Some of the 'Services' and 'Programs we have available
SUICIDE CRISIS LINE = 988 then press 1
Welcome to Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida 'a Source for Veteran Resources'
180 W. Idaho Ave, Ontario, Oregon 97914
Some of the 'Services' and 'Programs we have available
SUICIDE CRISIS LINE = 988 then press 1
180 W. Idaho Ave, Ontario, Oregon 97914
For more on this 9/11 tragedy see the article further down on this home page
"The modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism is loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it."
Mark Twain: 1835 - 1910, Writer, Humorist, publisher, lecturer
The following is a story by 'Teen Kids News'
I found their perspective especially understanding when they acknowledged a deep and historically seeded understanding about 'who we are', and that was: "always remember that we were attacked not for what we do wrong but for what we do right".
The attacks of September 11, 2001, reshaped the face of the nation and the course of history. Our lives and the lives of those to come — not just here in New York or the United States, but around the globe — have changed forever.
The date, September 11, will forever evoke recollections of unimaginable tragedy, of lives callously lost and brutally cut short and of unspeakable horror and sorrow in the hearts and minds of all of us. We must never forget the depths of inhumanity to which terrorist fanatics are willing to sink in the name of their depraved cause as they seek to destroy the very principles of freedom and democracy on which this great nation was founded.
That is why each and every September 11, we as Americans pay tribute to those who lost their lives that fateful day. We gather in unity and dignity to honor the freedoms that we have fought for in the past, the freedoms our loved ones have died for, and those freedoms that we continue to fight for today.
Remembering that day is not a choice but our solemn obligation — on September 11, 2001, there were 2,749 heroes lost; seven buildings destroyed and, with their collapse, 30 million square feet of commercial office space was lost or damaged; 60,000 jobs disappeared; 65,000 commuters were dislocated by the destruction; five subway lines and 12 subway stations were affected or closed; and 1.6 million tons of smoking debris filled the World Trade Center site.
As you recall September 11, always remember that we were attacked not for what we do wrong but for what we do right. Remember the spirit of that day — the day America showed what makes us a great people and a great nation; the day the true character of our nation triumphed over unspeakable evil; the day that freedom and democracy prevailed yet again over oppression and tyranny.
By By George Pataki/ CNN
At 8:45 a.m. on September 11, 2001, an American Airlines Boeing 767, Flight 11, collided into the World Trade Center’s north tower in New York City immediately killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in the 110-story skyscraper. Only 18 minutes later, a second Boeing 767, United Airlines Flight 175, flew into the south tower. Both towers afire, burning debris covered the surrounding buildings and the streets below while hundreds jumped from the towers to their deaths in an attempt to escape. About 30 minutes later, a third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the west side of the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. and a fourth plane, United Flight 93, crash-landed into a field in Pennsylvania killing all 40 souls onboard. Meanwhile, both World Trade Center towers collapsed into a terrifying and deadly inferno of rubble.
988” is now the easy-to-remember three-digit, nationwide number to connect directly to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for 24/7 crisis care.
The Chairman of Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida, Ronald Verini, writes two articles every month for publication in a Regional Newspaper, this article "REVISITING 'RESTREPO" will be published SEPTEMBER 24, 2023. Here is a part of Mr. Verini's article, and you can read the full article by clicking the red bar below.
September 24th, 2023 Veterans Column by Ronald Verini
One platoon, one valley, one year. Not that long ago one of our own deployed to Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. Sgt. Joshua Brennan (2nd Battalion, 503rdAirborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Combat Team) was only one of an elite group that fought in the Korengal Valley. Our government (we) sent Josh and others to fight for the USA and this documentary (Restrepo) is a description of what happened and the death of PFC Juan Sebastián Restrepo, the platoon medic who was killed in action and the other men that died, fought and why we need to remember each one that we deployed. It makes no difference whether you agreed with the war or not, your vote, or your lack of a vote at the ballet box made the difference as to who is pulling the strings of our men/women that are part of our military.
The film starts off with describing the beginning of a 15-month deployment of the men of the Second Platoon, Battle Company in the Korengal Valley of Eastern Afghanistan. It could have been about a place in Vietnam, Europe, Africa, Asia or any other place we have sent our men/women to fight for us. This particular story is about the men involved in Operation Rock Avalanche. If you don’t see any other movie or you’re not a fan of the big screen please force yourself to watch this one because, if you are of voting age, you are partially responsible for what our government does and did back a few years ago.
Our Congress, our administration and the ones we send to represent us are responsible for what happened. Most of us here at home, in the Western Treasure Valley are cooking dinner, enjoying family, splashing in the pool and generally oblivious to the horrors that our military endures, each and every day. We are arguing about our differences of the political party we are in or issues that keep us divided. We drop the ball on the core of our Nation that keeps us free: our Military. I submit to you my take on what is an example of disrespect of our military: U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville is single handily holding up military promotions and, in my opinion, putting our military preparedness at risk. Why are the rest of Congress (including some of our own) not standing up and screaming. My opinion is: no guts and no brains. Our military should NOT be used as pawns for other issues.
Now getting back to this documentary and its importance: it brings home why veteran support organizations are a significant part of what each of us should support. I know that when you are tending your gardens you are not thinking about what our military is doing at that moment, but think about what you would be doing if they were not doing it?! They are watching our backs, right now. The least we can do is to support them and care for them when they need support.
Joshua was killed in a Taliban ambush in the Korengal Valley (one of the deadliest places on earth- at that time). Joshua was only 22 and he was the team leader and was from Ontario. His team was ambushed by the Taliban on the final day of Operation Rock Avalanche. Spc. Hugo V. Mendoza was killed and later Brennan died of his wounds. Staff Sgt Salvatore Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor for his recognition of acts above and beyond the call of duty for that day and all of the men deserve our respect. We all need to take a look at our government and make sure the priorities are in the right order. . TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE PLEASE CLICK THE RED BAR BELOW
The Food Pantry at Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida has really expanded and grown over the last few years. There has been such an increase of our Veteran and Military Families needing help to handle the increasing problems of 'food insecurity'. We do have a 'modest' pantry open every Monday and Thursday from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Give a call to 541-889-1978 to let us know you are coming to pick up Food Box. Please let us know how many in your family and about when your coming.
Also, if you are interested in volunteering to help our veterans and the Food Pantry please give us a call or come on in and see what we are doing...
The previous 988 Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.
When people call, text, or chat with the 988 Lifeline, they are connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing 988 Lifeline network, made up of over 200 local crisis centers. These counselors are trained to provide free and confidential emotional support and crisis counseling to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, and connect them to resources. These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the United States.
Need Support Now?
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.
Personas que hablan español ahora pueden conectarse directamente con consejeros para crisis de habla hispana:
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7. The Lifeline is for people in any type of behavioral health crisis, such as:
People can get help by:
The Lifeline answers calls, texts and chats in English or Spanish, with interpretation services for more than 250 languages.
The Lifeline can also help people who worry that their loved may be in crisis.
HUMOR IN COMBAT
Black Rifle Coffee Company
Scott Ford served in the US Army for 21 years and is the recipient of a Silver Star for his actions in Afghanistan on April 6, 2008, while serving as the team sergeant of Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 (ODA-3336).
Ford struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger while on his flight to a training event. She was a psychologist, and they were discussing different ways to handle heavy stress. One of her suggestions for handling stressful situations was to imagine breaking crayons. At the time, Ford didn’t realize this suggestion would pop into his head years later during a firefight in Iraq.
During a mission one night in Sadr City, Iraq, Ford and his Special Forces team were pinned down on top of a roof while supporting the main assault element.
“It was one of those little aggravating gunfights where we just can’t find the guy to kill him, and we’re trying all kinds of unique things,” Ford recalled.
It got to a point where Ford and his teammate sat down behind their cover to think through a solution to finally kill the insurgent who had them pinned down. Then a smile creeped across Ford’s face, despite the bullets impacting their cover. His teammate looked at him with bewilderment and said, “What the fuck are you thinking about right now?”
Ford looked at him and said, “I’m like, breaking fucking crayons, bro.” They both busted out in laughter. After regaining composure, they figured out a way to take out the insurgent.
“You know, it’s just one of those moments where anybody else would look at us like, you guys are fucking weird, you know?” Ford said.
Ford believes veterans are unique because they have the ability to laugh in dire situations. Ford and his old teammates still get together from time to time, and the story about breaking crayons always
January 2023 by Jim Absher Military.com
Everyone knows about the federal benefits available to veterans, but did you know many states also offer great benefits to their veterans? State benefits range from free college and employment resources to free hunting and fishing licenses. Most states also offer tax breaks for their veterans and specialized license plates, and some states even provide their veterans with cash bonuses just for serving in the military.
We have compiled a handy summary of the benefits each state and territory offers. Each summary page also has a link directly to the specific State Department of Veterans Affairs, so be sure to check it out. There may be a benefit available to you or your family that you didn't know about!. To choose your State click on the Red Bar below
JUNE 2023 by Leo Shane III, Military Times
The bipartisan Service Dogs Assisting Veterans (SAVES) Act comes two years after Congress approved similar legislation that advocates say proved too limited to connect canines and veterans. The new legislation would set aside $10 million annually for nonprofit groups who have trained the dogs and handlers to work with veterans seeking their services.
“This bill will allow more veterans who are struggling with the invisible wounds of war to receive service dogs that could ultimately save their lives,” Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and one of the sponsors of the measure, said in a statement. “We must repay the debt to the men and women who served our country.”
Under the plan — which still must survive Senate and House debate before becoming law — the Department of Veterans Affairs would administer the new program, which echoes past service dog efforts managed through the Department of Defense.
Groups who are accredited to train and work with service dogs could apply for grants to cover the costs of preparing the canines, preparing the veterans, and providing ongoing support to both after they are matched.
Past research from the Department of Veterans Affairs has shown that service dogs can help reduce the frequency and severity of PTSD symptoms among veterans. In 2021, lawmakers approved plans for a five-year pilot program to provide canine training to veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in an effort to provide alternative treatments for individuals suffering from that condition.
Military.com | By Retired Sgt. Emil Hirsch
The men and women who willingly put themselves in harm's way by serving in the military do so knowing that they may be severely wounded or even killed. They are all aware. There is a theme in the military that we take care of our own and that no one gets left behind. These are creeds that we live by. If someone falls in battle, you get them out.
This mindset is how we can muster up the courage, tighten our chin strap, and charge into combat knowing we might not come home. And yet, some 50,000 veterans who are medically retired from combat and have less than 20 years of service have been left behind by our country and forced to sacrifice yet again. This time, not in the sense of battle, but in the form of reduced monetary benefits.
Currently, service members who are medically retired with less than 20 years of service are forced to offset their retirement pay with their Department of Veterans Affairs pay. In most cases, VA disability compensation pay is higher than retirement pay, especially if the service member is a lower enlisted rank. This causes a large percentage of combat-wounded veterans to sacrifice their retirement so they can collect their VA pay. The only way they can recoup some of this money is by applying for Combat Related Special Compensation, or CRSC, which allows them to apply a formula that gives them 2.5% of their retirement for each year they served if they have a combat-related VA rating. Only veterans who have 20 years in service and a disability rating of 50% or higher can collect both, known as Concurrent Military Retired Pay.
There are a few issues with the current compensation structure. First and foremost, it is unfair to penalize veterans who were unable to make it to 20 years because of combat. Combat does not care if you are a seasoned 20-year master sergeant or a green first-year private. If your time is up, your time is up. Most combat wounds stemming from America's recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the bulk of service members were wounded, result in terminating their military service because they are unable to continue serving due to injury. So instead, they are retired, either temporarily or permanently.
Marine Corps leadership selected 29 Navajo men, the Navajo Code Talkers, who created a code based on the complex, unwritten Navajo language. The code primarily used word association by assigning a Navajo word to key phrases and military tactics. This system enabled the Code Talkers to translate three lines of English in 20 seconds, not 30 minutes as was common with existing code-breaking machines
By B.B. Sanders, The War Horse
I remember it like it was yesterday. Receiving live ammo for the first time. It reminded me of when my dad would deal out .30-06 rounds the morning before a hunt. I never got over how similar those two feelings are.
I remember landing and hauling every bit of gear I had across the flight line. The heat. Vomit bubbling in my stomach. I watched a wagon train of fellow soldiers walk off the flight line into the terminal of Baghdad International Airport.
I remember the command sergeant major telling us this was the real deal. A steady stream of rockets that day substantiated his claim, even disrupting Toby Keith’s USO tour later that night. The Phalanx cannons sent a laser beam of exploding .50 caliber rounds into the sky in a brilliant fireworks display of protection.
I remember looking over Sadaam’s leftover aircraft. I still have the gas cap to his 747. Dust settled over everything. Pigeon shit covered the two big hangars they put us in.
I remember it all.
But to this day nothing is so visceral as watching Kevin Keester’s blood wash out of his OH-58D. I was 19. I had never seen anything like it.
A Troop, 3-17 Cavalry, from Fort Drum, New York had come up from Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Their sole mission — get to Baghdad. They carried no ammo and were maxed out on fuel. The idea was to fly fast and low, avoiding any shenanigans on the way in.
by Col. Paris Davis, MilitaryTimes.com
The nation is commemorating the 50th anniversary of America’s withdrawal from Vietnam through Veterans Day 2025, per presidential decree. But we cannot allow any lingering ambivalence on the legacy of the war — or anything else — to further delay honoring the extraordinary contributions of our most covert warriors of that era.
When I recently received the Medal of Honor for the 19-hour battle my Army Special Forces unit fought in Bong Son, Vietnam in 1965, President Joe Biden said, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”
Indeed, we are well past time to do what’s right, and finally honor the elite U.S Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group, or MACV-SOG, with a Congressional Gold Medal.
This revolutionary, top-secret group operated in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1964 to 1972. Its members fought deep within enemy territory to gather invaluable intelligence for the highest levels of government, including the White House. Their tasks included strategic reconnaissance, sabotage, direct-action raids, psychological operations, deception operations, and rescue missions. The group targeted the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a crucial enemy supply line for the North Vietnamese enemy. Aerial reconnaissance was challenging, making the intelligence provided by SOG teams on the ground invaluable.
Casualty rates for SOG reconnaissance teams exceeded 100%, meaning every man was wounded at least once and approximately half were killed. Of the 1,579 Americans missing in action from the Vietnam War, 50 are from the group. At least 11 SOG teams, perhaps more, simply vanished.
The covert operations of SOG remained unacknowledged by military leadership until partial declassification began in the 1990s. Members of the unit had signed confidentiality agreements and their wartime activities remained mostly secret for decades. As SOG member John Stryker Meyer wrote in his book, Across the Fence: The Secret War in Vietnam, “If I died, no one would tell my mother the truth.”
The Congressional Gold Medal for MACV-SOG would help the American public better understand the members’ extraordinary service, sacrifices, and contributions to our nation. The men of this unit battled not only the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, but also the harsh terrain, debilitating climate, and the chaos and uncertainty of guerilla warfare. They served with valor, often in situations where survival was the only measure of success. Let’s face it: The nation can handle the truth of their service.
The PACT Act provides new opportunities for Vietnam Veterans to access health care services and disability compensation? In this episode of theSITREP, Paul explains how PACT Act impacts Vietnam Veterans and how you can find additional information about the PACT Act.
By Amanda Miller, Military.com
The Department of Veterans Affairs screened more than 4 million U.S. military veterans in the first year of the new PACT Act to find out if they thought they'd been exposed to toxins during their military service. The vast majority of those screened were already enrolled in VA health care.
Of those millions of veterans, 1.7 million had "screened positive" for possible exposure, Steve Miska, the VA's PACT Act transitional executive director, told Military.com.
As a result, the VA is reaching back out to those veterans, "encouraging them to file a supplemental claim that could potentially increase benefits, whether on the health-care side or many of the other benefits," Miska said.
The PACT Act linked a variety of medical conditions with toxins common during specific eras or circumstances of military service. Rather than require veterans or their survivors to prove that a toxic exposure caused a given condition, the law assumes that some illnesses are service-connected if the person served in a certain place at a certain time. This means that veterans may be eligible for additional VA benefits based on past toxic exposure during their service.
Here's how the PACT Act could affect existing VA beneficiaries:
Veterans who already have a partial VA disability rating could have their rating increased now that the VA covers more conditions under the PACT Act, and they don't need to fear that applying could potentially cause their rating to decrease instead, VA officials told Military.com.
That increased rating could add up to a significant difference in monthly compensation, especially for veterans with dependents. For example, a veteran with a spouse and two dependent children under age 18 whose disability rating rises from 10% to 60% could see their pay rise from $165.92 a month to $1,588.65 a month in 2023.
"And we are not going [and] looking back at other service-connected issues trying to decrease those," Kaitlin Richards, assistant director in the VA's Office of Policy and Oversight, told Military.com.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.
HEY VETERANS! We’ve got some important news about the PACT Act—the game-changing bill for those exposed to toxic substances during military service.
The PACT Act, short for “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022,” is a bill designed to help you and other veterans exposed to toxic substances during military service.
The bill addresses all of the following related to toxic exposure:
The law aims to make it easier for you to access VA medical care, including mental health services and counseling. It expands healthcare and presumption of toxic exposure for certain veterans, adds new conditions to the list of service presumptions, and strengthens research on toxic exposure.
The PACT Act also helps veterans like you if you don’t have sufficient evidence to win your VA claim, incorporates clinical questionnaires in initial screenings, and establishes outreach and education programs to better inform you and VA personnel about toxic exposure-related benefits and support.
We know dealing with these complex topics can be challenging, so we’re here to break it down for you. Let’s dive into what the PACT Act is all about, and how it can benefit you as a veteran.
The PACT Act brings some much-needed changes to the health care available for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service. First, let’s break down exactly what toxic exposure looks like for veterans and how this law expands care.
Rhonda L. Cornum was born in October 1954 in Dayton, Ohio, and grew up in New York. She came from a military background, as her grandfather served in the Marines during World War II. Cornum earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and genetics and then a doctorate in biochemistry from Cornell University in 1971. She also received a medical degree from the Uniformed Services University in 1986, which is where she met her future husband, Kory, an Air Force Veteran.
Cornum served as the first female flight surgeon with the 229th Attack Helicopter Regiment in the Persian Gulf. Flying on a search and rescue mission, her Black Hawk was shot down, leaving her with many injuries, including two broken arms, a broken finger and a gunshot wound.
After the crash, Cornum was held as a prisoner of war for seven days, and was sexually assaulted by one of her Iraqi captors. She later reflected on the assault, emphasizing the importance of resilience and perspective in the face of adversity. One thing that helped her get through it was thinking of the song, “Proud to be an American.”
After being released, Cornum returned to the U.S. and served as the staff urologist at Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Georgia. She would soon take on new leadership challenges: She would go on to command the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and later become the command surgeon at FORSCOM. By the time she retired in 2012, Cornum had risen to the rank of brigadier general and served as the director of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness in Army Staff.
Cornum has received numerous awards, including an Army Distinguished Service Medal, a Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart, and she stands as one of only seven women in history to receive a Distinguished Flying Cross.
We honor her service.
JUNE 2023 - from the DAV
As of Jan. 17, all veterans can access emergency mental health care free of charge at any Department of Veterans Affairs or non-VA health care facility, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the VA health care system.
The new policy applies to all veterans with any separation status except a dishonorable discharge, regardless of whether they qualify for other VA medical services. Under this policy, the VA will either waive costs for care or — in cases of visits outside the VA system — provide reimbursements for emergency mental health care. Those costs include appointment fees, transportation costs and other related follow-up expenses.
In this episode of theSITREP, Paul and Dan Newpher discuss the difference between VA Disability and VA Pensions. To learn more, visit the links below.
For additional information about VA Pensions, visit: https://www.va.gov/pension/ For additional information about Aid & Attendance and Housebound, visit: https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attend... For additional information for Surviving Spouses, Dependents & Parents, visit: https://www.va.gov/pension/survivors-...
"People who are food insecure are making choices on how to spend their last $20 or $50. Usually food is the flexible component, so they apply it to rent."
Photo-elicitation is a research method that combines detailed interviews with photographs taken by study participants. Researchers use it to gain a better understanding of complex topics. Often, the act of taking photographs—in response to questions from the researcher—can summon emotional responses in study participants. It can also help both participants and researchers gain insight into participants’ behaviors.
Dr. Nipa Kamdar is a researcher at the VA Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (iQUeSt) in Houston. Her focus is food insecurity in Veterans. In October 2021, Kamdar published a commentary, in Public Health Nursing, on her use of photo-elicitation to study food insecurity in low-income, post 9/11 Veterans.
"[This is a picture of what was] in my fridge when I first started the project. You see [there's] hardly anything in there? And see how small the fridge is?" (Photo taken by Veteran study participant.)
The article discussed the results of an earlier study by Kamdar and colleagues that used photo-elicitation to better understand food insecurity in a group of post 9/11 Veterans with children. The researchers found that food insecurity in Veterans is highly intertwined with physical and mental health, military culture, and lack of basic resources like housing or transportation.
"We have the G.I. Bill, the Hazelwood Act, and the 'Voca Rehab' [Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment], but right now, I'm just using the G.I. Bill. It's the money from the G.I. Bill that helps us pay bills and stuff." (Photo taken by Veteran study participant.)
Food insecurity is defined as a limited ability to access food, largely due to financial considerations. In the U.S. population, about 10% of adults experience food insecurity, according to a 2020 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Veterans have about the same rate of food insecurity as the general population, but differ in their level of food insecurity, according to a 2021 study that looked at working-age Veterans with children. Veterans often experience a greater severity of food insecurity, Kamdar notes. "That severe level means they are cutting down on what they eat, or they are skipping meals."
Those Veterans and Families in the Ontario, Oregon area can reach out to our Food Pantry every Monday through Thursday from 9:30am to 3:30pm.
call 541-889-1978 to come pick up a FOOD BOX.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE FOR US AND OUR GREAT NATION !!!
Centenarian Julia Parsons, who spent war deciphering German messages, refuses to accept limitations.
Fresh out of Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1942, Parsons read in the newspaper that the Navy was accepting women for a unit called Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES. After joining and completing three months of general training, Parsons was sent to a communications annex in Washington, D.C.
When her group was asked if anyone spoke German, Parsons responded that she took two years of German in high school.
"That hardly qualified me for much of anything in the translations line,” Parsons told AARP, “but they sent me right off to the section where I worked decoding the German submarine traffic, which is what I did until the end of the war."
Because the premise of WAVES, established in 1942, was to fill certain military roles to free up more men to fight overseas, almost all of the service members who worked decoding enemy messages were women.
"Although we did have four or five men in the office, most of them were mathematics professors,” said Parsons. “They were very nice, but they were not regular Navy people."
Using one of the first computers, called the “Bombe,” Parsons assisted in uncovering messages that the German High Command sent to its submarines. Decoding would reveal where submarines planned to meet, their mission destinations and the weather conditions. More mundane personal messages that would have typically been sent by mail related to family deaths, new babies and upcoming weddings were also decoded.
Parsons, in her early 20s at the time, got an apartment in Washington with another woman who worked in the Japanese section of the WAVES. However, despite their curiosities, the two would never talk about their respective work with one another.
"Everybody was united against Hitler,” Parsons said, so no one pried each other for information.
BY JOSHUA SKOVLUND, TASK & PURPOSE
Thibodeaux plans to rebuild the fuselage to resemble an MH-47G Chinook, the same type of helicopter that Arcane 22 was.
Jeremy Thibodeaux was driving back to Hunter Army Airfield, where he was assigned to B Co., 3rd battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) — known as the “Nightstalkers” — when he heard that a special operations Chinook helicopter had crashed in Afghanistan over the radio. Thibodeaux immediately felt sick — he knew this meant some of his friends had probably died.
His worst fear was realized after arriving on base. Two of his friends, Josue “Sway” Hernandez and Nickolas Mueller, were aboard an MH-47G helicopter, “Arcane 22,” that had crashed during a counter-narcotics raid in Afghanistan on Oct. 26, 2009.
“Upon arriving, I found out exactly who was killed, and I just dropped to my knees, just screaming and crying — kind of pulling my hair out,” Thibodeaux said. “I didn’t really know what to do. You know, two of my best friends were on that aircraft. It was just a really — it was a horrible day.”
On Tuesday, Thibodeaux received approval from the Internal Revenue Service for his newly established non-profit, The Arcane Project.
The idea was born years ago when Thibodeaux was still serving. As older CH-47 models became outdated, he joked that he wanted to acquire one to convert into a private bar for guys from the unit. Years later, Thibodeaux brought up the idea with one of his best friends, Chip Davis, and the idea for a non-profit was born.
The tension Monday in West Point’s Robinson Auditorium could be cut with a knife. A nearly 200-year-old lead time capsule sat center stage in a room brimming with anxious onlookers, its sealed lid slowly prying open as an archaeologist slid a gleaming blade from one side to the other.
A symphony of whispers and nervous laughter reached a crescendo as the surgeon’s tool approached its final cut. Inside the box’s mysterious one square foot of space could be anything — personal tokens of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, under whose monument the capsule was found, antiquated medals or coins, human remains, even a Christmastime leg lamp to proudly display in one’s bay window.
With one last incision, the lid wiggled free. The archaeologist reached for a flashlight, the cube’s dark interior preserving its final moments of secrecy. Top officers, senior historians, libraries, archivists and museum curators leaned forward, the oxygen in the room suddenly in short supply.
“Silt,” the archaeologist said. Just silt.
In what could either be the most dazzling illustration of an anticlimactic “hurry up and wait” gathering orone of the best pranks in military history — perhaps both — the culmination of a centuries-old mystery at the U.S. Military Academy amounted to little more than some dirt.
“The box didn’t quite meet expectations,” the container’s glove- and mask-clad handler said, sheepishly, as the auditorium’s tension swiftly relented to profound awkwardness. “Potentially, it was something small and organic that may have come apart over time, but we’re just not certain.”
by Sarah Sicard, Observation Post
One of the best pieces of advice, for people in careers both in and out of service, is to learn to deal with things or take the bad in stride.
But the military, famed for its ability to turn a phrase or ruin anything with an absurd acronym, came up with its own colloquialism for making the best of any situation: “Embrace the suck.”
Though it’s impossible to trace back the phrase definitively to its first user, it became popularized in 2003 by Marines in Iraq.
Retired U.S. Army Reserve Col. Austin Bay authored a book in the mid-2000s called “Embrace the Suck,” in which he explains the meaning of the phrase.
“The Operation Iraqi Freedom phrase ‘embrace the suck’ is both an implied order and wise advice couched as a vulgar quip,” Bay wrote.
He likens the slang phrase back to legendary military strategist Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz and his views on “friction.”
“Clausewitz went to war when he was 12 years old,” Bay wrote. “Over the last few decades, critics have argued that his treatise ‘On War’ is a bit dated in terms of theory. However, everyone with military experience agrees that Clausewitz understood ‘the suck.’ He called it ‘friction.’”
For Clausewitz, it’s this “friction, or what is so termed here, which makes that which appears easy in war difficult in reality.”
Troops, in their resilience, in effect, mitigate the chasm of difference between training or planning and the often harsh realities they face on the ground. And they do it with aplomb, because they must.
The U.S. military may be a professional war-fighting organization, but it is also filled with people, and people can be very stupid sometimes. That’s why last week, Task & Purpose put out a call for readers to share the dumbest moments they had in uniform. We were not disappointed.
From drunken samurai sword fights to bored forklift drivers, a clear theme emerged: boredom is one step away from a chewing-out by the nearest platoon sergeant.
The best example of this is a story that one Marine veteran named Mike Betts sent us about the time he and his buddies got drunk on salty dogs (a cocktail of gin or vodka and grapefruit juice) in Vietnam. One of the Marines pulled out “a cheap samurai sword he got in Japan,” Betts recalled. Our reader then took the sword and, as one does while inebriated, “commenced my best samurai impression, slashing at anything and everything in the hooch.”
You can see where this is going: at some point during the demonstration, our brave Samurai smacked something that loosened the blade and sent it flying from the handle, striking the sword owner in the chest “and inflicting a pretty nasty wound.”
Nobody wants to have to explain that kind of trouble to someone in charge, so our reader and his fellows snuck the wounded Marine past the officer and sergeant on duty that night and “hustled him off to the hospital” before anyone could notice. Luckily, he was “stitched up and pronounced fit for duty,” Betts said.
“Needless to say, I felt terrible about hurting him,” he added.
Vietnam War kept Bob Kroener from walking across stage with USC classmates in 1971.
Having to wait an extra year to participate in his graduation ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic paled in comparison to the 49 years that had already passed for Bob Kroener, 78, who finally attended his graduate-school commencement on May 17.
The now-retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and civil engineer missed his pomp and circumstance in 1971 due to his deployment during the Vietnam War. So, when he was thumbing through the University of Southern California's alumni magazine a few years ago and saw pictures of that year's graduation festivities he felt it was finally his time to walk across the stage.
"I was sitting there looking at it and I thought, You know, I never got to go through graduation,” he said. “So I picked up the phone, and I called over to the Marshall School of Business."
During the call, USC officials inquired if he had received his diploma and whether he had other information that would help them locate his decades-old records. The school also asked for his student ID number, to which he replied, “I'm too old for that, we only had a Social Security number."
The road to Southern California started north of the border. Then a captain in the Air Force after receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Detroit, Kroener was stationed at a military base in Canada when he learned that he secured one of 26 government-funded spots offered to Air Force officers for graduate school. From a snow-covered mountaintop in Newfoundland he was informed of the schools he could apply to.
"I heard the University of Southern California and I said, ‘I'll take it. I'm going back to sit on the beach after being in 110 inches of snow for a year.’ It wasn't too hard of a decision to make,” said Kroener.
However, it wasn't just the weather that Kroener appreciated about going to school in Los Angeles. He was able to take advantage of the wide variety of corporations that would open doors to students like himself.
"I went to [oil company] Atlantic Richfield to do a paper, I went to Mattel toy company to do a paper, I went to Continental Airlines to basically write a master's thesis, myself and another captain,” he said. “All you had to do was say you're a student doing graduate work at USC. And I mean, they just opened the doors."
Kroener earned his MBA in 1971, but before the graduation ceremony took place he was deployed to Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. As part of his duties, he managed combat engineering teams by setting up their directives and getting them all the equipment needed to prepare for combat in Vietnam. He eventually retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1993.
Feb. 2023 by Sarah Sicard MilitaryTimes
The Navy may have the most complicated rank structure when it comes to its ratings system, but there is another, much more uncouth method for establishing hierarchy among sailors: Filthy coffee mugs.
It is a commonly-held truth in the seafaring service that one can tell a higher-up from a newbie based on the amount of sludge that lives in the bottom of one’s coffee cup.
So, in the interest of salt, here are some professional tips, from Navy veterans, to get an optimally seasoned mug.
1. Always drink black coffee. Milk or creamer curdles and introduces bacteria into the mix. Sour lactose creates a hostile environment — not ideal for going years without washing your mug.
2. Drink the whole cup of coffee. Don’t leave even a drop behind. You want to season the mug with a faint film, not swigging day-old coffee every morning.
3. For extra flavoring, take the leftover coffee grounds from the filter and let them rest in the cup for a few days before dumping it out. Treat your mug like a cast iron skillet.
4. If you need to, rinse it lightly with just a little water. This is only to be done in cases where the buildup is starting to become untenable.
5. Don’t wash the mug with the soap. Ever. You might be tempted every now and again to give it a good soak. Don’t. You will lose all the flavoring, respect from your near-peers and any chance at an honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy.
April 2021 by Blake Stilwell, Military.com
These days, service members need to be wary of the multitude of online for-profit schools out to get a piece of their coveted Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Depending on which “academic institution” is looking to sign them up, the term “Results May Vary” doesn’t come close to describing some of the “schools” out there.
But there are better choices for service members with non-traditional schedules who are looking for a good distance education to prepare them for life after the military. National University was founded by a veteran with similar issues and is today the second-largest nonprofit online school in America.
David Chigos’ transition to civilian life had been rough. As a retiring naval officer in 1967, he tried to enroll in night classes at San Diego State University. The only problem, he said, was that San Diego State didn’t offer night classes, so he was faced with the choice of going to school or working during the day. He knew there were veterans and civilians like him trying to balance both tasks.
In 1971, Chigos was working as a management development specialist for the General Dynamics corporation. The academic system in the U.S. kept many executives from pursuing higher education. So he did what any veteran might consider doing: fixing the problem by creating a college for the “real world” at a fraction of the cost.
“From the trunk of my car,” he founded National University, completely upending the idea of how academic programs were formed, he said. Chigos created academic programs with a no-frills look at the world. National University would offer classes that would lead to education and employment. His first class numbered 27 students....
January 2021 By Harm Venhuizen. MilitaryTimes
When separating from the military, it’s not uncommon for servicemembers to discover gaps between their resume and the civilian job they want.
Worries about putting food on the table can make going back to school, getting on-the-job training, or taking an internship seem like costly ways of filling that gap. Luckily, there’s a way servicemembers can gain the experience required by civilian jobs while still on the military’s payroll.
The DoD SkillBridge Program lets active-duty personnel from all four branches spend the last 180 days of their military service interning at a civilian job with one of more than 500 industry partners.
Participants continue to receive military pay and benefits, whether they’re getting certified by Microsoft in cloud development, learning to weld, or taking advantage of any one of the hundreds of other opportunities available.
As part of the DoD’s requirements, all training programs offer a “high probability of post-service employment with the provider or other employers in a field related to the opportunity,” according to the SkillBridge website.
In his internship with the Global SOF Foundation, retired Navy commander Chuck Neu says he not only tripled the size of his professional network, but also discovered a talent for sales.
“Without that exposure to cold-call sales from doing SkillBridge with the Global SOF Foundation, I likely would have ended up on-base as a contractor or a government civilian, which is really not what I wanted to do,” Neu told Military Times....
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Black Rifle Coffee Company
Barrett Carver (top row second from left) served in the US Army for almost seven years and deployed multiple times. He spent his time in 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and was one of the Rangers involved in the assault on Haditha Dam, a critical structure to capture during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
During the assault, Carver and his fellow Rangers were holed up inside one of the buildings on “the military side of the dam,” and they were taking indirect fire from the Iraqis. Artillery rounds were impacting close to their building for several hours with barrages of small-arms fire. Carver thought to himself, Well, it’s been a good run.
Suddenly, they all heard a loud twang, and a thick cloud of dust erupted inside the building. Carver looked up to see a horseshoe-shaped indent in the corrugated tin roof over their heads. Everyone burst into uncontrollable laughter — one of the artillery rounds had been deflected by the thin tin roof.
“Deflection is a funny thing,” Carver said. “It could have just as easily been a dud round. Either way, I take a kick where I can get it. Amazing thing is that with the amount they dropped on us, we only had two casualties. Both made it.”
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released in January an updated Department of Defense (DOD) list of locations outside of Vietnam where tactical herbicides were used, tested or stored by the United States military.
“This update was necessary to improve accuracy and communication of information,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA depends on DOD to provide information regarding in-service environmental exposure for disability claims based on exposure to herbicides outside of Vietnam."
DOD conducted a thorough review of research, reports and government publications in response to a November 2018 Government Accountability Office report.
“DOD will continue to be responsive to the needs of our interagency partners in all matters related to taking care of both current and former service members,” said Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. “The updated list includes Agents Orange, Pink, Green, Purple, Blue and White and other chemicals and will be updated as verifiable information becomes available.”
Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during service may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including an Agent Orange Registry health exam, health care and disability compensation for diseases associated with exposure. Their dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits.
June 2022 by Sarah Sicard, Observation Post
Is there anything sweeter — literally or figuratively — than biting into the plastic-wrapped chemical compound of luxuriously spongey cake with vanilla cream that is a Twinkie?
Perhaps not. But the original Hostess delicacy was once something else entirely. The preservative-filled dessert that many once believed could withstand nuclear war got its start as a banana cream shortcake, until World War II changed everything.
In 1930, a baker named James Dewar began experimenting while serving as manager of Continental Baking Company’s Chicago area plant in River Forest, according to the Chicago Tribune. He wanted to prove that shortbread could serve a purpose outside strawberry shortcake.
“The economy was getting tight, and the company needed to come out with another low-priced item,” he told the paper. “We were already selling these little finger cakes during the strawberry season for shortcake, but the pans we baked them in sat idle except for that six-week season.”
While in St. Louis on a work trip, Dewar saw a billboard for “Twinkle Toe Shoes,” and thus found the name for his compact confections.
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