Thursday, February 25, 2010

Success in Marjah?

The Afghanistan government is now flying their flag over Marjah. This former taleban stronghold is now in civilian hands.

This is a job well done for the US military.

Even so, this flag raising ceremony took place as troops were still clearing bomb fields to clear the last few square miles.

People have returned in the last couple of days and many markets and shops are now open for business, maybe not as usual, but for business.

This ceremony also had a reading from the Koran. Can you imagine that? US soldiers dying and fighting so people have the right to recite religious material at public ceremonies. But in their own country, could these soldiers read from the Bible if they wanted? Think about that for a while.

This was really a joint effort of US, NATO, and Afghan forces, but you can bet the majority of the battles were fought and won by Americans. But we do salute other countries, like Britain, who lost their brave men.

The success in Marjah does mark a milestone, as it was one the biggest last holdouts of the taleban, complete with drug trade.

The main goal was to show Afghans that the world is serious, well, at least the US, about giving Afghanistan back over to Afghans.

As the insurgents leave, they plant bombs that are vexing the troops in clean up mode. Probably 100 remain nearby who will undoubtedly fight until they are all dead.

We refuse to give any body counts for political reasons. Suffice to say there were needless deaths all around. That is never looked upon lightly.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Navy to allow women on submarines

The Pentagon gave the go ahead to eliminate a ban on women serving on submarines. This was revealed in a letter sent by Secretary Gates to lawmakers. Women could begin to be assigned sub duty as early as next year.

Did you know that about 15% of the over 300,000 people serving at sea are women?

Of course, submarines are different. It is a very closed environment. The term "hot bunking" is a submarine term. Because of lack of space, two people can share a bunk. That is, sleep while the other works, then reverse. One person keeps the bunk "hot," so to speak.

Apparently the first to see duty on a submarine would be women officers. The reason? Officers normally do not have to "hot bunk" and have separate quarters.

Members of congress have thirty days to render an opinion.

Army General George Casey, who appeared before the Senate on Tuesday, said that in effect this is just another step of re-examining women in combat roles and expanding them.

We at this blog have always took the position that at no time, here or in the past, have we ever needed women to do such duties. But life moves on. There does not seem much stomach anymore for keeping men and women separate, as well as making combat a male-only role any more. That to us is a sad statement about our society.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

New GI Bill Helpline

The helpline for the New GI Bill will be fully operational with a full staff. Veterans who are going to school or thinking of school can get help by telephone. The helpline for The New GI Bill will be full staffed and open Monday through Friday. We don't know the exact hours, but probably normal business hours, east coast time.

The problem was that in December, there was a huge backlog of veterans trying to get benefits. The helpline personnel were moved from that to clearing the backlog. Now that things have calmed down a bit, the GI Bill helpline is back being staffed.

The telephone number is: 1-888-GI-BILL-1 or 1-888-442-4551

The New GI Bill is one of the best things for recently discharged veterans, as well as VA Veterans Home Loans.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Returning Veterans Project

The Returning Veterans Project is an organization dedicated to helping returning soldiers adjust to civilian life. They also provide services to those who are being deployed and after they return home, as well as the families who support them.

The Returning Veterans Project is a non-profit group of medical personnel and support services who volunteer their time to help our military personnel and their families.

They are also co-sponsoring Stand Down for homeless veterans on March 8.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Quilts for Veterans

There is a group of women, (well mostly women) who donate their time and skill to make quilts for veterans. Their mission is to cover our wounded soldiers. Their name? Quilts of Valor Foundation

There are groups in various parts of the country. They collect names of servicemen to give a quilt to. They send quilts all over the world. Some soldiers even do special requests.

There are local chapters of various quilting clubs that donate quilts to this cause as well. One of them is in the Hemet area of Southern California,

If you wish to donate your time, quilt, money, fabric, whatever, just visit the websites above.

We salute these women who are true patriots! We know their quilts are made not with just thread and fabric, but love and affection for our servicemen.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Support the Stolen Valor Act

In 2006, the congress passed a law making it illegal and punishable by jail time for lying about military service.

Because of the Iraq and Afghan wars, some people think that military service is a plus now. They will even say that being a military hero is the "in" thing.

As a result, faking and lying about military service has become quite tempting. And many people do it. Many elected officials are blabbing about a military record that is nonexistent or empty.

The Stolen Valor Act was to put a stop to this.

But now, we have some people who think it's just a freedom of speech issue. That lying is not anything we can regulate, it's just freedom of speech. As of this post, there are two cases in Colorado and California that are defending military liars as just a case of doing no harm by lying.

We beg to disagree. Vehemently. Lying about your military record to get a job seems to be already against the law. You are lying for monetary gain. A deliberate lie cannot be protected speech if it has consequences. However, many say that some do it not for monetary gain. But that should not matter. They are lying about their lack of military service. That alone makes this right up with the hate law crimes that these same people espouse. That is, beating up someone of a certain persuasion is somehow worse than beating up someone else. Lying is no exception.

There are lies and then there are lies. Lying about one's military service should indeed be a federal crime. A felony. It is close to an act of treason. It is the lowest of the lows. What does that do to the real military heroes? It disrespects them. Free speech is one thing. Lying about your military service is not free speech. Freedom is never free.

We urge everybody to write there congressmen and women and keep this law on the books.

Keep real military service where it belongs. Send a message to the liars.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's corpsman, Mr. President, not corpse man

Apparently the Commander-in-Chief does not a thing about military personnel.

Or very little.

President Obama kept referring to a Navy corpsman (pronounced like Marine Corps) a corpse man. When you think about it, a Navy corpsman does deal with corpses, but certainly does not want to be known as a corpse man.

You would think the president of the United States would know how to pronounce this word.

Good thing colonel was not up that.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oldest World War I Veteran Turns 109

Frank Buckles just turned 109. Frank is also the oldest World War I veteran. Well, we need to qualify that further. Frank Buckles is the only American World War I veteran still living. Quite remarkable when you think about it.

Frank Buckles was a corporal in the Army during World War I stationed in Europe. He was an ambulance driver.

Frank lives in a farmhouse in Jefferson County, West Virginia.

Frank Buckles was 16 and talked his way into the Army. Mr. Buckles also was involved in World War I. He was working for a shipping company as a civilian near the Philippines in 1942. The Japanese captured him and he was held as a prisoner for 3 years.

Frank Buckles has campaigned recently for an unrecognized piece of the National Mall to be officially recognized as a memorial to World War I veterans.

We wish him health and success in his endeavor.

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