Military News

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Two Rangers and a Marine

Editor's Note: One of the authors is a former Marine.

April 15, 2008 (San Dimas, CA) Police-Writers.com is a website that lists state and local
police officers who have written books. The website added two Texas Rangers and one police officer who is a former Marine.

W. J. L. Sullivan was a sergeant with the Texas Rangers from 1889 to 1901. He is the author of Twelve Years in the Saddle with the Texas Rangers.

Captain
Daniel Roberts joined the Texas Rangers in 1874 and served periodically until 1882. Captain Daniel Roberts’ autobiography, Rangers and Sovereignty, was published in 1914.

David Cortez is a former United States Marine who served one year with the Third Reconnaissance Battalion in Okinawa, Japan. David Cortez is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University and holds a BA in business administration. He is a twenty-four year veteran of the Fort Worth Police Department, where he currently serves as a sergeant in the Patrol Division. Among his many assignments in police work are the Patrol Division, Vice, Intelligence, Narcotics, Burglary, Detective, Gang Unit, Federal Drug Task Force, (known as Weed-n-Seed) and the Training Division. David Cortez is the author of A Personal Guide for Cabin and Cockpit Self Defense.

According to the book description of A Personal Guide for Cabin and Cockpit Self Defense, “This book outlines a variety of self defense related issues. First it recognizes terrorism profound impact on the flight industry and the American way of life. Secondly, it draws informal parallels between the current flight industry and our system of policing while defining some
terrorist methods of operations. Moreover, the book addresses a need for a change in attitude and purpose as it relates to flight personnel. Varied issues involving fear, emotional control, legality, personal attitudes, edged weapons defenses, and personal weapons, are delineated in this book.. What’s more, realistic self-defense measures are clarified for Cabin and Cockpit Defense. This book is a classic "HOW TO" on Self-Defense and a must read for airline personnel, police and the military.”

Police-Writers.com now hosts 972
police officers (representing 408 police departments) and their 2065 criminal justice books in 35 categories, there are also listings of United States federal law enforcement employees turned authors, international police officers who have written books and civilian police personnel who have written books.

Face of Defense: Soldier 'Pays It Forward' to Help Others


By Army Sgt. Brandon Little
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 16, 2008 - Throughout his life,
Army Staff Sgt. Steven Atlas has tried to live by one philosophy: "Pay it forward." The basic principle of this creed is simple; if someone helps you, then in return, you should try to help someone else. The title of this philosophy may have come from a movie, but his actions and the people they affect are real.

Atlas grew up in a single-parent home, and at an early age he was forced to become an adult faster than many of his friends.

"My mom and dad separated when I was really young, so my mom had to raise me and my three sisters without any help," said Atlas, a computer systems maintainer in Company C, 412th Aviation Support Battalion. "Being brought up in a predominantly female household meant that I had to play the role of big brother, and sometimes dad, to my sisters. This was something that a lot of my friends didn't have to experience and helped me to mature at an early age."

Being forced into this role wasn't the biggest obstacle he would face as a young man; he also was forced to watch as two of his sisters lost their battles with cancer.

"My older sister passed away when I was in junior high, and my younger sister passed away when I was going into my freshman year of high school," the
Chicago native said. "Having to help take care of my sisters while they were dealing with the chemotherapy and being hospitalized so much forced me to look at things in a more adult perspective. I was never that kid who was just able to sit back and play video games or just go outside and play whenever I wanted."

Taking care of his sisters, he said, was something that motivated him to do better in life instead of getting sucked into the trouble found throughout his neighborhood.

"Growing up on the south side of
Chicago, I learned that if you weren't careful you could easily find yourself in a bad situation," Atlas said. "I think I owed it to my mom, if not myself, to be the first one of her children to graduate from high school and go on to do something positive, because she saw so much bad stuff throughout her life."

After graduating from high school, he chose to put his goal of joining the
military on hold to help support his family while his mother went back to school to get a degree. He got a job working in a restaurant owned by his uncle to help support his mother and youngest sister.

"Once she completed her degree, I went to her and said, 'This is my time. I want to join the Army, and I feel this is my time to do it,'" Atlas recalled. "She didn't want me joining at that time, because it was [during the peak] of Desert Shield/Desert Storm; I told her that there was never a 'good time' to join, because the
Army's job is to fight wars, and if you're not fighting, you're training to fight."

His mother earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and worked as a counselor, helping unwed teenage mothers in
Chicago for many years -- paying it forward.

When Atlas joined the
Army, he first joined as a laboratory technician, but later became a signal soldier.

"Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to join the
military; I just didn't know which branch to join," he said. "Talking with Army recruiters helped me make that choice."

Throughout his 16 years in the
military, he has tried to continue to live by his "pay it forward" principle. He said he tries to provide soldiers with knowledge not only from his career, but also from his religion.

"I've had some ups and downs being of Islam faith, especially during 9/11, because many people tried to categorize all Muslims with the ones who carried out those attacks," said Atlas, who is now married with three children. "I think I've been able to change those beliefs in many of the people I have come across by giving Islamic cultural awareness classes and letting them know what we do and what we believe, as opposed to what they have seen on TV."

The command sergeant major of Task Force 12 here saw the opportunity presented by Atlas' willingness to explain his faith.

"After I found out about his religious background, I asked him to give a class to the soldiers, and he was really excited about doing it," said
Army Command Sgt. Maj. H. Lee Kennedy, who is also one of Atlas' mentors.

The soldiers who attended that class got more information about Islamic cultures and now are able tell their friends the difference between a regular person of Islamic faith and an Islamic extremist -- paying it forward.

"He's a very eager and understanding young man, and it's a pleasure to guide him," Kennedy said. "
Leadership in units may come and go, and won't affect the unit too much; but when soldiers like Atlas leave units, everyone loses out."

In addition to Kennedy, Atlas also considers his roommate,
Army Sgt. Archie Martin, to be a mentor and close friend.

"[Atlas] is an outstanding noncommissioned officer who is very knowledgeable and caring," said Martin, also a
computer systems maintainer in Company C and a native of Montgomery, Ala. "He has really helped me learn more about my job and how to be a better soldier."

Martin, also trained as an AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter maintainer, uses his spare time to help soldiers who work long hours fixing Apaches to pay it forward.

With more than 40 years of experience in life, Atlas also tries to spread some of his knowledge and
lessons learned in life to anyone in need of guidance.

"If I do something good for one or two people, it will let them see that there are still people out there doing good things, and in turn, maybe they'll do good things," he said.

(
Army Sgt. Brandon Little serves with Multinational Division Baghdad in the Task Force 12 Public Affairs Office.)

America Supports You: Actor Honored for Exceptional Public Service

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 16, 2008 - A jack of many trades and master of the deadpan delivery, Ben Stein yesterday added one more title to a list that already includes actor, economist, educator and writer: that of exceptional public servant. For his contributions to the men and women of the armed forces, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England presented Stein with the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Exceptional Public Service Award during a ceremony at the Pentagon.

The award also was presented to Bonnie Carroll, chairman and founder of TAPS, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. TAPS is a national organization for all those who have lost a loved one serving in the
military.

"We don't have too many opportunities in the building to really recognize great Americans who are hugely supportive of this building and our
military," England said. "You both have been absolute yeomen in supporting the [military], and this is our day to say, 'Thank you for your great work on behalf of our military members and their families.'"

Stein, perhaps best known for his role as the monotone economics teacher in the hit movie, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," has written books and screenplays, studied law and shed light on injustices in American society. He's also no stranger to Washington and politics, having served as a speechwriter for presidents Nixon and Ford, though he makes it clear in his biography that he did not write the line, "I am not a crook."

He's also a fervent supporter of the
military, and despite his iconic status, his comments often belie the humility he feels for individuals who wear the uniform and their families.

"My work is incredibly trivial and unimportant compared with their work," Stein said. "My whole 63 years, [what I've done is] not as important as what a man or a woman going out on patrol in Basra or Ar Ramadi or An Nasiriyah does in five minutes, maybe five seconds."

One of his latest public acts of gratitude to the
military is the book "The Real Stars." It's an answer to a question Stein, who has a home in Malibu, Calif., hears frequently regarding living among the real stars. His verbal answer to askers is that he doesn't live among the real stars, but highly paid entertainers.

Stein admitted receiving the award was an honor, but he continued to deflect the gratitude back at the servicemembers and their families.

"[What I do for the military,] it's nothing compared to what the military does for me," he said. "People whine and moan about their taxes. People whine and moan about jury duty -- I must say I try my best to get out of it -- but the people who give their lives and the families left behind,what could we possibly do to recognize them adequately?

"There's nothing we can do to recognize them adequately," Stein said, answering his own question. "There is no adequate way that we can thank [the
military], and we are just at your feet and in deep, deep, deep gratitude."

While nothing may serve as an adequate thank you to the servicemembers who make the ultimate sacrifice, Stein, who serves as a TAPS honorary board member, said the organization works hard to take care of the families left behind. The group's founder, Carroll, agrees.

"Families who have lost a loved one serving in the armed forces have made a tremendous sacrifice," she said. "Through TAPS, we've come together to help each other heal, to remember the life and the love that we've lost.

"Our loved ones died, but they [also] lived, and they made an incredible contribution," Carroll added. "They served with pride, and we are proud of them today."

She knows that all too well. Her husband,
Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, was killed in 1992 when his military plane crashed. Seven other soldiers lost their lives in that crash.

The ceremony at the Pentagon concluded just hours before Carroll and her TAPS organization honored Stein at the inaugural TAPS Honor Guard Gala in Washington. On behalf of TAPS, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen presented the TAPS Honor Guard Award to Stein for his support of the organization and its families.

TAPS is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.