Sunday, November 28, 2010

Marine collecting toys stops shoplifter, gets stabbed

Marines that are heroes come in all places and times. Take one Marine reservist who was collecting toys for Toys for Tots in Augusta, Georgia.

This whole incident took place outside of a Best Buy electronics store.

Apparently inside the store, surveillance cameras caught a man stuffing a laptop in his jacket. Store employees stopped the man, but he pulled out a knife and ran out. Right into four Marines who were collecting toys. Being good Marines, they could not just stand by and stopped the would-be thief. One of the Marines, Cpl. Phillip Duggan, received what was called a slight knife would in the back. Thankfully, the knife wound was indeed reported as minor.

Hat's off to the Marines who are always ready!



Friday, November 26, 2010

Military recruiting Afghan translators

With combat operations winding down in Iraq, the military is looking towards Afghanistan more. The Army is looking to recruit more soldiers who speak on of the languages most spoken in Afghanistan--Dari, Pashto or Farsi. But the task of getting these soldiers is proving difficult. Obviuosly, there has to be a little apprehension from young men who would have such second language.

Military recruiters are going to places where these languages might be spoken. Places like Little Persia in Los Angeles. Anywhere that recruiters think either Afghans or Iranians may hang out.

The potential number if qualified people is significantly lower. Arabic is spoken by a much larger population. The population in the United States of immigrant Iranians and Afghans is much smaller. Then you must find young people willing and able to serve.

The Army has set a goal of 250 new recruits across the nation. But they have only managed to get only a handful.

This shortage comes at a bad time. The military is looking to the day when they will end combat operations. The need for translators and interpreters now is at its greatest. It is crucial to be able to work with local Afghan officials and people in the community.

The lack of translators can put soldiers at risk in situations where complete and clear communication is needed. Misunderstandings can lead to tragedies on both sides.

The risk for soldiers recruited for this duty is great as well. You can imagine how some Afghan locals may feel looking at a soldier that appears to be Afghan wearing a US Army unform. The Army is not putting their names on uniforms for this reason. Because of the value of these soldiers, they are shipped overseas for duty ASAP. Females and others stay in the United States to train others.

One reward for these soldiers is getting citizenship quicker than usual. They may get a signing bonus as well. Still, because of the history, many Afghans think it is kind of a betrayal.

Afghans need to know that the United States only wants good things for the Afghan people. We salute the men and women who have such skills and volunteer to work for the common good.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

VA Begins Paying Benefits for New Agent Orange Claims

Nov 1, 2010

VA Encourages Affected Vietnam Veterans to File Claims

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun distributing disability benefits to Vietnam Veterans who qualify for compensation under recently liberalized rules for Agent Orange exposure.

Providing initial payments – or increases to existing payments – to the 200,000 Veterans who now qualify for disability compensation for these three conditions is expected to take several months, but VA officials encourage all Vietnam Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and suffer from one of the three diseases to make sure their applications have been submitted.

VA has offered Veterans exposed to Agent Orange special access to health care since 1978, and priority medical care since 1981. VA has been providing disability compensation to Veterans with medical problems related to Agent Orange since 1985.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a “presumed” illness do not have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service. This “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.

The three new illnesses – B-cell (or hairy-cell) leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease – are added to the list of presumed illnesses previously recognized by VA.

Other recognized illnesses under VA’s “presumption” rule for Agent Orange are:

· Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy

· Chloracne

· Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

· Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)

· Hodgkin’s Disease

· Multiple Myeloma

· Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

· Porphyria Cutanea Tarda

· Prostate Cancer

· Respiratory Cancers

· Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)

· AL Amyloidosis

Veterans interested in applying for disability compensation under one of the three new Agent Orange presumptives should go to or call 1-800-827-1000.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta is awarded the Medal of Honor

President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor on Tuesday to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta.

President Obama, "I'm going to go off-script here for a second and just say I really like this guy. When you meet Sal and you meet his family, you are just absolutely convinced that this is what America is all about. And it just makes you proud."

This was the first time in 40 years it had been awarded to a living veteran.

Army staff sergeant Salvatore Giunta stepped into the line of fire to help a pair of comrades in Afghanistan. This happened during an ambush in Afghanistan on Oct. 25, 2007.

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta deserves all the praise he gets. He is a hero. But he always gives credit to each and every man and woman serving or who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. So do we.

Read more on Salvatore Giunta.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Tips for Veterans Going to College

If you are a veteran or close to being discharged, and are planning to go to college right away, you need to start applying to college now. When you are admitted, make sure you ask about getting college credit for some of your military experience and schools. Find your DD-214 form. You also need to fill out a FAFSA. This will get you in on any other financial aid you may need. Ask the college's financial aid officer if they offer any scholarships for veterans.

And while we're at it, let's mention CLEP, The College Level Examination Program. These are tests that you can take to get college credit without taking the class. Find out which ones the college offers, and what ones you should be able to pass. Taking a test is cheaper than taking a class.

Your first stop on campus should be to the veterans office. Each college should have a person and office that deals directly with veterans. This is a valuable resource for you to use. They will have everything to help you get the benefits you are entitled to. This will be a one-stop for all forms. They should also set you up with an adviser who takes care of veterans specifically.

You are probably going to use your GI Bill benefits. There are quite a few programs available to veterans depending on service. Visit the GI Bill website for all details. But again, the veterans office at the college will also guide you.

If you are planning on staying in the dorm, make it known that you are a veteran. The college should put you with more adult students, or even veterans. It may not be a good situation if you are in the same dorm room as an 18 year old who is right out of high school.

Meet other veterans on campus. There may even be clubs or organizations for veterans. Network with them and certainly take advantage of the career services and placement assistance on campus.

>>Military Scholarships.

>>College Money Help.