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Friday, February 10, 2006

KODIAK, Alaska (Jan. 19, 2006) A boarding team from the Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore prepares to board the fishing vessel Melina out of Old Harbor, Alaska. The crew of the Melina were fishing for Tanner Crab in Kiliuda Bay off Kodiak Island. Everyday the Coast Guard routinely conducts at sea inspections of U.S. flagged vessels around the country. USCG photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Roszkowski.

Today in History

0060 - St. Paul thought to have been shipwrecked at Malta
1098 - Crusaders defeat Prince Redwan of Aleppo at Antioch
1549 - Tomé de Sousa appointed Governor-General of Brazil
1635 - Académie Française is founded in Paris (by Cardinal Richelieu)
1676 - Wampanoag Indians under King Philip kill all men in Lancaster, MA
1713 - Netherlands & England sign accord concerning anti-French Barrier
1716 - Scottish pretender to the throne James III Edward returns to France
1720 - Edmund Halley appointed 2nd Astronomer Royal of England
1746 - English Pelham government resigns
1763 - Treaty of Paris ends French-Indian War, surrenders Canada to England
1774 - Andrew Becker demonstrates diving suit
1807 - US Coast Survey authorized by Congress
1824 - Simon Bolívar named dictator by the Congress of Perú
1846 - British defeat Sikhs in battle of Sobraon, India; Beginning of Mormon march to west US
1855 - US citizenship laws amended - all children of US parents born abroad granted US citizenship
1859 - General Horsford defeats Begum of Oude & Nana Sahib in Indian mutiny
1862 - Dutch 2nd government of Thorbecke forms
1863 - 1st US fire extinguisher patent granted to Alanson Crane, VA; P.T. Barnum stages wedding of Tom Thumb & Mercy Lavinia Warren (New York NY)
1866 - Dutch government Frans van der Putte forms
1868 - Conservatives & military, seize Convention Hall in Florida
1870 - City of Anaheim incorporates (1st time); YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) is founded (New York NY)
1878 - Peace of Zanjón
1879 - 1st electric arc light used (California Theater); Henry Morton Stanley departs to the Congo
1883 - Fire at un-insured New Hall Hotel in Milwaukee, WI, kills 71
1890 - Around 11 million acres, ceded to US by Sioux Indians, opens for settlement
1897 - New York Times begins using slogan "All the News That's Fit to Print"
1899 - US-Spain peace treaty signed by President McKinley; US gets Puerto Rico & Guam
1904 - Japan & Russia declares war after Japan's surprise attack on Russian fleet at Port Arthur disabled 7 Russian warships
1906 - Britain's 1st modern & largest battleship, HMS Dreadnought, launched; State of siege proclaimed in Zululand
1916 - Conscription begins in Britain
1923 - Ink paste manufactured for 1st time by Standard Ink Company
1923 - SDAP speaks out against allied occupation of Ruhrgebied
1925 - 1st waterless gas storage tank put into service, Michigan City IN
1927 - President Coolidge asks for 2nd disarmament conference
1930 - Grain Stabilization Corporation authorized by Congress
1931 - New Delhi becomes capital of India
1933 - Delivery of 1st singing telegram (Postal Telegram Company NYC); Dutch sea-plane bombs Dutch ship; Hitler proclaims end of Marxism; Mutiny on "7 Provinces" ends (began Feb 4th), 23 killed
1934 - Byrd souvenir sheet issued, NYC; 1st unperforated ungummed US stamp
1934 - 1st Jewish immigrant ship to break the English blockade in Palestine; Stalin ends 17th CPSU-congress, says "Life becomes merrier"
1935 - Pennsylvania RR begins passenger service on new streamlined electric locomotive
1938 - King Carol II of Romania drives out dictator Goga
1940 - Tom & Jerry created by Hanna & Barbera debut by MGM
1941 - 1st highway post office makes 1st trip, Washington DC-Harrisonburg, VA; Anti-Nazi "Het Parool" begins publishing in Netherlands
1943 - "Manifesto of Algerian People" calls for equality & self-determination; 8th Army sweeps through North Africa to Tunisia; Van der Veen Resistance starts fire in Amsterdam employment bureau
1944 - Belgium resistance fighter/author Kamiel van Baelen arrested; U-666/U-545/U-283 sink off Ireland
1947 - Italy cedes most of Venezia Giulia to Yugoslavia; Province of Petsamo returned to Soviet Union by Finland; WWII peace treaties signed
1948 Greek General Markos' guerrilla army bombs Saloniki
1951 - Shah of Persia marries 19 year old Soraja Esfandiara Bakhtiari
1954 - Eisenhower warns against US intervention in Vietnam
1959 - Tornado in St Louis kills 19 & injures 265
1961 - Niagara Falls hydroelectric project begins producing power
1962 - USSR swaps spy Francis Gary Power to US for Rudolph Abel
1964 - Australian Destroyer Voyager sinks off Australia after colliding with aircraft carrier Melbourne, killing 82
1966 - Harmel government in Belgium resigns
1967 - 25th Amendment (Presidential Disability & Succession) in effect
1970 - Dry powder avalanche moving at 120 mph smashes into youth hostel killing 40 Belgian, French, & German youths (Val d'Isere, France)
1971 - American Mensa, Ltd incorporates in New York
1972 - Ras al Khaima joins the United Arab Emirates
1973 - 83 meter wide gas tank on Staten Island NY explodes, crushing 40
1974 - Iran/Iraqi border fight breaks out
1977 - Yehonathan Netanyou Lane in the Bronx named in honor of Bronx-born Israeli soldier who died freeing hostages in Entebbe Raid (1976); Bomb explosion in Moskouse metro
1978 - Frank C. Carlucci succeeds John F. Blake as deputy director of CIA
1981 - 8 killed & 198 injured by fire at Las Vegas Hilton
1987 - Philippine troops murder 17 civilians-Lupao Massacre
1988 - 3-judge panel of 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco strikes down Army's ban on homosexuals (later overturned by appeal); Rocky Malebane-Metsing coup in Bophuthatswana fails
1989 - To gain deregulation WWF admits pro wrestling is an exhibition & not a sport, in a New Jersey court; Ron Brown chosen 1st Black chairman of a major US party (Democrats)
1990 - Perrier Water pulls product from shelf due to benzene in water; South Africa President de Klerk announces Nelson Mandela will be free Feb 11th
1992 - Mike Tyson convicted of raping Desiree Washington in Indiana
1993 - US officially backs peace plan in Bosnia
1996 - IBM's Deep Blue defeats chess champion Gary Kasparov
1997 - Comet Shoemaker-Holt 2 Closest Approach to Earth (1.9245 AU); O.J. Simpson jury reaches decision on $25 million in punitive damages; Soyuz TM-25 launches to the MIR

1728 - Peter III Feodorovich, German/Russian czar of Russia (1761-62)
1807 - Abner Clark Harding, Union Brigadier General
1818 - Isham Green Harris, Governor (Confederacy)
1821 - William Read Scurry, Confederate Brigadier General
1824 - Samuel Plimsoll, inventor (Plimsoll line for ships)
1868 - William Allen White, editor (Pulitzer 1942)
1880 - Jesse G. Vincent, engineer designed 1st V-12 engine
1890 - Boris L. Pasternak, novelist/poet (Dr Zhivago, Nobel 1958)
1891 - Harold, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis, Governor-General of Canada (1945-52)
1893 - Jimmy Durante, comedian
1897 - John Franklin Enders, micro-biologist (polio-Nobel 1954)
1902 - Walter H. Brattain, US physicist (Nobel 1956-transistor)
1906 - Walraven (Wally) van Hall, Dutch banker/resisted Nazis
1907 - Grace Hamilton, 1st Black member of Georgia state legislature
1910 - Dominique Pire, Belgian educator, aided WWII refugees (Nobel 1958)
1916 - Edward R. Roybal (Representative-CA)
1922 - Harold Hughes (Governor-NJ)
1927 - Nigel Bagnall, British field marshal
1940 - Peter Middleton, CEO (Lloyd's)
1942 - Michael Bishop, CEO (British Midland Airways)
1945 - John Hayes, Secretary-General (British Law Society); Klas Tuinstra, Dutch MP (CDA)
1946 - Keith Mans, MP
1961 - George Stephanopoulos, Presidential adviser (Clinton)
1964 - Mir Aimal Kansi Quetta, Pakistani murderer (FBI Most Wanted)

- Robert III/II Curthouse, Duke of Normandy
1495 - Sir William Stanley, English lord chamberlain, executed for conspiracy
1567 - Lord Darnley Stuart, Mary Queen of Scots' husband, murdered
1772 - Jozef Wenceslas, monarch of Liechtenstein/general, dies at 75
1822 - Albert-Kasimir, Duke of Saxon-Teschen/Governor of Hungary, dies at 83
1829 - Leo XII [Annibale Sermattei], Italian Pope (1823-29), dies at 68
1832 - Antonio Benedetto Maria Puccini, composer, dies at 84
1879 - Wolter R. Baron van Hoëvell, Dutch vicar/abolitionist, dies at 66
1880 - Isaäc M. "Isaac A" Crémieux, French minister of Justice, dies at 83
1912 - Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, surgeon (pioneer of antiseptic)
1915 - Albert J-BJ Thijs, Belgian Colonial pioneer (Congo), dies at 65
1918 - Abdül-Hamid II, 34th sultan of Turkey (lost Serbia/Egypt), dies at 65
1923 - Wilhelm Konrad von Rontgen, physicist (Nobel 1901), dies at 77
1939 - Pius XI [Ambrogio D A Ratti], Italian Pope (1922-39), dies at 81
1957 - Laura Ingalls Wilder, US author (Little House on Prarie), dies at 90
1989 - Dan Kelly, NHL sportscaster ("He shoots, he scores!"), dies at 52
1992 - Alex Haley, US writer (Autobiography of Malcolm X, Roots), dies at 70
1993 - Maurice Bourges-Maunoury, PM of France (1957)
1997 - Milton Cato, PM of San Vincent & Grenadines (1979-84)
1998 - Buddy the Wonder Dog dog (Air Bud), dies of cancer at 9; Maurice Schumann, French foreign minister (1969-73)

Reported Missing in Action
Hunter, Russell P., Jr., USAF (CT); B57B crashed (w/Kiefel)

Hopps, Gary Douglas, USN (FL); A1H shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Kiefel, Ernest P., Jr., USAF (PA); B57B crashed (w/Hunter)

The following reported MIA when their UH1H was shot down, all missing, presumed KIA:
Burrows, Larry, Civilian - photographer, Life Magazine (Britain)

Huet, Henri, Civilian - photographer, Associated Press (France)

Potter, Kent B., Civilian - photographer, UPI (PA)

Shimamoto, Keizaburo, Civilian - photographer, Newsweek (Japan)

Two senior officers and the four-man crew were also killed.

Also reported MIA this day in 1971:
Pietrzak, Joseph R., US Army (OH); OH6A shot down (w/Robertson), KIA, body not recovered

Robertson, Mark J., US Army (MI); OH6A shot down (w/Pietrzak), KIA, body not recovered

Operation Firing for Effect

“Operation Firing For Effect”
From the desk of the National Chairman

Public Relations Release - #1
February 06, 2006

This is the first in a series of public relation releases to be published concerning Operation Firing For Effect and The Veteran’s March on the 25th and 26th of April 2006 to be held in Washington, DC.

These PR releases are designed to answer questions and address concerns you may have about this event and project objectives. In addition, these releases will help you understand the issues involved and how these issues directly affect you and your family.

A Special "Event Permit" has been issued for this Rally! The Veteran’s March will happen! The success of this event is now in the hands of God and the American people.

The very first thing everyone needs to know is the organizers of Operation Firing For Effect and The Veteran’s March and are very well versed in U.S. Veterans Affairs and are totally committed to making positive contributions to Veteran’s issues in the 21st Century.

So far, we have heard from many veterans and their families pledging to attend the two day event. We have also heard from organizations nationwide requesting more details on “Operation Firing For Effect”. We have also received some media inquires. As the project develops, you will receive regular updates on our progress. In addition, you can visit – or We are encouraging everyone that can, be in DC on the 25th and 26th of April. If you simply can’t be there, try to do something locally in your area to bring national attention to this story.

Below you will find Frequently Asked Questions, (FAQ). We suggest you print out this entire series of public relation releases and save them for future reference. It is extremely important that we all show up in DC with “thoughts composed”, “focused”, and “informed.” If you have any questions or comments, please contact the individuals below.

Gene D. Simes - Coordinator and National Chairman, “Operation Firing for Effect” Office: 315 986-7322 Cell: 585 329-4711

James North - Coordinator and Chairman, “The Veteran’s March”

Russ Scarvelli – Project Master at Arms

Jere Beery – Operations Public Affairs & Morale Officer –

What are the overall objectives of this event?
The objectives are very simple and straight forward. First, we want to draw public awareness and media attention to serious problems facing our former military personnel and their families. Second, we want to send a message to our Congress and Senate demanding Veterans Affairs issues take precedence over special interest issues. Third, we want to send a message to our deployed troops that we support them and they can count on us to fight for the protection of their earned benefits and services. Forth, we want to improve the State of Veterans Affairs in this country in an effort to increase enlistment and improve retention in the U.S. military, thus avoid a possible Draft. Fifth, we want to provide our former military personnel and their families a voice in matters that affect them.

Is This a Permitted event?
YES! The organizers of this event have secured the necessary Permits and are currently working with U.S. Park Services on matters of logistics and event requirements. To view the Special Events Permit and list of State Parks Service requirements and restrictions, visit and click on the "Event Permit" link on the left of the page. Every effort will be made to comply with all laws and regulations during this event. The event organizers are very sensitive to the responsibilities and obligations we have to maintain the honor and integrity of our men and women in uniform, as well as each and every Veteran and their families. Improper behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Are only former military invited to attend “The Veteran’s March?”
Absolutely not! Many of the issues we will be addressing in DC also directly affect family members of Veterans. From widows of fallen soldiers and their orphans, to our wounded and disfigured Heroes currently recovering at Walter Reed and Brook Army Medical Center, to veterans living their last days in nursing homes, to the birth of a child by a young mother and wife of a deployed soldier in Iraq, this project is all inclusive and the message we are carrying to Washington touches every American family in one way or another. All Americans have a vested interest in attending this event.

I’m not a veteran, how does “Veterans’ Affairs” affect me?
Great question! This is a very important factor in the Veteran’s Rights equation. Let’s look at the bigger picture. As you are reading these words, members of our all volunteer military are risking disability, disfigurement, and even death to insure our safety and security here in the U.S. When “we” recruit young Americans into our military, to fight our battles, or respond to natural disasters, “we” promise/guarantee these Proven Patriots “we” will treat them fairly when they return from active duty. “We” promise them quality and readily-available medical services. “We” promise to compensate them for injuries and disabilities sustained in military service. “We” promise to educate their children if they are killed or disabled in the service of this country. “We” promise to provide financial support to widows of personnel killed as the result of their service. “We” even promise our Veterans military funerals and burial space if that is their desire. These are the things that make a military career beneficial and appealing to our young. Over the past few decades both the democrats and republicans have targeted Veteran’s services and programs for budget cuts while promoting “special interest” spending. In these days of global uncertainty, it would be in the best interest of all Americans to improve the State of Veterans’ Affairs - in turn, increase enlistment in the U.S. military while straightening our national security. Veterans’ Affairs is not a “special interest issue”. Every American has a vested interest in, and contractual commitment to, the State Veterans’ Affairs in this country.

Is this event a Pro-War demonstration?
NO! Nor is it an Anti-War protest. Our objective is to improve the state of Veterans’ Affairs in this country by insuring our government honors contracts and promises made to our former and current military personnel. We will not be addressing the pros and cons of the current administration’s military operations in Iraq and/or policies overseas.

Where will we meet in DC?
April 25th 2006, 0800 > 1600, we will have our “Operation Firing For Effect” platform, tables and PA system setup at the West Front area of the U.S. Capital. This particular area in front of the Capital can hold up to 10,000 people. There are some restrictions on what you can bring into the park, so please review the list at Click on the "Event Permit" link on the left of the page to review restrictions.

Will there be restrooms and drinking water available at the rally site?
We are in the process of securing Port-a-Potty services for the event. There may be some vending machines or street vendors within walking distance, but we suggest you bring your personal drinking water with you. Camping equipment of any kind is prohibited, including coolers. Emergency medical services will also be on site. As the project materializes, we will keep you posted and make suggestions to you on event preparations.

Who will be the Guest Speakers at the rally?
We will release a tentative itinerary as soon as possible. Ever effort is being made to provide a well rounded list of issues. From the treatment of our returning injured troops, to dramatic increases in TriCare cost to our retired military personnel, to protection of veteran’s benefits in state divorce court, we plan to have a wide variety of topics and guest speakers. One of our objectives will be to provide useful information you can take home with you. Some of our Guest may educate us on how the DOD and DVA works, while other Speakers many address specific problems facing our veterans. (i.e.; USFSPA, how divorce can cause unjust hardship on both disabled and retired military personnel Project SHAD, Agent Orange, PTSD, GWS, asbestos exposure veterans, unreasonable delays in VA claims processing, long waits for VA medical appointments, how base closures (BRAC) adversely affects our retired military, the future availability of military honors and burial space for deceased veterans, and much more..)

What are some of the “Veteran Related Issues”?
As you may already know, the problems affecting our veterans and their families are many and vast in scope. From VA health care issues, to retired military matters, the subject of Veterans’ Affairs covers many areas. Veteran’s issues also affect families, spouses, widows, and dependants. We will be addressing Congress, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs with our concerns. We will publicly question funding reductions in both the DOD and DVA for Veterans’ programs and services. We will be asking for an explanation to the ONE BILLION dollar “mistake” in last year’s VA budget. In addition, we will present innovative and new ideas to improve services provided to our former military personnel. (i.e.; Mandatory funding for Veterans services, optional hometown health care, legal representation when filing claims for earned Veteran’s benefits, and stronger enforcement of federal laws created to protect earned Veteran’s benefits in civil court, and more..)

Why do you think this event is necessary now?
We only have between now and the 2008 presidential elections to get “Veteran’s issues” on a political platform. If we don’t accomplish this by 2008, we will have to wait until 2012 before we will have another chance to influence politics at the national level. The organizers of Operation Firing For Effect and The Veteran’s March feel very strongly that “we as a nation” simply cannot wait six more years to address matters of military morale, enlistment, retention and all of the aforementioned issues. We must act now! We will never have a better window of opportunity to improve Veterans’ Affairs in this country.

Since elevation to Cabinet Level in 1988, the Department of Veterans Affairs has not been mentioned in ANY presidential State of the Union Address. We can no longer trust our elected officials to act in the best interest of our Veterans and their families. Over the past two decades, it has become obvious that “special interest” has fogged the focus of our politicians. This poor vision has directly led to reductions in Veteran’s programs and services, and dramatic increases in cost to the retired military community at large. Our elected officials have created hardship on many of this country’s former military families by playing political football with Veteran’s issues. The blame for any discontent belongs to both the democrats and republicans equality.

Organizers of Operation Firing For Effect and The Veteran’s March propose every serving president be mandated by Congress to include a report on the Department of Veterans Affairs in every State of the Union Address. The American people deserve to know the status of this very important Cabinet.

Is there any political party agenda to this event?
The organizers of this event are not obligated to any political party, nor are they associated with any government agency, or Congressionally Chartered Veterans Service Organization (i.e.; VFW, AMVETS, DAV, The American Legion, etc.)

The Veteran’s March and Operation Firing For Effect are both non-profit grassroots level organizations established by former servicemen to help their fellow Veterans and their families.

Is the VFW or DAV supporting this event?
We have heard from many individual chapters and post and initial reports indicate that many of the NVSO’s rank and file membership will be attending this March/Rally. We respectfully invite all NVSO representatives to attend this event and help us unit this National Movement.

Who is paying for “The Veteran’s March” expenses?
To date, March organizers have been paying their own individual expenses to promote the event. However, we are not wealthy and the project will incur some expense for port-a-potties, stage rental, advertising, PA equipment, printing, clean-up, and incidentals. We need your help to make this event a success! We are humbly requesting a $10 donation from individual supporters and event attendees to help us absorb the cost. We are also looking for product donations from companies interested in publicly showing their support for our Troops and Veterans. If you plan to attend The Veteran’s March, please help us make this event successful and as pleasant as possible by sending in $10. We are certain you won’t be disappointed. Make checks payable and mail to below address:

Milt Hanas, Treasurer VFVC,
Veterans for Veteran Connection
Operation Firing For Effect
P.O. Box 77303
Rochester, New York 14617
Phone: 607 868-5188

Your donation is extremely important to the success of this event. Time is not on our side. We have a very short period of time to put this together. We must produce a strong and united presence in Washington if we are to accomplish any of our objectives. The future of our Veterans is in YOUR hands. Please do not hesitate, donate today!

Do you have information on military lodging and hotel reservations?
Yes! Go to and click on "Travel Planner" link on the left of the page. You will also find information on RV campgrounds in the area at this link.

What else can I do to help?
GET INVOLVED! Tell everyone you know about Operation Firing For Effect and The Veteran’s March. Printout our Releases and drop them off at your local VFW. Share our information with family members and church groups. Talk to coworkers and employers about our efforts. Ask yourself, what can I do to help? Contact your local newspaper or TV station and ask them to cover the story. Make a sign of support and put it in your yard, or on your car. The success of this project is TOTALLY in the hands of people like YOU! The future of our All-Volunteer Military is in jeopardy. If you don’t get involved today, tomorrow may be too late.

If you would like to volunteer as a “State Coordinator”, please contact us for details.

We hope this answers some of your questions and addresses any concerns you may have.
Submit your questions here
In Tribute to a Marine who was Protecting us: Click Here.
(make sure you check this tribute out!)

Cpl. Anthony W. Oliva provides security with Cpl. Lance H. Kraft, both are motor transportation operators for Truck Company attached to 3rd Battalion, 8th marine Regiment. They both took part in the convoy operations course Jan. 30. The exercise is designed to enhance the skills of Marines and Sailors in convoy maveuvers and readiness.Photo by: Cpl. Joseph Digirolamo

Read Story Associated with this photo

From Bob Calvert at "Talking With Heroes"

We invite you to listen to the next Talking with Heroes Talk Show. Below is a list of our guests for the Feb 12th Talk Show. Listen to John Ubaldi Sunday Night Feb 12th talking about his personal experiences helping the people in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you miss the program live you will be able to hear it in our past shows/archives anytime after. All of our talk shows are available to be listened to in archives.

If you feel led to let others know about Talking with Heroes please forward this email to others. Below is our guest list for this coming Sunday nights show:

John Ubaldi who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. While he was deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq and since he has helped raise over a million dollars in supplies and needed items for the Afghan and Iraq people. He will be talking about 1,000 backpacks full of school supplies that were handed out to a girls school, 5,000 shoes to Afghanistan, $80,000 worth of relief supplies to Afghanistan, 5,000 stuffed animals to Beslen, Russia, 2,000 backpacks full of school supplies and $1 million dollars worth of pharmaceutical supplies to Iraq and more.

Greg Olson the Owner of will talk about how PowerBlock has helped men and women in the military and about PowerBlocks products.

Molly Johnson President and Executive Director Citizen Soldier Family Support Foundation assist Citizen-Soldiers in all reserve branches with a battery of critical services and outreach programs. Based in Austin, Texas, where a large microcosm of the military population resides, we're creating relationships across the country to ensure that no soldier or their family is ever neglected.

Janie Honeycutt and Ron Hargett with House of Jerky has been sending weekly care packages including their Jerky Products to deployed men and women. They have donated jerky to many Military non profit organizations and began giving discounts for all orders shipped to APO/FPO addresses. They also are proud to be with SoldiersAngels.ORG who have helped tens and tens of thousands of our deployed troops.

For information about Talking with Heroes:

Bob Calvert, Founder
Cope Tiger ’06 draws A-10 thunder
KORAT ROYAL THAI AIR BASE, Thailand (AFPN) -- Cope Tiger ‘06, an annual multi-lateral exercise involving the U.S., Thailand and Singapore, began Feb. 7. More than 1,300 people, including 300 U.S. servicemembers and 1,000 servicemembers from Thailand and Singapore, are participating in the exercise that involves aviation and ground units. The exercise is designed to hone flying skills and foster international cooperation among the three countries.

'America Support You' Links Troops to Public, Corporate, Private Help

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2006 – If you or another servicemember or military family you know needs help, the support you're seeking might be just a few clicks away on the "America Supports You" Web site.

The green button on the site takes military members to a long list resources and America Supports You partners, all standing by and ready to help, Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, told the American Forces Press Service.

They include traditional military and government programs, but also corporate, grassroots and individual efforts that help meet needs the Defense Department simply can't, said Barber, who came up with the America Supports You program concept and oversees its operations.

For example, one link on the page takes visitors to organizations that donate frequent-flier miles so family members and friends can visit wounded troops recovering from combat injuries. Another links to groups that renovate homes and build ramps to accommodate returning troops' wheelchairs, all at no charge, Barber said.

While many groups on the site focus specifically on wounded troops, many support all servicemembers and their families in need. Some offer free phone cards for deployed troops so they can call home without stressing their budgets. Others send care packages and letters of encouragement to deployed members.

Still others help families keep the home fires burning during their loved one's deployment. Recognizing that family finances often get tight during deployment, some groups pitch in to cover emergency expenses or pick up the tab on niceties that too often go by the wayside during a deployment, Barber said.

One America Supports You team member, for example, cut a check directly to a mechanic to pay for a military family's desperately needed car repairs, she said. Another pays for camps for deployed National Guard members' kids.

"I don't want a second grader to not go to basketball camp because their mom or dad is deployed - especially when we have people who are ready to pay for that camp," Barber said.

Barber acknowledged that the America Supports You program represents a culture change for servicemembers, who traditionally have depended on the military community for the support they need. But it's an important shift that ultimately means better, more complete support for troops and their families, she said.

While recognizing the tremendous value of initiatives conducted at the service and Department of Defense levels, Barber said the America Supports You program provides a conduit to services and programs beyond DoD's scope.

"These are not programs that the Department of Defense is equipped to run," she said. "There are certain things that our grassroots groups and corporate team members can do for the military community that the military is not necessarily equipped to handle in the same way," she said.

Since its inception in November 2004, the America Supports You program has provided a direct link that never existed before between the American public and the country's men and women in uniform. "It's a connector campaign for military members and their families," she said.

"What America Support You has done is connect America's passion for the troops to the troops," Barber said. "We are doing it on a national scale and we just can't do enough."

The program has gained steady momentum during the past year, expanding to a vast network that includes 25 corporate and 188 grassroots organizations.

Barber urged military members and families in need, or who know someone who is, to visit the America Supports You page to tap into the resources available to them.

"America Supports You might not have all the answers for everyone, but it sure will have a lot of answers and a lot of solutions for people," Barber said. "We want to make sure that people add the America Supports You program to their toolbox when they need help or when they're helping someone."

Related Site:
America Supports You

Souda Bay, Crete, Greece (Feb. 08, 2006) – Sailors assigned to the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) man the rails as the ship arrives in Souda Bay for a routine port visit. Roosevelt is the 30th ship in the Arleigh Burke-class of destroyers. Roosevelt is currently on a surge deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mr. Paul Farley

Preaching to the Choir

I know I'm not telling most of the readers of this blog anything they don't know here, but I found this interesting nonetheless.

One of the frequent myths put out by the anti-war / anti-troop crowd is that the military is full of only the uneducated, downtrodden, hoodwinked into military service.

If that's the case, how do you explain this? (from

World-renowned Cardiologist Trades in Lab Coat for Uniform

Army Col. Ward Casscells prepares for a marksmanship test Jan. 26 while receiving last-minute advice from retired Army 1st Sgt. John Kearney, Officer Basic Course instructor, at Camp Bullis. Casscells graduated from the Feb. 3. Photo by Elaine Wilson

By Elaine Wilson
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Feb. 9, 2006 – With credentials as an Ivy League-college graduate, world-renowned cardiologist and top-ranked university vice president, Dr. Ward Casscells never had a lack of respect -- or success.

The tireless Casscells is a teacher, doctor and champion of humanitarian relief, with countless hours spent tending to victims of hurricanes, tsunamis and terrorist acts. His studies have led to breakthroughs in cardiology, and his years of research on now-spreading avian flu are now deemed cutting edge.

Casscells has served on President Bush's health care advisory committee, at the forefront of humanitarian relief efforts such as Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 South Asian tsunami.

With more than 30 years of accomplishments behind him, the sky was the limit for Casscells' future. However, instead of a pursuit of fortune or fame, at age 53, Casscells chose a decidedly more modest, and to some shocking, route - the U.S. Army.

"People told me I was too old, not physically fit enough or won't be senior enough to be able to do anything interesting," Casscells said. "None of that was true." In June 2005, Casscells traded his lab coat for a uniform and joined the Army Reserve as a colonel.

While the decision may have seemed abrupt to many of his family and friends, it was a long time coming for Casscells.

The Delaware native has lived a seemingly charmed life. He went to Yale University in Connecticut, then Harvard University in Boston, where he earned his medical degree.

After his residency, he worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., for six years. From there, he moved to Texas as chief of cardiology at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School, where he helped draw a connection between heart attacks and the flu, then branched out into avian flu research.

With a full work and family schedule, Casscells was busier than ever. But in the midst of his labors, his life came to an abrupt halt one night in 2001, after he felt a growth in his abdomen. It was cancer.

"It was bad," Casscells said. "I went through five years of chemotherapy and radiation. After I went through that, I wanted to do things I hadn't done before."

He decided on a path when cleaning out a closet. "I saw my dad's tattered old uniform. He served four years with (Gen. George) Patton in World War II. I figured if he could give four years of his life, I could give three months a year as a reservist."

The idea became a reality after he was medically cleared to enter the Army Reserve. He joined last summer and was almost immediately activated as the Army had an urgent need for someone with avian flu expertise.

He said Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley mobilized him to his command. "He recognized the seriousness of the bird flu and wanted the Army to be prepared," Casscells said. "I volunteered to go to the Middle and Far East to do surveillance."

During a whirlwind tour, Casscells said he traveled alone to places like Cairo, Egypt; Beijing; and Bangkok, Thailand, to scope out the possibility for a widespread outbreak.

"Bird flu is poised to be an explosive problem," Casscells said. "I give General Kiley a lot of credit for wanting to be at the forefront of medical planning."

After months abroad, Casscells made a much shorter trip from his Austin, Texas, home. In January, he traveled to San Antonio to attend the two-week reserve Officer Basic Course at Fort Sam Houston. The course is geared toward medical professionals like Casscells, with attendees from all walks of medical life, from nurses and pharmacists to psychiatrists and surgeons.

Run ragged with training, a sleep-deprived and physically exhausted Casscells found the course to be, surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges of his life.

"This course is 'shock and awe' for me," he said. "I haven't been this tired and intimidated since I was an intern. It's scarier, more intense than I thought."

The instructors plan it that way. "Many of these officers come from privilege or worked their way through school, but still don't know what it's like to do without," said Capt. Darren Teters, course instructor. "They've never been without a shower for two or three days or had their food limited.

"But we have to train them the same as privates," he added. "Whether doctors or nurses, they will have responsibility and will have to rely (on) what they learn here."

The officer-students range from second lieutenants to colonels, with varying degrees of success in the civilian sector. Rank and job status, however, have a limited role at OBC, Casscells said.

Despite some trepidation, Casscells passed the course with flying colors and graduated Feb. 3. "We (class members) are all so proud to have gotten through it," he said. "It was dead on.

"As a teacher, I've been enormously impressed with how seriously the instructors take training," he added. "The Army attracts better people than you expect and trains better than you can believe."

Finished with training, Casscells can now resume his esteemed career. But his future plans are unlikely to garner fame or fortune.

"I volunteered to go to Iraq," he said. "I don't want to backfill; I want to go to where I'm most needed. And doctors are needed in Iraq."

(Elaine Wilson is editor of the Fort Sam Houston Texas News-Leader.)

COMBAT PATROL — U.S. Army soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment conduct a combat patrol in the city of Tal Afar, Iraq on Feb. 6, 2006. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon

In Today's News - Friday, February 10, 2006

Quote of the Day
"I love the man that can smile in trouble,
that can gather strength from distress,
and grow brave by reflection."
-- Thomas Paine

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Car bomb kills up to 11 as poll results released
Kidnapped U.S. Reporter Seen in New Video
Experts: U.S. may stay in Iraq for a long time

Operation Enduring Freedom
Eight Afghan soldiers killed in two blasts

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Bush says America remains at risk for terror
Senate GOP, White House Agree on Patriot Act
U.S. Navy Ships Search Yemen Coast for Terrorists
Malaysia holding LA's al Qaeda plotters
GAO says watch list vulnerable to hackers
Daley renews call for no-fly zone
Jailbreak in Yemen stirs concern abroad
Italy may try CIA agents in absentia

Other Military News
Air Force softens religion guidelines

NSA Hearings
Lawmakers seek oversight of Bush spying program
Support for domestic spying grows, poll shows

Hamas Rising
Putin Invites Hamas Leaders to Moscow
Palestinian officials seize accounts, assets in corruption probe
Egyptian envoy is kidnapped in Gaza

Cartooning Muhammad
Malaysia bans Prophet cartoons as protests flare
European Papers Benefit in Cartoon Uproar
Muslim Leaders Urge Calm Over Cartoons
Hezbollah chief demands apology from Denmark
Citing tough judgment call, most US media not using images
Islamic furor exposes a rift across Europe

Homegrown Moonbats
Sheehan Won't Challenge Feinstein for Senate

Worldwide Wackos
Chavez Orders American Missionaries Out of Jungle

Libby: White House 'Superiors' Authorized Leaks
Democratic leader Reid aided Abramoff clients
Lobbyist says he met Bush "almost a dozen" times

XX Winter Olympics - Opening Ceremonies Tonight!
Doping threatens to tarnish Games opening
Fifteen minutes of flame
Protesters disrupt torch run
Doping threatens to tarnish Games opening - Video

Baby feeds on dog's milk
Burglar steals police car from station
Jury decides tossed shrimp didn't lead to man's death
Monterey's foghorn won't stop wailing
Man hangs himself on plane
Mice may teach us about bullying
Arrest in case of burglar who checked e-mail

Other News of Note
W.House knew of levee failure night of storm: Times
Annan: U.S. Must Play Major Role in Sudan (Wait a minute - I thought we weren't supposed to be the world's police force, and we weren't supposed to be imperialistically sticking our hands in everything...I'm confused)
Shiites and Sunnis Battle in Pakistan

Fox News
Entwistle Arrested in Wife's, Daughter's Deaths
Entwistle to Return to U.S.
Judge: MLB Angels Still in 'Los Angeles'
Stocks to Watch, Feb. 10
Suit Targets Craigslist Ads
Smells in Food May Signal Nutritional Value
Mineta: Space Tourism Licenses in '08?
FCC: 'A La Carte' TV Service Would Be Cheaper
Ex-President Leads Haiti Vote
AIG OKs $1.6B Settlement
RIM Unveils Blackberry Plan

Reuters: Top News
Trade showdown looms as S.Korea tells US: "No rice"
Fewer migrating whales arrive in Mexican lagoons
No sign Mt Fuji to erupt, but Japan makes plan
Visteon posts quarterly profit on facility sales
U.S. panel to open patent probe on Toyota hybrids
Delta offers pilots $300 mln if pensions cut: report
TSMC Jan sales jump 25.6 pct, tops rival UMC
Japan's Softbank posts third-quarter profit
NightHawk Radiology shares stand out among US IPOs
Vonage files for $250 million IPO
Stock futures flat as oil dips, trade data eyed
Oakley profit falls, to refocus on eyewear
New UAL stock rebounds after hitting new low
Boyd Gaming 4th-qtr profit falls, stock rises
US S&P 500 dips with energy shares; Nasdaq falls
'Momos' mistake
From oilfield to pump: G8 energy fears
Mobile trade show 3GSM tunes into TV, web services
Strip clubs and gambling boom in South Africa
S.Koreans grumble, French pleased about sex: survey
Advisers urge heart risk warning on ADHD drugs

AP World News
North Korea Requests Fertilizer Aid
Annan Urges Iran to Maintain Nuke Freeze
Ukraine's President Calls for Unity
Tomb Found in Egypt's Valley of Kings
Leaders of Sudan, Chad OK Peace Agreement
Spain Nabs Argentine 'Dirty War' Suspect
Roof Safety Eyed in Snow-Laden Europe
Finance Ministers to Convene in Moscow

The Seattle Times
Small desert pool is site of a species' fight for life
6 accused of illegal leopard shark trade
Japan facing glut of whale meat
Succession law to test Japanese leader's clout

Chicago Sun-Times
A pain in the butts
Criminal's worst nightmare: high-tech cars
Collision has Shedd expecting baby beluga
Gun smuggling inquiry focuses on jail officer
U.S. seeks bids on managing Fermilab, Argonne
Girls try booze, tobacco, pot more than boys
Public to pay for Lombardo's defense
Boy alleging molestation sues George, archdiocese
Woman's body found in 1999 is identified
Nuremberg transcripts given to Holocaust museum
Indiana town may threaten residents who park cars in yard
NYPD flew! Force puts muscle in its squad fleet
Award thrown out in lawsuit over 'dress white' rule
Bad call by judge spells trouble for girl at bee
Mine blast survivor remains 'in a fog'
Museum pays $630,000 for 1,200-yr.-old British coin

Boston Globe: World
Fears of deadly bird flu on rise in Africa
China aims to invest heavily in research
UN looks at ways to reduce its staff
TRICARE Plan Finalized
Top Brass Push for Better Intel Access

CENTCOM: News Releases










Department of Defense
Terror Fight Must Be International Effort - Story Remarks
Bush Thanks Poles for Supporting Iraqi Democracy
LA Skyscraper Was Terrorist Target, Bush Says
NATO Defense Minister Meetings Begin in Italy - Story
Rumsfeld Arrives in Italy for NATO Meetings Photos
University Honors Joint Chiefs Chairman - Story

Task Force Aids Hunt for Escaped Terrorists - Story
Field Hospital Moves From Tents to Trailers - Story
Central-South Division Gets New Commander - Story
Iraqi Soldiers Aid Flood Victims in Jemuria Ula - Story
B-52 Maintenance Team Vital Part of Success - Story

Airmen to Supplement MP Unit at Tikrit Base
Iraqi Soldiers Get Renovated Theater, Clinics
Navy Helo Unit Supports British Troops in Iraq
Iraqis Bring Combat Experience to Training

Soldiers Find Roadside Bombs
Terrorist Bombs Kill 5 Iraqis
Casey: Violence Not Normal
Ops Net Suspects, Weapons Caches
Water Treatment Plant Opens
U.S. Army Aids Iraqi Businesswomen
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq (pdf)
Multinational Force Iraq
Eye on Iraq Update (pdf)
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (pdf)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Iraq Reconstruction

ANP Open Family Response Unit
Afghan Workers Improve School
Taliban Detained; Cadets Train
Coalition Achieving Goals
Afghanistan Update

Wis., Neb. WMD Teams Certified
Jones Details NATO Missions
UAV Returned; Suspect Nabbed
NATO Focus: Transformation, Ops
Rumsfeld: Must Cooperate to Win
Interpol Issues Alert for Terrorists
Surveillance Goal: Prevent Attacks
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Officials: Army Is Not Broken
Rumsfeld Topic: Budget, QDR
Pace Highlights Troops' Needs
Visit Focuses on Joint Ops
Officials Propose Tricare Hikes
Programs Enhance Prosthetics
Army Top Sergeant Visits Wounded
National Guard, Reserve Update

Officials Identify Army Casualty - Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar