day as a gesture of pride in

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nobody can afford a real Cold War

Canadian Column

They've dusted off the Cold War sabres, but is the rattling for real


November 1, 2008

MOSCOW -- From the vantage of a Moscow living room this week, it was easy to believe that the world had been magically beamed back to the worst days of 1962.

On Monday, the state-controlled TV stations eagerly showed us a military delegation visiting Cuba in a mission, the first of its kind since Soviet times, to "exchange experience in organizing tactical air defence and in training officers," as the Kremlin put it.

The same day, a fleet of Russian warships, led by the nuclear-powered Peter the Great, reached the coast of Latin America to help the Venezuelan government deploy $4-billion worth of Russian-made fighter jets, helicopters and weapons in America's backyard.

Later in the week, Russia met with Iran as part of a huge arms deal, and fighting flared up again in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Russian-majority Georgian regions that were invaded by 60,000 Russian troops this summer.
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* 'We butchered birds'
* Malaria effort brings Africa a rare public-health success story
* The quest for 'the reconcilable'
* Bad policies and a lack thereof
* They've dusted off the Cold War sabres, but is the rattling for real?
* Go to the section

The Globe and Mail

The Americans seem to be behaving equally Cold War-ishly. After eight years of increasingly nasty name-calling and provocative acts on Russia's doorstep by the U.S. military, both John McCain and Barack Obama have refused to turn down the heat, speaking of Russia exclusively as a threat to be dealt with strongly. Even Mr. Obama, who otherwise claims to be a negotiator, has hinted strongly that Russia could be punished.

When Moammar Gadhafi showed up here yesterday, for the first time since the eighties, and signed a huge arms deal of his own, it all started to feel a bit too real.

But it isn't real, and we shouldn't forget that.

The real Cold War was not just a set of political gestures; it was a full-scale military reality. The Soviet Union's forces were massively organized to expand outward and wage war in Europe. The West's entire military was oriented eastward, and 100,000 soldiers were prepared to head to Western Europe's borders quickly and lethally.

If there were still actual, credible military tension between Russia and the West, we would be seeing one side or another preparing to face the threat of the other.

But, on both sides, precisely the opposite is happening.

"Look, I am a Cold War veteran," says Alexander Golts, a former Red Army commander who is now one of Russia's best-connected military observers.

In his office beside the Kremlin, he outlines the new map of North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russian forces. "I spent 16 years with the Soviet military daily. And I remember the exercises ... where Americans trained their troops to cross oceans, and they were capable of moving something like 1,000 tanks, 50,000 troops and so forth. But there have been no such exercises for decades, not on either side."

In fact, he noted, both Russia and the U.S. are rebuilding their armies so they can mainly face threats in the Middle East and the south. The American presence in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, Russian military figures willingly acknowledge, can be only for this purpose - by abandoning German bases, they're actually weakening their ability to attack Russia. "It's absolutely clear that all this rhetoric about a possible military threat from NATO to Russia just has no sense to it," Mr. Golts says.

On the other side, it's the same. At a private gathering of senior NATO-connected officials in England last week, one of the alliance's better-known officials put it to me plainly. "Neither Russia nor NATO wants to spend the money or energy tooling up for a new Cold War. There are actually more common enemies shared by both parties, and even if the politics are hostile, the militaries are moving closer together."

Russia's Defence Minister, in the midst of these aggressive gestures, has been reshaping the nation's military dramatically, changing from a huge, mass-mobilization reserve army that takes in 130,000 troops a year to an elite, fast-moving force designed to counter terrorist threats and failed states.

"At present," Moscow military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer says, "Russia wants to westernize its military and rearm it with the West's help, and to build a military that will be more professional and smaller - not a mass mobilization. And the purpose of a mass mobilization is to fight the West. So we're moving in a direction militarily where we will have to be less opposed to the West, even while politically we are getting more and more opposed to the West."

It is widely believed that neither President Alexander Medvedev nor Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wanted a military incursion into Georgia - neither are seen to be expansion-minded - but political circumstances, both within Russia and provoked by Georgia's hostility, forced them into it. "I think it's fair to say that this was a one-time action, a real exception to the rule," a senior British military commander says.

The only NATO countries that talk about Russia as a serious threat, and propose defences in Europe, are a few of the most recent members: Poland, Estonia, Hungary, all former Soviet conquests.

This talk aggravates most other members, including the U.S. and Canada, which always saw the eastward expansion of the alliance not as a defensive move, but a way to send messages of co-operation to Russia in hopes of perhaps some day bringing Moscow into the fold.

Attempts by Russian generals to keep up anti-Western defences are batted away by the Kremlin as quickly as NATO command bats away requests by Eastern European countries to put bases along the Russian border. A British official admits to me that Britain's army has only one unit capable of crossing major rivers. That sort of equipment, necessary in bulk if European defence is planned, is not even in the cards. Nobody believes it is necessary.

This week's U.S. election is key: We can only hope that all the tough-on-Russia talk was for the swing-state voters, just as the Kremlin's anti-Western posturing is intended for a domestic audience.

It's dangerous talk, because nobody can afford a real Cold War. Mr. Golts says the next president will need to tone down the expansionist rhetoric to avoid turning this phony war into a real one. "If you need adversity, you will have it, and the United States is the best candidate to play this role for us."
Former EUCOM Commander Dies

Release Date: Nov 01, 2008

By European Command Public Affairs

STUTTGART, Germany - Former Commander of U.S. European Command, retired Army Gen. Bernard W. Rogers, died Oct. 27 at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va. He was 87 years old.

Rogers was appointed Supreme Allied Commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Commander, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) in July 1979. He retired from active duty in June 1987.

He served as Commander of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) during a critical period for NATO and EUCOM, including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Beirut barracks bombing, Operation Eldorado Canyon against Libya and the controversial deployment of Pershing II and Ground Launched Cruise Missiles.

Rogers spent eight years as Commander of NATO and EUCOM due to his leadership and statesmanship Ã? coupled with his vast knowledge and experiences as a soldier and warrior both organizations became stronger than in any time in its history. Through an alliance of strength, victory of the West was secured in the Cold War during his tenure at EUCOM.

At the conclusion of his service with NATO and EUCOM, his accomplishments were recognized with the presentation of the Defense, Army, Navy and Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, in addition to numerous foreign awards and decorations.

Born in Fairview, Kansas., Rogers entered and later graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1943 as a second lieutenant of infantry. Prior to West Point, he completed a tour as an enlisted man in the Kansas Army National Guard.

Army Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, president of Association of the United States Army's Council of Trustees said, "Today our nation lost a great American soldier, warrior, scholar, statesman and patriot who served his country in uniform with distinction, dedication and honor for 44 years".

Born in Fairview, Kan., after a tour as an enlisted man in the Kansas Army National Guard, Rogers entered and later graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1943 as a second lieutenant of infantry.

He is survived by his wife, Ann E. Rogers, McLean, Va., a son, Michael W., and two daughters, Diane Opperman and Susan Kroetch.

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