Military News

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Soldiers Join Forces With Kansas City Runners to Help Brain Injury Victims

By By Army Spc. Jason Jordan
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2008 - On opposite sides of the globe, two groups of people in very different environments worked together to raise money for individuals suffering from brain injuries. This Memorial Day,
Army soldiers deployed here were joined by an army of volunteer citizens in Kansas City, Kan., and the two fought as one for their causes.

Soldiers with 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, joined the 21st Annual Amy Thompson Run to Daylight. The charity event consists of 2-mile and 8-kilometer events in
Kansas City.

Amy Thompson was a 23-year-old college graduate enjoying her life as a third-grade teacher in
Kansas City when she was shot twice in the head during an attempted robbery at a neighborhood party on Halloween night 1986. After awakening from a six-week coma, Thompson survived against terrible odds, struggling to resume life after a brain injury.

Although she fought valiantly for three years, Thompson died unexpectedly Christmas night 1989. On Memorial Day the previous year, a group of Thompson's closest friends and family began the Run to Daylight in her name.

"When run officials in the states contacted us with their desire for us to participate in their charity event, we immediately discovered that our struggles were very much related," said
Army Capt. Peter Hofman, a chaplain with 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment. "We were very excited to participate in such a noble cause. And with Memorial Day upon us and the fact that servicemembers are suffering brain injuries in explosions, it just all fit. It made sense for us to join their cause."

Hofman coordinated with
Kansas City officials to help make the run possible for servicemembers in Iraq.

Run officials in
Kansas City were clearly excited about the troop involvement, as well. Newspaper articles and a special on the nightly news segment announced the runners would be joined by servicemembers in Iraq this year.

"The original plan was to have the soldiers conduct the run at the same time as the
Kansas City runners. But ... that would be between 5 and 6 in the evening, which would make it somewhere around 110 degrees or higher in the desert," Mary Thompson O'Connor, Amy's sister and a run official, said on a special segment of Kansas City's KMBC-TV news show.

To show their support for the soldiers on their Memorial Day run, the
Kansas City runners wore T-shirts honoring those serving in combat. Run officials also sent flyers, official city run bibs and T-shirts to those who would be running in Iraq.

O'Connor also insisted on providing the battalion with $1,200 in gift cards to be awarded to the top three male and female runners in both the 2-mile and 8-kilometer events.

Airmen and civilian contractors serving with 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, soldiers ran along side the regiment.

"There was no shortage of volunteers willing to participate in such a good cause," Hofman said. "The average maximum participation has been 100 people in past events on the base. We were delighted to inform those in
Kansas City that 147 people showed up in the early morning hours to participate in the Amy Thompson run."

"What better cause could you find for which to volunteer your time?" said 10th Brigade Support Battalion's Spc. David Andrade, 1st place runner of the 2-mile event. "You are benefiting your body with exercise while participating in a good cause and honoring America's servicemembers. And everyone could use an Amazon gift card."

Both groups of runners on each side of the world held a moment of silence before their run, honoring servicemembers. The 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment soldiers spoke aloud the names of 11 members of 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, who were killed since their deployment began in September. A moment of silence followed each name.

Army Spc. Jason Jordan serves with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.)

Army Deploys Prevention Programs to Combat Soldier Suicides

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2008 - The
Army is deploying a multitude of prevention programs as part of efforts to stop soldiers from taking their own lives, senior Army officials said here today. The Army should train its soldiers how to cope with psychological challenges as well as physical ones, Army Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, assistant surgeon general for force protection, told reporters during a Pentagon roundtable.

For example, the Battlemind training program prepares soldiers for a combat environment, Cornum said, adding that troops who've taken Battlemind training report fewer psychological health problems.

Last year, the
Army initiated a chain-teaching program to educate all soldiers and leaders about symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and mild brain injury, Cornum said. More than 900,000 soldiers were trained since July, she noted.

Cornum saluted Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' decision to change Question 21 of the questionnaire for national
security positions, regarding mental and emotional health. The revised question, she said, now excludes non-court-ordered counseling related to marital, family or grief issues, or counseling for issues related to military service in a combat zone.

"So, the change was made because accessing professional help for those mental health issues should not be perceived to jeopardize your career," Cornum said. "On the contrary, failure to seek care for those kinds of issues might actually increase the likelihood that your psychological distress could escalate to a more serious mental health condition, and that more serious condition could, in fact, preclude an individual from performing those sensitive duties.

"War is hard on soldiers and it can be even harder on families," she observed. "When soldiers return home, most will experience a readjustment period, but they will also experience a successful home transition."

Some returning servicemembers will require short- or long-term counseling to assist in that transition, Cornum said, noting that situation is not unusual.

"We believe there is more to be done, and we are committed to maximizing prevention, as well as treating psychological health problems as they occur," Cornum said.

Army's personnel directorate and the Army Surgeon General hosted the initial Suicide Prevention General Officer Steering Committee on Feb. 11. That committee will take a critical look at policies, procedures, climate and culture as they pertain to suicide prevention, according to Army documents.

The 144-page
Army Suicide Event Report released today said 115 soldiers took their lives in calendar year 2007, the highest number of suicides since record-keeping began in 1980, according to officials. Five of the deceased were female soldiers. Ninety-three of the departed soldiers were active-duty troops, and 22 were either in the National Guard or Army Reserve.

Army records show 102 soldiers died by their own hands in 2006, of which 11 were women.

Most soldiers that killed themselves were young and male, according to the report, with failed personal relationships cited as the number one cause. Most soldiers that committed suicide did so at their home stations and not overseas. In fact, of the 115 soldiers who killed themselves last year, 32 died in Iraq, while 4 died in Afghanistan. Drug or alcohol use was cited in 30 percent of the suicide cases.

The majority of the suicide cases last year did not have a known history of a mental disorder, according to
Army documents.

The current active-duty Army suicide rate is 18.8 per 100,000 soldiers, according to officials. The
Army suicide rate goes down to 16.8 per 100,000 soldiers when the reserve components are added. The adjusted U.S. population suicide rate is 19.5 per 100,000 people.

There've been 38 confirmed soldier suicides so far this year, officials said.

"Obviously, suicide is a very complex phenomenon with a lot going on," said Army Col. Elspeth C. Ritchie, director of the
Army Surgeon General's office for behavioral health. "The main motive for suicide is related to breakup of relationships, usually with a partner."

Other soldier-suicide motivators include getting in trouble at work or elsewhere, Ritchie noted.

"We know that the multiple deployments and the length of the deployment are major stressors back at home; so, there're kind of a lot of different factors," Ritchie said. "We certainly would hope that all of our indicators of quality of life get better as the deployments get shorter and there's more 'dwell time' back at home." Dwell time is the time at home station between deployments.

"But, I don't think we would be able to say we predict that at this time," Ritchie continued. "We also know that we're doing a lot of mitigating strategies at (suicide) prevention and resilience, and we hope that those would help, as well."

One soldier suicide is too many, said Lt. Col. Thomas E. Languirand, who works in
Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel office.

"We value each and every soldier, and we look continually ... at how we can put our policies and programs in place to help with the resiliency of our soldiers and their families to better enhance their life-coping skills," Languirand said. "And, we obviously believe that behavioral health is a very important, key part of preventing suicides in the Army."

Languirand observed that high operational tempo is causing stress across the Army's ranks.

"We understand that we are a force under stress, and we do the best that we can to mitigate those risks -- not only the risks that you may associate with persistent conflict, but also the risks that are normal and prevalent in everyday society," Languirand said.

Yet, Ritchie said, there doesn't seem to be a statistical link between wartime operations and an increase in soldier suicides.

"Actually, we're not seeing a clear relationship between conflict increase and suicide," Ritchie said.

America Supports You: Troop-Support Group Added to 'Top-Rated' Charities

American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2008 - After stringent review by one of the country's premier charity watchdogs, a
Massachusetts-based troop-support group has been added to a list of top-rated charities. The American Institute of Philanthropy has reviewed Homes for Our Troops' finances and included the group in their "Top-Rated Veterans & Military Charities" listing.

Homes for Our Troops 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.

"Homes for Our Troops is proud to be included in [American Institute of Philanthropy's] list of top rated veterans and
military charities," said Tom Benoit, vice president and chief financial officer of Homes for Our Troops. "Our dedicated staff has worked tirelessly to efficiently raise the funds needed to build homes across the country for severely injured veterans.

"The support we receive from our corporate partners and from individuals and companies across the country made it possible for Homes for Our Troops to spend only 7 percent on administration and fundraising in our fiscal year [ending] Sept. 30, 2007, and to complete 11 homes in 2007," he added. "Our goal is to complete 30 homes in 2008."

Founded in 2004, Homes for Our Troops is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing specially adapted homes to servicemembers severely injured while fighting in the global war on
terrorism. The organization has provided 25 veterans and their families with homes suited to meet the each veteran's individual challenges. Over the next few years, Homes for Our Troops is committed to providing at least 100 additional homes for injured troops, organization officials said.

Only five of the 32 veterans charities listed in the American Institute of Philanthropy's most recent report are included in the top-rated category, according to institute officials.

The watchdog's review process focuses on the percent of costs spent on "program service costs" and the efficiency of organizations in raising funds.

Rather than just using figures reported by charities in financial disclosure forms, the institute adjusts for direct mail, telemarketing and solicitation costs that are sometimes allocated to program service costs. It also excludes the value of donated goods and services, which can be difficult to measure.

Because of their thorough review process, the institute was described as "the pit bull of watchdogs" by the New York Times. Newsweek said, "It's the toughest of the bunch. Because it disregards certain, potentially suspect, expenses and donations, it fails some nonprofits that the other raters approve."

Police Omerta

May 28, 2008, 2008 (San Dimas, CA) On June 4, 2008, Conversations with Cops at the Watering Hole will feature an interview with Joe Sanchez a former NYPD police officer and the author of Latin Blues: A Tale of Police Omerta from the NYPD and A Tale of the Enemy Within.

Program Date: June 4, 2008
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: An Interview with
Joe Sanchez
Listen Live:

About the Guest
In 1965,
Joe Sanchez was drafted into the United States Army, at the age of 18. On his twentieth birthday, he found himself with the First Air Cavalry Air Mobile Division deployed near the village of Phantiet in South Vietnam. On that day, his unit was engaged in a firefight with Viet Cong. Joe Sanchez and three of his comrades were wounded by a grenade during that firefight.

After discharge,
Joe Sanchez served three years as a police officer with the New York Port Authority Police Department. He then applied for, and was accepted, as a police officer for the New York City Police Department. Joe Sanchez battled crime on the streets of New York, not realizing the most vicious enemy was within the NYPD.

In October of 1983,
Joe Sanchez was indicted by a Special and Extraordinary Grand Jury in Manhattan for one count of Burglary in the First Degree; one count of Grand Larceny in the first Degree; one count of Grand Larceny in the second Degree; six counts of Grand larceny in the Third Degree; and, one count of assault in the Third Degree. Joe Sanchez would ultimately be exonerated of the charges because the true betrayal wasn’t Joe’s, it was his enemies within the NYPD that had set him up.

For a time,
Joe Sanchez became a letter carrier and then reentered the criminal justice field as a correctional officer serving in both Sing Sing and Coxsackie State Prisons. If you ask Joe Sanchez, he will tell you, “It's a true story. I've been trying to tell it for a long time. It's my story, but not mine alone. It is also the story of those who lived and died alongside me, in Viet Nam and in that other battle, for justice and safety under the shield of the law; that is fought daily in the streets of every big city by every honest cop. In this case, the city is the Naked City, and the cop [namely, me] is a Latino. And the battle is neither for the civilians alone, nor just against the bad guys in the street. Some times the bad guys are in the Department. And sometimes the people who need protection are the honest cops.”

Joe Sanchez is the author of Latin Blues: A Tale of Police Omerta from the NYPD and A Tale of the Enemy Within.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole.

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

Iowa National Guard Troops Support Tornado-Relief Mission

American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2008 - About 175
Iowa National Guard soldiers and airmen are serving on state active duty in support of tornado-relief and -recovery missions for northeastern Iowa. The servicemembers were activated the evening of May 26 and the next morning following tornadoes and severe storms in the Butler County area May 25. It is estimated the soldiers and airmen will remain on duty for the next several days.

With numerous power lines down, leakage from damaged vehicles, severed natural gas lines, debris, rubble and unstable structures, about 160 soldiers from 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, are providing security and aiding local officials in recovery efforts at Parkersburg. The battalion headquarters is in Waterloo, with subordinate units in Dubuque, Oelwein, Charles City, and Iowa Falls.

"I'm no stranger to tornado damage, but I've never seen anything like this," said
Army Spc. Erik A. Borseth, a medic with the 1st Battalion's Headquarters Company. He has been treating Guard soldiers for blisters and minor cuts, and he's been going out on night patrols with other members of the 133rd.

"It feels good to be here," Borseth said, "like we're accomplishing something for these Parkersburg people. That's our job. That's what we're here to do. That's how Iowans are."

The southern half of Parkersburg, a farming community of about 1,700, has been virtually flattened, but the northern half remains largely intact with some damage to the infrastructure, reported Rick Breitenfeldt of the National Guard Bureau.

Most National Guard personnel are performing
security missions, primarily during the curfew hours of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., Breitenfeldt added. Other duties include providing power to the incident command center at a badly damaged fire station in the town and staffing a communications center for emergency personnel.

"If I could do more, I would. The damage is overwhelming and surreal," said Iowa
Army Guard Maj. Jay W. Lohmann, team chief for the Guard's communications center. "Private citizens keep approaching me, asking for permission to do things. I can't give them that permission, because the Guard is supporting civilian agencies. But it tells me that the public respects and appreciates the job that the National Guard is doing."

About 15 additional soldiers and airmen from 67th Troop Command, from
Iowa City; Joint Forces Headquarters and 734th Regional Support Group, from Johnston; 133rd Test Squadron, from Fort Dodge; 132nd Fighter Wing, from Des Moines; and Iowa Air National Guard Headquarters, also from Johnston, are providing communications support, transporting water, creating emergency electrical power, and providing operational support.

In addition, the
Iowa National Guard armory in Waterloo is being used as an operations center for American Red Cross relief efforts.

Many of the Guard soldiers are veterans of the war in Iraq and other aspects of the global war on
terrorism. "Now we're helping the people in our own state. That feels good," said one soldier who was satisfied to be serving at home.

(From a National Guard Bureau news release.)

Mullen Calls Military Neutrality 'Bedrock' of U.S. Democracy

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2008 - As the presidential race heats up in the United States, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is reminding members of the
military that their neutrality is part of the fabric of democracy. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen discussed an article he wrote for the Joint Force Quarterly journal about what is appropriate for military personnel during an election year. The chairman talked to reporters traveling with him today during his flight here.

"It's an exciting time, and it is also a time that will be one of transition for us," Mullen said. "What really moved me on this is in a number of all-hands calls I've had around the world, I've had young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in public forums ask me who I was voting for, who I thought should win, [or] what would happen if this candidate or that candidate won."

The JFQ article puts in writing what he has told those servicemembers: that as serving U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, they must remain neutral. "That's bedrock to us as a country and a democracy," he said. "It is in that neutrality that we generate great strength for this democracy."

The overtly political questions from servicemembers concerned him, Mullen said, so he decided it was important for him as the nation's highest-ranking
military officer to make sure servicemembers understand what they can and can't do.

"It is because of these questions and because of the time that we're in that I thought I would publicly make a statement, so it is clear what my expectations are as a senior military leader," he said.

Mullen said he has remained politically neutral for his almost 40 years in uniform.

"Like any other American, I have my own personal views, but the point is they are my personal views," he said. "I have to be able to detach those personal views from my professional responsibility. I work pretty hard at it. I learned it, and that's why I think it is so important that we talk about it now."

Mullen is here on the first leg of a trip for meetings with representatives of Pacific nations.

Mullen Uses Pacific Visits to Cultivate Understanding, Cooperation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2008 - The United States and other countries of the world have to work together to face the challenges of the future, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today on the first stop of a visit to Pacific nations intended to help foster that cooperation.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen is visiting military and civilian leaders here before moving on to participate in the International Institute of Strategic Studies' Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore.

The dialogue -- named after the hotel that hosts it -- will give Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who also will attend, the chance to interact with counterparts from many nations.

"It's the major meeting of those interested in defense in the Pacific and beyond," Mullen said during an interview aboard the Hawaii-based
Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport named "Spirit of Go For Broke" that carried him here.

Plans call for Mullen to meet with representatives from India, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam and other nations. After the conference, Mullen heads to the Philippines and then to South Korea, where he will participate in the change of command for Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.

At his stops, the concerns that top all others are extremism and
terrorism, he said. The United States has worked with the nations of Southeast Asia to build the security and stability that allow economic growth, and it has paid off, the admiral noted.

The chairman said he expects to discuss the situation in Burma both at the Shangri-La conference and in his meetings with representatives of individual nations.

"One thing I need to understand is why the Burmese would be so obstinate about [not] allowing other countries to provide help," Mullen said. "It's pretty tough on us, knowing we can help and have units waiting to help, and have people dying for lack of government wisdom to be able to ask for assistance.

"It's very baffling, and still they persist," he continued. "It's incredibly frustrating. I sure would like to see them open up to this kind of assistance."

Indonesia is an example of progress made in the region. After the Asian economic meltdown in 1997, Indonesia was in tough shape economically. But the nation has recovered from that panic.

"I give the
leadership of Indonesia a great deal of credit, because it is night and day from what it was 10 years ago," Mullen said. "They continue to push forward in reform; they continue to press forward in the human rights area; they continue to press forward to put the military under civilian control."

Indonesia separated the police function from the
military in 2000, and many agencies in the U.S. government worked as one to help Indonesia make these transformations.

"They've made tremendous progress over the last 10 years, and I look forward to making that kind of progress over the next 10 years," the chairman said. "They are very positive steps for facing challenges together, for the continuous development of that strong relationship, for education of both militaries -- ours and theirs -- for the opportunities to work together shoulder-to-shoulder.

"This is a Muslim country -- some 240 million people -- and a strong relationship with this country is really, really important [to the United States]."

The nations of the region are working together to confront mutual problems. Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia had to work together to confront the menace that piracy caused. Pirates used the seams between nations in the Straits of Malacca to prey on vessels sailing the strategic chokepoint.

Three years ago, there were more than 60 instances of piracy in and around the straits. Shipping insurance rates went through the roof. Each of the three nations invested in radars to track vessels in and around the straits. But more importantly, they established "a command-and-control center where you can merge information and take action," Mullen said.

There has been only one instance of piracy in the area this year, he added.

Other nations in the region can develop the same capabilities. The Philippines and Indonesia are both archipelagos made up of thousands of islands. "There is a commonness there that they share," Mullen said, adding that he believes the two nations can work closely together.

Mullen also discussed Iraq with reporters traveling with him. The Iraqi
military is handling much more of the burden in the country, he said.

"They are operating in Basra, they moved into Sadr City, and they continue to make progress in Mosul," Mullen said. "All of those are good signs, and I think not many people would have given them credit to be able to do this a year ago. I give our forces tremendous credit for setting the conditions to allow this to happen."

But, the chairman cautioned, progress in Iraq is fragile. Al-Qaida is still lethal, and
criminal gangs and unlawful militias continue to pose problems, he noted. "But I'm delighted to see the kind of progress the Iraqi forces have made," he said.

The number of violent incidents in Iraq is the lowest it has been in four years, he said. "I'm encouraged, but there is still a long way to go," Mullen said.

America Supports You: Tiger's Tournament Salutes Military

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

May 28, 2008 - Professional golfer Tiger Woods understands the sacrifices
military families make and the importance of acknowledging those sacrifices. "I was raised in a military family," said Woods, whose late father, Earl, retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel. "I know what it takes, the dedication it takes. They don't get enough thanks. And we're here to do that. We're here to say thank you."

He will say "thank you," this Fourth of July holiday when he hosts the second AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club here.

"We're trying to do whatever we can to showcase the
military and basically give thanks," Woods said in an interview before the news conference.

This year that includes making 30,000 tickets available to servicemembers. Active-duty troops, reservists and National Guardsmen, retired servicemembers, and Defense Department civilian personnel are eligible for two tickets per person per day of the July 2-July 6 tournament.

The tournament also is offering a one-time 10 percent discount on merchandise, though the discount does not apply at Congressional Golf Shop adjacent to the clubhouse, however. In addition, each day will be dedicated to one of the five services.

Honoring the
military and their families doesn't stop there, Woods said.

military children will accompany Woods to the first tee July 2, where two of them will take ceremonial first shots. But not before servicemembers deployed overseas have taken their swings.

Nike has provided drivers and golf balls that are being shipped to six military locations around the globe. A servicemember at each location will hit the ball, which will then be returned along with video of those shots.

Woods, who has a great respect for the
military, said his father, and the military values he adhered to, have greatly shaped both his view of family and his direction in life. He's taken that to heart at home as well as on a global scale, hoping to be the same kind of father for his daughter, Samantha, that Earl Woods was to him.

"Family comes first," Woods said in the pre-conference interview. "My dad ... always made time for me. I'm looking back upon that, [and] that shaped me in the fact that I want to be there for Sam all the time," he said.

His dad also taught him about success, being a
leader, and the responsibilities that come with that role. That lesson was the foundation upon which he and his father created the Tiger Woods Foundation in 1996.

"My dad, I won't say pushed me, but he always made sure I understood what it took to be a leader, the responsibilities you have to accept -- and sometimes it's not always easy," Woods said. "That's hard for kids to understand who have never experienced it before."

This lack of
leadership and role models for children is not just a local phenomenon, he said. It's global.

"We have so many people around this world who need help, and we're going to do that," he said.

The foundation already has helped 10 million children through its character-development programs, scholarships, grants, junior golf teams, and the Tiger Woods Learning Center. And the gratitude he receives from the kids who are helped by the foundation is his greatest reward, he said.

"Golf is just what I do. It's not who I am," Woods said. "Having kids write letters and say, 'Thank you. I'm going to college. I'm doing things that I never thought I could do in my life,' gives me chills just thinking about it. That's the impact that everyone should have in life."

Proceeds from the 2008 AT&T National will benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation and its desire to expand its programs to the greater Washington area. The hope is to continue positively impacting the lives of future generations for years to come, according to a statement on the AT&T National site.

Fans can affect lives, as well. When purchasing a ticket on the AT&T National Web site, they can choose to make a donation to one of six charitable organizations benefiting
military families.

Proceeds from the "Click and Donate Program" will be equally distributed among the Fisher House Foundation, Military Officers of America's Scholarship Fund, National
Military Family Association, Our Military Kids, United Service Organizations of Metropolitan Washington, and Yellow Ribbon Fund.

All six organizations are supporters of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad. The title sponsor of the tournament, AT&T, is a corporate supporter of the Defense Department program, as well.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Begins Pacific Trip

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 28, 2008 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has begun a swing through the Pacific that will take him to Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and Korea. After a 30-hour flight from Washington aboard a C-17,
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen will meet with Indonesian leaders in Jakarta. Indonesia is the fourth-largest country in the world and the largest majority Muslim nation. Officials traveling with the chairman said Indonesia has been a firm ally in the war on terror. Jemaah Islamiyah -- a terror group affiliated with al-Qaida -- has launched terror attacks in Bali and in Jakarta. The way forward against such groups and improving military-to-military contacts between Indonesia and the United States will dominate the discussions.

"It's not limited to that," a Joint Staff official, said on background. "We're going to listen to whatever concerns the Indonesians have."

Following the meetings, Mullen will fly to Singapore to participate in the Shangri-La Dialogue. The meeting is the premier defense meeting in the Pacific, and the chairman will meet up with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The two will attend presentations and then hold a number of bilateral meetings with ministers of defense and chiefs of defense who also are attending the conference.

After the meetings end, Mullen will travel to the Philippines, where he will observe anti-terror exercises and meet with senior defense and government officials. The Philippines is a U.S. treaty ally.

The chairman will leave Manila to attend the change-of-command ceremony for Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea in Seoul. Once again he will meet up with Gates as
Army Gen. Burwell B. Bell turns over command to Army Gen. Walter "Skip" Sharp.

DoD Submits Reprogramming Action to Cover the Absence of Supplemental Funding

The Department of Defense yesterday submitted to the Congress reprogramming actions proposing to transfer a total of $9.7 billion to the Army and defense-wide accounts by borrowing the funds from other service accounts. This emergency action was necessary to extend Army and defense-wide operations in the absence of requested supplemental appropriations funds.

The two reprogramming requests would use transfer authority the Congress has provided the department and, if approved, would allow operations to continue until late July. The first reprogramming action would transfer $5.7 billion from the
military personnel accounts of the other services to the Army's military personnel account; the second would transfer $4 billion from the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) accounts of the other services and the DoD Working Capital Fund to the Army and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) O&M accounts.

The department previously outlined the steps that would be necessary to take to sustain operations, including maximizing the use of all available transfer authority as represented in these reprogramming actions. Without the ability to transfer these funds, the Army will run out of
military personnel funds necessary to pay its soldiers by June 15. Accordingly, the department is requesting that the appropriate Congressional committees act on the reprogramming action by no later than June 9.

Congressional approval of this $9.7 billion reprogramming will only allow another few weeks of operations until the department as a whole runs out of critical funding. Should Congress fail to pass the GWOT supplemental appropriations legislation by mid-July, the department will have exhausted all
military personnel and operations funding and will, at minimum, be unable to make payroll for both military and civilian personnel throughout the department. Service members and selected essential civilian employees, including those engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, would continue to serve, but without pay. Non-essential civilian employees would be furloughed pursuant to applicable personnel procedures.