Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jordan v the Palestinians round three?

News today from the Jerusalem Post that Jordan is revoking the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians . Of course, Palestinians comprise about 70% of the population. The other 30% are Bedouins who have been fantastically loyal to the monarchy since the Days of Abdullah I.

Yassir Arafat had a home in Jordon, a state within a state actually, until 1970 when he attempted to overthrow Abdullah's grandson, King Hussein. In two campaigns, one in September (giving the name to the Palestinian terrorists that murdered the Israeli Olympic team at Munich) and one in January, the Jordanian army eradicated the PLO presence in the country. The first phase saw the Jordanians kick the PLO out of Amman and in the second, they systematically rooted them out of the north. Fighting was severe and resulted in thousands of casualties. In between the two campaigns a Syrian division attacked Jordan but was routed by Hussein's forces at the battle of Ramtha. Arafat pledged to leave Jordan, and was taken in by Lebanon.

Today Jordan is a quiet ally of the United States, sharing intelligence and interogating prisoners. One Jordanian interogation was intrumental in the hunting down of abu Musab al Zarqawi, himself a Jordanian. The army has four well trained divisions. The king, Abdullah II was educated in both America and Britain, served with the British army, and filled various commands in the Jordanian army. And then there's the queen...

Of the various sects of the Palestinian diaspora, those living in Jordan probably have it the best. How could they not be better off than their brethern in Gaza or Nahr el Bared?

Will's book about the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the Battle of 73 Easting, is called A Line Through the Desert. It may be purchased at Amazon.

NORAD Flight Exercise Planned For Washington, D.C.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region, will conduct a training flight exercise on July 22 in the National Capital Region (NCR), Washington, D.C. Falcon Virgo 09-10 is expected to occur between midnight and about 6 a.m. EDT.

The exercise comprises a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Command Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR), Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR's Northeast Air Defense Sector.

Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD's intercept and identification operations, as well as procedural tests of the NCR Visual Warning System.

Civil Air Patrol Cessna aircraft and Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopters will participate in the exercise. Residents may see these aircraft approaching and flying in the vicinity of the Washington D.C. area as part of this exercise during the late night and early morning hours.

For more information on the Falcon Virgo, please contact CONR Public Affairs at (850) 283-8080, or the NORAD Public Affairs Office at (719) 554-6889.


Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $154,100,000 Undefinitized Contract Action (UCA) for the upgrade of six Taiwan Air Force (TAF) E-2C aircraft from Group II configuration to Hawkeye 2000 (H2K) export configuration under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Bethpage, N.Y. (40 percent); St. Augustine, Fla. (22 percent); Rolling Meadows, Ill. (6 percent); Dayton, Ohio (6 percent); Windsor Locks, Conn. (5 percent); Greenlawn, N.Y. (4 percent); Mississauga, Canada (4 percent); Marlboro, Mass. (4 percent); and other various locations throughout the United States (9 percent); and is expected to be completed in June 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0040).

Barton Malow Co., Linthicum, Md., is being awarded a $40,899,000 firm-fixed price contract for whole galley renovation at the U.S. Naval Academy. The work to be performed provides for a complete renovation to King Hall Galley and midshipmen food service operations and to provide temporary food service facilities while the galley is undergoing renovations. Work will be performed in Annapolis, Md., and is expected to be completed by August 2011. Funds are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively negotiated via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with ten proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Wash, D.C., is the contracting activity (N40080-09-C-0165).

International Business Machines Corp., Yorktown Heights, New York, was awarded a $23,693,109 contract to develop a prototype machine reading system that builds domain knowledge automatically from input text allowing the creation of Department of Defense applications with limited cost. At this time $2,308,559 has been obligated. Air Force Research Lab, Rome, N.Y., is the contracting activity. (FA8750-09-C-0172)

Booz Allen Hamilton, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $19,322,776 contract to provide Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technical Division survivability/vulnerability analyses, assessment and evaluations. At this time $58,748 has been obligated. 516th AESG, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. (SP0700-03-D-1380)

Campbellsville Apparel Co., LLC, Campbellsville, Ky.* is being awarded a maximum $11,619,679 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for men's briefs. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The original proposal was Web solicited with five responses. This contract is exercising option year three. The date of performance completion is October 24, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SP0100-06-D-0378).

GE Aviation Systems, LLC, Vandalia, Ohio is being awarded a maximum $5,103,750 firm fixed price, sole source contract for generator parts. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is the Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is July 31, 2013. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency (DSCR-AHB), Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

Face of Defense: Admirals Mentor Other Female Sailors

By Navy Lt. Nathan Christensen
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 21, 2009 - Navy Rear Adm. Carol M. Pottenger and Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Howard have plenty on their respective plates – Pottenger as commander of Naval Expeditionary Combat Command and Howard as commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2. But that doesn't stop the two flag officers from taking on the additional role of mentoring female sailors. Pottenger and Howard recently met with a group of fermale surface warfare officers here to encourage them to continue to progress in their careers.

While striving to improve every officer and sailor, Pottenger and Howard said, they understand young women need senior female mentors and leaders to guide them in their career paths.

"In the Navy, a leader is a leader," Pottenger said. "The key is mentorship, caring for sailors, motivating them to succeed and understanding that you can truly be anyone you want to be.

"I've had some great role models in my life and career, both men and women, each allowing me to shine by giving me room to excel," she continued. "I'm always looking forward, not back, and it's my hope that I have been able to help those that will follow me."

Both women have led from the front since the beginning of their careers. Pottenger volunteered for sea duty in 1978, a year after she earned her commission. Howard, a 1982 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, reported aboard USS Hunley for her initial sea-duty assignment. Both women have commanded ships as well as amphibious expeditionary strike groups.

Though both admirals have taken on jobs where they were the first women to hold those positions, neither views their accomplishments as gender-specific.

"There is a terrific opportunity for women in the Navy today," Howard said. "Life is about what you choose to make of it, and a woman can do anything she sets her mind to. I'm at a point in my life where I think it is important to reach out to young women in the Navy and help them develop into the leaders of tomorrow."

Some of surface warfare officers took the admirals' words to heart and said they were motivated to follow in their footsteps.

"Both admirals are great examples of what women can achieve in the Navy," said Navy Lt. Lisa Masso, assigned to Task Force Individual Augmentee. "I really get the sense from talking to them that you can achieve whatever you want. I admire both women because they care so much about people. I hope that I can help those sailors under me grow."

(Navy Lt. Nathan Christensen serves with the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command public affairs office.)

Royals, Fox Sports Honor Missouri Guard's Agribusiness Team

By Johnathan Lemons
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 21, 2009 - The Missouri National Guard's agribusiness team in Afghanistan will get a touch of home when Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals and Fox Sports Network honor them during the Royals' Aug. 8 game with the Oakland A's at Kauffman Stadium here. Members of the joint Army and Air National Guard team, which is working with farmers in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province to modernize and stimulate the province's agricultural economy, will watch the game live at 3 a.m. there.

"This is a great opportunity for soldiers, airmen and families to share an American tradition," said Army Capt. Janet Wunderlich, who is serving with the team in Afghanistan.

Families of the deployed Guard members will receive two free tickets to the game, with the opportunity to purchase additional seats at reduced cost.

"Events like these help with morale, and it makes the family of the deployed servicemember feel a sense of support, too," said Air Force Master Sgt. Marsha Thompson, family program specialist. "It is like a 'thank you' from the servicemember to the family members who support them. The families really get pumped up and excited about these types of events when they know their soldiers and airmen are watching at the same time."

Fox and the Royals recently sent a care package to the 60-member agribusiness team that included team jerseys and caps for the Guardsmen to wear during the telecast.

"Fox Sports Kansas City and the Kansas City Royals were excited to produce a 'This One's For You' telecast in 2009, and the Missouri National Guard was one of the first calls we made," said David Pokorny, Fox Sports Midwest marketing director. "In January, the public affairs office recommended the [agribusiness team], and we've been working jointly with them since."

Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen Cotter, the Missouri Air National Guard's chief of staff, will participate in the opening ceremonies at Kauffman Stadium by giving opening remarks thanking the Royals and Kansas City for their support of the military. Fox Sports will show members of the unit on the stadium's new, big-screen scoreboard, and family members will be able to interact via video teleconference.

"A critical next step was for American Forces Network to clear space on its Aug. 8 schedule for the Royals broadcast," said Geoff Goldman, media relations manager for Fox Sports Midwest. "Once these key steps were complete, the Royals began planning their in-stadium ceremonies, and we began working with our producers and announcers to discuss ways to further enhance the telecast. Everyone involved considers it a privilege to be able to contribute to making it happen."

The Missouri team is working on improving infrastructure in the province with projects including solar-powered irrigation, watershed management, crop management and cold-storage facilities. The team recently participated in the grand opening of eight veterinary clinics in districts throughout Nangarhar. The goal of the team is to improve quality of life in the region and usher in an era of self-sufficiency, officials said.

The first Missouri National Guard agribusiness development team was the pilot team for the nation in 2007. The current team is the second team and is scheduled to be replaced with a third team this fall. Other states have followed Missouri's lead in developing similar teams, including Texas, Indiana, California, Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, Nebraska, Kentucky, Florida and Oklahoma.

(Johnathan Lemons works in the Missouri National Guard's public affairs office.)

Confessions of an Oakland Cop

Editor's Note: The author is a former servicemember and Vietnam Veteran.

On September 4, 2009, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole features a discussion with former Army First Lieutenant and retired
Oakland Police Department Sergeant Robert Searle.

Program Date: September 4, 2009
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Confessions of an Oakland Cop
Listen Live:

About the Guest
Robert Searle, served in the United States Army for three years, including a tour in Vietnam, “spent approximately 23 years in law Enforcement after serving in the Vietnam War. Most of that time was with the Oakland California Police Department. There he worked as a Patrol Officer; as a Field Training Officer; Undercover Agent for The Federal Organized Crime Task Force; Sergeant in Patrol; and as a Sergeant in Major Narcotics Violators Unit of The Vice Squad.” Robert Searle is the author of Streets of Fire: Confessions of an Oakland Cop.

According to the book description of Streets of Fire: Confessions of an Oakland Cop, “The release of Streets of Fire could not be better timed; we need his story now! If you are COP (i.e., Constable on Patrol) Bob understands you. If you like intrigue, grit, excitement and nail biting action, read on! If you are a father, Bob's a great example: his three sons prove that. If you are a young person looking for a role-model, Bob's book is for you. If you are a hooker being controlled by your pimp, or an addiction, please read on. If you are a College student looking for a quick and exciting read, this is it! Or, if you are simply tired of insipid books that don't carry much weight nor deliver much punch, and you are looking for a book that delivers entertainment, counsel, intrigue, suspense, and-the occasional shock factor--then this book is for you!”

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
Lieutenant 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 Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Public Safety 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

Iraq vets' caregivers seek training, compensation

By KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press Writer Kimberly Hefling, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – On good days, Michelle Briggs has to remind her 40-year-old husband to shower and eat. On bad days, she lifts him out of bed and picks him up when he falls.

Robert W. Briggs, a former Army sergeant, was severely injured in Iraq and needs constant monitoring because of traumatic brain injury, blindness in one eye and paralysis on one side. He walks with the help of a service dog. Briggs gave up her job as a veterinarian technician to care for him and their two kids.

With tissue in hand, Michelle Briggs huddled Monday in a hotel conference room with 15 other caregivers who shared hugs and exchanged stories. They will go to Capitol Hill this week with a message to Congress: We need help.

"Mentally, it takes a very big toll on you," said Briggs, 34, of Hillsboro, Iowa, whose husband was injured in a rocket grenade attack in 2005 while serving with the Iowa National Guard. "You have to be a very strong person to get through a lot of it. It's a choice whether you stay or not. It's very much a choice."

Briggs said she's met other spouses of injured veterans who sought a divorce.

"It doesn't make them a bad person at all, but they just couldn't handle the situation because it's very, very stressful and you have to fight for the things that you're entitled to," Briggs said.

The caregivers say parents, spouses and siblings of the disabled have given up jobs, health insurance and college to care for a loved one. Yet they get no compensation to ease the burden.

"We're providing them with such a better quality of life and we need support in order to provide that," said Tracy Keil, 31, of Parker, Colo., whose husband, Matthew Keil, was paralyzed from the chest down from a sniper's bullet in 2007 and now needs around-the-clock care.

The two married six weeks before he was injured. She said she gave up the job she had as an accountant for 11 years and makes $60,000 less working from home part-time for a nonprofit organization.

The caregivers seek passage of legislation that would require the Veterans Affairs Department to offer more training to primary caregivers of severely injured veterans from the recent wars. Those certified would be eligible for benefits such as health care and a stipend of a few hundred dollars a week.

The alternative, they say, would be life in an institution for some veterans now mostly in their 20s or 30s.

Sen. Daniel Akaka, chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, who authored legislation in the Senate to address the issue with Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said there are more than just an isolated few families asking for help.

"This has been growing, growing to the point now where we can not ignore it," Akaka said.

Akaka, D-Hawaii, said he's waiting for a final analysis about how much the legislation would cost, although he's confident keeping a veteran in the home is cheaper than a nursing home.

The VA has expressed concerns about the cost of the legislation. It has also said it would divert from the agency's mission of providing care to veterans and training clinicians, and said some of the same services are provided in other programs.

Phil Budahn, a VA spokesman, said in a statement the agency would continue to look for ways to "appropriately support these compassionate providers."

Steven Nardizzi, executive director of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based Wounded Warrior Project, which organized the caregivers' effort this week, said what the VA provides simply isn't adequate. He said the VA needs to adapt its primary mission to include helping families of the wounded, and providing health benefits and a stipend would go a long way.

"If the VA thinks they're already providing or the administration thinks they're already providing support, it's because they're simply not paying attention and not listening to the families right now," Nardizzi said.

His group estimates that under legislation it's seeking, about 750 caregivers would be eligible long-term, whereas several thousand would participate for about one to three years.

Briggs said she's thrown out her back at different times lifting her husband. She said she went through a period of depression as she adjusted to their new life but has learned to find comfort talking to other caregivers. She said she's dedicated to making their arrangement work but could use more resources.

"I love him and we've been married — it will be 15 years in November. It's like your marriage vows for better or worse," Briggs said. "This wasn't his fault, and there would be no one else to take care of him properly. He would be in a nursing home."


On the Net:

Wounded Warrior Project: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee: http://veterans.senate.gov/

Veterans Affairs Department: http://www.va.gov/
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