Sunday, November 4, 2012

USS Enterprise sails into history for the last time

Since the Revolutionary War, their have been eight US Navy ships named Enterprise. During Word War II, it was attacked many times and had become known as the most decorated ship in US Navy history. The current USS Enterprise, finished in 1962, became the world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier.

A young John McCain, later Senator, was a pilot on The Enterprise when it was called into duty as blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Originally stationed in Norfolk, the ship was moved to the Pacific Fleet in 1965.

The ship further moved into history, notorious history, in 1969. Going from Hawaii to Vietnam, a rocket on deck accidentally exploded, causing a major fire on board.

This disaster later became a major part of the Navy training film, "Accidents Don't Just Happen." Many sailors since then have seen that film.

After 9-11, the ship immediately sailed towards Pakistan, and launched the first salvos against al queda in Afghanistan.

The story will end up on a sad note. On December 1, the ship will be decommissioned. The nuclear reactors will be removed, and the rest will be scrapped.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ghosts of History

A Dutch historian, has overlaid photos of WWII over present day France.

They are quite stunning. Here are two references:

See some photos of Ghosts of History at:

Visit the Facebook page:

Visit them on flikr:

Click the photo for an enlarged version.
Photo credit: the above mentioned websites.

Friday, October 5, 2012

USS Michael Murphy named for Navy SEAL

The newest warship to be commissioned in the Navy will be named for Navy SEAL Michael Murphy. It will be commissioned in New York October 6, 2012.

The 510 foot warship will bear the name of the Navy SEAL who lost his life in Afghanistan in 2005. He and fellow servicemen were ambushed. Michael Murphy, under heavy fire, moved to a better position to call for help. Michael Murphy was killed with 16 rescuers. The Navy lieutenant became the first American awarded the Medal of Honor during the Afghanistan War.

The signatures of Murphy's family will be engraved on a plate fastened to the ship:

Read more on Michael Murphy.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Military members and car insurance

For most military members, auto insurance is the least of their worries. Insurance in general is probably very low. But if you are deployed and your family is back home, having the right car insurance can matter. Military members are charged with protecting this country. Car insurance is there to protect your family while driving, and the consequences that can arise. Even if you are on a tight budget, insurance, car insurance for sure, is not one to skimp. Insure the cars your family uses for maximum protection.

Liability is the number one thing to keep in mind with auto insurance. Cars can get fixed. Cars can get replaced. But lawsuits? They can deal a financial blow to anyone. Talk to your insurance agent about getting more liability. It actually will only cost a few dollars more to double your liability coverage. What would you do if a car you owned caused the death of someone? Americans are lawsuit-happy, and your insurance company is only on the hook for what you choose. Most people choose the lowest minimum coverage. You may want to think about raising it. This goes hand in hand with medical payments. You need to check what kind of medical coverage you and your family get from the military. If you have full medical coverage for you and your dependents, ask a qualified auto insurance agent if the basic coverage will do.

But one word of caution on medical payments. Does your spouse haul other passengers around? Like in a carpool or to soccer games? You need medical coverage for those riding in your vehicle. Protect yourself!

What kind of area does your family live in? Is it prone to floods? Hurricanes? Other disasters? If so, comprehensive coverage is next up. You want to be protected if your car was wiped out in a flood or fire. This is not to be confused with collision. Comprehensive includes stuff not related to a collision, including theft. So get the coverage you need to be safe.

As far as collision goes, you need to decide if the extra cost is worth it. How old is your cars? What are they worth? Can you afford to fix them? If they were totaled, could you buy another one without problem? Yes, you can raise the deductible to make it more affordable. Even if you have an older car, just raising the deductible may make the collision coverage worth it. You don't want your family not being able to make repairs if you are not there, right?

>>More on car insurance discounts for military members.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Marines fight war on drugs in Guatemala

200 United States Marines are now patrolling the coast of Guatemala. Why? To combat drug trafficking. This is another stage of Operation Martillo that was started in January of this year to help in the war on drugs from Central America.

This is the first time ever that Marines have been used for this specific purpose. They are joining other Central American Countries who have sent law enforcement personnel, including others from Britain, France, and Canada.

The number of troops at 200 is quite large, and one of the largest involvements in that region of the world ever.

The Marines have been training at Guatemalan air base at Retalhuleu, and they also brought along four UH-1 "Huey" helicopters.

The main emphasis will be on patrolling the coast, looking the fast powered smaller boats, as well as what are called "narco-submarines" that can travel underwater for up to 5,000 miles. Over eighty percent of the cocaine that gets to the United States comes from this region.

The goal is to stop it before it gets here.

Since the civil war in Guatemala in 1978, when the United States dropped some aid, efforts have been made steps to get back into good graces. Allowing Marines to help in the war on drugs is one of those steps. This is a small step, as the Guatemala is still rife with corruption and violence.

So, do you think this is a good use of our Marines and military?

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Female War Veterans Run For Office

The past few years has seen plenty of war action for our men and women in the military. From Iraq to Afghanistan, our military has been very active doing their jobs, serving this country. Because of newer guidelines and old barriers being broken, women are now seeing roles in what is in effect, combat. The United States for the first time in history has many women returning as "real" war time veterans. Never before have women taken such an active role. There are a few female combat veterans now running for political office. Here are the ones we know about.

Tammy Duckworth was a captain with the Army National Guard. She was co-pilot of a Black Hawk helicopter that was struck down in Iraq, 2004. She lost parts of both legs. This is her second time running. She is an Illinois Democrat running against Tea Party freshman Joe Walsh. Duckworth was also assistant secretary at Veterans Affairs. They are running for The House of Representatives. Tammy Duckworth has just paid $2000 in back taxes and penalties due to improperly taking two homeowner exemptions.

Tulsi Gabbard was also with the Army National Guard. This specialist in the medical unit, 29th Brigade, trained Kuwaiti anti-terrorism units. Gabbard is 31 and resides in Hawaii. She is a democrat, running for a seat in The House of Representatives.

An Air Force Academy graduate, Martha McSally, is actually the first women to ever fly a fighter in real combat. Her aircraft? An A-10 Warthog (A-10 Thunderbolt II). She also commanded a fighter squadron, also a first for females. McSally, a Republican, is vying for the seat formerly held by Gabrielle Giffords.

Think your vote does not matter? It matters to the races these women are in. Just like all other political races. So, get out and vote. Only you can make a difference in where this country is headed. Your vote serves two purposes. It puts people in office who will do the right thing, but it also prevents people who should not be elected.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

USS Constitution to sail under own power

The USS Constitution to sail under its own power for just the second time in more than 100 years.

The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship still operating anywhere in the world.

It earned the nickname "Old Ironside" in a battle during the War of 1812. The USS Constitution got the better of the HMS Guerriere from Britain.

The ship will sail in and around Boston Harbor to commemorate that battle.

The USS Constitution first sailed in 1797 and stopped sailing under its own power in 1881. 200 years later, it sailed again.

Read more: ||

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Drive a Tank This Summer

If you are looking for something unique to do for summer vacation, how about driving a tank?

An old limestone quarry is just the place. Located near Kasota, Minn., you can experience the thrill of driving a tank, even crushing a car with it.

The place is

Opened and owned by one Tony Borglum, he has bought old war surplus tanks and opened up the property to would-be tank commanders.

For $399, and even firing a machine gun, the chance to drive these metal monsters can be yours. Want to crush a car? Add $549. If you really want to go big, pay $3500 and drive the tank through a trailer home.

Be sure to book your tank adventure early. Word is they sell out. Who knew?

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Veterans lump sum pension payouts are a rip off

Ever hear of annuity utilization contracts?

If you are a retired member of the armed forces, you are drawing a pension that is attractive to illegal operators who want a piece of it. Your pension may not seem like it is big enough, so these companies entice you with a lump sum payment in return for you paying them your monthly check for many months.

It usually works like this. Say you are drawing $1,000 a month. In 5 years, that's $60,000. These companies will offer you a lump sum payment of $30,000 in return for your check for the next 5 years. That means you pay them $60,000 to get $30,000. That's 100% interest over the life of this so-called loan.

What makes it more attractive, is the longer you agree to pay, the more they will give you. You could get $100,000 and need to be paying your whole pension for a long time.

These are not good deals. And newly retired service members seem to be an easy mark. They are a little younger and a lump sum looks very good. Don't do it.

Here's the rub. Companies that do this with military pension are 99.99% illegal. Some even go out of business.

These are called, annuity utilization contracts. Beware of getting ripped off.

If you recently retired from the military, you are probably being targeted. They even sound legit. Many companies have official sounding names, like "Retired Military Financial Services." They are anything but legit. Ignore anything related to military pensions and loans. They will even lie and say it's not a loan. That they are just buying your pension for a lump sum. Many of these mailers or websites look very patriotic, all red, white, and blue.

Don't fall for one of these scams. You lose an awful lot of money.

Like stated earlier, these annuity utilization contracts, or military pension loans are for the most part illegal.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Free passes to National Parks for Military members

All active duty military personnel will be able to get free passes to all National Parks and recreational areas. The total is more than 2,000 places where the free pass will be valid. This includes all 397 National Parks. The free pass will be good for one year from the date it was obtained. The free National Parks pass is free to all active members of all branches of the military, as well as active members of the National Guard and Reserve. You cannot transfer the pass, but here's the good part. The pass is good for the pass owner and all passengers in the vehicle they are using to enter. If the park or area charges by the person, the pass owner and 3 more adults are covered. If your children are under 15, they are free. This means a military member driving with their family, for example, into Yellowstone will all get in free as long as they are driving in using the normal family vehicle. Visit: for more info. Military members now can plan cheaper vacations with their families. Please pass this information along to all your friends and neighbors. Our military families are worth a whole lot more! >>How to keep deer out of your garden. >>Fun facts about the United States.

Friday, March 16, 2012

All-Women SeaBee team in Afghanistan

The Seabees have a long history. Starting in 1942 as fighting construction companies in the Navy. Men were the only Seabees until 1972. The first woman was Carmella Jones.

But because of the fact that these were companies that could see combat, woman were not really much of a part of the Seabees if they were in combat areas.

In 1994, the rules were changed and women were allowed to be with mobile construction companies.

Recently, an all-female construction crew completed projects in Afghanistan.

Their work was completed in the Helmand Province, which is a very remote are and under influence of the Taliban.

This all-women construction team did a magnificent job. They completed the entire project in less time than projected. The built a command center, a gym, and berthing units.

These women are all part of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, stationed near Ventura, California. The battalion has over 600 servicemen and women. The women in this team were from Detachment 4. Normally this unit sends small teams from up to about 15 members for projects.

Apparently nobody knew the team picked was all women until by chance someone noticed they were no men involved.

This is a list of the women involved.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Gafayat Moradeyo
Petty Officer 3rd Class Amber Mann
Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Vera
Petty Officer 3rd Class Kadisha Lee
Seaman Kacie Dunlavey
Constructionman Shelby Lutrey
Seaman Shayla Miles
Seaman Carla Diazcastillo

Let's get more good stories about out men and women serving in Afghanistan.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston sang one good Star Spangled Banner

Many fails have happened when singers try the national anthem. This especially seems true at big events like the Super Bowl. Some performances are downright disrespectful.

We cannot say that about Whitney Houston. She gave one performance that could be described as great. Check out Whitney Houston performing The Star Spangled Banner in Tampa Stadium, January 27, 1991 before Super Bowl XXV.

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