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Friday, March 30, 2007

WALTER REED VISIT - President George W. Bush presents the Purple Heart to U.S. Army Sgt. Bruce Dunlap of Kansas City, Mo., during a visit, March 30, 2007, to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Dunlap was injured during convoy operations in southern Baghdad. White House photo by Eric Draper More photos - Remarks - Story

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Female Soldiers Make History as Avenger Crewmembers

U.S. Army Spc. Amanda Landers
U.S. Army Spc. Sorimar Perez

By Staff Sgt. C.G. Maldonado
Florida National Guard Public Affairs

CAMP BLANDING, Fla., March 30, 2007 — Two Florida National Guard soldiers are making history as the first women to become Avenger crewmembers, a military occupational specialty restricted to males until last October.

Spc. Sorimar Perez, 32, and Spc. Amanda Landers, 25, are assigned to C Battery, 1st Battalion, 265th Air Defense Artillery, in Daytona Beach. Both are training at the Regional Training Institute here and are expected to graduate April 2.

"I'm excited and feel privileged to have this opportunity. So far, it's been very enjoyable. I wouldn't change it if I could," said Landers.

Originally from West Virginia and now residing in Port Orange, Landers joined the Ohio National Guard in 2000 while attending college there. In 2004, she deployed to Iraq as a truck driver.

"I transferred to Daytona in December. There were no positions available for me in my MOS so I had to find a new one. Then this opportunity came up and I thought it would be a good experience," said Landers.

The Avenger system is a lightweight, highly mobile and transportable surface-to-air missile/gun weapons system. It provides mobile, short-range air-defense protection against air and land attacks.

To graduate in their new specialty, Landers and Perez must complete two phases of training. "Phase one teaches the basic components that go along with the Avenger system," said Master Sgt. Edwin Wilson, Regional Training Institute branch manager.

During phase one, Landers and Perez learned to operate global positioning-devices, radio systems and other small devices used peripherally with the Avenger. They also became familiar with the Stinger missile and the skill-level tasks they need to know according to their rank.

Landers and Perez are now in phase two, learning the operation, maintenance and configurations of the big components of the Avenger, as well as seeing how the things they learned during phase one fit into this final phase.

"Overall, they have a 96.7 grade-point average. They are doing everything that the males are doing and are pulling their own weight," said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Porter, a course manager at the institute.

The change in specialty has not been hard for Perez. "I've been a mechanic for seven years, so I'm used to working with men," she said. Her daring disposition and not being scared of doing "a man's job" are qualities that she thinks helped her get selected for the Avenger training.

Perez moved from Puerto Rico to Orlando seven years ago. "I've always had an inclination for the military and finally made up my mind to join the Florida National Guard at 28, in 2004." She said a fellow soldier convinced her that she could handle the demands of becoming an Avenger crewmember.

Both women intend to make a career in the Florida National Guard.

"I like the Florida National Guard," said Perez. "I want to make my 20 years and give a better life to my son and my mom." In addition to her duties as a Guard member, Perez works full-time as a manager at an auto parts store.

Landers has been in the Guard for more than six years and just re-enlisted for six more.

"I work (full-time) in accounting and I enjoy that, but I like the military because I get to do more hands-on stuff. My goal is to stay in the Guard until retirement."

Being the first females to graduate from this course opens many possibilities for Landers and Perez. Deployment as Avenger crewmembers is one.

And according to Wilson, there is another. "They could potentially become the first female Avenger instructors at the (Regional Training Institute) and the Army if they wanted to."

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President George W. Bush presents the Congressional Gold Medal to Dr. Roscoe Brown Jr., during ceremonies honoring the Tuskegee Airmen March 29, 2007, at the U.S. Capitol. Brown, director of the Center for Urban Education Policy and university professor at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, commanded the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II. White House photo by Eric Draper - More photos - Story

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Last Surviving Female World War I Veteran Dies

Story Number: NNS070328-16
Release Date: 3/28/2007 5:17:00 PM

Special release from Naval District Washington Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The last surviving female World War I veteran, Charlotte Winters, died March 27 in Boonsboro, Md. She was 109 years old.

Winters served in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a yeoman, including service at a gun production facility at the Washington Navy Yard. She continued to work for the Navy in Washington until her retirement in 1953.

The Naval Reserve Act of 1916 enabled the Navy to begin enlisting women in mid-March 1917. Nearly 600 were on duty by the end of April 1917. That number grew to more than 11,000 by December 1918, shortly after the armistice. These women were popularly known as "Yeomanettes."

They all held enlisted ranks and served in support positions, mainly secretarial and clerical, and almost all served in the U.S. Many worked in government and naval offices, in defense companies and hospitals. They were all released from active duty in July 1919. Two of them ultimately became Naval officers in the Reserve, Capt. Joy Bright Hancock and Lt. Eunice Whyte.

Funeral services will be held March 30 in Boonsboro, Md., with interment to follow at the Mount Olivet Cemetery, in Frederick, Md.

The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard will present military honors during the interment ceremony.

The Naval Historical Center has further information on the "Yeomanettes" at

For more news from around the fleet, visit

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EMERGENCY SERVICES — An Iraqi policeman assigned to the Emergency Services Unit takes a break during a combined cordon and search mission in Qarah Cham village, Iraq, March 27, 2007. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway

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In Today's News - Friday, March 30, 2007

Quote of the Day
"The fact is; there isn't any way that the terrorist enemies can win a single battle against us. The real center of gravity of this war is not out on the battlefield, it's back here in Washington, D.C. because it's a test of wills. As have previous conflicts been tests of wills, it's going to take steadfastness and perseverance and a confidence that the goal is the right goal and that the work that those wonderful young men and women are doing out there is noble work. I don't have a doubt in my mind but that we're going to prevail."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
830 AM WCCO Radio Interview,
March 29, 2006

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Al-Sadr: Protest U.S. to Mark Baghdad's Fall
Bloody week in Iraq points to emboldened al Qaeda Podcast: Reconstructing Iraq
Withdrawal Would Validate al Qaeda’s Strategy
Petraeus Condemns al Qaeda's ‘Barbaric’ Acts
Chlorine Gas Attacks Show Enemy’s Brutality
Coalition Suggests Ninewah Transfer to Iraqi Control
U.S. General Sees Cause for Optimism in Anbar
Baghdad Surge Gets Results

Operation Enduring Freedom
Giambastiani: More Help Needed in Afghanistan

Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
Tribunal Convicts Australian Gitmo Detainee
Guantanamo panel sentences Australian to 7 years - Video
Suspected Cole Mastermind: I Was Tortured (Boo flippin hoo, scumbag)
Helicopter shot down as battles engulf Mogadishu
Passengers may be sued in imams' removal

Fallen Heroes
Memo Shows Warning Over Tillman Death

Supporting Our (and our Allies') Heroes Poll: Getting the Brit Sailors Back Blog: Helping Sgt. Duncan
Group Exhibits Dedication
Warriors’ Wives Get Help

Other Military News
Report faults Pentagon for weapons buying problems
Bush Apologizes for Walter Reed Problems
Pentagon war funds need not urgent: Congress memo (But the pork is? If this doesn't tell you where there priorities are at, I don't know what will) Advisors: Leaving War Behind
Medical Budget Cuts Hit
To Be an Army Green Beret
Bush Reiterates War Funding With ‘No Strings’
Six Countries Removed From Imminent Danger Pay List
U.S., Japan to Increase Military Cooperation - Story
Air Force to Develop New Engine
Army Tests Parachute System
Soldiers Test New Vehicles

Worldwide Wackos
Iran 'Doesn't Fool Anyone' - VIDEO
Iran: We Withheld Nuke Info Over Fears of Being Attacked
VIDEO: Iran Tells U.N. Not to Get Involved in Standoff
Security Council Expresses 'Grave Concern' Over Seizure
Second captive Briton apologizes to Iran
L.A. students walk out in Cesar Chavez protest

Politics / Government
White House Slams Pelosi's Syria Trip
Giuliani Admits Mistake in Backing Kerik- 9/11 Could Pose Obstacles for Giuliani in '08
Giuliani: Wife won't be Cabinet member
Gonzales carries on as attorney general
Gonzales Doesn't 'Recall' Firings Debate Role
U.S. critical of African response to Mugabe - Video

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment / Law and Order
Desperate Hunt for Abducted Boy, 3
Lawsuit: Transplanted Parts May Be Diseased
Pedophile Runs 'How-to' Web Site for Men
Teacher Indicted for Having Sex With 5 Boys
Woman Killed in Houston Office Fire Planned to Testify Against Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Her Daughter
Louisiana School System Must Pay $1.4M to Teacher Who Refused to Change Grades
Cops at 'Square One' in Hunt for Missing Alabama Pastor's Wife
Seattle-Area Pedophile Has 'How-to' Web Site for Men Seeking Little Girl Activities
Family of Molested Girl Leaves Church After It Embraces Attacker
Police: Teens Used Mobile Phone to Film Rape of 12-Year-Old Girl
Teacher at Exclusive Manhattan Private School Convicted of Sodomy
Prosecutors: Revoke Hilton's probation

Adventures in Political Correctness
Parents Protest 'Sex' Paper

U.N. News
Nations quickly sign U.N. disabled rights treaty
U.N. rights body steps up pressure on Sudan over Darfur

Media in the Media / Bloggers in the News / Watching the Web
'.XXX' Porn Domain Name Nixed - SPEAKOUT!
Google Replaces New Orleans Map With Pre-Katrina Images

Science / Medicine / Technology
"Transplant tourism" on rise due to donor shortages
R u rdy 4 wrlds fastest txt msg?
Apple gets behind the album format with new offer
Dengue surging in Mexico, Latin America
NASA worries about gap in space flight
Architect claims to solve pyramid secret

Mother Nature
Fire sends smoke billowing over Hollywood sign
Overfishing of sharks makes scallops vanish: study
Three more rare lions killed by poachers in India
Scientists snatch falcon eggs on bridge

Lightning Strike Kills Student at Track Meet
Plan to Display 'Chocolate Jesus' Melts
April 1 looms, but hoax expert says times are hard
Egyptians head to France to fetch stolen mummy hairs
Indian tribe defends "hill god" from foreign miner
Girl, 16, kicked off plane for coughing

Other News of Note
Recall Expanded to Some Dry Pet Food
Melamine in pet food, wheat gluten from China: FDA
Anne Frank's Chestnut Tree Slowly Dying

Fox News
NEWS IN PHOTOS: Miss Universe in Mexico
University Freshman Dies After Binge Drinking
The Minidress Is Back ... If You've Got the Legs for It
Britney Spears, Kevin Federline Reach Divorce Settlement
Price of Milk Expected to Spike as Farmers' Costs Increase
Pop Tarts: Diddy 'Puffs' for 30-Hour Sex-a-Thon (His parents must be so proud...)

Reuters: Top News
Activists challenge lenders in mortgage crisis
Usher engaged to marry
Halle Berry admits to suicide attempt
U.S. data may propel stocks higher
Cancer vaccine stocks soar on Dendreon panel vote
Wall St indexes flat as China news eclipses data
Oil halts rise; stocks recover losses
Dollar dips on news of U.S. duties on Chinese paper
Record corn crop wouldn't lower gasoline
Crop to support high U.S. diesel prices
Big Oil spends more but output may fall
TJX card problem flags retail identify theft risk - Video
Beazer probe puts scrutiny on builder finance arms
Data eases fears of sharp economic slowdown
Bain, Blackstone among Ceridian bidders: sources
U.S. bank law has helped less affluent: Bernanke

AP World News
Snoop shocked about being denied visa
Ochoa, Creamer lead at LPGA's 1st major
'That Announcer Guy' finally gets due
Tigs' Kenny Rogers has shoulder surgery
Stocks Close Mixed on Quarter's Last Day
Sean Lennon unfazed by public attention
Consumer, construction spending rise
Lochte outshines Phelps at worlds
Op-ed: Operation Anabasis
Def Tech: New Eyes for Gators

USJFCOM signs cooperative research and development agreement with L-3 Communications - podcast
"Jointness matters" -- USJFCOM commander speaks before Senate Armed Services Committee - podcast

Bush Vows Troops Will Get Best Medical Care - Story
System Failed at Walter Reed, Care Remained Top Notch
Australian Detainee Sentenced to Nine Months - Story
Judge Accepts Australian Detainee’s Guilty Plea
Military Commissions
Giambastiani Cites Slovakia’s Importance

More Headline News
DoD Committed to Family, Troop Morale Programs

Military News
U.S. Marines Thank Lebanese Military for Efforts
Commentary: Take Time to Thank Unsung Heroes

War on Terror
Detainees Deny Allegations
Official Cites Baghdad Progress
Troops Capture 12 Terror Suspects

America Supports You
First Lady, Military Leaders Praise USO for Troop Support
Photos: USO Honors Servicemembers

TV Show Features "FutureWeapons" (Very cool show)

Face of Defense
Marine Strives to Excel
Soldier Follows Family Tradition
Chief Reflects on Career, History

Official Notes Progress in Baghdad - Story - Transcript
Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox, bio
Bloggers' Roundtable Web Site

Black Jack Performs Medical Mission in Baghdad - Story
Students Graduate from NATO Staff Course - Story
Female Aviators Pilot into Strong Career - Story
Postal Specialists Deal With Limited Space - Story
Joint Police Force Works Toward Secure Iraq - Story
Lancer Troops Work to Make Streets Safer - Story

Prime Power Team Lights Up Anaconda
Transition Team Continues to Make Progress
U.S. Airmen Help Iraqi Air Force Take Flight
Multi-National Chaplains Visit Camp Liberty

Team Rebuilds Afghanistan One School at a Time
Combat Engineers Turn Dwellings into Homes

Security Company Stands Watch in Djibouti
Forecasts, Updates Assist in Naval Planning
Well-drilling Team Helps Save Girl’s Arm, Life

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Ansbach Aschaffenburg Berlin Berlin-Tempelhof Berlin/Schonefeld Bremerhaven
Darmstadt Frankfurt Frankfurt/Main Freiburg/Breisgau Garmisch
Garmisch-Partenkirchen Geilenkirchen Gelnhausen Giessen Kitzingen
Hanau Am Main Heidelberg Mainz Mannheim Nurnberg Stuttgart Trier
Wiesbaden Wurzburg


Agana Agana Heights Agat Andersen AFB Asan Barrigada

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

Kadena Air Base Okinawa Tokyo Yokohama

Today in History
239 BC - 1st recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet
0988 - Boudouin IV with the Beard becomes earl of Flanders
1282 - Furious inhabitants of Palermo attack French occupation force
1474 - Duke Sigismund van Tirol ends contacts with Switzerland
1492 - King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella sign decree expelling Jews from Spain
1533 - Henry VIII divorces his 1st wife, Catherine of Aragon
1603 - Battle at Mellifont: English army under Lord Mountjoy beats Irish
1814 - Britain & allies march into Paris after defeating Napoleon
1822 - Congress combines East & West Florida into Florida Territory
1842 - Ether used as an anaesthetic for 1st time by Dr. Crawford Long (Jefferson, GA)
1856 - Russia signs Peace of Paris, ending the Crimean War
1858 - Pencil with attached eraser patented (Hyman L Lipman of Philadelphia)
1863 - Danish prince Wilhelm Georg of Sleeswÿk-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg chosen as King George of Greece
1864 - Skirmish at Mount Elba, AR
1865 -Battle at 5 Forks, Virginia
1867 - US purchases Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 (2¢ an acre-Seward's Folly)
1870 - 15th Amendment passes, guarantees right to vote regardless of race; Texas becomes last Confederate state readmitted to Union
1889 - John T. Reid opens 1st US golf course (Yonkers NY)
1893 - Thomas F. Bayard becomes 1st US ambassador in Great Britain
1900 - Dutch 2nd Chamber accepts Compulsory education law
1909 - Queensboro Bridge opens, linking Manhattan & Queens
1911 - Lötschberg tunnel in Switzerland (13,735 meter) completed
1912 - French protectorate in Morocco established
1919 - Belgian Army occupies Düsseldorf; Gandhi announces resistance against Rowlatt Act
1925 - Stalin supports rights of non-Serbian Yugoslavians
1932 - Amelia Earhart is 1st woman to fly solo cross the Atlantic
1935 - Newfoundland changes time to 3½ hours W of Greenwich, repeats 44 seconds
1941 - German counter offensive in North-Africa
1942 - 1st RSHA-transport from France arrives in camp Birkenau; SS murders 200 inmates of Trawniki labor camp
1943 - British 1st army recaptures Sejenane
1944 - 781 British bombers attack Neurenberg
1945 - 289 anti-fascists murdered by Nazis in Rombergpark Dortmund; USSR invades Austria during WWII
1953 - Einstein announces revised unified field theory
1961 - NASA civilian pilot Joseph A. Walker takes X-15 169,600' (51,690 meter)
1964 - Astronaut John Glenn withdraws from Ohio senate race
1968 - General Ludvik Svoboda elected President of Czechoslovakia
1972 - North Vietnamese troops enter South Vietnam
1973 - Ellsworth Bunker resigns as US ambassador to South Vietnam
1976 - Israel kills 6 Palestinians protesting land confiscation
1981 - President Reagan shot & wounded by John W. Hinckley, Jr.
1982 - 3rd space shuttle mission-Columbia 3 lands at White Sands, NM
1984 - US ends participation in multinational Lebanon peace force
1987 - 59th Academy Awards: "Platoon", Paul Newman & Marlee Matlin win
1991 - William Kennedy Smith allegedly rapes a woman
1993 - French government of Balladur forms; Jamaican premier Percival Patterson wins parliamentary election

1135 - Maimonides [Moses Ben Maimon], philosopher/physician
1432 - Mehmed II [Fâtih], Sultan of Turkey (1451-81)
1672 - Peter I "the Great" Romanov, great tsar of Russia (1682-1725)
1790 - Joseph Smith Rear Admiral (Union Navy)
1823 - Joseph Farmer Knipe, Union Brigadier General
1824 - Innis Newton Palmer, Union Brevet Major General
1825 - Samuel Bell Maxey, Confederate Brigadier General
1894 - Sergei Ilyushin, Russian airplane builder (Ilyushin)
1913 - Richard Helms, CIA head (1966-73)
1919 - McGeorge Bundy, national security adviser under JFK
1928 - Richard Trant, British General
1931 - Aleksey Vasilyevich Sorokin, Russian cosmonaut
1937 - Warren Beatty, actor (Bonnie & Clyde,Shampoo, Dick Tracy)
1938 - Martin Dunne, Lord-Lieutenant (Warwickshire)
1941 - Robert C. Smith (Representative-NH)
1945 - Eric Clapton [Eric Patrick Clapp], legendary guitarist/singer (Yardbirds, Cream, Tears in Heaven)
1948 - Nigel Jones, British MP
1950 - Dave McCurdy (Representative-OK)
1957 - Yelena Vladimirovna Kondakova, Russian cosmonaut (Soyuz TM 20, STS 84)
1983 - California condor chick hatches, San Diego, CA - 1st born in captivity

0988 - Arnulf II, Count of Flanders (965-988)
1547 - François I of Valois-Angoulême, King of France (1515-47), dies at 52
1707 - Sébastien le Prestre Vauban, French fortress architect, dies at 73
1871 - W. F. A. A. Louisa/Lovisa, Queen of Sweden/Norway, dies at 42
1926 - Feliks E. Dzerzjinski, Lithuanian organizer (KGB), dies at 48
1946 - John S. S. P. V. Gort, viscount of Limerick/Hamsterley, dies at 59
1948 - Mahatma Gandhi, assassinated in New Delhi
1949 - Friedrich C. R. Bergiusm chemist (brown coal, Nobel 1931), dies at 64
1950 - Léon Blum, French premier (People's Front Govt), dies at 77
1972 - Gabriel Heather, US news anchor, dies at 81
1979 - Airey Neave, British MP (Conservatives), killed by terrorist bomb
2002 - HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, dies at Royal Lodge, Windsor, at 101

Reported Missing in Action
Cichon, Walter A., US Army (NJ); possibly captured

Latimer, Clarence A., US Army (SC)

Crosby, Bruce A., Jr., US Army (NY); disappeared in artillery attack on base (w/Westcott)

Finch, Melvin W., US Army (VA); OH6A shot down, Died in Captivity - remains recovered August, 1985

Westcott, Gary P., US Army (CA); disappeared in artillery attack on base

Hoskins, Thomas B.; left Saigon October, 1975

Judson, Lorenzo D.; left Saigon May, 1976

Kowles, Alexander G.; left Saigon October, 1975'

Tabor, John; left Saigon October, 1975

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Yet Another Early Morning...

So posts will be up later today.

Please check back later!