Military News

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hunter Adopted by Hopkins

Editor's Note: The author is former Marine.

July 29, 2008, (San Dimas, CA) Police-Writers.com is a website that lists state and local
police officers who have written books. James H. Lilley, the Police-Writer.com Author of the Year (2008), has had his book, The Eyes of the Hunter, adopted by Johns Hopkins University.

James H. Lilley is a former Marine and Police Sergeant with the Howard County Police Department (Maryland). He worked in the Uniformed Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations Division, Forensic Services (CSI) and Drug Enforcement Division. His Street Drug Unit was featured in the book "Undercover" by Hans Halberstadt and published by Simon and Schuster. Some of his awards include The Medal of Valor, Four Bronze Stars, Four Unit Citations and the Governor's Citation. He is also an 8th Degree Black Belt in Shorin Ryu Karate. James Lilley is the author of seven books: A Question of Honor; The Eyes of the Hunter; The Far Side of the Bridge; Just Retribution; A Miracle for Tony Clements; Death Knocks Twice, and, A Tony Clements Christmas Miracle.

According to Sheldon Greenberg, Ph.D. (Associate Dean, School of Education, Johns Hopkins University), “The Eyes of the Hunter will be used as a text for the Communications course in the Master of Science in Intelligence Analysis degree program at Johns Hopkins University.” Dr. Sheldon continued that Lilley’s book will help the students “focus on creativity and critical thinking, research, understanding the audience, and formulating meaningful written documents.”

The course The Eyes of the Hunter will be used in is “Communications: Fact, Opinion, Significance, and Consequence.” According to the course description, “Within the intelligence community, findings are of little value unless they are communicated well. Dissemination of findings is essential to the success of any analysis or research. Students learn to deliver written, oral, and visual presentations for maximum effect by considering factors such as intended outcome, timing, structure, and method. Working individually and in small groups, students address issues such as lack of time to plan and prepare, unfamiliarity with the customer (end user of analytical documents), disruption and change, and coping with the unexpected. Students receive ongoing feedback on their communication style and effectiveness.

The ability to justify and present an analytical conclusion in clear, succinct prose is essential to supplying policy makers with information they need to formulate decisions. Students consider traditional and innovative methods of intelligence writing and briefing, focusing on the difference between fact and opinion. Students prepare written reports and presentations on a variety of topics and, in doing so, construct narratives, establish project credibility, convey recommendations, and reinforce key messages.”

Police-Writers.com now hosts 1029
police officers (representing 431 police departments) and their 2189 criminal justice books in 33 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.

New GI Bill Provides Increased Educational Benefits

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

July 28, 2008 - The latest GI Bill considerably improves the opportunity for today's servicemembers to obtain their education, a senior Defense Department official said. President Bush signed the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008 on June 30. The new law mirrors the tenets of the original GI Bill, which gave returning
World War Two veterans the opportunity to go to any school they wanted while receiving a living stipend, Bob Clark, the Pentagon's assistant director of accessions policy, said.

"The original GI Bill was said to be one of the most significant social impacts of the 20th century," Clark said. "We believe the new bill is going to have a similar impact."

The ew GI Bill is applies to individuals who served on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and offers education benefits worth an average of $80,000 – double the value of those in the previous program. It covers the full costs of tuition and books, which are paid directly to the school, and it provides a variable stipend for living expenses. It's also transferable to family members of career servicemembers.

Its only restriction is that payment amounts are limited to the most expensive in-state cost to attend a college or university in the state where veterans attend school, he said.

The variable stipend is based on the Defense Department's basic allowance for housing for an E-5, which averages about $1,200 a month, and $1,000 a year will be paid directly to the servicemember for books and supplies, he added.

Enrollment into the Post-9/11 GI Bill is free. Eligibility for the
Montgomery GI Bill is based on service commitment and requires active-duty servicemembers to pay a $1,200 fee over the initial year of their enlistment.

The new bill requires that an individual serve at least 90 days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, and if discharged, be separated on honorable terms. Servicemembers discharged due to a service-connected disability are eligible if they served 30 continuous days on active duty. Servicemembers must serve 36 aggregated months to qualify for the full amount of benefits.

Servicemembers are entitled to benefits of the new bill for up to 36 months and have up to 15 years from their last 30 days of continuous service to use their entitlements. But as successful as Defense Department officials anticipate the new bill to be, Clark suggested that new recruits still enroll in the
Montgomery GI Bill.

The
Montgomery GI Bill gives benefits for higher education as well as vocational training, apprenticeship programs and on-the-job training, he explained. The Post-9/11 GI Bill focuses solely on higher education and can only be used at institutions that offer at least an associate's degree, he said.

"We recommend that all new recruits think hard before turning down the
Montgomery GI Bill, because they will limit their opportunities for additional education without it," he added.

Servicemembers also are "highly encouraged" to use the Defense Department's tuition assistance program while on active duty, because the Post-9/11 GI Bill's full entitlements, such as the living stipend and book allowance, will not be available, Clark said.

"If you use the Post-9/11 GI Bill while on active duty, it will merely cover tuition or the difference of what tuition assistance will pay," he explained. "Another downside to that is each month you use [the new bill], you lose a month of your 36 months of eligibility."

So, if servicemembers serve on active duty on or after Aug. 1, 2009, and meet the minimum time-in-service requirement, they will be eligible for the new GI Bill while also maintaining benefits from the
Montgomery GI Bill, he said.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill also brings good news for officers and for servicemembers who enlisted under the loan repayment program. Since eligibility for the Post-9/11 GI Bill is based on time already served, more servicemembers will be able to take advantage of its benefits, Clark added. Officers commissioned through one of the service academies or through ROTC and enlisted servicemembers participating in the loan repayment program don't qualify for the
Montgomery GI Bill, he said.

Those servicemembers will be able to qualify if they finish their initial obligatory service. Commissioned officers must complete their initial five-year commitment if they attended a service academy or their four-year agreement if they were commissioned through college ROTC. Servicemembers whose college loans were paid off by the Defense Department as a re-enlistment incentive must finish their initial commitment – whether it is three, four or five years – before they can apply, Clark said.

"Any amount of time an individual served after their obligated service counts for qualifying service under the new GI Bill," he said.

Another facet unique to the Post-9/11 GI Bill is that it's transferable to family members. The feature gives the defense and service secretaries the authority to offer career servicemembers the opportunity to transfer unused benefits to their family. Though Defense Department officials still are working with the services to hash out eligibility requirements, there are four prerequisites that are subject to adjustment or change, Clark said.

Currently transferability requirements are:

-- Qualifying service to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill;

-- Active duty service in the armed forces on or after Aug. 1, 2009;

-- At least six years of service in the armed forces;

-- Agreement to serve four more years in the armed forces.

"We're really excited about transferability," Clark said. "That was one of the things about education and the GI Bill that's come up the most often from the field and fleet."

Individuals who may not qualify to transfer unused benefits because they leave the service before the new bill's effective date most likely still will qualify for the bill. As long as the separated servicemembers meet the minimum qualifying time served, they can contact their local Veterans Affairs office and apply for the program. While payments are not retroactive, eligibility is, Clark said.

"This new bill will allow our veterans to chase their dreams," Clark said. "It will allow them to go back and experience college like they deserve, much like their grandfathers did in
World War Two."

More information about the Post-9/11 GI Bill is available at local Veterans Affairs Office and at www.gibill.va.gov.

Face of Defense: Soldier Works to Inspire Others

By Army Pfc. Lyndsey R. Dransfield
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 28, 2008 - The rank insignia of a noncommissioned officer gives the wearer a title as well as the power to accomplish certain tasks and objectives, but the rank alone doesn't always make a leader.
Leadership involves inspiring others to achieve higher goals, and the Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division's 1st Platoon, Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, say Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Lowers, a Sunrise, Fla., native -- their platoon chief and a member of the Sgt. Audi Murphy Club -- is someone they define as a true leader.

The soldiers call him "Sergeant Smoke," a title commonly given to artillery chiefs. He supervises the fire base here, and is responsible for all artillery fires.

"There is nothing more exciting than putting a 100-pound projectile downrange knowing that you've done everything you can to make sure it hits its target," Lowers said. "I think the battalion commander says it best: 'It's not a sexy job.' However, we are in a support role, and it's good to know that we do our part to support the infantry soldiers with their mission. I'd like to think our part is as important as the next guy's."

Lowers came to the United States from Jamaica when he was 19, and he enlisted in the
Army five months later.

"I wanted to go to college, but my parents didn't have the funds to support me, and I knew that the
Army had a lot of opportunities," he said.

After serving four years as a finance specialist, he said, he wanted to pursue a long-term career in the Army, so he spoke with his leaders about a job switch.

"I enjoyed finance, but I was young and wanted to do something more exciting. Going from finance to artillery is like night and day," he said.

Lowers is not just a soldier in the
Army; he is a soldier who fully believes in the Army.

"I can attribute everything I have and everything I've become to the Army. It has provided for me and my family and given us everything we need," he said. "I've met so many people from all walks of life that are perusing the same dreams as me. I've had the opportunity to learn from them, as well as about life itself."

Dedication is only one of the values Lowers displays. His soldiers have developed great admiration for his ability to react under pressure and to take care of their needs.

Army Spc. Justin Ren, native of Lincoln, Neb., and a cannon crew member with Headquarters Platoon, Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery, broke his leg in April while out at the fire base.

"Sergeant Smoke didn't hesitate," he said. "He immediately got the first aid kit, splinted my leg, and made sure I stayed calm and collected. He got me to the hospital and stayed with me for moral support while they performed X-rays. He always seems to know what to do and when to do it. If it's for the soldiers' needs, he never hesitates."

Army Spc. Timothy Blair, a Nicholasville, Ky., native, agreed.

"He shows us the right way to handle any situation and always comes out on top," said Blair, an assistant gunner with 1st Platoon, Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery.

Blair has been in the Army for two years, is awaiting promotion to become a sergeant and in May, and was nominated for Soldier of the Month.

"He has developed me in everything I have done. He is one of the main reasons why I am where I am in my career," Blair said. "He puts the opportunity up front and allows us to take initiative to achieve it."

Lowers said he believes it is his responsibility to be the best leader possible.

"This is my job. Once I pinned on the sergeant stripes, it became my responsibility to teach, mentor, and develop my soldiers," he said. "I have soldiers that come to me straight out of basic training and are not sure what the
Army's about. My job is to instill that knowledge in them and break it down to a level they can understand. I've seen soldiers transition from a private all the way to sergeant first class. Watching soldiers go through that transition is my inspiration."

(
Army Pfc. Lyndsey R. Dransfield serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)