Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Amos Confirmed as Marine Corps Commandant

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2010 – The Senate yesterday confirmed Gen. James F. Amos as the 35th Marine Corps commandant, to replace retiring Gen. James T. Conway who has served in the post since November 2006.

The voice vote makes Amos the first career aviation officer to hold the top Marine post. He is slated to be sworn at an Oct. 22 ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, officials reported.

The Senate’s confirmation vote makes Amos, who has served as assistant commandant since July 2008, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Senate yesterday also confirmed Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Joseph Dunford, commander of I Marine Expeditionary Force, to serve as Amos’ deputy.

During his Sept. 21 confirmation hearing, Amos vowed to make winning the war in Afghanistan his top priority. Amos added that he’ll be forthright in assessing the Marine Corps’ needs.

“I am keenly aware of the challenges our nation faces today, and likely will face in the future,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “And, I understand the critical role of our expeditionary forces.”

In the biggest headline-making comments during the hearing, Amos told questioning lawmakers he personally opposes repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. He vowed, however, to ensure that whatever is decided regarding the law, he would ensure that it is enforced.

Amos credited Conway with producing what he said are the best Marines in decades.

“Our Marines have never been better trained, or better led,” he said. “They are simply magnificent.”

MCAS Miramar Opens Door for Air Show

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kimara Johnson, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

MIRAMAR, Calif. (NNS) -- Marine Corps Air Station Miramar opened its gates to the San Diego community to host its annual air show Oct. 1-3.

An estimated 500,000 people came to watch this year's show over a 3-day period.

This year's theme, "Marines: A Tradition of Uncommon Valor" honors the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The show began with the Army Golden Knights, the Army's parachute team, followed by a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) demonstration that had ground forces and airplanes simulating an attack. The MAGTF demonstrators rappelled from a helicopter while F/A-18 Hornets and AV-8B Harriers roared past, while infantry platoons in armored vehicles moved in on their ground target. From there, pilots took to the sky to demonstrate their platform's abilities.

Also taking part in the air show were the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, an air demonstration team flying the CT-114 Tutor. The Legacy Flight featured vintage World War II, Korean War and Vietnam- era Navy and Marine Corps fighter planes fly alongside the F/A-18 Hornet.

Many people took time out to take part in the Navy SEAL Challenge kiosk. Participants could see if they could score high enough to qualify as a SEAL by doing a rope climb, push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. Some participants were able to try on some of the actual equipment used by SEAL Team 12.

"He loves this military stuff," said Darin Smith about his son, Jacob, who he brought from Escondido, Calif. "He can name all the planes they have on display here. He is so excited because he gets to see the things from the 'Call of Duty' game. It's the same stuff."

The crowd was able to interact with hands-on displays such as the Raptor Virtual Reality fighter game and some spectators got to help repack the Golden Knights and Navy Leap Frogs' parachutes after their joint performance.

"The boys love the airplanes and activities here," said Tony Attallah of his sons, who traveled from Los Angeles to spend the day. "They love the Navy, Air Force or anything military."

The U.S. Navy Band Southwest entertained the crowd throughout the show. The band travels around the world performing pop music at events to help boost interest in the service.

"We play a lot of pop music with funk and soul," said Musician 3rd Class Michael Santos, of the Navy Band South West. "It appeals to a broad spectrum of the people who may join the Navy. "

Thousands lined up along the flight line to see the world-famous U.S. Navy flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels. This year's team would feature their first female pilot, Lt. Cmdr. Amy Tomlinson, flying the #8 F/A-18 Hornet. The program also featured an evening twilight show.

Lincoln Strike Group Trains With Silent Partner

By Lt. Jacquelyn R. Bengfort, USS Shoup (DDG 86) Public Affairs

USS Shoup, At Sea (NNS) -- The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, with the assistance of fast attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776), conducted an anti-submarine warfare exercise off the coast of Guam Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

The 30-hour exercise encompassed four unique back-to-back training events, with Rear Adm. Mark Guadagnini, commander of the carrier strike group, observing the events on board USS Shoup (DDG 86).

"It's great to be here today to see Shoup's professional warriors at work," said Guadagnini while addressing Shoup's crew.

For Shoup's anti-submarine warfare team, the exercise presented a welcome opportunity to prove their abilities against a live submarine "adversary" of considerable skill. Ensign Greg Emry, anti-submarine warfare officer on Shoup, was very pleased with the division's performance.

"They did outstanding work," said Emry. "All operators were focused and performed like pros."

Hawaii was a formidable opponent. The newest of the Navy's Virginia-class submarines, Hawaii uses a vast network of fiber optics, digital cameras, and high definition video for surveillance, and can carry more torpedoes than previous submarine classes.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is currently on a routine deployment to the U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility. Hawaii's deployment to the Pacific marks the first to the region by a Virginia-class submarine.

Jessica Simpson Embarks Truman

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonnie Hobby, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Singer and actress Jessica Simpson visited USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Oct. 1 during the ship's current deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The visit, sponsored by Navy Entertainment and the United Services Organization (USO), included several autograph sessions, meals with the crew, and a performance in the ship's hangar bay.

During her visit, eight Truman Sailors and Marines performed for Jessica and several hundred of their shipmates for the chance to perform a duet with her at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting in November.

The eight Sailors had been selected to sing based on the results of their audition during the carrier's "Truman Idol" talent search, a program modeled after the popular TV show.

Although temperatures in the hangar bay reached well into the upper 90s, the gifted singers had no trouble singing Jessica's special request song: "I'll be Home for Christmas".

"When I auditioned for her I was nervous at first," said Yeoman Seaman Marshondra Miller, the contest runner-up. "After a little while, I realized that she's a person too, so I became more comfortable. I had a really good time singing in front of her, and she gave all the singers nothing but compliments."

Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class John Britt, USS Harry S. Truman Air department, V-2 division, emerged as the contest winner. Britt's wife and child will be accompanying him to New York to watch his performance and share the experience.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm honored to be part of it," said Britt. "I'm excited to be able to represent Truman, as well as the entire Navy. My family and shipmates are proud of me, and I couldn't ask for anything better."

Britt's duet with Jessica will also be featured in her upcoming Christmas album.

"She knows the sacrifices the military men and women are making on behalf of their country, and she wants to do what she can in return," said Joe Simpson, Jessica's father and manager. "She's proud to be able to sing with someone fighting for our freedom."

Capt. Craig Clapperton, USS Harry S. Truman executive officer, said he was honored to have Jessica on board as a guest, and felt she boosted the crew's morale with her heartfelt appreciation of their professionalism and service.

"I got to get my picture taken with her," said Operations Specialist Seaman Jeroy Williams. "It was really amazing to meet a celebrity. She's a lot prettier in real life, but she's shorter than I thought she'd be. She was really nice to everybody, and I'm really glad I was able to meet her."

During a performance in the ship's hangar bay, Jessica thanked the hundreds of Sailors and Marines for their service and shared love of country and sang "God Bless America."

"I've never meet anybody famous before," said Operation Specialist Seaman Alison Wagner. "It's really great that she took the time to come out here to visit us while we were deployed. It definitely lifted my spirits and made me feel a lot better being on deployment."

During a tour of the ship, Jessica also participated in a 50 cal. gun shoot, served as a helmsman on the bridge, and spoke to the crew on the 1-MC. Although she enjoyed everything during her visit, her favorite part, she said, was meeting the crew members.

"I've been on many USO trips," she said, "and I always enjoy sitting and talking with service members. To be on board Truman has been a blessing. I've met so many amazing people, and everybody has been so welcoming and made me feel like I'm at home. I can't express enough how much I appreciate the sacrifices you make for our country."

Face of Defense: Guardsman Serves in the Classroom

By Army Sgt. Blake Pittman
224th Sustainment Brigade

2010 – Georgia National Guard Spc. Doug Lane
didn’t quit his day teaching job when he deployed earlier this year to Iraq.

An intelligence analyst by night, Lane, who hails from Jacksonville, Fla., spends his days at the education center here teaching college algebra to service members for the University of Maryland.

Lane has worked for 20 years as an educator, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of South Florida as well as a Master’s degree in administration.

“I love working with soldiers and helping students,” he said. “I’m really in my element when I’m teaching.”

Here in Iraq, Lane serves with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 110th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

Besides teaching his scheduled classes, Lane spends much of his free time at the education center offering extra tutoring for students. He also teaches an online course for Strayer University.

Some of Lane’s students at the education center are fellow soldiers from his company. Spc. Alexandria Dean, a transportation coordination manager from Valdosta, Ga., is taking her first college course with Lane. When she heard that he was going to be her professor, she was a little apprehensive.

“He seemed boring and drawn out,” Dean said. But she noted her opinion of Lane has since changed.

“He’s a really good teacher,” Dean said of Lane’s ability and classroom demeanor. “His stories are funny and he’s smart. He likes to communicate a lot.”

Dean said she is “not good with math,” but added that Lane’s teaching ability and personality have made the class easier for her to understand. Compared to other math teachers she’s had, Dean said she has had to ask fewer questions than in the past.

Though his teaching career spans two decades, Lane also has been a lifelong student. In addition to his degrees in education, he also has earned a Masters of Divinity degree, which he plans to put to good use by becoming a military chaplain candidate upon redeployment.

Dangers Abound With Huffing Chemicals, Using 'Spice'

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2010 – The practice seems harmless enough. Servicemembers, looking to dull the edge of a stressful day, walk into a head shop after work and buy a small package of K2, the brand name of a smokeable concoction that is perfectly legal in the state in which they are residing. It is not, however, legal in the military.

Such “designer drugs,” often marketed as herbal remedies, are banned under military law and policies by the Defense Department and all of the services. As one example, DOD Directive 1010-3.4 precludes wrongful use of “any intoxicating substance not intended for human ingestion,” and the use of substances “contrary to the directions of the manufacturer or prescribing health-care provider.”

Military officials, having seen a spike in servicemembers’ use of otherwise legal substances, including prescription drugs, are trying to get the word out that the practice has serious ramifications. Besides leading to a court- martial and a less-than-honorable discharge, such practices also can be dangerous.

That is especially true of the practice of sniffing, or “huffing,” products such as glue, paint thinner, and gases such as Freon, butane, propane and helium, all of which are known to cause disorientation, euphoria and other symptoms, Navy Lt. Cdr. Sean Swiackowski, deputy medical examiner for the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s Office, said in a recent interview with The Pentagon Channel.

Several servicemembers have died recently from huffing, and the use, while mostly associated with young, unmarried people, appears to cut across age and socioeconomic backgrounds, Swiackowski said.

“We’ve found it’s actually a broad range of people” using, Swiackowski said. A 40-year-old Army colonel -- who otherwise appeared to be healthy and fit -- died from huffing, he said.

Swiackowski believes the deaths, and occasions when other users were left brain-damaged, were accidents caused by people who didn’t realize how harmful misusing such products can be.

“People think it’s not harmful because they use it to clean their homes and desktops,” he said. “To them, there’s no potential injuries to themselves because these are things you get around the house, or buy in the store.”

Many products used in huffing contain 1,1 dichloroethane, a chemical highly toxic to the heart that is produced to remove grease, paint and varnish, and to make other chemicals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The problem, Swiackowski said, is that the chemical’s reaction in the body is volatile, and people can get a false sense of security from using it without experiencing a toxic reaction. “You could use it one time and it causes a toxic event, or you can use it a hundred times, and on the 101st, it kills you,” he said.

Swiackowski has made it his mission to educate servicemembers about the dangers of inhalants.

“The biggest part of my job is in preventing me from having to see anyone else” in the morgue due to substance abuse, he said. “The biggest part of my job to the community is education.

“People don’t realize this is drug abuse,” he added. “You may say you’re just going do it one more time, but that time could be your last.”

Army Col. Timothy Lyons, chief of toxicology in the medical examiner’s office, said even so-called designer drugs such as synthetic marijuana, marketed as “Spice,” or “K-2,” and salvia divinorum, a variation of the sage plant known as “salvia,” are dangerous.

“A lot of these products are made in garages and homes, so you don’t have quality control,” Lyons told The Pentagon Channel. “Each package, even under the same name, has different levels of compounds. So you really just don’t know what you’re getting.”

Designer drugs are not regulated or properly tested, and sellers often don’t reveal their full ingredients, Lyons said. Toxicologists know, however, that the compounds bind in the central nervous system, “and some of these synthetics bind even greater than marijuana,” he said.

Servicemembers who think they know someone with a substance abuse problem should reach out to them and ask if they can help, Swiackowski said. If they refuse or deny the problem, consider telling their commanding officer you think they have a problem, he said.

“Confront it like you would in any system where you want to get help,” Swiackowski said. “The nice thing about the military is you can always ask to see someone and get help and have it not be in your record.

“The problem is, you have to admit you need help,” he added. “Lots of times, they don’t think they need help because they don’t know what a big issue it is. They don’t realize it’s so dangerous to do these drugs.”

Servicemembers struggling with substance abuse, or who are self-medicating for problems like depression and anxiety, should see a doctor, military officials say, adding that treatment is confidential.

Face of Defense: Bulldog Helps Airman Cope

By Brian Brackens
377th Air Base Wing

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M., Oct. 4, 2010 – Arriving home after deploying to a war zone can bring new challenges to military members. Many discover that their fight is not over. They end up facing an unseen enemy, with sometimes serious consequences. That enemy is post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can affect people who have experienced extremely stressful and traumatic events, such as witnessing the loss of human life or as being a victim of a violent attack.

Air Force Master Sgt. Justin Jordan, the Air Force support integration superintendent with the Air Force Inspection Agency here, lives with PTSD. The 17-year Air Force veteran has served numerous overseas deployments and assignments with mortuary affairs.
"Constantly dealing with death, dismay and putting soldiers in the ground at record pace is what led me to having PTSD," Jordan said. "Your brain is just not equipped to take that all the time."

Those closest to Johnson couldn't tell he was dealing with PTSD, because the signs are not always obvious.

"People who worked around me had no idea that I had these issues," he said. "I could be totally freaking out and holding a conversation with them at the same time."

His symptoms, he said, include zoning out for hours at a time, flashbacks to stressful events, fear of crowds, avoidance and constant worry.

"There were times when I would drive 20 [mph] down the highway because I was positively certain that a tire would pop."

His family was affected by his condition as well.

"My children suffered, for there were times when I didn't let them go outside to play because I was so worried that something was going to happen," Jordan said.

All of these things led his friends and family to tell him something was wrong and he needed help. While attending an event on base with his daughter, Jordan met Jim and Lindsey Stanek, founders of a nonprofit organization called "Paws and Stripes." The organization trains and provides service dogs at no cost for veterans dealing with PTSD and other mental and cognitive disabilities.

Jordan said talking with the Staneks gave him hope that this could be exactly what he needed, and after extensive research and consulting with his doctor, he decided to enroll in the program.

Paws and Stripes trains dogs to be constant companions of their owners, so wherever the owner goes, the dog goes. Because they are service dogs, in the same category as seeing-eye dogs for the blind, business establishments and airlines must, by law, admit them.

Though Paws and Stripes provides veterans with service dogs, Jordan elected to have the organization train a dog he already had, a 2-year-old female English bulldog named "Dallas."

Having a canine companion in the workplace is an important part of the therapy that the dogs provide. Because leaving the dog at home would be the equivalent of not taking daily medication, Jordan sought and received approval from his chain of command to bring Dallas to work.

"I got a lot of support all the way from chiefs to colonels, who told me that they knew exactly what I was going through," he said.

Jordan said taking Dallas to work every day mitigates the effects of PTSD. She has an area next to his desk, and to keep him from zoning out, she is trained to tug on his sleeve several times an hour as well as pace back and forth catch his attention.

In the same way that dogs are trained to detect seizures before they occur, "Dallas is being trained to detect if I'm about to have an issue, and if so, she'll do something to distract me," Jordan said.

Dallas also is trained to watch Jordan's back. When his back is turned to a door, she is trained to face the door so she will be able to alert him if anyone comes in. Also, if Jordan is in a line, Dallas will position herself behind him to give him space and prevent others from getting too close. All of this is done in a nonaggressive matter. She does not bark, bite or threaten people in any way.

Having a dog at work can create challenges, because Dallas is on a leash with Jordan at all times. If someone in the office needs assistance lifting or moving something, Jordan ties Dallas' leash to his belt and then helps out.

"I don't want to be treated 'special,'" Jordan said. "I have a dog and she helps me, just like someone with a wheelchair. I don't want anyone saying that because I have a dog I can't do something. Whatever it is that I have to do, me and Dallas will make it happen."

Jordan sometimes faces odd stares and sometimes is stopped by people wanting to know why he has a dog in the building. He turns these challenges into opportunities to talk about PTSD and organizations like Paws and Stripes that help veterans assimilate into society.

"I've suffered a lot of guilt," Jordan said. "But I'm old enough now to know if you need help, get it. Dallas provides that help. She's got my ‘6’ every day."

Navy SEAL Remembered at Hometown Memorial in Missouri

From Naval Special Warfare Group TWO Public Affairs

MACON, Mo. (NNS) -- A Navy SEAL was laid to rest Oct. 2, after being honored by thousands of people during a ceremony and funeral procession in his hometown of Macon, Mo.

Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Adam Smith died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan along with one Navy support technician, two other Navy SEALs, and five Army aircrew members Sept. 21.

Hundreds of people packed the First Baptist Church during a funeral service for the fallen SEAL, where Smith was remembered as a hometown hero.

"Adam was a courageous warrior with an unflappable attitude who earned the respect and admiration of his teammates and fellow citizens alike, and he took great pride and passion in being a Navy SEAL," said Capt. Tim Szymanski, commander of Naval Special Warfare Group TWO.

Szymanski also thanked the Macon community for rallying around the Smith family during a time of need, and for their hospitality toward visiting service members who were present for the memorial events.

After the service, the citizens of Macon came out by the thousands to pay their last respects to Smith as his funeral procession made its way through the town.

During the burial ceremony, the national ensign was folded by a team of fellow SEALs and given to Smith's parents, followed by a gun salute by a Navy honor guard.

"Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) 2nd Class Adam Smith now joins a long list of military members who have given their lives so all of us can enjoy the rights and privileges in this country; this is a harsh reminder that the price of freedom comes at a terrible cost," said Pastor Scott Dalrymple of the First Baptist Church, who presided over the ceremony. "Adam was born to be a SEAL and he found his place in life with the SEALs."

Smith was assigned to an East Coast based SEAL team out of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story, Va.

This Day in Naval History - Oct. 04

From the Navy News Service

1821 - Lt. Robert F. Stockton sails from Boston for Africa to carry out orders to help stop the international slave trade.
1944 - Aircraft from USS Ranger (CV 4) sink five German ships and damage three others in Operation Leader, the only U.S. Navy carrier operation in northern European waters during World War II.
1952 - Task Force 77 aircraft encounter MIG-15 aircraft for the first time.
1976 - USS Jonas Ingram (DD 938) rescues seven survivors of a Finnish motor craft that sank in the Baltic Sea.
1991 - USS Arkansas (CGN 41), USNS Sioux (T-ATF 171), USS Aubrey Fitch (FFG 34) and Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 6 rescue personnel on merchant ships in three different rescue operations in the Arabian Sea.
1998 - U.S. and Algierian navies conduct the first bilateral exercise since Algeria gained independendence from France in 1962. It was a search and rescue operation involving USS Mitscher (DDG 57).

DOD to Hold Hall of Heroes Induction Ceremony

Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller will be inducted into the Hall of Heroes on Oct. 7 at in the Pentagon Auditorium (Room BH650).  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston and Miller’s family will participate in the ceremony.

President Barack Obama is expected to present the Medal of Honor to Miller’s family at a ceremony at the White House on Oct. 6, 2010.

On Sept. 9, 2010, the White House announced Miller would be posthumously awarded the nation’s highest military honor for conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty on Jan. 25, 2008.

Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification.  Media interested in covering this event should call Army public affairs at 703-697-3447 for escort into the building.

Guantanamo Bay Media Invitation Announced

The Department of Defense and the Office of Military Commissions will provide seats for news media aboard military aircraft for travel to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Oct. 16, 2010, for a military commissions hearing in the case of United States vs. Omar Khadr.  Return travel is planned for Nov. 12, 2010.

Media reservation requests should be e-mailed to tanya.bradsher@osd.mil.  All requests must be received by , Oct. 8, 2010.  Due to a limited number of seats aboard the flight and limited accommodations at Guantanamo Bay, media travel is not guaranteed.

Today in the Department of Defense, Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn have no public or media events on their schedules.

Lindy Cameron, the United Kingdom’s Senior Representative in Southern Afghanistan and Head of the Civil-Military Mission and Provincial Reconstruction Team, Helmand, will brief the media live from Afghanistan at in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973) to provide an update on current operations. Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification.  Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell will conduct a press briefing at in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973).  Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification.  Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

“Books as Weapons” During World War II Subject of Author Discussion

How U.S. Publishers Won Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Allied Nations’ Readers

"Books as Weapons: Propaganda, Publishing and the Battle for Global Markets in the Era of World War II" tells the little-known story of the vital partnership between American book publishers and the United States government to put carefully selected recent books highlighting American history and values into the hands of civilians liberated from Axis forces.

The book’s author, John B. Hench, will discuss and sign his work on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building,
101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.
The event, sponsored by the Center for the Book, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Hench is the former vice-president for Collections and Programs at the American Antiquarian Society and is co-editor of "The Press and the American Revolution" (1981) and "Printing and Society in Early America" (1983).

The government used books to help "disintoxicate" people from Nazi and Japanese propaganda and censorship and to win their friendship. This objective dovetailed perfectly with U.S. publishers’ ambitions to find new profits in international markets, which had been dominated by Britain, France and Germany before their book trades were devastated by the war.

Hench’s book is also the subject of a discussion on Facebook. The new Books & Beyond Book Club is available at www.facebook.com/booksandbeyond/. Here readers can discuss books, the authors of which have appeared or will appear in this series. The site also offers links to webcasts of these events and asks readers to talk about what they have seen and heard.

The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 "to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries." With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading.