Equal Opportunity in Our Military – NOT
This says it all and needs to be understood by all Americans.
Trey Gowdy, former South Carolina Congressman, responded to a question from a CNN reporter about the ban of transgenders from joining the US armed forces. As Trey typically does so very well, he nailed it rather succinctly. He does not mince words.
Question: “How can President Trump claim to represent all US citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, when he banned transgenders from joining the military? Isn’t that discrimination?”
Trey Gowdy’s response: “Nobody has ‘a right’ to serve in the military. Nobody! What makes you people think the military is an equal opportunity employer? It is very far from it – and for good reasons – let me cite a few:
The Military uses prejudice regularly and consistently to deny citizens from joining—for being too old or too young, too fat or too skinny, too tall or too short. Citizens are denied for having flat feet, or for having missing, or additional, fingers.” He went on to explain: “By the way, poor eyesight will disqualify you, as well as bad teeth. Malnourished? Drug addiction?
Bad back? Criminal history? Low IQ? Anxiety? Phobias? Hearing damage? Six arms? Hearing voices in your head? Self-identification as a Unicorn? Need a special access ramp for your wheelchair? “Can’t run the required course in the required time? Can’t do the required number of push-ups? Not really a morning person? and refuse to get out of bed before noon? All can be legitimate reasons for denial
“The Military has one job: Winning Wars. Anything else is a distraction and a liability.
War is VERY unfair; there are no exceptions made for being special or challenged or socially wonderful. “YOU must change yourself to meet Military standards and not the other way around. “I say again: You don’t change the Military – you must change yourself.
“If any of your personal issues are a liability that detract from readiness or lethality…Thank you for applying and good luck in future endeavors.
“Any other questions?”
No God in our Congress
The House of Representatives seems to have removed any reference to God from all their activities, including when swearing in people to testify before them. Apparently, none of the leadership in the house has any concept of our Constitution or Declaration of Independence or of our history. This is beyond shameful.
VA Whistleblowers Are Hurting
Brandon Coleman, a Marine vet and VA Whistleblower, has been a guest on FoF many times. He was brought into the new Whistleblower Protection office when President Trump started it. Coleman says the office worked very well—until the first of this year. Here’s a report from the Washington Post.
“Brandon Coleman, a former VA whistleblower who was recruited to serve as the office’s first whistleblower program specialist and to develop mentoring, education and outreach programs, said in an email that “under current leadership all of that is gone.”
“As a noted VA whistleblower who supports President Trump I will say it is a scary time to be a whistleblower within the federal government,” Coleman said in a statement. The office “was how we were finally supposed to get it right for VA Whistleblowers and instead we are currently failing them.”
Special Ops Guys Take Baghdadi – Video
What does it look like when US special operations forces move in on the compound of a long-hunted terrorist? A video newly released by the Pentagon gives a sneak-peak.
A series of videos, released during a press conference, show members of the Army’s elite Delta Force on Oct. 26 moving towards the compound in Syria occupied by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Pursued into a series of tunnels by US troops, including a military working dog, Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three chidren officials said he used as human shields.
Baghdadi, the self-declared ISIS “caliph,” was the subject of a $25 million bounty for information leading to his death or capture.
You might recognize actor Gary Siniese from movies such as Forest Gump and The Green Mile, but the celebrity has another passion: honoring and helping US military veterans and their families. He founded the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, a charity that creates unique programs designed to “entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.” One of those programs is Snowball Express, a special initiative that provides free trips for children of fallen soldiers.
Burial at Arlington
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Sept. 25 announced new criteria for interment (burial) and internment (preservation of cremated remains) at Arlington National Cemetery to keep from running out of space in the nation’s most hallowed military cemetery.
Congress called on the Army to revise the criteria for burial at the cemetery in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, with the goal to keep it functioning as an active burial ground for another 150 years. That’s not possible under present rules.
Today, some 95,000 burial spaces remain available, but with more than 20 million living veterans and 2 million military members currently serving, the population of potential eligibles keeps growing. Without changes to eligibility, the cemetery will be full by the mid-2050s, according to the Army.
Today, any Active Duty member or veteran with at least one day of active service is eligible for burial at Arlington.
Under the proposed new rules, below-ground interment will be limited to presidents and vice presidents, as well as military members or veterans:
Those eligible to be interned above ground must be either:
A notice of the new rules will be posted for public comment in the Federal Register within the next nine months, according to the cemetery.
At the same time, the cemetery is planning a large expansion of the grounds on the southern side of the cemetery, including the area surrounding the Air Force Memorial. The expansion will add another 60,000 new burial plots and a large new columbarium for cremated remains.
Supercarrier USS Ford has yet More Problems
The military’s most expensive ship hit what Navy officials are calling a significant milestone when it returned to its Virginia homeport.
The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford is back in Naval Station Norfolk after several setbacks in getting new technology on the ship working, some of which remains ongoing.
Despite the setbacks — including 15 months of maintenance at Newport News Shipbuilding where the ship was built — the Navy say the first Ford-class carrier will be “the centerpiece of national defense in an increasingly complex security environment.”
“USS Gerald R. Ford is the most technologically advanced, most lethal combat platform in the world,” Rear Adm. James Downey, the program executive officer for Navy aircraft carriers, said in a statement. “Everyone, from the highest levels of government to the crew working the deck plates, is laser focused on this aircraft carrier being ready to enter fleet service.”
The ship’s hefty $13 billion price tag and many maintenance delays have certainly caught flak from leaders in Washington.
President Trump once called the Ford’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System known as EMALS “no good,” saying he’d mandate that future carriers return to the legacy steam catapult system. And Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat and retired Navy surface officer, recently referred to the ship as a $13 billion floating berthing barge.
Navy leaders don’t deny there have been challenges. But Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert Burke told reporters last week the service and shipbuilder had made “some significant strides in the last 15 months.”
VA and Wasted Funds on Training
When the new whistleblower and accountability-focused office at the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) opened its doors in 2017, it was supposed to help change the agency’s longstanding culture of retaliation against whistleblowers who speak out about waste and abuse in the agency that cares for our nation’s veterans. But since then, insider accounts have shown that accountability is still sorely lacking within the VA, and within the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP) itself.
Medal of Honor Awarded
President Trump awarded the nation’s highest military honor to an active duty Green Beret for his heroic actions while serving in Afghanistan’s Shok Valley in 2008, according to the White House.
Army Master Sgt. Matthew Williams, of Boerne, Texas, was critical in ensuring the evacuation of his wounded teammates from a mountain as the unit took fire from insurgents.
“Sergeant Williams’ actions helped save the lives of four critically wounded soldiers and prevented the lead element of the assault force from being overrun by the enemy,” the Oct. 10 White House statement said.
Williams was serving as a weapons sergeant with Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA 3336) when the incident occurred. He was initially awarded the Silver Star for his actions, but it was determined that the award will be upgraded by the president on Oct. 30, after a review of valor awards that began under former Defense Secretary Ash Carter in 2016.
“This is the NFL opening ceremony for Super Bowl 39. No kneeling, no hiding in locker rooms and no trashing America. There were even two former presidents from different political parties standing together to salute America. We need to return to those days.
VA Police Force A Problem, too
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a major overhaul of the structure and management of its police force, in response to scathing watchdog reports on waste and poor oversight that led to lapses in security for patients and staff.
The announcement by the VA said that the police force of about 4,200 would be realigned at its hospitals and other facilities in a “critical step forward,” following recommendations by the VA’s Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.
“The realignment will be the most extensive since the creation of the police force and will fundamentally change standardization and oversight across the enterprise,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement.
“This highlights my commitment to the high standards of professionalism and transparency across the department,” which the GAO and IG’s reports said had been lacking in management of the police force, he added.
The two watchdog reports last year detailed short-staffing in the police ranks, millions in wasted overtime, and failures of inspections and oversight caused by a confusing command structure in which individual executives in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) set differing standards for policing at hospitals.
“The governance problems stemmed from confusion about police program roles and authority and a lack of a centralized management or clearly designated staff within VHA to manage and oversee the police program,” the IG’s report said.
F-16 Training Crashes
An F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed during a routine training flight late last month night near Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, according to the Air Force.
The pilot was able to eject from the aircraft and is being treated at a local hospital, base officials said in a news release. The F-16, assigned to the 49th Wing, went down at around 7:16 pm just 80 miles southeast of the base.
Emergency services responded to the scene. The cause is under investigation.
While the base has housed MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft since 2009, Holloman has some F-16s for pilot training.
And, earlier last month, an F-16 assigned to Spangdahlem Air Base crashed in Germany. The pilot was able to eject and was rescued with minor injuries.
Spangdahlem’s 52nd Fighter Wing temporarily paused flying operations following the crash and ended a flight exercise two days early.
Medal of Honor Puck-drop
Nothing will make your heart soar like hearing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” ring out at a sporting event, so when 46 living Medal of Honor recipients descended upon the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida for a puck drop at a recent hockey game, we’re guessing it probably felt a million bald eagles screaming “America!” all at once. The Tampa Bay Lightning hosted 46 of the nation’s 70 living Medal of Honor recipients at the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Corporal Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, USMC (Ret.) was awarded the Medal of Honor on Oct. 3, 1945 by President Harry Truman for his bravery in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
The attendees included nine veterans from the Global War on Terrorism, 34 from Vietnam, two from the Korean War, and WWII veteran Woody” Williams. During the Battle of Iwo Jima, Williams repeatedly assaulted Japanese bunkers and fighting positions armed with a flamethrower and demolition charges in order to clear the way for Marines who remained pinned down under brutal enemy fire.
To mark the start of the game, Williams — joined by his fellow recipients, sporting matching Lightning jerseys — conducted the ceremonial puck drop:
Tonight, the announcer said, we were privileged to honor and recognize 46 of the 70 living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“What these gentlemen have accomplished and what they’ve given to our country is unbelievable,” Lightning’s owner Jeff Vinik told the Tampa Bay Times. “This isn’t just the Lightning and Amalie Arena hosting these heroes here. This is the entire community who’s made them feel at home.”
Russian Drones and EW impacted
International economic sanctions are taking a toll on Russia’s ability to use drones and conduct electronic warfare against Ukrainian forces, according to a top Ukrainian military official.
Col. Ivan Pavlenko, deputy chief of Combat Support Units of the Joint Forces Headquarters, Joint Staff Armed Forces of Ukraine, said that the penalties have impacted Russian forces’ ability to repair and upgrade high-scale weapons that help locate Ukrainian soldiers and their equipment.
“Sanctions [are] like a virus,” he said following his speech at the Association of Old Crows’ Symposium. Military.com spoke with Pavlenko after his keynote speech at the nonprofit organization’s conference in Washington, DC, about the applications of electronic warfare in East Ukraine.
The Pentagon has long watched the war in Ukraine as a blueprint for where it could apply its own lessons and has issued studies that could help service members understand where and how an attack manifests on the electromagnetic spectrum — and how best to deny the adversary.
Russian-backed separatists have been jamming signals to misdirect or take out commercial drones Ukrainian soldiers use to conduct aerial surveillance.
During his speech, Pavlenko said Russia has been able to best even some of the simplest technologies both countries use, such as radio repeaters. In 2015, Russian forces were able to infect repeaters — which act as a both a radio receiver and transmitter to resend signals at longer distances — with a virus. Russia has jammed radio frequency bands and frequently targeted Ukrainian soldiers’ smartphones, blocking cell phone signals as far as 20 miles from their frontline positions. They also send taunting text messages.
The US Constitution
When members of our Armed Forces are sworn in, we all take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the US against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The entire document, including all amendments, takes slightly less than 7600 words. We veterans and, indeed, all patriots, should read this document over and over again. It’s not complicated.
Do we really want un-elected Supreme Court Justices re-writing the Constitution any time five of them want to see a change? That’s what happens. The Constitution says that Congress writes and amends laws—but that’s ignored.
There are two national organizations that are focused on making our nation aware of, and practicing, the Constitution—and I’m active in both of them. First is Concerned Veterans for America (cv4a.org). Then, there’s Combat Veterans for Congress (CVC.org).
God Loves Us
Scott McChrystal is a retired Army Colonel, Chaplain. Here are some of his insights that I think you’ll find appropriate.
WANTED: BETTER LEADERS!
Across our increasingly complex world, cries go out for better leaders – every nation, every conceivable kind and level of organization – the desperate need is for better leaders.
There is certainly no lack of material being produced telling others how to become better leaders. The results, however, have not been record-setting. Consensus seems to report that leadership across the board is not improving. If anything, it might even be in decline.
Is there an explanation? I believe there is.
So, what is the real issue? Point blank: the world at large does not take Jesus seriously as a leader. People may look to Jesus for wisdom and encouragement, but they don’t believe Jesus has the practical knowledge to solve the “real life” issues relating to finances, health, crime, education, environment, etc.
Jesus Christ is the best leader who ever walked the planet. John’s Gospel reports this about Jesus:
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:3 (NIV)
Retired Navy CAPT Joe John has done many things in his life; I’ve asked him to share a few words of wisdom with us:
Civil War History
Here are some questions on the Civil War; we’ll post the answers in the next newsletter.
Here are the answers to the last issue’s questions:
Here are the new questions:
1, During what years was the Civil War fought?
2, Who was the president of the US during the Civil War?
3, Who was the first president of the Confederate States of America?
Toby Keith’s American Soldier
Frontlines of Freedom Gear
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Two quotes to consider.
Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
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The Duke of Wellington
Programming: You’ll want to tune into the show (live or by podcast).
9-15 Nov: American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford will discuss the Legion and Veterans Day. Then we’ll discuss the concept of “endless wars” with Concerned Veterans for America. And we’ll review the previous week’s Service Academy Football games.
16-22 Nov: Army Combat Vet John James will discuss Veterans Day and challenges facing America. Author Brian Kilmeade will discuss his outstanding book, Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers. Then Chaplain Roger Bouma will share about healing invisible wounds. And we’ll review the previous week’s Service Academy Football games.
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This came in from a really old artilleryman.
EATING IN THE FIFTIES (1950’s, that is)
Pasta had not been invented. It was macaroni or spaghetti.
Curry was a surname.
Taco? Never saw one till I was 15.
All chips were plain.
Oil was for lubricating, fat was for cooking.
Tea was made in a teapot using tea leaves and never green.
Cubed sugar was regarded as posh.
Chickens didn’t have fingers in those days.
None of us had ever heard of yogurt.
Healthy food consisted of anything edible!
Cooking outside was called camping.
Seaweed was not a recognized food.
‘Kebab’ was not even a word, never mind a food.
Sugar enjoyed a good press in those days, and was regarded as being white gold.
Prunes were medicinal and stewed.
Surprisingly Muesli was readily available It was called cattle feed.
Pineapples came in chunks or were round with a hole in the middle, in a tin; we had only ever seen a picture of a real one.
Water came out of the tap. If someone had suggested bottling it and charging more than gasoline for it, they would have become a laughing stock.
There were three things that we never ever had on/at our table in the fifties: elbows, hats and cell phones!
……..and there were always two choices for each meal…
“Take it” or Leave it”
A Couple Interesting Photos – and A Funny One Too
This shopping cart has a calculator so you know how much you’re spending.
This bar has a frost strip so you can keep your drink cold.
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Lt. Col. Denny Gillem (Ret.)