Archive for the 'Marines' Category

Will you help with the 2012 Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT Fundraising Work (7/4-9/3/2012)

July 3rd, 2012 by xformed

If you need no introduction to this wonderful project, and want to just get on with getting your blog/website participating, the signup link is here.

Background:

This year, while there is a reduction in military action, there still are men and women in the field, who are at risk of being injured. There are those, of course, presently in the military medical system who have injuries that can be circumvented or need therapy that can be provided by technology.

Beginning this Independence Day in 2012, Soldier’s Angels will begin the annual fundraising efforts to provide funding for laptops with voice recognition software, Wiis and GPS units to be provide at no cost to military members or care facilities to help these men and women get back closer to normalcy in their lives, after serving their country and us.

Know these things about the annual fundraising:

  • All the donated funds go to the equipment, or the delivery to the people/facilities. You don’t often come across a charity project that devotes the funds right to the “end users.”
  • While the 4 “service teams” are listed for the donations, all the money goes to one account, and is spent to provide to those in need, regardless of their service affiliation. The teams are merely a ways for the supporters to have a little friendly competition among themselves to satisfy their fix for a little old school interservice rivalry.

The VALOur-IT (Voice Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops) project was an accidental program, begun in 2005, when a blogger was injured by an IED in Iraq. From there, this project of all volunteer help, has provided over 6000 laptops to those who cannot use their hands or have vision issues. For years, they have all been brand new units, set up with Dragon Naturally Speaking software.

Please consider helping out in some (or all) of the following ways:

  • Join the list of sites/blogs and get it to your readership
  • Get the link to Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT donation page and send it to your email list
  • Lobby your workplace to allow you to post/pass out a flyer with this information to the employees
  • See if your employer has matching funds for donations to this project and get that word out to your co-workers
  • Present this information to your social networks, the digital ones, and the real ones, too!
  • Post the information in local coffee shops/restaurants and other places with community bulletin boards (check with the management first, which is another opportunity to discuss this project with those who are not aware of the work)

Thank you for reading this and considering taking this information viral! The people who have benefited for the donations over the last 7 years have been given a precious gift and are grateful for the equipment the has helped them get back into life!

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Technology, Valour-IT | 2 Comments »

WRAPing up the year – 2011: Breakfast with history

January 2nd, 2012 by xformed


Click for a larger version

The year (last one, that is) finished with the annual picture of the assorted old guys and “guests” after we had breakfast, a week before Christmas. One from last year was unable to join us, having passed away this year after fighting against MRSA.”

Protecting privacy, and making it more fun, this photo includes the restaurant’s owner, a solid supporter of vets, and always thankful we come around. The waitress for the day, and who normally is our regular one lately. There are three ex-“Shoes,” a Navy Cross wearing A-6 pilot, the high time pilot, with the most traps, also, in the venerable F7U Cutlass (began as a PBM tail gunner in WWII and subsequently became an enlisted pilot), an NFO who knew the thrill of flying over an already bombed target(s) to gather BDA photos in RA-5s, thre retired USMC colonels, who began flying in WWII, one F4Us and later became a USAF Fighter Squadron Commander while on an exchange tour), one in PBYs and one in PBJs. Rounding out the scoundrels that morning were two P-2/-3 pilots, one of which was the USNA roommate of my second CO, during my XO tour. The USA representative spent his Vietnam years making sure the Office in Sigonella was efficiently run. Not pictured of the regulars is a VN era heavy equipment operator, who also is a very suitable professional Santa, so he was absent, and the 4 hours short of the most combat hours guy in a year’s tour in Vietnam flying “Slicks.”

If you can’t find a great unique story any given any other Saturday around the table with this group, you need your hearing checked….

So, the invitation for those of you passing through the Tampa/St Pete area on weekends is this: You’re welcome to come and sit and hear a few stories, tell a few, and meet some who made history, but don’t make a big deal out of it…..just email me or a leave a comment and I’ll get your the “every other” Saturday schedule.

Category: "Sea Stories", Army, History, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on WRAPing up the year – 2011: Breakfast with history

It’s VALOur-IT Time Again!

July 1st, 2011 by xformed

The fund drive will run from today through the 14th of July. Don’t know what VALOur-IT is? Click the link.

The reader’s digest version: For those wounded with sight or mobility issues keeping them from using a computer like most people do, Soldier’s Angels has a project to provide new laptop computers with Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software to them. Their to keep, to help them get re-connected with family and friends and battle buddies, and for the future, it’s good work skill development.

So…spread the word, beat the bushes, spam your email list, beg at the local Starbucks for help for this wonderful program that has provided now in excess of 6000+ laptops!

Donate to Soldier’s Angels Project Valour-IT

Soldier's Angels Team Navy

Chip in…it’s well worth the money and it is changed/has changed lives.

Category: Air Force, Army, Blogging, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | Comments Off on It’s VALOur-IT Time Again!

Close Air Support for Special Operations: Buy American or foriegn?

April 8th, 2011 by xformed

Considering the economics of keeping jobs at home, if you will, but there is a larger issue: Keeping the capability to fully control the construction and support for military equipment operated by our Military.

As was the case of the recent replacement air refueling tanker, we are heading for another major acquisition for the Military, this time for small, capable turbo prop aircraft to be used in the type of combat we have seen for longer than the decade of the GWOT/”Foreign Contingency” we have been engaged in since the Korean Conflict.. These aircraft are to used in very forward areas in support of the Special Operations teams (Green Berets and SEALs most specifically), where large, modern aircraft, designed to also be superior air combat fighters are:

1) Too fast
2) Too expensive to operate
3) Need too much support
4) and generally need really long runways.

I received an email with a guest post discussing this matter, where the competitors for the contract are Hawker-Beechcraft (US firm) and Embraer (Brazilian firm) for the USAF Light Air Support Aircraft work.

Pragmatically, Hawker-Beechcraft are already producing the AT-6 Texan II, which is in use as an Air Force trainer. Logistically, the USAF has parts, procedures and trained ground crews, not to mention pilots in this airframe. What’s not to like from a bean counter stand point with that, let alone a serious warfighter, who knows it’s the logistics that count after the first load of ammo is expended?

So, here’s something from Emily to chew on regarding this issue:

The most basic respect our country can give to Americans bravely serving in the Armed Forces is providing them with the proper tools so they can be prepared and equipped to handle any combat situation. In the past, supplying this need has always been met through American ingenuity. We design, build, and sell the equipment that is used the world over. America has always set the trends in the defense industry.

However, recent actions by other countries are in danger of circumventing this competitive defensive advantage that America has held. By subsidizing private companies, foreign competitors have an unfair advantage over American ones. These actions undermine fair competition in the marketplace and put American manufacturing at a disadvantage.

We have seen this trend played out over the last several years as the American icon, Boeing competed with EADS, it’s European competitor to replace the Eisenhower-era refueling tankers for the Air Force. After much public outcry, the Pentagon made the right decision and awarded the contract to Boeing.

Today, we have another, very similar competition. Hawker Beechcraft, headquartered in the heart of Kansas, is competing with a Brazilian company, Embrear, to build planes that will be utilized in combat zones like Afghanistan. Embrear, like EADS, receives substantial support from the Brazilian government, allowing them to offer an artificially low price for their planes. What is especially troubling is that the Brazilian government has publicly opposed the War on Terror and American efforts against Iran and Venezuela, but now seeks to profit from that same U.S. commitment to military strength.

Recently Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee requesting an investigation of the global competitiveness of the U.S. business jet industry. Jenkins remarked:

“In a down economy, which has been particularly hard on the aviation industry, it is very concerning that foreign government backed companies have launched new product lines into the business aviation market. It is important that we know whether these foreign companies are receiving illegal governmental subsidies to alter the playing field. The aviation industry is important to both the Kansas and the American economy and we must ensure their competitive edge is not being unfairly diminished.”

We need to ask ourselves – where should our defense spending go? To middle America, to states who are struggling to recover from the recession that has rocked our country? Or to South America, namely a country who calls itself an ally but has shown no support in our efforts to fight terrorism?

Boeing won their fight, let’s make sure Hawker Beechcraft does too.

Our special operations teams need this capability. In Vietnam, the SEALs and units like VAL-4 worked closely on operations in mutual support.

Call to action: Make a decision on what’s right for our Military and let your Congressmen know.

Category: Air Force, History, Marines, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy, Political, Supporting the Troops | 1 Comment »

Do You Have Any Pensacola Fight Training Stories?

March 16th, 2011 by xformed

If so, are you willing to share? Yes, you have your opportunity now to relive those days and share them in print!

Via the WRAP Pac crew, I was asked if I could get the word out that published author Bob Taylor (“A Few Good Memories”) has embarked on a second writing project to collect and edit your stories.

He has a site up: Getting Your Wings to allow for easy input, but his email address is roarta at hotmail.com.

Time to ante up and share your personal history, high and low jinks with the rest of the world. Just remember, it’s all for the sake of history.

For those reading this, with and without your personal experience in Pensacola, please pass it along to your shipmates and family members and friends who may be connected with those who would like to participate.

Category: Blogging, History, Marines, Maritime Matters, Military, Navy, Public Service | Comments Off on Do You Have Any Pensacola Fight Training Stories?

2/25/2011 “WRAP Pack” CNA and Birthday Celebration

March 11th, 2011 by xformed

As is the manner of it is to gather every other Saturday AM, last time we met, we celebrated the birthday of two of our members (2 USMC (Ret) Colonels), as well a recognition of the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CNA).

If you have an excellent eye for history, there is some of them in the video…..

The creator of the document that became known to me as the “EDORM” (Engineering Department Regulation and Organizational Manual) is present,

along with the high time and most traps pilot in the Vought F7U Cutlass. A RA-5C NFO, several P2V/P-3 pilots, three “‘Shoes,” two Army types from the Vietnam Era, a A-1 pilot with VA-196, and a Navy Cross recipient are all around the table, as well as the two senior Marines, who both flew in WWII.

Category: Army, History, Marines, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on 2/25/2011 “WRAP Pack” CNA and Birthday Celebration

The First Line of Defense: Military Recruiters – Tell one (or more) Thank You

December 16th, 2010 by xformed

This is a multi-purpose post:

First up – a suggestion of how you can provide a very meaningful “Thank You!” in this season (or actually any time at all). While you may live far from a significant military presence, you most likely don’t live far from the local US Military Recruiting Office in your neck of the woods. Staffed with service members, if you have wanted to say “Thank you” to someone in uniform, there’s your sign. Next time you’re driving by, take a few minutes to stop in and shake hand or two.

Why? These men and women are the ones who get us men like SSGT Guinta and SGT J.D. Williams and so many others, who’s names we’ve read and those most all of us will never hear the names of, but know it took them all to defend the Nation. It’s the recruiters are the ones who either go out and find them to talk to, or have to assess them as they walk in to volunteer.

The eye for the ones who fit the specs, and the ones who do not. It’s the recruiters who do it. They do it not in a combat zone, but they do it with tremendous pressure to meet quotas, to make sure they check these men and women out, provide career counseling and work with the community, the parents and a number of others. They can’t “work” as well during what the civilian world calls “working hours,” they have to catch them when they can: After school, on weekends, in the evening, and they still have to keep “office hours,” too. Read: Many hours to perform their assignments. Reports, follow up, get them to physicals, paperwork for security checks, get them on the transport to the first assignment in the service of the Country. Then, they get to spend some “shore duty” (the Navy version) time with their families.

And don’t forget some people make it difficult, and occasionally impossible to meet those who might be willing to hear about the opportunity for them.

In addition to just “doing their job,” more than likely they will be in dress uniforms much of the time, and they (as far as I know) don’t get extra funding to maintain them, with the extra wear and tear and spaghetti sauce stains, etc that have probably resulted in unplanned purchases as a result. No doubt the many more miles put on their own vehicles is a cost they also bear accomplishing the mission.

Secondly: As an officer, I had more interaction with discipline cases along my time in service, and, for the “repeat offenders” we’d usually flip their service record open to the “Page 2” (Enlistment Contract) and look for the date of the signature of the person in question. While not in every case, when the date was the 30th or 31st of the month, we’d manage to vocalize how some lazy recruiter just grabbed whoever off the street “to make quota.” While it was easy to use that as a issue to vent over, more often as not, it certainly wasn’t the case. Not to mention I’ll admit, I never pulled the records for my great sailors and look at the same data point, and neither did I then allow myself to vocalize so sharp sailor in some community somewhere had done an outstanding job finding those men and women who were exemplary serve personnel. Fair’s fair, so I’ll have to make that acknowledgment now, late as it is.

Bottom line: Wars are fought with expensive hardware, cool planes, and massive amounts of ammo, fuel food and parts, but it is the man or women handling or using those things who defend the Nation. The recruiters who find them are the scouts to get them into uniform and they deserve special recognition for faithfully executing the duties of those assignments.

When you thank one, please let them know you know they are the ones who get us the protectors, and you appreciate the effort that takes them.

Now, google up the all the recruiting offices in your area and see if you can brighten a day in those places.

Category: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Leadership, Marines, Military, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops | 1 Comment »

News Release: Documentary “Chosin” at The Navy Memorial 12/15/2010

December 13th, 2010 by xformed

Received via email:

MEDIA ALERT

Navy Memorial Screens Award-winning Documentary “Chosin”

On Battle’s 60th Anniversary

Contacts:        Taylor Kiland                                                    Linda Heiss

tkiland@navymemorial.org lindah@lindarothpr.com

United States Navy Memorial                            Linda Roth Associates, Inc.

(202) 380-0718                                                  (703) 417-2709

WHAT: The Navy Memorial is screening “Chosin,” a documentary about one of the most savage battles of the Korean War: the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.  Despite being surrounded and trapped by more than 200,000 Chinese troops, 15,000 U.S. troops fought 78 miles to freedom and saved 98,000 civilian refugees.  Survivor accounts combined with never-before-seen footage take the viewer on an emotional journey.  A panel discussion with the filmmakers and two DC-area Chosin Reservoir survivors will follow the screening.

Participating Filmmakers and Chosin Reservoir survivors:

  • Anton Sattler, Producer and Marine veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Brian Iglesias, Director and Marine veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Col. Warren Wiedhahn, USMC (Ret.), Chosin Reservoir survivor
  • Dr. Stanley Wolf, Chosin Reservoir survivor

WHEN:          December 15, 2010; 6:00 PM

WHERE:       United States Navy Memorial

Naval Heritage Center

701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C.  20004

www.navymemorial.org

Metro: National Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (Green and Yellow lines)

COST: Free and open to the public

About the United States Navy Memorial

Conveniently located on Pennsylvania Avenue – halfway between the White House and the Capitol, the United States Navy Memorial provides a living tribute to Navy people and a place for them to gather and celebrate their service. The outdoor plaza features a “Granite Sea” map of the world, towering masts with signal flags, fountain pools and waterfalls and The Lone Sailor© statue.  Adjacent to the plaza is the Naval Heritage Center, where visitors can find educational displays about the contributions of the men and women of the Sea Services (Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine).  Also housed in the Naval Heritage Center is the Navy Log – the online place for Navy people to stay connected with each other, celebrate their service and preserve the memories of their service.  There, Navy veterans can build a record of their service online.  Call (202) 737-2300 or visit www.navymemorial.org for more information.

Sounds like a great opportunity for those in the DC Area for this Wednesday!

Category: Geo-Political, History, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History | Comments Off on News Release: Documentary “Chosin” at The Navy Memorial 12/15/2010

VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Final Numbers: BZ!

November 16th, 2010 by xformed

For those without a Naval background, “BZ” is signal flag code for “Well Done.”

It’s been over for a few days, but the final totals, minus some that will trickle in via the mail for the VALOur-IT was:

$92,542!!

Amazing. The beginning goal was $60K. The Army sprinted out of the blocks and blew throught their $15K “fair share” and had to bump the goal to keep it easy to see. They pushed their meter to $25K, and then the Marines, outflaked them and everybody else…..The Jarheads powered through the muck and went north of $30K to an amazed audience. Of course a nod from Michelle Malkin didn’t hurt at all, now did it?

Thanks to one and all for spreading the word on this wonderful, life changing project, that puts wounded soldiers, sailors. airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines back into the world via technology.

See you next year, but, donations for this, and the many other projects of Soldier’s Angels are gracefully accepted all year long.

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Technology, Valour-IT | Comments Off on VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Final Numbers: BZ!

Project VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Begins

October 28th, 2010 by xformed

learn more

My favorite time of the year begins today, and goes until Veteran’s Day, 11/11/10.

Project VALOur-IT was an accidental collusion of two minds, some one offering help from Soldier’s Angels and the rest is history. The story is well told across the now 6 years, and over 5000 laptops, the very large majority of them new, with Dragon Naturally Speaking are in the hands of those wounded so they are limited by sight or typing disabilities.

The laptops are theirs to keep.

The funds are used only for the purchase of the laptops, and now Wiis and GPS units, and the transportation to the delivery points (usually the major US Military Medical facilities). All other costs for this project are borne by volunteers. It’s a charity project where, down to the final penny, it’s put to work for the purpose of the project. I like it for that reason, but I like it more because it provides some normality back to those who have suffered for the defense of the Nation, and for those in other lands.

for the last 5 years, a large band of bloggers have taken to the net to let people know this project exists and to request your donations. Not only are they active duty/retired/former military members, but supporters, family members, and any one else who jumps in to pass the word on to everyone they know.

On the donate page linked to the button above, you can also get the code to put a button like this, or the alternative style, to post on your site/blog/etc.

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Maritime Matters, Military, Navy, Supporting the Troops, Technology, Valour-IT | Comments Off on Project VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Begins

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