Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tracking and Recovery of Persons at Risk

Editor's Note:  The guest is a former servicemember.

On February 4, 2010, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a conversation with Captain Gene Saunders, Chesapeake Police Department (ret.) on the radio tracking and recovery of persons at risk.

Program Date: February 4, 2010
Program Time: 1700 Hours Pacific
Topic: Radio Tracking and Recovery of Persons at Risk
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About the Project Lifesaver International
Citizens enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small LoJack® SafetyNet™ personal transmitter around the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal. If an enrolled client goes missing, the caregiver notifies their local Project Lifesaver agency, and a trained emergency team responds to the wanderer's area. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for PLI clients average 30 minutes -- 95% less time than standard operations. The Project Lifesaver Program also offers National Alzheimer’s training and certificates for interested members.

About the Guest
Captain Gene Saunders, Chesapeake Police Department (ret.) served 33 years in Patrol, Vice, Narcotics, Detectives and Training. He served in-line function and command elements of all of these units. Gene Saunders co-founded the Special Weapons and Tactics team in 1974 and served as tactical commander and commander for 23 years and over 800 operations. He served as Chief Investigator on several large multi-state, international drug conspiracy investigations. In addition to his law enforcement service, Gene Saunders also served in National Guard and State Defense force in Infantry, Airborne and Ranger Units in various leadership positions. He has been a certified instructor in Pursuit Driving, Firearms, Special Operations, Raid Planning, General Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue. He founded Project Lifesaver International in 1999 and have overseen its' growth to over 1,070 public safety organizations in 45 states; Canada and Australia.

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

An American Family in World War II

On January 22, 2010, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a conversation with Dr. Sandra O'Connell on An American Family in World War II.

Program Date: January 22, 2010
Program Time: 2100 Hours Pacific
Topic: An American Family in World War II
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About the Book
According to the book description of An American Family in World War II, “On the morning of December 7, 1941, life for families across America was forever changed by events over which they had no control, but were to witness and play a part. An American Family in World War II is the moving story of one of those families — told largely in their own words. When Ralph Minker Jr. entered U.S. Army Air Cadet training in 1943, he began a correspondence with his parents and two teenage sisters; letters that describe the rigors of pilot training and ultimately his life at “this air base I call home,” as he flew 37 combat missions over Nazi Germany. The letters from the family members to Lee bring a vibrant reality to the home front — rationing, bond drives, and the daily tension of war — through the people who lived it. Woven together with commentary by the editors, this is an intensely personal and richly detailed account of life in America during the harrowing days of WWII.”

About Captain Ralph Lee Minker
Captain Ralph Minker, USA “was 18 when he entered Army Air Cadet training on his way to becoming a B-17 bomber pilot. He exchanged letters with his parents and two sisters throughout the war. After completing combat in 1945, he returned to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1947. Ordained a Methodist Minister in 1952, Reverend Minker served eight churches in the Delaware and Maryland Conference of the United Methodist Church before retiring in 1990. In 2005 Ralph Minker was inducted into the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1995, Rev. Minker was active in planning the book and proud when it was published. He passed away from complications of the disease on August 5, 2008.”

About the Guest
Sandra O'Connell and Ralph Minker were married in March 1980. Reading the Minker family correspondence and a meeting in 2000 with WW II historian, Harry Butowsky, led inevitably (after five years of work) to An American Family in World War II. She was the lead researcher and writer on Ralph’s missions and the home front issues. Prior writing experience includes nine years as technology editor for HR Magazine. Sandra has a Ph.D. from New York University.

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

Chairman Calls Strategy Year's Greatest Challenge

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 10, 2010 - Executing the president's strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan presents his biggest challenge, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told CNN host Fareed Zakaria today.

However, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said he sees progress being made in both countries.

"In December, we recruited to an exceptionally high number for the Afghans' army specifically; so much so that the [Afghan] minister of defense had to stop recruiting mid-month because he was well over what the system could absorb," the chairman said. "That's a good sign."

Mullen indicated that an increase in pay for Afghan security forces might have been part of the reason behind the recruiting success.

While security force numbers are up, problems still exist within the Afghan government. Tribal elders claim endemic corruption on all levels. Significant steps need to be taken to deal with this issue, Mullen said, noting that President Barack Obama has spoken to the need for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his leadership to address the problem.

"These same elders said to me that they were embarrassed that the United States soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines were dying for them," Mullen said. "They appreciate what we've done, but they really want to lead the effort."

The situation in Pakistan also seems to be shifting, the chairman noted. He's met with the head of the Pakistani army about 20 times.

"He just finished his ninth campaign over the last year, year and a half up in South Waziristan," Mullen said. "I spent all day in Swat, flew from South to North, and where a lot of us thought Swat was a year ago and where it was headed is ... completely reversed."

The United States' relationship with Pakistan is absolutely critical, Mullen said. His many visits are part of an effort to rebuild trust lost as the United States has a long history of supporting the country, but also has left it "hanging several times," he said.

Mullen said the visits help him understand, through the eyes of the Pakistanis, what the country's challenges are.

The interview also addressed al-Qaida, the group's tie to Yemen and the "Christmas Bomber."

Yemen has made improvements, Mullen said, despite facing internal challenges that include a rebellion in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and a battle with al-Qaida.

"I don't understate both the challenges internal to Yemen, as well as the need for the international community to support and help with respect to how we address this in the future," he said. "And this al-Qaida threat is not going away. It's going to keep coming at us -- and I don't just mean us the 'United States,' I think 'us' internationally -- until we take steps to finish it off."

Mullen's words come in the wake of a suspected attempted bombing by a Nigerian man with alleged ties to al-Qaida in Yemen. He was a passenger on a Northwest Airlines flight into Detroit Metro Airport on Christmas Day.

The United States has not taken a more aggressive approach in Yemen, which is thought to have a "few hundred al-Qaida members," according to intelligence reports, out of respect for the country, Mullen said. That estimate is higher than that of the number of al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

"It's a sovereign country," he said. "We have great respect for the president there in terms of his judgment, in terms of what he needs to do this, and right now as far as any kind of boots on the ground there, with respect to the United States, that's just not ... a possibility."

The reason for the combined force of 100,000 U.S. and NATO troops on the ground in Afghanistan, despite the smaller number of al-Qaida, is to make sure the Taliban doesn't return and create a permissive environment where al-Qaida could return and flourish, Mullen said.

Iran, and the effort to ensure it doesn't develop a nuclear weapon, also will prove a challenge, he noted.

"When I speak of leaving all options on the table [for dealing with Iran], certainly it includes the potential for military options," Mullen said. "But I've also been very vocal on the need for the diplomatic, the political, the international focus here, to generate enough intensity and motivation on the part of the leadership of Iran not to consummate this threat."

Iran's success in creating a nuclear weapon would prove destabilizing for the region, possibly creating a regional nuclear weapons race, Mullen said.

Mullen also touched on relations with Russia and China during the interview. Both present challenges for the United States.

With Russia, the challenges are not simply military-to-military, but between the two countries, he said. "I think they are a country that we need to continue to engage and understand and be realistic about what the possibilities are," Mullen said. "I've spent a fair amount of time working on the new ... nuclear weapons agreement that hopefully will be put in place here in the next few weeks or months."

As for China, those relations may be more than critical, he said. "None of us believe that a conflict with China is going to be productive in any way, shape or form," Mullen said.

He indicated the president and China's leader have taken steps that signal a desire to work together.

Mullen also briefly commented on the United States' strategy in Iraq.

"We will continue to come out of Iraq after the elections that are now set for March 7 and that appears to be on a good glide scope," he said. "I was just in Iraq and confirmed that."

The number of troops on the ground in Iraq is on schedule to be reduced to 50,000 by the end of the year, he said.

Continuity of Care Heals the Wounded and Builds Trust

By Col. Charles C. Engel
Director, Deployment Health Clinical Center, WRAMC

This post is republished from The Military Health System Blog.

What do you think is the most important part of your medical care? Insurance coverage? Cancer screening? The right diagnosis? A particular diagnostic test? The right medicine? Time to ask medicine? These are all important considerations to be sure. A growing number of doctors and patients point to something called “continuity of care” as the single most important ingredient in your medical care. What exactly is this elusive thing with your doctor called “continuity”? Well, there are many parts to continuity of care, but some are pretty central. Most people find that the basics of continuity of care are so simple that they amount to common sense. But alas! We often lament just how uncommon that common sense is, and many will undoubtedly feel this is no exception to the rule.

Here are some signs that you have good continuity:

• You have one main (primary care) provider or doctor.

• You know who your primary care doctor is and think of him or her as "my doctor."

• Your doctor thinks of you as "my patient."

• Your doctor has a good sense of your health and tracks it.

• Your doctor makes an effort to understand what’s important to you.

• Your doctor also takes care of others in your immediate family.

• You usually see the same doctor when you come in for care.

• When you see the doctor, you find out about the planned visit before you leave.

• When your doctor orders a test, you are sure to hear the result.

You get the idea. Continuity works in shades rather than in black and white. I suspect that few people can report that all of the above describe the medical care that they are receiving. I suspect that more people than we want to admit would say that few or even none of them describe the health care they receive.

Why is continuity of care such an important thing? How does it make a difference? There are those doctors and (fewer) patients out there who think that too much is made of it. These people tend to focus more on the “gee-whiz” scientific and technical side of care. But if you tend to see it that way, stop and think. Studies of continuity tell us that lack of continuity is associated with doctor and patient errors. High continuity leads to greater trust and confidence in your doctor, making it more likely that you will follow the medical advice you receive, and take prescribed medicines. Much of medical care is a process of trial and error. It takes continuity to see such a process through to a fast completion. Indeed, it takes continuity to check to assess whether treatment is working and selecting what to try next if the first try hasn’t helped.

Do you have good continuity of care? Perhaps you have some stories from your own care that show how good continuity led to a good outcome that you believe would not have happened without that continuity. If so, tell us about it. Tell us what you think about “continuity of care” and why it is or isn’t important to you.

Engel is also an associate professor of psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Laws Change for Military, Overseas Voters

By Carmen L. Gleason
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2010 - Servicemembers and overseas voters shouldn't assume they automatically will receive ballots for the 2010 elections just because they have in the past. Previously, voters would receive absentee ballots for up to two cycles following their request, Bob Carey, Federal Voting Assistance Program director, said yesterday during the 2010 election year kick-off. He said new laws require voters to submit federal postcard applications for absentee ballots on a yearly basis.

In the coming months, Carey and his team will travel worldwide to train voting assistance officers at embassies, consulates and overseas military facilities to ensure voters understand the process and can exercise their right to vote.

"We are training thousands to train millions," Carey said. "[We want] to make sure that each and every military and overseas voter has the opportunity to successfully request an absentee ballot, receive their absentee ballot and cast it in time so it is counted."

The voting assistance program staff is striving to make it easy for voters to receive and cast their ballots for the upcoming election through the program's Web site,

Carey said his staff is converting to a Web-based process that's similar to many tax-filing programs, with an intuitive, easy-to-understand application. "You don't have to know how to go through the 250-page voter's assistance guide – all will be online," he said.

Once voters answer a few questions, Carey explained, forms and ballots automatically will populate with relevant information, making it easier for users.

Although the program's staff is doing its best to make the process easy for military and overseas voters, people need to move quickly to ensure they get to vote. Voter applications may take a while to make it to hometown election offices, and it could take up to a month after that for ballots to be sent to voters.

Carey said voters who have applied for a ballot but don't receive their ballot at least a month before the election should instead use the federal write-in absentee ballot available on the voting assistance Web site.

"When [voters] get their regular ballot, they should still complete and return it," he said. "If it gets there in time, it will take its place."

In addition to starting the process in a timely manner, Carey said voters also should:

-- Submit a new federal postcard application with every move so the most current address is on file;

-- Fill out all forms in their entirety, because officials need an alternate way to reach an individual so their vote can be counted if the form is illegible; and

-- Go to to see their state's requirements.

Although applications were distributed to all deploying troops before their departure, Carey said, many didn't know their future mailing address and therefore left portions of the application blank. Once troops have the needed information, they can complete the forms online, even from a computer outside of the military domain.

Air Force Studies Brain Injuries

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2010 - Compression chambers used to treat divers who experienced "the bends" after ascending too quickly may offer clues to treating wounded warriors suffering traumatic brain injuries. An Air Force study at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio hopes to determine if hyperbaric oxygen therapy shows promise in treating patients with mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries.

A team with the San Antonio Military Medical Center Hyperbaric Center and Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine launched the study last year, and expects to come up with preliminary results as soon as this summer. The study seeks to determine if patients experience improvements in their cognitive abilities after being exposed to pressured, 100-percent oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber, explained Dr. E. George Wolf, a physician directing the study.

The goal is to improve the patient's ability to think, remember, recognize and concentrate. These abilities often are impaired in troops with traumatic brain injuries, many attributed to blows to the head, nearby explosions, concussion or penetrating wounds.

Twenty-five soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines afflicted with TBI are currently participating in the study, with another 25 to join in the months ahead. Half are receiving hyperbaric therapy and half are in the control group that is not, although neither the subjects nor the researchers know at this point which subjects are in which group, Wolf said.

The subjects enter the room-sized hyperbaric chamber for 30 treatments over a course of six weeks, he said. Inside the chamber, a hood is fastened over the head to deliver pure oxygen. Pressure within the chamber drives more of this oxygen into the subjects' bloodstreams than they otherwise would receive.

The control group goes through the same procedure, but their chamber isn't pressurized, and they breathe standard air, a 21-percent oxygen concentration.

During the course of the treatments -- before, throughout and after the exposures are completed – the researcher gives the subjects a battery of tests designed to measure their cognitive abilities.

The study hopes to provide scientific evidence proving that the increased oxygen provided through hyperbaric therapy helps to restore abilities lost due to traumatic brain injuries.

Air Force Col. (Dr.) Robert Michaelson, chief of hyperbaric medicine at San Antonio Military Medical Center, said it's not yet fully understood why hyperbaric treatments may help TBI patients. One popular theory is that it helps to restart damaged brain cells that have stopped functioning properly.

"For some reason, and it is still unexplained, hyperbaric oxygen allows these cells to be turned back on by stimulating the production of energy within the cells," he said. "It seems to have a positive effect."

Another theory is that hyperbaric therapy mobilizes the body's stem cells, dispatching them to the brain to repair damaged neurons, Wolf said.

Regardless of why it may work, Wolf and Michaelson agree that if proven effective, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can mean life-changing differences for wounded warriors suffering from TBI. In the most optimistic projections, troops could return to normal functioning. Those who wish to remain on active duty, as many do, would be able to.

In other cases, the treatments could help to reduce patients' dependence on personal data assistants, hand-written notes and alarm clocks that many have come to rely on as ever-present reminders as they go about their day-to-day business.

"Hopefully, it will allow better lifestyle changes and actually treat the underlying cause, versus trying to cope with the symptoms," Wolf said. "It would be a great accomplishment if our study provides evidence that hyperbaric therapy can help these warfighters so they can be offered another opportunity to recover from their injuries."

As the study continues, the Defense Department is considering another, larger study to further explore the use of hyperbaric medicine in treating TBI, Michaelson said.

Bulgarians explore veteran care in Tennessee

By 2nd Lt. John D. Fesler
Tennessee National Guard

(1/8/10) -- Members of the Bulgarian Executive Agency of Social Activities of Ministry of Defense visited the Tennessee National Guard in December to learn about the social care of U.S. military veterans. Started in 1993, the Tennessee-Bulgaria relationship has continued to evolve under the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. The program pairs military organizations from different countries with a state’s National Guard organization to familiarize, build relationships and learn from each other's strengths.

There are currently 62 partnerships in the State Partnership Program.

"The Tennessee-Bulgaria partnership has been one of the most active since we began in 1993," said retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, Tennessee’s former adjutant general. "Over the years, we have had dozens of exchanges with our Soldiers and Airmen going to Bulgaria and members of the Bulgarian military visiting Tennessee to learn about our military structure."

During their visit, led by Bulgarian Air Force Reserve Maj. Manol Tentchev, the group visited the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, discussed veteran’s affairs with leadership from the AMVETS organization and toured the Tennessee Spine and Rehabilitation Center.

Through an interpreter, Tentchev expressed how impressed he was with how American military veterans are cared for. “While Bulgaria does not have the infrastructure to care for veterans the way America does,” said Tentchev. “I will take the information learned on this trip back to Bulgaria and hopefully implement some of the processes used in Tennessee.”

Gary Trende, chief operating officer of the Tennessee Valley Veteran’s Affairs Healthcare System believes the exchange of information between Bulgaria and Tennessee can be very beneficial to continuing the strong relationship between Tennessee and Bulgaria.

“I am proud to have been asked to take part in this event and was happy to discuss the Department of Veterans Affairs dedication to our servicemembers,” he said. “Hopefully in the near future, we can take the relationship further and visit Bulgaria and tour their facilities to gain a better understanding of their social care of veterans.”

Adaptive Sports Inspire Wounded Veteran

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2010 - Wounded military members struggle with an endless set of challenges in overcoming their physical and mental disabilities. And no one may understand what it takes to get past those hurdles better than Army veteran John Register. Ironically, Register's left leg was amputated in 1994 following an accident in which he jumped across a hurdle. A member of the Army's World Class Athlete program, he landed wrong and dislocated his knee while training for a track and field event.

Register now directs the U.S. Olympic Committee's Paralympics military programs for disabled veterans. He was in the Pentagon yesterday to help the Defense Department and U.S. Olympic Committee announce the inaugural Warrior Games, which will take place May 10-14 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Gulf War veteran attests that overcoming his disability was difficult, but the power of sports helped him to discover a newfound sense of "liberation" through Paralympics sports and competition. He said he believes the Warrior Games and adaptive sports rehabilitation can have the same positive effect on others.

"The inaugural games, the Warrior Games, will be a great event," Register said. "But I think that the greatest thing that's going to come from this is the impact that will happen after the games are over, the legacies that will be left in the communities when the people return home to share their experiences."

The Paralympics division of the U.S. Olympic Committee has been working with wounded veterans since 2003 to enhance their lives through sports. Many military members dealing with amputations, loss of limb function and even traumatic brain injury have garnered a second chance at life, using sports to build confidence and self esteem, said Register, a two-time Paralympian and silver medalist.

Sports were a very important part of Register's life. He was a collegiate all-American and a member of the Army's World Class Athlete Program in track and field. But for a short time, all of that changed. His six-year Army career ended along with his Olympic dreams the day he decided to let the doctors amputate his leg.

"I was faced with a choice: either to keep my limb and use a walker or wheelchair or some other type of assistive device to get around for my mobility, or to undertake an amputation," he said. "I chose amputation, and when I did so, my life immediately changed."

Register began swimming and was fortunate enough to reach the world-class level again. He competed in the 1996 Paralympics Games, and two years later began running and competing once again in the long jump. He won his silver medal in the games in Sydney, Australia.

"Through faith and family and sport -- especially sport, and Paralympics sport -- I really found the liberation of freedom, so to speak, as I once enjoyed life as I knew it," he said.

As the associate director for community and military programs for the Paralympics, Register now focuses on helping other disabled veterans realize their potential. He said he hopes to help all wounded veterans realize that just because they're disabled, they're not incapable.

"No matter how we come to our life-defining moments in time, we have a choice in which we can move forward," he said. "We can either choose to settle into our setbacks, or we can soar forward knowing that we have those support networks and support groups around us that can help us get to and get back to those active lifestyles that we once enjoyed before we were injured."

Adaptive sports also provide an opportunity for recovered veterans to give back to newly injured troops. Athletes often participate in their communities and at veterans hospitals as mentors and role models, sharing their experiences and helping those who are less optimistic about their disabilities.

"Through sports, we begin to carve a new path in their lives by allowing the servicemember to see their continued value to society and regain an active lifestyle, whether that's with their family or friends or their military or civilian communities," he said. "Sports really does make a difference.

"Yes, it was the platform for me," he continued, "but I can do anything I want to now, because ... I've found myself again. And when I've found myself again, I can get back and engage into life."

Social Security Benefits for Wounded Warriors

By Yolanda York
Social Security Public Affairs, San Diego

Men and women serving in the U.S. military who become disabled while on active duty are receiving ‘expedited processing’ of disability claims from Social Security. The expedited process is for military service members who were disabled on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs. People in the military can apply for and receive benefits even while receiving military pay.

And to make things easier for our service men and women, we’ve developed an easily accessible website all about benefits for wounded warriors. Whether you’re stateside or deployed abroad, just visit The website has everything you need to know about Social Security and military service — including a link to apply for disability benefits online.

As Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said, “I want to assure the brave men and women of our Armed Forces and their families that they will not have to wait for these needed benefits. Expedited processing is just one way Social Security can show our military personnel how much we appreciate their service in defense of our freedom.”

Once the application for Social Security disability benefits is taken, it is uniquely identified as being from a U.S. military service member, and it is expedited through all phases of processing, both in Social Security and the state Disability Determination Service, where the actual medical determination of disability is made.

Disabled military personnel may apply for disability benefits at any time while in active military status, or after discharge, whether they are still hospitalized, in a rehabilitation program or undergoing out-patient treatment in a military or civilian medical facility.

It is important to understand, however, that the definition of disability under Social Security is different than the definition of disability for veterans’ benefits. To be considered disabled under Social Security, you must be unable to do substantial work because of your medical condition(s); and your medical condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least one year or be expected to result in death. Also, Social Security does not provide benefits for people with partial disability or short-term disability.

Military servicemen and women can receive expedited service whether they apply for Social Security disability benefits online or in person at the nearest Social Security office. The online site for applications from military personnel is Disability applicants can also call1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to schedule an appointment at their local Social Security office.


Description: The Department of Defense is looking for the next generation of healthcare programs and operations leaders! The Military Health System (MHS) provides exceptional healthcare to military members, their family, and military retirees. In order to meet the demand for future leaders in a military medical environment, we have developed a two-year paid internship program for up to 15 positions. A strong mentorship component will guide each intern's individual development and success. Upon successful completion of the program, participants may be converted without competition to a career-conditional appointment in Federal service.

More Information

157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade prepares for Warfighter exercise

Date: January 8, 2010
By Sgt. Andy Poquette
Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

Approximately 90 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers journeyed to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Monday [Jan. 4] to train on the systems they will employ during their first Warfighter exercise as a the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB).

"This is our Soldiers' first opportunity to participate in a realistic wartime scenario as a MEB," said Col. Mark J. Michie, 157th Brigade commander. "We have been training on the process, and now we get to train on the execution of our mission."

The Soldiers, from the Milwaukee-based Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 157th, will spend four days in a classroom environment learning the various systems they will use during the exercise, which begins Jan. 11. This exercise is the first that the 157th has conducted since it transformed from a field artillery brigade to a maneuver enhancement brigade.

The 157th began their transformation from a field artillery brigade in 2007. Transitioning from a field artillery brigade to a maneuver enhancement brigade has had its challenges, but has also opened up many opportunities for brigade personnel.

"A MEB requires a different mindset than a field artillery brigade," Michie explained. "It's much more multi-function than the singular mission of field artillery."

The maneuver enhancement brigade utilizes complex computer systems to provide operational and tactical support in a designated area of operations. This support includes unit tracking, mapping, and logistical support for both higher and lower echelons.

To prepare for the Warfighter exercise, several brigade staff members participated in a staff exercise last November, and Soldiers are being trained on individual systems while at Fort Leonard Wood. Soldiers will attend four days of classes covering the Movement Control System (MCS), Command Post of the Future (CPOF), and Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) before the exercise begins Monday.

"As we continue to develop our expertise, our lower enlisted and junior officers continue to grow into more advanced leadership roles," added Michie.

"The transition has brought new opportunities for our Soldiers to broaden their knowledge base," said Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Shields, the 157th Brigade command sergeant major. "New areas of responsibility, leadership opportunities, and career progression paths are available for Soldiers who are willing to attend the necessary schools.

"Success of any organization is based on its willingness to adapt and move forward," Shields continued. "Change is good. But without the tremendous support of our families and employers, we would never have come as far as we have."

Agency Aids Construction Material Purchases

American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2010 - Defense Logistics Agency officials have made shopping for construction materials easier for warfighters in Afghanistan.

DLA has created an online shopping portal, also known as a virtual storefront, so troops in Afghanistan can see what types of construction materials are available from local contractors in their region.

The Maintenance, Repair and Operations Uzbekistan Virtual Storefront warehouse and Web site is open for business. DLA leaders say they expect that allowing warfighters to check available stocks in real time will shorten delivery times by as much as 60 to 90 days on certain items.

"The virtual storefront is being established for proof of principle that ordering and shipping time can be improved by moving supplies closer to the point of use," said Linda Gruber, branch chief for the agency's construction and equipment supplier operations directorate.

The virtual storefront was established through an agreement between DLA and one of its contractors to create a prime vendor-owned and operated facility in Termez, Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan to the north.

Within the area of operations, the storefront will procure, distribute and store material manufactured in South Caucasus and Central and South Asian states. Besides Uzbekistan, countries included in these two groups are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. In addition, items can also be sourced from any Trade Agreement Act compliant country.

"Having the products closer to the fight will make it easier for warfighters by reducing logistics response and delivery time," said Chet Evanitsky, DLA's construction and equipment supply chain division chief.

So far, 24 types of construction material products are available for delivery to customers through the virtual storefront. These include cement, concrete, fencing, roofing, rope, sand, steel, gutters and pipe. Additional items will be added on an as-needed basis, Gruber said.

Other high-demand items not manufactured or sourced in the region, such as replacement parts for relocatable buildings, also may become available through the storefront. DLA officials also are identifying sources for food items in Uzbekistan and plan to share these sources with subsistence prime vendors for potential local purchase as long as items meet quality and price requirements.

As the Defense Department's combat logistics support agency, DLA is responsible for providing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies and joint and allied forces with a variety of logistics, acquisition and technical services.

(From a Defense Logistics Agency news release.)

Scientists Clarify 'Mini-Sub' Role at Pearl Harbor

By Judith Snyderman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2010 - Scientists who have been studying wreckage from Japanese mini-submarines that were part of an advance strike force on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, say a new television show is informative, but could leave viewers with misunderstandings.

For one thing, they say, the show -- part of PBS's "NOVA" series -- reveals no new discoveries. "It's basically a synopsis of the work that we performed up through 2000," Navy Capt. John A. Rodgaard said during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable Jan. 6. Rodgaard was joined by Peter Hsu, a scientist who analyzes forensic shock effects of underwater explosions, and Robert Neyland of the Naval History and Heritage Command, which studies shipwrecks and sunken aircraft.

These experts say there's no dispute that hours before the main air attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese navy launched five mini-subs armed with torpedoes from larger submarines. U.S. Navy ships sank the mini-subs, and the first pieces of wreckage were identified by the Hawaiian underwater research lab called HURL in 1992.

Another key piece of evidence is an aerial photograph of one of the mini-subs that was taken by a Japanese aircraft. In 1994, Rodgaard used that evidence to correct earlier beliefs that only one of the five submarines that had been launched made it into the harbor, and that it failed in its attack.

"What we demonstrated initially was that a second one had actually entered and also was successful in its attack," he said.

The mini-sub pictured in the aerial photograph is the one featured in the television documentary, Rodgaard explained. But the show implies the wreckage is a new find, he added, when it actually was well known for years, though it wasn't identified as one of the five Pearl Harbor attack mini-subs until recently.

Neyland said the timeline presented by the program incorrectly suggests the sub was the last of the five launched. "We consider that the No. 1 submarine, based on the Japanese records of the release times," he said.

One other problem, Rodgaard said, is the documentary's assertion that a mini-sub torpedo struck the USS Arizona and did not detonate.

"I don't know about you, but I don't think an object such as a torpedo that winds up being a dud, striking an object at [42] knots, is going to remain intact," he said. Hsu theorized that, based on weight analyses, the unexploded torpedo depicted on the show may have been dropped from an aircraft.

Despite these concerns, the experts agreed that the story of the Pearl Harbor mini-subs is a fascinating piece of history that deserves ongoing research. One mystery is the location of the wreckage in a 1,000-foot-deep debris field outside Pearl Harbor. Neyland said it's clear the mini-sub must have been salvaged after the war ended, but that leaves unanswered questions, such as why it is where it is, why it is disassembled, and why no record exists of it having been found and salvaged out of Pearl Harbor.

Rodgaard added that a 15-foot section of the mini-sub is missing, and he hopes it will be found. Each piece of evidence is a time capsule of history, he said.

Scientific techniques such as bio-corrosion studies on bolts and studies of the origins of microorganisms attached to parts may solve some of these mysteries. "I would say our journey continues," he said. "There are quite a few things that we could still do."

(Judith Snyderman works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)